leschnyhan: As a photography instructor, I'd like all my students to start with a film SLR with basic manual controls. However, since I teach in some programs that don't have darkroom facilities, I often end up teaching intro DSLR classes to people who don't have any experience with a simple film SLR. The Nikon DF, together with an older Nikon lens with an aperture ring, would be an ideal kit for a student learning to use manual exposure--not too many bells and whistles to complicate things, and (maybe?) fewer automatic features like scene modes (which become a crutch and don't help people to understand exposure). It looks fairly sturdy, too, which means it might be a good camera for school photography departments or rental facilities (where equipment is often handled roughly). Unfortunately, I think it will come with a price tag that will put it out of reach for many beginning students who want to own (rather than borrow) a camera.
Also, dccdp, your characterization of me as being afraid of digital photography in the way that people were once afraid of cars is preposterous. I embrace digital photography. I teach digital photography. I've merely said that I think it's worthwhile for ambitious art students to learn film photography as well as digital. Fortunately my students have generally been enthusiastic to learn all sorts of photographic techniques, so it's a little surprising and bewildering to me to see such a vitriolic response to my totally uncontroversial endorsement of a broad range of learning. (Nearly every art educator I know shares the perspective that it's to the students' benefit to learn many techniques.)
Hmm. Yeah. I'm deeply wrong to say that learning a broader range of photographic skills is preferable to learning a smaller subset of the same photographic skills. Now I see your point. Yay, ignorance!
Seriously, if you're happy with the skills you have, good for you. But it's foolish to say that art students should only learn the latest technology and completely ignore other processes. I have had students who've made beautiful work using alternative processes like cyanotype and heliotype. I have a colleague here in town who has shot cover stories for National Geographic using Tintype processes. Now, do I insist that my students learn those processes? No. But I'm delighted when they do, because those are additional ASSETS that are plusses, not minuses, in their development and education. And I'd wager that my students who pursue rigorous, disciplined study of a variety of techniques are better photographers than anyone who vehemently opposes broader learning.
I think learning to drive a manual transmission is worthwhile for somebody who wants to be a professional driver, even if most of his driving will be in an automatic. (And, to respond to your silly example, I don't think that learning how to drive a buggy would make somebody *worse* at driving a car.) Reductio ad absurdum, btw.
If you guys read my original post, I'm not just saying "film is better," but rather that learning on a simple SLR that doesn't have too many bells and whistles (like scene modes) is beneficial. Most DSLRs have some "features" that can become crutches to students. "Night mode" and "action mode" and things like that are not providing any functionality that you can't achieve in a manual exposure mode if you know how. One of the things I like about older film SLRs like the FM2 is that they don't have all that BS--they have the essential controls, and students focus on the fundamentals rather than being distracted by (or becoming dependent upon) those scene modes and other automatic features of most modern DSLRs. What I LIKE about the concept of the DF (from what little I know about it), is that it seems not to have some of those silly extra features. Hence, I think it would be a good student camera (if not too expensive), like some of the older SLRs are good student cameras.
My position is that learning both film and digital photography are worthwhile to a photography student who wants to acquire the broadest possible skill set. Your position, as best as I can understand it, is that learning film is such a waste of time that it will actually be detrimental to photography students.
I'm not going to argue with you anymore. I think more skills and more learning experiences are better than fewer skills and fewer learning experiences. If you disagree, that's fine. You're not my student and I'm not invested in convincing you otherwise.
Sure, I recommend "trying" things and learning from your "errors," but sometimes it's nice to make a photograph that is actually what you deliberately intended to create, rather than just a fortunate product of error. And I'd say trial-and-error can "sometimes" lead to fortuitous results--I disagree that it "always leads to best results."
