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February 20, 2014 4:43 PM   Subscribe


 
Found this while looking for photography equipment to help me take better portraits.
posted by ColdChef at 4:45 PM on February 20


This is my new favorite thing. Why have I never seen this before?!
posted by mathowie at 4:47 PM on February 20


Also: Check out the camera gear that Getty Images is using to cover the Olympics (all $425,659.59 worth)
posted by ColdChef at 4:50 PM on February 20


man, that landscape kit.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:50 PM on February 20


Getty doesn't have a 1200 in there? Maybe they could borrow one from Sports Illustrated.
posted by TedW at 4:58 PM on February 20


This is the exact sort of thing I would follow on Tumblr. I'm never going to bother going back to this site to check for more updates. But oddly it seems Tumblr is the only platform they don't link to in the menu.
posted by thecjm at 5:50 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I'm now at the point where I have to schedule some repair time, since the k10 I got from Da_Shiv is spazzy on the AF and (like too many dslrs) the viewfinder is pretty useless for making sure that shots are actually as sharp as they need to be.

In fact, I should probably try to clear out my whole closet of half-broken bodies that I've accumulated — I'm never going to really get around to loading the Argus 620 properly (and despite the guy on eBay saying it shoots fine, it's got a moldy lens), and despite the fact that XG-Ms are fuckign tanks, I've still managed to bust, like, four of them because it's cheaper to replace 'em than it is to fix 'em.

I don't understand how people can get to the point of ditching actual cameras for their iPhones. I mean, it's fine if you want to shoot everything through a fish-eye, or don't ever plan on printing, but otherwise? I only really like it because it's on me even when my other cameras aren't.
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 PM on February 20


I found a blog called "Japan Camera Hunter" that's been doing the "In Your Bag" kind of shots for years. They have almost 800 entries.
posted by FJT at 6:13 PM on February 20


I don't understand how people can get to the point of ditching actual cameras for their iPhones.

Me either. I read all these "networked lens" rants and i just don't get it. Not every photo is only going on the web to be viewed at a 40% crop or on another iphone screen. I've shot thousands and thousands of photos with my various iphones, and even at web resolution it's blatantly obvious to me the difference between the best photos i've shot with my phone(example, another and note the terrible CA/fringing on the tree in the upper right of that one) and my favorite DSLR photos(example, another, another).

What bugs me the most though, is the dynamic range and low light noise. How and why does anyone act like this is a comparable thing? Shots that i could cruise through without much thought on even a crappy, older DSLR(like a canon 300d) or several point and shoots i've owned are an utter handful on an iphone. I could also get in to the actual sharpness achieved, and the woes of being forced to use AF and AE(imo, the real crime here) and auto aperture. Yea, you can sort of "hack" it with stuff like VSCOcam that lets you choose points to focus or expose on, but it's still crap a lot of the time. Oh yea, and the fact that you only get one profile of JPEG as the only output from the camera(and seriously, look at how it MURDERED the sky in that low light shot). How are people ok with this?

What you can achieve with a lens the size of a tapioca bubble is impressive, but i don't see it as being "the future of photography period" like some people do.

I think the saddest thing is that i find myself shooting less and less since the only camera i have right now is my iphone. I used to go out and shoot a couple hundred photos a weekend easy, but ever since my dslr got stolen twice... :(

I think what bugs me the most is that along with those networked lens/instagram obsessed people, the flipside is that they're painting people who want to use regular cameras as the equivalent to people who rode fixed gear bikes a few years ago or something. As in, it's an affectation and something done for it's own sake. Not specifically to achieve a higher quality result. Ugh.
posted by emptythought at 6:47 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]


Neato!
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:51 PM on February 20


"How are people ok with this?"

I really think that they don't ever print the photos, and with the concurrent rise of that pictorial Instagram aesthetic, a lot of the limitations of the camera itself are covered up through the filters — yeah, it looks garish, but it's supposed to look like that, right? That, combined with how ephemeral the experience is — how often do you go back to an instagram shot? — means that the underlying quality doesn't have to be that good, just good enough for a couple of seconds.

I have a lot of photos up at home, and I've looked at them every day for years. I can go to a show or a museum and there are plenty of photographs that are engrossing enough that you can still be finding new things about it after five minutes of direct study.

