Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stock photography with PhotoShelter and Alamy

A few weeks ago, I signed up with PhotoShelter, with the intention of having a number of my images for sale as stock on their website. So far I've been quite pleased with what I've seen. Their turnaround time is fairly quick, their website interface is clean and easy to use (encouraging, as this should help drive the buyer experience as well) and two of my images, good ones, were rejected because "We've pretty much hit critical mass with this sort of subject matter, and we don't want to inundate our buyers with too much similar content."
However, I really want to get a good feel for the non micro-stock market, and in a one-horse race, you always know who the winner is. More after the jump.

So, in the interest of a better perspective on the market, I signed up with one of the largest companies in stock today, Alamy Stock Photography. They are a long-established company, with a library of over 10 million images and counting. Although more research is needed (and please let me know if you have any information) they don't seem to me fighting for the bottom rung of the ladder in terms of how they value their contributors, like the micros do. I have heard that once you have been initially approved, your submissions are un-managed as far as quality, which may explain some of their tremendous image count, but what I've seen in poking around the site looks to be very good.
Their technical guidelines for image submission are very precise, and seemingly quite stringent, so it should be interesting to see how my 10 pictures fare. They require uncompressed file sizes of 48mb or more, which (translates to roughly 5000x3300 pixels) which means that everything has to be up-rezzed before submitting, unless you're scanning at 5000 dpi or shooting medium format digital. They have the usual requirements of no dust, artifacts, out of focus, oversharpening, etc. I know my pictures are set on these requirements, as I've spent several hours over the last week first finding images I wanted to submit, then digging out the original .NEF files and re-converting them at maximum size and with very minimal sharpening.
Their stated turnaround time is 25 days (!) so it may be a bit before I have any more information on the future of these images with Alamy.

Note from the RTFM department: Alamy recommends submitting 4 images as an initial test. If ANY of the submitted images are rejected for ANY reason, the entire set will be rejected.
Oops. Wish I'd read that before I sent ten. Too late now. Hopefully, all ten will pass Almy's QC people. Wish me luck.

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nikon Announcements (with US Pricing)

Update to last night's gear lust post:
US pricing for the Nikon 16-85 VR is listed at $649. Slightly more palatable, but still about $200 over what I'd pay for it. Close focus is listed at 1.3 feet, which is decent.
PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED will hit the shelves in March at $1929, and the 60mm micro is listed at $549.
Source: Imaging Resource
Read more: Full post and comments here.

Nikon Announcements from PMA

Nikon has just announced their new lens and camera arrivals for PMA 2008, including a D60 consumer SLR (D40x replacement), the rumored 16-85mm VR, an update to the 60mm/2.8 Micro, and one lens that I don't think anybody saw coming. More details after the jump.
The 16-85mm VR was hotly rumored over the last month or so after a few images leaked out on a Taiwanese bulletin board. Many doubted, some believed, and much debate ensued. Meanwhile, I tried to decide if this is a lens I'd be interested in. I decided to buy one if they came out at $400 or less. Actual price: £429.99/ €642.00, which works out to about $950 in US dollars. No thanks, Nikon. I like wide angle, but not enough to pay $900 for 2mm. For that kind of scratch, I could pick up a used 14mm f/2.8.

The new D60 appears to be a VERY minor update to the D40x, which was itself a modest update to the D40. If it has an electronic shutter, it might be useful for high speed sync flash, but otherwise, this camera doesn't show up very bright on my radar.

Next up is an update to the venerable 60mm 2.8 micro. The new lens gains AF-S (ultrasonic "Silent Wave" motor built into the lens) and a few new ED glass elements, as well as Nikon's "Nano coating". Nice, but nothing earth-shaking here.

Which brings us into the realm of the truly awesome, the PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED

This is truly incredible in an age of high ISO, slow variable aperture zooms and pop-up flashes. A wide angle, manual focus tilt-shift lens, from Nikon no less? It features up to ±11.5 mm shift and ±8.5° tilt, as well as a close focus distance of 0.7 feet/0.21 meters, for ultra close-up shots and unbelievable perspective control.
It has all Nikon's newest glass chemistry tricks, ED and Nano coat and all, as well as two aspherical elements to eliminate aberrations and other weirdness. It has electronic aperture control on the D3 and D300, and manual control on all other cameras. Also promised by Nikon are a 45mm and 85mm version soon.

