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Tuesday, 01 February 2011

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If I told you 10 years ago that your favourite lens is going to be a 20 mm 1:1.7 some day ... would I still be alive? ;-)

I just received your "favorite lens" in the mail today. Time to see if it will become MY favorite lens. At lest until my Voigtlander 25/.95 arrives. I'd love to see what professional m43 body may be introduced as well.

If I didn't already own all the cameras I need, I'd be tempted to buy those Ricoh camera/body/lens/sensor ensemble thingees just to reward them for being so offbeat and interesting. The reports say that the pictures out of them are perfectly fine too.

Olympus rumors are relentlessly unreliable. What is generally the best aggregator out there is www.43rumors.com. I believe their picking a pro-spec m43 body from Olympus in Q1/Q2 2011. Color me surprised if it slips.

I think this post is potentially the most relevant, though hardly the most reliable.

http://www.43rumors.com/a-micro-four-thirds-rumors-roadmap/

Don't know whether to laugh or cry seeing India and camera mentioned in the same sentence. When I was in primary school during the '70s, the very few SLR cameras available were invariably obtained either through contacts with non-resident Indians or through smugglers. This was because, even though India did not have any camera manufacturer, the Govt.'s short-sighted economic policies (which introduced, among other things, "socialism" through the 42nd Constitutional amendment) mandated exorbitant tariffs for imported stuff in the name of "protecting the domestic industry". I am not entirely sure about the rate, but I do remember reading that it was in the region of 250% for SLR camera gear - yes, 2 and one-half times the price of the camera!!

The situation was dystopian in the extreme. Despite being touted as the world's largest democracy, this place used to be worse than the erstwhile USSR in matters of economic policy and manufacturing. The Soviets at least had SLR camera manufacturing of their own. If the Indian govt. were not forced to open up the economy starting in 1990-91 due to a severe balance-of-payment crisis, we would still be in the dark ages of the '70s.

By the way, I learnt photography during my university days in the '80s on an old Rollei 35S that somebody from Germany had given my father as a gift. The battery for the light meter was dead and replacements could not be found, this being socialist India. But it was a blessing in disguise, as I mastered the art of guesstimating exposure without the aid of a light meter. Now, when I see teenagers toting iphones, Cybershots, D7000s and the like, I can only smile wistfully, letting out a sigh for the lost generations that couldn't get good cameras (and tools and pianos and fine stationery and what-not ...) even if they were able to afford them.

I don't know how much longer PopFlash and Photo Village will carry Ricoh now that Adorama and Amazon (who does the shipping -- is this two channels to the same warehouse?) are selling the same product for typically $70 less. I notice that both are letting the older products gracefully go out of stock.

scott

Mike, there's an editorial on Quesabesde http://www.quesabesde.com/noticias/olympus-descarta-lanzar-objetivos-cuatro-tercios-sustituta-e-3,1_6547&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&twu=1&usg=ALkJrhhWz2Zd9amaVYv124tkKtDijXaNtw (translated through Google Translate) which mentions m4/3 cameras on all levels, not just entry models. But I'm certain I read something more definite, although for the life of me I cannot remember where.

There's the interview with Miguel Angel Garcia, also on Quesabesde, saying they are going to have lenses this year that will be spectacular for all levels, not only for consumer market. That does sound interesting and is kinda in keeping with plans for a pro camera for those lenses. I mean, you don't buy a 35-100 to put on your E-520, right?

"...as being roughly analogous to Subaru—a proud but quirky little company that goes its own way, and that has a user base sometimes described as a "cult following." Small but dedicated." There also used to be a small computer company with a fruit name, something like banana informatics or so, which had a cultish following. I wonder what happened to them.

It probably won't happen to Ricoh though, but for photographers with lots of legacy lenses, this is good news. Can a f-mount module be far behind. and Canaon-FD, Minolta, M42. It would be great if Ricoh would go all the way and also separate mount and sensor. You could combine the GXR body with a black and white sensor and a Leica lens, or an infrared sensor and M42 or,or... There would be niches within niches to be filled.

Living in Taiwan, I see the localization in play here. You mention the Pentax 645D, and that most certainly has hit here. In Taipei, most of the camera stores are situated on one of two intersecting streets. In those four, or so, blocks of retail space, at least four stores have a 645D in stock. It is the most expensive camera stocked here in Taipei and the fact that multiple stores have it available indicates a pretty high level of interest.

