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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

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I remember that post from 2007 that you had to have, and were going to get, the A900. One of the principal reasons you gave at the time was that the camera had to have 24 megapixels to print a double-truck spread.

I disagreed, and if you remember, and sent you a 13x19" (larger than a double-truck spread) fine-art quality print taken with a 4 megapixel Canon 1D as proof. You wrote about this back then in your column entitled "Big Stick".

Your main point in that article is as salient now as it was then, which is why I find them to be words of wisdom: "Be sure you go whole hog and really commit, too". I.e., use it a lot, get to know it, master it. As you concluded in "Big Stick": "It's not how big a stick you have, it's how hard you swing it that matters."

Cheers.

[I can't find that post, and neither can Google, but I remember it. I remember the print you sent me, too. --Mike]

The best camera is the one you want to use. I'm sure there are better cameras than the Fuji X100 but it's the best one for me because I take it everywhere. I even take it to the grocery store. It could be Full Frame or a M 4/3. As long as the person who owns it wants to use it then it's a good camera. I always marvel at the people online who insist that if X camera doesn't have Y feature or Z lens then it's not good. They never seem to want to learn how to be good with the camera they actually have. Some feature or wider aperture is always going to make their photography better. In the end, I bet most of these folks don't really do much photography. Rarely a day passes when I don't take multiple photos with my X100. In fact, I am about to take a stroll and lunch and do some photography miraculously without IBIS, Weather Sealing, and only one lens with a maximum aperture of F2. :-)

Having ridden the technology curve from very large format film, through Canon full frame, and into the present, I find myself with far too many Sony APS-C mirrorless toys, er, sorry, I mean tools. When I looked at the image quality of the A6000 I was blown away. The old DSLR stuff was sold and I've never looked back.

For whatever reason the Sony NEX/A-series have freed me from thinking about the tools. I'm now thinking a lot about what it is I want to say, what it is I want to share, and how to create and express these ideas and (sometimes strange?) visions.

My tools of imaging are melting into the background of my daily existence to the point they are nearly unnoticed.

Why my GR is now my everyday, go to camera. I've sacrificed tactile user experience for stealth and portability- and haven't had to sacrifice IQ in the process. A most equitable trade.

I agree. Wholeheartedly. I'd love to use film again, but of the countless reasons I can't, this is the most important: I'll never be able to afford to log enough hours using any film camera to turn it in to my "good" camera.

A while back I got a second camera, with a different format, and different lenses. And I did spend some time setting it up just so. But I've never spent enough time with it, and it's fiddly (i.e. manual focus) enough that I'm never going to reach for it every day. It's practically a single use device. When I got it I realized that if I use it, I'm splitting time with my main camera. If I only use it 25% of the time, then will the remaining 75% be enough to be sharp with the main camera? And if so, does that mean it will take me three times as long to get really sharp with the second?

If it takes me a year to get really fluent with my main camera, then that might be three with my second. If there are no skill penalties for switching. So, it sits in a drawer, waiting for an occasion that calls for it.

Some of my reired cameras have come out of the closet for such things: I have an old camera sitting on a tripod, pointed at a bird feeder, just so I can do a kind of 'census' across the seasons. There's no real skill there, just a focus check, and maybe a little exposure compensation. What I'm trying to say is that single purpose cases don't really subtract from my skill building. In fact, they sometimes open up new ways of thinking about pictures, and these specialized projects bring me joy. I think that might be the better way to handle "more cameras".

I agree with the idea that the smart thing would be to use the smaller, cheaper formats. The quality is certainly there. I look for that sort of thing partly because I don't want to buy something I can't easily replace if I drop it, or lose it. I happen to like Micro 4/3 just because I can put the cameras in my jacket, and I don't mind wearing them all day. But a Ricoh GR plus a second camera with some kind of short tele would be fine too.

