John Koch

Joined on Aug 6, 2003

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Total: 238, showing: 1 – 20
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On article The DJI Spark is a $500 HD mini drone (86 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 8th comment
On article MIT previews autonomous tracking drone (9 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 6th 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 44th 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
On article Polaroid sold to new owner (93 comments in total)
In reply to:

Samuel Dilworth: Might this portend a new scanner? Polaroid made some great ones back in the day.

A good scanner is the missing link in film photography today. Someone needs to solve this problem before Coolscan prices get much crazier, not least because Coolscans are difficult to use with today’s computers.

Anything wrong with an Epson V370? Or maybe an equivalent with the Polaroid TM name on it? The market for scanners is rather mature anyway: slow or negative growth.

Link | Posted on May 13, 2017 at 22:48 UTC

SID or seed? If Weeview expects to deliver as early as August, why not take pre-orders instead of Kickstarter (seed) money? The "SID, The Next Revolution in 3D Storytelling" video at YT infers that alpha or beta versions of the product already exist. Or do they? I'll opt sit at the side, six weeks, see a real SID shoot, decide, and not be sad. Or how would Blanc's Tweety and Sylvester, or the "Hard Times" Slurry, put it?

Weak stabilization is a key impediment to traditional 3D. Shakiness overwhelmed hand-held video. Sharing outside the realm of VR goggles or 3d spectacles is the other challenge.

Link | Posted on May 13, 2017 at 16:52 UTC as 1st comment
On article Fantastic footage of fjords with the DJI Mavic Pro (55 comments in total)

A fair warning: take care to measure more than air fares or vacation days. Norway is super expensive. There a Big Mac costs around $5.67, versus $1.89 in South Africa. Fancier food or services are even more expensive, relatively. A nice place to visit, if you've plenty to spend. Otherwise, be thankful for the drone footage. A bit like Nova Scotia, eh? Ain't that where Erickson headed anyhow?

Link | Posted on May 11, 2017 at 22:56 UTC as 11th comment
On article So you think you need to buy a RED camera (12 comments in total)

Most people do quite fine with their phones. No need for any dedicated photographic or video device, period. Near-zero incremental costs or nuisance for set-up, portage, obtrusiveness, or sharing. It just takes some (ugh) effort to acquire taste for video shot in 9x16 or "portrait" aspect.

Cooper is correct that a T2i, or an equivalent, can obtain excellent results in proper hands.

A RED (or any other "pro" camera) is an "amazing tool" only in the context of professional crews with advanced skills, infrastructure, post production, commercial budget, and content. And part of the amazement owes to efficiencies relative to the still-vaster requirements for analog film Super Panavision productions. And all is for naught without good audio.

Link | Posted on May 11, 2017 at 19:50 UTC as 4th comment
On article Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Review (1185 comments in total)
In reply to:

John Koch: Panasonic should offer a firmware patch that includes a submenu with standardized modes for video tracking AF: "follow the ball" for sports, "largest face" or group of faces, backlit face, dark background, dark face / light shirt, dancers (back-lit, spot-lit, or sun-lit), etc. The multiple bar customization options are too difficult to select by trial and error.

Nice if DPR were to corroborate video AF comparisons to the OM-D EM1ii, a6500, 80D, or even the G80/85. Others have tried this, but more evidence is helpful. The existing tests may contradict because the subjects involve different light conditions or contrasts. Alas, the other models do better or fail less often.

Meanwhile, GH5 buyers who need reliable AF can: a) avoid wide apertures or ambiguous lighting or contrast; b) use MF and chain a close subject in one place; c) use MF, keep the subject at least 4 meters distant, and set the MF near infinity; or d) cut-away to b-roll footage, or any overlay, if all else fails.

Because of, what directors say, "Action!" Subject, camera, and shooter all move. The shooter can't stare at a screen and jab a finger every second. Overlay or cutaway shots are used all the time, often with frequency approaching a burst rate: subject - interviewer, athlete - spectator, predator - prey, driver - road, etc.

Link | Posted on Apr 17, 2017 at 13:42 UTC

Some very nice pictures. All required a combination of skill, patience, luck, and an eye for what might lure visitors.

