The Question of Good Enough…

Camera & Technology

April 11, 2022 ·

Dan Wells
Apple’s brand-new Mac Studio – smaller than a shoebox, but as powerful as a full-tower workstation.

We have had three major introductions in the past month or so – cameras from OM System (it once was Olympus) and Panasonic, and a computer from Apple (the new Mac Studio), which looks like something photographers have been wishing for for decades – a midrange (up to very high end with certain options) desktop Mac in a “bring your own monitor” configuration. I also recently visited Epson’s Carson Technology Center, where even large printers look small because there are truly huge printers around.

I’m not going to get one of THESE into my printer test area any time soon – it weighs a ton (literally), and is hard-wired to the wall – but the SureColor V7000 prints on ANYTHING.

All of these introductions and experiences raise the same question – the question of good enough. They raise it from two different angles… For the two cameras, the question is whether the image quality, and in the case of the Panasonic, the autofocus, is good enough to serve most needs, when the cameras have other special features that make them very attractive to particular users. Micro 43 has historically lagged all other formats with professional or artistic aspirations (excepting 1” sensors sometimes found on drones and other specialized cameras) in image quality – has this been improved in the newest cameras, and is what they have good enough? These are the first new Micro 43 sensors we’ve seen since 2015 – are they enough to rescue the struggling format?

This sensor is exciting because of what it’s NOT… It’s a Micro 43 sensor, and it’s NOT the Same Old Sensor (this one from the Panasonic GH6).

The Mac Studio raises the question of good enough from the other side – it’s almost certainly good enough, in its higher-end configurations, for anything any sane photographer might try to do in 2022 (well maybe not if you’re drum scanning 11×14” negatives!). How much overkill is it? What configurations are just so far beyond what any still photographer might EVER need that they make no sense? Is your old Mac already good enough? Is a new M1 Pro or Max MacBook Pro good enough, and more flexible? My two year old Intel Macbook Pro is good enough for 50 MP class files, but I could use more for 102 MP files, especially on export. Apple makes the question of good enough all the more urgent because their computers can’t be upgraded. You not only need to buy enough computer for your imaging needs now, but for your ANTICIPATED imaging needs!

The Surecolor S80600L (known to its friends as “the eighty-six”) prints 64” wide, very good photo quality, and the eco-solvent prints are durable enough to display outdoors or in high-traffic areas without glass.

The printers at the Carson Technology Center allow me to see what a file looks like REALLY BIG. The GFX 100S file I brought (the same one I used to run all the papers in the P900 review) had plenty of detail to feed the hungriest printer I could find , and to print up to 54” wide. I haven’t seen a larger file, so I don’t know what larger still might look like, but “makes a 54” print that invites the viewer to step deeper into the image” seems like a pretty solid definition of Good Enough (and well more than Good Enough for almost all uses). Seeing those prints gave me utmost confidence in my camera, even for the largest exhibition prints I might make.

A nice selection of ports (Apple’s listening), but the ports are the only way to upgrade your Mac Studio.

In a world of climate change and resource constraints, the question of good enough takes on great urgency. Massively overbuying is no longer morally feasible (if it ever was), while future-proofing is more important than ever. We need our cameras and computers to last, because we shouldn’t be buying such things every year. While I castigate Apple for non-upgradability, they have done some wonderful things in other ways. Their products tend to be highly energy-efficient, and to use fewer (and less problematic) materials than most of their competitors. The Mac Studio is no exception – it’s a tiny box weighing less than 8 lbs (3.5 kg). Interestingly, the version with the higher-end M1 Ultra processor weighs 2 lbs (nearly 1 kg) more than the version with the M1 Max – the weight difference is a big copper heat sink! A comparable PC workstation is nearly always a big tower, using 50 or 60 lbs of material, running much louder and hotter. If Apple has done what they’ve promised, this is big workstation class power in a machine less obtrusive than a decent office desktop.

It draws 370 watts at a maximum, and Apple stuff is really good at idling with almost no power draw (I wouldn’t be surprised if it idles at 5-10 watts, even doing Word or e-mail). If I can get one to test, I’ll be really interested to measure power consumption! A comparable PC workstation uses a high-end Xeon or Threadripper CPU with 24, 32 or 40 cores , a top-of-the line GPU like the Nvidia RTX 3080 (or even, in some uses, a RTX 3090) and a 1200 watt power supply. That machine idles well over 100 watts, and can draw a kilowatt or more from the wall under load, flipping circuit breakers and using unnecessary fuel.

Would they really be Apple without a fully matching set of mouse, monitor, display and trackpad?

On the other hand, the PC is upgradeable, while Apple requires you to choose CPU, GPU and even RAM and storage at the time of purchase. Some of those upgrades are more theoretical than practical – only a couple of generations of CPUs tend to fit in any one socket, and the performance differences between adjacent generations are rarely worth the upgrade. A worthwhile two or three generation upgrade probably won’t fit. GPUs are upgradeable, but are impossible to find right now, and a top-end GPU can easily use as many materials as an entire Mac Studio (and not be that much cheaper – it’s easy to pay well over $2000 for a GPU that rivals the top option in the new Mac Studio). RAM and storage are actual, possible upgrades – and shame on Apple for making them impossible, although they have a technical reason on the RAM…

The challenge is that you need to buy enough computer to support your photographic needs until the NEXT time you upgrade your computer. Right now, an M1 Max, 64 GB of RAM and one of the midrange GPU options are enough computer for pretty much any camera you might be using for stills. Anything more than that is overkill, probably even for stitching GFX files. The question is what might be useful in 5 years – a computer like this should last at least that long. There are also certain dependencies that make choosing a Mac Studio tricky – in order to get 128 GB of RAM (a future-proofing option worth considering), you ALSO need to buy the expensive (minimum $1400) M1 Ultra CPU upgrade – again, there’s a technical reason, but it’s annoying.