Impulse purchase. Did a similar thing, gifting myself a Lumix GF1 with the finder for my 60th birthday some 7 years ago. Regretting it still. Was using my Nikon D300 and it felt awfully heavy and I wanted to take a smaller, lighter camera to Paris for my real birthday present, so the Lumix went with me and I almost never used it again. Back to Nikons and now Sonys (A6000, A6300 and now A6500). My Lumix is now boxed and ready for sale on eBay. And I love(d) my Nikons and now Sony. And get great results from lots of shooting. Those Paris pictures lacked something...

Mike, I don't really recall, but why didn't you end up using the A900 very much? I remember something about not having the right lens, I think...

Depth of field, you forgot the depth of field - the a900 (a lovely camera by the way, one of my all time favourites) is still, and always will be, two stops ahead of any MFT camera :)

It's amazing to me that the first round of full-frame 35mm sensors are now around ten years old. I remember waiting on getting the D700 back in the day because the body seemed too big. Then I got it, and loved it, but it still seemed too big, which ultimately drove me to the 4/3rds stuff, which was smaller but not quite as good. Now the newest 4/3rds seems to be close enough to just as good as that old body that it does not really matter. I should sell my Nikons, but probably never will.

I know he feeling all too well! It's painful to look at my D810 and assorted lenses and to think about the money spent when some of my favorite pictures came out of my fuji xe-1 (one of them quite successfully printed very large after a trip through 1on1's "fractal" resizer). Seriously thinking of selling while they are worth something and getting the xt2, but given how good phone cameras are and will surely become, I am not sure I should even do that... tough call

"It's not as much fun, I grant you,"

Ohhh, but it "IS" more fun, really. The last several years since the E-M5 came out and I switched to µ4/3 have been the most fun in my photographic life - and the most productive of work I really like.

Fun is in the one having it, not the suppositions of others.*

WHEeeeeee . . . . .


"but the smart money might be to go against what's currently hot and settle on Micro 4/3"

By "hot", I assume you mean head space and on-line blather space, as opposed to actual purchase and use, as neither camera has yet shipped to anyone but reviewers.

Dollars to donuts only a tiny percentage of those talking them up will actually pony up all that dosh to buy one.

Appearance and Reality are connected, but it's a mysterious connection.
________________________
* Neither of the cameras mentioned sound in the least like fun to me. To someone with my photographic interests, they are closer to doorstops than useful tools.

If I had money to burn (and I don't) I doubt I would get the Hasselblad - lovely though it is - as I know my photographic skills are not good enough to make the most of it, and the last time I printed beyond A4 was about ten years ago. There'd simply be no point in having one other than as a beautiful piece of design. Sigh.

There's a couple other (related) aspects to consider in the subjective "good" camera equation: the appropriateness to your purposes/subject, and the way the camera alters your behavior. On the first point, obviously you want a camera that is suitable to your photography (something discreet? or fast? or high resolution? or weatherproof? etc.). On the second point, I've noticed that using different types of cameras cause me to behave differently, gravitate to different subjects, and different styles. I often try to pick a camera that I know will nudge me into the type of behavior/mindset that will be best for the task at hand.

I was looking at whether the engineering has advanced enough that I could drop my old Nikon system and put all my resources into the Olympus, with the new EM-1 II body, maybe.

And the answer is, no chance.

I haven't had the opportunity to test the AF of the latest Olympus on hard subjects, it might or might now be good enough there for my most challenging subjects.

But, looking at my own tests and at Dx0 scores, nothing with a smaller sensor yet matches the low-light performance of my Nikon D700. And the D700 is old, it was introduced in July of 2008 (and it's the same sensor as the D3, which is a bit older yet).

This is not just theoretical for me; I rarely shoot below ISO 3200 on the D700, and did several sessions with a lot of 6400 and some 12800 just in January. I could really use better low-light performance, which certainly exists.

(This leads rapidly to the argument for a Sony A7RII. A third system doesn't really look sensible as the outcome of a thought process that began with the financial difficulty of maintaining the two systems I already have, though.)

Mike, you don't have an unused $2300 camera sitting in the cabinet as a warning for future purchases... you are a "dual system" user!

