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Thursday, 10 October 2013


Relax Mike. You don't have to worry about all your fans waiting for your next post because we are all over at YouTube waiting for Sonia Gil to post her Thursday Travel tip. You'll just have to wait until we all see Sonia!

"The Striking Viking?"

[One and the same. --Mike]

The pool thing is making a lot more sense now.....:-)
Cheers, Mike.

Easiest way to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac is to turn on Photostream in iPhone and Aperture/iPhoto and they will magically appear. You won't have to remember how to do it ever again!

When you rewrite, in the sentence that begins "That's Kathy below..." insert a dash after "scratch" -- otherwise, you have dad Danny in the drab business attire.

I always wondered why you were interested in pool. And here I thought it was because you were interested in the geometry of the game.

About the Zeiss lenses, you have to ask, "Why?" I can understand ultra lenses for some scientific pursuits using "cameras" that are really scientific instruments, but there will be nothing meaningful in the difference between a decent Nikon/Canon lens and this Zeiss, for photographic purposes. (They may be meaningful in psychological terms for those who need the comfort of the "best" or "the most expensive" but that's about it.)

If that isn't a master class in getting peoples attention, I don't know what is! :))

With regard to the iPhone problem, I won't tell you how to do that, but I will suggest the following: get a good note taking app (I highly recommend Notational Velocity [http://notational.net/]), and when you do figure out the iPhone problem, make a note of it. Do the same with all your other little "how to" items. You'll end up with a little "self-made manual" that is easily searchable, all in one place, and customized to the stuff you need to know or remember.

Notational Velocity demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKShuvEOiqA.

The trick is that the top entry field is both a search tool and a "create new note" tool. So if you type in "iPhone" it will list all of your notes that contain that word. But if you hit "return," it creates a new note called "iPhone."

By the way, you can also configure it so the note list is on the left instead of on top. That arrangement makes much more sense to me, so that's how I do it. Oh, and it's free.

Mike, just email the photos from your phone to yourself. Easy.


[Except that I can't figure out how to do it. --Mike]

When the Otus name was announced, I seriously considered a snarky email to you suggesting "Karl Zice Otis" for your publishing company's name.

"So, how'd I do? Did I sneak in a bit of pool without the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse showing up and alienating y'all? "

I think the pictures of gorgeous women saved your hide.

Pool... I can only assume that anyone who enthuses (or plays) this bar-room game has never seen snooker played well. Try watching an on-form Ronnie O'Sullivan. That said I've played a bit of pool myself. My excuses are (a) I was living in Australia at the time, and (b) I was drunk.


Glad you were able to meet some of the legendary (and beautiful) pool players at Danny Vegh's. It always memorable when one meets the stars of one's passions or interests. It was the same for me when I got Valentino Rossi's autograph at the first international MotoGP race I covered with pro credentials.

Regarding cameras, I have to admit that news of newly released dSLRs, particularly APS-C ones, interests me about as much as the launch of a new dishwasher. Yawn.

My photographic sensibilities have been so re-invigorated by the wonderful new mirrorless compact camera systems that news of the release of yet another dSLR model carries virtually NO excitement for me.

On the other hand, having just spent the last week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, photographing the Grand Tetons (as best as one could with the parks all closed) with my Fuji X-Pro, rental X100S, and sweet little OM-D was pleasurable and rewarding every moment.

Interestingly, I saw many, many other folks out doing their best with the less than ideal photographic opportunities, and except for two people ( one of whom had a Fuji X100, and the other a Leica digital M-series), all of them were shooting with either 1) an iPhone or 2) a dSLR.

It's very clear from this sample set, that, at least in the United States, the wonderful new mirrorless compacts have not caught on with the general public. With pros yes, with the general public, no.

Well done Mike, well done!

Mike, you're brilliant!

E-mail pictures to yourself from the iPhone. Frankly, I have consistently found that is the easiest way to deal with this stuff. I'm sure there are other/easier ways, but this one I don't have to think about, I just do it. Doesn't help if you have hundreds of pictures, but it works fine for a handful.