An M1 Ultra chip, surrounded by its eight RAM packages (a Max would have four, a Pro two, and a plain M1 one).

Apple’s approach to RAM on Apple Silicon is incredibly fast, seems highly opaque (but is actually incredibly simple once you realize what they’re doing), and trades off the speed for being massively inflexible. The base unit of Apple Silicon is the M1 with one memory bus, which can connect to either 8 or 16 gigabytes of on-package RAM. All else follows from that. An M1 Pro is two M1s, and all M1s in a given system have to have the same amount of RAM, so the M1 Pro can have 16 or 32 GB. An M1 Max has FOUR M1 memory buses (it’s the one slightly confusing chip, because it has an M1 Pro worth of CPU cores, but double the GPU cores). Remember that the memory is shared between CPU and GPU, and the memory bus appears deeply tied to the GPU side, so it may actually be the GPU size that matters. With its four buses, it can have 32 or 64 GB. An M1 Ultra has eight M1 memory buses, and supports either 64 or 128 GB. From the M1 iPad Air to the Mac Studio, it is entirely predictable (the newest iPad Air has an unexpectedly high 8 GB of RAM if you forget that it’s an M1 – remembering that fact, 8 GB makes perfect sense and it actually couldn’t have less).

There are only two rules – each memory bus can have either 8 or 16 GB, and ALL memory buses on a given computer must have the same amount. With those rules, the memory configurations of anything with Apple Silicon make sense. It’s unlikely to change in the next generation or two (they’d have to double the capacities to 16 or 32 GB per bus). Doubling the capacities would require all M-series iPads and low-end computers to come with 16 GB standard, and that’s too much for Apple’s bottom-line watchers (they don’t want to pay for 16 GB on an iPad Air or a base Mac Mini) It’s somewhat more likely they add a third, 32 GB per bus configuration to the M2 than that they double all the configurations. Right now, any given chip only supports X and 2X RAM configurations (assuming the Mac Pro is a double M1 Ultra, which seems incredibly likely, it’ll be 128/256 GB). There is a possibility that we’ll either see a QUAD M1 Ultra in some high-end Mac Pro configurations (with 256/512 GB of RAM) or that they support 512 GB on the Mac Pro by allowing a 4X configuration with 32 GB per bus. We’ll never see any memory configuration between X and 2X (the only way 48 or 96 GB might show up is on a weird chip with six memory buses, rather than some mix of 8 and 16 GB per bus).

The way it works precludes not only more RAM configurations, but any RAM upgradeability as well – that’s not just Apple being greedy, it’s fundamental design. It also means that people who actually need truly huge amounts of RAM on a Mac Pro are going to be disappointed.

Fortunately, still photography isn’t THAT RAM-intensive – a 128 GB M1 Ultra (or less) will work for 98% of all photographers, even 98% of LuLa readers with our high-res cameras and big printers, and the 256 GB Mac Pro should satisfy the rest. A few really high end video and 3D mavens and an even smaller number of scientists running large models (the tiny constituencies for Mac Pros with absurd amounts of RAM) are going to be in trouble, especially if they allow neither a 4X RAM configuration nor a quad M1 Ultra – either of those supports 512 GB, and how many Mac Pros actually have more than that? Apple isn’t going to change the whole design of their architecture to accommodate those edge cases – but the sheer speed of their RAM and storage architecture (RAM speed goes up with number of buses) may well mean that at least some of them are actually OK with less RAM than they’ve been using.

The GPU rules are almost that simple – they are complicated by the fact that a single M1 base unit can have 6, 7 or 8 GPU cores. Smaller chips tend to get 7 as their low option, while big ones get 6, for some reason. The M1 has been seen in 7 and 8 GPU core versions, but not 6. The M1 Pro comes with 14 and 16 GPU cores (2x configurations of 7 and 8). The M1 Max is 24 and 32, not the 28 and 32 one might predict (there’s the move from 7 to 6) – and the M1 Ultra follows the pattern of the Max at 48 and 64. The Mac Pro will probably come with 96 and 128 GPU cores. Other than that the M1 Pro and Max share 8 performance CPU cores (ignoring the efficiency cores), CPU cores follow the same pattern with a base unit of 4, and I’d expect the Mac Pro to have 32 performance cores (with an extremely high-end 64 core (but probably not a 48 core) version as a possibility).

So you want an M1? Good choice… Would you like the 1x, 2x (Pro), 4x (Max) or 8x (Ultra) version? Pretty much everything about the M1 comes in doublings…


The pattern of doublings seems to be fundamental to Apple Silicon, that each chip is a simple multiple of the chip below it in many ways, interconnected at extremely high speed. The base units may not be fundamental – if the M2 comes with performance CPU cores in units of six instead of four, or with tens as the unit of GPU cores instead of eights, that won’t disrupt the pattern. What won’t change, for better or worse, is the deep interconnection – a given number of CPU cores comes with only two RAM options and two numbers of GPU cores (and the next one up doubles all of those things at once). You can’t upgrade any one of them without upgrading the whole Apple Silicon package, which is most of the computer. Apple could, but probably won’t, put the whole Apple Silicon package on a card in the Mac Pro. That adds complexity without adding much else if there’s only one such slot – yes, you could upgrade the card, but the card contains most of the expensive parts.

Where it gets interesting (for a few ultra-high-end users)is if a Mac Pro had SEVERAL such proprietary slots, interconnected in some extremely fast way. Even if one card was presently limited to a double M1 Ultra and 256 GB of RAM, four of those units is a bona fide supercomputer with a terabyte of RAM, which would have made the Top500 list of the most powerful supercomputers in the world as recently as 2015. Will Apple release something like that? Probably not – but nobody expected the current Mac Pro to be as powerful as it was at release, and it not only doesn’t violate the Apple Silicon rule of doubling, it’s the ultimate expression of it. It’s a $50,000 machine, but so is a top configuration of the Mac Pro.

