6.07.2013

Some more images from my new "test" camera, the Samsung NX300, and a few thoughts about the state of cameras.

The Lamar Bridge.

 Looking East from the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.

Looking North on the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.

The intake for the old (decommissioned) power plant.

The curvy side of the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.

The old Power Plant with downtown Austin in the background.

I shot the images above yesterday afternoon as part of a nice, hot walk from Barton Springs Pool to the downtown Whole Foods store. I used a small, nimble camera with a fairly big (APS-C) sensor, and an inexpensive kit lens. I wound up using the same camera in a dark theater this afternoon. My friend, Colin, and his friend, Noel Gaulin found an overhead projector, some food dyes and other paraphenalia and they were doing pyschedelic, kinetic art (which they were recording to video on a Panasonic AF100) to be used enormously large for an upcoming play about Janis Joplin that will be staged at Zach Theatre. I was there and decided, in an impromptu way, that we should also have a behind the scenes video about some of the lengths to which our technical staff goes to in order to make great looking  live shows.

This little exercise in the dark showed me just how far camera technology has come. The camera was able to automatically correctly expose for the two faces surrounded by total darkness. Walls painted matte black darkness. The camera's image stabilization worked as well as the in-body stabilization in my Sony's and the focus stayed locked on while I moved.

All of this got me thinking about the nature of the business of photography and the rather rude intersection of camera design and art. We can lie through our teeth and talk about how important top notch cameras are or we can admit that just about every camera over $500 in the market place today can be pressed into professional service to make great images, the primary target for which is now the web.  There are still many situations where a long, fast, telephoto lens is critical and there are probably an equal number of situations where a good ultra-wide angle is a an imperative tool, but the camera bodies themselves have been, across the board, ready for prime time for years now.

The mirrorless cameras don't focus as quickly as DSLRs but when they do focus they are more accurate. It's just the nature of focusing on the same chip that also records the images. The metering on mirrorless cameras seems more accurate than the metering on entry level DSLRs as well. And for me the grace note is that every mirrorless camera is also a permanent live view camera, and that means every image gets pre-chimped, which makes the feedback flow of seeing and image correction much more fluid. 

I know it's generational and I know it's because I wear reading glasses now, but I wish every mirrorless camera....oh, what the hell!?...every camera came standard with an EVF. I really like the files I'm getting out of this little camera (NX 300) very much I just wish I could hold it up to my eye like a real camera without having to resort to a loupe for comfort and convenience. To my kid? No big deal. To me....hmmm.

20 really good megapixels on a sensor with wonderful color goes a long way to make up for a feature set that's one check box off for me...more later.




















14 comments:

Biro said...

Interesting, Kirk. But, given your enthusiasm for Sonys, how did you end up with a Samsung NX-series camera versus a Sony NEX?

Anonymous said...

I have an NX 200, with a 30mm, as a general carry around. I have the same problem with the system as you. The lack of an evf drives me nuts. The thought of using a Hoodman loupe is interesting. Does it make the camera more cumbersome?

Apart from that, I like the menu and straight forward design of it.

Kirk Tuck said...

Biro, I am playing around with a Samsung camera that was sent to me by the company. I've agreed to shoot it for a while and post shots. I still own and enjoy both Sony Alpha and Sony Nex cameras. Sometimes we go out for hamburgers, sometimes we go out for pizza...

Kirk Tuck said...

It is much more cumbersome. But the rest of the camera is pretty great.

Anonymous said...

Kirk, I share your feelings about cameras without EVF. I have a perfectly good little Canon S95, but I feel like an idiot when I use the Hoodman loupe, which dwarfs the camera. So I bought an Olympus XZ-1, and use the EVF from my Olympus E-PL2. Much, much better. I still use the S95 when I need a camera that will easily fit in a shirt pocket - such as in a restaurant. Tom Barry

Michael Ferron said...

Kirk you will find the newest Oly pens to have rocket fast AF. Especially with a MSC lens attached.

Ray said...

I bought a Sony NEX-6 rather than a "5" specifically for the EVF. Needless to say, I'm old.

John Holmes said...

Kirk, I'd like to make some general comments about your site. I really love it since you are a very good writer ... not the usual for blogs other than TOP.

I understand the reaction of others to video ... we don't do use it. The classical readers of your blog are still picture oriented. That doesn't mean that you aren't correct. The future is moving towards video but some of us older hobbyists won't be going that direction. You have no choice if you wish to continue making a living.

What I would like to see more of ... and it isn't easy but you are quite capable ... are postings about photography in general. I would like less about cameras and techniques ... how you set the job up, etc. I would like more about different styles (your opinions, etc.) ... how to make good photographs while out and about ... not in a studio. I like to read about your philosophy, etc.

alan green said...

Just back from London to see Olympus's new EVF, the E V4. I now know why Nick Tuck raves about EV finders. i can only describe it as fabulous. i cannot wait for the OMD to be updated.

Alan Gren said...


Apologies meant Kirk Tuck, age 84 getting a little brain dead. Excitement over digital photography keeps me going.

Kirk Tuck said...

No harm done. I like the "Nick Tuck" permutation. Might use it as a psuedonym one day. Thanks.

Patrick Dodds said...

"Nick Tuck" is great. "Kirk Tuck" is already very good, but "Nick Tuck" is fabulous - perhaps your video work could be blogged about using this pseudonym? It also makes you sound younger :)

Paul Glover said...

I could live without an EVF only if the screen articulates and can thus be used like a waist level finder would. Maybe have a menu option to flip the display horizontally also...

Tom said...

I think in a couple of years time we'll look back at the mirrorless tidal wave.....and see the new Epson EVF and the PDAF on sensor tech as being the markers of the second generation of mirrorless. In 18 months we'll have some fabulous long fast glass coming from Olympus, and the Birders can lighten their load, finally.

What will be the markers of the 3rd generation? I suspect looking back at the film bodies will tell us that. Remember the high end fixed focal 35mm compacts? c.f. Sony RX1 and Fuji X100s. And then came the medium format rangefinders. Cosina made the GF670W for Fuji, only two years ago, I'm sure they must be itching to do it again in digital!

"NIck & Tuck", the colours look a bit flat from the Samsung, couldn't you give them a tweak? Thanks for the post...
That's what I'm hoping, anyway. I'm looking to buy the next OM-D Pro, with dual AF. That will be general photography sorted for me for 6-7 years, instead of the 3-4 I'm getting from the E-PL1. And sometime along there, a Fuji medium format "X300W" will sneak into my Hadley Pro, just for the big wide landscapes of New Zealand.