Interesting article posted by Kirk Tuck...All the cameras are better than you are

Started Mar 4, 2014 | Discussions
Acmespaceship
Acmespaceship Regular Member • Posts: 289
Re: Out of focus Cats....
1

I do not always look at cat butts, but when I do, I prefer them to be out of focus.    I do agree with you on the larger point that a miniscule depth of field is hardly the be-all and end-all of photography.

gak44 Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: f2.8 zooms

If you want to compare FF to M43 for value-for-money, you should include the cost of bodies. I think that might make your argument somewhat less compelling.

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Ulric Veteran Member • Posts: 4,558
Re: Interesting collection of logical fallacies by Kirk Tuck
2

Jim Salvas wrote:

Ulric wrote:

Jim Salvas wrote:

Ulric wrote:

DaveLemi wrote:

This is well thought out and delves into what is sufficient-

http://ripecamera.blogspot.com/2014/03/all-cameras-are-better-than-you-are.html

Well, if we shot them the way we did in the film days (when we were more than reasonably happy with the performance of our film+cameras) that would mean using good techniques.

No, because technology didn't stop in the 60's, it hasn't stopped now and it won't stop any time soon. If I use my car in the same way as I would a cart pulled by donkeys, it wouldn't make me a good driver, it would make me an idiot, despite the fact that people were more than reasonably happy with the performance of carts pulled by donkeys.

Your reductio ad absurdum argument does not work because you don't refute his main poin here, which is that good technique is still paramount. I think that point is unassailable.

Yes, but that is my point, not his. His point is that obsolete technique is paramount.

And where are his other logical fallacies?

To be honest, I lost interest after the first page, but here's a good one:

But I know why we upgraded. The camera companies did a remarkably good job at creating the appearance of competition between photographers.

It is more likely that new equipment could be used in ways that donkey-cart equipment couldn't.

My friends in the film industry call this "New York Lighting" which suggests that a New York D.P. walks into any room/location, no matter how heinous the light, and if there are enough aggregated photons floating around (no matter how green or uni-directional), they consider the room "well lit" making the effort of additional lighting unnecessary.

Here he compares bad X to good Y, implying that Y is better than X, where it would be more valid to compare bad X (available-light photography as described as above) to bad Y (deer-in-headlight flash photography). Or good X to good Y.

Where to begin?

i don't believe he was arguing for "obsolete technique." He was arguing for good technique, which remains good technique: proper exposure, good camera support, etc.

"Good technique" is a truism. "If we shot them the way we did in film days that would mean using good techniques" is nonsense.

When talking about available light, he wasn't arguing for or against it, but rather against those who don't know how to do anything else, who don't know how to light or are too lazy to do it when needed. Again, it was an argument for good technique. It is a winning argument.

What he actually writes is:

And rather than embrace and hug our tripods or turn up the volume on our plentiful flashes we followed right along and bought the cameras with the cotton candy ISOs. Everywhere we looked people were shooting mediocre, unlit images at 3200 ISO. So many crappy images were shot with no noise that it actually changed (by sheer inertia) the basic styles in which we shot. Everything became poorly lit and had tiny planes of sharp focus.

What actually happened is that while twenty years ago it was a necessary evil to blast off flash guns in churches and restaurants, because there was no alternative, advances in technology has made that a thing of the past. If I ever do that again, I hope to be rudely escorted to the door.

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Acmespaceship
Acmespaceship Regular Member • Posts: 289
Re: Interesting article posted by Kirk Tuck...All the cameras are better than you are
1

I agree with Kirk's assessment of the camera market, and I suspect that even my little P&S camera is laughing at me behind my back.  The G1 surely thinks I am an idiot.  Can you imagine the shame if cameras talked to each other about their owners?  Would they despise us less if we spent more time shooting in full manual mode -- or would they prefer us to set the dial to Intelligent Auto and leave it all up to them?