What may NOT be fundamental, and may change on the Mac Pro, is the no storage upgrades/no PCIe slots… The internal storage is soldered on, but it’s really just a very fast M.2 drive soldered in place – it’s not architecturally different from a similar drive in a PC, unlike the RAM. The Thunderbolt ports, Ethernet, etc… are also almost certainly fundamentally using PCIe. They’re soldered in, but electrically, they’re almost certainly just PCIe – running some lines out to provide slots would be simple – but the slots may well not support GPUs. Apple could also decide that Thunderbolt 4 is so fast, and exists in such profusion on high-end chips (remember that doubling everything doubles I/O lines, too) that they will continue to provide no internal upgrades – figuring that it’s easy enough to add external storage and even PCIe cages.

Right now, the expensive upgrade on the M1 Ultra from 48 to 64 graphics cores ($1000) makes no sense – but could even that make sense because it’s non-upgradeable later??? That final, expensive GPU upgrade would be my last priority, perhaps apart from the also expensive 8 TB storage choice. The Mac Studio has plenty of Thunderbolt 4 ports and sits on a desktop, so buying huge internal storage may not make sense. My personal Mac Studio choice (hopefully extremely future-proof) would be an M1 Ultra with the 48 core GPU (no final upgrade), 128 GB of RAM and either 2 or 4 TB of storage. $5199 with 2 TB, $5799 with 4 TB. It’s $4799 with 1 TB of storage, but I’d worry about fitting large catalog files on the incredibly fast internal drive along with applications. With 2 TB of storage, I’d use the internal drive for system, applications and catalog/preview files, keeping image files themselves on fast external SSDs. With 4 TB, there is enough space to keep current working image files on the internal drive for optimum speed.

Many photographic websites are recommending configurations considerably smaller than this for most photographers. There are a couple of reasons I’d choose a higher-end configuration. One is that we aren’t looking at the same file sizes – I’m looking at 50 MP, 62 MP and 100 MP cameras, while my suspicion is that other sites are including 24-26 MP cameras more prominently in their calculations, and may be discounting the existence of 100 MP cameras. My primary camera is the 102 MP Fujifilm GFX 100S, and that and similarly demanding cameras are not uncommon among LuLa readers. LuLa readers include a disproportionate share of high-res and even medium format users, so I’m thinking with that in mind, even considering the possibility of medium format cameras above 100 MP appearing at semi-affordable price points. A Mac Studio like I outline should work just fine with files up to 200 MP (and I don’t expect the 200 MP barrier to be broken by anyone except perhaps Phase One (and multi-shot modes) in the near future). If you shoot Phase One, especially if you also stitch Phase One images, you might even want to look at what the Apple Silicon Mac Pro looks like when it comes out – upgradeable RAM would be a (the?) critical feature.

The second reason is the fact that the Mac Studio is a very high end, non-upgradeable computer. I’m considering a five year lifespan, which is typical for a workstation like this. Many desktop computers are not used as hard as the average photographer’s computer (gaming rigs are an exception), and it’s easier to get a long life out of a computer that isn’t “keeping up with the Joneses” – an average five year old computer will still do a nice job on Word, web browsing and e-mail, for example. It takes a pretty special five year old computer to still be a viable high-end photo rig today. A lesser Mac Studio would still be a high-end photo rig in two or three years, but maybe not in five – and a $5000-$6000 workstation needs to last for a long time.

The same problem applies to the new M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pro. You can’t get 64 GB of RAM, essential for most high-end photographic work, without also buying the M1 Max, although the Pro to Max upgrade is probably independently worth it at only $200 ($400 with an additional GPU upgrade). My choice for a (hopefully future-proof) MacBook Pro would be a M1 Max, probably with the $200 GPU upgrade (optional, but not especially expensive and not upgradeable later), 64 GB of RAM (I wouldn’t go with less with the future in mind) and either 2 TB or 4 TB of storage. $4299 with 2 TB, $4899 with 4 TB. I actually see more argument for the 4 TB option on the MacBook Pro than the Mac Studio – external storage is a bigger pain on a laptop.

Another major advantage to the new Macs is that they provide powerful to VERY powerful GPUs that are actually optimized for creative work. When you buy a PC with a powerful GPU, whether a laptop or a desktop, you get two choices. The default choice is to buy a GPU optimized for games. Gaming GPUs are tuned for maximum speed, rather than reliability, and their firmware and drivers are made specifically for 3D gaming (and sometimes specifically to discourage cryptocurrency mining). Some gaming GPUs have certain types of floating point math drastically slowed down to force computational users to buy expensive professional GPUs. Gaming is not that much like photography, and cards and drivers optimized for gaming are not ideal choices for photography – but there are many more gamers around than photographers serious enough to buy GPUs for photography.

The second choice is to buy a professional GPU meant for CAD, engineering and sometimes number-crunching. These GPUs are generally very similar to gaming cards on a hardware level – sometimes they’ll have extra memory, or a feature or two turned on in firmware. They generally won’t have anything specifically turned OFF to discourage crypto mining, and they are meant for floating point computation. They are often slightly slower than an equivalent gaming card in game-oriented 3D benchmarks, to increase reliability. The biggest difference is in the drivers – the drivers are tuned for reliability instead of speed, and the GPU manufacturers pay for various third-party software manufacturers to certify the drivers for compatibility with their programs – an expensive process, and one whose costs are split among a relatively small market.

Given the choice at similar prices, a photographer would easily prefer the professional version of a GPU to the gaming version. The problem, the reason why most PC-using photographers use gaming cards, is that the pro GPUs are often two to four times as expensive. The certifications are expensive and the manufacturers know they can get away with the prices, because the software the cards are used with is much MORE expensive. Occasionally, one of the PC GPU manufacturers will release a driver made for creative applications that turns off game-specific features and runs the card more stably, but those haven’t been consistent over the years.

