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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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New Camera or New Us
Old 08-07-2018   #1
Bill Pierce
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New Camera or New Us

In terms of technical quality, current digital camera bodies offer more than many folks can take advantage of. The improvement in image quality is really going to have to come from us, not new cameras.

DO WE NEED MORE MEGAPIXELS? 24 megapixel sensors are fairly common. It’s the ballpark count for many of Fuji’s APS-c cameras (actually 24.3) and Leica’s recent full frame M’s. A lot of other digital cameras are in that neighborhood. An M10 raw file, without upsizing, can produce a 16.5 x 11 inch image at 360 ppi. Admittedly, that's print overkill. A 300 ppi image is 20 inches wide and a 240 ppi, which many folks feel is fine for large prints, fills an A2+ 25x17 sheet. I’m not quite sure what most folks would want to do with more megapixels. Until you get to larger sensors which allow not only more megapixels, but bigger pixels, I’m not sure you see much of a usable difference. And even with more and BIGGER, the difference is a little more subtle than some folks expect.

DO WE NEED MORE FRAMES PER SECOND? 20 frames per second is easily available to sports shooters and the like. I can remember shooting high school and college football next to two of the top sports shooters of the day. They were using sheet film Graphic and Graflexes which means their frames per second was probably around 1 every 30 seconds. Within a decade a few sports photographers were using expensive, highly specialized Hulchers and modified SLRs (with beam splitters instead of mirrors) that didn’t quite match the frames per second that are easily affordable and available today. Even if you are today’s specialized sports shooter, 20 fps is overkill - especially when you have to edit quickly for news publication.

DO WE NEED BIGGER, MORE PIXEL PACKED EVF’S AND LCD’S? Not in my book - and it doesn’t seem to be in the book of other photographers I talk do. The rangefinder nuts, myself included, would like cheaper auxiliary bright line finders for our accessory shoes because in some respects they are better than the built in bright line finders in Leicas and Fujis. But we are a small and weird minority that can be ignored.

WHAT DO WE NEED? Good lenses. Of course, we already have good lenses - and bad lenses - and lenses in-between. It’s interesting. Over a period of years I have spent time with 2 lens designers - and two lens testers who were good enough to be respected by the designers. Specialized testing equipment let all of them spot and analyze specific optical issues within a design. Obviously, this was of great importance to the designers and the manufacturers of the lenses, and it opened areas of investigation to the testers. But, they all recommended taking pictures, lots of pictures, and printing them. It was a time consuming pain in film days. And It’s a time consuming pain in the day of digital to set aside time each day to take pictures, the same kind of pictures you take when you are not testing a lens and to print them and look at them. Yes, you are also testing the camera, the sensor, the focusing system, all kinds of software and firmware and your personal taste. Boy, does it produce some surprises. The system may limit the “best” lenses so the final product isn’t different from one produced by a less expensive lens. A lens with a great reputation may not live up to it in your world. And every once in awhile, some piece of cheap crap turns out to be interesting. If you take the time to really “test” a lens, there can be a lot of surprises and a lot of useful information, especially if you are one of the folks who tends to work wide open or close to it.

AND? Accurate focus. Different focusing systems (and different cameras and probably different photographers) have different focusing problems and most of these problems are only visible with pictures taken at wide apertures. The real skill is in determining whether you have a problem. Routinely take a few frame at max aperture just to check out you and your system. Good luck; best wishes.

WHAT ELSE DO WE NEED? High shutter speeds or a tripod. One of the things digital has given us in its ability to provide that highly magnified 100% view is the ability to see that often image degradation is nothin more than camera movement. Not lens problems; not focusing problems; just overly optimistic photographer problems.

Good processing (and printing) programs. This is kind of splitting hairs. When the Fuji raw files didn’t respond well to some programs set up primarily to handle Bayer files, everybody realized not all processing programs were the same, and they started looking at different programs with all cameras. For the most part, this doesn’t show up until you are looking a big prints from technically well executed frames. But, if you’ve solved all your sharpness problems and are into splitting hairs, look at your images from different printing programs.

