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Thread: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

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    Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    This may not belong on the MFD forum, but it's very related I think:

    Having just gone through an exhaustive review and research process as I ponder adding the Leica S2, I'm struck by how powerful internet reviewers are, and just how difficult it is for mere mortals to separate fact from opinion, or at the very least from incomplete reviewing. I found it quite easy to get lost in the technical wilderness with no compass other than my own eye to guide me. Then you start questioning your eyes, and that is really disconcerting

    More importantly I cannot seem to reconcile the differences in factual reporting from various sources ... or my own experiences, and those of respected photographers, verses many of these sources

    How does this concern "our art"? Well, we do have to somewhat trust our tools to get it right technically so we can concentrate what energy we have on creating images. IMO, no matter who you are, if you lack trust in your gear, or have to constantly fiddle with it, it is a distraction ... it takes your eye off the creative ball.

    It seems this has become an all consuming focus with photography as digital capture technically advances (along with reaching horrific price levels that increase expectations exponentially, price levels that all film users would have laughed at 10 years ago) . It all feels like it is sucking the fun out of it.

    Just as an example: (I'm not specifically singling out Diglloyd as the experiences there mirror experiences elsewhere ... but it is a good example).

    A few hours on that site, (initially to review his findings on the Leica S2), and I walked away with the sharp impression that most everything I own and use, or am considering owing and using is pure junk ... incapable of taking a decent image or to be trusted at all.

    The S2 supposedly has incomparable optics better than any made by anyone ... which the camera cannot AF to save its live ... with horrendous OOF examples I cannot seem replicate with the S2 I am testing ... and in direct conflict with Mark Dubovoy's claim to "deadly accurate AF" from the S2 (???).

    Hasselblad H lenses (including the HCD28 and 100/2.2 he tested) are incapable of resolving enough detail to warrant a H3D/50, let alone the H4D/60 I have on order. His comments on the use of Phocus software, with its crashing and slowness really confused me ... and he is using a computer easily twice as powerful as mine. BTW, I guess I'm really lucky ... I've never had Phocus lock up on me.

    Everything associated with the M9 is a nightmare ... specifically with lenses I use: the 21/1.4 ASPH and the Noctilux 0.95 which Lloyd couldn't use without experiencing back-focus even with multiple samples of the 0/95 ... in direct conflict with my 0.95 experiences, and evidently those that Sean published. Not to mention all the excellent images published from this camera and those lenses. The comment that the lack of Live View on the M9 was a design flaw confused me. Is Live View even possible with a CCD sensor?

    The Sony A900 is shown in comparison to the Canon 1DsMKIII ... specifically using the 135L and Zeiss 135/1.8 lens ... with Canon the default winner if my eyes are to be trusted evaluating his side-by-sides. Hmmmm?

    From what I gather, I should have kept my Nikon D3X ... unfortunately, all the fast aperture AF lenses I'd want are trash and unworthy of the camera

    Anyway, I wonder if MFD peeked at 33 or 39 meg ... and all the following so called "improvements" are a conspiracy by the manufacturers to separate us from more and more money. Other than a few rarified German view camera lenses used on pokey, fiddle-fussy rigs, would a mega resolving 80 meg Leaf back's prowess ever be realized by a real human being?

    Whatdayathink?

    -Marc

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I think all this gear obsession does get in the way of just getting out and enjoying making photographs. In many ways I think it's a result of the consumerist world we live in. There is always something bigger and better to spend your money on. Film was just a totally different playing field. You bought into a format, a set of lenses and used a film stock to death. Digital is still immature if you really think about it. I think in ten years things will have leveled out. You buy the resolution and format you need and be done with it. At least that's what I'm hoping!

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I think:

    1) Even though I am interested to read the reviews and threads I allways do somewhat question what I read and try to check out myself what works for me.
    For example the Canon 7D did not work for me even though many praise it. On the other side I have not experienced an AF problem with my Nikon 24/1.4 so I am not trying to search for a problem (because Loyd sees one) as long as the lens works well and I like the images.
    The reviews help to check certain things before buying or when testing new gear though.

    2) There are so many factors going into IQ that it is hard to compare/review IQ from just some images shooting a test target or a brick wall. How does a lens perform at different distances, how does it draw under certain light, how is the color (warm/cold), how is the bokeh at different f-stops, etc etc.
    Same for a sensor - specially noise behaviour seems to be a lot depended on exposure, colors and tones in an image.
    And AF - might work well to focus on a brick wall but what when focusing 3 dimensional things? How does a AF sensor handle to focus on a round tree? How does it work in different light? with different lenses?
    How do images look when converted in different converters? How when printed?
    So any review from one week testing a camera can be just soe initial impression and hints IMO. But maybe it indicates that there are some "killer factors" which make the camera unusable for someone.

    3) The sharper lenses, the higher resolution the more we see small "faults".
    I have questioned myself if supersharp lenses are the way to go. Because the sharp plane is so ultrathin with digital sensors and the transition between supersharp and OOF areas can be harsh the sharper a lens is.
    One of the things film can do better IMO. (1. thicker emulsion 2. grain can help here too)
    And sometimes I believe (just a guess) maybe one of the reasons DSLRs have AA filters?? (besides moiree problem)

    4) pure maximum IQ is maybe overrated sometimes. I ask myself which is the "better" system(s) for me right now (Hy6-S2-A900-K5-M9-D700)
    So what is better? A system which delievers 100% IQ if everything goes right, but the keeper rate is maybe smaller (due to less flexibility regarding lenses, AF, handling...)=>MF or maybe a system where IQ is maybe 90% only but you get a much higher percentage of keepers and where its much easier to catch the moment? =>A900 or for 80%IQ maybe Nikon

    Maybe a combo of both (or 3 systems) but then how good to we learn our gear if we switch systems all the time?

    5) I find the quality control of lenses etc. not sufficient. I can just not understand that I buy a new 3500Ä Leica M lens and need to send it in for focus calibration from the very beginning.

    6) I believe there is no perfect camera (for me it would be a DSLR Nikon body with a 24x36 Dalsa sensor and Zeiss/Leica AF lenses)

    My conclusion right now is that I want to spend one more time energy for testing things which are important for me (including AF) in typical subjects of my photography and then decide what works best for me.

    One system which I know which works great for me is the M9 (the only downside to eventualy send in lenses before they work perfect).

    I then plan to test-use a S2 and compare it to my Hy6 and the A900 to make a decision which of the 3 makes sense for me (and more important which works for me).

    And the third thing is a decision for a DSLR system (Nikon vs Sony vs Pentax).

    I then hope to finally settle down and just take images and use my energy for that instead for testing.

    In the end could be Hy6 + K5 (or D700 or A900) + M9
    or S2 + K5 (or D700) + M9
    or A900 and eventually K5 and M9


    One more thought - maybe this forum (and others) are a group of people who just can not make up their mind. I am sure there are many photographers who just take images with their S2 / Hassy / D700

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I agree that reviews are guides and alerts, and not necessarily the ultimate decision making tools they seem to position themselves as being.

    However, not all photographers are engineers, or are necessarily of an uber-technical mind-set ... and as these tools get more complex, the ability to evaluate the value for money spent becomes a mind-boggling task beyond their skill set ... let alone their desire to do so.

    I think the decision process is periodic for many ... it comes in intervals ... often promoted by some development that appears to fit one's shooting needs better than existing gear. For me the S2 fit that description ... initially ... but an AF camera with AF accuracy that's highly suspect, severely compromises one's confidence in making a decision.

    I don't think about this stuff much when blowing through 1000 images a week doing weddings. If something isn't working at any given time, I toss it aside in favor of getting the shots with something that will work ... without regard for what some review had to say.

    It is when you are about to plunk down a King's Ransom that you start with the questioning.