Josh, you're telling me how *you* shoot. That's not how I shoot, and that's not how I teach my students to shoot. But you're not my student, so do whatever it is that makes you happy. There's always some degree of chance and luck in photography, but I personally want to minimize the trial-and-error aspect of shooting with any photographic medium, and maximize the intentional results. When I shoot with an large format view camera, I'm certainly not thinking of it as a trial-and-error process--I'm trying to apply as much knowledge as possible so I get the photo I intend to make. And you're right, having "an eye" is important, but there's a distinction between the eye for what you see externally and the eye for what you internally visualize and want to achieve, and I recommend keeping both "eyes" open.
Josh, students can previsualize with a digital camera if they resist the temptation to just shoot by trial-and-error, which is a strong temptation that is eliminated completely if the use a film camera. You guys are acting like I'm saying film is the only thing that matters. It's not. Digital photography is great. But I think learning to shoot with film is a valuable experience. It's certainly not going to make anybody *less* skilled, and in my experience it has helped many students develop a stronger skill set.
Onlooker, "shooting a lot of frames and see later what works and what doesn't" is not the learning process I would recommend. (But what do I know? I just have an MFA from NYU, where I worked full time for the Department of Photography and Imaging before I went on to get my photos published in places such as the New York Times, Men's Journal, Outside Magazine, Washington Post, O (Oprah magazine) and elsewhere.) Sometimes you don't have the luxury of shooting 100 photos and hoping one will work--sometimes you only have a second to get a shot, and you need to be able to confidently achieve the result you want. The best way to develop that sensibility is through disciplined practice in manual exposure, thinking about the consequences of the settings you're using. AFTER you internalize those sensibilities, you can start incorporating auto features that are convenient. But I want my students to get the fundamentals down first, and that includes previsualization.
No Josh, it's not elitism, it's a learning process. Students don't *have* to learn with film, but it will give them an experience of photography that they won't get if they only ever shoot digital. There's great value in using your intellect and your mind's eye to previsualize the image, which film cameras insist that you do. It's certainly possible to learn entirely in digital medium, but it's not an advantage. It's like saying you don't want to learn how to draw or how to paint because that's "elitist." It's not--it's a way of developing your skills as a visual artist, and those skills will assist you in your photography. Do you HAVE TO learn those other skills in order to be a good photographer? No. But they can only help. Every skill you acquire is an asset.
Henry, exposure is not the "Holy Grail," but it is an important part of a complete & holistic understanding of photography. If you don't understand exposure, you might be able to take some good photos, sometimes, under favorable conditions. But if you want to shoot under challenging conditions, or if you want to know how to achieve a desired effect with motion blur or depth of field or high key lighting or nuanced tonal gradations, understanding exposure is the place to start. Onlooker--trial and error is okay if you want to bumble around hoping your camera will eventually produce a desired result. If you know what effect you want to achieve & you understand exposure, you can get the shot you want. Once you know what you're doing, there's nothing wrong with using an LCD to *confirm* exposure, but that's quite different from treating an SLR like a point & shoot and using the LCD to help you blunder aimlessly through several exposure combinations until you find one that works.
Well, with a film camera, students have to conceptualize exposure in their minds, rather than shoot by trial and error and use the LCD screen to confirm exposure. So with traditional film cameras, students tend to meter more carefully and think about depth of field and movement by pre visualizing the consequences of choosing a certain combination of aperture and shutter speed (and film ISO).
As a photography instructor, I'd like all my students to start with a film SLR with basic manual controls. However, since I teach in some programs that don't have darkroom facilities, I often end up teaching intro DSLR classes to people who don't have any experience with a simple film SLR. The Nikon DF, together with an older Nikon lens with an aperture ring, would be an ideal kit for a student learning to use manual exposure--not too many bells and whistles to complicate things, and (maybe?) fewer automatic features like scene modes (which become a crutch and don't help people to understand exposure). It looks fairly sturdy, too, which means it might be a good camera for school photography departments or rental facilities (where equipment is often handled roughly). Unfortunately, I think it will come with a price tag that will put it out of reach for many beginning students who want to own (rather than borrow) a camera.