I'm currently a "three system" user, with an EM1 (mostly cabinet), Pentax K1 (increasingly cabinet, almost paid off) and Ricoh GR (in my hands every day). I can get good photos from any of them. Surprisingly to me, I think it's mostly that I'm turning out to be a fixed lens aficionado (that and the GR really is a fine art pocket device, even if I'm not making art).

Mike, you are so right. Digital cameras really have to be considered perishable goods.
The instant one is released with a new current-tech sensor it's undoubtedly the best camera you've ever used, and with critical technique you may even see an improvement in the technical quality of your photographs. But time is relentless; within a few short years some newer, sexier, more alluring camera will tug at your heartstrings, making your current partner seem....inadequate.
So use a new camera like your life depends on it. Learn all its quirks and foibles, how to squeeze out every bit of image quality from it, or (more important) how to see the way it sees, so your photographic vision expands. Shoot a lot and accumulate a substantial body of work, so you extract from the camera as much of its evaporating value as you can, before it's past its 'sell by' date, and you're tempted by the next siren. If you try hard enough, you may attain a bit of synergy between yourself and the camera, so your photographic results exceed the ordinary. With any luck, you'll get such good results you can skip a generation or two on the upgrade treadmill without regret.

The corollary to this is that the camera bits don't matter: it's only the you bits.

This has not always been quite true -- it clearly was not true in the early digital era -- but it's been true since about 2012 (?) or so (and before that for fulk-frame). It still might not be true for a vanishingly small number of people, although I am not sure who they are.

Mike sez: "But small sensors are getting very good, and will surely get even better."

tldr; Sensor improvements in the next decade won't be big and for good reason as there is rather little room left to make them "much better". We've had a huge improvement over the last decade but those improvements are slowing. For most users the today's sensors are more than good enough.

To reduce mid-tone noise (in a clear blue sky, say) you need to improve quantum efficiency. Currently quantum efficiency (QE) is around 50%. At most you can improve this by a stop (to 100%) and that will reduce mid-tone noise by about 3dB (which you might see in AB comparisons). But I can't see any way of doing that given we now have gapless microlenses and BSI today.

To reduce shadow noise you need better QE (see above) and lower read noise. But we already have read noise around 2e in current sensors. There are a couple of tweaks to improve this (PMOS source follower in the pixel and even more correlated multiple sampling) but it won't improve by very much perhaps approaching 1e (perhaps lower). Again, 3dB (or so) noise improvement at most for general sensors not a large change.

To improve dynamic range you need to increase the full well capacity (FWC) of the pixel and that's usually limited by the size of the floating diffusion capacity in the pixel. There are all sorts of compromises here as both FWC and kTC noise (the main source of pixel noise today which is reduced by correlated double/multiple sampling) increase as floating diffusion capacity increases meaning it's difficult to get more DR in current sized pixels. Small tweaks (and more correlated multiple sampling) helps.

Most of the recent efforts has been in keeping these parameters (QE, FWC and read noise) constant whilst moving to a smaller pixel (which is remarkable improvement in itself) even when BSI is not used. You can even see this limitation in Four Thirds sensors with people noticing the lack of "improvements".

There will be small incremental improvements as we tend to the limit of performance but for most people a sensor in 2 years won't be a big upgrade. What we have now will be good enough for most people.

Stacked sensors (multiple chips stacked upon each other each optimized for different use) show promise for adding new features (e.g. very high frame rates for bursts or video) and may help with improving read noise especially for global shutter sensors.

If you want a global shutter (GS) sensor then that will reduce DR with both a smaller FWC and increased read noise. Sony's made great strides with small GS sensors (for security cameras and the like) but read noise is around 5e and FWC is 7500e. So you loose about 3ish stops of DR and that's why you don't see GS in photographic cameras.

In the distance future three (or more!) layer organic sensors with each layer tuned to high QE for a given color of light (perhaps approaching 100% QE in each layer) will give useful improvement (and may give global shutter with low noise too given Panasonic's recent work) but these devices are still in the research labs.

