Alec

Alec

Lives in United States New York City, NY, United States
Works as a Photographer
Has a website at http://karasevstudio.com/
Joined on Oct 24, 2000
About me:

I'm a photographer serving New York City’s theatre and fashion industries as well as industrial and advertising photography needs of the city’s businesses. My O2 (Optically Opinionated) blog contains ideas, tips, and industry commentary.

Comments

Total: 189, showing: 1 – 20
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In reply to:

Michael Ma: The problem with Sony cameras is that you have the hottest camera for a year, then a year later it's like having a cute puppy that has turned into an ugly dog. Looking at the new model, you feel like your dog is holding you back in life. But now you're stuck with commitments.

What sucks about the circa-2018 Sony Alpha 9 is that, while the 60P HDMI 2.0a is (finally!) 12 bits per color, it's **sitill** not 4:4:4, and the balanced inputs are only available on the cinegrip, which is highway robbery at $995. One would be well advised to wait to take professional photos till at least 2024, by which time Sony will have released an Alpha 9000, which is the pro mirrorless fullframe that, frankly, Alpha 9 should have been in the first place.

Link | Posted on May 4, 2016 at 01:18 UTC

I think this is a very strong signal in SONY's favor. This isn't even about Leica or A7RII or this one adapter - with Canon AF adapter, and Nikon in the works, and non-AF for most 35mm lens systems in existence, comprise a certain momentum of a market that's spoken.

It's about SONY engineers using this data to solicit more exciting features and designs for A9 and A7RIV that would otherwise have been too risky. It's about next generation of mount adapters competing for the user's dollars - smartphone integration, features like tilt (and/or shift) with medium format lenses, etc.

Good times for SONY.

Link | Posted on Feb 12, 2016 at 13:38 UTC as 31st comment | 1 reply
In reply to:

Alec: What I would like to clarify is lines per millimeter vs. line PAIRS per millimeter. Because the proper unit in the spatial frequency / lens sharpness context is a line pair per millimeter (a black line and an adjacent white line, whose loss of contrast is evaluated).

I hope this is a simple typo (like "calories" is commonly used whereas it's in fact kilocalories i.e. thousands of calories, but everyone understands). But I'm also not ruling out that we're being duped, and instead of 50 line pairs per millimeter they're actually talking about literally 50 lines, and thus 25 line pairs, per millimeter.

...Which would be a shame (from film days we know sharp lenses' spatial response extends to 100 line pairs per mm and beyond),
... and a sham (akin to the pundits in the early days of digital pledging that 6 or 8 megapixels was "film quality" - whereas Hollywood with real money riding on asset longevity, sticks to film even in the days of 4K).

In advertising, there's a term "Corinthian leather" - basically don't get in the way of the customers jumping to a wrongly favorable conclusion. What you say makes perfect sense in a perfect world, but we don't live in one - hence my post.

And as for the Corinthian leather, it was vinyl on 3 sides and sourced from Newark. :)

Link | Posted on Feb 7, 2016 at 23:59 UTC

What I would like to clarify is lines per millimeter vs. line PAIRS per millimeter. Because the proper unit in the spatial frequency / lens sharpness context is a line pair per millimeter (a black line and an adjacent white line, whose loss of contrast is evaluated).

I hope this is a simple typo (like "calories" is commonly used whereas it's in fact kilocalories i.e. thousands of calories, but everyone understands). But I'm also not ruling out that we're being duped, and instead of 50 line pairs per millimeter they're actually talking about literally 50 lines, and thus 25 line pairs, per millimeter.

...Which would be a shame (from film days we know sharp lenses' spatial response extends to 100 line pairs per mm and beyond),
... and a sham (akin to the pundits in the early days of digital pledging that 6 or 8 megapixels was "film quality" - whereas Hollywood with real money riding on asset longevity, sticks to film even in the days of 4K).

Link | Posted on Feb 6, 2016 at 18:03 UTC as 21st comment | 2 replies
In reply to:

Jonathan F/2: What's the point of mirrorless if the lenses are the same size as DSLR lenses? Sony doesn't even have proper pro-oriented repair facilities like Nikon or Canon. At most these will be expensive toys for the well-heeled, amateur tech geek who likes to match their Sony TV, PlayStation 4 and Sony Alpha camera! Their idea of serious shooting entails sipping Starbucks ordered at the drive thru and shooting urban blandness of generic suburbia!

