Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by laur|1, Mar 10, 2014.
A good post:
Kirk Tuck: All the cameras are better than you are...
I can't say I agree with his blog post. Some future latest/greatest camera might have features I'm never likely to utilize, such as improved 64 point servo AF with 32 cross points and a frame rate of 20 fps continuously. That would be pretty snazzy, but I'm not a sports photographer. I'd have no interest in it. But I do shoot a lot of candid photos in the dark, where it's not feasible to use a flash (and I'm NOT being lazy). If that camera will give me a clean ISO 102,400, then I want it. I might not use the ISO 102,400 often, but I might regularly use 25,600 and even lift the shadows quite a lot.
This is not even mentioning that sometimes I pass up a photographic opportunity because it's not even an opportunity -- because no modern camera would be capable of capturing the image. That's frustrating. I can assure you that as cameras get more and more sensitive, I will be photographing more and more things.
Not every photographer has cutting edge needs. In fact most people probably don't. Most people just shoot snapshots for posting to the web. But it would be a pity if the camera manufacturers proclaimed "mission accomplished" and went to the pub to celebrate the end of their need to push forward with new innovations. There will always be photographers (quite a few of them) who will exploit those innovations to expand their work into new territory.
To me, a camera is a tool. When you need a monkey wrench, just how snazzy and up-to-the-minute does it need to be? Yes, some photogs will take the new stuff over the moon but most folks just need a pretty good camera. It seems to me that too many people get their underwear in a twist because Mr. Jones has a camera with one more alleged MP than they do. Or because they can't leave the house without Designer Name Brands plastered on their tutus or hanging around their necks.
I compare his thoughts to those who drive cars. Almost as old as photography and cameras, the internal combustion engine car evolves and becomes more performing with time. To some it is still wanting, to others it is perfect and more than perfect for their needs. If my only interest was to drive between different burgs within my city I would not need a very elaborate machine. Almost any car would do the trick and be better than I would need. If I was a Rallyist or someone living in extreme weather I would need a car that would cope with that and give me specific features, some of which can be still perfected.
The article should be read in its probable context. It is likely written for anyone who uses a camera, most of whom, even serious hobbyists, probably have one for casual use and do not need every quality that an advanced camera can yield.
The post is interesting, all right. But Gary has it pegged; a cameral is nothing but an instrumentality of the photographer who uses it. With all due respect to Mr. Tuck, the fact that a camera's capabilities may exceed the abilities of some photographers doesn't establish his conclusion, which is a sweeping generalization.
It's not the wand, but the magician who waves it.
Although he wanders a bit, I agree with the spirit of the article. I would hasten to add "all lenses are better than...." another area of perverse over emphasis for many hobbyist photographers.
Of course "many" photographers" aren't "every" photographer. And although he writes, in a rather sarcastic voice, about some that do try to maximize image quality, I would predict many of his regular readership, as well as quite a few of the membership here, would fall into that "one reader out of a hundred" category.
Frankly, I'm a bit surprised by the rant-ish tone. This should be nothing new to a photographer of his tenure. The perils of equipment-centric thinking, well oiled by professional camera marketing machinery, was well expressed throughout the years by Herbert Keppler, Ansel Adams and others. It's just now we have digital specific components added to the mix. It's the same old whine...in a brand new bottle.
Our expectations change based on the age we live in and more crucially what we can achieve. There is only a finite amount that I could personally spend on equipment. This made me look at ancient equipment. I started to look at the potential of what old technology could provide to suit my budget. Then again, each of your circumstances are very different. I rather liked the blog.
My eye, imagination, ability to compose, and post-process is better than any camera's.
The part that I think is most important is Tuck's assertion that all decent modern cameras produce files that are equal UNLESS you are making huge prints. This I believe. The obsession with the mystical Eye-Cue is a lot of what drives the incessant system switches and 'upgrades'.
Good article, pretty accurate!
Yes, Kirk is right in that when I am in studio, I am at optimum iso, custom color balanced, with the exposure nailed and usually a controlled, narrower dynamic range fitting my sensor's capabilities. However, when I head out the door, my vision often exceeds the camera's limited dynamic range and iso capabilities. That's when the lights come out and I don't accept that "NY lighting." Of course they also come out whenever the light needs to be tweaked to my vision. Now with 1/13,500 flash duration, 6 pops per second, flat line white balance, total control from camera, my lights come closer to exceeding my needs than my camera. I agree with Brad. Set a camera on a tripod, press the timer button and it will make a sharp, well exposed image. No imagination, no creativity, no truly good light. Kinda what most photographers barely improve upon. The most negative comment I could give to a photographer is their image is sharp and well exposed. The mindless camera can produce a sharp image of a fuzzy idea. (Ansel) Was reading a photo book yesterday, with many photos taken with a d2x. Looked good to me.
No respect for the blog from this quarter.
Reminds a little of the old Family Circus (e.g., link) - whenever the cartoonist couldn't think of anything for this week, he'd do the dotted line showing where the kid wandered when on an errand...
But I do shoot a lot of candid photos in the dark, where it's not feasible to use a flash (and I'm NOT being lazy). If that camera will give me a clean ISO 102,400, then I want it. I might not use the ISO 102,400 often, but I might regularly use 25,600 and even lift the shadows quite a lot.An example would help. I can understand that you would benefit from less noise at high ISO, but will your photos really get better? Or would they just look better to people that obsess about technical details over content? I'd really like to see a good photo whose valuable content was ruined just by noise.
Meh... I'll take advancement over stagnation.
The idea that somehow all this technological advancement results in better photos, except technically in some situations, is really nonsense. It's not just that the article is right about the typical hobbyist, it's that it's true in the bigger scheme, because, as Brad points out, there are things that make far more difference.
This may be the greatest and most iconic sports image of all time. Some people prefer this one by the same photographer. Both were taken with a camera that did not have autofocus and could shoot three frames a minute with enough work. The reason these are so much better known than anything taken with a 10fps 64-point AF camera is that the photographer could see and think better than anyone since. No camera makes up for the inability to see things the way he did.
I'd really like to see a good photo whose valuable content was ruined just by noise.
It would also be interesting to see what someone can see when that high ISO is required. I shoot at 6400 at times, and it's often too dark to see and too dark to focus, manually or with AF. Maybe for a static security camera, that's where I see a good application.
Let me also add that while the title of the post is making a very decisive statement, the content is tempered in several places by observations such as:
For every use other than critical work at huge sizes
The only group not included here is fine art photographers
Now, that doesn't apply to all of you.The author is well aware that there are exceptions. We can criticize the style and some of the statements, but the general idea is solid.
The ending covers some exceptions too:
There are outliers. There really are people who love to shoot sports. There really are people who want to shoot in super low light just to say they could. And there are people who want to carry around the latest big camera because it's generally cheaper than buying a really cool car and more portable too.
But I am not one of them and I'm pretty happy with what we've got now.
I have about twenty framed large prints that I have taken over the past twenty years hanging in my home.. The oldest was taken in 1994 with a Bronica on Red Square in Moscow in favorable light and is undistinguishable from my digital prints. Subsequently, I have used several eos film bodies, a 6MP Canon D60, a 10 MP XTI, a 12MP 5D, a 7D, a 70D, and a Sony 16MP NEX 5N. I defy anyone to identify which camera took which picture displayed in my home. The D60 produced three ribbon winners including one second place in an art show to the disdain of many of the real artists. I also photograph regional swim meets with the 7D and 70D that sometimes call for ISO 3200 and apertures of 2.8 and 3.2 in order to get shutter speeds that are acceptable. I have to watch dof carefully. A better ISO 6400 would help. However LR takes care of the noise pretty well. I appreciate the advances in technology over the past twenty years. Digital processing and advances in photoshop and in the last few years and advances in Lightroom have made my processing much more efficient and have saved untold hours of my time. Remember I had my own dark room. I have a 70-200 2.8L that is sixteen years old. I use it for swim meets as it fulfills requirements for prints and the web. I am also enthralled with technology as that was my profession for forty years so I frankly admit I like studying and getting excited over new products. So I think these last 20 years have been damn interesting in my small world of photography. I have no complaints although having done weddings in the late nineties with much less capable gear I realize that good pictures and not sophisticated gear make happy brides. All technology reaches the upper percentiles of advancement and improvements become harder, more expensive, and produce smaller changes as they enter the mature stages of their development, i.e, increase in MPs., as an example.
It would also be interesting to see what someone can see when that high ISO is required. I shoot at 6400 at times, and it's often too dark to see and too dark to focus, manually or with AF. Maybe for a static security camera, that's where I see a good application.That is why I asked for an example. I normally don't need more than ISO 1600. Sure, I found myself in situations where I had to push ISO to 25600, but it wasn't the noise that made my results insignificant - it's the fact that I did not catch some important moment anyway.
An example would help. I can understand that you would benefit from less noise at high ISO, but will your photos really get better?Sure, that's fair. OK, using real numbers, here's an example: We're water people where I live. It's really a cool thing when the people come out at night and hang out on the Yorktown waterfront, with the lighted bridge and possibly moonlight in the background, with lovely ripples in the water and small waves splashing up on the beach. So let's say I want to photograph a couple gazing out over the romantic water scene. I'd like to use maybe f/11 for enough depth of field to get everything reasonably in focus from, say, 10 ft to infinity. And then the light chop on the water (which has a gorgeous texture) is moving rather rapidly. So let's say I'd want maybe 1/60 sec to freeze these motions. But damn, there's not enough light for that, even if I accept it's going to be a pretty low-key shot! I'd need something like ISO 102,400, even lifting the shadows. Hmmmm... So do I nuke it with a flash? (Am I lazy, according to this guy, because I want to use natural light?)
So this is when I start making compromises. Maybe I can make do with f/8. Maybe I can drop back to 1/15 s and get "some" of the texture of the choppy water reflecting in the bridge lights. But to do that, I still need something like ISO 12,800. Well, YOU might have that capability on your camera, but I don't (yet). So I take my best shot at ISO 3200, f/8, 1/4s, and the ripples are muddy and uninteresting. And even if I did have a camera that could do a pretty clean ISO 12,800, that would still not give me the aperture and speed I'd really wanted in the first place.
I of course realize ISO 102,400 is now possible, so I could take the above shot, with the right camera, at the desired settings. But how clean would that 102,400 be? Would there be room for improvement? Sure. So I hope the manufacturers don't start twiddling their thumbs.
Cameras can always be made better. Maybe someday I'll be able to take a sharp photo of a kid running along the beach at night, splashing water, with the in-reasonable-focus bridge lights in the background. But that will take more than ISO 102,400.
If the gist of the article is meant to say "cameras are better than they need to be", then we might apply a similar argument to any number of evolving technologies and quickly see the argument fall apart, unless your needs never go beyond existing camera limitations.
If only Robert Frank's "The Americans" photos were made with better cameras/lenses/emulsions. He
could have gone far if his photographs were rendered sharper and with better contrast.
Personally, I prefer to make photographs rather than blame my tools. But then I have little interest in making picture-perfect Kodak Moment photos.
I have boxes of film from 35mm, 6x7, and 4x5 cameras. I love the prints that I have made from scanned 6x7 and 4x5, but prints from 35mm are usually disappointing.
I shot with a D700 for a couple of years. It wasn't a bad camera. It was a lot better than my D70. But when I bought a 5D Mark II, the output was much more impressive. I didn't suddenly wake up with new skills when I bought the Canon. It simply did a better job than the Nikon did for my kind of shooting.
Gear does a difference. Obviously, skills, taste, subjects, and light are all critical factors in the making of any image, but a good lens and a good sensor help maximize the quality of what we capture.
I'll understand if you don't agree with me. It's okay. Lots of people don't agree. Many of those people use the 'cameras' that are built into their mobile telephones. Every day, I see their soft, grainy, noisy, poorly-focused photos and videos on social media and wonder why most of my friends have elected to choose convenience over quality - and whether they're going to regret that choice one day when they look back at their fuzzy snapshots.
Quoting from Mr. Tuck's article...
What I am essentially trying to say here is that all of the cameras I've come across in the last two years, from the Nikon D800 to the Olympus EP-5 to the Fuji EX2 to the Sony Nex-6 and Nex-7 and, yes, even the Pentax K-01, can deliver results that are nearly always better than the technique and capabilities of the person holding them.Just wished he'ld got around to defining what better is and distinguish it from improved camera technology over how that makes one photographer better in their technique and capabilities over another's. Is there some kind of holy grail a photographer is suppose to achieve in technique and capabilities that shows up in an image that is expected to rise above the capabilities of the hardware? I still use a 6MP camera I bought for under $600 7 years ago and am continuously giddy over what I can create handheld and in low light and in post over what I was stuck with shooting 35mm film and a Yashica SLR and 50mm prime.
Tim, I think Tucker's article ignores a host of variables that constitutes perception including how the eye sees physiologically, the psychology of visual perception, and ones intended result when acquiring an image. This video describes but a small fraction of those variables:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I5Q3UXkGd0 - what is the resolution of the eye
I don't know Tim, I think the article's hook line detracts a little from his subject. In the hook line he's acknowledging that with our powerful cameras we're all a bit like Jack Benny was with his Stradivarius; like Jack we have more instrument than we can use to best effect. The same could be said of even a mere pencil in my hands, or of Excel where we all use an over powered Excel when a simple VisiCalc would do just as well. Still, Tuck has some interesting things to say. All those powerful features should make the work of taking the photo we want easier and even expand what's possible. My experience is that the technological advances have delivered on those two points.
Kai at DigitalRev TV has a fun series of famous photographers dealing with cheap cameras. These videos make the point much better than the blog post.
"All those powerful features should make the work of taking the photo we want easier and even expand what's possible. My experience is that the technological advances have delivered on those two points."Yes, and I think that's the whole point about "better" cameras.
If you're a casual duck hunter, then you might not need a gun that aims itself as a skilled marksman requires, or the way an F1 driver would always need a better car. Above a certain level, it becomes all about better tools.
If Robert Frank were offered the use of a modern camera, I'm sure he would at least consider it. Hemingway could have written "Old Man and the Sea" with any #2 pencil, but that doesn't make spell-check a useless tool.
Personally, I'd like to see those pictures that Sarah Fox might make, if the technology were available.
I think it's important to remember who is replying to these thoughts. This site is for people who are serious about photography. There are many professionals and seasoned PJs, as well as award-winning shots on these pages and in the portfolios of p.n members, many of whom have dedicated a significant proportion of their lives to this medium, so few are going to agree with the statement "Almost nobody cares about their photographs and is either too lazy or too stupid to make proper use of their camera."As is so often the case, the essay is illustrated with an uninteresting photograph in which he seems to have annoyed his subjects. This is truly an embarassing file to post from one who is trying to educate.
But, I also feel certain that the vast majority of the camera-buying public would do well to read something like this blog and for more of us than would like to admit it, we are pouring a lot of money down a black hole simply to keep ourselves amused. There is nothing wrong with being happy with one's shots, equipment etc- if you're not hurting anyone, who am I to say about what you do with your money? And how can one put a price on having wonderful prints of your family, friends and places to look over and enjoy for decades? But it is important to remember that what a photographer cares about is rarely the same as what those who have never heard of ISO care about. Most of the time it's "Oh yeah, Dad's really into his camera- he's quite good." Showing your work to those who have little interest in their own cameras and use their phone to take pictures of "Lucy, who we met on the beach in Thailand" can be constructively deflating!
There are, however, some leaps, some advances which do make a difference- it would be silly to pretend otherwise. Jump from an RX100 II to a 5DIII with top glass and I guarrantee you'll notice the difference! But it is also true that there is little point in many of the obsessive gear threads we see so often and most of us would get a real shock if a truly gifted photographer went out for a day in our neighbourhood with our gear and then showed us their results.
Personally, I prefer to make photographs rather than blame my tools. But then I have little interest in making picture-perfect Kodak Moment photos.So basically you're saying that you, with your superior skills, could take the shot I described with basically any camera, because they're all... you know... up to the task. Right? Heck, I suppose even your iPhone would do it.
