Ultravid Leica Binoculars – The Ultimate Choice

Whatever your passion, if you want the best performance you have to have the best tools for the job and with binoculars it is no different. There are only a few top quality binoculars that are streets ahead of anything else on the market and among them are the Ultravid Leica binoculars. If you are really passionate about what you do don’t settle for anything other that the absolute best in precision engineering and optical performance, qualities that binoculars such as the Swarovski EL’s and the all new Leica Ultravid’s are renowned for.

Leica have absolutely excelled themselves with the Ultravid’s, which are a great improvement on the original Trinovid series, to produce absolutely superb binoculars with exceptional optical resolution and contrast. Just take a look through Ultravid Leica binoculars and you’ll be amazed at how bright, clear and sharp the images are. You will truly understand what images should look like through binoculars of superior optical design.

For comfort and ease of use the Ultravids get top marks:

• the lightweight die-cast magnesium housing with central titanium hinge and soft tough rubber armour make them comfortable to hold, lightweight yet extremely rugged, ideal for extreme conditions added to which

• Ultravid Leica binoculars are precision engineered to ensure perfect balance making them the ideal companion during periods of extended viewing and

• focusing is so quick and easy with the newly designed, perfectly smooth, central focusing system

As with all superior quality binoculars the Leica Ultravid’s are waterproof, nitrogen filled and sealed to ensure a perfect performance in all weather conditions, an absolute must for regular outdoor use in the UK. The Utravid Leica binoculars ability to perform in extremely high and low temperatures is outstanding as a result of high performance Teflon disks that operate with almost no lubrication.

If you want elegance look no further than the Ultravid 8×42 and 10×42 (BL series) Leica binoculars, they are slimmer and lighter than their rubber coated counterparts, exceptionally light for binoculars of their size and optical quality, just 695g and 710g.

Leica have introduced a whole series of optical improvements into the Ultravid design to ensure that every model in the Ultravid Leica binocular series delivers edge to edge sharp, crystal clear images with excellent contrast:

• Leica AquaDura Coating, modelled on a lotus plant who’s leaves never get dirty and where droplets of water never rest, this newly developed coating alters the surface of the outer lenses of the binoculars to ensure liquids can no longer stick to the surface and when water rolls off the dirt goes with it.

• The high-definition optics in the Ultravid HD Leica binoculars utilise FL lenses to increase image resolution. The HD models offer exceptional contrast and natural colour with sharper, more clearly defined images. The FL lenses are made from calcium fluorite, a mineral with an extremely low refractive index and low dispersion which reduces colour aberrations.

• Ultravid Leica binoculars come with high performance (HDC) optical coatings which not only protect the outer lenses from environmental influences and scratches but ensure that light transmission is as close to 100% as possible (99.7%).

• A change in the prism glass material and the use of phase correction coating P40 on the prisms has enabled Leica to deliver outstandingly bright viewing, even in low light conditions.

• The HighLux system (HLS) is a mechanical system combined with a specially developed mirror prism coating that has been utilised to optimise light transmission and contrast and ensure the sharpest possible view.

The attention to detail in what can only be described as an absolutely superb pair of binos has resulted in near perfect Leica binoculars of a stunning design with an exceptional image quality that is hard to match. Definitely worth a look if you are looking for high performance compact, mid-size or full-size binoculars.

Getting A Usable Vintage Camera

You can certainly get a nice usable vintage Leica for $500 or less. However, you need to understand a few things before you choose one. Leitz made two different systems of 35mm rangefinder cameras.

The earlier system has a mount that accepts lenses that screw into the camera body (what we call 39mm screw mount, or LTM for Leica thread mount). They introduced this system in 1930 with the Leica I(C) model, and continued it well into the 1950’s up to the classic Leica IIIg. Concurrently during the 1950’s, Leitz introduced a new system that accepts lenses with a special bayonet mount (rather than screw in, the lens is placed against the mount lined up with a red dot and a quick quarter turn locks it in place).

