A quest for the ultimate, beautiful, meaningful picture

hardware

Quick read: 5 areas where cameras still beat smartphones in photography | Digital Trends

Is it not amazing that we have to “defend” using a real camera against smartphone pictures? Smartphones are getting ever more competitive against the simple, compact ‘point-and-click’ cameras, though! How many decades until the DSLR is threatened?
Be careful, though, when making a bet on this one: were we not surprised at how fast the digital SLR made the analog SLR obsolete? I was, to be honest.

5 areas where cameras still beat smartphones in photography | Digital Trends.

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Laptops with super high-def displays worth price | PCWorld

I try to limit the hardware craze: a good camera does not have to be traded in for a new one just because the Joneses have one; nor do old lenses. Still, I have upgraded from 6 to 12 to 24 megapixel sensor cameras, and my lenses were upgraded as well to match the increased quality. Similarly, my laptop does not have to be traded in for a new one just because there are new models available. Even with 24 M pixel pictures, my laptop still worked well. A bit slow, but hey, I’m not a pro who has to process hundreds of pictures a day, so let’s be a little environment-conscious. My laptop is 4 years old now and could do well for at least another year.

And yet…

An article on PCWorld, Laptops with super high-def displays worth price | PCWorld convinced me that the ‘retina screen’ is not a hype, but a true innovation, because you don’t see individual pixels anymore: ‘Suddenly, there’s harmony. Your eyes actually see what your brain wants to see.’
‘Suddenly, it’s possible to look at a screen and for the first time ever, see no pixels, no “jaggies” (the jagged edges of pixelated raster images) and no gray boundaries around letters. We’ve crossed some kind of line.’

Now I want a new Apple MacBook!

Let’s wait a month, and see if the urge is still as strong. That’s a famous trick to avoid impulsive buying… but this seems a serious candidate!


Cute Canon: Super-Small PowerShot N Camera

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop buying things–minimize! But this cute small camera is so minimalistic in design, that I’m almost tempted. Almost. So if you did not make such an anti-consumeristic resolution, I’d heartily recommend you to consider this nifty camera. Small, hardly any (visible) buttons but a tiltable touch screen. And a screen that tilts and swivels is one of the features I like best on my own DSLR.

With Canon’s name on it, this 12 M-pixel camera can’t be a lemon. You will want this in your pocket–and take it out often, not just for taking pictures but also to look at it 😉 Too bad I’m not going to buy it…

Canon Announces the Super-Small PowerShot N Camera | Fstoppers.

Schermafbeelding 2013-01-08 om 08.31.33


Tilt, shift, click!

Tilt-shift lenses are ideal for getting straight-lined architecture pictures, but also for creative playing with the plane of focus and depth-of-field. Normally, they are very expensive objectives, but price-breaker Samyang is about to release a tilt-shift-lens (Samyang T-S 24mm f/3.5 ED AS USM), rumoured to cost around $ 1,1000 (€ 900?). Hope it does not only come in the Nikon and Canon versions, but for Sony too. I’d put it on my wish list immediately!
The news is from the website FStoppers, who also give a picture of the new lens.


It’s not Bigger Memory Cards Versus More, but Quality and Price

In a short and insightful blog, Earthbound Light reflects on the question:

Bigger Memory Cards Versus More Memory Cards – Photo Tips @ Earthbound Light.

His answer–with which I heartily agree–is: that is not the real issue. Better make sure you buy quality-brand memory cards to minimize the chance of their failing, and go for proven designs at the best byte-per-buck ratio. That means: larger sizes but not the very latest, very largest ones.


Arabian conference –“And now for something completely different”

A conference room in an Arabian country. The contrast with the pictures shown here in the last couple of months could hardly be bigger. Monty Python’s famous phrase “And now for something completely different!” certainly applies!

Plenary session in ANQAHE's first conference

For the photo camera fans: this is the first picture I enter here taken with the new Sony A77 camera and the equally new 16-50 f/2.8 objective, and that is something completely different, too! The electronic viewfinder takes some getting used to, but has some great pluses: it shows the actual brightness of the picture you are going to take, so you see if in the conference room some exposure compensation is necessary; it gives 100% of the picture so there are no surprising heads entering the edge of the picture, etc. Besides, the camera is incredibly silent and fast, since there is no flapping mirror. The 2.8 lens is a joy to work with, as well: with the large amount of light that it picks up you need the flash less often (in combination with the camera’s 24 megapixel sensor, making ISO1600 a very acceptable high speed to work with), and the lens also seems to have very little distortion compared with my previous Sony 16-105 one.

Another technical advance of the A77 over the Sony A700 is that the RAW mode seems to interpret colour temperature much better in the automatic white balance mode, making post-processing a much lighter and faster exercise too.


Light-field instead of focus: Is Lytro revolutionising photography?

No more focusing inside the camera, just point, shoot, and decide later, behind your Mac (“Windows application is in development”–that is the right order of things 😉 ), what should be the focus and depth-of-field of your picture!

Somehow I stumbled upon the website of Lytro, a “light-field” camera introduced less than a week ago. And I just have to share this with you. Looking like a small flashlight, the little camera with only two buttons (zoom and click) promises to revolutionise photography.

If I get the scientific principles right, the sensor of this thingy records not only the quantity of light, as conventional cameras do, but also its direction. In that way, it becomes possible to focus after the fact and it als seems to be possible to make 3D-pictures out of a single shot. Instead of megapixels, it counts megarays of information.

No more worries if that butterfly was in focus… Of course a picture of a butterfly is one of the examples you can view on the Lytro site and you can even play with putting focus on different parts of the picture. Just click and see the butterfly change from vague to sharp.

Part of the fun is in clicking on the picture examples in the gallery, but looking at them, I wonder if they really have the selective sharpness that I can reach with a DSLR with a good-size sensor, and how the pictures will hold when enlarged and printed on paper: what is their resolution?

Anyhow, thing like that is going to be a completely different way of recording reality!


Wow: Canon EOS-1D X | PhotographyBLOG

In one word ‘WOW!’. That new top-of-the-line Canon camera is going to be fast beyond compare, sensitive to minimum light, will produce smooth colour gradations and will be just everything you can dream of, see: Canon EOS-1D X | PhotographyBLOG. The one thing missing will be: affordability. Strictly for high-investing pro photographers!


Beauty is in the photograph, not the gear

“Beauty is in the photograph, not the gear. Lenses matter, but even today’s kit lenses are capable of creating beautiful photographs. … And if the best thing people say about my work is, “Wow, it sure is sharp,” then I’ve failed and the lens is irrelevant.”

Highly quotable statement from David DuChemin in his blog.


Sony A77: great but not the best when light is low

On camerageek website DPReview they always do very serious tests, and the Web community reacts very seriously. Verdict on studio pictures made with the Sony A77: the experts do not all agree (otherwise they would not be experts), but there seems to be a majority opinion that the Sony A77 has great performance for a camera of its size and price. In fact, it can hold out with the best cameras at any price, give or take a pixel here or there. Except when it gets dark: then the loss of light through the new semi-translucent mirror results in more noise, less sharpness.

Sadly, the (excellent!) comparison tool on the DPReview site does not include samples made with my current camera, because that is of course the real question: I am not considering buying a whole new system from any camera brand, I am just considering if it is worthwhile to upgrade from my current Sony A700. And then even without direct comparisons there is little doubt: this is going to be a huge improvement! When can I get it….?