But back in the real world, there are some things we can photograph and some things we can't. And scattered just short of that fuzzy line of "can" and "can't" are things we can photograph poorly. Thanks to advancing technology, that line keeps getting shoved back. I am constantly amazed at what advancing technology has handed us, and I love what I can do even with my humble, older cameras (5D and 40D). But that doesn't mean I have no interest in pushing farther. I do. I'm obviously not in any huge rush, but when Moore's law works its magic and hands me an affordable jump forward, I'm going to take it, and I will enjoy photographing a few new things that I couldn't photograph before. And you will thumb your nose at me for doing so, because you're so... above that.
It is interesting in how conversations here, and the many many that have preceded them, always seem to talk
about photography and making photographs in terms of having better (or unobtainable) gear, rather than from
a perspective of vision, seeing, expression, communication, sharing what's felt, releasing narrative, using
various techniques like controlling light/shadows to achieve goals, logistics, etc.
>>> If Robert Frank were offered the use of a modern camera, I'm sure he would at least consider it.
Frank started with a vision and the desire to tell a story as an outsider, and used what was available to him to express
that vision. I suppose he could have spent days/years wishing for better gear, but that was not what drove him.
No doubt there are some here that would have been more pleased with his photos if they were shaper, contrastier,
had less grain/noise, and in better focus.
>>> So basically you're saying that you, with your superior skills, could take the shot I described with
basically any camera, because they're all... you know... up to the task. Right? Heck, I suppose even your
iPhone would do it. ... And you will thumb your nose at me for doing so, because you're so... above that.
I'm not saying anything of the sort. Those are your words and sarcasm.
using various techniques like controlling light/shadows to achieve goals, logistics, etc.OK, Brad, so the city of Yorktown commissions the brilliant Brad Evans to come in and take the photo I describe. Because they're willing to pay so much for his work, he flies right in, iPhone in pocket. And then the planning begins. The esteemed Mr. Evans sets to work planning how to control the lights and shadows, logistics, and yada yada yada... to achieve the simple goal of taking the above photo with sufficient depth of field and freezing of action... because the city of Yorktown is very specific about what they want to see in the photo -- a couple enjoying the beach, the bridge behind, and all the beautiful reflections on the lightly choppy water. So how would you achieve this?
Here's what I'd do, BTW, assuming they have lots of money to throw at it: I'd either do my best approximation with a 6D, or assuming every camera is up to the task, with an adequately imaginative photographer, I'd...
Decide to do night-for-day photography. The sun becomes the full moon.
I set up dozens of monolights on the bridge and inside buildings to flash in the direction of my camera creating the needed reflections on the water. They of course need to be gelled to recreate the different light colors. By trading off shutter speed and ISO, I can balance the intensity of the monolights with the "moon."
I pose the couple gazing romantically into the low sun over the bridge.
I take my shot with my trusty 5D.
So yes, I can take the shot, even with my 5D, but it becomes a rather silly exercise.
So Brad, how would YOU do it? Inquiring minds and such...
>>> OK, Brad, ... the brilliant Brad Evans ... The esteemed Mr. Evans ... and on and on.
Sarah, it's clear your sarcasm and bluster makes you feel better about yourself, energizes you, and that you believe it
somehow strengthens your position. With that attitude, I hope you understand why I choose not to
participate. Carry on.
Sarah, some pictures are beyond the capabilities of most cameras at the moment. It is our job to choose which ones can be taken and which can't. There's nothing wrong with admitting that. But there's also something very wrong with assuming that the mythical "ultimate" photographer can photograph anything with any camera. In reference to the Ali photo, I would contend that, while the photographer did a good job, it is the historical context which gives its power, rather than any innate wonderfulness of the frame or content.
In reference to the Ali photo, I would contend that, while the photographer did a good job, it is the historical context which gives its power, rather than any innate wonderfulness of the frame or content.Most of the world would disagree with you. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest sports photographers of all time and those are his most memorable photos. Showing that photo to young people who don't know anything about the history gets responses of awe.
The Ali photo strikes me as monumental and awesome . . . and . . . it's made more so by its historical context. I don't know from innate wonderfulness. Just know what I see. Wonderfulness is a quality given by humans to something. It's not innate.
If noise free, sharp as a tack at high ISO and expanded dynamic range images is the metric used to define advancements in camera gear, I would've been better informed if that blog addressed the lack of advancement in printing technologies as I touched upon in this thread I started...
I still don't know how we went from the doll print to the inkjet print off a $30,000 minilab and call that a benefit on account of advancement in technology.
Besides why should we care about hardware, it's the software that turns Bayer filtered photon filled pixel cells into grayscale and reconstructs it to map onto our display and those guys aren't telling their story. I mean who are we fooling here? Can anyone actually connect the dots with physical evidence that it's all on account of camera hardware advancements as the main reason we see a picture on our displays?
I want to talk to the guy who has to formulate the dyes and materials used to make the Bayer filter. Does he have ink stain all over his hands or does he have to wear HAZMAT gloves?
Sarah, it's clear your sarcasm and bluster makes you feel better about yourself, energizes youThen you totally miss my intent, Brad. I was responding to the assertions by you and others that...
It's silly to chase technological advancements.
A good photographer can take a photo (WHICH photo?) with any camera.
Tools don't matter.
Anyone desiring better tools is a bad carpenter/photographer.
... or perhaps I misunderstand YOUR intent. However, taken at face value, I think you've insulted a lot of photographers with your dismissive assertions.
.. or perhaps I misunderstand YOUR intent. However, taken at face value, I think you've insulted a lot of photographers with your dismissive assertions.This is the internet. It would be foolish to assume that only one view will be accepted or even be correctly interpreted. I find that four drops of the Bach Rescue Remedy is more effective than any attempt to persuade others to my point of view.
Mr. Tuck is right when it comes to me in one respect. I do think all the cameras I have owned have been better than I am and I have never used one to its full potential. I honestly don't use or fully understand all the options my 70D contains but I still post a couple of hundred in focus pictures after each swim meet although I wish I could get more keepers. I still enjoy doing it and a lot of people like my pictures. I wish everything I shoot would be actually in focus. This takes nothing away from the satisfaction I had running a modestly successful wedding and events business where I am sure I could have used my Bronicas better; however, I delighted in happy brides and took satisfaction in my work product. I just bought a fire sale eos M and I am using it with great delight even though I have read some damning reviews of it. It makes very sharp pictures and through an adapter uses all my seven ef mount lenses plus flashes and old ettl cord. Using it pleases me For me the satisfaction is in the doing and if I have bought gear to excess its because it gives me some pleasure. I flew airplanes professionally and worked in aviation technology and I never stopped trying to learn more about that profession. I am older now and I feel exactly the same about my photography. To me it is about always growing and learning more and taking satisfaction in the doing. Maybe some day I will catch up with my camera. I did my weddings with film. It would have been wonderful to have Lightroom instead of hand sorting and building an album of a few hundred proofs to rush to the customer. It would have been wonderful to chimp instead of sweating for a few days waiting to see how the whole wedding came out. It would have been great to have had Lightroom and a 70d or 5Diii back then.
From an article about Michelangelo: The artist's obsessive process of selecting marble for his projects drove him year after year to the town of Cararra, where quarries that date back to Roman times are legendary for their pure white marble block.
Likely, Michelangelo's vision and artistry would have led him to make glorious sculptures regardless of the materials he used. But the materials and the tools, from what I've heard, made a big difference to him and likely did affect his work. Given that and my own feelings about cameras and lenses, there seems to be room for vision and technology and choice of tools. I'd give vision and artistry, by far, the heads up, but I'm not opposed to considering what tools I use for what job and how they can greatly or very subtly affect the different jobs I do. It's not a precise analogy from cameras and lenses to marble for sculpting, by any means, but there are points of similarity, because the different cameras and lenses can make a material difference in the look of the photo which can actually BE part of the photographer's vision. IMO, vision can include craft and material concerns every bit as much as it can include content and aesthetic concerns. Different tools will often produce noticeably different material results.
>>> I was responding to the assertions by you and others that... • It's silly to chase technological
advancements. • A good photographer can take a photo (WHICH photo?) with any camera. • Tools don't
matter. • Anyone desiring better tools is a bad carpenter/photographer. ... However, taken at face value, I
think you've insulted a lot of photographers with your dismissive assertions.
Sarah, *please*, stop putting words in my mouth. I said no such things. By making such claims you are
very much weakening your assertions and position.
While much of the blogger's essay is truthful, in the end he's being disingenuous. No professional or enthusiast truly wants technology to stand still. We all want to see what comes next on the chance it might be useful to us. And, usefulness can be measured in many different ways; for some it may be megapixels while for others it may be better low light performance. This blogger is eagerly awaiting for the new stuff just like the rest of us.
Bad photographs are ALWAYS a result of deficiencies of the camera while good photographs are ALWAYS a result of overcoming those deficiencies.
It's silly to chase technological advancements.
No. It's silly to chase technological advancements in the belief that they will make YOU better. It's silly to chase each tiny, incremental advancement when it will be meaningless to your result.
A good photographer can take a photo (WHICH photo?) with any camera.
No one is claiming anything of the sort. Kirk is claiming that for the VAST majority of photographers, any current (or fairly recent) digital camera will give a result indistinguishable from any other.
Tools don't matter.
They do matter. Fortunately, we have excellent tools available, all of which can get the job done beautifully.
Anyone desiring better tools is a bad carpenter/photographer.
No. Anyone with excellent tools who cannot do the job is a bad carpenter/photographer.
I looked at your web portfolio again. As before, I thought the work was very good. I did not, however, see anything that could not be taken with my D300, or similar antiquated tools.
(i) Blogger's basically right. It's the same marketing strategy that sells expensive golf clubs to crap golfers, and $5k titanium framed bikes to overweight yuppies. Most of us are never limited by the technology.
(ii) A propos the famous Ali-Liston photo: I have been told that Ali was really shouting something like 'Get up and fight! Nobody's going to believe this!'
While much of the blogger's essay is truthful, in the end he's being disingenuous. No professional or enthusiast truly wants technology to stand still.That has nothing to do with what Kirk Tuck is saying. Not needing better technology is not the same as wanting technology to sit still. I want technology to keep improving, but I'm not going to upgrade my cameras unless they break.
"Anyone with excellent tools who cannot do the job is a bad carpenter"
Ouch! I don't need to hear that about both my hobbies. Dang.
Good enough is good enough--except when it isn't.
Notwithstanding some valid points made (which we all already knew), there is a lot of rationalizing going on in the author's mind--or else he knows his intended audience well and panders to it.
This style of writing attracts quite a following. It is not too different from that of K.R. It gets old very fast.
The guy in the photo is Cassius Clay. There was no "Ali-Liston" fight. Ali came later.
The more things change, the more they stay the same ("plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose").
From a July 2009 photo.net thread, "Kirk Tuck on Switching to Olympus":
"A long rant on switching from Nikon to OM, herd mentality, soul, and more....
(link)"From a December 2013 blog, "Goodbye, Yellow Kirk Tuck Road", and generally cordial comment sparring session between Ivan Singer and Kirk Tuck:
"At first, it seemed like Kirk really struggled with whether all the gear being thrown his way, for review or personal choice, was really a direction he was comfortable with. Eventually, it seemed he drank the proverbial "Kool-Aid" (what a horrible saying, from the Jonestown suicide massacre) and got really into mirrorless cameras. First, the Samsung NX300 took his fancy, then Olympus OM-D, then Panasonic GH3, and then a G6, in the process selling off all of his Sonys, save his A99 workhorse and a few key lenses, leaving me feeling, well, cheated. It was not that I needed to "be like Mike", I was just hoping for a solid direction and message from a name I could trust."Kirk's blog blurts have as much validity, or lack thereof, as anyone's, whether Krockwell's or mine. Many of us are vulnerable to fanboyism whenever a new toy catches our fancy and seems to enhance our vision... until the next new toy comes along. For me it was the Ricoh GRD4 in 2012, and the Nikon V1 in 2013. This year? Who knows, but I'm planning to trade my underutilized 28/3.5 PC-Nikkor shift lens toward a Fuji X-A1 or X-M1. All I know for sure is that I won't be getting another full sized dSLR anytime soon. But I won't be claiming that what's right for me is right for anyone else, and I won't be making generalities about what other photographers should or shouldn't do with their equipment.
BTW, if I was Kirk I'd have been more offended by having my name associated with that clunker of a blog title than the contents of the blog post. Reminds me of why my journalism teacher taught us that nothing is harder to write than a good headline.
Sure, that's fair. OK, using real numbers, here's an example:Sorry, I should have been more specific. I meant a "photo" example. I read your description, but I still don't see the point of photographing that scene that you described. It is always possible to make something sound more glamorous than it looks, so I want to see an actual photo that we could agree it could have been special, except it got destroyed by noise, or by the fact that the buildings in the dark background were not in focus because you had to use a fast aperture, or by whatever other technicality.
Maybe someday I'll be able to take a sharp photo of a kid running along the beach at night, splashing water, with the in-reasonable-focus bridge lights in the background.Take the photo in bright daylight and then make it look as if it was taken at night - there are a ton of tutorials for doing that on the web, for example this one. My bet is that nobody will care either way.
But to do that, I still need something like ISO 12,800. Well, YOU might have that capability on your camera, but I don't (yet).Technically speaking, I think the article is implying the current technology state. For over a year now, I think any new camera model across all main ILC formats (FF, APS-C, MFT) has had available ISO 12,800 and a decent performance at that setting too. Not free of noise, but not mangled by noise either. Basically, sensor performance has kind of peaked for over a year now. It actually started some 3 years ago for APS-C when the K-5 and the D7000 were released - there has been no significant improvement in APS-C sensors since then. And of course, FF sensors were pretty good already but they also benefited from a bump in the last generation. And MFT caught up last with the E-M5 sensor. I read this article having in mind the current generation of technology.
But even leaving this technical aspect aside, I'd still agree with the article even with older equipment in mind. I got serious about digital photography with a Pentax K10D, whose performance at ISO above 400 quickly turned mediocre. And it was limited to ISO 1600. My next purchases of equipment were driven by the want of better high ISO performance, but I also realized after a couple of years that high ISO performance and noise specifically is irrelevant as long as you get everything else right - I even wrote a post about it. Sure, we can use better performance, but we'd be better served by spending more time thinking about how to make better photos rather than just snapping things that look nice but mean nothing (I know I do that).
BTW, here is an interesting relevant quote:
The lenses of small-format cameras let in much more light than those of larger format cameras, and allow subjects to be photographed in even the worst lighting conditions. Together with film emulsions as fast as those that now exist, and by controlling the developing process, there is no longer any need, even on the rarest occasions, for recourse to that horrific massacre that is the use of flash.For attribution take a guess and then see here.
Les, to say that all the photos in my portfolio could be done with antiquated tools is quite accurate. That's because my tools ARE antiquated by most people's standards. I can't afford the latest and greatest. If I could, then there would also be photos in my portfolio that could not be done with antiquated tools. There are photos in my portfolio that demanded everything my gear could deliver, and those represent the glass ceiling beyond which I am currently unable to go.
I think there may be a perception amongst some in this thread that I am hungry for the latest and greatest gear. I'm not, and I've merely been trying to argue a point in defense of certain other photographers. I photograph what I can photograph, and there's quite a lot I CAN photograph. At the point I become distressed at the technical limitations my gear imposes (or at the point that I MUST, for some reason, reach past my current technological limits), that's when I'll upgrade. But with my 5D (not 5DII, 5DIII, or 6D) and my 40D (not 50D, 60D, 70D, or 7D), I'm way behind in the usual upgrade cycle. And that's fine. I love the cameras I have. They are quite magnificent machines.
The only point I've been trying to make in this thread is that there are real, hard technical limitations imposed by our gear. Maybe most people won't see them, but I think many will -- IMO far more photographers than the blogger seems to acknowledge. And when asked by the OP, I provided an example of a task that is beyond the capabilities of my own gear and even challenging with state of the art equipment. In fact I briefly mentioned a task that is impossible with ANY current-day consumer equipment (not necessarily ruling out research, military, etc.).
Laurentiu, the photo I described is so far beyond the capabilities of my equipment that I would have nothing to show you. If I did, I would have probably deleted it. But why photograph that scene? Because it's truly beautiful, and it's an important part of the local culture. I'm not crushed that I can't photograph this scene, because there are certainly countless other things I can photograph. However, it's still a limitation.
Day for night: Yes, that's what I was describing in a later post. However, it won't reproduce the bridge lighting or any other artificial lights.
