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: 195, showing: 1 – 20
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On article Sony warns against use of unauthorized third-party apps (170 comments in total)
In reply to:

Sir Corey of Deane: Sony markets a camera with a specification which the warranty backs. Can anyone really criticise Sony for voiding that warranty if the specification is altered by modifying it?

I think it's not their warranty dept's, but rather their business decision that's come under criticism, to forfeit the advantages Apple and Google have made obvious, of opening up an exciting hardware platform to 3rd party apps.

Link | Posted on Jun 22, 2016 at 12:51 UTC

They've probably rested on their laurels, as opposed to making sure the portraits they've made continue to wow.

'How can you expect that a studio can operate in this generation where everyone is clicking photos from their mobiles and digital cameras?'

This says a lot. It takes love and sweat, it takes investing in your employees, your clients, your space, to continuously build on the quality of your work, thus and reinforcing your brand. It's a lot cheaper and easier to just milk your name until it runs dry - hiring cheap labor and giving them "tell the client to smile then press this button" training, hence turning out glorified passport photos instead of portraits - until a day comes when a critical mass of your clients realize, that nephew with a D500 does legitimately take a better photo.

Link | Posted on Jun 20, 2016 at 19:09 UTC as 13th comment | 4 replies
On article Hasselblad to announce 'game changer' next week (454 comments in total)
In reply to:

Alec: Hasselblad A7RII, with a wooden grip. Actually the entire camera is made of wood, including the optics. Highly collectible.

Besides the general limited edition, serial #s 1 through 100 will be "exclusive premier select limited", made of the rarest wood species responsibly hand-picked and salvaged. Will come with a VHS tape of celebrities, brand ambassadors, company management and other qualified individuals sharing how holding the Hasselblad A7RII makes them feel completely differently from any other camera.

@Calte, @Dynaxx, Hasselblad have made some exciting high end cameras. Had people bought Lunar and Stellar en masse, the joke would have been on them. Since they haven't, the joke is on Hassy. The reality is, there were plenty of opportunities to tune Lunar and Stellar software algorithms, menus and features to appeal to the sophisticated / more IQ oriented (vs speed) target photographer, that Hasselblad missed in Lunar and Stellar.

...Or, perhaps, in the same target market vein, and since they were so obsessed about the grip, they could have integrated the vertical grip, even if that meant just using the 10 extended base screws into the standard body casting, through a tweaked bottom grip enclosure, resulting in a tighter body and a more seamless appearance.

Link | Posted on Jun 18, 2016 at 15:09 UTC
On article Hasselblad to announce 'game changer' next week (454 comments in total)

Hasselblad A7RII, with a wooden grip. Actually the entire camera is made of wood, including the optics. Highly collectible.

Besides the general limited edition, serial #s 1 through 100 will be "exclusive premier select limited", made of the rarest wood species responsibly hand-picked and salvaged. Will come with a VHS tape of celebrities, brand ambassadors, company management and other qualified individuals sharing how holding the Hasselblad A7RII makes them feel completely differently from any other camera.

Link | Posted on Jun 18, 2016 at 03:05 UTC as 135th comment | 9 replies
In reply to:

webber15: Not so "mobile" with all the add'ons...might as well use a real camera...

I agree it looks pretty absurd for just taking plain pictures. That said, there may be business needs and other use cases where an iPhone has to be the camera of choice, because of a particular mobile app needing to be involved, or network connectivity outside of wifi.

Link | Posted on Jun 17, 2016 at 22:43 UTC
In reply to:

mario GTI: It is cool if you are only limited to iPhone as far as image taking, it gives you the ability to change lenses and have a nicer handling by adding grip.
However, it is pointless if you already own any decent dedicated camera. Plus it would be PITA to normally use the phone with this thing attached.

I think it is for situations where an iPhone has to be used due to connectivity or specific apps.

Link | Posted on Jun 17, 2016 at 22:40 UTC
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 32nd 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 22nd 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 87th 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
Total: 195, showing: 1 – 20
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