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Thursday, 24 May 2012


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If the printed version of this photo has any of the richness implied in the screen version, you should offer it up in a TOP print sale. I'd buy it.

Per your #3, the wait for X-Pro 1 and lenses tested the nerves, particularly due to fact I had sold a Nikon system that worked and the juicy D800 was also coming. But I feel rewarded for the wait, having just finished an 11 mile hike with light tripod and all 3 lenses aboard - and no broken back! And great images. Nerves are being re-tested as I eagerly await Adobe RAW support...

I will enjoy your approach on the printer project and also enjoy your day "in ruins"

That is, IMHO, the best picture you have posted, Mike. Very very nice.

"I've been shooting digitally for nine years now, and may have as many as thirty or even forty pictures worthy of printing."

(OK, I'm astonished.)
Nine years and four pictures a year that you'd print? What's the point of having a camera? Why bother with anything other than a cell phone camera?

Believe me, the OM-D is worth the wait. I'm loving mine and won't be taking the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 off it any time soon.

A lovely picture, and one that could be 'fun' to print.


Your writing on printing and your impressions on the Canon printer will be much appreciated, never mind any annoyed experts. By the way, I have received Ctein's print, and thank him very much. At the price, it's a gift, even if not a "free gift" (never understood that expression, aren't all gifts free?)

The answer is that I have high standards for pictures, and the prints will be very, very good.

When talking about real work, portfolio quality pictures, a yield like that might be on the low side, but not by that much.

I'm not including just the occasional prints I'd make of portraits and for friends and so forth, record prints of personal occasions, etc.

As for your last question, I can't see why anyone would do serious photography with a cameraphone. What if you got a good shot?

There are two great tragedies in photography. One is seeing a picture when you don't have your camera. The other is taking a great picture with something other than your real camera such that what you have to work with is not the way you want it to be.


The stuff of nightmares.


I'm about a hair's width away from canceling my B&H order for the OM-D (it's not like there aren't other equally good cameras out there). I don't like feeling like I've been manipulated, but that's how this "hurry up and wait" process makes me feel.


Dear Mike,

I would always much rather read your idiosyncratic take on a product than some generic review. Anything you talk about from personal interest always provides a valuable insight into the product I cannot get elsewhere.

Don't ever change.

pax / Ctein

I received my E-M5 review unit from B&H last Friday.

Just thought I'd rub it in ;-)

It's really, really, REALLY small. It might even be too small. Nice EVF and incredibly fast AF. And by "fast" I mean "quasi-instantaneous." If it were any faster, it might violate Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Puzzlers is indeed something to like, lovely light and color, with a nostalgic feeling.


Hi Mike, yes, agree, like the picture. I think you posted it, or one in the same light, a couple of years ago?

Rather than blogging about printing, I suggest you blog about how we can all get Canon to send us a Pixmna Pro-1. The would get bit hits!

1. I finally cancelled my order for the Olympus M5. If I'm not going to get an early one, I might as well wait for them to get the first set of bugs out of it.
2. That's an absolutely lovely picture. It should only be printed LARGE -- at least 30" or preferably more!

Hey Mike,
I ordered an OM-D EM-5, waited 10 days and it has been shipped. I'll pick it up tomorrow. Is that unusual? It was listed as limited availability at Adorama, but they shipped it pretty fast if you ask me. I was surprised it was such a short wait. I do agree with you that the availability and announcement should be a LOT tighter though. By the way, I agree with the others that have commented, that is a great photo. The tonality is nice, and I predict it's going to be a bitc...er, bear to print to your satisfaction. Those shots with subtle shadow details like that always frustrate me. It'll be fun to see how it goes for you. Best of luck and keep up the good work!

One tragedy we don't have to worry about anymore: Taking a great, even historic shot, only to have it ruined by the developer. (cf, Bob Capa)

"I've been shooting digitally for nine years now, and may have as many as thirty or even forty pictures worthy of printing."

