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Tuesday, 22 October 2013


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Interesting that with the two bazooka like DSLR the other pro is using his smart phone to take a picture.

The pro in the picture, is proberly shooting both for old media/print and for new media/social, where phone-upload is the most straightforward method.

Taking pictures, bringing the files home from the job/to laptop, downloading from card, selecting, uploading: 1hr
Posting directly from phone: 5 min.

Here is this pro photographer with all that great gear and he is taking a picture with his phone. I can guess it's because he needed to send a photo to someone and only his phone could do it.

Now you can say you couldn't do that back then but the sad part is you STILL must use your phone camera.

Now that is a true sign of the times.

Looking at the picture of the pro, I realize I do the same thing. I'll take the picture with may camera m4/3. Then I do a quick iPhone photo because I want to share the scene with someone right away. I use the iPhone for sharing.

That second picture is amusing at first glance. But then it seems entirely reasonable. Any number of times, I'll take a picture of something, and then my wife will hand me her iPhone to take a picture so she can share it immediately without having to wait for me to get home, download pictures, upload them to smugmug (or put them on a flash drive) ... it illustrates the reason so many people have replaced digicams with phones.

I'm sure that picture is more related to that (sharing) than anything else, but there are also times when I'll carry my camera with 70-200 zoom to an event, and instead of bringing along a WA lens for group shots and having to switch, I'll just bring along my RX100. I bet I look almost as funny.

Re: the man on the bridge.

The phone not only takes a picture/video, it instantly transmits it great distances to a place where lots of other people can see it and use it -- a feature not yet available in "real" cameras that take great pictures with incredible lenses.

Last week I spent a lunch hour walking around town taking pictures with my new phone. I was surprised when I got back to work that they were all "in the cloud" and inside my computer ready for display, editing and sharing.

And the picture quality was much better than I expected.

We should soon be starting to see a generation of photographers who got hand-me-down cameras when they were 8 that in many ways surpass anything I had up until I was twice that old (not as quickly responsive for action, though), and who with the hand-me-down computers they also had, had better "darkroom" capabilities than we ever had. Getting their 10,000 hours in early, or however you want to describe it, and not having to master nearly so much technique to be able to produce the images in their heads. (I pin "getting hand-me-down digital cameras" at very roughly 2002.)

Yes, Mike, I remember when we had "something called night", and even with my 50mm Nikkor at f/1.4, unwisely pushing the Kodak Recording 2475 to 2500 ASA, I could barely hold the 1/15s. And how I marveled at the new T-Max 3200, and duly pushed it two steps, and imagined myself an Otus scops the first time I exposed it with a borrowed Noctilux (wide open). What with focusing through a 0.58X rangefinder in the middle of the night at f/1.0 and the T-Max 3200 pushed two steps, the result was grainy grey mush. And now… gorgeous ISO 25600 sunsets!

Maybe that's where we should start: what kind of pictures do want to be able to take? More specifically: what kind, and what amount, of light do we want to be able to capture? That should define our demands and our response to the industry's offerings. Those (niche?) enterprises able and willing to react to such demands could find themselves immunised against the onslaught of dumb vampire camera slabs incongruously dubbed 'smartphones'. Until such a day as Thom Hogan's CPM (communicating, programmable, modular) camera system sees the light, and it is realised that a pocketable slab, intermittently pressed against one's ear, may be good for storage and processing, but not necessarily the ideal size and shape to enclose an adequate sensor and a decent optical system.

I need to change my ringtone to "bleh blah blah". I have to stop myself from shooting with my iPhone when I have my NEX-6 in hand too. Sadly, the siren call of Instagram sometimes makes me double up. My NEX-6 has WiFi, but it just takes that extra few moments to transfer that image. For my photography, I used to enjoy pressing the shutter the most, but now maybe it's selecting the right filter before I post to a social media feed ... is this good or bad?

Love the photo of the photographer. Very meta, and all. I expect he's shooting an Instagram or something similar and posting it immediately to make his editors happy until he can get back to the car or the hotel room and transmit "real" photos.

I use my iPhone like that (along side my other cameras) in order to record the GPS data. I wonder if that's what he's doing too.

Actually what made me smile was seeing a photographer with two heavy "guns" on him taking pictures with his phone!

"... with his OM-D E-M5 and the "underrated" (Will's word) 14–150mm lens."

Yup. Folks seem to assume that just because it's a long focal range zoom, it's a poor lens. But it's actually quite a good lens, in addition to the wide range. Slightly softer at the long end, but the images respond well to Focus Magic deconvolution.

