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Dennis
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I missed out on an opportunity a few years ago to sell my handful of 128MB Memory Sticks on eBay for $50+ each to people using old F717s and other similar cameras that were incompatible with higher capacity cards. Not long after I saw those prices, the market responded and you can buy lower capacity memory sticks again. We'll always be able to take pictures, most of us in ways we want to take them, more or less.
It's funny ... on the various discussion fora, you'd get the impression that even though there's an A7 for (just) under $1000, the $1500+ A7II is the "entry level" model and everyone seems to be shooting A7RII's or posting their thoughts on their new A9's. Meanwhile, over in the Nikon camp, the D750 (roughly on par with an A7II in terms of price and IQ) is a perfectly respectable choice. I looked at the A7II recently, but opted to upgrade from an A6000 to an A6500. The debate centered around the fact that the A6500 costs almost as much as the A7II and both cameras offer the main things I was looking for in an upgrade (IBIS, higher res EVF and a virtual horizon display in the VF). The A7II would have addressed my 4th complaint about the A6000 - no dual control dials. I'd probably have an easier time putting together a satisfactory lineup of lenses for the A7II, but the total system cost would be considerably higher, especially given that I already have a couple of e-mount lenses. I ended up buying a used A6500 at a good price (relative to other camera out there on the market, the a6500 "feels" like an $1100 camera, not a $1400 camera). My imagined A7II kit would have consisted of the 16-35/4, the compact (but pricey) 35/1.8, the reasonably compact and reasonably priced 85/1.8 and then maybe, eventually, the 70-300. Instead, my A6500 kit includes the 10-18/4 (also recently purchased, also used), the 28/2 AND 30/1.4 (the 30/1.4 came with the A6500 - now I have to decide between those two) and the 18-200 (a good travel lens - I still use my DSLR for anything requiring a really good tele).
What's curious in Mike's analysis of Nikon (which I can't argue with - Nikon is great at what they've been doing for decades and not so great and doing new things or figuring out what new things to do) is why Canon is doing so much better. Canon and Nikon had much closer shares of the market just a few years ago, yet Canon now outsells Nikon something like 2-to-1. I know their (Canon's) mirrorless cameras are selling surprisingly well, but that alone doesn't account for it. It Nikon's lineup of DSLRs looks great next to Canon's - between Sony's sensors and Nikon's overall competence, you can't look at the two lineups and conclude that Canon should be outselling Nikon. I can come up with 3 possible explanations. First, Nikon had a couple public relations issues stemming from problems with a couple cameras and their reluctance to do anything about it. Related to that, Nikon is probably perceived as being behind the times even though they put out a slightly more comprehensive mirrorless system before Canon (unfortunately, it flopped due to Nikon's aforementioned problems knowing what to do differently). Second, video. Canon designs and markets to videographers and Nikon seems pretty uninterested in that market. Third, Sony. I think Thom indicated that it has to do with licensing, but you have companies able to come up with adapters to use Canon lenses on Sony bodies with reasonably good AF, meaning people with an investment in Canon gear can dabble in the Sony system ... or people looking at DSLRs know that they can buy Canon and have options in the future. There isn't really a mirrorless option for Nikon lens owners (Nikon 1 with its 2.7X crop and Sony with very recent and iffy adapters). Canon suffers from some of the same issues as Nikon - a stale and incomplete APS-C lens lineup and a lack of a mirrorless system that seriously competes with Olympus/Panasonic/Fuji/Sony - and a reputation for subpar sensors to boot, but somehow manage to sell a lot more cameras than Nikon.
Tough to say. As we age, we might tend to see trends among our peers. If I go back 30 years, I shot with an SLR and knew precious few other people who did so - fewer people took so many pictures back then and most used p&s or disposable cameras. The biggest trend I see related to phones isn't that people are switching from big camera to them, but that everybody is taking pictures nowadays. Several of my coworkers are into photography - and increasingly so over the last several years. They're DSLR shooters (now I'm the outlier with a mirrorless body) and one actually bought a FF setup. For years, I've shot my daughter at dance recitals, school concerts, plays, hockey games where I was the only parent with a "real camera". Now she's in high school and part of the robotics team, so I've been shooting robotics tournaments and I can tell you that DSLRs are very prevalent at those events (as are 70-200/2.8s) and they outnumber mirrorless significantly (though I did see an EM1-II and 40-150/2.8 that looked nice & handy). This is a tech-savvy group and at the last meet (regional championships) I saw a lot (20-30) of camcorders on tripods including a few pretty serious rigs. Camera sales data shows a trend in sales, but doesn't indicate how many people actually still shoot DSLRs - for example, my camera purchases would have shows 1 new and 1 used mirrorless in the last several years, but the DSLR I bought 5 years ago still gets used for half of my photography (usually with a VC grip and 70-200).
