Continuing to test the limits of fast lenses on small sensors. A new discipline which may require me to purchase some additional Olympus Pro lenses.

I've got two jobs fighting each other to get in the queue for uploads. We photographed the show at Esther's Follies (a crazy, topical comedy and magic theater) and ended up with 1133 images. I delivered enormous and detailed Jpeg files yesterday via memory stick but my typical practice is to also upload finished jobs (in Jpeg form) to Smugmug.com for safekeeping. If a client eventually loses the memory stick, didn't back up the files and is desperate for a particular photo, I can send them to the gallery where they can identify the photo and download it. A good and neat solution for a busy photo business that can't spend time running down a request for an old image that starts with, "You know, it's that image of Bob. He about medium height. Brownish hair. Medium weight. I think he was wearing a dark suit.... but it's the one where he is smiling....I can't remember if it was from the event in 2010 or 2013..."

At any rate, hot on the heels of delivering the Esther's Follies work, but before I could start the upload process, I had to zoom over to Zach Theatre to photograph a rehearsal of "Good Night Moon" for their marketing. I just finished post processing the take and, since we now deliver to ZACH almost entirely via FTP, I'm uploading 833 files to them. Fun when jobs get stacked up like airplanes over big airports.

I'm heading down to San Antonio for a memorial service. I'll be back this evening and then back down to SA tomorrow to have lunch with my dad. Weekends are becoming busier than the work week. Lots of excitement this week! Two big assignments to shoot on location for a huge radiology practice. I'll be working with my favorite assistant, Amy Smith, and my favorite camera, Mr. Panasonic GH5. Maybe that rogue-ish Nikon will make a small, guest appearance; just to confuse the fanboys on either side....

Too much depth of field in the image just above.... Darn Rokinon 50mm f1.2. But look at the nice sharpness right in the middle.

Are you guys following Michael Johnston's "The Online Photographer"? I may change my mind a lot when it comes to buying cameras but it looks like Mike is having issues deciding on which ones to buy. Look at what he's selected. What great camera is he missing?

Given his stated use parameters (earlier columns) what would you suggest?


Michael Matthews said...

I'm afraid TOP's "which would you choose" topic is a fairly blatant intentional comment generator. Understandable, in a time of declining interest in photography blogs. Except for yours, of course.

TMJ said...

He needs IBIS, so a Sony A6500, especially as he loves the Sony/Zeiss 24mm f1.8, which I think he still has.

Rick said...

Hi Kirk,

The Smugmug plan is clever, especially since it puts the onus back on the client while giving them confidence of a good insurance policy.

I don't own any native m4/3 lenses faster than f:1.7 but when I try adapting MF 1.4s (fellow C/Y Zeiss fan) I find critical focus handheld very challenging. Based on that challenge, the AF Pro 1.2s seem not only enticing but required for times the shooter and/or the subject isn't stationary and you really, really want that DoF isolatioon. The good news: optically they all look amazing.

As to Michael Johnson's quest, while I hesitate to give advice to somebody of his vast knowledge and experience I'm surprised to not see the EM-1 mkii on his list of finalists, since IBIS is a requirement. Having added one to my OM-D kit I'm absolutely smitten by it. Fuji is the dark horse here and I'm not equipped to compare them. Those who conquer the quirky sensor coax fine images from them, and they always look "pretty."

Craig Yuill said...

Regarding Mike Johnston's camera dilemma - I currently use cameras (DSLR and mirrorless) that were introduced 6 to 7 years ago. I still manage to take perfectly-good photos with them. (Imagine that!) That fact is one reason that my camera GAS has been kept in check. But I can definitely understand his desire to acquire a camera with IBIS - my own hands are also shakier these days than they were several years ago. And, sadly, few wide, normal, and short-tele primes have IS built into them.

Mike isn't a video shooter, so video features won't be too important. He has owned m43 cameras in the past, and currently owns a Fuji XT1. In his case I would likely narrow down my choices to the X-H1 (the only Fuji camera with IBIS right now) or the Panasonic G9, which is supposedly Panasonic's best m43s stills camera at this time. Both cameras also have some weather sealing, which might be useful in the cold, damp weather he sometimes encounters.

I should also mention that I am quite amused by your acquisition of the Nikon D2XS. You did this shortly after declaring how wonderful your G85 and G5 cameras are. In the past you got rid of cameras that you had recently declared to be wonderful, even changing entire camera systems. Nikon is supposedly getting close to introducing a new mirrorless system. Are you anticipating another system change?

Anonymous said...


If the gx9 is at the top of the list for a reason, then the g85 should be above; has better viewfinder, is weather resistant, and cheaper (on sale right now).


Anonymous said...


should have put this in my previous comment; Mike is a big man. He should try a gx85 to see if it fits. It's close to a gx9 in size. He may need a bigger camera, like the gh5, to fit his hands. And he may learn to like making videos. Script writing is right up his alley.


Daniel Walker said...

Which camera would you pick from Mike's suggestions, maybe a G9?

tnargs said...

One difference between yourself, Kirk, and Mr Johnston is in your psychological preference in relation to closure. Mike is comfortable with open decisions and less comfortable with closure. You are the reverse. The result, seen in your respective blogs, is Mike being happy while he hasn't decided and even asking for thoughts from his readers. The more information, the better for Mike, and he might even convince himself that he will make the decision with one more round of information-gathering. But more likely he will begin another round again. Your nature makes you more likely to always want to have a decision (closure) at any point in time. Hence the see-camera, buy-camera history. As more information trickles in about cameras that you might consider, you are more likely to hold onto one decision in the face of conflicting information arrival until suddenly bang, the tipping point arrives and you jump to a different decision, and sometimes the first we hear about it is your new purchase and the story of your visit to the camera store. So by jumping from one decision to another, you avoid the discomfort of the open decision space for any longer than necessary.

Of course, this is just a casual analysis from half way around the world. But certainly consistent with both your blogs' content, and a bit of fun to see the patterns.


Cpt Kent said...

Regarding Mike Johnston's camera dilemma, since he doesn't appear tied into any system, I'm not sure how he could possibly chose without trying them first. He needs to be prepared to pick 2-3, and try them for a while, to reach an informed conclusion.

David said...

Mike is a blogger. Not a professional photographer. So I don't think he should buy a camera. He should rent all the choices and write about their positive and negative aspects, then continue to do this for the next round of models. Mixed in with that, we need more pool and music stories and photos to fill in the gaps.
You, are a professional photographer, you actually need a camera. You buy what you need, then tell us how it fits into your clients project and its short comings. The balance is great.
So Mike should not buy but rent. And you should buy the G9. I would like to hear your take on the still side in respect to the video compromise.

Hugh said...

“Testing the limits of fast lenses on small sensors”...

It’s a bit like teaching a pig to sing.
All it does is waste your time, and annoy the pig.

I’d love to see you get an old full frame Nikon (whatever the equivalent to the 5D1 was), put a 105/2.5 Nikkor on it, stick it on a tripod, and leave it set up in the studio to take more portraits (personal work) to show us.

The little stuff sounds great for earning a living. Not for everything.

(Apologies if that’s unpopular)

Patrick Dodds said...

What David said.

Kirk Tuck said...

I'm on it, Hugh.

Robert Roaldi said...

My comment is unrelated to this post. Just wanted to point this 6-part series on Vimeo about Fika, coffee culture Swedish style: https://vimeo.com/167658298. Thought you'd be interested. Nice low-key slice of life documentary videos.