JacquesBalthazar

JacquesBalthazar

Lives in Belgium Brussels, Belgium
Joined on Oct 29, 2004

Comments

Total: 144, showing: 1 – 20
« First‹ Previous12345Next ›Last »

Like many, I used and loved Pentax SLRs in the film age (MX, LX and SFX). I tried a K7 back in 2009 but had by then already sold off my K legacy lenses and did not want to invest in their idiosyncratic and hard-to-find last gen lens line, even if Pentax gear in general, including that camer, was excellent. Simply, the Nikon or Canon ecosystems were and remain much more efficient to deal with, with far easier access to service and to a much wider range of new and compatible legacy lenses and accessories.

That has not changed.

All this to say that while I do still have a soft spot for the Pentax brand and I do find the K1 and K1 II bodies extremely attractive for all sorts of reasons, including fantastic price and features, I cannot imagine how they could sell in 2018 outside of the marginal universe of Pentax faithfuls and rare first time DSLR buyers untouched by the marketing firepower of the leading brands. Makes me kind of sad.

Link | Posted on Mar 19, 2018 at 10:10 UTC as 6th comment
On article Fujifilm X-H1 Review (1468 comments in total)

Apart from the Leica SL, this is the only mirrorless body that handles as well as a very good DSLR. It has the optimal size, weight, ergonomics and feature set for Fuji's "pro" zooms and larger primes. For people like me who also prefer "analogue-rich" user interfaces it is much more attractive than the (otherwise excellent) Sony FF and APS-C offerings.

This review seems very balanced to me, and encourages me to look at this body to complete/backup my current FF setup.

Generally speaking, I find the FF advantages to be routinely exagerrated and I feel that contemporary APS-C sensors hit a sweet spot for 99% of my use cases.

I had a full Xpro/XT system for a few years, but found the bodies a pain to handhold with anything larger than the 23mm f/1.4. The X-H1 corrects that. It also brings a wonderful EVF, IBIS and great video to my manual Leica and Nikkor lenses.

On my wish list to replace what is left of my DSLR estate!

Link | Posted on Mar 16, 2018 at 10:25 UTC as 83rd comment | 4 replies
On article Sigma unveils 105mm F1.4 Art 'bokeh master' (326 comments in total)

Top IQ FF lenses are getting heavier and heavier, and this one’s weight will be prohibitive for many users. At 1.6kg, it weighs considerably more than a Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 (1.1kg) or a Nikkor 105mm f/1.4 (just under 1kg), either of which are already quite a load for « standard » use cases (hobbyist outings with 3 or 4 high quality lenses) . It will be especially unwieldy and unbalanced on the Sony bodies. Apart from that, the price will most probably be very competitive and it is great to see continuous progress and ambitions in the field of lens offerings.

Link | Posted on Feb 27, 2018 at 09:54 UTC as 75th comment | 1 reply

In practical terms, the Leica Q beats any DSLR + any 28mm manual focus lens while maintaining very good « FF level » IQ.
On the other hand, 45MP bring more potential to the table than 24MP.
The real underlying question of this exercise is « why use large, heavy and expensive MF lenses on DSLR bodies when high quality AF alternatives are available »

So many other comparisons could have been more meaningful than this one.

Link | Posted on Jan 31, 2018 at 09:32 UTC as 13th comment
On article Film vs Digital: Fashion photography shootout (401 comments in total)
In reply to:

JacquesBalthazar: Let’s be explicit here: what we are looking at is 100% digital.

One is a set of files of digital captures produced through a scanner, the other is a set of files produced by a digital camera.

The first category is produced by capturing via a CCD pre-existing images of a scene as materialised on chemically treated pieces of emulsion, the second is produced by directly capturing actual live scenes via a CMOS. Then both sets are electronically edited, resampled and downsized to fit the destructive DPR publication requirements.

If the analogue chain advantages (tones, dynamic range, grain structure, etc) exist, they will have been dramatically compromised via their digitisation process.

Finally, there are so many effective film simulations available now in the digital processing chain, that you can mimic analogue quite easily for all practical purposes.

Sticking to an end-to-end analogue chain is the only way to witness its unique qualities (via a print or a slide projection).