    -Marc

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    It's good to always try and think in terms of left brain vs right brain. Left brainers have a prove-it-to-me and scientific approach at dealing with gear . These guys are great at figuring out which lens is going to focus shift and what lens has the least barrel distortion etc. They are really good at deailng with the science of gear and things that can be proven. For example, I just read in a thread here the other day about how the some of the tech camera makers are deailng with fine focus issues on the various digital backs. That's exactly the type of thing to learn in a place like GET DPI because it is completely left-brained type of material.

    But right brainers are the ones that use the gear and know how it applies in the field. Most of the top and bottom professional photographers of the art world and advertising industry are going to be right brainers. They will understand how the gear works in context but not necessarily the science behind it. They can often show how something works in context and have more of a show-it-to-me attitude than a prove-it-to-me attitude. Usually, they are not good at explaining why something works but know exactly how to use it within a personal context.

    The vast majority of gear testers, article writers, gear bloggers are left brained. And most of the enthusiasts in forums are left brainers making a living in professional occupations that are not the arts. These types of people dominate the forum environment. But the arts and advertising industry are dominated by right brainers and they are the ones creating the images that fill our lives and are the "professionals" in the arts and advertising industries. So there is always going to be a disconnect between the two and I would encourage everybody to be vigilant at discerning whether the information and opinion that they are reading is coming from the left or the right brain.

    Much of what I just wrote is probably not going to be new information to most surfers. I'm sure that many of you have already been thinking of things like this before. But there is one more thing I'd like to interject and it is not popular and is always controversial. But it is the truth.

    Left brainers police each other through science and universal things that can be proven. So a dull left brainer will probably create junk science that can easily be dismantled by a sharper-minded left brainer that can prove the junk science to be wrong according to objective standards.

    Meanwhile...

    Right brainers police each other through high and low culture. A dull right brainer might create photographic work that can't be judged by objective standards like what might exist in science, but the work can be judged by how it relates to other photography within the context of the culture of the arts and advertising world. Sharp-minded right brainers seek to differentiate themselves from the dull-minded right brainers by aspiring towards a higher culture.

    High and low culture are determined by the show-it-to-me world of signs and symbols. For example, imagine that there are two landscape photographers. One of the photographers has a gallery showing at the local coffee shop and the other one is at The Museum of Modern Art. Each one of these photographers might be really good at what he does and use his gear perfectly within context, but one of the photographers is good at being low culture and the other is good at being high culture if the difference in venue can be interpreted as a sign or a symbol.

    Let's go back to the gear reviewers and forum commentators. Many of them are great at understanding the left brained science behind photography and know how to applies within a certain context. But, they are almost always applying it within a low or mid culture context. So there is definitely going to be a disconnect between the way a piece of gear applies in a high culture situation and they way it is judged in a lower or mid cultural situation.

    I've never encountered a piece of gear in photography that wasn't worth the money. We get what we pay for....and many times the advantages of higher priced gear are subtle and might only be understood by the higher culture. There's an old cliche in gaming that goes something like... "if you're sitting at the table and don't know who the sucker is, then the sucker is you." That's exactly what it's like in the right brained culture of photography. But it can also work the other way around, sometimes the best gear is the worst gear depending on context. Sometimes, a photographer can have the most expensive gear and not know how to use it according to it's advantages. In which case, he's still the sucker at the table according to culture.

    Sorry for the long post...but to wrap this up...The S2 is all about culture. Many of the standards that are being used to judge the S2 are left-brained scientific understanding applied to a low or middle cultural context.

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    HI There Marc
    I think that the camera review industry (despite many honest and conscientious reviewers) is a load of old bollocks.

    I'm a scientist by training, and I think that there are simply too many variables involved in the use of a camera for one to be able to come to useful conclusions.

    Sure - dX0 tests and dpreview noise tests etc. etc. do MEAN something, and in lots of cases they're rigorously performed.

    The problem is two-fold:

    1. Our use of the kit
    has nothing to do with test cards or resolution charts or paperclips and vermouth bottles at ten feet - and perfectly valid conclusions gained in this manner aren't really relevant to most people's day to day use.

    2. Variability in kit (mostly lenses)
    as someone who is trying to get decent copies of pentax lenses at the moment, I've taken back 4 lenses in 3 weeks, another goes back when they open. Not because the lenses aren't well designed, but because they are simply faulty. It took 4 copies of the Nikon 17-55 to get a decent one.

    I don't think there is such a thing as a 'correct' copy of a lens - I'm certain that for any given lens there is a continuum of 'awful' to 'really quite good'. I don't blame the manufacturers - they have obviously decided that the cost of the required QA improvements wouldn't have a beneficial financial reward (i.e. most users read in Sean Reid's review that it's a good lens, and they either don't check or don't care). Leica have the added complication that every camera 'out there' has a different rangefinder adjustment - how to make new lenses to suit everyone?

    I really think that camera design now means that (as long as you get something which works in accordance with the design). ALL THE KIT IS FINE.

    So it's easier to look at specs, decide which suits your pocket and intent, make sure you get a decent copy of it, and then stop anguishing.

    dunno about right brain left brain, but I know that there are two photographers in me - one very expensive one which buys kit and rabbits on about it on the internet, and another, much cheaper one, who takes pictures with whatever bit of kit is to hand. I know which person I prefer.

    As for Digilloyd I can't criticise because I've never paid to enjoy his reviews - the cheaper me won that particular battle

    A day spent anguishing about gear is a day wasted
    A day spent taking pictures is a day enjoyed.

    . . . and Tom - you'll never settle down and just take pictures - even my cheaper side understands this!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    It's good to always try and think in terms of left brain vs right brain. Left brainers have a prove-it-to-me and scientific approach at dealing with gear . These guys are great at figuring out which lens is going to focus shift and what lens has the least barrel distortion etc. They are really good at deailng with the science of gear and things that can be proven. For example, I just read in a thread here the other day about how the some of the tech camera makers are deailng with fine focus issues on the various digital backs. That's exactly the type of thing to learn in a place like GET DPI because it is completely left-brained type of material.

    But right brainers are the ones that use the gear and know how it applies in the field. Most of the top and bottom professional photographers of the art world and advertising industry are going to be right brainers. They will understand how the gear works in context but not necessarily the science behind it. They can often show how something works in context and have more of a show-it-to-me attitude than a prove-it-to-me attitude. Usually, they are not good at explaining why something works but know exactly how to use it within a personal context.

    The vast majority of gear testers, article writers, gear bloggers are left brained. And most of the enthusiasts in forums are left brainers making a living in professional occupations that are not the arts. These types of people dominate the forum environment. But the arts and advertising industry are dominated by right brainers and they are the ones creating the images that fill our lives and are the "professionals" in the arts and advertising industries. So there is always going to be a disconnect between the two and I would encourage everybody to be vigilant at discerning whether the information and opinion that they are reading is coming from the left or the right brain.

    Much of what I just wrote is probably not going to be new information to most surfers. I'm sure that many of you have already been thinking of things like this before. But there is one more thing I'd like to interject and it is not popular and is always controversial. But it is the truth.

    Left brainers police each other through science and universal things that can be proven. So a dull left brainer will probably create junk science that can easily be dismantled by a sharper-minded left brainer that can prove the junk science to be wrong according to objective standards.

    Meanwhile...

    Right brainers police each other through high and low culture. A dull right brainer might create photographic work that can't be judged by objective standards like what might exist in science, but the work can be judged by how it relates to other photography within the context of the culture of the arts and advertising world. Sharp-minded right brainers seek to differentiate themselves from the dull-minded right brainers by aspiring towards a higher culture.

    High and low culture are determined by the show-it-to-me world of signs and symbols. For example, imagine that there are two landscape photographers. One of the photographers has a gallery showing at the local coffee shop and the other one is at The Museum of Modern Art. Each one of these photographers might be really good at what he does and use his gear perfectly within context, but one of the photographers is good at being low culture and the other is good at being high culture if the difference in venue can be interpreted as a sign or a symbol.