I disagree, however, with Kirk's implication that we should embrace the limitations of the past or else we are "lazy photographers."  Tripods and flash?  Please. Those are crutches to prop up inadequate technology ("prop up" literally in the case of tripods).  We used them in the past because we had no choice.  Now we can do better. Even if we as photographers are ok with these tools, the people around us will be very happy to see them go.

As a photographer, I might still want to use tripod and/or flash in certain situations, for certain effects, and sometimes for convenience.  But as a "civilian" I look forward to a time when nobody will set up a tripod blocking the aisle, and nobody will startle and temporarily blind me with a &%#@ flash.

High-quality images are a good thing.  So is the ability to shoot pictures without annoying others.  If your current camera lets you obtain the former only at the expense of the latter, then it IS time for you to buy a new camera. Better a "lazy" photographer than an obnoxious one.

Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,928
Re: Interesting article posted by Kirk Tuck...All the cameras are better than you are

I agree that Kirk probably has a lot to say about what's sufficient, having to deliver work to paying clients. But I think his ramblings about when & whether to buy new gear are coming from just another gearhead like many of the rest of us.

Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,928
Ahhh, Kirk
1

Kirk Tuck wrote:

facts is facts mate.

Yes, and if you had one of them thar superior foreign educations, maybe you'd be smart enough to know that that two arbitrary facts don't imply cause and effect.

Of course, I know that in reality, you know better, and were just too lazy to make a real argument, so decided you'd simply insult anyone who doesn't agree with you. That seems to be your MO based on responses to comments I've seen on your blog.

Was this latest round of angst instigated by your boredom with the A99 ? Start the countdown 'til Kirk's next wunderkamera !

String
String Senior Member • Posts: 2,060
Re: Similar to computers

amtberg wrote:

I agree with Tuck's thesis and its reminiscent of what's happened to desktop computers. For years the need for speed drove consumer demand as we all snapped up faster and faster machines. But recently computer sales started declining, simply because the machines have become more than fast enough for 100% of what maybe 95% of the people use them for. In fact, even tablets can satisfy most users' computer needs.

We're now at the point where inexpensive digital cameras are much better than 35mm film cameras ever were, and even for those few people who print, the output is more than adequate for even large home printers.

To be honest, it doesn't bode well for the camera manufacturers. I've got to believe that camera sales will continue to decline, much as PC sales have, as cell phones continue to eat away the lower end and higher end users discover that their existing cameras are plenty good enough.

It's usually been games/gamers who push the envelope on PC performance. Lots of those will pay more for a video card than most people will pay for a whole system. It did slacken off for a while due to the XBox/PS2 (and the retail stores) however PC games are once again pushing the envelope.

Besides, there is no such thing as "fast enough" when it comes to post processing

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Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,928
Re: No idea what it is

TN Args wrote:

jhinkey wrote:

I have a D800 and a GX7, GH2 and G5 . . . and they live happily next to each other . .

I see many like me that have both systems and know their respective strengths and weaknesses and don't get wrapped up in sensor size-based dogma.

If you weren't wrapped up in sensor size dogma, you would ditch the D800!

What's the difference between sensor size dogma and camera size dogma ? What's so hard about carrying a D800 (especially when you own a smaller camera that you can use when appropriate) ?

Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,928
Re: Why has mirrorless been slow to catch on...

TrapperJohn wrote:

The 'intelligence' remark is an offbeat reference there, but you have to take it in context of the adjacent passages. I believe this is known as 'self depreciating humor'.

I don't think so. Consider this passage:
"Reality: If you shoot at ISO 100, 200, 400 or even 800 just about any interchangeable camera on the market will do a really good job making images. ...

There are outliers. There really are people who love to shoot sports. There really are people who want to shoot in super low light just to say they could. And there are people who want to carry around the latest big camera because it's generally cheaper than buying a really cool car and more portable too."