It's priced somewhere north of US $2100. Doesn't matter. Those who need it will buy it, and those who don't understand will scratch their heads.

Between the D3 and now this astonishing new lens, Nikon seems to be making a very firm commitment to both full-frame cameras and serving top-end professional needs. Imagine high end commercial architectural photography with a D3 and the 24 PC.

It's a good time to be a photographer.

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

San Francisco Strobist style meet

First, I want to say thanks again to Mike Wong, fashion photographer and portrait victim above, for hosting this great event at his new studio here in Fremont, California. After last week's Strobist seminar, I was very excited to meet with a group of photographically minded individuals for a day of talking cameras, lenses, lighting, photo business, and of course, doing some shooting. More after the jump.

As our group has normally been much more Landscape and Nature oriented, we got off to a bit of a slow start, with a lot more talk than action (yes Pradipta, I stole that one) but after a bit the cameras and lights started coming out, and the fun began. Many of us were shooting using Nikon's CLS, both with pop-up flashes and SU-800's, and a few were running Pocket Wizards. One set of the tiny and versatile Elinchrom Skyports also made a brief appearance, courtesy of Kent Johnson, from across the bay.

Probably my favorite victim subject of the afternoon was a gentleman by the name of Oscar Rico, who was kind enough to stand exactly in front of the background and between a few lights while we had an extensive discussion of flash metering and ambient balancing. This is fortunate, because had I been standing in front of the camera (and the lights) the images would not have looked nearly as nice. Thank you Oscar. And your portrait looks wonderful, if I may be so bold. I wish I had not been using quite so strong a background gel, because I can't entirely get rid of a bit of green on your shoulder.

All in all, a great afternoon (even though I missed the food run) and we've definitely got to do this again sometime soon. I look forward to meeting with the Flickr based Bay Area group as well, there's not much overlap of membership as yet, but I think we can build off each other and make this a fantastic community. Seattle, watch your back!

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Glass half full...

My brain on Strobist (2), originally uploaded by cycle61.

Found a broken glass in the sink last night, and couldn't let it go to waste. Decided to have some Strobist fun. Fortunately, it had snapped cleanly, so I was left with one solid chunk to lay on the surface. I went in search of an appropriate fluid to pour, and came up with a bottle of Pine-Sol, with a few drops of blue food coloring added. The glass sits upon a sheet of Plexi, with a paper towel underneath, which all sits on an inverted Tupperware tub containing my SB-800, aimed up at 1/32 power. The background is my kitchen door, lit (almost) white by an SB-600 at 1/8 power. Exposure is f/8 at ISO 200. Flashes triggered by Pocket Wizard and optical slave. Should be picking up another PW later this morning before the DPReview meetup at Mike Wong's studio in Fremont.
Best part of the photo for smelled like Pine-Sol, so my wife assumed I was cleaning and left me alone for the whole thing. And my SB-800 is really, really clean :-)

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

John Harrington's gear bag(s)

John Harrington, a professional photographer based out of Washington DC and author of the indispensable "Photo Business Forum" blog, has stepped into the shoes of Chase Jarvis and created "What We Use" a series of videos about professional camera and lighting gear, packing, traveling, and usage. The entire set of 32 videos, ostensibly used for training his interns, is available on his "Assignment Construct" website, and runs almost two hours total.

If you've got some time to burn, and want to see how they roll in the big leagues, grab some popcorn and check it out!

PS. John Harrington wrote the book on the business of photography. Literally. He's one to keep an eye on, if you're interested in being successful as a professional photographer. I own this book, and I cannot recommend it enough. Best $25 I ever spent. I'll give it a full review and plug soon.
Read more: Full post and comments here.

Seattle and San Francisco II

UPDATE: Chase Jarvis's crew put together a video of the Seattle Strobist event as well. One guy even drove up from San Francisco to join the Seattle group.

Alright, guys, the bar has been set. Let's see what SF can do. I'm meeting with a group that gathered through DPReview this Saturday, but I want to be a part of getting the San Francisco Strobist community off the ground. Let's make this a great thing!

Update II - Full write up of the Seattle Meet is live, on Strobist: More Fun in Seattle: Full Write-up! Includes more pix and video, along with stories from the after-party.
Read more: Full post and comments here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Strobist in Seattle and San Francisco

Images from the Seattle Strobist meet have been running around on Flickr for a few days now, and the video has just been posted earlier today. David Hobby, after last weekend's seminar near San Francisco, flew up to Seattle to drop in on the Strobist group that has been meeting there recently. His post on the group is here on the Strobist blog.