    Let's go back to the gear reviewers and forum commentators. Many of them are great at understanding the left brained science behind photography and know how to applies within a certain context. But, they are almost always applying it within a low or mid culture context. So there is definitely going to be a disconnect between the way a piece of gear applies in a high culture situation and they way it is judged in a lower or mid cultural situation.

    I've never encountered a piece of gear in photography that wasn't worth the money. We get what we pay for....and many times the advantages of higher priced gear are subtle and might only be understood by the higher culture. There's an old cliche in gaming that goes something like... "if you're sitting at the table and don't know who the sucker is, then the sucker is you." That's exactly what it's like in the right brained culture of photography. But it can also work the other way around, sometimes the best gear is the worst gear depending on context. Sometimes, a photographer can have the most expensive gear and not know how to use it according to it's advantages. In which case, he's still the sucker at the table according to culture.

    Sorry for the long post...but to wrap this up...The S2 is all about culture. Many of the standards that are being used to judge the S2 are left-brained scientific understanding applied to a low or middle cultural context.
    I've never read a better summation, ever. A big fat dose of much needed clarity. Thanks for risking the heat I'm sure this post will trigger ... I am grateful no end.

    My primary career for 40+ years was advertising ... direct creative associations and collaborations with right-brainer directors, (some) cinematographers, and still photographers usually at the top of their game in a very competitive environment. In fact, my entrance into photography was because of this ... initially to gain enough technical knowhow necessary to make sure I didn't create visual ideas that where impossible to execute ... an occasional occurrence with newbie Art Directors (although a little initial knowledge can be dangerous, like the time I asked the studio to shoot my fisheye visual with an 8X10 camera to assure high quality ... lots of laughing ensued).

    However initially painful, this interest in creating imagery with photography was directly responsible for a meteoric rise in my profession at a time when Photography was displacing illustration. By creating a print campaign that was one of only two from the US that was published in Graphis International, and another that pushed the boundaries of the technology and required a photographic inventor to accomplish ... the result of which swept the awards shows and led to a high position at the biggest Ad Agency in the world. I owed that photographer a lot! After that, the flood doors swung open and access to the "cultural" standard bearers was wide open.

    In fact, in an overwhelming percentage of cases, those photographers employed the services of a left-brained genius to take care of all the tech stuff. Often the shooter knew less about the tech specs than I did. Almost all of our "creative" discussions centered on the idea, emotional elements, composition, and lighting as it related to the idea ... the tech dude took care of all the rest.

    I need a tech dude

    -Marc

  8. #8
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I almost deleted my account in Lu-La and joined this forum to get some fresh air because of the incredible amount of ridiculous threads about DR and DOX marks stuff, and the endeless stupid wars like: 35mm vs MF.

    Each time it's the same (really bad) music: a bunch of provocators, most week-end shooters, joined by the "scientists" of the forums and it does not last long before we start to see those graphics, "scientific" proofs that the D bloody 3x has a better DR than the P65+ and that the new cheap aps entry level sensors are smoking the FF and all kind of stupidities like that.

    The sad thing is that those threads are indeed the most popular ones. Then, constant references to DOX, DP review kind of testings, you know, those with the brandy bottle, or brick walls or my house's garden is used to test the new S2. Studio workflow? None. Real shooting? nope. In fact what does not matter, wich is IQ, is what is discussed, compared, and what really matters wich is design and workflow is rarely there. And I'm not even talking about the art of imagery, the intention etc...that are completly missing.

    Yes...give me a tech dude, please. I want it. I need it.

    You know what? It's like tv. Keep your mind free of those insanities and internet noise.(and your *** will follow)

    I must say that in those threads, women are never participating. They are just too busy taking pictures. Those are real men, "thosewiththebigones" threads. I think we have really something to learn from our ladies.

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I still believe that there are some things which do not have to do with left or right brain.
    A little more or less noise, or tone curve or sharpness maybe not, but if a shot is misfocused than also my wife tells me: this is not sharp . And she doesnt care at all about gear.

    IMO the change from film to digital may have changed some factors of equipment: specially it seems to a) need better lenses and b) more accurate focus (meaning also tighter tolerances for lenses and cameras) than film.

    Besides that I wish the camera producers would focus more on user interface and simplicity.

    For me for example it is a big factor how easy I get the results I want without having to do much post processing. (would love to have a virtual film switch on my camera where I could choose between velvi, kodakchrome, Portra , and trix and get the look of those films without having to do any post)

    Regarding user interface I find Leica products to work very well for me.
    And the S2 might be one step in this direction.

    Marc - if I were you I would take some more images and check if the focus works for you or not. If not I would see/talk to Leica if it is something that can be improved or not.
    I believe that this is the most important factor.(It would be for me - besides the question of overall handling)

    Frankly I doubt that the differences between lenses of H-system and Leica S and Phase make any real world differences.

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Point is I think and it's something that I've always fervently believed in, only you can make the decision based on how you use a camera. A landscapers take on AF is not going to count for wedding photography neither is a wedding photographers opinion of any use to a football photographer. This applies to ergonomics, ease of use, IQ, etc, etc. I would also add and I hope I don't get flamed for it, a pro has different requirements from even an extremely skilled amatuer, equipment has to work, first time every time for a pro otherwise they are in big trouble.

    I by no means know MF digital however I know that my particular needs are different to others. I didn't change over from Canon to Nikon due to the lack of highlight warning and histogram on the same screen and the need to press a button first to change exposure compensation on the sb-900 flash. Ludicrous! But those were important facts for the way I work. I may be ludicrous but I can decide based on my own needs however silly they may seem to others. I wouldn't even consider an S2 for wedding use due to the lack of two control wheels. It may not matter to you but it does to me.

    Point is, when it comes down to it, it's only your own specific use which can dictate whether a camera or lens fits in with your personal shooting style. So those of us who are sensible do what Marc is doing. We don't need to test every last custom function but we need to shoot in the way we usually do, usually that uses a fraction of a cameras capabilities, and if it works, screw the reviews.

    One thing that Marc's examples however do throw into the spotlight. Unless the guy is doing something very wrong or is lying, reviews like this are very useful in that they tell us something important, just because it works for the bloke down the street, just because he had a good copy, doesn't mean it will work for me.

    I have to admit that it does worry me as a professional. I've seen enough copy variation, experienced it too much, played the 'return to CPS do not pass go or collect your shipping costs' many multiple times until the equipment passed muster and worked as it should. It does make you think though, can I rely on rental equipment? Can I rely on buying any new equipment and expecting to use it for the first couple of months? My experience tells me that the answer is no. Rather sobering is it not. Given that every Hasselblad back is custom calibrated to each body, why do you think that being able to rent a body on location is going to help?

    It's a whole new world and one day we will look back and muse on the expense and fustration that the dawning of the digital photographic revolution put us through as we tried to ride the crest of the wave...
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by GASC View Post
    I must say that in those threads, women are never participating. They are just too busy taking pictures. Those are real men, "thosewiththebigones" threads. I think we have really something to learn from our ladies.
    I think you are on to something.

    All photographers must care a little about gear and technique, but photographic results are the goal (arenít they?).

    I have known photographers who are really only photographers in the sense of owning gear and testing it; their pictures of real-world subjects are seldom or never seen. But never female photogs.

    I donít want to see another picture of a brick wall unless it is interesting/compelling in some way; corner sharpness at f8? Who gives a sh1t?

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I still believe that there are some things which do not have to do with left or right brain.
    A little more or less noise, or tone curve or sharpness maybe not, but if a shot is misfocused than also my wife tells me: this is not sharp . And she doesnt care at all about gear.

    IMO the change from film to digital may have changed some factors of equipment: specially it seems to a) need better lenses and b) more accurate focus (meaning also tighter tolerances for lenses and cameras) than film.

