John Koch

Joined on Aug 6, 2003

Comments

Total: 249, showing: 1 – 20
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In reply to:

stevo23: I'm getting tired of drones, so I'm beginning to not like drone footage. Try to go somewhere nice and every time, there are one or more drones polluting the air with their presence and noise. Go away drones. New Kickstarter: "drone dropper".

A small drone at 400' (125 m) is barely audible. A helicopter at the same altitude would be deafening. There is also a vast difference in cost.

Link | Posted on Jul 12, 2017 at 22:50 UTC
In reply to:

maxnimo: Beautiful videos, but the description confuses me. To me it looks like a combination of slow motion and speeded-up motion, with some good image stabilization, so why make it out as something revolutionary?

Do we know that the starry backdrops were shot from a moving drone or copter? Or could they be a time exposure, or separate night-lapse, shot on a tripod and then blended with the flyover action using layers and masking?

Link | Posted on Jul 12, 2017 at 22:45 UTC
In reply to:

estero: Most of the time you see video that is used against police. Why not help law enforcement with pictures that aid them in crime fighting. Witnesses will not come forward but do the opposite to help criminals. This makes zero sense. Why do many people complain against surveillance cameras around the cities? Citizen's can also be recorded on videos just as police.

Aren't there ever citizens falsely accused or convicted based on faulty police testimony? Police generally don't testify against peers. If citizen camera evidence is flawed, it is generally due to incomplete or low quality capture, rather than due to deletion. Meanwhile, police might be rather selective about when they turn on their own cameras.

Link | Posted on Jul 12, 2017 at 20:11 UTC
In reply to:

sh10453: Some people seem to minimize the issue.
You can't compare a drone with a bird. A drone has metal and plastic parts. More critically, it has a battery that can explode and start a serious fire if it is swallowed by the aircraft, and bring the aircraft down.

At the engineering department, University of Arizona in Tucson (my alma mater), a team of engineering students (sponsored by Raytheon) are working on a project to deal with annoying drones.

Team's leader (a senior systems engineering student) says " ... project would let everyday consumers disable commercial drones autonomously, safely, and legally".

Maximize the page (square at the lower-right corner of the window) to read the short entry in the Arizona Engineer magazine, if desired.

https://issuu.com/azengineering/docs/2017_spring_azengineer_final

Raytheon should worry more about CN and RU technology that disables its own Patriot "drones" and Cold War weapons in general. The UA project will not lead to any legal destruction of licensed commercial drones. But it might be handy for unfriendly people who want to incapacitate military or law enforcement devices.

Link | Posted on Jul 7, 2017 at 12:40 UTC
In reply to:

ldfrmc: We can usually figure out what to expect about a person walking, on a horse, riding a bicycle, driving a car, even in a plane flying - pilot seen or unseen.

Not so with drones. Is the operator a pilot or a photographer? Would you fly with one doing both? Their hobby, curiosity, abilities and intentions are going to remain pretty much outside the experience of most people. Current regulations (and penalties) are woefully inadequate.

Drones can be as dangerous as weapons and more so because their trajectory is unknowable by anyone other than the operator and that trajectory does not follow our common understanding of movements and gravity.

Weapon or mad-dog-off-leash, most people do not want them around, even if the drone can take "pretty pictures."

People who think this is too critical would not give a 13 year-old keys to a car, or the same to a grown man who appears to lack common sense or is drunk.

"Their hobby, curiosity, abilities and intentions are going to remain pretty much outside the experience of most people."

Ditto for most "gear enthusiasts," photographic ones in particular. Street photographers really do want candid people shots. Travel photographers crave shots of rustic people who would rather not be mocked. Drone photographers, on the other hand, mainly crave lofty wide views in which people are barely discernable, if at all. Unleashed dogs are far more abundant, rush upon terrified strangers at will, sometimes fiercely, yet owners seldom get jailed or fined.

Link | Posted on Jul 7, 2017 at 12:31 UTC
In reply to:

WGVanDyck: Bravo! Having spent a lifetime in aviation flying Cubs to Tri-Stars, it's time the FAA took more serious action concerning the regulation of drones and the licencing of their operators. They are responsible for protecting the safety of not only the flying public, but the safety of those on the ground from aviation miss-adventure. When flying a large airliner and hitting even a small sparrow, I had to complete three separate incident reports and have the airplane inspected for structural damage. If you think a drone strike on any aircraft would be trivial, you have obviously acquired your aeronautical knowledge from Hollywood. Drones are serious dangers when operated incorrectly. Next time you fly out to visit family and you're on short final with the gear and full flaps down think about one of the two engines being destroyed by a drone. It may not concern you, but it I'll guarantee it does the two people on the flight deck.

