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"...But that's not the way the world is now. The conventional wisdom has flipped, and everyone wants shallow focus." Smaller sensors and their DoF characteristics happen to play into my most common preferences. So I like them. I've had some great results from the tiny 1/2.3" sensors in the Panny ZS cameras and the Oly TG-4 (which goes even further, with in camera focus stacking.) Yet I can imagine photographers who like shallow DoF for much of their work AND would like to take advantage of the small size and light weight of smaller sensor cameras. Might not the current wailing and gnashing of teeth be only from a subset of all of us folks out there taking pictures — and who know what DoF is? A different subset than were feeling the pain of larger sensors/film? \;~{)> "Ah, the odd vagaries of group taste!" Are "photographers" anywhere near a cohesive enough group that that sort of generalizations are of any meaning or usefulness? ". . . Very often, too shallow." That part, I don't "get" "Oh yeah, I meant to get tip of the nose in focus and the eyes soft." " Sure, it was important to get the traffic behind the subject in focus." When it works, it can be wonderful, but there sure are a lot of misses out there, at least to my eagle eye. And those are the ones that get on the web galleries; imagine the outtakes! When I'm concerned about placement of the plane of focus and DoF, I take brackets of focus.
Finally, some respect! -(;~)> Not that I seem to have a choice. I see flowers, I take photos of them; just the way it is. Our garden is as you describe, beautiful things coming and fading in endless parade. Where I live, that's almost year round, but esp. Feb through October. ". . . you can kind of guess that something might be about to happen." This is what's about to happen: Although much more appealing at a larger size. Or perhaps this: Or some other extravagant color! These are, BTW, simple snaps with an Olympus TG-4 P&S. It isn't that hard, with some practice and learning how your tools work for the subjects. (And shot RAW with a dash of post.) Now, you need a maintenance gardener, so all that work that you are now enjoying doesn't fall apart.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2016 on Specialists at The Online Photographer
"[Looks good on you." Thanks! We were out and about today, so I got Carol to take a snap of an old guy in proper old guy hat and proper old guy car. \;~)> "I have an unusually large head, and most hats make me look silly. Well, even sillier than I normally look. --Mike]" Y'all come on out; we know how to handle that in Calif.
"I chose this and it's awesome." You've gone beyond "bad", beyond "dorky", into a land beyond limits of taste . . . "Watch for convertible Corvettes and Miatas and notice who's driving. Chances are it'll be a grumpy-looking older male in a bad hat. Bro! :-)" They're grumpy 'cause they bought sexy cars that aren't really comfortable and unbelievably un-sexy hats that no one could be happy in. With one of my non-bad hats, in my 21 year old Olds convertible, I'm smilin'. I don't seem to have any in the car, so these will have to do. You know, I do look a little grumpy in this one, maybe the glare, maybe 'cause I'm driving a rental SUV? Still, a good looking hat with chin strap for the convertible. (I looked at and sat in Corvette, Firebird and Camaros, and test drove a Mustang, before buying the Olds. All cramped and uncomfortable.) [Looks good on you. I have an unusually large head, and most hats make me look silly. Well, even sillier than I normally look. --Mike]
Seems to me that Flanders and Swann fit the quintessential Englishmen mold. Their take on your title: '"There'll always be an England". Well, that's not saying much, is it? I mean, there'll always be a North Pole . . .'
