A fine conversation, but one that rightfully belongs in the Darkroom now that we've indulged it's placement here for over a day. Thanks.
That camera might just be the equivalent of the CD compared to vinyl, vis a vis "traditional" cameras, but we'll have to wait and see.
Oh, a plenoptic camera. I've heard of them but never seen or used one. Very interesting. I believe adobe were working on one that was 100 mega pixles, or something crazy. This could be the future, right here.
Originally Posted by professorchaos
I don't know why it took so long for me to think of this, but I downloaded the sample jpegs to my nikon photo app and have just spent 10 mins in ultimate pixel-peeping, comparing the s100, g12 and xz-1. Thankfully I discovered alatest.com, which has link to a site which has taken 3 identical real-world shots using these cameras (will dig out the name later). The differences in image quality are absolutely marginal! On balance the S100 gives richer and more detailed images than the G12 while the xz-1 has a more "documentary" feel- less colour saturation but more sharpness. Ok, so it was a well-lit street, T 1/640 with low ISO, but still. I can no longer convince myself myself there is any point peering over the specs of these 3 units to separate them from a technical competence standpoint and am going to go for the S100, based purely on size and price. I also note with interest that only dpreview.com is in-depth enought to have noticed q.c concerns over lens deviation. I strongly recommend anyone in the same position over the next few months to simply play around with them and get the one you like the feel of most.
To sum up, Legion was correct! (But you've got to find that out for yourself, right?)
Last edited by scottish steve; 02-17-2012 at 09:08 PM.
I had eventually decided that several factors weighed heavily in the G12's favour- after seeing the Hi ISO pics of the Canon offerings vs the competition- G12/S95/S100 at 1600 is less noisy than the best of the rest at 800. Also I liked the shutter speed and focussing system of the G12. I was very glad to have reached a decision based on specs rather than form. The s100 is a bit better at N/R but pays for this with looking less natural, but all things considered the S100 is the most sensible choice.
So I went for an S95.
I stil don't quite know why, though price was a big factor. I paid 2,250 yuna, saving $150 on the best UK price I could find, $87 better than the next best price in Suzhou.
I don't regret it and have already managed to get some usable street pics at 35mm. The totally silent option is great and I love the black and white.
Cool! But for Pete's sake, turn that date function off!
I know! It's so pathetic.It lasted approx. 1 min after the first upload to my laptop.I hadn't realised it would be an indelible mark on the image.I'm having to take "furtive" and "blatant", not to mention "unselfconscious" to a whole new level to get high quality candids. I'm starting to develop the tricks I assume others have in the past, like not looking at the screen after choosing my tracking focus point and trying to get a feel for the angle of field. Today I noticed a cafe right next to the top of an escalator, so I chose my settings, stepped in the escalator and quickly raised my arm and released as I was riding down. I did however, mistake the "off" button for the shutter release. Doh.
There have admittedly been several shots in which my "unwitting" subkects have proven to be staring at the lens disapprovingly. I feel bad to have annoyed them and delete those shots.
Last edited by scottish steve; 03-02-2012 at 11:16 AM.
Nice shots. Are you shooting originals in black&white or doing a post conversion. I would imagine capturing hi-res color or raw images would be best, or is there a technical reason to capture in B&W?
I'm choosing the "My colors>>Black and White" setting in large fine JPeg. Last night I took the same shot in RAW and L/F Jpeg (std colour palate) to see if there's a qualitative difference but I haven't looked at them yet. My experience of trawling through 300 RAW files has put me off them, especially since noticing that a Medium Fine J in my Nikon is sharper than either RAW or Large J, though I sometimes set it to L if I think it's likely I'll crop a lot that day.
Of course what I should have done with the RAW files is batch convert to large J, then work on them, but I didn't think of that at the time!
While technically shooting raw colour will give you more control when editing the final B&W image, it is kind of like having training wheels on. If you shoot B&W native it will train you to see the scene in a different way. Having said that, looking at a B&W image on the LCD before you press the shutter release is kind of cheating as well... But I guess that is life.