To me the main advantages of full-frame SONY mirrorless are
1) its ability to adapt to pretty much any SLR lens ever made, and many rangefinder ones, esp in the context of electronic & AF support on Canon and coming AF support on Nikon lenses.
2) main-sensor AF, removing mirror/prism/af sensor misalignment and this eliminating room for front/back focusing errors.

Camera size is related to what's comfortable to hold and operate - I would not want to shoot all day with a tiny camera and lens any more than I'd want to make furniture all day with a pocket knife.

Link | Posted on Feb 5, 2016 at 17:20 UTC
In reply to:

JurijTurnsek: Lets use this oppurtunity to let the product planning team that we want new APS-C lenses!

Exactly how many new APS-C lenses are the APS-C folks buying that each cost more than their APS-C body? Certainly SONY sees those numbers and it stands to reason, it's not seeing enough. There's a clear difference between liking the idea of there being this and that exciting lens in the lineup, and actually going and buying it.

Link | Posted on Feb 5, 2016 at 17:13 UTC

"Forever" and ultrasonic motors are mutually exclusive. Canon, a pioneer in using the technology, states many of their USMs have a life of 20 hrs (continuous function). While using the lens rarely can turn 20 hrs into many years, the motor wearing out plus manufacturer no longer stocking parts define a clear end of service life for an ultrasonic AF (and electronic aperture?) lens.

By contrast, Minolta and earlier SONY screw-drive lenses get a fresh new motor every time the user upgrades the camera body.

Link | Posted on Feb 5, 2016 at 00:12 UTC as 86th comment | 1 reply
On article GoPro's poor holiday sales lead to staff layoff (115 comments in total)
In reply to:

adventure_photo: As someone who just acquired a Hero 4 Black for mostly still shooting I find it incredibly difficult to use in the sense that it is too dumbed down. I ultimately need control over three primary things in order to be creative with a camera: aperture, shutter speed and ISO and the camera barely has workarounds that get around this. I end up with 600 photos or more to sift through where only a handful worked out as I had envisioned. Mainly because I don't have direct control of those things and I have to shoot a lot trying different things. I also need RAW files and not jpegs to work with. There is room to innovate for sure. It seems GoPro became kind of arrogant and sat on their laurels flooding chain stores with their product asking a price that's too much for what it is. The one thing I really like and feel they have really dialed in is the mounts and accessories. I find I can mount the camera to just about anything. Also I like the mobile app integration and feel it works well (except for the above not having more control.

I agree with this analysis. And gopro being a small robust wirelessly controlled camera, why wouldn't one use it for stills?

It is true that GoPro allowed copycats catch up to it while sitting on their laurels. I also agree that constant innovation would have been the way to address that, and there's plenty to innovate:

1. Whole-sensor read-out (less jell-o in video and sharper stills while minimizing reliance on complex and expensive mounts in vibration-prone situations)

2. Raw mode for stills and video

3. Being able to focus the lens to closer ranges (just 2 click-stops "super-close" and "medium-close", in addition to the default infinity, would do)

4. Waterproof case being thermally coupled and having sealed pass-through ports to charge battery and have (clean, obv.; deep color) HDMI out

5. PASM+ISO

Link | Posted on Jan 17, 2016 at 00:10 UTC
On article GoPro's poor holiday sales lead to staff layoff (115 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marty4650: Anyone remember "Flip Video?"

These were small, cheap, dedicated video devices that seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds between 2006 and 2011 until smartphones drove them out of business.

It was a fad that grew fast, then flamed out fast. The same thing could happen to GoPro, as they get squeezed by much cheaper clones.

When you can buy a tiny weather sealed HD action camera for $100, then who will pay $400 for a slightly better one?

@noflashplease, excellent insight! Analysts' job is to provide actionable info for investors. Investors look for returns on their capital. To them, there's no point in putting money in something that is steady (regardless of whether a steady, quality service may be perfect for a given field).

Therefore most businesses are forced into a "grow or die" mode.