Digital Rolleiflex, eh ? I'm not sure. I loved using my 3.5F (though it was never a workhorse - only ever something for occasional flings). The big ground glass (I bought a new screen from Bill Maxwell for it) with the flip out magnifier and all those wonderful mechanical controls. But I see the TLR design as a solution to a problem that's been solved better* with live view. There's no need for a second lens and its parallax issues. No need to adjust the meter reading for filters. No need to set your polarizer on the viewing lens then move it to the taking lens. No need to (try to) get used to left being right and right being left ! But a design that's either modular or flexible with regard to viewfinder options would be interesting. Maybe an LCD that could be attached to either the back or the top with options for shading and for eye level viewing ... it probably wouldn't be too hard to rig a FrankenFlex using a small mirrorless body with a small external monitor designed for video recording.
I think I agree with your choices. I had to go find a picture of the x-t2 to compare, but it's just slighty more BBP looking, for the sake of practicality. Looking at all sides on camerasize.com, I think the front of the Pen is purdier (though that useless dial bugs me), back of the x-t20 wins, and top-down is a draw. Lens-wise, a 45/1.8 on the pen-f is mighty good-looking, while the Fuji lenses make up for their less svelte design with aperture rings. What I find appealing about the retro bodies isn't only looks, but also the idea of shooting the way I used to shoot 25-30 years ago, and for that reason, I like Fuji's flavor of retro (with aperture rings) better. That said, I've chosen practicality over retro; I recently spent a couple weeks considering a move to Fuji or Olympus or Panasonic from my A6000, but opted to upgrade to an A6500 (for IBIS, a better EVF and a level gauge) and add a couple lenses ... and any time I shoot an event or sports or kids in the backyard, I choose my Nikon DSLR with it's twin control dials, vertical grip and buttons that let me do what I need to do without taking my eye from the VF. Those BBPs might be ugly (for the most part) but they're practical.
Food for thought, Mike - is this really unique to landscape photography or is this more attributable to the fact that landscape photography is just something you dabble in ? Granted, you're less likely to shoot the same type of clunkers you're bound to get shooting moving subjects (people or wildlife) but can certainly shoot something you thought looked good at the time, but just didn't have the makings of a good picture. I wonder if people who maybe shoot landscapes all the time and only occasionally shoot kids (maybe they don't have kids of their own, but have neices and nephews) find the same thing to be true - they get lots of "almost" shots and few really good ones. And if the reason is really because, since they only dabble in it, their standards for that genre aren't as high as their standards for what they do all the time. In other words, if you spent more time doing landscape, would your "good" pictures today end up in the trash bin in a year ? Conversely are your trash bin pictures of family as good as some people's keepers ? I dabble in backyard/vacation wildlife photography. Purely opportunistic stuff. I don't have the knowledge or ambition to get myself into situations where I could get really good photos, but I bring home some that I consider pretty good. Keepers. On the other hand, I've done enough landscapes in the past that I'll readily toss stuff that doesn't rise above a higher standard. Kid pictures are tough because I only shoot family & friends and so there's a sentimental connection. I'll keep many not-so-good pictures for the memories. But at the same time, I readily acknowledge that they're not-so-good. Anyway, just wondering if you could be in a honeymoon period with your new landscape and once you get a little jaded, your standards might change. Like I said, just food for thought. I'll continue to think about it from your hypothesis - that maybe landscape is easier to get "good" results (but just as hard to get great ones).
I am bothered by tilted horizons but, frustratingly, have a harder time shooting straight, myself. I think part of it might be my eyeglass prescription. A rectangle can look taller on one side or the other depending on which way I'm looking through my glasses, and then my glasses keep me from seeing the entire frame, depending on the viewfinder, in various cameras. I end up leveling my photos in LR frequently. And you're right - some shots just never look quite right.
Toggle Commented May 1, 2017 on Level With Me at The Online Photographer
I tend to use shallow DOF to blur out distracting backgrounds in situations where I can't control them. It can add to some photos, but I admit, I do like when you can still make out backgrounds/context. And I dislike parts of a face in focus. Many of my keepers are shallow DOF shots precisely because they're photos of friends & family in busy places, but the photos that I consider the "best" tend to have everything sharp or pretty sharp. It's nice to have options.
