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A little photoshopping, and that could be the engine for a starship.
Oh the problems of judging thing on screen . . . I wasn't convinced by the JPEG for the original offer. The ~6x8" version in Why Photographs Work changed my mind. I believe I'd like an 11x14" Sure, I'd recommend it elsewhere, although I don't have as many elsewheres as many people.
". . . for the most part I like portraits to be engaging, not chilly—and sympathetic, rather than demeaning or cruel..." "One of my favorite examples of portraiture would have to be Edouard Boubat’s stunning Lella, Bretagne, 1947..." Every opinion is a matter of taste. That seems especially to be the case with portraits. I personally find the above two statements to be at odds, as I find that portrait cold, impersonal, distant, the opposite of a warm, sympathetic portrait. Closer to Liberty in Delacroix' Liberty Leading the People than a "real" person. Perhaps a brave, dedicated member of the Resistance. Of the 20 image examples on the What makes a great portrait? page, I quite dislike most and can say I pretty much like three. Many of the words sound good, but the examples don't work for me. Timothy Archibald says "Everyone seems to know how to play by the rules and follow the structure, but as far as the intangible goes, this third element, that’s where it all falls apart or comes together, it allows the portrait to sink or swim or really transcend." Why would there be rules? Guidelines, perhaps, to help those beginning, or those who need to take pictures of people and can't see without assistance. Rules go against basic artistic instincts. Then he provides an example, with good sounding words "The girls are being photographed, communicating with the viewer, being self aware and being all of these things and more, nothing is very dramatic, nothing heavy handed, but the end result feels utterly profound.", but the image he talks about is a complete failure to my taste, banal, not profound. I don't mean to say that he is wrong, for himself, and some others. I do mean to say that his response is not generalizable. Thomas Broening: "Avedon said that all portraits were accurate and none of them were the truth. They are all in a sense a postulation or an argument. Every-time a photographer points the camera a another person he is making a judgement. The grander the judgement the greater the lie." There seems to me to be a lot of truth in that. For example, Diane Arbus' work seems to me to be an endless repetition of her opinion of life and people. As her outlook is wildly different than mine, I find her work tedious and repetitive. All this seems to me to be generally true of the opinions on that site, words that I may or may not agree with, often do, linked to images that seem to me most often at odds with the words. One Data Point
'"Slow photography" is hip' "Hip" has never stuck to me. To me photography is seeing something, capturing it on film or sensor, taking what the capture medium hath wrought and making it into something more or less like what I saw in the first place. If I had a camera (or ACR, or PS) setting for "What Moose Saw.", I would use that. As I don't, I spend a little to a lot of time on that third step. Sometimes, photography involves noting when the light will be right, and waiting hours to months, sometimes years, for that to occur. It took several days of weather before the almost horizontal sunlight I saw briefly came again. Without that, nothing (Well, OK, not much at 480 px, either, but at least the color is OK.) Other times, it is pure reaction time, as the unanticipated arrives and then is gone. Shooting something else entirely, a shadow passed over my head, and the shot was pure reflex (and AF). I don't see that one is slow and the other fast. Each is what was required to create the image. All the rest, equipment choices, film development, analog or digital darkroom time, and on, and on, are just details, noise that can get in the way of the image. It's the image that matters. If someone likes sitting around, setting up a shot for ages, losing the light, coming back tomorrow . . . More power to them. Like developing film? Nice! But that's all enjoyment of process, not the essence photography. My personal experience is that waiting, getting it right, is more likely to lose the magic, the light, than gain much. But that's just me. (Why won't italic turn off???)
"Do classic boats make you happy?" Yes, because they are pretty. Yes, because they provide interesting photo ops, as in this selfie. No, I don't have huge hands holding a Leica, but my first digicam, a Canon S110. This was my first trip with my now wife. Carol looks pretty darn happy. Always hard to tell with our hostess/driver. But not all women riding in a classic Cris Craft are necessarily happy. I don't know these women, nor know why they were along for the ride. I also don't know if they are naturally grumpy, or were eyeballing the storm clouds, that soon rained on us a little. (Maybe my hat wasn't funny enough?) ============ Final answer to the question: Yes, for about the first half hour, then dashing about on the water starts to pall as entertainment. This was on Moosehead Lake, Maine, which is rather large, and not all served by roads, so a fast boat is useful - and visually a treat. I was a small boat sailor in my younger days - always something happening. Power boats seem to me useful, but generally not interesting.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2017 on Boat Show! at The Online Photographer
"But Merrill Foveon B&Ws are gorgeous. The transparency and smooth tonality cannot be achieved by any amount of post of a Bayer file." There's an interesting question. The HD mode of the top Oly µ4/3 bodies moves the sensor so that each pixel location is sampled by a sensel of each color. In effect the same as Foveon, although achieved quite differently. So there is no demosaicing of a Bayer array, or any array. In color, shooting HD, then downsampling to the normal size results in smoother, more accurate color and quite a bit more fine detail. I wonder what that would do for B&W.
"One argument that I have always found persuasive is this. In-lens systems allow the solution to be tailored to the requirements of that particular lens. The stabilization requirements for e.g. a 35mm lens and a 300mm lens will probably be different because the amount of image movement is likely to be different. Therefore the solution, which should be tailored to the requirement, might also be different." Right; lens focal length is needed. Wrong; the AF lenses and camera bodies communicate, so the IBIS knows the FL. Also: The IBIS systems I know of, Oly, Panny and Sony, all allow the FL of adapted manual focus lenses to be entered. This can be very exciting, and terrifying! I popped the 8 mm Oly Lenscap Fisheye on my E-M5, put it up to my eye, and half pressed the shutter release. Bang, Crash! Camera tried to jump out of my hand - Turn IT OFF! The last non-AF lens I had used on that body was 600 mm. No damage, and I learned my lesson - for now. Less clear is how important focal distance may be. The geometry says it should matter. Oly bodies put focal distance in EXIF* Panny and Sony don't, which doesn't mean they don't know it, at least approximately. And yet, the Oly IBIS I've used with MF lenses has worked quite well. * Not terribly accurate, esp. at closest and longest.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2017 on Why Canon Uses In-Lens IS at The Online Photographer
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 Jun 25, 2017 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]
Toggle Commented Apr 4, 2017 on Getting Glorious at The Online Photographer