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I subscribe to method 2, for the most part. Method 3 is appealing, particularly for "toy" cameras (i.e. cameras I'd like, but really have no justification for). The problem with 3 is that by the time the camera in question is at fire sale pricing, the new model really makes it look a lot less desirable. One camera I bought this way is the Nikon J1. Technically, I bought it used, for the sole purpose of using in an underwater housing that was on clearance at B&H for $70. The appeal to method 2, aside from not paying the beta tester premium, is that you have time to get to know the camera. Cameras are so complicated these days, there are aftermarket books on how to use them. Settings to fine tune to your liking. Accessories to buy that are likely to be incompatible with your next camera, including, but not limited to batteries and memory cards.
"I'd be more than happy to put up click-bait if it would draw a huge audience. Occasionally I try. I just don't know how." That's no surprise ... having read many of your posts in which you go out of your way to explain your thoughts in an effort to avoid having them taken the wrong way, it seems that click-bait content would be alien to you. In a way, it's kind of like photographing for "likes". You throw away every last shred of integrity; you dissociate yourself from the content that you're producing; you take a cynical look at the market, and come up with a calculated approach to your work. Sounds miserable ! On the topic of mastery, I think that it's a fine thing that automation has made photography easier. What we have is more and more of the worlds population taking pictures that are "competent" (reasonably sharp and reasonably well exposed and enjoyable for somebody to look at) and then a small portion of the population working as hard as ever to produce really good photography. (I don't include myself in that, by the way !) Sure, technology makes it easy to go out and take a decent enough shot, but success still requires hard work, whether it's mastering lighting, learning your subject, or hiking for days on end, all the technology in the world isn't going to let dilettantes like myself match their work.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2016 on Mastery Is Useful at The Online Photographer
Sorry, no experience with the binocular strap, but I love my RRS sling strap. I'm looking for a "sleeker" (less geeky) version for my A6000; the RRS handles a DSLR and large lens w/no problem, but is serious overkill for something small. I have a desk job. No neck pain, but have had lower back pain for a long time. I found stretching exercises that helped a great deal. But I really need to be more diligent about getting up every 45 minutes. (I work in a building where I can do a nice loop up & down a couple tall flights of stairs in about 3 minutes so it's just a matter of remembering). My wife is a fitbit addict and is looking at the newest model because I think it has a reminder feature ... the devil will be in the details. (That's such an obvious feature, you'd think it would have been there already, but I guess it's kind of like cameras ... put all the features in on the first go around, and nobody will buy the upgrades).
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2016 on Binocular Harness? at The Online Photographer
I agree with you. And I'm very far behind on my editing. I will add, though, that there is another side to "all those captures". Not the ones taken by enthusiastic photographers who are exploiting digital to shoot more, but the volumes of snaphots taken by masses of people who don't consider themselves photographers. I think that most of these pictures are never intended to be long-lived. I think they're the illustrations that accompany texts and social media updates. And as such, they're promptly forgotten (by both the viewer and the shooter) shortly after they're viewed. They're visual small talk, and quantity over quality is the expectation. This is my main use of my phone's camera. I'll occasionally take a snapshot with it with the intent of possibly saving it for memories, but don't go looking to take pictures unless I have a real camera. But I do find it an amazingly handy tool for taking pictures of things that I just want to share with someone ... rather than texting or telling them "hey, guess what I saw today", I show them. Like I said, I don't think those photos are the subject of your post, but I think they probably constitute a big percentage of the astronomical numbers of photos taken each day.
