J Parker

Lives in United States United States
Joined on Dec 12, 2008

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Total: 131, showing: 1 – 20
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I get the negativity in the comments -- I was a Lensbaby skeptic too. And then I actually shot with one. Best creative decision I ever made. A dozen Lensbaby lenses later, from professional portrait shoots to weddings, these lenses never leave my camera. If you want to get the results these lenses are capable of, take the time to learn and actually master one. With the majority of photographers using basically the same sensors and clinically perfect glass, the Lensbaby lenses can take your work in some interesting directions if given the chance. Sorry for the long-winded comment, but these lenses, for me, turned photography into a new art form in and of itself.

Link | Posted on Nov 5, 2020 at 20:06 UTC as 3rd comment
On article DPReview TV: The gear that changed Jordan's life (144 comments in total)

My advice to every photographer alive:

1. Buy a GF1 right now (at about $70, how can you not)?

2. Buy a Pentax 110 18mm lens (36mm on m43) -- literally smaller than a quarter, quite possibly the coolest lens ever made ($25).

3. Smile -- for less than $100, you've just entered photography heaven.

A true shooter's camera, the GF1 is every bit as enjoyable to shoot as a Fuji X100 -- and this is coming from a long time Fujifilm shooter....

Link | Posted on Apr 16, 2020 at 03:48 UTC as 36th comment | 3 replies

An even more appealing proposition: a Fuji X100M -- with M standing for monochrome. Both Leica and Phase One have shown that there is a market for this at the high end -- an $1100 version by Fuji would have a year long waiting list. Does anyone remember how outstanding Fuji's monochrome modes were on the legendary S2, S3, and S5 Pro? Such an offering (again using Leica as an example) would only enhance (and not compete) with Fuji's existing camera line-up.

Link | Posted on Mar 17, 2020 at 19:14 UTC as 101st comment

No single sensor format or camera brand has a monopoly on great imaging.

I've found that the psychology of camera format/brand loyalty affects how we perceive image quality as much as the cameras themselves. But some of the best real world images I've ever seen have come from full frame cameras -- and M43 cameras -- and point and shoots.

In the most demanding of professional of environments, Alex Majoli shot the Iraq war, the Congo war, and the U.S. presidential election for Time and Newsweek with a point and shoot (an Olympus 5050 with a sensor a fraction of the size of M43 and a street value today of about $30) -- and was named U.S. Press National Photographer of the Year.

No matter what format or brand we shoot, how can we have anything but amazement over the cutting edge tech this new Olympus camera (and other brands of course) represent?

Ok, it's expensive. But there's always that $30 Olympus I mentioned above that I'm sure most of us could win a few awards with....

Link | Posted on Feb 1, 2019 at 03:34 UTC as 59th comment | 1 reply
On article Fujifilm GFX 50R Review (1745 comments in total)

Game changer. The ultimate portrait and wedding camera for those skilled enough to get the shot without spraying and praying.

Link | Posted on Sep 25, 2018 at 19:07 UTC as 353rd comment | 4 replies
In reply to:

saiko: CS6 was my last Adobe purchase.
Moved to Affinity from Adobe few years ago... very happy.

Affinity is incredible -- and it just keeps getting better.

Link | Posted on Sep 1, 2018 at 17:13 UTC

We use to own Adobe software -- now it owns us.

Of course it's not just Adobe that has adopted this 'My way or the highway' approach. And fortunately there are excellent alternatives (Affinity, On1, Exposure, Capture 1).

I still use Adobe software on occasion and it seems many photographers somehow can't live without it. But do think hard about paying infinitely for something that you never actually own....

Adobe's transition from selling software to becoming a public utility for photographers is a brilliant solution -- for them.

Link | Posted on Sep 1, 2018 at 17:11 UTC as 20th comment

Buy an old copy of Photoshop 7. It:

1. Would be super cheap (only $25-$50).

2. Works just fine with Windows 10.

3. Works lightning fast on a current PC.

4. Is 100x more powerful than Lightroom (it can do all the sophisticated editing tasks that Lightroom can't do, and has 90% of the functions of today's Photoshop -- unless your focus is something other than than photography, i.e. 3D modeling).

5. Works completely offline.

6. See #3 again. Your workflow will thank you. Today's Photoshop and Lightroom are overweight, sluggish, and not nearly as fast as they should be. When you see how ridiculously fast PS 7 runs, it will put a smile on your face.

7. You pay only once.

Assuming you can live with an alternative method of converting your raw files, you should be fine. Never allow a single company to control any part of your creative process.

