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Orthogonal usage alert! I just finished taking the glass out of an old T-mount Weltblick 35/3.5 lens. I've been playing with images taken with larger than pinhole glassless "lenses". The results are very different than one might expect, which I discovered quite by accident while installing a pinhole in a lens cap. My first experiment was with an Industar-50-2. As I had guessed, the front and rear glass modules easily unscrewed, leaving me with just the diaphragm, an adjustable "larger-than-pinhole", with opening range of ~12 to 2.5-3 mm. Calculation showed that a 35 mm lens that closes down to f22 should have a minimum opening of about 1.6 mm. It was harder to get the glass out, but with a stop screw removed, the aperture mechanism can close smaller than the f22 setting, sub mm, I think. It gets asymmetric as it gets smaller, though. If I'm a good boy, stop nattering online, do a couple of chores, and the sun comes out, I may get to play with it this afternoon. (Nice segue around the questions? I never much liked 35 mm on FF film. More a 28 mm guy on film, and zoom starting @ 24 mm -eq nowadays, when I'm not in tele and macro land.)
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on The Best 35mm Lens at The Online Photographer
". . . an entry-level DSLR with a small mirror-box finder? You get a tiny little prison-window-at-the-end-of-a-tunnel view, so small that details can be hard to see" We are not all created equal. My first DSLR was the first Digital Rebel, aka 300D. It had exactly the kind of OVF you describe; others had worse things to say about it. I could sit at home, look through the 300D and an OM-1, and see how vastly superior the OM views I had used for many years was. Yet, in the field, the OVF just disappeared; I somehow "saw through" to the subject, and was never bothered by it. E-M5 II EVF better than GM5? On paper, sure; GM5 has about half the pixels, 2/3 the apparent size. In direct comparison, OK, if you say so, but I just never notice when using the cameras. The eensy little EVF on the ZS50? OK, it's not great - but infinitely better all the same class cameras from others, as they don't have one at all. And it works when I use it. I can see and frame what I'm shooting; at the long focal lengths, aiming is far easier than with the LCD. My only gripe with the Oly, Panny and Sony EVFs I use is the reds. Beautiful fall colors look muddy in the EVFs, somewhat better on the LCDs, but reds are shot on faith. I can't imagine buying any DSLR now. If only just for one thing you don't mention, let alone others - precision focus. The Oly Varimagni is a wonderful little piece of mechanical/optical engineering, solid, bright, clear. Compared to the magnify functions of EVFs, it's 2.5x max is very limited. I always felt I was just making better informed guesses than without it. If mirror or screen aren't perfectly aligned/seated, all bets are off. On tripod or copy stand, the EVFs give precise focus OVFs couldn't even dream of - and it's exactly what you will get, not an estimate.
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2017 on Why Buy a DSLR? at The Online Photographer
"The distortion at 12mm is enormous . . . but corrects well, albeit with consequent loss of view angle and edge sharpness. " The loss of angle of view is avoidable. DxO Photo Pro corrects by outputting a file larger in pixel dimensions than the input. PTLens can do much the same thing, for less money and a bit more fussing. I wrote a little about this, with examples, on Christmas, 2015 and Kevin Purcell commented further. Since then, I did a more detailed comparison between correction methods, happily with the 12-32 lens that's the subject here. Unfortunately, explaining everything that's going on in those images, some pretty subtle, requires about 900 words, a bit lengthy for this venue. But it should be obvious from the images alone that the cropped AoV of in-camera JPEGs, ACR/LR, Viewer 3 and Silkypix, is not the only way.
". . . thinking I would get both better IQ and about the same IBIS. I was wrong: in my experience (or my camera sample) the Sony IBIS is almost like a placebo in the sense sometimes one doubts it's making anything. I made some tests and confirmed that I only gained 1 stop in the best scenarios but mostly half a stop with IBIS on, hardly worth it." It's physics and the relationship between linear dimensions and area. Making the possibly unwarrented assumption that the two sensors weigh about the same per area, the FF would weigh four times as much. Then, for the same amount of correction at the same AoV, that heavier sensor has to be moved twice as far. Accelerating 4x the mass and then stopping it over twice the distance, in the same time, is more than 8x the work. A proper engineer, not me, could tell you what that amounts to. To match the performance of the E-M5, let alone the better E-M5 II or even better yet E-M1 II, would require really big, powerful movement hardware. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole camera shook. I've made this suggestion to friends who find the idea of FF with IBIS seductive. Sorry you found out the hard way.