    Besides that I wish the camera producers would focus more on user interface and simplicity.

    For me for example it is a big factor how easy I get the results I want without having to do much post processing. (would love to have a virtual film switch on my camera where I could choose between velvi, kodakchrome, Portra , and trix and get the look of those films without having to do any post)

    Regarding user interface I find Leica products to work very well for me.
    And the S2 might be one step in this direction.

    Marc - if I were you I would take some more images and check if the focus works for you or not. If not I would see/talk to Leica if it is something that can be improved or not.
    I believe that this is the most important factor.(It would be for me - besides the question of overall handling)

    Frankly I doubt that the differences between lenses of H-system and Leica S and Phase make any real world differences.
    This makes sense to me also ... mainly because I won't be getting a tech dude to take this off my back any time soon I get a bit intense about these decisions because I want it over with ASAP. Unfortunately, impatience is not a great scientific trait.

    The S2 attraction is simply the form factor for me as it relates to my more spontanious and intuitive shooting style ... coupled with more photo data to play Art Director with as compared to a 35MM DSLR (that part I have no doubt in) . We can whip out our micrometers and blab on about there is no real size difference ... but there is to me which means it'll get taken with me more often than other kit.

    So the real considerations are AF (my eyes need it), operating speed (TBD, but promising), and reasonable reliability (the P in the S2P helps that a little).

    AF is the main one. Nothing worse than a decisive moment that's ruined by being obviously out-of-focus

    -Marc

  13. #13
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Should have said this as well: if your results are acceptable to you and your audience, thatís just fine.

  14. #14
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    The S2 attraction is simply the form factor for me as it relates to my more spontanious and intuitive shooting style ... coupled with more photo data to play Art Director with as compared to a 35MM DSLR (that part I have no doubt in) . ...
    Marc I agree on the form factor and user interface. I am still looking forward to experience an S2 myself and find out if it is more "spontanious and simple" MF-camera (but still slow and big compared to DSLR) or if it handles really a little bit more like a big DSLR.

  15. #15
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    So the real considerations are AF (my eyes need it), operating speed (TBD, but promising), and reasonable reliability (the P in the S2P helps that a little).

    AF is the main one. Nothing worse than a decisive moment that's ruined by being obviously out-of-focus

    -Marc
    . . . and reading any amount of reviews is simply not going to help you here.
    The only way to find out is to use it - do some real work, and if you don't have any then simulate real work.

    On the simplest level Tom and I are both evaluating the little K5 as a comfortable SLR kit with decent quality. Tom has found that the AF is not good enough for him in low light . . . I've found that it is good enough for me.

    There are a thousand factors that could be influencing this difference:
    1. Tom has higher standards than I do
    2. My camera works better than his
    3. the lenses I'm using in low light AF better
    4. his subjects move faster than I do
    5. he uses a different AF mode from me
    6. this is boring, but I could go on and on. (and so could you)

    We've been discussing this issue - superficially it's a simple one, but there are so many variables involved it's impossible to come to any better conclusion than:

    " This works for ME" (or possibly)
    " This doesn't work for Tom"

    The idea that you read on a blog/review and come to any seriously useful conclusion about anything as subtle and complex as (for instance) Image quality is patently absurt.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    If you just read forums you wouldn't think that any gear or software worked at all. The people learning, shooting and working aren't fretting about gear or grousing about CPU cycles. I read these forums to learn and when it degrades into a slugfest I vow never to read that thread again. Kurt Kamka said it best about some hideous discussion a few days ago.. "it makes my head hurt" My motto: Take what you need/ what and leave the rest.

    As far as being creative and productive do as Mom used to say, "Go out and play".
    Take pictures, go to the museum, visit a new place, read an old favorite book, make a print. Try something new... like make a figure drawing.. it'll make those lenses seem pretty nifty after just a few minutes... your "backfocus" issues will melt away.
    George T. Griswold, Jr.
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    www.georgegriswold.com Photographs

  17. #17
    GASC
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I'm working at the moment in fashion with a big one. So, international campaigns, models Bundchen, Kurkova, Erin Wasson, Rafaeli, Andersen etc...really good stylists, celebs etc...

    I'm not kidding to what I'm saying: I've never ever heard just once, somebody talking about gear, focusing issues (there are not), lightning issues (there are not either) and softwares and pp. Yes in pp they are talking about the artistic style they want to acheive, never about tech issues. It's been about 6 months now and never just once gear conversation, even backstage.

    So I ask this question: why is this gear endless topics all over the internet?
    and more importantly: who is pushing them?

    People work with Canon and Hassy and if they had to, with an iron or a washing machine. Nobody ever talk about gear because they simply are professional, and paied to know what they are doing. And it works, beleive me. Cinema you never hear about gear either. Yes, solving this or that problem, some tech stuff can appear of course.

    Watch this. It's refreshing. It's all about photography: http://www.peterlindbergh.com/#FILMS/15

    Do you think Peter talks about gear or is concern with it?
    Watch particularly how he is living the shooting, how he enters, moves, follow the subjects. He is totally involved in what he is doing.

  18. #18
    Super Duper
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I solve this easily:

    - I don't bother reading the reviews other than for the technical data and pictures of the equipment I am interested in. And for entertainment, of course. :-)

    - I evaluate equipment myself and by talking to other photographers, whose opinions I understand through long association and conversation, who have used the specific equipment I am considering.

    There's nothing like extended first hand experience using the equipment you're interested in. It takes time to learn it .. to learn how to use it, to learn how to exploit it best. It takes practice to be able to engage in performance. NO one-week review is going to do it. There are no short cuts.

    There are no "perfect" cameras or lenses either. Not even megadollar MFD or Leica M9 equipment. Everything has some level of compromise due to physical or financial constraint.

    ... "Equipment often gets in the way of Photography." ...

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Marc,

    Only you can answer these questions for yourself. You should not consider any particular person's experiences as gospel, whether it be Lloyd Chambers or Mark Dubovoy or anyone else. These people merely share their experiences and preferences and can alert you to possibilities that you may have not considered. In the end, you must decide why it is that you are even seeking answers.

    For example, what exactly is it that is causing you to investigate the S2? Is it merely their lens MTF charts, the Leica brand name or something else? Is the source of your conflict simply lens quality versus sensor quality? Are you trying to convince yourself that a 37MP camera can outperform a 60+MP camera if the lenses have a better MTF chart, even though deep down you may not believe this to be true? Or maybe you wish to convince yourself that 37MP is "good enough", and need others to reinforce this desired conclusion for you? If you assert ergonomic reasons like "this camera feels good in my hands", is this just an attempt to justify a desired irrational judgment by somehow lessening the importance of the final image output in your decision? ... etc.

    Also, you should consider what are the specific deficiencies that you perceive to be present in your current Hasselblad system? What exactly do you find lacking in it, and how important is it that you satisfy these perceived deficiencies and possibly sacrifice something in your current camera system to get it? Do you feel the Hasselblad lenses are not good enough for 50+MP, and if so what basis do you have for such belief? So, on the one hand maybe the S2's 37MP is "good enough" because their lenses seem sharper, but on the other hand maybe the Hasselblad lenses are "good enough" because their sensor is larger and their focusing is more precise, or maybe even that their software ultimately yields a better image for you.

    Again, only you can sort these things out for yourself. Everyone has different needs, tastes and abilities.

    David

  20. #20
    Super Duper
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    But we will be very happy to take the offending piece of gear off your hands gratis should it not satisfy..
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

  21. #21
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I think that the camera review industry (despite many honest and conscientious reviewers) is a load of old bollocks.

    I'm a scientist by training, and I think that there are simply too many variables involved in the use of a camera for one to be able to come to useful conclusions.
    ....

    ALL THE KIT IS FINE.
    ....

    A day spent anguishing about gear is a day wasted
    A day spent taking pictures is a day enjoyed.
    I'm also a scientist by training and in fact still make a living that way.