Ever the contrarian, I tend to react to such statements by testing them. One way is by imagining how the opposite might, or might not, be true: "No camera is as good as the simplest photographer." My wife is a very good photographer, who never uses a camera. She tried photography, but found even the moderate technical things that she had to keep in mind with a good P&S camera distracted her and the results were no more than poor reminders of what she had wished to capture. So now she says something like "Oh look, Moosie, pretty!" and moves on, knowing that the subject she has seen will be captured about as well as is possible for her later viewing pleasure. One might then use me as the standard against which to measure cameras for the "simplest photographer." By that measure, they fall short. The latest intelligent Auto Modes are really awfully good, but some care and attention is still required in capture, and often after, to get the desired result. Looking at the other side, do I imagine Steichen to be correct? And in what way(s) might I disagree? Certainly my cameras are capable of photography which I don't use them for. I don't do astrophotography, fashion photography, HC-B style street photography, and so on. Does that mean I've not used the cameras in all the ways they are capable of working, and thus I'm not as "good" as they are? He's talking about insufficiency in photographer, not cameras. Yet, there are things I've asked of my cameras over the years of which they weren't capable. I often test their limits. And that seem to me at least as important as my shortcomings as user of the cameras. There are certainly photographic opportunities I would take, but do not notice, not "see", and which the camera could capture. There are all too many photographs I could have done better. But in that sense, the camera isn't "better" than I; it doesn't notice subjects I've missed, or ways I could have done better. It's only an unused intermediary, uninvolved in the failing, incapable of averting it. And I'm not the measure, anyway. He says "No photographer . . ." It seems to me that there have been quite a few photographers, both famous and not, who have used their cameras right up to their limits - at least for the work the photographers want to do. Do you suppose that Steichen may have been feeling the itch to buy a new camera, and was talking to himself? A useful quote to those suffering from excessive GAS. \;~)> Might he have just been looking at some less than adequate work by others, and generalized from too many times saying "You could do better, there's nothing wrong with your camera."? For, me, on balance, this quote, while pithy and sounding like there may be some deep truth in it, proves pretty light weight.
WOW, what a cornucopia. My eyes may start bleeding. \;~)> And yet, that Moose fellow also does more than a bit of that sort of thing. The sub (and sub-sub)albums of Alt dot Moose contain examples, in different moods, modes and styles. All are photo derived, although many may not appear so.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2016 on Educate Me? at The Online Photographer
Might this all be a tempest in a teapot, at least for most of us? My late brother did some statistical analysis on the Consumer Reports frequency of repair data for cars. He said the the data, while accurate, had no meaning. The rates of failure were so low, that the differences between them weren't significant. He advised ignoring them. From statistics to anecdotal data . . . I followed his advice. My 1995 convertible was on the CR do not buy list that year, for it's "terrible" repair record. At almost 21 years of age, it has been remarkably reliable and continues to please me. Not that it hasn't required repairs, but not often, nor particularly expensive. Because of the CR warning, I bought an extended warranty, which did me no good at all. For most of us, photo gear is not a great expense. For (all too?) many of us, gear is technically obsolete before failure. Many times, a failure may only speed up an inevitable upgrade, anyway. As pointed out above, statistically, self insurance is always cheaper. The Fortune 500 company where I worked most of my life was almost entirely self-insured, even health insurance. So if all of us here go ahead and buy 'dumb', maybe one or two a year will get stuck with an unexpected , but manageable, expense for repair, replacement or early upgrade. Over the course of a photographic lifetime, I'll bet we would all end up ahead. Seems to me there are better ways to spend my time and energy than worrying about this part of life.
OY! Please don't start it while some folks (like, well, me) are off at play (a retreat in the woods) for the Memorial Day weekend, possibly without web access. Thanks
Toggle Commented May 26, 2016 on Next Book Sale Alert at The Online Photographer
". . . image quality. That has been significantly improved, and is the leading edge of the wedge as the Fujifilm X-Pro2 garners glowing praise from all over the world." It's easy to rave about a camera, harder to compare them, especially for intangibles, such as, say 'drawing' quality. The standardized studio test subjects at DPR and IR have their weaknesses, but also the strengths of really direct comparisons of a variety of subjects, textures, repeating patterns, etc. Take a close look at the DPR X-Pro2 test, image comparison tool. For starters, select X-Pro2, ISO 200, RAW, and Oly Pen-F*, ISO 200, Normal (as opposed to HiRes). Wander around the image a bit; clicking on a spot brings it into the 100% windows. The 20 MP Oly image is slightly smaller, but almost everywhere I look, I can see slightly more, finer detail than the Fuji. The Fuji wins on the star moire patterns**, but falls behind on the paint brush bristles and the feathery green stuff. Many subjects just seem identical. On resolution and pixel level clarity, I'd call it almost a dead heat, with the Oly edging a bit ahead for doing better on more of the sample subjects. Wander off into other ISOs, different Raw converters, and one may never return.*** Color is tougher, as none of the people are real, just photos of photos, but both they and the feathers, pigments, etc. seem a draw to my eye. I'm not saying that the X-Pro2 isn't a great camera; I'm sure it is. I am suggesting that in the excitement of getting a new camera body, particularly if it's a brand one likes, hyperbole is easy. In the process, phrases like ". . . the leading edge of the wedge . . ." may be , uh, er, um, excessive. * I'm not touting the Pen-F, not a camera for me. It's about the newest µ4/3 sensor in it and the GX8. ** I assume the Fuji has an AA filter. The Oly does not, cannot, to allow the high Res Mode. The AA filter, while controlling moire, may be losing some superfine detail in non-patterned subjects. *** I'm also vaguely aware that X-Trans sensors have had some trouble with Raw conversion in ACR. Is that still a thing? Does it make a difference here?
