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o1af, I alluded to wishing I'd bought one camera instead of another; when I moved from manual focus to AF, I chose Minolta - like you, I was swayed by a camera body that offered more "bang for the buck". That led to a 20-year dalliance with A mount that ended 3 years ago when I moved to Nikon. In hindsight, I wish I'd chosen Nikon or Canon from the start.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The One That Got Away at The Online Photographer
There are things that, in hindsight, I wish I'd done differently, certainly gear-wise in addition to technique and how I went about learning. I would have bought this instead of that, for instance. But nothing I've passed on that I regretted. Like Charles said, I've bought things that I shouldn't have. One of those life lessons I figured out by mistakes made in my 20's & 30's, buying things that I thought I'd need; now I tend to wait until I need it, because I usually never do (need it).
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The One That Got Away at The Online Photographer
I know your post was about the critic, and not the photographer, but have you read this ?
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2014 on He's Baaa-aaack at The Online Photographer
This was interesting. He spends so much time dwelling on the absurdity of a Peter Lik photograph selling for $6.5 million that it's easy to nod along as he rants. But you're obviously right in your conclusion; his logic fails as there is no connection between his argument and his thesis. As for Peter Lik, he produces some great eye candy, but for the most part, his success appears dependent on him being a far better marketer than his peers. (Maybe another reason I reacted against that street photographer whose marketing I found more style than substance). This is the stuff of coffee table books, calendars and posters, and perfectly reasonable fine art prints in homes and doctors offices and businesses. If this critic wants to attach photography as art, it seems he'd be better off addressing the thorny issue of artificially limited edition (or single edition) prints. That's been hashed to death as well, but at least it's a little more controversial.
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2014 on He's Baaa-aaack at The Online Photographer
If that A6000 does show up under the tree, I may, as mentioned in my comment under the previous topic, end up with the 60/2.8. I currently use a 35 & 85 with my APS-C DSLR, but my previous DSLR kit included 28, 50 and 85. I use Lightroom to look at summaries of EXIF results, and found that over the couple years I had all three of those lenses, I used the 28 & 85 each just about 45% of the time and the 50 only 10% of the time (that is, out of all the shots taken with those three primes; I also use zooms). As Mike said, I find 85mm equivalent to be a minimum; I much prefer 100mm or longer for candids (85mm on APS-C is fine, though I'd happily shoot a nice 70/2 since it would fit better on a compact mirrorless body). As nice as the Fuji 56/1.2 is, it's a bit short for my taste. Some people have proposed the Zeiss FE 55/1.8 for e mount, but aside from it still being a bit short, I have a problem spending $1000 on a lens with such modest specs - to the extent the price is justified, it's justified by its performance over a 24x36mm frame, half of which is wasted on APS-C. For me, this camera would not be intended to replace a DSLR, so AF was never really a concern. The AF on the original NEX-5 was generally sufficient, at least as far as acquisition speed. The frustrating thing was the fact that it had to reacquire focus with every shot; there was no way to lock focus over multiple shots short of switching to manual focus, and that required menu diving. So I assume I'd be content with the 60. For that matter, with focus peaking and an EVF, I might play around a little with legacy lenses. Not that those are common in the 60-70mm range.
