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Friday, 26 May 2017


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I just gave my wife a Lumix G85 with the 12-60 kit zoom. She is loving it so far. IBIS plus OIS in the lens, working as a team. (She is more of a "studied" photographer than I, and notices aspects of the photographic process that I would barely recognize). B&H gives you 30 day return window. If you price the body and lens separately, you'll see what a great deal the kit is. (Also see Kirk Tuck's series of posts on it. I blame them on causing me to violate my "no more new cameras" resolution).

Wait for the A7iii and then look for good prices on the A7ii.

Re the Panasonic, if you think something is wrong with it, try to document examples and send it to Panasonic for service.
Could it be that you just prefer the sensor in your Fiji?

Re being changed by your new location and the convenience of the iPhone,
That's completely understandable.
You are simply responding to your new location, and to the piece of technology that is changing the way we do things, the iPhone
A marvelous device with which , if you are careful can yield results that will make beautiful smallish prints
But frankly if I get something good, I always end up happy I got it but wishing I had used a bigger sensor camera.

Re the Sony, frankly it think it's the right camera for you in your current circumstances. You need ibis, your photography has turned toward landscape.
In the real world , you can't control brightness range, sometimes you need to dig out shadows, and sometimes you need to crop,--all things where FF provides an advantage. Why not avail yourself of those advantages.
Things like that help you pick up pictures at the margins.
This is not to say other formats can't do it, for the most part they certainly can . It's about giving the kind of photography you do every advantage.
If you shot like Gordon Lewis, I wouldn't make this argument, because a smaller camera would provide advantages.
That's my take, use the best tool for the job at hand.

I think I'm beginning to see one of your particular ways of seeing. Photos -- and paintings -- can prosper by offering a switch of interpretation, not necessarily as sharp as the duck/rabbit switch, but something analogous, back and forth, back and forth. The bird on the wire gives tiny-detail/vast-space, tiny-detail/vast-space.

And it switches back and forth to Leonard Cohen as well. Punning synaesthesia.

A GR is just slightly thicker than an iPhone, smaller all around than the large one and produces magnificent 16in prints- a size I've become completely enamored of...

I just got an Olympus Pen-F for the IBIS. The image quality is not up to the level of the Fuji's, but it's pretty good, makes really nice jpeg's, and it's fun to shoot with. For the iPhone, try the Cortex Camera app. It might surprise you.

If you are anything like me you will both love and hate the A7ii. The sensor yields beautiful images. The camera is just right in my hands. The finder is good. Almost everything is perfect until you actuate the shutter and hear the "KLACK." I persist in spite of the noise because I like the camera so much but I would prefer to shoot everything with either the A7rii (because its shutter is nicer) or just default to the Panasonic G85 which has an absolutely delightful shutter that may be the best (in terms of noise character) that I have ever experienced.

Sadly, because of the noise, I can't use the A7ii as a second camera body when I shoot theater productions. It's just too loud. "Sniff." Tear drops to the floor....

Last week I was visiting my family in NYC and took a recently acquired 600mm Vivitar solid cat lens to B & H to try it on the Sony a7II. I was able to hand hold it at 1/20 of a second and get no detectable motion blur. I was quite impressed.

"Keuka in the Rain" is gorgeous, and wins the coveted Gee-I-Wish-I'd-Taken-That-One Award.

[Thanks! --Mike]

Your experience with the GX8 has given me a timely reminder me that buying used cameras can be something of a lottery. I once bought a used Ricoh GR ('film camera'), having heard how reliable they were. Shortly after the 6 month guaruntee period elapsed it developed a fault that a repairer couldn't fix.

I've recently had a problem with the rear dial on a GX7 which I bought new when the model was being discontinued. Fortunately this has been speedily fixed under a 2 year warranty.

U.K. Digital told me that Panasonic are one of the more reliable makers, so it seems you've been unlucky with your GX8. I hope you manage to make friends with it -partly, I have to admit, for the selfish reason that I was looking forward to hearing about your adventures with it.

It's wise to experiment with the A7II before you buy one. That was my mistake, I had a Olympus E-M5 and loved the IBIS. Sold it to get the A7II thinking I would get both better IQ and about the same IBIS. I was wrong: in my experience (or my camera sample) the Sony IBIS is almost like a placebo in the sense sometimes one doubts it's making anything. I made some tests and confirmed that I only gained 1 stop in the best scenarios but mostly half a stop with IBIS on, hardly worth it. A shame since I really anted it to work, full-frame with Oly level IBIS would be a dream.