Not only good for getting close to things at a distance, but for close-up. The magnification of 0.24x/1:4 (0.48x, 12, 35 mm eq.) at the long end is great for critters, etc., as the long working distance doesn't scare them as much.

I don't imagine the frame edges are great as a macro lens, but I've yet to use it for something where that mattered. For tack sharp, flat field, true macro, the 60/2.8 can't be beat. For 'bugs' in the field, the 14-150 is excellent.


Re: Janne's comment on the practical limit of high ISO. I shoot 40% of my photos at or above ISO 1600 (most of those from 1600 to 3200 and few enough at 6400 that I don't think I'd benefit greatly from higher ISOs).
The thing is, usable 25600 to me implies cleaner 3200. And sensor advances are delivering not only improved SNR, but also greater dynamic range, better colors, so that high ISO images of today look more like low ISO images of yesterday. If I look at the ISO 1600 shots from my Konica Minolta 7D, they're pretty horrible, and it's not primarily because of noise. They look like low light shots, with poor color response and limited dynamic range. My Sony A700 was significantly better, the biggest problem being a lack of fine detail at higher ISOs. My Nikon D7000 improves on that, and I've yet to try the D7100 or full frame. (I'm content where I am for the foreseeable future, but know I'll appreciate gains in sensor technology whenever I get around to upgrading).
Another benefit ... and maybe even a significant driving factor ... is what improvements do for small sensors. I like that I can shoot at or above ISO 1600 with my Sony RX100 and not feel like those photos have to be relegated to 4x6 or smaller in the family photo book. I'm quite confident that I'd be happy with an 8x10 at 1600 on the RX100.
So ... whether or not I ever shoot above 6400, bring on the continuous improvements, please !

Are you sure he's taking a picture? He looks just like my father trying myopically to send a text message.

I bought an RX100 a year ago to serve as my walk-around camera (and, with a waterproof case, my kayaking camera), then, two months later, when my PDA died, I bought my first smartphone, which has an 8 MP camera. So far I have taken maybe two snapshots with the smartphone for several reasons: (1) To economize, I don't have a data plan for my phone, so I need to find a WiFi point to transmit; (2) I don't spend much time on social media or have a need to immediately share photos; (3) I like to edit and correct my photos before showing them to anyone; and, most importantly, (4) I always have the RX100 with me, which unlike the phone camera has a sharp zoom lens, RAW capability, and superior IQ. For someone like the (news?) photographer in the second photo, I can certainly understand the utility of a smartphone camera, but I don't have the same needs.

DD-B: My wife inherited my 2004 Nikon D70 when I bought my D300. She knows little about the mechanics of photography and rarely reviews her photos on her computer, but she has a good eye, enjoys taking pictures with the D70, and loves the instant feedback, even on the D70's small screen. Obsolete it may be, but nearly ten years later, it still works as well as it ever did.

I used to tell people, "if you can see it, you can make a picture of it." At the time I was referring to rendering the world in contrasty black or white images with silver halide grain the size of potatoes.

"Sign o' the times, eh? I do hope the people in those cars were okay."

Yes, they were all okay. The washed out section is Old Dillon Road (east of Boulder, somewhere around the Louisville/Broomfield border) and all three people involved were pulled out of their vehicles without major injuries.

Mike, you might be interested to know that at least one white NA Miata "drowned" in that flood. Figured that would bring a tear to your eye.

I recently switched systems to a Fuji X-E1 and because I was traveling a lot for work (commercial cinematography) got an Eye-Fi card so that I could post photos of my travels on Facebook for friends, family, and work contacts to see. This has been great: snap some photos on my way and do a quick post-process in Snapseed before sharing them instantly. But I've noticed a strange thing... I've been avoiding my 18mm (27mm-e) lens because I can't shake the feeling that the pictures don't immediately read as having been taken with something other than my iPhone. Not only that, but even shots taken with my 35mm (53mm-e), I tend to shoot at max aperture or close to it, so that depth of field can cue that these pictures aren't iPhone pictures.

Nothing wrong with shallow depth of field or a normal lens; but I know that in some cases I'm not doing what I'd have done if I didn't want to have "impressively-unique" photos for on-the-go mobile sharing.

"Sure, he might even be messaging his editor, saying, 'Do you want me to do more of this?' "

Possible. Even more likely: It was likely going directly to his publication's web site.

