John Koch

Joined on Aug 6, 2003


Total: 302, showing: 1 – 20
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Think of all the salt water spray, so friendly to camera gear! You cannot sail a Laser seriously and not get plenty wet. What was the second craft used to take the pictures?

Much of the credit should go to the anonymous "boatman" who enabled McDonagh to get near sailor Murphy's craft multiple times without disturbing the shots with bow waves or a collision. The subject had to steer her craft suitable to the wind and waves, with only limited discretion to "pose." As much as some will object, this is also a case where a drone might be handy; however, it is hard to fly a drone close enough to the water, and the usual videographic preference for slow shutter speeds would entail much blurrier results than those obtained with the speed sync.

Link | Posted on Nov 13, 2017 at 14:32 UTC as 13th comment

A $15 million 3-month profit is certainly better than a loss, but the annualized return on GoPro's $825 million equity would be only 7%. Will final quarter results be enough to offset the 1-QTR-18 seasonal dip?

According to GoPro's 10-Q SEC filing, R&D expenses were cut from $266 million to $177 million for the nine months ending 30-Sep-17. That might be hard to sustain, unless R&D efficiencies improve dramatically.

The balance sheet includes $146m in "goodwill," a good share of it originating in the 2016 purchase of two mobile editing application firms (Quick and Splice) at prices nearly $100 million above the tangible asset values. There was no amortization charged YTD for 2017. The SEC filings furnish no break-out or discussion of the actual contributions to recent earnings. Is either app attractive in practice?

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2017 at 01:33 UTC as 4th comment

Age discrimination? Oral hearsay is inadmissible. Written evidence seldom exists. Written HR policies, anywhere, usually disavow it. Age need not be mentioned at all. A hiring manager, with 7-10 years experience, will almost always look for candidates with a junior experience level. If an applicant has 15 years experience, instead of the 3-5 years prescribed in the ad, he is simply "over-qualified" or incapable of advancement. Anything before 2007, when the hiring manager's career began, is either irrelevant, stale, or an annoyance. If there are wrinkles (time gaps) or bald spots (date omissions) in an applicant's history, no need to consider further. Odds are there will be more than enough fresh applicants with the desired experience level and no gaps: the "good fit." HR will nod. All legal. Works by tidy algorithm. With no shades of gray!

Link | Posted on Oct 24, 2017 at 03:55 UTC as 3rd comment
On article WiBotic PowerPad brings wireless charging to drones (12 comments in total)

Instead of putting a drone on a charging pad, wouldn't it be quicker and less immobilizing to swap the drone's battery, so it can fly while the first battery is re-charging? This would also be a faster way to keep an eCar on the road too.

Any charger must, at some point, be wired to a power source.

Link | Posted on Oct 24, 2017 at 01:52 UTC as 5th comment
In reply to:

rsf3127: NY Times is so irrelevant...I am pretty sure that without Soros funding them, they would already have filled for bankruptcy.

The NYT Co. has reported profits for 2013-6 and for the first two quarters of 2017. It has net worth of $887 million. This is public information. Just look up the NYT ticker at any financial information website and review the financial disclosures.

Link | Posted on Oct 21, 2017 at 20:35 UTC

People aspire to the sorts of wildlife shots they see on TV. Such work often requires months to make and, very likely, employed all sorts of means to get close to the animals, far from roads or conveniences.

A typical visitor has one or two days. Pictures of elk 300 yards away will look flat and uninteresting, even with a 400mm lens. A distant bear may be largely hidden by brush. The folks back home will yawn at anything less than a selfie close-up with a trophy beast at kissing distance. That is what people see in the Nature shows sponsored by Canon. So the motivation to approach the animals is palpable. Any rules will be scoffed. Any who comply must settle for pictures that include the scoffers. Possible alternatives: 1) zoo, 2) game farm like the one DPR visited, 3) tricks with green screen and Photoshop, or 4) postcards.

It could be worse. A "safari" used to mean (or can still mean) to gun down and behead or skin as many big beasts the customer could shoot.

Link | Posted on Oct 16, 2017 at 16:34 UTC as 5th comment | 1 reply

If the comparisons tell us which camera or sensor were involved, partisan observers will find a reason to praise the one they already favor by faith or fancy.

