Joel Halbert

Lives in United States Tucson, AZ, United States
Works as a Engineer
Joined on Jul 4, 2003

Comments

Total: 90, showing: 1 – 20
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Court to PETA: quit the monkey business.

Link | Posted on Apr 24, 2018 at 19:03 UTC as 97th comment
In reply to:

Mastering Light: DPR dropped the ball and looks very silly....or they've been paid by Sony to advertise this as a response to Panasonic's more impressive sensor.

Panasonic announced a much more impressive 36MP global shutter sensor a few days ago, and DPR ignored it.

This Sony 1MP sensor is about the same as the one Samsung demoed 2 years ago. It is along way from 1 MP to a viable productiin sensor.

My bet is we will see the Panasonic 8K 60FPS sensor long before Sony gets theirs out of the design phase.

Bryce, please see my response below to the "BSI" topic.

Link | Posted on Feb 16, 2018 at 18:17 UTC
In reply to:

Astrotripper: Sony develops a 1 mp global shutter sensor and it's a breakthrough.

Panasonic develops 36mp global shutter organic sensor with built-in ND filter that does 8K at 60fps and not a peep.

Thought I'd give a little perspective on this "Sony breakthrough"

:-)

Be careful of focusing too much on the acronyms. BSI solves a problem that the new Panasonic sensor simply doesn't have to begin with.

The reason "BSI" (Back-Side-Illumination) is helpful for traditional CMOS sensor design is that it allows the light-receptor area to be large, not having to share the surface area with associated circuit devices and wiring.

The announced Panasonic technology is very different and achieves a similar advantage in a new way - because the charge storage and processing circuitry sits underneath the light-receptor area. So it sports different catch-phrase acronyms, like "OPF" instead of "BSI", but it also has large-area receptors allowing high collection efficiency, and therefore higher dynamic range which is what BSI achieves. So the lack of "BSI" is no downside here.

Link | Posted on Feb 16, 2018 at 18:07 UTC

Over the years, these have come up for sale on a somewhat regular basis. The asking price seems quite high compared to the more typical ~$1500 or so that they used to go for, but I have not kept up with recent sales. It is helpful when they come in the original transporting box, and some I've seen have an outer wooden crate also.

Somewhat more interesting, to me, are the WWI-vintage Thornton-Pickard training cameras made as a training substitute for a Lewis machine gun.

In a recent DPR comment discussing the Leica KE-7A, I ran through a brief list of military special-purpose cameras that include these gunnery-training cameras. Another whole category are strike-recording cameras that are attached to real guns, artillery pieces, periscopes etc., but they are usually not as exciting to look at.

Link | Posted on Jan 24, 2018 at 04:25 UTC as 44th comment
In reply to:

Stefan Hundhammer: How is that "military" version different from the normal one? For other devices, I'd guess it's about ruggedness, but a fragile device like a camera?

(..continued)

The KE-7A is far from the only military-version camera that one can seek. There are other military and government Leicas, including Nazi Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine cameras (though faked-up models, sometimes quite ridiculous, now abound in the market), Swedish "3-crown" M Leicas and numerous others. Lufwaffe Robot spring-motor cameras are not too hard to find. There are US Army, Navy and Air Corps versions of Graphic and Speed Graphic cameras, Kodak cameras of various models, a whole range of aerial cameras mostly for military and intelligence use (though also civilian). There are British, Japanese and American training cameras in the form of aerial machine guns, going back to WW1. Strike-recording cameras for airplanes and forward artillery pieces, submarine periscope cameras, the list goes on and on. SEAL, Delta, SAS and other commandos now operate with continuous recording and/or broadcasting of missions and training; I suppose that equipment could be had someday.

Link | Posted on Dec 23, 2017 at 00:38 UTC
In reply to:

Stefan Hundhammer: How is that "military" version different from the normal one? For other devices, I'd guess it's about ruggedness, but a fragile device like a camera?

The camera was ordered by the US DoD as a "militarized" or "ruggedized" M4, with black chrome finish (a new Leitz specialty at that time) and special lubricants for wider temperature-range operation.

The "civilian" KE-7A is identical in construction and materials (i.e. just as ruggedized) but, being a production over-run (probably due to a reduction of DoD-forecasted order quantity) of a non-classified piece of equipment, was allowed to be sold to the public. It does not have some of the contract number engravings that the military-contract versions have. And I think (not sure) that it did not come with the military camera manual containing the step-by-step destruction instructions. (continued...)

Link | Posted on Dec 23, 2017 at 00:21 UTC
In reply to:

Joel Halbert: I note in these comments, aside from the usual non-original derision, some skepticism about the Canadian factory.