The "vampire camera" idea is of great interest to me. With so many different available choices of camera that perform well in low light, I'd love to see a decent comparison of what would really be the best "see-in-the-dark" camera in a real world situation. Is it the big 5DIII/ 35 f2 IS combo? The OM-D with a fast prime and built in IS? A Fuji X100s with it's nice sensor and lack of mirror? Who knows!

It's have to be at least partially subjective but it'd be fun to ready/write/shoot, that's for sure.

I love shooting with my iPhone far more than my larger, heavier gear. It's always with me, light, easy to access - and here's the kicker - it's simply fun to shoot with. I took it and a 5d Mark II and 40mm pancake lens with me on a recent trip to Japan and found the iPhone a more enjoyable camera to use. Sure it has limitations but I like the challenges that presents. And people relaxed around my iPhone. A larger camera immediately put them on 'high alert', so to speak.

Moose is right about the Oly 14-150, which I already own. In fact, I'd have a hard time going for the new Sony RX-10 when I could buy a refurbished (with warranty) E-M5 body for about $700 and mount that lens on it.

Re: iPhone cameras: They're not bad in a pinch. But, just today, Ray Davies of the Kinks was being interviewed where I work. I took a quick iPhone snap of Davies with a friend and colleague and the iPhone decided not to fire flash and, instead, use natural light at 1/15th of a second at full aperture (f/2.4).

The resulting shot was okay as a simple snapshot but won't hold up well at any size larger than 8x10 (5x7 would be better) or with any kind of cropping. Noise is fairly obvious and there is minor motion blur. And I didn't have a chance for a second shot. That's why I don't use camera phones on a regular basis.

And to think I normally toss a Fuji XF1 into my bag but left it home today makes me crazy.

Yes, he is using a mobile phone but as a pro photographer he knows he has to carry at least one back up camera - grin

Just sending an email...

It's still possible to take night pictures using a slow legacy film lens and a low ISO capable digital camera. Provided your camera is firmly locked down on a tripod and you're aiming at a light source. No problems about blocked shadows or foreground/ background bokeh here (g).

Taken with an aging GXR-M and an adapted 50-yr old Pentax M42 screwmount Tele-Takumar 200mm f/5.6 Preset. Certainly not a noct lens nor a vampirish digicam.


I'm complaining because my camera won't shoot BELOW asa 200!

Janne said (re ISO) Because shortly beyond that lies the financial limit for the manufacturers to improve it.

Not so sure - manufacturers love numbers as they're easy to market. How many people really needed more than 6 - 8mp? But, raising the mp count was a great marketing technique. Of course now people have perhaps begun to realise that there is a cost associated with high mp (file size, computer performance, storage etc.), so diminishing returns in sales has certainly come into play.

Increasing the ISO value still further may not have much practical value (personally I tend not to go above 1600) but it is a number which manufacturers can use to compete for sales - and unlike mp, there's no real additional cost to the end user - if you don't want it, it won't eat anything.

As a working news photographer one part of the drill to send back a quick iPhone shot of the scene of a breaking news story to use on the web.

My guess it that's what the fellow on the bridge is doing.

My phone's drive is a weird collection of grandchildren, family gatherings, standoffs, fires, car accidents and ribbon cuttings.

That's the world we live in now.

I actually had been thinking of this all lately, in separate situations.

One, my eldest niece is wanting to get into photography, and I am wanting to set her up, as I was when I was her age (a Fujica AX-3, with Fujinon 50mm f1.6, and a Tamron 80-200, if I remember correctly) on which I learned photography on, and have always said I would do to someone who really wanted to learn photography - all manual, prime lenses, etc. So, have been thinking of what to get for her.

Second, is wanting to update a couple of my prime lenses (35mm to a 24mm, and 85mm to once again a beautiful nifty fifty)... and naturally I had been looking into getting the fastest lens possible, as I am a lover of natural light photography...

Then it dawned on me, I am a digital guy now, with my trusty D700... and my thinking that digital, being able to, in camera, simply change the ISO to whatever is needed to attain the handheld shooting that I need/want, as opposed to the days of yore and film photography, you were hobbled by the film roll's ISO you had in the camera at the time, unless you were one of those who changed and popped in and out rolls mid-roll.

Does it really matter if one has a "fast" lens anymore? Right now, I don't have a lens slower than f2., and I scoff at getting any lens that is over f2.8, but is that really just old thinking nowadays?

I am honestly asking. I would be curious what others think. Should nowadays, just a lens' image quality be really the only thing one should be shopping for, and not the size of it's aperture? Is lens speed really an antiquated thing to think about? I am also one who goes absolutely gaga over lovely bokeh, so aside from also that at wide open, fast apertures, is there any viable reason to getting a lens faster than say a f2.8? An f4?