Tim Porter, Flickr screen name OAXOAX, is organizing a San Francisco Bay Area meetup this Saturday, I won't be able to attend due to a prior commitment (to another photography meetup, very much in the same style) but it will be awesome to see what comes out of it. Tim, and all others attending, have fun, and I hope to be able to join you all soon!

Just Spotted: Dedicated SF Bay Area Strobist Group on Flickr! Check it out.
Read more: Full post and comments here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PhotoShelter and Stock Photography II

I received an email this morning from PhotoShelter, indicating that their editors had reviewed the images I had submitted, and for me to go to the site for further instructions. Of my eight landscape photos, three had been accepted outright, two rejected, and three were "Soft rejected"
My accepted images, which are now "Live" on the system.

Photoshelter from the inside, after the jump.
The website guided me through the process of keywording and captioning the images, along with specifying a category (News, creative, etc.) and stating whether model and property releases were available or necessary. Once these tasks were complete, they offered a choice of pricing models, either rights-managed or royalty free, along with editorial.
Their rights managed pricing models include an example calculator based on the popular fotoQuote software, which allows you to quickly see how pricing for you image would be for potential buyers. I was surprised and encouraged by some of the numbers I saw, most ranging from a few hundred dollars to well over $1000. Here's one example:

My three "Soft Rejected" were deemed by the editors as more suitable for the "News+" category, and as such, needed full captions before they could be accepted. I added captions including locations and dates, and re-submitted them. I also added several more images, still mostly nature and landscape stuff. It's what I have available at the moment, but I will be expanding my offerings very soon.

The final two images, the ones that were rejected outright, were actually the most encouraging for me. They attached the following message to the images: "We've pretty much hit critical mass with this sort of subject matter, and we don't want to inundate our buyers with too much similar content. That in mind, we are currently only accepting work of this category if it's really outstanding in terms of composition, exposure, and a fresh point of view. Thanks for your understanding!"

This is a good thing, in my mind. They are controlling their content submissions, which will definitely improve the overall quality of the material available for buyers.

My personal webpage on the PhotoShelter is here. Check it out!

I'll continue to post as I get more feedback from PhotoShelter, but I'm very encouraged by what I've seen so far.

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

PhotoShelter and stock photography

Just a few days ago, I signed up with a new company on the stock photography scene known as PhotoShelter. PhotoShelter was created a few years ago by two photographers, and in addition to running a powerful online image archive, they have recently launched the PhotoShelter Collection, taking a bold step towards returning some economic balance to the stock industry. Microstock companies such as Shutterstock and Istockphoto have severely devalued photographer's contributions, selling images for $0.99 or worse, in unlimited quantities via a subscription model.
PhotoShelter represents an entirely different pricing model, allowing photographers to set prices for their images in a rights-managed environment, and allowing a minimum price of $50 for an image.
Many notable photographers and industry watchers have recently written about Photoshelter, including John Harrington's Photo Business News blog, Chase Jarvis, and the Strobist, written by David Hobby.
I was fortunate enough to get a chance to discuss PhotoShelter with David at the Strobist Seminar last weekend, and came away with two major thinking points, after the jump.

1) These are good people, running a good business, one that is designed to work for both producers and users of photography. Photographers will no longer be giving away their work for $0.99 and a photo credit, and end users looking for new, creative, and high quality photography will no longer be tied to a few legacy companies, which are currently deadlocked in a race to the bottom of the pricing barrel. If they can draw some major buyers in from the old guard agencies, and if photographers realize that their creative works need not be devalued to obscenely, Photoshelter stands to be at the lead of a huge upheaval in the industry.

2) If I want to take a serious part in the future of commercial, stock, or any type of professional photography, I need to specialize. I asked David what he thought about the future of stock in general, and commented that I had recently started uploading some stuff, and that "I have a hard drive full of photos that look just like what I see on the stock sites now."

His stark answer: "Then you're in trouble."


But almost certainly true.

There's untold numbers of excellent wedding photographers, fashion photographers, landscape photographers (Mark Adamus is one who's work consistently astonishes me) but how many people can conceive a series of a carjacking and robbery, shoot it all on a Hassleblad, and then compose 2,000 frames (including the set-up shots and outtakes) into a video and submit it as his Hasselblad Masters entry? Chase Jarvis can. He specializes. He shoots stuff that nobody else does, and once they do, they're just copying him.

