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Thursday, 23 April 2009


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World class! Sounds like all americans are like teenagers :)

I loved it Mike. I think I'll go buy some Tri-X and develop some film for the first time in, oh, maybe 30 years. Love your column.

I enjoyed very much your essay. Photography reminds me of my other hobby: flyfishing. There are many sub-hobbies associated with the general hobby. Collecting equipment is one of them, whether it be flytying tools or flyrods. Last year I bought a $1000 flytying vise. No way does it help me tie flies better, and even if it did, the fish wouldn't care. But what a beautiful tool! So, for me collecting tools is a separate hobby! I even know one gentleman whose hobby is flytying and yet he no longer even fishes. My guess is there are folks on the photo forums who collect equipment and barely use them! One reason these folks easily find niggles (as our British friends call it) is that all equipment is SO GOOD these days, that niggles are all that are left to talk about *grin*

Bravo! How soon we forget.

I'm sure in three years, I'll be saying, "Sure, my camera's good, but I gotta have the the tools of the trade, man. The D700 doesn't even have AutoCompose or BokehCreator, for cryin' out loud!"

Ha! I remember the debate when Minolta introduced the Maxxum, how AF was only for tyros, no serious photographer would use AF, etc. And DX coding? AE and electronically controlled shutters?

Now I read posts complaining about noise at 1600 when looking at 100% views, and debates about differences in AF speed of .01 second indicating that the slow model isn't good for sports. It's a 1/100 of a second difference in a lab test. Sports photographers used to use manual focus, manual exposure, and manual advance 35mm gear to shoot sports. (Sports isn't my thing, but I can't help but read the posts, they're amusing.)

Frankly, I was delighted when I bought a Nikon D200 for under $1000 US when it was discontinued.
I'm still delighted with it.
Not that I wouldn't have been as pleased with something else(I've used others), I just owned some F-mount lenses that I liked and could use with it.

That's right, a D200. I use a model that's at least two years old and I'm not worried about it's outdated technology.

The cap test post reminded me of my now past affliction of being an audiophile. Over the years I had built up a quite nice system from phono stage through to the speakers. Each piece carefully researched and auditioned and I must say my modest little patchwork ~$4000 system (everything bought second hand) sounded within srtiking distance of systems costing tens of thousands (when compared for output capability). Then when I had to move I decided to free up space and money and realized I could live quite easily with basic gear. I realized the music is in my head, not the 'soundstage' presented.

This realization can apply to any obsessive collecting hobby, I'm sure. Let go of the 'stuff' and enjoy what you are trying to enjoy.


I was walking my dog this morning thinking about yesterday's #3 'cop-out' and remembering various fantastic photographs taken in the first 100 (say) years of photography... when ASA 25 would have been FAST, etc.

Very funny clip. I think about this stuff all the time. I'm (only?) 41, but i hate everyone under 35. They just have no perspective and no appreciation of anything. Completely unaware of anything that came before them.... Well, i'm speaking of Americans. So spoiled. Which is why it's such a relief to travel. South America, Central America, where ever.

Please excuse my ignorance, but who is the comic with Connan? His comments are on target. I would love to bookmark this and show it to my students.


He calls himself Louis C.K. (a close approximation of the proper pronunciation of his last name, Szekely). He's actually a comedy writer. Possibly you haven't heard of him as a standup comedian because most of his material is really, really dirty. I would use a little caution in recommending him to students!


>>>>Today, everything is amazing, and nobody's happy.

Because my photos STILL suck. When's the next digicam coming out???!!

I was looking at an upcoming local auction for antique radio and audio equipment and I said to my wife, "Isn't it crazy that less than 100 years ago radios were brand new and people were gathering around them in the evenings for entertainment and now you and I are surfing the internet while watching TV?" My wife replied, "It will be weirder when our daughter is older and says, 'You mean you used to watch TV on something other than a computer?'"

Think about the improvements in technology from 1600-1900 and then from 1900-2009. It boggles the mind. So if you're waiting for the next improvements in cameras before diving in, you may be waiting the rest of your life. There will always be more and more improvements around the bend. Just get a camera and shoot and enjoy it. Try reading some Jon Kabat-Zinn to get into the "just being" part of photography and life.

Thank you for the follow up, and yes, I think it wise to consider the nature of the intended audience before showing them Louis C.K. To crudely paraphrase E.B. White, he does like to use "pithy Anglo-Saxon" terms. At least I deal with third year college students, so it should not be too bad.


Ha Ha!

Watch this: http://www.coudal.com/regrets.php

Several of my mailing lists and photo communities do routinely host people commenting on how remarkably good our current photo technology is. Nobody ever disagrees with them, so that seems to be the consensus opinion.

On the other hand, in two of them a lot of people are somewhat unhappy because their livelihood is evaporating out from under them, largely through handing a digital camera to a secretary and saying "Here, shoot pictures for the newsletter" or whatever. The tremendous technology is gutting the mid-range photographers' bread-and-butter jobs.

A great find! Thanks Mike. One thing i miss is the mechanical precision of a well built camera. Digital is just not the same.

Well the video clip didn't make me laugh; it made me irritable because everything this fellow was saying is something I routinely think or sometimes voice. Not a day passes when I'm not very amazed at how far technology has come in my lifetime. The comfort, convenience, and capabilities it delivers were science fiction just 30-40 years ago. I spent much of my working career delivering technological "miracles" yet I continued to be amazed.