Link | Posted on Jan 16, 2016 at 20:22 UTC

Given the abundance of opportunity for any photographer on a budget consistent with this camera's purchase to shoot nudes, Ricoh's caution (if that's the reason) seems strange. One would understand the concern if a cell phone camera or a low end DSLR had this feature but not a medium format rig.

Link | Posted on Dec 2, 2015 at 01:35 UTC as 16th comment
In reply to:

Donthuis: It is quite typical of a mature market, some would even say one in decline. Product differentiation, looking for market segments that still hold profits and compensating loss in turnover by cost-cutting measures. But let's not forget the P&S market is almost gone and even the upmarket camera's face ever stronger competition from everbetter smartphones, Sony included. Consumers use the camera they have with them!
I used to work in the Telecom industry which commoditized fast and lost high margins quickly, IT/PC industry experiences the same (Sony abandoned its Vaio laptop & may even drop their TV-line of business)
I do hope that the large, most innovative camerabuilders (Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony) will survive thanks to their innovation and workmanship, but I wouild never gamble on anyone's survival in the long run. 4K is a natural evolution, but not a gamechanger, nor will even higher sensor resolutions Drones come with 4K as a given nowadays..

Well put! I think what propels the smartphones as cameras isn't just their quality catching up, but
1) their apps that tailor the camera function in a myriad ways and allow increasingly sophisticated post-processing in the field
2) their screens that outstrip in size and resolution the best ones available on regular cameras
3) their full-time connectivity (at no added cost to the user) to post the photos as well as see the reaction to them.

As I write in more detail on Optically Opinionated, http://karasevstudio.com/o2/2013/32 I think the camera makers will have to find a way to match a lot of that capability - or perish.

Link | Posted on Nov 4, 2015 at 02:10 UTC
In reply to:

GRUBERND: usually i do not have a problem to construct an actual and totally valid use-case around any given product in photography. this.. still has me wondering. where would the 1 stop more light be of actual help while still having to focus manually.

any serious ideas?

I use my Sony Zeiss 135/1.8 wide open a lot in theatre photography. http://karasevstudio.com/photo/theatre/
Typically on off-Broadway, such photography is done during tech (dress rehearsal). You want the stage lighting only. I shoot a 50/1.4 at 1.8...2.8 on one body, and this Zeiss 135/1.8 at 1.8...2.8 on the other. Granted this is a niche application, but in any similar environment I imagine a 135 that is sharp wide open at 1.4, would work really well.

Link | Posted on Oct 25, 2015 at 03:24 UTC
In reply to:

lem12: Here's short video of this craft, it begins from landing but farther its taking off and transport.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8Ofss2TVuU

These are aerodynamic replicas (note the strap-on aircraft engines near the tail) and later leaner landing-only replicas.

Here's a view from actual Buran. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__p-a5rj8aE
Coming in very hot, very steep. This was because of the 61.2 km/h (38.0 mph) cross-wind the machine had to contend with. The landing (the entire flight) was unmanned and unassisted / unguided from the ground - entirely automatic. In fact the machine had picked a different approach through the clouds than predicted which caused no small amount of anxiety on the ground. That approach had later been determined to have been the better one.

The landing was flawless, within 10m from the mark, and on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikxwNCcKREY you can see how the left main gear from the wind side touches down a split-second before the right one - the way an experienced pilot would do it.

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 18:44 UTC
In reply to:

Alec: Quite strange images of Energia ( "Energiya M space rocket, Kazahstan 2015" and related ), considering that the Soviets have assembled these vehicles horizontally and moved them to the launch pad the same way. The practice started with the Semyorka and never changed with Leninsk (N1 moon rocket), and hence Energia which used the moon assy building / mover / pad other infrastructure.

The strap-on boosters also look too long and lack the complex shapes of those seen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvNALouyQaI and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia , http://pargoo.customer.netspace.net.au/bbur88.jpg

They already had the building for all that - where these vehicles were being assembled. Horizontally (as was universally the case in the Soviet space programme).