Otus! My man!

Adamet, how could Mike NOT have hundreds of pictures of such good cue action.

In snooker they call the draw shot the "screw" shot. Dunno why :-)

Emailing a photo from an iPhone is the most counter-intuitive thing I've ever seen. Instead of the usual (1) Create an email, (2) attach photo, (3) send, you instead go into your "camera roll" (list of photos), then select a photo to look at it, then "Share" it via a choice of methods, one of which is email.

It's worse in iOS7 because they've added an extra tap before you see the "Share" menu.

$5,000 for what I assume is a high-quality pool table that'll last the rest of your life?

Perhaps I've taken up the wrong hobby.

It's OK, since you included a photo of Eva.

Turn on Photo Stream - it ROCKS. Sometimes it will stall at a moment when you really, really want the picture on your Mac (opening the Photo app on the iPhone usually speeds things up), but otherwise it's the future.

If you're familiar with the application Image Capture on your Mac, then that thing will let you import photos from your iPhone. My favored way of getting photos from my iPhone and onto my Mac has been Dropbox. I don't remember how I got the utility that detects the phone and automatically copies all new photos. It's probably just part of Dropbox. Quite handy.

I still find myself sometimes emailing myself photos from my iPhone and it sometimes makes me feel slightly dirty.

"David Kilpatrick at PhotoClubAlpha is very down on [the Sony A3000]"

I don't want to come across as a fanboy. I've never used an A3000. But I think his review is from the viewpoint of an NEX6/7 owning "TOP reading" photographer rather than from the point of view of the intended customer ("new mom & dad who need something better than a smartphone"?) at it's price point.

For example, most A3000 users mostly won't be using the EVF because that camera to the eye thing is so 1970s for the smart phone generation. They'll be framing with the LCD on the rear. There are plenty of people out there who use DSLRs with Liveview. And they won't be using MF or some of the other feature he dings either. It's a bit like a car reviewer pointing out a Smart Car isn't a pickup or a sports car and so clearly is not very good.

Sony have used the same software platform as the NEX3. All of it's features come over to this camera even though some like focus peaking for manual focus just don't work well on the lowres EVF and lowres LCD. It has PASM but most people won't take it out of "green" mode.

The real high point is the sensor is excellent and so are the images. The kit zoom lens is pretty good too.

All that said the review is worth reading: for the NEX3 versus A3000 photo if nothing else -- showing how much air must be in the A3000 case and pointing out that Sony is using an electronic first curtain with mechanical second curtain shutter with this camera.

His interesting conclusion is:

"My inclination is to keep this camera despite no GPS and a poor EVF. It’s so cheap that it is really only a swap for the NEX-3 kit I sold this year."

I suspect that's what Sony was thinking: good image, cheap**, in a "SLR body". It's like a cheap NEX3 with an EVF that looks like a entry level DSLR and takes just as good images. It's not really aimed at photographers who read TOP though I suspect some could make use of it.

** in both senses of the word. It's build quality isn't fantastic.

If/when the A5000 appears it'll be there to upsell to from the A3000. All they need is roughly the same camera with better EVF and better LCD to add $100 to the MSRP.

I'd really love to see a head to head comparison between the new Zeiss 55/1.4 Otus and a Nikon 50/1.8G on a D800e. Apart from the build quality, I wonder what effect the nearly $3800 difference in price will have on image quality.

Mike, we understand now. Keep posting your 'adventures with pool' updates.

If you don't want to use Photostream you can set the Dropbox App to auto upload your photos or you can set the Flickr App to do the same -- the Flickr photo are private until you decide otherwise. Photostream is the simplest, Drop box next and Flickr last because there will be the extra step of downloading again.

"...you can simulate an anti-aliasing filter with the flip of a switch. The camera doesn't actually have an AA filter, but it will helpfully simulate it for you by jiggling the sensor to blur the picture..."