All in all, our camera are pretty good. I wish we could blame them for our problems. It would be less humiliating if we could say we were perfect and the camera was to blame.

Your thoughts?
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Old 08-07-2018   #2
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Old 08-07-2018   #3
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When I see the work Michael Kenna does with a Holga.....well then, I know more or better equipment just ain’t going to help my photos.
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Old 08-07-2018   #4
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I'm checking maggieo pictures periodically, no advance cameras, no expensive lenses. But lots of likes from me.

I guess, OP speaks on behalf of photogs involved with something I'm not into to look at.

The only pictures I care for to have in the books were taken by manual focus different format and brands film cameras. I consider them as art. Would it be sitting portraits or street photography.
I'm finding rangefinder.ru gallery most advanced online gallery among any other on-line forums I have seen. They are keeping it almost strictly for film and RF, scale, simple AF cameras.
Art is irrelevant to MP and quality of lens and accuracy of AF.

Working photogs... Our daughter takes it with Canon 5D MKII, Canon 24-105 F4 IS L and simple Canon 400 series TTL flash with Gary Fong sphere on it. And she is good enough to choose then and for whom to work.
Or if I go at Walmart and Shoppers... cameras they have are something very outdated. Yet they produce fine pictures. Why? The light.

I ain't need pixels, AF and shutter speeds. I want sun in the pocket. So then sun goes down I have mine and out anywhere I want and as long as I want. Not a flashy thingy.
And high ISO doesn't cut it. All it does is amplifying low light to artificial levels. So, people and places looks like zombies in cheap, sorry, horror movies.
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Old 08-07-2018   #5
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Old 08-07-2018   #6
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Bill I have mixed feelings about your post.

On the one hand you are perfectly correct that we have a surfeit of functionality and features that most of us do not need or indeed use. But to some extent that is not the point, with respect. The only way the camera and related industries can survive long term is to keep the production lines rolling and the equipment moving out the door in exchange for $. And the only way they can do this is by creating a "need" for new and improved "stuff" in the minds of the buying public. (OK it is not a "real" need perhaps but who on earth, to use an example from another electronics sector, ever thought they needed an i-phone. Until that is one was first developed and marketed by Apple. And then everyone "needed" one and a new industry was born with its own need for more sales every year which in turn is dependent largely on new features being provided to convince people to "upgrade".).

An example of a technology and marketing strategy to keep production lines rolling in the camera industry was the megapixel war that completely dominated digital cameras for over a decade - everything was about mega pixels - nothing much else was considered from a marketing perspective. Let's assume that for a time that it really was necessary to release cameras with more pixels - and for a while it was at least till diminishing marginal returns kicked in. (Remember those 1 megapixel early digital cameras with a sensor the size of a pin head, crappy image quality and almost no dynamic range?). But here's the thing - each year every camera maker would release a new model with a just a few more megapixels than the previous model. No big game changers here, just incremental improvement year, on year, on year. Some of this may have been due technical constraints but I find it a bit hard to believe that every increase in mega pixels had to be a such small incremental ones and that it was not technically possible to leapfrog directly from small to much larger capacity sensors.

The reality is that commercially, the industry business model relied on small changes as this was how they convinced people to upgrade each year or so and kept the money flowing in using the same strategy for a decade or more instead of in just a couple of years. And of course that cash flow over a decade or more then funded high tech research that produced other technical innovations (like new and better sensor types backed by better software etc) and without those, camera manufacturers would not now be turning out the marvels they now sell - even if some of their features are a bit of over kill. The strategy of new models with new 'improvements" is used as its pretty much the only game in town since it keeps the money rolling in year on year which is what survival depends upon.