Toggle Commented May 27, 2017 on New Bird at The Online Photographer
"...What do you think?" I think it should look like this. Well, not exactly; a working GX8 should do better than this PS hack. There's also a bright line/halo along the tree line. And a lot of noise overall. ========= I'm not sure it's the right camera for this area, which seems to call for more horsepower . . . This mystifies me a little. What sort of horsepower do you need? You are publishing technically weak iPhone images here. A GX8 would be far better. . . . a Nikon 1 would be better, or the toy Pentax, any number of P&Ss, including those like the Panny ZX50 that I use for casual outings, which has an actual EVF. Take that shot with a GM1 with 14/2.5 and you get the same view, with far, far better IQ. That combo is much smaller in length and width than the 7s, albeit much thicker. Actually a much better fit in my jacket pockets. Had you taken Keuka in the Rain, with any 20 MP µ4/3 camera, you would have an image you could print beautifully to at least 16x20. I've got beautiful landscape 16x20s from the 16 MP E-M5 II. [Well, two things. One, I'm trying to review the iPhone 7 camera, which means I have to use it. And two, I didn't mean to be out photographing—I was on my way home from a meeting, and got stopped in my tracks—literally—by the beauty of the light. After stopping to take one picture, I got going, and photographed on till almost dark. Yes, I would have loved to have an E-M5II along, but I...didn't. --Mike]
Toggle Commented May 27, 2017 on New Bird at The Online Photographer
With the E-M1 II, Olympus introduced the ability to save settings, and the three sets of custom setting, to any computer storage device. The latest firmware update has added that ability to the E-M5 II, again including the four sets of custom settings, called MySets on that body. A HUGE improvement over notebooks, etc. One may not only reset the camera, then restore all one's settings, but one might have alternate sets of settings saved.
"I always took it as a sign of ineptness on Sony's part that people rather use old manual focus lenses rather than their OEM offerings." You may misunderstand what's going on for many people. I have several friends who want nothing more than a good FF back for their beloved old manual FF glass. They are essentially brand agnostic for the "back", sometimes rabidly brand loyal for the old glass, and completely uninterested in the AF lenses for the back. Many were/are using Canon DSLRs, the almost universal recipient for MF lenses, as digital backs. As the only mirrorless FF body, with it's short register distance, the A7 line is the new universal recipient. Focusing aids in live view make these lenses much easier to use well on mirrorless than DSLRs The addition of IBIS makes the Sonys the only real choice for lovers of old glass who want digital backs. Various problems such as stack thickness, cover glass and other imperfections leave many unhappy and/or undecided. Various patents lead to rumors and hopes for another player to get into FF mirrorless. Should that happen, with internal design more favorable to MF glass and as good/better IBIS, these hordes* will abandon Sonys like hot potatoes. Me? I like crappy old glass with interesting flaws, LensBabies, soft focus lenses, old Nikkor Soft filters and such for the Alt parts of my photography. My A7 is perfect for that. I don't care about IBIS or IQ effects of stack thickness. I can't imagine what I would do with a Sony AF E-mount lens, well, sell it. * Well, . . .
". . . in the emerging larger-than-full-frame / cropped medium-format sensor camera realm." Ken's descriptor is accurate, but awkward. Mike likes to define things. What's the TOP approved naming convention to be? FF+ MF- Mutt FF sliced in half is half-frame. 645 is really half-MF, 6x9 cut in half. To me, 6x6 is the smallest that really deserves the MF name. Using frame height, to minimize format proportion differences, 44x33 is 37% larger than FF, and 45% smaller than 6 cm wide formats, so I'd vote for FF+. The Phase One 53.7x40.4 format could then be MF-
How appropriate. So far, whatever laws govern increases in storage capacity and the number of images I produce are working together well. My several year old 3 TB image and back-up drives are nearing full. The replacement 6 TB WD Blue, for back-up, is sitting on my desk; the 6 TB WD Black, primary, should be arriving this afternoon.
"It's not like it's obviously such a great subject. It's just a subject I needed to understand, for some unknown reason." Perhaps all you need to understand is that it is a great subject? Take a look at crops. 3:2, better, 16:9, better yet, 8:3 - yowsa!
