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Analog and Digital opinions from photography to politics and everything in between.

18 February 2009


iStockphoto and their little rules for submissions.  I'm kinda just doing this whole iStock thing for shits and giggles so that I can maybe make enough money to buy myself a 6 pack of Blue Moon every now and then instead of whatever other tasty beer is on sale, but it's really getting frustrating.

I would really like to know what defines "we found this file over filtered from its original appearance/quality," or if that's just their way of saying sorry, we really just don't like you or your pictures. This photo received that little mark.  It's scanned Velvia.  The preset I used for it added highlight recovery, brightened the scene, pulled some contrast, and changed the tone curve slightly.  ooooooooh drastically over-filtered. This one is scanned Kodachrome that was just so damn good I didn't even do anything to it.  Props to mom for the shot. Apparently, it's also over-filtered. -_- . Does iStock not even look at any metadata at all? I know LR writes all adjustments to exported jpegs (I don't know why), so its not like the information isn't right there in the open.  Oh wait, it gets even better. Fuji Neopan 1600 is now an extreme Photoshop filter you put inside your analog camera to make it shoot Black & White film.  Ironically, they accepted a shot that was ridiculously processed compared to the original.  :{|.

I actually had another one rejected due to excessive purple fringing (chromatic aberration?). I understand, since that can really make or break a photo.  You know, if your photo even has purple in it.  Saturation levels for that particular shot:

I just want my beer. Seriously, iStock, how hard can it be.

Nikon N8008s + Nikkor 28mm ƒ/3.5 + Fuji Velvia RVP50 + San Francisco, California.

RVP50 is pretty much the shit. Shoot it at ASA40 and don't tell them that you did. Although it gives some freakin weird ass color casts under non-natural lighting. Like severe orange casts from the regular ass halogen bulbs in my living room and the usual green cast under flourescent bulbs. RVP also looks great in B&W. ironic considering the nature of the film.

Also, if you're sad about the disappearance of Kodachrome, shoot Velvia in the shade (or overcast outdoors, or the highly diffused light right around sunset. when I say highly diffused I mean it, you don't want those ridiculous sunset oranges showing up), and you'll get more or less the same color palette. see 
This Photo.

As a side note, a lot of people on flickr bother me. Like people who append their name with "gone for a while," or "not here right now," and then continue to upload photographs daily. -_- . for serious? like, what the fuck, make up your mind goddammit. if you're gonna be gone, then leave. I don't want to see you. if you're gonna continue doing your stupid little 365, then don't say you're not gonna be on flickr. liars.

other people who bother me are the people who have flickr accounts for their stupid cell phone pictures that they can upload with their Blackberries or iPhones. nobody cares what you saw today on your way to work. also, I hate people who use flickr to put up nothing but vacation photos and pictures taken with like a 4 year old powershot of their two year olds doing stupid two year old shit like trying to eat some fuckin legos or something.

I also really despise people who don't have any photos at all. like, why even bother making an account? are you just that desperate to get the attention that you'll never receive but find joy in knowing that your little insignificant comment on someone's picture will be read by somebody, thereby validating your existence as someone who "appreciates" "art."

apparently facebook changed its TOS, potentially granting them the irrevocable rights to use anything you put on the website for their own purposes. as if I needed another reason to avoid facebook as it is. more info

i should really be 勉強するing my 漢字 right now but I'm just too damn much of a 怠け者。

Nikon N8008s + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 + San Francisco + Fuji Velvia RVP50

09 February 2009

Life is an inconvenience

Especially after playing Skate.2.

Seriously, I was all going down the steps to the muni and I was like fuck, I'm walking so slow. If this was Skate, I'd just kickflip nosegrind the escalator. it's like the perfect little hubba.

goddamn EA.

ドリドリMeowta @ the San Diego International Auto Show

07 February 2009

Fire the Cannons

or rather, Canon makes overrated crap.

most specifically, the Canon 5d Mk II is an overrated, watered down piece of unadulterated CRAP. now, just so that it is known, I'm getting all this information from
DPReview.com, probably the site I trust most when I need info on camera shit. Also, just so that it is known, the only modern Canon SLR that I can stand is the EOS 1V. That said, I'll begin on exposing the Canon for the hyped-up piece of crap that it is.

