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Monday, 31 May 2021


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Know your market. Know your customers. Give them what they want and possibly need. TOP's customers are photographers and we are served well.

Sony knows its market(s). They are photographers, vloggers, videographers, cinematographers and casual shooters who want something as convenient as a phone but which makes better pictures. Sony serves these overlapping markets well -- don't stop, Sony

The fun for us comes from watching how they do it and using one of their products now and then.

We also enjoy reading what Mike has to say about them. All of them. Mike is one of us -- don't stop, Mike.

Wait. You'e saying I wasted my money on my new Cobra single-length golf clubs?

[Not necessarily. You have to hit the ball with something. :-) --Mike]

"Sorry for the wasted bandwidth earlier in the month."

None wasted here; saw subject, moved on.


It is actually possible to let the tides of new product info wash over and retain only those that add significant function.

Oly comes up with in camera focus bracketing, it's bye-bye Canon, hello Oly, hello amazing photos I could not make before, elation, then contentment.

The camera you were obsessing about was clearly not going to offer anything really new; perhaps some modest, incremental improvements in doing the same things. Meh.

" . . . the venerable RX100 series 1" point-and-shoots have been replaced by the ZV-1 (below), now billed as a vlogging camera?"

Fortunately, the Panny ZS200 uses the same sensor in a body with longer zoom, better EVF ergonomics. I chose it, and have been happy with it. I also have a Sony RX10 IV, so I can confidently say I don't see any secret sauce in the Sony 1" sensor, electronics and firmware that Panny missed. The Panny is very slightly larger, in return for better battery life.

I'm sure that the Swiss army has only the best cameras. I'd love to have one of the Alpa 11si cameras that they were using in the 70s

Is this the article you and Stephen Scharf are talking about?
Big Sticks.

Your post about ‘Big Sticks’ (and Stephen) was in 2008

It's unfortunate that the ZV-1 completely missed the mark for vloggers. What that group wants is a really wide lens, great image stabilization, and great AF. Well, Sony innovated a bit with the AF, but stuck a not-very-wide lens on it, which gets cropped in further when using the electronic image stabilization that is required because the optical image stabilization isn't that great. It utterly failed to achieve what it is marketed to be good at.

I just got a Leica M Type 240 the other day. The only complaint I have is the wasted weight and complexity added by having it be able to do video.

I'll never do video with it.

Lots of stills with my Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton though :D

Of course, unlike some companies, Leica _sometimes_ learns from their mistakes and I note that the M-10 does not do video.

I have no interest in video, but bought a ZV1 for clips of my toddler niece before she moved overseas. Well, when the ZV1 is running video it can also use its everything-detection to judge when to autonomously take full-resolution still photos, too. That’s how I got one of my favourite photos, and a rare one of the two of us together, at that. The Sony, sitting off on a tripod, let me be an uncle instead of the guy with a camera.

Sometimes the right tool is a swiss army knife. And sometimes cameras designed with a clarity of purpose, even if it’s a purpose that I don’t particularly care for, are the easiest to adapt for off-label use. Like a vlogging camera with amazing autofocus being an easy camera to quickly flip open, grab a shot, and pocket again before the little one gets into something she shouldn’t.

Wait, there’s a new camera? I’m still excited about my Pen F!

Devil's advocacy here?: While I, too, want a photography-centric camera, I also want the camera manufacturers to survive, especially against the "Evil Empire" of those other image-generating devices. But if including video features results in survivability, then I'll learn to live with it.

My PEN-F has the video and photography aspects and controls pretty much isolated from each other, so I can basically ignore anything relating to videography. I'll settle for that.

How many new cameras releases Sony per week? per hour? So tiring. And yes I am a photographer too.

The ZV1 is a strange beast. The most viewed videos are VERTICAL! But the ZV1 doesn’t shoot Vertical Video. Why not?

It’s OK that the ZV1 isn’t aimed at still photographers. There are still plenty of cameras available on Amazon and B&H.

I’m an Image Maker, not a photographer. I can make drawings and paintings from Digital Files! Ain’t software wonderful!

I don't worry much about the extra features on today's cameras. I just ignore what I'm not interested in. The women who have passed through my life, agree that's my defining skill.

