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Huh? Who?
"How is it that a deliberately retro digital looks more 2020 and up-to-date than a black-blob polycarbonate DSLR?" It doesn't. All a matter of taste, and ours differ. Yes, all the Fuji models with fake prism humps look a great deal like the old Fuji 35 mm cameras. They were ugly then (yes, I've owned one, probably still do, somewhere), and they are ugly now. As to the sea of CaNikon plastic looking blobs, they are all neither good nor bad looking, just what largely competent, 21st century DSLRs look like. Pretty much form following function. A little flash of red on a blob; how can anyone care, one way or the other? I thought rangefinders awful, as a matter of use. Now I have mirrorless cameras styled after film rangefinders, and think they look decent. But that's not why I have them.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on New Look for Nikons at The Online Photographer
Black Friday deal caught me; I upgraded my cell phone. Not for the camera, though. A bigger, brighter screen called to me. There is this lens, though . . .
"There are online printing services, but the couple of times I’ve tried them, I’ve been disappointed with the results. Your take may vary of course." I can understand the joy of craft, the sheer pleasure of handling prints and materials. I also very much enjoy the process of choosing and ordering the images; finding opposing page photos that complement each other. As another data point, I have printed several photo books using online printing services, and the results have been excellent. People who go through these books almost universally comment on the quality of paper, printing and A snapshot of most of the books I've made. These were all made using My Publisher, which has been bought by Shutterfly. I did reprint one short one using Shutterfly. It was subtly less fine, but only upon close inspection. As I've been impressed with the prints I've had made by Printique (nee Adoramapix), I'll use them for my next book.
Out of GAS Yes, indeedy, the offers pour in: My inbox overfloweth. And indeed, many of the Black Friday Specials are nothing but the last special prices, occasionally less a % or two. My problem is that nothing in that sea of specials, or indeed, in the current offerings of photo gear, is necessary, even useful, to my work. I've got the itch, I can feel it, I wander about the web, looking at all the new stuff. I almost bought a new lens on a real sale, but was realist enough to know that it would just sit in a drawer after a few test shots. I can't even buy software! DxO has an upgrade to their PhotoLab software. I don't use it all that much, but it does the occasional thing PS doesn't. (And, I wanna buy something.) But, it requires Win 8 or 10. I'm still on 7, both because I dislike the 10 interface and because of my need for the XP virtual machine in 7 for old application development software. Out of Gas?
Toggle Commented Nov 22, 2019 on Everything's On Sale at The Online Photographer
The solution is obvious, a "pre-need" donation of your archive. You won't get the Met, but all you need is a small museum or college program that can attract an intern to do the work. \;~)>
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2019 on Orgadisnization at The Online Photographer
"(it's a mirror image)" But need not be. Since the advent of glass plate photography, it's been possible to reverse images. Just sayin' \;~)>
"Obviously the GX8 sold poorly, because it's not going to get a Mark II revision (if it were going to, it already would have)." When "serious", which accounts for the vast majority of my photos, I shoot with two cameras around my neck. For about a year, and 2,500+ GX7 shots, that pair were an E-M5 and GX7. Although ergonomically quite different, they were photographically close to indistinguishable, including the IBIS. The E-M5 II had new capabilities that put an end to the earlier pair. But I was still intimately familiar with the GX7 when the GX8 came out. I couldn't believe they'd taken that lovely little body and bulked it up so much - for no reason(s) apparent to me. Even without the new Oly, there's no way I was going to buy that monster. "In terms of function it sorely needed a Mark II revision, though. The shutter left some questions about shutter shock, and the IBIS was not very well implemented." The follow on models, GX85 and GX9, simply went back to the GX7 size and form factor, while addressing all of the shortcomings you list, fixing or improving all, plus adding other useful (to me) features. Tastes and needs vary; ergonomics are mysterious. I now am shooting GX9s, in spite of the egregious, flip-up EVF that tries to drive me mad. As with the GX7 and 8, Panny makes other, larger µ4/3 bodies. the G9 has some features desirable to me, but not worth the size and weight. I suspect the GX8 died of obesity. The diopter adjustment on the GX7 was a horizontal slider on the bottom of the flip-up module. On the GX9, it's a dial on the side. Somehow, the EVF on the GX9s flips up partially or fully from bags, straps and clothing much more easily then the GX7. When up just a little, it throws the whole alignment of eye, subject and camera body off; I don't see what I expect from relationship between hand head and hand position and subject location. When it flips up all the way, whatever flipped it up apparently brushes against the diopter dial, and changes it. The feature that you loved on the GX8 is now my nemesis.