I will say that one of the tragedies of digital imagery is that the price of prints still hasn't come down enough to get broad traction. If you take photos on a digital point and shoot or even an iPhone, getting a printer that can put out something where the difference between a dslr and an iphone matters does cost at least a couple hundred bucks, plus the money to keep supplying it with ink and paper. Polaroids were expensive as hell, but at least you were buying them as $10 ten packs, you know? And since printing is fickle and relatively expensive, it doesn't have a broad adoption. I mean, just think if students could print out their own dorm room posters without having to sink too much cash into it — you'd see a lot more people caring about the output of their cameras.

But hey, I'm still a crank with a Holga because I love those big negatives and I don't have Mamiya or Hasselblad money.
posted by klangklangston at 7:04 PM on February 20


Before I got into photography, I hated carrying things. Like, irrational and excessive hatred. I would take random walks and strategize so that I wouldn't have to carry anything nonessential. I wanted light pockets, no bags, free hands. I just liked being me in the world.

Nowadays I carry a DSLR everywhere, either on a BlackRapid strap or in a small Pro Messenger shoulder bag. And it never bothers me in the slightest, which seems foreign and bizarre. But somewhere when I fell in love with photography, my priorities shifted. No smaller camera can reproduce the results I get from my DSLR, and I guess those results are important to me. I like bokeh, I like having pixels that I can beat up a bit in development, and I love having files I can turn into museum-quality prints and frame.

There's a photographer I follow on Facebook who always responds to this DSLR/iPhone debate by saying, "The best camera is the one you have with you...so be prepared for quality." That's how I feel. That said, if quality isn't as important to you as having light pockets and free hands, or if you can obtain sufficient-for-you quality with a smaller device, I completely understand.
posted by cribcage at 7:14 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]


"How are people ok with this?"


I don't understand either. If nothing else, depth of focus control is just not there. I simply can't take photos that look like my 5D and 50/1.4 with a point and shoot.

I was struck with the simplicity of the gear. If I'm shooting a wedding I have 5D, 17-40/4, 24-105/4, 70-200/2.8, 50/1.4, 100/2, 2x580 EX w/external battery packs, flash stand, and a second body backup. Don't use the 100/2 much, admittedly, but if super dark it's worth it. 2nd body was a 10D, would get another 5D of some sort if I were doing them right now. And I figure I'm pretty lean.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:41 PM on February 20


Bumped into this site yesterday and got frustrated enough to want to cry. Need to get RICH baby...

Bought myself a Sony NEX-3N a few days ago and just testing all the options with the 50mm kit lens made my eyes pop. It's one thing to grasp DOF from a book, but to have it happen in real-time is another thing. All I want now is a Leica for Christmas. Some Christmas far in the future of employment probably.

For the last year and a half I've been lugging various point-n-shoots from the 80s and 90s around the planet. It's so much fun. But printing and developing do cost money so there's a lot of contact sheets around the studio.

TL/DR: camera phones are ridiculous.
posted by artof.mulata at 10:56 PM on February 20


I don't have a ton of gear because I'm not rich, but the best investment I've made in the last several years was good sturdy, compact tripod that adjusts easily and is compact enough to sling over a shoulder. I've got an 18-200 mm lens on the D80 which is fine for 99% of everything, but it's pretty slow, so I need the tripod a lot of time over 150 mm or so. I've also absolutely stopped setting the camera above iso 200 because I can't stand digital noise. I did some 35mm vs DSLR comparison shots & Velvia 100 still had better resolution than my old D50 & the D80 barely beats it out at low noise. When I go on vacation, I still haul 3 cameras because I can't give up on film entirely. I've got Velvia slide film in a Canon AE-1 & black & white negative in an old point & shoot Zeiss Contina.

Is there really an actual iPhone vs camera debate? What a weird thing. If you can't see the difference between a picture taken with a phone vs an actual lens on an even halfway-decent monitor, you should go get you're prescription checked. That's like saying bands should record directly to 128k mp3.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:57 AM on February 21


"How are people ok with this?"

I don't understand either. If nothing else, depth of focus control is just not there. I simply can't take photos that look like my 5D and 50/1.4 with a point and shoot.