I don't think the sensor makers will stop improving their products but I think most of the low hanging fruit has been picked. Future changes will be incremental. Photographic film got to the same state towards the end of it's development. Think of our sensors more like film of the 1990s and you get the picture.

I see by the featured comments already posted that I'm not the only one who is going to chime in and say something along the lines of "yeah, I've got an E-M1 and....". In my case, it's just so comfortable and handy, I turn to it often. I suspect it's soon going to become my "all-time favourite" and surpass the E-1 (cf. the all-time favourites post) that I had used for seven years.

As a related point, I have an old 5D that I got only recently. I thought I would use it with old manual lenses as my "slow camera" for landscapes but we are not bonding well. We've had a few successes but nothing that I feel I couldn't have done with the E-M1 anyway. While I never paid a full new price for the Canon (so I don't feel that remorse), I'm still wondering even whether to invest in a fresh battery!

"Micro 4/3 has now caught up
Having used both quite recently, it's my judgement and opinion that the newest 20-MP chip in the latest top-o'-the-line Micro 4/3 cameras more or less equals the image quality of the Sony A900's full-frame, 24-MP sensor that was SOTA back in '07."

Not to nit pick but isn't that sort of the same thing as "Micro 4/3 is 10 years behind in quality" ? I know what you mean, but i'm not so sure about what that bold headline means.

I have a nasty cold, and dealing with edema and having to double-up on my "pee" pill, with all that running to the bathroom, but this last post got me all pumped up! Proving once again, the fight back is not just taking medicine!
Thanks for that Mike

And some lenses from yesteryear work better than ever on the EM1 mk2.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2007/08/the-olympus-90-.html

"You won't want that thing sitting there staring at you from the shelf ten years from now!"

I would sell it on ebay. I see a few bodies have sold for between $500 to $1,000. Turn it into cash before the trough of no value gets here.

You are absolutely right that the current micro 4/3 and APS-size cameras are amazing. But, as you noted, the techno-dweebs (e.g., see Dpreview) are obsessed with "full frame" or medium format. They claim they need those extra megapixels. However, getting full use of lenses and bodies that can do justice to all that data means methodical technique. And that is the very set that hates tripods and insists of stabilization, zoom lenses, etc., etc. Sigh....

A strange post: you start out with:

"Half of what makes a camera good is the camera. The other half of what makes a camera good is you."

And thought, this is a great topic! And then it becomes a comparison between the latest m4/3 sensor and a FF sensor from 10 years ago.

Well, sensor technology has improved a lot since then!

I use both a m4/3 GX8 and FF Sony A7Rii and there are certainly differences in resolution, among other things, that favor the Sony for many situations. I also have a 1" sensor camera -- each has its uses!

regards,

- Richard

Not to be contrarian (oh but I am) but how about PRINTS? I have no clue about digital prints between the two cameras mentioned (and dismissing the lens factor, which is significant,) but lately I've become quite bored with viewing "captures" online, even though I enjoy looking at them. Does that make sense? It does to me.

This came to mind when I received my Anchor Editions print of one of Dorothea Lange's Manzanar photos. It is magnificent as a print from a 60+ year old negative.

So yes, the camera that you bind with is the best camera ever made. And there may be more than one "best". Just make sure you print and share.

Now to take my own advice.

I hate my camera (Sony A7R). I like the size, the flexibility of the mount, and the RAW files - but I hate everything else. It annoys me every time I use it. Clunky, ugly, unintuitive thing. And, you know what? I've never taken better pictures... I'm, like, a photography sadist or something... So, perhaps, photographers might consider hating their cameras...

Back in 2012 I finally chose to go digital and bought a closeout Olympus E-PL1. Even then it was "Good Enough" and had the additional benefit of being adaptable to all my old glass, even my Canon FD lenses. I don't regret the choice and will stay with it, albeit a generation or two back down the curve.

I look forward to being able to afford a Pen F as I think I'd stay with that for quite a long time.

