Fujifilm X-H1 and the future.

Fuji have announced the Fujifilm X-H1. I’ve got to admit it was a bit of a surprise for me, probably because I don’t follow Fuji that closely anymore.

From what I’ve read on other sites the X-H1 is generally well received although some are noting certain design ‘quirks’. What stands out to me is the increase in size and addition of a top lcd display. Size and weight are often quoted by mirrorless fans as advantages, yet newer releases seem to be getting bigger. This generally results in the  “there are other advantages” statement. I’m not going to debate those here.

What makes this interesting for me is where Nikon will pitch their new mirrorless in terms of design and format. Having bought into Nikon 1 with a V1, I was disappointed when Nikon couldn’t decide on a common design for subsequent models. It put me off spending more money on the 1 system.

I’m not adverse to the Fujifilm X-H1 design.  Quirks not withstanding.

The question is have we reached the limit of the general shape of a camera? They still look more or less like film cameras from years ago. Whether rangefinder or dslr. If you’d been asleep for 40 years and picked up a ‘modern’ camera you would be forgiven for trying to put a film in it. In fact the Nikon Df,  Olympus and to a certain extent Fuji cameras exploit the current trend for retro.

Will those up and coming ‘younger’ photographers want an essentially 50 year old design? Will people who change their smartphone every couple of years or so be content?

I think the current camera designs will be around for a few more years before going niche. The need for specialist lenses in terms of telephoto,  macro and perspective correction may dictate that.

Mainstream cameras are more difficult to predict. It probably won’t be too long before a camera (say in the range of 18-200mm fov) can be built into a smartphone with acceptable quality. For the majority of people this could be all they need. The lens range will become more important than the amount of pixels. If most view on an electronic device such as a phone or tablet  a huge megapixel count becomes moot.

How long should it last?

So thinking about designing a camera today where exactly do you go and how long do you design it to last? I still have a Nikon D200. That dates back to circa 2005. I have 18×24” canvases on the wall from its 10MP output. It’s 13 years old and for the most part useable. The only reason I don’t carry it around is the weight.

Was it designed to last that long? Probably not. Technological advances will make it obsolete. Somebody forgot to tell the engineering department though 😉.

So those poor people working on the new Nikon mirrorless cameras have the usual conflicting objectives. Design something that will appeal to a wide variety of users, in multiple markets, against stiff competition that can be sold at a profit, without pricing itself too high. Oh and don’t forget about the lens mount issue. Or bankrupting the company if you get it wrong, because you really should have been in this market ages ago and your now last.

Will we be using today’s cameras in 13 years time? Hopefully things will have progressed.

The smartphone will be even more of a portable computer with potentially holographic display. The battery life won’t be an issue and the camera will be more capable than anything that’s around today. And it will still fit in your pocket.

So around 2030 where will today’s cameras be? On a shelf or bookcase, in a trunk in the attic?

The grandchildren will say “Wow look at those old cameras. Is that a D850? Do you still use them?”

Your response will be “Sometimes, but you have to be careful. You can’t get the batteries anymore”.😀

 

 

 

Don’t work for free

Don’t work for free. You’ve heard before but do you still do it?

I’m not on about charity work or doing something for your favourite club or organisation.  There can be a lot of satisfaction in those circumstances.

It’s more the working for exposure issue. On a few rare occasions you might get meaningful feedback and opportunities, but if we are honest it is very rare.

Who else works for exposure?

When you think about all the other trades and professions around who else actually works for exposure? Plumbers, brickies, electricians, decorators etc do any of these people work for free on the premise of getting more work? No I don’t think so either.

Do shops lend you gear on the basis they will get free advertising? Having worked in retail – albeit some years ago – I can answer that one. No.

If you find a petrol station that will let you fill up for exposure let me know. I promise not to tell anyone else 😀

So why are togs willing to work for free?

That’s a good question. I think if your starting off or trying to make a name for yourself, you get caught up in the idea it will mean something. Your certain that doing the job will result in some more paid gigs further down the line. So you do your free job. Now think of that person (we’ll call them client 1) having a conversation with someone else ( client 2) who needs some photos:

client 1: I know this photographer, they did some great work for me.

client 2: Wow you seem impressed. They are good. I’m not sure I could afford someone like that.

client 1: Yeah I’m impressed, well decent, best part is they did it for free. Just tell them you know some people willing to pay good money.

client 2: Will that work?

client 1: It won’t hurt. You got nothing to lose.