Our experiences with older equipment differ. My first dSLR was a Canon 10D, which was an awesome camera that served me well. However, I can honestly say that much of my current work (much of it not shown on the web) would have been impossible with the ISO limitations of that camera. And although it's not important enough to me that I would feel pressed to buy a new camera body just yet, there are occasional photos I would like to take that I simply can't.
"The guy in the photo is Cassius Clay. There was no "Ali-Liston" fight. Ali came later."Correction: The guy in the photo *was* Cassius Clay. He is no longer the man once known by that name and hasn't been for most of his lifetime.
I've always referred to him as Muhammad Ali out of respect, because he considered Cassius Clay to be his "slave name" and emphasized the point by pounding, taunting and humiliating Ernie Terrell over the name issue.
Regarding the rematch with Liston and incorrect speculations about the stoppage, there was no "phantom punch". It was a real punch, clearly seen in the high quality slow motion video, and it was the same punch and technique Ali used to knock out Zora Folley: a snapping overhand right counter over the opponent's extended left jab.
As any Ali aficionado knows, that was Ali's most effective punch after his left jab. Ali would cheat his right shoulder forward, right hand held just below eye level, in anticipation of tossing a quick overhand right over his opponent's extended left arm. The maneuver gave Ali a split second advantage in timing. It also made him vulnerable to the left hook, which is why he struggled against Frazier and was nearly knocked out by Henry Cooper.
Here's a short video of Ali/Liston 2. Jump to 2:20 for the slow motion clip of the knockdown punch. Ali clearly connects with a right over Liston's left jab, snapping Liston's head sideways.
The knockdown was real. The stoppage was marred by Jersey Joe Walcott's failure to send Ali to a neutral corner, and the confusion over whether the fight should have resumed - albeit briefly - after Liston got up. The conclusion was inevitable. Liston was still stunned by the knockdown and clearly so intimidated by Ali that the fight would have ended in a stoppage anyway. There may have been an attempt to fix the fight, but the conclusion was inevitable. Liston's plodding style and slow, shoving left jab, like Foreman's, was tailor made for Ali's perfect overhand right counter.
And here's a video of Ali vs. Folley. Jump to the 8 minute mark and watch how Ali repeatedly cheats his right shoulder forward. After around a minute of several feints and some counter rights, Ali clipped Folley twice over the jab, same sneak right that kayoed Liston. Watch how Folley drops like a brick. Same punch that knocked Liston down.
"In reference to the Ali photo, I would contend that, while the photographer did a good job, it is the historical context which gives its power, rather than any innate wonderfulness of the frame or content."I'm just old enough to remember that photograph published immediately after the fight. It was and is remarkable by any standard, regardless of context.
It's particularly remarkable because it wasn't captured clearly on video. The main video camera followed Liston to the canvas, rather than capturing the mess that occurred in the ring.
Again, watch the short video clip, particularly the slow motion portion after 2:20. At the 2:41 mark you see Ali only from the waist down, and that very brief gesture of waving Liston up. The photograph makes it appear as if Ali was hovering over Liston's downed body, angrily gesturing at Liston, but in reality the gesture took less than one second. It's difficult to estimate the entire time Ali hovered over Liston's downed body, but as best I can tell from the movement of Ali's feet visible in the video, the entire incident took no more than four seconds.
That photo is a remarkable accomplishment by any standard, particularly for an era lacking 8+ fps still cameras. It was surpassed, in terms of peak action, only by two particular photos from the Marciano vs. Walcott battles. We no longer see photos like the Marciano vs. Walcott frozen punches because ringside flash was later banned.
But as digital cameras improve in low light capabilities we're seeing some great peak action photos from events, both in sports and news. So, yes, the camera does matter for some types of photography. And some photographers make excellent use of those capabilities.
It is interesting in how conversations here, and the many many that have preceded them, always seem to talk about photography and making photographs in terms of having better (or unobtainable) gear, rather than from a perspective of vision, seeing, expression, communication, sharing what's felt, releasing narrative, using various techniques like controlling light/shadows to achieve goals, logistics, etc.Vision, seeing, and communication matter. Composition, framing, and viewpoint matter. Humor, emotion, tension, and drama matter. Subject selection matters. Light matters in many dimensions. Capturing the right moment matters. Texture and color and contrast matter. Expression and gesture and nuance matter. In the fashion world, hair, makeup, and clothing matter. In the product world, accuracy of color matters. Camera stability matters. Accuracy of focus matters. Selection of focal length and shutter speed and aperture matters.
Everything mentioned above matters, but none of it negates the impact of high-quality (or low-quality) gear.
Two groups of photographers can benefit from having good gear in their hands.
First, there are the professionals and enthusiasts who already have a grasp of most of the factors listed above. No one is a master of every technique, but plenty of people have skills in most or all of these areas. They UNDERSTAND lighting. They understand composition. The understand expression and narrative and nuance. Suggesting that they forget about gear and focus on lighting and shadows and vision and communication is somewhat condescending. They have already put work into developing their skills and their vision. Good gear helps them to realize that vision to its fullest extent.
Secondly, there's the casual snap-shooter who doesn't know an f-stop from and F-mount, who shoots in bad light because they have no idea why it's bad and the thing that they want to shoot just happens to be backlit by overcast right now. People who have no idea how shutter speed relates to lack of sharpness. Yes, even these folks - and they are legion - can benefit from using better cameras and lenses.
For one thing, their images will suffer from less noise. Better autofocus, faster potential shutter speeds, and image stabilization can potentially yield a higher ratio of sharp images. Maybe they're sharp images of poorly composed scenes in bad light, but at least they'll be sharp. And even novices create interesting compositions from time to time, even if only by chance.
So yes, again, I agree that vision and skill are critically important. But whether one's skills are advanced or undeveloped, gear quality can still impact picture quality.
See? This is why we need an off-topic forum, so we can squabble about whether Sonny Liston took a dive. (I think he did, and a lot of the experts share that view. Sonny was a real bad hat.)
The iconic photo was of Ali's rematch with Liston, in spring 1965. By any reckoning, he was Muhammad Ali by that time.
"This is why we need an off-topic forum..."This seems relevant enough to photography and related movie/video imagery to be appropriate for the casual photo conversations forum. Perhaps my own impressions of photography on the whole are intertwined with boxing - I became interested in both at the same age, around 8, and spent a lot of time poring over The Ring magazine and everything I could find in library books.
Those photos - often technically no different from ordinary snapshots - seem to exist independently of any considerations about equipment, technique or rules of composition, yet many could exist comfortably alongside fine art photos in a museum or gallery. Not because the photos represent any truth about any specific incident, but rather a sort of truth about the human condition and conflict played out on the smallest of scales.
"...we can squabble about whether Sonny Liston took a dive. (I think he did, and a lot of the experts share that view. Sonny was a real bad hat.)"I believe Liston could have gotten up sooner and continued. But the knockdown punch was real.
Nobody but Liston and his fixers would know anything else for certain. He was physically capable of getting up. In fact he did get up, although Walcott botched the job as referee and muddied the count. But Liston was already beaten mentally.
It's clear from the context of the Ali/Liston confrontations, particularly the pre-fight hype, that Liston was badly intimidated and frightened by Ali. As a contemporary of theirs said during a documentary, Liston had a bully's courage, which is no courage at all. Like Mike Tyson, Liston had the physical gifts but lacked the core courage and indomitable spirit that set apart fighters like Ali, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and others who could not be intimidated and always came back stronger from adversity and losses.
One of the great things about Ali's era was the quality of the videos, movies and still photos. In contrast, the mediocre quality film of Jack Johnson being stopped by Jess Willard, along with the out-of-context still photo of Johnson on the canvas, led to speculation that Johnson took a dive - which rumors Johnson encouraged, probably out of pride. But the Ken Burns documentary showed a reasonably decent quality movie of the fight. Watching the context of the bout it becomes evident that while Johnson was easily outpointing Willard early on, his age and poor physical condition were catching up with him. For the defensive master boxer who relied on quick reflexes, even a split second slowdown was just enough to get caught with a seriously hard blow. Yet for decades the out-of-context still photo of Johnson on his back, arms partially lifted, gave the erroneous impression that he was conscious enough to shield his eyes from the sun. In the motion picture version, it's apparent the arm and leg motions were unconscious spasms typical of knockout victims.
As is often the case, even the most compelling of still photographs may not convey objectivity, truth or reality in the context of an entire event, situation or moment in time.
[Lex] That photo is a remarkable accomplishment by any standard, particularly for an era lacking 8+ fps still cameras.I think it's a terrific photo, but that era was not lacking such (8+ fps) cameras. Given enough light, Hulcher cameras of the day could readily exceed this. http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2602
I think Tuck's point is that a well lit photo shot at low to medium ISO will be superior to one made under crappy available light using a very high ISO, yet some people choose the latter as the new cameras have made it possible to capture something recongizable in poor lighting conditions. It seems that his point is that people shouldn't chase ever better sensors and faster lenses but focus on their lighting effort. It is understandable, coming from a guy who has written books mostly on lighting!
But the thing is that low intensity light can be emotional and beautiful as well. And sometimes the use of elaborate artificial lighting is not possible. E.g. when the distance to the subject is too great for added lighting to be effective, or when you want to capture subjects without influencing their behaviour. Not everyone wants to limit their photography to posed, arranged photography like many lighting photographers do. Newer cameras have made it possible to photograph some things which previously could not be photographed. Of course, such photography is only a subset of photography as a whole, but it is there nonetheless and some of the results are quite good. E.g. this is ISO 6400, f/2 and wouldn't have worked if I had used additional lighting since it would have changed the mood and the distance to subject was very long so lighting the subject in a beautiful way would have been tricky to say the least.
Another ISO 6400 example, this time at f/1.4:
Including the remaining skylight and artificial lights in the dresses and the street added to the mood and the use of flash wouldn't have made it possible to capture the image any better.
As to showing an example of a photograph that would be great if there had been less noise, first of all I don't make photographs using settings that would lead to poor technical quality - it would be like shooting myself in the foot when the opportunity to capture a great image presents itself. And if I capture technically failed images I delete them immediately because they'd annoy me if I had to look at them again.
I was just yesterday photographing a figure skating show (well it included musicians, acrobats, dancers and fire artists) under theatrical lights and it was quite difficult as the lighting was frequently changing and the lighting contrast was huge, the focal range of my lens was not enough to cover the whole ice so I had to really nail the focus and stop the movement to get acceptable crops of events a bit further away. It is a situation where the latest autofocus technology (that is more sensitive in the dark) and sensors (with enough pixels and sufficient signal-to-noise ratio to do an acceptable 2x or even 3x crop at ISO 2000) were of benefit, and a longer and faster lens than I have would have helped as well (though I would have preferred to have chosen a faster rather than longer lens as the best images in figure skating typically are the ones captured in the near parts of the rink, due to various reasons). I got some good results but the percentage of images that nailed everything was not very high. And yes, I have hundreds of images that did not make the mark of acceptable because of timing, focus, or noise. The artificial light makes it harder get good colour on the skin (as it was coloured, theatrical lighting that was quite dramatic and of course, totally outside of my control). In the past, with 12MP instead of 36MP sensors, I wouldn't have gotten acceptable results by substantial cropping to compensate for the lack of focal length. I nevertheless needed the short end of the 70-200mm as well, when ice dancers were passing at a distance of only a few meters (I had a first row seat) so the choice of a fast supertele (which I do not own) would have given me the long range shots with better quality but then I would have missed some opportunities where the short distance to subject allowed a very high image quality (along with the lighting that made things tricky, evaporation from the ice caused some scattering of the light at long distances) and natural, engaging perspective. No, I would not have considered ISO 6400 or 12800 acceptable; when I have to crop a lot I would not go beyond ISO 2000 on the D800. With a 400/2.8 or 600/4 it would have been a different matter but from the audience I doubt that I would have been allowed to shoot with that kind of a lens. Nevertheless I find photographing such events very rewarding and educative as experiences and the best images turned out quite ok.
there is no longer any need, even on the rarest occasions, for recourse to that horrific massacre that is the use of flash.
Everyone has an opinion. If you want to be a talking point, the more polarizing the opinion, the more effective it is in stirring discussion.
I see sometimes wedding photographers imitate Cartier Bresson and use only available light even when it is horrible. I would like to say that they do it that way because they are not very skilled in the use of flash, but this may not always be true (Jeff Ascough shoots weddings with available light only but he also does a lot of studio portraiture). They say it is because available light looks "more natural" (it doesn't if you need to do color images in mixed color lighting, nor does the effect look natural when photographing people against windows without any augmenting frontal light, leading to main subjects being silhouetted or the window turning completely blown out) and that the flash would distract the subjects and change the mood of the situation (this I do agree with). But many couples want colour images (Cartier Bresson did black and white and so do many of the photographers who shoot events in available light only) and satisfying their request often involves the use of flash. I think suggesting that it is a "massacre" coming from Cartier Bresson who has been an actual prisoner of war is just a ridiculous exaggeration. Skilled use of flash can lead to excellent imagery and opens up many opportunities which would lead to bad results without its use. This doesn't in any way detract from the usefulness of high ISO - I frequently combine flash with moderately high ISO (800-1600) to get more ambient light in the picture; the flash is just one component in the lighting. Neither does high ISO reduce the usefulness of flash. Flash is just a tool that can be used to solve problems with the quality of light. It can also do other things, such as dominate over ambient light or provide light where there is none, but usually, outside of the studio, it is used to augment existing light. I think that thanks to digital capture and the instant polaroid that it gives, has helped photographers learn to use flash much more effectively than they could in the past, and the focus is more on the quality of light than its quantity, as more subtle effects of light can be refined thanks to the immediate feedback possible today. I don't think "massacre" at all describes what the use of flash can be today.
The article seemed rather pointless to me. Why wouldn’t you want to use the best technology you could afford? I did a lot of nice work in black and white (Tri-X) in the 60’s with my Nikon FTn and f 1.4 lens. It was simply the best thing out there at the time and I saved my pennies up for it (I was a teenager). Tools simply allow the creative person to express themselves, but you still have learn to use them effectively. Even with the modern center weighted metering system, I found that in low light situations like living rooms at night, it was more productive to just set the shutter at 1/30 and shoot wide open, because the meter would often be fooled by the bright lamps. Do more “advanced” tools mean better art? C’mon, let’s not even go there! New tools just means new art, not better art. Anyone want to give up their smartphone?
I agree with Kirk, but like many of his readers I am sure, I am somewhat amused by the way he does not follow his own advice - I also don't think I have ever seen anyone churn camera systems as much as he does - except for those on Fred Miranda's site of course. I think, he like most of us, are schizophrenic about this. We don't need the equipment, but sometimes we want it and then attempt to rationalize it as "essential for my work" (when "work" is not what most of us do here with our cameras). At least Kirk is upfront about this, he just (like many of us) rather dislikes this trait in himself and us. Once, Kirk took the high road and said we has not going to cover equipment at all: he quickly saw the light and returned to updates on equipment - there is only so much one can talk about composition and creativity. I like his blog.
Laurentiu, the photo I described is so far beyond the capabilities of my equipment that I would have nothing to show you. If I did, I would have probably deleted it.That's the part I find so hard to believe. I get it that you may not be able to capture what you wanted, but I don't get why you could not capture enough so as to at least give an idea of what your vision was - a sketch of sorts.
So I take my best shot at ISO 3200, f/8, 1/4s, and the ripples are muddy and uninteresting.We could still look at such a result and figure out if the ripples being muddy and uninteresting is the only thing keeping the photo from being great. Heck, you could even take the shot at f/1.4 and if there was something great in that scene, you should still be able to capture a shadow of that greatness. Maybe you won't make a big print out of it, but you should still get a decent small JPG to show what you were shooting for.
There are great photographs that are blurry and technically imperfect, but they still convey an idea of what attracted the eye of the photographer. It's rather sad if we think some moment is meaningful, but we don't even try to capture it because the image might be too noisy or not have enough DOF.
Laurentiu, this seems a rather pointless approach, but just to humor you, here is what my 40D is able to capture WELL of the Coleman bridge and beach off of Yorktown -- 42mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1 s. This photo was taken during unusually calm conditions (think: slow movement of water). I assure you there were a lot of mild ripples in the water than you can't see here, which is essentially why the reflections are glassy-looking streaks. If I couldn't capture even a slow-moving ripple, I'm sure you can see how impossible it would be to capture the fast-moving details of choppy water. Perhaps this satisfies your curiosity?