That is a nice looking piece of kit. On beginners versus enthusiasts, that's an interesting twist ... I'd suggest that the more time a person spends with a camera, the more they want a camera that's carefully chosen to be functional and enjoyable, but I think beginners can be influenced by a camera - a fun camera makes them want to shoot (which in turn helps them improve) while a poorly chosen camera sits in a closet. So long as you keep talking about everything else, I don't think anyone will mind some Panasonic praise. It seems that most other brands have one (or many) blogger/advocates. (Many of those are affiliated somehow with those companies - artisans, ambassadors, whatever). I'll look forward to hearing more about the system (I currently shoot Nikon and Sony).
I don't get why people are suggesting you drink less coffee ... IBIS *IS* the solution ! You can have your coffee and drink it, too !
Roger: good call suggesting an A7II. The A6500 at $1600 is just too much money if you're not using the video/performance aspects of it. Meanwhile, the A7RII offers you a nice, compact Sonnar 35/2.8 and the 85's (FE or Zeiss) give you their intended FOV (I personally like 85mm on APS-C but know it's not everyone's cup of tea).
I suggest you read Mike Johnston's blog, TheOnlinePhotographer ... that guy sounds pretty similar to you and from what he's written over the last few months, he's pretty taken with Panasonic. Seriously, the A6500 is the high tech toy with lots of capabilities (video, high frame rates) you won't find yourself using and a pretty practical, but ultimately unsatisfying user experience. Limited lens lineup, but you're a fan of the CZ24 and there's an affordable new 85 if you want a long portrait prime (as well as the Batis, of course, which might appeal to you as a Zeiss fan, but then you're paying twice for IS). Olympus does everything Panasonic does, just differently. Their cameras strike me as ones you have to work to love using. Tough decision between the three, but the same advice given to most people (on choosing a system) holds ... don't pick a body, pick a kit (write down the body and 2-3 lenses you see yourself using, then think about the pros and cons of the kits).
Mark wrote: "You'd think M43 would be ideal in many ways, not too large, not too costly, still delivers excellent quality in most conditions" The thing with sufficiency is that it applies to more than image quality. If you consider the set of APS-C camera owners, you could make the argument that the majority of them would find the IQ of m43 sufficient. But, apparently, the majority of them find the compactness of their APS-C gear sufficient. I get the appeal of smaller gear - I have an A6000 and an RX100 that get used for different things. But I just spent 3 full days at a robotics competition with my DSLR (with VC grip) and 70-200/2.8 over my shoulder using a Blackrapid strap. I did see one person there with an EM1-II and 40-150/2.8, which looked very appealing, but I have to say I never minded the size/weight of that camera. (I also had my RX100 handy for wide shots, but comparing them side by side, I wish I'd had another APS-C camera along because everything was ISO 1000+. Over several years of photographing concerts, plays and recitals, I've seen few parents with "real" cameras, but there were easily a couple dozen DSLRs at the robotics tournament (many high end models with f/2.8 zooms) and many serious video rigs as well.
Jay Maisel. There are plenty of photographers I admire, but in order to take the kinds of pictures they take, I'd have to be a different person; have a different personality. I wouldn't say my personality is like Jay's (from what I've seen of video interviews) but my style is not too dissimilar. I guess the most concise way to say it is - if I were a successful photographer, I envision my portfolio looking more like his than anyone else's.
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2017 on Idle Question at The Online Photographer
Sometimes after I research a product, I'll pay attention to ads that claim to offer good prices on similar things, so they can be well targeted. Worse is two weeks of ads for the thing I shopped for AFTER I already bought it ! Talk about counterproductive - now they're squandering ad space on stuff guaranteed not to interest me.
OK - I guess the little boys thing makes sense (probably big boys and beer, too) ... it was pretty impressive, but equally astonishing that that many people gather to watch trucks drive around. For a prolonged period of time. I enjoyed it, but a 2 1/2 minute video was enough for me. These people had to (presumably) buy tickets, drive there, park, wait in line to get in, sit and watch the event for who knows how long, wait in line to get out, then drive home. And there are a lot of them !
Just drink your coffee black. Exploit all that fancy grinding/brewing that you do.
We only "discovered" the Adirondacks a few years ago, despite having lived our entire lives in northwest CT. We can get to Lake George in about 2.5 hours, stay for a few nights, and venture (a little ways) into the park from there. We've only been as far north as Fort Ticonderoga (took in a great battle reenactment). I highly recommend the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. It's not really near anything, but well worth the trip. You wonder how much there could be to see at a museum dedicated to the Adirondacks and then you wish you'd arrived earlier to spend the entire day. I'm hoping to spend time exploring more of the park by staying somewhere more central.
