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"The other thing I miss: The infinity stop." It's then obvious that you seldom used long lenses, or zooms. Lenses are subject to expansion and contraction with temperature changes. Some older lenses, such as the Olympus OM 300/4.5, have a hard stop, but it's not always perfect infinity. At some temps, the lens may focus past infinity. Some zoom makers acknowledged this on the lenses, showing a range for infinity focus. Perhaps only for AF lenses? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I need to develop a new habit, of waking up the camera before expecting it to shoot." My first DSLR, a Canon 300D, led me to train myself to touch the shutter button first thing as I grabbed the camera. By the time it was at eye level, it was on. "My favorite Easter joke is that one with the chocolate bunny saying "my butt hurts," which makes me laugh every year like clockwork." Us too! It's a magnet on the fridge.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2020 on Open Mike: Weird Dreams at The Online Photographer
"Do you dream about photographing? I do, all the time." Now that you mention it, no. \;~)> I've been a dream worker for many years, so I write down my dreams. One often common theme is working on a computer to help other(s) by doing what they need, and/or showing them how to do it. One subset of that theme is dreams where the subject is processing of photo images. I don't recall any dreams where I am taking photos, but do recall having at least several working on them in post.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2020 on Open Mike: Weird Dreams at The Online Photographer
Sweet stories! I too forget to take photos of the beautiful food - before it's gone. \;~)>
". . . the 100–400mm Fuji lens I used recently, with its extreme angle-of-view equivalency of 600mm, was the longest lens I've ever used...ever. It was a great experience, and I felt like I learned a lot from it, even though I won't be shooting with such a long lens regularly." Since I acquired the Leica 100-400 (pre-ordered, the moment it was possible), I've taken 30,000 photos with ILC cameras. Of those, 92% were µ4/3, 50% of which were taken with the 100-400, 48% of which were @ 400 mm, 800 mm eq. My longest AF lens for FF is 240 mm. Anything longer is unmanageable for me in the field, which makes FF a secondary, niche format for me. As you might then imagine, I have no interest in reviews, or even news, about MF cameras. Terra Incognita, where there be Dragons. «\;^)> But have fun, whatever you decide!
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2020 on Should I? at The Online Photographer
". . . I thought my comments would be appropriate to most people's experience. 99.5% of potential buyers for a small, handy Micro 4/3 camera " Perhaps so. As it is for you, I can't speak for the experience of others. I carefully chose GX9 bodies for what I consider serious photography, not because they are frivolous, as small, handy might imply, but because they pack the same IQ into easier to carry and use bodies as Panny and Oly's larger cameras. I use them mostly with Leica 12-60 and 100-400 and Panny 7-14 and the 8 mm fisheye and occasionally with various Panny and Oly primes. They have delivered the kind of images I expect from those lenses; what I wanted from them. In addition, my comments on ISO invariance and DR apply equally to many recent cameras. I know from experience that they apply to the Sony A7 series, and to their 1" sensor RX10 IV, and from reviews that they apply to many other cameras.
"Here's an example of a slight limitation of the small sensor. Shooting with camera-determined autoexposure" The term AE means little, unless one knows the EV setting. ", the sunlit bit at the top of the tree trunk in the background is too overexposed [for Mike] to recover completely." Gross canard! Easily "recovered" even in the small JPEG. Not really "recovered", as the data is all there in the JPEG, just compressed at the top of the histogram. "In this shot a very bright evening sun is either in the frame or just out of it (I don't recall exactly), " This is a critical difference. IF the sun was in the frame, even the best of MF sensors would have a blown out area, and the usefulness as example is not there. If outside the frame, then lower exposure should have captured the top. "and with a lot of HDR I could just get the slight striations in the sky in the upper right, which is enough sky for this small JPEG. " I imagine that you don't mean real HDR, which involves combining different exposures, but some sort of processing of a single exposure. The GX9 easily does auto bracketed exposures for real HDR. That said, it seems whenever I do that, I find a single exposure that can do it all. "No telling if it would be enough in a print or a larger JPEG. Exposing for the sky here, on the other hand, resulted in the dark areas being too dark [for Mike] to bring up in post." There's that fat duck again. Many contemporary sensor systems are what DPReview calls ISO Invariant. What they mean is that there is no difference between a greater in-camera exposure and post exposure amplification of brightness. There are caveats, seldom more than about three stops, and works best at low ISOs. This means that one may, in fact, do what you claim can't be done. Here's an example, where I intentionally greatly underexposed a very high contrast subject, to hold highlights, then pulled up the shadows. If one wants sunset sky colors and less dark foreground, they are there even in the small JPEG. If that may be done to a small JPEG, imagine that may be done with the Raw file! The GX9 is an excellent camera, but not the only one with high ISO invariance. DPR is regularly including that in their tests. Not suggesting, Mike, that you should have the tools, experience and ability to so this DR stuff, only that absolute statements such as ". . . resulted in the dark areas being too dark to bring up in post." should perhaps be qualified. [I wish I had your skills. What you say is fair enough, but I think you should look at the appropriateness of your suggestions to the product. It's true that I can't evaluate files using expertise I don't possess. But I thought my comments would be appropriate to most people's experience. 