I've been shooting seriously for about a year now, and although my fundamental skills are quite solid, I have been sorely lacking in vision. I personally resolving to continue to shoot, but to do it now with a mindset of finding, and developing, a niche, one that I love and can shoot better than anyone else.

I don't want to be another wedding photographer. I don't want to be another guy at the art fair selling landscape prints out of a van. I want to be Nick freakin' Davis dammit, and I want everybody in my field who pick up a camera and points it at their subject to be thinking, in the back of their minds, "If I get this right, everybody's going to think I'm copying Nick...."

I just re-read that carefully, and it sure sounds arrogant. I'm a nice guy, I swear. But I'm going to find my niche, I'll dig it out with an axe if I have to, and when I do, I'm going to absolutely own it.

Ken Brown, you've got your Gullwing Mercedes. Get thee to Pebble Beach and milk them for all they're worth.

I've just gotta find mine.

Oh, and there were gonna be photos here too. These are the eight shots that I uploaded to the PhotoShelter Collection a few days ago. They won't change the world, but they're pretty typical pre-resolution Nick Davis.

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Strobist seminar Wrap-up

The Northern California seminar has drawn to a close, and what a day it's been. I never would have imagined I could spend thirteen hours learning about, and playing with lighting, but that's exactly what we did. Full story after the jump.
Sign in was at 9, and by 9:30 we had launched into rounds of introductions. Our Bay Area group seems to be a bit more balanced than the statistics David has been collecting for the readership as a whole. He came back with something like 94% male, while our group today was more along the lines of 80/20, if not better. We also seemed to have quite a few pros, or semi pros in attendance, more than I would have expected. Somehow I keep thinking pros know everything already, which is one reason I'm a bit intimidated at the thought of being one!
The event drew photographers from all over. We had attendees from Southern California, Salt Lake, Phoenix, and one guy from St. Paul, Minnesota, who had given up on hope of getting David to visit him up there.
You know you have a good group on your hands when it takes well over an hour for introductions, simply because of all the tangents and side conversations that launch out of the various details of people's lives and histories. We found ourselves discussing ethics of lighting in journalistic photography, the Computer History Museum (turns out I had breakfast with one of the museum Docents, Steve), a $5,000 Cheeto picture, and a blind skateboard photographer in London.

And this is all before we even started.

The rest of the morning was spent burning through the seven lighting controls that are outlined in Lighting 102 with plenty of photos to illustrate each concept. We move quickly through the material, as the group seems to have a pretty solid grasp of the concepts we're dealing with here. David's teaching is very hands-on, and when he's talking through an image that's on screen, it's like he's shooting it all over again. He walks back and forth positioning imaginary (and sometimes real) lightstands, holds a quite invisible camera to his eye to frame a shot of an invisible sunflower, and still adjusts his aperture via the aperture ring.

Never mind that he's not even holding a camera, there's still an aperture ring and shutter speed dial to play with dammit!

His teaching style is much like his writing, fast paced, informative, and fun. Power point presentation notwithstanding, the morning felt more like an intelligent and friendly conversation than a lesson.

After a decent but overpriced Caesar Salad from Parcel 104 the hotel's in-house restaurant, we settled in for a bit more conversation. David talked about some upcoming things that should make some real waves in the Strobist community, and in the photographic community as a whole. We're under kind of a verbal NDA, so no details yet. One cat is out of the bag, and that's the new Pocket Wizard MultiMax USB.

David has us size up the room with an eye towards what can be used as backgrounds, light modifiers, shooting locations, etc. We discuss options and decide on four setups, a "Clamshell" Portrait with a colored background, a photograph of the Devil himself, a soft side-lit portrait in an alcove outside, using the frosted glass hotel doors as a giant diffuser, and a ringlight portrait with colored rim lights from the side.
In a matter of a few hours, we set up, shoot, chimp, modify, play with, and review on-screen the progression of each of these photos. The process is so wonderfully transparent, open-minded, and open book that you can't help but to learn. Those with Pocket Wizards were invited to shoot using David's flashes as they were being set up to make the final photo. Seeing this all come together, one light at a time, one layer at a time, until suddenly there's an amazing photograph, and you watched the whole thing happen.
A few of the images from the shoot:
Setup for the "Prince of Darkness" photo.
Not too often do you get a deep red gel and a ringflash used together.
But when you do it right, it looks like this

This huge frosted glass door, in an outside alcove, becomes an immense softbox, with a single flash on a stand in the hallway inside.
The beautifully lit portrait is here

David sets up a shot of Ken Brown, winner of the 2007 SPOY contest for his Gullwing Mercedes photo here.
The final result

Then finally, David shows us how he really triggers his strobes. And all this time we thought it was Pocket Wizards!

