• 7D at SNL: Director Philip Bloom reports on his blog that he heard from Saturday Night Live Director of Photography Alex Buono that SNL is now using Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D cameras to shoot the intros and "loads of bits and pieces" for the show.-
• Friends don't let friends pixel peep: An amusing video found by Ned Bunnell on his blog.-
• Woodward on Greenough: There's a good review by Richard B. Woodward, among the most reliable of photo critics, of Sarah Greenough's meta-book Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, at The Wall Street Journal. (The first link is to the article, the second to the book; here's the U.K. book link.)-
• Sam Haskins falls in love every day: Photography as mood enhancer.-
• Award-itis: Jonathan Chait on "The Case Against Awards": "...Nearly every prize seems to regularly go to a clearly undeserving winner. Woody Allen’s character complained in Annie Hall, 'They’re always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.' If an award like that really did exist, though, they’d probably end up giving it to Mussolini." Entertaining.-
• Especially for photography: So look what I found: After going on a bit the other day about framing Gordon's picture, we got a few comments from do-it-yourselfers. I've never used this, so I can't recommend it, but I was fascinated to find a mat cutter aimed explicitly at photographers (although if it's for photographers, why's it so reasonably priced? Everybody knows "the photography tax" means you have to pay 3X for ordinary items if they're labeled as being for photographers.) Anybody used one of these? If you have, I'd be curious to know how you like it. It's called the Logan 700-S Simplex Studio, and it's for mat board up to 16x20" in size.
• Carly Simon riff: I know I already mentioned it the other day in my pan of the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner book, but it's worth reiterating: Jörg Colberg has translated a worthwhile interview with Steidl's Gerhard Steidl from the German Photography Now. What's more, Jörg has promised more translated interviews to come. I know that's not news if you already read German, but it's got some of us monolingual Murkins singin' an-ti-ci-pay-ay-shun.-
• Be good, be sweet, be honest always: A few weeks ago Zeiss finally introduced its long-awaited Distagon 35mm T* ƒ/2 ZE Lens for Canon EF Mount, and the lens should begin shipping soon. This is my favorite lens of all of Zeiss's Z[x] series, or of all the ones I've used at any rate, which isn't all of them; and it's one of my favorite 35mm lenses, period. Thirty-five millimeter or its equivalent is my "home" focal length, and I've probably tried more 35s than any other type of lens—at least twenty over the years, maybe as many as half again more than that. This is right at the top of the list. It has all the properties I like in a lens.
Still, you'd have to wonder why this lens would be preferable to Canon's own offerings, the cheaper and lighter Canon EF 35mm ƒ/2, or the slightly heavier, much more expensive, and one stop faster Canon EF 35mm ƒ/1.4—both of which I've used and like, and both of which autofocus. The Zeiss ZE lens might just split the differences nicely, or offer the kind of handling individual photographers prefer. Although if I had a 5D Mark II I don't know how I could resist. At any rate, you know what they say—"choice is good."
Meanwhile, for Nikon fans, Zeiss has just announced a new ZF.2 series of manual-focus lenses for Nikon F mount, which will be chipped for full automation with Nikon cameras. (Well, still no autofocus of course.)
There's more information on the new ZF.2 series at the Zeiss website.
• Bullet the irony: To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Irish rock group U2 played a free mini-concert in Berlin a few weeks ago. To keep people from seeing the concert unless they had tickets, however—presumably so they would have to watch it on MTV, which sponsored the event—the concert was blocked from public view by...a two-meter high metal wall.-
• And you work behind a desk! National Geographic's Paul Nicklen describes his most amazing experience as a nature photographer in a 1:48 video called "Face-Off with a Deadly Predator." It's in support of Paul's new book Polar Obsession. (Here's the U.K. link.) Don't miss the video; it's short, and sweet in more ways than one.-
• Leica M9 watch: From Chromasoft, "Vignetting Correction Issues on the Leica M9," Part I and Part II; and, joining Seal, the latest M9-wielding celebrity photographer (see the last paragraph). (And here's Lou's latest book. It looks kinda dreadful, but I shouldn't say without seeing.)-
• Only on the web: Apropos of nothing, the analog digital clock.
(Thanks to Jonathan Guilbault, David Deckert, Max Piantoni, Gijs, Eolake, Tom Kaszuba, Peter Hughes, Oren Grad, and John Camp)