I am becoming more and more fond of my iPhone camera. It has some profound limitations, fixed lens, noisy low light performance and it's not particularly quick. Still if you take it for what it is you can get some interesting images. I suppose that would apply to a D810 or a Dearforff too.
TOP readers may find this old hat but it's new to me so I feel the need to share. Here are a few apps that are on my phone that I really like.




ProCam gives you pretty extensive manual control of your camera and if you have the latest OS you can extract RAW files too. It will also allow you to use your headphones as a cable release.
The I got pocket light meter because they no longer make batteries for my Weston Ranger 9 and I need a light meter from time to time. It is also a tolerable color temp meter and that's cool too.
SkyView is not a photo app but if you live in a place with dark skies it is a real treat.
My son tells me that there is also a nice Lightroom App which allows you to sync your phone with a Adobe cloud account so you can go home and open your iPhone shots on a desktop without much fuss. I don't mind fuss so I haven't tried it yet.

24MP is so pedestrian -- the magic land screams for resolution! a7R II or find a way to make the K-1 work (which, btw, has an e-shutter option in LV that allows for handheld images as sharp as you can get with mirrorless). Whatever you decide, best of luck and I look forward to seeing more images like Keuka.

PS - I hope you're using raw with the iPhone, it makes a tremendous difference in latitude. VSCO is free and can shoot DNG-only straight to your camera roll, it's quite painless.

"...What do you think?"

I think it should look like this. Well, not exactly; a working GX8 should do better than this PS hack.

There's also a bright line/halo along the tree line. And a lot of noise overall.
I'm not sure it's the right camera for this area, which seems to call for more horsepower . . .

This mystifies me a little. What sort of horsepower do you need? You are publishing technically weak iPhone images here. A GX8 would be far better.

. . . a Nikon 1 would be better, or the toy Pentax, any number of P&Ss, including those like the Panny ZX50 that I use for casual outings, which has an actual EVF.

Take that shot with a GM1 with 14/2.5 and you get the same view, with far, far better IQ. That combo is much smaller in length and width than the 7s, albeit much thicker. Actually a much better fit in my jacket pockets.

Had you taken Keuka in the Rain, with any 20 MP µ4/3 camera, you would have an image you could print beautifully to at least 16x20. I've got beautiful landscape 16x20s from the 16 MP E-M5 II.

[Well, two things. One, I'm trying to review the iPhone 7 camera, which means I have to use it. And two, I didn't mean to be out photographing—I was on my way home from a meeting, and got stopped in my tracks—literally—by the beauty of the light. After stopping to take one picture, I got going, and photographed on till almost dark. Yes, I would have loved to have an E-M5II along, but I...didn't. --Mike]

". . . thinking I would get both better IQ and about the same IBIS. I was wrong: in my experience (or my camera sample) the Sony IBIS is almost like a placebo in the sense sometimes one doubts it's making anything. I made some tests and confirmed that I only gained 1 stop in the best scenarios but mostly half a stop with IBIS on, hardly worth it."

It's physics and the relationship between linear dimensions and area. Making the possibly unwarrented assumption that the two sensors weigh about the same per area, the FF would weigh four times as much.

Then, for the same amount of correction at the same AoV, that heavier sensor has to be moved twice as far. Accelerating 4x the mass and then stopping it over twice the distance, in the same time, is more than 8x the work. A proper engineer, not me, could tell you what that amounts to.

To match the performance of the E-M5, let alone the better E-M5 II or even better yet E-M1 II, would require really big, powerful movement hardware. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole camera shook.

I've made this suggestion to friends who find the idea of FF with IBIS seductive. Sorry you found out the hard way.

Your bird on a wire pic spurs me to mention that Masahisa Fukase's "Ravens" which has been out of print for years and which commands quite a high price on second hand markets is back in print thanks to Mack publishing. Ravens is mostly bleak dark grainy photos of ravens and a small Japanese village photographed by Fukase after his wife and muse left him. It surely has to go down as one of the emotionally depressing photo books of all time. It is widely considered a master piece and one of the great photo books.. You might make a small mention of this in a post with a link to Amazon, many of your readers should enjoy owning a copy. I'm lucky enough to own an earlier version and recently got to see a large number of prints of images from the book at London's fantastic photography only gallery the Michael Hoppen Gallery which anyone visiting London should visit.

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