My guess is that Pentax Taiwan expects the 645D to be very popular with wedding photographers here. Only three or four years ago, most wedding studios here shot with Pentax 645 film cameras and I am sure that many of them still have the lenses. With the amount of Photoshop and the size of the wedding books that are done here, I imagine they long for the robustness of medium format files.

Do you know who is buying the 645D in India? Is it wedding photographers too?

I second your favorite lens choice. Until all my Panansonic GF1 kit was stolen well over a year ago, I usually carried that lens mounted on the GF1 in a pocket or briefcase. After the theft, I put the insurance proceeds in the bank, where they remain, awaiting the introduction of a m4/3 (or larger sensor) with an excellent, built-in viewfinder -- what I hope will be the rumored "pro" version of the Panny or Olympus. The Fuji X100 has the form, and its 35mm lens will likely rival the Panny 20mm, but it lacks interchangeble lenses. The money stays in the bank.

When buyers in the UK hear about localization of markets, they mostly think about the rip-off prices camera manufacturers charge here for their products.

A current example - the Pentax 645D costs $10,000 in the US, including taxes, but (the equivalent of) $14,400 in the UK.

I wrote a very polite letter to Pentax, asking "why?" but they did not favour me with a response.

Mike-

Yes, the 20mm f/1.7 is really good, but if instead I could have gotten a fast 25mm Lumix 4/3 Micro lens, I sure would have. I realize there's a "Leica" 25mm for it, but besides being way pricey, it requires an adapter.

43rumors just announced that they will announce a guaranteed disappointment next week, so my pessimistic guess is a big postponement of Oly pro m43 gear (from this spring).

Aravind,

That might explain the number of Yashica TLRs available for sale from India on EBay.

yeah, the Panasonic 20mm/1.7 is sweet and handy ... but I am still waiting for my Pentax 25mm/1.4 C-mount which should be very charming as well :)

Ah, I just bought a Fuji only it's slightly bigger then a X100.......say 40 times or so. And it's a bit older.......and it uses film (and lots of it as well) with a 6x8 film size.......and it weighs a bit more (at 4 kg with 135 mm and a lot more with the 65). Yep, your article on slow photography one me over to the dark side where beast like this

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/gx680iii.shtml

are still rampant. My GF1 will be my camera du jour of cause (my favourite lens is the 9-18 from Oly but I don't own a 20 so no comparison there).

http://blogger.xs4all.nl/stomoxys/archive/2011/02/02/641746.aspx

Greetings, and does anyone know a good chiropracter somehow I think I might need one. And for those who wish to advise me to go to a shrink, that has already being taken care for he's called Anakin and he looks like a nice chap :-).

Greetings, Ed

I wish Ricoh the best of luck with their camera. I workd for the Ricoh importer in Canad in the late 70's. Nice products, not that hard to sell to people who would listen, But the importer at that time was the most unbelievably incompetent company. Its no wonder that they could not capture market share. They introduced 1 hour photofinishing into the country, even trademarked the term. In the end they lost almost all of the business.
Better luck this time.

Darren Melrose,
you wrote With the amount of Photoshop and the size of the wedding books that are done here, I imagine they long for the robustness of medium format files.
Can you tell me more about this? I've seen only one blogger from that area write about the wedding industry there - sadly, I don't recall whom - and it seemed somewhat fantastical.

Mike,
Maybe you'd be interested in polling people on what "popular culture" photography is like in their part of the world? USAians like myself don't get out as much as we should...

Will

Apropos of localisation: In Spain, Pentax cameras and lenses are available at most camera shops and large electronics stores. Pentax has the same level of brand recognition (or maybe just below) as Canon or Nikon.

Here in the US, even avid photographers often say I didn't know Pentax still made cameras! when they see my camera.

"The Lens Mount Unit will enable the use of Leica M mount lenses in a unit that contains a 12.9 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor behind a focal plane shutter"

Sounds a lot like my NEX 3 except that I can slap just about anything on the NEX , and it has the rest of the camera thrown in for free. It's the baby speed graphic of the 21st century. Or maybe the baby graflex, it's hard to tell.

Enlarging lenses, folding camera lenses, screw mount leica lenses, argus c3 lenses, movie camera lenses, just about anything that doesn't get closer than a third of an inch from the image plane. Looking for a dead Rollie 35 S to get the 40mm sonnar off of. I'd hate to kill a healthy 35 S.


