• It worked, Canon: In recent years the "Digital Rebel" has gotten quite confusing by becoming a mini-marque of its own, like the Prius brand from Toyota. The lineup is confusing and difficult to differentiate for non-aficionados, not only because of variations within the tier but because of the succession of updates.
So the story is that Canon has created a "new tier" in between the entry level and mid-range cameras, the first new camera in the new tier being the 77D. The thing is, it's not actually very new...as Bryan Carnathan helpfully untangles it for everyone in an extensive review at The-Digital-Picture, it's essentially the successor to the Rebel T6s, "containing a superset of the features found in the Rebel T7i." Canon is "breaking this camera out of the Rebel lineup for better differentiation," Bryan says. Like a sheepdog cutting a single ewe out of the flock.
But you know what? It's working. The 77D has gotten a lot of attention around the Web.
And rightfully so...those who haven't paid any attention for a while will be pleased to discover what the lower-end Canons currently have to offer. A lot.
Photo by Marie Cosindas
• Marie Cosindas 1923–2017: When I was "coming of age in photography"—my serious interest ignited in 1980 when I was asked to do a family portrait for some relatives—the name Marie Cosindas was one that most people knew. When acceptance of color photography in the art world was in its infancy she became known for her sensitive, classical color work. She seemed to be included in every survey and overview and brought up in any discussion of color photographers in the '70s and into the '80s.
Marie died in Boston on May 25th at the age of 93.
The New York Times obituary ends with a wonderful quote, something she said to the Christian Science Monitor in 1979: "I want to evoke the mystery of color itself. I photograph late in the day, the time Rembrandt favored for painting, so that the subtlest hues surface. They are as complex as any person, perhaps more so. It’s that lyricism, that mystery of color itself—that’s my signature."
Bill Jay, Marie Cosindas with John Szarkowski
at George Eastman House, 1990
• Kenneth Tanaka's highrise muse: Our friend Ken Tanaka wrote a comment the other day in which he admitted that among his "muses" in photography is his view. Which should come as no surprise to those who remember his TOP Print Sale, which featured a view from his view. He lives in a high-rise in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
For those of you from other countries who might not have been there, Chicago is a magnificent city today. It was long known as the "Second City," because it was second in size to New York City (now third, having been overtaken by Los Angeles). It's a northern city on the banks of America's "inland sea," Lake Michigan. Because of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the city had to be rebuilt during a particularly dynamic time in the history of the U.S., and became known for innovative architecture and progressive city planning. I think it's fair to say that the city of Chicago is another of Ken's muses...I keep pestering him to publish a book of his work called "Ken Tanaka's Chicago" and market it locally in the city.
But I digress. On June third, Ken wrote, "My view is my frequent 'muse.' In my current process of moving and re-imagining my website I decided it's time to just come out of that closet and show some of that work. See the 'From Here' gallery. Lots more coming."
I personally think it's going to be interesting to see the great variety of different pictures that can be made from the top of one building. I'll bet the variety is going to be dynamic.
• 'She have a nice button': Do you Instagram? Some guy named Chris is in a fair amount of trouble with his girlfriend Ashley for "liking" a picture taken from, um, behind of a person known as "Emrata." Ashley wants to know why Chris would "like" it. Heterosexual males might make the best sleuths* in solving that mystery. Moral: maybe don't always "like" what you like.
• The progress of the Nikon's-in-trouble meme: Human beings evolved to evaluate information based on quantity—how many times they hear something—as much as the quality of the source. And the more alarming or sensational the information is the more we sit up and take note. If there were sabre-toothed tigers over there, you needed to know it. This property of our "lizard brains" has been exploited by advertisers and demagogues, distorting our assumptions and our politics. But the flip side of this, which the Internet is uniquely situated to exploit, is that sometimes an idea that has a particular appeal for some mysterious reason will take on a life of its own. The idea that aliens would arrive in space ships that looked like saucers, for instance, had an incredibly innocuous beginning, an almost offhand mention from a single source. But the idea caught on. Or the idea that you should drink eight glasses of water a day—not true, never true, and there isn't the slightest bit of evidence to back up the claim. It's a so-called "old wives' tale." But it caught on, and it's widely repeated.
But rumors, when they concern companies just as when they concern individuals, are not harmless. Everybody knows the camera industry has been contracting in recent years (the peak was 2012) after more than a decade of furious growth, and one idea that seems to have caught on is that Nikon is in trouble. Well, we don't know, do we? The most recent meme, ignited in recent days, is that the Japanese government has asked Fuji to step in to bail out Nikon. Why? A magazine apparently said so. I might just point out that the articles that started the "sh*tstorm"—their word—here in the English-speaking U.S. comes from a site with the word "rumors" in its very name, and it's one that partisan for, well, Fuji. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
It might be true. Or it might not. I think I'll wait till Thom Hogan weighs in. He keeps a close eye on Nikon. Thom's not always right, but he admits it when he isn't, and he's tended to fall on the side of caution about these sensationalistic stories in the past. When he says it's true, then I'll consider believing it.
[Note: See D. Hufford's remarks on this issue in the Comments section. He lives in Japan, reads Japanese, and has looked around for news reports there. Many thanks to him for going to the trouble. —Ed.]