All markets become mature at some point and the rapid growth rates of early days drop off. But the hard fact is that photo equipment makers must keep innovating as they have no choice - other than going out of business and going fishing instead. We can see that the camera market is showing signs of becoming mature especially with incursions by other equipment (like the aforesaid i-phones equipped with cameras) but I suspect it still has some way to run yet though in ways I certainly cannot predict.
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Old 08-07-2018   #7
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The problem with digital is there is always some improvement that you can only get by switching to another camera. I started with a small sensor travel-zoom camera, and it was good, but it had these nagging faults such as purple fringing, and highlight blowouts.

I switched to the next larger sensor, and was really happy, but the camera started showing age quite quickly in the AF department. And I got tired of taking photos where I couldn't see what was on the screen because all that was visible was a reflection of me.

So I went for a used DSLR, and got a killer deal where the attached lens was about half retail, and the camera was basically free. Much improved images because it was an APS-C sensor. Liked it so much I got a second body for back-up. But it died the second time I used it, exposing a fatal flaw with that particular model.

I decided to replace the still working one, keeping the same image sensor size, but not quite doubling the megapixels (going from 10 to 16). Again, a used camera, with a nice boost in image quality was enough to satisfy me, and reduce most of the workflow to just cropping, and straightening horizons. It will be a while before I replace the current camera, especially since I keep buying film cameras too. Just doesn't make sense to keep jumping every time a new body comes out with more megapixels. But if I was a working photographer, that might be a different story, having to keep up with the technology.

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Old 08-07-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
Bill I have mixed feelings about your post...
...the hard fact is that photo equipment makers must keep innovating as they have no choice - other than going out of business and going fishing instead. We can see that the camera market is showing signs of becoming mature especially with incursions by other equipment (like the aforesaid i-phones equipped with cameras) but I suspect it still has some way to run yet though in ways I certainly cannot predict.
Peter - Well said and important. And, sadly, something I had never considered (or even thought about).
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Old 08-07-2018   #9
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Dear Bill,
I was looking at some prints off of the Epson 7890 - 240 dpi shot with the Nikon D1. Just fine. D3. Just fine. X100/s/t/f fine, fine, fine.

But YES!!!! Si!!! Si!!!! I want a brightline finder for my little X100 in 35mm. And if a magician could make it so it is switching from 28 and 35 and 50...Oh yes. That I would like very much. But bright. Please. I have Leica 28 and Voigtlander 50 but the foot is broken and I keep gluing it together and, bah, changing them is just not good. That is when I break the foot. More glue.

But that is all I want.

Ciao,
Mme. O
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Old 08-07-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
Peter - Well said and important. And, sadly, something I had never considered (or even thought about).
Thanks Bill. To be honest it is something most will not have considered so don't feel bad. As for me, I have to admit to being an economics geek so I have an excuse for thinking about this stuff.

Having said all of that though, I am one who is not too addicted to the "new" every year or whatever. I am happy with camera models from 3-5 years ago or older. My main camera is still a Nikon D700 (about a decade old, I think) and I tend to shoot mainly with older and vintage lenses. In fact I prefer them as it is more challenging to get technically good images but when you do they are more interesting than those churned out by modern super corrected lenses. But I never the less understand why the makers of "gear" have to innovate - survival. Pure and simple.

Writ large this process is really what drives economic growth in the wider economy. Economic growth depends on productivity (i.e. charging more for "better" products or reducing costs - or both) and productivity in turn depends on innovation. Innovation itself is driven by competition. And competition depends on having markets that are willing to buy products. And over time, the market's willingness to buy depends on the ability to have new and better products. Which kinda closes the circle into a never ending loop {for better or worse}.

So - that's about all I have learned in a career spanning 40 years in economics related areas. :^) But its not a bad thing to understand because most people do not. Certainly most governments do not. Which is one reason why we have so many bad governmental decisions. But that's another story.
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Old 08-07-2018   #11
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Because of having to wear spectacles I don't think I'll ever have too big, too bright, or too high resolution an EVF. There's still plenty of scope for improvement.

