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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 2 days ago 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 3 days ago 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
"Given all its features, and its lens range, and given all the comps, the new Sony A7R IV is reasonably priced and likely to be a good buy for those who buy it. Wouldn't you agree?" Uh, OK, if you put it that way. OTOH, my original A7 does everything I want from a FF mirrorless, so the A7R IV is meaningless to me. Hence, of course, I won't buy it, and your circle of logic is complete. "I also continue to think the Fuji X-H1 with the "free" vertical grip battery pack for $1,300 is the best buy among new cameras right now, at least if you have any use for the vertical grip." Well, I hate vertical grips, but, moving on . . . It's not about the cost of the body for me, and I imagine, for at least many of us - Cost is about the lenses. Even more important is what the body can do. Even if I had the lenses available on a swap, the X-H1 would not suit my needs. If one only needs a couple of not too fast primes, or a moderate zoom, it's not too bad. In my case, I have about a dozen µ4/3 lenses in active status, omitting duplicates and stuff waiting to be sold. Replicating just my most used lenses, covering fisheye and 14-800 mm -e, would cost far more than whatever body is involved.
"Tri Tran Signature Fine Art Lens" Well, that's interesting, ". . .a single meniscus lens . . ." of about 62 mm for $1,000-1,500, plus about $1,000 for a diaphragm and a tube to hold them. Single meniscus lenses in that focal length range are commonly sold as a close-up lenses or filters, for waaaayyy less money. One may, of course, vary the surface powers (radii) of the two surfaces. And, indeed, measuring the powers of a couple of different brands shows different choices. One may also vary glass index of diffraction, with appropriate surface radii changes to maintain focal length. But I wonder how much this might change the image. I suspect very little. "Modern lens design and glass formulation allow optimum performance of this Soft Focus Meniscus Lens to be dialed in by precisely controlling the levels of Chromatic Aberration and Spherical Distortion present." How does one do that with a single element lens? With two spherical surfaces and one index of refraction? High end coatings are also possible, but does one want that in a lens intended to come close to the uncoated lenses of yore? There is no mention of coatings in the descriptions. Had I an 8"x10" camera, I'd be trying out my #2 and #3 67 mm C-U lenses. I have various single element lenses for FF, among them a SIMA Soft Focus 100/2. Click on image for a larger version.
Time to pitch the movie Tim's Vermeer again? OK, watch it!
"Hallelujah" indeed! Especially for you, but also for us!
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2019 on I'm Back at The Online Photographer
DxO Photo Lab (and it's predecessors) are first rate Raw conversion and editing programs in many respects. They are not, however, free. Adobe charges by the month, DxO roughly by the year. Sure, you can use one version forever, but, as with the older Adobe model, that means missing updates for new cameras, lens profiles and feature improvements. DxO does their own lens profiles, apparently including some deconvolution. These are generally better to much better than the ones used by many others. The LensFun profiles used by several other converters are second rate. Adobe uses profiles from Panny and Oly for their µ4/3 lenses, and does not allow one to turn them off. Most of their (S)WA lenses have considerable barrel distortion, corrected either in camera, in their Raw converters and Adobe LR and PS The result is that a fair amount of the wide AoV you paid for is cropped away in distortion correction. Correction actually makes the images wider in pixels, but they are then cropped to fit the standard dimensions of their files. DxO has the option to do that, or to simply save a slightly wider image file. It will do the same thing for other formats, but I don't know what difference that might make, depending on camera and lens. One may also turn all correction off, and see just how much correction is going on, and what effect it may be having on corner resolution and shape distortion. DxO also has class leading NR for raw files. Prime RAW NR is almost always a cut above Adobe and Plug-ins I've tried. It is part of Raw conversion and varies its strength intelligently depending on content. Prime NR is an example of an important improvement that came only with a paid upgrade. Raw conversion often leads to tiny, pixel level artifacts revealed after noise is removed. Until recently, DxO PL with Prime NR and Lens Sharpen was the best combination I could find for avoiding that, giving nice, clean pixel level detail. I say until recently because of the advent of two more of Topaz' AI products, DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI. Sharpen is awfully good and DeNoise is close to magic, esp at minium and higher ISOs, although occasionally mixed magic. I simply don't know enough yet to rate them against DxO PL for NR and sharpening. I've used them, but not on enough files and a wide enough range of subjects, ISOs, etc.
Toggle Commented Jun 2, 2019 on DxO Deal at The Online Photographer
Here's to the perfect outcome, excellent vision for life!
