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Dennis
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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.
BTW, missed the part about movies. Since I blathered and didn't answer about lenses, I've seen lots of mediocre movies (my taste tends to run towards "junk food for the mind") but the gems among the junk recently have been The Revenant (favorite recent movie, though the end went a little too Hollywood) and American Hustle. A couple of less recent recommendations are Nobody's Fool (Paul Newman 1994) and Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood 2008).
Sorry for cluttering up the comments with a non-answer ... like the Thomas, I love the idea of simplicity. I'm frustrated by having too much gear from different brands and dream of simplifying down to a single body and as few lenses as possible. In practice, I do tend to carry pairs of lenses (or even a single lens) but the pair I carry changes. I'm not a specialist, but not really a generalist, either ... more a "multi-specialist" ? So I tend to shoot this with a DSLR and these couple lenses, that with a DSLR and those couple lenses, something else with mirrorless and these couple lenses and that stuff with a point & shoot. If I accept that I probably won't specialize any further until I'm forced to by age, then the next best solution for me would be a single brand that offers the half dozen lenses I want, a bigger, performance-oriented body as well as a compact body plus an enthusiast-oriented 1" sensor compact all with very similar user interfaces so I can easily switch from one to another. Sony has settled on a consistent menu system so moving between the RX100 and A6000 isn't bad, but e-mount lacks the lenses and the enjoyment factor that makes me want to use it. Nikon has the long lenses and the bigger bodies; the wide stuff (for APS-C) and the compact options are missing. Ideally, they'd make a mirrorless, ala EOS-M or even a compact F-mount mirrorless body ... the D5500 could substitute, but I don't want to go back to a DSLR without micro AF adjust. This is an area where Nikon 1 missed the boat - the UI was alien. The upcoming DL series hopefully behaves enough like bigger Nikons to fill in. Canon has the bigger DSLRs, the compact Rebel SL-1 as well as EOS-M and some 1" bodies. It's probably a 'safe' choice, but somehow seems very uninspiring. Fuji has the XT2 for performance and the XT20 or XE-series for compact options, plus a nice selection of lenses. Olympus and Panasonic both also have bigger, expensive, performance-oriented bodies as well as compact options - I don't know if they have the similar UIs. Panasonic has 1" sensor models. These options seem more "hodge podge" than Fuji, though, less cohesive and coherent. Maybe it's the mish mash of IBIS and OIS, cheap lenses and expensive lenses. I'm not sure I could put together my ideal kit from lenses from just one brand or the other. That's what I'd like - a top to bottom system offering performance when I need it, compactness and convenience when I need it, with as much consistency as possible. Canon is probably the most sensible, Fuji the most appealing, m43 brands practical, while I wait to see if Nikon offerings improve because of vested interest and some very compelling lenses.
From Fuji's press release: Three Additional FUJINON GF Lenses to be Announced Later in 2017: GF110mmF2 R LM WR (equivalent to 87mm in 35mm format) GF23mmF4 R LM WR (equivalent to 18mm in 35mm format) GF45mmF2.8 R WR (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format) Between the Fuji and Leica, Fuji (hands down). A smaller cameras is more practical, but a Leica just isn't a camera I'd want even if I were rich. The Fuji is. But ... say this friend offered me a choice between the Fuji medium format and the same value in Fuji X gear. That would be a harder choice. On the one hand, the X gear is more or less similar to what I'm shooting now (except that I don't have nearly that value tied up in it) and it would be more interesting to try the more exotic medium format. On the other hand, it might spoil me forever and I'd be in a real quandary if I wanted to expand it by buying new lenses. Or if I had to pay to fix it or replace it years down the road. Kind of like being given a car you can't afford to maintain or a house you can't afford to heat and pay taxes on. Always fun, these "if I won the lottery" fancies of flight.
Mike, the "lens style" (what a dumb name !) QX1 from Sony and Olympus AIR 01 poke around the edges of modularity, the "box camera" and the Apple camera. Each is a lens/sensor unit that relies on a smart phone for both display and control. My daughter is a freshman in high school and joined the robotics club and I've volunteered to help out (lots of learning on my part, too, as a newbie). The robot has a controller that can read input signals and send output signals to a variety of devices and the team writes code that gets put on the controller to run the robot. Then there's a device on board that communicates back to the robot operators who run a "dashboard" on a laptop connected to various controllers. Most teams use joysticks in various ways, to move the robot as well as to perform tasks (moving various parts up & down) but operations could also be controlled by buttons or switches or whatever you like. It almost seems like we need a from-the-ground-up camera platform based on a controller that can be programmed to work with various sensors, displays and communications devices, but that would almost have to be part of a "developer kit" that could then be used by ambitious kickstarter types to develop end products. It's one thing to prototype with components wired together, another to package it all up in an ergonomic camera that's a pleasure to use.