I agree 100% and have shared similar sentiments on some other forum. Fuji built a system for photographers. Sony builds stuff. If you can find what you want in all that stuff, some of it is really good stuff (particularly recent bodies; Sony's technology is excellent and engineering are excellent, and their cameras are pretty usable, now that they've abandoned the old NEX menus. After the first Olympus Pen came out, I planned to buy a mirrorless camera prior to a trip to Disney, and opted for the NEX-5. The initial lens rollout seemed odd to me (a 16mm pancake, but no normal ?) bit I figured they'd remedy that. By the time I bought it, I believe there was a road map that showed a "portrait prime". The portrait prime turned out to be the 50/1.8 (a FL on APS-C that's too short or too long for most everything, IMO). And a pancake normal never showed up. I still have my 16 and 18-55, along with the surprisingly good 18-200 (which was originally purchased for video recording). I don't use them because (a) I grew to despise the NEX-5 and (b) I have a DSLR kit and an RX100. I thought about picking up a NEX-6 on clearance to make use of the lenses ... maybe add a Sigma 60 to the kit. The A6000 is, on balance, more attractive (though the EVF isn't as nice and Sony inexplicably dropped the on-screen level), so at $448, I dropped a hint for my wife that I wouldn't mind if one appeared under the tree. We'll see. The FE lens rollout is more sensible. A nice set of three f/4 zooms, the 35/1.8 and 55/1.8 and at least a couple more primes on the way. It's almost as if a completely different group at Sony was tasked with coming up with the lineup. (Maybe they hired someone from Fuji, but I still don't think the FE lenses have the same consistent quality ... the 24-70/4 in particular is pretty mediocre according to tests). What I'd really love to see is the Sony 24MP sensor in Fuji's cameras.
The first time I ever tried a rangefinder was after buying a Minolta HiMatic 7sII (with a really nice 40/1.8 lens). It was a toy; I had been using film SLRs for many years and just wanted to try one out and use it as a compact camera. I had a lot of fun with it. I also got hold of a Ricoh 500 (given to me by someone who had no use for it), which I played with on a couple occasions. A couple years after having owned both cameras, I finally had a chance to see/hold a Leica for the first time. A friend - someone who wasn't really a photographer - worked in NYC and walked into B&H and asked for "the best camera" (or something to that effect) and walked out with an M6 (IIRC) and a 50mm lens. I expected great things, but I found it a little big, a little slippery, not very comfortable to hold, well built, but not in a way that jumps out at you as $2000 worth of well built, and I didn't find the viewfinder particularly easy to use for focusing. I shot a couple photos (on her film) and never did see the results, so maybe I missed out on the magic part. I still get the mystique - I have a box full of LFI magazines in my basement (I picked them up for free at our local swap shop) and grab one to look through now & then. I'd happily use one if some nonexistent rich uncle were to leave me one in his will. But I don't aspire to own one. And as much as I enjoyed the old HiMatic, I have no real desire to own another rangefinder, digital or otherwise.
I was not aware that Sony announced a version II of the 70-300. The original was a very nice lens. Test show it to be comparable, IQ-wise, to the more expensive Canon L lens, but without the build or speedy AF. Meanwhile, AF is reasonable (I used it on an A700) and quiet & smooth. It's a little big, with a monstrous hood, but a very nice all around lens. If the Nikon 70-300 (I shoot Nikon now) tested as well as the Sony, I'd probably have one by now.
I think it's entirely possible to promote oneself without generating the same reactions. I visit plenty of other photographers websites - some amateurs, some pros. Jay Maisel asks $4000+ for his prints and $5000 for a weeklong workshop and I come away wishing I had that kind of disposable income. Trey Ratcliff takes the Aaron Greenman approach, with his "Stuck in Customs" brand and it's very obvious that he's trying to make money off his site, but I don't come away with the same negative reaction I get off Aaron's site. So it's not that he's marketing; it's that his specific marketing turns me (and, apparently, others) off. Then again, if it works for him, my opinion is irrelevant. I hope it does.