More generally, with pretty much every generation of camera we claim that the technology has advanced as far as we need; and every improvement after that shows us that we can always find good use for the extra capabilities. I don't see now as being any different.
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Old 08-08-2018   #12
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Peter and Bill, you both state good points very well.

What will be available for us all 10+ years from now? My digital equipment (although some of the best) will not last forever. Will I need to buy a used M14 or something in 2028? Will Leica still be making M mount cameras if only the Sultan of Brunei can afford them?

I don't think reverting to film is, for me, a practical answer. I gave it up for good reason in 2013—all the hassle, expense, and processing time meant not enough time left for shooting. I admit, though, that even in 2038 I probably will be able to find used film cameras that have been lightly used and are still in good working order.

If RFF type people were a big enough market, maybe someone would do something, but we aren't, are we?

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New Camera and, or New Us
Old 08-08-2018   #13
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New Camera and, or New Us

In many cases a new camera will not make any difference.

Over the years I have read numerous posts respoding to people asking if they should buy new gear or for help to decide between alternatives. It is common for someone to respond, "don't buy new gear; spend the money on travel or printing". This is useful advice.

At the same time, if someone decided it was time to pursue very different photographic goals – a portrait photographer who wanted to explore action photography, or a street photographer who wanted to switch to studio work – then a new camera could be appropriate because there is a new us. Another example could be someone who is stalled in photographer's block. A new camera could be the cataylist to get them back in the game. But so could something much less expensive. When I bought Light Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting it got me out of a rut and opened up a whole new approach to photography.

Otherwise we face the what is "good enough" rabbit hole. At this moment many of the current cameras on the market deliver excellent technical image quality. How much more do most photographers need?

In 1981 Bill Gates said, "640K ought to be enough for anybody" when referring to consumer computing memory. It seems silly to say today's cameras are "good enough". But I'm done buying new cameras until there is a significant breakthrough in some area of technology that's important to me. Lenses are different, but not by much.
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Old 08-08-2018   #14
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Let's face it; part of the charm of photography is the hardware. Guys like stuff, and as stuff goes, cameras are pretty cool. No excuses needed for enjoying the Next Big Thing.

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Old 08-08-2018   #15
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Quote:
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At the same time, if someone decided it was time to pursue very different photographic goals – a portrait photographer who wanted to explore action photography, or a street photographer who wanted to switch to studio work – then a new camera could be appropriate because there is a new us. Another example could be someone who is stalled in photographer's block. A new camera could be the cataylist to get them back in the game. But so could something much less expensive. When I bought Light Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting it got me out of a rut and opened up a whole new approach to photography.
Yes, I agree. However, I think most people these days just want to have the camera with the best specs even if they don`t need them. You see this on a site like dpreview.com. People who swear every new camera killed all of the cameras before it. They sell everything chasing the latest thing... and tell you continuously why they need a 42mp sensor with clean ISO 51200 coupled with an F1 lens and how your equipment is inferior and would never be sufficient for their purposes. Sure, some need it...but most of those people do not hang out on equipment forums.
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Old 08-08-2018   #16
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24MP is fine for most, but not all, photographers, and most, but not all, situations. I'm glad 42MP+ is available for those times when it is needed. Camera manufacturers should not stop innovating. Good enough is not enough.
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Old 08-08-2018   #17
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There's always gonna be improvements in technology. I can't see the need for future improvements but that's because I'm short sighted and not very technical minded. The future will see stuff available that's beyond my imagination.
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Old 08-08-2018   #18
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Quote:
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Peter - Well said and important. And, sadly, something I had never considered (or even thought about).
Actually folks, you are both right and DSLR sales are in a nosedive as a result. Look at year-over-year DSLR sales for the past decade. Yeah, we all know that phones play a role there too. But it seems to me like the mechanical camera world functioned reasonably well when the expectation was that you would use your film camera until its shutter broke, or until you dropped it on a marble floor and introduced mechanical failure that way. We all have Leicas that were built to those standards, and Nikons and Canons, probably. I tried to pawn off on a friend a wonderful Nikon F3HP that I bought used when living for the summer in Bristol TN in the 90's etched on its baseplate with the name of a former owner, "Malachai Pigford." Nothing doing. My friend took a digital Canon Rebel XT instead off the shelf for his daughter.