Click through to see his secret moves!

We wrapped up shooting and as some of the attendees trickled out, launched into another wide ranging BS session discussion of photography, lighting, Google, business, blogging, secret visits to the Seattle Strobist meetup (figure you guys know by now!) Joey Lawrence, the future of stock photography, PhotoShelter, networking, business plans, and pretty much anything else we could think of.
The conversation wandered from the conference room to the restaurant, and over dinner and a few beers we all convinced Ken Brown that he should go and own the world of high end car photography. The rest of us all have to find another niche. Somewhere around 10pm we finally wound down, set up a quick group shot, and headed out.
But what Strobist group photo would be complete without a few well-placed lights?
Ron Nabity (NabityPhotos) had his Canon G9, a Vivitar 285HV, and a no-brand set of Poverty Wizards, and I had my SB-800. We set up the Vivitar in the hallway outside the restaurant, aimed back in through the huge window, and set the 800 on a table, aimed at the ceiling with the optical slave enabled. By the second test shot, we had the exposure nailed, and Ron's wife Linda was kind enough to snap this for us.

Thanks again David, for putting together an absolutely incredible, informative, and entertaining day. Come back soon, OK?

Ivan Makarov also writes an excellent review of the seminar on his blog, IMDigital.

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Strobist lighting seminar preview

Tomorrow's the lighting seminar with David Hobby, Mister Strobist himself. Apparently David flew into town early, and did a secret seminar on the Google campus with some of the engineers there. A couple of very interesting portraits, shot in what could have been an ordinary setting. Check it out at the link above.
The seminar tomorrow should be great, breakfast with a few of the other guys, a morning of theory and demonstrations, lunch at Ming's, and an afternoon of shooting each other in various different setups, open discussion, and generally great geeky fun.
Unless it all descends into highly intelligent anarchy, which would be fine with me too.
Follow up post, and a detailed seminar writeup, with loads of pictures, should be up here by this time tomorrow, unless we're still at the bar.

Read more: Full post and comments here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Things not to do at 3am...

So last night I had a nice conversation with a couple of police officers after they caught me flashing at the local elementary school.

Not like that.


I was trying to take a photograph for Strobist's latest assignment which involves cross lighting and balancing ambient with tightly controlled flash. My concept was a motorcyclist, leaning into a turn towards the camera, with the ambient light coming from outside the turn, and the flash highlighting the rider's head and shoulders, and the front of the bike. Sounds easy enough, except for a few minor details:
It was 3am (not much daylight to work with)
I'm not a very good rider yet.
I don't have anybody else to work the camera while I ride, or vice versa.
I don't have a remote for the camera
Other than all that, no problem, right?

So I find a dark corner of an empty parking lot, set up one flash at a distance to act as ambient/backlight for the bike, set up the other with a cardboard tube on it for a snoot , take a couple of test shots to get the exposure right, and set my timer. So now the camera shoots every ten seconds, with a Pocket Wizard triggering the flashes, and me circling the parking lot quickly trying to time my laps so I was in front of the camera when the flashes popped.

About three laps after I got this shot, I pulled the bike around for another pass, and saw two sets of blue lights pulling in off the main road.


So I stopped the bike, cut the engine, and pulled my helmet off. They ask for my license, etc, then the questions start.
"What are you doing out here?"
Taking pictures.
"Because I'm a photographer. It's what I do."
"Why are you doing it at 3am?"
"Because it's dark."
--Blank stares--
So I launch into an explanation of balancing ambient light, freezing motion with the flash, the setup I was using, the function of the cardboard snoot, what a Pocket Wizard was, how I was using a CTO on the backlight to create some separation...
--Blank stares continue--
But one of them was sufficiently interested to ask to see the pictures.

I show him the one above. Almost asked if they would pose for a photo, but as they seemed to be losing interest I figured that might be pushing my luck.

Another quick apology, pack up, and ride home.

Ha. I out-geeked half of the Dublin PD in one shot (Literally!!)