Oh my god, you were serious about that?! I was sure it was just a off-handed joke in keeping with your style, but then I actually clicked on the dpreview link. Sheesh.

'The camera doesn't actually have an AA filter, but it will helpfully simulate it for you by jiggling the sensor to blur the picture in cases where moire might be a problem for you.'

Digital Leica shooters have been, necessarily, achieving the same result by taking advantage of the rangefinder ability to handhold extra slow shutter speeds for years...

'No, moire isn't a real life problem' (yes it is!)


'Snooker' is the name 8-Ball pool is known for in some european countries. (Definitely not a cartoon bird...)

As you mention a snorkeler could this be the name of someone associated with snooker? Also, could you combine your interests by turning some of these nice SLR's on their backs and use the hole for the lens as a substitute pocket on the billiard table? Maybe it would need an FX or medium format.

Don't feel too bad about not entering the trick shot contest. If you had won, then you surely would have to buy a new house to fit both TOP World HQ and that shiny new table!

the iPhone is an exceptionally lousy camera

To me it's a good visual notebook, but for people who want to record the emotional content of their lives - which is the sole use of a camera for most people - then it's an excellent camera. The image quality is far, far better than that of the "compact" I owned in 2004.

The HDR feature might have improved the shot of the three ladies.

OK-- it's really a pool post. But your pool posts have always been cool with me.

If a few snippets of camera info and some photos of the lovely Ewa and Kathy are required to make things tolerable for the unwashed masses, that's cool with me too.

@Ed Hawco
In iOS 7: 1) create an email 2) tap and hold in the text entry area where you want the photo to be and a floating option popup appears offering the option to insert a photo or video 3) tap the wanted option and for photo you're shown your camera roll and photo streams. Choose the photo you want and iOS 7 pops your back to your email with said photo in place.

This isn't new, it's always been this way.

"... My Man, OTUS!!!"... seriously, though, please place me on the list of those who enjoy off-topic posts. I have been wrangling cameras since 1973. It's nice to take a day off, once in a while, and be aware that there is other stuff going on, in life.

A snooker is a situation in the game of snooker which is the equivalent of a stymie in the game of golf. But only a good player (or a very lucky one) can lay a perfect snooker on his/her opponent.

"...you can simulate an anti-aliasing filter with the flip of a switch. The camera doesn't actually have an AA filter, but it will helpfully simulate it for you by jiggling the sensor to blur the picture..."

The mechanical antialiasing isn't a "simulation". It's an impressive idea, and a real, and effective antialiasing system.

A digital camera's optical low-pass filter (OLPF) generally uses two layers of birefringent crystals — e.g. lithium niobate, calcite...
One layer duplicates the incoming image in the X direction.
The second layer then duplicates the two X-duplicated images in the Y direction.

The result is that an incoming image is divided into four, slightly offset, images at coordinates { (0,0), (X,0), (0,Y), (X,Y) }
The magnitude of this spatial offset is typically about one pixel.

Fourier transform theory show that a spatial shift corresponds, in the frequency domain, to a multiplication by an exp(-i α ω) factor.

As the shifted signals can be considered to be copies of a hypothetical signal, one shifted left, and one shifted right, their combination in the frequency domain is a multiplication of the original Fourier transform F(ω) by a factor ( exp(-i α ω) + exp(i α ω) ), which corresponds to a cosine function.

Thus, adding two spatially shifted signals corresponds to applying a cosine-shaped envelope to the frequency-domain representation of the signal. The part of that cosine between the origin and its first zero crossing is the frequency response shape of the optical low-pass filter; the zero crossing corresponding to the spatial frequency of the spatial shift.

If the spatial shift is, say, 4 microns, the first zero crossing, where the frequency response through the low-pass filter becomes null, corresponds to a spatial frequency of 2*4 = 8 microns.

This is logical, as adding a signal whose spatial period is 8 microns to an exact copy of it, shifted 4 microns, will result in a mutual cancelling of the peaks and throughs.

So, an OLPF is essentially a system that applies a cosine-shaped envelope to the system's frequency response.

