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Author Topic: Is good good enough?  (Read 23357 times)

ErikKaffehr

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Is good good enough?
« on: November 04, 2015, 02:29:20 pm »

Hi,

It is sort of funny, I was thinking about this stuff today. I have my new A7rII and I love it. Well it has it's foibles but it mostly delivers on what I want foremost, image quality. It is nice camera, well made and capable and it does sort of packs MFD quality in a smaller package.

On the other hand, my gear still consists of a 12-24/4.5-5.6 Sigma, 28-70/2.8 and 70-400/4-5.6G, 28-70/4.5-5.6 kit lens and the 90/2.8G macro. Almost the same kit I have used for 3-4 years with my DSLR kit. It is 10 kg+, even without the tripod. Image quality is great, better than what I ever had from 135 format.

Adding some nice primes would/will be nice, but even those primes being small, weight still will go up.

Fact is, if we want to reduce weight and travel with less gear we need to look at smaller format. Will APS-C from Fuji be good enough? Can 4/3" fill the bill? These are very valid questions to ask. Full frame 35mm will always be heavy, especially with large aperture zooms and large aperture primes.

But, in many cases, high quality medium aperture lenses paired with smaller lenses may be the way to go.

Best regards
Erik



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David Watson

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Is good good enough?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2015, 02:37:20 pm »

Michael and Kevin

Thank you for an interesting and perceptive interview.  You made several good points and in a very positive fashion.  I totally agree that, for me, the photographic process is only complete when I can look at the finished print.  Not enough people (never mind photographers) are committing their work to print.  With digital obsolescence occurring with an alarming frequency in both software and hardware terms a vast reservoir of imagery, recording how we are today, risks being lost.  I keep saying to my family members "please make prints - for your children and their children".  Do they listen? Well maybe.

Another aspect of the improvement in photography as a result of digital imaging is the high and rising percentage success rate of the images which are actually in focus.  Improvements in sensor technology and camera electronics are a big part of that but a step function has occurred, in my opinion, with the latest mirrorless systems and that is the much higher success rate in terms of accurately focussed images.  This is a real benefit which should prompt all photographers to take a close look at these new systems.  How many times have we all taken a great image only to discover that they have been let down by focussing flaws?

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Rob C

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2015, 03:43:40 pm »

It's been 'good enough' for some considerable time.

It was good enough with the Nikon F, the Hasselblad 500 Series, Kodachrome and Ektachrome, TXP and FP3/4.

It only began to feel not good enough when I stopped working at it for a living, and got into listening to other people too much.

Maybe Michael and Kevin have really reached the same conclusion, and will start to push a slighty more art-oriented image for the website; but as they said, it's more difficult to get people into talking, never mind writing, about art, because art forces people into emotional nakedness, and most can't go there very happily.

But we can hope, not for nakedness but for enlightenment.

Rob C
« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 02:04:59 pm by Rob C »
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GrahamBy

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2015, 04:06:10 pm »

There is also the question of "too good". Michael & Kevin make the point that any decent camera now goes a couple of stops beyond the 10-stop zone framework. Software has also made it easy to stack a couple of images and get 15 stops or more. What hasn't changed is the ability of our eyes to see more than 7-8 stops on a front-lit print. So in many cases when I see a 15-stop HDR image shrunk onto 6 stops of colour inkjet print, it doesn't look real: my eyes would never see the scene like that... and so we have "real" photos that look like CGI.

I'd say it's a similar situation to using shutter speed to freeze motion: with a fast lens and a good sensor, it's pretty easy to freeze all motion now, but it looks false. My brain wants to see blur, because it can't accept that a motorcycle moving at 250km/h will have individually visible frozen spokes... So, we don't push to the limit of the technology, we turn down the ISO and we pan to get some blur... or we deliberately blow some highlights and leave blocked up shadows to show that it was in fact night...
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Tony Jay

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2015, 06:25:40 pm »

I really enjoyed the emphasis on the print as being the logical (and more importantly, the artistic) endpoint of photography.
This really resonated with me.

In my evolution as a photographer (I am a child of the digital era really) whenever I had my images up on a monitor even with the ones that looked great I always had a nagging doubt as to how good they really were.
Obviously many (most) were not that good, but it wasn't until I started printing that I realized how good, or conversely, how bad, my images were.
I am strongly of the opinion that any progress that I have made as a photographer has been due to being able to review my prints, usually A2 or larger.
I really do not feel that I would have made as much (or any) real progress as a photographer without having access to my images in print.

Tony Jay
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David Anderson

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2015, 08:05:04 pm »

Yes, all good points and thanks for the video.


On the one hand I want to be satisfied with the gear I have and just concentrate on the pictures, but on the other I want a new A7000 with twin card slots and a few tiny but awesome lenses. Or maybe a new Fuji XT-2 with 28 MP and and and...

Oh well, there could be worse problems to have... lol
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Rand47

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2015, 08:43:10 pm »

Quote
It only began to feel not good enough when I stopped working at it for a living, and got into listening to other people too much.

Carve that in stone.  Well said. 

