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Monday, 28 May 2012


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I like the last shot and wouldn't mind a print of that myself.

Back in 1969 my first SLR camers was a Minolta SRT101 which by the way I still have. A few years later I acquired a Hasselblad 500 which I regret selling.

Back in those days we never refered to lenses of other formats as 35mm equivalents. A normal lens refered to roughly equal to the diagonal of the film format and wide angles or teles being either shorter or longer from the film diagonal.

To me lenses can not be referenced from a 35 mm perspective but only from the film/sensor size. This would end the continous debate and confusion about lens speed, magnification and focal length equivalents.

Mike, you look like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Or maybe you're thinking "I liked M4/3 until he came along with that S2." A nice portrait.

The first one has a nice optical illusion quality to it. The contrast between the foreground on the left and the depth on the right.

And what is your freinds take on the D800? But the S2 is a mighty machine. I had the pleasure of being on the business end of such a machine (with a chap called Struth on the other end). Of course I fired back at him with my GF1 and guess what Struth came over to me and oogled my 9-18 equiped gem of a camera....(slightly intimidating indeed) and hey, als we all know it's a 650 Mp machine that little mouse that roars. So Mike two different photographers same kitt all round.

BTW, remember my reaction about The Avangers a few days back. Yesterday I saw Iron Man 2 on Dutch TV.....great movie, okay worthless plotlines and even worse dialog (Ms. Johanssen please get your marbles back and phone Woody). But never the less a great movie.....4 beautiful Elger Esser´s are part of it (great movie indeed).

Greetings, Ed

The S2 would be my point-n-shoot as well, had I owned one; no point in having such a camera then not using it *constantly*. Unlike wine, digital equipment does NOT age well.

Since you mentioned "that old adage" yourself, I can't help but chime in with my own example:
Two summers ago my brother and I really were standing right next to each other in the Dolomite mountains in northern Italy; he got his photo in this month's National Geographic Magazine, mine just hangs on my wall.

His: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kkmedia/5031012553/in/set-72157625047569666
Mine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skunstadt/4958302849/in/set-72157624903916937/

Of course, photography is what he does - for me it's just a diversion.

Nice ruins porn Jack (and Mike). It looks like you had quite a day of lens fun in that old brewery!

FWIW, The diptych looks quite interesting inverted both horizontally and vertically. The window rhythm image (2nd from last) also looks most interesting inverted vertically. Try it!


"Showing S2 files on the internet, of course, is a little like driving a Ferrari in a school zone."

A keenly apt analogy, Mike. Ditto Phase One and Hassy digital. Anything beyond Micro 4/3rds is largely wasted in 72dpi sRGB land. Moral of the story: There's little point to buying more than Micro 4/3rds if your target is principally the Internet or small prints. It's a statement on the simultaneous ascent of the small-sensor digital camera and the descent of mass presentation standards.

Of course I know well that Jack uses that S2 for much higher purposes. But the fact that he uses it for nearly everything shy of clearing drains has probably made him quite a master of the platform, a quality that's become scarce in this age of rapid camera model/product turn-over. I think that Jack's mastery shows here, and in his previous works presented on TOP, even in 72dpi sRGB-land.

To me lenses can not be referenced from a 35 mm perspective but only from the film/sensor size. This would end the continous debate and confusion about lens speed, magnification and focal length equivalents.

Wouldn't it be great if we'd specified lenses using angle of view right from the beginning? That way we'd have a mental model which would stay consistent across sensor sizes. It's a mystery to me why we didn't use angle of view - it's no more counterintuitive than f/stops, which accomplish exactly the same mathematical trick to get consistency of aperture specification across different focal lengths.

Ah, Mike,

Only 30 or 40 pix worthy of printing? Perhaps you need to examine your stance of "peoplesy" vs. "artsy". (Remember that post?) Cameras do both; why not you, too?



I knew the S2 was good but those are truly amazing shots. (Actually, I very much like your two images that are similar, Mike, but the S2 really does have something extra special about it!)

Ed, regarding your question of my take on the D800, it would be my choice if I were to shoot sports. I have shot with a friend's D800 and it is a wonderful tool. But I since I do not shoot action often, I still prefer the S2 for my work.
1. I prefer the simplicity of my camera's controls. I shoot with manual control. I like taking my time. The D800 has some amazing in camera controls, but I prefer all those options in post. Frankly, the buttons on the D800 overwhelmed me after being used to the S.

2. The viewfinder of the S2 in incredible. I suggest people choose cameras in which the view is most enjoyable, because then they will want to use that tool more often. If you ever get a chance to look through an S, try it, as it is huge, bright, and color neutral.

CMS, glad you like the portrait of Mike. Regarding Mike's pensive look, he was wondering why his Olympus hadn't arrived at his mail box that morning.

I wish, I wish, I wish ... Mike, as far as I know you have a Sony A900, a Pentax K5, a Panasonic GF1, an Olympus OM-D5 and for all I know other cameras too.

I wish you would do a side by side shoot of a subject such as the portrait above (use a mannequin) to show the differences between all these cameras. Same subject, same light, same angle, different sensors and formats. I'd like to see that.

Whatever happened to your K5, btw? I bought one at the same time you did but I can only recall you mentioning yours once and that was only about the quiet shutter sound. Did you fall out with it? Have you still got it? Why so reticent?

