steve norris: A sensible review - thank you chaps. As far as image stabilisation goes, yes, it assists, but coming from a manual film camera background it is shooting technique that gets sharp shots for me. Agreed, with a long telephoto it helps noticeably but with small light primes it really shouldn't be necessary if you know what you're doing.
Sharp is relative. No matter how good your technique, IS makes it even better. If you can't see a difference, it is only because you have not compared. No one with a pulse is as steady as a tripod or a stabilized camera, regardless of technique. If by "know what you're doing" you mean never violating the shutter speed = 1/focal length rule of thumb, that is precisely the point. With IS, you have available shutter speeds that you did not before. Even with small primes. So yes, it's rare one "needs" 1/12s at 50mm, for instance, but nice to have that option. What people generally underestimate is how much sharper their images will be every single time at 1/50s @ 50mm, for instance. Because good technique can only reduce motion blur, it never eliminates it completely. So if you're really good, you'll get down to maybe half a pixel blur at 1/50s. If IS can practically eliminate that remaining half pixel of blur every time, that's way better than 20% more sensor resolution, for instance.
Can anyone else still see this roundup on the DPR homepage? As far as I can tell, it's no longer visible under Dec. 16. Perhaps a publishing glitch. Would also explain the lack of comments.
The failure to mention image stabilization even once in a roundup like this is baffling to me. It's a major feature that has an immediate positive impact on anyone's handheld photography, far more so than any differences in resolution or even high-iso sensitivity in this class of camera. With two of the bodies included here, you get it thrown in "for free," and it works with every single lens (even 3rd-party or old ones) for those systems. Sure, some systems like Canon offer image stabilization in a wide cross-section of lenses including shorter primes. Nikon however does not, with practically no primes under 85mm at all available with stabilization. But even with systems which, like Canon's, lack in-body stabilization but offer many stabilized lenses, users have the disadvantage of re-paying the admittedly minor size, weight, and price penalty that IS brings with it on every single IS lens purchase they ever make. Does the value proposition simply not matter to DPR? What gives?
And it is very art nouveau! I wonder if this was apparent while shooting. I can imagine my own excitement if confronted with such a scene -- a sure recipe for camera shake!
skiphunt13: So, let's say I had a friend who could spare $7million. I get him to buy one of my prints, generate a bunch of press releases about how "Now there's a new King of the Mountain! Skip Hunt has now beat Peter Lik for the most expensive image ever sold at $7Million!" Or something like that.
Now I bask in all the press glory, read all the articles about how my work isn't worth it, lots gf blogs recycle the story all over the net, different magazines print the story, news programming runs with it, interviews with me on morning programs, and then on to the nighttime talk shows, the value of the rest of my work skyrockets, a new photo-super-star is born, people who don't know better feel like paying $250k for a "Skip Hunt" is a bargain by comparison, etc.
You get the picture.
Meanwhile, somewhere down the trail I quietly "gift" my wealthy friend back his $7mil and a little extra for his trouble.
"You get the picture."Nice one! :-)
EcoPix: Spare a thought for these photographers - handed a camera for half a day and expected to get results. That's what point and shoot cameras, and even DLSRs, are for. What were they going to do with a medium format camera in a few hours - ring around for models, stylists, makeup artists for a quick high-end fashion shoot? Take a quick hike up the Himalayas for some stunning landscapes? These cameras are for maximising the investment in long lead-up times to the actual shoots.Besides, some images are quite good, it's the post-processing that looks out. I feel like reaching for the sliders to do some basic adjustments on them. Not sure why that would be.
Sometimes the most everyday things are the most beautiful -- if you can look at them from a different perspective. But yes I do indeed know the feeling well: "crappy weather, bland light, no interesting subjects, nothing to see here."
Samuel Dilworth: Well, I found both of these reports interesting, and Sam Spencer’s observations had me fairly chuckling.
A lot of the criticism in the comments is overly literal. Of course we all claim to know a nice camera won’t improve our photography, and yet many of us ‘upgrade’ every couple of years despite this supposed knowledge. A humorous and rather well-written piece reminding us of this folly – while pointing out certain areas where this particular dream camera might actually have some useful strengths – should not be so controversial.
