8.31.2018

I just heard more Full Frame rumors. I'm not buying anything new until I see what Panasonic is really coming out with. Announcement at Photokina?

An added source to my conjecture: https://www.eoshd.com/2018/09/panasonic-full-frame-mirrorless-camera/

The most impressive camera I've shot with this year is not the Sony A7Riii or the Nikon D850. Without a doubt it's been the time I've spent with the Panasonic GH5S that's made me sit up and take notice. It's pretty much perfect for shooting video and I'm happy with the noise performance up to 3200 ISO; maybe a little bit past.

But as I was laying in bed, counting 50mm lenses in my head, trying to get to sleep in defiance of my insomnia, it came to me that what I'd really like to see in a new camera would be all the stuff that's in a GH5S but with a full frame sensor. I could care less about actual resolution. I would not even care if it was a 10 megapixel sensor as long as it featured dual ISO (lower ISO = great dynamic range; higher ISO = low noise and nice files) and shot the incredibly beautiful video that I'm already getting out of my current GHS. These guys get the idea of hybrid camera technology, and use, better than any of their peers right now.

Can you imagine a beautiful GH full frame with glorious and gigantic 10 ┬Ám diameter pixels? With incredible color science, minimal noise and 400 Mbs video files, in camera!!! Sure, the camera would still only have 10 to 12 megapixels but the files would look incredible, and never mushy.

I read the rumors and some people were suggesting that since Panasonic and Leica are partners that the lens mount would be the Leica SL lens mount which would give access to a small but highly respected group of modern lenses. But I'm equally sure adapters would abound.

We've seen the Nikon Z introduction and I think it's pretty darn good for photographers. We're all pretty sure Canon is about to drop their mirrorless miracle on the 5th of September and even Olympus seems to have something up their sleeves.

I'm predicting that what happened to film cameras between 2002-2005 is about to happen to traditional DSLRs remaining in the market. They'll be gone as new stock products the minute mirrorless sales jump the line. Traditional camera users will be as vehement in their resistance as their kind were when facing the onslaught of digital during the waning years of film photography. They will kick and scream and prognosticate about how DSLRs will take decades to recede. But then we'll be reading their blogs three years from now as they tout the amazing capabilities of their XXXXXX brand camera. More telling will be their gushing praise and total allegiance to electronic viewfinders. Brace yourselves DSLR users, you are about to be hit by the wave of EVF. Resistance is largely futile.

Don't like EVFs? Better stock up on (now) retro gear. Those D850s won't last long. That is, if we can actually get them out of backorder status....

Just passing along rumors. Don't want you to go on a Z shopping spree if there's something much better just around the corner.

I read this "review" of the new Phase One and laughed so hard espresso came out of my nose. (Did a damn good job clearing my sinuses.....).

http://photothunk.blogspot.com/2018/08/phase-one-camera-for-photographers-who.html#comment-form

From the brilliant and un-opinionated mind of Andrew Molitor. His blog is now on my list of:

I-went-there-but-he-didn't-post-anything-new-for-the-last-couple-of-days-so-I-kept-going-back-until-there-was-new-content-and-I-read-it-and-went-away-feeling-smarter. 

And sometimes I think he may be even more cynical than 1.

Don't trip over the profanity --- my lawyer sez I'm not responsible. For anything which may happen anywhere.....

Environmental Executive Portraiture. Nikon D810. Nikon 70-200mm f4.0.

This is my portrait of Mr. Mark Agro, until recently Mr. Agro was the 
CEO of Ottobock Healthcare Canada. 
I photographed him on location at the north American headquarters 
of Ottobock Healthcare, north America;
here in Austin, Texas. 

I like the recent practice of making offices in buildings with exterior walls that are all floor-to-ceiling glass. If the interiors are also spare and well designed then my clients and their architects have taken away much of the grunt work of environmental photography for me. I need only to find a background that will look nice and unobtrusive when I toss it out of focus by using an open aperture on my taking lens. Then it's a fairly simple matter to figure out the best angle for my subject to provide short lighting (or "Rembrandt" lighting). 

The equipment I brought along for this photograph was pretty simple. I used a Nikon D810 and the cheaper and lighter 70-200mm f4.0 Nikon zoom lens. I could have used a faster lens but I've found that it's considered "normal" to have both the tip of my subject's nose and his ears in acceptable focus and I would end up stopping down any of those fast, sexy lenses to f4.0 or f5.6 as well. And since this is a person and not a product I surely don't need the files to be astringently sharp. 

I did bring along a giant (six foot) white umbrella, a tall light stand and a shoe mount flash with a remote trigger. It's directly behind the camera and positioned up over my head. It adds just the right amount of fill lighting to balance out the light softly gushing in from the windows. My one last nod to the light and lighting design was to float a diffusion frame over Mr. Agro's head in order to block light from an obnoxious "can" fixture in the ceiling above him. 

Conversation was easy since Mark Agro is fun, charming and well informed. Main topic of conversation? Leica cameras and lenses. And an article I wrote about them that ran on Photo.net in 2000 (A.D.).  You may not like the bright lights in the top right of the frame but the art director and I found them charming and insouciant.  We could have retouched them away but that would have been wrong. 