Time is on the side of smaller sensors. Physics is on the side of larger ones.

However, time is passing, whereas physics pretty much stands still (our understanding advances, but that's different). So it's smarter to bet on the side that's moving in a clear direction, yes.

Hi Mike, todays post gives me a perfect opportunity to talk about the Camera Porn event earlier this week. It was great fun. I read every comment. I went through the thought process todays post talks about exactly in making my choice to post. If my favorite camera choice had considered the Me more I would have had to post a picture of my Nikon FE, which I used for 12 years and totally loved. For one it would have been hard to get a picture up in a timely manner, (I was totally thrilled I was first, but why was I on TOP at 11 pm sunday?) and over the years I have really loved and enjoyed playing with a series of Graflex, Fuji and Omega bellows cameras. But they never have had the depth of enjoyment the FE provided. I had just recently photographed the Graflex Century Pro. It is, to my dismay, for sale on ebay. I am old and poor, time to sell. My favorites in the camera porn survey were the two Nikon digitals, the D750 hanging on a strap on the wall and the D3000 wrapped in a gauzy cloth. Much more creative than my pedestrian product photo. Thanks or the exercise, it was great fun.
You have such articulate followers on you blog, I am always hesitant to write. I even wrote copy professionally for several years. I guess if it is short and phony I would do okay.
I currently am using an Olympus OMD E-M1 (not that poor obviously-ah credit) liking it, but not loving it yet. I bought it for Christmas for myself and the weather has been COLD so not enough time yet.

In the film days, most amateurs did not shoot medium format. Now, Micro 4/3 matches or exceeds MF. Lately, people who never needed MF quality with film feel compelled to use camera with full frame sensors. Why? Are they all making huge prints on a regular basis? I'll take my E-M1 and its small lenses any day.

Half and half? I would say max 40% for the camera, 60% user.

I have DSLR:s, heavy, easy, fitting to my needs. Except shaking hands. I bought m43-mirrorless with ibis. Should be better for my needs 90% of the time. And is, but: I am not compatible with the settings. My brain works "logically", suits for the DSLR buttons and menus. For the m43, I do not understand the settings. For the first time I had to read the manual before taking pictures. I still need to read the manual.

I like the small mirrorless, but miss more pictures with it even in good conditions than with the triple size DSLR. I love the pictures "straight out of the camera", IF they succeed. Very good camera, but makes much less than 50% of the pictures.

I can "see" the picture before taking it, but I cannot make real those intentions.

Are you aware that the A900 still sells for upwards of $500 on Ebay? (especially a 'low-mileage' one)

That 'monument' could be turned into a nice lens.

Hi Mike
"Time is on the side of smaller sensors, not larger ones." As smaller sensors become better so do larger ones. It is the same wafer they are broken from. As the saying goes - Prognoses are very difficult, especially those concerning the future, we do not know where the point of so called sufficiency ( a term definitely best used for now), we do not know where this point is going to be in the future. For me at least it was a very moving target - see my closet with digital bodies.

Way back when the Canon G9 I believe it was came out I had to have it. I had whatever newest version of their 1 Series was at the time also and have the 1DxII now (sitting in a drawer, not on a shelf but that's a distinction without a difference). One day I went to the local botanical gardens and shot some identical pics of flowers with both cameras. One costing 8K at the time. The other 10x less. On computer screen there was no discernible difference. I was both elated and massively disappointed.

I agree with you that sufficiency is reached for most of us, and certainly for me, at about 20-24 MPx. I print only on office laser printers (the newest ones from HP are fantastic, actually, but 8x10 copier paper is not so great) and prefer to see pictures on my home screen, which is 23" and roughly 2000x1280 pixels. Maybe someday I'll get a 5K iMac. So rendering a 24 MPx file at 50% linear reduction works just fine, yielding 3000x2000 images. The quality of the pixel which is presented does matter for color accuracy and luminance depth, so I'll use full frame when possible.