The best tests would be "double blind," where the judges and people who score the findings have no knowledge or tips about which camera's shots they are seeing. Good, too, if the judges include a group that has no clue about sensor size disputes anyway, but only "know what I like." Very likely, there would be no statistically significant difference in the scores, or it would be driven by factors other than sensor size: content, color balance / saturation, lighting, lens, editing, or audio. A skilled photographer will know how to get good results with almost any device. Most often that will be "the one you have with you."

Link | Posted on Oct 9, 2017 at 18:28 UTC as 6th comment

A 12 TB drive means a lot of eggs in one basket. A warranty may replace a drive, but not the content. 12 TB is a lot to back up regularly too. Another question is whether the read and write speeds won't slow down as the drives fill. Is disc defragmenting (a slow chore) or clean-up no longer necessary?

Meanwhile, I note that a lot of desktop or laptop PCs sell with drives no larger than 1TB or 2TB. In my case, the sweet spot is between 3TB and 5TB. They also tend to cost under $40 / TB.

Link | Posted on Oct 8, 2017 at 20:24 UTC as 1st comment | 2 replies
On article Gudsen Moza Air gimbal review (53 comments in total)

Products like the Moza Mini-G (for action cams) or Mini-C (for phone cameras) might be more practical for most people. They require far less time to set up or balance. They also cost and weigh less.

Link | Posted on Oct 8, 2017 at 15:40 UTC as 24th comment

How else can one find bears? Absent the trash, they'd be very dispersed, or encountered only in rare or in surprise and possibly dangerous cases.

Close-up shots of "wild" creatures usually require some sort of bait: bird feeders, carcasses, waste sites, peanut butter and lard, or some enticing fruits or vegetables. Or one needs enclosure or entrapment: a zoo or game farm. Otherwise, critters have little urge or need to interact with humans. They flee, hide, or keep their distance. I even wonder how the BBC Planet Earth crews can find rare creatures, within production budgets and calendars, without a little "help." I can wander the outdoors for weeks, and see nothing remarkable, except when light is bad, the subject is far or hidden, or I don't have a camera. The world has a surfeit of pictures of natural beggars like gulls, squirrels, or ducks. I don't feed the animals or leave trash, but I seldom have any photographic luck either. Better odds with plants!

Link | Posted on Oct 8, 2017 at 15:19 UTC as 101st comment | 2 replies

The Vistek review does not mention audio. We do not hear any sound from the bike sequences. Would it have been mainly wind noise? What would the on-board mic capture of the surfing shots? True action shots are not amenable to external mics. The presenter used a clip-on mic, but was it connected to the GoPro? Presumably, version 5 and 6 are about the same, in that regard.

Link | Posted on Oct 3, 2017 at 13:16 UTC as 9th comment

This is not a severe restriction at all. 400' is too close to photograph the entirety of any of these very large structures, even with a wide-angle lens. Greater distance is required to render any perspective or majesty. One could crop or zoom for details. But none of this matters if the spaces around the landmarks prohibit drone launches. Liberty State Park, adjacent to the Statue of Liberty, allows no drones.

The best "landmarks" should be creative shots of little known or overlooked places that are not on any short lists. The trouble is that viewers prefer the iconic and recognizable. Selfie shots with iconic backgrounds take the prize.

Link | Posted on Oct 2, 2017 at 17:48 UTC as 1st comment
In reply to:

John Koch: Most phone video is shot in 9:16 "phone portrait" mode with the device held upright as if making a phone call. Perhaps Bertoli didn't get the memo. Due to the prevalence of video shot with phones, I'd guess the 9:16 aspect ratio will quickly dwarf anything shot otherwise. They may as well market big displays that can rotate so that viewers don't have to letterbox or pan and scan. People seem to love their video that way, expecially the constant panning to compensate for the narrow view.

Most = greatest brute quantity of new uploads to social media. This has nothing to do with what I watch or you watch. It is what most people create and share.

Inarguably, most of these originate from phones and viewed on friends' phones. Even many YouTube videos (rudimentary vlogs or sensational shots) are uploaded by people who used phone cameras held upright. That is not the same as saying that the top weekly or monthly viewer count for any individual video will be one from a phone. Often that will be something "ripped" from another source.

