Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thinking Out Of the Box Camera Design

Don`t suppose any camera manufacturers are listening, but how about the following:

1) switch to 3:4 ratio image from the current 3X2 - after all this is what has happened in medium format and micro four thirds - if you kept to the same image circle - no problems with current lenses.

2) how about a rotating sensor - surely they can find a way to align it perfectly after turning it 90 degrees - this whole business of turning a camera on its end is just rediculous. It`s faster and safer and simpler for controls to rotate the sensor - sure you`d need a bigger pentaprism (if you stick with that), but 4X4 isn`t much bigger than 4X3 and even 3X3 vs. 3X2is only 33% more.

3) how about solving the expose to the right problem - why should I guess from a tiny screen whether I have overdone the highlights - couldn`t the camera check just how much brighter the highlights are (ie. hopeless or not) and just how big they are and couldn`t I specify how large an area I`m willing to let go pure white in a given photograph - and can`t we assume using raw and have the lcd show the clipping for raw that isn`t retrievable - perhaps flashing highlights in one of three colours depending on whether one, two or three channels are clipped. Surely the technology is there to help us (but not replace us).

4) would it be so difficult to put an infrared receptor on the back of the camera so I can use a simple, small cordless remote - after all point and shoots have had it for years - come on guys!

5) I suspect we are going to see  more and more focus blending in the future so how about making it easier - with automatic multiple images with appropriate focus change between each, based on the near distance and far distance desired, and the f stop. You could even time the exposures based on hand holding (asap) or tripod (how long does it take for vibrations to dampen at a given focal length).

6) how about getting the lcd image to my iPhone or even better iPad simply, painlessly and accurately, no wires, no router. It can be done now with accessories like eyefi but what about building it in?

7) is there really no way to keep noses from LCD screens?
Are we really stuck with the same overall design of slr's present since the 50's? - I loved the tilting viewfinder (not LCD on my Sony 707

8) from using the viewfinder on a Sony Nex-7, are we not ready for electronic viewfinders? Already they are better in low and medium light - we just need to fix the daylight problem - dynamic range, colour etc.  - but we need fast refresh and short blackout times for this to work.

Anyway, just my daydreams. Michael Reichmann has been beating the drum for a mirror lock up button on Canon cameras for at least 7 years and still no action - guess they are waiting for when there are no mirrors in any cameras.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Pansies photographed with the Lensbaby Composer, with a short extension tube.

Lily with the Lensbaby

And lastly the original Pansy with my 90 TS-E

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why So Many Pixels?

One reason for wanting to start with as many pixels as possible is that every time we manipulate the image, we lose a little quality - resize up or down, get rid of barrel or pin cushion distortion, blend images for depth of field, or stitching, or correct perspective distortion and each of those steps degrades the image a little. This all on top of the original raw file conversion and any manipulation the camera does to raw images - raw isn't always as virginal as one might think as the manufacturer does some noise reduction or some sharpening before you get to play with it.

All these changes do add up. If I sharpen an image, I'm playing with the data and losing just a tad of resolution to gain in sharpness. Run my image through Akvis Enhancer or any other programme that adds local contrast or helps shadows and highlights and even more loss.

Dodging and Burning further damage the image - which is why this is the last thing I do. Even all those fancy blending layers and adjustments distort the data even if they don't destroy it.

And all this doesn't even consider cropping. 

Personally, I'll be happy to be have a camera with 36 or more megapixels.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nikon D800E

No sign of mine arriving yet. Have been studying the various sites and lens tests to see what lenses I should use. Am going to try some of my 645 lenses first to see if any of them hold up.

In the mean time, today DPReview published an update on the D800E. I didn't find anything all that radical, but in the sample pictures section on the 800E, there are a variety of images. I looked at several made with the 70-200 and thought them quite good and was reassured that the corners seemed adequate if not perfect.

I then checked out the image with the boilers on the left, the sea in the middle and a city in the background, with fence and grass in the foreground, shot with the 85 1.4 G, a lens everyone agrees is stellar. Image here.

Wow, now this is what I was hoping for. From 18 inches away, I can't tell this is 100% view, but unlike "sharp" images of the past, there is no evidence of sharpening, even when I move in close to the monitor. Incredible detail and resolution as well as sharpness. And remarkably little moire in all those buildings and roofs - the only sig. spot I saw was between two sections of boat shed.

Digilloyd (pay site) has some interesting comments on focus shift as you stop down with some fast wide angle lenses, and the 14-24 - enough to make focusing stopped down the preferred method - if you can do it.

The D800/E would appear to have some live view focusing issues so I won't know how practical this is until I try it for myself.