Toggle Commented Nov 23, 2014 on What Else? at The Online Photographer
Ken, thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment. Right off the bat, I will admit that I'm the type of person who is extremely bad at/uncomfortable with self-promotion, and for that reason, am well suited to working for someone else. That said, self-promotion can be done in varying ways. Curiously, the "About" page on ACG's site changed since yesterday. Yesterday, it included the full text of a Leica Blog article, which today only appears accessible through his links page. Anyway, when I clicked on the "About" page yesterday, it opened with 3 pictures (the last one, the "smirking" one) followed by the text "A brilliant street photographer in the classic Leica M tradition ..." (which is the start of the article, and you only find out that it was an article at the very bottom). So maybe he corrected a mistake since yesterday, but I get turned off by people who feel the need to tell you they're brilliant. For years, a few coworkers and I went to a long-running deli once a week for lunch. The owner was a great big guy who did catering jobs on weekends and always came out to say hi and talk hockey with the couple guys who follow hockey. The food was just good, substantial, fairly priced deli food, with some hot options that changed week to week (you always had to ask). A couple years ago, it closed down and was replaced by a new luncheon business with a forgettable name based, presumably, on two guys who opened it. It was professionally painted with a logo that was obviously professionally designed. Inside, it was clean (no more shelves full of groceries and snacks) and streamlined; there was a pretty, young girl (I don't know if she followed hockey) behind the register, a menu done up in the same font as the sign outside, and on the wall, a "mission statement". Everything on the menu had a name and the food was ok, but overpriced. The whole experience was lousy ... it changed from a place whose emphasis was on food to a place whose emphasis was on marketing. ACG doesn't let his pictures speak for him. I don't necessarily knock him for trying to make a go at it, but maybe the way in which he's trying turns me off. So it's not a philosophical objection to trying to make money. Maybe it's an objection to trying to make money with style over substance. For what it's worth, I also wish him luck.
I wasn't prepared to believe the rumor. Sony has 5 OSS zooms and 2 non-OSS primes. I figured they wouldn't have spent time developing those stabilized lenses if they were going to add IBIS. But it's great ! Sony is the company I love to hate and hate to love. They're technologically brilliant, but are the polar opposite of Pentax/Ricoh/Fuji when it comes to understanding the soul of a photographer. The original NEX line was a hodge podge of cheap and expensive lenses, some good, some not so good, some redundant, some missing ... but then, along comes FE, and one lens after another, you'd swear they hired a strategist from Fuji to plan it for them. And after swapping my A mount system for Nikon, and putting my NEX in a cabinet to collect dust, I pretty much swore off Sony systems (love my RX100) ... but now I'm thinking an FE system could be in my future. (Distant future; I love looking at new gear, but usually change when my needs change).
That's why I love being an amateur photographer. There's no need to cater to any audience, save my friends, family, and mostly, myself. I've read a lot (hundreds) of childrens books to my daughter over the last 12 years. It's very clear to see the difference between the rare, genuine labor of love, and the market-driven (or worse, marketing-driven) stuff, especially the never-ending series that read like they're written by committee. I've been a lifelong fantasy & scifi fan (though I read an awful lot more of it as a teenager than now), but have never read Ursula LeGuin; I'll have to try something.
"My take on the difference between painting and photography is that a photographer is allowed only 1/250th of a second to make the photo." That's probably the view that causes a lot of people to fail to respect good photography. Take a look at this video: Never mind the landscape or wildlife photography that might start with planning many months in advance, possibly camping out for weeks on end, waiting for weather or tracking elusive animals. A good photograph may be captured on silicon in 1/250s but may take hours/months of preparation, hours/days of post processing, and years developing the skill and knowledge to be able to capture it in the first place. And that's probably the main thing that distinguishes really good photography from the stuff that guys like me do :)
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2014 on Urgent Controversy? No at The Online Photographer
I'd love to imitate Caravaggio, but can't get Gizmo to bite my daughter.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2014 on Urgent Controversy? No at The Online Photographer
My daughter might not know how to load film, but has seen slides, negatives and a variety of old film cameras, so she wouldn't be as funny as these kids. But I do remember showing her an old rotary phone we keep in the basement for power outages. "What do I do ?" "Just dial 1 ..." She puts her finger in the hole over the 1 and looks at me. Since then, she's asked me to bring up the old phone to show a number of friends, and has one friend in particular who always finds an excuse to make a call from our house (and asks to use "that old phone").