Nothing self-deprecating about that. No, this is Kirk knows best, and anyone who disagrees is a fool. It's unfortunate that he resorts to these snide remarks, because there might be an interesting message buried in there.

amtberg Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Similar to computers

String wrote:

amtberg wrote:

I agree with Tuck's thesis and its reminiscent of what's happened to desktop computers. For years the need for speed drove consumer demand as we all snapped up faster and faster machines. But recently computer sales started declining, simply because the machines have become more than fast enough for 100% of what maybe 95% of the people use them for. In fact, even tablets can satisfy most users' computer needs.

We're now at the point where inexpensive digital cameras are much better than 35mm film cameras ever were, and even for those few people who print, the output is more than adequate for even large home printers.

To be honest, it doesn't bode well for the camera manufacturers. I've got to believe that camera sales will continue to decline, much as PC sales have, as cell phones continue to eat away the lower end and higher end users discover that their existing cameras are plenty good enough.

It's usually been games/gamers who push the envelope on PC performance. Lots of those will pay more for a video card than most people will pay for a whole system. It did slacken off for a while due to the XBox/PS2 (and the retail stores) however PC games are once again pushing the envelope.

Besides, there is no such thing as "fast enough" when it comes to post processing

Yeah, but photo/video enthusiasts fall within that 5% segment.  I'm a 3D artist by trade and there aren't many pursuits that benefit as much from high performance PCs.  That's why my main machine is a six-core i7 overclocked (water) to 4.5ghz and why my machine is stuffed with 64GB RAM.

Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 18,928
Re: f2.8 zooms

Jacques Cornell wrote:

One of the big attractions of m43 for me was the availability of f2.8 zooms for about 1/3 the cost of FF equivalents. In my book, that's better value for money.

And what does f/2.8 on a small sensor have to do with f/2.8 on a large sensor ?

That's kind of like saying that one of the big attractions of a compact car is the available of models with four doors for about 1/3 the cost of a crew cab pickup truck.

I must be missing something, seeing as how m43 is the choice of those with superior education

Corkcampbell
Corkcampbell Forum Pro • Posts: 18,528
Sorry; just saw this and agree. Quiz included!

I know it's true - just reading some of the posts here written by native English speakers is really painful, and I'm not just referring to Americans. I bought a book recently from the EOSHD website on the GH3 and was amazed that the author (UK, I think) never used a comma, had subject-verb disagreement and obviously didn't know the difference between commas, colons, and semi-colons. Writing a book and not even bothering to use a basic computer spell/grammar tool, or getting help from someone who can is pretty bad.

My point in my earlier post is that I think that, although the US system is lacking, it still fosters creativity and innovation skills, which are also a product of the cultural environment. It's no wonder that Samsung recently announced their move to increase their presence in Silicon Valley, focusing on hiring American-educated staff, and China's best universities actively pursue American-trained professors with real business experience (such as creating small businesses).

Note: I can't speak for most European and Asian countries (although I went to school in France for postgraduate study about 200 years ago), but (except for recycling which is covered in Korea) there is little political correctness taught in Korea or China. In fact, that was one of my principal tasks in China in preparing my students for their UK schools, including sexism, human rights, etc. I even had to include it in grammar lessons, such as the concept of "his or her," etc.

Today's quiz:

As an example, I include a shot of a Korean language textbook published by a major university (Seoul National University) in Seoul. Can someone tell me what's wrong, or at least questionable? When I showed this to Korean professors, not one understood the issue, but several Mongolian and Chinese students immediately picked up on it.

-

"Knowledge is good." Emil Faber

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sigala1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,887
Still need faster computers

amtberg wrote:

I agree with Tuck's thesis and its reminiscent of what's happened to desktop computers. For years the need for speed drove consumer demand as we all snapped up faster and faster machines. But recently computer sales started declining, simply because the machines have become more than fast enough for 100% of what maybe 95% of the people use them for. In fact, even tablets can satisfy most users' computer needs.