If you learn more about the history of Leitz, then you will come to appreciate the Midland Ontario E Leitz Canada (ELCAN) factory. The quality of assembly was top-notch for normal Leica-system catalog products, but the real contribution was the huge variety of custom-designed ELCAN equipment, including many highly specialized and ultra-high-performance lenses. The dean of optical design there was Walter Mandler, originally apprenticed to Leitz lens designer Max Berek, but who then emigrated from Germany and made his career and life in Canada. Mandler was an industry pioneer in the early application of computerized lens design - unthinkable to do without today, but a new engineering concept in the 1950s and '60s. (continued in reply...)

453C, I truly wanted to explain the origin and background of this item, which I think is more interesting than the fact of yet another auction (auctions for KE-7A cameras are not exactly unheard of, and I'm not sure why this one merits a news item; in general auction offerings of rare Leicas are not rare events). But I seized the opportunity to contribute some hopefully worthwhile background.

I suppose the "attitude" you objected to was my push-back against the predictably derisive comments, and I meant no offense to any reasonable person. But understand that here I am not really defending Leica in its current form, rather I am defending the memory of now-dead and/or retired engineers, technicians and workers, of whatever national origin, who produced legitimately excellent and innovative products that advanced the industry. I wrote that those accomplishments rise far above recycled brand-bashing jokes; that is my attitude and I do stand by it.

Link | Posted on Dec 22, 2017 at 06:57 UTC
In reply to:

Joel Halbert: I note in these comments, aside from the usual non-original derision, some skepticism about the Canadian factory.

If you learn more about the history of Leitz, then you will come to appreciate the Midland Ontario E Leitz Canada (ELCAN) factory. The quality of assembly was top-notch for normal Leica-system catalog products, but the real contribution was the huge variety of custom-designed ELCAN equipment, including many highly specialized and ultra-high-performance lenses. The dean of optical design there was Walter Mandler, originally apprenticed to Leitz lens designer Max Berek, but who then emigrated from Germany and made his career and life in Canada. Mandler was an industry pioneer in the early application of computerized lens design - unthinkable to do without today, but a new engineering concept in the 1950s and '60s. (continued in reply...)

(continued)

The KE-7A body itself is not intrinsically a special example of ELCAN work, in that the basic design follows the commercial M4 and has little of the Midland custom design - though some of the lenses for it were Midland customs. The camera became famous and desirable back in the 1970s when Jason Schneider and others wrote about the limited production over-run being available to the public, along with the interesting addendum to the military-version instruction manual, explaining exactly how to destroy the camera in the event of impending enemy compromise.

The history and legacy of Leitz Canada is proud and notable, rising so far above the snarky jibes and un-funny Red Dot jokes in these DPR comments (beneath every Leica news story) that I wonder if it's really worth trying. But if you are open-minded enough to want to learn why Leitz and Leica became so respected in the first place, the story of the Midland factory should be an essential element of your research.

Link | Posted on Dec 22, 2017 at 05:23 UTC

I note in these comments, aside from the usual non-original derision, some skepticism about the Canadian factory.

If you learn more about the history of Leitz, then you will come to appreciate the Midland Ontario E Leitz Canada (ELCAN) factory. The quality of assembly was top-notch for normal Leica-system catalog products, but the real contribution was the huge variety of custom-designed ELCAN equipment, including many highly specialized and ultra-high-performance lenses. The dean of optical design there was Walter Mandler, originally apprenticed to Leitz lens designer Max Berek, but who then emigrated from Germany and made his career and life in Canada. Mandler was an industry pioneer in the early application of computerized lens design - unthinkable to do without today, but a new engineering concept in the 1950s and '60s. (continued in reply...)

Link | Posted on Dec 22, 2017 at 05:23 UTC as 31st comment | 7 replies

I started in with this article a little reluctantly, expecting to feel annoyed by the "hipster retro" effect that others have alluded to. (Though I began taking photos with an actual, original Diana camera my parents bought for 77 cents in 1967 or so, I had been unimpressed by its resurgent and gimmicky popularity around the end of the film era.)

But I found that Ms. Lee has a very rational, open-minded and well-considered attitude towards this equipment, and also regarding the real-world importance of high pixel-count and camera features. The cameras she likes were not low-quality toys for gimmick-shock publicity value, but were mid-range to advanced-user compacts that would have been judged astoundingly-capable equipment had they appeared in the hands of any live-subject photographer during the 20th century.

And I like her photos, they show a good eye and a feel for composition.

