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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

For many years now, I have stored my “approved” pictures on Flickr – straight from Apple Photos on my Mac. About two weeks ago, that suddenly wasn’t possible any more. Sharing a picture did bring up the dialog to set a title etc. for the picture, but no list of albums appeared – only an ominous message saying “ShareKit is not authorized to share files“. Excuse me? Why not?

Well, I still don’t have an answer to that question. Through DuckDuckGo I found an Apple Forum thread on the subject: “Can not publish via Flickr“. Sadly however, none of the suggestions worked. In fact, for the moment I am incapable of adding a Flickr account to the Internet Accounts section of the Mac’s System Preferences… Trying to do so with the correct data (!) the only reply I get is this:

And now the question becomes: is this problem caused by Yahoo, by Flickr, or by Apple’s OSX ? All ideas or help are welcome!

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From I wish it weren’t a Republican versus Democrat thing”: Wildfire photographer Stuart Palley on climate change and California’s devastating blazes:

“We see [climate change] happening, but unfortunately the political leadership, even when they acknowledge it, aren’t acknowledging the reasons why it’s happening. And it’s getting to the point where I’ve gone from thinking that I want to document what’s going on to being frankly terrified that after only six years working on this project I’ve seen the changes starting to accelerate”

The Sand Fire burns in the Angeles National Forest Saturday July 23rd, 2016 under triple digit heat. The fire had burned 20,000 acres by Saturday evening and was 10% contained as firefighters battled low humidity, shifting wind, and high temperatures. An unknown number of structures were lost. Click on the picture to read the whole article on DP Review

We can only hope that 2019 brings real solutions to the problems that are already reshaping our world.

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As an amateur photographer, I care much about the image quality of my camera. That’s one of the reasons I switched cameras so often once they replaced film with chips: starting with Nikon Coolpix E885 and CP5400 over a series of Nikon D’s (70, 80 90, 7000, 5500, 5600) up to my current Panasonic Lumix G80 and GX9. Naturally, I also wanted a decent camera in my smartphone, although my phone was never meant to replace my camera. Even when just going to work, I always carry what I call a real but “general purpose” camera with me, be it the Fujifilm X20 or the GX9: you never know what you’ll see while traveling ;-)

There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the latest smartphone cameras: is two cameras better than one? Is three better than two? Do you need more pixels or would it better to have bigger sensors and separate lenses? Is the Google Pixel 3 a better camera than the latest iPhones? And so on…

What is the best smartphone camera of 2018? Well, the answer is simple, if you believe Youtuber & Video Producer Marques Brownlee. He ran a competition on Twitter; he called it “The Blind Smartphone Camera Test“. Conclusion: forget about the “best” smartphone camera (technically speaking), social media consumers just care about pictures that are bright enough. For the full report, head over to Youtube:

This much is clear to me: if you’re just posting images to Instagram, you don’t need to have the best smartphone. Personally, I’ll stick to real cameras, thank you.

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It’s a coincidence, of course: just days after I publish my story about the Panasonic cameras, the company announces a new version of their Lumix LX100. The “LX100 II”, as it is called, certainly comes with fine credentials and a promising lens: a 24-75mm equivalent F1.7-2.8 lens. DPReview already has a “first impressions review” about this new model.

The biggest mirrorless announcement came from Nikon, of course, and I’m certain the brand-new Z6 and Z7 camera’s will be great. But speaking for myself: those are not the camera’s I was (am) looking for. They’re way too expensive for me, to start with. The lens line-up is fine for pro photographers to start with, but not for me. Besides, those lenses are still rather bulky – as they have to be, considering the size of the full-frame sensor.

The Nikon announcement does make it clear that “mirrorless” is most likely the way of the future. Not that I needed any confirmation, but it seems to prove that I made the right choice when switching to MFT.

Did you also note that the DPReview TV video titled “Nikon Z7 hands-on first impressions” was recorded on a Panasonic GH5 ? That’s not a coincidence!

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According to DPReview, the Micro Four Thirds format was introduced 10 years ago. DPReview calls it the start of a revolution, because it enabled Panasonic and Olympus to offer serious, even professional, system cameras without a mirror-based viewfinder, thus entering a market previously reserved for Nikon and Canon.

