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Shifting Camera Choices · We just got back from a week in Maui; obviously, I took a lot of pictures. I think my choice of tools and techniques is pretty mainstream, so when I suddenly change them I wonder if I’m part of a news story. As of this trip, I treat my camera (Fuji X-T1) and phone (Pixel 2) as peers, and which one I reach for depends on what kind of picture I want to take. And almost always, there’s big glass on the Fuji (the Samyang 135mm F2 or Fuji’s own excellent 55-200 zoom). I’m wondering if “normal” lenses on “real” cameras have a future. By way of evidence I offer ten pictures of Maui, five each from the Pixel and from the “real” camera ...
 
Olympus TG-5 “Tough” Waterproof · I found myself vacation-bound to Queensland (that’s the top right corner of Australia) and the itinerary included beaches and coral, specifically the Great Barrier Reef, which is dying. I like to photograph the places I visit, and the Olympus TG-5 is getting lots of buzz in waterproof-cam circles, so I got one ...
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2017 Camera News · Herewith some reportage on the most interesting cameras in the world, with opinions to provoke er entertain people who are up on this stuff, and a basic survey of the landscape for people who like pictures and wonder about cameras ...
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Wrong About Cameras · Today’s Wrongness Exhibit is iPhone 7 vs Leica M9-P: A Side-by-Side Photo Comparison by Michael Zhang, which demonstrates — any fool can plainly see, look at the photos — that an iPhone 7 takes pictures just as well as a $9K Leica combo ...
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Lightroom, Mobile, Nexus · In which I report on using the Nexus 5X in RAW mode, with the help of Adobe Lightroom, and on workflows for mobile photogs. With illustrations from Vancouver’s Lighthouse Park ...
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Zoom! Zoom! · In recent days I’ve bought two new Fujifilm lenses. The choices weren’t easy and I’m far from convinced I did the right thing. Have a look and see what you think ...
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Catching Faces · Point-and-shoot cameras advertise “Face Recognition”, a cheap trick that a Serious Photographer using a Real Camera with a Fast Prime Lens would never go near. Oh, wait ...
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CL XXX: Lensing · The great thing about interchangeable-lens cameras is well, interchanging lenses. In particular while kicking back in Cottage-life mode ...
 
More Funky-lens fun · I previously wrote about sticking a groovy 100mm F/2.8 tele/macro Pentax lens on my Fujifilm X-T1; here are a few leftover pictures with no unifying theme, but they’re pretty ...
 
Camera Combo Fun · What happened was, I got an adapter and slapped a Pentax 100mm Telephoto-Macro on my Fujifilm X-T1, and had a ridiculous amount of fun. Herewith pictures of an iris, a dancer, and a muscle car; and of course the baroque camera/lens combo. But there are things to watch out for.
[Update: The lens adapter did not break, I was just using it wrong.]
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iPad Photography · My Mom is visiting and I’ve been taking advantage of my unemployment to tour her around some of Vancouver’s tourist spots. Where you find tourists, taking pictures. With everything from fancy high-end cameras to iPads. Yes, people do use tablets as cameras. But... only women ...
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New Fujifilm · I just picked up a new Fujifilm X-T1. It’s about the most-reviewed camera in recent history and there’s very little I can add to that tsunami of words; so this is short ...
 
N5-Cam VII: Long Train Ride · On March 1st I went from Barcelona to London by train. It was amusing and relaxing; If you can spare a day and some money, I recommend it ...
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N5-cam VI: Spanish Vistas · Since phonecams have focal lengths that are fixed and low, they ought to be credible pocket-cam replacements for wide-angle shots. But you have to worry whether they can handle massed details. Let’s see ...
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N5-cam V: Barcelona Subway · I offer further research on the hypothesis that a decent modern phonecam (in this case a Nexus 5) means you don’t need a good pocket cam any more. In particular, how about “street” photography? Where by “street” I mean under the street not on it and color not B&W. Street is said to require discretion, responsiveness, and subtle tonal variations. Here’s the evidence ...
 
N5-cam IV: Lying Flowers · It’s traditional at this time of year that I run close-ups of the first few crocuses, earliest harbingers of spring. Hah! Another chance to test out the proposition that mobile-device cams mean you don’t need a serious camera any more ...
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Parading · The nations that matter are those that export culture; China is one of those. Particularly this time of year and around the Pacific Rim; because it’s Chinese New Year. On Sunday, I marched in the big Vancouver parade ...
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Hot Mirrorless Fun · The golden age of photography continues; now the mirrorlesses have banged through the saloon doors, looking for a throwdown with the SLRs. It’s fun! Today I have loads of links, some to unmissable picture galleries (not mine) and a portrait of Fujifilm buyer paralysis ...
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N5-cam IV: Brighter Bridges · In the previous outings in this series, I’ve been torturing the poor little camera in my Nexus 5 with extreme low light, and I suppose it deserves better ...
 
