JacquesBalthazar

JacquesBalthazar

Lives in Belgium Belgium
Joined on Oct 29, 2004

Comments

Total: 81, showing: 21 – 40
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On Preview:ricoh-gr (295 comments in total)
In reply to:

AbrasiveReducer: History repeating itself?

Once upon a time, Nikon introduced two premium compact cameras, the 35Ti and 28Ti. Both had very sharp, fixed focal length lenses and both were expensive. The 28Ti retailed in the US for close to $800.

Out of nowhere, Ricoh (who had been making junky cameras for places like Sears) introduced their GR1, which was functionally identical to the 28Ti, yet priced at $350. Nikon fans declared the GR1 was no good because the price was too low, but it was so good, it became a cult camera. And that was the end of the 28Ti.

The 28ti is as much a cult camera as the GR1 is. I have no idea of respective sales figures, but 28ti (and 35ti) appealed to many with its "analogue" user interface (kinda steam punk dials). I still have my GR1 and it still works except dead LCD, but I would have loved one of those Nikons as well. The GR1 was the ideal trouser pocket camera. The 28 or 35 it were great when you wanted less fiddly command and control and a more traditional user experience.

Harder to see unique selling points to the A though, except manual focus through lens ring, which is way better for me than the GR way. Also, am not sure that the Snap feature of the GR will be as effective on a high res large sensor as it was with the GRDs, due to much thinner DoF. People will realise that CoC conventions do not match pixel peepers sharpness expectations.

Posted on Apr 18, 2013 at 04:46 UTC
On Preview:ricoh-gr (295 comments in total)
In reply to:

bobbarber: The Nikon A is too expensive, and not sharp in the corners. The GR seems to have solved both of those problems, awaiting further review.

The images look very nice.

Agree that the corners in the preview are not good with the A. This surprises me. I have been using the A for 2 weeks now, and find the IQ amazing across the frame. Really amazing. Including corners. Perhaps a fluke in this preview? Or a question of field curvature? Things might look different at other distances? Dunno. Just surprised. GR looks really great (as well).

For the rest, agree there is not a 300 USD advantage to the Nikon, unless one places high value in an exclusively NEF workflow or in interoperability with Nikon accessories (flash, wifi, GPS, etc).

At first sight, the A does have an operational advantage on the GR by managing manual focus from the lens ring rather than whatever lever/dial on the back. I like that a lot. For the rest, the GR is mighty convincing.

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 at 16:04 UTC
In reply to:

vodanh1982: Whoever bought a Coolpix A will want $300 back.

I would not mind trading in my wonderful A for this even more wonderful GR, and lose 300 bucks.

Direct link | Posted on Apr 17, 2013 at 10:06 UTC
On Preview:ricoh-gr (295 comments in total)

@Gatanoll: I do not think the issue is to gain "more resolution". It is more about maximising micro contrast and sharpness perception. Many of us prefer having that sharpness edge, even if that leads to more risks of moire. Is probably a pixel peeper thing.

As more and more pictures never get printed, even great pictures, pixel peeping has become part and parcel of the way we look at contemporary photography. I know it has become so for me, and I feel frustrated when I am not allowed a 100% zoom on any picture I am looking at.

By taking AA out, we get substantially more impactful results out of the box, at pixel level. It is probably "wrong", and we probably should all focus more on the aspects that make a good image truly great, but, hey, many of us enjoy that diving into the small details...

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 at 09:51 UTC as 95th comment | 2 replies
On Preview:ricoh-gr (295 comments in total)
In reply to:

JacquesBalthazar: Looks great. I have the A already, and love it. But I am pretty sure I'd love the GR even more. If only because I still have a GR1 film version in my bag, purchased back in the mid Nineties, that i truly enjoyed and that still works.

Wish I had known this one was about to be launched.

The 21mm adaptor is pretty cool as well and not an option for the Nikon. Optical quality of that adaptor will need to be tested.

I like the GR's grip a lot. Makes it easier to grab and pull from pocket than the A.

The A produces superb pictures. Judging by the corner test here, looks like the GR might be even more spectacular in that respect. .

One thing I certainly prefer in the A is the manual focus ring on the lens! That is more user friendly than the GR lever on the back. OTOH, Ricoh's "snap" feature is cool, even if one will have to consider much less forgiving DoF than with the small sensor GRs.

For the rest, feature list looks practically identical. The Nikon A is made in Japan. The GR?