Originally Posted by StillShaving
Ideally you will learn fastest if you use an SLR, full manual, and don't check the images until you get home. But not many people would be prepared to do that these days.
Here is a link to a site that deals with hyperfocal distance: http://www.dofmaster.com/ In essence, this is the area (in depth) that will be in focus, at any given aperture/any focal length lens. Many lenses used to have scales on them that showed hyperfocal distance. One of the street shooting routines (with manual focus lenses and typically RF cameras) was to have a feel for the hyperfocal distance at a certain aperture; set that aperture, use the viewfinder to frame and shoot. If I remember correctly, the smaller lenses on p&s type cameras have greater DOF, which makes this technique easier. This technique, of not having to focus, is easier to learn than it sounds, but for me, requires an optical viewfinder of some sort.
If your camera will let you shoot RAW+jpeg, try setting the jpeg to B&W; this way you get the best of all worlds. You can visualize the picture on the LCD in b&w, you can print/whatever from the in-camera conversion, or do your own from the RAW file and have the color file.
Thanks for the link. I've gleaned that technique from a couple of websites I've visited and that book in PDF form online
and tried it on my DSLR, with xly limited results. The fact that the D5100 autofocusses quite quickly makes it less irrelevant, but I'm sure getting that skill down, when using my non-focussing 50mm would considerably increase my "hit rate". The 35mm DX prime lens autofucousses very quickly, but I won't be buying it- I want to offload my DSLR kit and get an X100. There is no doubt that seasoned street guys have developed the art of "thinking like a camera" but the focussing options on the S95 are quite limited, centre frame is the only option given on MF. I'm hoping this is simply a compositional tool, and the dof/distance calculations will be maintained if I don't do anything to the focus, simply ignoring the prompt to fiddle. Having the ability to make the S95 100% silent is very good, but I'm finding there are only a few situations in which a "foreign devil" walking around taking pictures of strangers is seen as normal behaviour- on sunny weekends in public places, like parks and tourist spots, everyone is happy and many DSLRs are out. That shot of the guy with the great smile took about 1s to capture. In a supermarket on a rainy Tues afternoon, not so much!
In the biggest supermarket around here there is the habit of allowing kids to sit in the trolley so their parents are forced roll them around. This is ok if your kid is 2, but I've seen kids so old they can barely fit in the trolley! I really want to get a picture of a 12 year old in a trolley, destroying all the food that's in it, but last night those parents seemes to be on high alert and all I got was stern faces. I also tried colour. This seems to take away much of the impact of the shot, but I'll persevere and make a decision soon. I suppose one could take the view that shooting in B&W is deliberately giving myself an advantage- possibly an easy way to make something mundane appear significant.
I think what it comes down to is taking that one element (colour) out of the image tends to make people look at it a bit more closely, and thereby notice things within the image which they may not of. When a picture is colour, well that is how most of us are used to seeing the world, so unless the image has something really noticeable in it the tendency is to just glance and move on.
Originally Posted by scottish steve
It is a bit like when I was younger and was involved in more group photographic exhibitions. At that time the fad was to print the images as big as humanly possible and try to claim as much real estate as you could. My thing was to go the complete opposite, and have small B&W images in largish frames. In all honesty this look started because when I was a poor student I couldn't afford great lenses, and the smaller print hid that to a certain degree. But after a while I noticed, all the people at the exhibitions used to walk past the big pictures, scan them, and keep talking away to each other, drinking their free booze and not paying much attention. When they got to my little pictures the size forced them to stop, and move in closer to get a look. For a moment they stopped talking and actually engaged with the image. It was an interesting thing to watch.
Plus I saved thousands on printing.
This is the thing isn't it? Getting people to stop and look.
