Saturday 20 February 2010

A few thoughts

Building on a couple of Dave's recent posts here on DxO mark and how you use your gear I thought I would add a few thoughts.

Predictably, the DxO Mark information published caused the outbreak of forum wars on a certain forum.  I say predictably, as whenever I drop by there, there are always fights going on.  Which sort of got me thinking that if people made the most of what they had and stop worrying over tiny little numerical differences then the forum world would be a happier place.  As if by telepathy, Dave's second post linked above covers this

I found this great link from Luminous Landscape which puts most of the stupidity that I read in a pragmatic sense of order.  It is worth a read.

In terms of Dave's second post, I can wholeheartedly endorsehis views.

Having seen many images taken by users of Canon 1Dmk111 and even the latest mark IV on various forums, with such great lenses as the 500f4L prime, they still make a complete hash of it in many ways.  Either composition, basic handling and in particular post processing.

Loads of images get totally mashed with really poor RAW processing, and many times the Adobe products of ACR and LR have been very badly used.

In these cases, instead of shelling out 4K GBP, they would be better spending it on the right software and some training of how to use it.

I will cover this in more detail in my next instalment of user review of the Canon 7D, as much of the  noise issues that some people are troubled with are easily dealt with.

Finally, I hope many of you UK readers caught the last episode of Simon Kings Shetland Diary on Thursday just gone.  If not, get the iPlayer sorted - there was some great Red Necked Phalarope footage.



  1. Martin,
    I took a look at the DxO site and I really couldn't get excited about what it was trying to demonstrate (I compared 7D/40D/30D). Whilst it's a commendable attempt to grade a camera's sensor on a number of objective factors into a numerical score, I really cannot get any "real-life" assessment from it. Some people get mesmerised by comparing numbers and in the wrong hands is almost like having a pack of "Camera Top Trumps", and the ensuing playground games that we have all experienced in our school years. It is easy to be seduced by the latest tech especially if it can be afforded. I am just as susceptible as the next enthusiast, but until it's my sole form of income or my skill level demands that leading edge, I will remain pragmatic and settle for more modest cameras. Dave is right and surely the saying "horses for courses" must also ring true in photography as in does in other aspects of life.

    Glass is an area I try not to compromise on, and as most of us agree money spent here is often rewarded in perceptibly more agreeable images. At the moment, I am content with xxD or >1D bodies, however I am increasingly valuing AF performance and "camera responsiveness" for the type of images I like to take, as for me, no matter how many pixels the images comprises, and no matter how much noise is (initially)evident if the subject is out of focus or is in a very compromising part of the frame then to me everything else is largely irrelevant.

    I agree with you, I believe that post-processing by somebody who knows how to get the best out of the software can really make a large difference. I remember reading a certain Landscape POTY book from a couple of years back and was impressed with a certain photographer's 20D images moreso than a number of those taken by newer and more expensive bodies. I can't say whether the photographer's PP optimised these images that made the difference. But at the end of the day I guess we all seem to agree upon one thing - we can recognise what we perceive to be a "superior" image and this is largely the result of co-ordinating and controlling a number of disparate factors coming together at the right moment, much moreso than fretting about how inferior the image will be if we aren't using the latest available camera body.

    Pros aside, we should let these people who can afford and demand to have the newest and best carry on, because it is these customers that pay for the investment in R&D, that brings the technology to the wise either in the form of "dribble-down" to subsequent cheaper models or in the form of lightly used second-hand bargains. I'm happy to let the Top-Trumpers get wrapped up in their one-upmanship games while I focus my energy on trying to pull everything else together to make that personally rewarding image.

    Kind regards

  2. BTW yes I did see the last of Simon's films in Shetland - truly magical. Quite something when he says he's observing 8 or so of these birds and this is 1/4 of the UK population. Intrigued by the Guillemot chick "base-diving" and well impressed with the slo-mo diving Gannet footage especially where two birds target the same fish.
    Wonderful stuff.

    I really enjoyed the earlier Natural World programme that featured wildlife co-existing in industrial Essex. I've kept it on Sky+ to watch again and recommend (as Martin's earlier blog indicated) catching it on i-Player if you missed it first time round. Wonderful story telling and photography, sticks in my mind as strongly as the first (?) one on the Victoria Falls. Magical.