"How successful my photographs are is overwhelmingly due to how well my vision and execution can realize my intention" - That is extremely well put, Stephen. It has an almost Shakespearean cadence to it if you read it out loud. Each camera webshop should have two checkboxes just before checkout:

1. I have read and understood the Terms and Conditions.
2. How successful my photographs are is overwhelmingly due to how well my vision and execution can realize my intention.

I think Fuji really hit on a great concept with the X-T4 in light of this discussion. For all the upheaval and noise about all the new video-centric features it received thus rendering it "useless" for stills, it's really become a great stills-only camera for me because of one small thing: the still/movie switch.

With this simple little change, when you're in 'still' mode, every shred of video-related menu, on-screen elements, and custom buttons are hidden away and basically non-existent. If one were so inclined, a little strategically applied super glue on that switch would result in a class-leading stills-only mirrorless camera.

The flippy screen is another matter, but I see that as the central challenge for Fuji's engineers with the X-T5 (or perhaps the X-H2) to develop a screen that both tilts and flips to satisfy both stills and video users. This was *clearly* the loudest bit of yelling when the X-T4 was announced, so if they can create a solution for that (something more svelte and Fuji-like than what Panasonic did on the S1h) I think they'll have it nailed. Or, again, our old friend superglue could keep that screen folded facing in or out (to the user's preference, natch) for a more "pure" experience.

dpreview has just published an article “Best Cameras for Landscape Photography 2021”, and their pick is the Nikon Z7ii. Well, OK, it’s a very good camera but expensive. Then I looked at their reasons for preferring it over competing cameras. In the case of what you might think of as the leading three contenders - Canon R5, Fuji XT-4 and Nikon D850 - their reasons were almost entirely video-centric. The Canon had “limited battery life with EVF at 120fps”, the Fuji was a criticised for having “Limited tools for video exposure”, and the D850 - surely the last, great all-round DSLR - for having “poor autofocus in live view/video mode”. And these were being assessed for landscape photography! What happened to horses for courses?

Of course, with landscape photography especially, the skill and dedication of the photographer is a key component, as are the other tools they might have and use - graduated filters, for example. The actual camera is quite secondary, it seems to me. There’s really no need to spend nearly £3000 on a camera for landscape photography! In fact I became quite incenses by this, and I looked at my local photo dealer’s s/hand listing (I\m fortunate to live in a city with one such…) to see what might be available for much more reasonable cost. I could get a Canon 300D, the first Digital Rebel, for £35! Going for something slightly more recent, a 500D or 550D (T1i/T2i) were available for less than £200 each. Looking at Nikon my eye was immediately taken by a D300 for £165.

I’m sure that any of these cameras would be plenty good enough, with sufficient technique and processing, to produce excellent landscape images; and all for a fraction of the prices of the cameras dpreview assessed. IN fact, I’m quite tempted….

Single length golf clubs? Change your name to Bryson deCampo!

Yep. That is why buying new in some products is not advisable (for most folks). Digital ILC cameras and cars come to mind. Anyway, trying to keep up with digital is a fool’s errand. If you buy the Mk.1 version that has just been introduced then the Mk.2 is 3-6 months away from shipping. The factory is already being configured for the Mk.3 and the design phase of the Mk.4 is well along. This whole life cycle is at most 3-5 years.

At first glance the ZV-1 appears to have been overcome with a terrible fungal infection. Or is that the back end of a baby possum sitting on the camera?

Stephen Scharf nailed it, ( not the first time on these pages)
You can't really blame the camera companies, that are in business to sell cameras. In fact, I'd like to think that at least part of the huge drop off is sales of new cameras is due to many good Photographers really believing that their current camera is all they need to fulfill their vision.
Personally, I find great satisfaction in using a camera that I know well and has served me well. It feels like a trusted companion.

As an experiment, I recently bought a video focused camera (a GH5) to learn more about video. TL;DR I mostly use it for stills photography.

Old habits are hard to change! But it has been a learning experience. It has been very intraspective on how much I prefer stills and how hard it is to move to video. I also find that there's a lot more video resources online for videographers, fitting of the media being produced (and I prefer web pages for photos, I guess you need silent time for reflection).

Also other technical lessons learnt along the way such as the changes in workflow, hardware (notably processing and storage), software, and the somewhat large gaping hole in my wallet!

For me, stills photography has been good enough for the last 5-8 years or so. I haven't seen a new stills camera that has made me want to change ever since high-ISO got good enough and shutters became relatively quiet...

It looks like a point-and-shoot with a tribble on top...

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