Link | Posted on Dec 8, 2017 at 04:34 UTC as 91st comment
On article The Leica CL is (almost) what the TL should have been (424 comments in total)

I like this CL, but not quite as much as I liked my 1975 CL (bought after many months of working after school for $1.50 an hour).

And I certainly tire of the incessant and predictable "only for snobs" comments below every single Leica story on DPR. But that does not mean I adore every product Leica makes today. I have long wished that they would have collaborated with Panasonic on a high end MFT camera (not a "re-badge"). Failing that, I would encourage them to produce a very similar camera to this CL, but in "full" 24x36 format - a Leica Q with updates and this same interchangeable L mount, M10-like microlens sensor etc. The APS middle ground is less appealing even if it saves cost and a little bit of body height.

Link | Posted on Nov 22, 2017 at 19:13 UTC as 19th comment
On article The Leica CL is (almost) what the TL should have been (424 comments in total)
In reply to:

icexe: From a purely aesthetic point of view, the viewfinder hump totally ruins the design. It looks like something they tacked on there as an afterthought.

I'm not sure I would agree that it "totally ruins" the design, but your comment does remind me of a famous Leica story:

When the design team was working on the inclusion of the built-in coupled rangefinder circa 1930 (adding on to the Leica I platform to make it a Leica II), Oskar Barnack held up a Leica I and laid a ruler across the top of the camera, i.e. the film wind, shutter-speed knob, finder and rewind knobs. He directed the team to make the new rangefinder housing no taller than that, and indeed they were able to keep the profile of the RF housing aligned with the (fortunately generous) height of the existing controls.

Apparently this was not possible in the case of the new digital CL, probably because pushing it lower would encroach on the upper left corner of the rear LCD screen. And the slimline control knobs are not nearly as tall as they were on the old Leica I. So perhaps Barnack would have agreed with you.

Link | Posted on Nov 22, 2017 at 18:33 UTC
On article Throwback Thursday: Olympus E-P1 (63 comments in total)

Small correction - the E-P1 was not ".... the second MFT camera on the market...", but the third. Panasonic introduced the G1 in 2008, and followed with the GH1 video-capable version in 1Q 2009. I remember this clearly because I attended the PMA show in Las Vegas early that year with my G1, and played with the GH1 and its "HD" video superzoom (th original 14-140 Mk 1 lens). At that point, the Olympus camera was an untouchable mock-up in a glass case.

The "rangefinder-styled" E-P1 came in the summer, and Panasonic's GF1 in that shape about 3 months later - both unfortunately still lacking a built-in EVF, but both very appealing to people who didn't resonate with "mini-SLR" styling.

Link | Posted on Aug 31, 2017 at 16:49 UTC as 22nd comment
In reply to:

NickyB66: Understandable, if it keeps people, aircraft safe then I don't see a problem.

"TSA has never ever prevented a terrorist attack".

First, do you honestly believe that if TSA and all security checks were disbanded tomorrow, that organized and/or loner terrorists would not jump at the security gap? The answer is obvious; I'm just trying to get you to think about your statement. TSA is a deterrent, a safety layer.

Second, how do you know what active terror plots have been prevented over the years? If you lock your door, you cannot logically say "locking my door never ever prevented a robbery" - whether or not you have ever been robbed,

Link | Posted on Jul 28, 2017 at 04:57 UTC

Hi DPR editors, just a quick proofreading note:
A paperweight is for keeping your stationery stationary.

And in related news, it seems that DPR posters don't appreciate posters....

Link | Posted on Jul 12, 2017 at 15:45 UTC as 18th comment
In reply to:

BobORama: Do large birds obey the flight restrictions?

Aircraft engines are tested to be able to ingest birds and unavoidable bits of trash and debris. Aircraft windshields are tested to withstand frozen chickens shot out of cannon to simulate in-flight impact. Despite those efforts, significant bird encounters (such as dense flocks nesting around airports) are known to endanger commercial and military aircraft.

Drones are made of polymers, metals, wire, glass, lithium-ion batteries etc. that pose additional and avoidable risks.

I doubt that you would appreciate having to dodge an occasional drone while barreling down a well-marked highway at 70MPH; how much more so if you were piloting a large airplane traveling over 200MPH while concentrating on your aerial fire-fighting or personnel transport duties?

Link | Posted on Jul 6, 2017 at 05:22 UTC

"...Franke & Heidecke, which grew from the remains of Rollei..."

