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In reply to:

whyamihere: I love these technical articles! Richard, et al, thank you so much for making them happen.

One item I wish could be added would be an explanation as to why using xenon flash -- or, for that matter, flash sync or HSS -- isn't possible with the current implementation of electronic, non-global shutters. Is it the flash duration, how the sensor readout works, both, or some other wonky technical reason? I have theories, but I have yet to have found a well-researched answer to this.


That's what I believed the primary reason to be. It would be interesting to find out how long those shutter speeds needed to be, at least in theory, and how technological improvements -- such as Sony's advancements in readout speed in their newer sensors -- could mitigate it, or if simple changes to flash duration or pulsing can work around technological limitations. Or, maybe the whole method of flash photography needs to go into a waste bin and be completely rethought, assuming photography is moving towards a completely shutter-less paradigm.

Link | Posted on May 22, 2017 at 21:53 UTC

I love these technical articles! Richard, et al, thank you so much for making them happen.

One item I wish could be added would be an explanation as to why using xenon flash -- or, for that matter, flash sync or HSS -- isn't possible with the current implementation of electronic, non-global shutters. Is it the flash duration, how the sensor readout works, both, or some other wonky technical reason? I have theories, but I have yet to have found a well-researched answer to this.


Link | Posted on May 22, 2017 at 17:29 UTC as 27th comment | 2 replies

The first two thoughts that immediately jumped to mind:

1. This is, to me, the more interesting of the two lenses announced today.

2. I can only imagine how much the lens is depending on the camera for image correction. The Sigma and Canon equivalents are big and have huge, bulbous front elements in order to produce the flattest image possible at the wide end. I can't imagine this lens producing the same level of image quality across the frame as its competitors, meaning there will probably be some optical compromise (distortion, vignetting?) that the camera will try to correct. Of course, that's always the price you pay for a more compact lens.

Link | Posted on May 17, 2017 at 16:28 UTC as 34th comment | 2 replies
On article The Sony a9 is a 24MP sports-shooting powerhouse (1905 comments in total)

While I'm personally not in the market for another camera, this camera seems to mostly resolve all my qualms with the Sony A7 series: Touch screen, fast sensor readout, a "My Menu", dual (fast!) card slots, a deep buffer (though, hopefully, you'll be able to do other things with the camera while buffered files are writing to the card), batteries that hold a charge for longer than a few hundred images... thanks for listening, Sony!

What I'm worried about is the stability and heat issues that plagued other Sony cameras. These technological advancements are all for nought if the camera crashes when you're trying to get work done. (I'm assuming, based on pricing and capability, Sony is aiming this at people who are working photographers, who can't afford to have a camera fail during critical moments that can't be repeated.)

Here's hoping Sony made a truly awesome product, instead of another flawed beta product that will be iteratively replaced in 6 months.

Link | Posted on Apr 19, 2017 at 15:49 UTC as 379th comment
On article Nikon D7500 vs Nikon D500: Which is better for you? (393 comments in total)
In reply to:

mailman88: Actually Canon is better, with more affordable lens selection.

Actually, Nikon is better, because you can use their lenses from the 1950's without an adapter.

Actually, Fujifilm is better, because they produce small cameras that arguably outgun Canon's cameras in terms of features and usability.

Actually, Sony is better, because they're not afraid to innovate.

Actually, Sigma is better, because they're an independent company who follows nobody.

Actually, Samsung is better, because, at this point, you'll never have to worry about upgrading ever again.

Actually, Hasselblad is better, because they have leaf shutter lenses and everything is handmade.

Actually, Pentax is better, because every APS-C camera they make has a pentaprism viewfinder, is water sealed, and you don't have to pay extra money for that.

Actually, Apple is better, because I don't have to bring an extra camera with me.

Actually, 'actually' is an interjection in speech that is usually followed by a nonsensical statement that reaffirms the disposition of the speaker/writer.

