Yesterday I decided to do a photo-walk around Yokosuka. Partially to enjoy the out-of-doors after being kept in from the previous days typhoon, and also to put some of my older rangefinder lenses through their paces with the M9. I was also inspired by some vintage images of Yokosuka that I was recently browsing on Flickr. So I thought it would be an interesting exercise to see if I could reproduce something with a similar look.
My two lenses for the day were the Canon ltm 28mm f2.8, and Canon ltm 50mm f1.2. And as you can see, they are not the most technically perfect of lenses out there. They are soft in the corners, and color fringing is readily apparent. But I imaged that they would fit the bill for the type of images I was trying to create.
I’ve yet to devote the resources to buy a stable full of Leica lenses, but of the more modern glass that I do have (Konica, and Voigtlander) all perform to a much higher technical standard than the older Canon Leica thread mount lenses that I used for this exercise.
But sometimes the best tool for the job is not the best tool that you have, but rather the best tool for THAT SPECIFIC job. So what lenses would be better to reproduce the look from 40 years ago than some lenses that were 40+ years old? And truth be told, they did perform admirably, with regards to both sharpness and resolution when stopped down.
The shots themselves are nothing special. In most cases I tried to keep to subjects that were independent of time. And in honor of the old glass I was using (1950’s to 1960’s vintage) I decided to process them using a “yesteryear” type of filter in Lightroom. This gave them a yellow’ish washed-out look, common to old film images. Right out of the camera the images have a much more natural look, as would be expected from the M9. But I thought this treatment would better convey my idea.
Was it a success? I have no idea.
I like the effect, but I have no idea what others may think about it.
If you do have some thoughts about it, please take a minute and jot down your thoughts in a comment.
Click HERE for today’s photos.
Could the megapixel race finally be over?
Let’s hope so.
Here’s the headline: “Canon releases a new camera with lower resolution and better image quality.”
While this seems a bit counterintuitive, it does make sense. You see, cramming ever more and more pixels onto the same sized image sensor is NOT the way to improve image quality.
In my view Canon did a VERY smart thing in reducing the pixel count with the G11. And to make the news even better, they upped the sensor size, so you get a double whammy effect that results in larger photo sites, meaning a higher signal to noise ratio and lower overall noise.
I don’t want a super high resolution 100 megapixel image that is so noisy it looks like it was taken during a snowstorm. I’d much rather have a sub-10 megapixel image from the same sized or larger sensor as that will dramatically improve final image quality. Sigma, with their 4.7 megapixel Foveon sensors in their DP1 and DP2 cameras have proved this. Granted Foveon sensor technology is something entirely different from CMOC and CCD, but the fact remains that the 4.7 megapixel resolution images have the sharpness, clarity, and detail of 10-12 megapixel images shot using CCD or CMOS technology.
The only thing that really puzzles me is why Canon decided to grace the new S90 with an f2.0 lens, whilst only giving the G11 a widest aperture of f2.8? I am sure anyone who knows anything about taking pictures would have easily traded the 140mm zoom on the long end of the G11 for the 105mm on the long end of the S90 if it meant they could get an f2.0 aperture on the wide end.
S90: f/2.0-4.9 28-105mm (35mm equiv)
G11: f/2.8-4.5 28-140mm (35mm equiv)
In its defense, the G11 does have a very useful articulated LCD screen, although it is (marginally) smaller than that on the S90, AND on the long end of things, the G11 has the S90 beaten both on aperture, as well as reach.
It seems funny, but I think the biggest threat to Canons new G11 is their very own S90. The again, maybe not, since they seem to be marketed towards slightly different groups. The S90, being very pocketable is a “take it with you everywhere” camera that is sure to be popular with everyone. But the G11, while still compact, is certainly not something that you will want to stuff in your front pants pocket, not unless you want to make people think you are happy to see then anyways… The G11 seems geared toward the same crowd as the G10, those serious about their pictures, and after an all-around best-fit camera to fit as many photographic situations as possible.
I also see that they left HD video out of both of them, further ensuring a solid upgrade path for those that buy into the current lineup. So neither the S90 not the G11 are perfect cameras.
Smart. Very smart.
And in truth, I don’t think it is in any manufacturers best interest to produce the ‘perfect” camera. After all, their goal as a manufacturer is to make money. If they made a perfect camera then why would people fork over more of their hard earned (or inherited, or ill-gotten, or whatever type) money for a new model?
Businesses are IN business to DO business. Period.
That’s why we see such incremental product updates most of the time. It cuts down on R&D and manufacturing costs while maximizing the mount of units being sold, and this translates directly into profit.
It is a fine line though, and I am sure Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and everyone else I watching each other like hawks to make sure than no one manufacturer gets too far ahead of the curve and upsets the balance. I can just see the CEOs of all the big camera companies getting together once every year to decide what features to release on the public, how much to charge, and what features should be reserved for future product updates.
