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I'm happy for Oly, long may they sell enough cameras to survive. I continue to be amazed how many people there are who find a bulkier, heavier, more expensive camera better than the E-M5. Is that over sized grip that good for you/them? I have what seems to have become a nest of µ4/3 lenses, that may be breeding, OM Pens, E-M5, GX7 and GM1 and can't for the life of me see the point of the E-M1. Had I some old, 4/3 lenses that need PD AF, sure. As it is, it just adds some features unimportant to me at the cost of size, weight and $$. I do hope the rumors of an E-M5 II are true. Especially if, like it's predecessor, it should usher in the next generation of sensor IQ. Or might Panny do that with a GX8? In the meantime, I can assuage my GAS with other things. BTW, the Oly 9/8.0 lens cap fish eye is more fun and better quality than one might expect.
"Ctein mentioned these years ago, but we paid no attention to The Bearded One." Which we would that be? I've been using a 320 GB USB 2.0 My Passport as light, portable backup for years. "The wee little Western Digital My Passport hard drives are wonderful—you can alternate backups to two of them and then just grab one when you're traveling with your laptop. One stays safe and sound at home and the other continues performing backups on the road with you, with minimal cost in size and weight." Or - use one on the road, copy to primary storage when home and backup with one's usual home strategy. My images come off road storage/backup into my regular image storage process. "We chose ... but there are lots of different models, and different colors, even." WD Elements is the same drive in drab clothing and without the WD backup/cloud/password/encryption software. It may, depending on the vagaries of retail, be available for noticeably fewer $, as was the case for my one TB model. (It would require reformatting for Mac.) Be aware that USB 3.0 peripherals use a different Micro cable connector than USB 2.0. So if you want a back-up cable in your travel kit, you may need to buy the second one. Another Bearded One
Wow! I pretty much have an answer for everything. But this has me scratching my head. Not that I haven't had seemingly endless camera desires over the decades, but time has outdated them or occasionally eliminated through eventual acquisition. Had I been able to afford a Rolleiflex 2.8 when I bought a used 'cord, ever so long ago, I'd now have a valuable classic, instead of a less than valuable semi-classic. I've got plenty of examples of the opposite. \;~)>
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on The One That Got Away at The Online Photographer
"I spent the first half of my life avoiding large apertures, because most lenses perform at their worst wide open." Seems to me a more accurate generalization could be "most older lenses perform at their worst wide open, while many contemporary lenses perform best wide open or a stop down." Simple case in point: All my older, MF macro lenses perform best somewhere around f8-f11. The Tamron AF 90/2.8 is sharpest for flat copy work at 1:2 to 1:1 wide open or one stop down, where it outperforms all the others, but ties with the Zuiko 50/3.5 Macro @ 1:2 (f8 or 11) "And nowadays, I see lots and lots (and lots) of pictures that are taken with what I think are inappropriately wide apertures—pictures in which the photographer has reflexively tried to maximize the amount of blur, but just doesn't have everything in focus that (in my judgment) ought to be." Amen Brother!
One more vote for the Oly 45/1.8 $, size and weight of the PanaLeica for equal or lesser IQ and one stop doesn't work for me. It goes against the whole gestalt of µ4/3. Length = 74 vs. 56 mm Diameter = 77 vs. 46 mm Weight = 426 vs. 116 g Price = ~ $1,600 vs. ~ $270 Gotta need that one stop real bad ...
The idea that Sony knows the future better than the endless trail over millennia of failed prognosticators seems odd to me. Just because they are willing, and foolish, enough to make detailed predictions doesn't mean they know more than others who choose not to do so.
"So, now I'm in the list for an A7II which will be used only with manual-focus lenses. That is not a problem for me since I'm 63." That sounds like a non-sequitur to me. Is it "I'm still young enough that I can focus manually."? Or is it something like "I'm so old that I can afford to just futz around with old stuff for fun before I die."? Or??? I'm really not being flip; I don't understand what you meant to say. 70, with a large stash of OM mount Zuikos and other brands, but almost exclusively using AF µ4/3 lenses, mostly zooms. And not because I can't see well enough to focus manually. I can see very well, but prefer MF for its quickness. µ4/3 AF lenses allow MF fine tuning just by using the focus ring.