@Richard-on-Thames: I also shoot both film and digital, and am unfortunately condemned to digitise the film bit at some point if I want to share the images, or even just to print them, as I have no physical space at home for a wet lab.

I agree with your points, but with caveats, some of which you highlight yourself: the scanning needs to be “good” (and what constitutes a “good scan” is a point for intricate debate). Different films behave differently: the advantages of colour negs are completely different from those of black & white negs and both are vastly different from the advantages of slides, not mentioning the differences between emulsion brands and sensitivities, developers, etc.

My main reason for liking film has little to do with “rendition”. I like the frugality in the picture taking process: make me think more, which in turn makes the process more engaging and enjoyable. I also like the fact that the neg/slide was actually exposed to reality and keeps it on record.

Link | Posted on Jan 21, 2018 at 08:48 UTC
On article Film vs Digital: Fashion photography shootout (401 comments in total)

Let’s be explicit here: what we are looking at is 100% digital.

One is a set of files of digital captures produced through a scanner, the other is a set of files produced by a digital camera.

The first category is produced by capturing via a CCD pre-existing images of a scene as materialised on chemically treated pieces of emulsion, the second is produced by directly capturing actual live scenes via a CMOS. Then both sets are electronically edited, resampled and downsized to fit the destructive DPR publication requirements.

If the analogue chain advantages (tones, dynamic range, grain structure, etc) exist, they will have been dramatically compromised via their digitisation process.

Finally, there are so many effective film simulations available now in the digital processing chain, that you can mimic analogue quite easily for all practical purposes.

Sticking to an end-to-end analogue chain is the only way to witness its unique qualities (via a print or a slide projection).

Link | Posted on Jan 20, 2018 at 08:35 UTC as 112th comment | 7 replies

Dear DPR: whenever you have a chance, please take the time for a comparative test of a SL with one of these lenses against Zeiss Otus 85mm on Nik/SL adaptor (similar price, heavier and no AF but f/1.4 of course ). You could add Sigma Art to the mix.

While I am not tempted by the SL zooms, and not seduced by the SL 50mm f/1.4's size, weight and price, I find SL's current price + this new SL Summicron range (75/90 and coming 35/50) not that outlandish - if the lenses do perform at Otus level or better indeed. Not that I can afford any of this these days.

Link | Posted on Jan 17, 2018 at 08:16 UTC as 2nd comment

Would have been more logical to compare to the other 24 MP Full Frame sensors. In which case, M10 results are slightly below cameras such as Sony A7II and slightly above respected DSLRs such as Canon 5D MarkIII. Not top of the pack and not a lagger. I am lucky enough to own a M10 and love the experience. The quality of that experience comes from a mix of build, architecture (OVF + rangefinder), ergonomics, optical performance of lenses, size and weight. The resulting pictures are not necessarily technically better than what one gets with a A7II or D750 or even a Fujifilm X-PRO2 or Sony A6300, but they are more than excellent enough for my usage. Again, photography is an activity that combines many processes, and sensor performance is just one (important) dimension. Anyway, I am not sure that the traditional rangefinder system will ever be able to accommodate higher resolution than 24 MP: there are too many mechanical elements at play. An eventual 42 MP M will require an integrated EVF.

Link | Posted on Dec 15, 2017 at 16:17 UTC as 137th comment | 2 replies
In reply to:

JacquesBalthazar: Funny that Barney’s pick was published the very same day I purchased my own M10, bringing me back into that idiosyncratic brand’s fold 7 year’s after I had given up on it, post M9 and M8 disappointments.

During those 7 years, I went on a merry-go-round of other systems, and had mostly settled on the Fuji X line. Way too much stuff was bought (new and second hand) or part exchanged along the way, but thank goodness I had kept a core set of M lenses and my old M6 throughout the process. It would have been infinitely cheaper for me to stay with Leica and just deal with the frustrations of the time.

Despite my best efforts, i always missed the M.

All that to say that I exchanged yesterday my whole Fuji X system against an M10. Three large supermarket bags full of lenses, bodies and accessories against one box. Still had to top that off with a little cash.

I now feel « home » again and looking forward to a great M weekend along the old streets and canals of Ghent.... Love to all!