Rand
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Stardog2

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2015, 11:06:17 pm »

A similar thought occurred to me last week.  I am using an Olympus E-M10, and had been using my 4/3s DSLR lens, the 14-54 as my primary lens because it is so darned GOOD; and it IS good optically, one of the best lenses I have ever owned. I have a deep and abiding love for that lens.

However, the allure of that tiny, light kit lens, is pretty strong, IT is pretty darned convenient, especially as a walk around lens.  And I am finding, that as I learn that lens and really start to use it to its best advantage, there really isn't a huge difference between the two.  The difference is pretty much an incremental improvement. 

The 14-54 is still better, and I use it for my planned shots; but none the less, I am getting some REALLY good photos from that cheap OLYMPUS M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R.  Maybe I'm just lucky, and I've gotten one of those mythical, one in a million accidentally great kit lenses, but I'm pretty happy with the lens, and I haven't had that sort of luck in the rest of my life, so what are the odds of it happening now? (Besides if I'm going to get THAT lucky, I'd rather win the state lottery )

I was planning to replace the kit lens with the 12-40 Pro, but I wonder if the kit really IS 'good enough'?
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Ray

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2015, 12:15:00 am »

The phrase 'Good enough' has little meaning without a specific reference to the end purpose. If the purpose is to make a print, then 'good enough' will vary in accordance with the size of the print that one might decide to make.

If one's printer is A3+ size, for example, and one has no intention or ambition to print larger, then one might consider almost any modern compact camera with walk-around zoom lens, to be good enough. However, some of us might consider such a view to be short-sighted.

What about the future? Even if one has no intention to buy a large, professional printer, there is still the advantage of the greater scope for cropping that a high-megapixel camera affords, whilst still maintaining that 'good enough' standard.

One of the attractions of photography is the surprise one sometimes encounters when later viewing detail on the monitor that one didn't notice at the time of the shot. Within one single capture of a broad scene, there might sometimes be a number of different crops that could make a more interesting photo than a print of the over all scene.

Quite often, when one reviews one's photos taken many years ago, one sees new processing and cropping opportunities to make the image simply a better image in the light of one's greater experience. In such circumstances one doesn't want to be discouraged as a result of noisy shadows and mid-tones, and poor resolution.

Then there's the consideration of the future of large-screen TV displays. I'm waiting for the price of (at least 80") 4k TVs to fall. An 80 inch diagonal print or display is quite large and will reveal any flaws in the image. In another few years, 8k displays will probably become the new standard. An 8k display in 16:9 aspect ratio requires a 32 megapixel image. Those of us who upgraded to a Nikon D810, or Sony A7R2, or Canon 5DRS, will be laughing.  ;)
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2015, 02:11:43 am »

Hi Ray,

I would agree on the 8K, but I also see that it takes a big screen to make use of 8K television. Or, you need to sit very close. For me, 8K is most viable in projection. But 8K is a bit beyond the horizon. I did consider buying a 4K projector, about same amount of money as my new A7rII based kit. That would give me worth of say 10 MP on screen.

Best regards
Erik


Then there's the consideration of the future of large-screen TV displays. I'm waiting for the price of (at least 80") 4k TVs to fall. An 80 inch diagonal print or display is quite large and will reveal any flaws in the image. In another few years, 8k displays will probably become the new standard. An 8k display in 16:9 aspect ratio requires a 32 megapixel image. Those of us who upgraded to a Nikon D810, or Sony A7R2, or Canon 5DRS, will be laughing.  ;)
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Josh-H

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2015, 03:20:12 am »

Quote
An 8k display in 16:9 aspect ratio requires a 32 megapixel image. Those of us who upgraded to a Nikon D810, or Sony A7R2, or Canon 5DRS, will be laughing.

This is true - but its also true that the uprezzing algorithms continue to improve. The current uprez capabilities of PS are pretty incredible and give pretty amazing results (especially in print). I imagine in the future lower mega pixel captures might be uprezzed to suit 8k or more displays with extremely good results. 
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Osprey

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2015, 03:20:28 am »

A similar thought occurred to me last week.  I am using an Olympus E-M10, and had been using my 4/3s DSLR lens, the 14-54 as my primary lens because it is so darned GOOD; and it IS good optically, one of the best lenses I have ever owned. I have a deep and abiding love for that lens.

However, the allure of that tiny, light kit lens, is pretty strong, IT is pretty darned convenient, especially as a walk around lens.  And I am finding, that as I learn that lens and really start to use it to its best advantage, there really isn't a huge difference between the two.  The difference is pretty much an incremental improvement. 

The 14-54 is still better, and I use it for my planned shots; but none the less, I am getting some REALLY good photos from that cheap OLYMPUS M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R.  Maybe I'm just lucky, and I've gotten one of those mythical, one in a million accidentally great kit lenses, but I'm pretty happy with the lens, and I haven't had that sort of luck in the rest of my life, so what are the odds of it happening now? (Besides if I'm going to get THAT lucky, I'd rather win the state lottery )

I was planning to replace the kit lens with the 12-40 Pro, but I wonder if the kit really IS 'good enough'?

