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Tuesday, 27 August 2019


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I have the utmost respect for formal family portrait photographers. Their job is probably the least financially rewarding and most stressful of photographic occupations that involve people. I salute you Larry!

Once upon a time in the last century I had a portrait studio. I was doing a family portrait and a toddler was being uncooperative. So his father spanked him. Very helpful...

"The Most Desirable Camera on the Planet..." I laughed so hard coffee almost came shooting out of my nose. A fixed lens, point and shoot with a wide angle lens permanently stuck to the front? Now, if Leica has made this camera with a nice 50mm instead, then you would have sucked me into believing your obvious hyperbole. But a 28mm? That's a focal length for people who just can't make up their minds about what should be in their photographs!

In regards towards digital photo resolution, it's like taking vitamins. Eat well, or photograph well, and the excess is just waste. :)

Can I confess that I was a little bit disappointed with that "deep dive" on BSI? It's a useful introductory primer, but it completely glosses over any of the limitations of BSI technology. Like nearly any other technology, it has pros and cons, and you pick the compromises that work for you.

Sony has been pushing full steam ahead with BSI sensors at all scales, which has shone a bright halo on the technology due to their general technical acumen. Note, though, that Sony sensors have always been great, even the FSI ones.

Other manufacturers don't think the compromises of BSI (like increased pixel crosstalk, dark current noise, and colour fidelity issues) are worth it. We don't know who manufactures the 47MP sensor in the Panasonic S1R, for example (my money would be on their TPSCo joint venture with TowerJazz), but it uses a "Smart FSI" sensor with waveguides to improve performance using the more conventional architecture.

This is an older study, but it seems like this more advanced FSI approach can yield higher quantum efficiency even than BSI can:


I guess my thoughts would be why would I pay almost $5,000 for what appears to be a fixed-lens camera, when for about a third of that price, I can get a Fuji X-Pro2, which will do pretty much everything the Q2 will do, and has the advantage that I can put any compatible lens on it.

Yes, the XPro2 is “only” APS-C, but these days, that’s good enough. Even 4/3 is good enough. Had some pics taken with my old 4/3 Olympus E-3 blown up to 16x20, and I’m amazed at how sharp the images still are..

So, I’ll pass on the Q2. On a cost/ benefit basis, the XPro2 works for me.

(P.S.: I do shoot Leica. Film only.)

I don't think the teething baby is the star of the Neumann's blog... what I find incredible is her outlandish ability to put exactly the same expression in all the pictures, like if the same head had been photoshopped over her body.

In case you still think you need yet more resolution, ...

Claude Monet would agree.

From the Instant video - Edwin H. Land said: Don't do anything anyone else can do. Great advice, something everyone should hear.

#About art. Pointillist painting doesn't look like Lino Block printing or Pen & Ink Drawing. But they do have one thing in common—no fine detail required.

As a Blitzmeister, BSI has nothing to offer me, when using an ILC. To improve the Dynamic Range I just crank-up the watt-seconds on the fill. Otoh BSI is just another part of phone-photography—along with all the computational buzz-algorithms 8-)

In reference to the Q2, I think the problem is not so much pixel peeping but "rendering obsession." If you spend some time on the Fuji GFX forum, you will see that people adapt all sorts of lenses to fit the GFX to make use of the rendering of such lenses on the large sensor. The GFX crowd is less obsessed with absolute resolution (well, some of them, others already upgraded to the GFX100s, hahaha).
As you know, a 28mm cropped to 50mm will not look the same as a 50mm used on the same full-frame sensor, and that's the rub for people like me.

"A recent TV show called Stranger Things .... I don't own a TV, but I bet I'd like it."

What a quaint notion! :-) Video content does not discriminate based upon screen size. It is a Netflix show and can be streamed on any size screen.

For phones, tablets, and TVs you just need the Netflix app. For laptop and desktop computers, just visit the Netflix site in a browser. Of course you also need a Netflix subscription. You can subscribe, binge watch all of the episodes, and then cancel the subscription if you want.

I would guess that more people watch this show on phones, tablets, and laptops combined than on TVs. They're all just screens and can all access the same streaming-video content.

My pre-Q2 camera was a 6x6 cm Superikonta w. Tessar 75mm/3.5, and...
... with the super-high-res 50 ASA b/w film it was also my "thing" to take small segments of larger captures and print them as pictures in their own right - even quite large.

Perhaps this long time with first 35mm Tri-X and then low-res sensors has kind of made many forget such simple things...

The Polaroid video and Land's vision were simply incredible. I would like to ask you, Mike, where do see photography going in the future? Perhaps other readers of TOP might like to share their thoughts on this as well.