@Ergo607: my issues with M8 revolved mainly around the obligation to use filters on all lenses to correct the horrendous magenta cast delivered by the sensor’s own disastrous IR filtering (and the sensor size). My issues with M9 revolved mainly around sensor cracks (twice) and very disappointing low light performance (low light photography historically was one of Leica M’s strongest points). I did not try next generation (M240).

Link | Posted on Nov 12, 2017 at 10:29 UTC

Funny that Barney’s pick was published the very same day I purchased my own M10, bringing me back into that idiosyncratic brand’s fold 7 year’s after I had given up on it, post M9 and M8 disappointments.

During those 7 years, I went on a merry-go-round of other systems, and had mostly settled on the Fuji X line. Way too much stuff was bought (new and second hand) or part exchanged along the way, but thank goodness I had kept a core set of M lenses and my old M6 throughout the process. It would have been infinitely cheaper for me to stay with Leica and just deal with the frustrations of the time.

Despite my best efforts, i always missed the M.

All that to say that I exchanged yesterday my whole Fuji X system against an M10. Three large supermarket bags full of lenses, bodies and accessories against one box. Still had to top that off with a little cash.

I now feel « home » again and looking forward to a great M weekend along the old streets and canals of Ghent.... Love to all!

Link | Posted on Nov 11, 2017 at 07:40 UTC as 74th comment | 7 replies
In reply to:

(unknown member): A 1.4 lens this wide with electrical contacts that in a decade will fail... only the cost of feeding one adult for a year. Hmmm , we have the RoHS problem again> it is why I dont buy. It is why I dont buy a Leica M10. It is why I dont buy expensive, and possibly good equipment. Does it/they come with a free circuit and chip replacement for when RoHS leadfree circuits crystal up and dont work any more? Well?

You may not care, but you do care when your hard drives fail, and your TVs fail for the same reason, so there must be a mental illness element operative in photographers after all!! If an item is of good quality, buy it regardless and pray it keeps working beyond its 1 year warranty, even though the price this year is 50% above last years model (Dont argue cf D810/D850 Sony A7RII/ A9, Fuji Xpro1/2 the list goes on, the financial THEFT worsens). And it is not even autofocus, and NO landscape photographer NEEDS f1.4!!

For the Nikon mount version, the lens would still operate flawlessly even if you ripped out ALL electronic components, on aperture priority mode or full manual. You would only lose EXIF data on aperture and lens ID, and the ability to pilot aperture from the body (no program mode or shutter priority automatism).

The rest is purely subjective, and all OK.

At my end, I want it, and I will trust it to still be working flawlessly in 20 years time or more, just like any other soundly built mechanical lens. In fact I am more worried about the durability of the Milvus focus ring cover material (some kind of rubber) than about any other component of that lens.

Link | Posted on Oct 19, 2017 at 12:00 UTC
On article Shooting with a used DSLR kit that cost me just $80 (284 comments in total)

Healthy exercise.

When all is said and done, a good picture will be a good picture independently of the age of the capturing device or the technology used. The combination of subject matter, composition, storytelling, creativity, “decisive moment”, interplay of light, tones and colours, are what makes a good picture.

Link | Posted on Oct 14, 2017 at 06:37 UTC as 54th comment
On article Vintage lens shootout: three lenses, one model (77 comments in total)

It feels to me as if the attraction of this hardware-based optical weirdness is similar to what motivates the resurgence of film: digital has made the whole photographic process "idiotensicher" and a bit too easy. An ignorant click in Snapseed will transform any snapshot into something that - to the untrained eye - will look like what would have taken years of experience and many hours of research and labouring in the "old days".

By going vintage, we try and go back to the days where the photographer needed training, know-how and experience - on top of a creative vision - to produce something out of the ordinary. However, by doing that on sensor based cameras, we opt for a lazy hybrid approach. To make this a bit more interesting, we should probably abolish raw from the process: you either get it right in camera or you failed.

No raw, no digital filters, fixed ISO, aperture-priority or full manual settings, and we are closer to what photography used to be. Not that it matters.