You'd be screwed a month after trying to follow Michael's Magic Print-a-Day Program. Better get snappin' chum. ;->

Classic, beautiful photo.

I love my OM-D. The images are amazing and am so glad since I sold my Canon lot prior to even receiving it. Trust me, it will be worth the wait. Now, to find the money for the new Panasonic 2.8 lenses.

Ansel Adams said that if he got 12 good photos a year (out of presumably many hundreds) he considered it a good year. Near the end of his life after 60 or so years of photography he said he felt perhaps 40 of his images were really exceptional.

He was pretty good printer.

"Rather, I thought I'd use the printer to actually make some prints"

Careful Mike. That's dangerous talk. There's 20 years of internet reviews of just about anything under the sun that are threatened by that sort of practical approach.

I'm with you on the not printing much, as well. I have so far about 120 digital shots that go around on the screensaver of my iMac 27, which is (in addition to being a good computer) an excellent photo frame. That's from about 20 years of photography. I don't bother printing much at all.


As to Point 3, ByThom.com has several very informative articles in his 2012 archive located here:


Scroll down for

Balance Points


The Pre-Order Mess


>This will probably annoy the expert >printers in the audience, but I'm not >really planning to write a conventional >review. Rather, I thought I'd use the >printer to actually make some prints, and >write about that, covering my experiences >setting up and using the printer as I go >along.

Mike your journalistic offerings are not conventional, why would we expect anything different?

Brian Miller noted:
"I've been shooting digitally for nine years now, and may have as many as thirty or even forty pictures worthy of printing."

(OK, I'm astonished.)
Nine years and four pictures a year that you'd print? What's the point of having a camera? Why bother with anything other than a cell phone camera?

Good points, all of them.

Maybe because in my world the chase and capture is often more rewarding than the

As I age, find many things, happenings and similar really don't matter.

"Frankly I don't give a damn!"

"There are two great tragedies in photography. One is seeing a picture when you don't have your camera. The other is taking a great picture with something other than your real camera such that what you have to work with is not the way you want it to be."

And the third is realising you left the memory card back home in the card reader, or having just taken the last shot on the roll a minute earlier and having no more film in your bag.

I know what you mean about the availability of the E-M5. It has me so concerned that I'm only shooting with my G3 and keeping the E-M5 in its box until it is readily available. I'd hate to think about what I'd do if I broke it and a replacement wasn't there right away.

"I've been shooting digitally for nine years now, and may have as many as thirty or even forty pictures worthy of printing."

My first thought was: 'That sounds about right.'

At least Olympus extended the purchasing deadline for the combo rebates with the EM-5. Doesn't make up for the delay, but, at least for many of us, makes it less obnoxious/costly than it would otherwise be.

"Nine years and four pictures a year that you'd print? What's the point of having a camera? Why bother with anything other than a cell phone camera?"

My thoughts exactly, Brian. Slackers and time wasters abound, just like that big phony Salinger. Seriously dude, three books? Get a day job why doncha.

...so, while you're waiting, why not get out your Kiev, or Zorki, or FED, and run off a few shots? That's what I did (not that I'm anyone to imitate or anything like that...)

With best regards.


The E-M5 is only small if you are used to Canikon DSLRs. If you have Oly OM (film) cameras in your DNA, the E-M5 is not small. Rather, it is perfect!

Lovely picture; great color and lighting. It really captures a summer evening in the northern US, you should print it.

NB: I can see mosquitoes on the screen :)

Please tell me you'e joking. I can walk into almost any camera store in the local area and pick up a black, body only OMD. Silver are harder to find though.

And my dealer in Sydney has a nice set with the OMD, XPro1, NEX7 and several M9's, all within arms reach of each other, in stock, now.

It sure is nice to be on the Asian distribution circuit.


My local dealer called me today, my silver kit was in. My I-refill kit for my Epson 3800 also came in today so I installed the ink system while I wait for the battery to charge. Tomorrow starts my Time Out for Printing (TOP) program. Hopefully some EM-5 images will make the cut.


