This week: The crew chats about some of the biggest, photography-related stories of 2009…and Lisa Bettany of MostlyLisa.com joins in the fray.
NEWS & DISCUSSION
– No major Aperture version update (article as well: Aperture Dwindling in Popularity?
Frederick uses Lightroom (he was the product manager for Lightroom this time last year).
Lisa switched from Aperture to Lightroom and loves it.
Alex uses Aperture to organize his photos and uses Photoshop if he needs to make major changes to his photos. He thinks that one reason we haven’t seen an update to Aperture is because of the new features Apple put in iPhoto and they they couldn’t bring out an Aperture update without matching the iPhoto features. Alex would like GPS tagging and facial recognition in Aperture (currently in iPhoto).
Frederick asks Joseph and Alex if Aperture needs to be more like iPhoto to compete with Lightroom?
Joseph: One thing I hear from photographers who’ve tried both is that Lightroom is easier but I also hear that Aperture is more powerful.
Alex: I think Apple needs to train people more how to use Aperture. I don’t this is an Apple-specific problem. There is a workflow Apple had in mind and they need to provide real training.
– iPhoto gains facial recognition and integrated geocoding. Joseph loves the idea and has played with the facial recognition in iPhoto but is waiting for it in Aperture.
– Rise in firmware hacking (Bracketmeister hacks your Canon to shoot big brackets ) and projects like Magic Lantern. Alex said that he plans to CDHK (loading a new OS on the camera). You need a camera with stable CDHK development. CDHK is an open source program that allows you to add extra features to a camera (i.e. adding time lapse mode). He also plans to do videos about hacking cameras.
– Did we see the beginning of the end of the megapixel race?
Frederick: The question is increasing megapixel count vs increasing light sensitivity of sensors. Have we hit the apex of that argument?
Alex: I think we are getting there. For me I have more megapixels than I need and what I really want is light sensitivity. That’s all I care about — except for time lapse.
Frederick: Does the average consumer understand that megapixels are not the end-all, be-all these days?
Alex: I think if consumers saw a night shot from a still camera — consumers shoot far more in low light situation than professionals. Low light sensitivity, in my opinion, would be far more important to consumers than to professionals.
Frederick: But do they know? If they go to the shelf (to buy a camera) and see two cameras, they will get the one with the bigger number.
Lisa: I definitely think consumers are not wise to that.
Alex: This is where the companies (Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.) need to take a page out of Apple’s book and guide consumers to what they need.
Frederick: They don’t guide people to what they need, they just remove what they don’t need.
Joseph: I agree that sensitivity is more important than resolution especially for the consumer base. Consumers generally don’t print and if they do it’s never bigger than a 8×10, in that case 8 megapixel is enough. On the pro side I do take advantage of every last pixel. And even 20 to 24 (megapixels) is not quit enough.
Frederick: Joseph as a pro, over 2009 what the the percentage of photos that you shared online vs. print vs. other means?
Joseph: Pretty much everything goes online. Primary it is online. I’m not going to use a lower resolution camera if it’s going online because the client may decide to print and I want to sell prints.
Frederick: What about you Lisa — where does your work go?
Lisa: Mainly online. I haven’t had many print jobs. I never print my pictures. Viewing my pictures on my iMac can’t be reproduced on a printer.
Frederick: Most of the photographers that print regularly are wedding shooters.
Alex: All the video we shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II goes on the web. YouTube is now accepting 1080p video. I shoot everything in 1080p. Alex posted a video on Vid.ly shot on a Canon 7D with a 50 mm lens.
– Quality video becoming the norm now on DSLRs?
Frederick: Do you think in 2010, 2011, 2012, if a DLSR doesn’t have video on it, it’s sub standard?
Frederick: Some photographers are saying they don’t want anything video-related on their camera.
Alex: You don’t have to use it. Joseph, would you buy a camera without video?
Joseph: Probably not. I don’t shoot that much video but I do have a camera that shoots video, the 5D Mark II. I agree that no new pro camera will come out without.
Frederick: Lisa, are you shooting video, or just still?
Lisa: I thought I would be shooting more but it’s not always practicable. I hope over time to be able to make a compilation video of all the footage over time. It comes down to the shear amount of time it takes to edit the stuff.
Frederick: It use to be that you could put up any type of video on the web and over the years as the tools progressed, the level/bar has been pushed up (for what goes on the web).
Lisa: If you look at the Vimeo HD channel there are so many amazing things. As someone who does a lot of processing, I would want my video to look as good as my photos. That’s going to take time and I didn’t realize how difficult that would be.
Joseph: A lot of people get a video camera and think they can shoot video. They don’t realize that there is a lot more too it than just pressing the button.
Frederick: Not to mention the audio portion of it and finding a place to store these large files.
– Canon Announces 1D Mark IV
Frederick: What’s up with this camera and are you getting one?
Joseph: No, I’ll probably hold out for the 1Ds. What’s new about it is it big, it’s fast, great low light sensitivity and it shoots video better than anything else out there, so far. The video that Vincent Laforet shot with the Canon 5D Mark II is back up and you can check it out on Vincent’s site.
