This is Dennis's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Dennis's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Recent Activity
No arguments here. I'd love to see a book of his photos.
Generally, I would prefer a non-macro, unless I had good reason to think I would need something that focuses closer. One exception, for instance, is when my daughter was born, I chose a 50/2.8 macro (for APS-C) over a faster non-macro, for getting closeups of toes and eyelashes and the like. My feeling is that with a macro lens, you're usually paying extra for a bigger, slower focusing lens with a smaller max aperture. (The max aperture doesn't have to be smaller, but you're certainly paying more). I don't shoot portraits, per se, but candids, and I enjoy reasonably quick AF and shallow depth of field. I haven't tried a new AF macro lens any time recently, and I know I could get shallow enough DOF from a 100/2.8 on full frame, so I wouldn't rule out macro options altogether. But I'd have to see what options are available and at what cost. Re: Canon, I have no interest in an f/1.2 lens. I understand it's excellent, but it's big, expensive, and I don't need the ultra shallow depth of field. Plus 85mm is a little short for me. Olympus, almost certainly the 45/1.8. It's reputedly excellent, and I'd want the shallower DOF. The Zeiss options, I'd want to try. They're both beyond anything I've used. Since getting an A6000 for XMas and playing around with manual focus, I'm more open to manual focus lenses, but still like AF for candids to catch fleeting moments. The Fuji choices are a little tough. The 56 is supposedly really good, and f/1.2 on APS-C isn't as unnecessarily fast as it is on FF (though still faster than I need). It's a tad short, as I mentioned about the Canon 85, but 60mm isn't much longer. But f/2.4 on APS-C on a 60mm lens is a little sluggish. I'd probably go for the 56. I'm currently using an 85/1.8 Nikkor on a D7000. The long FL works well for candids. If I were to ever move to FF, I'd have a heck of a decision. The 105 macro is intriguing because f/2.8 is quite reasonable for shallow DOF on FF (I used a 100/2.8 macro on a Minolta film camera) and it has VR. The 105/2 DC lens is also intriguing; I just can't recall if there was something I'd read about it that I didn't care for. I've done macro before and wouldn't mind doing macro again, but I don't have the same needs in a macro lens. I use a tripod for macro, so not only do I not care about lens size, I prefer bigger lenses with tripod collars. They're very handy for allowing you to switch from horizontal to vertical without having to reset the tripod and recompose the shot. (I never used an L bracket, so before the tripod collar on a 180mm macro, I'd flop the ball head over and end up looking at something different). I like a macro lens with a narrower FOV than a portrait lens. And finally, I don't care if a macro lens is manual focus only, and prefer one with longer focus throw, which doesn't lend it to being quick for autofocus even if it does autofocus.
A little late to the party: Dave, I definitely second your recommendation to look at Vincent Munier for something different in nature photography. And James Sinks - I like some of your photos; I find them interesting despite not having your personal connection. Not so much the trees or the person that you said only have meaning to you - I agree, they're meaningful to you and not photographed in a way that makes them interesting to me. But many other shots - buildings, windows, "scenes from a horror movie" - are interesting to look at. And to me, that's it ... "meaning" is a loaded word; I'm not sure what it "means" in this context. I can find a Stephen Shore photo endlessly fascinating without knowing why. Does it have "meaning" ? I've never bought into the idea that photos should tell a story; never found it a universal law that a photo should "evoke an emotion" or "make me FEEL something". It just has to be interesting to look at. For whatever reason. Different photos for different reasons. And if it isn't (interesting to me) it's likely interesting to someone else. What's interesting to us says more about us than it does about the photo.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2015 on Scenic Photography at The Online Photographer
Years ago, when I was a young 20-something and getting into photography as a semi-serious hobby, I loved scenic landscape photography; the stuff portrayed in Outdoor Photographer. Pretty calendar pictures. I wanted no sign of the "hand of man" in my photos. Golden hour, magic light, blurred water, etc. I don't find that type of photography all that interesting any more. It's still pretty and still catches my eye and I can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into it, but it's like pop music - I can enjoy it in the car on the radio until it wears itself out within a couple weeks. One thread I can think of that touches on this subject is Galen Rowell's writing on familiarity. He wrote about how interesting the unfamiliar is, whether it's exotic or photographing something common in a new way. This genre is so popular, though, that nothing new stays new for long. Tom Till has refused to disclose the locations of some of his photos for fear that they'll be trampled by an army of followers. I think that the controversy over Peter Lik's recent alleged sale is simply that he is widely viewed as a scenic photographer; someone who crafts pretty pictures.
I have to believe that whoever came up with the FE lineup was not involved with the APS-C E-mount rollout. There seemed (and still seems) to be no strategy behind the latter, while the former is pretty reasonable. Compact 35 & fast 55 along with f/4 zooms to start, then these newer lenses. I still don't see a portrait prime (same problem that plagues the APS-C lineup). Some might be happy with the 90/2.8 for that purpose. I like the looks of the 28/2 for my newly acquired A6000. When I shot the 7D & A700, the old Minolta 28/2 was my favorite lens. I use a 35/1.8 on Nikon now, and 50ish just isn't the same as 40ish. I know Nikon also sells a full frame 28/2.8, but for some reason, I'm more interested in such a lens for the compact ILC. My biggest reservation is that the FE system is becoming pretty affordable and attractive, and I'm not sure I want to spend much more money on APS-C (I bought the A6000 to make use of lenses that have been collecting dust since I gave up on trying to enjoy my NEX-5).
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2015 on Sony's A7 Lens Line at The Online Photographer
Okay, what are the odds of back to back comments from Fer and Ger ?
Toggle Commented Jan 9, 2015 on Glorioski! at The Online Photographer
Thanks for the link to Alex Buisse's website. There's some great photography there. It's amazing that people do all of that stuff on purpose.
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 Dec 16, 2014 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 Dec 16, 2014 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.