I've spent many hours and a not inconsequential amount of money over the last few months trying to get to the stage where I feel I could finance my own small exhibition and not get laughed out of the building. I am ok with seasoned/professional photographers thinking "At least he's trying. Might be worth checking out in a couple of years." This perspective, though slightly intimidating, gives me something to reach for and a real focus on what I'm producing. I have around 15-20 shots which I'd be happy to publically display right now, if I can find the right printshop, but having something in black and white, especially with more "arty" aspects like motion blur etc, will, I hope, add some immediacy and intimacy to the shots. I think I've got more of a chance with that style of shot as I'm in no way either set up or very interested in producing enormous pinsharp landscapes.
Please tell me if I'm over-reaching. It's quite obvious I am an enthusiastic beginner, but I don't mind that. I did manage to catch a pedestrian from the same vantage point shown at the top of the page in a far more usable way. Don't know why I didn't post it, though this was on the first day, before the datestamp was turned off- will need to crop that out.
I really appreciate the time and advice from Legion et al and hope I'm not annoying you all by constantly updating/uploading new shots
Last edited by scottish steve; 03-03-2012 at 06:58 PM.
Not at all, I like looking at peoples photos. I used to do it all day, every day.
You will know when you are ready to exhibit your work. It is all basically about how much you like the work, and how confident you are about it. Art, after all, is subjective. That confidence will come across to the people.
Most exhibitions don't make the photographer any money, as far as profit goes. If you are selling the work your goal should be to cover your costs, and it gets you name out there in the local arts community. It's a bit of networking, and a chance to have a drink with mates. And it is a nice feeling when people like your stuff enough to put a red dot on it, then hang it on their wall.
Keep going with it. The more you shoot, the more you have to choose from. And the best part of digital is it is all free, once you've bought the camera.
Talking about this is actually inspiring me to get off my bum.
Oh, and hit as many museums and galleries as you can. And look at lots of photos in books and on the net (Good quality books are best, but expensive to buy. If you have a local arts college nearby sneak into their library every chance you get.) Nothing is as motivational as looking at other peoples work that you like.
Willdo. Thanks very much.
I think I'm going to have to get a couple of shots printed out exhibition size and be honest with myself- maybe frame them and donate them to a local pub or something then move on from there. There are a lot of people around with very flashy cameras and lots of professional studios in Suzhou catering to weddings and stuff- what these guys do with photoshop is truly wonderful. You pay them something like $500 and then wait for 3 months for them to do the post processing, but what comes back is very high quality. I mean, not really very representative of the people actually getting married, but it doesn't look faked. More like you've caught a disfiguring disease since the wedding!
I wonder if Chinese art-lovers are into the more gritty side of things. I hope so.
Modern Chinese art is quite interesting, if you study it. On one hand it seems that the Cultural Revolution is still very fresh in peoples minds, which provides a lot of inspiration for artists. And yet there is still a sense of reserve, because the communist government is still in there, and a lot of artists rely on grants to work, and nobody wants to get in trouble.
Originally Posted by scottish steve
My feelings about the majority of contemporary Chinese artists is that they don't quite get there, and they are sitting on the fence. But that is just my feelings, and YMMV. At least you are in a good spot to check it all out and see what you think.
I'm just wondering what would happen if you, a westerner, walked around taking candid street shots of the "grittier" side of life there. You know, poor people struggling, starving puppies on the street. It's the same stuff that you might find in any big city, and that is one thing I would want to show if I was there, but I can't help thinking it would not go down so well. And having to "sanitise" the work for public consumption would $!%# me to tears.
Last edited by Legion; 03-03-2012 at 10:40 PM.
I can well understand them being careful. I'll check out my local universities and see if they're amenable to letting me see what's been happening. Of course most of this stuff will be far more relevant when I get back home
Oh sure. Shoot TB's of stuff. You could have a kick-ass exhibition back home, and not have to censor it.
On the other hand, if the work does turn out to be "China friendly", foreign embassies love sponsoring cultural events. Just sayin...
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