"I am honestly asking. I would be curious what others think. Should nowadays, just a lens' image quality be really the only thing one should be shopping for, and not the size of it's aperture? Is lens speed really an antiquated thing to think about? I am also one who goes absolutely gaga over lovely bokeh, so aside from also that at wide open, fast apertures, is there any viable reason to getting a lens faster than say a f2.8? An f4?"

It's not that fast apertures aren't a factor anymore, but that the trade-offs are quite different with digital.

The big thing that makes a difference to many is DOF. People who want to use shallow DOF for various reasons still need really fast lenses, perhaps unless they are darkroom mavens.

Personally, I'm almost always looking for more DOF, not less. As I now primarily shoot with cameras with EVF or LCD viewing, additional speed for view/focus in an optical finder is also not necessary.

As to bokeh, I've found that different folks have different ideas of what's good. My definition is creamy smooth edge transitions with bright spots having a bright, soft center slowly dimming toward an undefined edge.

If that's what you like, you may well find that older, fast primes shot fairly wide open please you more than newer and/or slower primes and slowish zooms. The newer glass and aspheric elements that allow many amazing lens capabilities also are more likely to result in busy, hard edged bokeh.

Obviously, this will vary with individual lens. Perhaps less obviously, it can vary quite a bit with the relationship between subject and fore/background distances. In the case of zooms, different focal length settings may have also different bokeh characteristics.

I'm a patient and skilled user of PS, where nasty bokeh may become much nicer. I'd rather have it nice out of the camera, but it's not srictly necessary.

Another thing to consider is that, no matter how noise free and good in DR, high ISO images tend to 'look' different than low ISO on the same camera. It's easy enough with any particular camera to learn what you prefer.

I shoot µ4/3, mostly Olympus E-M5 and E-PM2, mostly with 12-50/3.5-6.3 and 75-100/4.8-6.7, so I obviously embrace slower lenses and higher ISOs. I like to stay at ISO 3200 or less with these cameras. I do carry a Panny 40/1.7 for those really dark circumstances, where it does a great job.

I also have the Oly 60/2.8 macro for its almost astonishing sharpness/ detail capture, but would be just as happy if it were f4. BTW, its bokeh at macro distances is dreamy.

With film, I used the fastest lenses I could afford to buy and stand to carry. Contemporary digital cameras have almost entirely freed me of that need.


Thanks, Moose, for your thoughts and time.

I was already thinking that the one real argument to slower aperture speeds, would be the bokeh/depth of field hit that I mentioned (though I only referred to it as bokeh, though, conceding, that they are actually two different things, I was meaning both).

For me, personally, it doesn't really matter, as I am a prime lens man, myself, and slower aperture speeds are not commonplace in them, unless getting into the telephoto area (which makes me have to amend my original comment, where I stated I have no lens over f2., that is incorrect... I totally spaced my 300mm f4). And the lenses I am really interested in, are all wide to normal, to low end telephoto (24 - 105mm area), and hard pressed to find any of them above f2.8, if even that slow. It would just come into play for me, in cases of a f1.4 to a f1.8, and it really being necessary to get an f1.4, like it would really make any difference in the light gathering sense, again coupled with today's digital cameras. And where I would just be interested in which did produce the best image quality only.

The only area this all would come into play, is in that camera setup I am planning to get my niece, and my, to my actual shame, thinking of abandoning my really wanting her to learn photography and getting her only prime lenses, and instead pick her up a couple zooms, in the normal like 24/35mm - 70mm, and 70-200mm. Where, like the kit lenses that come available with, are the slower, non-fixed, f3.5 - f5.6 area type lenses. As, I am not Mr. Money Bags and can't really afford to set her up as much as I idealistically would want.

And, I guess, was more trying to find some justification, to sate myself in possibly making these said like purchases, that somehow slower aperture speeds are really okay, given today's digital cameras.

Bottom line, I will just have to think of the most economical way setup* for her, that also I can sleep with, as a lover of photography, and my wanting her to genuinely learn of it.

* (using a Mike asterisk to denote an aside :-D) Knowing that a film camera would be the more economical way - for me, is not an option, I don't want to do that to her, and want to get her a digital camera.

Anyway, it's early in the morning, and I babble a lot when I am not fully awake yet to think and speak coherently, so am going to stop now. Thank you again, for your time and thoughts.

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