I remember exactly where I was fifty years ago today. I was on Ludgate Hill, just below St. Paul's cathedral, watching the funeral cortege of a great man pass by. Even then, at such a young age, I realised I was witnessing history. I had similar feelings a quarter of a century later when I was present at another unforgettable event, the fall of the Berlin Wall.Read More
One hundred years ago a unique typeface, the Doves Press Type, was lost to the world when it was wilfully destroyed by an old man who had fallen out with his business partner. Between 1913 and 1916 and at the dead of night he carried 12lb loads of lead type from his printing house to Hammersmith Bridge on over 200 occasions. In all he consigned 2,600 pounds of metal to the muddy depths, never to be seen again. Or so he thought.Read More
In the past week I've been out and about with Leica's flagship M lens, the remarkable 50mm Apo-Summicron. Initial impressions are positive, particularly when it comes to the ergonomics. This lens is perfect: The smooth, silky focus ring features a finger tab, unlike the current non-Apo Summicron, and it is a joy to use. The aperture ring is second to none, precise and secure.Read More
So busy was I taking photographs this evening that I almost forgot to anticipate Apple's quarterly earnings call. The results were forecast to be a blockbuster but, in the event, the Colossus of Cupertino has soundly out-paced the analysts by moving no fewer than 74.5 million iPhones in the quarter to December 31. Revenue soared to $74.6bn and profit to $18bn. Even more interesting is that gross margins, which had been shrinking of late, have bounced back to just under 40 percent, up from 37.9 percent in the same quarter in 2013.Read More
Earlier this evening I was out with Tops Osoba and his merry band of streettogs trying our hands at night photography around London's iconic Tower Bridge.Read More
It is just 366 years since Oliver Cromwell and his henchmen executed the second Stuart king, Charles I, at the old Banqueting Hall in Whitehall. It heralded eleven years of republic, or Commonwealth, before the Restoration of Charles's son, Charles II, in 1660. Every year, the event is commemorated by Civil War re-enactment societies who lay a wreath at the foot of the king's statue in Trafalgar Square followed by a march and memorial service. It's an opportunity for enthusiasts to brush off their best 17th Century togs and strut their stuff down The Mall and across to Horseguards' Parade.Read More
Last week my colleague Bill Palmer was bemoaning his difficulty in getting comfortable with the Fuji X100S he bought a few months ago. The difficulty of getting a good grip on his camera has persuaded him to abandon thoughts of buying the latest X100T. I agree with him that the X100 cameras are relatively difficult to hold steadily but I haven't given up on the X100T.Read More
Over a year ago I reviewed the remarkable Leica X Vario, an under-rated gem of a camera. On introduction, in mid-2013, it had a hard ride from the fast-aperture brigade, but I found this camera to be a delightful and very versatile travel and street companion. Yes, the lens is slow (f/3.5-f/6.4), but the overall excellence of the Peter Karbe-designed optics and the impressive ISO performance turn the XV into something of a magical camera, if one with limitations.Read More
While Mike Evans is getting to grips with the Fuji X100T and comparing it with the X-T1, I've been struggling manfully to get to grips with it's predecessor, the X100S - and frustratingly failing to do so. A couple of years ago, back in 2013, I had my first brush with an X100. At the time the X-E1 was my main camera, and I was thinking that the X100 would be complementary.....
I struggled with it then, and couldn't quite work out why but, a couple of months later, I sold it on.Read More
I have had the Sony A7II in my hands for just over a day and already I am blown away by that stabilisation system. To recap, for new readers, this review camera came without a lenses, at my bidding, because I wanted to try it with manual full-frame lenses.Read More
Fuji today launched a whole raft of new equipment, including a replacement for the X-A1 entry-level X-Series camera, a new enthusiast QX2 and two new XC zooms. In addition there are three new FinePix modelsRead More
Last year I spent some months with the Sony A7r, the world's first full-frame mirrorless camera other than the Leica M (which isn't really mirrorless in the sense we now regard it). Sony did a fantastic job of squeezing a full-frame sensor into a relatively small body. And for owners of Leica lenses it was a magnet for experimentation. I liked the A7r immensely, even for a first stab at a new genre. My only serious consideration was the noisy and vibratory shutter which was obtrusive in street photography and also caused camera shake.Read More
Yesterday I was talking about the Henge Dock and the desire to click a laptop computer into its desk home with minimal effort, not to mention with minimal cable clutter. But, probably, the best dock of all is just one cable to connect your laptop to everything.
If rumours are to be believed, however, the forthcoming 12in MacBook Air will feature just one port, the USB 3.1 Type-C connector, capable of transmitting both data and higher power in both directions. This would be miniaturisation of a tall order but, if it works, could be the stuff of dreams. Imagine: One cable, connected to a hub containing a power-supply unit, and all the ports we need as well as other useful stuff such as an SD-card slot. Cable bliss, no less.
Apple has never been shy when it comes to ditching ports and drives. It was the first company to pension off the 3.5in disk drive, the first to banish the DVD slot (how could we ever manage without a disk drive?) and has been assiduous in whittling down the number of communications ports. The current 11in MacBook Air, for instance, makes do with one Thunderbolt slot (which also powers an external monitor) two USB sockets, a MagSafe power connector and an audio port. It doesn't take too much of a leap of imagination to whittle all this down to just one USB Type C. Roll on the day.
Postscript: some reports describe the rumoured Air as having "two ports". Since one of them would be an audio socket I have discounted it. It just isn't relevant. This will be a one-port device to all intents and purposes.
Since moving to Apple I have not come across a successful docking solution. This lack has had a big bearing on the viability of a MacBook Pro, for instance, as a desktop replacement. In many respects, a well specced laptop is the best solution, both for travel and for use back at base. But plugging and unplugging all those cables is a pain; the jumble of cables is also unsightly and offends my sense of order.Read More
Neil, my lovely lizard-skinned à la carte Leica M7 with his seductive black trim, has a new jacket to go with the recently acquired black-and-red leather strap from Harry Benz. He's now a real international Neil-about-town with his Canadian strap, hand-made in Toronto, and matching Arte di Mano leather half-case crafted by the talented Sejun Kim in his new Seoul workshop. Neil deserves the best, and I decided he warranted some red stictching to match Harry's Urushi strap.Read More
After extensive experience with the Fuji X-T1, especially using it with the 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens for street photography, I now have my hands on the new X100T. The X100 cameras, launched in 2011, are probably the most popular modern digitals for street and the T is the latest iteration with electronic shutter, an improved hybrid viewfinder and higher-resolution screen.Read More
Logitech's latest accessory for travelling iPad and iPhone users is a dedicated stand-alone Bluetooth keyboard that, unusually, built in to a case or folio. In the past I have been a satisfied user of Logitech's folio-case keyboards but there is no doubt they add to bulk. They are also stuck to an iPad or iPad mini, leaving the iPhone out in the cold. So I looked forward to trying the Keys-to-Go keyboard which is extremely thin and light, is water resistant and is big enough to provide a full-size typing experience.Read More
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A few weeks ago I described how I had been reunited with the Parker "51", the legendary fountain pen which I had coveted and scrimped and saved for as a callow youth. The pen I bought late last year, almost a perfect replacement for my first 1959 model, has been a true inspiration and has encouraged me to practice writing every day.Read More
A few days ago I recounted my problems during a migration of data from a MacBook Pro to MacBook Air. After many hours stuck on "one minute remaining", Migration Assistant finally completed but told me that it had not been possible to copy some files. The main purpose of this exercise had been to do a dummy run before the arrival of a new 5K iMacRead More