As for it being sad that I didn't even try to capture this meaningful moment? Laurentiu, I capture what I CAN, as I did with this example. IMO, that is the mark of a good photographer. A good duck hunter might fire at the ducks within shooting range and not waste time/effort/ammunition on ducks well out of range. It's somewhat the same with photography.
We could still look at such a result and figure out if the ripples being muddy and uninteresting is the only thing keeping the photo from being great.
To warrant a worldwide audience, normally the image should at least successfully convey the artist's intention. Then, it may be interesting for others to look at and discuss the content, expression, aesthetics, what it communicates and how it makes us feel. Does it reveal something new about humanity, the subject, or the world? Is it an opinion on current matters? The content and expression of the image can be discussed but there has to be some kind of minimum threshold to pass to avoid bothering many other people for no good reason. If we want to discuss why an image doesn't work, a much smaller circle is sufficient for that. A larger audience should be reserved for something that is significant. The net of course has extremely low signal-to-noise ratio as it is, but at least some are trying to improve it with their own actions. How the photographer decides what is worth discussing, is of course their choice. A technical flaw can often prevent the communication of the message of the image in the way the photographer saw it. If the message is not clearly transmitted to the viewer then the viewers won't be discussing the intended meaning of the image so the presentation of the image is pointless.
"The guy in the photo is Cassius Clay. There was no "Ali-Liston" fight. Ali came later." --L. Kelly
Correction: The guy in the photo *was* Cassius Clay. He is no longer the man once known by that name and hasn't been for most of his lifetime.
I've always referred to him as Muhammad Ali out of respect, because he considered Cassius Clay to be his "slave name" and emphasized the point by pounding, taunting and humiliating Ernie Terrell over the name issue. --Lex JenkinsSorry, Lex. I had forgotten that Ali changed his name to Muhammad Ali after the first fight (which he fought under the name of Cassius Clay) but before the second fight, in which the famous photo was taken--so that it was indeed billed correctly even then as the Ali-Liston fight. During a period of transition, he even called himself "Cassius X" as a way of renouncing his "slave name." In a poem he wrote prior to the first fight, he referred to himself as Cassius Clay.
I have always tried to call him as he chose to be called at the time, but I missed the call this time. Here is a link to the first fight in 1964 which then continues on to the second in 1965--the one which gave us the famous photo. Since I listened to both fights in 1964 and 1965, these fights take me back to my first and second years of college--a very special time in my own life.
As for the photo posted a good ways above, I have to agree with Jeff Spirer that the greatness of the Ali-Liston photo inheres in the photo itself, although I suppose that all photos require some context to make sense. What interests me the most about the photo, however, is that Ali was by his own admission shouting at Liston to get up. (Or at least so says the account linked to above, which is surprisingly good for a Wikipedia article.) The first fight was apparently way more interesting than I remembered. The second was over almost before it began.
That particular "piece" of context--that he was shouting at Liston to get up--does enhance the photo even more for me.
It surely is one of the best sports photographs of all times--and I guess that which one is called the "best" might depend on which sport one likes the most. I think that the Ali-Liston photo posted above just might be the best.
Then you totally miss my intent, Brad. I was responding to the assertions by you and others that...
It's silly to chase technological advancements.
A good photographer can take a photo (WHICH photo?) with any camera.
Tools don't matter.
Anyone desiring better tools is a bad carpenter/photographer.
... or perhaps I misunderstand YOUR intent. However, taken at face value, I think you've insulted a lot of photographers with your dismissive assertions.
Really, I have missed some posts or are you putting words into folks mouths...and then accusing them of insulting photographers, Sarah. Naughty girl.
My general impression was that most folks believe that it is the individual photographers vision which is really important and technology sometimes can help to achieve that vision.
Simple stuff really.
I don't have any great photos, but I have two or three good ones which I managed to catch hand-held, not because of any great skill but because of the technology:
http://www.photo.net/photo/17506019&size=lgSince I had no tripod with me, I would never have gotten this one (or many others) without a good low-light camera--in this case a used one which I picked up on eBay.
We miss a lot of shots because we do not have a good enough camera or glass, in my opinion. I never take myself too seriously as a photographer, but the gear always has my respect. Yes, it is better than I am, but in so saying I am not affirming the value of Tuck's rant or the truth of his claims.
(The attached crop has had no post-processing.)
I have always liked this photo I took on a cell phone...
Really, I have missed some posts or are you putting words into folks mouths...Allen, I made a mistake. When I read this...
Personally, I prefer to make photographs rather than blame my tools.... I read it as a reference to the proverb...
A bad carpenter blames his tools.Brad has stated that was not his intent, and I accept that.
Also you write:
My general impression was that most folks believe that it is the individual photographers vision which is really important and technology sometimes can help to achieve that vision.
Simple stuff really.Indeed. I agree. I sometimes feel compelled to defend the obvious, when I would be better off just saying nothing. When people take absurd positions, they are generally trying to pick an argument (trolling, as it were).
I was not particularly referring to Brad, although he took a tongue lashing, just to the generalisation of your words.
Anyway, keep on posting in your breezy style, enjoy your posts/photos as most of us do.
A technical flaw can often prevent the communication of the message of the image in the way the photographer saw it. If the message is not clearly transmitted to the viewer then the viewers won't be discussing the intended meaning of the image so the presentation of the image is pointless.My point was that the informational content cannot suddenly drop to 0 just because of noise or thin DOF.
If I couldn't capture even a slow-moving ripple, I'm sure you can see how impossible it would be to capture the fast-moving details of choppy water. Perhaps this satisfies your curiosity?This example does satisfy my curiosity. I'd say that your technical requirements are driven by the interest in producing fine art, which was one of the areas mentioned out as an exception in the post we're discussing.
"But the materials and the tools, from what I've heard, made a big difference to him and likely did affect his work"
So, the materials and tools made the Art/Genius....or, should I say superior Art/Genius.
Hmm, so, following this logic, we would have to say he would have a been a lesser Art/Genius born in earlier times.
If rattling around in my mind I had an idea for a very special or powerful photo of subject matter I was
extremely interested in, one that would stand tall over most, and for some reason I was limited by my
camera and felt I was being held back somehow by not making that photograph, I would get busy and rent
(or borrow) a body with whatever accessories were needed for a day or two (especially for a relatively static subject) and realize my dream.
The technology obviously does not make the photo, but versatile gear makes for more opportunities that can be discovered or created--and brought to fruition.
Translation: One doesn't miss as many opportunities with better equipment.
A good carpenter does not blame his tools, but he makes sure that he has the best tools that he can afford. I drive a 95 Honda Civic to keep myself in good cameras and good glass. It is a choice that I make. I don't have much money, but I put it toward something that means a lot to me. I rarely find myself with an idea that I cannot realize, or a situation that I cannot take advantage of.
Sometimes a cell phone camera is indeed the tool for the job, especially since it is almost always available. It is yet one more tool in the arsenal, one more tool for promoting versatility and preparedness.
I say, buy the best gear that you can afford and grow into it. Don't let anyone tell you that you are not ready for it yet. Buying quality gear from the beginning is a rational economic plan. I wish that I had followed it.
All that said, I shoot mostly second-hand equipment, and I am often a generation or more behind the best that is out there in 35mm format--but it is the best that I can afford. It is typically not necessary to bankrupt oneself to shoot with very good gear. I do wish sometimes, however, that I had not bought so much gear or felt compelled to try out just about everything I could get my hands on--but buying gear compulsively is another issue.
Translation: One doesn't miss as many opportunities with better equipment.I wish we'd all remember this when the other famous argument gets discussed - how gear does not matter, because it's all about the photographer!
I think we can summarize the statements so far as:
Gear does matter and can make your life easier
Some people need better gear because their work requires technical perfection
Most people don't use their gear to its fullest capability and better gear won't make their results more meaningful
Many people obsess too much about gear
Some people can figure out how to be creative within the limitations of the technology available to them
There is no contradiction between all these. Or between them and the spirit of Kirk's post (if not its letter - I didn't read his post looking for ways to contradict it on technicalities).
Catching up with some older posts:
I don't make photographs using settings that would lead to poor technical quality - it would be like shooting myself in the foot when the opportunity to capture a great image presents itself.I fully sympathize. I do the same. However, once in a while I wonder whether my technical failures might have been more interesting than my technical successes. A disturbing idea, indeed.
Everyone has an opinion.To clarify, the reason I liked and included HCB's quote was not because he was condemning flash but because he expressed his happiness with the technology available to him, in contrast to what many equipment owners express these days. That was the comment of a man that thought he had all the tools he needed to express himself - over 50 years ago!
I am not a fan of Kirk Tuck. What he seems to be saying is along the lines of "I don't drive at 130 mph all the time and with 4 passengers, so I don't need a sedan with a big engine!" At the same time, I would refer back to the recent Alfred Eisenstaedt thread, where I remarked and others agreed that, great as his pictures were, some (mainly action shots and/or those in poor light) would greatly have benefitted from access to modern equipment.
To write a piece for the 10 millionth time mocking equipment obsessives seems somewhat unnecessary - there are very many photographers who are more than intelligent enough to know that they do not need the absolute latest-specification camera and that skills count as much as equipment - for me, my Canon 5D MkII, carefully chosen on its spec at the time, meets all my needs, I won't even think about replacing it until it breaks. Even so, no one should make fun of equipment obsessives - it's due to their constant changing of photo outfits that there's so much nice secondhand equipment around at great prices for the rest of us!
BTW: The Ali/Liston pic does not prove very much. The hard part of taking this would have been getting the press pass - almost any camera would have delivered a good picture of a relatively static moment under TV lights.
Translation: One doesn't miss as many opportunities with better equipment.Yes, as are the opportunities being missed right now taking time to post statements like that online while having the resources to possess such advanced gear as evidenced in all the PN discussions on the subject. That's a lot of opportunities missed.
This doesn't mean that there are no other opportunities to grab that defining moment available in the future. It's just gear still won't create happenstance no matter how advanced and won't tell any photographer when and what comprises that defining moment which requires they wear the gear around their neck 24/7, an unrealistic situation.
What Mr. Tuck suggests is he's run out of ideas on how to create something new because all the gear is doing the thinking for him and produces the same top shelf results as the other guy who has the same advanced features in gear and setup.
He comes across as someone with a lack of understanding of the creative process that if everyone uses the same advanced gear and methods, everyone's image will have the same polished look one should expect from such expensive and advanced gear. And in a way he's right especially for someone who's run out of ideas. Just wonder if he realizes that he's admitted that in his blog.
The Ali/Liston pic does not prove very much. The hard part of taking this would have been getting the press pass - almost any camera would have delivered a good picture of a relatively static moment under TV lights.
Having had many press passes for big name fights, I can point out with actual knowledge that it is not difficult if one is capable of shooting fights and has rudimentary networking skills. The photographer who took that photo could get press passes to pretty much any sports event he wanted to shoot.
The photo was not easy to take. As Lex points out, it was just four seconds of opportunity, it took a lot of skill. However, your point is right - it doesn't require any special equipment to take the greatest sports photo of all time. Most of the great photos we know were taken without special equipment or without using special features.
The photo was not easy to take. As Lex points out, it was just four seconds of opportunity, it took a lot of skill.
It is interesting to read the words of someone who was actually there working:
I have the impression (which I have tried to verify but could not find the reference) that the major picture magazines were allowed advance access to the fight venue to rig remote-controlled strobes 20 feet or more above the ring, which enable the favored few to shoot with rollfilm cameras loaded with slow color film (ISO 64). It still took skill to make the picture (which I agree is iconic because of Ali) but I think it's fair to say that the photogs shooting with this rig enjoyed just a LITTLE advantage from "special equipment [and] special features."
There was no "special equipment." It was standard equipment.
How many fights have you shot? How many times have you sat at ringside?
"I have the impression (which I have tried to verify but could not find the reference) that the major picture magazines were allowed advance access to the fight venue to rig remote-controlled strobes 20 feet or more above the ring..."The article only mentions the use of a remote camera in the Ali vs. Williams fight a year later. There was no mention of remote or overhead cameras in use at Ali vs. Liston 2, and I haven't seen any overhead photos from that bout.
And while Leifer may personally prefer the overhead view of the knocked-down Cleveland Williams, posterity has chosen the photo of Ali hovering over Liston as the more memorable photo.
If you study the short video clip I referred to earlier, it's easy to see which cameras are present at ringside.
Several flashes can be seen throughout the video clip, none of which appear to be coming from overhead. There are several on-camera flashes visible. Unfortunately ESPN's intrusive logo interferes with a clear view of the ringside cameras, but there are other versions of this video available. I refer to this video primarily because of the higher quality slow motion clip toward the end.
On the far side of the ring (which would have the unfortunate placement of Ali's back at the time of the knockdown), I see:
At least two TLRs (possibly three, including the isolated photographer at far left, only briefly visible), at least one of which has no on-camera flash, and the photographer appears to be using either the prism finder, or the non-optical sports-finder view that was common on Rolleiflex, Yashica and other TLRs of that era, or the crude reflex mirror which would have made it difficult to follow action. When that photographer winds the film advance he appears to be using a knob rather than a crank, which would seem to suggest a Rolleicord, Yashica other than the 124 or other brand TLR.
A largish press camera, possibly using a rollfilm back, with what appears to be a ringflash or reflector around the lens.
Another TLR with a Honeywell style hammerhead strobe on the side.
Several smaller format cameras held at eye level, most of which appear to be SLRs.
At the near side of the ring I see:
A white haired fellow with a largish press camera.
A younger fellow in a checked or plaid shirt with a TLR and what appears to be an eye level prism attachment for the TLR. Presumably this was Neil Leifer since that photographer's position appears to coincide with the angle necessary for that photo.
Watching that photographer, I see him moving the TLR back toward his eye, and a motion that appears to coincide with the timing of that photo of Ali.
I don't see any flash on that TLR, which makes the photo all the more remarkable because he was depending on available light with slow color film, and had only a fraction of a second for a photo free of motion blur. Even with bright TV lights that's a remarkable shot.
From what I can see, the only advantage Leifer had was remarkable timing, steady hands, a fortuitous position at ringside, and some luck not to have been busy with the film advance when that moment occurred.
The best boxing photographers can spot the "tells". Ali's tell was the way he'd cheat forward with his right shoulder to launch that sneaky right over the opponent's left jab. But in his prime he was so quick and his timing was so perfect that it didn't do most opponents any good to know what was coming. But the best sports photographers learned to look for that tell, which is why you can find some great photos of Ali tossing that very punch against several opponents. It was also his most photogenic punch because Ali - to borrow George Foreman's apt analysis - "fought tall". He also tended to lean forward on his toes or balls of both feet with that overhand right - an incredibly risky maneuver that few could pull off as gracefully as Ali. In other words, Ali always used his full height and reach, rarely crouching, stooping or ducking. He'd pull away recklessly, head high, making him a photographer's dream.
But in this case neither Leifer nor any photographer could have anticipated that particular moment of peak action when Ali's body was tensed, with his right bicep flexed as he gestured for Liston to get up.
In this particular instance, the photographer was much better than his camera.
There was no "special equipment." It was standard equipment.
EVERYBODY had strobes rigged above the ring? You're joking!
How many fights have you shot? How many times have you sat at ringside?
Exactly as many as I claim to have shot - NONE! How many have you shot apart from the "local events in the Bay area" which you mention on your website? "Rudimentary networking skills" for sure will get you a press pass at small events - I've done this myself numerous times at a local motor racetrack called Lydden Hill, here in Kent, UK - but international events are something else.
@Lex - Thank you for your commentary on the Ali-Liston photo - I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Brief correction ... no mention of remote or overhead cameras
I didn't mention any either! What I (quite clearly) was talking about was overhead STROBES (positioned in the same fashion as TV lighting to give broad even coverage) triggered from the ringside (by radio or other means).
And while Leifer may personally prefer the overhead view of the knocked-down Cleveland Williams, posterity has chosen the photo of Ali hovering over Liston as the more memorable photo.Yes, indeed. "Memorable." I don't know any other photo that shows Ali so pumped up as he was at that moment.
I hope someday to capture something that somebody will remember.