This is known as the M bayonet system, which started with the superb Leica M3 and continues right up to the latest M8. Okay, for $500 you want to find a classic Leica that your fiance’, who probably knows and appreciates the Leica mystique, can enjoy in his free time.

I’m talking hobby camera, not camera for his work, because a photojournalist today would be doing his job with the latest digital gear. No problem. You’re on the right track looking at the Leica IIIf. It’s a common model, with over 180,000 sold between 1950 and 1957, it accepts all the zillions of screw mount lenses Leitz made up to that time (and also early 39mm screw mount Canon, Nikon, and even many Russian made lenses), and there’s always a bunch available on eBay.

I do not recommend the Leica IIIg; although it is a better camera, collectors keep it’s price hovering in the $1000 range. I do not recommend some other common earlier models like the Leica III, IIIa, or IIIc; although they’re equally common and readily available for less money, they are also just old enough to cause a lot of trouble and frustration. Among the screw mount models, the Leica IIIf is a great choice. Find one that work! Don’t take a risk on an example that needs any sort of repair.

Look for one that has a bit of external personality (as long as there’s no overt damage, a few rub marks or gentle dings are not a problem), the seller guarantees it all works, as it should. And the Leitz Summitry is a fine fast lens, but get the Elmer 5cm f3.5 instead if you can.

Forget the original box (collectors will PUSH the price for original boxes, but there’s no advantage for you there), don’t worry about a case (they fall apart, and they sometimes cause more damage to the camera because they hold in moisture), but do try to get a proper Leitz lens cap. This is your best bet for a usable vintage Leica in the $400-$500 range.

Now if you want to bend just a bit, and you’d like to explore those later M series cameras, you can probably get a 1960-ish Leica M2 with a superb Submicron 50mm f2 lens somewhere in the $500-$600 range. All the same thoughts apply in regards to condition, etc. The biggest advantage of the M series over the old screw mount series is that if your fiance’ eventually wants to get a modern Leica (for work AND pleasure), any lenses he already has with the M2 would be interchangeable with the later camera.

The classic M3 is too desirable among collectors, the M1 has limited features, and you could consider stepping up for the M4 (actually it would have to specifically be the M4-2 because the original M4 has become quite collectible as well), but that model is the first of the “modern” designs. So there you have it, the Leica IIIf or the Leica M2, those are your best choices in your price range. Regarding your question about Leica values, in general, yes, all of them do increase in value.

The vast majority increases slightly ahead of inflation (over time, not right away), so not that terribly high, but certainly enough to equal money in the bank (and assuming you deal only in top condition). The historically significant models, and a few choice rare models, increase by much greater degrees, in some cases to the point of being ridiculous. Common models like the IIIf just seem to float along with the economy. So, in general, Leica cameras appear to be a good to excellent “investment”.

Sharper Photos Using a Table Top Tripod As a "Chest Pod"

Most photographers today, both amateur and professional, have a Table Top Tripod in their gadget bag for use when photographing small objects on a “table top,” or for bracing on top of a car, wall, or fence when a full size tripod isn’t available or practical.

There are times, however, when you want the support and vibration stopping of a tripod, but the subject is moving around way too quickly – you just can’t get reoriented fast enough to get the shot: just think about shooting photos of an active child on a playground. But you really do want the steadiness that a tripod affords for sharper photos that can be blown up big and still be eye-catchingly sharp.

Enter the classic table top tripod.

By twisting it around into a novel configuration with the tripod against your chest and the camera to your eye, you can brace the camera to get much of the stabilizing power of a tripod on the floor – but the flexibility to move around quickly with fast moving subjects.  It also can be braced on a wall, fence, the side of a house – anything that gives you the stability you need for the sharpest photos.

I have two. First, a classic Leitz Table Top Tripod with Large Ball and Socket Head. I think this is no longer made (mine is over 40 years old – Leica makes good stuff!). It has one disadvantage.  You cannot set the ball head for limited or smooth drag. It is either loose or locked. And though it folds flat, it doesn’t fold compact (unless you separate the two parts – which makes it more difficult to set up quickly).