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2017 on Pictures of Farmland at The Online Photographer
"Seriously, if I were to get the itch to do an OC/OL/OY project with an x, y or z, I'd probably have just as much fun with any of the three. I'd simply figure out what I could and couldn't do, what the strengths and weaknesses of each camera are, and then just do with each camera the kinds of things each is best at." I suppose I'll never understand the idea of OC/OL/OY, or of doing only what a particular camera and/or prime lens is good at. I approach photography the other way 'round. I have at least an idea, often something more specific, about what sort of images I want to be able to create, and look for equipment with which I can accomplish that. Some of those image creation desires have remained unsatisfied for over 50 years, but fewer and fewer as digital matured. Fewer yet more with recent developments including in camera focus stacking/bracketing. Even the serendipitous image that arises out of nowhere, is more likely to be captured properly with a broad ranging kit than OC/OL. As I have a broad range of interests, and wish to create various kinds of images, I have various cameras, lenses and software. As I travel, sometimes perhaps to places I won't see again, I find that the most photogenic places also have wide ranges of potential images to be captured. I can't imagine why I would want to have my photography shackled by one camera and one prime lens. I suppose I may be an imagistic hedonist who can't see the value in ascetic practice. . . . "The point is the pics, in the end!" Exactly! So why not use the gear most effective in capturing the pic? You have written before that a photographer needs to find a style at which he/she is particularly adept and focus on that. Assuming that's not some sort of moral imperative, I assume it's about making money as a photographer. But I don't want or need to make $ at it. I want to have fun and make images that please myself, and with any luck, others who see them. So far, I am managing both. I would not with even OC/OPL/Oday. Chacun à son goût View From the Other Side Moose
"Some are falling behind in the lens department, while Sigma and others take up the slack." I don't know about other formats, but that's not true of µ4/3. Today, the resolution limits are sensors (except in Oly HR Mode.) With the E-M5 II High Resolution Mode, I can test lenses with ~50 MP sensor resolution, and the lenses I've tried simply resolve a lot more detail in HR Mode than straight 16 MP. Interestingly, Shooting the same subject in normal and HR, then downsampling the HR image to the same 16 MP dimensions resolves more, cleaner/sharper, visible detail than the 'straight' image.* All the lenses I've tested resolve more detail in HR than native sensor resolution. It seem that at least the newer and higher end ones will be fine at 50 MP. * Bayer Array sensors are only about 50% efficient at rendering their raw resolution as converted, RGB pixels. Sampling with each color at each sensel location by moving the sensor around doesn't require demosaicing, and retains more detail.
I certainly hope Panny stays around, thrives, even. I'm essentially brand agnostic within µ4/3, but feel it is much better for having two major players and some minor ones. Most of the noise I hear about them seems to revolve around camera bodies and enthusiast compact cameras. I speak up for their lenses. They seem to be on a long, steady program to upgrade their lenses. As a long time user of the Oly 75-300 zoom, I can say the PLeica 100-400 is a big step up; a spectacular lens. The new 42.5/1.7 is even better than the wonderful Oly 45/1.8. No meaningful difference in the center, but better toward edges/corners. (And has OIS, so I can use it properly in my little GM5 kit.) Jury still out for me on new PLeica 12-60 vs. Oly 12-100. They optically whup the regular 12-60 Panny and venerable Oly 12-50 (but for its 'macro' mode.) The big difference for me is size and weight vs. reach. In still cameras, it seems to me that the GX8, and GH5 for stills, lag behind the E-M1 in several performance and feature/capability categories. I happily used a GX7 beside an E-M5, in a two camera set-up, for many thousands of shots. They really were comparable in performance/IQ. If one never needs/wants much higher Res, focus bracketing, better IS, faster focus and faster overall operation, the GX8 is a fine camera. Otherwise, they are really behind. OTOH, I'm no video expert, but it seems the GH5 is a big step up compared to the E-M1 II. My 'serious' kit has been a pair of E-M5 IIs since it came out.
"I'm even more surprised by the 14-140 mm zoom" Quite a fine lens, for the size, weight and $. Mine lives on a GM5, as my casual kit. One caveat; it gets very soft at close focus at the long end. I get excellent C-U images using an achromatic C-U lens, far superior to what it can do on its own, and higher mag, if I like.
". . . Sony IMX 269 sensor. As far as I can figure out, that's the name of the new 20-MP Micro 4/3 sensor in the Panasonic GX8 and GH5 and the Olympus Pen-F and E-M1 Mark II, although take that with a grain of salt" That salt might be Phase Detect AF., which the E-M1 has, to allow fast (ish) focus with legacy 4/3 lenses, and the Pannys and other Olys do not.
"Oh, and the singing and humming that went along with his keyboard work. I always thought he was just having a good time. Sing along with Glenn!" I had the pleasure of listening to George Lopez play the Goldberg Variations just a few years ago. Beauty, depth, fun to watch the hand/finger work, and no vocalizations while playing. While not playing, affable, interesting and just a little funny*. I begin to wonder whether GG's intensity and shenanigans were really in service to the music. *As I understand it, his namesake comedian doesn't play Bach.