One of the best astro-photographers I know still uses Photoshop 5.5 to this day....

Link | Posted on Aug 31, 2018 at 00:25 UTC as 38th comment | 6 replies
In reply to:

J Parker: It was the fifth time I checked my camera bag.

When I switched to M43, I had to keep checking my camera bag, not simply because it was lighter -- but the difference was so great that I had to be sure that there was a camera in there at all. True story, no exaggeration. (By the way, this is not an anti-DSLR rant -- my favorite cameras to this day happen to be DSLR's that I still shoot with).

But the evolution of photography needed mirrorless. And for me, from day one, it was revolutionary. Panasonic's GF1 was, and remains a masterpiece -- it was as if Leica's had all of a sudden become accessible to everyone who wanted one....

M43 also opened a door to lenses that I would have never discovered otherwise. Pentax's lenses for 110 cameras (about the size of nickel!); combining a Minolta F1.4 with a focal reducer and creating an F1.0 dream lens. I could go on.

From wet plate to digital, DSLR's to M43, we should be thankful, not divisive, about the incredible choices we have.

Clint, thanks for your comment. I used the Leica example not as a literal reference, but to illustrate that M43, like range finders, brought to photography an expanded range of shooting and creative possibilities.

Link | Posted on Aug 15, 2018 at 21:28 UTC

It was the fifth time I checked my camera bag.

When I switched to M43, I had to keep checking my camera bag, not simply because it was lighter -- but the difference was so great that I had to be sure that there was a camera in there at all. True story, no exaggeration. (By the way, this is not an anti-DSLR rant -- my favorite cameras to this day happen to be DSLR's that I still shoot with).

But the evolution of photography needed mirrorless. And for me, from day one, it was revolutionary. Panasonic's GF1 was, and remains a masterpiece -- it was as if Leica's had all of a sudden become accessible to everyone who wanted one....

M43 also opened a door to lenses that I would have never discovered otherwise. Pentax's lenses for 110 cameras (about the size of nickel!); combining a Minolta F1.4 with a focal reducer and creating an F1.0 dream lens. I could go on.

From wet plate to digital, DSLR's to M43, we should be thankful, not divisive, about the incredible choices we have.

Link | Posted on Aug 15, 2018 at 05:20 UTC as 33rd comment | 7 replies
In reply to:

usernamealreadyinuse: The Fuji S3 was transformative, in its design (co-created by Nikon) and technical innovation. I did not buy one at the time, but it was a beautiful piece of gear that helped convince me that 'the future is almost here' (after shooting advertising with Nikon, Hassy and Sinar gear for 20 years at that point). And it soon was, when I ditched Nikon and bought the FF Canon 1Ds Mk II DSLR. However the Fuji S3 still holds up today as one sexy-looking harbinger of all that has followed.

You might want to keep all three. If you can deal with the lower resolution, no current camera (even Fuji's own X series) produces better color rendition out the box. And the film-like sensors (literally designed to duplicate the light capturing characteristics of film) can keep up with anything out there today.

Link | Posted on May 16, 2018 at 11:46 UTC

In Sony's earlier days, they stated in a brochure that their goal was to take photography to places it had never been.

I believe in many ways they've succeeded. Forget about the A7 line for a moment -- right now in 2018, younger photographers who've never seen the Sony R1 (pictured in the article) or even the Sony F717 are stunned when I tell them that these cameras were made well over a decade ago. And when I show them the laser matrix focusing and the built in night vision on the F717 -- well, you get the idea....

To paraphrase Steve Jobs' Think Different commercial, sometimes it takes crazy people -- and crazy companies -- to move things forward.

Link | Posted on May 15, 2018 at 18:25 UTC as 97th comment
On article Shooting with a used DSLR kit that cost me just $80 (282 comments in total)
In reply to:

J Parker: Despite my 'modern' gear, I still shoot weddings and portrait commissions with a Fujifilm S2Pro and S3Pro (about $100 each). Unlike most cameras which shoot a range of subjects, these particular cameras are optimized for one thing -- to make people's skin tones look amazing. The color rendition (and BW rendition for that matter) smokes any modern camera I have -- no exaggeration.

BTW, I had to laugh at the thought that I shot my last wedding with these cameras with a 99 cent pack of alkalines -- too bad they don't make DSLRs that take AA batteries anymore :D

Thanks for the great article!

@vadims, thanks for your post. You hit it right on the head -- the level of elitism and pretentiousness in the wedding field is insane. My peers are pretty convinced that it's impossible to shoot a great wedding without camera gear designed for Jedi Knights....