Alex: The 5D shoots great video but you can tell they learned a lot and the 7D is a great video camera. I haven’t shot with the 1D.
– Canon 7D
Frederick: Have you shot with the 7D?
Alex: I have two.
Frederick: What is the main differences between the two (5D and 7D)?
Alex: The 7D feels more like a video camera. It has a video start/stop and video switch. It does 24 FPS instead of 30 FPS (as on the 5D). Those are the big things that I noticed. The 5D has a shorter depth of field because of the full-frame sensor and has better low-light sensitivity. I believe the Nikon is way more sensitive than the Canon. But the video (on the Nikon) hasn’t caught up yet (with the Canon). If I was to buy a SLR as a video camera, I would get a Canon. If I was to buy a still camera, I would buy a Nikon because of the better low-light sensitivity. At PMA, I hope to see Canon progress in low-light sensitivity and Nikon progress in Video.
Frederick: The bottom line is all these tools are amazing but no matter what you have, you need to be out there shooting.
– Nikon Releases D3S with 102,400 ISO
Frederick: I got my hands on a D3s a few weeks ago from BorrowLens.com. They let me play with one for a few days. With the new 70-200 mm VR lens. It was amazing. I had my old D3 with my old 70-200 lens. The new D3s is faster and smarter.
Alex: Over the Christmas break I was shooting kids and Christmas lights and I noticed the first thing I do with a new camera is change all the focusing to a spot in the center. I think that’s because I shoot with a short depth of field. I’m not quite wide open. With my 50 mm 1.4, I’ll shoot 2.0 because I find the lens is a little sharper at 2.0.
Frederick: Joseph I know has a 50 mm 1.2. Do you shoot with that wide open?
Joseph: Not all the time but I do shoot wide open. I love that lens. When I first got that lens it was just before a holiday in Europe and I decided to take just that one lens. I’ve talked about this before and that’s working with a single fixed-length lens to re-educate yourself. We tend to rely on so many telephoto lens and we can cover anything. Go out with just that one lens for a week and no matter how much experience you have, you’ll learn something about yourself and your style of shooting.
Alex: I went for six months with only a 50 mm on my camera exactly as Joseph described. I took a lot of good photos.
Lisa: That was my first lens as well. The 50 mm 1.4. I shot with that for one year before I could afford another lens.
Alex: If there is one camera (lens) that you get when you have kids, it’s a 50 mm 1.8 or 1.4. Everyone in my family who has kids has a SLR with a 50 mm lens. If you look at my parent’s photos on the wall and they look different. You have five different families shooting with a short depth of field. It’s looks like someone from Time Magazine hangs out with the family all the time.
Frederick: Another tip with the 50 mm — get closer. Don’t be on the other side of room and cropping the picture. Get in the faces with the picture. Throw that background out of focus. That’s what makes these images that Alex is talking about. Fulling the frame with your son and daughter. Those are the pictures you put on the wall.
Alex: You need to take wide shots from time-to-time, but those are not the ones you place on the wall.
Frederick: Joseph, how hard was it for you to break though that comfort level and forget the zoom and put on the 50 mm and tap them on the shoulder and get the camera in their face?
Joseph: There are times for both. If you have a 50 mm you are in their face and they know you are taking their picture. With a long lens across the street, you can capture their picture without them knowing about it. You get images you would not normally get. Once people know there is a camera on them you get a reaction (smile, look away, etc.).
Frederick: Lisa, when was the last time you bought camera gear from a brick and mortar camera store?
Lisa: I have an amazing store that I go to in Vancouver called Beau Photo. They rent lenses for reasonable prices. I don’t own much photo gear. I own a 5D Mark II and three prime lenses. Everything else I rent.
Frederick: Joseph, when was the last time you purchase something from a store?
Joseph: Last week. I have a Samy’s here in Pasadena. That’s where I got my lights. I bought my Canon 5D from B&H because they didn’t have it locally.
Alex: If I go into a store and have a long conversation (about some gear), I feel like I should buy from them. I will pay the $100 more.
Q: Listener Philip Koberlein writes: Can you suggest a way to find people online that are displaying my images? Are there specialized search engines or services that can aid in this?
A: Joseph answers: Tineye.com will search for your images. You can also use Bing.com for that. There is a “find similar” button. I watermark my images which is an easy way to mark your images as yours.
Q: Listener Simon Bainbridge writes: What book / books would you recommend for an intermediate level film photographer wanting to start in digital photography?
A: Lisa answers: “The Moment It Clicks”, by Joe McNally. There are lots of resources online: blogs, e-books, e-learning. Joseph recommends “Hot Shoe Dairy”, by JOe McNally.
Q: Listener Greg Oz writes: Now that it is obvious Canon is hot for video in their cams, when will Adobe step up and allow their Master Collection software edit the native Canon video clips? Presently, what software does it take to edit the native video from the Canon cams? what do you recommend? What work flow is recommended?
A: Alex answers: Adobe typically updates their collection every 18 months. We take all our video and convert it to Apple Pro Res.
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