Moral of the story: you get a reputation. For doing free work. That is going to make it really difficult to charge in the future.

Unfortunately most other people I know in this world require money in payment for services. Why? Because they have to pay for bills or other services and those people require money too.

I’m not convinced working for free when you have to pay bills is a sustainable business model.

You don’t have to work for free though.

Wait. What?  Don’t work for free, instead think about working for a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Perhaps the local decorator needs some decent publicity shots for his website and advertising. Would he be willing to decorate a room for you in exchange for your services?

You could apply the idea to other trades or services. How about a few horse riding lessons for some shots of the stables?

Think outside the box. But make sure you have some paying clients as well.

There is one slight fly in the ointment. Whether the person you take the photos for values your services at the same level as you.

So what do you do?

I’ve done free work for organisations I’ve been involved with and have worked for paying clients. Sometimes I have also managed to do some gigs for a mutually agreed reward not involving money. In all cases both sides were happy. That’s the important part.

I’m in the make sure you get something out of it camp.

I also accept that can mean different things to different people.

 

Nikon mirrorless in 2018?

Will 2018 be the year Nikon mirrorless finally becomes good?

There is a lot of speculation on the internet regarding lens mount, DX or FX and legacy compatibility through an adapter.

Looking at the Nikon 1 saga I personally am not very optimistic.

The FT1 adapter was £200 here in the UK when released. Everybody thought great we can use our F-mount lenses. Technically yes, but Nikon hobbled the auto focus so the adapter only used a single centre af point.

I bought the V1 thinking I might get into something decent. It’s still in use but the decent part went by the wayside. The V2 changed the body design to a mini dslr style. By the time the V3 came along they changed the style again and gave us a separate EVF. That wouldn’t have been too bad except the EVF used the only connection port. Anyone with the GP-N100 gps or a flash unit, couldn’t use it with the EVF.

I would really like to believe Nikon will produce a decent attempt at a mirrorless but given some dubious design decisions they made with recent models and the current indifference to the 1 series I have my doubts.

For all intents and purposes the 1 series is effectively discontinued. Not officially but practically. Unless it’s a bargain basement price I can’t see anyone getting into it now.

A recent post on this site considered whether more emphasis should be put on the lens design decisions rather than the bodies. There is heated debate on the internet regarding sticking with the F mount or using a new mount altogether.

A lot of people are speculating on what sort of adapter maybe offered. At the very least it should be fully compatible with current lenses. But at what point do you stop?  Is an adapter for Ai lenses necessary? Will any adapter(s) be fully compatible and reasonably priced?

Will all the hipsters with their 20, 30 or 40 year old lenses really be the  target market that needs satisfying? If people are keeping lenses that long are they going to spend that much money to help Nikon’s bottom line? I seriously doubt it.

While I don’t totally disagree with some level of legacy lens compatibility, it could be more beneficial to make any new mirrorless more connected.

Let’s sort out some problems

If it’s any problem that needs addressing with new cameras it must surely be workflow. People are using smartphones because for the most part they produce good enough images for the user. The sort of user who won’t need loads of pixels because the image is viewed on a tablet or someone else’s phone. The user who doesn’t want to carry a bag load of gear. An user who is CONNECTED, who can post a picture on their favourite social site in a couple of screen presses.

Why do camera manufacturers refuse to see this?

Is there any real difference between taking a SD card out of a camera than removing a roll of film? Both still require the images to be processed using additional equipment.

Instead of building in ways to connect a camera they are either removed or relegated to some sort of dongle. When even the cheapest smartphones have GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi  built in, why do cameras not?

Nikon have a great opportunity to really push boundaries with a mirrorless offering. Coming from behind they can see what the competition is.

They could offer features that aren’t available in that competition.

I guess we will find out if Nikon are going to take the conservative approach or look upon this as a chance to offer something different.

Something that solves problems for users rather creating them.

Proper compatibility through adapters. Decent methods of connection.  Decent software solutions.

And for goodness sake show some commitment …….. and publish a freakin’ ROADMAP 😀

 

 

 

 

So you got a new camera for Christmas

So you got a new camera for Christmas: what’s next?

The temptation is to go out and buy a crap load of accessories and at least one lens.

Before you do can I suggest a different approach?

The two most useful things for me is a spare battery and a spare memory card if you haven’t already got one. That bag full of lenses becomes a dead weight when you run out of power or memory.

If this is your first camera that you can change lenses on I’m assuming whoever got you the camera were also kind enough to get you a lens.