@R Butler: it is a personal thing. I try, whenever possible, to allocate my disposable income usage on purchases that comply to my views regarding ethical and sustainable trade. I try and avoid funding dictatorships or supply chains that do not provision proper social rights for workers and proper environmental impact controls. In a nutshell, I am mostly ok with purchasing goods manufactured in Japan, Europe and a handful of other locations. I try and avoid "Made in China" as much as I can (and often fail). China is a dictatorship that does not allow free unions and tolerates quasi-slave labour. Therefore I feel OK spending 200 EUR more on something manufactured in Japan, even if I assume that much of innards come from China. Some Nikon stuff is made in Japan. Some is made elsewhere. I pick and choose as often as I can. If I had more disposable income, I'd buy Leica. I do the same with clothes, bicycle parts, furniture, etc. I buy less quantity, and feel better in the process.

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 at 07:22 UTC
On Preview:ricoh-gr (295 comments in total)

Looks great. I have the A already, and love it. But I am pretty sure I'd love the GR even more. If only because I still have a GR1 film version in my bag, purchased back in the mid Nineties, that i truly enjoyed and that still works.

Wish I had known this one was about to be launched.

The 21mm adaptor is pretty cool as well and not an option for the Nikon. Optical quality of that adaptor will need to be tested.

I like the GR's grip a lot. Makes it easier to grab and pull from pocket than the A.

The A produces superb pictures. Judging by the corner test here, looks like the GR might be even more spectacular in that respect. .

One thing I certainly prefer in the A is the manual focus ring on the lens! That is more user friendly than the GR lever on the back. OTOH, Ricoh's "snap" feature is cool, even if one will have to consider much less forgiving DoF than with the small sensor GRs.

For the rest, feature list looks practically identical. The Nikon A is made in Japan. The GR?

Posted on Apr 17, 2013 at 05:52 UTC as 118th comment | 10 replies
On Just posted: Nikon Coolpix A real-world samples gallery article (105 comments in total)

Purchased my "A" this week, and getting to grips with it. The IQ is awesome. Files are very crisp, ultra detailed (certainly as good and maybe better than Nex 7 + best glass, even if 16 MP vs 24 MP).

It IS trouser/jacket pocketable (was wearing jeans yesterday and comfortably played bowling with camera in jean pocket). It is substantially thinner than a J1+10mm. It is also lighter , and does not make your jacket hang lopsided. Am using my old Ricoh GV2 VF (small and light as well).

In other words awesome IQ that you can always carry with you.

I had hesitated with X100s, but after borrowing one for 30 mins during a Fuji demo, I was really underwhelmed by the IQ at f2. Kind of defeated the 1 stop advantage. At the end, I decided that X100s was more style than function (for me) and not worth the extra bulk.

Anyway, 28mm eq makes the A very versatile (cityscapes, indoors, parties/groups). It is snappy in operation and excellent in low light. Close focus is fine. Very well built.

Direct link | Posted on Apr 4, 2013 at 08:02 UTC as 44th comment | 2 replies
On Fujifilm X20 Preview preview (201 comments in total)
In reply to:

RadioGnome: I was suddenly struck by the fact that Fuji prints the 35mm equivalents of the focal length on the zoom ring. I was inclined to like the whole retro styling, but this suddenly made it all look very fake and 'willing to be something it is not'.

I was considering ordering a X20, but can't describe how stupid the camera looks to me now.

I think after a good 10 years of varying sensor sizes, every serious photographer is mentally capable of understanding the focal length / sensor size story. This makes it ever more appropriate to just print the actual physical focal length on the barrel of a zoom lens. One side is 'wide angle', other end is 'tele'.

M'y feelings exact l'y. Still "the old ways are sometimes the best"....

Direct link | Posted on Mar 10, 2013 at 06:48 UTC

Why will I buy the Coolpix A? Well because it is exactly what I was dreaming that Ricoh would bring out one day in a GRD V.

It is APS-C, very small, and light, and it is thin. Substantially smaller and thinner than the X100s or the X2, and quite a bit thinner than any NEX with the coming 20mm f2.8 pancake.

"Thin" is important, because "thin" is the main metric for "pocketable". The X100s is desirable but it is much chunkier in all dimensions. That is the downside of the intergrated EVF.

The sensor itself is cool because we already know it opens the door to "best in class" quality, including in dark bars and dark streets, at a price point that is not out of this world.

I will also buy it because it has a 28mm equiv lens rather than a 35mm equiv, as that adds flexibility and opportunities to get "that" pic. I can crop 28mm, I cannot "uncrop" 35mm.

Finally, I will buy it because it has no AA filter, and a cool "non-retro" design, and the excellent Nikon UI.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 7, 2013 at 08:51 UTC as 23rd comment | 3 replies

Very very tempting.

I was kinda waiting for a GRD V along those specs, but this is available in a couple of weeks.