The camera industry was like the car industry (drive it 'till the wheels come off) and became like the fashion industry (throw out your clothes for this year's model). Perhaps it was inevitable, but DSLR makers made their products into disposable commodities. No one forced them to do it, but we certainly all cheered when they did. And they have driven us all down that technological cul-de-sac as we egged them on. So: as with many things, we have met the enemy and it is us.

I agree with Bill's main point, that we are "there" in terms of image quality (in fact I have been "there" since the Nikon D3 came out). I took some headshots this weekend with a Pentax K-1. I threw out 90% of the data for each photograph turning it into a jpg that could be posted to Smugmug so the client could download the image that suited her. That's 90% overkill on the IQ. Crazy go-nuts!
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I'm hardly qualified to comment, but.............
Old 08-08-2018   #19
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I'm hardly qualified to comment, but.............

Dear Bill,

Most news and sports photography has been all digital since before I took up digital.

I seem to recall impressive pictures taken with 8 and 10 Mpeg cameras. At the time no one seemed to say, "Jeez, that could be way better with a couple extra Mpegs?"

I'm good with the old outdated stuff I have. It suffices for me and the people with whom I share my pictures. Others may feel differently, and I hope they do because if I want to upgrade I can buy their tired old junk for pennies on the dollar.

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Harrisburg, PA
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Old 08-08-2018   #20
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For every new camera release we have a "I don't need it what about you" thread, and occasionally a "no I don't need any new camera" one. Yet the "good enough" pixel count gradually rose from 6mp to 12, then 16, and now 24mp. Technology surely has its way.
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Old 08-08-2018   #21
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New camera or new us?

OMG neither
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Old 08-09-2018   #22
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But if I was a working photographer, that might be a different story, having to keep up with the technology.
PF
I spent time as a working newspaper photographer and, for a decade, used a pair of Nikon D2H bodies that were fine in both AF speed and fps for the newspaper world. I lusted for a short while for the [then] new D3 but, for newspaper print, I just could not be persuaded to buy even for the expanded ISO. I think if I was still working for that small weekly the D2H would still hold its own against the shooters at the nearby dailies and their newer gear. Granted this was in a small market but I had an image from one of my D2H bodies that was used at roughly 6'x12' on a billboard. To look at the billboard from its normal viewing distance, you could tell it was not from a medium or large format camera but it held its own.
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Old 08-09-2018   #23
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We need three things:


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2. Practice.
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Couldn't agree more.

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Old 08-09-2018   #24
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Actually folks, you are both right and DSLR sales are in a nosedive as a result. Look at year-over-year DSLR sales for the past decade. Yeah, we all know that phones play a role there too. But it seems to me like the mechanical camera world functioned reasonably well when the expectation was that you would use your film camera until its shutter broke, or until you dropped it on a marble floor and introduced mechanical failure that way. We all have Leicas that were built to those standards, and Nikons and Canons, probably. I tried to pawn off on a friend a wonderful Nikon F3HP that I bought used when living for the summer in Bristol TN in the 90's etched on its baseplate with the name of a former owner, "Malachai Pigford." Nothing doing. My friend took a digital Canon Rebel XT instead off the shelf for his daughter.

The camera industry was like the car industry (drive it 'till the wheels come off) and became like the fashion industry (throw out your clothes for this year's model). Perhaps it was inevitable, but DSLR makers made their products into disposable commodities. No one forced them to do it, but we certainly all cheered when they did. And they have driven us all down that technological cul-de-sac as we egged them on. So: as with many things, we have met the enemy and it is us.