Pneumatic cleavage isn't worth looking at longer ? Never mind. I remember a VHS tape on the topic of "Competition Photography" by an elderly photographer who gave advice based on his experience in winning hundreds of such competitions over the years. His main point was that you have a split second to grab the judges attention and then, if you're lucky, another couple seconds to impress them. So it leads to a certain kind of shallow photograph, just like you describe. I think you may be right about the culture changing because people look at photos online, on sharing sites where there are more photos to look at than you'll ever have time to look at. So the ones that grab your attention do so; they get the "likes", they get featured, they get copied. The clever ones go viral. They're eye candy; pop music - here today, gone tomorrow. Maybe the whole process has become more democratic because of the web. Centuries ago, the common folk didn't have access to music, while the elite enjoyed their symphonies. Radio brought music to the masses and consumers demanded what they liked. Before the internet, you had to make an effort to see a display of someone elses photography; go to the library or buy a book or go to a gallery (or watch Aunt Ethel's slide show ... something you had to make an effort not to see !) And so books and galleries showed stuff that appealed to people who appreciated photography enough to make that effort. There's my thirty second theory.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2016 on Engaging With Photographs at The Online Photographer
"So, is it fair to conclude that you choose convenience over quality?" That's kind of like asking a father if he chooses money over family because he works 40 hours a week. I presume Mike's answer would be that he chooses a compromise between convenience and quality that suits his needs; not one over the other. And furthermore, the point of the article is that, depending on your needs, convenience factors might be significant contributors to quality.
I mentioned in my earlier post that this would be a task that I'd have to do over time. But there is one photo that, every time I look at it, makes me wish I had a print of it. I'm not even sure it would make it into my top 5, but it's the one that comes to mind right now. It's by Jay Maisel:
You didn't mention heating or cooling. I can see photographs getting ruined in short order between humid summer heat and dry winter cold.
One of the things I love about this blog: I'm on the fence about ordering this book. But I'm likely to order a book by Peter Beard now that I've done a little digging after reading Zack S' comment. I'll sometimes revisit a post a couple times over the course of a few days to see if any new comments have been added.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2016 on Exclusive Book Offer at The Online Photographer
I've increasingly wondered how much of the reasoning people give for "needing" FF/high MP/Otus/whatever is rationalizations when what's really behind it isn't so much gear fetish, but personal satisfaction ... the enjoyment of pixel peeping and knowing a photo is "tack sharp" regardless of how it will be presented. The other thing that came to mind as I read your post is I wonder how much of it is because new products are seen as breaking barriers. So it's not that we have much more than we need; it's that we never knew we needed it ! We're seeing that with video right now ... 720p, 1080p, 4K, 8K ? The last time I saw 4K was 2.5 years ago and the material had compression artifacts and I wasn't impressed. I imagine it's better now. Meanwhile, I have a 1080p TV at home and watch Blu Ray, DVD and I stream movies from Amazon. I can certainly see the difference between Blu Ray and DVD. But the minute I start watching a DVD, I don't have a thought about the fact that it's "only standard def". It looks wonderful. I also have a 1080p projector that I use outdoors in the summer to show movies on a 9' x 24' screen and I can tell you that a plain old standard def DVD looks amazing on that (of course, you watch from a distance). When I stream movies from Amazon, they're often heavily compressed as I'm stuck with DSL for internet. But 5 minutes into a movie, I ignore it - it doesn't negatively impact my enjoyment of what I'm watching. There has to be a parallel between this and people who are into audiophile gear and claim they can't enjoy music unless it's reproduced through top end audio gear; even going so far as to choose to listen to material that shows off the capabilities of their sound system.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2016 on Does Sharpness Matter? at The Online Photographer