The 12-40mm Pro may be worth it just because it feels like a solid piece of kit.  I am tired of the cheap feeling stuff that Olympus sometimes puts out, even on lenses that aren't inexpensive (specifically the 9-18mm feels like drek).
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GrahamBy

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2015, 03:55:49 am »

What do you guys do with all these super-sized prints?

Also, while I can understand the satisfaction in getting up close and seeing the detail, for me the main interest in an image, on screen or on paper, is the overall image. Bigger images do not mean more detail for everyone, and getting within a few cm of a 1m diagonal print is as artificial as pixel peeping on screen imho. Others will function differently, of course.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2015, 04:10:09 am »

Good discussion.

For me, it was for sure good enough with my EOS 1V and 24-70 and 70-200 zooms 15 years ago.

Fast forward to today, and for sure my A7 with both Batis, plus the 55 f1.8, is good enough, and will be more than good enough, until it breaks down.

Stardog2

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2015, 05:08:23 am »

The 12-40mm Pro may be worth it just because it feels like a solid piece of kit.  I am tired of the cheap feeling stuff that Olympus sometimes puts out, even on lenses that aren't inexpensive (specifically the 9-18mm feels like drek).

Well, if you mean you like the 12-40 because it's heavy, I'd agree there's a lot to like! But I don't think the use of modern, lighter materials automatically means cheaper.

So far, I haven't felt that I've gotten anything from Olympus that has felt cheaply made.  I'm one of those rare birds that bought their gear from a brick and mortar shop and before I bought, I tried just about everything made by Olympus befor I bought into the E-M10.  None of it felt cheap to me.
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Ray

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2015, 09:56:00 am »

Hi Ray,

I would agree on the 8K, but I also see that it takes a big screen to make use of 8K television. Or, you need to sit very close. For me, 8K is most viable in projection. But 8K is a bit beyond the horizon. I did consider buying a 4K projector, about same amount of money as my new A7rII based kit. That would give me worth of say 10 MP on screen.

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik,

Whilst projectors have the advantage of allowing one to sit further away, they have significant disadvantages regarding image quality. The contrast ratio tends to be lacking and the viewing room needs to be darkened if one wants a reasonably vibrant image, as in a cinema.

If one intends to use an electronic display method as a substitute for paper prints on the wall, I think it's preferable to be able to view one's photos in a normally lit room, as one does with prints.

One of the advantages of the new OLED 4k displays, in addition to their phenomenal contrast ratio and color gamut, is that they are very thin and can be fixed to a wall like a picture frame.

As you know, the price of new technology has a habit of falling significantly as time progresses, as was the case with digital cameras. At the moment a 55" LG 4k OLED TV costs around AU$5,500, and a 65" around AU$10,000. Too small and too expensive for me at present, although I might consider the 65" at half the price.  ;)
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Ray

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2015, 10:44:18 am »

This is true - but its also true that the uprezzing algorithms continue to improve. The current uprez capabilities of PS are pretty incredible and give pretty amazing results (especially in print). I imagine in the future lower mega pixel captures might be uprezzed to suit 8k or more displays with extremely good results.

I'd need to see some direct comparisons of the same scenes before I could comment. My understanding is that down-sampling an image always results in a sharper and less noisy image than the same scene shot with fewer pixels of the same quality, which is another advantage of having more pixels than you might think you need. Those excess pixels have the effect of upgrading all the lenses you use with the camera.
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mecrox

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2015, 10:47:20 am »

Thank you very much for this video. I'm looking forward to your video on the Olympus system, if you decide to do it. That is "good enough" for me at the mo, especially the 12-40mm others have mentioned.

I'd guess the only answer is "good enough is good enough - until it isn't". We change, the world changes, equipment changes or simply starts to fall apart. There's a lot to be said for travelling by means of plateaux, and sticking with what works for a few years or until it absolutely doesn't work anymore, rather than navigating the constant steep valley sides of upgrades and system swapping.

Does everyone print at home? I use a lab. It is far more cost-effective and less hassle since I don't print all the time. If I showed my friends a lab print and one made at home side by side, I wonder how many would notice any difference. Maybe printing is subject to good enough is good enough too. TBH, the guys and gals in my local Snappy Snaps can produce killer 8x10s if they are in the mood :)
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image66

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2015, 11:48:04 am »

The one thing I've learned from Luminous Landscape is that good enough is only good enough until the next new camera comes out. It is rather funny reading the posts here in this thread where people are all pleased with their good enough cameras which just happen to be the latest models.

Ken
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JohnBrew

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Re: Is good good enough?
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2015, 02:56:23 pm »

What do you guys do with all these super-sized prints?

Also, while I can understand the satisfaction in getting up close and seeing the detail, for me the main interest in an image, on screen or on paper, is the overall image. Bigger images do not mean more detail for everyone, and getting within a few cm of a 1m diagonal print is as artificial as pixel peeping on screen imho. Others will function differently, of course.

I thumbtack them to the wall in my workshop. If someone makes a big deal about it, I'll sell it to them.

But the print IS the thing. I have an HD (1440) monitor and it can't begin to show the detail a large print can.

Remember when we were saying 12 mp was enough? Then 24? Then 36? Hell, there will never be enough mp's to satisfy some people. And there's always bragging rights  ;D.
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