So what do we have now: this Nikon; the Fuji X100s and leica X2 (35mm equiv); the NEX 5,6,7 with the coming 20mm pancake; seems samsung has something as well (not familiar with them), and then the m4/3 crowd with their own pancakes....

Great choices!

Interestingly, the Nikon seems very well priced compared to the X2, but a bit too expensive compared to the Fuji (spec vs spec). I have a NEX 7, so the coming pancake would give me a cheap (in terms of incremental spend) but very good coat pocketable camera. Still,that Nikon looks real small, and I like that, and I like the absence of AA filter, and I kinda trust Nikon more than Sony to produce nimble, reactive, efficient bodies and great lenses....

Guess this thingy kills the prospect of APS GRD V... Cannot be smaller...

Direct link | Posted on Mar 5, 2013 at 19:16 UTC as 21st comment
In reply to:

HubertChen: The price of 350 USD is very adequate for this lens in case it is really sharp! Can't wait to see a lens review :-) It is cute looking too and would make a NEX5 pocket-able. Very high sharpness would be mandatory for it to make sense to me. Then I also can use it as zoom in the sense of cropping the picture and run around with this lens only.

Even the Nex7 becomes easily pocketable with this. The focal length is easier to manage than the 16mm. Hopefully better performance as well, as less challenging to design. Really looking forward to this one in fact. The Sigma 19mm is too big for pockets.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 23, 2013 at 16:14 UTC
On Fujifilm X100S preview (218 comments in total)
In reply to:

JacquesBalthazar: These Fuji X offers, this one in particular, are so tempting for old but increasingly broke leicaphiles such as me. So familiar and re-assuring. At the same time, they annoy me by playing this much on the retro/pseudo vintage chords in terms of design cues. This is 2013. Why are we trying to pretend to be in 1956?

The feature list and tech innards are fantastic. But the design references....am I the only one to be bothered?

@tan68: exactly that! I do rather admire the Nex7 body design, including the 3 navi command & control, but I dislike the consequences on lens size (24mm Zeiss in particular) and hate the menu "logic". I really like the X100s feature list and size, but smirk at the old timer camouflage. But as @mrmart says, the looks of a camera are not that crucial. This X100s is a neat package!

Direct link | Posted on Jan 8, 2013 at 19:11 UTC
On Fujifilm X100S preview (218 comments in total)
In reply to:

JacquesBalthazar: These Fuji X offers, this one in particular, are so tempting for old but increasingly broke leicaphiles such as me. So familiar and re-assuring. At the same time, they annoy me by playing this much on the retro/pseudo vintage chords in terms of design cues. This is 2013. Why are we trying to pretend to be in 1956?

The feature list and tech innards are fantastic. But the design references....am I the only one to be bothered?

@jesperMP. Not specifically slaying dials or whatever UI options per se. I grew with those dials, and I have an easier life with those than with Sony's ridiculous menu trees for example.

I am harping more about the lines, the proportions, the pseudo-chrome and pseudo-vulcanite, llittle carvings, slopes and "art deco" cues, the old style logo on top cover, the millings on lens barrel, etc, etc. All made to look "as if" we were "back then".

Do not get me wrong: the darn thing is pretty, and I am seduced. I'd just like us, collectively, to move on and stop "recreating" the "good old times". Canon's latest square Powershot N is creative design. Nex is creative. Neither is elegant however. They will not become icons. I want creative and elegant design (on top of efficient), and I ain't seeing much of that. I want us to challenge ourselves to produce objects and tools that will be seen in 30 years as 2013 icons.

Direct link | Posted on Jan 8, 2013 at 12:32 UTC
On Fujifilm X100S preview (218 comments in total)
In reply to:

JacquesBalthazar: These Fuji X offers, this one in particular, are so tempting for old but increasingly broke leicaphiles such as me. So familiar and re-assuring. At the same time, they annoy me by playing this much on the retro/pseudo vintage chords in terms of design cues. This is 2013. Why are we trying to pretend to be in 1956?

The feature list and tech innards are fantastic. But the design references....am I the only one to be bothered?

Strange answers. Seems we are hooked to 1956. Strictly from a superficial design point of view (the "enveloppe"), this sends a backward looking message.

if you look at this from a "form follows function" point of view, there is a lot of effort on the X100(s) design to "make pretend" we are still facing the production conditions Leica or Contax were facing in the first half of the 20th century.

I own and use old Leicas, so I do love the look & feel and form factor.

But, just like with music, cars, houses, clothes, bicycles and other human productions, I wish we were more forward looking and more creative. The hunger for nostalgia bugs me. In cameras, the Nex design is interesting (not beautiful). I also liked the V1. The XF1 is more subtle in its retro cues. Anyway, the X100s seems fabulous in terms of combining quality, performance, size, features, and I will certainly give it a try when available.... Never mind if it makes me look like a Cartier-Besson wannabe....