"I've long enjoyed photography from airplanes and have had some shots that really work out:" Aha! Another one. I spend inordinate amounts of the time I'm in 'planes peering out the window - and taking pictures. I spent much of my work career working with aerial photos, and still find the landscape from above endlessly fascinating. "It is interesting that it seems phase detection focus on a couple of camera systems I've used have more trouble hunting when shooting from the air or in low contrast situations like that seen from the air. I would be curious to hear if anyone else has that experience." I've mostly used cameras with contrast detection AF, which often has that problem. I use manual focus much of the time. When subjects are eight miles away, focus doesn't change much. I do focus when I can, note where that focus is and then switch to MF, as I believe the multiple bits of transparent plastic affect focus. When at lower altitude, AF seems to generally work fine. Here's a series over much of the empty West, including one of Great Salt Lake and one of the Front Range. Some of my favorite clouds, including a minimalist series, and a favorite landform image. And a few from SF=>Seattle=>Kalispell and with some wonderful views of mountains, esp. Shasta. Moose
An interesting problem/process. One that some bloggers are quite good at. Particularly with those who manage to maintain a weekly PAW blog, a real sense of continuity and picture of a life may emerge. One I enjoy is Nathan Wajsman. The ability to take images all the time to document my life is not one I have or desire. (Probably too boring, anyway.) Nathan shows how it's done, and has a good enough eye to make quite a few images that do stand on their own. Another interesting thing is editing a set of stand alone images into a book. Selection of which to include, in what order, across from what other image and on left or right page all have an effect on the feeling of the book. Putting together my first book was a revelation. Switch two images across from each other from side to side, and the whole affect of the spread changes! People tell me I'm good at this, but I can't say why. It's all instinct, as far as I can tell. But then, so is most art(ish) photography. Bookish Moose
Nice!! Moose
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2014 on Leicabashing at The Online Photographer
The 7S makes different trade-offs than the 7, in favor of high ISO performance, at the cost of less DR, better video, at the cost of less resolution for stills, etc. The 7R makes compromises for super high resolution. The 7 is the model best optimized for straight still shooting. Is the attraction of the 7S it's actual feature set, which seems not aimed at you, or that it's new - SHINY! - and you held it? If the images I've seen from you here over the years are any indication, you will get no better results from the A7S than you are now from the NEX-6. That's not a negative comment, but an observation that, the occasional testing of limits aside, your photography doesn't push the capabilities of an excellent camera like the NEX-6. If it's about the lens, and the 7S is just a vehicle, I think an A7 is a better match for you. If it's about the lens, can you first determine whether the new Zeiss, whether 'better' than the one you loved or not, makes images that you will like as much? It would be a bummer to drop that cash and find that the results aren't what you expect. In another couple of years, the A7S will be in the same position as the NEX-6. So why not continue to take good images with it and let it be in danger again then? Any help?