Sometimes I wonder if Sony is trying to continue the design of the F717 ... that was a nice camera to hold/use, in it's day. Even the "monstrous" 18-200 isn't all that bad on an A6000; just a bit heavy to dangle off your wrist. Part of the problem is that to some people, mirrorless means "tiny". The earliest bodies and the early pancake lenses from Olympus and Sony seem to have created an expectation that this is the purpose of these systems. A lot of the angst right now is over Sony's damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't introduction of the three new FE lenses. Partly because, well, they're big, and some people seem to think anything made for a mirrorless camera needs to be small, and partly because there are people still wishing for new APS-C lenses and Sony (like Canon & Nikon) seems to have decided that they have enough APS-C lenses. I still wish that, instead of the FE 28/2, Sony offered something like Samsung's 30/2 pancake lens. That would make the body/lens combo jacket pocketable, and would deliver my long desired wish for a digital version of my Minolta HiMatic 7sII (which features a 40/1.8). On the one hand, you can argue that that's what fixed lens cameras are for, but on the other, other manufacturers offer fast pancake lenses in moderate focal lengths. I think Fuji's is a 27/2.8 and the f/2.8 max aperture doesn't excite me; Sony's are 16 & 20mm, both f/2.8, and both pretty mediocre, though I think my 16 is much better than it's reputation (I just have little use for that focal length). I think any of the mirrorless systems ought to offer a few compact lenses, making them appealing as systems that can be as capable as you like, but compact when you want them to be. The problem there is that any 10 photographers will want different lenses when they want to carry a compact camera. p.s. NEX ... I despised my NEX-5 for a number of reasons, one of which was the Ericsson-designed menu. Sony used the "Alpha" (SLT) menu system on the RX100 (thankfully) and subsequent cameras. Dropping the NEX name went hand in hand with dropping the NEX menu, but I think Sony also wanted to try to get people thinking of e mount and A mount as parts of one big somewhat interchangeable system. I'm happy losing the NEX name just because of my distaste for the NEX-5 and menu system. But I don't really see the move helping to get people thinking about the whole "one big system" aspect of it.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2016 on Vile Rumor (Ex-NEX) at The Online Photographer
I own the A6000 and haven't had any concerns with AF speed (though it can't match my older Nikon D7000 for tracking a moving subject or in low light). I will say, though, that it's only fast with my Sony lenses; it's sluggish with my Sigma 60/2.8 and almost useless with that particular lens in very low light. As for video, I have no interest in 4k, outside of the ability to capture 30fps at 8MP (not on any regular basis - more a "fun" feature). I haven't read much about a "silent shutter" feature, but that would be much appreciated, as would the digital level (why on earth they ever removed that with the a6000 is beyond me). And an improved EVF would be nice. I'm not in the market to upgrade my A6000, but IBIS probably would have been the single, most compelling feature (since my two most used lenses are the FE 28/2 and the Sigma 60/2.8, both of which lack IS). I suppose it's true with all companies, but more so with Sony, somehow: you really can't count on them to do anything that they haven't announced. Their strategies just don't often jive with what I (as an amateur photographer and armchair CEO) expect.
Toggle Commented Feb 7, 2016 on Open Mike: I Miss IBIS at The Online Photographer
Getting rid of the tripod hole ... there are some people out there who don't use Arca-Swiss clamps on their tripods :) Actually, I'm known to do that myself. My big tripod is a set of Bogen legs with an A-S head, but I have a little Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod that I use with my mirrorless camera from time to time and it uses a square Manfrotto QR plate.
I have a signed copy of the book from the kickstarter campaign. Interesting that a signed copy is offered for a fraction of price of a new copy, which in turn is half the price of a used copy ;) I've often wondered if these ridiculous prices on amazon for out of print books are ever realized or if they amount to "trolling for fools" (to quote Brooks Jensen in an article on outrageous gallery pricing of photographs). I somehow ended up with an extra copy of Pentti Sammallahti's "Here Ever After" and have thought about selling the spare, but with my luck, I'd end up getting less than I paid after all the fees.
I think you're doing the guy a disservice by comparing him to Weston. First, Weston was only a photographer, while this person is a Visual Artist. Second, Pepper #30 is very obvious; it's significance is made plain by simply *looking* at it. The meaning behind the potato portrait is more subtle, requiring context to be explained by the artist: "Generally, the life of a harvested potato is violent and taken for granted. I use the potato as a proxy for the ontological study of the human experience." Finally, it only took Weston 30 tries to get his famous photo. Potato #345 is the result of an order of magnitude more effort.
Years ago, I have a prime lens lineup that doubled each focal length (24, 50, 100, 200, 400). I agree with your contention that APS-C and FF are too close for a company like Fuji to consider. (The legacy manufacturers have historical reasons for doing so). I think a 2X crop makes a decent distinction. So a sensor roughly four times the size of APS-C (30x45 or so, Leica S size) would be where I'd start looking. I think I'd settle on a sensor size, then build a system around it, with a modest lineup of from-scratch lenses (no medium format crop factors like some of the other systems suffer with). Fuji showed they can develop a killer lens lineup in a reasonable period of time.
