Alec

Alec

Lives in United States New York City, NY, United States
Works as a Photographer
Has a website at http://karasevstudio.com/
Joined on Oct 24, 2000
About me:

I'm a photographer serving New York City’s theatre and fashion industries as well as industrial and advertising photography needs of the city’s businesses. My O2 (Optically Opinionated) blog contains ideas, tips, and industry commentary.

Comments

Total: 203, showing: 21 – 40
« First‹ Previous12345Next ›Last »

"Forever" and ultrasonic motors are mutually exclusive. Canon, a pioneer in using the technology, states many of their USMs have a life of 20 hrs (continuous function). While using the lens rarely can turn 20 hrs into many years, the motor wearing out plus manufacturer no longer stocking parts define a clear end of service life for an ultrasonic AF (and electronic aperture?) lens.

By contrast, Minolta and earlier SONY screw-drive lenses get a fresh new motor every time the user upgrades the camera body.

Link | Posted on Feb 5, 2016 at 00:12 UTC as 87th comment | 1 reply
On article GoPro's poor holiday sales lead to staff layoff (115 comments in total)
In reply to:

adventure_photo: As someone who just acquired a Hero 4 Black for mostly still shooting I find it incredibly difficult to use in the sense that it is too dumbed down. I ultimately need control over three primary things in order to be creative with a camera: aperture, shutter speed and ISO and the camera barely has workarounds that get around this. I end up with 600 photos or more to sift through where only a handful worked out as I had envisioned. Mainly because I don't have direct control of those things and I have to shoot a lot trying different things. I also need RAW files and not jpegs to work with. There is room to innovate for sure. It seems GoPro became kind of arrogant and sat on their laurels flooding chain stores with their product asking a price that's too much for what it is. The one thing I really like and feel they have really dialed in is the mounts and accessories. I find I can mount the camera to just about anything. Also I like the mobile app integration and feel it works well (except for the above not having more control.

I agree with this analysis. And gopro being a small robust wirelessly controlled camera, why wouldn't one use it for stills?

It is true that GoPro allowed copycats catch up to it while sitting on their laurels. I also agree that constant innovation would have been the way to address that, and there's plenty to innovate:

1. Whole-sensor read-out (less jell-o in video and sharper stills while minimizing reliance on complex and expensive mounts in vibration-prone situations)

2. Raw mode for stills and video

3. Being able to focus the lens to closer ranges (just 2 click-stops "super-close" and "medium-close", in addition to the default infinity, would do)

4. Waterproof case being thermally coupled and having sealed pass-through ports to charge battery and have (clean, obv.; deep color) HDMI out

5. PASM+ISO

Link | Posted on Jan 17, 2016 at 00:10 UTC
On article GoPro's poor holiday sales lead to staff layoff (115 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marty4650: Anyone remember "Flip Video?"

These were small, cheap, dedicated video devices that seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds between 2006 and 2011 until smartphones drove them out of business.

It was a fad that grew fast, then flamed out fast. The same thing could happen to GoPro, as they get squeezed by much cheaper clones.

When you can buy a tiny weather sealed HD action camera for $100, then who will pay $400 for a slightly better one?

@noflashplease, excellent insight! Analysts' job is to provide actionable info for investors. Investors look for returns on their capital. To them, there's no point in putting money in something that is steady (regardless of whether a steady, quality service may be perfect for a given field).

Therefore most businesses are forced into a "grow or die" mode.

Link | Posted on Jan 16, 2016 at 20:22 UTC

Given the abundance of opportunity for any photographer on a budget consistent with this camera's purchase to shoot nudes, Ricoh's caution (if that's the reason) seems strange. One would understand the concern if a cell phone camera or a low end DSLR had this feature but not a medium format rig.

Link | Posted on Dec 2, 2015 at 01:35 UTC as 16th comment
In reply to:

Donthuis: It is quite typical of a mature market, some would even say one in decline. Product differentiation, looking for market segments that still hold profits and compensating loss in turnover by cost-cutting measures. But let's not forget the P&S market is almost gone and even the upmarket camera's face ever stronger competition from everbetter smartphones, Sony included. Consumers use the camera they have with them!
I used to work in the Telecom industry which commoditized fast and lost high margins quickly, IT/PC industry experiences the same (Sony abandoned its Vaio laptop & may even drop their TV-line of business)
I do hope that the large, most innovative camerabuilders (Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony) will survive thanks to their innovation and workmanship, but I wouild never gamble on anyone's survival in the long run. 4K is a natural evolution, but not a gamechanger, nor will even higher sensor resolutions Drones come with 4K as a given nowadays..

