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Dan Chung live blogs from the Olympics with iPhone and Snapseed

By dpreview staff on Aug 1, 2012 at 23:06 GMT

Following on from the discussions about Dean Mouhtaropoulos' decision to use a Panasonic to capture the Olympics, here's further support for the 'it's the photographer, not the gear' argument. Photojournalist, videographer and dpreview contributor Dan Chung has been capturing the Olympic experience with his iPhone. In conjunction with some binoculars, a clip-on Schneider lens and the Snapseed processing app, he's been live-blogging from the games. The images are understandably small but present a fascinating, near-live insight into what's happening in London.

Comments

Total comments: 145
12
Lea5
By Lea5 (Aug 2, 2012)

Impressive! All you need today is a point and shoot or an IPhone. In experienced hands they do the job.

1 upvote
Blaufeld
By Blaufeld (Aug 2, 2012)

Now the "Pro Gear Police" will come in this thread and start beating everyone with their Canikon cameras... ;)

2 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Aug 2, 2012)

The police are correct.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Aug 2, 2012)

I agree with (qwertyasdf) why would a PRO use the wrong tool for something like this? Gee whiz, I just came back from a vacation in the Ozark mountains, I took an Olympus E-PL1 and Nikon D5100. The camera in my phone never saw the light of day--and I know what I was doing was hardly as significant as this.

The gear doesn't matter, not one bit--okay, fine. I guess it's time for Nikon & Canon to close their doors? Maybe the chefs there who cook for the important people can bring their Stouffer's microwave "meals in a bag," since--you know, "if you're a good cook you should be able to make a great meal using a hot plate and a bag of dirt." Or--maybe the reporters can write their stories using a box of Crayons & coloring books. If these guys are such good swimmers, wouldn't a mud hole be good enough, why bother with a pool with specific dimensions--after all, "it's all in the swimmer's skill level?"

Ugh. Enough of this. Just change your name to "cameras-are-for-luddites.com" already.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Blaufeld
By Blaufeld (Aug 2, 2012)

Cmon, its not about making pictures with crayons, it is more like making photographs with what can be considered a nice point-and-shoot camera that has its limitations but can be used by a pro for a nice satisfying job. And yes, for magazine use this is a SERIOUS blow to the traditional photographer market.

4 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Aug 2, 2012)

But that's the thing--if you are a pro, why in the WORLD would you use such a thing? Obviously there is no LAW saying you MUST use at least x-such camera, but gee whiz--you're covering the OLYMPICS, you're in prime position not shooting from the stands like a tourist. Why would you limit yourself & not use an SLR?

As I've said before, I agree with "it's not the gear" when the point is made that you don't have to have the absolute top-of-the-line stuff (although, again, a typical pro in this situation would typically use top-of-the-line stuff). The Nikon D5100 has the same sensor as the D7000 & thus is capable of the same image quality, even if it has fewer features. Ditto the Canon T4i vs 7D--in ways like that, I agree--you don't have to have top-of-the-line to "rate."

But c'mon, this is just getting ridiculous. Using a point & shoot grade of camera for a high-profile pro job? You don't see LeBron James out there playing basketball using a 99c inflatable kids' ball, do you?

2 upvotes
Blaufeld
By Blaufeld (Aug 2, 2012)

Larry, the iPhone has the capabilities to make shots worthy of magazine publication. Since the client want a competent end product, he will gladly accept that, WHATEVER IS THE HARDWARE USED.
If you want to delude yourself thinking that him will ask "What is the camera used", you are buying the corporate Canikon crap.

1 upvote
balios
By balios (Aug 2, 2012)

"What is the camera used".

He'll ask that question when he wonders why the pictures you provided are only 460 pixels wide, which means that in many of the photos you can't see any real detail on the subjects of the photo. He'll ask that question when all your action shots are motion blurred and/or smeared from nigh iso noise reduction, or in other words, look like they're taken with a point and shoot.

Professions take photos to make money, they don't use expensive gear for the sake of using expensive gear. The Olympics are full of high end cameras and lenses because they're the right tool for the job.

