John Koch

Joined on Aug 6, 2003


Total: 286, showing: 1 – 20
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$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 52nd 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 70th comment
On article Hands-on with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV (321 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 20th comment | 16 replies
In reply to:

AustinMN: "ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm F2.4-F4 Lens"

"Maximum aperture F2.4–4"

What am I missing? Isn't f/4 at 600mm a max aperture of 150mm (six inches)? There is no way that lens is f/4 at the long end.

Could the RX10 iv attain f/4 (in terms of 1/4 the focal length) by cropping the sensor at the long end? In any case, some clarification is due.

Link | Posted on Sep 13, 2017 at 14:10 UTC

The press release makes no mention of 5-axis IBIS. Does the RX10 iv have only 2-axis OIS? When shooting video, or shooting stills at long zoom, the extra three axes of stabilization will be sorely missed! Every bit of rotational, horizontal, or vertical shake hurts.

The Panasonic FZ2000/2500 claims 5-axis IBIS, though alas it's only 2-axis when shooting 4k. Both the Panasonic and Sony super-zooms lag their 20-16-7 batch of ICL cameras, whose 4k video modes include 5-axis stabilization.

Link | Posted on Sep 13, 2017 at 12:37 UTC as 66th comment

Does NC discourage photography in other months? April, which is beautiful in NC, might be a better month to designate. October, on the other hand, puts NC in competition with NE states with more spectacular fall foliage.

Link | Posted on Sep 12, 2017 at 01:07 UTC as 1st comment | 1 reply
In reply to:

kigathi: Reflexive resistance to the UN aside, the ICAO already oversees global flights so this seems fairly practical. It would also be a boon to the drone makers and international photographers to have worldwide standards.

The only significant "global" or "international" drone flights involve military or espionage operations sponsored by states, which won't agree to UN controls, or non-state trouble-makers who elude enforcement. The UN is not very efficient or successful at supervising local behavior, laws, or rights.

Link | Posted on Sep 12, 2017 at 00:36 UTC

It appears the UN wants to milk big donors to fund a big study group which, if they pay enough ransom, might be acquitted of elaborate anti-drone sanctions.

The UN does not dictate laws for roads or telecommunications. It fares poorly on enforcing global standards for freedoms or rule of law. Why any international jurisdiction for drones? They cross borders only in cases of tourism (benign) or military use (not easily adjudicated). Neither hobbyists or other users are going to want to "register" with the UN, if that means mainly liability for a big fee and submission to rules that essentially outlaw use not approved by the General Assembly. Protection of airspace is a local prerogative. Self-regulation is also evident, as in the case of software that prevents drone flights near airports.

Link | Posted on Sep 11, 2017 at 22:11 UTC as 59th comment
In reply to:

TonyPM: The other day I flew in a Boeing 737-800 series that had markings under the left side of the cockpit window that looked like if something smashed against the plane at high speed. The metal was slightly dented between the window and the pitot tubes. It had some black marks in the same place.

I don't know the cause but it's not the first time a drone hits a plane.

In a case like this it would be pretty easy to identify the owner if such data base existed.

What flight, what date? You don't know the cause, but it's not the first time a bird hits a plane. Seriously, birds or other planes are far more probable hazards for in-air collisions. Few hobbyists have any inclination to cause trouble, and the newer drones cannot launch in no-fly zones.

Link | Posted on Sep 11, 2017 at 21:53 UTC
In reply to:

huyzer: Here's real-world experience with a DJI user:

Kreitz's complaint is that DJI set a deadline for users to update firmware to avoid risk that the drone would deplete batteries and fall out of the sky. He ignored the notification. It makes perfect sense that safety updates be mandatory. The complaint is without merit relative to the importance of risk reduction. The DJIGo app discloses whether updates are available. The deadlines are not instant. Rants aside, he will likely continue using DJI products.

Link | Posted on Sep 9, 2017 at 18:12 UTC

Hoax entries might be more interesting than the real thing. "Drone Meets Pizza-Shaped UFO Abducting Road-Runner over Roswell at Noon" or "Cheating a Putt at Mar a Lago" would earn chuckles. Clever PS fakery does require skill! There are certain to be bogus submissions anyway, since it is otherwise difficult to make a flyover shot stand out from the rest.

Meanwhile, NG, Google, or others could sponsor a contest for people to search "Earth" satellite shots for interesting scenes or compositions, at virtually no cost or risk. The authenticity could be attested by the geo-coordinates.

Link | Posted on Sep 9, 2017 at 17:59 UTC as 2nd comment
In reply to:

dlb41: Is this what photography has become?

Drones? No. Selfies posted to SM rule, by far. Distant second: cats. Third: dogs. Then kids, cars, fish, cuisine, etc.

Link | Posted on Sep 9, 2017 at 17:39 UTC
In reply to:

Graham Meale: Looks like it's USA/Canada only

Canadian applicants may have to suppress the geotags of their entries, since so much of the country is coded "no fly." Some tundra or marsh scenes from the NWT may be legal and colorful, though. Just make sure there are no birds or rodents below. "Down North" will all look plain white very soon anyway.

Link | Posted on Sep 9, 2017 at 17:34 UTC
In reply to:

Torsten Hoff: So Nat Geo has become a shill for DJI, and the contest participants will invariably violate restrictions on drone usage to try to get interesting shots for their entries. Sad...