Well put! I think what propels the smartphones as cameras isn't just their quality catching up, but
1) their apps that tailor the camera function in a myriad ways and allow increasingly sophisticated post-processing in the field
2) their screens that outstrip in size and resolution the best ones available on regular cameras
3) their full-time connectivity (at no added cost to the user) to post the photos as well as see the reaction to them.

As I write in more detail on Optically Opinionated, http://karasevstudio.com/o2/2013/32 I think the camera makers will have to find a way to match a lot of that capability - or perish.

Link | Posted on Nov 4, 2015 at 02:10 UTC
In reply to:

GRUBERND: usually i do not have a problem to construct an actual and totally valid use-case around any given product in photography. this.. still has me wondering. where would the 1 stop more light be of actual help while still having to focus manually.

any serious ideas?

I use my Sony Zeiss 135/1.8 wide open a lot in theatre photography. http://karasevstudio.com/photo/theatre/
Typically on off-Broadway, such photography is done during tech (dress rehearsal). You want the stage lighting only. I shoot a 50/1.4 at 1.8...2.8 on one body, and this Zeiss 135/1.8 at 1.8...2.8 on the other. Granted this is a niche application, but in any similar environment I imagine a 135 that is sharp wide open at 1.4, would work really well.

Link | Posted on Oct 25, 2015 at 03:24 UTC
In reply to:

lem12: Here's short video of this craft, it begins from landing but farther its taking off and transport.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8Ofss2TVuU

These are aerodynamic replicas (note the strap-on aircraft engines near the tail) and later leaner landing-only replicas.

Here's a view from actual Buran. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__p-a5rj8aE
Coming in very hot, very steep. This was because of the 61.2 km/h (38.0 mph) cross-wind the machine had to contend with. The landing (the entire flight) was unmanned and unassisted / unguided from the ground - entirely automatic. In fact the machine had picked a different approach through the clouds than predicted which caused no small amount of anxiety on the ground. That approach had later been determined to have been the better one.

The landing was flawless, within 10m from the mark, and on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikxwNCcKREY you can see how the left main gear from the wind side touches down a split-second before the right one - the way an experienced pilot would do it.

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 18:44 UTC
In reply to:

Alec: Quite strange images of Energia ( "Energiya M space rocket, Kazahstan 2015" and related ), considering that the Soviets have assembled these vehicles horizontally and moved them to the launch pad the same way. The practice started with the Semyorka and never changed with Leninsk (N1 moon rocket), and hence Energia which used the moon assy building / mover / pad other infrastructure.

The strap-on boosters also look too long and lack the complex shapes of those seen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvNALouyQaI and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia , http://pargoo.customer.netspace.net.au/bbur88.jpg

They already had the building for all that - where these vehicles were being assembled. Horizontally (as was universally the case in the Soviet space programme).

These are probably just fake images. The side boosters don't look right and neither does the finish of the central unit.

http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/bbur9.jpg

http://hdwallpaperhub.net/wallpapers/l/1920x1080/69/launch_energia_buran_shuttle_energiya_carrier_rocket_1920x1080_68996.jpg

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4062/4681742108_665c9da0e9_b.jpg

http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/bbur12.jpg

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 18:18 UTC
In reply to:

Alec: Quite strange images of Energia ( "Energiya M space rocket, Kazahstan 2015" and related ), considering that the Soviets have assembled these vehicles horizontally and moved them to the launch pad the same way. The practice started with the Semyorka and never changed with Leninsk (N1 moon rocket), and hence Energia which used the moon assy building / mover / pad other infrastructure.

The strap-on boosters also look too long and lack the complex shapes of those seen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvNALouyQaI and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia , http://pargoo.customer.netspace.net.au/bbur88.jpg

They would build a vertical assembly building and a vertical roller transporter just for the mockup?

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 17:15 UTC

Quite strange images of Energia ( "Energiya M space rocket, Kazahstan 2015" and related ), considering that the Soviets have assembled these vehicles horizontally and moved them to the launch pad the same way. The practice started with the Semyorka and never changed with Leninsk (N1 moon rocket), and hence Energia which used the moon assy building / mover / pad other infrastructure.