We're now at the point where inexpensive digital cameras are much better than 35mm film cameras ever were, and even for those few people who print, the output is more than adequate for even large home printers.

To be honest, it doesn't bode well for the camera manufacturers. I've got to believe that camera sales will continue to decline, much as PC sales have, as cell phones continue to eat away the lower end and higher end users discover that their existing cameras are plenty good enough.

No matter how incredibly fast and powerful computers are today compared to computers from 10 years ago, they manage to keep filling the computer software and operating systems with bloat so that they run slow.

I bought a state-of-the-art Windows 7 computer with quad-core processor three and a half years ago, but now the computer seems to boot dog-slow.

julieng
julieng Contributing Member • Posts: 965
meh.. then is then, now is now.
1

I don't know where to start. He does make a point that we tend to emphasize too much on gear and not enough on craft. Point taken. And I like his T-Shirt idea

but... but, but but..
He makes it sound like there were no bad photographers back in the film days, no GAS, no gear owners uncles capable of burning through films like scott towels, figuring out that one shot will be good. Yet I've seen countless boring souvenir albums. This is not a new problem, at all. How much do the good to bad photographers ratio has really change, the question is interesting. Arguably, the answer is not obvious.

He also makes it sound like photography as a craft does not change over time, regardless of gear, that higher ISO is just a crutch for those who don't know any better. Just because it makes it more forgiving to the lazy does not mean its not a game changer. At the Vancouver Winter games, we had some photos that would not have been possible a year before. Taken by pros having to deliver, not by laziness.

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,090
Re: f2.8 zooms

Dennis wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

One of the big attractions of m43 for me was the availability of f2.8 zooms for about 1/3 the cost of FF equivalents. In my book, that's better value for money.

And what does f/2.8 on a small sensor have to do with f/2.8 on a large sensor ?

That's kind of like saying that one of the big attractions of a compact car is the available of models with four doors for about 1/3 the cost of a crew cab pickup truck.

I must be missing something, seeing as how m43 is the choice of those with superior education

Despite your rather hostile tone, you do have a point, sort of.

I suppose it's more accurate to compare m43 stabilized f2.8 lenses to FF stabilized f4 lenses since, in my experience with Canon 1Ds Mark II & III cameras, the GX7 produces about one stop more noise at ISO 1600 & 3200. So, whereas I customarily shoot at ISO 1600 at f2.8 on m43 when shooting indoor events, I could do f4 and ISO 3200 on FF, which is pretty much what I used to do because I couldn't justify the astronomical prices of Canon's f2.8 zooms. So, for my purposes, the closest match to Panasonic's 12-35 and 35-100 f2.8 stabilized zooms would be Canon's 24-105 f4L IS and 70-200 f4L IS. In this case, the price comparison is about even, with the 24-105 being cheaper and the 70-200 being more expensive. A couple of factors swing the advantage to the Panasonic lenses for me. First, the greater DoF of m43 at f2.8 vs. f4 on FF gives me a higher keeper rate when shooting people moving about in dim light. Second, the 12-35 has less distortion and better corner sharpness than the 24-105.

In order to get substantially better (by one full stop) performance, I'd have to go with f2.8 FF zooms, which, as I said, cost 2-3 times more. And, the 24-70 f2.8L isn't even stabilized. At the light levels I typically work with, it's cheaper and easier to simply swap in 20mm f1.7 and 45mm f1.8 primes on my two m43 bodies when f2.8 isn't enough. Add to this the many other advantages of m43 - EVF, silent shutter, size & weight, reduced intimidation factor - and m43 meets MY needs better at a much lower price.

YMMV

BTW, I had a look at your website and saw some nice stuff there. Seems you do a fair bit of long tele work. Rather than lugging around a huge 600mm artillery piece, you might consider putting a Zeiss/Contax 300mm f4 prime on an m43 body for 600mm effective focal length. It's manual focus, but for the photos of mammals I saw that would work fine. And, the Zeiss glass is unbelievably good. (I used to shoot Contax.)

