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Dennis
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"The Nikon D500 is a milestone." But not a game changer ;) On the A6300 versus A6000, it's nice that Sony does these "refinements", but should be noted that along the way, they do some ... UNrefinements ? The A6000 had a lower res EVF than the NEX-6 and, inexplicably, lacked the "virtual horizon", which seems like one of those intrinsic-to-any-live-view-camera types of features that helps them distinguish themselves from DSLRs. So some of the A6300's refinements are really the restoration of things that were made worse in the previous iteration. Much of what makes the A6300 more expensive has to do with video. I'd probably upgrade if it were my only camera, but I still think of my A6000 as a "second" camera to my DSLR (even though I probably shoot it more these days).
Toggle Commented May 23, 2016 on Best Cameras at The Online Photographer
Dogs: My wife and I both commute to work (though one of us or the other works from home a couple days each week). A dog would make life more complicated. Dogs are demanding. They make life better, except when they don't. Cars: The most I would spend is far less than the most I *could* spend, because cars just aren't my thing. Cameras: The max I could image is about $2000, but the max I'd likely spend is more like $1000. (I could see myself going for a nice FF kit down the road, probably not in three years, though). Books: I was influenced by Burton Malkiel's "A Random Walk Down Wall Street". On the photography front, I'm part way through Peter Beard's "The End of the Game" though I'm not really treating it as a photography book. Back to cars and cameras, I've probably shared this in a past comment, but years ago, I attended a one day "Nikon School" seminar (I was shooting Minolta at the time). At one point, the presenter said he was going to talk about super telephoto lenses, and the 600/4 in particular. He prefaced his talk by saying that at a past seminar, a woman came up to him and told him he shouldn't have wasted so much time talking about a lens that costs "as much as a small car". He replied "Do you need a small car ?" He then explained that while the lens obviously isn't for everyone, you have to decide how much photography means to you and if it's important enough, it's worth trying to find a way to afford what you want in order to shoot what you want. I suppose that works the other way, too, if a car is important enough to you.
Toggle Commented May 22, 2016 on Open Mike: Theory of Dogs at The Online Photographer
I wrote that "edit" can mean "change" to some people. Others have no such issue. The Rocky Mountain School of Photography site has a page on workflow that describes: capture, import, edit, output. But words editing doesn't have to be done on the computer. Consider this sentence gragment from http://www.updig.org/guidelines/ph_digital_workflow.html: "When editing a JPEG file (whether created by the camera, scanner, or in post-processing) ..."
Toggle Commented May 17, 2016 on C-E-R at The Online Photographer
I don't pick up on the same negative vibe when I see the term post processing. I interpret it to mean whatever we do after we download our files to the computer, unless it's used derisively on occasion (and then, the derisive person can freely substitute whatever term we choose to replace post processing with !) Whether it makes sense or not depends on how you interpret it. If it's read as "after processing" then it makes little sense, but if it's "processing done after" then it seems reasonable (a shortened version of post-capture processing). Editing, to me, implies changing (even if that's not what editors do in other fields). If the average person hears that you post process your images and that I edit my images, he or she is going to think I'm the one doing unnatural, unethical and possibly immoral things ! Videographers are expected to edit, I believe, so I'm not sure why photographers aren't. But edit also means the process of whittling your photos down to keepers ("edit ruthlessly"). It's probably a good word for it if it weren't already too late. Maybe "finishing" ? Except that you may never be done finishing. I guess we're looking for a term that means "preparing for output" (whether that's print or screen). CER gets too specific IMO - people simply want to distinguish what they do up to pressing the shutter button from what they do with the file after. (After ... post). Image processing comes to mind, but then, the camera does image processing, too. I'm fine with post processing. Processing sounds like something that needs to be done. Post just means after you take the picture - it's probably unnecessary, because you're not doing any processing before.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2016 on C-E-R at The Online Photographer
McCurry has been criticized for portraying a romanticized view of India and other parts of the world. I'm not bothered by a photographer searching out scenes that portray the world the way he wants it portrayed; photographs intended to send a message. That's the power of photography in a nutshell. But changing scenes to portray a world that doesn't exist is something different. Not bad (unless presented as reality), but definitely different. A friend in Sherman, CT sent me a link to a news story about a man who escaped from a Georgia prison 48 years ago and has been living in his town ever since. The news man is standing in a parking lot with a house behind him saying "this is downtown Sherman and this is about all there is". As my friend points out, if the camera were angled slightly to the left, you'd see the grocery store and a few other businesses share that parking lot. (Granted, there REALLY isn't much to that downtown ... but the camera angle exaggerates the situation greatly). Your post points out how many shades of gray there are in all of this. I do a lot of "corrective" edits (especially shooting events in my daughter's school, where the contrast on the stage is too great for the camera's sensor to deal with in a way that resembles what you remember seeing (you don't remember seeing half the kids blown out white with no detail, nor do you remember seeing half the kids in deep shadow, so you can't make out who they are). The pole growing out of someone's head gets to the point where I start to feel uncomfortable; not adamant, but I thing it over. If the shot is worth it, I'll remove some stray annoyance. The McCurry edit is way over the line. Not an ethical line, just not what I enjoy in taking or viewing photographs.
I don't have an ethical issue with post processed images (outside of photojournalism) but like you, I'm just not terribly interested. I watched a video by Ben Von Wong about his "epic" photography recently, and I'm very impressed by the work he does to pull people together to create his results. I find the process far more intriguing than the end result. Similarly, I can find something to appreciate in an abstract image; in a print as an object, a bounded, two-dimensional image, but that's not really why I look at photographs. My appreciation comes from what's intrinsically unique about photography; from the fact that this print or image on my screen originated from something in front of the lens and the beauty of the image is augmented by how I interpret it. Knowing that whatever I see in the picture was in front of the lens can make me wonder or laugh. Knowing that what I see in the picture may not be all that was there or may not have been there at all takes away that connection to the real world. Now the image has to stand entirely on it's own.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2016 on Faked-up Photos at The Online Photographer
Apparently, Ctein didn't now about the monochrome dress code ;) Looks like a very worthwhile get together !
Toggle Commented May 10, 2016 on Meeting the Man at The Online Photographer
Anyone choosing between mirrorless systems for portability is going to pick the FE 24-70/4 and not the GM (I think that stands for "giant monstrosity"). And yeah, I don't think anyone picks Sony specifically for it's (native) lineup. (For it's adaptability, maybe). Thom Hogan posted suggested mirrorless travel kits yesterday, and his m43 option was an Oly body with the two Panasonic f/2.8 zooms you mention (for portability over the Olympus versions). Olympus & Panasonic's lineups strike me as very competent. Between them, Olympus seems like it has more "desirable" lenses (i.e. lenses that don't just do their job, but that have that certain something that makes you want them). Could be marketing, because I've only spent mere minutes trying them out at shows. But Fuji has the most compelling lineup for my tastes. All that said, I shoot Nikon & Sony. You can't go wrong with Nikon or Canon lineups if you don't mind the sizes of the lens and the lack of some APS-C specific options and you don't mind using a DSLR instead of mirrorless ... I also note that your commentary addresses the camera manufacturer's lineups, but Sigma is becoming increasingly intriguing, and the day may come that (more than a few) people pick a body to go with a lineup of Sigma lenses. I picked up the 60/2.8 to use on my Sony A6000 and while I already own the FE28/2, I've seen many really nice samples from the new 30/1.4. And I know many Nikon & Canon shooters are happy with Sigma's higher end "Art" lenses.
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: http://www.jaymaisel.com/v2/wp-content/gallery/recent-work/20090118_dp833_0178.jpg
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).