99.5% of potential buyers for a small, handy Micro 4/3 camera are going to have neither the software, nor the technical chops, nor the time and willingness to work on their files like you might. I could be wrong. It always bothered me when, for example, an audio reviewer would test a pair of small, vinyl-clad, budget 2-way speakers using a source that cost $16,000 and amplification that cost $35,000; if you review a phone you should use the processing built in to the phone, right? So I applied quick, basic processing only, mostly in ACR. (I did selectively work on the farmer on the tractor in the shot with the horses.) In any event, I'm very clear in all my reviews about the fact that I'm just reporting on my own experience, nothing more. --Mike]
One Man's Super . . . Speaking in FF equivalents: My Sony zoom for FF starts @ 24 mm. My WA zoom starts @ 16 mm. Five of the zooms I own or have owned for µ4/3 start @ 24 mm eq. One started @ 18, and the current WA one @ 14 mm eq. Back in film days, I thought of my Zuiko 21 mm as Super WA and 18 mm as Ultra WA. Now I have a Voightländer 10/5.6 for FF. They label it as Hyper WA. I suggest that the 16 mm for Fuji APS, 24 mm eq. is just WA and the 14, 21 mm eq. is just barely Super WA. The whole area of WA lenses has changed dramatically over the last decades. I used to lust over amazing, dedicated super wide 6x12 and 6x17 cameras with the Super-Angulon lenses. I have far wider lenses now. "I've always felt that 24mm-e is as wide a wide-angle as I'll ever actually need" From over here, you have rather narrow tastes. \;~)> As to why one might want such WA lenses, consider this ancient room in a church in Dublin. Or these shots in canyons in So. Utah, a farm house in Bhutan, etc., where I also used a fisheye lens 'un-fished.' All are about 150° AoV. And they are fine for web display. But the distortion correction seriously affects resolution away from center. Now, if I can ever travel again, I can get those shots with a rectilinear lens. "Stretch" Moose
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2020 on Which Superwideangle? at The Online Photographer
When people discover that I am a "photographer", one of the two most frequent questions they ask is "What do you like to photograph?" My response is "I almost never do formal portraits." I'm as interested in the random pattern of fallen petals as in the Himalayan crest. As interested in a local finch as an exotic Hornbill. Little girl who should have a pearl earring as a wrinkled old man. Fabulous fabric in a dress as the texture of ferns. Flower with soft glow as another with razor sharp deep focus. Abstraction and documentation. I could go on for ages, and illustrate, but then this post would be yards long. \;~)> You, and others often warn that to become a successful photographer, one must specialize, with a recognizable look. Fortunately, that only applies to commercial success, not artistic satisfaction. ". . . having this camera or that one has seldom been the real determinant of whether I'm happy with my photographing or not." As a result of the breadth of my photographic interests, gear makes a real difference to me. When I was able to move from a 28-200 mm zoom on FF to 28-300 mm, my satisfaction increased. Yeah, sure, I had a 300 mm prime, but that's not exactly responsive for my kind of photography. Moving to APS-C, my satisfaction with tele work increased, but WA decreased and I didn't get along with the 60D very well. µ4/3, in the form of an E-M5, with both ends covered by 9-18 (18-36 eq.) and 75-300 (150-600), was a huge step up in satisfaction, both with the process of capture and with the results. Then came the E-M5 II and focus bracketing. Means nothing to you, Mike, but it was a long wished for revelation to me. Pictures I had long had in my head, but was unable to make, were now possible! I have 16x20 prints on my wall that knock me out. And then -- the Leica 100-400 zoom! Candids, mountains, birds, bugs, different landscapes, so much more oh my! Then -- the Panny GX9, birds in flight. The Voightländer Hyper Wide 10/5.6, for panoramic AoV without stitching issues or defishing, esp. of things that move. The 19 years since I bought a 1.9 MP Canon S110 P&S and the 16 since the 5 MP 300D have been a carnival of increasing capabilities in the gear available to realize the images in my head. I've been lucky with access, in that much of what I like to photograph is not hard to find. Last year, Bhutan, Seattle, Cascade foothills, red rock Utah, New England and Ireland provided access to endless opportunities. Not cheap, perhaps, but not difficult to access. This year is oh so different, but I find that there are lots of details to see in a smaller area. Last year, Bhutan: This year, home: Why birds? Maybe 'cause the Red Tail fledgling was here so recently. Could have been any of many things.
