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Entries in photography (11)


What camera should I buy?

You're interested in photography, and you want to buy a serious camera that will not only take good pictures but also help you learn this craft and remain a useful tool as you improve. If you're the kind of person who absolutely has to know everything and can't stand to have anything but "the best", I suggest you go over these review sites, read every single article they have and make your own opinion. On the other hand, if you have anything remotely approaching a life, you might be better of following the decision chart below. This way you'll chose your camera in three minutes, leaving you with all your remaining life minus 180 seconds to actually learn to take great photos — a much more rewarding experience.

(*) "passionate" really is terribly inappropriate here, but I couldn't think of a better word, so please indulge me in redefining this term for the sake of this chart. What I mean by someone being "passionate" is that he's the kind of photographer who would benefit from owning lots of gear, and is motivated enough that one day he will. By that definition, Henri-Cartier Bresson was *not* a passionate photographer. Rather fittingly, he rarely used Canon nor Nikon cameras. In case you're in doubt, if you answer "yes" to any or all of the following questions, you're probably "passionate":

  • You fully expect that at some point in the future you'll own more than three lenses.

  • You're interested in technically challenging photography, e.g.: concert photography, (indoor) sports, wildlife, birds, all of the above.

  • You plan vacations to maximise photographic opportunities.

  • You'd like to try taking unusual photos, e.g. of very small objects or with Fisheye or Tilt/Shift lenses.

  • You actually know what Fisheye and T/S lenses are, or if you don't you plan on looking them up on Google as soon as you're done here.

So here it is! If you're currently on the market for your first (serious) camera I hope you find this chart useful. If you've already made that decision and have anything to say about any of the above, I'd really like to hear from you. In both cases, the comment form is there for you. Enjoy!


Ten Signs You Want to Be a "Serious" Photographer

I know those "Ten Things" lists can get pretty lame, but I couldn't find any like this one, and I thought it would be an easy way to conclusively prove to my esteemed readers that I am, indeed, slightly mad.

  1. You have a special B&H wishlist just for camera bags.

  2. You chose your whole camera system in a week and never looked back, but four years later you're still looking for the right tripod.

  3. You sort national parks in preferred visiting order.

  4. During holidays, you get up three hours earlier than on working days.

  5. You don't understand why anyone would buy a car when they could get a 600/4.0 for the same price.

  6. You don't see anything ridiculous in staying in the exact same spot for forty minutes waiting for the light to improve.

  7. You consider anyone who doesn't know about adjustment layers technologically illiterate.

  8. You think of your laptop mainly as a Portable Storage Device.

  9. You refer to your travel companions as "interesting compositional elements".

  10. And, last but not least, you get really sick of hearing "Wow. You must have a really good camera".


Chris Jordan

From Nick Baum:

Chris Jordan quit his job as a corporate lawyer to take high resolution pictures of huge piles of garbage. In his words, we have access to the good information about our consumption (through commercials, noticeable quality of life improvements, etc.) but we can’t see the cumulative, negative effects of this consumption. Chris’ goal is to make people aware of this waste… [...] He also creates very large-scale composites that illustrate various statistics about the environment and the world.


Equivalent lenses and diffraction limits

Luminous-landscape has a very thorough article about equivalent focal length and how diffraction limits resolution at low aperture. The fun part is that it's written by two very knowledgeable people and yet they apparently can't agree on the minimum aperture at which resolution becomes diffraction-limited for a given sensor.

Who's right ? I have no idea. I just know that when I use a good tripod and a good lens opened-up to oh-I-don't-know,-about-f/8.0, the result is generally sharp enough.


Who needs Photoshop ?

Great collection of Photographs that Changed the world at neatorama. I'm quite admirative of this one by Philippe Halsman :

It took six hours, 28 jumps, and a roomful of assistants throwing angry cats and buckets of water into the air to get the perfect exposure.

Wow. Most of the time I'm too lazy to set up a tripod...