You're developing into a real comedian, Mike ! Ektachrome never did much for me. I liked Kodachrome (never shot a lot of it) and the Fuji films (more Provia than Velvia).
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2017 on Ektachrome Returns at The Online Photographer
OK, so that was amusing ... but you didn't have the same reaction to the X-T2 "Graphite Silver". Think of the fun you could have had with that ! "We don't just PAINT the camera, we SPIN it while we paint it."
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2017 on Taking CES By Storm at The Online Photographer
After DOS/Windows for decades (I did start out on a Commodore !) I've toyed, over the last couple years, with the idea of moving to Apple to simplify things. But their recent products (and prices) coupled with the relative inoffensiveness of Windows these days has me committed to staying the course. (I have an iPhone ... I like my Kool Aid in moderation). People I work with who have imbibed are becoming disenchanted. Even with iPhones. (Tim Cook should be thanking Samsung for its flaming batteries !)
Looking at Olympus brings to mind (part of) one of the Herb Keppler quotes I found on Pop Photo's remembrance page: "Meanwhile, my kingdom for an SLR I can operate when I'm wearing my winter mittens." Not that a Sony or Panasonic would be any better. As much as I love the concept of retro controls, I do enjoy the dual dials on my Nikon DSLR for quick changes of settings (I shoot a lot in M mode, using Auto ISO, often shooting many shots at the same settings, but occasionally needing to tweak either f-stop or shutter speed). I haven't really paid too much attention to controls - I know I like the look of Fuji controls and I know that the original EM1 was really intimidating. My Nikon D7000 and Sony A6000 are both competent, if somewhat uninspiring. Sony is free from the constraint of retro, but doesn't really go very far in trying hard to be usable. The sometimes-maligned RX100 I find to be good for such a small camera. But I couldn't really pick a camera that stands out as right for me (because control layout wasn't that high a priority) nor could I call one out as particularly awful for me (though my suspicion is it would be from Olympus). It is interesting to see Leica trying new things. And while Fuji is decidedly retro, the new X-T2 looks pretty convenient and that joystick seems to get good reviews. (I'm in the market for a new laptop and am about 95% certain it's going to be a Lenovo Thinkpad because I just don't want to give up my trackpoint controller). Despite the overwhelming controls on Olympus bodies, the cameras I think I get along with worst of all are those with minimal controls that require menu diving (like my Nikon 1 J1 or my original Sony NEX-5). For that reason, I'm not convinced that Leica's simplistic touch-based cameras would be very satisfying. (I feel no obligation to give them a fair shake, since they're priced out of contention anyway). I have a suspicion that I would like Panasonic cameras very much (particularly one with an articulating LCD, which I prefer over a tilting LCD, and with the tilting EVF that you recently featured). Not that they do everything well - I tried out a GM5 (the tiny model that shipped with the 12-32) and found it a fiddly little thing.
I forgot which camera I bought that convinced me that I'd never need a >$1000 camera again. It might have been the D7000 (which I paid less than $1000 for, after it had been out a while). You mention the question of value and the trick is to know what you want in a camera. The D500 is pretty great and there are certain things I would appreciate in a camera like that, but nothing important enough to me to want to spend the money at this point in time. You mention the A6300 over the A6500, but the A6000 is the true price performer in that bunch. Manufacturers have gotten better about tweaking their lineups to encourage us to want higher priced cameras. My $1000 stake in the ground looks pretty lame these days when Sony only offers IBIS in the $1500 A6500 (though you can get it for not much more in the A7II if you prefer FF over speed). All the manufacturers seem to have upped their game recently, with flagship products in the m43/APS-C lines in the $1500-$2000 range. It's particularly problematic in mirrorless lines, where technology is still advancing and the latest & greatest offers improvements that you don't see in this year's DSLR versus last year's DSLR. Finally, contrary to my aforementioned conviction, I've noticed many times that I tend to be happier with things that I've paid more than I've wanted for than I am with things where I've compromised out of frugality. I love a good "price performer" but over time, I have far more regrets about bargains than I do luxuries. So my recommendation is don't buy based on perceived value nor just because something is state of the art - buy what you want. And if you can't afford it, just don't buy it (unless you have no camera at all, odds are your existing camera is capable of great work).
