Home Cameras/Lenses Fujifilm Jason’s Newsround: Forget heavenly happenings, what’s the best camera here on planet...

Jason’s Newsround: Forget heavenly happenings, what’s the best camera here on planet Earth?


It may have happened a few days ago, but if you saw this event, you’ll remember it forever. What could it possibly be? And if you are in the market for a fast, inexpensive M-Mount lens, we point you in the direction of one worth checking out. Sadly, it looks like Ricoh GRIII fans might be waiting a while longer for the next generation, GRIV. But, owners of the Panasonic Lumix S5IIx can congratulate themselves on owning the best camera in the Panasonic range. And are you a wimp if you do not shoot manually? Read on to find out.

Solar eclipse dazzles the US

Earlier this week, a large swath of The United States experienced that most spectacular of cosmic shows: a total solar eclipse. The diagonal path of the eclipse meant that many, densely populated parts of the country experienced totality — as long as their view was not obscured by clouds, that is.

In Southern California, where our intrepid US-based Associate Editor, Keith James, resides, they experienced a partial eclipse. Although lacking the drama of seeing the sun completely obscured, it was still a sight to behold. The locals were out, sensibly equipped with protective ‘eclipse glasses’, hoping to catch a glimpse.

Anyone who has tried photographing a partial eclipse will know how challenging it is. Even at f/22, with exposure compensation dialled up to maximum, the sun is still extremely bright. Ironically, a few light clouds, attenuating that celestial fireball, creates better photographic opportunities.

You can find plenty of recorded footage of all the action online. Here’s a NASA site worth checking out.

The new Thypoch Simera 35/1.4 in a thorough review

The Chinese lens manufacturer Thypoch is committed to M-Mount lenses that combine classic and modern aspects. As you might have read in episode 24 of our M Files series, it is one of many new lens makers from China that are entering the market at the moment. Thypoch stands out in the way they re-create the mechanical depth of field scales from much older lenses, They otherwise stick to a classic outward design but with modern optics. Two fast lenses in standard rangefinder focal lengths have caught our attention: The Thypoch Simera 28/1.4 and its sibling, the 35/1.4.

It is good to see that we are not alone in this interest. Philipreeve.net, a Germany-based, English-speaking blog, has published what appears to be a very competent review of the Thypoch Simera 35/1.4. It confirms our first thoughts of this new lens. In a nutshell, the verdict is: Optics are good, handling less so. But do read through the excellent text and take your time for the images. We hope to collect our experiences and share them in due course. For the moment, we can recommend all readers to keep their eyes open for all the new M-Mount lenses coming on the market. And we will keep our overview at least halfway updated.

Ricoh GR users want new cameras, not filters

Many Ricoh GRIII users hold the view that theirs is the best camera going. Last week’s announcement of two new Ricoh GR cameras with just one change — the replacement of the built-in ND filter with the “Highlight Diffusion Filter” therefore came as a surprise. There was some amazement that such a small design change could result in separate cameras, distinguished only by a grey shutter button. But the announcement also cast doubt on the imminent arrival of the GRIV, a camera that has been much anticipated. Whey fiddle around the edges if a new camera is coming?

Light grey shutter release means you have the latest GRIII. Image: Ricoh

Sebastian Oakley, writing in Digital Camera World, just about sums it up: Ricoh GR users want new cameras, not filters!

Choosing the best Panasonic camera

The Panasonic Lumix S5IIx might not be the best camera on the planet, but is lauded as the best Panasonic camera on the planet in a review by Sagiv Gilburd in DIY Photography. They take us through all currently listed Lumix models and home in on the best choices in both L-Mount and Micro Four Thirds. From our standpoint, as stills photographers, we’d settle for the slightly cheaper Lumix S5II. The x model is aimed more precisely at videographers (although the S5II is no slouch in this department). From an aesthetic perspective, though, the all-black visage of the S5IIx is certainly a compelling reason to spend a bit extra.

The Panasonic Lumix S5IIx with it’s all-black face, is dfinitely the best-looking model in the range. Primarily aimed at the videographer, the camera is probably worth the extra cash because of the stealthy appearance

How a Leica rekindled my love of photography

Sean McCoy of Gear Junkie is inspired after borrowing a Leica M11 for a week. He might even argue it’s the best camera on the planet:

The M11 represents the pinnacle of modern digital viewfinder cameras. It is the nicest camera I’ve used, and I have used many. I’m not impressed with price tags — they come with the territory of professional camera gear. For the record, this bad boy costs $9,000 for the body alone.

Image: Leica Camera AG Press Office

He’s full of praise but won’t be laying down his credit card for a new Leica anytime soon. But the experience has had one positive effect; it has rekindled both his love of photography and his love for the rangefinder. So, he’s dusted off his old M4-2 (see this review at 33mmc.com) which was given to him by his father in the 1990s. Read Sean’s journey with the M11 and old film Leica in this Gear Junkie review.