Most of these people you don't understand only owned point-and-shoot cameras prior to smartphones because they're a lot cheaper. An iPhone 5s is pretty good for point-and-shoot quality shots, plus it's your phone/pocket computer and yes, you can immediately share a moment with friends and loved ones. I doubt there are many people ditching DSLRs for phones.

DSLRs are great, I'd like to own one, and I'm lucky enough to have enough money to afford one. But like most people, I have at least a dozen bigger priorities budget-wise. One day I'll probably plunk down the cash for a DSLR, but until then, the phone camera does the job.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:56 AM on February 21


I used to have the opposite conversation with audiophiles, actually, who were using equipment that was crazy-pure to play music recorded in studios that ain't never seen such cool stuff. With photos it's a bit different. Many people aren't printing. Their photos live on social media. An iPhone works okay for that. Heck, I get heartbroken uploading my best, polished DSLR photos to Facebook. It ruins 'em. But that's where the audience is.

If anybody is around Boston, here's my favorite print lab. Black & white is their thing, but their color work is impeccable, too. I'd like to get into printing myself someday, but it isn't in the cards right now. My favorite frame shop has had some hiccups lately, but this one has won enough awards to catch my attention.

What amazes me is how many people don't even develop their photos. With film, nobody questioned that developing was a craft and necessary. You couldn't pull photos straight from the camera. Now you can, so people do. With average non-photogs, I get it. It's easy, it's cheap, it's good enough. No complaint. But professional photographers printing or uploading SOOC, I don't understand. Half the reason to pay for a DSLR in the first place is the sensor that's designed to create files with more play.
posted by cribcage at 6:07 AM on February 21


I have at least a dozen bigger priorities budget-wise.

I found my D80 used, with 2500 shutter actuations, for $325.00. I found my 18-200mm Tamron used for about half retail a month or two later. The D80 was a couple generations old when I bought it, but it's got all the features I needed that I missed in the D50 (which I sold used for $100.00). I may be lucky to have a large camera shop in town that stocks a good cabinet of used cameras, but you really don't have to drop 2 grand to have a pretty damn nice DSLR.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:33 AM on February 21


> I don't understand how people can get to the point of ditching actual cameras for their iPhones.

The same way people are OK replacing their desktop PCs with tablets. The little guys really do deliver all the functionality that they were using.
posted by jfuller at 8:12 AM on February 21


"Most of these people you don't understand only owned point-and-shoot cameras prior to smartphones because they're a lot cheaper. An iPhone 5s is pretty good for point-and-shoot quality shots, plus it's your phone/pocket computer and yes, you can immediately share a moment with friends and loved ones. I doubt there are many people ditching DSLRs for phones. "

Except that the "networked lens" proselytizers are explicitly all about ditching the DSLRs for phones.

"What amazes me is how many people don't even develop their photos. With film, nobody questioned that developing was a craft and necessary. You couldn't pull photos straight from the camera. Now you can, so people do. With average non-photogs, I get it. It's easy, it's cheap, it's good enough. No complaint. But professional photographers printing or uploading SOOC, I don't understand. Half the reason to pay for a DSLR in the first place is the sensor that's designed to create files with more play."

Heh. That's what keeps me from shooting as much as I might otherwise with the DSLR — I know that all of the photos will need at least a little digital processing, and that time commitment can be hard because there's always more photos to take.
posted by klangklangston at 8:18 AM on February 21


Even with the instant gratification of cramming an SD card into a slot, I spend way more time adjusting, rating, naming & categorizing my digital pictures than I do taking them, but it beats binders full of slides all to hell when you want to look at them later. My monitor is the best picture frame I own.

The old workflow was 1. take a roll of slide film in an hour or two. 2. Wait a week for it to get developed, then laboriously scan each slide at 10 + minutes apiece, followed by the same adjustment/rating/naming/categorization, except they lived in random directories on my hard drive, painstakingly try to write info on the slide mount by hand, and stuff them in archival slide holders, and put them in a binder to go on a shelf, never to be seen again. I have a slide projector, but get it out once every couple of years because it takes literally hours to put together a slide show of physical slides.

