John Tannock: For several years I've been giving Lightroom workshops and start every one with this line; "Ansel Adams is banging on the lid of his coffin to get out because it took him two weeks to do what you're going to be able to do in 5 minutes. It goes along with something my father used to say; "I could built a house with just a hammer and saw, but why would I".Our work as photographers is way beyond what was possible only two decades ( less, really) ago.
John, you nailed it. I've been a photo enthusiast since 1963 and was actually better in the (film) darkroom than behind a camera. That said, I was one of the "pixel peepers" of the film generation as I used a grain focusing scope when printing. The digital world cannot imagine the noise in film, whether B&W or color, regardless of speed. My world was blown away when I was digitally processing a photo of the Charles Bridge in Prague taken with my new Nikon D100 circa 2001 ($1,995, 6 MP). There was a "spot" on the photo that I would have concluded was a dust spot in the film/paper era. I blew it up and up and up ... and was shocked to clearly see the "spot" resolve into an airplane with wings! OMG. I've been spoiled ever since. Now, with my new 16MP Olympus cameras, I can get clean photos at ISO 1600 and usable photos at ISO 3200. I don't lament film -- Kodachrome at ASA 25 or Tri-X at ASA 800 (grain the size of golf balls as we used to say).
There is only one problem with this update. The update button in DxO Optics Pro 7 says my version is up to date and would not download the new update. Frustration: most of my work is with an Olympus P2 that was included in the new update.
I went to the DxO Help Desk (very helpful by the way). They sent me the web address for a secondary site where I was allowed to download the new update. Someone at DxO did not do their homework on this update!
Since perspective is an aspect of artistic expression in photographs, I assume this means that people in the UK, based on this ruling, can now copyright street corners or make their rounds of the standard tourist shots that every tour guide and cabby knows and (if the first to claim them) make them their own. Hope this infection stops in the UK and is overturned on appeal. It's absurd!
But things are almost as absurd in the United States. Our Federal Government is also allowing corporations to copyright and trademark ideas, language, and processes as common as air. Will there come a day when people are arrested for taking photos of landmark buildings because the building owner has a copyright on the image ... all images of the building? Are we close? Recall the incidents when photographers had been hassled for taking photos of the Transamerica Pyramid building in San Francisco.
Goodbye Kodak! And I put my money where my heart was ... losing thousands of dollars in Kodak stock. Kodak invented digital photography. But if they were late to digital, for years they had more than enough resources to buy their way out of the morass. Now, it's too late! Instead, Kodak brought in a no-name from HP as CEO who, instead of following in the footsteps of Fujifilm and moving from film into sensors (a Kodak strength), tried to transform Kodak into a printer company. [?] Both the CEO and the Board of Directors should have been fired years ago. Now, Kodak extends the agony and the divestment by selling off core resources to finance its continued loses. Soon there will be nothing left. Sans the sensor division and their patents, what is Kodak ... an Asian-owned brand name selling cheap point-and-shoot cameras?
The marketing process behind this lens may be very simple: Olympus desperately needed a new high-quality kit zoom to upgrade its lens lineup, especially if it planned to release a so-called PEN-Pro that could compete in the increasingly vibrant enthusiast mirrorless camera market that includes Sony, Panasonic, and soon Fuji. It now has that lens. Let's hope the PEN-Pro is not far behind. This is not the legendary 12-60mm F2.8-4 four thirds lens redesigned for MFT. As pointed out below, fast zooms tend to be big and heavy, which runs counter to the appeal of the MFT standards in offering smaller and lighter cameras and lenses with high IQ.
An excellent article. As I learned in Six Sigma training, managing statistical variance is the essence any manufacturing process. Different lens (and camera) manufacturers will have different standards for these variances ... what is acceptable and what is not. The ones with the tightest tolerances will have fewer bad lenses on the street and (we can assume) less variance among copies. Tighter tolerances cost money; lenses with tighter tolerances will cost more than lenses with wider tolerances. Hence, it is no accident that lenses from certain manufacturers have better reputations than others and that many lens manufacturers have different lens series based on quality and cost. You get what you pay for!
Looking at Dpreview's own data, it appears that the NEX-5N has one stop over the new Olympus Pen line with respect to noise ... not a "deal breaker". But the NEX lenses are enormous! Having shopped the NEX-system cameras, I decided on a PL3-based system to avoid backaches on walkabouts. The PL3 is the size of a "point and shoot". The lenses are comparable in size; the PL3 and a few lenses fit in a small fanny pack. It wasn't the D5000 that was getting to me; it was the size and weight of the lenses. It doesn't matter how small the camera is if the lenses stay the size and weight of traditional SLR systems. There are cameras that fit in pockets, camera that fit in jackets, and cameras that need traditional photo bags. The NEX-system cameras need traditional photo bags to accommodate the size and weight of the lenses and, with respect to system weight, bring little new to the table.
DP Review points out in the text that Nikon probably chose the new CX (1") sensor to avoid competing against is long-standing market in DSLRs; that is, it wanted a system hobbled just enough in capabilities and IQ to keep potential DSLR customers from choosing the new system. It strikes me that that same strategy would dictate hobbling the lenses as well. Does this mean that we're unlikely to see "fast" lenses? If so, this would appear to give the enthusiast market in EVF and smaller form-factored ILCs to Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, and Samsung where better IQ and faster lenses are already available or quickly coming to market.
armen: Nikon made a smart move here, much like Olympus and Panasonic did when they introduced 4/3rds years ago.In this digital age, small and portable always wins over big and unwieldy.
This debate reminds me of how 35mm film dominated even though it was inferior in image quality to medium or large format film.There was simply no arguing the benefit of a portable camera.
The difference today however, is that film resolution remained static for decades, but this is not so with digital sensors. Now the limiting factor has become lens resolution.
If I understand correctly small lenses can be made more precisely and at lower cost than large lenses. So when these small sensors improve their low light and video capabilities there will be no advantage to larger sensor formats. Image quality will simply become a mute point for 98 percent of the population.
When that happens what will happen to the DSLR production?Manufactures all better be on board with a reasonably small form factor.
Armen, you nailed it. I'm in the process of dumping my Nikon DSLR system for a MFT Olympus PL-3 with a mix of Panasonic and Olympus lenses. The driving factors were weight and portability since, yes, as a practical matter IQ is no longer an issue. The traditional DSLR is dead, although it might take five years to show it. The MFT standard and the new wave of EVF cameras were the tipping points. The surprising benefit may be a new focus on getting higher IQ out of smaller sensors.