The strap-on boosters also look too long and lack the complex shapes of those seen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvNALouyQaI and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia , http://pargoo.customer.netspace.net.au/bbur88.jpg

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2015 at 16:57 UTC as 12th comment | 8 replies
In reply to:

Alec: Accessible slo-mo is a very welcome development for filmmakers, right up there with similarly cheap good low-light and 2496 field sound.

But what astounds me is that smartphones aren't being left in the dust - if anything they're catching up! This is iPhone6 240p low light NYC subway:

https://vimeo.com/133791958

Very true. I think it's not only a matter of reading the frames, but also processing them. To be fair, smartphones have very, very powerful processors nowadays (justified by other killer apps before slo-mo was even on the map) that can make a good use of those readouts. By contrast, on cameras, for a processor to do say 1080p at 480fps, that computing power would pretty much sit idle for any tasks other than slo-mo that I can think of.

...Unless we can think of on-board raw processing that rivals present-day desktop, with real-time lens correction, far more sophisticated noise reduction and sharpening, and perhaps onboard HDR and focus bracketing etc etc.

Link | Posted on Aug 13, 2015 at 01:40 UTC
On article Sony reportedly shifting focus to full-frame cameras (447 comments in total)
In reply to:

mark power: Let's admit it, Sony engineers are brilliant - too brilliant. They apparently race one another to see how many features they can cram into a tiny space. So many picture options undermines the confidence of the photographer because who has time to test them all before deciding to make a photo? There's usually the nagging feeling, "if only I had..." let's have a stripped down version of the A7s. No video, few picture and scene effects, no auto cropping, face finders and so on. Just keep the essential features for good responsive intuitive photography. They could call it the A7pro. We'll never go back to film but the best film cameras just gave you what you need and didn't burden the machine with a lot of engineering hubris.

So in what way is A900 not exactly that? It leaves out all the BS and has a really great viewfinder, really solid body, clean and functional interface, all the real photography features, and a strong shutter and aperture and focusing motors, etc.

If one likes a pure-bred photographer's camera and doesn't want gimmicks, but also doesn't want an A900, one really has to wonder. It's kind of like saying I wish iPhone 6 was more like iPhone 4 in the way it worked, but in an iPhone 7 sort of way... a neat statement, but totally non-actionable.

Link | Posted on Aug 13, 2015 at 01:31 UTC

Accessible slo-mo is a very welcome development for filmmakers, right up there with similarly cheap good low-light and 2496 field sound.

But what astounds me is that smartphones aren't being left in the dust - if anything they're catching up! This is iPhone6 240p low light NYC subway:

https://vimeo.com/133791958

Link | Posted on Aug 12, 2015 at 03:14 UTC as 6th comment | 3 replies
In reply to:

Horshack: Loving my RX10M2. The 960fps comes in handy for geek experiments, like these I did last week:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnNSs36tmMQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6httCrBPL4

It may also be a matter of the much smaller aperture motors and dainty plastic gears aren't up to the task of the larger pro lenses' aperture mechanisms.

Link | Posted on Aug 12, 2015 at 03:09 UTC
On article Sony reportedly shifting focus to full-frame cameras (447 comments in total)
In reply to:

mark power: Let's admit it, Sony engineers are brilliant - too brilliant. They apparently race one another to see how many features they can cram into a tiny space. So many picture options undermines the confidence of the photographer because who has time to test them all before deciding to make a photo? There's usually the nagging feeling, "if only I had..." let's have a stripped down version of the A7s. No video, few picture and scene effects, no auto cropping, face finders and so on. Just keep the essential features for good responsive intuitive photography. They could call it the A7pro. We'll never go back to film but the best film cameras just gave you what you need and didn't burden the machine with a lot of engineering hubris.

I have what one would call the last pure-bred digital still camera. SONY DSLR-A900. No video. No live view. Want to buy mine?

Link | Posted on Aug 12, 2015 at 02:56 UTC
In reply to:

belle100: Judging from the price, they must all be much higher quality. However, I don't understand why it needs to be higher quality than their still counterparts. I mean the resolution of 4K is 4096x2160, which is much lower than those of still image (typical 24MP) required.

I use Samyang's current cine lenses. They're not corrected for focus breathing (to do that, the lens should have a little zoom action that counteracts picture slightly changing size when focusing). I see nothing in the specs of the new ones suggesting that they would, since it's kind of a big deal for a purely mechanical lens of a given resolution - basically double the mechanical complexity without any more play or misalignment.