And if you’re moved to complain about someone’s self-deprecating report on using a new camera, at least be polite about it. Some of the comments below are inexcusable.
There's a fine line between "self-deprecating humor" and acting (or writing) insecure. The latter can be awkward. I think that's the dynamic that people are reacting negatively to. It was a little too much for my own taste as well, I must admit. One such comment in a piece is enough IMHO.
RPJG: "What I found was that this incredible camera wasn’t going to produce good photography by itself. It wasn’t going to let me passively walk in to a situation hoping to make a little bit of art out of it. I couldn’t just wander about with it and let set and setting determine what picture I was taking. The 645Z doesn’t like that. No, you have to be deliberate. The photo has to be in your head as an end goal, and only at that point does the 645Z become the tool to get the job done."
Seriously? This banal statement can be made about any camera ever made, maybe with the exception of using high-fps cameras to get a sporting shot.
And contrastingly from Ming Thein's review:
"Paradoxically, whilst most cameras benefit from being shot with the deliberation and care of medium format, this camera benefits from being shot like a DSLR – under such situations is where it’ll extend your image quality envelope enormously and bring previously unimaginable results."
It's almost like he doesn't sees any difference between what he's getting from his Nikon/Canon FF bodies. I think I can see differences however. It's microcontrast and detail. that make the difference, and I think that's a function of the larger optics and larger sensor. The 645z definitely produces a medium format look distinct from FF bodies, perhaps with the exception of a D810 with a Zeiss Otis attached.
This is what should have been implemented in the Pentax K3 if Ricoh really wanted to "shake things up," not the (useful but totally unsexy) switchable moire filter.
locke_fc: Impressive camera indeed, and certainly ahead of anything Canon has to offer (and I'm a 6D owner).
Still, I don't get the fuss about the dynamic range and shadow recovery ability. My almost 5 year-old Pentax K-x, which had one of the first iterations of these amazing Sony sensors, was already capable of such impressive feats. We've known for ages what these sensors can do, are we going to make a fuss about it every time a new camera with a Sony sensor comes out?
Rishi, even the D750 would be pushing my budget to the limit at the moment, but still a step up from the "sweet 16" Sony sensor (also no slouch RE dynamic range especially for an APS/C chip) in my Pentax k5. My biggest problem switching brands will be dealing with the added heft and bulk, so the D750 looks to be the best compromise so far in a full-frame body (Sony doesn't have the lenses I want). I intend to use it with primes wide open in daylight though, so the 1/8000 max shutter speed of the D810 (and of course ISO 64) are very very tempting.
I think using a logarithmic scale of "stops" to measure dynamic range is one reason people react with seaming indifference to dynamic range measurements. To me, a half a stop more DR is huge: that's a 50% increase of a critically important aspect of performance that has a direct impact on a significant number of everyday shots! But no one seems to care about a half stop DR one way or the other. If you're talking about 50% more resolution, however, it's a hugely big deal and gets tons of attention. Yet practically every single ILC on the market today can comfortably out-resolve an 8x12 print. DR is a very different story -- the differences from brand to brand and model to model are ginormous. Another contributing factor to this (mis)perception I think is that blown highlights are far less visible (without visual aids) on a monitor than they are in high-quality prints. And how many of us are scrutinizing museum-quality prints on a regular basis.
Rishi that' a great idea. Keep on rockin' it, enjoying your journalism and commentary very much.
Pentax didn't get ignored!
KL Matt: Technically, the sensor rotates around 3 axes and moves along 1 horrizontal plane, but I suppose you could cheat and reference that horizontal plane as the two axes you would use to describe locations on a graph of it (but then again no, because you've already used up both of those two axes, X and Y, for yaw and pitch, so I'd say it is actually cheating to use the same axis twice.)Sigh. Marketing.