Franke & Heidecke was (part of) the original company name. The two employees of Voigtlander left to produce, over the years:
Heidoscop (stereo plate camera to compete with Voigtlander Stereoflektoskop)
Rolleidoscop (roll-film version of same & origin of the "Rollei" moniker,
Rolleiflex & later Rolleicord TLRs, mostly for 6x6 on 120 film (the company's most famous and copied products),
Rollei 35 novel ultra-compact 35mm camera line,
SL66 & derivative SLR (Hasselblad-form) 120 cameras,
SL35 35mm SLR (coming full circle in acquiring the defunct Voigtlander as a co-brand-name)
many more sometimes strange models as the market kept changing.

The company name changed several, incorporating the "Rollei" brand-name and on-and-off the Franke & Heidecke names. In any case, we should not confuse the fact the Franke & Heidecke (the money man and the technically-inspired creator, in that order as usual) were the original founders.

Link | Posted on May 27, 2017 at 08:15 UTC as 2nd comment
In reply to:

Jacob the Photographer: Welcome back Hy6 !
Although not in name it will bear the top quality of Rolleiflex from years by-gone.
For those who are not familiar with Rolleiflex: since the 1930's it was the number one professional camera brand in the world ( see rolleiclub.com ) , in 1966 they came with the most unique medium format SLR ever the Rolleiflex SL66 , followed in the '70's by the Rolleiflex SLX and later the still highly usable Rolleiflex 6006 , 6008 series. Another interesting site to go is sl66.com , I used the Rolleiflex 6000 series for about 20 and still would have had the mother company of Rollei not stuffed up their marketing and technical service so badly. Still : the exceptional craftmanship to build high quality cameras still resides in DW Photo of Braunschweig and I only can hope and wish then good luck !! Once a Rolleiflex fan always a Rolleiflex fan :-)

thyl, the major portion of camera assembly for Leica is done in Portugal. This has been true for many years now. The incomplete but "mostly there" assembly is finished in Germany for critical adjustment, body covering, testing and packaging. Critical operations such as rangefinder adjustment, sensor selection and high-precision mounting, lens-mount trimming etc. are performed as the final assembly proceeds there. It is still European and expensive but the Portugal operation saves significant labor cost.

Link | Posted on May 27, 2017 at 07:40 UTC
In reply to:

RingoMan: Regardless of shutter differences it seems to me that flash photography is still severely punished. I hope that a mirrorless camera in APS-C can help by building an auxiliary leaf shutter in the camera body right behind the lens. The APS-C size would certainly allow for this. This would be like the leaf shutter lenses that were available for focal plane cameras. There is a reason the new Hasselblad still uses leaf shutters!

I'm surprised I could find this online - here is a wonderful and informative 1956 ad for the Konica III (a very nicely made camera).

https://books.google.com/books?id=4F0zAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=nodal+point+leaf+shutter&source=bl&ots=BJJokONQmU&sig=rUj8jv0lMVnE-WEhrvEMZTs0jc4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiVtva-8o3UAhUnxoMKHfocAeUQ6AEIRDAH#v=onepage&q=nodal%20point%20leaf%20shutter&f=false

Note the emphasis on the first page "Between the Lens Shutter", and on the next page, the paragraph "Shutters and Nodal Points", as well as the subsequent paragraph on re-examining one's desire for interchangeable lenses.

Just great, dense ad copy for interested enthusiasts, though one wonders how well it worked for them; here's a later ad for the same camera. By 1958 the pitch was "Just Arrived - and all we can say is WOW!"

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/4ffea670c4aa3b93d374e0cb/t/50e99ca0e4b0955e460052b0/1357487265247/KonicaIII.jpg

Link | Posted on May 26, 2017 at 16:11 UTC
In reply to:

RingoMan: Regardless of shutter differences it seems to me that flash photography is still severely punished. I hope that a mirrorless camera in APS-C can help by building an auxiliary leaf shutter in the camera body right behind the lens. The APS-C size would certainly allow for this. This would be like the leaf shutter lenses that were available for focal plane cameras. There is a reason the new Hasselblad still uses leaf shutters!

RingoMan, the best placement for a leaf shutter is near the nodal point of the lens, the same plane as the optimum aperture-diaphragm location. There are a number of reasons but the easiest summary is that the blades will be completely "out of focus" since in this plane, image rays from every part of the frame pass through every portion of the lens.

The closer the shutter is to the focal plane, the more it takes on the characteristics and problems of a focal-plane shutter. In the case of a roughly round leaf shutter, this means that you will see vignetting because the central portion of the opening is exposed the longest, while the max-opening edges are exposed for the shortest time. This is the opposite outcome of a traveling-slit design architecture, that is adopted specifically to give "equal time" to every portion of the image.

Depending on the lens, there is not necessarily much room between the back element and the cover-glass - just about enough for a "focal-plane" shutter!

Link | Posted on May 26, 2017 at 15:58 UTC
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