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The Clever Olympus 15mm Body Cap Lens

If you like pancake lenses, you're going to love this. The just-announced Olympus BCL-15mm f8.0 Body Cap Lens is literally the size of a body cap, yet transforms to become a fixed focus snapshot lens that's a blast to shoot with. The lens is just 9mm thick, and when the cover is in place (to protect the glass), it looks like a body cap for your micro four thirds camera.

In the Olympus booth, they were calling it "the cookie."

Olympus 15mm Body Cap Lens

The 15mm will be perfect those who have a back-up body. In my case, I pack the PEN mini as a second camera. With the body cap lens, the PEN will occupy even less space in my camera bag.

It's fixed-focus. So you just shoot. Don't worry about the AF locking in on the correct element in the composition. I think this will be very appealing to street shooters.

In my informal tests on the OM-D in the Olympus booth, the 15mm rendered quite nicely. If has 3 glass elements and a fixed aperture of f/8.

olympus_booth_.jpg 15mm on OM-D, ISO 1600, f/8, existing light

We can expect to see this holiday stocking stuffer around mid-November. It should retail for approximately $50 US.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'm on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Photokina Time Lapse

The most recognized icon at Photokina is the Photo Globe. It attracts curious visitors to look at the thousands of images there, and to take pictures themselves. Here's a short time lapse movie captured with an iPhone 4S that shows this activity.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

One of my stops today at Photokina was to take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Camera. In case you missed the announcement, this is the first compact camera that's WiFi and cellular connected, and controlled by the Android mobile operating system.

The front looks like a Samsung camera, including a collapsable zoom lens. But the back has the appearance, feel, and functionality of an Android-powered device. Yes, that means apps too.

samsung galaxy camera Taking a picture with the Samsung Galaxy.

The screen looks great. I opened and closed various apps and had a nice geeky moment with the device (except for one thing -- more on that in a minute). But then I wanted to take a picture, and I wasn't sure how to hold the camera. There's no place on the back to rest your thumb. It's all screen. After some trial and error, I ended up holding the Galaxy by the edges like I do my iPhone.

samsung_vs_iphone Speaking of the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy Camera is a bit larger than the iPhone 4S I always have with me.

Now, back to when I was playing with the Android apps. I wasn't sure how the hold the device then either. The zoom lens was smack in the middle of my hand.

samsung_android The zoom lens wasn't that comfy in my hand when I was in "Android mode."

All of this led me to one, big question: how the heck should I hold it? I guess these are the little things you put up with when you're very enamored with the technology.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'm on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Canon comes through with the 6D, a more affordable full frame DSLR. I take a look at its specs and see how it stacks up the the 5D Mark III and Nikon D600. Olympus was busy also with two new PEN announcements, the E-PM2 (mini) and E-PL5. They both have the same wonderful sensor as the OM-D, but in smaller packageS. I share a few travel tales, talk about the week ahead, and even have a surprise or two. All of this on this week's TDS Podcast, recorded in Cologne, Germany.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (24 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Bokeh is the Sept. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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Photokina Coverage On Track

After 24 hours of traveling, I'm in my room in Cologne making sure I stay awake until the evening hours. I want to acclimate to German time as quickly as possible. Of course, having a Kolsch is part of the acclimation process.

It was definitely a "planes, trains, and automobiles" trip, with the last leg on the high speed ICE train that clocked over 185 km per hour on some of the open stretches to Cologne.

ICE DB Bahn

While I was traveling, both Panasonic and Olympus made big announcements in the micro four thirds space. I'll cover those in the podcast that I'm going to record tonight from my room overlooking the old Wolkenburg building that's outside my window.

Tomorrow morning, German time, I take a local train to the Koelnmesse for the official opening of Photokina. Stay tuned for hands-on reports, Instagrams, and tweets. But first, I need to find some food. I don't really remember when my last real meal took place.

More to come...

Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

The rugged Sonoma Coast provided the perfect background for the stunning Alyssa Jayne during the first day of shooting at the recent TDS Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop. As part of our assignment work, we assembled a gallery of favorite images.

Alyssa Jayne by Michael Arbore

Contributions include images by Doug Kaye, Sean Staples, Gary Angelo, Tom Seng, Fred Brundick, Scott Loftesness, and this image by Michael Arbore. John Larsen contributed the action shot of these photographers working.

John Larsen TDS Workshop

You can see the entire gallery here that contains more than 50 images by these photographers.

If you're interested in attending a TDS Photography Workshop, the 2013 Season will be announced in November. You can use the "Send Me Info" form on the Workshops page to get on the reserve list for your favorite event. Most TDS Workshop fill up via the reserve list.

Thanks to a great crew of photographers, and to Alyssa. You can contact Alyssa via her Model Mayhem page.

Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Nathalie Rollandin was in San Francisco with a GoPro when a seagull picked it up and flew away... with the camera still recording. Now we get to fly with him during a bay area sunset.

Unfortunately the gull flew off before Nathalie could get his name.

Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Nikon D600 - Take that Canon!

nikon_d600

Nikon answers the call for an affordable feature-rich full frame DSLR with the D600 that will sell for $2,100 US body only, or $2,600 with the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens.

It has many of the specs you'd expect, such as 24 MPs, 5.5 fps, full HD movie capture, 39 point AF system, 921,000 dot LCD, and maximum 25600 ISO. Then it has a nice surprise up its sleeve: an optional Wi-Fi module allowing the D600 to be controlled remotely from an Android or iOS device.

There are a couple limitations. Flash sync maxs out at 1/200th and there's no external microphone jack.

But if you have been waiting for a full frame Nikon body that won't bust the credit card, you can preorder the D600 today.


Live Photokina Coverage

I'll be on the floor at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany starting on Tuesday, Sept. 18. You can follow via Twitter and Instagram. Wrap-ups will be published here on The Digital Story.

Sony RX1

The just-anounced Sony Cyper-shot DSC RX1 is a Nimble Photographer's dream machine. Sony packed a 24 MP full frame CMOS sensor into a gorgeous body with lots of manual controls, then mounted a Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2 lens on the front.

Nice touches include a dedicated aperture ring, five user-customizable buttons, 1.2 million dot LCD, threaded cable release socket in the shutter button, microphone port, full HD movie capture, and multi-functional hot shoe.

There are compromises, however. First, if you want a viewfinder, optical or electronic, that's an accessory. Otherwise you're composing images on the LCD. Next, is price. The base kit estimated cost will be $2,800. Add a handful of accessories, such as the optical viewfinder, lens hood, and thumb grip, and your investment will be close to 4 grand. And finally, it's a fixed lens camera. So there's no changing glass.

All of that being said, I would make room in my camera bag for the Sony RX1 if it were made available to me. The low light performance and depth of field control would be wonderful in many, many situations. In addition to the fact, that it's most likely a pleasure to use.

I'll be sure to get my hands on one in Germany.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter


Taking good photographs from land is hard enough, but it gets even more exciting on a twin-engine outboard bouncing across the San Francisco Bay. I enjoyed the challenge while covering the Rolex Big Boats Series with pro shooter Daniel Forster. I take you behind the scenes and explain how Rolex reports on these events, and how Daniel makes his amazing images. I also have a fun iPhone anecdote, plus chat about the upcoming assignment in Germany. All of this and more in this week's TDS Podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Bokeh is the Sept. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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