John Koch

Joined on Aug 6, 2003


Total: 139, showing: 1 – 20
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Two of the most common dreams are to fly or be invisible. Drones furnish both rather inexpensively. Could there be anything more exhilarating than a bird's eye view of things? Exactly what are people afraid that drones' fish-eye or fuzzy cameras will "see"? Isn't everyone already on Google Earth or Street View?

Drones are probably less obtrusive than many other annoyances. Yes, there are exceptions, such as use above crowds, but don't they also apply to ground-level photographers who poke about? Very strange how some people extol use of guns over use of drones or cameras.

Doesn't all photography involve surveillance? Other excuses ("art") won't convince the general public. It's all six or half-dozen.

Many DPR readers appear to side with the 18th century mobs that destroyed the Montgolfier brothers' balloon.

Of course, phone cameras (not cameras at all, say the snobs) deserve utter exemption.

Link | Posted on Oct 25, 2016 at 20:09 UTC as 7th comment | 1 reply

Fragments of a suspense story plot.

Why carry multiple rare cameras about a train station in a backpack? Why (or how to) steal a backpack which might contain mostly dirty clothing? Or think of the thief's remorse: no cash or valuables, but only old cameras no one wants or recognizes except the victim.

Link | Posted on Oct 18, 2016 at 14:38 UTC as 22nd comment | 3 replies

Is Galileo an honorary member of the PrimaLuceLab board of directors? He needed pen and paper to transcribe celestial observations. On the other hand, he could find star-filled skies virtually anywhere. His telescope would have captured nothing in today's urban skies.

What is the cheapest effective device to offset earth rotation? I suspect that trailing caused by earth rotation is a serious obstacle to time exposures over 30 seconds. I also surmise that light pollution precludes time exposures above 10 seconds where most people live. Those "dark sky" sites tend to be rather remote, difficult, or spooky. Oh, and clouds.

Link | Posted on Oct 14, 2016 at 20:43 UTC as 15th comment | 3 replies
On article Behind the Shot: The Shadow Towers (68 comments in total)

If I photograph a mountain, something always blows out or appears too dark, or else everything is flat. My dodge and burn efforts look burnt or dodgy. "Should have used flash," friends tell me. "Works with my smart phone," they say.

Marom certainly has a knack for landscape shots with unusual dynamic range. Could his preference for very high or very negative earth latitudes help the results? The low sun angles create long shadows, but may also extend one "golden hour" to more. However, given the circa $4 / gallon price of gasoline in Argentina and air fares, this is very expensive to test.

Looking forward to a Marom article about "Mid-day summer seacoast wildlife, and sailing photography--all the glare you can bear."

Link | Posted on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:19 UTC as 3rd comment
In reply to:

CreeDo: one handy use I can think of would be to quickly name your unprocessed files so they can be easily sorted into the proper folder. Like recently, I visited maine... took a bunch of pics of herons, a few of other birds, a few in the airport, a few around town, etc.

Currently I'd have to either accept default naming (_Q9883.CR2) or rename a handful (heron1 - heron20), download that handful, set a different naming template, download the next batch, etc. etc.

This tech could detect multiple shots in a single set (GPS data would help here, similar images with similar location belong to the same set), take a best guess on the subject (heron) and then name the set accordingly (heron1 - heron20).

It won't be 100% accurate, but the time I spend fixing the handful of misnamed files will be less taxing that the time it would take to name them all manually.

It might take a while before the software can distinguish a heron from a crane, or a crane from an egret, or from a stork. True birders would probably want something that's impossible: software that can distinguish all varieties of sparrows and finches, with backlight. Notice that, if there is a person in the frame, the software does not (yet) try to classify or profile the individual. Would hundreds of diverse portrait shots all be captioned "person"?

Link | Posted on Sep 27, 2016 at 19:41 UTC
In reply to:

ewelch: The Olympus is a game-changer. Those who think it's a predictable must have some wild psychic powers. If the IQ is good, then it will shift the argument about full frame for people who need light, usable cameras. Not the monster back-breakers like I use at work, the Canon 1Dx.

A few years ago, many were also impressed by the OMD EM5i. Perhaps it added a wee bit to the m4/3 market, but Olympus is hardly thriving. Prior investments in Canon and Nikon lenses make any game-changer shifts unlikely among stodgy old bloods. Young bloods see cameras as a sub-function of a phone.