I remember when you first posted that photo - I loved it then as I do upon seeing it again today. I hope you use your new printer to finally get it on paper.

All the best,

Now THAT, is a fine photo Mike. Really top notch. What a wonderful family scene.

I remember seeing that picture when you first posted it. Was it the Minolta? Anyway, it just glows. Glows in a good way.

I'd say the trends aren't necessarily changing in the areas of marketing or release, but rather in our levels of anticipation, shorter attention spans, and a generally decreasing ability to wait for things.

Mike whatever happened to the big darkroom project?

Thanks very much for all the nice compliments about the picture. You're all very kind.

I admit I was being kinda provocative with the "thirty or even forty" comment. I'll write more about that sometime.


The darkroom is up and running and in use, although still not entirely finished. I have almost everything done except the ventilation. Probably not the thing to skimp on, although the darkroom is open to the whole basement so it stays pretty well ventilated just by being open.

I also haven't built a drying rack yet. I've been laying the prints on piles of laundry to dry. The archival police are hunting for me I'm sure.


Ah, patience. I only have so much, myself. Happily, my early-April E-M5 order was delivered today. Huzzah!

Early (too-early) response is it's a fine little picture-making box. Here's hoping you don't have a similar nearly two-month wait. I'm taking it as a good sign that sales have exceeded projections and the Oly camera division can hold up their corporate heads and get some more projects green-lighted. Good times again in cameraland.

Bought am OM-D EM-5 (one from the first shipment that arrived here) for a friend three weeks ago in a store in Cologne, Germany. They seem to be readily available now; I've seen them in quite a few store windows.

Jim Allen said, "I ordered an OM-D EM-5, waited 10 days and it has been shipped... I was surprised it was such a short wait."


it's a total crap shoot. Some people pre-ordered from major stores in February and haven't gotten it yet. My brother ordered his a couple weeks ago and got it two days later. I called about 100 small stores to find mine, and I still can't source one for my dad. I agree with the others here that it was worth the wait, and that is saying something. Still no OEM batteries to be found :(.

On a separate note, I have a request for the Editor In Chief. Everywhere I look, I see people saying that the new Olympus 75/1.8 shouldn't cost so much because the Canon 85/1.8 is cheaper. One of these folks went so far as to suggest that the Oly lens is "the equivalent of a 75mm f/3.6 on full frame". The danger of a little knowledge! Likewise for the Panasonic 12-35/2.8: "Oh that's just a 24-70/5.6, way overpriced".

To heck with the optical performance and character, how it's built, how it feels, how it sounds, or the autofocus performance. There's this conception out there that you divide the focal length by the f-number, multiply by the weight of the lens in grams, divide by 20, and that's what it should cost.

I love the fact that Leica priced the APO 50 Summicron $3k above the 50 Lux ASPH. The fact that they set out to make the ultimate 50mm f/2 lens and that it costs more to make than their own f/1.4 lens is a perfect counterexample to trend of valuing a lens based purely on its "total light collecting ability".

I'm confident that you're the one who can succinctly shine a light on all of this nonsense.


Beautiful photograph. Thanks for showing it.


Although you've already gotten many similar comments, I want to say how much I like the photo accompanying today's post. Light worthy of Rembrandt.

If the other 29 or 39 of your photos-yet-to-be-printed are of similar quality, I'd say you've had a productive nine years of digital photography. I'm definitely looking forward to your upcoming posts on fine printing.

I remember that photo too. To me, it is the perfect expression of family life in the rural or perhaps suburban US. I look at it and am transported back to a life and culture I have been away from for perhaps too long. If someone asked me what US family life is really like---not the TV/movie/media inspired nonsensical stereotypes that mislead too many---I think I could show them that photo to explain it.

I hardly ever leave a comment here even though I am a regular reader. However, today I can't resist saying that that picture is absolutely gorgeous! :-)

Just a thought about the portfolio size question.