Link | Posted on Aug 9, 2017 at 07:22 UTC as 15th comment | 1 reply

Very nice offer by Sony indeed, allowing them to climb further up the price (and margin) ladder and be less exposed to mass market downturns, which is everyone's main objective in the photographic device business these days. The body design improvements are more than welcome as well, even if the software UI remains unwieldy. That said, Sony could have opted for a more radical departure from the a7 design and set a new standard of useability. I just cannot get along with the physical and logical user interface of the Sony a series....

Personally, I would be seduced by an offer combining the technology and announced performance of this a9 with the physical interface of a chunkier XT2 or the less pretty GFX. GFX (or Leica SL or D810) size would be better as well for hand held useability with the larger "pro" lenses, operation with gloves, etc. Wonder how this a9 handles with the new battery grip....

Link | Posted on Apr 20, 2017 at 06:32 UTC as 48th comment | 1 reply

very nice option at that FL. In the Nikon world, the only real competitor is the beautiful but manual focus Zeiss. It also feels in many respects like a modern alternative to the 180mm f/2.8 AFD (not mentionning quirky 135mm AFD) and a cost effective alternative to the recent 105mm f/1.4

From an ethical point of view, I like it that Sigma (and Zeiss/Cosina and Fujifilm) go on producing in Japan rather than join the China offshoring mob.
Price feels just about right.

The only "iffy" bit with Sigma is the FUD around long term firmware compatibility with Nikon's AF and electronic aperture management protocols. I wish these guys agreed proper licensing terms to prevent unexpected mishaps down the road. I know the dock is there to re-assure us, but all that reverse engineering just feels very risky for prospective buyers.

Link | Posted on Mar 20, 2017 at 08:07 UTC as 5th comment | 2 replies
On article Fujifilm X100F Review (836 comments in total)

Nice work all round, thanks DPR. Also thanks Fujifilm for catering to the sometimes irrational desires of passionate photographers. I have the X100T and can "feel" the benefits procured by the F upgrade without even touching one. Contrary to my first foray into the X100 concept, I now own the XPro2 and 23mm f/2 combination, which is a real joy to use. The larger size of that body makes it in fact easier to manipulate, and the WR feature is reassuring. So am not too sure if I'll take the plunge for this new little jewel... Hard to resist though, even more so after reading this nice write-up!

Link | Posted on Mar 17, 2017 at 16:12 UTC as 98th comment

truly impressive trio! Weather sealing added now, and that is great news.

Now, if only we could be sure that their AF system will remain entirely compatible with current or future Nikon cameras despite whatever firmware/processing quirks might be thrown at them .....

Link | Posted on Feb 21, 2017 at 08:35 UTC as 74th comment
On article Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF bokeh demystified (355 comments in total)
In reply to:

Aroart: Bokeh is so overrated.. I Have a very strong fine art background and started getting getting serious about photography for the past 6 years.. Out of all the elements that make a great photograph bokeh is dead last.. Even photo contest winners rarely win because of, ooohhh look how blurry it is... Subject matter, Light, Composition, Story, will make or break your photograph..

@Aroart: Absolutely true! Still, for certain compositions, it is not absurd to think of bokeh the way one thinks about a studio backdrop: the texture, colour(s), mood, that help enhance the look and feel you want to communicate about your main subject. An accessory or a prop. Nothing more. Might as well use one that looks nice to your eyes, or works for your image.

Link | Posted on Feb 18, 2017 at 06:32 UTC

Beautiful! I can only imagine the thrill and dedication that went into producing this series....

To those who complain about "deja vu": with the trillions of pictures churned out in the digital age, it is getting increasingly unlikely that anyone will ever produce a photographic picture "never done before", in any style. The exception might be PJ work, as each news event will be unique. But even there, at the end, charred bodies, flag waving crowds, crying mothers, will become interchangeable in the eyes of most viewers.

Link | Posted on Jan 3, 2017 at 10:56 UTC as 11th comment
On article 2016 DPReview Readers' Best Shots: People (93 comments in total)

Great stuff, congrats to all!

Link | Posted on Dec 31, 2016 at 19:46 UTC as 33rd comment
Total: 144, showing: 1 – 20
« First‹ Previous12345Next ›Last »