Thanks Strobist!
Read more: Full post and comments here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Reasons to shoot in RAW

Although I would like to progress to where I'm less focused on the equipment part of photography, and more on the art, there are some basics that cannot be ignored. Good equipment is not critical to good photography, nor is any particular technique, or style, or workflow. However, without an understanding of some of the fundamentals of digital imaging, trying to create good photos is like trying to take a bicycle tour of Paris without knowing that your tires are supposed to have air in them. It can be done, and in some ways the slow pace and greater effort may be enjoyable, but you should know what you're doing and why.
I shoot with a semi-professional camera body, a Nikon D200. This is a fantastic machine, no longer the best in it's class, but it still will give years of good service. I chose it because at the time, it represented the best balance of performance vs. cost for my budget and needs. Yours may vary. I also shoot primarily with an 18-135mm plastic mounted zoom lens. This lens costs less than $300 new, has serious distortions at the wide end, some vignetting at the telephoto end, and is generally considered unacceptable by "serious" pros. It would get me laughed off the sidelines of any sporting event, and is not much good in the dark due to a slow maximum aperture of 3.5-5.6.
So why do I use it? Because it produces very sharp, clean images when used within it's limitations. And because it's far and away the most versatile lens I own. And because if somebody loves an image, they never ask "what lens did you shoot that with?" (and if they do, I really enjoy the looks on their faces when I tell them what it is)
So the gear doesn't matter. Not really. There are incredible photos shot with garbage cameras, and there are countless pictures taken with top of the line pro gear that I would be embarrassed to have taken.
(Watch this, I'm coming back around to the Title)
How you use the gear, on the other hand, DOES matter quite a bit. This still doesn't mean there's a right or wrong way, but there are some things I do to improve my odds.
One of the most important of those is shooting in RAW. Always. Every time. If you shoot in jpeg mode, you had better be good, very good. Because your camera takes all the data you just painstakingly dropped onto the sensor in the form of photons, processes it according to a dozen or so choices you made in the menus of your camera, compresses it as it sees fit, and throws away the 75% to 90% or so that it didn't need to create that interpretation of your picture.
If you got EVERYTHING right the first time, congratulations. If not, your options are now very limited. Your image exists in 8-bit form, only 256 levels to work with, so any adjustments to exposure, color balance, anything, will have to be done very, very delicately.

I took this picture of my daughter the other morning, trying to extract a stowaway from the hood of her coat. It's bad. The camera lens is fogged up from just coming inside from the cold, the color balance is way off (using bounced off-camera flash in a room with green walls) and the exposure overall could be better.
Had this been shot in jpeg, I doubt I would have tried anything except the delete button.
But I opened it in Photoshop, and with a few clicks of the settings on the raw converter, a significant crop, and a bit of sharpening, came up with this:

Click to see larger 800 pix version

Please note, I am NOT advocating shooting carelessly and planning to correct things in photoshop afterwards. I would be much more proud of this shot if I had framed it better to begin with, and gotten my colors right, etc.
Landscape photographers need raw to extract every last bit of subtle detail from their mountain slopes and forests, fashion and advertising shooters need it to precisely match their colors and lighting, wedding photogs need it to keep the intricate patterns in a bride's white dress as well as a black tux that's 5, 6, 8 stops darker.
I need raw because I make mistakes. I acknowledge my own fallibility, and I want to create the very best images I can. If one day I wake up and decide I'm perfect, I'll set the dial to jpeg, but until then, I'm not taking any chances.
Read more: Full post and comments here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rumors of a new "Walk-around" lens from Nikon

There has been a rising tide of rumors on many of the Web's photography forums, notably DPReview, regarding a new lens to be introduced by Nikon sometime soon, probably at PMA on January 31. The lens is supposed to be a 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR AFS DX, which would give DX camera users a much wider angle than is available in the current crop of "18 to whatever" lenses (55, 70, 135, 200, you get the picture)

Skepticism abounds, as it should for any unproven internet rumor, but evidence is solidifying, with Nikon reviewer Thom Hogan stating "Moreover, it appears that the DX equivalent of a 24-120mm lens has also entered production (that would be a 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX AF-S for those who really want to know, and that's a ~24-128mm equivalent)" and a number of quite convincing images surfacing about the web.

I'm personally a believer in this one, and if it's sharp and hits the market under $400, I'll be buying one to replace the 18-135 as my walk-around lens. I don't use the telephoto end of this lens much, but I'm ALWAYS looking to go wider.
Read more: Full post and comments here.