Apple has long written their own GPU drivers, rather than asking AMD to write Mac versions for their GPUs used in Macs. The Apple drivers are tuned for creative applications, rather than either games or CAD. Apple has been quite militant over the years about not going out of their way to support gaming on the Mac – and sometimes going out of their way to NOT support gaming. For professional users (unless they also game), this is an advantage, since features required for complex games are often associated with stability issues in other software, regardless of whether the machine is actually used for gaming. In particular, games access hardware at a low level, which viruses and malware would also love to do. One of the two reasons Windows is less stable than a Mac is game support – the other is the enormous variety of hardware available on the PC side, including some real garbage and some incredibly souped-up gaming specific stuff. Apple supports only hundreds of configurations instead of the millions that Microsoft has to deal with, and they avoid all of the especially unstable ones. Even allowing OS support for difficult-to-support hardware makes the whole OS buggier. We may curse Apple for lack of hardware choice, but it helps immensely with stability.

When Apple designed the M1 series, they not only got to write their own GPU drivers, they control the GPU hardware as well. Since they don’t care about Mac gaming, they have tuned the GPU for creative applications. Benchmarks show that they succeeded – the GPU in the M1 series performs significantly better in creativity-oriented benchmarks than would be expected from its scores in gaming-focused benchmarks. What Apple probably optimized for is Final Cut Pro, but Lightroom, Photoshop, DxO and Capture One are a lot more like Final Cut than any of the above are like Resident Evil or Fortnite.

These are exciting machines – I’m trying to get one for review. I’ve asked Apple to choose whether they’d like to provide a laptop or a desktop, with either one in the configuration I’ve outlined here. My hope for either one is that they cut through 102 MP files at high speed.

How much bigger than 102 MP are our files going to get? Will a computer that handles 102 MP image files be enough for still photography – dare I say forever? I’ve printed up to 54” wide from the GFX 100S at a recent visit to Epson’s Carson (CA) Technology Center, where all Epson printers exist. The GFX 100S has plenty of resolution for prints that size – would something bigger be better still? Or have we reached the point of good enough for any practical use? The Tech Center staff I was working with have hundreds of years of collective experience in printing, and the universal reaction to the GFX file was “what IS this camera? It looks like large-format film, and not 4×5”, either! Are you sure it’s not a stitch?” (it was a single shot, handheld, from the GFX at ISO 50). A semi-affordable camera can create files that feed the largest printers, and the lenses are up to the task.

This SureColor P9570 is only a little printer in the context of the Tech Center… It’s the size of an upright piano, it probably produces the highest quality photo prints in the world, and it’s coming for a (very) detailed review.

The 340 lb, 44” SureColor P9570, the largest printer most photographers will ever directly use, looks like a “little printer” in the group at the Tech Center. The largest roll-fed printer I saw at Carson is the 76” wide dye-sublimation SureColor F10070, weighing nearly a ton and requiring two 240V outlets. The 4×8 FOOT UV-cured flatbed SureColor V7000 prints on anything up to a full sheet of plywood, metal, acrylic, etc. – up to three inches thick. A report on the amazing Carson Tech Center is forthcoming – I was able to use the machines we might send images to at a service bureau, and to talk with the people who support them every day. The SureColor P9570 is on its way to us for an extensive, multi-part review, and the first installment will put it in the context of its Tech Center brothers and sisters.

If you have a P9570 or a P900 in your studio, and you print your gallery prints on it, what beasts might you use to print for that exhibition that will be hung outdoors or in a hospital lobby, or to put your work on shirts, mugs, metal or anything else? You won’t own most of them (a couple of small due-sub printers are the possible exception), but you might very well use them through a service bureau. The eco-solvent based S80600 will make rugged prints for display in high-traffic areas, or even outdoors. A variety of dye-sub printers from the little F170 on up to the huge F10070 produce images for transfer to a variety of substrates. The mighty V7000 can print on anything that fits on its table – and most things fit (the Tech Center folks have tried everything from lunchboxes to skateboards to whisky flasks to doors). The P9570 offers the highest quality of them all for gallery prints, while the multiple technologies allow a print for every installation – they even have specialized machines that print directly on t-shirts at shockingly good photo quality.

If we aren’t at the point of good enough for literally any use for still images, we’re darned close. Not only do we have resolutions comparable to 8×10” film, the color and dynamic range of the best digital files are better than film ever got. The current state of the art in digital image sensors and printing technology offers the best color image quality in history, having eclipsed even the difficult and expensive dye-transfer and carbon-pigment methods a few dedicated darkroom workers used. Black and white quality from the best sensors, lenses, printers and papers is comparable to very large format film printed very carefully on the finest papers. Video resolutions and data rates are still expanding – but are still images, at least meaningfully? We’ll certainly see full-frame cameras in the 100 MP range, possibly even this year, and almost certainly next. We may well see medium-format cameras around 170 MP, using the same technology, within a year or two of the emergence of the 100 MP FF sensors, and perhaps sooner.

Will we ever see the next generation after that – does it make sense? A 102 MP sensor already prints around 30×40” at 300 dpi. The image quality of 102 MP sensors rivals 8×10” film. Since I haven’t seen a larger file, I don’t know how meaningful the quality upgrade might be? I long thought that 50-60 MP was enough – until I started printing from 102 MP medium format files, which are a meaningful upgrade (mostly at 16×24” and above). Will a 170 MP file make a difference at 16×24”? At 24×36”? only at 40×60”? Where does the resolution of the eye make going farther futile? You can only stand so close to a print of a given size. When I make really large prints, the likely destination is on the wall of a nature center or a conservation-oriented museum or gallery. The curators will decide how close visitors can get, but it’s not likely to be six inches (even a full-on art museum has some limits, and the field of view of the human eye imposes others).

