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Do We Need to Relax a Bit More?


ChrisJD 10 100 Scotland
20 Jul 2014 8:57PM
Touched upon this in another thread but want to throw it open for general discussion.

I'm thinking that we as photographers (of whatever level) are getting a bit too dependent upon elements of reviews such as MTF data. Or are we? Do we really need this level of information or is it overkill? As I've said before, it's easy to tell if a lens is good enough for my needs simply by looking at a photo taken with that lens. If it's sharp, has little fringing and no soft spots then generally I'm happy. I think along similar lines with cameras - no matter whether it's a DSLR, compact or CSC if the shots it takes are good enough to satisfy us then do we need anything else?

I guess I'm thinking that generally technology is good enough for my needs (and probably many other's) - do we need the fine detail that is generally beyond our own vision?

If I show a photo to my friends and family (or even photo buddies) that I'm generally happy with, they never say to me

1. I notice that that lens suffers from diffraction at f16 but know that at f8 and above the middle to outer sharpness drops off.
2. That looks like a full frame camera and the pixel quality is much higher than that of a DX.
3. Ah, you've used a zoom lens whereas a prime of similar focal length would yield less fringing and better saturation.

I'm not rattling cages here, just wondering if we are too geeky at times and take things a little further than we need to.

Discuss please!Grin

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20 Jul 2014 9:11PM
what's MTF?Wink
Cephus Plus
15 2.5k England
20 Jul 2014 9:26PM

Quote:What's MTF?Wink


Modulation Transfer Function but I don't know what it means!!
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2014 9:29PM

Quote:
I'm not rattling cages here, just wondering if we are too geeky at times and take things a little further than we need



Yep.
Until quite recently it was necessary information to tell the difference between good and bad lenses, but the quality of even basic lenses has improved so much that most people cannot tell the difference. As has been said in various ways over recent years: if you had a shot of Elvis riding out of a UFO on Shergar who gives a **** if the image was taken on a 10-year old 2MP cameraphone.
But this goes for 99% of the photo-taking public - all they want is a nice picture of Aunt Gladys at their wedding. Even me: I know my 'consumer leenses' will do me perfectly well for most of the shots I take but I have the L lenses for (a) pride of ownership and (b) the 5% of shots I need fast AF.

Unfortunately I think this idea about technology has infected the general public and even deters them from saying 'I'm a photographer too, even though I do only have a 200 bridge camera'.
ChrisJD 10 100 Scotland
20 Jul 2014 9:43PM
Yeah, good points there Mike. I own a D4 and take great pleasure in owning and using it. It gives me the results I want but on the other hand I've got an Olympus Stylus compact and I love the quality it produces. And I've shown people pics on both up to A4 size and they can't tell the difference. I can, but I wonder how much of that is simply knowing which camera I used at the time rather than actually seing a difference.
scottishphototours 16 2.6k 2
20 Jul 2014 10:29PM
I think you'd find that most photographers are geeky about all aspects of photography, mtf data, lens quality, CA and etc. Sometimes though you get a surprise...

I was at a party today and was discussing stuff with a guy who I know has been winning camera club competitions for 30 years. He asked me if I ever shoot anything "at iso640 or above"....he was astounded when I told him I regularly shoot stuff at iso6400. He says in 30 years he has never shot anything above iso 200!!

So we got out the camera and shot 2 pics at iso 200 and 6400 - you should have seen his face! - I think he thought I was using black magic.... just goes to show you that, for some, the advance of technology is irrelevant!
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2014 10:47PM
I think a professional's viewpoint would be interesting: are they geeky in the same way as a well-heeled amateur or are they more focused (pardon the pun!) on the bag-for-the-buck in the sense that any 'upgrade' has to pay for itself?
ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2014 11:52PM
I guess one of the reasons I've 'downgraded' is that I know the m43 kit I use mostly is good enough for the work I do on the whole and a lot more convenient to carry around. OK, I've invested quite heavily in some decent glass and I have a range of fast primes which mitigate some of that loss of DoF control.

On the other hand I know that given I can now get adequately shallow DoF (which is more about the important thing - the look of the photograph rather than what it's like at 100% pixel level), it knocks the spots off what I was using even 5 years ago. A lot of the technical stuff appears to boil down to a 'mines bigger than yours' mentality. I would accept (sigh) people were producing far better results than I am 50 years ago with what would now be seen as modest if not downright crude equipment.

If you're chasing technical perfection it's not only a fairly sterile pursuit, it's also an endless one.
Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
21 Jul 2014 12:43AM

Quote:I guess one of the reasons I've 'downgraded' is that I know the m43 kit I use mostly is good enough for the work I do on the whole and a lot more convenient to carry around. OK, I've invested quite heavily in some decent glass and I have a range of fast primes which mitigate some of that loss of DoF control.


