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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).
One of your other favorite cameras (as I recall) is on sale, too. The GX7 is $300 off ($699 body only).
I can understand the temptation. Fortunately, we bought a house that offers no such tempation. After looking at what seemed like countless houses, including a pre-1800 salt box in a historic district (which would have brought with it restrictions on what we could do in the way of repairs/upgrades), we ended up with a dutch colonial built in 1979 with vinyl siding, hollow core lauan doors and a carpeted kitchen; there's nothing authentic about it. That's very liberating, even if it lacks charm.
Well, sure, but you can put a 24-85/3.5-4.5 on the FF body and do everything you could do with the f/2.8 lens on m43. I know, I know, whenever this topic gets brought up, somebody objects to the notion of equivalence, but every FF user knows he doesn't need an f/2.8 lens to match the capabilities of f/2.8 on m43 ... I really don't get why people insist on making the comparisons and then objecting when it gets pointed out that they're irrelevant. [The Olympus's superior depth of field is implicit in the comparative sensor size, which I mentioned as one of the major differences. --Mike]
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2014 on Changing Fashions at The Online Photographer
In reply to Tom Burke's question: "Isn't it just that new things are fun?" I would say no, not necessarily. New gear always has that fun factor associated with novelty. It's when the novelty wears off that you find out what kind of camera/car/whatever you have. Some cars beg to be taken out and driven. Some cameras beg to be shot. Unfortunately, the most fun models aren't always the most practical. Some people end up tailoring their photography to shoot what's able to be shot well with a (Leica & prime, whatever) while others use the fun camera when appropriate, and the workhorse when needed. My 70s rangefinders and my Rolleiflex TLR were far more fun than most all of the film SLRs I ever used. Of the AF SLRs I owned, one stood out above the others, for some combination of solid (but compact) build, 100% viewfinder, satisfying mirror/shutter (like the satisfying sound of a solid car door shutting), efficiently minimal controls, lack of extraneous features. I had another, newer model with more features that was better suited to handheld photography, but the other one remained a favorite. In the digital era, I've yet to use a truly "fun" DSLR. My first decent digicam was the Sony F717 and that was a gem until it was eclipsed in terms of responsiveness and IQ by my first DSLR. And my Sony RX100 has remained fun for a year now. The novelty of my NEX-5 wore off very rapidly and it quickly became one of the least fun cameras I've used (oddly, with some fun aspects). So for me, anyway, fun has little to do with novelty; new is fun so long as its new, but a camera that begs to be taken out and used is something a little more rare.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2014 on How Are Cameras 'Fun'? at The Online Photographer
Ahhh ... a timely topic that hits home ! I own a Nikon D7000. It's like a Ford F-150. It's very competent. I shoot with a 70-200/2.8 and track moving subjects in low light; I freeze them with fast shutter speeds and let the ISO wander as needed. I can change settings without taking my eye from the viewfinder. But it's boring and it takes up too much room in the garage. I primarily shoot the 70-200 or one of two f/1.8 primes. My 16-85 sees virtually no use since I got my RX100. The RX100 is fun ! It's with me a lot, it fits in my pocket, but it goes a bit beyond that. I carried my D7000 and my RX100 to Boston with me a few weeks ago. I split up my shooting ... some with each camera, and I used the 16-85 as well as 85/1.8. And the RX100 was just more fun. I whittled down my photos and my keepers matched my initial shooting - close to 50% with each. What made the RX100 fun ? Well ... live view, for one thing. The level gauge for those cityscapes. The solid build (even the D7000 and modern lenses feel plasticky to me). The silence of the thing ! So I started thinking about picking up something else to make travel photography more fun. I like the specs on the RX10 and found it well built when I tried it a year ago, but I suspect the power zoom feature would sap the fun right out of it. I know the X100s would be fun. (The Fuji X series in general). I'm not sold on the A6000 ... I've only tried it once and found it a little cheap feeling. The EVF isn't up to the better EVFs out there, and Sony, in its infinite propensity to do dumb things, removed the level gauge. From a live view camera. (I know, plenty of you can shoot straight without it, but I thought on-screen displays were part of the argument for mirrorless). I'm also thinking that the NEX-6, available at nice discounts, could be fun, but it still has the old not-fun-at-all NEX menu and lacks Auto ISO in M, so I'm not sure there, either. Something about compact mirrorless, especially when well built, does seem more fun to me. Just like my 70's era compact rangefinders always seemed more fun than my SLRs. Maybe because I shoot so little from a tripod any more. (A DSLR still seems right on a tripod). Also, when out & about, I find myself shooting video clips when armed with a camera like the RX100; something I don't bother doing with a DSLR.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2014 on How Are Cameras 'Fun'? at The Online Photographer
I think the cheapest (current) FF camera has to be the Sony A7.