The only people using gear for the sake of gear are the ones using their gear as a gimmick, as the main draw to viewing their photos. Ie. the ones advertising that they're using a G5 or iPhone. The rest of the pros are just taking photos and letting the photos sell themselves.

3 upvotes
dkord
By dkord (Aug 3, 2012)

Blaufeld- you speak like a person who never had to depend on the images he took for his livelihood.
If this was your job and you have to compete for page space with other competent photographers who are using high end gear, I'd like to see you show up with an iphone and a pair of binoculars (I would of used a monocular myself).
It's a nice gimmick and cool because he wasn't under any pressure, he shot what he wanted and had time to pick and cull; the iphone and bino was the story, it got the paper some attention. But lets see what Dan Chung reaches for if he's given an specific assignment and those images will determine how much he gets paid and whether he gets future assignments.

0 upvotes
wrider
By wrider (Aug 3, 2012)

geez, nobody said that this was the only camera he used. Wow a lot of you people really have no idea what this is about. We really do live in a culture of gear heads and people who have no connection with any sort of artistic subtlety or something that might challenge the mind a bit. I am just shocked. really. Such narrow, off point thinking. Amazing.

0 upvotes
alexzn
By alexzn (Aug 3, 2012)

Larry- And why exactly did you lug TWO interchangeable lens cameras to your vacation? I hope someone was paying you to take pictures... And what exactly did you E-PL1 could not do that you had to take your Nikon? Just curious...

When I travel, I take one camera with a 35 mm prime lens. That's it. I am on vacation, not on assignment.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Aug 2, 2012)

Fundamentals for sports photography: location, location, location.

Seriously, if you give an average photographer a high FPS body and supertelephotos (i.e. what the pros use) and put them in the stadium, their photos will be just as good as the pros.

It's simply about recognizing colors and mindless shutter blasting.

Dan Chung's photos demonstrated some skills, at least they are shot in single-shot drive. But, heck, why a PRO will use the wrong tool for the job...LOL

2 upvotes
wrider
By wrider (Aug 3, 2012)

Another person who has no clue. Do you really think that anyone could do as well as Dan if they had his equipment? That is all there is to it? That is like saying that you could be a virtuoso violin player if you had a Stradivarius. This is totally amusing and quite shocking.

Wow the world of photography has certainly changed over the years.

Not to mention the fact that you too, do not get the point.

fail.

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Aug 3, 2012)

Yes, I do.
I'll detail how:
Give an average photographer a 1Dx, some nice L glass, extra batteries, extra memory...
Set the camera to JPEG, continuous drive, AI servo AF.
Let the happy photography blast with 12 fps for the whole duration, and his / her result will be no different than the pros.

I never said that an average photographer can take pictures as good as Dan with an iPhone.

But for PRO gear, the gear does much much more than the photographer.

And what?! No, I can't play good music even with the best violin. Why?! because I don't even know how to hold it.

If you hand a normal person a 1Dx and he / she doesn't know how to point to the target and shoot....then you win, I fail.

0 upvotes
dav1dz
By dav1dz (Aug 2, 2012)

With the type of equipment he's working with I'm thoroughly impressed. I've been following the site for a few days now.

2 upvotes
wrider
By wrider (Aug 3, 2012)

Thank you for getting it. You seem to be in the minority though.

0 upvotes
Dixa
By Dixa (Aug 2, 2012)

he's getting - or presenting through diligent editing - better photographs with more drama than panasonic is gracing us from the G5 photographer

1 upvote
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (Aug 2, 2012)

They sure do love Dan Chung here ...

1 upvote
dkord
By dkord (Aug 2, 2012)

I like to see bigger images, they're great in this small size but how practical is it?

0 upvotes
ryanshoots
By ryanshoots (Aug 2, 2012)

How practical? Well, considering newspapers don't need much quality in an image, and many newspapers are in dire straights and in the future more and more images will only be published on the web, I'd say very practical.

The other statement being made is that since the technical quality of the image needed is low and the masses now have phones that can do this, well, the number of photogs getting real coin for their photos just took yet another blow.