[Lex] I don't see any flash on that TLR, which makes the photo [Leifer's Ali-Liston shot] all the more remarkable because he was depending on available light with slow color film, and had only a fraction of a second for a photo free of motion blur. Even with bright TV lights that's a remarkable shot.Lex, I practically cut my teeth on a Rolleiflex TLR, so it's pretty clear to me, based on the depth-of-field, that the photo in question was not shot wide open. f/8, give or take a stop, is more like it. So whatever the film speed, Leifer was not having any trouble getting enough light.
All the evidence I see - the brightness (conservatively, 4 stops, or 16X brighter than a classroom), good color balance, and the small number of shadows - all support David Bebbington's idea that overhead flash units were used.
I still think it's a terrific photo. I just don't see the technical difficulties as being that great.
Camera, or equipment, have no brains, they'll NEVER be better then the user. The result may not be up to snuff, in fact it may be a total garbage, but so long as a human is holding it, pointing, and triggering, it is just a piece of hardware that someone needs to activate in order to record an image (of whatever quality).
However, it is a shame what digital has done to the photographic process, a bigger shame that manufacturers became only obsessed with profit not quality (I think I'd keep Olympus and Fuji out of this group), and even bigger shame yet: the propaganda in the media of all kinds of how digital can make anyone a great photographer (not).
The only point I've been trying to make in this thread is that there are real, hard technical limitations imposed by our gear.Sorry Sarah, but that is an utter BS. Look back into decades past (like Jeanloup Sieff, who's photography boarders perfection in just about every image released). What technical limitations did he have to deal with by today's standards?
In general people of today have become accustomed and in fact obsessed with bells & whistles injected into the gear, and in this respect blogger is 100% correct. The process of taking a photograph starts now with "which function do I choose, which button do I press" and an endless series of clicks without a thought.
Then comes PS and all the wonders IT delivers with every new version. It's true many photographers of today would be totally lost with traditional gear, they mostly do not have a clue how images used to be taken or what it took to get it right. Most bring in hundreds or even thousands of frames from a shoot, then they still have a hard time to pick one. It's a hit & miss approach, hoping all along for the best.
Then come the "trends" perpetuated by web, magazines, and unfortunately books and prints, especially Scott Kelby (the "master" who cannot take a half-decent photo, Michael Freeman (I'm yet to see what message he's trying to deliver outside of buy-my-book-again-please), Amadeus Leitner (as boring a landscape as there is) and many others.
All of it does not improve anybody's skills, it only generates revenues for someone other than us, traps people into thinking there are no other ways, prevents many from seeing quality in their own images (since they do not comply with purported values).
It is a sad world of today's photography indeed, even more so when we start seeing technical limitations in our gear that supposedly prevent as from recording an image to convey our message. The latter is something that was almost never discussed before digital. It used be the skill that mattered, sometimes unreliable gear could have a voice too, but nothing outside of it.
it is a shame what digital has done to the photographic process --Witold GrabiecOh, my, and some people in these parts (the Carolinas) are still flying the Confederate battle flag, that is, still fighting the Civil War. (Will this dispute ever end?)
The only point I've been trying to make in this thread is that there are real, hard technical limitations imposed by our gear. --Sarah Fox
Sorry Sarah, but that is an utter BS. Look back into decades past (like Jeanloup Sieff, who's photography boarders perfection in just about every image released). What technical limitations did he have to deal with by today's standards? --Witold GrabiecWitold, it is hardly nonsense to say that gear imposes technical limitations. Anyone trying to do night photography without a tripod will find the limitations of gear very quickly. Every piece of gear has its own limitations, up to and including weight and portability. (Why do I like portability when doing urban night photography? So that I get in and out fast! I love night photography, but I do not want to die doing it.)
In like manner, medium and large format have limitations, but they also point up the limitations of 35mm.
It is even more ironic that you have just very strongly implied that digital has limitations compared to film, a fact which you then proceed to repudiate in your immediately subsequent post when you say that Sarah is wrong in saying that gear has technical limitations. Your own words refute your claims--or at least one of them.
I shall henceforth refer to what I shall call Sarah's Theorem: "Gear imposes hard technical limitations."
I won't try to prove the theorem (which I consider to be self-evidently true), but I shall operate from the theorem as a premise for all future photographic action.
The biggest limitation imposed by gear is whether it is with one. This is where the cell phone camera shines--but it sho' nuff don't shine so bright where the sun don't.
The biggest limitation imposed by gear is whether it is with one. This is where the cell phone camera shines--but it sho' nuff don't shine so bright where the sun don't.
N.B.: Selfies excluded.
"What I (quite clearly) was talking about was overhead STROBES (positioned in the same fashion as TV lighting to give broad even coverage) triggered from the ringside (by radio or other means)."That may be. There must be a ringside photographer from that era who could shed some light on the technology available back then.
I've been looking for upward angled photos from Ali vs. Liston 2 to study the overhead gear. In Ali vs. Liston 1, there are a few upward angle photos that show what appear to be overhead flash, such as this one and this one.
I don't know what the ringside photographers used to trigger those flash units. Presumably ringside photographers could have plugged their flash cables into ringside jacks that were wired into the overhead flash. PocketWizards got started in the 1980s and I don't know what radio triggers might have been available before then (perhaps modified office/residential remotes?). Simple optical triggers would have been useless - the first photographer to use ringside flash would have triggered all of the overheads simultaneously.
But it appears that access to those overhead flash units was restricted to only a few photographers. I'm not seeing any obvious cables, cords or radio transmitter devices attached to most ringside cameras that would have made it possible to use any overhead flash.
In this larger view of Leifer's photo the cameras used by other photojournalists can be seen fairly easily, but I'm not seeing any obvious indications of hookups to overhead flash.
And in this alternate view of Ali hovering over the downed Liston, I see what appear to be overhead flash, but apparently the photographer who took this particular photo didn't have access to those overhead flash units, or didn't wait for his assigned flash to recycle.
It would be interesting to hear some insider views from ringside photographers of that era. I've Googled around for a couple of days and haven't yet found any interviews that delve into the tech side of ringside photography of various eras.
Witold, I can't imagine how I would have taken the shot I described with any of my film cameras, using any film commercially available. I would say technical limitations indeed existed even back in the film era. However, I am open to being proven wrong. I pose the same question to you as I posed to Brad: How would YOU take the photo? (Please be very specific.)
To be perfectly fair, there was a time, when I was very young and green, when I believed that a 35mm camera was the holy grail and could do ANYTHING. I bought a beat-up Honeywell Pentax H1 with semiautomatic 55/2.2, and I was suddenly hot stuff. I had been doing darkroom work for a few years with a brownie and then an instamatic, so I knew with my new/used H1 (and my new/used Gossen Pilot meter) that the world was now my oyster. (Hey, I was a dumb adolescent kid.)
So then my school had a play, and I stepped up to photograph the dress rehearsal. I knew all about push processing, yup! And I had a super fast lens. So I loaded up with Tri-X, pushed a couple of stops, and went right to work.
The photos were a disaster. The density was fine, but there was very little latitude. (I didn't understand that about push processing.) That, combined with the hard lighting, made the photos look like they were done with lithography film! I mean they were truly, truly awful! Embarrassingly awful!
And that's when I first learned that there are hard limitations imposed by gear and materials. I believe it was 1975.
The next time I photographed a play, I brought a little Vivitar flash, and the photos were pretty good. With the money I earned from that play, I bought a Honeywell Strobonar 782S, which gave me more light, and my photos were even better. And with the money I earned from that play, I replaced my piece of junk camera with a Spotmatic F and fully automatic 50/1.8, and my photos after that were AWESOME.
Anyway, that's my story. All equipment poses limitations. I learned that at age 14, almost 40 years ago. Every technology since then has pushed back the limitations, but no technology has eliminated them.
As for being tied up with bells and whistles and "which button do I press now".... Well, what can I say? I started out as a manual shooter, and I have been a manual shooter ever since. If you were to look at my fancy digital cameras, I think you'd find them set to "M." I've occasionally used aperture priority, but that's pretty rare. I don't think I've used any other mode. I admit to using autofocus (one-shot mode assigned to a back button, central point). I also use internal metering using the "match needle" display. However, I shoot RAW. My WB is set to daylight. Heck, most of my flash work uses manual power settings. You could not find a more manual shooter on PhotoNet. And yet... I recognize technical limitations even today. Your thesis simply does not hold water.
It's true many photographers of today would be totally lost with traditional gear, they mostly do not have a clue how images used to be taken or what it took to get it right.Traditional gear as in camera obscura...daguerréotype?
What traditional gear are you referring to?
It would be interesting to hear some insider views ...
I THINK the color shot of Ali was featured, with a description of how it was taken, in the "Sport" volume of the TimeLife Library of Photography, which many PNers may have bought either at the time of publication or later for much less money from a goodwill store . My copy is buried in my office storeroom, I will try to dig it out when I have time, maybe someone else has a more accessible copy.
But it appears that access to those overhead flash units was restricted to only a few photographers.On this "it's not skills, it's opportunity" argument that's been made - I don't think you even need to try and address it. Such opportunities are generally made available to people with proven skills. If that photograph was easy to take, we would have got 5 more.
All equipment poses limitations.I would say that "All equipment removes limitations". Try taking a photo without a camera if you think the camera is what is limiting you. The limitations will always be there because they are yours and no equipment will ever eliminate them all.
I know what you want to argue, but you're not making the right argument. Kirk might have made similar errors, but I understand what he tried to express the same way I understand your point.
You are saying that it is fine to look up for equipment that removes even more limitations. All artists have looked for new ways to break the limitations of their medium. If people would have been perfectly happy with the harpsichord, they wouldn't have invented the piano. If they would have been happy with drawing and painting, they wouldn't have invented cameras. That is true. But then you are also thinking that your argument contradicts what Kirk was trying to get at. But that is because you took his statements too literally - what he is basically attempting to say is that people shouldn't worry about equipment that removes extra limitations - *if* they're never going to be capable to exploit the lack of those limitations, which is going to be the case for most of the people using cameras today - esteemed contributors to this thread excluded, of course. That is true as well. Is there a contradiction, is it so hard to understand each other? Gee, how we managed to explode this simple topic to 10 pages - at least I learned something about boxing.
Good night, and good luck!
>>> That is true as well. Is there a contradiction, is it so hard to understand each other?
I don't think that's it.
It's just that some people are passionate about making photographs, and some people are passionate about expressing why they can't.
And some people cannot imagine anything more.
Ouch, rush me to the burn unit.
Still, a cute bit of morning snark...
Footnote to the "limitations of cameras" debate - this:
is a classic image by Bert Hardy, the great British photojournalist. This pic is from a feature shot for the "Picture Post" mag using a box camera to "prove" that "it's the photographer, not the camera that counts".
BH was highly skilled and knew that the lens of his box camera was fixed at a focus of 12 to 15 feet, so placed his subject at this distance, and that in bright sunshine he would get a good exposure at the fixed setting of around 1/25 @ f11 even with a light yellow filter. Equipment with extreme limitations, photographer with the skill to work effectively within these.
Rarely is an issue fully one-sided and rarely does a good craftsman or artist not have different experiences and a variety of feelings and opinions about certain subjects.
This seems to be the case with Bert Hardy, who did express some disappointments with his equipment at least on some occasions. Obviously there were also times when he didn't complain and made the best of what he had.
From The Life and Times of Bert Hardy, by Graham Harrison:
During the Second World War British army photographers were issued with the Zeiss Super Ikonta, a heavy folding camera with a non-interchangable f2.8 lens.
Made in Germany, the Super Ikonta produced eleven pictures on a roll of 120 film, its top speed was only 1/250 of a second, and winding the film between frames took two to three seconds. Not allowed to use his own cameras, Hardy complained the Ikonta was slow, awkward and annoying.
The British Army, it seemed, was issuing its photographers with German equipment inappropriate for war photography.My own experience tells me that passion for picture-making and passion for better equipment or for accomplishing things that can't be done given the limitations of some equipment are not mutually exclusive.
A lot of passion revolves around a sense of longing and incompletion. Desire is a strong and motivating passion and is usually about wanting to achieve something not yet achieved and even felt to be unachievable or unreachable. It is not unusual for artists to long for things and even some things they know they can or will never have.
Ansel Adams is not my favorite photographer by a long shot, but he said something worth recounting and considering here relative to equipment and newer technology.
"I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them." —Ansel Adams
The bottom line to all this rhetoric is that a creative person will be creative regardless of the era they have lived in or the technology available at the time.
Technology might allow them to explore new opportunities but with or without it they will be creative.
You only have to understand the history of Art or Photography to understand that.
And they will not be a lesser creative person because they are limited by technology... they will always find away to express themselves regardless of any technology.
Even so, Allen, sometimes when one realizes that a shot could have been better with better technology, one might be impelled by a desire to get that better shot.
Not all of us who try a lot of different cameras and lenses sit around and fondle our gear. Sometimes we simply want a better picture. Although that does not mean that we are necessarily going to be more creative with a new body or lens, it does mean that technological issues are not strictly factorable from aspirations to produce something worthy or memorable--or simply something that gives us meaning or gives us the means to better realize our own creative vision.
In my own case, my increasing passion for low-light photography has impelled me to buy gear that favors low-light photography. I cannot speak for anyone else.
Kirk Tuck says, "There really are people who want to shoot in super low light just to say they could."
Perhaps, but I suspect that there are many more of us who want to shoot in super low light for many better reasons. I loved Olympus, but I knew when Olympus went the Four-Thirds route that I would have to change brands to get the pictures that I wanted. Micro Four-Thirds has, however, sufficiently closed the gap that I would today have to give it a second look--and I have, and I am impressed, but not enough to change brands again or to add another specialty camera to what I have.
My first Canon EOS body was the 5D. I was impressed with it. I was even more impressed by the 5D II, etc. I have no apologies to make for upgrading. I am still sorry that I had to part with all of my Canon gear when I was fired for insubordination back in the fall of 2011, but not only would I still protest administrative pressures to pass students who flunked and never came to class, I would also still buy the gear I have subsequently bought, with the exception of my failed foray into MF film photography. (Does anyone want some decent Hasselblad and Bronica gear--cheap?)
No one seems to question the purchase of high-powered computers to accomplish basic tasks, so why is it anyone's business what cameras others own or use?
In my own case, my increasing passion for low-light photography has impelled me to buy gear that favors low-light photography. I cannot speak for anyone else.I fully sympathize with that, but I read Kirk's post to refer to the moment after such technology has become widely available.
Look at the cameras he's mentioning (my emphasis below):
What I am essentially trying to say here is that all of the cameras I've come across in the last two years, from the Nikon D800 to the Olympus EP-5 to the Fuji EX2 to the Sony Nex-6 and Nex-7 and, yes, even the Pentax K-01, can deliver results that are nearly always better than the technique and capabilities of the person holding them.All of those cameras would perform great in low light. He is talking about people that are not even happy with the capabilities of these cameras - not "low light" needs but "super low light" needs. And I sympathize with that - I don't go over ISO 1600 on my MFT cameras unless I want to show what they can do at those settings - I have no reason.
The article has both elements that I agree with, and intentionally polarizing elements that have succeeded in generating a lot of discussion and argument in this thread.
No one has to apologize or justify why they may desire a camera that gives them a capability, or an enhanced capability, that their existing camera does not have. My desires (in regard to the desired results I want a given photograph to achieve in certain situations) are not much different than Sarah's. I do a lot of documentary and performance photography in low light situations. At a particular festival, I do a lot of photographing from a balcony and utilize a telephoto lens that gives me f5.6 at its furthest reach. To freeze dance movements I need shutter speeds anywhere from 1/125 to 1/250 depending the the speed of the dancer's movements. For a few years I used a Pentax K10D which tops out at ISO 1600. I can live with, and appreciate, a certain amount of noise/grain. But when pushed too far, or when pushing the shadows in LR, the grid pattern would show up in the shadows. That was not acceptable to me. Since I'm already invested in a Pentax system, I purchased a K5 about a year and a half ago. Now I can use higher ISO with better resolution/less noise. Why on earth would I have wanted to compensate or compromise with the K10D? I don't want to lug around a tripod, off camera lighting (bounce off a flash at most performances and see how quickly you are escorted to the nearest exit), or mess around with selective noise reduction in post. I don't need anyone's approval or feel the need to "prove myself" by forcing myself to use a camera with a lower ISO range. One might just as well preface such nonsense with the words "Real men use X!". Just how far does one take that argument? If one is a "real" photographer, they'll figure out a way to set up a tripod with a cherrywood field camera and still "get the shot". Just so much photographic-macho bovine manure as far as I'm concerned.