Will 100 MP full-frame look like 102 MP medium format, or will the smaller pixels mean that we don’t get the extremely high quality medium format shooters are used to? 20 MP Micro 43 is equivalent to about 80 MP full-frame, and the Same Old Sensor’s per-pixel quality is notoriously low. The newer Micro 43 sensors in the GH6 and OM-1 could change that, of course. Unfortunately, preliminary results from both sensors still lag any larger format considerably

The first few lab shots from the OM-1 clearly display a Micro 43 signature – they are slightly better than an E-M1 mk III, but not close to an X-T4 or even a Sony a6000 using the venerable 24 MP APS-C sensor. Initial still images from the GH6 lag behind even the Same Old Sensor (although brightening images in the way DPreview’s lab tests do doesn’t take the dual gain sensor into account) I am beginning to get suspicious that we have reached a point of diminishing return for pixel density . Such things in semiconductors are always fungible – nobody thought desktop and laptop CPUs were getting much faster for years – until Apple Silicon made a real difference! It’s entirely possible that we hit a wall in conventional Bayer sensors, then someone does something different in a few years, bringing us real image quality improvements, whether through more pixels or something else.

Video is no longer driving resolution at the top end – several of the 50 MP class cameras can already do 8K video, and 100 MP full-frame cameras will have the resolution to do 12K video and 1.5x oversampled 8K, assuming storage and sensor readouts are fast enough for that. 8K video is still almost impossible to display, and even 4K is still far from universal – there is very limited 4K support on cable TV, and somewhat more on streaming services. 4K TVs are relatively common among new purchase, but are still a small percentage of the installed base. 8K TVs effectively don’t exist (a few models, all above $2000), and 8K distribution and projection literally don’t exist.

As of early 2022, virtual reality and similar applications effectively do not exist as a medium for serious photography. Like 8K video, the editing and distribution just aren’t there. VR as it exists today uses computer-generated graphics, and it is primarily a medium for games. If you are both a photographer and a game designer, you know far more about game design than I do, and you know what kind of computing power you need… Will this change over the lifetime of your next computer? I would guess no, from a photographic standpoint, but that’s a guess.

If I were to guess what we’ll be doing over the lives of our next computers, we’ll be editing images, using Word, answering e-mail, browsing the Web, etc. More of us will be working in video than are now, of course, and video’s demands will increase, but modestly – we certainly won’t see a format beyond 8K achieve wide adoption (if you work in Hollywood or in IMAX production, you know who you are and you know your craft far better than I could presume to), and we may not see 8K widely adopted. If we don’t hit a wall in terms of pixel density, many more of us may be working with still images in the 100 MP range. Some of us may be working with images beyond that, probably from medium format sensors – full frame well beyond 100 MP is probably still five or so years in the future, even if we don’t hit any limits on the way. We will be focus stacking and stitching these images, and that will take power.

If I had to guess, some configuration of M1 Max or Ultra Mac is good enough for all foreseeable photographic needs. We’ll have enough computer power that it can edit still images smoothly – images that are more detailed than our eyes can follow. There is enough uncertainty about what’s likely to happen that I can’t predict what configuration it will be that is good enough for all still photography needs – but we may be getting close to where a computer becomes a tool that photographers wear out, rather than getting much out of upgrading a perfectly good one to a more capable model.

For many operations on lower and middle-resolution images, that’s been true for some years already. With the exception of very high-resolution images and a few complex operations like stitching, my 2019 Intel MacBook Pro is good enough. It’s not on 102 MP images, but an M1 Max is close to twice as fast as my computer on most photographic operations, and the GPU can be faster than that on operations where it is used. An M1 Ultra is twice as fast again, with another doubling of GPU power and an available doubling of RAM to 128 GB. The question is not only whether there IS any job in photography that isn’t enough for, but whether there even WILL BE – or have we reached the point of good enough? I’m betting that, somewhere in the range of options of M1 Max and Ultra Macs, there is a computer so powerful that LuLa readers will replace it when it wears out, rather than when it’s no longer good enough – I just don’t know where.

The two most important new cameras released in the last month or so, both Micro 43, raise the question of good enough in a different way. They both cost $2200, and both have unique or nearly unique features not matched by any other camera under $5000 or so. The OM System OM-1 is by far the most affordable speed/sports camera on the market, while Panasonic’s GH6 specializes in video. The Nikon Z9, Sony A1 and Canon EOS-R3 offer similar speed to the OM-1, while the Canon EOS-R5C offers GH6-level video, all for twice the price or more. The tradeoff is that Micro 43 still means substantial image quality losses, as both cameras significantly lag the market, including very inexpensive APS-C cameras, in maximum image quality. While Micro 43 was stuck with the Same Old Sensor for over half a decade, not only do both the OM-1 and the GH6 feature new sensors, they feature DIFFERENT new sensors. Unfortunately, neither sensor closes the gap with APS-C.

The OM-1 is the fastest camera around, until you pay for something like a Sony A1, a Canon EOS-R3 or a Nikon Z9. In some ways, it’s faster than those cameras – it has a higher top frame rate with auto focus and exposure running than either the Sony or the Canon The OM-1 can shoot at 50 fps, with full AF and autoexposure, allowing raw and jpeg. The only other camera that comes close is the Nikon Z9, and that shoots only reduced-size 11 MP jpegs at top speed. The OM-1 can also shoot at an amazing 120 fps with focus and exposure locked. In both of these modes, it is capable of cycling the buffer – shooting with a half-press of the shutter button, then saving the shots for a second or so BEFORE a full press – a great boon for sports photographers looking for the decisive moment. You can hold the half press for many seconds before the moment happens – press fully when you see it and hold until it’s done. You’ll end up with a buffer that started before the full press, so the whole moment is in there.

An OM-1 is a remarkably compact camera, especially for its performance. It’s only a little over a third the weight of a Nikon Z9.