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2019 on Pre-Op Blog Note at The Online Photographer
A View From Another World Just returned from six days in S. Utah, mostly Zion and Capitol Reef NPs. My gear was two µ4/3 cameras around my neck, one with 12-60 and one with 100-400, one clipped on my belt with 7-14 and an 8mm fisheye in a pocket of my vest. That's 14-800 mm -e, or 3-180º AoV. I came back with 1,246 shots. LR says at 76 focal lengths. Other than in the 60-100 mm gap*, it was always subject and composition that dictated AoV, not some arbitrary set of prime FLs. Does that sound nuts? Perhaps, but I could switch from shooting a WA landscape to shooting a Golden Eagle overhead in seconds. Looking at my results, as I loaded them on the portable and now, loaded into the LR Library, I'm very pleased; lots of excellent images. I can't imagine shooting those locations with a handful of primes. The results would be very limited. (And I would have been out of my mind with frustration.) Back in '69, I took my Nikon Ftn and 50/2 Nikkor (all I could afford) down into Havasu Canyon. Yes, I have some nice photos, but they don't come close what I would have with what I shoot today. I was frustrated then, but had no inkling what would be possible later. You recently "talked" about Fun in photography. Well, for me, it's FUN to pull over in the middle of nowhere, grab a camera from the floor below my knees, select a Custom Setting with central focus points, continuous focus and burst mode, and catch some American White Pelicans wheeling above a lake. Also Fun are the many other photos (macros, focus stacks, etc.) that I can make with my too complicated cameras and zooms. * Yes, there's a 12-100 that leaves no gap, but I don't like it.
Pulling for a perfect outcome out here on the Left Coast!
Toggle Commented May 24, 2019 on Bad PR at The Online Photographer
'Only one wee little thing: they're no fun. They have everything you could possibly want, except that. Fun is the missing "feature."' Not universally true. I'm having all sorts of fun using my digital cameras. More fun than in film days. True! Overly complex, to you. Amazingly flexible and powerful, to me. No, I don't read the manuals through. They are PDF, not paper. That means they are on my phone and tablet, available anywhere, even in the dark. Even if the Table of Contents and/or index are insufficient, I can use Search to find what I want. Case in point. We're off Saturday to Southern Utah; part of the trip is to shoot night skies. I've not done that before, and had no idea whether my Gx9s have a built-in intervalometer. A few moments in the PDF manual, and I know that they do, and how to operate it. Is it possible that you are making it un-fun by personal rules about things like needing to know everything it can do, even the things you will never use? Yes, I've heard you 'talk' about the time it takes to wholly "know" a camera, and how important that is. What if it isn't, anymore? What if I only need to know the functions I use? Read the whole manual, for a test? Yuck! There are whole areas of my cameras (and PS, BTW) that I've never used, know nothing about and don't expect to use. There are settings on the Mode dial that I've never used. Peering at them, I think I've figured out what they are for - things I don't need, so I don't need to know about them. So what? I learn and use what I need. And that is so much more than my film cameras, even my earlier digital cameras could do. What Fun!
Let's see, would I prefer a Wrangler Rubicon, Ford F150 crew cab or Mercedes S-class? None of the above. Same for these cameras. They don't do the things I want a camera to do.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2019 on Which Would Win? at The Online Photographer
"In RAID 1, two identical drives are linked together in the same volume, which are often placed in the same enclosure." Therein lies the rub; whatever external thing happens to one disk happens to them all. Randomly Accessed Moose Disks is a system which also uses two identical disks. One lives in the computer, the other lives in a fire resistant little safe - at the other end of the house. No, not automatically up-to-the-instant. Yup, requires me to manually plug the backups into the "toaster" and run the backup. Yes, I could lose some work, although not originals, as I make sure to back-up before formatting any full flash card. Also, the B-U disk has never run for more than a v. few hours, by the time it is replaced with a larger one. In RAID arrays, the disks wear/age identically. I do this for four different disks, including an SSD clone of the SSD boot drive. So far, AFAIR, the photography pairs have been 750GB, 1.5 TB, 3 TB and now 6 TB. With each upgrade in capacity, the old set has moved down the totem pole to the next category of stuff, with the hardly used B-U becoming primary.
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2019 on RAID!!! at The Online Photographer
"I use almost none of the complex offerings, though I will say that eye-autofocus on the Sony A9 is a game changer." JOHN GILLOOLY And there you have it: eye-autofocus means nothing to me, but focus stacking has been a game changer, a whole new world of photographic possibilities. Poll your readers on game changers, and you'll end up with a camera with all the "excess" features and complexity you complain about. As others have already have pointed out, choosing options on the camera isn't economically feasible. However, choosing at what level of automation to use it, which features to use and which to turn off/ignore is a set of options, all for far less $$ than custom optioned cameras would cost.