    What gripes me is the bad science done in the hopes of being understandable to average folks who just want to get the best camera they can almost afford... The worst tendency is the DxO-style attempt to achieve this breathtaking simplicity by reducing everything to a single number, or a "feature vector" of numbers. Some of the numbers seem meaningful, some (DxO's treatment of blur, for example) look suspiciously like garbage to me. I think this may underestimate the intelligence of the photo enthusiast public; at least it is sure not helping to improve it. Sean Reid errs way to the other side by releasing reams of standard methodologied facts, and then reaching almost no conclusions. It makes for slow, painful reading, but at least the facts are there to consider.

    scott

  22. #22
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    methodologied?

    I know that US English is famous for turning nouns into adjectives and adverbs, but this is truly astonishing!


  23. #23
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    Whatdayathink?
    I think one needs to consider the source more carefully when reading the net

    First off, neither Llloyd nor Mark make their living from photography in the same way YOU do. I know Lloyd personally, he is a local and regularly bounces things off me. He tests with scientific method and usually very thoroughly, so he usually finds the warts if they're there to be found. And when he finds them, he discloses them, but -- and this is an important point -- only after he's reconfirmed them. By contrast Mark Dubovoy, also a scientist by training, is primarily a landscape photographer and has more the artist's mentality when it comes to gear; they are tools that allow him to achieve his artistic goals. He shoots his camera in the field once or twice and draws his conclusions from that initial experience for his type images. If his first run is positive, he'll write it that way; if it's bad, then he'll say that.

    That said, Guy and I tested the S2 too, and we found focus accuracy suspect FOR SOME SUBJECTS. Specifically, people at intermediate distances while using the more open apertures. However, stop it down to f11 and shoot landscapes with it, it was awesome. Open it up to f4 and focus on a model's eye at 8 feet, and you may be disappointed that her earlobe or eyebrow is sharp and the eye is not.

    Bottom line is I believe the best approach is find out for yourself. I think the gear needs to be used by the photographer the way they plan to use it before it can be approved. This is where a workshop that has the gear on hand or a dealer that can demo the gear for you comes into major importance.

    Bottom line is there are a lot of reviewers out there, and yet some of the absolute best reviews I've ever read I've gleaned from discussions like the ones we have on this site --- where several folks that have all used the gear share their likes and dislikes. And yes, even that data is spread in a normal bell-shaped distribution between the lovers on one end and the haters at the other, but from that range of data, it is usually pretty easy to make an educated call about whether you'll like something or not.

    In the end it's just stuff, and normally if it doesn't suit it can usually be sold pretty easily if there's a decent user base. Unfortunately when it comes to the S2 the base possibly isn't well enough established yet...

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    methodologied?

    I know that US English is famous for turning nouns into adjectives and adverbs, but this is truly astonishing!

    Sure it's a spur of the moment invention, maybe never to appear again, but I meant to suggest facts squeezed slowly out from between two enormous rollers of slowly turning methodology. OK?

    scott

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I review anything I do with gear by feel and it's all about shooting it and seeing end results that I am looking for and that is what I share. Bottom line is I am not a engineer nor scientist and never pretend to be. I go by my experience of shooting as a Pro for many years. I go by my eyes and that is what I trust the most. I try not to make absolute conclusions because of the variables . To me reviews lime Jack and I do are more valuable because we actually shoot real things and give folks our opinions but also provide the raws so folks can view on there own systems and software to make concise decisions for themselves . Frankly anything else is suspect to variables. I try to knock them out.

    iPhone spell correct sucks. Sorry
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  26. #26
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    ooohhh... I'm going through this mental combat with myself as we speak. What do you do if you are an person who keeps feet in both the right and left brains?

    I have a such a love/hate relationship with my canon gear, but I have to admit that having the cloud of gear available with the system is lovely. I LOVE having wireless TTL flash via flextt5. In combo with wireless high-speed sync, I can get shallow DoF with flash on location untestered to my flashes... much like using higher speed sync with MF (not EXACTLY, but much the same in MY situation... shooting people at the end of the day mostly). The ZE lenses are, in many cases fantastic, as are a FEW of the canon optics.... I'm going to San Francisco this summer for a baroque trumpet workshop with the American Bach Soloists, and they're going to have me shoot promo/headshots for them... including video. I'll be taking Canon 5Dii's, some fast primes, a 24 ts-e ii, a ZE 100/2, and a few longer zooms for performance work maybe.

    video?

    I could go on and on... yet the total IQ is often lacking unless everything converges perfectly. I like the a900 better SOOC... MF? OF course IQ is better... but I can "studio" shoot musician headshots in high iso situations with a two light set-up with my current gear (wireless ttl) in 5 minutes with a couple of small flashes on stands with brolly boxes.. triggered wirelessly. In MY current situation, that's golden.

    So... here I am after years of searching, still considering staying with my 5dii's and just increasing a small stable of really high-end glass (and better tripod/head, etc...), and (yes) waiting on the market to get better for MF. It really is a wonderful time to be a photographer. I'm able to do things with these cameras that are just insane. The MF cameras, as far as IQ, just take things further, but at a usability cost for me.

    What's really funny, though, is exactly what everyone says above... referring to people as "more artistic" or "more technical". I read LLoyd and Mark and I see them as both just finding what works best for them.

    In the end, it's a big game of compromises... but I think we're all winning by the great number of outstanding choices available.

    2011... I just see it as another great year of hard choices brought about by the preponderance of great gear available to all of us.

  27. #27
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    It really is a wonderful time to be a photographer.
    I pulled this quote out because itís so easily forgotten. Thank you, Shelby.

    Photography is in a Golden Age (Iíve been around ó started in the early í60s as an amateur and went pro in 1976).

    Every digital camera is its own Polaroid! I used to bracket exposure, stop down for safetyís sake, etc., and now we can do so much in less time than was possible not too many years ago. Fastest film I ever shot for business was 400 neg, and I made sure I exposed it fully so that there would be detail.

    And the crap everyone went through with scanning! Iíve come back to photography and am loving it!

    There is too much kibitzing I think, but then there always was!

  28. #28
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
    Sure it's a spur of the moment invention, maybe never to appear again, but I meant to suggest facts squeezed slowly out from between two enormous rollers of slowly turning methodology. OK?

    scott
    LOVE iT !

    Thatís regrouping on a heroic scale!

  29. #29
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I
    ... Guy and I tested the S2 too, and we found focus accuracy suspect FOR SOME SUBJECTS.
    I think that a lot of folks, including people like me who will never buy an S2, wonder at the price and shortcomings such as unreliable autofocus (BTW, my GF1 focuses more reliably than my Pentax SLR, and is cheaper).

    I use Mamiya digital now, and used both 645s and RBs in the film days—some of the lenses were great, some were average, but they were never priced at Hasselblad, Leica or Rollei levels.

    So I believe that Leica really has to put up or shut up, if they want to justify their pricing, and sell more kit, as the poms say.
    Last edited by mediumcool; 26th December 2010 at 10:43. Reason: added Leica to second para

  30. #30
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Point is I think and it's something that I've always fervently believed in, only you can make the decision based on how you use a camera. A landscapers take on AF is not going to count for wedding photography neither is a wedding photographers opinion of any use to a football photographer. This applies to ergonomics, ease of use, IQ, etc, etc. I would also add and I hope I don't get flamed for it, a pro has different requirements from even an extremely skilled amatuer, equipment has to work, first time every time for a pro otherwise they are in big trouble.
    Pretty much my feeling when I read comments by reviewers or on forums.

    I'm a portrait studio owner. I look at what, for example, a landscape photographer says (and certainly images displayed) with less interest than a photographer who makes a living photographing people. And during any year I will do a few weddings, will photography a number of sporting events, etc. I can't stand reviewers who don't say what kind of photography they do or show test images that are seem to have little to do with their review or are just out of context.

