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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.
Gosh, what a loaded question ! The downside of trying a camera with an EVF is from that point forward, neither type of VF offers everything. When I use my DSLR, I wish for EVF features and vice versa. As for judging exposure, I think a live histogram might be the best bet. I misjudge with an EVF more often than I misjudge with a DSLR. That may be down to tweaking settings (like EVF brightness) but I'll find myself dialing in exposure compensation to get the live view where I think it should be only to find my files are too bright (typically) as a result. I have much better luck getting level shots with an EVF. And it's great for manually focusing when I need to do so. (Not too often). So for me, the jury is out - I like both.
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2016 on Reader Question at The Online Photographer
I've regretted spending too little far more than I've regretted paying too much. The EM1-II may or may not be overpriced, but it sits in a market crowded with gear that seems considerably more expensive than a few years ago. Manufacturers were in a race to the bottom. That didn't work out, so now they're looking to make profits on more expensive gear. It seems very kneejerk to me and the result is that we go from having lots of low end stuff and not much "good stuff" to pick from to having lots of high end stuff and less low to midrange stuff. The consumer at any particular price point is left with feast or famine, depending on corporate whims.
Sign me up for a preorder of Ken Tanaka's Chicago ! Re: procrastinating ... I figure I'll take the time to take all those pictures I don't take the time to take now (parse THAT one, Peter Piper !) after my daughter goes off to college. That's the plan and I'm sticking to it (at least 'til she goes off to college).
I think it's partly aiming it at pros, like the D500 and 7DII. Some recent lenses (300/4 comes to mind) and the recently announced Olympus ProVantage program (see Thom Hogan's site if you're curious) support this. And it's partly the move by all manufacturers to product more high profit margin products. $1600 for the XT2, $1800 for the D500, $1000 for the latest RX100 (!), $1400 for the A6500, the new Nikkor 105/1.4, the Panasonic G85 at $900 (remember when the G series bodies were competitors to entry level DSLRs ?) The whole market is shifting and, it seems, getting used to it. OK, there's an uproar over the price of the EM1-II right now, but people will get over it. It got over the 300/4 at $2500.
I keep reading that smartphones are impacting DSLR sales, but no evidence of cause and effect. It's easy enough to believe that they've impacted digicam sales and I'm sure there are some consumers who might have bought up to DSLRs (from point & shoots) who don't want to be bothered now that their phones have proven so convenient & fun (facebook, etc). On this side of the peak (the downhill side) we have product sufficiency and the expense of upgrading, as you say. But we also have a degree of market saturation. On the uphill side, we not only had product insufficiency (making us more willing to upgrade) we also had pent up demand. Not every household that would have liked a DSLR had one yet. Prices had been higher than today's entry level kits and $499 Black Friday specials. Just because smart phones have cameras, it's a leap to associate an increase in phone sales with a decrease in ILC sales. Smart phones also have screens - if flat panel TV sales shrink, should we attribute that to phones ? Sooner or later, we'll see sales of smart phones themselves peak and then decline (statista forecasts a peak in 2018). How will we explain that ?
I'm cursed with being a frugal yankee. Comfortable enough to afford the camera I want and then some, but won't buy more than I can reasonably justify. I figure a large part of the reason I'm comfortable enough to afford what I want is because of years of saying no to stuff I don't need. Eventually it becomes habit.
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2016 on 'Camera-Comfortable' at The Online Photographer
If you ever run shy on dandelion greens, feel free to stop by my house and pick all you want (in season, of course) !
Re: occasional prints ... last time I owned an Epson was back when occasional prints were a no-no. If you weren't printing frequently, print heads would clog. I switched to Canon (which hasn't clogged, but likes to spend time & ink running through automatic cleaning cycles) but always wondered if Epson still suffers from that issue (I've been out of the loop when it comes to printers).
I love that photo ! Just when I thought the picture-of-someone-taking-a-selfie was too cliche to be interesting ...
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2016 on Debatable at The Online Photographer
I purposely took my D7000 with 16-85 out yesterday on a visit to an apple orchard w/friends, just to see how I'd like it after using my A6000 so much recently. I didn't mind the weight (at first, it seemed quite big in comparison) - I just carried it on my BlackRapid sling and it was like it wasn't even there. I liked the AF-C shooting my daughter & her friend, though I suspect a state of the art mirrorless with the right settings would have been fine. I found that I really missed the EVF, though. Some aspects, anyway. I like seeing backlighting through an OVF, but I missed the exposure preview. I can expose more consistently with the A6000. The thing that surprised me most, though, was my use of the zoom. I've gone out with an 18-200 and shot mostly in the 18-55 range. This time, I went out with a 16-80 and shot mostly in the 55-85 range. Go figure.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2016 on New Equipment Arrivals at The Online Photographer
Gosh, I can remember when the thought of a 50/1.4 for nearly $1000 - not from Zeiss, but from Sigma, of all companies - would be utterly absurd ... and here you are talking about it as good enough to not hold you back. Manufacturers really are doing a good job over the last couple years in getting the market to expect and accept higher priced products. A few years ago, after Nikon's D600 and Sony's A7, it looked like were were heading for an era of affordable awesomeness (could the $1000 FF DLSR be far off ?) Not the sub-$2000 FF bodies are the poor man's cameras that nobody really wants. APS-C bodies are back in the $1000+ range. Panasonic's G series is starting around $900 now ... forget an entry level body with a built in VF to compete with the $500 entry level DSLRs any more (other than the Sony A6000, and they were quick to rememdy that with the nearly-$1000 A6300). We've come to accept $1000 pocket cameras (RX100-IV) $1600 point & shoots (RX10-III). All of which might be a good thing. The race to the bottom wasn't going to do us any good in the long run, and I've often bemoaned the fact that it's getting harder and harder to find "good stuff" any more ... quality household items.