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Thursday, 25 October 2018


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Your 100% image certainly shows me enough to prove I can't afford the house :-) Seriously, you make a strong case that small sensors and a small number of pixels can still accomplish a lot. Perhaps the biggest argument for FF is that the individual pixels can be larger and capture more photons. That is more important perhaps than having more pixels.

About the trees: I see the same thing in the Adirondacks, turnouts meant to view the surrounding landscape that have become isolated by the growth of trees. I have mixed feelings over it. On one hand, the forests were overcut in the past. The view spots were established back then. On the other, there ought to be some balance between reforestation and the ability to see the land around us.

10-11MP is roughly equivalent to 35mm film and in a world where 99.99% (or more) of photos are never printed and are only ever displayed at 640-1024 pixels on the long side, it is no wonder that the MP wars have mostly topped out. The only real need for more for most people is to do what you did, crop a decent image out of one you didn't have a long enough lens for.

Nice shot. I like the layers and the dash of red which reminded me of your red chair. I too have a 20MP sensor (6D) and enjoy the freedom of being able to crop to such a degree. I can’t say the same for my phone camera though.

I witnessed a pack (4) of raptors pursuing and killing a small bird on my morning walk the other day and when I tried to crop my phone shots to confirm the hawk species, I ended up with an image that looked like surveillance footage from an old Hawaii Five-0 episode. I texted my crappy images to a Falconer friend who confirmed they were Coopers Hawks…which is odd. The Harris Hawk is typically the only American raptor to hunt in packs. My friend theorized that the Coopers were a family unit (Training hunt?) and that the adults may have had a double clutch due to the wet season that’s just passed. She rehabs and flies raptors and currently flies a Harris so I’m gonna take her word for it.

The poor little prey bird tried a slick maneuver is his attempted escape. He flew through a chain link fence with a weave that looked a little bigger than the norm. This stopped his immediate pursuer but one of the trailing hawks swooped over the fence and hit him from above, pinning him to the ground. It was not his day and I was left standing there wishing for my EF 100-400. The camera I had with me was not the tool for the job on this day.

I second your feeling about that sensor. I have it with my GX8 and my new G9 as well as my Pen-F which resides in my vacation home. I think that Panasonic does a better job with the color, to my eye and preference.

I do not print big. I have a 17” P800 printer and rarely go that big. I do not shoot sports, birds in flight or in low light. For my use, this eliminates any desire for FF. I have come to prefer the evf in my Lumices to any ovf I have seen.

I am sure that they will improve this sensor someday but I can wait a long time and not feel a need for it.

Curiously - well maybe not very - what you describe is what might in German be called an Alp - a high mountain pasture. Although generally a lot higher than this one. The curious fact is how in general people know the "Alps" as the mountains themselves. LIke all twists of language this one is a bit complicated - collectively Alps, or Alpen in the German does mean mountains although the origination is from long ago, pre-Roman probably. In the Alpine countries there is an annual ritual, or practicality really, when the livestock are driven up to these high pastures to pass the summer.


Aplogies for the digression...

[You're apologizing to ME for a digression?!? :-) --Mike]

The bottom part - at least in the jpg you have posted - seems a little dim to me. I assume you wanted it to be significantly darker than the upper part, but on screen I have to look carefully to see much. Just my take... I really like the picture!

I, too, love the landscapes of the Finger Lakes and have spent many happy days photographing there. One of my favorite places in the world.
Here's a tip; if you want to put those meadows in your compositions, take the higher roads. When's the last time you went out to the end of the Bluff? Past the Garrett Chapel and the Wagner mansion, or up above Esperanza. Beautiful places to be even if you don't find photographs...

Hang on - you can't be serious: "too many trees"? Are you proposing cutting down trees (which provide habitat, prevent erosion, etc etc) so that people can have a view? Really?

[I'm not suggesting deforesting the planet. I just want to be able to see the lake every now and again.

I think James Bullard has it about right in the first part of his comment. --Mike]

"Truckers use the turnouts to take a break, but they're not much use to anyone else."--I am sure these trees do their share of fixing some carbon dioxide off the atmosphere. On this same topic, I just returned from a trip to Tibet, where I saw a massively organized effort to plant hundreds of thousands of trees on what is now mostly arid high desert with a few rivers running through. It is possible that a few hundred years ago these places did have more trees, now lost due to human population pressure. The government, however, has been organizing schools and other social institutions to plant trees in this region for the past several years now. It seems to be working.

