MILCs and landscape photography

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JimKasson
MOD JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 21,564
MILCs and landscape photography
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Landscape photography means, most of the time, carefully selecting the plane of focus, and managing depth of field on both sides of that. That means manually focusing, at least for me. At the advent of full-frame DSLRs, there was just the optical finder, transported from film cameras. By then, it had shed most of the interchangeable screens and focusing aids that made it barely tolerable for high-precision manual focusing because of the importance of finder brightness and autofocus. But the resolution of those early DSLRs was low enough that even that was tolerable. Then came the high-res full frame cameras, led by Kodak's groundbreaking but slow-selling DCS 14n. Fortunately for landscape photographers, live view soon appeared, and there was another way to focus.

It was awkward, bending over those early inarticulate LCD screens. They were pretty low resolution, they washed out in daylight, and you needed a loupe to really see them. But we soldiered on because we could finally focus pretty accurately. Then the resolution bumped up again, and the line-skipping refresh of the live view displays wasn't cutting it anymore. MILCs appeared on the scene, and that was better because the electronic viewfinders (EVFs) were much easier to use in daylight than the LCD screens. But I would still occasionally use my D810 or D850 for landscapes.

I'm done with that.

Now that we've got great EVFs like the ones in the a7RIII and the Z7, and now that we've got the F-mount lens compatibility that the FTZ gives us on the Z7, with full EXIF data, there is no reason to use a DSLR for landscape work. And there are plenty of reasons not to. I did some comparison images a few days ago using the D850 and the Z7. Using the D850 with a loupe and a light-blocker was downright painful compared to stuffing my eye up against that big, beautiful Z7 EVF.

Outside of testing, I don't think I'm ever going to use a DSLR out of doors in manual focus mode again. The LCD isn't so bad in the studio, where you can control the light. I'm not quite done with DSLRs outside entirely, though. They are still uniquely useful in some fast-moving situations that require autofocus.

Jim

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