Following is a brief summary of my thoughts on some digital camera manufacturers. Basically, I attempted to describe each companies philosophy when it comes to making cameras:
Canon: Full frame is where it’s at, ergonomics are for pansies.
Nikon: Full frame is overrated (oops, that was last years line…) “Full frame is where it’s at, and oh by the way, our ergonomics wipe the floor with Canon.
Olympus: Damnit, 4/3rds IS full frame! (if you can accept the logic that the original Pen was a full frame camera this may make sense, otherwise, it’s a bunch of rubbish…), and lets make some really good glass, but lets also make the mistake to price it outside of most peoples ability to afford.
Panasonic: Yes, we really do make cameras, not just electric shavers and flat panel TVs.
Leica: Screw sustainable business models! We’re making rangefinders and medium format digital cameras that nobody can afford. But just to hedge out bets we’ll partner with Panasonic and place one of our fabled red dots on a few of their models which will allow us to instantly charge $400-$600 more for the exact same camera.
Pentax: It’s all about the glass. (And they are absolutely right)
Sigma: No, really, it really IS a 14.7 megapixel sensor! (all the other makers roll their eyes)
Kodak: Someone has to sell cameras to the people who bought Yugos
Mamiya: Isn’t that Italian?
Casio: Someone has to sell cameras to people who are ready to step up from Kodak.
Ricoh: Yes, yes, I know this shot looks like it was taken during a snowstorm, but look at just how sharp that palm tree is! Ricoh should sell their cameras with a disclaimer: “Use Only In Direct Sunlight”
Hasselblad: Let’s make our equipment even more expensive than Leica. That way we can feel exclusive and justify our high prices. Never mind that our digital backs cost more than a mid-sized SUV.
Fujifilm: We’ll take a Nikon mount and put one of our bodies and sensors on it and instantly charge $400-$600 LESS than the comparable Nikon.
Epson: Epson? I thought they only made printers?
Sony: A little late to the DSLR game, but since buying up Konica/Minolta they have really come into their own. Now if only they could increase their focus speed, and decrease their high ISO image noise. They have been making solid point and shoot cameras for years.
HP: I thought they just made printers and computers?
No camera is perfect. I know because I seem to have tried darn near all of them. But it certainly is an interesting time to be alive with the steady progression of technological advances creeping ever closer to the end-goal of what had been developed in the film world years ago, but with the added bonuses of better high ISO image quality, huge storage capacity for pictures (can you even imagine changing your memory card after just 24 shots?), and immediate image/histogram review.
Click HERE for today’s photos.
The reason for the change in the look of Sushicam is because I just mapped the sushicam.com URL to my 2yen.wordpress.com account. I did this to try and prevent the continual hacking that I experience from disrupting the site even more.
I no longer have to worry about keeping my WordPress installation current on my own server anymore. I can rely on the good people at WordPress.com to take care of that for me. In doing so I do loose some of the freedom that hosting your own website allows, but I think its a small price to pay to stop the hackers from continualy disrupting the site.
Well, another weekend has come and gone. As sit here at my keyboard the clock is sweeping quickly toward 9 p.m. and all too soon I’ll have to head off to bed.
Yesterday I spent some time in Tokyo shooting my new D700. It was my first real chance to get out and do some shooting with it since it arrived a little less than a week ago. So far I can say this coming from the 5D: The high ISO image quality of the D700 is nothing short of extraordinary. I set it for auto-iso, ranging up to 6400, and forget about it. With the 5D I rarely went as high as 1600. It really is a big step up for me, especially since I love to shoot in “available darkness”.
I’d say as a baseline the D700 has about a 2-stop advantage compared to the 5D. But in reality, the quality of the noise from the D700 is much better.
I’m not sure exactly how the engineers over at Nikon achieved it, but the chroma noise on the D700 is extremely low.
I mean Really low.
Think “Danny-Devito-doing-the-Limbo” kind of low and you’ll get an idea of how low I am talking about.
At a given ISO the 5D has much higher chroma noise, and this leads to the greenish-purplish blotches that are so noticable and really degrade the image quality. In contrast the D700 noise is almost entirely constrained to Luminance, and this allows it to look a lot more like film grain instead of digital nosie.
I guess the big question is this: will the D700 replace my 5D?
I would have to say no, not entirely.
I still love to use all of that great manual focus glass I have aquired over the years, and the EOS mount of the 5D is the ultimate in verstaility in this department.
Which one would I choose if I could only have one of them?
This question is a bit harder. I’m currently loving the D700. But the 5D has been a real workhorse over the past 3 years, producing great looking images for me. I guess I will only really know the answer to that one once I have more time to shoot with the D700.