Link | Posted on Sep 27, 2016 at 16:17 UTC
In reply to:

Henry Falkner: For me, it is the Panasonic DMC FZ2500. The last bridge camera I bought (and still own) is the Olympus SP-570UZ from 2008, with a small sensor still. My current pocket zooms outclass it for everything except the EVF. I need convincing to go for a bridge camera again, and the larger sensor does it. The cameras and lens that have won the votes are impractical in this household. If it can be taken apart, that is just something else to go wrong when Sandra asks for a rush job.

The FZ2500 lacks 5-axis stabilization in 4k mode, and offers no 120fps mode. If video matters little, maybe the SP-57OUZ or pocket zooms are all you need. Or buy a FZ1000 on the cheap from someone upgrading to the FZ2500.

Link | Posted on Sep 27, 2016 at 16:01 UTC
In reply to:

justmeMN: Hmm. The winner of Most Exciting addresses a tiny niche. The First Runner Up is from a company with a camera-imaging division that is on a seven year money losing streak. The Second Runner Up is a update of a camera line that has been a marketplace failure.

Or it says something about the DPR demographics. How many people under 30 know what a medium format camera is?

Link | Posted on Sep 26, 2016 at 17:20 UTC

All nice cameras. Some people claim to have owned each one! But are the "I want it" responses any more credible? Replace "want" with "click to buy and charge your bank account" are quite different things. I could also ask Santa for a real locomotive or a B29. "Aps" or add-ons that extend the photographic functions of smart phones probably get the most market traction and gross revenues, even if the margins are razor thin.

GoPro's combo drone-gimbal is clever. Nice if it were sold with a pole or crane to fetch it out of the pond or trees. The specs of the non-existent GH5, when weighed in the realm of the imagination, count for little, so it too might as well be in the pond or the trees.

On the positive side, new gear brings the price of older stuff to closer to reach.

Link | Posted on Sep 26, 2016 at 17:12 UTC as 27th comment
On article In photos: 'Paris in the Springtime' (71 comments in total)

A business with a public telephone! No such thing anymore, it seems. What nostalgia #6 inspires. Yes, I remember it well. Didn't Trenet sing,

Le téléphone
Qu'on entend sonner à travers les fenêtres claires
A des cloches d'argent
Le téléphone
Des bruits changeants
Apres le bavardage

Link | Posted on Apr 20, 2014 at 21:19 UTC as 17th comment
On article Blood moon eclipse: Night of April 14-15 (64 comments in total)

Nice if there were a graduated ND filter whose dark area could dim a full moon enough to allow a single photo to show lunar features and stars too. Of course, the moonlight tends to emit lots of flare anyway. I had no luck, a few weeks ago, capturing both the moon and mars in the same frame. Either the moon was blown out, or mars was too dim.

Link | Posted on Apr 14, 2014 at 01:34 UTC as 6th comment | 1 reply
On article Blood moon eclipse: Night of April 14-15 (64 comments in total)
In reply to:

Zograf: "... are gearing up for a rare meteorological event" ...
That's NOT "meteorological" event! It is, and it has always been an ASTRONOMICAL event.

The moon is not a star, so why astronomical? The event is caused by refraction of solar light through the terrestrial atmosphere on the lunar surface. However, it can be seen or comprehended only by a few humans. Thus, it is a para-human event. But the tiny few who venture to see the event are lunatics, so maybe the event is just loony.

Link | Posted on Apr 14, 2014 at 01:26 UTC
On article Orion DVC210 DLSR Crane Review (43 comments in total)

Looks like about $500 without the monitor. Solid build. Relatively stable, as stable goes (be careful), with jibs. However, like the competing products, the gear is a bit heavy, requires careful assembly, and cannot be deployed casually. Orion might consider offering something quick and light for small cameras, perhaps like the Boom Bandit, which is currently the sole player in its league. True, it's not the same thing, but for small cameras it offers about 80% of the results with only 10% of the weight or setup time.

Link | Posted on Mar 30, 2014 at 23:10 UTC as 9th comment | 1 reply
On article Orion DVC210 DLSR Crane Review (43 comments in total)
In reply to:

Wolfgang Fieger: Once more for better understanding: we photographers are not interested in movie making! If we would be interested in movie making we would be movie makers, not photographers. Please recognize the art of photography as a totally different form of art as movie making is. These two forms of art have less in common than painting and sculptury. The only connecting part is the fact, that both arts involve lenses as tools of their craftmanship.

Those who can, shoot both stills and video. Those who can't, have no right to impose an apartheid, even though it exposes a distaste for motion or audio, or fear of strenuous editing. It is a grueling challenge to keep eyes glued to a work any longer than it takes a polite (but non-admiring) observer to glance five seconds, then say, "Gee, nice photo. You must have a great camera."