    I am no expert on lens resolution vs the number of possible pixels. I do know that virtually every image I take of a woman I have to take all that detail and trash it as I soften skin. (Yes, I am finding mf helps speed up retouching and that helps balance time lost processing larger files than I generally need for a salable product.) But I truly appreciate the evolution of camera capabilities when I have to photograph a family of 14. Nice to have the right tool for the right job, something I got drilled into me by my father.

    My first digital camera cost $12,500 in 1998 or 1999. It dropped $3,000 in price 45 days later. That taught me a lesson and now I just don't run out and purchase the latest and greatest (which often needs a firmware update or has files that can't be used by some program anyway).

    What I have seen is that there is always some new camera that's coming out. Always. Always. And there's always someone reviewing the new gear, someone justifying the gear they just purchased, early bleeding edge consumers who will buy anything their peers do not yet own, and always someone who has old gear who can outperform what I can do even if I had the latest greatest most expensive camera and lenses.

  31. #31
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I've never read a better summation, ever. A big fat dose of much needed clarity. Thanks for risking the heat I'm sure this post will trigger ... I am grateful no end.

    -Marc
    Thanks Marc

    BTW - you've got some sweet gear...That's some serious firepower for a retired dude


    Quote Originally Posted by GASC View Post
    I'm working at the moment in fashion with a big one. So, international campaigns, models Bundchen, Kurkova, Erin Wasson, Rafaeli, Andersen etc...really good stylists, celebs etc...

    I'm not kidding to what I'm saying: I've never ever heard just once, somebody talking about gear, focusing issues (there are not), lightning issues (there are not either) and softwares and pp. Yes in pp they are talking about the artistic style they want to acheive, never about tech issues. It's been about 6 months now and never just once gear conversation, even backstage.
    The lack of conversation is similar to my experience too. Congrats on the job...that's a great way to learn production.


    Quote Originally Posted by GASC View Post
    So I ask this question: why is this gear endless topics all over the internet?
    and more importantly: who is pushing them?
    I never could make much sense out of it until reading parts of Das Kapital...My understanding is that a lot of it has nothing to do with photography and is actually "commodity fetishism." It's worth noting that much of recent explosion in photography enthusiasts coincides with easy access to credit which makes it possible for them to go into debt to acquire gear that previously only money-making professionals would consider owning.

    Another by-product of late capitalism is the cultural impact of mass production and reproduction on the fine arts. For example, most people now cannot really tell the difference between art and advertising to the extent that fine art (in the classical sense) may not even exist. Back in the 90s, I was present when a sculptor complained about Herb Ritts photographs on display by saying "what the **** are those tabloid photographs doing in here?" Although I personally enjoy Herb Ritts work...I still think that sculptor summed up the situation pretty well lol

  32. #32
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Puttin' my money where my mouth is... shot this "freebie" in 5 minutes after a student concert here at LSU. One of my fellow trumpet players needed a "studio" headshot for something kind of last minute. We shot this in the concert hall after it had been cleared. I wish I'd played the lighting ratios a bit differently as far as the kicker (bit too hot) and I'll need to retouch some speculars on the nose (and been a bit more sensitive about the wardrobe... messy collar/tie), but such is life, lol!

    Not the pinnacle of IQ... but got the job done for me in a very short amount of time. I can foresee when traveling for baroque trumpet jobs, in the future, setting up promo/headshot sessions in my concert destination towns... and this ease of set-up in combination with high IQ is great. I'd love to shoot this with MF, but I can't get the total utility (at present with my budget) out of what I could afford.

    That's what is so great about being a photographer at the end of 2010! Choices and capability at multiple pricing levels!


  33. #33
    GASC
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    Thanks Marc

    BTW - you've got some sweet gear...That's some serious firepower for a retired dude




    The lack of conversation is similar to my experience too. Congrats on the job...that's a great way to learn production.




    I never could make much sense out of it until reading parts of Das Kapital...My understanding is that a lot of it has nothing to do with photography and is actually "commodity fetishism." It's worth noting that much of recent explosion in photography enthusiasts coincides with easy access to credit which makes it possible for them to go into debt to acquire gear that previously only money-making professionals would consider owning.

    Another by-product of late capitalism is the cultural impact of mass production and reproduction on the fine arts. For example, most people now cannot really tell the difference between art and advertising to the extent that fine art (in the classical sense) may not even exist. Back in the 90s, I was present when a sculptor complained about Herb Ritts photographs on display by saying "what the **** are those tabloid photographs doing in here?" Although I personally enjoy Herb Ritts work...I still think that sculptor summed up the situation pretty well lol
    Thanks for the kind words Mike. Yes it's a damn good learning school.

    Well I join totaly your points on the fetishism and the cultural analysis you are making. This is now a mass culture with all the package that corresponds.

    Maybe that is why we have often those threads on high-end gear. What happen is that people with reasonable skills do not understand that those are cameras for pros and aimed to make money, so they feel offended not having access to this kind of equipment and try to deny it in those 35mm vs MF.

    But hey, there is a difference if you make movies between the 4000 euros 1DMK4 and the 2000euros 5DMK2. Even if the 5D is a FF. Basically in operation because I think we have reached a point where minimum quality is there whatever equipment. There is no surprise in this world. High-end quality costs time and money.
    It's like filming with the 5d or filming with the Red or the Arri. Big difference. But if I'm doing a few movies from time to time for the fun or to upload pics in internet, do I need the Arri?

    But talent is free and everybody can have it, even with a 50 $ Holga.

  34. #34
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    It's good to always try and think in terms of left brain vs right brain.
    I cannot respond meaningfully to this post (the entire post, not just this snippet) other than to say "BRAVO".

  35. #35
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Maybe part of the gear obsession is that when you buy a digital camera you are buying an imaging system. With film it was a body and lenses that you paired with the imaging system: your film of choice. Simple but true.
    George T. Griswold, Jr.
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    www.georgegriswold.com Photographs

  36. #36
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    I cannot respond meaningfully to this post (the entire post, not just this snippet) other than to say "BRAVO".
    + 1!

    I recently came across (and bought) a book of Todd Hido "A road dived" and then checked him out on the net. He shoots with a 4x5 film camera, often at night. The pictures of his latest book were shot through a car window, sometimes with snow flakes or raindrops on them. (Who on a gear forum discussing what is the sharpest lens would shoot with a view camera through a dirty windscreen ) But the results are magic -- high class art IMHO. I hope to see prints in a gallery later this week.

    The other comment I want to make relates to an article in the recent edition of the "Economist" on how too much choice can kill the choice. Indeed, choosing one system inevitably means a decision against other system and there always is the angst that the other system might have been the better choice. (Even for the few for which money is no issue, a choice has been made as you wont carry 5 systems with you when going out to shoot.) I already noted that with my M outfit as I often have difficulty to decide which lens to take with me--I did not have that problem in the beginning when I started with the 35 and 90 mm. Interestingly, I made some of the best pictures this year on the few occasions that I went out with one lens only--no choices while shooting--and I now often go out with 2 lenses only and then look for subjects that fit the lenses.

    My inability to choose--and my angst to say no to the things I do not choose--is also the reason why I have not moved into MFD although I was decided to do so at the beginning of the year. I now think it's time to apply the Nike slogan--Just do it!--and I am ready to take the plunge and go for the S2 and 3 lenses. I think the versatility and the relative ease of use will allow me to get the most (fun) out of it. May there are situations where a 65+ on an Arca Swiss would have been better. Still better to use one system than no system at all.

    Needless to add that I am not making my living shooting and do not have to please any paying clients. If I had to, I would probaly not even have enough cash to pay for my internet connection to surf on gear fora-

    Cheers and a belated Merry Christmas to all of you.