I used this setup several times photographing Indy Type race cars going by at over 200 miles per hour! I was standing about 50 – 60 feet from the track and just panned my whole body, with the chest pod supporting the camera, and released the shutter while I was moving through the pan. Great action shots – and sharp! (Bonus tip – with this technique, you can slow the shutter speed down to 1/60 or 1/125 or so, and when you pan with the car going by, releasing the shutter during the pan, you get a picture that just SHOUTS SPEED!)

And, of course, slowing down a bit, you can use it on hikes to increase the stability and sharpness of your photos while lightening the load you carry. And it sets up more quickly than a full size tripod.

My other, newer model is the Slik Mini-Pro. These folks make many, many tripods in all sizes, weights, materials – you can select just the right one for your needs. The tripod folds up very small, and comes with a typical (though small) pan head. The small pan head is great for basic table tops, but it is somewhat awkward for chest pod use.

Far easier and more effective, I recommend a Kaiser Lightweight Ball & Socket Head to replace the pan head that comes with the tripod (don’t throw the pan head away, you will always find times when you still want to use it). When you are actually using the ball & socket head, you may not want to totally lock up the ball head, just use a slight drag. This gives you much more flexibility to move with the subject, while giving you the extra support for extra sharp photos.

Since the Leitz model is no longer available (unless you find one used), the Slik/Kaiser combination will make a valuable addition to your gadget bag, giving you freedom for photographing fast moving subjects while keeping the camera stable enough to encourage large prints you’ll be proud to display. This is especially true if your camera has image stabilization.

By all means try this valuable technique. It will really help you get more great photos to make really big prints.

Ideas On What You Might Get For Your Camera

The rampaging popularity of digital has gutted the secondary market for used 35mm cameras, and something like the Canon 7 once had value as a usable as well as collectible item. It seems the market is still holding steady for these, however, so you have a surprisingly valuable piece. The Canon 7 is a classic 35mm coupled rangefinder camera, basically a competitive “clone” of the Leica cameras from Germany ,they both use lenses with the exact same form of screw mount, made by Canon of Japan from 1961 to 1964.

The Canon 50mm f.95 lens was a monster, a pat-on-the-back accomplishment for the Canon engineers because of its extraordinary maximum aperture yet a truly awful optic in practice, that has far more collectible than usable appeal. A truly excellent Canon 7 with that huge lens should sell in the $500-$600 range these days. Oh, and to be complete, there’s an accessory viewfinder that goes with the lens…the lens was so darn big that the normal viewfinder in the camera couldn’t quite see around it! Anyway, this can be a bugger of a camera to sell because the market is rather small. If you’d like some recommendations on how best to sell it.

You have a Leica IIIa, a typical 35mm coupled ramgefinder camera, made by Leitz of Germany in 1936. It was the first 35mm camera to offer a super fast 1/1000 second shutter speed. This is a very common model, and Leitz sold over 90,000 of them from 1935 to 1939. A truly excellent example today, complete with an appropriate 5cm lens. In truly excellent condition, you would expect to get around $250 today.

The Super Baldina is a compact folding bellows camera for 35mm film, with coupled rangefinder, made by Balda of Germany from 1937 to 1940. Not a lot of collectible interest. A really fine one might get $75.

The Nikon FE, introduced by Nikon of Japan in 1978, is one of those 35mm single-lens-reflex cameras ,really one of thousands and thousands, whose current value has been gutted by the rampaging popularity of digital. Just a couple years ago, this used to have good resale value, in the $250 range, but today is a hard sell at $75.

The original Nikon F is a classic 35mm single-lens-reflex camera that maintains some value despite the rise of digital. Yours dates from about 1965. With the meter viewfinder in place, this is a Photomic prism, so you can actually call the camera a Nikon F Photomic, if everything is in excellent condition, you can probably still get about $150. That simple viewfinder, sell it seperately because they’re much harder to find and the collectors want them. In excellent shape, you’ll get $75 for that alone.

It’s a Ernst Leitz Wetzlar 9 cm, 1:4 lens, No. 455160. With protective caps. This is a pretty common lens. Over 120,000 were made from 1933 to 1963, and yours dates to 1938. The Elmar 9cm f4 was the least expensive telephoto lens Leitz offered. A truly excellent example today only sells for about $75.