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Marty4650
Marty4650 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,228
Re: Sorry; just saw this and agree. Quiz included!

Corkcampbell wrote:

Today's quiz:

As an example, I include a shot of a Korean language textbook published by a major university (Seoul National University) in Seoul. Can someone tell me what's wrong, or at least questionable? When I showed this to Korean professors, not one understood the issue, but several Mongolian and Chinese students immediately picked up on it.

There are 12 professions pictured here, and only 2 are shown as women. And those two are "model" and "hairdresser."  Further, not one of the professions is represented by a black person.

In the USA, half the caricatures would be black or Latino, half would be women, and at least three would somehow be depicted as gay.

Most people would find this offensive as it stands.

Cork, I really think you give us way too much credit. In order to be economically successful you need some gifted and talented people who can innovate. But this doesn't need to be the majority. In fact, it is really a very small group, perhaps 2 or 3% of our population.'

We have enough of them for economic success. We just don't have enough of them so ordinary people can know very much about the world around them. We let people vote who have no idea what the issues are, and who cannot find the USA on a map. They vote according to sound bites they hear in political ads, or for whoever some celebrity endorses.

We have an entire generation that are experts at playing X-Boxes and using smart phones, but who have no idea who William Shakespeare was. Many don't even know who George Washington was. They might think he had something to do with a bridge.

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,090
Another reading of Kirk's comments on high ISO
2

julieng wrote:

He also makes it sound like ... higher ISO is just a crutch for those who don't know any better.

I didn't read it that way. I heard him saying that relying on high ISO rather than using good technique is a bad crutch in those instances when available light is not just of low intensity but also of low quality. In these cases, just cranking ISO doesn't help because, although it might make an acceptable exposure, it doesn't address the underlying problems of contrast, color, direction, shadows, etc., that make or break an image.

The follow-on point is that, since high ISO doesn't fix all lighting problems, good lighting technique is still required. And, good lighting technique obviates the need for super-high ISO and pretty much wipes out the noise disadvantage of small sensors.

This has been my experience as well, as an event shooter working in the low and ugly light of hotel conference rooms, etc. Sometimes, I could get a decent exposure at ISO 3200+, but the ceiling lights cast such ghastly shadows that I have to use flash to produce an attractive photo. Often, ISO 1600 at f2.8 is about the threshold of available light between usable and hideous.

Obviously, this is situation-dependent. For nighttime street shooting, a clean ISO 6400 can be very useful. So can a mirrorless camera's silent shutter. There are tradeoffs. But, I agree with Kirk that, despite the relative noise and resolution disadvantages of m43 sensors vs. FF, small cameras used with decent technique are extremely capable. The advantages of FF are real, but without commensurately high technique and real (rather than imagined) performance requirements, they are likely to remain unrealized by lazy or neophyte photographers.

I gave up a 1Ds Mark III for a GX7 for exactly these reasons.

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,090
Let's get back on-topic.
1

Dennis wrote:

Kirk Tuck wrote:

facts is facts mate.

Yes, and if you had one of them thar superior foreign educations, maybe you'd be smart enough to know that that two arbitrary facts don't imply cause and effect.

Of course, I know that in reality, you know better, and were just too lazy to make a real argument, so decided you'd simply insult anyone who doesn't agree with you. That seems to be your MO based on responses to comments I've seen on your blog.

Was this latest round of angst instigated by your boredom with the A99 ? Start the countdown 'til Kirk's next wunderkamera !

Jeez, Dennis, his comment was an off-the cuff attempt at humor and criticism aimed at his own country, not a central part of his well-considered argument. The U.S. does do an abysmally poor job of educating its kids, especially the poor ones. Just let it go as a misfired joke.

And, by the way, he did make a real argument. It seems you fixated on one sentence in the whole article and missed the rest. Are you really that offended, or are you simply in disagreement with his central argument and yet unable to refute it?

