Vintage Camera Review: Leica CL (Leitz Minolta CL, Minolta CLE)

Years ago, I owned a Leica CL when I was getting into photography. Trying to balance an understanding of both film and digital, I toted this around with my old school Olympus E-510 DSLR. They were perfect together for a college student. But then I needed money, and unfortunately had to sell my Leica. Very recently though, I took the plunge before my 30th birthday and bought myself another one. You see, the Leica CL is the same camera as the Minolta CLE and the Leitz Minolta CL.

Some consider it not a true Leica because it wasn’t made in Germany. Instead, the Leica CL was a collaboration between Minolta and Leica. It was a camera that sold very well and perhaps too well. In fact, it’s rumored that sales were so good that they discontinued the camera because it ate into the sales of the Leica M5.

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Vintage Camera Review: Fujifilm GW690 III (6×9 Medium Format)

When Fujifilm announced their medium format digital camera, a whole lot of people really wanted it to be something along the lines of the Fujifilm GW690 III camera–also known as the Texas Leica. This rangefinder camera shoots in the 6×9 format–which is one of the largest formats to use 120 film. For many years it was used by hobbyists, travel photographers, landscape photographers, and even a few portrait shooters. Due to its 90mm lens equivalent, you’re getting around a 38mm f1.2 equivalent when it comes to field of view converted to full frame.

When I purchasef this camera, I genuinely thought it would be the perfect medium format rangefinder for me, doing pretty much everything the Mamiya 7 II is capable of sans interchangeable lenses. But with more experience, I learned that I was wrong.

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Review: Fujifilm X-T20 (Fujifilm X Mount)

If you were to choose the most bang for your buck camera on the market right now, I’d have a very tough time making a call between the Fujifilm X-T20 and the Sony a650, but I’d lean more towards the Fujifilm offering. With fast autofocus and a selection of some absolutely incredible weather sealed prime lens offerings, in addition to image stabilized lenses, there isn’t much of a reason to dislike the Fujifilm X-T20. Beyond its very Contax film SLR ergonomics, it sports the same sensor as the flagship Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujifilm X Pro 2. Despite lacking the more direct controls of those cameras, it’s still more than good enough for most enthusiast photographers.

And for the videographer that wants some of the closest things available on the market to film emulsions, you’re probably not beating what this camera offers.

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Review: Rokinon 20mm f1.8 (Sony E Mount, FE)

Rokinon has for a while been the maker of affordable lenses capable of delivering very high quality photos–and the new Rokinon 20mm f1.8 continues to hold the company to that very tradition. Like many of the company’s other optics, you can expect some incredibly sharpness from this lens. For many years though, Rokinon lenses have had a special character to them that I feel is lacking here. The image quality that it is capable of outputting feels like something very standard and clinical–and in some ways that’s how I feel it differentiates itself from the likes of both Sigma and Zeiss.

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Review: Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Loxia (Sony E Mount, FE)

The first time  I handled the Zeiss Loxia lenses I didn’t truly understand them considering they also have the Batis lineup. But after using the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Loxia lens I’ve begun to understand it a bit more. Think about the system as a Leica M camera: you’ve got small, high quality glass that is manual focus and well built with great image quality. That’s what the Loxia lineup is, and considering what the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Loxia lens is capable of there is very little to complain about aside from the price point.

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Which One: Sony a99 II vs Canon 5D Mk IV vs Nikon D810 vs Pentax K-1

Canon, Nikon, and Sony have always been at each others’ throats when it comes to full frame DSLRs; but only recently did Pentax also finally step into the game. The Canon 5D Mk IV, Pentax K-1, Nikon D810, and Sony a99 II are all fantastic cameras. They perform well on their own accord and we tried to figure out which one is the best of the bunch.

Take a look at our comparison review testing the Sony a99 II, Canon 5D Mk IV, Pentax K-1, andNikon D810.

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Review: Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f2.8 (Canon EF)

In very recent times, lots of companies have started to tout the fact that they can create wide angle lenses with little to no distortion – and the Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f2.8 lens is one of those that puts itself to a claim like that. If you’re from the camp of photographers that highly doubts what the company is capable of because you’re a Canon, Nikon, or Sigma user, then I implore you to consider opening your mind up a bit. The Laowa lenses are very good, very affordable, and capable of doing incredible work in the hands of skilled photographers. With an all metal build to them, manual apertures, manual focus, and fantastic image quality all around, there isn’t much someone can complain about when working with a lens like the Laowa 12mm f2.8.

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