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2014 on O Lawd Hep Me at The Online Photographer
"The great example of this that I can think of off the top of my head is Edward Weston, who made art out of a ceramic toilet ("Excusado") and a bell pepper ("Pepper No. 30") as well as a great many other mundane subjects." I'm not sure I agree. Both are common objects, but the prejudice that they are necessarily less interesting than their photographs I'm not willing to accept without further consideration. Might the enduring interest in them be in part because they are such perfect evocations of things inherently of interest to most people. Sort of B&W Platonic ideals in which we can see the beauty of their true forms. Perhaps Weston's talent lay not only in being able to make exquisite, tonally gorgeous prints, but in recognizing subjects that would be inherently interesting to most people and making beautiful images of them as ideals. The unanswered question in my mind has always been whether it was a green pepper, which is much less interesting to me, or a luscious red one. A problem with B&W. Then there are all the photographs of his wife, in many of which the subject transcends the photograph - to this male. Late Night Rambler Moose
What's small? to judge from replies so far, it includes cameras I would call gargantuan. Then, I pulled out an Oly OM-1 with 50/1.4 the other day, and the immediate thought that ran through my mind was how big and heavy it is. I think of them as my big cameras now, but apparently they aren't ... I use an E-M5 and GX7, usually as a two camera kit, Oly 12-50 on one and 75-300 on the other, when in the field. Other lenses in the bag, but those do most of the work. If I HAD to pick one, it would probably be the Panny, for the EFC silence and lack of shutter shock. For what I consider small, I love the Panny GM1. Same image quality as in the 'big' ones with few compromises. I have a long history of trying to find the perfect compact camera. With the advent of the GM1, I found my S100 and others went unused. And yet ... I want a compact with good zoom range in one lens. The GM1 with 12-32 is a lovely thing, but I do like tele and macro. Add the Panny 45-150 and an extension tube, and the kit is no longer really small and simple, although usable for many times and places. So now I'm trying out a Panny ZS40. 24-720 is a heckuva zoom range, twice as long as the 24-360 of the Samsung WB650. Same small sensor, but better IQ in JPEGs and, wonder of wonders, Raw output. Don't believe the reviews that say it doesn't much matter.. The pixel level difference in IQ with proper processing is great and, small sensor or not, there's a little headroom for recovering highlights, at least at low ISO. If it only had closer focus at the long end, sigh. Will propinquity grow into love? Only time will tell.
"The idea is that there are professions out there in the world with remunerative positions waiting to be filled—i.e., jobs that need doing—and that that's why the school exists: for training purposes ...This is fraudulent on the part of the art schools, of course. Think of it as one of the world's biggest white lies." They are far from alone. Religious education, seminaries and such, psychology, alternative health care modalities and others have similar problems. The schools prepare more people than are needed for the work available. And like art schools, they prepare them poorly, paying no attention to their actual aptitude and skills* and little or none to the practical sides of actual practice/employment. I was amazed when a good acquaintance decided to study psychology, impressed, but disturbed, as she stuck with it right through to the state license to practice. I was unsurprised when she was unable to turn all that into any sort of income to support her. Another forty-something for now living again with her Midwest parents - with a mountain of student debt. She could survive with the work she was doing before, but likely can't do that and pay her debt. The explosion of small, private 'Universities' over the last few decades is a vast con game, based on poorly designed and managed Federal student loan practices. It's far broader than what I've talked about above, including all sorts of academic and technical fields where poorly qualified professors baby sit poorly qualified students as they learn part of the skills and knowledge to succeed in jobs for which there are too many candidates for demand. Student debt is a hidden drag contributing to our long term economic malaise. "There is no art profession and there are no artist positions waiting to be filled." I don't believe this to be true. If you change it to read "fine artist positions", perhaps so. I believe there is a continuing shortage of really talented artists for the huge demand for 2 and 3D and moving images for commerce. The problem is much the same as for fine arts, many, many who are competent and few who are exceptional, but there are a lot more jobs that will support a person. "There isn't any need for a certifying process for artists, either. It's not a guild that can protect itself from interlopers or overcrowding by keeping membership exclusive." "And then you have to factor in the sobering likelihood that some of those 5–7% would have succeeded as artists anyway, even if they didn't have a B.F.A. or an M.F.A., because they happen to be particularly good, or particularly driven." One of my sons has drawn on what ever is at hand since he could smear finger paint and hold a pencil. He chose not to go to art school, mostly because he knew just what he wanted to create and wasn't interested in most of the curriculum. After a handful of lean years, he is so busy as a graphic artist that "I wake up, start drawing, draw all day, and fall asleep drawing." He has to turn down paying work. His wife has her art degree. For now, she is the support "team" without which he couldn't be nearly as successful. She's still in the field, as you put it. "particularly driven." is interesting, as it calls up an image of someone driven by the need to succeed, make money, etc. For artists there is another kind of drive (to which you refer below). My son's second major area of work started because he is driven - to draw. His drawings on napkins while waiting for lunch were seen by a right person. Luck, sure, but the drive to create let it happen. His creative talent and hard work have broadened it far beyond that first client. "For individuals who have an artistic temperament, not practicing art in some way or other can be unhealthy." A great truth. There are other, perfectly good, reasons, but the real reason I keep making images is that it feeds me to do so, whether or not anyone else sees and/or appreciates them. That I have a small fan club doesn't hurt, though. \;~)> Moose * This is not an exaggeration. I have a friend who teaches at a large, well known private 'University' of good reputation specializing in this sort of fields. You might find it hard to believe what pressures are put on teachers to keep students in the school, no matter what. A whole industry that produces little of value and ruins thousands of lives depends on government loans not to the industry, but to its customers.