Dennis hit the nail on the head in this household. "As an aside, I truly believe that many people do not think that their phone is a 'good enough' camera (how many times do you read that phones are good enough for most people)—it's just that the ease of use/sharing is worth the compromise. I think a lot of people who shoot phones as their primary camera would love a better camera in their phone" My wife is bugging me for a new phone before our trip to Bhutan. Why? For better camera(s). She's perfectly happy with all the other functions. Why not the photographically far superior high end P&S I offer? It doesn't allow quality viewing and/or sending to others. Some newer bodies allow saving JPEGs to the phone/tablet connected via WiFi or BT - but it's just too klugy/non-transparent for her.
I've got a simple, possibly silly, question, Mike. Have you ever gone out for a day's shooting with a camera set on full Automatic? My Oly and Panny* cameras call it iAuto, Sony and Canon, simply Auto, generally highlighted relative to the other Mode settings. These Modes look to be very sophisticated in analyzing the subject and optimizing the settings. Well, of course you have, that's way your iPhone works; that's why it's so easy to operate. You need to download special apps to get more control. But have you done it on a real camera? ". . . the darn things got more challenging than they are rewarding." My assumption is that the Auto modes are meant to be the antidote to the complexity offered to folks like me in return for the flexibility to take photos I otherwise could not. I freely admit I've not tried them, but they weren't meant for me. Perhaps the Mode dials should be hidden, or act like keys, removable; maybe require a password to activate for anything but Auto? I wonder what proportion of these cameras are never used with any other settings? And perhaps how many more should be. \;~)> * Panny adds an iA+ Mode option.
Apples to Oranges. Like comparing a crop sensor camera to an MF camera. Wildly different sizes and "horsepower". Put all the special features you want on a µ4/3 or APS-C camera, and it still doesn't have a big sensor, if that's what one needs/wants. The comparable Toyota is (or was?) the Land Cruiser. There are also smaller Land Rover models, possibly more comparable to the RAV4. I know no details about either, other than seeing them on the road. I did check out an RAV4 years ago. It was quite a small vehicle. I have no knowledge, nor wish to have any, about the details of SUVs. (What I DO know is that Hertz tried like crazy to put us in an SUV for a month in New England, in spite of our reservation for a large sedan. But, they take the cargo area covers off, so all our stuff would be in view as, for example, when parked at some obscure trailhead. The eventual Chevy Impala was the perfect rental for us.)
I'm very happy with less gear, more pictures and discussion/thoughts about photography. One problem with gear posts is that any one of them will only be of interest to some portion. probably less than a majority, of readers. Posts about DSLRs, mirrorless Fujis, Canon's and Nikons, digital MF may get scanned, if I'm eager for photography stuff, but then they just go straight into the mental bit bucket here. Another, from my viewpoint, is that cameras are currently complex enough that giving a review that's really complete is essentially impossible. For example, none of the reviews I've seen, and I was looking, of the recent Panny G and GX bodies even mention that they have added focus stacking, let alone that they have added an option to it beyond what the originator, Oly, provides; an option that so far appears to make a big positive difference to me. Other things that are of great importance to me are how Fn buttons function and how Custom Settings work. When I read something more like an Appreciation than a Review, that focuses on how it looks, how it feels in the hand, and how it works for a little straightforward photography, it's some combination of boring and frustrating. But if you want to know how Panny's three Custom Settings may be used, in effect, as four, I'm your man. (I think I can even explain why . . .)
"... but for variety and pure photogeek fun I don't think anything out there beats Micro 4/3." You'd be talking about me. \;~)> I Own, or have owned, 28 of these lenses, plus a Laowa and a 25/1.4 CCTV lens that does swirly bokeh wonderfully on µ4/3. I can attest to how nice it is to have such a variety available. The one thing I miss is a fast prime ultra wide that provides EXIF info to the cameras. AF would be nice, too. I sold my Laowa 7.5/2 because of my experience with it in Bhutan. Neither time nor inclination to take manual notes in fast moving situations, and (sigh), I too often forgot to focus. This time I'll use a Panny 7-14/4. It's a testimony to lens variety that I could choose from four UWA zooms. Then again, I'm just as much a photogeek with old and odd lenses, glassless options and LensBabies for FF Alt photography. The new-to-me Spiratone Portragon 100/4 and my old SIMA Soft Focus 100/2 single element lenses render SO differently @ f4! BTW typo; pg 22 of the catalog, which is macro and 3D lenses, repeats the title "PRIME LENSES - TELEPHOTO" from the prior page.
Toggle Commented Mar 7, 2019 on Two Catalogs at The Online Photographer
Not to Worry! Honored - and Un Concerned Moose