You're dragging the thread way off-topic.

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Gunnlaugur Gudmundsson
Gunnlaugur Gudmundsson Senior Member • Posts: 1,171
Exactly

amtberg wrote:

I agree with Tuck's thesis and its reminiscent of what's happened to desktop computers. For years the need for speed drove consumer demand as we all snapped up faster and faster machines. But recently computer sales started declining, simply because the machines have become more than fast enough for 100% of what maybe 95% of the people use them for. In fact, even tablets can satisfy most users' computer needs.

We're now at the point where inexpensive digital cameras are much better than 35mm film cameras ever were, and even for those few people who print, the output is more than adequate for even large home printers.

To be honest, it doesn't bode well for the camera manufacturers. I've got to believe that camera sales will continue to decline, much as PC sales have, as cell phones continue to eat away the lower end and higher end users discover that their existing cameras are plenty good enough.

This is what Kirk is taking about... cameras are computers ... and they have reached a peak...

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 37,013
Re: Straight from the heart

sderdiarian wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

Quite true, straight from the heart and truth should not offend. I also think that almost any camera on the market might be good enough for the purpose its user might need.

But from the dawn of photography there has been this primal urge that if better gear is bought then the images will be better without any more application than simply pressing the shutter (to a point this might even be true). This always sells camera gear and this forum and all others is 99% devoted to finding and recommending that new lens or camera that will make that one magic image of a lifetime.

More often just that one-time lucky catch. In target shooting the idea is to find the bulls eye and then continue to do it. Does not quite relate to photography skills which are more related to if you take enough images there is bound to be a good one in there somewhere, ammo is cheap. Give a target shooter a machine gun and he is bound to hit the bulls eye sooner or later.

Of course it might be a male version of "a new pair of shoes will make me happier".

Bulls eye, Tom !

Kidding aside, your words capture my feelings as well: it's simply so much easier to continuously buy new bleeding edge gear than to work on improving our skills. Part of what a market-based economy is built upon, convincing people that happiness can be bought and the latest gadget is your ticket there.

This "buying happiness" marketing applies to homes, cars, boats, you name it, but cameras and accessories are a heck of a lot more affordable and easier to indulge in maintaining this illusion. Where else can you buy the latest "perfect" highly technical product for under $1,500?

It goes further, I would rather buy the best Volkswagen that I could afford rather than the cheapest Mercedes or Audi.

Most of us fall for this to a degree if we're honest with ourselves, and your "male version of "a new pair of shoes will make me happier" hit the nail on the head (there, no target mentioned!).

No harm, provided its recognized and offset by actually improving our skills. It's also essential for advancing technologies of photographic equipment. Kirk's comment "let's not buy cameras for a year", while likely tongue-in-cheek, is I think a bit over the top as well.

While we always tend to think our latest equipment will be state-of-the-art forever, when one looks at advances in 5-10 year chunks of time, there really have been substantive improvements that we wouldn't want to go without.

Technology moves in rushes.  The trick is to pick one of the plateaus and buy the best of the pack at the time. My 80486DX computers the1990's were smart then as was my Canon Pro90 IS in its day.  Both lasted for years before I felt them obsolete.  On the other hand pick an item of new emergent technology on its (low) pricing and you will be pining for another technology hit sooner than later.  ("Low" is always relative, but we all like a bargain,, discerrning something that might last is harder).

I guess it's "recognize and temper the illusion" for me, indulging in truly innovative equipment upgrades from time to time, allowing manufacturer's to survive and advance technology. And accompany this with truly advancing our skills, the harder but more rewarding part of the equation.

My thoughts are similar.

Very noteworthy that the issues seized upon to complain about the GM1 are only user convenience and existing technology issues - lack of grip, no evf, small fiddly wheel.  Nothing about needing a better sensor, better image capability, faster saves, etc.  I think I am on a winner. Will be useful for years.

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Sailin' Steve

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