Every Fall, I drive around Boston and the surrounding area. Every year, I swear I will avoid anything close to rush hour. Every year, I rediscover how long rush hours are. Many people have told me how bad Boston drivers are. That has not been my experience. It's been more like "This is hopeless, we're all in it together, go ahead, merge in ahead of me." It's not like we are all in the wrong lane intentionally; they weren't marked until too late. And I understand that the streets in old Boston started as cow paths. That doesn't seem to me to adequately explain the appallingly poor design of the newer parts, including the results of "The Big Dig". "Sure, let's merge in three entrances just before a major exit, but why bother to add half a mile of extra right lane? It'll only be creeping for a few hours, five days a week." And the signage! Much of which is a lack of same. Makes Maine signage look good, if only by comparison. Glad you got in one piece, on the same day you started. (Can you tell I was just driving there?) Moose
Very fine! Strong, simple composition, perfect exposure, lovely tonalities. 'Twere mine, I'd correct perspective distortion. I'd also consider making it like the camera was slightly to the right, so the edges of the windows aren't visible. Maybe, maybe not, I'd have to see it. Moose
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2014 on Random Snap at The Online Photographer
"The Nikon We All Want" Fortunately, you seldom make such silly inclusive statements. Seismic reading here is zero. I liked my Ftn ... Moose
"The goal of learning all this is to get to know your lens." I agree wholeheartedly. "Many amateur photographers conceive of their lens kits in terms of wanting to "cover" all the focal lengths or "be able to handle" any actual or imagined situation. They also like toys. Therefore they tend to overbuy lenses and have too many in their arsenals." Guilty - and yet - it's through actual use that I discover which lenses really work for me. Am I supposed to buy on the basis of tests or user recommendations? Sometimes that has worked, sometimes not (as with the Zuiko 90/2 'Macro' above). So I (over) buy what seems likely to please, and find out which do through experience. "One common result: under-familiarity with their own lenses, especially since amateurs may not shoot very much or very often." Well, yeah, I only shot a little over 12,000 last year. (Still haven't dug out of that blizzard; it should be fewer this year.) "My feeling as a teacher is that one of the best things a hobbyist photographer can do to improve their seeing and their pictures is to limit the focal lengths available to them and use fewer lenses rather than more. Cartier-Bresson got by with one lens (although he often carried three, he only very seldomly used anything but the 50mm) and Sebastiao Salgado used three when he was making his early, formative work. You need more?" Buy what if I don't want to be Henri Bloody C-B? Both these people are photojournalists/street shooters. I am totally uninterested in photojournalism. I've done street shooting, quite successfully, to my mind, using a completely different approach than the HC-B style. But my real loves are elsewhere. I do take landscapes. I don't know how many lenses St. Ansel carried with him, and I don't care, as I find my own way to make the images I like. "My preference and my habit has always been to use one or two lenses at a time." I agree, and don't. I'd guess maybe 95% of my images are shot with three lenses. If I ignore more casual work with Panny GM1 and 12-32 (and before that, Pens with compact lenses, and a series of 'enthusiast' compacts), it's over 95% with two lenses, but they are zooms. And yet, were have wildly different photography habits. I like many different kinds of subjects, from macro to long tele, and most of my shooting is done on the road. These images from last Wednesday may be eclectic, but they are things I noticed and, to my mind, captured quite well. To do so required a great range of focal lengths and focal distances, although only two lenses. If that's what one wants, a couple of fixed focal length lenses will not work. Like HC-B, doing most of his shots with one of the three lenses he carried, I also carry a super wide zoom, 60/2.8 macro and, for low light, Panny 20/1.7. They may not get much use, but when the shot presents itself, in a place I may never visit again, in light I won't ever see exactly again, I'm ready. The beauty of µ4/3 is that they are small and light. Moose