Regarding this comment: "I think FF is an evolutionary tributary that will eventually dead-end as smaller sensors get better and better." I'm not convinced. I acknowledge the sufficiency and benefits of APS-C (benefits in terms of cost and compactness, assuming sufficiency). But consumers already have migrated (or will continue to migrate) to smaller sensors, leaving enthusiasts as the market for larger sensor ILCs, and I think enthusiasts will diverge into "I want small goodness" and "I want as big as I can afford/carry". FF is kind of like the medium format of yesteryear; the better-than-we-need system that we want nonetheless. The difference is that it's about the same size as yesteryears compromise (35mm). Smaller gets better, but not every enthusiast cares. FF gets better, too, and if someone is willing to pay for and carry FF, then they get 24x36mm of awesomeness instead of a small sensor full of sufficiency. And if you think about car or audio enthusiasts; hobbyists of any kind, who settles for just good enough ? Meanwhile, you have Nikon, Canon and Sony all trying, not to "obsolete" APS-C, exactly, but to minimize it's appeal to enthusiasts and push customers to FF. I expect camera sales of all kinds to continue to drop, due to market saturation and sufficiency, from real cameras to phones to GoPros (in light of recent headlines). I don't know what to expect on the consumer front, but at least in the enthusiast and pro markets, I expect to see a continued shift from APS-C to FF (with a small shift to smaller formats for on-the-go pros, like photojournalists).
A few thoughts on sensor size: You mention "all else equal" and one place where all isn't equal is in lens selection. Legacy mounts (particularly Nikon & Canon) have extensive FF lens selections, while their APS-C lens selections are lacking in lenses that some people find important. Meanwhile, micro 4/3 offers a great lens selection, and one that (at least in many cases) does exploit the sensor size, offering reasonable compromises between speed and compactness (Oly's f/1.8 line of primes). Stepping down further, I think 1" sensors are best suited to fixed lens cameras like Sony's RX10 and RX100. Nikon's '1' series offers f/3.5-5.6 zooms, which aren't terribly exciting on a 1" sensor, and a fast prime, like the 32/1.2, is expensive and doesn't quite offer the shallow DOF of an 85/2.8 on FF. It feels very much like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. It's has great niche uses, like a lightweight birding kit with the sharp 70-300CX. I've seen nice prints from Fuji 2/3" sensors (20x30"). Dynamic range is always the bugaboo with small sensors, even in good light where you can shoot base ISO to avoid noise. (Sony's 1" sensor is pretty good). I recently saw some samples shot with iPhones using the new Zeiss add on lenses. They were nice and sharp, showing waterfalls that were blown out blobs of white. Small sensors require work to deal with the compromises. Meanwhile, I've never used a FF digital sensor or larger (though I have shot 6x6 film). So I can't comment on whether I'd appreciate something bigger than APS-C. I like 2/3" or 1" for compacts (including relatively compact do-it-all like RX10). 4/3 or APS-C for an ILC. And FF, I consider the medium format of digital, only more affordable, so for all of us who used to dream about medium format systems we didn't need, FF has a more attainable allure. (Time will tell whether I resist). A lot of people practicing photography have no issue with using large systems. As for the article, it seems decent, but focuses a little too much on the actual sizes and not enough on what those sizes mean to the target audience. It's okay to see how much bigger one sensor is than another, but how much "better dynamic range" does one sensor give ? In other words, it says "bigger is better" but offers no guidance when it comes to deciding how much bigger to buy. But I appreciate anything that gets the message out to consumers that sensor size is more important than resolution (and I'm not aware of a better article).
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2016 on Camera Sensor Size at The Online Photographer
Since I was a Minolta Maxxum user, I settled for a Sony F717 while waiting to see if Minolta would ever produce a DSLR. It was a nice enough camera in its day. Around $900 or $1000 then. Worth around $25 now. I took some nice enough pictures with it in good light. It could still do the same today, but cheaper cameras are better in just about every way, from image quality to viewfinder quality to focus speed, shooting speed, recording speed. I've had my RX100 several years now (and plan to keep using it several more); enough to justify the $500ish price tag. I love the idea of the RX10 with its pretty fast 28-200 equivalent, nice ergonomics, excellent viewfinder, but I don't like the idea of spending that kind of money again on a fixed lens camera. I guess that's mostly because I'd view it as a second camera (much like the RX100 now) whereas if I could really get rid of my ILCs, I probably wouldn't mind spending $1000 on a fixed lens camera every few years. Another consideration is that with a DSLR system, you buy lenses, and you can be sure that whenever you want/need to buy a new camera to use with them, there will be something available. With a fixed lens, there's no guarantee that the company will keep up that product line.