Hi Will. Here in Taiwan (South Korea too), wedding photography is done quite differently. What is called wedding photography here would fall mostly under the banner of engagement sessions in the west. The photos are all taken well in advance of the wedding and they are ready for viewing at the time of the reception. The shoots typically involve multiple changes of clothes, a range of looks and usually a number of locations as well. The look tends to be very stylized and romanticized.

At the reception, there is usually a table as you go in showing the "Wedding Book". The books are typically about 20x30 inches, contain maybe 20 pages and have clearly been designed using templates, where the heavily retouched photos are dropped in. Often though, a single photo will cover the both pages of a book, meaning the image is about 40x30 inches. As I mentioned, the photos have been heavily photoshopped (often far too much IMO), leaving skin without flaws or much texture, perfect whites, etc. Think glamor retouching taken to the nth degree. With books this big and as much retouching done on the photos as there is, artifacts are often quite often visible, even though most of the studios are using the highest resolution DSLRs available (1DSmk3, D3X). The extra resolution and the greater color depth MF offers, should really help with this.

To go on a little further. Once you arrive at the reception, not only will there be from one to three of the big wedding books on display, but there will usually be at least one, often more, really big prints on display at the entrance to the dining area. By big, I mean at least 2x3 feet and maybe even up to 3x5 feet. Again, highly processes and usually with artifacts visible (to a photographer anyways). I am sure it is because of the size of prints that the wedding industry here was very late to the game when it came to using digital cameras, as MF film offers so much resolution.

Just some further information when it comes to Taiwanese weddings. First, a wedding photographer is typically only a wedding photographer and s/he works for what I can only call a wedding store. The wedding stores are mostly located in two distinct areas of Taipei and they kind of offer everything the couple needs. Usually, they are two or three floors, where they have dress and suit rentals and sales(?) in a fairly large retail area, they also have sort of viewing and planning spaces for the couple to meet with the photographer, view sample books, go over locations and dress options, etc. The photographer works for these stores and the couple buys whatever package they prefer. I think that the clothes, including dresses, are most often rented or used for the photo shoots, rather than being purchases outright, although the bride will sometimes buy one or two dresses to wear at the reception. At the reception, the happy couple will usually make at least two grand entrances, where they come down between the dinner tables, dressed in different outfits each time. Especially for the brides, these dresses are often really beautiful and colorful, but they are not usually white as in the west. I believe that the bigger the wedding (in terms of dollars spent), the more costume changes that will be involved.

Interestingly, at least to me, not that many guests actually go to the wedding ceremony. That ceremony is usually held in a court house, and in my experience it is sometimes done as a mass wedding thing, where a bunch of couples get married at one time. The ceremony is often held on a day other than the one where the reception happens. Sometimes they even happen months apart. My experience is that few couples hire professional photographers to cover this aspect of the wedding and I have never seen these photos be a part of the "wedding book". The dress code for these is more relaxed than someone from the west might expect. I have seen couples getting married in jeans and certainly the expensive and extravagant wedding dresses are not worn for the ceremonies.

The receptions are the big events for weddings here. They are usually held in restaurants that only do weddings. My wedding was small, yet I still had more than 120 guests. Bigger weddings can have quite a few multiples more. Here, as I mentioned, the bride and groom will show at least two or three formal outfits and there are kind of the equivalent of maids of honor, in matching dresses. The weddings I have been to will often have a big screens, showing a slideshow of the formal photos taken weeks earlier, or sometimes photos of the bride and grooms as children. When I say big, I mean it. I was at a wedding last week where the screen must have been 25 feet high; bigger than a good movie theater, though maybe not as wide as an IMAX. This was just one dining room of many in a building that was 12 stories high and had a number of dining rooms per floor, all capable of hosting a few hundred guests or more. Hiring a pro wedding photographer to cover the reception is done here sometimes, but at most of the weddings I have been to there hasn't been pro coverage.

There was a book written about weddings and wedding photography in Taiwan called "Shooting the Bride". It is out of print and I haven't read it, but people I know who have read it give it high marks.

in brazil the camera market is a crap. the nex is still arriving in stores here...
no olympus, no panasonics m4/3 (only the compacts). canon and nikon are the only ones who have more serious attention to the camera market here. leica has just opened a store here, but the m9 costs here almost 50% more than what it costs in the us.
it is funny because i read all over their statements they look for growth and all the bs. but they really ignore a 200 million people country like brazil.

Darren Melrose,
Thank you very much, that is just awesome! Wow! I'm not even sure how to react to that.

Will

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