Link | Posted on Mar 29, 2014 at 12:49 UTC
In reply to:

maaggyr: This gentleman should be dismissed due to poor video quality in Olympus cameras.

Has anyone offered better video stabilization than Olympus' 5-axis IBIS? Pray tell.

Link | Posted on Feb 27, 2014 at 02:00 UTC
In reply to:

Francis Carver: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. These desperate camera makers never give it a rest, do they now?

Well, I'll wait until Sony beefs up the sensor from 1/2.3-inch to at least a nice 1-incher, beefs up the zoom range from a paltry 63x to a robust 64x, and gives us a break in the price.

I am sure with the speed Sony is releasing these new bubble gum cams, the one I am hoping for cannot be more than 2-3 weeks out.

A 1" zoom camera with such zoom would be exponentially larger and have to cost plenty. If Sony and others discontinue P&S or compact models under $500, will there be enough revenues to stay in business selling RX or alphas only? That remains to be known.

Link | Posted on Feb 13, 2014 at 18:31 UTC

$1,300 will get you an RX10, which has a 1" sensor, fixed f/2.8 aperture, and 24-200 equivalent aperture (8X zoom). It's big.

$499 will buy an HX400V, which is smaller and boats 63X zoom.

Both have sensors with 20MP, which is the only metric besides zoom which most will understand.

Joe Consumer will pick the model that hurts the pocketbook less, is less dorky to lug around, and furnishes more bragging rights when discussing gear with Bro' in law Bill, who "knows all about cameras" and has a 40mp phone camera to prove it.

A super-long zoom will require lots of light, be hard to keep steady, and make framing difficult, but offer the only means most people can photograph grizzlies at a safe distance. Maybe Joe won't see any grizzlies, but 63X zoom is attractive for such "just maybe" events.

Link | Posted on Feb 13, 2014 at 18:26 UTC as 4th comment | 2 replies
In reply to:

mpgxsvcd: 20 megapixels, 1/2.3" sensor, with a 1200mm lens, at F6.3. Will this madness ever end?

I wish they would just re-badge the Canon G6 with a Mark II version and give us 7 megapixels with an F2.0-F3.0 lens on a 1/1.8" sensor. That would be great with today's processors.

Check out the RX10: fixed 4/2.8, 1" sensor, 24-200mm equivalent, $1,300.

Link | Posted on Feb 13, 2014 at 18:12 UTC
On article Iconic photographer Don McCullin on war and landscapes (74 comments in total)
In reply to:

Dafffid: I thoroughly recommend his autobiography, which is really too short as he just touches on some many fascinating topics: not least how poor, violent and unpoliced much of London was in his youth, giving the lie to the idea of an idyllic crime-free past so beloved of politicians. On which note, it was a travesty that Thatcher banned him from going to the Falklands, the one war he really wanted to document. Perhaps some of the flag waving might have been a bit more muted had he gone and we been able to reflect on his record of events.

The Falklands / Malvinas episode would have been unrewarding for any independent photographer to document. The aerial or sea element (the torpedoed Belgrano, Exocet striking Sheffield, jets crashed in the sea) could not be photographed, really. The land portion was very brief and involved more sheep than people. Censors would "bah" too if any pics were too wooly for public morale.

Link | Posted on Feb 1, 2014 at 17:14 UTC
On article Iconic photographer Don McCullin on war and landscapes (74 comments in total)
In reply to:

SayCheesePlease: I aggree with his thoughts. We need to know the news and images are vital. However did images help Rwanda? Chechnya ? Helping end Syria conflict now? After the horrors of WW1 the conscience of the world was gutted. The only thing that ends conflicts is lack of funds. Dark powerful forces work behind the world stage. One man and a camera is insignificant. A lifetime of witnessing these horrors will only destroy the person documenting them.

Conflicts end, or at least end a chapter, when one side out-funds or defunds the other. But low budget conflicts abound, with cell phones serving both as cameras and remote detonators.

War photographs are handy propaganda. They inspire zeal for one's own side or rage against the other. Those that don't face a wall of incomprehension or hostility.

An embedded war photographer bonds with the side that gives the access and protection. Document atrocities and career or life expectancy will be nasty, brutish, and short.

Pacifists don't swing elections, control boards, or command fortunes to reward peaceful causes. Nobel, after all, invented dynamite.

A war becomes unpopular mainly when one's side appears to be losing or stalemated, but it must still be upheld as a "glorious cause." A fair quotient of the electorate, including maimed veterans, blame failures on leaders' reluctance to unleash even more violence.

Violence infuses movies, games, and much else.

Link | Posted on Feb 1, 2014 at 17:03 UTC
Total: 139, showing: 1 – 20
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