N5-cam III: Toronto by Night · I visited my brother in Toronto and we went out to drink & talk & eat on a cold evening; I didn’t take an actual camera-as-such, but that didn’t keep good pictures from arriving in front of me, so I snapped away with the Nexus 5. Thus, another test of the hypothesis that a mobilecam can replace a “serious” pocketcam ...
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N5-cam II: Scrubbing Up · In my last N5-cam outing, Low Light, I suggested contradictory things. First, that I was going to investigate using this as a serious pocket camera, and second, that since this is Just A Phone, there’s no need for postprocessing ...
 
N5-cam I: Low Light · I hear that pocket cams are over because phonecams have eaten that space; so let’s see if my Nexus 5 can convince me one way or another ...
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Tab Sweep: Hallowe’en · Well into Q3 and autumn, and my SAD is already stirring in the back corner of my brain. But any season is Harvest season on the Web ...
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Things About the X-E1 · Seven months ago I got an X-E1, a product of Fujifilm, who announced the X-E2 today; an occasion for going a little deeper on my time with the camera. With a dozen pictures ...
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Main Street Photo Fun · In which I take some ordinary street shots and overprocess them for fun ...
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Sony RX100 II · I lost my much-beloved Canon S100 by leaving it on an airplane — how stupid is that? — so I got the new RX100 II (Sony, DPR, Amazon); also called the M2 in places including its photos’ EXIF data, but “II” seems more official ...
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Good Raw Files · I’ve been switching back and forth quite a bit between my two “serious” cameras, the Pentax K-5 (excellent late-2010 tech) and the Fujifilm X-E1 (same, late-2012). They both have important virtues, but I’m starting to think the most important difference is raw-file quality. I have an example ...
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Cameraccessories · Words and pictures about add-ons, specifically the Luma Cinch (a new thing) and the Helios 44m-4 58mm f/2 lens (a very old thing) ...
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3 Camera Reviews · It’s a wonderful time in the camera biz, with new device flavors grabbing market share all over the place. I’ve made my bet on the Fujifilm X series, so let’s start with a 2-parter over at The Online Photographer, Fuji X-E1: The Keeper (Part I) and Part II. There’s not that much new information here, but it’s fun piece to read ...
 