As for natural light, or sneering remarks about "New York lighting" -- same thing applies. I like natural lighting, I want natural lighting, and if someone thinks less of me as a photographer for that, so what?. I'm not photographing to please them. If and when I want to take the kind of photographs that I feel are suitable for artificial lighting, then I will do so. Real men (and women) are not afraid of natural light or noise. Right, Sarah? ;-)
Michael Chang: No one seems to question the purchase of high-powered computers to accomplish basic tasks, so why is it anyone's business what cameras others own or use?Real computer users know how to work within the 256k limitations of an Apple IIc, Michael.
For a few years I used a Pentax K10D which tops out at ISO 1600. I can live with, and appreciate, a certain amount of noise/grain. But when pushed too far, or when pushing the shadows in LR, the grid pattern would show up in the shadows. That was not acceptable to me. Since I'm already invested in a Pentax system, I purchased a K5 about a year and a half ago. Now I can use higher ISO with better resolution/less noise. Why on earth would I have wanted to compensate or compromise with the K10D?What exactly in that blog post encourages you to have kept using your K10D? Have you seen the comment I made just before yours? He is talking about post K-5 technology and about performance being good enough! He is talking about people that upgrade each year and still are not happy:
Wouldn't it be cool if we collectively decided that everything we have is already good enough for what we want it for and we all stopped buying cameras for a year?Sounds like your cameras have been purchased several years apart, so why would you think he is talking about your purchases needing justification?
Also, later, he says:
If you shoot at ISO 100, 200, 400 or even 800 just about any interchangeable camera on the market will do a really good job making images.Your K10D and Sarah's 5D are no longer on the market. They may be on the used market still, but that's not the market he's talking about.
This is hilarious. It also reminds me of the French saying: Qui s'excuse, s'accuse. Some people seem to take this post very personally.
In my experience, women named Mindy tend to be a touch zaftig and possessed of dark hair and sultry eyes.
Sure, ISO 800 ought to be enough for anybody,
and "640k ought to be enough for anybody."
(Kirk Tuck is a first-class reactionary.)
A Model T ought to be enough for anybody. I mean, if you want basic transportation, it will get you were you want to go.
I say, a mule-driven wagon ought to be enough for anybody. A pinhole camera ought to be enough for anybody.
Bring back the old ice boxes and ice houses. Who needs a refrigerator?
I grew up down South and in Akron, Ohio. The earliest South I knew was a South mostly without air conditioning. We made it without AC. So can you.
Therefore, the South without air conditioning ought to be good enough for EVERYBODY!
The logic of Kirk Tuck's argument is overwhelming.
I fully sympathize with that, but I read Kirk's post to refer to the moment after such technology has become widely available.That's really the essence of the post's failing. His is a simple and arbitrary rhetoric. His point is that now gear is good enough, but that argument could be made (or could have been made) anytime else along the way. But, in the end, people will want and most surely continue to get better and better gear as time goes by. As long as I'm composing the shot, I'll always be better than my camera.
The only part of his post I found truly though provoking (because I don't know if he's correct but I agree that he could be) is his assertion that better high iso performance has led to the misuse of natural light when some kind of flash was needed. That's an interesting assertion that would have been far more compelling if he had some examples.
His point is that now gear is good enough, but that argument could be made (or could have been made) anytime else along the way.Not really, because digital sensor technology was visibly improving year after year and that happened right until the last 2-3 years. Since the Pentax K-5, there has been no significant improvement in sensor performance for APS-C. And that performance is very good. That same technology has eventually reached FF in the D800 and MFT in the E-M5. Today, if you look at dpreview's sample shots and compare images across all systems at whatever ISO you care about, you'll find minimal differences between them. It is easier to make the argument today than it was in the past.
I still have the Pentax K10D that Steve mentioned - it is obvious after comparing it with other cameras from that era, that its sensor was not state of the art at higher ISO settings. It was obvious that a better one could have been built in its time, even with no technological advances, just by using the best technology of the day. Steve's already old K5, however, is still state of the art today - there is no point for him to upgrade. Sure, there might be other aspects he might want, like better AF, but these kinds of improvements are becoming much less important than those we were trying to obtain 5 years ago.
And for film, I would argue that HCB already made this argument over 50 years ago. With digital it can be made little more than a decade after the first consumer DSLR was produced - not that bad.
Sure, ISO 800 ought to be enough for anybody
The logic of Kirk Tuck's argument is overwhelming.It certainly looks like it overwhelmed you. Except he never stated that "ISO 800 ought to be enough for anybody". His statement was simply that you cannot see much difference between modern cameras when used up to ISO 800. That doesn't imply you should not use higher ISOs - at most it implies that he may not like your results. You are shooting down your own strawman argument.
Not really, because digital sensor technology was visibly improving year after year and that happened right until the last 2-3 years. Since the Pentax K-5, there has been no significant improvement in sensor performance for APS-C.
Assuming you're correct, and I think this is still quite arguable, would you be willing to predict that one or two years from now we won't see visible sensor improvements?
Progress is always relative. This particular blogger thinks gear has now become good enough. By any measure, others will differ.
It certainly looks like it [his logic] overwhelmed you.One has to affirm again that personal attacks are definitely OUT OF BOUNDS.
Laurentiu, I teach philosophy at the college level, including logic. I know spurious argumentation when I see it in anyone's writing. I see it all over Kirk Tuck's writing.
What Tuck does is say that some people do need the extra powers of this or that piece of gear, but then he slips the knife (the personal attack) in before he is finished:
There are outliers. There really are people who love to shoot sports. There really are people who want to shoot in super low light just to say they could.Just to say we could? No, we need it to get the shots we want in the varying situations in which we find ourselves. With tripods, one would not typically need that kind of high ISO power, but tripods are not always going to be available, allowed, or even safe for the situation (which may require one to get in and out fast). Keep in mind that, apart from those of us who shoot in near darkness, there are those who like to be able to boost ISO simply in order to boost shutter speeds in, say, event or sports photography. To me this is self-evident, as it is to anyone who knows a thing about how the three exposure variables are interrelated.
What Tuck has done is to begin by sounding very reasonable, but before he is through with the sentence, he has (in the bold-faced portion above) made an assertion which effectively says that people who need to shoot at high ISO do not REALLY need to at high ISO at all: they are are doing so "just because they can," not because they need to.
Can you not see what he has done here? It is totally transparent to me.
This is his style of writing. It hardly bowls me over. It is bad writing, and it is not logical writing.
If after these many words, one cannot see just how bad this style of writing is, then one is not likely to see it if the thread goes ten times its present length.
"These days I tend to use Olympus MFT cameras"--from your bio page. One wonders to what extent defending a choice of gear is what this thread has been about all along. You may shoot what you want, but that is not going to be good enough for all applications, and it is not simply because some of us want to shoot something "just to show that we can."
We actually need improvements in order to better realize our photographic goals.
I agree with the article.
Assuming you're correct, and I think this is still quite arguable, would you be willing to predict that one or two years from now we won't see visible sensor improvements?Depends on what you mean by "visible" - some people can see differences where I see none.
But I can tell you that we won't see "significant" sensor improvements anymore - user hype aside. If I'd have to put a number on it, I'd say that in 2 years, cameras won't gain more than 1/4Ev improvement in dxomark High ISO scores, if they even manage to get that. I can also tell you that no matter what new technology will appear, ISO 1600 will still be worse than ISO 800 and so on. I can tell you that today, if you use the IQ bar that dxomark uses for their scoring, most cameras score under ISO 1600, basically supporting Kirk's comment on good ISO performance up to ISO 800 (his IQ bar seems to match dxomark's). Only FF cameras score over ISO 1600 but still not over ISO 3200 - Nikon D4S got to 3074.
One has to affirm again that personal attacks are definitely OUT OF BOUNDS.What personal attack? You were sarcastic and I responded with the same coin! Sarcasm is not a personal attack and if you don't like it, then don't dish it to others.
If after these many words, one cannot see just how bad this style of writing isHis style of writing may be bad, but that doesn't justify your sarcasm and misconstruction of his arguments. Make your point against the style if you have one.
These days I tend to use Olympus MFT cameras"--from your bio page. One wonders to what extent defending a choice of gear is what this thread has been about all along.Now, this is indeed an attempt at a personal attack. What does it matter what gear I use? And how does this article justify my collection of gear? On the contrary, my collection of gear should make me criticize this article in an attempt to justify why I went through so many cameras, rather than agree with it and defending it! Where is the logic of your argument?
You felt sensitive to the "just to say they could" part and you can indeed mount a better argument against that. But saying that "ISO 800 ought to be enough for anybody" ain't it. And even though now you articulated a better argument, it is still not enough for you - you had to try and dig something about me to formulate a personal attack. Why do you need that if you have a good point already? Think about it and about what it says about you.
We actually need improvements in order to better realize our photographic goals.Yes, but those improvements are not needed just in cameras. That is the point. If your goals rely only on technology improvements, one can wonder if they are worthy of achieving in the first place. Everyone wants better cameras, but no one wants to be a better photographer - that is how you sound like when you keep whining about how equipment is restricting your goals.
Laurentiu, apparently you were responding to at least two different people. In any case, no sarcasm toward you was intended.
>>> If your goals rely only on technology improvements, one can wonder if they are worthy of achieving
in the first place.
For sure. I can think up an endless number of photographic challenges that would tax current as well as
any near-future technology. But apart from those situations being technical challenges that
would appeal to my engineering background and inner geek, they would not be photos I would really
care about, or result in me making my own epic "Ali vs. Liston" type photograph. At best they’d be
technical challenges, and at worst, kitsch.
That said, if someone wants to make the epic Golden Gate Bridge night photograph capturing
humpback whales, sea lions, and otters splashing together in harmonious togetherness rendered
resplendent in magnificent sharpness, that is fine by me. God speed on the righteous journey to ISO
4M, and/or being able to harness the power of a few megawatt-seconds of AlienBees goodness from
Everyone waur own stnts better cameras, but no one wants to be a better photographer
Now you are defeating yo
raw man, Laurentiu. Better photographic skills and better technology are hardly mutually exclusive.When logic leaves the discussion, so do I. 'Bye.
If your goals rely only on technology improvements, one can wonder if they are worthy of achieving in the first place.Technological improvements beyond what? The Daguerrotype?
My last post mangled some words. This is how the post should have read:
"Everyone wants better cameras, but no one wants to be a better photographer." --LC
"Now you are defeating your own straw man, Laurentiu. Better photographic skills and better technology are hardly mutually exclusive." --LK
Yes, the first part of my previous response was to Paul's comment. The other paragraphs were in response to your comments.
And yes, I realized your initial sarcasm was meant for Kirk Tuck, not for me. Maybe persons not participating in this thread are fair game for sarcasm - was that your point?
My last post mangled some words. This is how the post should have read:Well, you tried twice and you still just came out with an out of context quote. This is what I actually said - emphasis on the missing piece:
Everyone wants better cameras, but no one wants to be a better photographer - that is how you sound like when you keep whining about how equipment is restricting your goals.I didn't claim the first part is true as a standalone statement, I said it sounds like that's where you're coming from. And note the use of "sound like" - I was still giving you the benefit of the doubt.
You not only mangled the words, but you mangled their meaning too.
Technological improvements beyond what? The Daguerrotype?Doesn't matter. It's a generic statement and the keyword in it was only.
One thing I did not mention because I kind of assumed it to be understood is that by "goals" I meant "artistic goals" or put otherwise "the goal of creating some work that will be enjoyed by future generations".
With that clarification, my main point in that statement was that if technical improvements become available, they will become available to everyone and then skill, talent, genius - whatever you want to call it - that will become again the differentiating factor. Sure, there will always be some individuals that will have what it takes to fully exploit the new technology - but they will always form a minority - for the simple reason that if one result is produced too easily or by too many, it will stop being perceived as desirable or as art.
So, with this background, my point was that if one is only preoccupied by technological improvements, that should make another one wonder whether they (the first one) could create some worthwhile work when that technological improvement becomes available. And this wonder would be justified by the probabilistic argument outlined earlier (out of many, very, very few).
Laurentiu, it appears that you are prepared to keep this thread going forever in order to establish. . . what?
You are not talking to real people anymore (if you ever were), since none of us fits the profile that you are responding to. You continue to knock down straw men (and women), nothing more. You are refuting positions that no one has advocated. All that I can say is that, if Kirk Tuck is your man, then you are welcome to him.
I have absolutely no doubt but that you will come back with something, but you will be talking to yourself, as I strongly suspect you have been doing all along. You might as well be a solipsist for all of your regard for the existence of other minds with real points of view. You choose, that is, not to engage such minds but to pretend to do so while continuing this conversation with yourself.
Have at it. May the best man win.
Coming late to this post thread after ahving been directed to it by a friend, I just want to cast my 'vote.' I shot Nikon for years, ending up shooting FF with the trio of lenses that all Nikon shooters love plus some others. As I concentrated more on street photography, the reality of large, noticeable camera lens combinations and the weight and inertia of any combination made me interested in a move.
I was dreading losing the IQ I had loved in Nikon but, after trying the Olympus cameras, my Nikon sat idle for >3 months and the thought of schlepping that heavy bag for that minor increase in IQ made the sale of all my Nikon equipment actually sensible.
I've been shooting with Oly OMD bodies and an assortment of Panasonic and Olympus lenses for a year and, with the exception of fat-fingering the master dials, I'm happy as a clam.
after trying the Olympus cameras, my Nikon sat idle for >3 months and the thought of schlepping that heavy bag for that minor increase in IQ made the sale of all my Nikon equipment actually sensible.That is a very reasonable decision to me, Lewis. My first thought by way of response, however, is to say, "Don't give up image quality at all: shoot one of the new Sony cameras and get 24 MP or 36 MP in a much smaller package than Canon or Nikon currently offers (for the same image quality).
In other words, we should resist the message that miniaturization implies loss of image quality. With MFT, it does for some pictures, but for Sony and its latest cameras, no real sacrifice is required.
I shoot mostly Nikon, but I have said for some years that the future belongs to Sony. In so saying, I also reject Kirk Tuck's telling me that this or that (especially MFT) is good enough. It might be good enough for him, but not for others. Olympus cameras are great, but I still say that the MFT turn in the road was not its best move except as a marketing device for offering an alternative to Canon and Nikon. Sony is doing the same thing, but they are doing it better.
I will keep shooting Nikon--and some Canon--but that is only because I already have them, and my arthritis does not yet require going to smaller cameras. When it does get worse, I will have to make the adjustment.
Landrum, your opinion would be valuable if it would be accompanied by some reasonable arguments. Or at least some nice photos.
In other words, we should resist the message that miniaturization implies loss of image quality. With MFT, it does for some pictures, but for Sony and its latest cameras, no real sacrifice is required.and:
Sony is doing the same thing, but they are doing it better.are devoid of value.
I also now understand where you are coming from:
In so saying, I also reject Kirk Tuck's telling me that this or that (especially MFT) is good enough.It is certainly hard to swallow that MFT is a system that allows handheld results like these using [gasp] a smaller sensor:
You call those low-light photos? They may have been shot at night, but the scenes are brightly lit. (The last one isn't that bright, but, then again, the only thing you can see well is the light.)
No, I won't try to offer a philosophical argument, since "logical argumentation" is not what this thread has typically been about. I will simply make another assertion that can be verified or dis-verified empirically: Sony can now do it better. (Nikon and Canon have been doing it better for some time.) Pentax does it better. What makes the Sony the most interesting to me, however, are the smaller and smaller boxes that they are putting FF and crop sensors into. I personally prefer a somewhat bigger "box" for my fingers, but, if I wanted to shoot FF or crop sensor in a smaller package, there are cameras out there than can accommodate me.
That said, Olympus has come a long way with the MFT than I ever thought they could. I am truly impressed with your photos. I regretted leaving Olympus digital in the first place. Yet, yet, let's face it: there's just so much you can do with a sensor that size. What is Olympus going to do for an encore? At some point, one does come up against the limits of the MFT sensor.