". . . the big, beautiful diopter control is awesome." Only if it is not easily changed in handling. If it's push or pull and turn, OK, maybe awesome. As I'm the only one who uses my cameras, and my eyesight changes little and very slowly, what I want is good range, reasonable ease of setting - and - most of all, that the setting doesn't change with handling and use of the body. This is not true of all of them.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2019 on New: Leica SL2 at The Online Photographer
"—those are video cards." Well, no, they are not. They are general purpose SD flash cards, suitable for any purposes. Because they read and write fast, they are well suited for video. It appears that you, like so many others, may be mislead by the speeds on the front of the cards. That 95 MB/s on the label is the read speed. The V30 on the label indicates the minimum write speed, in this case, 30 MB/sec. "What, I'm so special I need better?" You have answered your own question. But what about the rest of us? You have a fairly narrow range of things you photograph, situations in which you photograph and ways you do so. I'm a still photographer who shoots amateur quality video on occasion, mostly occasions when the subject cries out for something more than a still shot. And yet, I shoot focus brackets of deep subjects, and I shoot burst brackets of moving things like birds. Depending on the camera, it's write speed capability and the size of its buffer, a faster card can make a big difference. Shooting with my E-M5 II bodies, focus brackets would bog down part way through. Faster cards fixed that. "I recommend 32's, as I don't like cards that are too large—they take too long to fill up." Huh? I don't understand. My ideal card size might be 1 TB. When shooting other than very casually, I download the day's images every night. When on the road, as I was for the last seven weeks, I then back those up every night to a portable drive kept in separate luggage from cameras/cards and computer.* All that a smaller card means is that I have to carry more cards and will occasionally need to switch cards in the field, perhaps in the middle of something important to me. The only way I've ever lost a card was to such an occasion. Shooting a dance festival out in the middle of nowhere on a grassy field in Bhutan, a card filled up. I switched, put the full card somewhere safe, and never saw it again. Fortunately, I only lost a few, relatively unimportant shots, but with a bigger card, no loss. Of course, it's my own fault, for not paying attention to the nunber of shots remaining when setting out in the morning, but with a larger card . . . Like John Krill, I can't remember ever losing an image to corruption on any flash card, and I'm out at ~150k shots. Unlike him, though, I never touch the write protect switches, so have had no trouble from them. * BTW, really fast read speeds make downloading after a long day ever so much easier.
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2019 on The Best SD Cards at The Online Photographer
Obviously, you don't hang around with groups, especially with several women who have iPhones, and especially those who are traveling together. Our living room, dining rooms in Bhutan, friends' living rooms, a pub in Dublin, Kilcock, etc, rented houses in Utah and Ireland, wherever . . . What they all have in common is Airdrop fests, with the day's crop of phone pix being shared between phones. A new form of social interaction, facilitated by tech, but highly personally interactive.
"That butterfly wing is a lovely example of the improvements that Focus mode can make. Thank you for posting it. Out of vague curiosity, did you also try Stabilize mode? If so, how did it compare?" Out of my own curiosity, I did go back and try it. I does give a sightly better result than Focus Mode. Makes sense, as shots of moving critters at really long FLs are likely to have motion blur subtle enough to be mistaken for other causes. That's what it looks like on shots from this camera and the 1" sensor ZS200. What seems like just softness proves to be slight displacement during exposure, and correctable using Sharpen AI. I won't post it, due to the results of the Law of Should Have Been Expected Complications. I grabbed something I'd just done. It happened to be from a tiny, 1/2.3" sensor Panny camera, and PS tends to generate small artifacts in the Raw conversion of Panny files (and possibly Oly). Stabilize Mode makes them even more obvious. OTOH, of course, the DxO module for the ZS80 isn't due until next month. I haven't yet tried it on the smaller sensors; it does avoid the artifacts on MFT Panny bodies. I'm working up another example, partly done already, but we're on the road 'til Nov 2, and about to leave a longer term visit for some shorter ones, so it won't be instantaneous.
I don't understand the work flow. All of the Topaz AI thingies but Gigapixel work well as PS plug-ins. I just create a copy layer, run the AI plug-in, and have a layer with the effect, to flatten or mask, then flatten. This skips writing and reading a TIFF, with exactly the same result.