Certain things lend themselves to video. And certain things don't. Some subjects are better captured in a still photograph while others are better viewed in video, with sound. Some topics are better watched/listened to, while others are better read. The "people are awesome" videos show remarkable acts that might make for some good stills, but really demand to be watched. Reading a description would be a poor substitute. On the other hand, so many videos are poor substitutes for written text. Written text can be perused at leisure, scanned, skimmed, copied and pasted, saved. If I want to know about the autofocus performance of some camera, I don't want to have to sit through 15 minutes of some "personality" trying and failing to be entertaining. I acknowledge I'm a curmudgeon about this. I remember clicking on a youtube video review of something or other, the video starts with a guy holding a cup of coffee saying "oh, hold on just a minute, let me put my coffee down here" ... Really ? That had to be planned. He had to think it was a good idea, clever maybe, to do that. That was it for me. Hit the back button and try another google hit. My real disdain for video comes from poor use of it in education materials. My daughter's middle school science teacher made use of an online science resource called "Discovery Education" or something like that. It was basically a collection of videos (and some articles) from different sources for different ages put into some sort of indexing structure, so when the teacher told the class to answer questions on some topic using only that resource, it might take an hour to figure out which specific sources had the information (some videos had searchable transcripts, but not all). Worst, some videos would be 50% fluff - teenagers cracking jokes - to try to get students interested in the subject. An admirable concept, but when you have homework in 5 different subjects, you don't want to be wasting an hour scouring dopey videos to find information that would take all of 60 seconds to locate in a good old-fashioned text book (or via google).
(Re: Ed. Note - this sounds new to me). Personally, I'm a big fan of the Golden Rule. I'm sure it could be misconstrued, bent, warped, twisted to be seen as less useful than ten commandments, and I suppose if you're a masochist who doesn't mind bad things being done to you, then it gives you free reign, but it just seems so sensible, so universal. I also remember being very impressed during my school days by the Code of Hammurabi. It just never seemed necessary to have commandments from a god to figure out how to behave (nor do they seem any more or less effective than any other system of ethics).
In primes, I like (in an "ear to the ground" sense) the Nikkor 105/1.4 and the Sigma 30/1.4 DC (and then too many to pick a third choice). For zooms, the new Nikkor 70-200 sounds fantastic, and the Sigma 50-100/1.8 is a killer lens (even if it's big, heavy and has an odd zoom range). [Private to Dennis, who made a great catch and saved me from an error--big thanks! --Mike]
I think the resignation comes not from a realization that all cameras always have room for improvement, but that you're just one person and what you think is an improvement, someone else thinks does not. I'd like to like Panasonic cameras more than I do, in part because of the articulating screen, but find other things bothersome enough to make them "just another camera". The inability to set exposure compensation while shooting Auto ISO in M mode makes it a non-starter, when other cameras offer this feature. I bet no more than a handful of photographers care about this. But I like the articulating LCD.
No. Not because of the hard work. Because of the hard work doing things that aren't fun. I work for a big company and get to specialize on what I went to school for, while other people handle human resources, finance, advertising, dealing with clients, etc. That fits my personality. If I could find a job that would pay me reasonably well to spend 40+ hours a week just doing the photography I enjoy, I'd probably pounce on it, but I don't think such a thing exists.
Mike, I think you left your computer on and Zander had a little fun with your blog ...
"I have a feeling I will, though. It'll be good for my soul." But will it be good for your blog ? Just askin' ...
I absolutely agree that we'd be in better shape if voting were limited to informed voters. How informed ? I haven't given it too much thought and there's no real point to doing so. I also tend to think voting should be restricted to people who pay taxes and therefore have a vested interest in how their elected officials spend their money. (As opposed to people who don't pay taxes or who receive money from the government and therefore have a vested interest in how the government spends everyone else's money). The intent of that idea, by the way, isn't to limit voting, but rather, to expand taxation such that as many people as possible pay some taxes, even if it's a token amount. Ideally, that would be done by improving standards of living and shrinking the number of people dependent on government entitlement programs.