Toggle Commented May 23, 2016 on Best Cameras at The Online Photographer
It seems to me that current copyright law, while clear, is wrong headed. I have bought several low $ pieces of art at co-op galleries over the last several years, including work by friends. In no case was the gallery apparently aware of how copyright law works. No documents to sell the copyright with the physical work were available, nor did the gallery folks know what I was talking about. In the case of my friend Bob Whitmire's gorgeous prints, things are as they should be. He owns the rights and I own prints for my own enjoyment. In the case of Marilyn's small oil painting, I thing it's wrong. I purchased the original work and there are no copies, with her or anywhere. I believe that, absent any documentation to the contrary, original art works should carry with purchase of the physical object, the IP rights. In other words, unless the sale includes my agreement that I am not buying the IP rights, they are mine. Of course, the vast majority of these modest sales at co-ops, small galleries, house and garage sales, etc. won't lead to any trouble. But one of these days, such an object will end up being worth a great deal of money. The original intent of buyer and seller will be overturned by the law. Presumption in law that the vast majority of such sales include the IP rights, would legitimize millions of transactions. Only the relative few that involve larger values and knowledgeable sellers who have the buyer sign the appropriate document would not include IP rights. It's a cleaner approach. Digital photographs would likely be an exception to the above, as a unique, physical original doesn't exist. Just sayin'
"Here's a camera that actual photographer moms might like." The TG-4 is a camera with a split personality. As a rugged P&S, IQ is far superior to their TG-8x0 series. Then, after a quick trip to the phone booth . . . Raw output. I know, some folks say that's of no consequence with tiny, high pixel count sensors. With both of my 1/2.3" cameras, TG-4 and Panny ZS40, the Raw files make a huge difference in the quality I get out of the camera. The post processed version may seem overdone to some, but that's the point; these Raw files stand up to serious manipulation. Microscope Mode, super close focus - with focus stacking in camera. With the accessory ring light pipe, it will shoot Microscope Mode and focus stack in complete darkness. A very capable and useful camrea in a small, rugged package/ I imagine there are some moms who would like it.
"But there's now a lens that really is the King of Bokeh." Tastes vary. I do not consider most of what I see in the samples to be excellent bokeh. I generally don't like hard, visible edges in OoF parts of images. I particularly dislike it when lines of tiny specular highlights are turned into lines of overlapping rings of light. I did this simulation some time ago, to allow me to describe visually what I am talking about when I talk bokeh. I consider the top two to be excellent and very good bokeh, the bottom two bad and awful. The samples in your link seem to me to range from OK to fairly bad. I've been working off and on on a process by which to convert hard edged bokeh into soft edged bokeh with brighter center than edges. This is a recent example of the results of a PS Action I've been developing. ================= For the moment adopting your definition, at least as shown in the samples from this lens, would not this image from the Oly 45/1.8 qualify? Bokeh looks very much like the last of the samples to me. Another example, perhaps even closer to what I like, again from the Oly 45/1.8. The Oly is the same price as the Panny, and very much liked by many more people than just me. It seems to me that what this new Panny really offers of value is not any optical superiority, but the OIS. I'm a fan of the GM1 and 5, but the above portraits were taken with Oly Pen bodies, for the IBIS. I think the reviewer is right, that GM5 and 42.5/1.7 lens are a great combo, but primarily for the addition of IS. My GM5 and Oly 45/1.8 would be essentially the same, but for the lack of IS.