A Leica IIIf, a classic coupled rangefinder 35mm camera, made by Leitz of Germany in 1953. The Leica IIIf was important as the first completely new camera introduced by Leitz after recovering from the carnage of World War II. This is a fairly common model, with over 180,000 sold from 1950 to 1956, but it still retains some value in the collectible camera market. An excellent examples, with appropriate Elmar or Summitar 5cm lens, can sell for $300-$350.

If you would like you can always go on the internet and look up some of the auction houses, ask them questions on what ever camera you would like to try and sell and they should be able to come up with a price for you. Or you can always do the reasearch yourself and learn about cameras.

5 Good Digital Cameras

You can find very few people who are not into taking photos. Everyone would probably take snaps even for the occasions. With the advent of digital cameras, the entire process has been made easier. There are some top rated cameras one could depend upon.

Fujifilm FinePix F100 fd is the first in the list and it has image quality of 12 mega pixel with a 28-140mm zoom lens along with other specified options. It also owns the pride of having the best ever Face Detection Features ever seen in any other models. It has the ability to detect faces from any angles possible.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50 stands the next having a 3-inch LCD screen which can be tilted along with 15x zoom function. The night shot mode is simply competitive along with slideshow mode. Long zooms are possible with steady shot image stabilization. It also has the advanced sports mode to make things pretty easier.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35 is simply another option to depend upon. It is a compact and handsome digital camera having a lot of in-built intelligence. Wide angle is made possible with the 4x,25-100mm Leica zoom.

Nikon D60 is the best one for the beginners as well as the professionals having digital SLRs along with a compact option. It has special features of dust reduction to stabilize the quality of the image taken. For all those who are looking out for sharing the photos with your friends and family and looking out for a solid second body, you will be simply glad to choose the

Nikon D60.

The Olympus E-420 has the special function of digital SLR with daylight viewable LCD, contrast detection along with increased frame rate. It has a compact zoom lens measuring 14-42 mm making very easy to be used.

Leica Digital Camera Reviews, New & Tattoos

The Leica digital camera reviews will include the C-LUX 2, which runs about $450. This camera has 7.2 megapixels with three times optical zoom. This camera is very similar to Panasonics DMC- FX30. It is a very easy-to-use camera is lightweight, compact and has image stabilization. The only downfall to this camera is it uses a custom Liton battery, which could cost you some money if you need to replace it. This camera does not need a viewfinder because it offers a two and a half inch viewing screen so you can see exactly what you are shooting.

Other Leica digital camera reviews include the D-LUX 3, Digilux 3, M8 and the V-LUX1. The Digilux 3 and the M8 have very high price tags. The Digilux 3 is SLR digital camera with 7.5 megapixels and a two and a half inch viewing screen. The nice thing about this camera is it can hold a memory card larger than two gigabytes. This camera has the ability to shoot three frames per second.

The M8 camera is a 10.3 megapixels camera that has a price of fifty-four hundred dollars. This camera is not for the beginning photographer. The performance of this camera is outstanding. This camera does not have autofocus, so the user will need to know the fundamentals of photography and camera use.

Leica digital camera reviews help you find a camera that has very little to no problems. It also tells you about the features, function and any accessories that come with the camera. The reviews can help you find the perfect camera. If you read the reviews, you will be able to compare other cameras and decide which one would be best suited for your needs. You can determine what are the best cameras by reading what other users have to say about the cameras.

Leica Geovid BRF 10×42 – Find Out Why Leica Is One of The Best

You are looking for some new binoculars to take on your trip to Africa. You have no idea what all the numbers mean, or what to buy. A friend told you about the Leica Geovid BRF 10×42 binoculars but you have no idea what the numbers mean. Almost all binoculars are labeled with two numbers, 10×42. Some binoculars have three numbers. The binoculars with three numbers are zoom binoculars.

What do the numbers mean?