In 2008 I was already committed to the Nikon SLR format. I had been using an F50 film camera for more than a decade, and I had just replaced my D70 of 2006 with a second-hand D80. So I did not really care about the MFT announcement, what I wanted was an affordable full-frame Nikon DSLR (still waiting, by the way).

When my Fujifilm X20 started to show its age a year ago, I started looking around for a possible replacement. I went looking for an affordable small camera with a decent viewfinder, a usable zoom lens, a hot shoe and serious controls. After a lot of searching an pondering I decided that the Panasonic DMC-LX100 could be what I was looking for. But it was still a bit too expensive for me at that time: I looking for a second all-in-one camera, not for a replacement of the Nikon D5600 I considered to be my main workhorse ;-) Some of the MFT cameras that were presented to the public the past 10 years did catch my attention, but the really interesting ones are system cameras, and they would have “forced” me to build up a second collection of lenses – and I did not want to do that, for financial reasons as well as lack of space in my photo cabinet.

At the beginning of this year, just by accident, I found out that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 with its standard 12-32 zoom was offered for (substantially) less money than the LX100.  So I bought the GX80… and that was the start of an unexpected experience.

You see, the GX80 showed me that the MFT platform has matured so much that the image quality rivals that of APS-C, at least for my purposes. No, the viewfinder is not as large as the viewfinder of a Nikon DSLR like the D7500, but it will do for me. In fact, I prefer it because the electronic display is capable of displaying the complete menu system of the camera, meaning that I don’t have to get my reading glasses to change a setting during a shoot! At the same time, the GX80 and its lenses are so much smaller and lighter than the corresponding Nikon material – I admit to having bought a cheap 45-150mm telezoom for the GX80, contrary to my plans for this camera . And the results, in terms of image quality, are good enough for me even now (and I know I still have to learn more about them in order to use their full capabilities).

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G80
with the excellent 12-60mm zoom lens

To cut a long story short: I am replacing my Nikon material with Panasonic cameras and lenses. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G80 body weighs a bit more than the D5600, but the lenses are much smaller and lighter – and the whole system is weatherproof as well. The ergonomics of the camera are great as well: you need the manual to come to grips with the many capabilities and options of the camera, not with its use. I have added the Panasonic G Vario 12-60 lens to my collection. That means I now have a camera and lens that can do almost everything I want to do while on holiday without having to change lenses, while weighing less than 800g.

I know that an expert or professional full-frame DSLR with premium lenses will deliver better images, even if it’s just me using it. But these products are way too expensive for me, and I don’t want to haul them around a whole day while I’m supposed to enjoy my surroundings – so I have put the dream of owning those to rest.

Having a smaller range-finder-like camera like the GX80 or the GX9, that can use the same lens collection, is another plus. In fact, in combination with the standard 12-32mm lens these cameras are not that much bigger than the Fuji X20, just heavier – they still fit in the supple Nikon camera case I bought a long, long time ago for an L35AW. I don’t see Nikon (or Canon) offer me the same capabilities in the same small package. Unless Nikon or Canon are ready to embrace the MFT platform as well – that would be interesting, don’t you think?

For another view on the MFT platform and its place in recent camera history, check out the DPReview video:

 

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Macro Photography Is Hard

I got lucky last weekend: one of the macro photographs I made turned out very well, if I may say so. For a larger version, go to Flickr by clicking on the image…

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The “family business” mentioned in yesterday’s post included some repositioning of plants in our garden – weekend with an extra holiday thrown in are good for those chores. While watering the newcomers, I spotted a few brightly coloured dragonflies on the wet plants. Pictures of both species can be found on my Flickr photostream. By the way, I call them “new” visitors to our garden, because I have often seen dragonflies in there before – but these last few were significantly smaller than earlier specimen. These red and blue dragonflies measured no more than 5cm at the most.

Clicking on the images will take to a larger version of the photos. Now if someone could tell me which species I saw (just leave a comment on the corresponding picture on Flickr, of here, of course)…

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