January 2nd, 2013, 10:07 PM
High ISO, noise, megapixels and etc.
I think sometimes we obsess over things like high ISO, dynamic range, noise etc.
I can fully appreciate that someone wants what they want but I have never found myself looking at properly exposed output from one of my cameras and thought that it was unacceptable. When images are a wreck nine times out of nine it's my fault. I mean there are limitations with certain cameras like my NEX 5n can squeeze out a bit larger print than my G2 or Fuji X10 but I find the IQ to be quite good on each camera I have. I even have prints hanging up that were done from my old 2MP Nikon Coolpix 800 over fifteen years ago that look great. The files from my NEX look very different than the ones from my G2 but that doesn't make the G2 files unacceptable...just different. When I use it I try and play to it's strengths not make it do things it doesn't do well. I don't expect my Honda Fit to out race like a BMW M3 but I can carry a ton of crap in the Fit and still get 35MPG.
Currently I have been playing with a Fuji X10 and I am really pleased with how well it works. It can't touch the NEX in terms of high ISO and noise but a quick trip to LR does wonders for an image. What it lacks in raw image quality it makes up for in convenience, portability and flexibility. IMVHO photography is about capturing the image not a contest about who captured it best. You're freezing a moment in time and if you miss it it's gone. A few days ago I went out walking on a frosty morning and took some shots of things covered in the frost. The day was breaking and by the time I got back home the delicate little crystals that I found so interesting were gone because the temperature had rising a few degrees. I was using my X10 and if I couldn't have gone back out with my "better" camera because everything was gone. I managed to catch a few moments in time. Just because the images have more noise or the sensor doesn't do high ISO as well as the NEX is immaterial.
I'm sure there are folks who need a particular feature either for a project they're doing or maybe as a requirement for the work they do (or they just want it) but I think it's hard to find a bad camera these days. In fact, I think you can go back 3-4 years and still have a tough time finding a truly bad camera. in fact some older models have some very appealing things about them. Newer can mean faster, better Auto WB, metering, more resolution but I'm not entirely sure that any of that necessarily equates to better.
January 2nd, 2013, 10:23 PM
OK......here's my counterpoint.
We will NEVER have enough IQ. Yes I routinely captured shots that made me happy 5 years ago when decent shots at ISO 800 were barely conceivable. But that doesn't mean that I don't want auto ISO6400 to be great. In a perfect world, I shouldn't have to think about ISO at all. Hopefully we'll get past that soon. When I look through a viewfinder I'd like to define my shot my a composition on the 2 dimensional plane of the frame and consider the 3 dimensional plane of focus. I am willing to consider aperture to control the DOF and the shutter speed to freeze the action (or blur it), but it's high effing time that I should no longer need to consider the sensor's sensitivity to light...I mean if I really cared about this stuff, I'd be shooting slides, right?
So, no......don't lock me into yesterday's tech. I'm not even satisfied with today's tech. And if you think you are, good for you...... keep your camera for a couple years....and no cheating. Just use what you have. Just keep your hands off my dreams for a REAL dream camera. Because all the cameras we have are good enough......but I want better.
January 2nd, 2013, 10:54 PM
A few disjointed thoughts on this matter:
1) We all know that there have been lots of amazing photos made with old and/or crappy gear, so clearly the newest tech is not needed to make a great photo.
2) Old tech and/or smaller sensors can create a look that some of us find enjoyable in its own right. Sean Reid wrote an essay about this, called "On Small Sensor Cameras" (or something like that) on his (pay) site. For me a digital sensor pushed hard (whether it be a 2/3" sensor at ISO 1600 or a full frame sensor at 12,800) starts to look "lo-fi", which has it's own charms. Sort of like listening to rap music made with 12-bit sampling if you can relate to that. The word which comes to mind is "crunchy".
When that look is desirable, a small and/or old sensor is the easiest way to get it. Or you can take a modern, larger sensor and crank the ISO up a ton .
3) Sometimes the wonderful performance of a lens and/or sensor contributes to an image. Again - I'd make an analogy to music where there are pieces of music which call for high bitrate or lossless files and a quality system.
It's interesting that Kevin uses the G2 and X10 as examples of lower file quality and/or older tech because there is a lot further "down" to go, even amongst modern cameras. The G2 sensor still considerably outperforms nearly all sub-1" sensors in most respects, and the X10 is near the pinnacle of smaller than 4/3" sensor performance, bested only by the RX100.
I agree with what I think is the main point of the OP - that it's hard to find a bad camera from the past few years. At the same time, I think some of the new cameras truly distinguish themselves, whether it be the IBIS system on the E-M5 or the sheer image quality per unit volume of cameras like the DP2M and RX1. I'd throw the E-PM2 in that last category as well - I'm blown away by the files I get from this tiny, relatively inexpensive camera.