Link | Posted on Aug 12, 2015 at 02:45 UTC

Clearly, the big bucks and the creators of the original works have the leverage over those who (yes, creatively and competently) capture those works. Most of the viewers of those concert shots want to see Taylor Swift concert pix - they utterly don't care which photographer has captured them. That makes the photographer relatively disposable.

The takeaway for me is, creating a distinct vision and brand - and a following (if those vision and brand are compelling) are keys to success. Otherwise if you're faceless and replaceable, they're going to make you eat sh*t simply because they can. Yes, you can make good arguments that it's not fair etc., but they won't change the actual power balance and thus market reality.

Link | Posted on Jun 26, 2015 at 05:41 UTC as 25th comment
In reply to:

CharlesB58: Well, it's obvious some of the comments posted here are not only made by people who are not working music photographers, but not working photographers at all. The return a photographer gets of a given use of a photo is usually a fraction of what the record label saves with their unlimited use provisions. If you know the industry, you know that labels do all they can to screw their own artists out of money. The greed factor trickles down hill and is often disguised as Intellectual Property Rights.

I've dealt first hand with musicians who loudly protest the idea of of not receiving fair compensation for performances or distribution of recordings then tell me with a smile that they want to use my photos "for credit". I smile back and point out that I am every bit the professional they are. Sometimes we then agree on a usage fee. Other times they resort to using crappy smartphone photos taken by people who are thrilled to get their names on the artist's website.

Many times an artist would like to use my photos, but his/her contract requires approval by his/her label's publicity department. Dealing with those people, who are the ones who come up with the crappy photo contracts, is like undergoing dental work without anesthesia, unless you are already on their approved list.

So please, if you aren't an actual music photographer, consider that your comments don't have much weight in this discussion.

I'm a full-time photog serving NYC's advertising and theatre fields ( karasevstudio.com ). I'm not an actual music photographer, and my comments may not have much weight in this discussion.

That said, nearly all the leverage naturally is on the side of the original creative artist. If a sculptor contracts me to capture their work, yes, my creativity and skill play into how compelling the final image is, but let's get real here - it is the capture of the original creative work on whose design I had zero creative input.

If Taylor Swift comes to me for a headshot or an editorial shoot, and we develop a concept together and then shoot it, that's our show. If I were shooting her performance as-is, that's her show. A litmus test is, in the latter case, replacing me with a random competent photog would change almost nothing in the commercial success of the whole venture, and replacing Taylor Swift with a random competent singer would change almost everything. And that's the power balance.

Link | Posted on Jun 26, 2015 at 05:29 UTC

I'd love to see Sigma make a 20-40mm f/4 ZOOM TILT-SHIFT lens, for architecture, with a large imaging circle / shift value.

I say f/4 because for intended applications, shift lenses tend to be on a tripod anyway and with a wide intended dof. It's nice to dream of same at 2.8 but not at triple the price or with a significantly reduced imaging circle or compromised micro-contrast.

Link | Posted on Jun 20, 2015 at 20:36 UTC as 29th comment | 1 reply
On article Alpha dog: Hands-on with Sony a7R II (1118 comments in total)
In reply to:

En Trance: And my question still remains. Is a serious photographer interested in using a camera that has a primary design objective of fitting into his wife's fanny pack??? I love the technology and specs, but I wonder about the design compromises resulting from the miniature packaging.

A few of these rebuttals focus on weight. If the strength is the same, a lighter lens+body combo will of course be preferred by the pros, if well balanced.

Above, I spoke abt size not the weight. Yes a downhill skier will prefer lighter skis (assuming they perform the same) but not smaller skis or boots that only go up to your ankles. That'd be absurd. Ditto a competitive pistol shooter - he'd be nuts to prefer a pistol with a half-size grip. But for some reason with cameras, people get all worked up about pro cameras, regardless of tech evolution, desired to have the grip surface for your entire right palm. Are there pro caliber bodies that are tiny? YES. They may even be loved by pros as backups or personal shooters or some other applications. That's not the point. The point is, what SIZE you prefer to shoot all day every day with a big lens, such that your hands don't shake by the end of the day - and the answer is, a body that has a big physical interface surface for your palm.

Link | Posted on Jun 15, 2015 at 13:30 UTC
Total: 203, showing: 21 – 40
« First‹ Previous12345Next ›Last »