The usual kit lenses in the 18-55mm range are more than good enough to start. Use this lens for a while and see if you need wider, longer or if shooting in low light something with a larger maximum aperture. Despite what most people say there are only two real drawbacks of the ‘kit’ zoom. Build quality (they won’t take a lot of abuse) and the aperture range. Typically f3.5 to 5.6. This can be limiting in low or poor light.

After a couple of months of good use, you should be getting an idea of what lens you might want to think about next. Buy the best lens you can afford that will do what you need. Getting a f5.6 55-200mm zoom is a false economy if your shooting in poor light. Getting a 70-200mm 2.8 zoom is expensive and heavy. A 70-200mm f4 zoom could be the sweet spot in price, weight and performance.

On the other hand you might be looking at the other end of the scale with an ultra wide angle zoom or wide angle prime.

If your leaning towards getting closer to your subject you could consider a close up adapter or even a macro lens. If you decide on a specialised macro lens I would suggest looking at something with a focal length of at least 100mm. Anything shorter would be OK for still life but a bit too close for live insects. Think about how you feel when someone shoves a lens in your face.

Either way take a bit of time enjoying your new camera before rushing out to spend the crimbo money. Get a feel for how YOU use the camera.

Bear in mind everything is a compromise. Those big expensive lenses are also heavy. If your willing to carry around the weight – great. If your of an older persuasion you might appreciate lighter kit. In my gear I have compromised on price and performance for a lighter bag. I don’t do low light shooting so I can live with it. Were all different and need to figure what best fits our needs. As time goes by those needs could well change.

People producing long lists of ‘must have kit’ normally have some sort of vested interest 😉

 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from TMMA Photography.

Due to visiting family over the crimbo hols I will have limited internet access so posts and uploads could be affected.

May you get what you want from the guy in the big red suit 😀

A lens – or camera – isn’t just for Christmas though, the best way to improve your photography is to get out and shoot. And shoot some more….

Should you be stuck for gift ideas for the photographer in the family think outside the camera box. We can be a picky bunch when it comes to gear and accessories.

Instead of something photographic consider a magazine subscription or maybe a yearly membership to The National Trust (in England or your equivalent). Perhaps a workshop, course or weekend away later in the year might make a nice present. You can see there’s a theme here.

Talking of themes my son and I have a Christmas tradition of watching the lastest Star Wars film at the cinema. We were a bit early this year having already seen The Last Jedi. Last week actually. No spoilers but we both enjoyed it. It will be interesting to see where they take future releases of the franchise.

Whatever you do have a safe and good Christmas.

TMMA Photography

TMMA Photography 2017 awards

Here it is folks the TMMA Photography  2017 awards:

Best out of date DSLR with gps and WiFi built in – Nikon D5300

Entry level DSLR without sensor cleaner – Nikon D3400

Divorce inducing full frame DSLR that I don’t need – Nikon D850

Divorce inducing full frame mirrorless that I don’t need- Sony A7riii

The filter system I could buy (but given my budget I’d probably buy a lens instead) – Lee filters

Best APS-C mirrorless system that would put me in the price range of full frame DSLR – Fuji XT2

A medium format digital camera that isn’t really medium format – Fuji GFX 50s

Most messed up design and marketing of a mirrorless system (and we still don’t know what’s going on) – Nikon 1

Most expensive Canon lens that I don’t need, couldn’t afford and probably wouldn’t carry around with me even if I had it – Canon-EF-800mm-f5.6-L-IS-USM-Lens

The camera brand most photographers are probably jealous of because they don’t have the money for all the lenses and bodies they’d want – Leica

The photo location I think I’d want to go to but would probably end up somewhere else – Iceland

Really bizarre hope you got a smile out of it award list 2017 – TMMA Photography

Award for not spreading one page worth of awards over more pages than necessary – TMMA Photography 🙂

 

 

It’s a question of perspective

It’s  a question of perspective.

While out at the local coast on a cold and windy morning recently I came across these guys:

Lifeboat
Lifeboat practice

 

This lifeboat crew were practising for when they are needed most. It was a bitter day and I had the luxury of warming up in the car while they were still out.

Kinda puts things in perspective.

What’s happened to Nikon mirrorless?

What’s happened to Nikon mirrorless? Officially the Nikon 1 system isn’t dead but you’d be forgiven for thinking it is.

