Sunday, March 28, 2010

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

We woke up a couple days ago to find this guy in our rear yard. Sandy took these shots through the screen door; she was only able to get the two-shots off before the cat got spooked and fled the scene. Between this "visitor" and attempting to shoot hummingbirds, we decided to visit the Desert Museum.

Founded in 1952 by William Carr and Arthur Pack as one of the first naturalistic zoos in the United States. The Desert Museum is a cross between a zoo, museum, and botanical garden and one of our favorite places to visit in the Tucson area; it would be a real shame if you were in the Tucson area and didn't visit. Please visit for more information.

You saw close up images of hummingbirds taken with the Leica M9 and the 90mm f/2.5 Leica Summarit lens in the previous post; now you'll see images taken with Sandy's Canon 1DsIII camera using the 28-135mm lens. We find ourselves in a rather unique position as whenever we both go shooting we can offer a valid comparison between camera systems be it between the two-35mm's or the Phase One P45+.

Canon 1DsIII
Leica M9
Mexican Wolf - Canon 1DsIII
Mexican Wolf - Leica M9

What surprised us the most is the quality of Sandy's new 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 lens as it isn't the higher quality "L" lens that Canon offers. The images are clear, crisp and resolution is outstanding.

The following image was shot at ISO 50, 1/200 @f/5.6 and 135mm approximately 15.7 meters. The second image is a full size crop sized to 10x15. We did a test print of the crop and you can count the whiskers.

We also visited the Hummingbird Aviary where we walked among them.

Don had to add at least one hummingbird from the M9...

And going from one extreme to another.

Here's a sampling of what you'll see taking the walking paths.

1DsIII 1/40 @f/5.6 ISO 50 95mm
M9 1/90 @f/11 ISO 400 90mm

And two final images of wildflowers.

We hope you've enjoyed part two and as always your comments are welcome.

Sandy & Don

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Leica M9 Challenge

Call me nuts however after watching a couple humming birds visit us in our back yard I decided to see what if anything I could do using the Leica M9 and the Summarit 90mm f/2.5. I set the camera for auto ISO with a range of 160 to 400 and used a combination of auto and manual exposure.

The images from the yard were all shot at a distance of approximately 8 feet and were overall a disappointment. The following images are from that first experiment.

These images were all taken in the humming bird enclosure at the Sonora Desert Museum which is located within a 30 mile drive from our house. Now these I like!

I feel I'm pushing the M9 towards the edge of what it and I can accomplish however it's a heck of a ride getting there!

This will be part one of a two part post showing images taken while at the Desert Museum where Sandy used her Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm lens and I used the Leica M9 and 90mm.

Enjoy and Part Two coming soon.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Arizona back roads with a Leica M9 and Canon 1DsIII

Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
Sandy & I have been traveling the back roads near where we live in search of wildflowers; with as much rain as we've had this winter we should have a bumper crop. We've seen areas that have an early bloom and other areas that look promising once we have a couple days of warmer weather.

Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
We've been going out armed with two cameras; Sandy has a Canon 1DsIII which is a 21.1 megapixel full frame 35mm with a CMOS sensor. The average file sizes produce a 5616x3744 or 23.4"x15.6" image that's 37.84mg large.  

Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
I have the new Leica M9 rangefinder camera which is 18 megapixel, full frame 35mm with a CCD sensor. The average file sizes produce a 5212x3468 or 21.7"x14.5" image that's 34.75mg large.

Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
Leica M9 90mm
Sandy's camera is an auto focus through the lens camera which basically means what you see is what you get and can be much faster to use. The 1DsIII also has a mirror which allows the user to view through the lens while placing the lens further away from the film plane or in this case the sensor.

Canon 1DsIII 28-135mm
Leica M9 50mm
The Leica M9 is a traditional rangefinder which means that you look through a small viewfinder and manually focus the lens until you see a sharp image in a smaller area within the viewfinder. There's no mirror thus the lens sits closer to the film plane or again in this case the sensor.

Leica M9 50mm
The other differences between the two cameras are the sensors with the 1DsIII using the more traditional sensor found in most DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras while the M9 using a sensor that is normally found in a medium format digital back such as the Phase One P45+. I could go on about the differences however that's at the risk of your eyes rolling in the back of your head and then you have a Homer Simpson moment where all you think about is a donut so I'll stop here.

Leica M9 50mm
Leica M9 50mm
The lessons I've learned so far in using the M9 are simple. I tend to use it more while on these drives than I would normally use my Cambo/P45+; I've also found I more willing to walk out further and for longer periods. I'm very pleased with the image quality as well as my lens selection. While I have printed much of what I've been doing with the M9 I have been very pleased. I've also found that even with wearing tri-focals I still am able to achieve critical focus. I plan on running a test the next couple days using my 90mm and humming birds so stay tuned for that experience.

Leica M9 50mm
Leica M9 50mm

Once again thank you for visiting and a reminder that your comments are always welcome.

Sandy & Don

Monday, March 22, 2010

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Located within an hours drive from where we live near Tucson AZ is the Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge AZ. The closest large town is Casa Grande approximately 15 miles Chandler (30 miles) and Marana (45 miles). If you visit this site in the summer expect a very hot and very dry climate with temperatures often over 110 degree Fahrenheit. It does cool down in the winter with temperatures in the 80s.

Four stories high and 60 feet long, it is the largest known structure from the Hohokam times; with its walls facing the four cardinal points of the compass. The structure is protected by a large metal roof supported by four great pillars, designed by architect Frederick Law Olmstead Jr. and is meant to protect the structure from the harsh desert sun.

The images included were taken either by Sandy with her Canon 1DsIII and 28-135mm lens of Dons Leica M9 using a combination of the 35 f/2 or 50 f/2 lens.

Once again thanks for visiting

Sandy & Don