Link | Posted on Apr 13, 2017 at 17:09 UTC
On article Nikon D7500 vs Nikon D500: Which is better for you? (393 comments in total)

I own a D500 (and only a D500), and I don't quite get why everyone's being tripped up by the D7500. It almost reminds me of the blowback Canon felt when they bifurcated the double-digit EOS D line, where people couldn't quite figure out if the 'upgrade' to the 50D was the 60D or the 7D.

This is no different to me, honestly. The D500 competes with the 7D Mk II, the D7500 competes with the 80D, and the D3400 and D5600 compete with the Rebel T7i and 77D, respectively. I mean, hey, it works for Canon. Why can't Nikon do it?

If you own the D7200, and you don't think the D7500 is a worthwhile upgrade, and you can't stomach the D500 for whatever reason... well, there's your answer. Don't upgrade. Buy something else that suits your photography needs, like a lens, or lights, or hire a model, or visit an exotic location... or, y'know, just save your money for the next upgrade.

Link | Posted on Apr 13, 2017 at 17:01 UTC as 77th comment | 2 replies

Immediately clicked on this article because it combines two favorite topics of mine: roller derby (go Liberty Belles!) and photography.

Allison, you've done a really amazing job drawing the parallels between them.

I enrolled in photography classes at the university where I work, and I'm so glad I did. I've been forced into pursuing several photo projects, and I can already see my work improving because I'm being asked to think, be creative, work within constraints, and face [constructive] criticism. (Hearing "you're work is great" all the time is never very helpful.) While I was technically way ahead of the other class members, having used cameras for years, I was just as good as they were using my skills for creative applications. I'm not an avant-garde artiste just yet, but I'm better than I was.

Thank you, Allison, for writing this article.

(PS: When you say, "Heading for the golden pastures where retired derby skaters go," it's your knees, right? It's almost always the knees.)

Link | Posted on Apr 3, 2017 at 01:52 UTC as 5th comment | 1 reply
In reply to:

samfan: As a side note, DPR. Could you please not use those asterisk'd notes below the article? One has 2 choices, either scroll down to read the explanation and then scroll up, having to find the point where the article continues, or finish reading and then get to the notes, forgetting the context in the meantime.

Just put them somewhere in separate boxes in the article, or make them appear on hover/click or such.

There are methods of including in-line footnotes and citation that works on mobile devices. I prefer FiveThirtyEight's implementation, which is based on javascript and css, and doesn't require archaic 'link to another part of the page' weirdness to navigate around. The website devs could probably figure it out with a quick Google search.

Link | Posted on Mar 29, 2017 at 20:28 UTC

I'm going to push back against the concept and suggest, at least for me, which lens I'd live with forever would depend on what system I'm using.

When I used Micro Four Thirds, my favorite lens was the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5. A tiny pancake lens on a small body made for a pocketable combo that I always had on me.

For Fuji X-series, I constantly used their 23mm f/1.4. It's a versatile focal length combined with a bright aperture, and that lens paired with a X-T1 invited me to shoot with it all the time.

On a Nikon full-frame DSLR, I used the 85mm f/1.8G more than any of the other primes I owned. It was light, fast, and incredibly sharp. Probably among the best portrait lenses I've used.

Now on a Nikon D500, I use the 18-35mm f/1.8 every day. It's as versatile as the camera it's attached to, both in the studio and outdoors.

If you want to know what lens I'd use for the rest of time, I'd ask in return, "Well, what camera am I stuck with for the rest of time?"

Link | Posted on Mar 27, 2017 at 17:40 UTC as 124th comment
On article Fujifilm X100F Review (764 comments in total)
In reply to:

Daft Punk: "Exaggeratedly derided Adobe Camera Raw"...

Really? Given the history of how other software suites have done a (much) better job of handling Fuji X trans files, i think the derision is not unfair.

How does DPR come to the conclusion that the problems with Adobe and X trans are exaggerated?

The Fuji users who flock to C1 and Iridient aren't doing it for their health. They do it because the results are better.

