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Dennis
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I have to pay attention and be disciplined to compose well through a DSLR viewfinder. I have a tendency to look *through* it at the subject(s). So I see the trees, the people, the cars, the buildings, whatever. What I want to see is a two dimensional rectangular image. When I started playing around with my first couple digicams, I realized that seeing the 2d image on the LCD provided that abstraction easily. Around that same time, I also bought an angle finder for doing macro work and discovered that it gave me a similar level of abstraction. Whether it's because I was seeing something that wasn't directly in front of me or something about the image in the finder, it made it intuitively obvious that I was looking at an image. I'll have to play around with this some more - I wonder if it's because I was seeing an obviously bounded rectangle where I'm hard pressed to see out to all of the edges and corners of some viewfinders with my eyeglasses. Anyway, now the problem with LCDs is that I have to hold them too far away to see them clearly. (I'm way overdue for an updated eyeglass prescription). None of that makes my iPhone a particularly enjoyable camera, though.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2018 on iPhone Fail at The Online Photographer
As with other subject matter, the answer to this is that what I like to look at and what I like to do aren't necessarily the same. I appreciate constructed still lifes (the plural is weird) - I even thought about trying to emulate Walter Wick "Eye Spy" type shots with my daughter's toys at one time. But I never did and I don't often construct anything - I don't like to pose people or arrange objects. It's not out of some misguided notion that one way of shooting is somehow superior to another, but a recognition of what I enjoy about photography. And that is the search for scenes, moments, subjects that beg to be photographed ! Things I see that I want you to see, too, or that I want to remember. The result is a photograph whose "interestingness" sometimes depends on context - on the knowledge that what you're seeing is a representation of something I actually saw; something serendipitous, not something constructed. Honestly, I wouldn't even know what to construct to make a good image. I don't have the artist's drive to create something. But I love seeing cool sights and I love that the more I photograph, the more I train myself to see cool sights.
I don't get it. You blog for a living. You post content, but wouldn't spend so much time doing so if you couldn't monetize it. Now you're complaining about advertisements while reading content that someone else has provided. The question is: what content would there be if nobody made money on it ? I teach my daughter to assume that pretty much everyone you run into in life is looking to take her money. If someone is offering something, assume they're looking to profit from it. And, just like in real life, I avoid the more money-grubbing places on the internet in favor of those with a reasonable value proposition.
Mike, I think the difficulty in picking an ultimate kit is what keeps me shooting what I'm shooting. Everything else I look at has its advantages. Meaning everything I look at is missing advantages that the other things I look at have. It's all good and nothing is obviously best. It's interesting that you're going from looking at crop mirrorless (Fuji and m43) to FF DSLR and not FF mirrorless. An A7II with a 35/2.8 and 70-200/4 or 70-300 could be a nice alternative.
The idea of a zoom as a flexible prime might be a philosophy that works for some, but not me. I typically either want range (and want to put the range to good use) or I'm perfectly fine enjoying a nice, sharp, fast, compact prime without the flexibility. Part of the difficulty I have with midrange zooms is I want them to do well for scenic shots (so I like a 24mm equivalent with good sharpness out to the edges) and I like them to creep into portrait range (at least 85mm equivalent, but preferably 105mm or longer) and, ideally, at a faster-than-f/5.6 max aperture. The Sony 16-70/4 is appealing for e-mount, but its not a great landscape lens at the wide end. (I had the older Sony Zeiss 16-80 for A mount and really liked that lens). I think full frame users have better choices in this regard (24-xxx/4 zooms where f/4 on full frame provides shallower DOF than an f/4 zoom on APS-C). The Nikon 16-80 is about perfect and might be the solution if Nikon rolls out an interesting mirrorless solution. I actually bought the Sony 10-18 just to get a good 24mm equivalent (too bad the Sigma 16/1.4 wasn't out at the time) but basically use it as an expensive WA prime because I also find little use in anything wider than 24mm equivalent.