You want more tourists and fewer trees? Wow! Your sleep troubles must be worse than you communicated previously.

[Well, what I want are a few good views here and there...what's good for the tourists is just the only objective that might motivate local officials, that's all. --Mike]

Got the same problem here in the lower Hudson Valley, either too many trees or too many houses, blocking views and access to great photo opportunities. The mighty Hudson is often blocked by them, or by train tracks. If I want open views, I’d have to drive north or northwest, where you can still find some farms.

I won’t even start about the ridiculous American habit of allowing private ocean beach access and ownership. That really gets me riled up...

For me , I long for roads well back from shores whether by the sea or on a lake / loch / lough.

Then small paths down to the shore. Suddenly there are little coves, peace and quiet, the noise of cars hopefully receding into the distance.

Oddly I would hope you get the tourists but they are less noticeable ...even to themselves and the shore can keep its magic.

Fanciful probably.

I'm beginning to think that you have it in for trees...

Re: your love affair with the Sony 20-MP Micro 4/3 sensor, I second what you've said and shown here (in my case it's in an Olympus E-M1 Mk. II.) It really does punch above its weight. I've found that I routinely have to view files at 200% magnification if I want to determine how detailed they are. That's never happened to me before with any camera. Must be there's some sorcery going on over at Olympus too...

You need a really good storm. The Great Storm of 1987 felled an estimated 15 million trees across southern England in the space of a night. This did indeed have the effect of opening up vistas that had been blocked and forgotten. Of course, it also pulled down power lines, demolished houses, crushed cars, and blocked roads and railway lines, etc, etc.

I see you're taking heat for your violent anti-tree stance. [Sarcasm alert.] Let me tell you, I used to live on a bluff above Lake St. Croix, the waterway that separates Wisconsin from Minnesota for a good part of their respective borders. There are few people more deeply committed to environmentalism than I, but there are a few. On the St. Croix, you're not allowed to cut down trees closer than a certain distance from the river, whether you own the land or not. I can't remember -- I don't live there any more -- but it seems like it was 50 feet. The idea was to return the banks to "nature." The banks are returned to nature mostly with red cedars, an invasive tree that never grew there until the last couple of decades, and a tree that's done a lot of damage as one of the co-hosts of cedar-apple rust. But -- there was (probably still is) a designated employee of the DNR who rode down the river in a boat every fall, taking photos, and god help you if you got caught having cut down a tree. The peak of absurdity came when a small town down the river appointed a guy to monitor the cutting of foliage within fifty feet of the river, and he ticketed a guy who was mowing his lawn...The upshot of all this was that if you spent large bucks to buy a house with a view over the lake, within a few years, you couldn't see the lake. So, people cut illegally. Not big trees that the woman with the camera could see, but everything that might get big someday. And, every once in a while, a big tree would vanish. You know, storm damage from that big line storm that came through in, uh, let's see, June? The other odd thing about this is that the lake is very scenic, much like they are in the finger lakes, and has tourist boats the go up and down the river. One thing the tourists like to see is the great houses on the river -- now invisible because the red cedars, not a particularly interesting tree, I have to say.

My wife used to like to walk along the waterline, and one day found an odd-looking clam shell. She called up the state clam guy (there was one, of course, this being MInnesota) who identified it for her, then informed her that collecting clam shells is a federal felony. Honest to God -- it is. Even shells of long-dead clams found on sand bars. So beware, all you clam shell felons.

I'm an environmentalist through-and-through, but some of my fellow ecos can drive me up the wall.

Back when, I made several prints of buildings for a friends who was selling them and wanted them framed on the walls of his office. At that time my main camera was a Canon 10D (or was it D10 -can´t remember now) with 6MP. The prints were in the range of 1.2 metres or so on the long side. I remeber I interpolated them by a factor of at least 2, and you could see the individual pixels if you looked closely, but on the walls from a normal viewing distance they looked fine.

I think you should lighten the buildings in shadow and tweak the color temperature a bit. Our eyes compensate don't see that shade always that blue. It will make the detail of the buildings pop a bit more and add more visual interest to the bottom edge of your nice image.

I think the quality of recent crop sensor cameras is flat-out amazing and the same can be said for 1-inch sensor cameras.