"True?" No
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2016 on Humor! at The Online Photographer
This is, or has become over the years, a two layer question. 1. - RAW conversion. How does it perform at the limited task of converting the Raw formats into generalized formats with three color values for each pixel and gamma corrected luminance? Of all the various tabs and sliders, I would only include the first tab and only the color temp choices, Exposure, Highlight and Shadow sliders. Adobe test new cameras to allow them to produce default colors in ACR conversions that meet their idea of correct WB - and may different considerably from the camera makers' own ideas. Thus they tend to be similar for different makes. I have generally found that I prefer ACR's WB/colors to those of Canon's own conversion software, Oly's Viewer, SilkyPix for Panny and DxO Pro. But that's just my eye. 2. - Editing ACR has also become a powerful editor in it's own right. Although LR has been adding local area effects, its editing functions are still really a fancy GUI on top of ACR. I know people who use ACR as their only, or primary, editor. The two functions are separable. One may, as I do, use ACR for RAW conversion and pass that result on to one's favorite editor for the rest of Post. Or, if there is a converter that does a better job of X-Trans Raw conversion, use that just for that, and pass the image on to your fave editor, ACR. ACR may be set to open JPEGs, too.
"Buy the glass that you need, and use whatever body the company is offering." One interesting result of the High Res Mode of the E-M5 II is discovering that µ3/4 lenses are considerably out resolving the 16 MP sensors. Nice to know my menagerie won't be outdated anytime soon.
Strategy, smategy. My strategy in photography is to enjoy myself, not to minimize its expense. If one of my hobbies were scrimping, saving, making do, and so on, I might enjoy doing photography with greater emphasis on doing it on the cheap. But I don't derive joy from that. So I would do it if I had to, but I don't, for the gear I like. If I derived joy from high status stuff, and could afford it, perhaps I would be using Leica* and other high $ gear. But what really floats my boat is finding gear that I enjoy using, that "fits", and that is capable of producing images that I enjoy having made and enjoy sharing with others. And, truth be told, I simply enjoy taking photographs. I'll see something I've shot many times before, and still derive pleasure out of really paying attention to it and shooting it again. Sheer waste of time, and perhaps a little $, but this is not an exercise in efficiency. So, I drive a 20 year old convertible, 'cause it fits me, and equally elderly low end of the high end audio electronics, albeit with Class A minimotors. I used a 5D for five happy years. OTOH, I upgraded from E-M5 to the Mark II in only 2 1/2 years, paying the early buyer's penalty, for the simple reason that it added functionality that's important to me. I suppose I'm saying (Form of) Strategy follows function. The strategies you propose, all based on minimizing cost, will be useful for some, not for others. * They are making something other than rangefinders, now, no? I really dislike rangefinders.
"[I agree about the turntable point. I use a 1980s Yamaha that lifts the arm and turns itself off at the end of every record. Those are called "semi-automatic" turntables and they're not made any more except in very cheap, inferior products. I find it a basic convenience I'm not willing to do without." I have a little arm lifter gadget labeled Thorens on my Well Tempered Record Player. A tiny bit fussy, but does the most important job of lifting the needle out of the grooves. Seems it was sold as Thorens Q-UP, and someone new is now selling it, with added height thingies, as simply Q-UP. I had to stick it to a weight to mine, to make it stable and consistent in use.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2016 on Open Mike: Bestsellers at The Online Photographer
"Love the Kindle concept, and the paperwhite is superb to read but my family have gone through at least 7 Kindles in the last 4 years - not upgrades - the things just break. Some lasted a couple of years, some just 6 months." My wife's Nook Simple Touch died a few days ago. Only our second failure in several years of use. (Actually, the other one sorta works still, and it's the screen on the latest - maybe I can ...) "Anyway, I've been done with Kindle and I've been using a Nook for the last 2 years. Its not as good a reading experience as the paperwhite, but at least it works." When Carol's Nook died, I did a little reading and went down to the local B&N, expecting to buy a Glow+. When I held my Simple Touch next to the latest, greatest, the old one clearly has better contrast, whiter page and is simply more readable. Yet another case of added features actually making a product less perform less well at its primary function. Sure, faster page turns, night lighting, higher resolution and capacitive touch screen are all nice. But at the cost of a less pleasant reading experience in the vast majority of our use, no thanks. I gather that the latest Kindle uses the same screen. The $39 back-up I bought when B&N was closing them out went to Carol and I have one of the remaining new ones coming to replace it.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2016 on Open Mike: Bestsellers at The Online Photographer