Now, what kind of effect on the frequency response does Pentax' mechanical LPF have ?

The in-exposure movement of the pixels corresponds, in fact, to an integration of the light signal over the spatial displacement range of these pixels.

Therefore — for the mathematically inclined — the displacement corresponds to a convolution of the original signal with a sequence of regularly spaced rect signals of width equal to the displacement.

This thus corresponds in the frequency domain to a product of the Fourier transform F(ω) of the original signal and of the Fourier transform of the rect signal, i.e. a sinc function.

1) For time-invariant, or nearly time-invariant light patterns — i.e. subjects that move slowly compared to the displacement speed of the mechanical antialiasing system, — Pentax's solution thus corresponds to the application of a sinc-shaped envelope to the system's frequency response.

For the frequencies from DC up to the zero-cross limit — presumably set to the sensor's Nyquist limit,— the OLPF's cosine envelope and the mechanical LPF's sinc envelope have very close shapes.

For frequencies above the Nyquist limit, as the sinc function — unlike the cosine function — converges towards zero, Pentax's LPF solution will presumably have less aliasing / frequency folding than an OLPF.

2) For time-variant, fast-moving subjects, the luminance integration effected by the pixel displacement will obviously be affected by the movement of the signal. But such circumstances will presumably only arise when the subject is moving so fast that it moves a significant fraction of a pixel during the 1/1000s duration of the movement in one direction (system oscillating at 500Hz, as determined by this site) of the sensor. This means that the subject is moving so fast that it creates a motion blur of a size commensurate with a pixel's size. This blur alone thus suffices to act as a low-pass filter, and activation of antialiasing measures like the mechanical LPF wouldn't be necessary with such subjects.

One additional note.
Nikon uses a fairly thick optical slab in the D800E to cancel the OLPF effects.

Any optical slab is going to induce incidence angle-dependent shifts of the incoming light rays, as governed by Snell's law.
A lens that is stigmatic in air thus cannot be stigmatic when one places an optical slab of refraction index larger than 1 behind it.

An optical slab thus always induces a measure of aberration, whose severity increases with the tilt of the rays, and hence leads to degradation of the picture quality in the image's corners, where the rays tend to be the most tilted.

The image degradation is more severe with cameras like the Leica M9, as wide-angle rangefinder lenses often have an exit pupil — the apparent position of the diaphragm, looking at the lens from behind — that sits much closer to the image sensor than with SLR lenses, as the latter tend to have exit pupils quite distant from the imaging plane due to the length of the mirror box.

Even though SLR lenses have distant exit pupils, and thus tend to emit light cones whose principal rays have a small tilt relative to the sensor's optical stack (IR filter, sensor cover glass etc), Pentax's mechanical LPF completely eliminates the OLPF slab and should thus also contribute to a (slight) reduction of optical aberrations (astigmatism, field curvature etc.) in the image corners.

OK, one more thing on the iPhone to computer front. Bear with me; I can't help, it (writing instructions is a compulsion).

Here's a good way to get your iPhone photos into your computer if you use a Mac and Lightroom:


1) Create a folder on the Mac exclusively for your iPhone photos.

2) Connect your iPhone to your computer.

3) Open the "Image Capture" app and point it to your iPhone. (It will show you all the photos on the iPhone.)

4) Click "Import All" and import them into the folder you created on your computer.

5) Open Lightroom and navigate to the folder. Import the entire folder into LR. (I suggest you use "Add" instead of "Copy as DNG.")


1) Connect your iPhone to your computer.

3) Open the "Image Capture" app and point it to your iPhone. (It will show you all the photos on the iPhone.)

4) Click "Import All." **Despite the label, Image Capture will detect which ones you already have, and will only import the new ones.**

5) Open Lightroom and navigate to the iPhone photos folder. Right-click and select "Synchronize folder." LR will import the new photos.

