Sunday, August 26, 2012

One giant loss for mankind.

Neil Armstrong died today due to complications from a heart procedure. He was 82. I'm so sad.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Photos Are Not Free

Over on Flickr, Extra Medium posted a great one about why our photos are not free. The post is accompanied by a great photo, but it would be wrong of me to hotlink to it here. You'll just have to do the clicky thing to see it yourself. Click here.

As an example, here is one of my photos. It took weeks of planning, research, airfare, rental car, meals, and hotels to obtain and bring back home for your viewing pleasure, Gentle Reader. This one wasn't free, either.

One thing the Extra Medium doesn't take into account in the monetary calculations is time. Time to research and obtain the gear. Time to travel to the photo. Time to process it. Time to create the entire infrastructure of camera, computer, software, ISP and all the other little bits required to post the photo on the Internet.

Time, time, time.

More importantly, time spent reading, looking, and thinking about photography. Good photos require forethought and preparation. Yes, sometimes good photos happen in an unexpected instant, but the brain behind the viewfinder has spent so much time thinking in photography mode that all the elements come together in a perfect and reflexive way.

Our time is valuable because each of us only have so much of it, and when it's gone, that is all.

What is time worth? A lot.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Canon Announces the 5D Mark III

Canon announced the 5D Mark III this morning. This is bound to generate a lot of buzz in the photo blogosphere.

I love my 5D Mark II. It's a great camera, the best one I have ever owned. I'd get another one in a heartbeat. In fact, I did: I have two. Yes, I am fortunate.

Canon announced the 5D Mark II in September 2008, with units reaching general buyers a couple months later. Three years on the market seems to be a typical span for DSLRs now, so this seems to fit right into that release schedule. No doubt it was also in response to Nikon's recent announcement of the D800.

The 5DM3 is expected to ship by the end of March for US$3,499 body only, or US$4,299 with the excellent EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom.

The 5DM3 has some great improvements over the M2, such as:
  • Digic 5 processors (versus Digic 4)
  • 61-point AF (the M2 had 9)
  • 63-zone metering
  • Improvements to video functionality
  • Two card slots, one CF (like the M2) and a new, additional SDXC slot
  • 6 fps burst rate (the M2's was 3.9)
  • Increased ISO range to 104,200 (was 25,600)
  • Customizable controls
  • Larger LCD
  • Repositioning of the power switch next to the mode dial
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • In-camera HDR mode
  • Headphone jack
  • Removal of the useless (to me) PictBridge button
  • I haven't seen it mentioned in the press releases yet, but it appears by the photos on Adorama that it has a locking mode dial. The lack of this has bitten me on more than one occasion, although I know that Canon offers a retrofit for the 5DM2 and 7D for US$100.

Those things are all good improvements, but I'm a little surprised about what wasn't changed. On my wish list for the M3, I would have like to have seen:
  • An articulated LCD screen. This would be useful for on-the-ground or overhead shots, or any time it's hard to directly see the back of the camera, such as shooting at high angles when mounted to a tripod.
  • Integrated GPS. Point-n-shoots have this; why don't SLRs? There must be some reason for this, other than a desire to sell the additional, external, and largish GP-E2 module for US$390. I just don't know what it is.
  • USB3 interface. While USB3 isn't all that common on computers yet, it will be in three years when the successor to the M3 arrives.
I also like those things that Canon didn't change or wildly modify.

The layout of the buttons are still along the left side of the LCD. I have a 40D which has the buttons along the bottom of the screen, and is more cumbersome to use.

Despite what Nikon thinks, the megapixel wars are long over. The M3 has only a slight bump to 22.4, from 21.1 on the M2.

The basic layout of the camera is similar to the M2, which is pretty darn good.

I don't know if I will get one right away since my M2's are still chugging along nicely. It's bound to have some teething problems like the M2 did. Firmware updates will likely fix those, just as before.