I often do a variation of that. Sony e-mount with 18-200 and a prime (28/2 or 30/1.4). That works pretty well, but then I still sometimes miss a longer fast prime. Before that, Sony 16-80 with a 28/2 for when the sun set. But it always varies ... I might opt for 85 & 28 instead of a zoom. Or 70-200 and 35 on my DSLR (no overlap). In short, the perfect two lens kit is perfect sometimes, but not all the time.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2018 on The Perfect Two-Lens Kit at The Online Photographer
What do you read on your Kindle, books or files ?
What would your non-brief answer look like ? Re: holistics and the medium format camera that's more or less free of quirks, I have no opinion on that, having only ever used a Rollei TLR. But I kind of feel that way about digital cameras. I don't think I've ever used a digital camera - or heard of one, for that matter - that's been satisfying enough to think that I could use this camera for a decade or two. They all have something that begs for improvement after using them for a while. I think a handful of people have found cameras they've gotten along with (just as some undoubtedly did with medium format) and a couple of cameras (Nikon D700 comes to mind) have more than a few fans, but I don't know that anyone has made any close to a "just right" digital camera. (Maybe my Sony RX100 is the closest, though certainly not as an only camera).
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2017 on Medium Format Digital at The Online Photographer
I'd love to have one. But as a luxury item - I could afford one if it meant enough to me, so therein may lie your answer. But if I had enough money that I'd feel no guilt over the expense, I would find it thoroughly enjoyable and I think it would obligate me (a kick in the pants) to take my photography a little more seriously. I'm not sure I'd do anything that justified in as far as requiring the file quality, but I'd get a lot of personal satisfaction out of the tools and the quality of the images. I've shot medium format with a Rollei TLR before and it was always an absolute joy. I never printed any bigger from it than I did from 35mm.
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2017 on Thought Experiment at The Online Photographer
Bruce stated my objection succinctly. The software is mature. I haven't seen a single feature update to LR in the last several years that I'm willing to pay for. I only upgraded to LR 6 because I needed raw support for a new camera. When camera makers can't compel users to upgrade because their products aren't mature and they're out of innovative ideas, they suffer a decline in sales. But with creative pricing plans, Adobe has found a way to keep people funding development of features they may not have otherwise wanted. For $10/month, when push comes to shove and I need to upgrade for support of a new camera one day, I might just bite the bullet. No sense shooting myself in the foot over a philosophical objection to their pricing model. But only after taking a serious look at the competition and considering the costs (monetary and time) and benefits (practical and philosophical !) of switching to something like Capture One.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2017 on Big Weekend at The Online Photographer
While this photography (mostly) isn't my usual cup of tea, one photo in particular created an instant and strong sense of deja vu and immediately put one of George Winston's songs from "Autumn" in my head and I don't know exactly why. Oddly, it evokes a time long before I would have first heard that album. I don't think I've ever had that experience looking at someone else's photo.
This will probably be disappointing to some precisely because the 16-70 has a mixed reputation and it would have been hoping for another take on it. In a way, we've gotten it - your experience matches that of others (and test sites). This is one of the frustrating things about the Sony APS-C system. The A6500 is a powerhouse of a camera and, at $1400, needs lenses to match. The 16-70/4 has a great specification, the Zeiss label and a $1000 price tag, so promises to be an excellent lens, but while some applaud its center sharpness and contrast (and, I've read, "3d pop") others are disappointed with its lack of edge sharpness. I've avoided it, despite the fact that the specs would make it a great fit for me, because I'd use it for landscape & scenic photographs where I value edge/corner sharpness.
A little late to the party. The problem with this "truism that isn't" isn't that it's technically inaccurate (and we know what they mean) ... it's that it's often used to rationalize the wrong camera. I see it used frequently in the context of justifying a deliberate decision to downsize or to not carry a camera because it's just too much bother and "I always have my phone with me". If a person can buy into "the best camera is the one I have with me" then it makes it okay to be lazy; to not make the effort to carry a camera (certainly to not carry a tripod !); to not be ready to take good photographs. It's part of a disturbing trend I've seen where "serious" photography is frowned, even on fora (forums ?) dedicated to photography. Pixel peeping is a no-no, of course, along with critical evaluation of lenses, upgrading cameras, and heaven forbid, carrying anything that weighs more than 16 ounces and doesn't fit in your pocket.