Direct link | Posted on Jan 8, 2013 at 09:21 UTC
On Fujifilm X100S preview (218 comments in total)

These Fuji X offers, this one in particular, are so tempting for old but increasingly broke leicaphiles such as me. So familiar and re-assuring. At the same time, they annoy me by playing this much on the retro/pseudo vintage chords in terms of design cues. This is 2013. Why are we trying to pretend to be in 1956?

The feature list and tech innards are fantastic. But the design references....am I the only one to be bothered?

Direct link | Posted on Jan 8, 2013 at 05:39 UTC as 75th comment | 17 replies
In reply to:

(unknown member): I am glad that Olympus had to cough up huge money to this crime exposing CEO.

Most financial crime is borderline stuff. Someone takes a risk that turns into an error causing financial loss and potential loss of personal and brand equity. What happens then is that those guys, who are by definition excessively self-assured egomaniacs, think they can "fix" it before it gets visible, and design complex delay and cover-up schemes. Since they are good at doing that,and nobody sees the manipulation or speaks up against it, they convince themselves that the schemes are the fix, and lose sight oft the illegality or immorality of what they are doing. Then comes another error, a fluke control or a whistleblower, and, suddenly the "king is naked". I agree with you that most of these white collar crimes go un identified and unpunished. Many top flying execs out there have ugly corpses rotting in their cupboard somewhere, without necessarily realising themselves that something smells and they did wrong.

Direct link | Posted on Nov 29, 2012 at 05:09 UTC
On DPReview Recommends: Top 5 Compact Cameras article (568 comments in total)
In reply to:

The Jacal: I have to laugh at all the fanboys crying over their keyboards because they didn't read the intro and their cameras are not mentioned. Come to think of it the Yashica Electro 35 GT isn't on the list, come on Dpreview, what are you thinking???!!!

Yes. The Electro 35.....my first real camera! Funnily enough, that exact same design and exact same simple set of features, with a FF, or even APS, sensor in place of film, would be a mega-hit still today. And would be top of loads of Black Friday and Xmas lists. Hell, it would beat RX1 in my book. A simplified X100, with RF focus, no AF, no EVF, no complex menus, raw only. Do not even really want a LCD on the back, just the 2 little flashing LEDs on top. Your Electro 35 mention got me dreaming this morning,.. ;-) thanks!

Direct link | Posted on Nov 24, 2012 at 07:16 UTC
On Just Posted: Sony Alpha SLT-A99 samples gallery article (159 comments in total)
In reply to:

Peiasdf: Is this a SONY event? The blond model is the same one from here: http://www.thephoblographer.com/2012/10/10/first-impressions-using-the-sony-a99-and-hvl-f60m-flash-for-studio-photography/

Perfectly true! But this Sony launch is starting to feel a little too rich: we had all the organised pseudo-leaks and grouped announcements (+ "sneaky previews") on the way up to Photokina. Then a rehash at Photokina (with more "previews" of the same products). Then, two weeks later, the current outpouring from the SF joly (yet more "previews" of same products), that will build up to a wave of full reviews. This is really a big campaign, and will go on till Xmas as that is when RX1 will hit the shelves and needs to make a first splash. The products all look great though, but I am kind of saturating.... ;-)

Direct link | Posted on Oct 11, 2012 at 11:39 UTC
On Just Posted: Sony Alpha SLT-A99 samples gallery article (159 comments in total)
In reply to:

Peiasdf: Is this a SONY event? The blond model is the same one from here: http://www.thephoblographer.com/2012/10/10/first-impressions-using-the-sony-a99-and-hvl-f60m-flash-for-studio-photography/

Yep, obviously Sony still has big marketing and PR bucks to be able to fly, wine and dine all the photo hacks of the world. I did not think such budgets existed any more. ... The consequence of course is that you get images of the same f...g subjects/models from the same gear at the same time on all outlets, with each writer doing his/her own best to be seen as having access to some form of exclusivity. The only thing all these "previews" really show is that there has been a big Sony joly in SF earlier in the week.... Hope all you guys had fun!

Direct link | Posted on Oct 11, 2012 at 06:41 UTC

Agree with nopilopez below. "Like" button is more than enough. There is so much bickering and interpersonal issues in our community that the option to "downgrade" others will be overused and feed into some hurtful behaviours.

Direct link | Posted on Sep 28, 2012 at 04:48 UTC as 253rd comment | 1 reply
Total: 81, showing: 21 – 40
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