Drones are restricted to 400' altitude and outside airport perimeters. A passenger jet at that altitude, or lower, unless near its airstrip, would be noisy, dangerous, and illegal. Forget sparrows. Flocks of geese outnumber drones by a mega multiple, have much greater kinetic force, and have no qualms about FAA rules.

Link | Posted on Jul 7, 2017 at 12:18 UTC

Next up: $200 300-gram phones that fly. Just unfold the little propellers on their sides. Impossible to regulate, since they would become ubiquitous and people would defy attempts to restrict their freedom of communication or movement.

Nearly everyone wants to fly or have a bird's eye view of things. People who rant "shoot 'em down" about drones cannot pretend otherwise. They forget how much others might fear or loathe hobbies they themselves practice. They also forget all the 1,000s of other toys that can be far more bothersome or lethal. A baseball can cause much worse head trauma. Bike injuries and deaths occur daily. Meanwhile, small drones can barely survive a tangle with tree branches.

Drones are a very lame way to spy on neighbors, whose properties already appear on Google Earth or Street View, and who divulge their private lives via social media, browsing histories, credit card use, online buying, texting, and phone babble.

Link | Posted on Jul 6, 2017 at 16:43 UTC as 7th comment | 1 reply

Any ad, video production, movie, or photograph requires plenty of direction, editing, supplementary gear, and tinsel to succeed or stand out. This is as true, or even more true, of things shot with high end cameras or lenses. Audio is another important dimension which must be conjured and brewed all sorts of ways. Straight-from-camera audio or visual content are only crude precursors to the final result. However, the phone cameras at least provide instant sharing (with IG filters) of what people seem to love most: selfies!

Link | Posted on Jun 30, 2017 at 21:05 UTC as 53rd comment

Are German Shepherds more fond to chew or "mark" Nikons than Canons? What about Border Collies? Cameras don't appear very chewy. Does the sight of the lens incite some sort of mating jealousy or aggression impulse?

"The dog ate it" exculpates just about everything. Why not blame cats, toddlers, spouses, or butter fingers?

Link | Posted on Jun 26, 2017 at 18:50 UTC as 62nd comment

I see faces: a monkey, the Geico gecko, ET, an alligator, and Elon Musk laughing. They must be very thirsty! No water. Thin CO2, no O2. So I prefer funny shaped clouds or faces on rocks or old trees here on earth.

Link | Posted on Jun 23, 2017 at 20:07 UTC as 10th comment
In reply to:

miksto: I wonder... At such helicopter prices was it not better to just bring a good drone. Would have worked out cheaper longer run and would have given more control over when and where to shoot.
You could come a lot closer to the action with a drone without risking yours or anyone else's life.

Small drones have expanded aerial photography exponentially. Hitherto, most people could never be more than passengers on a commercial aircraft--most of whose windows are shuttered, scratched, filled with glare or reflections, or distorted--and see only clouds far below. Chartered flights costs as much as a drone and entail serious risks if swooping about peaks and ravines. Better to lose a slough of drones to mishaps than even come close to an uh-oh with lives at stake. Photog to pilot: "Aw, can't you get us a little closer to the lava so we can see the bubbles and smell the sulphur?" Pilot to photog: "Not per our flight plan. And could I be sure your widow wouldn't sue my employer for risky flying?"

Link | Posted on Jun 17, 2017 at 18:11 UTC
On article The DJI Spark is a $500 HD mini drone (96 comments in total)

DJI's Spark will be compared to the ZeroTech Hesper, the Feima J.Me, and whatever Yuneec, Xiaomi, Xiro, and other contenders try to offer in the $500 range. Why aren't the arms foldable?

Initial samples of the Spark's video and pictures appear good for the money. Hard to judge, yet, whether the follow-me or other semi-auto modes are as reliable as one would like. Other selfie devices tend to wobble, lag, or over-shoot the subject. Given the short battery lives, start-up and calibration speeds are also critical.

Link | Posted on May 25, 2017 at 19:47 UTC as 10th comment
On article MIT previews autonomous tracking drone (11 comments in total)

Many consumer / enthusiast drones are claimed to offer intelligent tracking and obstacle avoidance. The troubles are: 1) a tracked subject may resemble others in the field of view or be occluded by vegetation, other obstructions, or shadows; and 2) obstacles may be irregular (tree branches, winding roads), like a fuzzy labyrinth, without easy detours. It is difficult to resolve or uniquely identify a face using a wide-angle camera >100' in the air. The person will not always be looking at the drone, which may be confused by headgear, other heads, and so on.

The subjects in the sample MIT video are in a setting with few or no obstructions and wear distinctly marked helmets. It may illustrate a 50% solution to tracking. The other 50% entails, however, a steepening curve of difficulties, to say nothing of risks of "collateral damage," which have a long but unpardoning tail.

