Every year, more than one million photographs captured in some of the harshest conditions on the planet arrive at National Geographic magazine. From our trials and tribulations, learn how to conquer your own digital photography challenges.

September 2008

Posted Sep 18,2008


Addressing the concerns of many professional photographers who want to love the M8, Leica has introduced a second iteration of their digital rangefinder—the M8.2. The most notable of the many enhancements is the dramatic reduction in shutter and winder noise. Not only is the camera operationally quieter, the reworked shutter gives the camera a much smoother feel—harking back to the M4 experience.

M82_top_160_wrap The M8.2 also targets the new less experienced Leica user with the addition of a snapshot mode, where the camera controls all the key settings needed to create the perfect exposure.

The Leica M rangefinder has always been a pleasure to use and a brilliant tool for discreet reportage. Version two of the M8 certainly sets this camera back on the path forged in 1925, a path that changed modern photography.

For more information on the M8.2 check out the Leica website; it also has details on how you can have your current M8 upgraded to the functionality of the M8.2.

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (1)
Filed Under: digital cameras, Digital Photography, technology
Posted Sep 17,2008


The professional community has been eagerly awaiting news of the EOS 5D replacement, and today the long anticipated full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark II was unveiled. The 5D was first released in 2005 with a palatable price point; its low weight and full frame sensor have made it a favorite tool for many National Geographic photographers.

The 5D MK II comes with an even larger CMOS sensor, 21.1 megapixels, 3.9 continuous frames per second, and an expanded ISO range compliments of the new DIGIC 4 processor. Live-view video can be captured at 1920x1080 pixels (30 frames per second) with stereo sound and individual clips lasting 4GB—about 12 minutes.  As an added benefit, still frames can also be captured while HD video recording is in progress!

Canon has even lowered the price of the 5D MKII to $2,699, with arrival scheduled at the end of November. More 5D MKII images and details after the jump.

Ken Geiger

Posted Sep 11,2008


The hardware continues to roll out in advance of Photokina. SanDisk today announced a whopping 32-gigabyte compact flash card with data transfer speeds of 30 megabytes per second. According to Sandisk the 32GB Extreme III CF card can store more than 80 minutes of HD video. All National Geographic photographs are captured RAW, so a high capacity card is extremely valuable when using high pixel count cameras like the Canon 1Ds MKIII or the new Sony A900. Underwater photographers will also rejoice, as the new 32GB Extreme III will increase bottom shooting time. Imagine matching this card with the Nikon D3 and its dual CF card slots—64GB if in-camera storage!

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (5)
Filed Under: digital cameras, Digital Photography, Memory Cards
Posted Sep 9,2008

A900 435

Digital SLR cameras have come a long way in a few short years; all are feature rich, and with each new model milestones topple. Sony has broken another barrier for the serious photo enthusiast in bringing to market their flagship A900—a full-frame 24.6 megapixel CMOS sensor capable of five continuous frames per second—all for about $3000.

The viewfinder has been designed with a 100 percent field of view, and the A900 also comes equipped with the world’s first anti-shake system for a full-frame sensor.

“The camera’s newly developed, body-integrated SteadyShot Inside unit achieves an anti-shake effect equivalent to shutter speeds faster by 2.5 to 4 stops.”

Among the features, intelligent preview seems to be an option that will save both time and frustration creating properly exposed photographs—by giving you the ability to fine tune an exposure before the next image is committed to one of the camera’s two memory cards.

“After pressing the depth of field preview button, the camera 'grabs' a RAW preview image, which is processed and displayed on the LCD screen. You can then fine-tune white balance, determine the best level and effect of dynamic range optimization, adjust exposure compensation, and check histogram data, all before you actually take the picture.”

The A900 will be available in November with online pre-orders beginning September 10th. More detailed camera images after the jump.   

Ken Geiger

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