Still, if the results are good enough, they are good enough--and for many persons they are. More power to them.
As I suggested earlier, however, defending MFT was apparently what was driving this thread from the beginning. It's impressive, but I still want to milk every bit of image quality I can out of nighttime photos, and for me MFT is not quite there.
While we are talking modestly-priced packages, have you checked out the Canon 6D? It can hold its own pretty well against the new Nikon D4s, for a tiny fraction of the price ($1750 right now on Amazon and down to $1499 at B&H near the first of the year)..
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-eos-6d/24Dial in "Raw" and "ISO 25600" for the cameras of your choice. Comparing the best Olympus with the Canon 6D shows at least a one-stop advantage for the 6D. Is it worth the extra money or bulk? That is for each buyer and user to decide. (The DPReview test is even more decisive when one shifts the high-lighted area to one of the portraits on the right.)
Still, none of this takes away from the very real achievements of the Olympus MFT system--and the Zuiko lenses are of astonishing quality.
Now do the same comparisons (of the Olympus E-M5 and Canon 6D) with the two most recent Sonys. I wont't say that Sony has quite caught up with Nikon or Canon at low light, but Sony has been closing the gap fast--and in a smaller package:
The reason that all this pixel-peeping matters is that one is investing in a system. MFT is not likely to improve much more, whereas FF and 1.5x crop or 1.6x crop will likely continue to improve. If I were starting out today, I would probably not invest in Canon or Nikon. I would buy Sony, since I personally believe that Sony will win out over the long term. (Since I will turn sixty-nine next month, I don't think too much about the long term.)
Again, this is not to take away anything that Olympus has achieved. If I wanted high ISO performance in the smallest package, Olympus would be either the winner or one of the best contenders. For some the size of the camera and lens combo is the decisive factor. If so, then Olympus may well be their choice. The Sony bodies are getting smaller. I am not sure what they are doing abut lens size. Size and quality are indeed where the Zuiko lenses shine.
I have deliberately omitted the Nikon D4 and D4s from consideration because of the price differential. The Nikon Df, on the other hand, is astonishingly good at high ISO, and its price, though high, is not yet totally out of sight. With a sensor virtually identical to that of the D4, that should come as no surprise.
Then there is Pentax, which has made astonishing strides in low-light photography using crop sensor cameras. . . .
I can only imagine what Pentax could do with FF. (We have seen in the 645D what Pentax can do with medium format digital.)
There certainly are very good alternatives to Canon and Nikon. That is obvious enough.
Very nice photos, Laurentiu! I particularly like the first (fisheye cityscape), and the fifth (b&w, bare tree, lonely roadside, mist, lights in distance...nice)
Steve is right, Laurentiu, and I would not want all of the verbiage above to obscure the fact that I believe that your work is very good. As I said above,
Olympus has come a long way with the MFT than I ever thought they could. I am truly impressed with your photos.--Lannie
There are some things that are easier to talk about than others. While I've said above in this thread that I think tools, materials, and gear are worthy of consideration relative to what we want to produce, I also think tools, materials, and gear are much easier to talk about. We look at Laurentiu's pictures (particularly of the tree, for me, but all of them to some extent) and it's much easier to go on about the gear used and what different gear might accomplish than actually to spend a similar amount of time talking about the photos, the vision, what we see, and how it all comes together. Aesthetic critiques generally boil down to some superficial equivalent of "Nice shot" and yet we wax on for dozens of pages about equipment specs, ISO readings, and other more scientific matter. I don't know if those who read all about the latest equipment and research comparative specs also spend time looking at photo books, going to galleries, and reading up on how, for example, Weston visualized the world or Brassai used his intellect as inspiration. But you don't hear near as much of the latter as you do the former in certain circles. Well, don't be surprised if that doesn't sometimes show in our work. One of my favorite people on the site, who's no longer around, used to say "Click on the names." This meant we should each take a look at each others' work to see what the results of all the talk is. While I don't subscribe to the belief that one has to have a particularly evocative portfolio in order to speak coherently about photography or in order to have constructive thoughts on a variety of photo-related matters, utlimately, if the goal is producing photos, the photos do the loudest speaking of all. Thanks, Laurentiu, for making this thread just a little bit about photos.
Sometimes we have a creative vision in our heads that we want to realize, but the gear gets in the way.
Here is a shot (not a masterpiece) in which I wanted to be able to freeze the motion of the car, the raindrops, and the rain spattering off the pavement:
One or two stops can make a difference in cases like this between getting the shot and getting a blur.
Shooting MOVING THINGS hand-held in the dark is not easy to achieve. Are we justified in paying a bit more (or enduring a bit more inconvenience) for buying and using the gear that will help us to achieve that vision for ourselves? I dare not try to answer that question for everyone.
I do know that on the margins of ISO and shutter speed is where much night photography falters.
I would shoot in the dark with as much ease as in the noonday if I could. The night is magic.
I own this print made by San Francisco photographer and friend Fred Lyon - it's one that I enjoy looking at often. He made the photograph using his Rolleiflex TLR at the Land's End area of San Francisco in 1953. Are the technical aspects perfect? No. Does it exude a special presence and gravitas? Absolutely, in spades. I suspect Fred would not want it captured and rendered any other way, or more perfectly.
Wondrous, Brad! Wish I could do that.
This has nothing to do with nighttime photography, but here is a very nice piece of work by Les Berkley:
Technically good? It actually looks like a "save" to me rather than something that was planned. Either way, I like it.
I do wish, though, that I could shoot anything and everything in the dark, though I know that it will never happen in my lifetime.
>>> Wondrous, Brad! Wish I could do that.
My point is that you can, 60 years later (here's the neighborhood). It's about seeing, imagination, recognizing possibilities, practice, being driven, etc.
Sometimes it's a forest and trees sort of thing.
There might be situations where I have a particular photo in mind or an effect I'd like to achieve and maybe don't have the best equipment to achieve that. There's nothing wrong with striving to achieve a pre-visualized product or very particular look that I just don't quite have the technical capability to achieve given my equipment, etc.
On the other hand, sometimes I can miss the forest for the trees, the trees being such technical details that I may be after. At what point do some of those technical details actually distract me from using my imagination and adapting to the realities of the equipment and eyes that I have? If I dwell too much on things I want to do but cannot, then do I have an excuse not to figure out some things that I can do but that will require more of my vision, creativity, and imagination? There's nothing wrong with roaming through a forest in search of a particular kind of tree or plant or fungus. But what do I risk missing if I'm so determined to find that one particular thing I have in mind that all the other foliage and atmosphere around me goes unnoticed? Not saying that's always the case, but it certainly can be.
I find it's good to always want more, to have a certain amount of dissatisfaction in my life, whether it's with equipment or other things. That's how desire is born and desire is a passion that can be at the root of a lot of creative endeavors and a lot of art. At the same time, some kinds of dissatisfaction are very unproductive and can keep me from doing things that are right in front of me, things that could develop into something significant if I allow them to blossom given the means I have rather than expending too much energy on the things I don't.
I think we each have to come to grips with those two sides of the coin for ourselves. And I find it's worth taking a careful look at my choices and my dissatisfactions to see which are pushing me forward and which are holding me back.
Steve is right, Laurentiu, and I would not want all of the verbiage above to obscure the fact that I believe that your work is very good.Thank you, Landrum.
Then there is Pentax, which has made astonishing strides in low-light photography using crop sensor cameras. . . .I used Pentax. The only bright thing that Pentax did was starting to use Sony sensor technology after they dissolved their partnership with Samsung. If you want to see what Pentax could do with a FF sensor, just look at Nikon D800 and Sony A7R - they won't do any better than that.
Now do the same comparisons (of the Olympus E-M5 and Canon 6D) with the two most recent Sonys.I did and my conclusion is that the gap between systems is now insignificant. Below is a more detailed analysis, but if it is too boring, it can be skipped to the next comment.
I am an engineer - my interest in photography was born from an interest in understanding the technology and theory of photographic devices. I also like to take photos, but I do it as a hobby, because it takes my mind of other things and it teaches me to pay attention to details that I would have not noticed otherwise. I recommend to everyone interested in photographic theory this reference on equivalence - it touches on every aspect so fervently discussed on forums.
If we look at all these systems, this is how they compare (and anyone can check my math): considering sensor surface, FF has ~1.3Ev advantage over APS-C, which in turn has ~0.7Ev advantage over MFT - this is the theoretical advantage due to sensor surface. Thus FF has a neat 2 Ev advantage over MFT. If you look at dxomark Low Light ISO scores, this is what is seen in them too: MFT scores around ISO 800, APS-C around ISO 1250 for Pentax K-3 (ISO 1000 for NEX cameras), and FF scores just around ISO 3000 (a tiny bit less than the expected ISO 3200). Basically, the gap between MFT and APS-C is half the size of the gap between APS-C and FF.
Now, for low light, the way you match the performance of a large sensor system is with faster lenses on the smaller sensor. If on FF you use f/2.8 at ISO 6400, on MFT you can do that with f/1.4 at ISO 1600 and APS-C would require f/1.8 at ISO 2500. Pentax was mentioned as doing a great job with APS-C, but their DA Limited lenses are all super slow and designed for small size rather than competition with FF. Sony has not done a better job either for NEX. Only Fuji has put out lenses in an attempt to bridge the gap to FF.
As a parenthesis, where large sensors have an advantage that cannot be matched by smaller sensors is at low ISO! Because small sensors don't have access to lower ISOs even if they would have access to faster lenses. But, on the bright side, nobody complains about performance at base ISO, so it's not that much of a deal in practice.
I am a manual focus user. On Pentax I had invested in Cosina/Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses (well, just 1 of each) but both companies stopped production for K-mount some years ago. Cosina actually announced they will focus their efforts on MFT, which drew my attention. Then they put out their 25mm f/0.95 lenses and that really got my attention - these guys were actually understanding equivalence. This was a 50mm f1/9 lens that on APS-C I could only match with something like a 35 f/1.2 - even now there is no APS-C lens matching that, although Fuji's 35/1.4 comes close. Then they brought up equivalents for a 35/1.9 and an 85/1.9 lens. Right now, only the 85/1.9 can be matched in specs by Fuji's 55/1.2, which shows you which is the other company that understands equivalence. Unlike Sony, Fuji gets it. Sony is botching even their A7 line with slower lenses. Sony makes great sensor technology, but their vision in building a camera system is lacking. I wish them all the best, but they're just too slow and confused at the moment.
Of course, the Voigtlanders are manual focus and thus not for everyone's needs. And they're expensive, although given their build they're not more expensive than any of their equivalents. But MFT also has a bunch of fast AF primes - many f/1.8 lenses which compare positively with slower APS-C f/2.8 counterparts. And they're starting to get more f/2.8 zooms. And Olympus at least (if not Panasonic) may bring back f/2 zooms too - before Sigma's f/1.8 APS-C zoom, nobody had bothered to make an APS-C constant max aperture zoom faster than f/2.8 - Olympus showed they understand equivalence long before Cosina and Fuji did. And then there is strong third party support. If you're into video there is not only Panasonic but also Blackmagic. The MFT system is growing faster than any other.
Then there's the aspect ratio part - I really prefer 4:3 to 3:2 for many situations, but especially for portraiture. And if you look at how MFT crops the APS-C image, the reduction in height is less significant than the sensor surface ratio would suggest - that actually reduces the DOF difference, but I did not bother to calculate by how much (I'd have to crop 3:2 to 4:3 and then look at the resulting surface difference).
And finally, there is also the image stabilization part, which given my legacy of old lenses comes in handy. It also seems to be great for video, but I didn't get into that yet. For my photography, which often involves static subjects, this alone compensates the sensor size difference, even without relying on faster lenses. Also, in my experience, comparing the MFT lenses with Pentax APS-C ones, the MFT ones perform much better at wide open apertures than the Pentax counterparts and don't need to be stopped down as much to get to their peak IQ point - that again helps balance the slightly smaller sensor. An example might help - on Pentax I got the 15/4 DA Limited which many users were enthusiastic about. It did not impress me and it was slow - on MFT one can get the 12/2 prime or use the 12-40/2.8 at wide end where it actually outperforms the prime. I have no regret for APS-C and for what Pentax offers these days.
So, looking at the MILC systems today, MFT already gives me what I need. Fuji is getting there, but by now if sensor size would worry me, I would rather go directly for FF given the fast FF lenses that I already have. Sony is going to be interesting to watch just to see how they clear their mess. And Samsung seems completely lost, especially after today's announcement of their NX-mini system, which seems redundant compared to Sony's clip-on-phone lenses. I must admit an interest in the A7 because of the aforementioned FF lenses, but then I wonder whether they'd perform that well and I would also like image stabilization at that price, so I just put out those thoughts. A few days ago I actually pixel peeped a night cityscape shot with the A7 and I did not see any details that I could not capture with the E-M5.
So that's why I look at all these systems and MFT looks better than APS-C to me: fast and well designed lenses, an aspect ratio that I prefer, and image stabilization. A FF MILC may still entice me but it hasn't been made yet and by the time it will be, I'll probably lose my interest. I understand the appeal of Fuji and I think Sony yet has to prove they can build a nice system.
Well, thanks to those that read so far!
the scenes are brightly litI have other shots taken at higher ISO in lower light conditions. But I normally don't want to post something just because it is taken in low light, I'd like it to be interesting and my conviction is that if the image is interesting, then the noise and other technical aspects won't matter.
For example, the following gratuitous shot is not particularly interesting and inspiring, but it was taken in the dark - it was much darker than I processed it here, but these modern cameras act like night vision and if I adjust the exposure to match what I could see, then there wouldn't be many interesting things left to see in it.
This was ISO 3200. I was not seeing the details at the bottom of this image, nor the palms in the distance. Exposure was 0.62sec.
Photography is literally "drawing with light". If there is not much light, how much can we expect to draw? Here is another shot that again looks lighter than it was:
With a long enough exposure night looks like day. This is a 20 sec exposure on an UltraPod. The light here comes from the moon - you can see the stars in the sky.
Maybe this is not that impressive for low light capability since you could get results like this with older equipment, but my point is that being able to handheld the camera for longer exposures can allow you to get shots that look better lit than they actually were.
I even pushed the E-M5 to the max ISO on an occasion. This was on various rides at Disneyland when I only had the slow kit lens and I was on the ride, so I needed a fast shutter to freeze the scenes. Before I begin, this is what I got on first attempt at ISO 400:
And here are shots at ISO 25600:
They show noise and they are not that interesting, but there is enough detail and with some NR they could be made to look even better. If I would have caught something really interesting, I wouldn't have minded the noise. The ISO 400 result actually seems more intriguing
Shooting MOVING THINGS hand-held in the dark is not easy to achieve.That's right, but it depends on how you want to express things. What is wrong with motion blur? The following shot is taken with a P&S camera when I was trying to get creative in the neighborhood at night:
Fred expressed what I think is the important idea here:
On the other hand, sometimes I can miss the forest for the trees, the trees being such technical details that I may be after. At what point do some of those technical details actually distract me from using my imagination and adapting to the realities of the equipment and eyes that I have?I also think about this and I look back at some shots I took with older equipment and I feel that more performance makes me lazier, not more creative. I have less noise in my photos, but the old ones with noise are not any worse because of it.
You can also freeze fast moving things that are well lit. I found it interesting to shoot fireworks handheld and the results look more like how you'd see the fireworks in a TV frame than how photographers record them:
And one more:
And at small print sizes, even smaller sensors are surprisingly capable today. Here are a couple more shots from the P&S, which is just a waterproof camera - Panasonic TS3:
This one's pushes it to the limit - panning in low light with fast moving subjects:
Some weeks ago, I went down memory lane and selected some images from our first digital camera, an Olympus P&S with 4MP. IQ was pretty lame, but a few shots had potential:
I know this is no longer low light, but it's interesting light.
My waterproof compact died last year, but now I'm considering getting a new one. Maybe something like the Pentax Q with its prime lens. As my earlier long tirade on MFT shows, I spent time thinking about equipment, but it didn't lead me just to justify MFT, it also made me realize that for many shots, I don't even need MFT and I'd be better served by a smaller camera with better quality than my phone.