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2020 on Access at The Online Photographer
To what seems to me an important extent, lenses will drive many/most such decisions. If one only wants a simple prime or two, choices are wide open. If one prefers a stable of primes and/or one, two, or more high end zooms, and/or s specialty ultra wide lens, the selection becomes much narrower. If, for example, I bought a Fuji X-T1 for $250, that "savings" would be wiped out by the need to buy several lenses in order to enjoy using it. I have several friends who have stables of Olympus 4/3 glass, the higher end pieces of which are exceptionally good optically. At least a couple took advantage of the drop in E-M1 prices when the Mk. II came out and now others have bought the II when prices dropped on introduction of the III. The E-M1 models use PD-AF and focus the old lenses as fast or faster than the old 4/3 DSLRs. As such, they are the only way for these folks to upgrade, without large outlays of $$ for a whole new set of lenses. I imagine similar things hold for other brands, where the compatibility of old, sometimes beloved, glass with newer, but still not current, bodies drives practical value. It can be a slippery slope . . . I imagine my response to such a request might be: 1. What camera and lenses do you have now? 2. In what way do they fall short of what you would like? 3. What would you be looking for in a new camera and lens(es)? That would surely cut the possibilities way down.
"I've never traveled with it" Travel has been, until this year, my primary use of chargers. For me, this one is oversize, overweight and over priced. I've been using an OAproada twin charger for Panny batteries for GX7, GX9, GX85, ZS200 and ZS80. Travel tested in 90 nights of recharging multiple batteries on the road, it's smaller, much lighter and charges much faster than the Panny chargers. Cheaper, too. I haven't timed it, but it seems like it can charge four batteries in little more time than one in a Panny charger. It looks from the pix/specs on Amazon as though the same basic thing is available for most contemporary batteries, under various brand names. (Note how Panny uses the same battery for many models. They even designed the smaller battery for the GM models to fit the same charger as the larger ones!)
Such a different approach than mine, neither Right or Wrong My way is strongly function oriented. Many of my photo friends in Oly OM days were deeply enamored with the OM-3, and then the OM-3Ti. The 3Ti is a gorgeous camera, with a finish unlike anything else I've seen. And yet, they are cameras with no mirror lock-up or aperture pre-fire. Maitani's vision of the OM system is wonderful, but with a deep flaw in the aperture mechanism that introduces vibration with every shot. The OM-4(T(i)) bodies were the first to fully address this problem. So I never had any interest in the OM-3s. My basic questions all the time are: If I am happy using it and with the results. Second, whether there is a camera (or lens) that will allow me to to the photography I do more easily or better or will allow me to do photographic things I would like to do, but can't with present gear. My Canon 5D lasted over five years as primary camera, for the simple reasons that I enjoyed using it and nothing else I could see met the improvement criterion. The 60D that followed it lasted a, grudging at the end, 15 months. I'm always shopping, in a vague sense, in that I keep track of new bodies and lenses. I was very happy to put the 60D behind me when the E-M5 came along. Just now, my GX9 bodies have pleased me for 1.5 years, and I see nothing on the horizon that looks better - for me.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2020 on Stopping Shopping at The Online Photographer
". . . now that Olympus is jettisoning its cameramaking business?" We 'Murkins do love to catastrophize! I've read all sorts of stuff about this, all of it speculation based on essentially zero information. As an insider in a major LBO years ago, I know many outsiders figured the company would be sold in bits and pieces for scrap. Oddly enough, the actual situation was worse than thought outside, and yet, with strategic sales of under performing bits, reorganization, competent management, etc. a profitable, stable business was created - with a good stock price. Some of the sold off bits also became successful suppliers, as well. How can we know What JIP intends to do, let alone what they actually will do, when they get into it? If they get into it; all we have now is the intent to sign a letter of intent. Pretty vague. What is Panny to do? Agree that the Oly brand is toast, when they don't know if it is or isn't? We have no actual information about the profitability of Panny's µ4/3 business. Nor do we know how important it may be as support for the newer formats. Might as well speculate as to the actual nature of ETs. µ4/3 has made a lot of sense to me since the E-M5. I hear endless stuff about how APS-C is the larger format with inherent better IQ. I really think that's perception - which is powerful and important for sales - rather than reality. The height of a UPS-C sensor is 15 mm, a whopping 15% greater than µ4/3, which is basically - nothing, from a performance standpoint. APS-C is a 3:2 format, like FF, so it has a higher pixel count than a same height 4:3 format would have. I've spent way too much time looking closely at DPR studio test shots. I can't see any inherent, consistent advantage of one format over the other.