"I've even used a few "Macro" lenses that are not actually optimized for the closeup range—the superb Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm ƒ/2 Macro (note: the film version, not the same lens I mentioned earlier) is one of these—thankfully, since that made it better as a general-purpose normal lens." True also of the OM Zuiko 90/2 Macro. This was a great disappointment to me. I bought this legendary lens, fool that I am, to do Macro shooting. It's IQ started to deteriorate closer than about 1:4. I've never understood why, given that they already had an excellent 85/2 for general work, Oly made a 90/2 "Macro" that isn't. I sold it on, and continued to use lenses labeled Macro that were actually designed for that purpose, The Zuiko 50/3.5, Kiron 105/2.8 and Tamron 90/2.5 (With matching teleconverter, also an excellent 180/5 macro). BTW: As far as I can tell without buying one, from tests and examples, the 50/2 Macro is no better for actual macro than the 50/3.5. BTW II: The Tamron 90/2.8 AF Macro lens is as good or better than any of the above @ 1:2 and 1:1 for flat field copy work. Only the 50/3.5, at 1:2, is competitive. Moose
I like alternate takes on the moon. Seems like every full moon brings yet more perfectly nice shots of the full moon - zzzzzzzzzzz I've been living with this one for a few weeks now. I'm starting to think I may prefer this simpler crop. Loony Moose
Congratulations!!! Moose
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2014 on Sunday Open Mike: News! at The Online Photographer
"PS: also very curious to know the book printers mentioned (enigmatically) in one of the comments." Referring to my post? I didn't name names because things change and I haven't researched alternatives for quite a while. When I last looked, it seemed that My Publisher, inkjet, and Adorama, Fuji Crystal Acrhive, looked the best from a distance. I got sucked in by special offers from My Publisher. I like the way their printing comes out. If you look closely at undifferentiated areas like sky, you can see the inkjet dither pattern, but at normal book viewing distance it's invisible. They have both glossy and a semi-matte finish. I very slightly prefer the matte-ish one. The heavier paper choice is a sensual experience to turn. I've never had a negative comment from anyone who has seen them about book/print/color quality. I can't speak much to their book making software. In an early version, I had trouble getting portrait images to just fill the height of the page, but it's several versions later now. I make up my own pages at their full resolution, 1200x1600, and drop them into the software, which works perfectly for me. The down side is their high-low pricing strategy. They are forever sending email special offers, which can end up way lower than their 'regular' prices. For someone like me, who buys a copy or two occasionally, and not in a rush, that's a minor annoyance. Moose
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2014 on Showing Just to Show at The Online Photographer
I 'show' in a different way. I've had books made of my images, three books with about 220 images, so far. More to come. If you haven't seen the quality of the better on-line book publishers, you are missing something. Excellent printing on lay-flat pages of heavy, beautiful stock are delicious. I find it fascinating watching people go through the books. Some just look, saying nothing until finished, sometimes little even then, although none have as yet expressed anything less than enjoyment. Others are quite interactive, saying what they like or don't, asking about and/or discussing the what, where, how, why of some images. Viewers have ranged from family through friends, through participants in workshops we've attended. Many have said I should publish commercial versions, but as yet, that's sounded like more trouble than it's likely worth. The oddest was when I was showing the family who run Grumpy's for Breakfast, our favorite restaurant on Mt. Desert Island, ME, an image taken there the year before. A woman at another table came over to look and ended up taking the book to go through. Effusively enthusiastic, wanting to know where she could get a copy; she never did email me. Add me to the list of those who like to show and experience reactions to their work, without making a business of it. Moose [Hi Moose, which online book publishers do you use? --Mike]
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2014 on Showing Just to Show at The Online Photographer