These are probably just fake images. The side boosters don't look right and neither does the finish of the central unit.

http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/bbur9.jpg

http://hdwallpaperhub.net/wallpapers/l/1920x1080/69/launch_energia_buran_shuttle_energiya_carrier_rocket_1920x1080_68996.jpg

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4062/4681742108_665c9da0e9_b.jpg

http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/bbur12.jpg

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 18:18 UTC
In reply to:

Alec: Quite strange images of Energia ( "Energiya M space rocket, Kazahstan 2015" and related ), considering that the Soviets have assembled these vehicles horizontally and moved them to the launch pad the same way. The practice started with the Semyorka and never changed with Leninsk (N1 moon rocket), and hence Energia which used the moon assy building / mover / pad other infrastructure.

The strap-on boosters also look too long and lack the complex shapes of those seen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvNALouyQaI and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia , http://pargoo.customer.netspace.net.au/bbur88.jpg

They would build a vertical assembly building and a vertical roller transporter just for the mockup?

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 17:15 UTC

Quite strange images of Energia ( "Energiya M space rocket, Kazahstan 2015" and related ), considering that the Soviets have assembled these vehicles horizontally and moved them to the launch pad the same way. The practice started with the Semyorka and never changed with Leninsk (N1 moon rocket), and hence Energia which used the moon assy building / mover / pad other infrastructure.

The strap-on boosters also look too long and lack the complex shapes of those seen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvNALouyQaI and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia , http://pargoo.customer.netspace.net.au/bbur88.jpg

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 16:57 UTC as 12th comment | 8 replies
In reply to:

Alec: Accessible slo-mo is a very welcome development for filmmakers, right up there with similarly cheap good low-light and 2496 field sound.

But what astounds me is that smartphones aren't being left in the dust - if anything they're catching up! This is iPhone6 240p low light NYC subway:

https://vimeo.com/133791958

Very true. I think it's not only a matter of reading the frames, but also processing them. To be fair, smartphones have very, very powerful processors nowadays (justified by other killer apps before slo-mo was even on the map) that can make a good use of those readouts. By contrast, on cameras, for a processor to do say 1080p at 480fps, that computing power would pretty much sit idle for any tasks other than slo-mo that I can think of.

...Unless we can think of on-board raw processing that rivals present-day desktop, with real-time lens correction, far more sophisticated noise reduction and sharpening, and perhaps onboard HDR and focus bracketing etc etc.

Link | Posted on Aug 13, 2015 at 01:40 UTC
On article Sony reportedly shifting focus to full-frame cameras (455 comments in total)
In reply to:

mark power: Let's admit it, Sony engineers are brilliant - too brilliant. They apparently race one another to see how many features they can cram into a tiny space. So many picture options undermines the confidence of the photographer because who has time to test them all before deciding to make a photo? There's usually the nagging feeling, "if only I had..." let's have a stripped down version of the A7s. No video, few picture and scene effects, no auto cropping, face finders and so on. Just keep the essential features for good responsive intuitive photography. They could call it the A7pro. We'll never go back to film but the best film cameras just gave you what you need and didn't burden the machine with a lot of engineering hubris.

So in what way is A900 not exactly that? It leaves out all the BS and has a really great viewfinder, really solid body, clean and functional interface, all the real photography features, and a strong shutter and aperture and focusing motors, etc.

If one likes a pure-bred photographer's camera and doesn't want gimmicks, but also doesn't want an A900, one really has to wonder. It's kind of like saying I wish iPhone 6 was more like iPhone 4 in the way it worked, but in an iPhone 7 sort of way... a neat statement, but totally non-actionable.

Link | Posted on Aug 13, 2015 at 01:31 UTC

Accessible slo-mo is a very welcome development for filmmakers, right up there with similarly cheap good low-light and 2496 field sound.

But what astounds me is that smartphones aren't being left in the dust - if anything they're catching up! This is iPhone6 240p low light NYC subway:

https://vimeo.com/133791958

Link | Posted on Aug 12, 2015 at 03:14 UTC as 6th comment | 3 replies
In reply to:

Horshack: Loving my RX10M2. The 960fps comes in handy for geek experiments, like these I did last week:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnNSs36tmMQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6httCrBPL4

It may also be a matter of the much smaller aperture motors and dainty plastic gears aren't up to the task of the larger pro lenses' aperture mechanisms.

Link | Posted on Aug 12, 2015 at 03:09 UTC
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