Mike, having had some correspondence with you over the years, I look on the portrait of you as a somewhat older gentleman. You're
not that old!

Mike, I've seen a few pictures of your good self over the years on TOP, but I've never seen you look as intelligent and handsome as in this one from the S2. That is a GREAT camera!

Let me begin by saying that the S2 is out of my tax bracket and almost certainly will be forever, unless Mitt Romney's kid runs over my dear old granny while being videoed by a trial lawyer, or something like that... Still...

S2 files often look special to me, even online at web resolutions. Of course I know they're S2 files, so scoff away if you like, but they just look better. 99% of those shots could also have been taken with an iPhone, and it would have been good enough. I don't need an S2. Scoff away. But S2 files look better.

"Whatever happened to your K5, btw? I bought one at the same time you did but I can only recall you mentioning yours once and that was only about the quiet shutter sound. Did you fall out with it? Have you still got it? Why so reticent?"

I haven't been reticent. I don't use the K-5 much because I never found a lens I like to use with it. The 35mm macro is superb (one of my faves) but a bit too long for me. Some time after I bought the K-5 I found the Panasonic 20mm lens which is just about perfectly suited to my tastes and the way I see. I haven't committed to any particular camera to use with that lens, but I like the lens well enough that I'll keep the lens and upgrade the cameras as I see fit. Probably will swap the GF1 for the Oly E-M5 soon, but for the 20.

I've explained that several times, when asked. That's all there is to it I'm afraid. No long story, no conspiracy.


Dear Kenneth,

I think you understate the matter, if anything. My several year-old Fuji S100, with a quarter-scale sensor, produced photographs indistinguishable from all larger formats, when the final form was going to be an online sRGB JPEG of 1000-1200 px width or smaller. More sensor real estate simply didn't seem to matter.


Dear Mark,

If you're suggesting that focal lengths should only be given in real numbers instead of 35mm equivalents, it doesn't really solve any problems, and creates a few new ones. Lens speed stays the same regardless of what units you use. f/2 is f/2 is f/2, no matter what some internet folk think.

Angle of coverage, which is the biggie as Bob points out, depends upon sensor dimensions, so why not roll that into the spec by using the mm-equivalent? Then, e.g., all 50mm-equiv lenses cover the same angle of view (based on the diagonal, of course). Really, that's what I want to know.

The depth of field equations need to be recast, but the amount of info you need is still the same. Conventionally the equations require knowing the following four things: f/#, focal length, distance (or image magnification) and desired blur circle. Blur circle is not a fixed quantity-- it depends upon both recording format size and output size. So you can't get away from saying something about sensor size.

I don't see how quoting the physical focal length would actually make my life easier, and it would bury important information one level down.

pax / Ctein

P.S. Oops, deleted the word "ONLY"from my first line to you. Of course I refer to lenses by real focal length all the time. Just don't see any benefit to doing it only that way. And for cameras with integrated lenses rather than interchangeable ones, knowing real focal length is pretty uninformative.

With the portrait photo like that I would not join that kind of game.

Sometimes the best way to take photo with someone who bring a S2 is not the play the same game at all. How about a $20 holga lens on your sony A900 (which I just testing the lens today with a Nex5N but I would suggest a wide angle Holga extension lens, another $20). Or a 4x5 (or the whole plate) camera.

Ummm, I do believe the S2 is an amazing camera and I do like the portrait photo... but at the web resolution I do not see why others are so excited about the photo. At this resolution there is nothing that suggests it is taken by a superior medium format camera. I do not see the vividness or micro-resolution and to me, it could be taken by any micro 4/3 or DSLR. Do not get me wrong, the color and tonality look good for sure but I think at this size any other modern DSLR could do this.

Perhaps we see something amazing because we already *know* it is taken by the S2 ;-)

Featured Comment by CMS: "That is really a great portrait!"

Really? His unguarded expression kind of speaks of loneliness and isolation, with a background of decay. ;)

For people who think D800 can match MF beast:
(Don't get me wrong I admire D800 and wants to have one too)

But, if you have trained eyes you know that MF output is DIFFERENT, really different!

For me, the quality of the portrait shot jumps off the page. If I had the money for an S2 and lenses, I would get one today.

Dear MarkB,

Ahh, but that describes our 'Steamed Editor to a T!


pax / Ctein

It would be great if someone could produce a detailed analysis to put these format issues to rest. Perhaps if Mike had his tripod and used a lower ISO we wouldn't think there were differences... or maybe we still would. Unfortunately I don't have the time myself and I'm not a very good photographer to do the test justice anyhow.

I can't justify owning more than one camera system and hence am left contemplating if I should continue to invest in m43 - if the sensor dimension is the limiting factor. The new Panasonic 12-35mm looks great, but I could buy a used 5D for less.. or a manual focus MF film camera for even less.

".. and of course that beautiful 3D-like rendering."


*If* the S2 pictures really do look better even at web size, how would that happen? We can (I think) take out the possible answer "It starts better because of the Leica lens", as follows: when I take the same shot with my K20, but at different file sizes, the resulting web sized shots can be told apart. How does the extra resolution "survive" the compression? Or perhaps I am just doing something incorrectly in PS?

- Will

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