I wonder how many people are answering this as "all around" for themselves or "all around" for everyone. I think that, at last at this point in time, my answer to both of those would be the same. One of the Sony RX10 models. Or an FZ1000. Not for everyone; no camera is, but a very central compromise. I don't actually own one. Any one camera would be too much of a compromise right now. But something like that sounds about right.
Your 2-lens strategy is the same as what I typically carry (never mind what I own). A zoom for range and a prime for shallow DOF and/or low light. And the prime typically falls within the range of the zoom (either a normal or a portrait prime). Then I find the RX100 good enough that I can carry an ILC with a fast prime along with the RX100 and avoid lens changes. Re: structure, that makes sense based on my observations of accomplished photographers and artists. They might change their set of limitations, but seem to always be working within a set. My own isn't consciously self-imposed, but there nonetheless. (I don't stray far from a very narrow path).
Very nice ! The 7II was one of my "dream cameras", those cameras I'd buy if I won the lottery or something (not that I couldn't afford one, but my photography could never justify one). The Nikon FM2 was another one of those cameras I always wanted. I do have a Rolleiflex 3.5f that I keep around in case I ever get the itch to shoot film. Meanwhile, my daughter is about to put my old Minolta HiMatic to use in school.
Toggle Commented Feb 7, 2017 on Unboxing at The Online Photographer
Hah ! I'm not a kindle user, so the irony of reading a digital version of that book didn't occur to me until I got to the end of your post. To add to the irony, the hardcover version is cheaper than the kindle version. I haven't printed my photos in years ... a few here & there, calendars and whatnot, but I'm woefully behind on family photo books and prints. And feeling an increasing sense of urgency to remedy that. It's not due to an impending sense of my own mortality or anything (though I did recently turn 50) ... more just that too much time has passed without my photography really resulting in anything tangible. That's what I expected your post to be about, but I find your thesis more intriguing still. I can feel that tug of war, too, between gear that's (more than) sufficient and fun to use and gear that's more than I need, but still accessible, just because it's better. One thing that I think printing will help me do is assess my needs, because, while I have a couple big prints (up to 20x30) in my office, I suspect that I'd like to print a lot of photos at modest sizes that I can hold in my hand and look through. I recently saw some prints (I should say I saw a digital picture in a web browser *OF* some prints !) made with a Fuji Instax camera, and they were charming. I think I might end up having a 'thing' for small prints - say in the 6x8 range. Or not, I'll figure that out in time. But yeah, I've seen 40x60" prints made from then-state-of-the-art FF bodies at Photoplus Expo a few years ago; 20x30" prints from digicams with 2/3" sensors and I realize it's all madness and yet, when I think about what camera system I might like to settle on, it's hard not to go bigger/better/faster even if it's bigger/heavier/pricier so long as it's still within reason. Why compromise on convenience for quality that I don't need ? Because I can zoom in and view at 100% ? Because I read too many gear posts ? And why just photography ? I don't suffer from this disease when it comes to music, even though I think of myself as a music lover. I can enjoy music without worrying about whether it could be better (I know it could, but I embrace "good enough"). Why am I okay owning a contractor's saw for woodworking when I know that a good cabinet saw makes it easier to do precision work ? Food for thought.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2017 on The Revenge of Analog at The Online Photographer
I like gear posts (because I like gear). Don't like billiards posts. Don't mind a few coffee posts. Glad the tea posts are history. But here's the thing. A blog is kind of like ... ready ? ... a camera ! In the sense that no one blog can be perfectly tailored to any particular reader. And people who go off in a huff because a blog doesn't suit them perfectly are just like the people who rant about this camera or that camera because the manufacturer didn't design it specifically to meet their needs. Meanwhile, TOP is the blog we choose to read, each for our own reasons. I've written before that I own practical cameras that I don't really love using and that I always have my eyes open for that camera system that I'll thoroughly enjoy. (Your recent "How to Choose Your Gear" post hit home). But TOP is the blog I read because it just feels right. Doesn't matter if it doesn't have as many of this kind of post or that as I'd like, or that there's a little too much of something else. It's the blog I check daily without fail. It's kind of the Fuji X system of blogs :) And there are other blogs for other people to read. The nice thing is that you don't have to go to blogrentals.com to try them out. You can try out other blogs for free. (Then come back here where the cool kids hang out).
Ach ! And how could I forget "Nebraska" ? 2013 in black and white.