I'm not sure if your question intended to correlate your observation to improvements in cameras/lenses/processing or just point out the coincidence. I agree that we're seeing more and more unrealistic images than ever before, but I think it's through action on the part of the photographer and not tied to the quality of the gear. I think it's a combination of the ease of manipulating digital images and unfortunate trends (born out of a desire to stand out tsunami of images). But I also think that the extreme dynamic range that cameras can capture - even in a single frame - can lead to some unreal photos. I occasionally find myself wondering if I like the look of images taken with 1" sensors (Sony RX line) precisely because the dynamic range looks "right" to my eyes. (I recall you posted something about the look of images taken with a particular m43 - Panasonic, I believe - camera). I find that on my first pass editing a photo, I often tend to pull out details in shadows in my photos just because the detail is there to be pulled out, and I have a hard time deciding on a final look.
I suppose "Shadow" is a stretch ... otherwise, I got nuthin'.
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2017 on Pet Names at The Online Photographer
That's pretty much true. I've had a couple of p&s digicams die one death or another, but only after they've already become "backup" cameras, so that they haven't needed to be replaced.
I think the sufficiency of recent digital cameras is a big reason for the decline in sales relative to the "boom" years. Mirrorless lines are less mature than DSLRs, so you're more likely to see the IV have something that makes it stand apart from the III. I upgraded my A6000 to a (used) A6500 recently. But my other cameras are a D7000 (announced 7 years ago; I've had mine roughly 5 years) and an RX100 (I) which I've had for about 4 years. Image quality is almost disappearing as a reason for an upgrade (within a format). New sensor developments are more about video or frame rates, fast readout for live view, PDAF on sensor, than about image quality. And DSLRs are pretty mature, while mirrorless still benefits from updates (and benefits more from recent sensor developments). Consider the sensor IQ scores on DXOMark for APS-C cameras. Looking at just one brand (Nikon), 6MP cameras scored in the 50-55 range, 12 MP cameras in the 60-70+ range, 16MP cameras scored 80, and 24MP cameras anywhere from just above 80 to 87, while the newer 20MP sensors fall within that range. Big IQ improvements prior to 2010; much slower since. A while ago, I came up with 4 years as a reasonable amount of time for me to get out of camera before thinking about an upgrade. I still think that works ... 4 years before thinking about it, not necessarily doing something about it. Not a rule (as evidenced by my recent upgrade of the A6000), just a number.
When I saw the headline, I thought maybe you had some inside scoop an the upcoming Nikon mirrorless system :) As you alluded to with the Sony comment, I'm finding that at least a few of Sony's cameras are actually hitting that "perfect camera" status (for me), but they're also hitting pretty high prices. I upgraded from the A6000 to the A6500, but only after finding a used one. I own an RX100 (original) and like the looks of the latest models, but the IV actually seems fine; no need for the V. (I won't buy either, at least no time soon). And I've toyed with the idea of the RX10-III as a travel camera (paired with the RX100 for days I don't want the bigger camera) and only wished that it had faster AF. Here it is with faster AF ... and a $1700 price tag ! I could probably come up with a few wish list items, but nothing I could or should reasonably expect. Most cameras have addressed most obvious limitations, except for that of my budget (and they're going the wrong direction on that count).