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2020 on What About Panasonic? at The Online Photographer
"Nice edit, Moose! Thanks, David! (Would be harder to do to stand up to a gallery-size print!)" Yes, but easier to start with the original file, not a small JPEG. \;~)>
It's really been good, in my individual life and my wife's. I passed the 20 year mark of retirement in February. So in most ways life at home is familiar. OTOH, we were traveling much of last spring, and 1/4 of all of last year. Good: We've watched the garden grow and change every day, which is quite wonderful. Not bad: Maybe neutral? No travel, not even local, so photography has been limited to house and garden and to finishing up part of the backlog of photos from prior trips as yet unfinished. Maybe bad, if it goes on too long: Travel breaks up life, brings new perspectives, both literal and internal. I'm OK with none now, even enjoying it, but look forward to more in the, I hope, not too distant future. The social aspects are different, in some ways better, some worse. We missed visiting with Carol's family in Brooklyn in person in April and will miss the other sister near Boston this fall. But we've been visiting with all three families together on Zoom fairly regularly. Between Zoom and Facetime, we have kept up many usual connections. Our dream group meetings on Zoom have been great. Most of Carol's usual social activities have moved to Zoom, including her Pilates lessons. We're actually able to "attend" more workshops via Zoom than we manage in person. The personal aspect is missing, but we can do more. My social engagement with my photo friends on the Oly List are largely unchanged. Perhaps even more active as some are stuck at home. We've actually had more contact with some friends than usual. We do miss the physical contact, but we have each other, in our little bubble. I do feel sad for our friends who are single. Some clearly are suffering from lack of physical contact. About the only deadlines I usually have are self imposed or related to travel. The complete lack of external deadlines is good-bad. I enjoy it in some ways, but feel like the days just flow by, undifferentiated, which leaves me a bit asea occasionally. How is it possible hat this is the Summer Soltice already? Wasn't it March just yesterday? But that's at least as much related to age as to sheltering in place. This disconnection from usual calendar time may be slowing me down on a couple of projects. Not sure it matters, though. Others we know have expressed a similar feeling of losing location in time. It's also been a time of assessment and re-imagining who we are, and what our lives are about. We know even more than before how incredibly lucky and blessed our lives are. So, put me in the big Plus column. \;~)> (Oh, yeah. The issuer of B&H's credit card finally decided I'm not dead, which I already knew and appreciate, and I now have a Payboo card. ++)
Must . . . resist . . . fist . . .of . . . PS
"The question is, which construction is more likely to interrupt the reader's flow and take his or her attention away from the sense of the sentence?" Blew this reader right out of the essay. I went back and read the rest later. I don't know about anyone else. Still, "whom", pretty please? I do know what it's like to write until the words swim on the page. Current project is at 67k words. Still, with no external deadline, I can come back later and clean it up; "What was I thinking?"