I used the Minolta version on a Maxxum 7 film camera. My landscape kit was a backpack containing a WA zoom, then 50, 100, 200 & 400mm primes. The 50 & 100 were both Minolta macro lenses. Then when my daughter was born, I used it as a (very close) close up portrait lens for a while. It was great for faces, noses, toes, ears, fingers, etc.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2014 on A Recent Favorite Lens at The Online Photographer
Eric, as I just mentioned in another post, Mike wasn't complaining about a "lack" of lenses. He indicated that Fuji's lineup is desirable, coherent and consistent. Sony's is just a bunch of stuff.
Omer wrote: "Times are changing. Is there really a need for an extensive lens line? " and "What will sell more cameras, an extensive lens line up or connectivity and simplicity? " That's an interesting question. The thing is, when you consider that "times are changing" you have to look at who is migrating away from ILCs and who isn't. There was a time when consumers were looking to entry level DSLRs as the only way to get reasonable snaps of kids, and I think the 2-zoom kit buyer is among the casualties of all the innovation that's happened recently. Then you have the new, excellent larger sensor compacts that can effectively replace a very modest DSLR kit. I think that the niche market that's left is a market that is concerned about the "system". Fuji may never be as mainstream as Sony, but volume alone doesn't equate to success. (Look at Leica). Sony could probably have 1/3 fewer e-mount lenses than it currently has and the lineup would be no less interesting; r&d is wasted on the scatter shot approach (throw it at the wall and see what sticks, as I believe Thom Hogan said). The other thing I'll point out, because there are bound to be people who defend Sony by pointing out the number of lenses and the variety, is that Mike used the adjectives "desirable, coherent and consistent" to describe the X lineup. Sony has a lot of "stuff". Some cheap, some lousy, some great, some very expensive, some third party, some stabilized, some not, some APS-C, some full frame, some with power zoom, some without. And then A mount lenses with adapters. It's kind of a hodge podge and none of those three adjectives applies at all. It's more like Sony hopes you want the camera *body* enough that you'll piece together a usable lineup, where people will choose Fuji for either the bodies or the lenses. I will say that if you look at Sony's FE lineup alone, it's much more coherent/consistent/desirable than any of their other lineups ... just far from complete. The 24-70/4 and 70-200/4 make a great 2-zoom kit and the Zeiss 35/2.8 and 55/1.8 are both nice primes. Unfortunately, based on Sony's past history, I can't expect anything else - there's just no telling what else they'll deliver or when.
"A Sony camera owner who is completely satisfied with the lens options for his or her camera is the owner of a fixed-lens Sony camera." Brilliant ! The A mount lineup isn't in terrible shape, though that evolved from Minolta's lineup. Like many other photographers, I'd been dreaming of the potential of ILCs even before they'd been invented. I saw the Olympus Pen mockup at Photoplus Expo and then had a half hour tryout with the EP1 at the Expo the following year. I waited. The NEX-5 came out. I was planning a trip to Disney with my family and decided that it was time to make a decision. Neither Olympus nor Panasonic offered a portrait prime (m43 users were adapting all manner of legacy 50's) while Sony's road map promised a portrait tele. Fast forward a few years: Olympus has a wonderful, little 45/1.8 while Sony's idea of a portrait prime was a 75mm equivalent. A 50mm designed for APS-C. The initial lineup consisted of 2 zooms and a 16mm pancake. It took a long time before they offered a normal. I give them a little credit for appearing to "get it" with the recent f/4 zooms and a couple nice options for the full frame e Mount, but I have little faith in Sony's intentions when it comes to developing a photographer-centric system like Fuji. On the other hand, the RX series of fixed lens cameras are gems. Last week, my family vacationed in & around Boston. We spent a day in Salem and my daughter dragged us into one of those cheesy nostalgic photo booths, where we dressed as witches/wizards. The photographer was using ... drum roll please ... a Sony F717 ! And the reason was for the "night shot" feature (perfect for glowing witch photos). Fuji's X system tugs at me. I love the lenses - both the specs and the build. I don't like that they muddied up the system by introducing low end lenses that lack aperture rings. I'd love to see what Fuji would do with Sony technology. Interestingly, on this recent Boston trip, I saw more mirrorless camears in use than I've ever seen before (note: I don't get out much). One Fuji X-something, at least two NEXes, a couple of micro 4/3, and - a first - a Samsung.