Montana is a big place with extreme weather. Curious they observe the BSC in early April, just as everything starts to thaw, but before things are warm enough for most visitors. The moose and bison are scrawny and antsy for the arrival of better forage. Of course, neither cold nor mud deter the steelhead anglers or the devout kayakers.

Link | Posted on Apr 16, 2017 at 17:18 UTC as 4th comment
In reply to:

stevo23: Last place I'm heading is the one everyone just read about.

Where are you headed first?

Link | Posted on Apr 16, 2017 at 17:07 UTC
On article Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Review (1185 comments in total)

Panasonic should offer a firmware patch that includes a submenu with standardized modes for video tracking AF: "follow the ball" for sports, "largest face" or group of faces, backlit face, dark background, dark face / light shirt, dancers (back-lit, spot-lit, or sun-lit), etc. The multiple bar customization options are too difficult to select by trial and error.

Nice if DPR were to corroborate video AF comparisons to the OM-D EM1ii, a6500, 80D, or even the G80/85. Others have tried this, but more evidence is helpful. The existing tests may contradict because the subjects involve different light conditions or contrasts. Alas, the other models do better or fail less often.

Meanwhile, GH5 buyers who need reliable AF can: a) avoid wide apertures or ambiguous lighting or contrast; b) use MF and chain a close subject in one place; c) use MF, keep the subject at least 4 meters distant, and set the MF near infinity; or d) cut-away to b-roll footage, or any overlay, if all else fails.

Link | Posted on Apr 14, 2017 at 18:49 UTC as 32nd comment | 3 replies
In reply to:

Michael Fryd: Bob was a friend. He will be missed. I'm glad his photos will be cared for.

LOC might welcome (and will likely need) volunteer help from an old Adelman friend to rummage through the prints and negatives to assemble, label, and index a memorable digitalized exhibit. Otherwise, the items could end up forgotten in some basement annex, eventually disposed.

Link | Posted on Apr 1, 2017 at 02:11 UTC
In reply to:

John Koch: A quandary for LOC: budget getting cut, and someone donates a collection they won't have the money to handle.

Anyone who inherits old albums has trouble enough making sense of the contents for posterity. Worse if the heirloom is boxes of photo prints that may be jumbled, lack dates, or not identify the place or people. The problem with negatives is even more formidable: mildew, dust, scratches. Exactly what time, work or cost will it take to review, scan, label, and archive over 400,000 negatives or faces or places forgotten? Assuming one minute to clean and scan a negative, it would take over a year to digitalize the negatives. To research or corroborate the content might take days or lead to dead ends.

Putting things in perspective, though, perhaps 99.9% of the innumerable digital photos people now snap and share every minute could disappear without the world being any worse.

OlyPent: "Thing is, documentary photographs ... just need to show something future historians, etc., would find interesting."

Which proves the point: how to scour 400,000 negatives and decide which, in 100 years, will be interesting, versus those not even worth the time to clean, scan, or decipher, particularly if the originator never bothered to develop or index them. Rotting bundles of old magazines are at least readable, but not welcome as library donations. Historians need things that are indexed and searchable.

Link | Posted on Apr 1, 2017 at 02:06 UTC

A quandary for LOC: budget getting cut, and someone donates a collection they won't have the money to handle.

Anyone who inherits old albums has trouble enough making sense of the contents for posterity. Worse if the heirloom is boxes of photo prints that may be jumbled, lack dates, or not identify the place or people. The problem with negatives is even more formidable: mildew, dust, scratches. Exactly what time, work or cost will it take to review, scan, label, and archive over 400,000 negatives or faces or places forgotten? Assuming one minute to clean and scan a negative, it would take over a year to digitalize the negatives. To research or corroborate the content might take days or lead to dead ends.

Putting things in perspective, though, perhaps 99.9% of the innumerable digital photos people now snap and share every minute could disappear without the world being any worse.

Link | Posted on Mar 31, 2017 at 21:12 UTC as 7th comment | 6 replies
Total: 238, showing: 1 – 20
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