Welcome back! I'm a fan of Topaz' recent "AI" apps, and use them regularly. "Sharpen does more ordinary sharpening and is recommended for photographs that are otherwise in-focus and un-blurred. The effect is modest, but it's clean." My experience, as well, no better than Focus Magic, in at least some cases. So far, I haven't found an out-of-focus photograph where Focus improves things. Unlike Sharpening, which is understated, Focus seems to go way overboard. Perhaps I haven't found the right image to apply it to, but so far it's been useless. I have found cases where it is quite good. Here's a sample, @ 100%: And after Topaz Sharpen AI Focus, setting 40: YMMV \;~)>
If someone says "I'm a painter" or I'm a sculptor", that doesn't imply, at least to me, that they make money at what they do, nor that they are in some current movement in the Art World that gets then in shows at important galleries and/or museums. I assume they make art, whether for themselves, friends and family, a locality, country or the world. I love TOP, but it seems odd to me that when that Mike fellow who writes on it writes photography or photographer, there is usually an implied adjective or three that leave me out. "For one thing, in order to be a photographer of your time and place . . . To . . . be taken seriously as being in the mix, . . . Sometimes there's a sort of "novelty" quality that sticks to photographers who are deliberately antiquarian or resolutely contrarian,. . . the art world, at least, and I think history as well, respects and honors the leading edge and has little time or regard for the trailing edge." I make pictures. I do it because it's what I like to do, and gives me satisfaction. I believe I an a better photographer in many respects than many photographers who display their work for sale. But I have no desire (or need) to try to sell my photography. Nor do I need, or expect, to be known, let alone important. Non commercial Un important narrowly known soon to be lost to history, photographer Moose
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2019 on Everything Has Its Arc at The Online Photographer
"It's curious that although the absolute latest and greatest often costs more now, good cameras are getting cheaper—if you have some personal discipline and can make a judicious choice." For me, not so much "personal discipline" as careful matching of features to needs. "the absolute latest and greatest" in µ4/3 means not only the most expensive, but, more to the practical usability point for me, the largest and heaviest. The sweet spot for me these days is the Panny GX9 and the runner-up GX85. Amazing performance in so many aspects of IQ and features, light, compact, and inexpensive. In addition to the named features, they reach a level of ISO invariance that's amazing, and allows me to make photos I otherwise couldn't. I chose GX9s for our trips to Bhutan last spring and So. Utah early summer, and am very pleased with the results. They'll be off with me to New England and Ireland for seven weeks in a few days. (The only thing I seriously dislike about the GX9 is the flip up EVF that you love so much. An endless PitA in the field. Go figure.)
"Iain Blake's 100 Strangers" seems to me a bit like going to the zoo. The subjects are all seen in only one, largely uncharacteristic situation. It's all about their interactions with a stranger with a camera. It's not bad, but of limited interest to me. My preference, obvious in most of my pictures of "people in the wild", is to capture them as they are in their interaction with their world, unaffected by knowing they are being photographed. In a comment on an earlier post about Street Photography, someone noted that they didn't like the perspective of faces taken with longer lenses. I can see how that could be true for someone else, but it isn't for me.