Holy cr*p !
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2014 on The June 3rd Storms at The Online Photographer
This is all fascinating stuff ! Of course, while it only comments on the type of photographers that spend time at this site, I find it interesting to know this information as it pertains to like-minded photographers (I'm less interested in knowing how many Rebels the general public is buying). I love the timeline and tree presentations of the data. It raises all kinds of questions. Have the people who chose older cameras (D700, for example) bought newer models ? Is the D700 still their favorite despite having experience with a D600 or D800 ? Or do they just enjoy it so much they haven't bothered with a newer model ? In general, how much experience do various respondents have with other cameras ? Is it your favorite out of 4 cameras you've used ? Out of 10 ? Did anyone choose a favorite that they don't actually own ? I shouldn't be surprised at the D700, but was, for some reason. And I was a bit surprised, at first, at the E-M5, but really shouldn't be, because it represents the "arrival" of micro 4/3 ... the first micro 4/3 camera a lot of people can agree is good enough to be their primary camera. (Previous models were probably great for this person or that, but not for large numbers). I think I'm a bit surprised at the popularity of mirrorless and fixed lens cameras in general, but that's where it gets interesting to see what TOP readers are using, versus the population in general. (I also wonder if those cameras are the voters only/primary cameras, or if they're compact alternatives to DSLRs that just happen to be favorites anyway). I was amused to see the tree for film cameras done in shades of gray :)
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2014 on Our Favorite Cameras at The Online Photographer
And just one more comment ... many years ago ... 15 maybe ? ... I attended a camera club meeting (my one & only) because Joseph Meehan was the guest speaker (he's a local) and he said, way back then, that while digital capture hadn't caught up to film, digital output was already superior.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2014 on Big Mystery at The Online Photographer
Hmmm ... maybe not just availability, but repeatability ? Maybe art collectors love knowing that it's difficult to make exact copies of prints and that it's time consuming ? It seems a lot more reasonable to limit a print to 'n' copies when each one of them is made by hand, but kind of silly to limit a print when all you have to do to make more is bump up the counter in the dialog ;)
Toggle Commented May 20, 2014 on Big Mystery at The Online Photographer
Sounds like a reasonable assessment ... printmaking was more of a craft in the past. I suspect this is the reason behind the use of the word "giclee" to describe ink-jet prints. Maybe if there were some kind of training that could make you a certified master ink jet printer, your prints would be more respected ? Not everyone made darkroom prints, but lots of people print with an ink jet printer. (Just like not many people paint, but everyone takes pictures). Your post recalls that part of me I've subdued that wants to learn to print well. It seems intimidating; time-consuming ... something I'll save for retirement. (I know a bit about color management, but between Windows and Lightroom and the printer, it seems there are still too many ways to control color and if there are 200+ page books on the subject, it can't be that simple !)
Toggle Commented May 20, 2014 on Big Mystery at The Online Photographer
Thus adding to the rarity of signed Mike Johnston prints ! My father in law does a bit of woodworking. One Christmas, we gave him a "Made by " branding iron that he now uses to burnish his name onto the back of his projects. I don't know that I agree that a stamp is as good as a signature, in cases where a valuable print could be forged (and presumably, so could the stamp), but I doubt it would have practical implications very often. The more I think of it, signatures on collectibles are a funny thing. Many years ago, my wife (then girlfriend) collected porcelain figurines of the famous clown, Emmett Kelly, Jr. He was apparently under contract to make appearances on behalf of the company that made the figurines and sign them. The signature doesn't make the figurine any more appealing to look at (probably the contrary is true). It supposedly adds to their value (though at this point, they're no longer "collectible" and my wife probably should have sold them 20 years ago !) All it really says is: somebody signed this. I remember being excited to buy a biography at an estate sale that was signed by the subject of the book. Only when I got it home did I realize that the "signature" was printed and is present in every copy of the book. (Whoops). It is strange how we value signatures ...
Toggle Commented May 16, 2014 on The Verso Stamp at The Online Photographer
I have plenty of photos w/blown highlights (it often doesn't bother me) but remembered this one, taken with my Sony F717 (easy to blow highlights back then).