Nevertheless, from a realistic perspective it's probably not fair to shake our heads at who've become jaded and entitled by technology's bounty. That's particularly true of the under-forty set; they've never known a world without such technical plenty.

Back to photography, picture-taking has been a fertile whine country almost since its creation. A relentless search for fidelity, truth, expressionism, and convenience. Cameras will never, can never, meet the high populist expectations. Pictures will never be good enough and the camera will always get the spanking. But isn't that exactly the way that camera companies want it?

I love the photos taken in the 50s. You know those little black and white square ones with the crinkly edges? As the years go on they look like art to me and they were taken with a brownie box camera with a blue dot flash. Maybe photographs are like wine. They are better with age.

...and I have tickets to see Santana during the promo tour of their second album so I buy some Kodak 2475 Recording Film because this stuff is like ASA 1200, man! And so we're grooving to the music and those long guitar solos and the incense smoke rising from the stage and I'm like shooting a ton of pictures with the Mamiya/Sekor camera and the preset Vivitar lens just knowing that I've got Santana's next album cover. And the pictures are like total crap, man! And I'm like really pissed because this stuff is ASA 1200 and you should be able to shoot pictures ANYWHERE! So it like spoiled the whole concert for me and I complain about it still because, things have always been amazing and no one was ever happy, man.

I like folks who are impatient; who won't queue up; who get irritated when there's a five minute delay; who complain when the microwave takes 120 seconds to boil a cup of water.

Those are the folks who make progress for the rest of us. Not all of 'em of course, the vast majority of 'em are just rude rubes. But the smart ones figure out a way to make the microwave boil the water in half the time. And then some other smart, impatient sonofagun takes that solution and applies it to some totally unrelated field...

I'm not worried that we'll all become impatient rubes; I'm worried that too many of us will become complacent rubes.

I've used 25 ASA, and was impressed with 64 ASA, and took a looooong time before I actually trusted 400 ASA film to get the capture. It was the impatient folks who said "Blah! We can triple that"...and did.

The guy who complains about the aircraft seat not reclining may resolve the issue of better seats weighing more, thus costing more fuel, thus raising ticket prices, by developing a better form of energy - to allow planes to have comfortable seats.

God bless the impatient people, for they shall not wait to inherit the earth.

Chris C wrote: "That's right, a D200. I use a model that's at least two years old and I'm not worried about it's outdated technology."

I was going to write something about recently buying a Canon 5D (a 2005 release) when it occurred to me that the M3 I regularly shoot with was introduced in 1954 and my camera was built in 1958 (beating me by 3 years). I'm not worried by its outdated technology either. Hell, I'm outdated technology myself.

...Mike F

Everything sucks because the sales/marketing people promised/implied so much more!

Am I the only person who sees a parallel between the use of vacuum tubes in the "grounded grid preamplifier" and photographers who say "One thing I miss is the mechanical precision of a well-built camera. Digital is just not the same."

No, digital is better, just as solid state is better than vacuum tubes.

People who reject today's technological miracles bother me more than those who take them for granted. At least people who take them for granted are using them.

Oh, sorry, almost forgot. Mike, did you write the T.O.P. ten camera articles while you were waiting for a flight at Franz Kafka International Airport?

Sylvania Blue Dot flashes were introduced in the mid 1960s.

May I suggest a sure cure for technology frustrations?? Just go to the top left hand side of this website, click on Joyful Nudes.... I dare you not to smile

Did you know that the comedian in the clip is an avid Leica shooter? This is a link to a blog post with some photos and good writing about a little trip he took.


Mike. You are a supergeek! Glad that you´re around!

best regards,


He's wiring a series of different caps into a hand-built preamplifier to see how they sound. I swear I laughed out loud (really, "LOL") when I got to those two "Gigantic Russian alu/teflon foil caps" strapped to sticks and suspended from the edges of the chassis.

I build valve (tube) based equipment for music recording. I thought this was hilarious too.

Am I the only person who sees a parallel between the use of vacuum tubes in the "grounded grid preamplifier" and photographers who say "One thing I miss is the mechanical precision of a well-built camera. Digital is just not the same."

No, digital is better, just as solid state is better than vacuum tubes.

I will have to disagree with you on both counts!

For that post, I'll cancel one of many entirely useless hard copy subscriptions (probably MacWorld, ...eeeiieewww), and pony up someplace where my inner geek feels appreciated.

.....and photographers who say "One thing I miss is the mechanical precision of a well-built camera. Digital is just not the same".

One more point on this comment. Why do people who say this have to 'miss' it. The old cameras are still very useable. I use them all the time.

I've been wearing my grumpy pants all week. Ranting about how screwed up the photojournalism community (not the business, we all know that's screwed up) is right now (on my blog).

It started with the Klavs photoshop creation that you broke here about a month ago. I actually tried to ignore it, but was finally PROVOKED last week into commenting about it.

I have to compliment you for first breaking the Klavs story. It really didn't hit the photojournalists here (in the U.S.) until the NPPA posted it last week (you'd think it would have drawn attention much sooner).

Anyway, the above clip pretty much sums up, in a much funnier way, a lot of what I've been trying to say lately.

I've been trying to ignore it all week and finally clicked it today. So funny and so true.

Thank you for that.

All the best,

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