Nice essay! Seems to me you've hit the nail on the head, fleshing out Gladwell's thesis so that it makes actual sense to me. I am bemused by those writers, like Ann Patchett, who prescribe regimens of so many hours and/or so many words at the same time each day as the only way one may write successfully. One of the things I did in my business career was write software. I was not in IT; I wrote to accomplish my goals in other areas. Although I did some special purpose, short term programs. I did a couple that lasted decades. One, in particular, has lasted over 30 years, used by the top management of a Fortune 500 company. It even survived an acquisition, being adopted by the acquiring company. I think that qualifies as a success. I wrote code when the Muse struck (not Erato?). I could force myself to work on it during work hours, or under deadline, but all my best work was done at odd times, and not in nicely organized times and lengths. I would often work for hours, often in what most folks would call the middle of the night. Getting to bed at 4 am was generally the sign of a particularly creative and productive, hours long session. Breakthrough ideas tended to come in the shower. Now, to my great surprise, I seem to be writing a book. I think it's shaping up to be good. But that's not the reason I'm doing it. I'm doing it because that's what shows up. I may not write for days, even 2-3 weeks. Then, Blam!, I can hardly tear myself away from the keyboard. Yup, got to bed at 4:15 am, night before last. It was 15,000 words, midday yesterday, 16k by bed time. There's enough floating around randomly in my head to easily double that, and new material emerges as I write, so length shouldn't be a problem. I've been reading Natalie Goldberg's Long Quiet Highway. She, too thinks, early in her life, that there's a magic formula of practice that makes good writing possible. She's been teaching that idea to thousands of would be writers for decades. What works for one writer may not work for another. Following religiously the formula that works for someone else may, in fact, stifle the creativity of another. I wonder what harm Goldberg may have done to potentially good writers with different temperments than hers. Ah, well, the really good, or better, ones have likely been writing, not going to workshops. "So the question becomes, what exactly is it that you can practice endlessly and have it make you happier rather than driving you crazy? That's the thing you should do." I may be a writer. Well, at the moment, I certainly am. Whether I will be successful, by my own standards, a finished book, or the commercials standard of being published and selling, remains to be seen. Based on this criterion of yours, which I love, I should be a Photoshop worker. I have way more than the magic 10,000 hours in doing that. I can work in PS for hours, hunched over keyboard and mouse, peering closely at a screen, in violation of all the wisdom of how to avoid ill effects from doing those things without breaks. And I emerge energized, happy, not enervated or worn. I'm not stiff, sore, etc. at all. What the wet darkroom was to you, the digital darkroom is for me.
Toggle Commented Aug 23, 2019 on The Appetite for Work at The Online Photographer
We care about Amelia, because she was attractive and quixotic. The Pacific has swallowed many others. Consider the late, largely unlamented Brigadier General Joseph Warren Stilwell Jr. "He was lost at sea on July 25, 1966, when flying a C-47 to Hawaii with longtime friend and pilot Hal Grimes of Air Ferry International. Harold Fossum was the navigator. The C-47 was to continue on to Thailand; however, Stilwell was only intending to travel as far as Hawaii to increase his instrument rating qualification. The Coast Guard, USAF and US Navy (including three destroyers and the USS Yorktown) searched an area of 105,000 square miles without finding any trace of the aircraft." I was a radarman on USCG Cutter Dexter in that search. We spent a week participating in an inventory of every piece of flotsam or jetsam in the Pacific between SF and Hawaii, looking for an idiot. The story we heard is that Stillwell and his buddies were borrowing a Royal Thai Airforce plane. They revved up once to take off from Alameda Naval Airstation, but couldn't get up enough power for lift off, and went back to have the engines tinkered with. Second try, they got airborne, but turned back after a few miles, for more engine work. Third time the charm? They disappeared over the Pacific. The only hint they went down there was a weak signal that may have been a Mayday picked up by a commercial airliner.
Just shows how much you, like me, but in quite different ways, are out of the mainstream of camera buyers. All cameras these days, except, perhaps, true Pro models, are made in batches. If demand has been mis-estimated, one of two things happens. Underestimated, they run out before everyone who might want one has one. If the follow-on model doesn't happen, or is late, sales are lost. The Panny GM5 is an example. Clean used ones are very hard to find, and much more expensive than one would expect of a used digicam. Overestimated, they need to find a way to minimize the losses of profits from sale prices. In the case of this fire sale, I'd guess that sales of the camera were under what they planned for, and nobody was buying the vertical grip. They could let them molder, slowly selling off, but carrying inventory costs money, too, or bite the bullet. A bargain is only a bargain if you actually want it.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2019 on Fuji Fire Sale at The Online Photographer
Welcome to the Longfellows Club! "That's probably not the best picture you ever saw of the surface of the moon," Those who shoot celestial objects know post processing is required. This is one way your shot looks after some post. ". . . otherwise this might not amaze me so much. And I'm grateful to be amazed. Just blows me away, as we used to say back in the 20th." OK, you are new to the long world, so being blown away makes sense. But it may also have temporarliy blinded you to the further possibilities. I've illustrated one above. Another is to take two exposures, one for the moon, and one for the sky, then combine them. that's the easy way to balance exposures. ". . . but once again, that's at 600mm-e, handheld." As a long time Longfellow, it's no surprise to me. I was looking for subjects lit by dusk light, when I looked up, saw the moon, and grabbed a shot. Oly E-M5 II, PLeica 100-400, 800mm-e, handheld. At 100% (Click on any of the above eensy images to see larger.)