Tropical Mirrorless Research · I claim that watching people photograph the Big Island is effective camera-futures research; and camera futures are interesting now. So here’s some research. Oh, and Big Island photos ...
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Fujifilm X-E1 · What happened was, this month includes trips to Tokyo and the Big Island. And lately I’ve been reading about cameras full of shiny new ideas. So I decided to indulge myself; here are way too many words about the state of cameras in general and in particular the one I bought ...
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Square Pictures · I like square photographs and wish my camera shot that way. Recently there’s been a flurry of good online talk about picture shapes ...
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Big Camera Tradeoffs · These days, for a photographer who cares, a “medium format” camera is becoming a serious option. This is something that, while large, you can still fit in your hand, but has a huge sensor and gives you gobs and gobs of megapixels. Examples would be the Leica S2 and the Pentax 645D. These cameras are beautiful, objects of desire, but really I’m not tempted ...
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Canon S90 · I must say I’ve enjoyed having this little black goober in my pocket. Herewith some words and pictures ...
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Canon S90 · My Ricoh GX-100 was slow, fragile, and subject to highlight-blowout, but still took pretty good pictures. It died the other day, and I’m just not happy without a camera in my pocket, so I ran out and grabbed myself this cute little “PowerShot”, for practical and sentimental reasons. Herewith some early-experience notes ...
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Afterglow · “All is quiet on New Year's Day” the song says. Also wet dark and cold in Vancouver starting around 4PM, this time of year. But my camera’s marketing literature says it’s waterproof, so I went out to listen to guitar solos in my head and shoot wet lights ...
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On Low Light · Right now camera tech is moving fast and it’s fun to work with, whether it’s your hobby or avocation or profession. The big deal, of course is the arrival of the first of the long-awaited DMD (Decisive Moment Digital) cameras. The desire that drives it all, mostly, is for cameras that do more with less; specifically, less light. We’re getting them, which is good, but I have one minor regret ...
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Lenses · I got a big chuckle out of What Type of Photographer Are You? by Gordon Lewis (AKA Shutterfinger). He chronicles a few common lens-related pathologies observed among photographers. Which made me realise that I’ve really been enjoying taking pictures recently. The current selection of lenses meets my needs and fits in a pretty small camera-bag; I don’t feel the need for any more. So I thought I’d share my current inventory, with a slide-show highlighting what each can do. Someone might find it useful, and it might provoke some real photographers to tell their stories, which I’d sure find interesting ...
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21mm Fight Dance · I had two ten-year-old boys with me; they said “Fight dancing!” Really it was Capoeira, somewhere between a martial art and dance form, invented by African slaves in Brazil. There are a couple of stories but let’s start with the picture ...
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Junepix 6: Lens and Branch · This one is a pretty but I think unremarkable photograph of a Douglas Fir branch against a clear blue sky; of particular interest to photographers who worry about depth-of-field and bokeh ...
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Tokina SL-400 f5.6 · What happened was, over at the cottage I recently failed to get decent pictures of both a hummingbird about 20 feet away and an interesting boat maybe 500m out. I concluded that I needed a bigger lens. I checked out the prices of modern really-big Pentax telephotos (zoom and prime) and they made me shudder, given the very-occasional-use context. So I went hunting on eBay, and this is what I came up with ...
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Lensing · On Boxing Day I picked up Pentax’s DA* 50-135mm F2.8 zoom; herewith a picture and some notes; plus a super-ultra-hardcore lens-otaku link ...
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Cameras Small and Large · There’s been lots of interesting forward motion in the photo-products space recently. I thought I’d summarize for the fairly-small set of readers who care about cameras and such, but aren’t obsessive enough to follow the daily news themselves. Also, I’ve tossed in some pretty winterdusk studies. Well, darkly pretty ...
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Get In Focus · Recently, the factor most limiting the quality of the pictures I take has been focus. When you shoot a few hundred pictures, a few will always constitute focus failures, but my fail ratio has been too high recently. I’ve thought about it and there are a few things wrong with my approach, but I thought I’d reassure myself that my camera and lenses were playing nice with each other ...
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Video? I Doubt It · Canon’s much-ballyhooed but not universally welcomed 5D Mark II also (and this is a new thing for SLRs) operates as a high-def videocam. There are two videos linked from The Online Photographer and they are mind-bogglingly, jaw-droppingly beautiful. But it won’t work for you. The pictures you take with this camera will almost certainly look great with little effort, while your videos will require huge effort and probably still end up lousy.
[Update: The comments, after only a few hours, are outstanding, full of erudition and common sense. Check ’em out.]
[Also: See Tim O’Brien’s two-parter in response: Getting Started with Video and Part 2: Steady Shooting.]
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On Megapixels · Suppose you’re interested in buying a camera. If you look at the ads and reviews, the first thing you see right beside every single one is its megapixel count. The camera makers want you to think that more is always better, which is wrong. But the community buzz is starting to be “more is worse”, which isn’t really right, either ...
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Cottage Life I: Logs · I think that life in general and this space in particular would benefit from more of an outdoor flavor; words and pictures rooted in Nature. Our recent acquisition of a piece of Keats Island, should make this easier. Welcome to Cottage Life. Any piece of Pacific Northwest waterfront is going to include a lot of logs ...
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Nice Camera Bag · I’ve been carrying cameras around for a while in a bag that I hated; awkward to open, awkward to get into, ugly, big outside and small inside. So the other day I picked up this little canvas National-Geographic-branded bag made by Bogen Imaging, model NG-2343 ...
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Nice Ugly New Camera · A few weeks back, I bought a Pentax K20D and now that I’ve taken 500+ pictures with it, I suppose I should say a few words. To illustrate, photographs of garbage ...
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Photo Notes · Remarks from the photo world, interspersed with uplifting Hawai’i snapshots. It’s about emotion, not just technology ...
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Camera Blues · I’ve bought two new cameras in the last month and they’re giving me trouble. If you’re thinking about one of the new Pentaxes, or one of those nifty little Ricohs, maybe you ought to read this.
[Update: The software caught up.]
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Service in 2008 · What happened was, I wanted to buy a Ricoh GX00 and, in North America, there’s only one place to do that: Adorama (gotta love that name), a New York camera store with online pretensions. It didn’t work out well, but while we don’t know yet if the story has a happy ending, it certainly has a silver lining ...
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Compact Camera Talk · Last month at the Moose Camp, I gave a short talk on high-end compact cameras. I whipped it up in a few minutes, made a links page, and the whole thing was well under ten minutes. It was fun. It turns out that Bruce Sharpe was in the audience with a video camera, and he polished up and published it under the title Northern Voice 2008: Best Compact Cameras. The quality is remarkable, particularly when you consider that the whole exercise cost Bruce approximately nothing. If anyone reading this is interested in a point-&-shoot with pretensions, they might find it useful. But here’s what’s interesting: in a world infested with videobloggers, any public utterance, no matter how off-the-cuff, is, potentially, an audiovisual publication. A permanent one.
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Purple Raindrops · Three pictures of droplet-studded violet crocuses. Spring sunshine is lovely, but there are things to like about spring rain too. With some camera commentary ...
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Ricoh GX100 · Officially that’s the Ricoh Caplio GX100, but a camera shouldn’t need a middle name. Mine arrived yesterday ...
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Tab Sweep — The World · Yes, I’ve been posting fewer substantive original pieces here. Working on a couple of things that aren’t very public, and also feeling itchy because what was radical three years ago has become conventional wisdom, which leaves me feeling empty and in need of something radical. Today an amusing antique camera, Iranian video, where we went, nine days of winter, and what happens when everything’s free? ...
 