Very savvy. The loan agreements doubtlessly assign all risks to the users. The winners will have to convey something human or animal content. The bulge of entries, depicting uninhabited landscapes, remote buildings, or sunsets, will be tough to differentiate. Not enough "pop."

But are the criteria for terrestrial photography any less onerous or obtrusive? Prizes often go to depictions of torment, disaster, conflict, or terror. The photographers incur risks and pander to crass voyeurism. If the flyover prize winners depict a crowded stadium or beach, or a National Park icon (in principle, they should not), is that worse?

Link | Posted on Sep 9, 2017 at 17:28 UTC
In reply to:

mandm: First, if the incident is as described, the cop committed a crime & should be tried.
30/40+ years ago a lot cities had 2 cops in each car, one drives, the other is looking around, 2 cops are helpful when dealing with the public, one talks/checks the car/handcuffs someone, etc. while the other cop watches his back.
But to save money, many cities went to 1 cop per car, he drives, reads the bulletins on the laptop, calls or enters license plates into the laptop, keep an eye on what’s going on all around him, eats donuts & coffee. Wow, talk about distracted driving.
1 cop alone has to watch his back and everywhere else.
Maybe the cities will someday decide that the lawsuits they are paying out due to cop shootings cost more than having 2 cops in a car, but there’s a shortage of new cops due to people shooting cops, many have decided to drop out of the police training schools and others never start.
In 25 years, lots of cities will be like Chicago with dozens of shooting every day

Years ago, cops' pay and benefits were much, much lower than now, in real terms. Only the doughnuts remain cheap. There is no shortage of applicants for police training programs. Attrition is no worse than other fields, provided the applicants have already completed degrees and pass screening tests.

To have two cops in each car would require very high taxes or a cut in the fleet of patrol cars. A pay or benefit cut would be hard to negotiate, no matter how many doughnuts were put into the equation.

Link | Posted on Sep 6, 2017 at 16:03 UTC

Deputy Shaw (or Fife) probably seldom see big cameras or tripods. Would either ever imagine taking pictures of a storm? Some see that sinister anyway. Thus, although Shaw knew Grimm personally, he took no chances. Grimm, although literally quite sore, wants to make no waves. His employer needs to stay on good terms with a key source of local news. Shaw is unlikely to see another person lugging similar gear around. So "training" would be to no avail. Would Shaw or Fife (D. Knotts) be told to ask, "Is that a gun, a news-shooter's run-and-gun, or only a drain pipe tele lens that resembles a mortar?"

In many cases, it would be efficient and non-lethal for traffic police to carry only cameras, pepper spray, or taser sticks. Whatever people carry in their dim cars will always be ambiguous or hard to identify before (in those rare cases) something really bad happens. Interdiction of a robbery might also spare innocent lives, in the vicinity, if guns were only a last resort.

Link | Posted on Sep 6, 2017 at 15:53 UTC as 54th comment
In reply to:

starwolfy: This sounds crazy to me. In my country engagement rules are very strict. A policeman cannot shot someone who is not a direct threat. And to judge if someone is a threat the policeman has to evaluate the position of his target and also his attitude. If someone has a gun and is running the opposite way, his back facing the police officer, this is not considered a direct threat anymore. If the police officer get over this and shoots this person in the back then this is considered an assassination.

Strict rules, perhaps. But who writes the reports of the investigations? Never any "wink and nod"? Fellow police cover each other's backs, whether it's called fraternité or omertà, no? Inspector Clouseau may be a clown, who often needs your favors, but some day you'll need his. Badged brothers.

Link | Posted on Sep 6, 2017 at 15:18 UTC
In reply to:

Marty4650: You cannot regulate human error.

Yes if no one had a gun, then no one could be shot. But if no one had a car, then no one could be a victim of a highway accident, and if no one had a ladder, then no one could fall off a ladder.

Think about the logic, before you make smug statements for the sake of being politically correct.

Over-weaponized law enforcement compounds the risk of human error. If police perceive every suspicious object as a gun, and respond with fire, something is wrong, systematically.

If sheriff deputies or police had only cameras, in low crime areas, they could still ID or deter violators, without wounding or killing anyone. Taser clubs, soft guns, and handcuffs should suffice for most trouble-makers. If an assailant had a gun, a police pistol would be difficult to draw or aim in time anyway. For a few to get away (temporarily), may be better than an ugly shoot out or high-speed pursuit. Meanwhile, there are too many times where police shoot the innocent, or get shot themselves, without real need. Cameras would be a better equalizer.

Link | Posted on Sep 6, 2017 at 14:26 UTC

It would help if the article addressed whether high bit depth (or HDR) mean squat if a viewer's display is only 8-bit. DPR's still-life test chart has an inherently compressed DR too, since there are no suns, light bulbs, or moons against a night sky.

A side by side comparison of a low- and high-bit selfies might give real-world perspective in SV (selfie values) on how much the EV scores matter. My humble impression is that any shot into the sun makes capture or recovery of back-lit faces an uphill battle on a muddy slope. In the case of video, it means crawling and falling, again and again, every few frames. Think of pan shots of a late afternoon FB game, where half the field is in deep shadow and the other half is in bright sun.

Link | Posted on Sep 6, 2017 at 12:49 UTC as 18th comment
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