Sure the advertisers will pay to have a sports hero shot with a medium format by a top photographer for an ad campaign. But the pictures that are going to be plastered all over the news websites are going to be from whomever can upload the best content (not technically best) the fastest.

1 upvote
dkord
By dkord (Aug 2, 2012)

Those images are not even large enough for an online paper.
What are you talking about. You need to produce an image over twice that size to be acceptable especially with the higher resolution
screens.
Only thing those images are good for are mobile sites and its
still too small for tablets.

2 upvotes
wrider
By wrider (Aug 3, 2012)

OK, here it is.

NOBODY is saying they are practical or suitable for newspapers, the internet or anything else.

You have missed the point completely.

This is about the art of photography. Of course that isn't a really popular subject on this site, home of the gear heads.

0 upvotes
dkord
By dkord (Aug 4, 2012)

Come on, seriously, art? So I suppose if I use a Honda Civic to haul beauty bark, I'm an artist?
Art is about having a vision and executing that vision. Art is about communicating emotions and thoughts and ideas. Within a context, using a variety of mediums as a form of communication. Using awkward equipment for a job and implying that its serviceable has NOTHING to do with art, its attention getting.
Just because images are blurred, flat, lacks detail and noisy, does not make it art. Sorry wrong context.

0 upvotes
dkord
By dkord (Aug 4, 2012)

Look within the medium of instant reportage in a live blog it works.
Dan Chung is a craftsman in his own right. His compositions are very nice and choice of post treatment excellent. I'm not dissing his images, most of it is very good. If you do not need to get those money shots per event and fight for page space, yeah its doable. But that's not the reality of a sports photographer.
All the things he's doing can be done with a long lens point and shoot via eyefi or a card reader and those images will look better. Just saying.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Pati Feroolz
By Pati Feroolz (Aug 2, 2012)

460 pixels wide? What this is trying to prove ?

4 upvotes
wrider
By wrider (Aug 3, 2012)

Apparently that you are a pixel peeper, not a photographer.

0 upvotes
dkord
By dkord (Aug 4, 2012)

@wrider, pretty arrogant statement.
In the context of photojournalism 460 pixels is not acceptable. What does that have to do with whether Pati is a photographer?
What qualifies YOU to judge?
Damn, you're a teacher and you come across this way? Wow, no words.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Aug 2, 2012)

These are great! iPhone 4S has a very capable camera but getting those binocular shots was something special.

3 upvotes
JerryCanon10D
By JerryCanon10D (Aug 3, 2012)

Agreed. He was asked to do the 100m with a broken leg. Everyone is going to say "Well done" but it really is a case of the Emperor's new clothes. Had he had an dSLR & a couple of zooms he would have done a lot better. The experiment doesn't show "it's the eye not the gear" It shows that if you have an iPhone you get iPhone shots!

0 upvotes
maboule123
By maboule123 (Aug 1, 2012)

WOO HOO!!
Way to go, kiddo!!!

2 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Aug 1, 2012)

the photos look terrible, imo

2 upvotes
ryanshoots
By ryanshoots (Aug 2, 2012)

They look plenty good for their use. You're not going to make posters out of them, but for newspaper or web they'll do just fine.

2 upvotes
balios
By balios (Aug 2, 2012)

There are some nice photos thanks to decent framing.

But too many of the shots don't even work for the internet. The 460px wide format is doing a good job at hiding blur and pixel smear, but it doesn't show enough detail on subjects that are not tightly framed. They're like looking at thumbnails....

Many of these shots would have worked had the photos been larger, but then the demands on the gear would have been larger.

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Aug 1, 2012)

It's the gear, not the photographer. It's just that in the case of the Panasonic G5 and Lumix lenses, the gear has become good enough to do the job well. With the iPhone, not so much.

1 upvote
pbolli
By pbolli (Aug 1, 2012)

This sounds even more complicated and tedious than just bringing a camera and a tablet

1 upvote
Will Patterson
By Will Patterson (Aug 2, 2012)

Having media access to areas that the supporters don't helps. A lot of people could take a decent pic from there

1 upvote
Total comments: 145
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