Toggle Commented May 13, 2014 on Assignment: Blow It! at The Online Photographer
You're one up on the rest of us, because you don't have to count TOP in your eight or ten ;)
Be ready, then have patience :) My wife and I moved to our current house nearly 20 years ago after my job relocated. The office move was far enough that we had to move (my commute went from 50 miles/1 hour to about 1:45) but close enough that I could do it while we looked for a house (it helped that my company paid a mileage reimbursement, though my original commute was so long that it didn't add up to much). We set our sights on a town that we like, a little closer to our home town than to my work place. It was a small town and after a few months, we'd looked at every property in our price range and started waiting for new homes to be listed. Everything we liked was about $100,000 too high and everything in our price range was just ... weird. I remember walking through a gorgeous old Victorian with great woodwork and high ceilings, all the while wondering "what's wrong with this picture ?" Turns out the original house was converted into condos, with the "big" unit we looked at plus two small apartments, then additional buildings on the property, and the big unit being responsible for the lion's share of the condo fees ! There was one house on 4-5 acres with a pond that we never got to see after trying for 3 months because the tenants wouldn't cooperate with the owner. Finally, we just decided to try going north - something that should have been obvious in the first place (since our jobs run east-west); we just weren't familiar with the area. We looked at 4-5 houses and found the right one within a week. Aside from the frustration of wondering if we would ever find a house we liked, it was generally fun to go looking at houses. Good luck with your quest.
Re: your comment "It's the only camera company with the courage to be that different." The Audi-designed unibody construction is cool. Otherwise, it's just Leica's take on established genre that doesn't break new ground. 16MP, fixed LCD, add-on EVF, no focus peaking, few direct controls, menu-based, small lineup of conventional lens choices. Maybe it was a courageous move *for Leica* ... but compared to other manufacturers ? Pentax has done the 'Q' and the ill-fated K-01 "brick"; Ricoh tried the funky module system; Sony ditched the DSLR altogether in favor of a live-view only lineup. Leica's decision to throw in a little built in memory is interesting, but barely a blip on the "courage to be different" radar screen.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2014 on Leica Goes Mirrorless at The Online Photographer
It's funny how many people react violently against the idea of Auto ISO in M mode (never mind whether you can set EC at the same time). I think some totally misunderstand and think that a camera with this feature *always* sets the ISO for you in M mode (hint: it's just an option !) Some just huff and say, in a blustery manner, "M means manual", which brings to mind Nigel Tufnel arguing "these go to 11". And then you get those who object to the camera "making the decisions for you". "Giving up control". What they (quite astoundingly) don't get is that any time you control 2 of the 3 exposure settings (or 1 of the 2, in those days of yore) is that the camera isn't "deciding" anything. It's calculating. It's automating a task that computers do brilliantly. Given the meter reading and the exposure parameters you've chosen, there can be one and only one possible value for the remaining parameter. The ISO can't be "too high" unless you've set the other exposure parameters "too low" (or metered incorrectly). So the moral of my story, also for those not well versed in these modes, is to not confuse "Auto" with "Program" or (shudder !) *intelligent* auto (iAuto) ! Auto is short for automatic or automation; it automates a calculation to save you time. You're not giving up any control using Auto modes, and can typically do anything in shutter or aperture priority that you can do in manual mode, provided you're looking to base your exposure on the camera's internal meter. Program, iAuto and scene modes are where you start to give up control (though even then, if you know what those modes are doing, then you can make the argument that there's a degree of control in choosing them).
Here's how I look at it. The meter calculates a target EV. Depends on the scene and the metering mode you choose. EC should change that target EV. So if you meter a scene in which you know the meter is likely to be fooled, you compensate. Simple as that. Then you have your three parameters which get you to that EV and various exposure modes you can use. Aside from manual, every other exposure mode adjusts something to get you to the target EV. So if you dial in EC, you should get to that corrected EV. Practically speaking, I chose a Nikon D7000 over the Canon 7D when I switched from Sony 2.5 years ago for two reasons: (1) a quiet shutter option (without switching to live view) and (2) Auto ISO in M mode that works with EC. I shoot ice hockey. Lighting levels vary across the rink, due to uneven lighting and the presence of a bank of windows at one end of the rink. I want 1/500s and f/2.8 and the ISO can be whatever the ISO needs to be. But I need exposure compensation to account for all that ice. (Colors of uniforms vary from white to black so spot metering isn't a very viable option). For slower shooting, I much prefer to meter, lock and recompose if there's something in the scene that's likely to throw off the meter. But for some shooting, EC is the way to go. The final argument is simply this. Compared to wifi and in camera HDR and stitching, this stuff is stupid simple. 1960s. A kid can program this years before programming 101. Cameras today feature all sorts of features to make them appeal to almost anyone imaginable, but then fall flat on basics like this. If a handful of photographers can use it, throw it in !
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2014 on What Overrides What? at The Online Photographer