  37. #37
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by ggriswold View Post
    Maybe part of the gear obsession is that when you buy a digital camera you are buying an imaging system. With film it was a body and lenses that you paired with the imaging system: your film of choice. Simple but true.
    I don't think I ever thought of film as being an imaging system. It's the capture medium with specific characteristics (DR , grain, spectral response, etc).

    Raw workflow is closer to the film experience in that you disregard most of the cameras' built-in imaging processing. Then the body becomes more like what a film camera body was, although the 'film' is an embedded part of the body and has certain characteristics that only change by changing bodies.

    There's no perfect analog.

  38. #38
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    Indeed, choosing one system inevitably means a decision against other system and there always is the angst that the other system might have been the better choice.
    This is a matter of perception... and one born out of (IMHO) western, capitalistic thought. In attempting to not judge against those equipment choices that others have made, I truly feel that my choice is based out of what works for me at this moment... not what doesn't. Would I like "better"? Sure....

    What is better? What will 2011 bring, gear-wise, that meets this?

    In my life, angst over what could have been (and I have some non-photographic situations to which this applies in a pretty harrowing manner) has almost always lead to a crippling of my artistic output. Along these lines, although 2011 brings a multitude of choices, I no longer find it to be limiting... in that my images are being born from intent that drives what I shoot with, not from what my gear is capable of.

    This is where, on one level, the whole MF/35mm "pay for high quality" ideal rings false to me. I can, indeed, readily see the difference between an H-something, or S-something, and my own 35mm gear. Indeed, I'd LOVE a MF camera and think I could make it sing. BUT, in this day and age, what we have at our disposal... even with the lowly 5dii... is all so capable of high quality that the bar now has little to do with gear and mp IF compared to what was acceptable even 5 years ago in professional circles. I know arri primes are better... I know HC glass is probably better.... but what does it get me for my output. That's the big question.

    So, 2011, for me (and gear) is about making better images... my gear still has plenty of capacity for that. I actually bet that with nicer glass and a few other mods, my images will be better than ever this year... which will be a success IMO. I find that many of the images here that are oohhh'd anf ahhhh'd over and draw me in seem compelling due to such careful use of the capabilities of the cameras (bit depth, sharpness, etc...)... but if the same images are often not burned into my memory as memorable as the content of these images seems to be lacking.

    THAT, of course, is a personal assessment... and nothing meant personal as I surely turn out my share of artistic failures and many here put out great stuff week after week.

    I guess what I'm saying is that all this talk of backfocus, bit-depth, and drawing style has a place... but it largely has superseded the content of the images with which it is often associated.

    To tie this back onto the original topic... I'd love to see some discussion as to how this great 2011 gear is going to help one see better, or capture image that otherwise would have been compromised with other equipment (whatever that means to you).

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    The problem is ..... $40K.

    When you spend that kind of money, your expectations are much greater than when you spend $4k (and rightly so).

    No system is perfect (as everybody knows; or should know). The question is what's acceptable to you.

    If I would spend that kind of money in a system, I better have no doubts about that gear and unless I screw up big time, the results should be matching that price point.

    I don't have any experience with the S2, but it seems that the AF problem could be resulted from the larger AF points (the area used for focusing is too big and can pick up something in the background). I really doubt that it can be fixed with firmware.

    I recently started using MF again (with film for now) and at my first "real" shoot I did, I had a couple of instance where the AF picked up on the background ruining the shot. I had a couple other ones that were good, but it's something that I am learning to live with. I only spent $2k and I don't like it. Imagine if I spent $40k.

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    All I can say is great photographs are less about the camera that takes the photo and more about everything else that goes into it.

    Far greater photographs have been taken with less sophisticated cameras than are available today.

    I am sure if Henri Cartier-Bresson were alive today he would tell you:

    "IQ is a bourgeous concept"

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Some clarification:

    I AM shooting with the S2 camera, not just talking about it. I just got back from shooting in the bitter cold (again), as well as in lower available interior light.

    Creative intent is driving this consideration. Stylistically, I am primarily a people shooter... and of that, primarily a candid shooter. Aesthetically, I like CCD files, and big ones are better than small ones for my post processing approach. I liked the DMR most of any DSLR ever ... but manual focus became increasing difficult for my style of shooting with aging eyes, and the DMR files were smallish.

    I like beautiful subtleties in photos, just like I like the same in paintings and drawings. However, content and expressions of an idea, or a revealing moment is what determines what is kept and what is not ... aesthetics are just a bonus if present, and I much prefer it when they are, especially when the look/feel enhances the idea or moment that was captured ... "i.e., light, etc.".

    I recognized long ago that I am more intuitive than logical, and often don't even remember capturing a certain image that turns out to be a decisive expression of what was happening in front of me. I get to discover it again when editing ... as if someone else shot the darned thing It's almost a trance like state of shooting ... spontaneous reaction informed by intuitive anticipation. If I actually thought about it, I doubt I'd have captured many of the shots I like most.

    That is the criteria I'm using to evaluate this camera.

    Update: used the 35 and 70. S2 focus was fine even though I was shooting wide open most of the time. However, I did note that I tend to fill the AF circle with the subject area I wanted in focus.

    Bad news was the shutter button stuck twice when shooting in the cold, which stopped me in my tracks. Don't know why it stuck.

    Also tried the SF58 Flash because sometimes I need fill. Set on TTL won't work, but TTL/HSS, A and M do work ... don't know why TTL won't work (yes, I made sure the shutter speed was in sync range and TTL does work on my M9). 9 times out of 10 I am the error not the camera, so further investigation is required.

    Thanks again for all the input.

    -Marc

    Oh, and I think the art aspect of photography is more difficult to talk about than an inanimate object. Perhaps because you inevitably have to talk about yourself, your feelings and thoughts to be specific ... otherwise it can turn into a pontificating art lecture that may be to hard to relate to if too generalized.

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    + 1!


    The other comment I want to make relates to an article in the recent edition of the "Economist" on how too much choice can kill the choice. Indeed, choosing one system inevitably means a decision against other system and there always is the angst that the other system might have been the better choice. (Even for the few for which money is no issue, a choice has been made as you wont carry 5 systems with you when going out to shoot.) I already noted that with my M outfit as I often have difficulty to decide which lens to take with me--I did not have that problem in the beginning when I started with the 35 and 90 mm. Interestingly, I made some of the best pictures this year on the few occasions that I went out with one lens only--no choices while shooting--and I now often go out with 2 lenses only and then look for subjects that fit the lenses.
    When I went to Yosemite this fall I had one lens for my tech camera (35mm). The running joke was it was "the perfect scene for a 35" or "I need to pull out my long 35" or "this calls for a short 35". I came away from that trip happy and have a number of shots that I want to print. Having one lens on that trip was the best thing for me.

    When I had my M8 I always went out in NYC with only one lens (either the 28 cron or 50 lux). Like you, most of my best shots are where I had little choice of gear but lots of choice on how to use it to frame the right shot.

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Watched an interesting interview with Richard Serra where he said something like "don't be too eager to throw away process if it works" and this is something I think applies here.

    In what I would characterize as the rush to digital we have abandoned a ton of working process. Things that just worked, plus warts, all. Even the drudgery parts, there is something in that too. I think it can have a negative effect, especially them multiplied several times over as we uphrase and switch systems. What are we losing each time- we think we are getting closer to something, something supposedly better, but many times farther away from our original inspiration in photography.

    I'm really only talking about artistic work, in commercial work we have to do what we have to do and I dont miss any of that, but the basics of film and printing, the slowness, how it is a necessity to just stick to known formulas, consistency, etc- I think that is missing from digital- it is all too easy, there is no hard won investment, you can change it on a dime.
    In 2011 I will be sticking as much as possible with "one camera, one lens, one paper" (yes, in digital) to really know it and make it mine.

  44. #44
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    +1 on the "less is more" approach to shooting and forcing yourself to be more creative. My M experience was very similar and i finally ended up with a 3 lens outfit and mostly really only shot with the M9 & 35 'lux. Ditto with my Nikons - I'll often just go out & shoot with just the 35/1.4 or 50/1.4.

