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Friday, 14 August 2015


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The real issue with sensor size is less about image quality than it is about rendering. m4/3 don't look like 35mm and 35mm don't look like 120. Sensor/film size, focal length and depth of field effects are real. Whether or not these differences actually matter in your photography depends largely on how and what you shoot.

As someone who primarily shoots wide angle, I treat my m4/3 and full frame systems very differently. On m4/3 I spend a lot of the time stopped down, getting everything in focus. On my full frame I often shoot wide open, where I can get really nice depth of field rendering even with a 28mm lens.

Given the 2nd law of thermodynamics (AKA entropy) your explanation is the one that "seems right" to me although I well remember hearing about how fixer sank to the bottom.

Ah, Fred Picker. He dogmatically stated a lot of things but did not really understand the physics or engineering behind many of these pronouncements. I knew some photographers who called him Fred Pricker.

I think this phenomenon is particularly prevalent among highly intelligent people, who simply refuse to believe that anything they have reasoned out can not be true. It explains in part why smart people sometimes do such dumb things.

The fixer may not sink but put prints in a vertical washer and fill with water. Let sit overnight(no agitation) and do a resisual fixer test. You may well find the test reveals more fixer at the bottom than at the top.
Not sure why but it works more often than not.

[That can only happen in a poorly designed washer where the print cannot get any water flow at all on one side, usually because it sticks to the wall of the washer toward the bottom of the cell. Most of the innovation of the SaltHill washer, for instance, was that carefully designed jets held the print suspended in the middle of the cell, and aeration insured turbulence. —Mike]

Here here! on the four thirds comments. I am truly surprised that the same people don't complain how small Cannon's 1.6 sensor is to the huge Sony 1.5 sensor. This clearly must result in the Sony having better Dynamic range right? Also the Tinny Sigma APS-C 1.7 sensor must by why its high ISO is bad. Let just completely ignore all sensor makeups, physics and just look at size Right.
Funny how most will crop an APSC image to 8x10 and will through away any size difference between the Four thirds sensor and an APS-C!

In the school darkroom, we had a device that siphoned water from the bottom of the sink while fresh water trickled into the sink from the tap at the top. The idea was that it converted almost any sink into a print washer, but I was told that the idea was to ensure that water with fixer was flowing away while fresh came in. I don't remember anything about fixer being heavier than water. This was all a long time ago, so If I've got the details wrong I'm sure somebody here will let me know.

I haven't used a Nova print washer but I do have a Nova monochrome print processor, where the print drops into vertical slots with dev in one, then stop bath then fixer. A lid keeps the solutions fresh for days, whereas if you are using the usual tray system you have to fill the trays every time you want to print then clear it all away at the end. It is especially good if you are just making a print or two, or don't have much time to spare.

" In fact, 4/3 and APS-C are very close in size. People can’t tell which is which from looking at prints, except when the prints are pushed to extremes and the viewers are told what they’re looking at and know what telltales to look for."

I took some time comparing the studio sample images from DPR and IR for Oly OMDs and Fuji Xs. In the straightforward qualities of details resolved, noise, and so on, there just wasn't a clear winner. Each scored subtle points, neither could be called a winner.

On quality issues such as BH discusses and color rendering etc., they may differ, but not on the basics, which are all that is sensor size related.

"And of course many people defend digicams, the sensors of which generally really are much smaller, as being very usable under many conditions and very high quality if used within their limitations."

No one has yet noticed that one of the images in one of my latest books was taken with the miniscule sensor of my Panasonic XS40, at 720 mm eq., and cropped.

Base ISO, decent light conditions, work from the Raw file, decent post processing skills, and the results can be very good. I was only working to about 8x10, but clearly some image files will look good larger.

I see your point regarding m4/3 and APS-C, but the crop factor is a killer for some of us. Coming from 4x5" to 6x6cm was a professsion adjustment, but FF 35 to APS-C is about as low as I will go for serious shooting. How much real estate do you end up with if you have to move the walls?