Link | Posted on Sep 28, 2017 at 14:04 UTC
On article Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Review (1204 comments in total)

HEVC h.265 is the medium of 4k Blu-ray. It is also the best format to stream 4k. If Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, or any other party earnest to promote 4k discs or streaming, it would make sense to promote it for all to promote hardware, software, and display devices that support it. I see no evidence of this. Please prove me wrong. The 9th-generation Intel processors and 2018-grade NVIDIA chips might get one there, but why so late? Why no off-the-shelf resources available earlier, in 2014, when prosumer 4k devices became available?

Link | Posted on Sep 28, 2017 at 00:57 UTC as 20th comment

The FAA may have general jurisdiction over use of airspace at certain over-the-ground boundaries. However, it does not have any rules or authority over where or how small aircraft are launched or landed. There are no local on-the-ground FAA observers anyway. If a town's local ordinance prohibits, use of drones, or anything else, that can supersede whatever happens high in the sky. But if an operator can launch a drone from an authorized property, and the flyover height for neighboring properties satisfies a reasonable standard, how can one object?

Answer: local vigilantes or police can always find or concoct a reason. There are also outright abusers: people who violat both FAA and local rules.

Irony: My home already appears on Google Earth and can be seen from dozens of commercial aircraft that pass over on any given day. Anyway, there are plenty of people who will object (for any reason whatever) to terrestrial use of a camera, though phone cameras are naturally exempted.

Link | Posted on Sep 28, 2017 at 00:43 UTC as 7th comment

Most phone video is shot in 9:16 "phone portrait" mode with the device held upright as if making a phone call. Perhaps Bertoli didn't get the memo. Due to the prevalence of video shot with phones, I'd guess the 9:16 aspect ratio will quickly dwarf anything shot otherwise. They may as well market big displays that can rotate so that viewers don't have to letterbox or pan and scan. People seem to love their video that way, expecially the constant panning to compensate for the narrow view.

Link | Posted on Sep 27, 2017 at 20:53 UTC as 59th comment | 2 replies

$100? The price of nostalgia, perhaps. That's a 5X premium over the real deal in its day. The Polaroid "Swinger" sold for $19.95. Each cartridge of film cost about $5. That was back in 1968. I inherited one. Its prints in old albums have a definite character, but not anything I'd want to revive, any more than VHS video.

Some budget action cams now sell for around $20 and use cheap, re-usable micro-SD cards. These days, as a party novelty or social norm, "instant photos" tend to mean the ones shot with phones and shared immediately. Adjusted for inflation, basic smart phones cost less than the Swinger in its day, and they do a heck of a lot more.

Link | Posted on Sep 14, 2017 at 15:48 UTC as 52nd comment | 9 replies

Time for a shoot-off: the RX10 iv versus the RX10 iii, versus the FZ2000/2500, versus the FZ300/330, and the a6500. The RX10 iv's "not your typical" high price does warrant serious comparisons.

Link | Posted on Sep 13, 2017 at 20:49 UTC as 54th comment | 1 reply

Please compare the RX10 iv image stabilization, when shooting video, relative to the cheaper a6500, g80/85, or FZ2000/2500 alternatives. OK to compare the AF too. Naturally, the comparisons should be at the 25mm and perhaps 300mm equivalent ranges. At 600mm equivalent, it is hard to imagine great stability or AF with the RX10 iv or anything else.

Link | Posted on Sep 13, 2017 at 16:45 UTC as 72nd comment
On article Hands-on with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV (339 comments in total)

Is there any seamless or easy way to use the 720p proxy files to edit a 4k video project? Since Sony sold its Vegas editing software to Magix, can one assume any support or not?

No comments on image stabilization. 5-axis IBIS is "standard" on Sony's latest APS-c and FF models. The same is true, when shooting 1080p, using the Sony ax53 or Panasonic FZ2000/2500. Why not offered on the RX10 iv?

Many complained when Sony discontinued internal ND filters with the RX10 iii. Any rationale to repeat this unpopular exclusion? The competing FZ2000/2500 has an internal ND filter.

Aren't the a6500 or FZ2000/2500 cheaper but good options?

Link | Posted on Sep 13, 2017 at 16:37 UTC as 24th comment | 16 replies
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