Who cares what marks DxO gives to a sensor? Or to anything else for that matter. They take an arbitrary selection of measurements, some of them secret, and combine them with unconsidered weightings to arrive at a single number.

It may not be a meaningless number but, all the same, no-one knows what it means.

Both their sensor and combined sensor/lens ratings follow the definition of a "faux statistic" to the T.

I find myself with a true conundrum. I have worked and used my Nikon D610 a great deal. It gives fantastic results.

However, I find, as I use my Olympus E-M1 Mk 1 more and more, the output is quite sufficient and the D610 remains on the shelf.

The D610 gives better output and 'works' better in my hands but a given lense set is (much) heavier, there are focus issues and I am plagued with dust / oil spots on the sensor.

The E-M1 gives 'good' output but with a lense set that allows me to take focal lengths with me when I travel that I would otherwise leave behind. No focus issues. No dust issues.

I am using the E-M1 more and more. I have 'bonded' with the D610 and don't want to part with it. Does D610 = A900 ??. HELP !.

"Remember that the camera itself is only half of what makes a camera good. "

Not even that much.

Tanaka's First Law of Photography: Whatever you use there you are.

That is, you will make (or try to make) the same photograph regardless of the camera in your hands. Cameras are merely writing instruments for the mind's eye.

[I can't find that post, and neither can Google, but I remember it. I remember the print you sent me, too. --Mike]

The post is here, and your response is here.

[Thanks Bernard. Interesting that Grega's "featured comment" at the main post was about, yup, sufficiency! --Mike]

Saint Ansel said there were a lot of sharp photos of fuzzy ideas. I think that even the cheapest Canon Rebel today would have been a dream 10 years ago.
I've seen great work done with an iPhone. too.

Let's talk more about what's in front of the camera than the camera. Spend the GAS money on travel or books and make "better" photos that way.

I loved my A900 for its viewfinder and sensor and made many 13"x19" prints Recently I switched to the Sony A7r2 because of weight and size. The sensor much better as evidenced by my prints. There is no doubt that for any given time in photographic technology and identical quality lens, the larger the sensor and pixels the better the image quality. The debate between sufficers and measurebators goes on endlessly. It still comes down to different horses for different courses.

The Sony A900 was the first digital camera that I really bonded with. To this day, I've taken more photographs with that camera than any other camera before or since although I haven't really used it in years. It was the first digital camera that I used that I felt could replace my main film camera at the time (a Bronica GS1). I tried really hard to like Micro 4/3, but I just couldn't seem to bond with the cameras (though the lenses are really nice) and I often found when working with the raw files in Lightroom and Photoshop that I kept thinking or wondering how much better it would have looked if I had used the A900 (or A99).

Wait! What?

Back when you were coveting the Sony A900 (or perhaps after you had just purchased one), I corresponded with you as a result of some of your columns related to what one “wanted” in a camera. I said that what I wanted was a Minolta SRT with a digital sensor. You recommended (yes, recommended) the a900. I purchased the a850 and saved a couple of hundred bucks, and don’t remember what the two features were that I gave up. (live view, perhaps?)

Anyway, the Sony is still my only dSLR, and serves me well. I have since gone to M4/3 and don’t see ever buying or using another dSLR once the Sony finally dies. In the meantime, your recommendation was only part of my reason, since I already had a Minolta auto-focus body, and so had a stable of lenses for the Sony. I have since bought a Maxxum 7 body, and find it to be my favorite SLR (film or digital) ever! And, I find that the a850 is not nearly as analogous to an SRT, as much as it is the perfect brother to the Maxxum 7.

I’m not upset or anything, just bemused …

Horses for courses.

Cheers.

[My sagacious little brother says I tend to give very good advice to others but make boneheaded choices for myself. Hard to argue with him, he's a Ph.D. psychologist and also very wise. --Mike]

Throughout the history of photography, the momentum has always been towards smaller formats. Technology moves on, the quality of the smaller format becomes 'good enough' and is more widely adopted. So view cameras gave way to 120 which gave way to 35mm. Digital has been the anomaly where in the initial history of the medium, format size grew instead of shrank. I suspect though that we are at the point where the historical trend resumes, and larger sensors increasingly become expensive niche products.