All good photographers use manual, right?

Only wimps use auto settings on modern cameras. There are so many opportunities for creativity by making informed decisions on exposure that it’s a cop out to let the camera take the lead in determining what is best for a given situation. Mykil Liu in Photofocus poses the all-important question: All good photographers use manual, right? The answer, of course, is a resounding NO. But Liu goes on to say,

… I feel that the use of “Manual” is far from a waste of time for those who really want to understand how to make great photos. Shooting in “Manual” with a bit of understanding, can give you the outcome that you want, quicker and more constantly in many situations. It makes it easy to brighten and darken an image, adding or taking away depth of field.

So what do you think? Are you an auto shooter, relying on the good sense of the modern camera to make the best choice? Or do you fiddle around in the quest for excellence? Let us have your views in the comments section below.

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  1. The GR filter thing is baffling. It’s hard to imagine there’s so much demand for such a built in filter that they felt compelled to make a separate camera for it, while not investing in other areas. Even another limited edition GR would have been better. And I think the standard GRs are hard to find these days. Bizarro.

    This is the second the-Leica-M11-is-so-fantastic article I’ve seen this week that has caught my attention (thank you or darn you MacFilos!). I plan to sell my Canon DSLR kit and I wonder if an M11-P might sneak into my bag in the middle of the night later this year.

    • “The GR filter thing is baffling”

      Take out the word “filter”, and that sums it up for me. I suppose it must take great photos, but that thing is ugly. How does it obtain such a following with folks who love the beautiful Leica?

      • Size and results that are excellent. It’s the pocketability that attracts people more than anything. To have an APS-C sensor in such a small body is quite extraordinary.

        • Only a tiny bit smaller than Fujifilm X70, which to my eye, is elegant. Too bad Fuji dropped it in favor of the XF10. XF10 still a more attractive camera than the Ricohs, but does not have the controls of the X70. YMMV.

          • You have a point. I used the X70 for a time and enjoyed it. I suppose the secret of the GR is that it has become a. Hot camera and has attracted cult coverage which is sometimes overwhelming. The X100 has a similar following.

          • The recipe is unfortunately clear, create hype through YouTube influencers, create scarcity in your supply, and you have a gold mine for a very long time. Leica, Fuji, Ricoh and Hasselblad are all surfing the same wave.

      • Very simple. High image quality in a very small package. It used to be what Leica was all about before they took the high end luxury boutique road.

  2. I used to use manual exposure fully, but when Leica started making Aperture-Priority an option (M7 IIRC; M8 for me), and also had a way of holding settings when the shutter release was pressed halfway down, I rapidly saw that one could meter a scene and lock exposure on the aspect that one felt was right (be is grass, another middle-level reflector, etc.) then rapidly recompose. Or perhaps also to add a brighter highlight in what was being metered, to bias the exposure towards not blowing out the highlights. This from years of thinking about manual exposure.

    So today, I use ISO and to a lesser extent shutter speed, coupled with the above, as the main way I approach shooting my M10s and M11. Very occasionally I do not have enough time to react cognitively, and I let the camera decide. But much more often there is either too much sky, or too little, or too many extraneous light sources in the frame. Or I want darkness prevailing, not an “average-looking” scene via exposure compensation. I have already dialed in the ISO I want to use, so I may make double sure that if I shoot for the near-highlights I have enough shutter speed, and proceed as in the paragraph above. It helps, of course, that there is great shadow exposure latitude, and I habitually have dialed in 2/3 stop of under exposure. Post processing with PS will optimize how the scene looks, if I haven’t blown out the highlights.

    All this is super quick. I have usually pre-visualized.

  3. During the film years, I mostly used the in-camera meter of my Nikon F2’s to set exposure manually, but sometimes a hand-held incident light meter, particularly for portraits. I had not used any automatic settings since my Nikkormat EL died in the early 1980s.

    I held out on digital until 2014, when I purchased a Fujifilm (X20 briefly, then) X100S. Ironically, I even though I bought the X100S for its retro design, I shot mostly in full automatic mode.

    That all changed in 2021, when I was finally able to purchase a Nikon Df. I have two Df bodies, one black, one “silver” [I still think “chrome”, but I know there is no chromium (or silver!) on it].

    After much experimentation, I have settled on four autofocus lenses that I use when speed is paramount. Speed as in getting the shot quickly, not lens speed. But I have nine AiS manual focus Nikkors from the 1970s / 1980s that I prefer to use most of the time. I typically use aperture-priority metering, except when using the 28mm PC-Nikkor, which has to be used full manual everything.

    • I tend to use Aperture priority all the time with a tweak on the Compensation dial Manual when trying to get the 3D effect at f16 I used to Manual all the time but sometimes time is of the essence
      With regards to Eclipse Photography I remember as a schoolboy holding a black negative in front of the lens on a Kodak Brownie 127 in the partial eclipse of the mid 60’s


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