The first number is the magnification number. Magnification is simply the number of times an image is enlarged when you are looking through the binoculars. You might also think of it as the number of times closer the image appears to you. When using the 10×42 Leica Geovid BRF binoculars, your subject will appear ten times closer to you when viewing through the binoculars. Note: a zoom range binocular can zoom in and out between the first two numbers. They are multi-magnification binoculars. It should also be noted that the 10 X magnification is the highest magnification you can utilize without using a tripod.

What does the second number mean?

The second number is the diameter of each front lens. They are measured in millimeters. You should remember that this number relates to performance. The larger the second number the more light is used and the brighter the image. The larger front lens will make your binoculars heavier though.

The Leica Geovid BRF 10×42 also offers a laser range finder. This makes them terrific on the range. You no longer need a range finder and binoculars. You can range your weapon directly from your binoculars. The Leica Geovid BRF binoculars save money because you no longer need a separate range finder.

Lumix DMC-LC50 – A Great Little Camera

Don’t overbuy when selecting a digital camera is good advice, and here is a good little camera that can do very well so long as you don’t need superfine resolution. By that I mean that if you are happy to view your pictures on the computer screen and print them to about 8 x 10 inches – that’s quite big enough for me – then this will do very well.

Yet, if you read camera magazines or look for a camera on the Internet you will probably end up with a much more expensive camera. Why? Well, you see these days cameras are defined by the number of pixels in the image sensor, which is usually a CCD (charge-couple device). And if you read the reviews the chances are you will be recommended to buy a camera with 5 or 6 megapixels. There is nothing wrong with having that many pixels to capture the image, but you just don’t need it unless you want to print out pictures bigger than 8 x 10 inches.

A compact camera with good all-round performance

The Panasonic Lumx DMC-LC50 is a good example of a compact camera with adequate all-round performance for most people. It has the added advantage that it is compact and light, so you usually find you have it with you. It is also easy to store it out of sight in your car.

But what makes it stand out? Well, to start with, Panasonic is one of the top makers of consumer electronic products – like Sony, which also makes great digital cameras – and makes its own semiconductors. Therefore, it knows how to package electronics circuits and chips inside a small camera.

Leica Elmarit lens

On the other hand, Panasonic is not a top maker of lenses, so chose Leica, probably the best-known name in the camera business, to supply its lenses, despite the fact that there are many good Japanese lens makers. Leica has more credibility than most companies and in any case most of the best lens makers in Japan also happen to make digital cameras which would compete with Panasonic!

So, here we have a neat little camera with a Leica DC-Vario-Elmarit lens with a focal length of f2.8 to f4.9, and a 3x aspherical zoom lens. Panasonic then added its own 3x digital zoom, to give a total zoom of 9 x. In practice, it is best to use the 3x zoom of the lens itself as this gives higher resolution.

The image sensor has 3.2 megapixels, which does not sound much. Nevertheless, my tests showed that it produces excellent pictures of all sorts of things, including close-ups of flowers. In macro mode, the DMC-LC50 focuses right down to 3.9 inches (100 mm) which is very close indeed.

Of course, there is a built-in flash, which is not very powerful, but does work as long as you are not trying to capture a big scene in the dark. Of course, as this is a digital camera, you can enhance the image if it is a bit too dark.

Bracketing and plenty of shutter speeds

You can also take movie clips of 5 frames in fine resolution, and 8 frames in medium resolution – this is more for fun than anything. Other features include the ability to change the nominal film speed and to bracket your shots. With bracketing, the camera automatically takes three images, one at the normal aperture, and one each side – this is something that the pros do all the time.

For fast-moving objects like cars, you can use a fast shutter speed – the camera has a range from 1/2000th to 8 seconds.

Panasonic uses the SD memory cards in its cameras, which is another plus point as these are smaller than most other memory cards. As they are widely used, SD cards are not expensive.

Any problems with the camera? Yes, although there is a good LCD viewer, it has low contrast so is pretty useless in bright light – this is a common problem with digital cameras. Of course, there is a normal viewfinder as well, but that will not help if you want to review your images and delete the ones that are not good.