Canon's Fault:
the 5D wasn't that great. the 5D2 isn't much better. Canon dropped the ball. This is supposed to be a professional-level camera mostly aimed at non-sports photographers, right, so why is there a fucking HD movie option even on this fucking camera. what photographer in their right mind would use a feature like this in the field, especially at a wedding when you've only got one chance to make the shot. maybe to give to an assistant to fiddle with the horrible AF performance (it is contrast detect, after all, like all live-view modes and movie modes in DSLRs). movie mode should have gone in the 50d, a lighter and more consumer-oriented camera that's probably better suited for the task, and a camera that would actually utilize it instead of feeling like it was an afterthought thrown in for sales. 

Canon also dropped the ball bigtime with the 5D2's sensor. Full-frame is great for low noise and wide angles, but physics dictates everything these days (fuck that newton guy). cramming 22 million pixels onto a full-frame sensor is great for the MP wars, but, uh, I don't know if Canon [or Sony] got the memo yet, but the MP wars are over. pixel count isn't important. it's just not that possible to fit those 22 million pixels onto a 36x24mm sensor and not expect to have some sort of consequence in high-ISO image quality.  Not to mention Canon's playing catch-up with Nikon in the ISO department bigtime. Speaking of catch-up, Canon needs to do some in the AF department as well, more about that later.

Where Canon really dropped the ball is that they didn't give the 5d2 enough performance for the price.  Simply by the numbers, it has sub-par frames per second (3.9fps vs the Nikon's 5 (8 with battery grip), Sony's 5, and Olympus' 5) and a mediocre RAW buffer size (13 vs 17, 12, and 19).  the 12 RAW buffer for the Sony is more due to its gargantuan file sizes from the 24.5MP sensor.  if the Sony and Canon had identical MP counts, their numbers would probably be identical. I really dislike that Canon and Sony decided to omit a pop-up flash from their "pro" model cameras.  I don't know why. I don't really use pop-up flash. I don't really use flash at all. I'm broke, so I use old fast legacy glass.  But omitting the pop-up flash is like Canon and Sony did is like they're pretentiously saying, whilst sipping tea, that they're much too professional for pop-up flash.  Pop up flash is incredibly useful as a fill light or as a trigger for other off-camera flashes (like Olympus' RC flash system), and omitting it on a model that could benefit from it is a stupid move on the part of the designers.  however, I'm sure the bean counters were suggesting it be omitted to drive sales of Canon's speedlights.

The 5D is also pretty horrible ergonomically from what people tell me and what I've heard on teh blagosphere, but they grin and bear it because it's just what's there, though not really anymore.  The following list contains 3 cameras that are all incredibly capable systems and aren't the 5d.  

Nikon D700
Sony A-900
Olympus E-3

You'll notice I left out the D3 and D3x.  they're overkill for any photography that isnt fast action sports photography.  The D700 is essentially the same exact camera as the D3, just in a D300 sized body.  The Nikon certainly has the upper hand against the 5D2 in the wedding segment, at least theoretically.  the 5d's large MP count means more noise from smaller pixels crammed on the sensor.  Nikon's 12.1mp D700 has less pixels on the same size sensor, giving a more favorable signal to noise ratio, resulting in visibly better noise handling than the 5d.  Nikon really stepped ahead of the curve when they offered ISO25,600 for the D3 and D700.  You might wonder why I talk so much about noise.  in a dimly lit church, ISOs might have to be bumped to get shake-free shots, and the Nikon has the upper hand in this department.  since I think that this entire segment of camera caters to the wedding photographer, low light photographic capability is key.  Another key feature is AF.  the D700 has 51 AF points and arguably the fastest focusing system on the planet, although Olympus claims otherwise.  Also, the D700 trumps the Canon behemoth, the 1Ds mk3, in both raw buffer space and ties in frames per second (12 and 5 for the canon).  however, add the battery grip and you've got an 8fps Nikon monster.  it's also barely more expensive than the 5d, and Nikkor lenses are, in my opinion, of much better quality than their canon equivalents.  Nikon's also been in the game forever, and just about every nikkor lens ever will mount on the D700.