On the one hand--this is silly and shouldn't be taken seriously. On the other hand, the Hasselblad Lunar (which is a real product) is just as silly. Do I think this photo shows a real camera? No. Do I think Hasselblad might actually rebrand the Sony a7 and sell it for 50x more than the Sony-branded version? Yes, that's completely plausible.
This particular photo is definitely fake: Look how much lower the "H" in "Hasselblad" is, compared to the "d" at the end of the word. The geometry is wrong. The text that's supposed to be engraved/printed on the viewfinder hump is on a different plane than the actual camera.
Well, it's not cheap, but it's a real bargain compared to the new $4000 Zeiss "Otus" 55mm f1.4. I'd love to see a comparative review that puts these two head-to-head. (And for fun, perhaps a few other new lenses in the same approximate focal length. Perhaps the just-announced 55mm Zeiss f1.8 for the full-frame Sony E-mount, and maybe the updated Leica Noctilux 50.)
This would be a great lens for a D7100. Most zoom lenses don't resolve enough detail to really exploit the potential of the 24MP sensor. I don't own a D7100, but I owned a Sony NEX-7 (until it was stolen from me), which has the same or very similar sensor. Sigma should also make this lens available for the Pentax K-3, which likewise shares a Sony 24MP sensor.
motobloat: It's unfortunate that they didn't include the *new version* of the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 OS. It's been out since last year and all the reviews I've read say it's an amazing lens, very sharp with few aberrations. I do own this myself, but use it on the D7000.
Plus, with a 75-225mm "full frame equivalent angle of view", and a minimum focus distance half that of a 70-200, the 50-150 OS a really versatile lens too. Sadly, DXOmark is often very slow about getting lenses reviewed, so make sure you take their recommendations with a grain of salt.
I bought the new Sigma 50-150, used it for a few months and then sold it. Focus was so far off on my copy that it couldn't be corrected with AF Micro Adjust. If I used live view, it focused accurately but was a little slow. I replaced it with the Nikon 70-200 f4, which has given me no problems.
The guy who wrote the Wired.com article is named Mat Honan, not Matt Honan as it appears above. Just FYI. (See Mat, a helpful comment!)
jcmarfilph: none of the above.. Those silly ideas of attaching lens to a mediocre camera phone with sensor smaller than a pinhead are worthless.
Also, attaching a lens bigger than a phone itself defeats the purpose of mobility.
I'd rather see more travelzoom or bridge cam with WIFI or 4G capabilities than make my self look like a dork with a slippery brick in one hand and another hand holding the lens.
The Sony thing is not a big lens that uses the small sensor in the phone. If the rumors are true (and they seem pretty likely), the lens has its *own* sensor--the thing is a complete camera--the only role the phone plays is touch-screen interface to control the camera, and storage device for the photos. The Sony will supposedly have a 1" sensor, much larger than the sensors in most compact cameras, and vastly larger than the sensor in any smartphone. So yes, the results could actually be "good" (Though of course that's a relative term--as good as a D800? No. As good as a Nikon 1 V2? Probably yes.)
leschnyhan: Yeah, okay it doesn't have a mic input. On the one hand, most people who are trying to get really excellent audio would use a separate digital audio recorder anyway. But on the other hand--it seems like putting a mic input on the camera would be pretty straightforward, and a shoe-mounted mic would be useful on occasion.
The basic design reminds me a lot of the NEX-6 and NEX-7, and the feature set seems pretty similar to NEX-6 except that the Sony has a physically larger sensor that should translate to better image quality. (And has consequences for depth of field, too.) The one thing that keeps me away from MFT cameras is the MFT part.
And they're asking $999 for this thing? When an NEX-6 is currently available brand new for $798?
AF performance on the NEX-6 is mediocre by D-SLR standards, but it was one of the first mirrorless models to have hybrid AF (both contrast and phase.) The hybrid AF works better with some lenses than others. The Panasonic cameras I've tried weren't appreciably faster, but maybe the newest ones are.