Link | Posted on Oct 14, 2017 at 02:24 UTC
On article Shooting with a used DSLR kit that cost me just $80 (282 comments in total)

Despite my 'modern' gear, I still shoot weddings and portrait commissions with a Fujifilm S2Pro and S3Pro (about $100 each). Unlike most cameras which shoot a range of subjects, these particular cameras are optimized for one thing -- to make people's skin tones look amazing. The color rendition (and BW rendition for that matter) smokes any modern camera I have -- no exaggeration.

BTW, I had to laugh at the thought that I shot my last wedding with these cameras with a 99 cent pack of alkalines -- too bad they don't make DSLRs that take AA batteries anymore :D

Thanks for the great article!

Link | Posted on Oct 13, 2017 at 18:50 UTC as 81st comment | 6 replies
In reply to:

utphoto: "It’s true that, without the input from marketers, engineers can produce Formula One race cars. However, most people find a Ford Focus, Honda Civic or BMW 3 Series much more affordable and considerably more convenient for collecting the weekly shop. Still, if you wait long enough, some of that Formula One know-how may well make an appearance in your family hatchback."

Not really true. Virtually all F1 engineering, design and vehicle construction is done in the UK at specialist facilities. The engineers designing consumer vehicles have little or nothing to do with F1 design.

Actually, Richard has a point. Honda on more than one occasion has marketed that its consumer cars benefit from its extensive F1 know-how (Honda supplied engines to F1 legend Ayrton Senna). And even more to the point, Saab used to extensively market that its expertise in making fighter jets (and we thought F1 cars were impressive) was also utilized in its cars.

Link | Posted on Aug 6, 2017 at 22:26 UTC
On photo NOLA beauty in the Beautiful caucasian female faces challenge (2 comments in total)

Even years later, possibly the world's finest portrait lens. Great shot.

Link | Posted on Jul 21, 2017 at 02:37 UTC as 2nd comment
On photo Paloma in Wildbegonia's photo gallery (2 comments in total)

Very nice portrait!

Link | Posted on Jul 19, 2017 at 22:37 UTC as 1st comment | 1 reply

Some of us are hesitant about any lens that isn't auto focus.

A while back, I observed old footage of photographers shooting Muhammad Ali. Although all the photographers had were manual focus lenses, not only were they focusing at lightning speed, they were focusing as if the lens was a natural extension of their hands (think of a piano player playing hundreds of notes without looking at the keys). I realized that if you've handled, focused and adjusted a lens hundreds of times, the lens became so intuitive that you could literally compose and focus as if it were second nature.

Although I was pretty content with my AF glass, I decided to try shooting manual focus exclusively. At first it was an extremely slow process -- and then I crossed a point where without zone focusing, I could follow and shoot even rapidly moving subjects with no issues. Yes, I mean no missed shots.

Develop the skill and learn the nuances of a MF lens. It will take your photography to another level.

Link | Posted on Jul 11, 2017 at 14:41 UTC as 13th comment | 6 replies

Several years ago, business guru Tom Peters wrote that there was going to come a time when those who were laughing at the inexpensive goods coming from 'other' countries wouldn't be laughing much longer.... He went on to state that these goods (lenses in this case) would eventually rival their mainstream counterparts in quality -- at a ridiculous fraction of the price. When DVD players cost $1,000, the company Apex introduced a $99 dollar DVD player that was built like a tank and outperformed the major brands. This phenomenon occurring in the photography world would not be a very far reach. Just an observation.

Link | Posted on Jul 11, 2017 at 02:31 UTC as 31st comment | 4 replies

Whenever Lensbaby releases a new lens, you can count on plenty of mindless comments from people who have never spent significant time with one (yes there is a learning curve). I should know -- I might've been the biggest skeptic of all.

Not only is phenomenal still photography being shot with these lenses, I'm seeing them being used in several big budget cinematic productions as well. Some alternatives do exist (i.e. Minolta's Rokkor 50mm 1.7 or Fujian's 25mm 1.4), but these lenses complement the Lensbabys -- not replace them.

Most importantly, I've found that Lensbabies have the ability to inspire compositions of literally any subject matter. Put a Lensbaby 3G on your camera (quite possibly the coolest lens ever made) and total strangers will walk up to you and want to be photographed by it. One last tip -- their Tilt Transformer (discontinued) will convert any Nikon glass into a Lensbaby while giving you the option to also use the Nikon lens as you normally would.

Link | Posted on Jun 27, 2017 at 23:27 UTC as 13th comment
Total: 131, showing: 1 – 20
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