I don't use Fuji now and I expect my photography to change over the next five years and I don't really know where I'll end up. But an XT2 with the 24MP sensor (based on the early samples I've seen) with the lenses Fuji has available sounds like a great place to land.
Toggle Commented Jan 15, 2016 on Fujifilm Fanboy Flames at The Online Photographer
dd-b FWIW, I wouldn't need that much to retire on. $250k sounds like a great number, but right off the bat, you don't need to save for retirement out of it. (Compared to saving 10-12% like I do now). And then, if you've already paid the taxes on all but the modest gains you're going to make after winning it, you're not paying much out of that $250k in taxes, either. So it's mostly all available for spending. Some people could blow through that easily; I'd have a hard time, at least after the first couple years (I like my house, but ...) On the other hand, if I had that much money, I'd want to put some aside to secure my daughter's future. Regardless of how the numbers work out, a million ain't what it used to be.
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2016 on It's My Dream (OT) at The Online Photographer
Funny thing is, as the imaginary Power Ball winner, $20million is about the amount I'd like to "keep" for exactly those purposes ... around $10m to secure a secure and modestly wealthy future for my family, and another $10m to benefit friends, family, and local charity. All the rest (of the theoretical Power Ball prize) could go to one or more big organizations (like the Gates Foundation, though I've never had reason to research which ones I'd like to give it to). The great thing about Power Ball is that the odds of winning are SO small that I feel I have the same chance as everyone else despite the fact that I haven't bought a ticket !
I always thought it was a tax on people who are bad at math :) I figured out what I'd do if I won. I'd go to someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett and try to set it up so that I'd get paid something like $250,000 a year for the next 40 years (so my wife and I could both quit working and enjoy some luxury) ... maybe a few anonymous gifts to friends ... in return for giving the winning ticket to the Gates Foundation. (I'd explore other options, too, but the idea would be that 98-99% would go to a charity that would do good work with it, I'd have financial security for life and no attention). Nice dream. I don't buy tickets so my chances are zero. But that's about the same as people who do play.
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2016 on It's My Dream (OT) at The Online Photographer
I think the EXIF approach, mentioned by a couple comments, is also best used by an experienced photographer. Say I look at how I used an 18-55 on a trip. I might very well find that I used it a lot at 18mm and a lot at 55mm and a little bit everywhere else. This might suggest that I could use a wide angle prime and a telephoto prime, but if I carry only a single prime, I want something smack dab in the middle (28mm) and EXIF wouldn't show me that. There are so many use cases to consider and it all comes down to you, what you shoot, how much and when you shoot it and how important the results are from each kind of shooting. Some people insist on a superzoom for their casual stuff when they could easily skip the big camera and use a point & shoot for that. (I actually pretty much stopped using my Nikkor 16-85 because my RX100 does the same job, but I wouldn't give up my DSLR and 85/1.8 or 70-200/2.8 for anything). If you're considering a kit with 3, 4 or 5 lenses in it, are you always going to carry all your lenses or do you want to go out at times with just one or two. I don't know how a newbie figures this out without trial and error. That's how I did it. (In fact, I got started with the Minolta Maxxum system precisely because I looked for the camera body with the best "bang for the buck" and then threw in a couple cheap Sigma zooms !) Maybe it would help to have a dozen or two photographer "profiles" where people with a variety of styles and tastes explain what they shoot and why.
Common wisdom among wildlife photographers is that reach is essentially a function of pixel density. You can always crop a large sensor down, but large sensors tend to have lower pixel densities, so if you shoot any given telephoto lens on a small sensor and then shoot on a large sensor and crop, you get more detail from the small sensor (the one with higher density). Right now, you can put a cheaper Nikon or Canon 300/4 on an APS-C and crop and not be far from Olympus' 16MP (though for $2500 and their marketing claims, one would expect more detail from the Oly setup). I think this 300/4 gets more attractive to wildlife/bird photographers when there's a higher res sensor to put in front of it. Right now, Nikon 1 is enjoying a small cult following with birders with its (expensive) 70-300 which gives an 800mm equivalent FOV from a crop sensor that records 18MP. You can't get that kind of resoluction cropping from 300 from a larger sensor right now.