Ah, Fred Picker. I went to his ZoneVI Workshop in 1978?, '79?. Sure he was an opinionated SOB but the experience was great. His staff were very talented (Allen McWeeny was one) and spent long hours just talking shop and life. In just a few words Fred could describe how to use the Zone System practically in a way Ansel Adams needed volumes for. I flat out left there a better working photographer. I left there so saturated with others images I barely short a frame or a sheet of film for a month. I also bought with my tax return that year his print washer. I still have that along with the film washer and several other darkroom tools. His timers that adjusted "time" based on actual temp were brilliant. The Cold Light head just made the greatest difference ever pin my print quality. It's very sad it is all in boxes and not in action.

I set up my first darkroom around 1973 and not long after that I bought a Kodak tray siphon. I still have the siphon somewhere around here although the darkrooms are all long gone. I used the siphon as my only print washer for many years. Using the tray siphon required constant monitoring of the prints and shuffling them around during the entire wash cycle. Years later I finally bought a Versalab archival washer. I would dump the prints from the hypo into an oversized tray using the tray siphon and let them rinse until the print session was over. Then I would set up the Versalab and give them the final wash. Sometime later I bought one of those residual hypo test kits. I checked prints washed in the Versalab against some washed 20+ years earlier using only the Kodak tray siphon. Saw no difference in residual hypo between the two wash methods on the prints I tested. The Versalab made the job faster and easier but the Kodak tray siphon appeared to actually wash just as well as long as careful monitoring of the prints was performed.

I often chuckle to myself, remembering the information I gleaned from photonet years ago when I religiously read and contributed to those forums. According to most of the forum advice I received when I was considering moving to digital, I am performing the impossible by actually making photographs with the equipment and methods I am now using. Happily, I no longer attempt to delve too deeply into photo forums or the technical minutiae of photography. I just take pictures.

On the subject of wrong thinking there was an interesting article on the BBC radio 4 program From Our Own Correspondent this morning ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b064x3h1 ) about the widespread belief in black magic in Tanzania and how this was going to affect the upcoming elections there. Made me think of this article and how many nonsensical (to me) things are believed in by apparently intelligent people .

All of these discussions are currently being moved to the basement of history as my iPhone can make a better picture than your Sony A7Rii if I'm a photographer that knows what they are doing and gets lucky. Today's phones and cameras are so good it seems almost pointless any more to discuss camera/lens ability. A basket of fruit seems to me.

[I don't agree. I shoot heavily with my iPhone 6+, and there are a significant number of occasions when the pictures are technically compromised with the iPhone and wouldn't have been my Fuji X-T1. See this post for a prime example: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2015/04/02/index.html

It works for washing film, too. Ilford worked out a system in 1976, when the UK had an extraordinarily rain-free year and water conservation was the order of the day. We had the same kind of winter in the Pacific Northwest in 1976-77, so I adopted the Ilford procedure and still use it - good idea, as another nasty El Nino is running and we will likely be a bit short on precip through fall 2016. For a two-reel tank, mix up a half-gallon of water. First cycle, 5 inversions of the tank and dump; second cycle, 10 inversions; third cycle, 20 inversions. Ilford says three cycles should do it, but I add one more of 40 inversions. Negs from 1976 on look fine (I still print some of them).

Another piece of conventional wisdom during my darkroom days was the idea that one had to place the grain magnifier on top of a sheet of print paper (rather than the easel itself) for accurate focus. I ascertained through my own tests that it made no difference, at least not at the enlarging lens apertures I was using, and in fact the grain in my prints was always pin-sharp. Nevertheless, I would often be chided for my "sloppy technique" by dogmatic observers.

Hypo is so heavy that it compresses all the fresh water to the BOTTOM of the wash tray therefore the only proper way to wash prints is to skim the water from the surface.
Everyone knows this ;)

I witnessed the birth of another "zombie idea".
Months ago, a photographer explained his dislike for the OM-D E-M1 stating that he could not use it for his very big, very detailed wall prints: at some shutter speeds, with some lenses, using it in continuous shooting mode, the camera suffered from non-avoidable shutter shock that ruined his work. All would be good, if this understandable critic has not evolved in this often repeated idea that I found on many forums: the E-M1 suffers from shutter shock and thus is completely unusable. Mind me, no one saying this has ever used the camera, and there are scores of pro photographers that use it for high level works without having probs. But you can still find this zombie shambling around...

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