On Pentax · More news for the photo set. Well, the proportion who care about DSLRs, prime lenses, and so on. OK, really only the sub-sub-subculture that follows the products from Pentax. With a few introductory remarks as to why you might be interested if you tend to photogeekery. Everyone else move right along ...
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Megapixel Madness · I was sitting up late the other night talking to Dave Sifry about his excellent Beginner’s Digital SLR buying guide: The Sifry Starter Photo Package. If you’re thinking “maybe I should get a better camera”, it’s a really good place to start. I wanted to add a couple of points and then rant a bit about the collective insanity around megapixels in camera marketing ...
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Photoworld · Here’s some reportage from the photoenthusiast side of the brain, including a shot by an actual real professional (and the difference shows), Ricoh rumblings, calibration, conversation, pictures by four different cameras, and two pictures of camera gear. I can gang together nearly-unrelated topics in a great big post like this because photo-hounds will read all of it and nobody else will read any; so efficiency is maximized ...
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Shinjuku Cameras · I didn’t have to take off for my first meeting till eleven, so I cruised into Shinjuku around 9:30 to see what I could do about the slow-camera problem. Which turned out to be about perfect, since it’s Yodabashi’s opening time; so I got a leisurely look at the stuff with help from the staff. I gather the normal Yodabashi experience is wall-to-wall crush ...
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Camera Futures · Following on Thinking About Cameras and the smart things in its comments, here are some conclusions and a prediction ...
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Thinking About Cameras · I’ve been shooting with the 40mm pancake almost exclusively for a half-year now, and I’m not going to stop, but I’m really itching for something better ...
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Tab Sweep — The World · The tabs build up as fast as I cut ’em down. This sweep is half photo-stuff, but I also have Second-Life humor, an Art-Rock conundrum, and what happens when you can’t write any more ...
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Photo Tab Sweep · Lots of interesting discourse out there in the photogeek world, girls and boys. Here’s your lightning tour, this one dominated by Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer, currently about my favorite photoblogger; high quality stuff and a nice light tone ...
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Photo News · First, I’m proud to be part of James Duncan Davidson’s red color bias ...
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New 21mm Lens · Still in the grip of Prime Lens Mania (“prime” means no zoom), I ventured into the wilds of eBay and picked up a Pentax smc 21mm P-DA F3.2, in theory the perfect companion to the 40mm “Pancake”. With illustrations and a cat-blogging bonus ...
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Tab Sweep · Perhaps a little more all-over-the-map even than is usual: GPLv3 clarity, Functional Pearls, raina bird-writer, Java credits, framework programmers, and hacking my Canon ...
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Lensing · Two pretty pictures of Western Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera Ciliosa) blossoms, taken with very different lenses; for both camera and flower geeks ...
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Tab Sweep (Non-Tech) · With notes this week on hippies, raconteurs, the M8 controversy, and a dead Russian ...
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Pentax smc P-DA 40mm “Pancake” · I went to Leo’s Camera here in Vancouver because it’s Alex Waterhouse-Hayward’s fave and because I wanted a look at the Leica M8. The Leica was sold out but I saw this lens I just had to buy. It’s adorable, now we’ll see how it works. [Update: Tossed in a couple of pictures.] ...
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Canon A710 IS · A couple of contributors wanted me to say something about the little Canon I bought in late March. So here are some notes ...
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Photomagic · It’s about the beauty in the volleyball players’ faces. While this is admittedly about cameras, even if you don’t care about sports or cameras, you owe it to yourself to go check out this slide show, which an astounding piece of reportage, damn the medium. For the camera geeks, the slideshow is illustrative material from Rob Galbraith’s write-up on Canon’s all-out assault on the state of the digicam art with their EOS-1D Mark III. But that’s not the magic. The magic is from The Online Photographer, a highly recommended photogeek blog, in particular the “Featured Comment” from Matthew Miller down at the bottom of So You Thought You Had Good Buffer Depth, and it asks a question: Why does a digital camera need a lens, anyhow? A lens is an expensive inflexible analog computer that locks you into one focal-length setting. If you capture the photons hitting the front of the lens, shouldn’t you be able to figure out the best focus later? Or has Mr. Miller got something wrong in the basic physics?
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