It’s also half the size and weight of the Canon and even less than that compared to the Nikon. It has the best image stabilization in the world – I’ve used an earlier version on an E-M1 mk II, and handholding ¼ second is easy with anything up to a portrait lens (on most cameras with decent stabilization, I can handhold to about 1/15-1/30 second). OM Digital claims this is a full stop or more better than the older version I’ve tried – could I handhold it down to ½ second or even a full second at some reasonable hit rate? It has a unique It’s also incredibly rugged, with IPX rated weather sealing – it’s not recommended, but some photographers have been known to rinse sealed OM bodies off with a hose!

OM Digital is using a clever new sensor with what they call Quad Pixel technology. It’s actually an 80 MP sensor with cell phone sized pixels – but four pixels are covered by each Bayer filter element, for a realized resolution of 20 MP. The point is to improve autofocus – each pixel serves as a cross-type phase detection AF element. It may also allow Sony (the sensor maker) to reuse a phone pixel design, simply by putting one microlens and one Bayer element over four pixels. It’s similar to Canon’s Dual Pixel AF, except that each pixel is split in both directions. The theory is excellent, and the first few practical AF tests show the focus as fast and sure, as good as anything on the market (including the big sports cameras).

The one catch with the AF, and it’s a big one for sports shooters, is that OM System’s tracking algorithms are apparently nowhere near Canon, Sony or Nikon’s best. If you use AF in the classic style, by putting the AF point on the subject, it’s excellent, with many choices of point/zone size. If you use one of the Subject Detection modes (wildlife, etc.), it’s quite good according to early tests. If you try to use pure tracking, set up like a sports photographer “get the eye if you can, face if the eye’s to small, but for gosh sakes get the player”, it’s nowhere near what the big three offer. I haven’t seen it compared to the comparably priced Fujifilm X-T4, which also offers tracking, but nothing like as good as $5000 sports cameras. It needs to be AT LEAST as good as the X-T4, and also needs to compete with wherever Fujifilm goes next at the top of APS-C (and anything new Sony or Nikon might have up their sleeves).

The OM-1 outdoors – OM Digital is promoting it heavily for wildlife. To me, its more logical use is sports, because more sports images are online-only.

What’s the catch? The upside is that the OM-1 is a small, light, durable, incredibly quick body with good AF for half the price of anything that approaches the speed! The catch is image quality. It’s not using the Same Old Sensor, but it’s unfortunately not much better. It’s distinctly a slightly improved Micro 43 sensor, NOT a sensor that keeps up with larger options. I haven’t had a chance to make images with one myself, but there are lab-based tests published, and sadly the results show it about a stop or more behind Fujifilm’s class-leading APS-C X-T4, somewhere around two stops or a bit more behind a good full-frame pixel monster like Nikon’s Z7 II or Sony’s A1 (the A1 is also almost as fast as the OM-1) , and well over three stops behind the GFX 100S.

It might be half a stop better than an E-M mk III, if that much. Just from the size of the sensor, it should be about 1 stop from really good APS-C, two from full-frame and close to three from medium format. It’s a little worse than that – could that be the stacked sensor, which offers speed, but previous versions in other format have cost a little bit of image quality? It’s very close to two stops behind the A1, which also uses a stacked sensor (and gives up something like half a stop to non-stacked pixel monsters). The A1 has half a stop to give up – the quality is good enough that the last half stop may not matter that much – but the already lagging OM-1 may not.

I judged the quality using DPreview’s exposure latitude test, which not only offers a consistent target, but also allows stop-by-stop control – you can tell how different cameras are performing by setting how much light they get once brightness is equalized in software – a GFX 100S underexposed 3 ½ stops is about equivalent to an OM-1 It’s not perfect, but it offers a good general idea of real-world noise, detail and dynamic range, graduated in units of stops. The GH6 appears to be about another stop behind the OM-1, although it has a significant sensor feature (dual output gain) that the test may not be picking up.

Unless you need the blistering speed, the image quality price you pay for the speed is very significant – the X-T4 with much better image quality is $500 cheaper (and is itself a notably fast camera, although not in the OM-1 class). You can sometimes find a refurbished Nikon Z7 (the original model), or a Sony A7r III for the same kind of money OM System is asking for the OM-1 – that type of camera won’t be anywhere near as fast, but it will have more than two stops of image quality advantage. There are plenty of ~24 MP full-frame cameras (and sometimes something with significant extra resolution, usually an older model) right around the OM-1’s price, too.

The value proposition of the OM-1 is very tricky – you can get a camera with far superior image quality to the $2200 OM-1 for as little as $500 for a legacy DSLR or $800 for a very modern mirrorless camera in a very well-supported system. If you don’t need the speed, the sealing or the stabilization, close to the worst image quality on today’s interchangeable lens camera market is tough to pay $2200 for. On the other hand, a camera with the OM-1’s features and speed but better image quality costs over $5000. It really raises the question of how much image quality is enough!

If you never print, the only impact of the OM-1’s image quality will be that its restricted dynamic range makes hitting exposure a little more difficult. Even the OM-1’s relatively small, somewhat noisy images will need to be downsized for any online use, generally by enough that the noise is only an issue at high ISOs. Most social media sites only use ~1 MP images, and even other types of websites rarely use images beyond a couple of megapixels. Web images are invariably sRGB, and the OM-1 significantly exceeds sRGB’s gamut and dynamic range (as does any interchangeable lens camera manufactured in the past decade and a half,). By the time of the Nikon D200 and Canon EOS 30D (NOT the original D30 from 2000), every camera needed to be cut down in resolution, dynamic range and color to meet web JPEG standards. A better sensor gives more flexibility in editing, and it allows higher ISOs (the OM-1’s dynamic range might begin to be a problem for web use around ISO 1600 or 3200), but any camera made since 2006 will put a nice image on the web in a range of conditions.