Why do you consider M4/3 a downgrade ?
franken Plus
17 5.0k 4 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2014 8:47AM

Quote:I guess one of the reasons I've 'downgraded' is that I know the m43 kit I use mostly is good enough for the work I do on the whole and a lot more convenient to carry around. OK, I've invested quite heavily in some decent glass and I have a range of fast primes which mitigate some of that loss of DoF control.

Why do you consider M4/3 a downgrade ?



A shoot with M4/3 for 99% of the time these days and I'm yet to discover as to how it would be a downgrade from a DSLR?

Ken.
Coast 12 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2014 9:34AM
I use FF Canon in a 5D mkIII and m4/3rds kit in OMD 10. Downgrade for the Olympus kit is not a term I would use to differentiate the two systems. In IQ you cannot dispute that the FF sensor will outweigh the m4/3rds sensor and the gap in quality widens as you increase ISO however in real terms and for most amateur photographer output the difference is insignificant at normal viewing distances until you start blowing up to exhibition size prints or are beyond ISO 1600.

Photographic equipment is exactly that. It is equipment to take photographs and the different formats all have their strengths and weaknesses. It is about selecting the kit that works for you and the genre of images you take. Within a format and given price point there may be choice between brands and in most cases it comes down to personal preference as the tech and capability of the equipment is very much of a muchness. Yet comparing FF to APS-C or MFT is a little like comparing apples with oranges.

If you want the best IQ then you have to accept that FF is where you will find it and then you fight it out between which camera brand and model is the one for you.

If you want portability and an IQ that for the output of most will deliver the goods then perhaps MFT is where you should look. Again it then comes down to camera type, brand etc within the format that suits you.

The original question is a little bit mute for me. I do take interest in lens and camera reviews and user experiences particularly for kit I may be considering but the scientific tests and graphs on lens quality in resolving power and chromatic aberration are a tiny part of the sum in making a choice. So for me I think I'm relaxed enough. Grin
franken Plus
17 5.0k 4 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2014 9:44AM
If you want the best IQ then you have to accept that FF is where you will find it and then you fight it out between which camera brand and model is the one for you.

One could argue that the people who use medium format digital cameras would disagree with that.

No matter what camera you use, if it does the job and you are happy with the results that's all that really matters.
ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2014 10:16AM
The inverted commas around 'downgraded' were there for a reason.

I thought I'd made the point adequately, but to reiterate - if you want to compare quality on ultimate levels of detail a larger sensor with a top quality lens in front of it in like for like conditions will always beat a smaller sensor of the same generation. It will yield more resolution [usually] and lower levels of noise.

The point is that for the vast majority of my [and I would suspect most people's] uses, that difference will not be significant if it is apparent at all. In other words we have got to a point with photography that very many camera/ lens combinations on the market are more than good enough to meet our needs most of the time.

Having a choice between a compact and light system or a heavy and bulky one I've made my choice. If I thought the level of quality of my output dipped significantly as a result I wouldn't make that choice. As I said I think in terms of technical quality and capabilities the m43 equipment I have now is better than the gear I was using 5 years ago - and that did the job.

I don't see why getting maximum detail that would only be seen in lab conditions or the most extreme of circumstances should be such a major concern. To trot out the old car analogy it's a bit like having two cars - one has a top speed of 190mph and the other a top speed of 210mph. You're traveling on roads where the top speed is 70...
SlowSong Plus
11 8.7k 30 England
21 Jul 2014 10:28AM
I wish they'd invented M43 five years ago; I don't see it as a downgrade at all. Could've saved myself a whole load of money and would have used my kit a whole lot more because of the weight and convenience. As ChrisV said above, I'd have invested in some super lenses rather than the hotchpotch of good and/or average heavy stuff I've got now, all of which has sat in a drawer for a year or two. I am relaxed about things, but not when I look in the camera cupboard and feel bad that I don't use most of it. Such a waste. But I can't quite bring myself to sell the DSLR etc. just yet. You never know, you might just need it for something, especially the good lenses.
Coast 12 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2014 11:57AM

Quote:If you want the best IQ then you have to accept that FF is where you will find it and then you fight it out between which camera brand and model is the one for you.

One could argue that the people who use medium format digital cameras would disagree with that.

No matter what camera you use, if it does the job and you are happy with the results that's all that really matters.



True however that then extends to 5x4 and 10x8 plate camera's. I was talking comparatively about the market place across FF, APS-C and MFT that most amateur photographers are concerned with when choosing equipment. Very few consider medium format and above.

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