I've never used anything but Lightroom to adjust my X-T1 raw files, even for paid work. I agree with Richard, the problem with Adobe products and Fujifilm cameras is not what the perturbed internet denizens made it out to be.

Link | Posted on Mar 16, 2017 at 20:00 UTC
On article Hands-on with Ricoh's compact Pentax KP (634 comments in total)

I love the idea of a compact DSLR, something that resembles older film cameras in form factor without giving up the creature comforts of modern technology.

My biggest gripe with this camera is it could have been more compact if they got rid of that ridiculously bulky-looking pop-up flash. Heck, they could have even fit in a bigger viewfinder and still wound up with a slightly more compact body if the flash wasn't there.

Link | Posted on Jan 25, 2017 at 22:53 UTC as 185th comment | 1 reply

Only here to make my emphatic plea for a digital GF670. All I want it to be is a medium format X100, leaf shutter, converter lenses, and all.

Link | Posted on Jan 24, 2017 at 18:19 UTC as 26th comment | 2 replies
On article Fotodiox LED100WB-56 quick review (56 comments in total)
In reply to:

techjedi: Aren't hot lights considered distracting as the primary light source for portraits? I thought one of the big advantages of flash was that the model isn't squinting or reacting to the light? I feel like the picture of the guy wearing the beanie cap is showing this tension in the skin around the eyes.

That said, these look great for product shots if they have enough power for 2 lights to enable ISO 100, f5.6-ish, 1/125-ish on APS-C sensor for a 3/4 body-size mannequin.

Maybe if you had your subjects in front of these lights for an hour with no modifier, perhaps squinting would be an issue. I think it's evident from the sample photos that for quick and easy portraits, squinting is not a problem. Some modeling lights for studio strobes put out more light than this.

One of the side effects to a continuous light that many photographers overlook is the fact the pupil of the eyes is smaller. This allows for more visible iris color, which is never a bad thing. (Again, look at the sample photos.)

Link | Posted on Jan 12, 2017 at 01:33 UTC
In reply to:

ProfHankD: I think the big problem with this is that good encryption isn't computationally cheap enough for the relatively slow ARM32 processors used in most cameras. Using CHDK, ML, or OpenMemories, one could probably put code into a camera to do this, but it would almost certainly be as a slow in-camera postprocessing step. It would be pretty hard to convince companies to add encryption hardware....

Actually, a lot of Flash memory cards also have ARM32 cores that could be programmed to do it... but then the camera probably wouldn't be able to review the files once written.

The capability of ARM processors shouldn't be the concern. There are more powerful ARM SoC designs available, should a camera company choose to utilize them.

I agree that the problem is: "So, this image is encrypted... should we let the camera read it afterwards?" Doing so would basically mean the keys to reading the files remain on that particular camera, and if someone has access to that camera, they have access to the files. But if the media is not reviewable on a camera, then some other data has to be provided via a common application or piece of hardware to decrypt the photos so they're readable again. Apps and hardware can be hacked, which means any encryption is basically a deterrence, at best.

There's no easy solution here, sadly.

Link | Posted on Dec 15, 2016 at 03:06 UTC
In reply to:

GodSpeaks: I agree completely. Some time ago I was poopooed on these forums for suggesting people consider encryption on their computers and phones to ensure the privacy of their personal photos, videos and data.

There are some very good free encryption tools available for computers, but be wary of free smartphone encryption apps. They may not be nearly as secure as they imply. Before committing to one, be sure it does what you 'think' it does.

I use TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt on the PC and EDS (not free) on my android smartphone. EDS can read/write TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt containers. EDS does require root, however.

Encryption for your phone or computer is only as good as your habitual use of either. You're using an Android phone which decrypts your data anytime it's passed through Google's servers (which is often), and most Windows apps do the same. TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt, and EDS are, shall we say, flawed, at best, and are only useful at preventing people from getting data from a device they have physical access to and no known password. If you're freely transmitting unencrypted data across the internet by way of using normal, everyday apps and operating systems, then there's no point.