Even on a 4K display or projector, the OM-1 will look good. 4K is about 8 MP, and the color gamut of most TVs and projectors is smaller than Adobe RGB, which the OM-1 can hit. The camera’s dynamic range is more than sufficient for all display needs except some HDR modes. An HDR capable OLED can theoretically exceed the dynamic range of any camera, but it’s hard if not impossible to get the files into it. As you raise the ISO on the OM-1, it will lose dynamic range that a good display CAN accept and reproduce, and that will happen sooner than it does with most cameras – perhaps by ISO 400, and certainly by ISO 1600, a good display can reproduce information the camera doesn’t capture. That said, for most display applications, most of the time, the OM-1 is more than adequate.

Where the OM-1’s image quality becomes a real issue is in printing. At 300 dpi, it makes a 12×18” print (a little bigger, but 12×18” is the closest standard size). It won’t print 12×18” or 11×17” on a 360 dpi printer without resizing up. For smaller prints like that, there is a real advantage in going over 300 dpi, at least with some cameras. I was surprised to test the conventional wisdom that there is no benefit to printers’ double-resolution modes last year, and to discover that there IS a benefit, especially for prints inspected closely (not so much for prints viewed on a wall from several feet away). The resolution and noise of the OM-1 really limits any benefit to double-resolution modes.

The other issue is that the dynamic range of a good printer/paper/ink combination is around nine stops – everything glossy and semigloss from RC luster papers to barytas and platines can be in that range. If you have a camera that is delivering 12 to 15 stops, you have between three and six stops of latitude to play with the image before burning out highlights or crushing shadows. You can recover highlights and shadows while still having an image file that uses the full range of the printer. The OM-1 barely delivers nine stops at its best settings, and it loses DR rapidly as ISO increases. At ISO 3200 (a setting one might actually use a fast sports camera at), Photons to Photos reports it has barely over six stops of DR. That’s going to be a noticeably flat print without editing – and you’re likely to have permanently blown highlights and/or crushed shadows.. A lot of good matte watercolor papers can deliver over seven stops on a good printer – about the only papers in the six stop and under range are Washi – hardly what you’d expect to print sports images on.

If you don’t print, or if you print on newsprint, the OM-1 is more than good enough in image quality (sports editors at high school and even college papers take note). For any practical image, it’s WAY more than good enough in performance – if it’s not, it’s time for a Phantom Flex or the like… Where the challenge comes in is that the OM-1 tests the lower limit of good enough in image quality far more frequently than most cameras, and it’s one of the few cameras that tests that lower limit even on a desktop printer and with the camera at relatively modest ISO settings. Most cameras are delivering beyond good enough so that the extra becomes a creative tool – cropping, altered tonal relationships and so forth – or the extra becomes a tool to get the impossible shot (usable ISOs in the 25,600 range). A camera like the GFX 100S is so far beyond good enough in most situations that it encourages unusual creative expressions from huge prints to extreme detail to absurd ISOs. Micro 43, riding the brittle edge of good enough, says “be careful – you’ve just barely got the quality”. To be fair to the OM-1, its very high performance opens up a different group of impossible shots.

Finally- a picture of a GH6 without most of the camera obscured…

The early lab results from the Panasonic GH6 show that it can’t even keep up with the OM-1, let alone with a decent APS-C camera. There is a significant caveat, which may work to Panasonic’s benefit. The GH6 uses a sensor with dual output gain – in many circumstances, but perhaps not at base ISO, the GH6 reads the sensor out at two different gain levels (simultaneously), then combines the highlights from the lower gain image with the shadows from the higher gain image. Whether this is engaged in a particular situation could make a significant difference, and the early lab results are unclear on the point. Panasonic claims that they have optimized their sensor for image quality (making a significant AF compromise in that it has no PDAF capability at all).

The GH6 is really a video camera that also happens to shoot stills, and its video capabilities are exceptional, according to everyone who has used one. The range of video modes and codecs exceeds anything short of a Blackmagic or a RED Komodo. In some sense, it’s really a competitor to the smaller Blackmagic cameras, rather than to real still cameras – it is far more capable as a still camera than any Blackmagic, but it is fully as capable for making movies. It is also much more rugged and probably easier to use.

It has some exotic video modes, like 4K 120P and 5.7K (full sensor width) at up to 60P. 10-bit capture and log gamma are fully supported, as one would expect from a movie camera in this class – but unusual for something that looks like a still camera, and can function as one in a pinch. Some of its best video modes have such high data rates that they record only to the CFExpress slot, rather than to the UHS-II SD slot. Not at all an unusual limitation, especially for a camera that puts as much of an emphasis on video as this one, but worth knowing about. Like most true video cameras, but unlike any still camera except other Panasonics and the Canon EOS-R5C, it has a full set of waveform monitoring, vectorscopes and other video tools.

Another advantage over most full-on video cameras (and the EOS-R5C) is that the GH6 has an excellent image stabilization system, making it much easier than other serious video cameras to shoot handheld. Canon makes you choose between the overheating control, video tools and full set of codecs of the R5C and the stabilization of the regular EOS-R5. Panasonic offered a similar choice with the stabilized GH5 and the extra codecs of the GH5s, but they’ve put it all in the GH6.

The two potential drawbacks are the autofocus and the still image quality. Preliminary data show that it isn’t even competitive with the OM-1 , let alone with the best of APS-C? The dual gain is a potentially BIG variable, but early results are poor to middling. To be relevant as a hybrid (instead of primarily as a movie camera, where it is undoubtedly highly relevant), it needs to at least acknowledge the image quality of similarly priced cameras with larger sensors. It might not need to compete fully as a still camera because of its exceptional video modes, but it needs to get in the ballpark. Most of its competitors at its price point are entry-level full-frame cameras, many with somewhat limited video chops – but the most relevant competitors other than dedicated movie cameras are high-end, full-featured APS-C cameras that offer a substantial portion of its video functionality.