"Anyway, that's not the way to work hard on a photograph. I suspect the same thing happens now with [anyone] diving into excessive post-processing in attempts to make something more out of pictures that just aren't quite good enough . . ." How about an informed combination? In a way I like to think of as grown out of St. Ansel's practice, I often take shots that I know will be compromised, but with a vision in my head of both what it will look like out of Raw conversion and what the end result will look like. Sure, there's sometimes work on either end, sometimes a lot, getting the shot and in the digital darkroom. No one cares how hard I worked, but they do care what the photo looks like when they see it. \;~)>
Oh dear! ". . . who she is then given ten minutes with." ". . . with whom she is then given ten minutes." At least, "whom", pretty please? Pedantic Moose [...with whom she is then given ten minutes" is more strictly correct, but this sort of thing is right in the middle of what you might call the transition zone. The question is, which construction is more likely to interrupt the reader's flow and take his or her attention away from the sense of the sentence? That is, which is more likely to be a distraction? The question is answered in your own case, but my sense is that the construction I used is less likely to impede the greater number of readers. Always a judgement call, though. Sometimes it might be better to simply work around it by finding a different way to say it, but I started this essay last night and finished it this morning, so I don't get a lot of time to rewrite and revise. --Mike]
". . . the spot often migrates (thanks to the touch screen)" Allan, an innovation in the GX9 is the ability to keep touch operations on for other uses while turning off "touch focus". This is a game changer for me, compared to GX7, 8, 80/85. How to do it is not intuitive, perhaps even obscure: In the [Custom] Menu ("C" in front of wrench), set 'Touch Settings' and 'Touch Tab' to "ON" [Manual p 213] The next two settings, 'Touch AF' and 'Touch Pad AF' may be whatever you like, and will be turned on/off elsewhere. Now, pant, pant, out of the menu, touch the middle tab on the right of the screen "<", then touch the icon of a hand with index finger sticking out. It cycles through three settings. When it is accompanied with a big "X", Touch AF and Shutter operations are off. Hooray! [Manual p 53] I hope that helps!
The GX9 remains my choice for primary camera. The 12-60/3.5-5.6 is a decent lens, a bit better than the Oly 12-50/3.5-6.3 that was my first µ4/3 lens. As I have many great photos out of the 11,000+ I took with the Oly, the Panny should be fine. OTOH, the PanaLeica 12-60/2.8-4.0 is a very fine lens, distinctly better than either of the others. Build quality is much better, as well. I'm out at nearly 10,000 shots with mine, so pretty familiar with it. This is especially true for close-ups. I do a lot of C-U shooting, so that's important to me. Specs say the PL has slightly greater max. Mag., and I found that to be true. In a careful C-U comparison test with a flat subject, the Leica is distinctly better in the center and a great deal better in the corners. That particular copy of the 12-60/3.5-5.6 was particularly bad in one corner, while the Leica was pretty consistent and pretty good in all the corners. We travel a lot in "normal" years, one 2019 trip had us away for seven weeks. Much of the travel is where replacement gear would be difficult or impossible to get. So I carry back-up gear. The Panny 12-60 is B-U for the PLeica.
No problem here. I figure you make such (possibly foolish) commitments for yourself. a. As incentive to do it. b. To feel something accomplished that day? I'm ready for it when it happens. \;~)> (Even better is when it's surprise, 'cause I've forgotten what you've promised! How many guesses do I get?)
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2020 on Blog Note: Aaugh! at The Online Photographer
I still prefer color for this subject . . .
I do not understand the appeal of these monochrome conversions. They strip all the richness away. The rich greens of leaves and grass in late light are replaced with blah. It's like biting into my favorite, deep, rich chocolate - and getting a bite of saltine. Just a data point.
I have, or have had, 31 different lenses for µ4/3, 14 Olys, 15 Pannys and two MF lenses. Currently, it's 4 Olys, 13 Pannys and one MF. I could write quite a long essay on how and why a mostly Oly herd changed to mostly Panny. A good part of it has been Panny OIS and my love of their GM5. The Oly, 14-150, for example, is a perfectly good lens, but the Panny 14-140 has OIS. It's a much better compact kit companion to the GM5. The Panny 100-400 not only has much more reach, but is optically better than the Oly 75-300 I used a lot before. The Oly 12-100 is the perfect FL range, but the close to useless highest magnification at 12 mm is a fatal flaw. It can never be used fully, without the lens, even without hood, creating shadows on the subject. The Panny 12-60 has the same max mag. but at the long end, and it's excellent. Better perspective, too. All my favorites are used with GX9s with IBIS, where the OIS on the longer ones is a bonus as part of their Dual IS. First place is a tie. Pleica 100-400 PLeica 12-60 3. Panny 7-14 4. Panny 8 mm fisheye The eq. of 13-800 mm in 4 lenses! Slot canyons and birds in flight occur in the same places. \;~)>
". . . I would have taken digital more seriously." A few years from now . . . ". . . I would have taken phone cameras more seriously." They aren't right for me, for FL range, subject matter and tech things like HR and focus bracketing. But for your preferred FLs and subject matter, I'd think they would be quite useful. Part of it's about technique. I have lovely small prints form my first, 1.9 MP digicam. One may do far more today with the right models of phone cameras, right phone app and the right post processing software.