Speaking of phone, even the phone served me well on a few occasions. When I took this shot I also had my MFT camera with me, but I needed a wider angle so I used my phone:
On this other occasion, it was a rare moment and I was in slow traffic - the phone was perfect:
Please excuse the "artistic" filter. I make a point of processing all phone shots on the phone and this was the best option I found. It's over the top but actually gives a better idea of the special light at that moment.
Thanks, Laurentiu, for making this thread just a little bit about photos.Thank you Fred, and thank you for mentioning Brassai, who is one of my favorite photographers. His work is amazing. If I had the time and the courage, I'd spent my nights on the streets trying to capture life after dark, but I have a feeling it's a more dangerous endeavor today not just because you might get mugged but because some alert citizen may think you're up to nefarious goals.
I know I went over the top with this post.
I find it's good to always want more, to have a certain amount of dissatisfaction in my life, whether it's with equipment or other things.The best thing is to be dissatisfied with what you can do and strive to do better. Everything else will then come much easier.
I know I went over the top with this post.
I hate to say it, but sadly if a posting fills more than one screen, nobody will read it!
Great shots, Lauretiu! Truly, these are wonderful.
Two stops? I have no numbers to contradict that. Two full stops are huge for me. In any case, FF is worth the bulk and the heft to me for a "mere" two stops, and I can also use the lenses for FF on my crop sensor cameras--and often do. I do like to capture motion crisply in the dark. When I am satisfied with (or seek) blur, that is no trick with any camera, but that is rare for me. I usually do not want blur, or at least not very much of it.
Smaller cameras can, of course, be less threatening, and I admit that one has to consider that--especially for street shooting.
The E-M5 is very impressive, and I am especially impressed by these photos. For some, I am sure it is exactly what they are looking for. As I said already, more power to them. I might consider one for myself, except that (1) it would be a pricey addition and (2) I really like having the extra low-light capacity of FF at night. I also am not one who is not typically bothered by the feel of large cameras, unless I have to carry them around for a long time. I do like that the lenses for MFT are correspondingly smaller and lighter. That is a great advantage, I have to concede, for many situations, or for travel considerations. In addition, along the long dimension, MFT is hardly tiny by any measure. (My E-20 got very good pictures with a much smaller sensor--except at night, a fact which probably colored my earlier biases against MFT when it was announced.)
I do share your preference for the 4:3 aspect ratio, for what that is worth.
The bottom line for me is that those two stops you cite can be the difference between 1/15 sec and 1/60 sec (or 1/30 and 1/125). That does matter a lot to me. For crisp night shots, two stops are definitely not to be sneezed at. I also do shoot pictures in dangerous neighborhoods--and I anticipate doing more of that kind of work as the weather warms. I do not want to fool with a tripod in those circumstances, as I have probably said more than once.
As for price, the 6D is not all that more expensive than the E-5M--until one factors in the cost of certain EF lenses. I don't have any Canon FF equipment right now, but, if I were going to buy a full-frame Canon now, that is probably what I would buy, notwithstanding the overall quality of the 5D III. My current low-light camera is a used Nikon D3s, and, yes, it is a tank and has limited resolution, but it has other strengths beside low-light ability.
Again, thank you for the great photos, Laurentiu--and your willingness to respond.
I hate to say it, but sadly if a posting fills more than one screen, nobody will read it!I just read it, David! In fact, I read every word. For those of us who care about these issues (and I guess the rest peeled off some time ago), Laurentiu's full explanation has to be very welcome.
I am glad that we also transcended the more rancorous tone of the earlier exchanges. This thread finally realized its full potential, I think. I cannot think of a more useful one to me lately, if ever. Whenever discussions of gear and actual photography converge, that is my kind of thread.
I think--I hope--that Fred would agree with that last remark, too.
http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Interchangeable-3-0-Inch-Tilting-Touchscreen/dp/B0074WDDN8Holy cow! That is a good price, but, no, no, I cannot afford to buy a thing right now.
One wishes Olympus well as this economic downturn drags on and on. That is one company that I would hate to see fail. I do not believe that it will, but the situation is pretty bad for all manufacturers right now. I understand that Leica is in very serious trouble.
>>> Smaller cameras can, of course, be less threatening, and I admit that one has to consider that--
especially for street shooting.
From making many photographs of people on the street with cameras ranging from an iPhone to a full size
dSLR with 35/1.4 lens, I've yet to encounter anyone who has felt threatened by my gear.
On the other hand, I have witnessed photographers on the street photographing people surreptitiously that has caused that reaction. This is due to suspicious behavior.
It's about behavior, not gear. Size does not matter.
"It's about behavior, not gear. Size does not matter."Yup.
Brian Luenser, a fellow who lives in downtown Fort Worth, has earned a large following on social media for his daily photos of downtown activities, including lots of candid snaps of people, especially at night. He uses a full sized Canon dSLR and fast primes and zooms, often toting a backpack. He even jogs with that gear and stops to take snaps of folks along the way. His style very open and obvious, accessible and jovial. Over the past year I can think of only one occasion in which he described a somewhat negative reaction to his photo, and that was of a woman jogger along the downtown riverside bike/jog trail - I think he said she scowled at him. He also photographs - with great sensitivity - the activities for a local children's group for which his wife is a volunteer.
I doubt he would describe himself as a "street photographer". His style is more akin to what the newspaper features and style section photographers used to do. He's satisfied to be a booster for the downtown lifestyle and his open approach obviously resonates with most folks he photographs.
I mostly use smaller cameras for convenience, not discretion. If I could handle the heavy load I'd happily tote a full sized camera and lens kit again. And I may start toting my TLR again because in previous years I always got great reactions to that camera - some folks would even ask me to photograph them, with no expectation of ever seeing the photos. Maybe it's the quaintness factor.
I have never been challenged on the street.
I'm a photographer and I take photos...I do not have to justify myself to anyone....I offer photographs of humanity as it is.
I'm happy to use any camera I do not have to sneak and hide.
Scared folk, just inhabit the internet, and are constantly crying because they want other folks to be scared just like them......they then feel better.
Then they try justify their lack of humanity/ courage by offering some sort of twisted ethics.
Truly they are a sad face of humanity.
Freedom of information is honesty. That simple.
I must admit, bit scared about these dudes....
Alan, who are those guys--and where did you shoot them?
For anyone interested, here is the Luminous Landscape review of the Olympus E-5M:
The review is a bit dated, but overall it is quite useful, I think.
If I did not need a new hearing aid, I would consider buying one now as listed at Amazon a few posts above.
"Alan, who are those guys--and where did you shoot them?"
Hmm, who do you think they are?
Allen, not Alan.
Some stuff should never have been posted. Oh well...too late.
Anyway, toss the photo, lets talk about the cam.
You sad lot with your silly photos!. Get real its all about the cam.
Now the Nikon D800 with 36 million pixels....just eat your hearts out.....with one of those anyone can be a master of photography....hey, no drooling from you impoverished lot...go and buy a Sony or some cheapo something.
Allen, I don't think that there are any particularly fearful night-time street photographers. I do know that, with bad hearing and blood clots in both calves and thighs, I have to think before I shoot.
Here is one case where I did not:
In another instance, I was openly shooting a building at night when the owner of the building ran up and into the tripod, smashing the camera into my face. He was drunk. Since I had almost no use of my right arm because of a rotator cuff tear (and was waiting for surgery), it was a dicey situation. He then went away, saying that he was going to call the police.
I don't care for those situations, and the only way to avoid them is to stop shooting the street at night.
Nahh. . .
Fear? Anybody can find themselves in a threatening situation, and, yes, i have felt fear. The question is whether you control it or if it controls you.
Allen, you're delirious. What happened?
Some stuff should never have been posted. Oh well...too late.C'mon, Allen. Who ARE those guys? Spit it out. KGB shadowing you again? Russian naval officers? (They don't exactly look like spies, after all.)
Anybody can find themselves in a threatening situation"
Well, I don't put myself into those situations. And I'm a anybody.
The magic formulae, is called common sense. Street wise, that is what it is all about.
Any craft/skill has to studied.....for most it is really about buying a cam and pressing a button.
The real wold.
Well, I don't put myself into those situations. And I'm a anybody.Sounds like a boring life to me. Everything worth doing entails some risks.
Which real world are you in tonight, Allen?
Then you hear them crying about confrontations and to console themselves they fall back on some sort of ethics.
Allen, I was not trying to pull your chain. What's wrong?
Okay, next time I take a street photo I'll kick them up the arse to get that risk element.
Hello, Landrum. Planet earth to Landrum are you still with us.
Jeez, I hope the poor little soul is not lost in space.
All in good humour.
Stop being brave with a arsehole like me you are too nice a dude.
All in good humour.Hm. Well, I'm sitting here shaking my head, wondering what this has been all about. Time to go out for a bite, I suppose.
Sorry if I said something wrong, Allen. I don't know what it might have been.
What are we having I like a Chinese.
Okay, Chinese it is. I'll be back in a few.
I feel bad. Sorry.
Nice shot, Allen. It really is.
A pleasure to know you.
The bottom line for me is that those two stops you cite can be the difference between 1/15 sec and 1/60 sec (or 1/30 and 1/125). That does matter a lot to me.Those two stops just mean that you should look at using faster lenses on smaller formats. It's not like you would lose DOF either, because you'd keep the same - you just get true equivalence. And once you are looking at things from an equivalence point of view, MFT is not any worse than APS-C and for many scenarios it can compete with FF as well (especially if you want a MILC and not a DSLR, as I do).
Bottom line is that IQ is and will always be determined by how much light you can get to the sensor. A larger sensor is one way, but a smaller sensor with a faster lens will get you there too.
One wishes Olympus well as this economic downturn drags on and on. That is one company that I would hate to see fail. I do not believe that it will, but the situation is pretty bad for all manufacturers right now. I understand that Leica is in very serious trouble.The company in the worst position is Nikon, believe it or not. That is because over 70% of their revenue comes from digital camera products. And they seem to be the only company deriving the majority of their revenue from digital cameras. Digital cameras are not the main revenue for any other company - even Canon gets more than half their revenue from printers and whatever else they got. For Olympus, digital cameras are just around 10% - the rest is all coming from their medical division. I think they'll survive, but even if they don't they'll get bought by someone else. The Pentax system has survived across two acquisitions - Hoya and Ricoh and Ricoh seems intent to keep it around for a while - I don't know why Olympus should fare worse even if they get into trouble.
Let me include a few more samples.
I share 800px images as a protection against copying. This small size may make some wonder how good images really are. So I occasionally upload some crops to give an idea of how good images look even close up. Note that the images I include in the thread are 500px, but you can click on them to get to the 800px version and the exposure information.
This is the full frame:
And this is a 100% border crop, slightly processed (by which I mean that it is processed just like the full frame scaled down image):
Let's do one of those cat shots that are maligned. Full frame:
This next one is already a crop:
Followed by an even tighter crop:
These examples also show how much detail a camera can capture when focus is spot on.
The Samyang MFT fisheye lens is incredibly small. It is also much better optically than the old SLR version I had. A slightly different design is available for APS-C MILCs. I posted a sample in the first post, here's the first shot I got with this lens:
One thing I always like to see in a lens is a short focusing distance. I found the 1m minimum focusing distance of the Zeiss Planar 85/1.4 very limiting - not for portraiture, but for closeups of details. The Voigtlander lenses, the Samyang fisheye, and many of the Olympus lenses feature very close focusing distances - I really love such feature. Some samples from the 42.5/0.95 at close focusing distances, used at different apertures:
"Those two stops just mean that you should look at using faster lenses on smaller formats."
Laurentiu, when one comes up against the limits of one's equipment in low light, an extra stop or two can be absolutely critical. I do a LOT of night shooting, and believe me when I say that usually I am already shooting wide open before I decide to dial up the ISO--which to me is the option of last resort. I much prefer to shoot a low ISO, but in near darkness that simply is not possible, as you know.
If one shoots a lot at night, one will recognize the value of an extra stop or two.
"Bottom line is that IQ is and will always be determined by how much light you can get to the sensor. A larger sensor is one way, but a smaller sensor with a faster lens will get you there too."
Laurentiu, this is getting ridiculous.
You are beginning to sound like a true fanboy. If I had the E-M5, I might be out shooting it right now, but there are situations in which it would be time to lay it down and pick up the D3s or some other superb low-light camera.
Olympus MFT is now your cause.
Landrum, you are using the Nikon 28-70/2.8 zoom in the low light shots you uploaded on this site. With that lens, wide open means f/2.8. And if it doesn't have image stabilization, it will force you to higher ISOs just for that reason.
I am not going to get into whether f/2.8 is the right aperture for what you shoot. All I am saying is that on APS-C you can get the same FF f/2.8 result at proportionately lower ISO with an f/1.8 lens (that's why Sigma's new APS-C DSLR zoom is f/1.8 - that is an f/2.8 FF equivalent zoom) while on MFT you would need an f/1.4 lens. That is how you get equivalent results with smaller sensors.
It's all about equivalence. I didn't make that up. If you disagree with my statement above, then you don't understand equivalence. Sorry, I cannot seem to be of more help to you in this area. If you'd explain what you don't understand, we could have a conversation, but you seem to contradict me just for the sake of maintaining an opposite opinion.
The interrelatedness of exposure variables is not a difficult concept to grasp, although it is certainly true that many do not bother to really apply what they know to real world shooting.
Yes, my Nikon lens collection is quite limited. A fast prime or two would be nice (in addition to my 50mm f/1.4).
As far as "helping" me, I was a chemistry-math-physics person before going into philosophy and politics. The concepts are not difficult, although an f/1.8 lens is an f/1.8 lens, regardless of the size of the box, since the ratio of the focal length to aperture is the same. Are you sure that you understand equivalence? Equivalence in quantum mechanics is quite another thing, but I am ignoring quantum effects for the sake of simplicity. If you are talking about equivalence with regard to framing or depth of field, that is yet another thing to boot--but that kind of equivalence is not aperture dependent. it is dependent on the size of the box containing the sensors, among other things. This is pretty elementary mathematical stuff, Laurentiu. In any case, I haven't asked for a tutor.
Thanks, in any case.
By the way, Laurentiu, in case you are wondering, I do get the point of the math in going from 2.8 to 1.8 (1.333 stops), as well as going from 1.8 to 1.4 (.666 stops), for a total of two stops.
That is, if one does use the lenses with these relative stops, one can compensate for the noisier sensor by simply shooting with a faster lens. This goes back to your saying that the Olympus E-5M is two stops behind FF. (I rather doubt that it is that far "behind" some full-frame cameras, but it might be that much behind the very best ones.)
Thanks again. This has been quite interesting. I am sorry that you feel that I simply enjoy contradicting you. That really is not the case, and I have enjoyed the technical discussions. Most persons who use these things have no idea why something works as it does, and I appreciate your efforts to communicate on this level.
By the way, Laurentiu, in case you are wondering, I do get the point of the math in going from 2.8 to 1.8 (1.333 stops), as well as going from 1.8 to 1.4 (.666 stops), for a total of two stops.
That is, if one does use the lenses with these relative stops, one can compensate for the noisier sensor by simply shooting with a faster lens.That was my point, yes. With that knowledge one can look at systems and at their requirements and figure out if a smaller sensor system would work for them.
This goes back to your saying that the Olympus E-5M is two stops behind FF. (I rather doubt that it is that far "behind" some full-frame cameras, but it might be that much behind the very best ones.)Yes, I was comparing with the top current FF sensor tech - the D4s/D800 stuff.
Thanks again. This has been quite interesting. I am sorry that you feel that I simply enjoy contradicting you. That really is not the case, and I have enjoyed the technical discussions. Most persons who use these things have no idea why something works as it does, and I appreciate your efforts to communicate on this level.I'm glad we got to this point. All the best!
Thank you, Laurentiu. The best to you as well.
So, can we summarize by saying it's now well-proven that M4/3 is the way to go, pretty much for everyone and pretty much forever?
I'm glad that's settled.
M4/3 is the way to go
At last the voice of reason! But of course only if made in Wetzlar in a month with a "r" in it.
Yes it is a good article and i think its pretty accurate too in many parts
To me its not the latest DSLR that represents advancement if you want to put it that way in photography, but the camera and equipment choices we now have in the year 2014
this would include film too it just depends what you are into
When i take my digital cameras out my film cameras of various shapes and sizes come too
and the most important piece of camera equipment i have is a car
Separate names with a comma.