New Lens Mount Adapters for the Leica S-2

Great news from Leica regarding the S-2.

No longer will S-2 owners be limited to just four pieces of glass : the Leica Summarit-S 35mm f/2.5, Summarit-S 70mm f/2.5, APO Macro Summarit-S 120mm f/2.5, and APO Elmar-S 180mm f/3.5 lenses.

Leica plans to roll out new lens mount adapters for the S2 which will make the camera compatible with Pentax 67 lenses, Hasselblad V-series lenses, and Mamiya 645 lenses.

“It has a double benefit for us,” Chrisitan Erhardt, Leica’s Vice President of Marketing told PDNonline. “We have four lenses now and there are more in development but there are some unique lenses out there that we don’t currently have. This will increase the options for our customers who want to use a wider variety of lenses. And for the ones we have on the market, photographers will realize they can achieve a much higher resolution if they use a Leica lens.”

Leica has not announced pricing for the adapters but is hoping to make them available by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

New Canon 7D and T2i Firmware Updates

EOS 7D Firmware Update Version 1.2.3

Firmware version 1.2.3 incorporates the following fixes.

  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the settings of the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 revert to the default settings when both the camera and the ST-E2 are set to auto power off.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the Macro Ring Lite (MR-14EX, MT24-EX) and slave flashes do not sync while shooting wirelessly.

Firmware version 1.2.3 is for cameras with firmware up to Version 1.2.2. If the camera’s firmware is already Version 1.2.3, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

Download it here : EOS 7D v.1.2.3

EOS Rebel T2i Firmware Update Version 1.0.9

Firmware version 1.0.9 incorporates the following fixes.

  • Fixes a phenomenon in which tone jumps become noticeable in some images, depending on the shooting scene, when shooting with the Auto Lighting Optimizer settings (Low / Standard / Strong).

Firmware version 1.0.9 is for cameras with firmware up to Version 1.0.8. If the camera’s firmware is already Version 1.0.9, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

Download it here : EOS Rebel T2i v.1.0.9

Step by Step : Shooting Video with the DSLR

Composing and Focusing 

One of a series of posts aimed to help still photographers produce better videos with their DSLRs.

One of the many limitations or frustrations if you will of shooting video with today’s DSLR is the lack of a proper built in focusing aid. Since in most cameras the mirror flops up and blocks the viewfinder, so you need to use the LCD for focusing. There are no electronic viewfinders built into these cameras as there are on “real” video cameras.

Composing and focusing your image with the LCD will work however only if it is at eye level. (The Canon 60D, Nikon D5000 and Olympus E5 are the notable exceptions with swivel LCD screens) And trying to focus on a tiny 3 inch reflective screen in the bright sun is nearly impossible. Even indoors, follow focusing can be difficult due to the small screen.

So what do we do? Right now, there are two options, a loupe that fits over the LCD, shading it from the sun and providing magnification and an external monitor. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. Early next year, we will see a third option – an electronic viewfinder that attaches to our DSLRs via the HDMI out. Zacuto and Redrock are both working on these.

LCD Loupe Advantages

  • Compact
  • Blocks sunlight from hitting the LCD
  • Magnifies the image up to 3X
  • Offers another contact point for stability when holding the camera


  • No easy way to attach to the LCD
  • Can’t be used for composing or focusing when on the ground or in another hard to reach position 
  • Can burn the LCD if the eyepiece is aimed up to the sun
  • Can be expensive

External Monitor Advantages

  • Large screen to compose and focus 
  • Extra features such as peaking, pixel to pixel magnification, aspect ratio marks, and false color 
  • Can position camera anywhere and view monitor from another position via an HDMI cable


  • Bulky
  • Needs batteries
  • Needs a sunscreen
  • Very expensive

This loupe from Zacuto attaches over the LCD screen to a frame that is glued to the back of the camera. It snaps right on and off and gives you a 2.5 – 3X magnification of the LCD screen. 
Composing a ground level image can be difficult without an external monitor. This monitor by Marshall Electronics is their new portable 5″ monitor than runs on 4 AA batteries. Light and compact and with a long HDMI cable, can be placed far from the camera if need be.

What to buy? Tough one to answer. As you can see by the list above, they each offer their own strengths and weaknesses. I use both depending on the shoot. When I’m mobile, shooting run & gun style, the loupe is the way to go due to it’s compact form factor. However, with the external monitor, there are many features that make composing and focusing your shot so much easier. If I’m shooting mostly on a tripod, I almost always use the external monitor.

An Evening with Ray Olson

Thanks to all who attended our monthly lighting seminar with Ray Olson of the MAC Group this past Wednesday.  We had a great time.  Please feel free to give us some feedback as we continue to tailor these presentations to your needs.  We hope to see you next month on the 15th for a wireless speed light presentation!

Step by Step : Shooting Video with the DSLR

Controlling Exposure

One of a series of posts aimed to help still photographers produce better videos with their DSLRs.

So, now that we have the camera all set up and the neutral picture style dialed in, let’s go out and shoot.

Remember, with video, it’s best to have everything on manual so select your frame rate (24, 30 or 60p) and your white balance setting. Choose your iso, aperture and a shutter speed, keeping in mind that for the smoothest, natural look, you should keep the shutter speed at twice your frame rate in what is referred to as the 180 degree shutter rule. You also need to keep the aperture constant in a video sequence. For example, you are panning a scene…you don’t want the aperture to change during your pan. The viewer will notice the depth of field changing as you pan – not good. Also if there are extreme shutter speed changes, even these will be noticed, especially with movement. So, auto exposure is not recommended.

With video, you need to change the exposure manually and the best way to do this is with a variable neutral density filter. What a variable ND filter does is allow you to rotate it’s filter ring (similar to a polarizer) and dial down or up the amount of light hitting the sensor. It becomes like your aperture in that it controls the light, but unlike the aperture, your depth of field remains constant. With this, you can control your exposure, keeping the same aperture and shutter speed, despite the changes in the ambient light and you can do it smoothly while shooting if need be.

A variable neutral density filter can be somewhat expensive, costing anywhere from around $125. to nearly $400. depending on the manufacturer, but to me, they are worth every penny. They usually give you up to 8 stops reduction in light which will allow you to shoot wide open apertures in full sun for that coveted shallow depth of field that seems to be all the rage these days. When purchasing a filter, buy the filter that will fit your largest diameter lens and use a step up ring for the smaller lenses.

Of course you could skip the expense of a variable ND and go with a few less expensive standard ND filters. They work perfectly fine, in fact, they are usually optically better than a variable ND. Only drawback with these is that as the light changes, you need to stop shooting and switch filters or change your aperture.

For more info about the 180 Degree Shutter Rule, check out Tyler Ginter’s excellent post. He can explain it much better than I can.