It's fun to see how the work gets used. Here's an ad for the upcoming Zach Theatre production of "Beauty and the Beast."

There were a lot of different uses for the image above. A full page newspaper ad. Website illustration. Marketing materials to partners and affiliates. Large post card mailers. Full size lobby posters. Who knows what else?

We shot the image on the main stage at Zach Theatre using a Nikon D800e, a Nikon 24-120mm f4.0 lens, and we lit the shot with three Neewer Vision 4 monolights. Design of the above ad was by Rona Ebert of Zach's marketing team.

It's always fun to do a project like this one and to see how the images end up being used. We'll be back to photograph the dress rehearsal and more the beginning of next week.

Now it's time to get back to work on the next project.....

Some strange conjecture about a future collaboration between Samsung and Nikon.

Wiring Harnesses. 

I was reading an article over at Andrew Reid's website, EOSHD.com and it seemed both obvious (in retrospect) but also very prescient. Here's the original source for today's thoughts https://www.eoshd.com/2018/06/samsung-joins-forces-with-fujifilm-will-apply-new-tech-to-large-sensor/

If you read all the technical papers about the chip technologies used in the late, somewhat lamented, Samsung NX1 you would be amazed to see that, at the time, Samsung was bringing to market some incredible design and manufacturing prowess. The sensor in the NX-1 used fast copper interconnecting technology, was BSI before BSI was a buzz acronym, was based on 4.5 nanometer technology which surpassed other makers by orders of magnitude, and much more. The marketing problem was that Samsung lacked experience and panache at haptics, desirable industrial design and an ability to relate well to ( or to even understand ) their primary buyers. 

They had the state of the art sensor but every previous camera they made had serious handling or firmware faults that crippled their ability to frame the sensor well. Kind of like dropping a modern, high performance car engine into a Yugo chassis and expecting people to applaud the performance of the motor alone....

According to Andrew's sources Samsung has continued to push serious money into sensor R&D ($13 billion thus far....) and could whip out an incredible full frame sensor at the drop of a hat. It seems that they are partnering with Fuji to advance the technology but that doesn't necessarily mean that Fuji will end up being the primary user of a full frame version of the joint sensor technology. They would have to re-tool their entire line of lenses to introduce a full frame camera wrapped around that sensor. It might happen; there might be a product extension down the road, but for some reason the first camera maker that popped into my head was Nikon. 

They source a lot of sensors from Sony and like any other business it can be downright dangerous to find yourself wedded exclusively to one supplier. A new, state of the art sensor that can go toe-to-toe, or even surpass, the current Sony product line could be an important differentiator for Nikon at a time when proving their continuing tenure as a cutting edge photography company is vital. It would be interesting to see Nikon roll out a flagship mirrorless camera with a unique and powerful new sensor at its heart. 

If Sony and Canon finally have a large and powerful competitor at the top of the innovation mountain it can only benefit consumers across all camera brands. My experience with Samsung showed me that while they were still immature as a maker of easy to use and easy to handle cameras their sensors were first rate. In fact, reviewing some of the work I did with their (ill fated and over engineered) Galaxy NX camera was a revelation. They had the sensor tech nailed down. It was betrayed by an odd fascination with infecting their late cameras with an Android Operating system...

And no one wanted their camera to automatically update Candy Crush (shutting down camera operation temporarily) just as they were about to photograph the final goal of the World Cup...

It will be interesting to see how Samsung caters to the existing camera market. It may be that they come back into camera manufacturing with a new understanding that the real money (for right now) is either in Phones (which they have covered) or in the high end of the stand alone camera market. Could be another game changer.  Just some Monday Thoughts. 

A nod to Andrew Reid for the topical awareness. 

Self Portrait While re-Testing a Gift Lens.

Yeah. It's July in Texas. You feel it especially well on the humid days when the heat index rises up into the triple digits and you sweat walking from the house to the car. For the last week we've also had a weird atmospheric haze caused (absolutely true) by an enormous dust cloud that arrived from the Sahara Desert. Air quality dipped to "moderate" which is never a welcome sign. 

I'd gotten a cool old lens from a reader and fellow blogger and a few weeks back I did a cursory test of the lens. At the time I was having a brief love affair with polarizing filters and had one on the front of the new (to me) test lens. When I posted the images more than one person commented that the photographs had lowered contrast, or a hazy veil over them. I blamed the lens and moved on. But my sloppy test technique was keeping me up at night and so on Friday I took the lens back out and shot some more, but this time I ditched the filter. 

The lens in question is an inexpensive, older Nikon. It covers a focal range that I really like. It's a Series E 36-72mm f3.5 and is manual focus. I've posted some new samples here and I am growing to really like this lens. It has personality. It also has vicious barrel distortion at the wider focal length settings. It corrects with about a +3 slide in PhotoShops Lens Correction distortion panel. But here's the deal, you can have less distortion in a lens design but something else has to give, usually it's overall sharpness. This lens is very sharp in the center two-thirds of the frame and that suits me fine. 

I have a lot of lenses that cover this range but none are as petite and amiable as this one. Of all my lenses in this range the one that continues to surprise me for it's high sharpness and lack of distortion is the Nikon 35-70mm f3.5, two touch, manual focus zoom. It's built like...well....an all metal lens, and there are no design "nods" to small size or light weight, it just performs well vis a vis image quality and is remarkably accurate when manually focused on a D800e. It's refreshingly retro-technical. 

I can't counsel anyone to buy the smaller, 36-72mm Series E lens if their main interest is in capturing rectilinear architectural photos, although I've included one I corrected below. I can suggest that it's very fun to use and the limited range of focal lengths works well to focus your attention. 

Without the polarizing filter (Bad lens tester. Bad!) the sharpness is absolutely fine and I don't see the veiling haze or low contrast that I experienced before. I'll definitely keep it around for those times when the walk is necessary but the need to haul around "professional gear" is not. Thanks Stephen!