• Canon full-frame mirrorless coming: Speaking of Thom, a rumor he does believe in enough to repeat is that bear-sleeping-in-the-woods** Canon, stung by Sony's (and Leica's) success with full-frame mirrorless, will dip a paw into that honeypot, thank you very much. He says "Canon is targeting a full frame EF mount mirrorless camera for 2018, probably for Photokina." So if you're a Canon DSLR user and have been thinking about a Sony A7 or A9 series camera, you might want to hold off.
....Although TOP will just gently point out that news of a coming FF Canon mirrorless would be the perfect rumor to create FUD*** in the minds of Canon DSLR users tempted to defect from Canon by Sony's new flagship A9.
Photo by Cecilia Wessels. Full picture here.
• A new definition of 'nonchalant': This picture (click to see the full frame) has been making the viral rounds recently. It was taken by the wife of Theunis Wessels as he cut the grass in their backyard...despite the obvious presence of a nearby tornado. According to the story in The Washington Post, the tornado was larger and thus more distant than it looks, but still, if you see a shark, you come in from swimming, right? At least most people would. The picture illustrates two old photographers' aphorisms: the value of being there, and the idea that you never know when you'll see new pictures in places you're very familiar with.
Even your own backyard.
• Issues with the Panasonic GX8: Just so you know, the Panasonic GX8 is on sale again: you get $200 off plus a free 12–60mm zoom lens. No, not the superduper new Leica-branded one; the slower one. Predictably, these free incentive lenses are also for sale, new or newish, for very cheap prices, on eBay: as low as $250, which is half off the new price. So, oddly, the lens is a better deal than the camera, because the glut of unwanted lenses makes it harder to buy the kit and sell off the lens. It's tough to recommend the otherwise appealing 14–42mm, for instance, when you can get the more capable 12–60mm for the same price.
Incidentally, my used GX8 went back to the seller. I could not make the Dual I.S. play nice with my zoom; I didn't track down the problem past that. I suspect it was just a 'sample' issue.
I might write soon on the subject of tracking down problems with equipment and techniques. It's something I've been doing since my earliest darkroom days, when a cheap triplet enlarging lens helpfully announced that it was badly decentered by leaving one corner of every enlargement flagrantly blurry. Later, as the Summer lab manager for the Corcoran's darkrooms, I was grateful, in retrospect, for the education it gave me in enlarger lenses and alignment. Thirty-five years later and I'm still tracking down problems. But I'll stop now, and save that topic for a later date.
• Rumors of its death exaggerated: And finally, speaking of Panasonic, we heard from them, and no, the GX85 is not being discontinued, despite the body-only option being listed as "discontinued" at B&H Photo. Panasonic tells us they just aren't "marketing" the body-only option at the moment, in favor of the high-value, great-bargain kits currently on offer.
(Thanks to John Camp, Gordon Lewis, Stephen Scharf, Hugh Crawford, and numerous tipsters and friends)
*I learned the word "sleuth," meaning detective, from the Hardy Boys Mysteries, which were antique even when I was a boy. Turns out it's short for sleuthhound, another word for bloodhound.
**The old joke is, "Where does a bear sleep in the woods?", the answer being, "Anywhere it wants to."
***Fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Original contents copyright 2017 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Bill Mitchell: "Thank you for the update on dear little Marie Cosindas, a true force of nature. Some interesting facts: 'Princess, with Doves' and 'Sailors, Key West' [two of her most famous pictures—there are more here —Ed.] were made in a house of ill-repute in that naughty town. When asked what she was doing there, Marie would just grin and change the subject.
"She once taught at Ansel Adams' Yosemite workshop, and was forever pissed at him because he never paid her.
"Because she worked in Polaroid, in order to reproduce her images they had to be copied and printed in another medium. She insisted on the best, which was Kodak's dye transfer process. But she was so demanding, that almost of the commercial dye printers refused to work with her!"
Mike adds: Here is Marie's most famous book, the one that was in every photo library in the '80s.
Stephen Scharf: "As a professional scientist and a hardcore data-driven kind of guy, I think to be fully accurate, it's important to point out there are rumor sites for virtually all the major brands, not just FujiRumors. It's also salient to point out that FujiRumors has, historically, had quite a high 'accuracy' rate, measured as 'percent of rumors turning out to be true.' FujiRumors founder/moderator Patrick deVino is fully transparrent about the 'rumors' posted and tracks and reports the site's rumor 'accuracy' quarterly or thereabouts. For the last coupla three years or so, Fujirumors accuracy has been ~90% or so. For example, for the entirety of 2016, 91% of rumors reported have turned out to be accurate. So, yes, while the site has the word 'rumors' in the name, statistically speaking, the 'confidence intervals' for FujiRumors has turned out to be purdy dang good. For those interested in the results for Q1, 2017, the link is here.
"I fully agree, though, that it would be useful to see when and if Thom Hogan weighs in."
D. Hufford: "Yes, we'll have to wait and see about the Nikon rumor. Since that would likely be rather big business news here in Japan, it should be easy to find. Oddly enough, a quick search of Google News (Japanese) gives me no results concerning this. In fact, searching for Nikon and Fujifilm together gave me no results dated later than April. Even a search in English finds nothing except foreign reports from camera/tech sites with no links to reliable sources. Guess that's why it's still called a rumor."