I think it was the late Peter Campbell in the London Review of Books who suggested that an artist's style can be fully realised with a single painting, but a photographers must emerge from a larger body of work.

I think though it also depends a lot on what sort of photographs you take, and why. For some photographers their vision, or style only emerges from a large survey of work, and individual images taken out of context may seem less worthy. For others, if the image as a solitary object is the idea, then yes, I think a small portfolio of 40 is quite adequate.

Again, we drift towards the perennial art vs photography debate. Vermeer would be a suitable fine art comparison for the latter case. I'm struggling to find a comparison for the former... Of course that sort of speculation is in danger of disappearing down the photography vs fine art black hole...


"Op voorraad" means it's available.....so if you fancy a trip to Europe Mike......you know were to find the O'Hare to Schiphol flight :-). From there a rental car and a trip over the A9 and A6 through the Flevo polder (6 meters under the ocean) to the former island of Urk, were the staff will be more then happy to help you out.

Maybe, just maybe B&H (or Olympus US) is taking it's JIT (Just in Time) policy a bit to far. In Europe the thing is available at every corner (at the same price also) even my local camera dealer is verry happy to sell me one.

BTW, Mike, my dad and I yesterday said farewell to a trusted freind from L.A. in the form of an Vivitar VI color enlarger. It frees up a lot of space but without acces to an enlarger......it takes getting used to.

BTW again, have you ever followed the path to stitching (the dark side :-)) in order to enhance the capabilities of your system?

Greetings, Ed

P.S. I have no ties with www.cameranu.nl and or Olympus except as a trusted customer.

Tom said:
"I know what you mean about the availability of the E-M5. It has me so concerned that I'm only shooting with my G3 and keeping the E-M5 in its box until it is readily available. I'd hate to think about what I'd do if I broke it and a replacement wasn't there right away."

Um, I guess that would be about the same thing you're doing now...i.e., not using it!" ;-)

The very important HLD-6 battery holder/grip and, for Pete's sake,
the damn batteries for the OMD are STILL not available.

It does seem like companies used to release all the important pieces at once. But I could be wrong.

Add me to the group that would like to see all the manufacturers settle on three or four standard batteries. Maybe Tall, Grande, Venti, and Trenta.

Others have commented before me but another datapoint can do no harm: four-five truly relevant shots a year make me a very happy man indeed.

By the way, as a Leica user I welcome you to the waiting club!

Me too.

I clearly remember you posing this picture before, even though it was a long time ago. I like it a lot and am glad that you will print it.

Maybe another post about showing dark as dark and shadows as shadows is in order? Does that make sense? What I mean is that sometimes you should not be pulling the shadow slider all the way until you can make out every detail in a dark shady corner.

That photo made my day. Sally Mann, Gregory Crewdson power. Very personal. Very much what it's all about. Thanks.

Concerning the number of photos worthy of printing after 9 years of shooting, I think 40 or so is a good number of keepers if you're truly tough in editing your work and you're not shooting daily as a professional.

I bought an Epson r3000 a few weeks ago. Now I can make inkjet prints larger than 8.5x11 inches for the first time ever. I have dozens of boxes of 8.5x11 inkjets done over several years of scanning film and then shooting with digital cameras. I was thrilled to be able to finally print some of them up to 13x19 inches and frame them for the wall. So I go through my photos in Picasa and put a star on all those I think might be worth printing large. Once I edited out the family pictures, the pet pictures, the touristy trip pictures and the pictures I originally thought were outstanding but now find pedestrian, I have a Picasa "starred photo" album of just over 100 photos. Those photos probably will be edited even further when consideration is given to the cost of ink and the larger paper sizes.

re: your point #3 - with the much talked about resurgence of vinyl records, a notable number of small labels and enterpreneurially minded individuals started basing their business models on financing the record release through preorders, which often resulted, not only in "announcement well before release; pre-order available before ship date; limited release, whether intentionally or due to initial demand", but also in those records never appearing (most often, it has to be said, through sheer ineptitude of people who had no idea what they were dealing with). of course, artificial scarcity was also a notable characteristic of that minor boom. i have a feeling that it's mostly run its course, as potential customers got wise.

however, as opposed to camera market, that kind of practice was easy to deal with for the customers - it's much easier to wait on just one more record among many (or ignore it), than to wait on a specific camera model that might address some of your specific needs, and of course - there's always downloading. i can't wait for the day when we'll be able to download cameras.