I like the idea of a wildlife, not idealized book. I'll submit this: https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/For-forum-posts/n-MDV7N/i-JShr9qf/0/ad9cb8cc/L/i-JShr9qf-L.jpg (shot w/my phone, naturally)
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2017 on Funny Photo Rant at The Online Photographer
I've encountered this, but only a smidgeon ... one friend, in particular, is taken with candids I've shot, and compares them (undeservedly) to school photos of his kids. (His kids went to a private school and class photos were very nice b/w portraits taken by a very good film-based studio photographer). I had to explain to him that my photos look good because I only show him my best few. As an amateur, I have the luxury of not showing him the other 99%. A pro has to deliver the goods consistently. He has to interact with those kids and get them to smile or look interested. He knows how to setup lighting. And he has to WANT to do it. That's the other thing that a lot of people don't get. Some assume that because you enjoy photography, you like taking pictures of anything and everything. Candid snapshots are not the same as studio portraits. The end result may look similar in some cases, but I'm not posing people and interacting with them to get the shot. Fortunately, I have the wisdom to know I'm not cut out to make money at photography.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2017 on Funny Photo Rant at The Online Photographer
Welcome back ! My family spent last week in not-quite-your-neck-of-the-woods (the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks ... I had considered a trip out to the Finger Lakes and Letchworth State Park, but it would have required too much driving from place to place to see all I wanted to see). On the way home from our trip, I gave my daughter and her friend a twin pack of Fuji Instax film so they could each print some pictures from the trip (I'd packed her Instax printer). The little prints have a certain charm to them, even though the quality is relatively lousy. On the way home, we stopped at a craft & antique fair, where I picked up a little souvenir pack of wallet-sized b&w pictures from Ausable Chasm (a place we visited). Those little, old pictures were also charming. And while in Saranac Lake, we visited the studio of a photographer, where I bought a poster of a photo he took with a Fuji 617. But I noticed a few prints he had on display that consisted of 4 small images on a roughly 3x10" paper. I found those charming, too. I'm starting to like small prints. Neither here nor there, but I figured between upstate NY and Fuji, it was somehow relevant.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2017 on He's Baaaaa-ack at The Online Photographer
Glad to hear the tooth extraction went well, Mike. "Legs" is a concept I'll have to keep in mind. I've looked at this idea from other points of view. One is the idea that pictures that grab people's attention tend to look good as thumbnails, while pictures with legs often make for lousy thumbnails. I'm not sure how true that is. There's also something to do with post processing that has to tie in. Sometimes, post processing that gives a particular image some extra attention-grabbing power can also take away the subtlety that gives it its legs. But only sometimes. As you say, it's complicated. I also like "Doglegs" a lot and can see that that one would last.
I think it probably is true - that for any artist widely recognized as great, there are any number of us who look at their work and wonder what all the fuss is about. You mentioned three works - I love one of the three and am left cold by the other two. I suspect artists need to have a thick skin because, depending on the accessibility of their work, anywhere from only a small handful to a bigger minority of people will actually resonate with it. There's plenty of work that I like very much that I'm sure would leave other people scratching their heads. I don't necessarily see it as a weakness on the part of the artist or the viewer - we're all wired differently. One thing I have learned over time is that just because I don't get something doesn't mean there's nothing to get. Sometimes, I just don't understand what it is that others get. Other times, I can appreciate what other people see in something, but it still doesn't do much for me. That's the case with a lot of music and comedy ... you can appreciate the quality of something without it really clicking, or you can imagine yourself enjoying it 20 or 30 years ago, or driving with the windows open, or maybe while drinking with friends, and finding something enjoyable that just isn't doing it for you now. (Sadly, I encountered this recently when playing a clip from "This is Spinal Tap" ... hysterical when I was 19).
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2017 on Love It / Don't Get It at The Online Photographer
It's a weird business. Then you have the stories of the studios that go out of business, leaving people unable to ever get reprints of their wedding photos or portraits (though I doubt that more than a miniscule percentage of clients ever go back for more prints after the initial order). Last night, I started looking through a photo book I picked up at a used book sale and in the back was a brief paragraph stating "No part of this book may be reproduced, altered, trimmed, laminated, mounted, or combined with any text or image to produce any form of derivative work." On the one hand, I should be able to do what I want to that physical object, but is a framed page a "derivative work" ? Not that I have any interest in doing this, but it's a large format book (11x16) and maybe some people would.
I just took a look at the Spotmatic after reading this - it's a beautiful camera ! I noticed that it uses 1.35V mercury batteries for the meter and that rang a bell ... years ago, when I bought my HiMatic 7sII, I paid for a CLA and to have the meter circuit adjusted to 1.5V batteries. Apparently, that's one of the things that Abilene does as part of their repair service, but just another argument to NOT skip the CLA step. BTW, those 70's era rangefinders are another nice option for anyone who wants to go this route. (Mine has been sitting in a drawer ... I'm partial to fast photography these days and my daughter will tell you I'm far from hip).