That sounds very street-centric. Or maybe event-oriented. When I practiced nature photography, before my daughter was born and I had Free Time, gear did not get in the way of being "in the zone". I'd have all my gear in a backpack, no camera "at the ready", tripod slung over my shoulder, and walk around, looking for potential photos. When I found something, I looked around some more. I figured out where to setup my tripod, then chose a lens. Slow, methodical, thoroughly enjoyable. Nowadays, I'm shooting people - friends, family, kids at my daughters school - at parties, concerts, recitals and so on. Typically, I carry no more than two lenses, and avoid changing lenses. If/when I do change lenses, I shoot for a while with the new lens; I don't switch back & forth. Gear definitely gets in the way for this kind of shooting. I can understand why event photographers carry two bodies to avoid lens changes. (I'll often use my RX100 in place of a second lens). I can generally be successful going out with a single prime, or a wide range of focal lengths. I just get into a mindset that works for either. With multiple focal lengths, I'm more open-minded, looking for anything with potential. With a single focal length, I look for things suited to that lens. Both modes can be very satisfying. I agree about editing in the field, or even having to muss with settings a lot. I like to have my camera setup so that I'm not mucking around with settings too much. I have my DSLR customized to my liking, so that whether I'm shooting candids in low light or landscapes on vacation, I can get at the exposure & focus controls I need. One of the things that keeps me so addicted to reports/tests/announcements of new gear is the quest for the "perfect camera". I'm not looking for better image quality than I have now (I'm already a generation behind) or for new features; I'm looking for that camera that I'll pick up and become one with; a synergistic blend of hands, eye, camera, brain. (I think every manufacturer claims to already make that camera, but I think it's a different camera for every photographer).
Mike, you do NOT need another camera. As for the camera, you already have a NEX-6 with a Zeiss 24/1.8 which is pretty much the same thing. And you're looking at a $3300 kit ! And that's only $800 worth of lens and $2500 for a Sony camera body. Hmmm ... what else can I tell you. OK - take a look at that picture you posted. Take a look at the expression on Gavin's face. It's saying "Mike, you don't need another camera". How about this one: "Mike, you just bought a house !" That help any ?
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2014 on O Lawd Hep Me at The Online Photographer
'Bird impression by Ctein' just brings to mind all kinds of images ... especially after his budgie posts.
I'm still with you on this Mike. The iPhone is never the "right" camera; at best, it's the "better than nothing" camera. Obviously, a phone is better at sharing images than a camera, and millions of people have no interest in carrying anything other than a phone, but for me and presumably millions of other photographers who do this as a hobby, I can't ever think of a picture I've taken where I'd rather have had a phone than a camera. There may be things I do where I'd rather not have a camera with me, but that's about the thing I'm doing; not the pictures I'm taking.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2014 on Open Mike: Hidebound at The Online Photographer
In reply to Jim, if everyone interpreted the truism according to its point (which you stated, and which I agree with) it would be fine. But I've read more than enough forum posts to be convinced that people are using the truism to rationalize laziness. That's the problem with adages and clever analogies - the people who understand them don't need to be told, and the people who can benefit from them don't always understand them.