All that said, I still love film & am glad I've gone back to shooting it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:17 AM on February 21


Sometimes I feel like the only photographer in the world that doesn't get the idea of gear fetishism. Okay, I know that's an exaggeration, but still. I have seen mind-blowing pictures taken with the crappiest of cameras, and I've seen 'pros' with gear I'll never be able to afford that can't shoot for shit.

Photography is absolutely not about the equipment, with the caveat that you usually have to pass some minimum technological hurdle (say, stepping up from phone cameras to something a little better that might be able to produce some depth of field) but even that is not always necessary.

I'm not going to learn anything by seeing what kind of gear so-and-so carries. I'm going to learn by looking at their output and trying to figure out how I could recreate it if I were so inclined.

I have in the past actively taped over the brand names and model numbers on my cameras just to avoid those kind of "oh hey what are you shooting with? yeah I had one of those but I moved up to the X model with more megapixels blah blah blah" conversations. I am always happy to discuss what I'm actually shooting, but what I'm shooting with is kind of beside the point.

[exception made for strobist lighting setup howto shots and gear discussion, since those are about how to create a lighted environment, not just "I point this body and this lens at my subject" gear nerdery]
posted by komara at 9:22 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


> Okay, I know that's an exaggeration, but still. I have seen mind-blowing pictures taken with the crappiest of cameras,

I was a gearhead once but no longer. In the film era I has a Nikon FTN (purchased used) and a Leica M3 (inherited). Over the course of years it dawned on me that all of the shots I was happiest about and proudest of were taken with a dirt-cheap Mamiya, pretty much the cheapest SLR it was possible to buy, because that was the camera I had with me when all those shots presented themselves. With the Mamiya in my hand I was more worried about dropping myself over the cliff and into the gorge. With either of the others I was more worried about dropping the camera.

In the current era almost everything I photograph is intended only as photo references for later drawing so the quality of the camera (beyond the absolute minimun, like "It's got a tripod mount, right?") is less of an issue than ever. Last time I went out carrying a camera I came back with the memory card full of pix of weeds. If any of these are ever seen again it will be as pen or pencil squiggles in the background of something else. My present and only camera (NOT counting the one on my phone, which I've never used) was almost exactly the same price and quality as that Mamiya, the cheapest modern looks-like-a-DSLR-but-isn't I could find. Branded GE but I'm sure GE didn't make it; don't know who did. Humble as it is, it's actually a bit more camera than I need for the purpose. And if I ever have to choose between dropping myself or the "GE" over the cliff I won't have to waste a second dithering.
posted by jfuller at 11:28 AM on February 21


This is quite interesting, a lot of very minimal setups (though, yeah, three iPhones? Whatever.)
No Pentax users; poor little Pentax. I love my K5, though I've developed a preference for old manual primes so I'm not helping them much in terms of continuing investment. I've got more gear than I can use, too - I've stopped buying. Although those LED lights people are using look quite tempting...
posted by dickasso at 7:07 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


Guess which hypocrite posted to social media about a new lens he picked up?

that'd be me
posted by komara at 10:53 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


In keeping with the thread, the obvious question: which lens?
posted by cribcage at 12:32 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


It's the Olympus 15mm f/8 body cap lens - there's a decent review here.

Basically I'm about to march for hours during Mardi Gras in a costume with no good pockets, so I'm trying to limit the size of my gear. This thing is unbelievably small and has no lens cap to lose. Plus, the vast majority of my shooting is through old manual focus / manual aperture film camera lenses so not having any electronic communication with the lens is absolutely not a problem.

Also it was cheap as hell.
posted by komara at 1:11 PM on February 25


The focus lever has four positions, Off or closed, infinity focus, distant focus and close focus.

This is exactly why show-&-tell can be neat: you learn stuff. I had no idea.
posted by cribcage at 1:54 PM on February 25


I had just a few minutes of daylight after I finished exercising my dog and I'll tell you what - that 'close focus' means close. This is how close I had to get to my stinkpig dog to get it focused and even then I should have pushed in another inch to nail the eyes but I was afraid of getting my camera licked. 'Distant focus' was perfect but unless you want to look at clouds over a run-down ball field I don't got nothin' to show off there.
posted by komara at 6:09 PM on February 25


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