It’s not falling that hurts, it’s the sudden stop at the end.
Understandably, people are concerned with whether a new lens they buy is functioning properly and optically within specifications. One thing I harp on is that we also need to watch our lenses over time. Bumps, drops, and normal wear-and-tear can affect a lens optically. Continue reading →
In my last post I made a preliminary list of systems I was going to consider. Some people are a little surprised I’m considering crop sensor cameras. I’m surprised that they’re surprised. I’ve shot with a micro 4/3 system for months and it certainly met 80% of my needs, so an APS-C based camera may be just fine. Or I may decide that I need to have a full-frame camera. I’ve generally shot full frame for the last several years.
But did I mention this is coming out of my own pocket? And that I’m kind of cheap? It’s been several years since I’ve actually priced systems but the last time I checked APS-C was a lot cheaper. I want to look at just how many of my hard earned it requires to join the Big Boy Full-Frame Camera Owner’s Club. I may just hang out with the kids.
I also want an idea, before I start comparing systems, about the cost difference between the different systems. I know exactly what the cameras sell for, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect the cost of buying into a system. (Oh, and for those of you who think I have these numbers floating around in my head, I haven’t done Lensrentals’ purchasing for almost two years. I’m way out of the loop.)
As I mentioned in my last post, I have more time for photography now than I have for the last several years so I’m buying a personal camera system. While I can ‘borrow’ stuff from Lensrentals for a specific shoot I can’t just take a system and keep it at my house permanently.
My rule of thumb has always been if I need something 2 or 3 times a year, I’ll rent it, but if I need it more frequently than that I should buy it. Over the last few months I’ve found myself shooting with something different than my current system (Olympus OM-D E-M5 based) at least once or twice a month. It seemed time to investigate my options.
The purpose of this post is NOT to convince you that my choices are right for you. What I need and want in a system isn’t going to be what you need and want. The process I use to reach the decision may be interesting to some of you – I certainly get a half dozen emails a week asking how to choose a system. For most of you, though, who already are locked into a system, these couple of articles will not be very interesting. I apologize and we’ll return to our regularly scheduled blogging in a week or so.
Note: I’m going to bore people for a week or two while I decide on a new camera system for myself. To alert those who are going to be bored by posts about “Roger Buys a Camera System”; I’ll put that in the title for the rest of this series.
I don’t own an SLR – I go check one out for ‘testing’ when I need one. But I’ve moved out to the country and I want a camera at the house. I can’t really justify to management that I need to test a camera and some lenses for a year or two.
I know what I want: the Canon T4i‘s touch screen, the Canon 6D‘s Wi-Fi, and the Canon 5D Mk III‘s autofocus built around the Nikon D800E sensor, Nikon’s flash system, Pentax’s user interface (I’d take their sensor too, if I went crop frame), and be able to mount lenses from all manufacturers. But given a far-less-than-unlimited budget, I’ll be making some compromises, like everyone else. In order to make comparisons, I want to take a look at exactly how some systems differ.
Most of that doesn’t involve geek stuff like this, but geek stuff is what I know best so that’s where I’ll start. Resolution isn’t the end-all point for deciding on a camera system. It isn’t even the most important point in my decision about a camera system, and I’m a resolution nut. But it is a thing I want to know about.
A Resolution Comparison
One of the things I constantly harp on is that people should not compare Imatest or DxO results on two different cameras. You can’t look at the results of a lens on a crop sensor and a full-frame, for example. You can’t look at results of a lens test on a Canon 5D and make good predictions of how it will behave on a Canon 5D Mk III. We’ve even found lately that you can’t take the results on a Sony NEX-7 and extrapolate to a Sony NEX-6.
But there is one thing you can do fairly reasonably. You can compare two systems (camera and lens) to each other and determine the overall resolution of each system. I had some pretty self-centered reasons for doing just that. I, the ultimate camera system commitophobe, am going to have to buy, with my own money, a camera system. I hate when that happens.
A few days ago I learned about the Metabones Speed Booster. For both of you who haven’t heard yet, this is an adapter containing optical elements and electronic controls that allows you to mount Canon EF lenses to Sony NEX cameras (other versions are planned for other lenses and cameras). The quick summary is the adapter is the opposite of a teleconverter.
A teleconverter spreads out the light leaving the lens so that only the center portion reaches the sensor. The result is the focal length of the lens seems longer (the image is magnified), but at the cost of reducing the amount of light (effective aperture) of the lens. The Speed Booster compresses the light leaving the lens onto a smaller image circle. This makes the focal length seem shorter and actually increases the amount of light reaching the sensor.
The Metabones’ Speed Booster compresses the light leaving the lens into a smaller image circle. Image credit Metabones http://www.metabones.com/images/metabones/Speed%20Booster%20White%20Paper.pdf
For several years now, my occupation has been to basically read everything written about new equipment. In order to help everyone save time, and to save the Internet millions of electrons, I have developed a concise method to summarize all such discussions for all newly introduced imaging equipment.
I modestly call this Roger’s Law of New Product Introduction and have summarized it in the graph below. You will notice there are two possible paths a new product may follow. To date, these two paths accurately describe every introduced product.
The laws of Quantum Commentary demonstrate that is possible that a product follows both paths simultaneously – for example a new Canon camera may follow path A on a Canon board, while following path B on a Nikon board. I suggest we refer to this as The Fanboy Uncertainty Principle.
In theory, there is at least a third possible path, where a new product is perceived logically from the moment of its introduction. However, that path can be demonstrated mathematically to exist only in higher order dimensions and therefore remains invisible in the three-dimensional world of photography forums.
It is possible that other paths exist, but I leave descriptions of these to persons more versed in theoretical mathematics than I. We do, of course, welcome such theoretical contributions in the comments section.
While the implications of this work remain largely theoretical, it does have some practical purpose. Now you can simply copy this graph, mark it with an arrow and the statement You are here, and post it instead of having to write paragraphs of verbiage.
My mind is a bad neighborhood – I shouldn’t be left alone there after dark. So the other night I’m driving home home and there’s a truck in front of one of my neighbor’s houses, for this carpet cleaning service, Stanley Steemer. A truly normal person probably wouldn’t notice. A mildly disturbed person might wonder “are they getting ready to sell their house?”
Me? I think, “Why don’t they spell STEAM correctly?” If you read my blog much, you know that spelling isn’t always my strong suit (if they have a typo Olympics, I’m going for gold), so I’m rather triumphant when I find someone else spells worse than I do. Since it was after dark, and no one was home but me, alone in the bad neighborhood that is my brain, I went online and did a little research. Continue reading →
Warning: This is strictly a Geek article. If you don’t like looking at lenses’ insides, there’s absolutely nothing of interest for you here.
We’ve been doing a lot of teardowns lately and I’ve made comments like “well thought out” or “carefully engineered.” Several people have asked me to show them some comparisons so they can see what I’m talking about. Given that we have fairly modern releases of 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses from several manufacturers, we thought it would make sense to compare what the insides look like.