"Girl needs to cut back on her meds." What do you suppose Emil Gilels was on, in 1981? "A force of nature." Certainly describes Gilels, in both life and music. Valentina Lisitsa, above, 6:47 Gilels, DG 400 036-2, 7:05. OK, it did take him 4% longer. OTOH, his performance, while just as propulsive, is more nuanced in places. Perhaps why he had a larger place in the music world? Listening, I can hear just where those extra seconds were used. He is just as fast, and at least as fluid, where fast, but does more where it slows a bit. His has long been my favorite of this movement, balances so perfectly with the first. His first movement of the Waldstein is another that grabs me by the throat, shakes and worries me about, takes me on a wild ride, then drops me at the end, exhausted, drained, happy, ready for that post-C cigarette, figuratively. Pretty, excellent really, and polite? Kempff. A step down, Barenboim. A bit more muscle, Richter. Horowitz I love, in repertoire he understands; he didn't 'get' the Moonlight, IMO. Everything repeats. [Gilels is my favorite too. His "Waldstein" is straight from the gods. --Mike]
Nice!
Toggle Commented Apr 4, 2017 on Getting Glorious at The Online Photographer
'Wow - I'm really surprised by the significant variation among the "same" lens.' It doesn't just apply to resolution. Back in MF film days, when Modern Photography tests ruled, they allowed ±5% in focal length as normal sample variation. The OM Zuiko 21/2 and 18/3.5 that they tested happened to vary in opposite directions, -4.0% and +4.2%, so they were @ 20.15 and 18.76 mm. Hardly worth the trouble of having two lenses. The spec. on my Panny 20/1.7 is closest focus of 180 mm. On my particular copy, it's actually 155 mm as measured from subject to focal plane mark on the camera body. Could easily be 200 mm on another sample, I imagine. EXIF on an Oly body reports 180 mm, probably based on the lens saying it's at closest focus and that is 180 mm. Especially likely as the method they use to estimate focal distance is least accurate at the ends. EXIF is wonderfully useful, but not gospel. Mass production at reasonable prices doesn't allow lab grade precision.
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2017 on Roger Watch at The Online Photographer
Why do you think that this particular essentially religious and political set of beliefs about diet and health is any more accurate than the endless stream of dietary input and health ideas of the past? That it won't be superseded by something else in the near future? One of an also endless number of "failures". The anti- animal fat people actually managed to get McD's to change the fat they used to make their fries. Then had to try to change that again, when the new revelations revealed that the change had been for the worse. "Back to Lard!" I've known since I was a kid, mixing the coloring into blobs of oleo, to make it colored like butter, rather than lard, that it wasn't good for me. Sometime recently, I noticed someone finally discovered that better IS apparently better for me than oleo. But that will likely change again. There is also some pretty convincing evidence in our metabolisms that the big initial change as we separated from our closest 'cousins', the chimps, was that they remained vegetarians, while we became carnivores that supplement our dietary needs with vegetable matter. I do agree that fresh and freshly prepared are excellent - and fairly likely to be good for us. I buy and prepare the vast majority of the food we eat. I have, in fact, never eaten McD's food, for example. You might find the section in Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, about the effects, including health, of the agricultural revolution at least a partial antidote to this film you mention. More obscure is the first 2/3 or so of Sex, Time, and Power, by Leonard Shlain. In the process of finding his own, open to question, answer to the mystery of human menstruation, he provides a wonderful summary, in layman terms, of our metabolisms. That the the reasons for human menstruation, and chronic anemia among all menstrual women, fron NYC Co-ops to tribal huts, which is completely unlike the way any other mammals work, are unknown, might be reason enough to doubt the pronouncements of the latest prophets of diet. There's a whole lot about how, and why, our bodies work that we just don't know. Another little tidbit about beliefs, as opposed to facts, even by doctors. There has been one major study of thousands of cholesterol and death rates, just that. Statistically, lower cholesterol is associated with higher rates of death among all sex and age cohorts but middle aged men. So, as you turn sixty, playing the odds would mean raising your cholesterol, to increase your statistical likelihood of living longer. But, the study didn't have data to even speculate on why it's results might be so. And they fly in the face of a strong cultural meme* that has made cholesterol a demon. The parallel between rituals, treatments by experts and special dietary rules around cholesterol and the rituals, priests/etc. and dietary rules of religions around pleasing, or at least not angering, God(s) is a strong one. Many years ago, I read an article by an RN who had spent her career in nutrition. She held that we will never really know, because we can't do controlled tests on people. Perhaps that will change in the future, but that future isn't now. For now, the latest, always incomplete, findings about our metabolic systems will continue to generate wonderful new health benefits from dietary changes, that mostly don't work in any verifiable way beyond anecdotal stories. * In the original usage for which the word was coined, not the degraded web usage. [Dude, don't discourage me. --Mike]
A caveat: To get a major speed benefit from replacing a mechanical HDD with an SSD, your computer must have a high speed SATA (or direct MB) connection. Many older portables have built-in SATA I interfaces. A new SSD will upgrade reliability, but, at least in my case, have no noticeable effect on speed. I knew this going in, and replaced the HD as it was getting long in the tooth and I didn't want it to die in the middle of a trip. It also decreases power usage, which should increase battery life at least a little and made my little beastie run cooler.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2017 on The Computer Has Landed at The Online Photographer
"In fact, that's largely true for landscape photographs in general; they are pale mementos of the witness experience. You just can't adequately bottle that multi-sensory stuff." This reminds me of a quote from Galen Rowell "One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it."