I agree with Bill's main point, that we are "there" in terms of image quality (in fact I have been "there" since the Nikon D3 came out). I took some headshots this weekend with a Pentax K-1. I threw out 90% of the data for each photograph turning it into a jpg that could be posted to Smugmug so the client could download the image that suited her. That's 90% overkill on the IQ. Crazy go-nuts!


I certainly agree with you and Bill that we are "there" in terms of image quality. The quality I get out of my digital cameras is and has been for some time much better than anything I was able to pull out of my typical film shots which I found to be a bit limiting. Then again this is partly because digital offers me the opportunity to easily post process - something I could not practically do with film where I had to rely mostly on the local mini lab.

And of course it also partly has to do with the sensitivity and megapixel count of modern sensors something which has already come up in this thread.

I recall back in around 1998 - 1999 -2000 when cameras still only had perhaps 2-3 megapixels it was being written in "learned" photo journals that a 35mm film negative had about 25 megapixels worth of information in them so that is what digital cameras had to match. Well we are easily at 25 megapixels with some cameras having near to double this, if that matters though for me it does not really.

But what I do value is the ability to have sensors that will make excellent images with passably good dynamic range (though in the case of DR still not as good as print film) at up to 3200 ISO (and more) which of course allows me to just treat ISO like another variable when shooting - just like aperture and shutter speed. Which means I can let the camera decide how to juggle its parameters. (Though in reality what I mainly do is control aperture because DOF is more important to me than either shutter speed or ISO setting in many cases. Which means I can leave theat smart camera to sort out the latter two as it "wishes").
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Old 08-09-2018   #25
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You guys act like this is just a digital thing. Think about film SLRs, which might rate as the biggest feature-chase of all time. At least with digital, the sensing is increasing in capability. But as between film bodies of the same make, it was always the same lens in front, same film behind, and everything else was metering and motor. Later AF. And even then, it was often carefully meted out performance based on a price point (a lot of high and low end cameras even used the same CCD modules).

Consider Nikon: it had the FM2, FM2n, FE2 and FA on the same chassis. Other than the novelty of an all mechanical shutter, remind me of why you really needed to be selling anything but the FA (and consider that platform and all the incremental changes from and to the FM, FE, and FM3A)? And what of the FG and FG-20? The changes between an N60006 and N8008 are almost insignificant, and what possibly takes the cake is the N2000 and N6000, each of which is a retconned manual focus version of an AF camera. How about the number of camera based on CAM200 with wildly varying performance? That manufacturers managed to sell millions of upgrade bodies, when the objectively observable performance upgrades were elsewhere (lenses and film), is nothing short of genius.

Canon was just as bad, though I frankly can't tell one EOS film camera from the next, except differentiating between the pro stuff and the plastic fantastic. Just keep watching Andre Agassi's hair and don't question why we bring out a new polycarbonate wonder every year.

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Old 08-09-2018   #26
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Consumer behavior is not driven by what Peter refers to as 'productivity' -productivity is an output/input equation, only. Consumer behavior is mainly driven by advertising. George Carlin understood this well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFCMhSzeGuA
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Old 08-09-2018   #27
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For what I shoot my needs are pretty basic so every time I think of upgrading from the M9 to the M262 or M10 I ask what benefits I'll get from the upgrade and since I mostly shoot at base ISO and the resolution gain from 18-24MP isn't that large I figure my money is better spent on something else like travel. Additional as far as lens go I probable couldn't tell if an image was taken with 40 years old 35mm Summicron or brand new 35mm Summilux so I stick with what I have or if I do look to buy another Leica Lens its likely going to be one that' 1-3 generations behind the current model.
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Old 08-09-2018   #28
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...... You see this on a site like dpreview.com. People who swear every new camera killed all of the cameras before it. They sell everything chasing the latest thing....
Perhaps that's because they were purchased by Amazon a few years back.....