RE CNC machining: I did not know that. Obviously if it's the accepted way to refer to those kinds of motions and Olympus didn't invent the term "5-axis", then I can't blame Sony's marketing department for sloppy claims. An axis is by the definition I am familiar with the center around which an object rotates. A horizontal shift does not involve rotation of any sort and thus does not have an axis. Maybe splitting hairs. It's still movement "along" the x axis even if it is not rotation "around" the x axis. That's still one and the same axis, however. So there are only 3, and that probably applies to CNC maches as well, 5-axis is just a handy way to refer to it so everyone knows what you mean. Nothing wrong with that really.
Technically, the sensor rotates around 3 axes and moves along 1 horrizontal plane, but I suppose you could cheat and reference that horizontal plane as the two axes you would use to describe locations on a graph of it (but then again no, because you've already used up both of those two axes, X and Y, for yaw and pitch, so I'd say it is actually cheating to use the same axis twice.)Sigh. Marketing.
RichRMA: Nikon refused to build a D400, so Samsung did it. Actually, just kidding; Pentax did it.
So when I wrote "But seriously, there is no one out here more frustrated with the gaping holes in the Pentax lens lineup than me" you didn't quite understand it. Well I'd explain, but no, because typical Canon diehard's abysmal reading comprehension, you wouldn't understand the rehash either. Seriously though it's true, the lens lineup is the weakness of the system. They've made big mistakes. Who cares. Buy what suits you.
And the big difference I think is that up until now, the Pentax lens lineup on the long end has been designed to offer the bare minimum of reach necessary for most types of photography while providing considerably greater portability. This system is meant to travel, and you are correct, it's not meant for professional sports photographers who don't care how much space or weight their gear takes up in the trunk driving to the stadium. This Pentax gear is for the dude going to Krugar on a nature safari or Madagascar to see lemurs and has to be very careful about size and weight to remain mobile on the ground. Sure you could take a Canon 300 f.2.8 into those situations if you felt like it, but good luck schlepping it around for weeks on end.
So where is the Canon 10-17mm fisheye zoom? Or the all-metal 35mm f/2.8 macro lens? Or the 15mm pancake? Or the 560 f/5.6? Canon's lens lineup is hopelessly incomplete without these lenses. ;-) But seriously, there is no one out here more frustrated with the gaping holes in the Pentax lens lineup than me. It's just not quite as hopeless as originally described. Different strokes for different folks. Those long zooms are apparently on their way, I'd look to the beginning of the coming year for a release, we saw the prototypes at Photokina.
RE Pentax lens lineup: these claims are partially true, but the real reason they affect k3 sales is because most people probably think they're completely true. Pentax do indeed sell a DA*55mm lens that competes nicely with the 55G/85G lenses depending what body you're using them on as well as a 31 1.8 and a 77 1.8 lens which, although perhaps not as fast as some of the competing glass, do offer in some cases much more compact yet still very high quality optics. RE the 400 L, yes, it's true, there is no direct equivalent, but with pentax you can get the 300 f/4 plus 1.4 TC which appears to be giving results on par with the canon L lens. An xx-400 zoom is scheduled for release soon, but as far as tilt-shift goes there is nothing, and fast wide primes are also sorely lacking. So some of your complaints are justified, others not so much anymore.
Kim Letkeman: "Prime Photos is extended to all US Prime members."
Canadian Prime subscriptions get nothing but 2 day shipping. No streaming, and apparently no free unlimited storage. There are also freaky huge pricing differences that Amazon don't seem to care about.
The massive value imbalance just gets worse with this announcement ... I assume that things are not that different in Europe etc. Can anyone comment on that?
Sometimes DPReview seem to forget that they have a world-wide membership, making a big deal out of features to which a huge portion of their membership have no access.
At the least, the title of the article could include "relevant to US members only" or some such disclosure.
Leading German IT mag ct' asked Amazon when they plan on bringing this new feature to German Prime customers. Amazon declined to answer. :-/ And for a website with UK roots, DPR does seem quite American these days. Remember when they used to name prices in pounds only and let the rest of us figure out what things cost on their own?