Toggle Commented Feb 24, 2017 on Bluff Sunset at The Online Photographer
"That's the reason why I love photography. It forced me to look, and thus allowed me to see." Thanks, Giulio, for such a poetic and succinct way of putting something I have found to be true for me!* I've had people say to me that by carrying my camera, I miss seeing the world directly. While that may be true for them, it isn't for me. Walking about alone, I tend to get lost in my head. Walking with others, I tend to engage with them, and miss what's around us. With camera in hand, a good part of my conscious mind, and some part of my subconscious, are paying attention to my surroundings, looking for interesting visuals. It works! I see more of what's around me than most people I walk with. Much isn't photogenic, but worth experiencing, and the rest gets to be recorded. Part of my enjoyment is afterword showing the things I've seen and captured to others who were there - and didn't see many of those things. ~~~~~~ * And more poetically than Dorothea Lange.
Toggle Commented Feb 24, 2017 on Bluff Sunset at The Online Photographer
"It's not as much fun, I grant you," Ohhh, but it "IS" more fun, really. The last several years since the E-M5 came out and I switched to µ4/3 have been the most fun in my photographic life - and the most productive of work I really like. Fun is in the one having it, not the suppositions of others.* WHEeeeeee . . . . . "but the smart money might be to go against what's currently hot and settle on Micro 4/3" By "hot", I assume you mean head space and on-line blather space, as opposed to actual purchase and use, as neither camera has yet shipped to anyone but reviewers. Dollars to donuts only a tiny percentage of those talking them up will actually pony up all that dosh to buy one. Appearance and Reality are connected, but it's a mysterious connection. ________________________ * Neither of the cameras mentioned sound in the least like fun to me. To someone with my photographic interests, they are closer to doorstops than useful tools.
I've been scratching my head, even tried doing it literally, and I just can't come up with one. I've had many favorite cameras, usually, fortunately, one I was using. But a "favorite-ever"? I can even imagine a next favorite, the E-M5 III I hope will come along, with all the improvements in the E-M1 II, plus a much faster HR Mode and whatever other new trick they can come up with. But I don't imagine it to be favorite forever. In a way, it's like asking my favorite pair of pliers. I have many, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Each can do useful things that the others can't, so how can I have a favorite? In another way, it seems part of the Western cultural gestalt, certainly part of my American experience. Growing up, people, and other kids, are always asking what's your favorite color, game, food, and so on. It's like we want to define, and be defined, based on a simple set of expressed preferences. I don't get it. The world is full of amazing colors, amazing flavors, amazing places, anazing people, amazing things . . . I loved my '55 Chevy, '68 BMW, 71 Porsche 911, '76 Audi 5000CS turbo Quattro. I love my 95 Olds convertible and our Sprinter based travel van. They've all been favorites; I don't have to pick one. Do I like Harriet better than Junia? Rob better than John? All are important to me. And the truth is that all have good and bad qualities that overlap. They are all favorites. I'm surrounded by favorites; what a wonderful life! We have a friend I dearly love. She's more like family than some family. We seem to be connected by something undefined, but larger than both of us. If I had to live with her for more than a few days visit, one of us would go mad and/or try to kill the other. That just doesn't fit in the simple paradigm of favorites. I hope this is a fun one for everyone else. Due to dis-ability, I'm sitting it out. "If you can't be with one favorite, love the one you are with."
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2017 on Camera 'Porn' at The Online Photographer