I fail to see why this is true: ". . . I straightened the horizon, which threw away a few more pixels".

I would have thought that straightening _in this case_ would result in showing a few new pixels and not showing some originally shown pixels - but not showing less pixels. You had already cropped the picture and the straightened cropped picture contained as many pixels as the unstraightened one - but not 100% the same ones.

Pixels would have been lost by straightening the horizon if straightening had necessitated (automatic) cropping. This was not the case.

[Sorry. All I meant was that in the outer boundaries of the second illustration you're not seeing quite the full frame of the image. So if I had shown the second illustration with every last pixel left in, the crop area would have been relatively slightly smaller than it appears in the illustration.

And of course the 100% view would look the same whether the image was cropped or not; my comments about the amount of detail refer to the cropped image. --Mike]

Addition: Oh yes, I assumed that you straighted before you cropped. If you cropped and then straightened, then you may have lost pixels. Not however if you use Capture One. C1 straightens cropped pictures using the full original picture file. After straightening it crops to the size of the original crop, but uses pixels outside the original crop to get maximum quality straight crops.

You keep forcing me to consider a YI-M1 as an option. Please stop that.

Whilst I understand the loss of views as a photographer, we do need to stop chopping down our woodlands and perhaps even plant more.

Trees blocking the view? Sounds like someone needs a drone.

A bit off the topics of sensors and cropping, this photo and the one in a previous tread remind us all that you live in a place with beautiful fall light that is clear, soft (at least in the late afternoons), and warm. After spending all day in an office, these are quite refreshing. Thank you.

Sometimes you can have too many trees, Here in Singapore the parks people and the planners are proud of having planted trees pretty down every street of any significance and around every major building. Visitors love it. So 'clean and green'. But it makes it very difficult to get decent photographs of many of the major streetscapes and buildings, including some that ought to be tourist 'icons'.

Just removing one or two trees that block views over the city from high high vantage points can be a good move, without materially reducing the tree cover.

interesting discussion. many years ago Norman Koren a usa based scientist wrote a paper where he concluded that 6MP was equivalent to the resolution of a 35mm film camera. this was in the days when Nikon D100 and Canon D30 and D60 were around. i myself have used a Nikon D100 for 12 years and made prints 30x20 inches that were excellent even by todays standards. you can read Norman's article by clicking on the link below.


Continuing the digression on alps, which exist also in French, give or take an e:
"Attesté dès 1405. Du latin alpes de même sens. Supposé du radical pré-indo-européen *alp- signifiant « montagne », « hauteur ».

So it would seem that the original meaning is mountain, from which the others derive. There is also "alpage", as in German, ie the high summer grazing areas. The Swiss then add "alper", the verb for "climbing to the alpages"... the logic is parallel to "mount" in English or "monter" in French. It's less clear how we got "ascend" and "descend", and why the French, after giving "ascendre" to the anglophones decided to purge it from their own language except in the religious context of "ascension"... but kept "descendre".

Tim Auger is an authority on trees in Singapore, having written a book about it. Singapore is indeed very green, but aside for the scrupulous care the city fathers take to keep it that way, it has a considerable advantage in being in the tropical rain-forest zone. Trees, like Topsy, just grow, despite one of the world's highest densities of population and high-rises. More effort is put into pruning the trees that line the roadsides (sometimes excessively, to my untutored eye) than into making them grow.

I love the Finger Lakes, where I used to live almost four decades ago, and have visited in recent years, precisely for those vistas of meadows over the lakes, and for the way the scurrying clouds play with the light.

Tom Bell: "For me , I long for roads well back from shores whether by the sea or on a lake / loch / lough.

Then small paths down to the shore. Suddenly there are little coves, peace and quiet, the noise of cars hopefully receding into the distance."

Beautiful. Poetic. Struck a chord somewhere inside me.

That could easily be a photo of a South Devon UK estuary https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.6480139,-3.4319746,3a,15y,268.24h,90.94t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1smwlovkdUPD8CegHVZoLEnw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo3.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DmwlovkdUPD8CegHVZoLEnw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D193.41489%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656

Interesting that some folks say trees block the view, and others say trees ARE the view. We go to the woods more than the coast although both are equi-distant.

Nice to see you didn't blow-out the white clouds.