Link | Posted on May 22, 2017 at 22:00 UTC as 8th comment
In reply to:

justmeMN: "Where the TG-4 used a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, the TG-5 has dropped to 12MP, in order to improve image quality (according to the company)." -DPR

According to the company, but others are skeptical. :-)

"You think impacts might knock some of the pixels out of the camera?"

No, I just think that the small sensor and lens (even at f/2.0) simply can't resolve a full 16MP unless the camera were used in a way very a-typical for an action device: on a tripod, at 25mm focal length, 100 ISO, under perfect light. I also suspect that the 4k video shot will a 16MP sensor might require some pixel binning (and entail moiré), or else sensor crop, versus a direct full read of a 12MP sensor.

Link | Posted on May 17, 2017 at 14:49 UTC
In reply to:

Aroart: As an adventure seeker, I'm not quite sure camera companies don't pump out more cameras with this type of ruggedness... love to see one with a 1inch sensor...

Consider an RX100v in a marine case. Total cost: around $1,600. Fair warning: silt, dense algae, poor light, or red wavelength deprivation easily defeat advantages afforded by larger sensors on land.

Canon, Fuji, Panasonic, Sony, and Nikon have all made cameras that resist shock or submersion. The trouble is that real "action" shots can require hands-free performance that entail simple or no menus, plus cheap mounting accessories. GoPro and its knock-offs overtook that now-saturated niche.

Link | Posted on May 17, 2017 at 14:42 UTC

"Hermetically sealed construction provides waterproof performance for worry-free shooting underwater,"

Out of the box, this may be 100% true. The problem comes after the first marine foray, when opening the sealed doors to use the USB ports and swap or extract the SD card or battery. Micro grit or dried brine will leave a residue that, unless cleansed with care and precision, will eventually compromise the seals and cause the camera to fail after multiple dives. Salt water seepage is fatal. A quick rinse may not be sufficient. Think of the bitty grains that remain deep in your ears, or under your nails, after tumbling in the surf, even after a thorough fresh water shower.

Link | Posted on May 17, 2017 at 14:32 UTC as 46th comment | 4 replies
In reply to:

justmeMN: "Where the TG-4 used a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, the TG-5 has dropped to 12MP, in order to improve image quality (according to the company)." -DPR

According to the company, but others are skeptical. :-)

12MP might be a better match for 4k video. I would be skeptical about getting true 16MP resolution from a 1/2.3" sensor encased in a body and lens designed to withstand hard impacts or water pressure.

Link | Posted on May 17, 2017 at 14:19 UTC
In reply to:

John Koch: Is the plane photographer-friendly?

Boeing's report of the 737 Max 9's first flight tells us only that it has 16 more seats, and more range than prior models. Perhaps the overhead bins remain the same size, and early check-in clients will continue to dodge $25 baggage fees by hauling over-sized bags right up to the aircraft door. DPR should have asked Boeing to test how much camera gear they could cram in a carry-on and (with a zone 4 boarding pass) make it fit in an overhead when passengers seated earlier have already stashed bags above your seat. What share of the seats have two half-window (half covered by seat backs) but no single whole window rows? Will every coach class passenger have a USB and low amp AC slot to charge things?

Of course, these days most savvy travelers take a phone only and pull down the window shades to avoid screen glare that interferes with their games or videos.

Ahem... So photographers never travel, need worry about carrying gear, or consider windows worth a gaze or picture. On the other hand, the outside of an empty new 737 (not much changed) is a spellbinding topic.

Were the performance of two super-zooms the issue, the Seattle Space Needle might be a more steady and unique photo subject accessible to DPR.

Link | Posted on May 16, 2017 at 15:49 UTC

Is the plane photographer-friendly?

Boeing's report of the 737 Max 9's first flight tells us only that it has 16 more seats, and more range than prior models. Perhaps the overhead bins remain the same size, and early check-in clients will continue to dodge $25 baggage fees by hauling over-sized bags right up to the aircraft door. DPR should have asked Boeing to test how much camera gear they could cram in a carry-on and (with a zone 4 boarding pass) make it fit in an overhead when passengers seated earlier have already stashed bags above your seat. What share of the seats have two half-window (half covered by seat backs) but no single whole window rows? Will every coach class passenger have a USB and low amp AC slot to charge things?

Of course, these days most savvy travelers take a phone only and pull down the window shades to avoid screen glare that interferes with their games or videos.

Link | Posted on May 15, 2017 at 16:22 UTC as 17th comment | 4 replies
In reply to:

uzman1243: Dpreview should add a feature where you're only allow to critique a photo only if you upload an image of your own.
Seriously I can remember a day that goes by where there's not one person who calls all the images technically and compsotionally insufficient.

Anywho image 5 with the Asian family is just fascinating.

Your own? Where?

Link | Posted on May 13, 2017 at 22:53 UTC
Total: 249, showing: 1 – 20
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