I agree with your sentiments in this post. Another quote that's relevant: the enemy of excellence is good. Yesterday someone posted (to a forum) some photos taken at a family wedding with a mirrorless camera; they were just snapshots. But included in the photos was one shot of two petite women, each with a full frame DSLR, one with a white 'L' zoom on it, and neither of them looked bothered by it. (At least one of them was the official photographer). The person who posted defended his choice, saying he wanted to be "inconspicuous" yet in another of his shots was some guy taking a snapshot with an iPad. I've attended PhotoPlus Expo for the past 10 years (not sure if I'll make it this year, though). Apparently, there are plenty of female pro photographers, and apparently, they're interested in learning about gear that helps their work ! Anyway, they don't seem shy about carrying whatever gear is needed to get the job done; I see photographers of both genders and all shapes and sizes checking out FF cameras, big lenses, bags, tripods, lighting gear ... while the mirrorless systems get plenty of attention as well, there just doesn't seem to be this obsession with compromising to avoid carrying a little extra weight. I never carried a point & shoot until the RX100 came along, because until then, I never thought that any of them were worth owning & using. The 1/1.7" models that shoot raw are probably pretty decent, but tended to sell for around $500 before the RX100 came along, and that always seemed like too much for too little. I suppose that if I owned an iPhone, I'd use the camera on it. My twist on the expression is that any camera you have with you is better than nothing for *some* things, but not better than nothing for a lot of things. Basically, I'll shoot family snapshots with anything - pictures that are just for memories, maybe a small print in a photo book. Highlights can be blown sky high; that's not what's important. But beyond that, I didn't take up this hobby to shoot bad snapshots, and anything worth my time is worth shooting with a camera that can do a decent job. I hate diffraction-limited, compression artifact-laden jpegs that have been softened to reduce noise from tiny sensor phones & digicams. It's like saying the best music is whatever's available, when the only thing available is a tinny, staticky radio. I'll take silence, thank you ! Just to be fair, the flip side of this is that smaller systems are getting better all the time, so even if being prepared means one thing today; it doesn't have to mean the same tomorrow. Travel photographer Bob Krist is now shooting with Sony RX100, RX10 and A6000 instead of Nikon DX. And he's doing a lot of video, which he said required a team in the past, and that he can do alone with gear he can carry today.
TheOnionPhotographer ?
Mike, My first DSLR was the KM 7D and I current have a Sony RX100. DXOMark's comparison of the two is interesting. It claims the 7D was a bit less noisy through a measured ISO 1600 or so. I find high ISO images from the RX100 more pleasing, but I note that the 7D had nominal ISOs that were pretty accurate - 1600 was 1600, so that may explain some of it. I found 1600 to be my upper limit on the 7D; 3200 was only usable for b/w, and even then, the contrast was lousy. OTOH, I'll shoot ISO 6400 on the RX100. DXOMark rates the RX100 better for dynamic range. I notice it more at higher ISOs. Their chart claims the RX100 has higher color response at base ISO, while the 7D did better at high ISOs. That's one thing I did notice; loads of color in high ISO images from that 7D and I could reduce noise by dropping saturation and getting a more natural looking photo. Anyway, aside from the inability to get very shallow DOF when I want, I'd rather the RX100's sensor than the 7Ds. Here's an ISO 6400 shot I took of my daughter from the back seat of the car at dusk - I typically shoot it in S mode in low light to get the shutter speed I want (the algorithm defaults to opening up the aperture all the way, which is typically fine) and use Auto ISO to get to where the meter says I need to be. So I think I was probably at about 1/125s. - Dennis
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2014 on Sensor Size at The Online Photographer
I agree that (a) it's about time and (b) the SL1 is a surprisingly nice camera for a lower end model. The main use of a lens like this, to me, is to take away a reason existing DSLR owners have for looking at other platforms. Not so much to present real competition. Compared to various fixed lens and mirrorless offerings, what I see in the SL1/pancake combo is: - potentially excellent image quality and traditional DSLR performance and usability - typical, small, pentamirror viewfinder - a camera that's still pretty big - no IS - lacking other benefits of mirrorless While my main camera is a DSLR, I'm finding mirrorless and fixed lens cameras more and more intriguing as time goes on. The lens lineups for mirrorless keep getting better (at least Fuji & m43; Sony APS-C not so much) and smaller sensors keep getting better (m43 is great right now, and Sony's 1" sensors in the RX line and the Panasonic FZ1000 are excellent). Here's a gallery of photos taken over the last 18 months with my RX100: Still, if I *were* a Canon user, I'd snatch that new lens up in no time. (Nikon, are you listening ?)
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2014 on At Long Last Canon at The Online Photographer
I had dogs as a kid, but since then, my wife and I have had cats - we've had 4 come & go (up to 3 at a time; it's not like they don't live long lives !) and our 5th one now. Of all 5, the first one was unusually intelligent. On at least two occasions, my wife was talking on the phone and the cat wanted her attention, so after being rebuffed a few times, he bit through the phone cord while she was talking ! (I imagine most of your readers still remember phone cords).