Regarding Marc Lankhorst comment, when the Avengers movie came out in 1998 (the one about the british detectives, not the superhero movie) a movie theater printed two giant pictures, like 10 meters tall or something: one with the cast from the movie (Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes) and one with the actors from de 60s (Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and challenged people to tell them apart. Everyone thought they where the same actors.

Mark Lankhorst's comment about the 18MP resolution reminds me of something I read when 4/3 was launched, according to Olympus at the time, they said their research showed 4/3 would be able to scale up to 20MP as a system between sensor resolution and lenses. Of course, I can't recall where I read it (possibly an article at DPReview, but mists of time and aging brain...) This at a time when there was criticism because 4/3, at 5MP was too small compared to APS-C at 6MP. Sure, that's ~15% fewer pixels, but when cropping to standard paper sizes the difference became much smaller.

I also recall that the 4/3 spec specifically refers to the image circle diamater and not any aspect ratio. Where's my 1:1 using the whole circle?


Hah, I just went to a presentation on climate change activism and the presenter said one way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere is to plant lots of trees. He said an average of 100 trees planted for every person on earth should about do it.

about making large prints from smaller megapixel cameras I use Alien Skin BlowUP and another newer program Gigapixel by Topaz labs....results are astounding.

If You search you will find recommended resolution foe Billboards,
(often 10 x 40 feet) from 10PPI to 15-25 PPI, the highest recommendation I saw was 30PPI.
40 Feet = 480" at 10PI thats 4800 Pixels of horizontal resolution
At 25 PPI its 12,000 pixels of Horizontal resolution
All doable by many cameras with some up-rezzing.
And photographic content often does not cover the entire billboard.

However, billboards sort of have an enforced minimum viewing distance, that's not at all true for large prints for display. People tend to walk very close to large prints.
There is also a trend in many Museums toward really low levels of illumination (which I personally dislike) that causes folks to get even closer.
It also depends a bit on the content of the photographs, those with more small details seem to invite closer examination, whereas something like a portrait printed large seems to be more comfortably viewed from further away.
I think detail in pictures is increasing 'because we Can' . It is very easy to use detail as a spurious metric of quality. But there are also fine pictures that benefit from it.

A friend's 90 something mother named Hazel once questioned the viability of a "scenic view" along the Yukon Territorial Highway leading into Dawson. She pointed out that the trees had grown up too much to see whatever it was the sign announced was "scenic" from the pull out. Probably the Yukon River.

Since hearing of this my wife and I have coined the phrase, "a Hazel" for those so-called scenic pull outs. It's been 25 years since I roamed around the Finger Lakes, but it seems they have now been Hazeled to a large extent.

Re: Marc Lankhorst's comment …

The Truth About Digital Cameras

"Only one person correctly ranked the prints in megapixel order, although (a) she was a photography professor, and (b) I believe she just got lucky."


People are always talking about viewing prints from a distance but most people in a room will view a print from various distances and if your image is over-enlarged, it will suffer, imo. Unless you rope off a section to prevent closer viewing, I think people will notice the softness.

Just my opinion.


This is off topic but The Online Photographer is mentioned on page 227 of John Camp’s new novel, Holy Ghost.

I really like your comment about how even the crop beats what you would have had on film, especially at that ISO.

I'm still using the 16 MP sensor in the original EM-1, which I "downgraded" to from an EM-5 II.

I really like the colour and noise structure (up to a certain point)... Almost more than the newer unit in the M-5 II. I've heard the M-1 may have used a Panasonic sensor, not Sony. So you know anything about that?

I've started become a late adopter of cameras now, giving it a few years for the firmware to catch up with the hardware. At this rate, I'll probably acquire one of the 20 megapixel m4/3 models sometime after 2020.

Thank you for the correction. And featuring my comment.

Great work you are doing.

For amusement and edification, a very early (1848), multi-panel, panorama, brought into the modern age, with a little help from the George Eastman House. Staggering amount of information in a 170 year old image.

FWIW, you can see the original at the Cincinnati Public Library.

Some background:

Online version, from the Cincinnati Public Library:

I would not be investing money in micro 4/3 simply for the noise issues, but also for the crop to aperture factor and if I was a betting man, I would bet manufacturers will be phasing out micro 4/3. Manufacturers will not tell you they are doing this for many reasons, but watch it happen.

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