The A-900 is Sony's newest pro offering. The giant MP count, highest for a DSLR at 24.5, is likely to compromise low light, high ISO shooting.  Popular Photo seemed to think it did pretty good though from what I remember.  To be honest, I don't like Sony being in the SLR market.  yeah, they revived the minolta mount, but I think they're in the market to just make money, and not to inspire photographers or do anything meaningful.  They are the 19th century England of the electronics world, so get used to it.  That said, I don't dislike the A-900.  I think it's over-engineered though.  the shape seems bulky and uncomfortable to me,  and its almost like Sony was taking way too many design cues from nikon and canon and just integrating them horribly.    I don't really know how good Sony's glass is, but any minolta mount lens will fit it, which is nice as there were some pretty sweet pieces made for that mount.  Sony takes the route of sensor-shift image stabilization, so all lenses are stabilized, unlike Canon and Nikon, who make you pay extra for IS in lenses.  I think sensor-shift is smarter.  the estimated stop recovery while using sensor-shift IS always seems to be higher than in-lens IS, and you can use it with ALL of your lenses, a definite plus for the budget-conscious.  Overall, Sony probably ranks last on my list if anyone's looking for a pro-level camera.   despite all its amenities, it just doesn't grab me.  it seems no more relevant than an XTi or a D40 especially in this crowd. 

The Olympus E-3 is my favorite of all these cameras, just because I'm an olympus guy and I have had the chance to play around with the E-3 more than any of these other cameras.  The E-3 is certainly the underdog in this crowd, too.  it isn't full-frame, in fact, it's got a 2x crop factor on the Four Thirds sensor.  High-ISO performance has always been a problem for the four-thirds system, but with the E-3 it seems like Olympus is finally doing something about it.  certainly couldn't match the Nikon in ultra-low light, but it does hold its own quite well.  like the Sony, the E-3 has sensor-shift image stabilization which is compatible with any mounted lens.  with some cheap ebay adapters, you can also mount a nearly endless amount of lenses: Pentax K mount, M42, Leica M, Leica R, Olympus OM, Konica Minolta, Nikon F, et al. Speaking of glass, Olympus's lenses are probably the best money can buy, and they'll cost a bit less than their nikon and Canon counterparts for equal or better performance.  The E-3's coolest feature is the fold out articulating LCD, which is great for shooting with the camera up in the air or for real down-low macro shots.  the live view with this display is simply a great tool to have.  Olympus claims to have the world's fastest AF with its SWD lenses, and  I would say they are probably right.  The company is an innovator in the field, from bringing live view kicking and screaming to the SLR market with some of its early models, to is completely digital-designed sensor and body, to a supersonic filter on the sensor to clean dust off.  if you don't need the weather sealing of the E-3, you can always go for its non-sealed cousin, the E-30.  In my opinion, this is one of the best cameras on the market, hands down.  And Olympus says it's supposed to compete with cameras like the 50D, D300, and A-700.  the specifications say otherwise.

To be honest, you cant really go wrong with any of these cameras.  The 5d is a much overrated, oft-hyped model that really just doesn't live up to its full potential.  To be frank, it's not worth anything near $2500 IMO.  If I were to suggest these cameras in order of usefulness and awesomeness, I'd start with the D700 as the clear winner, then the E-3, A-900, and finally the 5D.  although, to be honest, you couldn't go wrong with a D300 or A-700. Even, I'll admit, a 40d.  I'd suggest a 1d mkII over a 40D though

Special thank you to DPReview for being awesome, Ken Rockwell for having an opinion, even if sometimes it's a stupid one, and to Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Fujifilm, etc, for helping to make photography awesome.  Please help support Adorama, B&H Photo Video, and Calumet Photo when you make your photo related purchases.  If you help them, it'll keep us all shooting longer.  (There, works cited and shameless whoring and advertising, with some froofy nice nice shit all in the same paragraph)

I'm really waiting for Canonites to start eviscerating me, but it would be pretentious to think anyone actually reads this or cares about what I say.

05 February 2009


Seriously, Renaissance artists, perspective? Glad you guys finally figured that one out. I was waiting with baited breath to see some fucking converging lines.

like really, you'd think it wouldn't be that hard. you see perspective with your eyes. like, converging lines, people far away are smaller, etc. you spent so much fucking time on getting the lighting right that you forgot the goddamn perspective.


congratulations on finally figuring out that little technical bit.

p.s. impressionism kicked your ass all across town.

04 February 2009