"What about shutter shock?" AFIK, all µ4/3 cameras when used with mechanical first curtain and no shutter delay suffer from shutter shock. The effect varies with model, shutter speed and lens. "The main things against the E-M5 is . . . that it doesn't have "0 second shutter delay" or whatever it's called." The sensor in the E-M5 doesn't allow electronic first curtain (EFC). Starting with the E-M10, and retroed to the E-M1 in firmware, "0 second shutter delay" is Oly speak for EFC. The 1/8 sec shutter delay setting on all Oly bodies from the E-P1 on is quite effective at suppressing shutter shock. Not perfect, but darn good. On Panny GX7 & 8 and GM1 & 5, the Silent Mode uses both EFC and ESC to eliminate shutter shock. ( I don't know about other models.) It has other effects, which are minor to non-existent for my uses. The recent test of the Oly 300/4 on IR shows that Silent Mode is slightly more effective at such long focal lengths at eliminating shutter shock on the E-M5 II than EFC alone. "The main things against the E-M5 is how it has problems working with my favorite lens, the Panasonic 20mm" How so? I heard about banding issues, but could only find it with mine if I tried to bring deeply underexposed areas up a lot. It's not been a problem for me. Deciding between the 20/1.7 and the Oly 20/1.8 is tougher.
Data point - I've made over 2,800 shots with my GX7. I would be surprised if 3 (0.1%) were made with the EVF tilted above horizontal. We are all different. It does prevent straps on other gear from catching on the rear protrusion and pulling the GX7 out of the bag in error, though. (I don't believe I've used tilt with my Oly VF-3 aux. EVF, either.)
"Not a small camera, it is however very right-sized: although decently portable" Hands and bodies differ. I found my GX7 only slightly larger than "right sized". The GX8 is significantly larger. That's one of the reasons I'm not interested in the GX8. (The much superior IBIS and various aspects of the latest firmware upgrade of the E-M5 II are the others.) "Love the noises and the razor-sharp shutter-button feel." OK, but to avoid shutter shock, ya gotta shoot in silent mode. "The irony here is that Panasonic already had this feature perfected...on the GF1. That camera's battery/card door was just right. " The GX7 battery/card door works properly, as well. I wonder if you have an example flaw?
'To which my immediate thought is, no, no—not or. And. I've long been a fan of having a zoom and also a much smaller lens of a focal length from the middle of the zoom's range somewhere. It's perfect. The big zoom for when you're concentrating solely on photography, the little pancake for when you're doing something else and just have the camera with you "in case."' Well, I agree, in general. In this case there is another option, the 12-32/3.5-5.6. It is smaller in diameter, 55.5 vs. 63 mm, lighter, 70 vs. 87 g., and when collapsed, shorter, than the 20/1.7, while still giving a nice range of focal lengths. I have both, and would only choose the 20/1.7 where it's dark, for the speed. BUT WAIT, as they say on TV, the prime doesn't have IS, and the zoom does. So for still subjects, the zoom is about the same "speed" @ 20 mm as the prime, while offering more flexibility. No obvious perfect choice, to my mind. Now if you want a small pancake, the Panny 14/2.5 really is tiny, light (and cute!)
The Diana lives on, as the Diana F, from Lomography. As far as I can tell, mine is just like the original, but with the addition of a pinhole function, with or without lens. It makes suitably "crappy" pictures, especially the unintentional multiple exposures - one of which is my best shot with it so far. My Holga lens mounted for EF didn't do much for me on the 5D. I think it may need the full 6x6 format to do its best work?
'I think it was Peter Galassi, the former Curator of Photography at the MoMA in NYC, who said: "Photography always transforms what it describes. The art of photography is to control that transformation."' Nothing new: "Many consider my photographs to be in the "realistic" category. Actually, what reality they have is in their optical-image accuracy; their values are definitely "departures from reality." The viewer may accept them as realistic because the visual effect may be plausible, but if it were possible to make direct visual comparison with the subjects, the differences would be startling." —Ansel Adams, The Negative, from the Introduction