Yes! As a loyal OMD (original) user, I have really found my feet with these little cameras after 3 solid years of use. I now dread their demise and the process of learning all over again. It's the little things you get to know, like the likely focus grab/fail situaions or the meters accuracy. I have even begun to feel the (very) little differences between the 3 I have.

Hi Mike,
Can I ask, if sensors were perfect, what do you think would be the optimal size? My newbie understanding is that shrinking the sensor puts an increasing demand on the quality of the lens. Presumably at some point, manufacturing tolerances and physics (e.g. diffraction) become the overwhelming limit.
Thanks!
Mart.

Having carried two Micro Four Thirds cameras with me for some years now (one of them infrared), I have to agree that the cameras are great and so are the results. But I've also been carrying a full frame for a few years as well (I am crazy and carry a lot of gear).

Sometimes the Micro Four Thirds brings home the prize because depth of field is important, because the Olympus IBIS is second to none, or usability features like the blinkies for shadows/highlights make all the difference. The incredible weatherproofing of my olympus with its pro lenses also means I will use it without worry in weather that causes heartburn at just the thought of taking the Sony out of the bag. I have dropped the Oly with a pro lens in a few inches of water at the edge of a pond, and it was fine.

But the main thing for me with the full frame sensor, besides an advantage in ultimate quality (the sensor on the a7rii is amazing!) is the palette of character available to me with the full frame sensor and good lenses. As I mentioned, the Olympus will take the prize for depth of field, and I have one lens for it olympus that provides a superb range of depth of field character . Mostly in that format I will open the lens all the way to get shallow depth of field, or stop down to get full, but the range in between isn't that great to say the least, either in quality or subtlety of gradation.

With the Sony, and especially since I constantly experiment with vintage lenses, I explore a very broad palette with almost every frame I compose, exposing through several apertures for any composition. It ends up being a lot more work, both with the camera and interpreting later in Lightroom. But fun, and I'm really pleased with the results. Most of the vintage primes I'm offering offer a range of good out-of-focus character from wide open through f8 or 11. To me the subtlety and beauty of the bokeh on a good modern sensor is better than it was on the film for which my old lenses were designed.

The Sony files require far less work post processing than the Olympus files, which requires delicate finesse all the way through, if I am going to make a big print.

My partner's father, who used to be a professional photographer rather a long tiime ago, used to say it takes a year to get to know a camera. The task has surely become much more complicated these days, which suggests that few of us give our cameras the time they need?

My feelings for a particular camera can change, quite radically, over time. When I first picked up a Panasonic GX7 in a shop I disliked the grip so much that I put it straight down again. Now that I've been using one for almost a year I find it the most comfortable camera I've ever owned! At first I disliked the touch screen set up. Now I wouldn't want to be without it. Until I found JPEG settings that suited me I wasn't at all happy. Now I mostly am, and the camera -which has plummeted in value since it was launched, is now worth its weight in gold to me. Who'd be a camera designer, eh!

Mike,
I actually think your other obsession, cars is driving sensor development more than photography. There are millions of cars on the road now, with back up and side cameras. People want them to see in the dark, the fog and in direct sun. This has really pushed the small sensor.


“The Point of Sufficiency” for me was already reached in 2004, when I was designing a prestigious annual report. The photographer we assigned had to shoot some close up still life images for reproduction in A4. He brought a Canon PowerShot G6 that had only 7mp. That raised some eyebrows, but in the final printed matter the pictures looked great, even to current standards.

For some girls and guys I know, who are making their living by selling large gallery prints, resolution can’t be high enough. Many astro-photographers may not be satisfied before the number of megapixels equals the amount of stars in the universe. And marketeers love megapixels too, because quantity is easy to sell. Most of us however never need it. Just as we never need an SUV to speed with 100mph through a Patagonian landscape.

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