    The more gear I take, the less i shoot and very often tHe less I like the results. I know it's a bit of a "gear cliche" but it seems to be true.

    Now if I HAD to produce the goods like a pro has to, well then it's a different situation altogether I'm sure.

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    I'm going to add my 2 cents:
    Would you bring a Clydesdale to a barrel race? No. Unless it was the only horse you had.

    Sometimes it's great to have the perfect tool to do the job. But we cannot afford the perfect tool for each occasion, we have to make compromises. I can use both my 1DsIII and 1DIII interchangeably (we'll ignore the crop & resolution ) 90% of the time. Neither will surface in the studio now that I have the RZ.

    Do I have desires equipment wise, yes. Santa did not bring me an M8 or M9, so I'll have to drag my fixed lens point and shoot if I want something that fits in a pocket. Canon is not making anything that appeals as a replacement for my IIIs. I went 18 years with my OM1&2. But as was stated earlier, you're buying the film for the life of the body now. I'm happy with the "film" that I get with the Canons then. I'll give the ZD back a year before I splurge on another back.

  46. #46
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    From my seat what I see is a lot of folks care about what gear they are buying in terms of lens , accessories and such but my final criteria above all else is bullet proof. I can deal with many compromises in a system as long as i have a work around. As i said before a Pros main job is solving problems or making things work out of thin air. But the last thing i want is gear that does not perform all the time or has some design flaw to deal with. I have enough stuff going on in front of me to problem solve but at the end of the day is i want bullet proof not waiting for new firmware to fix this or that. My buying cams to be the beta tester pig are over. I am increasingly having a bigger issue these days when i hear well a firmware update will fix that and that update is 3 months out. I'm done with that and won't buy gear anymore with those limitations on them. I waited almost a year to upgrade to my P40+ because I did not like the C1 profile out of the gate. This was a very small issue but I still waited it out. Buying a cam and hoping is something I have given up on and I have not bought new out of the gate lately with any gear that actually means something too me on a business level. Sure bought the small Sony's and such but they are the toys not the serious guns I need to work with.

    Not to bring up a brand name here because that is really not the point but when I went with Phase all this struggle stuff stopped dead in it's tracks . I rarely have any camera, workflow or functional issues at hand to deal with. No the system is not perfect and I still have certain workarounds but the camera is ready for use and that is more my point. I don't hardly think about any of this stuff anymore and when i grab that bag I am out to shoot and deliver and it does that without wishing this firmware did that or something else. I care about my Art and getting images and what i have really left behind and you all know I have been first out of the gate M8,DMR and others but know i refuse to fall into that trap of trying to be the guy to fix world issues with immature gear. It brought me nothing but heartaches and failed imagery . I'm just done with that and yes i am very much a right brain person . Art is number one the rest is sometimes even worthless to think about. I don't buy into a lot of tech stuff until I can see and process the images and let my eyes do the talking. In all honesty since I bought the Phase I care less and less about the gear because I am not having any issues that wants me to jump into another frying pan. I'm just not willing to risk my money or time anymore. Just no value in it.

    I think the key is find a system that works and does not have warts. Compromising on some features is one thing but warts is a whole different ballgame.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  47. #47
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    This is one of the best threads ever......!!!!
    So much wisdom, and i say YES!
    For myself, my heroes/mentors are the old Masters - Boubat, Bresson, Ronis, Kertesz, Sudek, Doisneau - their photos never fail to move me.... deeply. And you know what, their equipment probably was not as good as most decent gear readily available today.
    Yet their images had a magical joie de vivre and impact......
    My takeaway....? Improve my eye, practice, shoot and then shoot some more, it is not the equipment as much as about the eye behind the camera.......
    But this is for my style of shooting. If i was a product photographer, or shot for Vogue etc. the equipment would be more important....
    My photoblog: http://josefskye.tumblr.com
    Friend me on Facebook: Josef Skye Tornick

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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoJo View Post
    or shot for Vogue etc. the equipment would be more important....
    Oh contrare! Amazing fashion photography is still in the idea and the execution than in the camera. It has been the trend to shoot "lo-fi" these days in fashion.

  49. #49
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    that would be great, i'd love to do that..... I do use a bunch of lo-fi cameras alot when i go around here shooting......
    My photoblog: http://josefskye.tumblr.com
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  50. #50
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    Re: Gear & Our Art: 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    From my seat what I see is a lot of folks care about what gear they are buying in terms of lens , accessories and such but my final criteria above all else is bullet proof. I can deal with many compromises in a system as long as i have a work around. As i said before a Pros main job is solving problems or making things work out of thin air. But the last thing i want is gear that does not perform all the time or has some design flaw to deal with. I have enough stuff going on in front of me to problem solve but at the end of the day is i want bullet proof not waiting for new firmware to fix this or that. My buying cams to be the beta tester pig are over. I am increasingly having a bigger issue these days when i hear well a firmware update will fix that and that update is 3 months out. I'm done with that and won't buy gear anymore with those limitations on them. I waited almost a year to upgrade to my P40+ because I did not like the C1 profile out of the gate. This was a very small issue but I still waited it out. Buying a cam and hoping is something I have given up on and I have not bought new out of the gate lately with any gear that actually means something too me on a business level. Sure bought the small Sony's and such but they are the toys not the serious guns I need to work with.

    Not to bring up a brand name here because that is really not the point but when I went with Phase all this struggle stuff stopped dead in it's tracks . I rarely have any camera, workflow or functional issues at hand to deal with. No the system is not perfect and I still have certain workarounds but the camera is ready for use and that is more my point. I don't hardly think about any of this stuff anymore and when i grab that bag I am out to shoot and deliver and it does that without wishing this firmware did that or something else. I care about my Art and getting images and what i have really left behind and you all know I have been first out of the gate M8,DMR and others but know i refuse to fall into that trap of trying to be the guy to fix world issues with immature gear. It brought me nothing but heartaches and failed imagery . I'm just done with that and yes i am very much a right brain person . Art is number one the rest is sometimes even worthless to think about. I don't buy into a lot of tech stuff until I can see and process the images and let my eyes do the talking. In all honesty since I bought the Phase I care less and less about the gear because I am not having any issues that wants me to jump into another frying pan. I'm just not willing to risk my money or time anymore. Just no value in it.

    I think the key is find a system that works and does not have warts. Compromising on some features is one thing but warts is a whole different ballgame.
    This is the key isn't it Guy?

    It is actually the reason for this thread.

    Equipment makers are in such a competitive frenzy they've resorted to releasing gear before its time. Part of that is our fault ... we keep buying it.

    Sometimes we do so because of residual selective memory A sort of Pollyanna mindset of trust driven by a company's past rather than their present. The M8 vividly come to mind ... great M6s, M7s and then finally a M8! Oops!

    This is not to be confused with hiccups with a specific camera or piece of gear ... it's more about design flaws and engineering boo-boos. "One ofs" isn't the same as "All ofs" being released to a trusting public.

    I also allow for my own stupidity when first working with a relatively new system. However, I have enough experience to separate those issues from real ones pretty quickly.

    As you mentioned, Phase One isn't immune to this and you wisely waited until it was the way you wanted it before committing to your current camera.

    I have a few similar feelings about the H4D/60 I have on order. I was willing to wait, and got something else in the meantime to get the job done. However, I am a bit concerned that the H4D/60 firmware is still in need of updating ... with promises of "soon" ... Hasselblad's "soon" has become somewhat suspect as of late.

    Decision time is almost upon me.

    Get the S2, or a take a world tour on the Queen Mary ... or add the cash to my Volvo trade value and get a new BMW. My wife votes for staying pat with what I have and getting her a 17" Mikimoto Black South Sea Pearl necklace ... which may pay a bigger return than the S2

    -Marc

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