Back to the original question.....

Do we need it, perhaps not, do folks want it, yeah (thank you marketers).

Does the company need to stay in business, heck yes.

The other thing to keep in mind is that technology does a trickle down thing. As they build stuff for the professional market, the stuff the build moves down in price to a broader market to help fund the next wave of improvements.

I haven't kicked the tires enough to know if the EVF are fast enough to not blur (I'm a bright-line-aholic myself for wide glass). It's wonderful to see the area just outside the frame that you get with a bright line to confirm you have everything you want.

Rather than just features (e.g. MPs, Sensor, Speed) I'd like to see the next set of features to improve upon is simplicity of control over the basics (e.g. aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus) as a differentiating feature.

Fuji has some great film-emulations as features but when I look at what Olympus decided to put on the front dial I go yuck. I would have been a wonderful place to put a shutter speed dial. The more features you have the more time it takes to test. Testing costs money, so it costs more and takes longer to release new products. I wonder if you could scan all the shots in one of the photo sharing sites that were taken with a particular camera and see what the prevalence of some of the special in-camera software filters are used. Might prove enlightening.

While I have to admit that I'm a firm believer that most of the effects that we have in cameras today would be better implemented in PC/Tablet/Phone software, Fuji's implementation of film-emulations has me thinking in-camera tweaks do have their place.

B2 (;->
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Old 08-09-2018   #29
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Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
Consumer behavior is not driven by what Peter refers to as 'productivity' -productivity is an output/input equation, only. Consumer behavior is mainly driven by advertising. George Carlin understood this well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFCMhSzeGuA

That is not entirely true (without wishing to get into a debate as to the definition of productivity). I do agree, as you say, that productivity is an "input/output" equation. But economists use the term not just to mean doing things cheaper, faster and more efficiently (i.e reducing inputs) but also to mean other things - like using advertising to convince purchasers that their product is worth paying more for - or paying for again given they way they release updated models regularly. (i.e. In other words they are not in that case reducing the cost side of the equation by increasing returns they get for their product). They euphemisticaly call it "value adding". And of course when they release a product this year then release another slightly "upgraded" version next year this is all part of that equation too.

Sure, consumer behaviour is driven by their own needs. But of course producers try to influence consumers' perceptions of what their needs are by using advertising. It's all a part of the same "game". Establishing optical laboratories and electronic research facilities, production lines and distribution and retail channels costs billions without which we would not have even more rudimentary cameras as there would be no one to produce them except a few skilled technicians and artisans - which would mean that cameras would be more like watches and timepieces were in the middle ages - highly expensive and accessible only by the very rich. So the main part of the job of camera equipment producers is to protect their revenue stream and future revenues so they can continue in the same game next year, and the year after, and the year after. Whatever they sold last year and this year is history (and the money has probably already been spent) - the only thing that matters from a business perspective is what that firm will be able to sell next year.
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Old 08-09-2018   #30
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I'm currently using the Sigma SD Quattro H camera. Sigma needs to start coming out with some f2 or f2.8 prime lenses in their ART line. Currently they're all f1.4 (except I think the new 70mm macro), and hence too big and too heavy.
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Old 08-09-2018   #31
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To Peter's comment above about camera companies needing to continue to innovate in order to stay afloat, I'd love it if they came out with some 'retro' gear that removes all the features not on a Leica M6, and then focus all their attention on better and better sensor design. And on high quality lower-cost compact lenses.
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Old 08-09-2018   #32
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To Peter's comment above about camera companies needing to continue to innovate in order to stay afloat, I'd love it if they came out with some 'retro' gear that removes all the features not on a Leica M6, and then focus all their attention on better and better sensor design. And on high quality lower-cost compact lenses.
I pretty much agree.