Certainly a different game than photography. My current µ4/3 gear makes much better image files than my first DSLR, even better than my 5D. I'm betting today's high end stuff doesn't actually sound any better than yesterday's. Another approach to the vintage game is to buy good stuff new - and keep using it until it is vintage. \;~)> I think that's what I have done, without any conscious plan to do so. About 25 years ago, I spent a Lot of time and ear effort building a system. All I've had to replace is the CD player. The second time a mechanical part broke, I couldn't find a replacement part. Everything else is now well preserved vintage. Your comments about the bleeding pocketbook end seem pretty close to me. I was able to visit a couple of high end shops regularly, midday, midweek, so I got to listen to ridiculously expensive systems set up for real customers to audition, at some length. Yes, a couple were spectacular, but the edge over just really good, was pretty thin. And I'd have had to remodel my house to do them justice. After the tweeter in one of my first set of speakers had to be replaced, then a bass unit went out, and the maker was out of business. At the same time, Stereophile slipped, and rated the new B&W 805s, a pair of which cost significantly less than a new car, in their A - minimotor category. I checked them out and bought. The magazine soon realized their error. B&W brought out the same components, but with two base drivers per box. Clearly, letting such inexpensive speakers into Class A was a failure of judgement (editorial, not aural, IMO). And now they would seem foolish to have the new B&Ws, which must be better, as they cost more and have more drivers, so the 805s were demoted to 'B'. Oddly enough, they didn't sound any worse, and have graced my life with physical and aural beauty ever since. For real vintage, consider the drivers in my home built/modified subwoofer/surround boxes. Sometime around say '62, I made a custom center channel woofer to go with my home made, 'Sweet Sixteen' midranges with dome tweeters. I used a University 16" woofer with dual voice coils to mechanically mix the channels. Later, I bought another of the woofers, a pair of midrange horns, three way crossovers and rebuilt a pair of attractive walnut floor boxes so the panels didn't vibrate, to make three way, bass reflex tuned speakers. Now, one voicecoil of each bass unit receives subwoffer output from a surround sound amplifier, while the other and the midrange and high end drivers, output suitably adjusted, handle surround sound. Surround sound is from real speakers, not tiny, tinny things. Sub bass can be turned up so movies like Independence Day will lift you out of your seats, if I want. Mostly, they are balanced to subtly fill out the bass. The inexpensive center channel sub-woofers back in the early 90s were 'slow', handling transients poorly. Mine are 'fast'. So, are 60's drivers vintage? Or antique? I'll say one thing; they really built them back then. The woofer surrounds are still intact and supple. Moose
My first photo book had 100 images, plus cover. Although limited to a particular time and place, I choose specific images almost entirely to please myself, which, I think, gives the collection some overall coherence. I included some that I simply liked, and wanted there, but suspected no one else would much like. I've shown the book to quite a few people, family, friends, acquaintances and a handful of essentially strangers. Most times, I've been able to at least watch, often interact, as they thumb slowly, speed hastily, etc. through it. The lesson learned, and reinforced with subsequent books, is that tastes vary over a vast range. One person would enthuse over an image that some others would skim past. There were a number that elicited a response, comment or long look from almost everyone, but none that were universal. After quite a few viewers, I thought I'd only failed with one image, which no one had viewed for more than a second or commented on. Then a friend was moved to tears by it. Interestingly enough, it was an image I had kinda included because I though it would have wide appeal. My conclusion is that, absent client requirements, externally imposed theme, etc., a book/portfolio/set of ones images is best when chosen to please oneself. Two later books have solidified this opinion. Setting a theme, time, place, etc. may be a help in making the project manageable, but the choice and order of particular images should be to please the photographer. Oscar Wilde said "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." BTW, apropos recent posts, making a book and sharing it with people is, at least in my experience, a way to have an interactive relationship with viewers. A possible antidote, for folks who feel isolated, un-viewed and unappreciated on their web sites. A sense of appreciation and fulfillment may be closer than you think. Most people are still best engaged by people and tangible things. People who pay little or no attention to a web gllery can respond quite differently with physical book in hand, pages to turn, and so on. Moose
Toggle Commented May 31, 2014 on Subtle Dilemma at The Online Photographer