22 July, 2016

"Nice camera you got there, Buddy."

I have two topics: The first is about the, "Nice camera you got there, Buddy," view; and, the second, is about the belief that judgements about lenses (or cameras) can be made from the images displayed on the web. (Reviews with high-res examples or 1:1 crops excepted.)

None of this is about a lack of good will. Everyone has been very kind to me, and we are all just trying to make sense of what we find on the web. I'm grateful for all the comments that fellow forum users have made over the years. I've learnt a lot.

I've used both of the images shown in this post on the blog before — the Bahá'í Temple from the post that precedes this one, and the Bookseller from a post in April of last year.

Bahá'í Temple (Loxia 50mm, ISO 100, at f/4.0, 1/1600) [Click image to enlarge.]

I put the The Bahá'í Temple picture on a forum, and I had a very kind comment about the image with a remark that it was a "very sharp lens!" I was surprised at the mention of sharpness because the web image is only about 1 megapixel (783 x 1280 pixels).
There is no way of judging the sharpness of a modern lens by a 1 megapixel image.

There isn't enough space (or interest, I'm guessing) for an in-depth discussion of acutance. But in the case of the temple, because there is so much contrasty scroll work, the viewer's eye immediately recognises that detail, making it appear sharper than it really is.

I wasn't thinking about how "sharp" that scroll work would appear when I took the shot, but I did know what it meant when I went to do input sharpening in Lightroom. And, when I downsampled it to an sRGB jpeg at 1280 pixels vertically, I knew it would be a good screen match.

The Bookseller (Loxia 50mm, ISO 250, at f/2.8, 1/60) [Click image to enlarge.]

Another commenter felt that the Bookseller image demonstrated Zeiss "pop." The Loxia does exhibit a bit of its own "pop;" but the photo has "pop" because the subject was surrounded by white plastic that brought in soft light for his face (it had begun to rain at the market) contrasted by the muted colours of his sweater, jacket and hat, and the plane of focus caught his glasses, his pupils and his beard.

Both photos were made using the Loxia and a Sony A7II. Both were shot in good light (see the settings), and neither was heavily cropped.

I love the Loxia and I know what it can do, but I believe that I could have taken either picture with similar web-display results with my loved, 10.1mp (but now long gone) Panasonic LX3 from 2008. Neither image, on the other hand, could be printed effectively without the qualities that I expect from the Loxia and the A7II.

Most displays are very low resolution and are working hard to address the whole of the sRGB color space. And, in any case, most images on blogs, websites, and in on-line galleries (including my own) are low resolution. (We keep them low-res to avoid having them stolen.) And, those images will not be made higher resolution by being viewed on a higher resolution display (such as an Apple Retina). And, most images on the web are in the sRGB color space. Their color gamuts will not be expanded by being viewed on a wide-gamut display.

Of course, the simple answer to the comment, "Nice camera you got there, Buddy," is, "Yup."

17 July, 2016

Is the frame half full or half empty?

Zeiss Loxia 50mm - Bahá'í Temple [Click image to enlarge.]

The Bahá'í Temple in Wilmette, Illinois can be extraordinary bright as the cement used in its construction is embedded with clear and white quartz. On this day (above) the temple was significantly brighter on the other side; and, in any case, my 50mm was not going to capture the whole building. (And I didn't want to stitch frames in post.)

I think the half-building image is more interesting in any case.

16 July, 2016

New Gallery

My new Gallery's landing page looks like this.

It's taken a while, but I finally reorganised my gallery. I still have some tinkering to do, and I'm sure I'll find some errors; but this is the final format.

I've broken it down into a number of categories. This isn't because I think there are devotees of photos in those categories, but because they will serve as aids to finding (or, it's to be hoped, re-finding) images.

When in the gallery, you only need to click on an image to resize it to your browser page.

To get to the gallery, just click on the "Gallery" tab at the top of this blog. To return to the blog, just click on the "My Blog" link at the left of the gallery pages.

Before any new image goes to the gallery, it will first appear here, on the blog.

08 July, 2016

Epson Legacy Papers - Australia

Zeiss Loxia 50mm - Santa Monica Pier [Click image to enlarge]

At the end of last year I wrote about the (seemingly) impending introduction of Epson's new line of Legacy Papers. Epson has now officially announced the papers in the US with a press release last month. That US release, however, wasn't mirrored on either Epson's international site or their Australian. And, I think it's telling that the Australian market is entirely lacking the preview information that has been all over the US wide-format printer paper market.

There are, of course, ways to get the new papers through overseas delivery. While B&H won't ship the Legacy papers to Australia, Adorama will (25 sheets of A3+) for US$145.00. The only hitch is that the shipping is $92.60. That's brings the cost to US9.50/sheet. Regardless of price, I'm not interested in sourcing paper through overseas deliveries.

The short version is that I'm not going to be testing the Legacy papers in the near future. I'm only going to test what I might be using myself and that means papers available through the regular channels here in Australia.

I suspect that the Legacy Baryta and Legacy Platine are made by Canson in any case, and I'm quite happy with those papers under the Canson banner. Since the Epson versions seem to be more expensive, they probably have their own formulae and those might have some useful improvements.

The Legacy Paper that most intrigues me, however, is Epson Legacy Fibre, which appears to be a matte paper with enough holdout to be able to accomodate photo black ink. That I'd like to try — seemingly, not for a while.

07 July, 2016

Sigma 24mm with the MC-11 - low light on the street

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 "Art" w/MC-11 adaptor - Election Campaign - Brisbane [Click to enlarge]

I was out the other night using the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 with the MC-11 adaptor (see above). The important bit of this report is that I didn't have to think of it as an adapted lens at all. It functioned seamlessly as an E-Mount lens.

The 24mm is my only Sigma lens, so I keep the MC-11 on it all the time. That's important for me because when I change lenses, the rear cap from the lens going on goes onto the lens coming off. With the MC-11 always on, the Sigma 24mm is just another E-Mount.

It was reasonably low light, so the focusing speed wasn't what I would expect in normal daylight. I haven't done any side-by-side testing, but in low light I think the Sigma is about as fast as the Zeiss 85mm (Batis).

03 July, 2016

The Greens Campaign in Ryan 2016

As I've mentioned before, the Australian Greens in the Federal seat of Ryan in Queensland have been kind enough to allow me to photograph their volunteer campaign work.

Over the many weeks of the recent election campaign here in Australia, I've seen door knocking, meeting organising, placard waving, phone calling, roadside sits, bicycle tows, polling-place banner raising, and the handing out of "how to vote" cards — and I didn't see all of it, or even a large part.

What I learned is that for the Greens it's not just a campaign, it's a cause. It's not just about votes, it's about ideas.

My thanks, again, to the Greens workers that let me follow their efforts, and to the candidate for Ryan, Sandra Bayley, and her campaign coordinator, Don Sinnamon.