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2019 on Lunatic at The Online Photographer
Thoughts abot this charger: 1. I wonder about its effect on longevity/health of the batteries. The Panny charger that came with my GX7 has an output spec of 430 mA. They have since've cut costs by only including an AC to USB adapter and charging in camera, at least with mine. The adapter outputs 1.0 A @ 5 V. If all delivered to the battery, that would be about 600 mA. My guess is that losses in the process and power to the camera reduce that to under 500 mA. Diddling around with specs from other chargers for these batteries that I have, it appears that the Hähnel ProCube2 must deliver something between 1000 and 1250 mA. The uncertainty is due to lack of info about the energy remaining in the battery when the camera shuts off. The question in my mind is why Panny limits charging current. Why would they make charging any slower than needed for battery health and life? 2. The Watson Duo LCD Charger with Two Battery Plates does much the same thing, for the same price. Depending on what cameras and batteries one has, it could be more useful than the Hähnel, as its plates are individual, not dual, so one could be charging a Nikon xyz2 battery ast the same time as a Sony abc3 battery. Watson is also far more familiar to me as a quality brand. Although the Watson specs pre battery output of 1000 mA, it also gives minimum charging time of two hours. Perhaps it's actually smart, and varies charge current, depending on level of charge? 3. I can't find a size spec for the Hähnel, nor clear weight. If I did most of my battery charging at home, it wouldn't matter. As it is, I do more on the road than at home. The Hähnel is clearly much larger and heavier than I want to be hauling about the world. I've taken an Oaproda dual battery charger around New England, Bhutan and Ireland, and been very pleased with its performance. It's tiny, weighs nothing, is powered by a 2.4A USB outlet, via AC or 12V adapter. I've not timed it, but it's MUCH faster than the Panny charger, less than twice the time for the Hähnel, I'd guess. It's also MUCH less expensive that either Hähnel or Watson.
Here I just thought it was interesting that Moose and Ken were saying such opposite things. Without context, it's hard to tell if we are really far apart. When I'm traveling and taking pictures, I'm carrying two cameras around my neck and one clipped to my belt. Those, and a fisheye in a pocket or vest, give me a focal length range of 14-800 mm -e, plus the ~150º AoV of the fisheye. Yup, use it all. In those circumstances, an RX or LX model is less capable in both sensor and lens. In the case of someone using an ILC with primes or a fast, short FL range zoom, and where light is decent, I can easily imagine how one of these compacts would add significantly to the photographic possibilities. When compared to no camera, or a 'phone camera, one of these would be marvelously better, esp. for those for whom the FLs of 'phone cameras are insufficient (as for me.) My light/non-serious kit is a GM5 with 14-140/2.5-5.6. Again, one of these super compacts would fall short for all but widest angle. Pano stitching takes care of 24 mm -e and much wider. With a real lens, with front filter threads, I can, and do, also use an achromatic close-up lens to get far closer. Remember, I am not trying to sell, or un-sell, anything, only responding to the idea that '. . . this new Sony will pretty much do it all, for any sane definition of "all."', when that's not true for me. As I am addicted to long FLs, I also have a Panny ZS50, 2/3" sensor, 24-720 mm -e. Remarkably capable in daylight. That comes closer for me to the role of pocketable camera I can always have with me.
'But we have to admit that this new Sony will pretty much do it all, for any sane definition of "all." ' Popular definitions of sanity are vastly over-rated. This camera doesn't even come close to my personal definition of "all", a definition grounded in my photographic practice. Leaving aside any factors from difference in sensor size, and based on focal length alone, a quick check shows that less than 60% of the photos in my galleries over the last year from Bhutan, So. Utah and Ireland could have been made with this camera. Circumstances vary, of course. In the countryside outside of Duvall, WA, 26%; in Dublin, 90%. Although I'd have missed a handful of shots I like, I could have done Dublin with the RX100 VII with only moderate frustration. (But why?)
From my grandfather's extremely brief autobiography: "I was born in a log house in the little town of Woodland, Utah. [Aug 6, 1889] My twin brother and I were the eight and ninth of a family of eleven children. We grew up on a ranch which later became almost a cattle ranch. I went to a grade school in Woodland, Summit County in which one teacher taught all eight grades. After finishing the eighth grade, I went to Provo, Utah for my high school and college work." He likely didn't see a car until hitting his teens. He saw men land on the moon eleven years before his death.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2019 on I Feel Old at The Online Photographer