The autofocus is a somewhat improved version of Panasonic’s Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology, which is a variation on contrast-detection AF. DFD was Panasonic’s attempt to compete with phase-detection AF without using phase detection, and it’s never worked all that well. Are they trying to get around patents? Or are they concerned about phase-detection pixels appearing in the image (which competitors have different amounts of success compensating for)? DFD is probably the fastest contrast detection AF system on the market, but that’s a bit like saying “best Micro 43 image quality” or “smallest blue whale” – it fails to acknowledge that just about every competitor is using a significantly better technology to begin with. Contrast detection is normally only used to fine-tune phase detection in high-accuracy single-shot modes, or in entry-level cameras – except for Panasonic, who insist on using it exclusively in most of their cameras.

Early reports suggest that the autofocus is adequate for stills – it’s not going to compete with the faster cameras on the market, but it is not embarrassingly slower than everything else. The real target audience of filmmakers are going to have mixed opinions. Many productions are shot using manual focus anyway, and would be on anything with the possible exception of an EXTREMELY stable AF system. DJi is trying to appeal to that market with their latest Ronin gimbal/camera, which actually uses a laser rangefinder to measure distance to the target (and knows exactly where to turn the lens to focus at a given distance) The DJI system is theoretically incredibly fast and accurate, but it requires the focusing behavior of the lens to be precisely known, just like pulling focus to a marked distance (as many filmmakers do) does. Short of using a rangefinder and a perfectly calibrated lens, no AF system is going to compete with a good focus puller hitting pre-marked distances.

For filmmakers who do use AF, the GH6 is likely to be a disappointment, especially at 24p, where it has less frames to analyze. Several initial reviews I’ve read suggest that 24 fps AF performance borders on the unusable, while performance at 60 fps is much improved. For many genres of filmmaking and video production, “disappointing AF” won’t matter at all, while for others, it will be a dealbreaker. Still others will adapt to the AF, for example, shooting 60p to make the focus work better, then pulling down to 24p in post-production if it’s the look they want.

All of those super-high data rate video modes need superfast storage. The primary card slot is, and needs to be, CFExpress.

The good news in the initial reviews is that the video image quality is superb. That’s what Panasonic was going for, and they hit their mark. Reviewers are saying that the video quality is substantially better than anything you’d get out of any more stills-oriented hybrid camera like an X-T4 or an A7 IV. The only cameras that can compete are dedicated video cameras, the other video-first hybrids like the A7s III, EOS-R5C and Panasonic’s own S1H, and possibly some or all of the A1/Z9/EOS-R3 flagship trio. The tools for shooting video are going to be significantly better than any of the flagships, comparable to the other, much more expensive, video-first hybrids, and lagging behind some dedicated video cameras that have built-in ND filtration, physical gain switches and better audio controls.

A camerasize.com comparison involving the GH6 on the left… The similarly-sized (and less than 10% heavier) GFX 100S on the right has a sensor SIX TIMES the size… Video cameras are big!

Ergonomically, the GH6 looks like an interesting camera. I haven’t handled one, but I have handled several earlier GH cameras and the Sony A7s III, which are all similar in that they’re movie cameras wearing still camera bodies. The GH6 is relatively large and heavy for a mirrorless camera – at 830 grams, the only heavier mirrorless cameras are either dual-grip designs, medium format bodies or Panasonic’s own L-mount offerings. Much of this is to cool the sensor and provide enough battery life– a movie camera will always be heavier than a still camera…

There are reasons that movie cameras look like they do, and, while many of them have to do with where film magazines used to go, not all of them do. A stills-type body is significantly smaller and lighter than most dedicated video bodies, but it’s harder to stabilize against your body. The still camera body offers a lot of direct control access for the operator’s right hand (and the GH6 is on the high end of this, even for a still camera), more than any video design I’m familiar with. A true video camera body places a lot of tactile controls in reach of the operator’s LEFT hand, which still cameras use much less. Many of the left-handed controls are sometimes operated by a second cameraperson on larger productions, who might pull focus and adjust other controls while the primary cinematographer concentrated on framing the shot. There is really no way of using two camera operators on any still camera type body, and it doesn’t matter on most of them, since the video modes are designed for run and gun shooting. The GH6, on the other hand, is a serious enough movie camera with enough tools for the more contemplative shoot that someone just might try using it with two operators.

We’ve seen quite a bit lately that brings up the question of good enough, from various angles. Is the OM-1’s or the GH6’s image quality good enough that the fascinating combination of features at a relatively low price is compelling? For whom? For what uses? Is the IDEA of sacrificing that much image quality a problem, even if the way you’re using the images means that it shouldn’t really matter? Will sports shooters whose work is used exclusively online flock to the OM-1, since the image quality is more than enough for the use? Will the GH6’s autofocus be good enough for filmmakers who love other things about it? On the other side of the good enough equation, how will photographers react to an extremely powerful Mac Studio, but one that requires the user to make a long-term decision about what’s good enough when they first buy it? Will a computer that has everything creative pros are asking for – except upgradeability – be a hit, a miss or something in between?

Dan Wells

April 2022

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Dan Wells, "Shuttterbug" on the trail, is a landscape photographer, long-distance hiker and student in the Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School. He lives in Cambridge, MA when not in wild places photographing and contemplating our connection to the natural world. Dan's images try to capture the spirit he finds in places where, in the worlds of the Wilderness Act of 1964, "Man himself is but a visitor". He has hiked 230 miles of Vermont's Long Trail and 450 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with his cameras, as well as photographing in numerous National Parks, Seashores and Forests over the years - often in the offseason when few people think to be there. In the summer of 2020, Dan plans to hike a stretch of hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, focusing on his own and others' spiritual connection to these special places, and making images that document these connections. Over years of personal work and teaching photography, Dan has used a variety of equipment (presently Nikon Z7 and Fujifilm APS-C). He is looking for the perfect combination of light weight, ruggedness and superb image quality.

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