Photokina 2012 Aftermath- What does this mean for Street Photographers? My thoughts.

Standard

So the dust left in the wake of the tornado that is Photokina 2012 is still settling down. DPreview is even calling it “arguably one of the most exciting show for years.” But what does that mean for us street photographers?

Full Frame is Here to Stay. And more are coming.

The above pictures Leica M, along with the Leica M-E are just two examples of dedication to the full frame. Others include the Sony RX1 and the a99, since DSLRs are still relevant. Companies have fought out the Megapixel wars long enough, and consumers are now smart enough to realize that cramming a sh*tload of Megapixels doesn’t mean anything anymore (ahem, I’m talking to you Nokia).

See this video by the Verge:

As the Leica representative mentioned, bigger sensors mean shallower depths of field. This means that you won’t have to resort to a f/1.4~1.8 lens in order to achieve that shallow depth. More importantly, at our common apertures (f/8~11), depth of field will be more noticeable and combined with new technologies, we will be able to get ever so closer to the 35mm film’s dynamic range (millions of shades of grey, and hundreds of thousands of more colors).

The Sony RX1 in its miniaturized, Full-Frame glory. Would you drop $2799 for it?

Companies are Fighting to Be More Accessible than Ever to Us. More options than ever.

The prototype of the planned Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens.

More and more, street photography is being recognized as a niche. That’s both good and bad. Bad because it’s becoming more and more a colloquial and common term, leaving more room for misinterpretation of the category (I’ve seen some very poorly so-called “street photography” groups with nothing but landscape photos). But the good is that companies are catering more and more to the segment of street photographers. Take the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens that’s in production: it’s a clear understanding that photojournalists and street photographers clamor for the 35mm equivalent.

Fuji introduced the X-E1 and released firmware to speed up the X-Pro 1:

Fujifilm as a company is setting a great example by listening to the feedback of their customers. Granted, their company is still recovering from a decade of obsolescence, as their execution still is a bit shabby (release a half-complete product, then fix: as evidenced by the X100, X10, and X-S1), but they make it right. They understood the speed of the X-Pro 1 was not suited for street photography, but fixed it to be suitable enough for street photography. That is the power of the consumer and photographer, we who choose the tools in this competitive brand landscape.

The OM-D E-M5, my current primary camera, also is a model of response. Having heard the call for a better sensor, faster AF, and a retro styled camera. In fact, it’s become one of the best cameras on the market for street photography because of this smart, targeted response to photographers.

Those who ignore our demands are quickly becoming obsolete.

I won’t say much. Hasselblad tried to defend its Lunar system,  a repackaged NEX system for the price of a cool $5k.

Those who try to market their way to photographers who demand a specific set of features won’t work anymore.

The same goes for companies who decide not to innovate, or create new things as excuses to claim they’re innovating. Samsung, in the Verge video above on larger sensors, argue that they want to optimize for their smaller sensors. On one hand it’s great that they’re to perfect what they do, but that’s evolutionary, not revolutionary. Being stuck with smaller sensors, they will never appeal beyond the amateur photographer. If that’s their target segment, that makes business sense. But innovation is all about breaking the barrier and trying something that doesn’t seem to be possible technologically.

Even Pentax, who is struggling to understand consumer needs with their infamously (and somewhat uselessly) tiny Q system, is trying hard to re-position their products by the needs of the consumer. This is what we need to see in the photo industry.

In the words of Louis C.K, “Everything’s Amazing and No One is Happy.” For us street photographers who demand depth in our photos, quick function and focus in our cameras, it’s an exciting time for us in this world.

&& Phil

Talk to me and follow me on Twitter @philhanphoto. (<-hey isn’t that a new username?!)

If you want to keep up with my latest articles and photos, Like me on my facebook page, Phillipe Han Photography!

And as always, comments below. Disagree? Agree with my thoughts? Let me know!

P.S. I’ve also joined a photo collective, revisedMEDIA. Check it out! Inspiring photos abound!

How dare you take that photo! – London Street Photography Festival 2011

Video

Do you have the balls to argue with a police officer? Apparently you have the right to, at least in London. In most countries, taking photographs in public is allowed (even of private property, as long as you are not physically in the property). Do you agree with the approach these photographers are taking to defend the right of their cameras and photography?

New York Municipal Archives: Released Street Photography!

Standard

Hey guys, so I’ve been slacking. But in a good way. Really, I promise.

I’ve been finishing a final model shoot and have sold off my canon rebel and lenses to finally acquire the funds for an Olympus OM-D.  Stay tuned for when that ships.

But in the meanwhile, check out this Municipal Archives collection.

As for what it is, an excerpt on the page should do!

Almost a million images of New York and its municipal operations have been made public for the first time on the internet.