I love doing portraits like this. I started experimenting with this style in the ramp up to writing my first book on photography. Which I am NOT linking to here. 

On a related note. 

Sometimes, when I get too engaged in writing here at the blog, I almost forget that I have another job which entails actually using the various cameras I write about (too often) in order to make money by creating photographs that people and companies actually want to buy/license and use. I know. It's almost counter-intuitive to the usual practice of writing about cameras on the internet to try to make money and then, maybe, grudgingly using the cameras reviewed to create some modest visual proofs that the writer has actually used the camera they have written so vociferously about... 

I can't imagine why most "professional" cameras reviewers would even have opinions about features such as dual card slots since so few of them photograph in fast moving commercial situations with money at risk and clients howling at them to meet deadlines (while adding more shots the brief willy-nilly). Why would the reviewers care if they have to re-shoot a snap of their coffee cup, their Thai food, or their depressed/beleagured looking date? Where's the drama? 

I am often asked why I don't do more to "monetize" this site and I think the best way to answer that is to throw out some stats that I read in a recent article on branding in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.  In writing about YouTube personalities (think of Hugh Brownstone's Three Blind Men and an Elephant channel with has 28,000 subscribers, or Tony and Chelsea Northrup with over one million subscribers for their photography channel) Amanda Hess's research unearthed some interesting numbers. I'll just quote her here: 

"The opportunities to market ourselves online are never-ending, but the financial rewards remain elusive. Headlines heralding the multimillion dollar incomes of YouTube stars can make cultivating a brand there seem like a real career option , but a recent study found that even those with channels among the top 3 percent of viewership can bring in as little as $16,800 a year. " NYT Magazine, May 6, 2018

It turns out that most of the YouTube channels that we, as photographers, reference and visit are engaged in what the Cornell professor, Brooke Erin would label as "Aspirational Labor"; which Erin describes  as a "mode of (mostly) uncompensated, independent work that is propelled by the much-venerated ideal of (trying) to get paid to do what you love." (Also from Hess's NYT article).

To be fair, I don't think all online photo personalities are moored on the shores of poverty. I can imagine that Tony Northrup has figured out how to add affiliate, and self-propeled, income streams galore with various products (training programs, books, videos, etc.) which at least leverage his online popularity among amateur photographers, but I also imagine that a life dependent on YouTube is daily hard work for him and most others. There are, on his channel, almost daily well produced video episodes, podcasts, training videos to star in and produce and so much more. While many would look with jealously at the opportunities he and Chelsea have to travel to camera maker events and to write about each of the latest cameras in order to continue to attract viewers, I'm wondering when the couple has time to spend making their own art; as opposed to creating their own examples for consumer programming. 

I think many people flocked to YouTube to become celebrities only to find that, for most, being a mini-celebrity on YouTube, preaching the new equipment theology, and trying to brand themselves, is probably not paying as well as driving around in your dusty Chrysler mini-van driving for Uber. At some point the reality settles in and many find that the $200 to $600 (or less) per month that the vast majority of bloggers or vloggers pull in is barely enough to keep the lights on and the air conditioning rolling. They come to grips with the necessity of working a "real" job to keep pace. Ever hopeful that some day their blogging/vlogging ship will come in and make them rich. But not leaving nearly enough time in a day to step outside the process to make art for oneself. 

So, who is getting rich amongst all the people that YouTube touches? Oh right! That would be the owners of YouTube who sell mountains of paid advertising, inserted in an amongst the free content. Content given freely to YouTube by people desperate to create a brand that may somehow, someday, pay off for them. Any wonder Google stock is sitting at $1,218 today? With a total company valuation north of $ 800,000,000,000? Not bad. I would love to open a retail store in which I only paid rent while all the products were donated to my store with no strings attached. 

So, why aren't I making every attempt to monetize? Basically, I'm too lazy and probably not the sharpest UV laser in the fab. I like writing here because it provides a low maintenance soapbox while ensuring enough distance between me and most of my audience to prevent real, physical attacks because of something silly I've written. But most of my reticence is about trading a current sense of community for the neediness of a transactional relationship. If I'm not badgering you to buy stuff and I'm not shilling for an advertiser I think it goes a long way toward establishing my credibility as a writer on the subject of photography. I may still be wrong on any given subject but it won't be intentional and it won't be in the service of separating you from your money; just your time. 

Like when we're all trying to evaluate the newest products from Nikon and no one in the bloggosphere has used the product with final firmware....

Ah well, executive portraits. 

I also wonder, as a working photographer for over thirty years, why the incredibly talented and hard-working YouTube Photo Celebrities have not figured out that working in advertising photography, for a high day rate, coupled with usage fees, is a much less iffy way to make more money. 

Ah well. I want to thank them all for the well produced and completely free content they provide me. Perfect for those delays at the airport.....




Fence. Austin, Texas.

Fence. ©kirk tuck.

Nothing to say this morning. 

Well, maybe, "Hello Coffee."