January 2nd, 2013, 11:07 PM
There is nothing wrong with wanting better I wouldn't have three cameras (nor have bought and sold nearly twenty five cameras in the past two years) but a newer camera doesn't make the shots I made last year worthless. They exist independent of whatever gear created them.
January 2nd, 2013, 11:11 PM
Let's make it a three part counterpoint. I love the X-10 too, and feel quite comfortable keeping it as my carry around camera, but I'm not going to get rid of my E-M5 and the nice kit of primes I have for it, and if I had the money I'd order an M-9 and two or three Leica primes tomorrow. But I don't want to stop thinking about iso. Tri-X has a different look than Pan-X had or than Ilford Pan-F still does have. I like the variety of looks from different films, often the result of iso speed, and I don't want my night shots -even my digital ones - to look like shots taken in bright sunshine. A certain grittiness caused by "noise" or -- from where I come from, "grain" -- is how I think about that kind of shooting. And if photography is about imaging with reflected light, the amount and intensity of that light is always going to matter, one way or another. I'm thrilled I can shoot at 3200 with my OM-D and get results I could never get with film. but I'm going to miss Kodak T-Max 3200, even if I did not use it that often. Pushing HP5 to 800 is usually all I need. By all means keep improving the technology, but let's face it, the fact that Cartier-Bresson did not have the latest electro-photographic gizmo doesn't diminish the force or beauty of his work. So, yes, IQ, if one means simply resolution and contrast -- ie sharpness -- and grainlessness or noiselessness, can be overrated.
My ongoing film shooting commits me to yesterday's technology anyway. I even bought a Chromega B Dichroic enlarger today, because my big old 5x7 monster won't fit in the space I have to build a darkroom. And I'm not shooting anything bigger than a Hasselblad now anyway. All my 4x5 enlargers were Omegas, so I'm looking forward to this. Yesterday's tech?? Yes, but quite capable at what it does, which will aid me in doing what I want to do -- make silver prints of my Hasselblad and various 35mm camera negative. Silver is not better or worse, but it does have a different character -- one that I like. And how I love that Hasselblad and its Zeiss lenses, each one the weight of a brick, with GLASS. There was some awfully good photography being done in the 70's and 80's when they were made.
So I agree in essence with Kevin. A good camera does not stop being good because technology improves. I just posted some pictures from an old 5MP Olympus 5050Z I still have. Now its operation is so painfully slow that I no longer use it except to take it down and keep it in operating condition, but the files from it produced very nice pictures, limited in resolution and tonal range compared to today's offerings, but quite nice in themselves. Kodachrome 25 didn't have great dynamic range either, but it was film for certain purposes.
And my 1938 Leica IIIb with a 1952 Summicron on it gives good results. Put that Summicron on theE-M5, and it's just lovely.
I'm happy with the cameras I have, and look forward (of course) to acquiring and using even more. Since getting the X-10 I've got my eye on an XE1. So I'm not immune to the lure of technological improvement -- or the fun of using the best toys -- but a great photograph does not necessarily need the greatest equipment of its time. Edward Weston shot with some pretty dated lenses on his 8x10, then contact printed the negatives using an overhead lightbulb for exposure, and (I've seen some of the prints) made some of the most beautiful photographic prints ever created.
God I can go on!
Last edited by Lawrence A.; January 2nd, 2013 at 11:30 PM.
January 2nd, 2013, 11:17 PM
You're right, I am using a NEX, G2 and X10 so it's not like I'm using an old Coolpix 900 but I do have some prints that I made years ago using a Canon S10 that still look pretty good. You're also right in that the main point is that it is pretty difficult to find a truly bad camera these days. I think anything made in the past few tears is awfully good. I agree the E-PM1, E-PM2 are both great examples of this.
Originally Posted by Amin Sabet
January 2nd, 2013, 11:22 PM
I am not trying to be a Luddite here...I also shoot a NEX with some very carefully collected Minolta MC Rokkors so it's not like I am shooting an old Kodak Instamatic 44. I like my NEX and appreciate it for what it is and there are times when it is exactly what I want for a number of reasons but I also realize that the images I can get from my old Panasonic ZS3 (a bit less modern than my other cameras) can be just as good because it's the camera I had with me and ultimately the image capture is more important to me than what I captured it with.
That doesn't mean I won't end up with an XE1 or some other cool new camera at some point (FWIW I did just buy both the G2 and X19 before the end of the year) but I'll buy it because I want it not because it'll make my pictures any better.
Also, you'll notice I said maybe WE obsess about this stuff. I include myself in that.
Last edited by dixeyk; January 3rd, 2013 at 01:04 AM.
January 3rd, 2013, 12:21 AM
If you disregard hi-ISO performance,
Then the Foveon represents the ultimate in IQ.....
Sigma DP2 | Olympus XZ-1
January 3rd, 2013, 01:05 AM
Originally Posted by RT Panther
January 3rd, 2013, 01:36 AM
Sigma DP2 | Olympus XZ-1
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