Best Canon 5D Mark II Ever

A rather odd looking Canon 5D Mark II, modified to accept a Leica Noctilux

Robert Benson had the $6,500.00 Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1.0 lens and no body to put it on, so what did he do? He modified a Canon 5D Mark II to accept the exotic lens. “This has been my obsession for more than a two months, and its now complete. ” he said “The camera above is (was) a Canon 5dmk2. I wanted to use Leica rangefinder “M” lenses on it, but of course you cant, because the Leica flange distance is really short – shorter than the Canon EOS – the Leica have to be mounted closer to sensor to work. So I ripped apart a camera, modified it, and now I have a camera better than the Leica M9, at a fraction of the cost.”

Check out Benson’s photos

The password to download the full rez files is : download

BTW Benson will modify a Canon for you just in case you happen to have a spare Noctilux in your closet.

A Camera Bag Too Good to Resist

You’ve probably heard the term ‘hoarder’. It refers to people who cannot throw out or give away their possessions and end up with a mess of a cluttered house. Well, I have a confession to make. I’m a camera bag hoarder.

I have them all : backpacks, roller bags, shoulder bags, sling bags, waist bags, bags for tripods, bags for light stands, bags for laptops, bags for lenses and even, bags for bags. And not just one of each. I have a garage full and cannot get myself to part with any of them. Sometimes I’ll run across a long lost bag that I forgot I had and in a moment of temporary sanity, think to myself “Why did I ever buy this?” But can I throw it out? Nope. A true sickness.

That said, I found myself a bag I can’t resist! Almost the perfect bag for me because the designers at Tenba did this one right. Every detail of this bag was developed with the input of working videographers and filmmakers across a broad range of styles and pursuits to ensure that this bag could adapt to meet a wide variety of needs.

Photos by Michael Maloney

The Roadie II HDSLR/Video Backpack was designed from the ground up with video gear in mind but don’t let that discourage you if you don’t shoot video. This is still the bag for you. This backpack will fit the latest DSLR systems from Canon (5D Mark III, EOS-1D X) and Nikon (D4, D800), and larger video cameras from RED (Epic, Scarlet), Canon (C300) and Sony, along with a full assortment of accessories including a padded sleeve for a 17″ laptop computer. Video-specific features are found throughout, such as side shotgun mic pockets, a quick to reach top audio compartment and versatile dividers inside that can adjust to fit everything from DSLRs to full-size video cameras.

Your gear is well protected with ample padded dividers

The quick access top is a great place to put those items you need to grab quickly

What I like best about this backpack however is the way you access your gear. No more muddy shoulder straps and back when I’m out shooting landscapes in inclement weather. I set the bag down and zip it open on the harness side, keeping the shoulder straps and waist belt mud free. Who cares if the other side gets muddy, at least that mud stays off my shoulders and back. Another added benefit of this is that you are secure knowing that your expensive gear cannot be unzipped and stolen while wearing the backpack – something to consider in questionable areas.

No more muddy shoulder straps and back thanks to the harness side access to the main compartment

Another plus is that the bag will stand upright on its reinforced waterproof bottom. It can stand this way all day in the rain and your equipment will stay dry with the included custom rain cover.

There is no provision to attach a big tripod however I found a solution. Two deep pockets on the side hold my tripod perfectly fine. My only other wish is that there were tie down bungy cords on the back. I find these are handy to secure extra clothing.

A nice touch : heavy duty YKK zipper pulls are extra long to help when wearing gloves.

The Roadie II Backpack is made of a rugged, foam laminated, weather-proofed ballistic nylon exterior which along with the YKK zippers, rip-stop nylon interior, stress point reinforcements and infinitely-configurable photo/video gear compartments will keep your expensive gear well protected. Not only that, but most importantly it feels like a real backpack, meaning it is designed so that you can wear it all day, fully packed in comfort. The harness system is top notch and I’m able to adjust the well padded waist belt so that my hips carry most of the load helping with comfort and balance while out on the trail.

The Roadie II meets the strictest international carry-on standards. A stationary clip on the right side of the waist belt allows the belt to be compressed against the bag, making it easier to stow the bag in an overhead compartment.

Here are some specs for you :

  • Capacity: 2 DSLRs, 6-8 lenses (up to 300mm f2.8), monopod and shotgun mic, headphones, recorder
  • Weight : 5.5 lbs
  • Exterior Dimensions : 15.5W X 20H X 9.5D in.
  • Interior Dimensions : 11W X 19H X 6.5D in.
  • Laptop Compartment : 11W X 16H X 1D in. Fits most laptops up to 17 inches

The Roadie II HDSLR/Video Backpack is $299.95, and in stock at Camera West.

Oregon Coast with a Leica

Oregon Sunset with the Leica S2

Meyer Beach with the Leica V - Lux 40

The moon sets near Bandon, Oregon shot with the Leica S2

Leica representative and our good friend Tom Brichta has been roaming the always beautiful Oregon coast with his S2 and V-Lux 40. He has been sending us a few photos just to make us jealous I’m sure. Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of them. And if you happen to be travelling up the coast and see a classic VW Vanagon, wave it’s most likely Tom!

Tom's classic Volkswagen Vanagon shot with his Leica Monochrom

New Workshop with Jason Bradley


Join professional nature photographer Jason Bradley and the staff of Camera West for a 3.5 day workshop photographing the stunning landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park. Learn how to produce beautiful images not only during the day, but also at night where you will learn the fine art of light painting.

April 18 thru the 21st, 2013

Cost : $995.

Contact the staff of Camera West in Walnut Creek or in Rancho Mirage to sign up.

Salton Sea Moonrise

Photo by John Warden

John Warden of Camera West in Rancho Mirage went out to shoot the moon last weekend and came up with some beautiful images. Here is his report :

Camera West customer John Schmidt of Cathedral City and I set out last Saturday afternoon for a 45 minute drive to one of my favorite haunts, 81st. Ave and Jackson Road on the northwest shore of the Salton Sea. Our goal, to take photos of the full moon rising over the Chocolate Mountains.

We used the app The Photographer’s Ephemeris which provides time and angle of sun/moonrises and sun/moonsets and the path of travel over your location.  The app worked flawlessly.  We arrived with plenty of time to get set up and enjoy the sun setting over the Santa Rosa Mountains  and all the layers of hills between the Salton Sea and Palm Springs.

We were using a Nikon D200 with 70-200/2.8, 28-70/2.8 and 12-24/4 and a Canon 60D with 18-135 and just for kicks, I brought my Nikon D50 IR Conversion.

The flies were incredibly persistent and a few lost their lives that night.  But, it was worth the annoyance as we were graced with a wonderful experience.

The moon rose right on schedule and at times partially hid behind clouds which added depth and character to our imagery.  The lake provided the white runway to the moon with it’s long reflection.

The seasonal migration has begun so the shores were filled with seagulls, pelicans, osprey, black currant, and a hummingbird or two.  The birds added to our photography options and made for a more complete photo op.

As we were about to leave and after it was quite dark we heard the low deep sounds of thousands of feathers grabbing air.  As the sound grew louder it was amazing and almost intimidating to hear them fly right over our heads.  It was like the sound of a jet fighter flying over the lake.

Once we all understood what we were hearing, the sound was pure beauty.

Photo by John Warden

Photo by John Schmidt

Photo by John Warden

Many thanks to Stan Ford who suggested and demonstrated The Photographer’s Ephemeris for us to calculate moonrise and sunset info.