Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rest In Peace, Richard Drury (1936 - 2012)

I lost one of my very best friends New Years Day and, as it happens, the one I've known the longest. He and I didn't always get along when I was in my teens and early twenties but, thankfully, our mutual interests pulled us together over the many years since, and our love and respect for one another only grew with each game of chess, round of golf, layover in Menlo Park, and visit with other friends and family.

Rest in peace, Richard Drury. You died as bravely and serenely as you lived. Few people leave this world with so many wishing you hadn't. I may never be half the man or friend you were to so many but I hope to be every bit as good a father and husband.

Richard Drury with granddaughter Katrina, Ukiah, CA, 2004


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Move Over, Leica

I have long lusted after the German-made Leica M rangefinder cameras, both the "older" film versions (M3, M6 and M7) and the newer digital incarnation, the M9. But even were I able to divest myself of $7,000 for the M9 camera body, I would still need to spend $4,000 to $10,000 each for the beautiful little lenses I'd want to accompany this camera (28mm Summicron, 35mm Summicron, 50mm Noctilux, 75mm Summicron, and 90mm Summicron, just in case anyone's in a gifting mood).

Now, suppose for a moment that you actually owned this outfit with all the aforementioned lenses. It would have a street value in excess of $35,000, not the sort of thing you'd want to carry -- much less flaunt -- in public without an armed escort, sadly, and I don't think I'd really be comfortable unless it were locked in a safe most or all of the time.

Enter Fujifilm and the company's new mirrorless X-Pro1, pictured below. It's not a true rangefinder with a full-frame sensor, as is the M9, but it's clearly aimed at Leica and those who admire/acquire the German brand. The camera offers some seemingly amazing technology to complement what will surely be outstanding optics in the initial three prime lenses and, perhaps best of all, the body will "only" cost about $1,700, with the lenses running round $650 each, a mere fraction of the cost of the Leica gear.

The only possible drawbacks to receive mention prior to release are that auto-focus may be on the slow side and that the lenses are not manually coupled to the camera and, thus, manual focus is achieved suboptimally via "fly by wire." But if those are the chief complaints leveled against this camera and its lenses I will be an owner shortly after it's release in February 2012.