People really seem to misunderstand what encryption does and does not do, nor how to best implement it. All you seem to be doing is giving yourself a false sense of security on leaky devices with encryption apps that often do more harm than good.

Link | Posted on Dec 15, 2016 at 02:53 UTC

I'm surprised camera data encryption isn't already a thing. We're talking a few KB of data added to each image & minimal processing power on the behalf of the camera to ensure that information remains secure and/or confidential. The media most cameras use - Secure Digital - supports encryption; a SD card's ROM could probably be modified to secure erase after too many password attempts.

With that said, encryption is only as good as its design and implementation. Companies get hacked all the time, and their cipher data could be stolen and distributed. Backdoors are made because some companies willingly hand the keys over to any government who politely asks. Heck, even the few bits of information passed back & forth between camera & the card could leak enough data for a crack. Nothing is foolproof, and encryption might just wind up being a mild inconvenience instead of a huge detriment.

Before anyone cracks wise: This is part of my job. I think about security in practical terms a lot.

Link | Posted on Dec 15, 2016 at 02:35 UTC as 46th comment | 4 replies
In reply to:

teddoman: This doesn't account for the quality vs quantity issue on flickr. I almost never see a cellphone photo on flickr. That's because I follow photographers. But sure, there are users who auto-upload their cellphone photos to flickr. The vast majority of active users that I see have traditional cameras.

A statistic that tracks actual flickr usage would be camera types of the most popular Explored photos. Or maybe by raw pageviews.

I find your comment to be needlessly elitist, ostracizing, and self-aggrandizing. "I almost never see a cellphone photo... because I follow photographers," is basically a statement that insists photos can't be taken with any device a person has on them, and that not everyone with a camera is a 'photographer'.

It's equally as disingenuous to say there's a "quality vs quantity issue on Flickr" because your generally assuming everyone's basis for 'quality' is the same. I assure you, it is not.

Your alternative methods for discerning what cameras are 'popular' are flawed and easy to artificially inflate. I've never used the Explore function, for example, but I suspect it would probably throw promoted images at me rather than anything objective based on my interests. Raw page views isn't an objective metric unless Flickr wastes time separating out IP addresses and user logins to eliminate people or bots that might visit the same image a hundred times to help drive traffic.

Link | Posted on Dec 7, 2016 at 22:32 UTC
On article Elevating X-Trans? Fujifilm X-T2 Review (2204 comments in total)
In reply to:

User5477267025: Which are these certain lenses?

If it's of any additional use, I find that if the lens is equipped with a linear motor (LM in Fuji's lens naming scheme), or, as Richard suggested, if you own one of the newer small prime lenses which have fewer focusing elements, you're in good shape when it comes to fast, accurate autofocus.

It's worth mentioning the newer small primes do sacrifice some image quality. For example, while field curvature is basically non-existant on the 35mm f/1.4, the f/2 lens has significant barrel distortion which is corrected for in camera. While most people won't see this weakness if they shoot JPEG or lightly edit their raw files with a lens profile, the native flaws become more evident if you have a tendency to push your files in post production.

Link | Posted on Oct 19, 2016 at 16:53 UTC
In reply to:

BBQue: Medium format starts with 6x6 cm. 3x4 is pretty boring.

Well, the largest 'medium format' sensor is 6x4.5 cm, and the cheapest camera I could find using it costs about $23,000. I hope you're also excited by parting ways with enough money that could otherwise partially finance a home or purchase a whole car and a garage to put it in...

Plus, last I checked 'medium format' technically referred to anything larger than 135 format. But facts never stopped anyone from asserting their uninformed opinions in an internet comment section, so don't let that concept get in your way.

Link | Posted on Sep 19, 2016 at 23:31 UTC
In reply to:

WillWeaverRVA: And we now have the Hasselblad X1D killer. Could also give the Pentax 645Z a run for its money, too.

NoMirror99: With the right studio strobe(s), that x-sync speed doesn't mean all that much.

Link | Posted on Sep 19, 2016 at 16:23 UTC
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