Yes, I'm starting to get slightly PEEVED that I haven't got the OM-D...though I think it may be on the way, since B&H just charged my credit card for it. Been on order since February.

Otherwise, I've got the lenses, etc for the camera..but no camera. Feel like I showed up for a party with the champers, nibbles, and party hats..but no party.

I guess the one good thing is that this camera must be selling pretty well for Olympus, which I'm happy to hear, given their other troubles.

I'm looking forward to your articles on "basic fine printing", while still somewhat amused that the printer you'll be using costs more than the price of my DSLR when it was new. The wide-format Epson 1430, at somewhere around $250, was much closer to my price range. Profiles just arrived, the monitor is profiled and calibrated, and now the adventure begins.

I've been wondering why DxOMark hasn't reviewed the OM-D EM-5 sensor yet. They've already reviewed the D800 and the 5D Mark III. Maybe they can't get one, either.

Dear Grant,

Hmmmm, now that I think about it, my enlargers have cost as much or more than my cameras, my printers as much or more than my digital cameras. Sometimes a lot more.

And print paper always was a bigger expenditure than film (and it's even more expensive with digital printers).

I'd never thought about this until you brought it up. Requires some further pondering. Thanks!

pax / Ctein

I fell in love with your print immediately, Mike. I'm always attracted to rich colors and by an image that shows the dark shadows the way we see them in person. Compositionally perfect.

I think I screwed up ordering my OM-D from Amazon on Feb 8, 2012.... Still no camera, they have tried to get me to cancel, warning me that they can not guarantee it at any time. I should have ordered at B&H, they are more of a real camera shop and not some soul less corporation. Maybe I will be able to pick up a used one on Ebay before Amazon ships mine!

I sent Carl Weese a few scout photos of the Drive In Theater near where I live. He hopes to be in my area in early July and I hope to get to meet him and see him work.

Re number three. I had more or less decided on a G3. Then I managed to get myself caught up in the OMDE5 (whatever) romance, ok the in body stablization is compelling. But now the romance is over, I'm going for the G3, I can't wait, I have a project. So... If you can wait, wait. If you can't, do something else.

Please add me to the list of people who would pay actual money for that picture.
In addition to the lovely light and the "painterly" composition, it is deeply nostalgic for me. I can smell the pine trees on the humid air, hear the bugs tumping against the screen.
Although in Michigan we played endless games of Monopoly, and there was a lot of hooligan yelling and arm punching that is not in evidence here. Bunch of boys, and two sisters who learned to punch back, probably to their lasting benefit.

I love that photo Mike. Reminds me of the work of Joseph Wright of Derby, much of whose best known work features light within the image. The Father of Ghetto Lighting before the camera was invented?


Update... I just received an email from Amazon that my OM-D has shipped this afternoon. I wonder if my complaining on TOP yesterday prompted them to hustle? Maybe the Squeaky Wheel does get the grease...! Just this last week they told me I would be lucky to see it at the end of June... Hopefully, my summer photo plans can proceed with this little OLY OM Reincarnation in my Sweaty MidWestern Paws!

I can't help but notice that the slowest reported (here) OM-D response times are from B&H and Amazon, two vendors with sponsor links from TOP. I'm starting to wonder what percentage of the total number of pre-orders used those links. I'm also still waiting. B&H has, since their after Passover OM-D availability date, sent me two customer satisfaction surveys. I'm waiting until I'm a customer with a better frame of mind before filling one out.

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