Nevertheless, a good little camera, all in a package 3.5 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches (89 x 65 x 38 mm) for about $200. Other good cameras for this price? Try the Canon Powershot A610, Nikon Coolpix P2 or the Olympus C-315. They are all good.

The Leica IIIf – A Legend in Photography

It is over seventy years since the first Leica was manufactured by Ernst Leitz in Wetzlar Germany. Since then over 1,500,000 of these cameras have been manufactured. Leica cameras were well ahead of their time and focused (pardon the pun!) on being extremely small and high quality.

The initial models of Leica camera were designed by Leitz engineer Oskar Barnack, and similar designs continued to be manufactured right through the war. Today, this design of cameras are still called “Barnack-Leica” in Japan in order to differentiate them from the new M type Leica, of which the first model was made in 1954.

The iconic Leica IIIf was launched in 1950 with and featured a full synchronized contact. It became known as either the Black Synchro or Red Synchro according to the series of numbers – 1 through 20 – that were found around shutter dial. These numbers were engraved in Black on early model and were changed in Red on later model, hence the name. On the Red model, the shutter speed was also increased to make the synchronization with the flash unit more efficient. The synchronized speed of the electronic flash is 1/30sec for the Black model and 1/50sec for the Red one.

A Self-timer was incorporated in the final model in 1954. The IIIf proved so popular that it continued to be made until 1957 even after the world-beating Leica M3 was released.

After the War, the camera industry started copying Leica in Japan as well as some other countries and the Leica IIIc(1945) and IIIf(1050) had become their main targets.

Leica S2 – The Best Digital 35mm Camera

The Best Digital SLR

If money is no object and you are looking for the best possible 35mm digital SLR, then you will want to know exactly which is the best digital SLR. At the moment most people would probably reply the Nikon D3, but this is about to change. This summer Leica, who were always known as the Rolls-Royce of 35mm cameras, will be launching their latest offering in digital SLRSs – the Leica S2.

The only problem there is likely to be with the new S2 is the cost. With this new digital SLR Leica are taking aim at the medium-format digital camera market, by creating a 35mm camera that can provide the same quality image as a medium-format camera such as a Hasselblad. The Nikon D3 for example has a 24 megapixel sensor, which is about double that of the ‘average’ high-quality digital camera.

The Leica S2 will be taking this even further by featuring a 37.5 megapixel digital sensor. In Leica’s own words the Leica S2 is a “remarkable new camera from Germany that redefines the professional DSLR class with a custom 37.5-megapixel, 30 x 45 mm sensor built into a 35mm-sized body”.

This digital camera is expected to seriously shake up the digital camera world and will force other manufacturers to significantly improve their products. 

The 37.5 megapixel 30 x 45 mm sensor on the Leica S2 is almost 60% larger than full frame 35mm and the quality it offers is “well beyond that obtainable by conventional pro-caliber DSLRs”.

The aim is to combine the quality of a medium-format digital camera with the ergonomics, and ease of use of a 35mm DSLR.

Back in 1925 Leica redefined photography when they created the legendary model A. The S2 is expected to have the same effect on digital photography in the 21st century.

The S2 is completely weather-sealed for use in the studio and also outdoors as it is, according to Leica, the ideal camera for “people who actually want superior image quality, but the nice hand-held option of taking pictures. So more the moving kind of taking pictures.”

Although the S2 approaches medium-format quality, it is significantly lighter and less cumbersome, you can therefore take it with you up mountain sides with relative ease, which cannot be said for medium-format cameras which are heavy and generally also require a tripod to be carried up the mountain too.

Leica are keen to emphasize that the S2 is a “tool, not a toy,” and that it has been created for professional photographers and pro-am photographers who require quality and reliability, it also has only enough buttons as are absolutely essential to professional photographers, i.e. there is no unnecessary no clutter.

The launch of the S2 is expected for the summer of 2009 and will be up against medium-format cameras such as the Hasselblad H3DII-39 megapixel with an 80mm lens. The Hasselblad sells for around $22,000 – the Leica S2 is expected to be priced around $20,000 – so start saving.