"As you know, a 28mm cropped to 50mm will not look the same as a 50mm used on the same full-frame sensor, and that's the rub for people like me."


That family portrait hurts my eyes with its painful sharpness/clarity. I'll put it down to JPEG export settings as I really hope the full size original print (if there is one) is not quite so over the top. It's enough to give digital a bad name.

My reaction to the 100 Strangers... its such a tiny slice (age and style-wise) of who is out there on the streets. Maybe the photographer only feels comfortable approaching this slice?

The Metro (underground, subway, tube) is one of Moscow's most spectacular feats of urban engineering, social planning and metropolitan transport design. Is there a better subway system anywhere else in the world? We doubt it. On one of our days in Moscow last year we spent much of the day underground, marvelling at the beauty and cleanliness of the stations, many of which date back to the 1930s, and the incredible efficiency that enables trains to arrive every 90 seconds in the main stations and the system as a whole to carry more than 7 million passengers every day. 

But the system holds within it a dark contradiction, as did the Soviet Union as a whole. Comrade Stalin is responsible for initiating the Metro in the early 1930s and decreeing that the underground stations should be "palaces for the people", places where on their daily commutes workers could escape the drudgery of factory labour and luxuriate in spectacular art, some of which we display in the photos here. Yet, Stalin was also the leader responsible for 'The Great Terror', a time of horror (August 1937-November 1938) during which under his direct orders as many as 1.7 million fellow citizens were arrested and 700,000 executed. Some of the Metro's most beautiful stations were built while much of the population lived in fear.

Today we can appreciate the art and design without looking over our shoulders.

We blogged about this marvel in 3 posts in TheSmallestSuitcase, here:
Moscow Metro Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Inspired by C. Herwig’s first book on Soviet bus stops we were delighted to find so many still standing in Kyrgyzstan when we travelled there a few years ago. Kyrgyzstan, much poorer than neighbouring Uzbekistan, has “preserved” its Soviet-era bus stops through neglect. The Uzbeks simply knocked down many of theirs and replaced them with uninteresting modern structures. We wrote a blog post with a few of our favourites here:

I counted only 18 males in Ian’s 100 portraits of strangers. I wonder if men are less likely to agree to having their portrait taken or if Iain prefers taking portraits of women. Not casting aspersions, just curious.

Q2 popularity ?

All down to that red dot, i.m.h.o.

if anyone gets the chance, a visit to Moscow is an incredible thing and highly recommended. I had the pleasure of working there many times over the years, and loved every minute. Relating to Christopher Herwig - the metro stations (I've only visited Moscow) are simply incredible - truly like cathedrals. I found that these, plus the incredible Vysotki give a fascinating window into Stalin's Russia.

Hi Mike,
Where you say "The fact is, strange as it may seem lately, visual impressions can still be made perfectly effectively in the absence of microdetail." - The Impressionists specifically played with and brought into public consciousness the understanding that the eye and the brain will compose a total image at a viewing distance that from close up lacks detail. And I think we can trace the story of digital from the dissemination of that understanding.

'The Most Desirable Camera on the Planet, Q4 2019, is the Leica Q2. Everyone and his uncle wants one...'

Well, all my uncles are dead and, mainly for the reasons given by previous posters, I certainly don't want one.

As a matter of interest, where did you get the 'Most Desirable Camera on the Planet' info from?

[From "The Online Photographer," one of the oldest independent written-word websites on the Internet. --Mike]

I've been busy with other stuff and have gotten behind in my blog readings. So I'm late posting comments.

I just want to say I'm now convinced I am really old, like ancient. The reason I say this is the three letter abbreviation BSI. I just couldn't figure out why you were using such slang. Then reading on I found out it was an abbreviation of something different than what us really old guys used it for. For example after listening to a fat old fart for an hour one of us would always say: That's just BSI. So what does my BSI stand for? Bull Sh*t Information.

Another one is GAF. While in the marines we had a giant GAF film sign on the wall with the word WE in front of it. 'We GAF.' The GAF technicians would show up and have no idea what it meant. Do you? Even now when I see a GAF ad I smile.

Political correct stuff? I hope not.

"Iain Blake's 100 Strangers" seems to me a bit like going to the zoo. The subjects are all seen in only one, largely uncharacteristic situation. It's all about their interactions with a stranger with a camera. It's not bad, but of limited interest to me.

My preference, obvious in most of my pictures of "people in the wild", is to capture them as they are in their interaction with their world, unaffected by knowing they are being photographed.

In a comment on an earlier post about Street Photography, someone noted that they didn't like the perspective of faces taken with longer lenses. I can see how that could be true for someone else, but it isn't for me.

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