Nikon fans are eagerly awaiting a new DX or FX mirrorless with no real idea of when it’s coming or what style or price it will be. The potential for disappointment here is staggering. Unless you have the memory of a goldfish you will wonder what Nikon will do when they release it anyway. Will it be a repeat of the 1 series or will it be what people want – decent bodies with competent lens set to start with and the promise of a “system” worthy of the Nikon name?

Meanwhile Leica have released the CL. I remember that being used on a rangefinder made by Minolta. Also marketed under the Leitz and Leica names. Leica dropped it but a version continued as the Minolta CLE in the 80’s. I didn’t have the money to get one back then. It’s a good job I don’t have the £3k odd required to buy the CL now, or I might be tempted.

Naming and pricing aside why can’t hasn’t Nikon managed to do something similar? They don’t appear to be doing anything with their 1 series, so where is the R&D effort going?

As a Nikon 1 user I am a bit peeved Nikon just abandoned the system. I love my V1 and would have spent money on an improved version with a built in viewfinder. By the time Nikon released the V3 I had stopped my 1 series expenditure. I would have considered the 70-300, but I’m now glad I didn’t.

Nikon 1 V1
I love my Nikon V1, but it won’t be replaced

My Nikon 1 10-30mm lens developed a fault. Did I replace it? No. Will I replace any of my other 1 series lenses? No. Not even used. When my V1 stops working I’ll be calling time on it.

It was supposed to be my carry round kit that gave me more versatility than a smartphone. While still usable for now, I think my carry round replacement will be a….smartphone.

At least i’ll get a new phone in a couple of years with (hopefully) improved features, rather than a stagnant, unloved ILC system…

Black Friday – again

Another Black Friday is almost upon us. Although this year you might be forgiven for thinking it’s Black Friday Week.

Retailers appear to be extending the awful annual American import to cover more than just a Friday. We haven’t even got to Cyber Monday yet.

The advice this year – shop around – look at the prices not the savings. We could say that every year. While the official retailers line is “We don’t put the prices up to reduce them” you do have to be careful when bargain hunting.

If our local Currys is anything to go by people were not only out looking but also buying.

Some research appearing in a BBC news article suggests that savings could be had all year round if you keep an eye on prices.

Don’t get caught up in the frenzy.

If your after a bargain may the shopping Gods look upon  you favourably 😀

 

Anger, anger everywhere

Not exactly anger, but after a somewhat frustrating swop of hosting provider, which is now sorted, you might have a noticed a slight change.

I took the opportunity to change the site name as well. A redirect takes care of anyone visiting the old address.

Now I didn’t get angry during the changes but I was pulling out what little hair I had left. What should have been a relatively straightforward change wasn’t that easy to accomplish.

Unlike other people on the internet who do seem to be displaying a lot of anger…

On one forum a group are angry that a certain manufacturer are not listening to them. To be fair other manufacturers are also in the firing line for this. Now I’m not sure why these people think that these manufacturers are reading forums and ‘listening to their customers’. For one thing if I was running a company I would’nt have the time. For another people seem to forget that these companies are global. They make gear for a global market. Sorry if this offends Americans or any other group who think their geographical location should be the only one taken into consideration when making marketing and design decisions. It would be interesting to see how those criticising would cope themselves.

Adobe also managed to incur the anger of a few people on the internet. They are unsurprisingly trying to shift their customers to a subscription model for their software. With such comments as ‘renting software’ and ‘being held captive’. Analysis of the pricing structure doesn’t really give a definitive answer as to what is best value. As in most cases value is relative and can mean different things to different people.

What is interesting is those complaining about the ‘rental’ model probably already have a similar agreement in place. With their mobile phone. Most of us have a mobile contract. Is that so different from renting? How about a Netflix subscription? A PCP contract on a car? These are contracts entered into which effectively mean you don’t own the end product (unless in the case of the car you make a baloon payment, most don’t and carry on paying for a new car). In the case of the phone your going to get a new one when your 24 month contract is up…right?

So why do we accept a ‘rental’ agreement for things with a physical element but get angry at a similar model for software?

Are we actually getting angry or just ‘venting’ ? Traditional models of business are changing and so is the way consumers buy things. Internet shopping with next or even same day delivery is now available. We get angry if we have to wait a week or two for delivery these days.

So I’m thinking that just like fake news, a lot of this anger is fake too. At least I hope it is. In the western world we have a lot to be thankful for.

Getting angry over subscription services (we don’t have to sign up for them) or people not listening (why would a company operating globally listen to some bloke on a internet forum)  should be the least of our concerns….