Doing this gives you a good backup of your iPhone pictures, and it puts them into LR, where you can improve them somewhat and work on them in a familiar environment. It also encourages you to delete the crap throw-away photos from your iPhone as you don't necessarily want them cluttering up your Lightroom catalog.

The Snooker game has 22 balls. 1 cue ball (the one you hit - white) 15 red and 6 colours: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black.

A 'snooker' is when you cannot directly hit any available target ball in a straight line and either have to bend it or come off one or more cushions. The target ball(s) depends on the stage of the break and the game.

Essentially you have to pocket the red balls, before starting on the colours (in the order above) until finally the black ball is potted and the person with the highest score wins.

Everyone time you pot a red ball you must next pot a coloured ball to continue your break (the red ball stays off the table but the coloured ball comes back on). After the colour another red until eventually all 15 red are gone. At this point you must pot the colours in order and the colours now stay off the table when potted.

Hence the idea is to follow every pot of a red (1 point) with potting a black (7 points) and then then colours (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 points respectively to achieve a maximum break of 147 ((15 x 8) + 27).

Hope that helps. (Pedant Police)

It would be so easy to implement a sensor shift doubling of resolution using Hasselblad's sensor-shifting multiple exposure technique.
All they need is a few extra lines of code in the firmware.
Then pentax could put a "93 megapixels" label on the box and also get some cool noise reduction'

It will be interesting if pentax re-uses the k2 name. Short of the LX maybe the best Pentax ever.

It's as if Ricoh is counting down to the ultimate Pentax DSLR, the K-1 (or would it be the K-0?). Can't wait.

Someone else saw "Otus" and thought of Animal House? I'm impressed (and ashamed).

What's "pool"?

Didn't she used to be Ewa Mataya? She used to be on basic cable all the time, in tournaments.

Also, count your blessings -- if your phone had sparked up to tell you it was a camera while she was lining up a shot, she would have cracked you upside the head with her cue.

[Yes, Mataya was her first married name, and transitionally she used Ewa Mataya Laurance after she was remarried. But she's Ewa Laurance now. --Mike]

Yvonne in Blue River, Oregon

just do a separate pool blog already

Bruno is correct, but perhaps supplies more detail than necessary. An AA filter that can be turned on or off is a really innovative development. Consider: are there many discussions of Nikon D800 vs. D800E?

Tom wrote:
> Bruno is correct, but perhaps supplies more detail than necessary.

The point of my logorrhea was to make it apparent that people dismissing the mechanical LPF as a gimmick are highly unlikely to be even aware of the basic optical and mathematical principles underlying low-pass filtering.

But then again, the phenomenon whereby people mistakenly think that they can reach sensible conclusions on any topic, based essentially on reading the shallow and ignorant commentary found e.g. on DPreview's forums, is nothing new (^^;

In the beginning God created billiards. A table with no pockets, a white ball, a spot white ball for the opponent and a red ball. Man could score by cannoning, hitting the other two balls with his own ball and getting another shot. It was simple and God saw that it was good.
Old Nick invented the corner cannon whereby you could trap the other two balls in the corner and cannon away forever.
Man got bored and invented pockets. You could pot the red, your opponents white or go in off for points. God thought that it was a corruption but could understand the attraction.
Man got bored and invented snooker. Lots of reds and other colours. Tactics, strategy and much more fun. Although God dislikes unnecessary complication (He created St Occam) He looked on Snooker, found it was good and put it into many of the pubs which He had also created for (English)Man's pleasure. In the mid 20th Century Snookers first begotten son Joe Davis appeared and God thought that He was in His Heaven and all was right with the world.
However Old Nick had foreseen this developments so he had first invented Americans as a twisted version of Englishmen then invented bars as a corrupt version of the honest pub. These bars were obviously smaller and so Old Nick invented Pool, on small tables with small cues and balls with spots and stripes.
In the late 20th Century this "Pool" made an incursion into the United Kingdom and for some years coin operated pool tables were seen in many pubs. However the advent of the angels Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan has seen the the removal of these offensive items and a return to the values of stout British yeomen.

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