The city’s Department of Records officially announced the debut of the photo database.

Culled from the Municipal Archives collection of more than 2.2 million images going back to the mid-1800s, the 870,000 photographs feature all manner of city oversight — from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings.

There are some amazing photographs on here, street photography and other kinds mixed in for good measure. Check it out!

Quick Update: Olympus OM-D Review

Standard

My local camera store just got a stock of Oly OM-D in so I went into try it while I was processing my film. 

Some quick notes:

-The AF isn’t as perfect as I thought. Unless you shoot at the maximum aperture of F/3.5 for the kit lens, the AF is actually quite useless– but let me explain. The “detection” phase of the AF is absolutely flawless. It locks on every time, and without fail. But on what is the question– it sometimes locks onto a different subject than what you wanted, for instance the garbage can instead of the face of your girlfriend. Obviously though, it’s a machine so it can’t predict what you want (which, strangely, Canon and Nikon DSLRs can do).

-When it does lock on though, you need to be shooting at a high F-stop. This unfortunately means several things: 1) street photography usually entails shooting at a low F-stop, which means you’re going to have to manually keep the shutter speed high, and 2) you’re going to have to stay pretty still.

Yup. That’s right. The Image Stabilization system actually is less impressive than we were marketed with. A bit of a swing and the picture is pretty much blurry below f/3.5. I even tried the yaw function and yup, it wasn’t all that different from the Fuji X-Pro 1. Maybe I’m missing something here. I need to go back and do another test, but it was ridiculously fast. I could hold down the shutter button and it automatically shoots several frames (rather than having to go into a separate multi-shoot mode), so one of those copies will hopefully be crystal clear.

Stay tuned.

 

-Phil

Steve Huff & I Review the Fuji X-Pro 1 (AF update)

Standard

Well, not really. Steve Huff did a comprehensive review, and it’s very well written. You should check it out, it mentions both its merits and the quirks/AF woes in deep detail.

On the other hand, I FINALLY managed to get my hands on one in my local Camera store. I’ve got to say, I’m impressed with what Fuji’s vision was in creating the X-series. I’m not surprised that Dpreview came away impressed, the construction of the camera looks good. But Steve Huff is dead on in saying that it feels cheap, or at least lighter than it looks.

I tried to test for Steve huff’s quirks, but strangely I had no trouble with the on/off operations, and controls were responsive. I’m guessing uncleared SD cards usually pose this issue, and I had that same problem on my X100 before I sold it.

Give me some time to play around with this, I’ll be back later to test its AF..

*AF UPDATE 1

Shooting in the bright lighting of the camera store, the AF felt responsive. I tried it in street situations, and it quickly picked up focus. Raising the camera to my eye and quickly pressing the shutter button grabbed it excellent focus. I was using the 35mm f/1.4 lens.

But the trouble began in the narrow, dimly lit hallway of the store. Even with a much smaller focusing distance compared to the X100’s lens, I couldn’t get it to focus on a vase. It took 4 tries. No street photographer focuses 4 times on a subject. By then you’ll have already missed your shot.

In twilight (7:30pm), Steve Huff’s observations stuck as well. In hunts, misses, hunts, misses, and then maybe nails it on the third shot. Realistic street movements/actions including: raising the camera to your eye for immediate shots, or shooting from the hip are completely unreliable, primarily due to the lack of any image stabilization. For some reason, Leica glass never seems to suffer from this IS; it may be the electronic sensor that is more prone to movement. I don’t know, I have no technical knowledge in this area.

Unfortunately they didn’t let me take out any samples from the card, but this was more than enough to convince me that the X-Pro 1 needs a severe update to the AF. I went into the MF mode just to see what it was like, but the similar focus-by-wire design is still close to unusable. I’ll see if I can sneak out some images later.

Come on, Fuji. You can do better.

&&Phil

The best way to keep with my latest updates is to like my facebook page, or follow me on Twitter!

Robin Wong’s Review of the New Olympus OM-D E-M5

Link

Robin Wong’s Review of the New Olympus OM-D E-M5

Robin Wong, an avid user of Olympus gear, has reviewed in much depth the practical usage of this newly hyped camera. For both amateurs and professionals looking at this micro four-thirds camera, go ahead and take a look at the video for more!

Source: http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2012/03/olympus-om-d-e-m5-review-batu-caves-kl.html

New Digital Cameras! Are they worth it?

Standard

So the latest hype is around two new cameras, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Fuji X-Pro 1 are panning out, as they’ve finally started shipping!

Some reviews:

Robin Wong’s Review of the Olympus E-M5.

F8 Photography’s take on the Fuji X-Pro 1.

Made me think twice about letting go of my Leica M6. Hm…