But the beauty of competition and free markets is that if existing larger manufacturers don't, others very likely will - at least in some niches. I started a thread recently about what seemed to be a flood of lenses most of them low cost coming out of smaller, independent firms in Asia, these lenses mainly being designed for m43 and Sony mounts. https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=163036

I particularly agree about sensors - these things are getting much better but still have a way to go in my view. Even though they are now crazy sensitive in terms of ISO, there would still seem to be opportunities for better dynamic range given it is still too easy to get blown highlights in even ordinary lighting situations. Anyone recall for example those early Fujifilm sensor arrays that had two paired sensors at each site? One for ordinary brightness and one for extreme brightness as a means of giving better DR to older sensors. I have occasionally wondered if the same kind of thing could be resurrected now we have CMOS sensors which give better dynamic range than older CCD ones. If so would that give even better DR than we have now?
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Old 08-09-2018   #33
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24MP is fine for most, but not all, photographers, and most, but not all, situations. I'm glad 42MP+ is available for those times when it is needed. Camera manufacturers should not stop innovating. Good enough is not enough.
Agreed but when you need to crop, 42MP sure comes in handy.
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Old 08-09-2018   #34
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Yet the "good enough" pixel count gradually rose from 6mp to 12, then 16, and now 24mp. Technology surely has its way.
Yes, this is true...
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Old 08-09-2018   #35
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Perhaps that's because they were purchased by Amazon a few years back.....
I meant the people posting, not the reviews...
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No, if we are honest, we don't need it
Old 08-10-2018   #36
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No, if we are honest, we don't need it

Well, the answer to your question, whether we need more megapixels, more fps, more features and bells&whistles.....
no, we don't really need it. If we are honest to ourselves.

Facing the reality we see that we have only tiny or marginal benefits, but really huge costs with this permanent upgrading race.
The industry profits from it, but we don't. The difference between costs and advantages for us has become too big.
Therefore I prefer to spend this money on travelling and making photographs.

A current and well written article on that topic, too:
https://dslrbodies.com/newsviews/nik...ure-marke.html
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Old 08-10-2018   #37
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I see quite a number of postings from film camera users bemoaning the planned obsolescence and upgrade cycle of digital cameras. I just don't buy into that myself. I have a nearly 10 year old Nikon D80 that still works fine even with tens of thousands of shutter activations. When I'm not using my Pen EPM1 I'm using the D80 because the noise is better controlled, and I have wider angle lenses. I know there are better things on the market now, and when this camera dies, I'll buy something else, most likely whatever used full frame is in the $600-$800 range at the time.

What I don't get is the grouching about obsolescence when the old stuff is still compatible with off-the-shelf software, memory cards, flashes and so forth. No one is compelling upgrades, you can even still buy compact flash cards at far, far cheaper prices than when they were the prevalent format. It's not like anyone is twisting your arms to get the latest gear. New stuff is incrementally better than old stuff. When has that not been the case? I'd much prefer that to a stagnant marketplace where the 2013 model could be sold in 2018 for the same money as when it was new.

Maybe people are just upset that a camera is now like a new car: drive it off the lot and it loses 20% of its value, depreciates to nothing in a few years. But electronics aren't investments, they're tools, and their utility is their value.
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Old 08-10-2018   #38
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What I don't get is the grouching about obsolescence when the old stuff is still compatible with off-the-shelf software, memory cards, flashes and so forth. No one is compelling upgrades, you can even still buy compact flash cards at far, far cheaper prices than when they were the prevalent format. It's not like anyone is twisting your arms to get the latest gear. New stuff is incrementally better than old stuff. When has that not been the case? I'd much prefer that to a stagnant marketplace where the 2013 model could be sold in 2018 for the same money as when it was new.

Maybe people are just upset that a camera is now like a new car: drive it off the lot and it loses 20% of its value, depreciates to nothing in a few years. But electronics aren't investments, they're tools, and their utility is their value.
Sometimes I have to think it is because these people don't use the camera much... but for someone like me that will make 12,000 images in a year, depreciation equals film costs in the past (or even less).
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