February 29, 2004
Mike Johnston’sSunday Morningcolumn for this week is titledSet Yourself Free!
If you’re a fan of his writing I would like to remind you that Mike is requesting support for his efforts. If you look forward to reading Mike each week the way I do, consider lending him your support. You’ll find a link at the bottom of his article.
There is now just one place left on Steve Kossack’sGrand Canyon Rafting Workshop.This trip is a private charter created exclusively for doing photography along the Colorado River through the heart of the Grand Canyon. It lasts 10 days, and is one of the most thrilling photographic adventures imaginable. I’ve rafted the Colorado on shoots twice in the past several years and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Steve is the most knowledgeable photographic guide to the American Southwest that I know of, and he is also a very fine teacher. He teaches with me on almost all of the workshops that I conduct. I recommend this trip highly.
There is a review of the newLeica Digilux 2in preparation for this site, and it will likely be published later this week or early next. ButWai-Shan Lamin Hong Kong now provides us with his first look at the Leica’s black-finished clone — thePanasonic LC1.
On myTanzanian Safari Workshopin January I tested a prototype gimbal mount fromJobu Designs, called theBlack Window. I have just received an updated and improved version of this mount and there are have been some considerable improvements. If you’re in need of a sold yet reasonably priced gimbal mount for your heavy 300mm — 600mm lens, this is one to definitely consider.
February 28, 2004
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, "Should I buy the currentwhatever, or wait for the next model", I’d be able to buy thatPhase One P25digital back that I’m lusting after. But, no one pays for my advice (except on workshops), so I’ll give it to you for free in my new essay entitledWaiting for the Next Model.
According to a just publishedInfotrendssurvey of 1,000 professional photographers in the United States, 79% of professional photographers are now using digital cameras. Of those that are not, apparently nearly half plan on purchasing a digital camera in 2004. That implies that by the end of this year some 90% of pros will be shooting digitally. Surprised?
February 26, 2004
The good-news / bad-news with being the first born, is that one gets paid a lot of attention. This has been the case withSony’s F8288 Megapixel crossover digicam. First announced in the summer of 2003, and then shipped in late November, it has become something of acause celebre. Some people hate it. Some people love it. (I’m schizophrenic on this. I love itandhate it).
I have so far published three separate reports on this camera, myinitial review,an essayon the concerns that it raised, and alsoa reporton my use of the F828 on Safari in Africa in January. Probably more than most people wanted to read. But, hey — it interestedme, and that’s the sole arbiter of what appears on these pages.
Now the F828 is the first target of my soon-to-become regular optical lab tests usingDxO Analyzer. The Sony is put though its paces, with reports on itsDistortion,Chromatic Aberration,VignettingandBlurmeasurements. You may find the results of my newSony F-828 Optical Evaluationsurprising.
An additional word is warranted on this entire new generation of 8 Megapixel crossover digicams. I believe that they are the most interesting segment of the camera market at the moment. 16-22 Megapixel Medium Format backs and cameras like theCanon 1Dsare of interest to many Pros, and lots of well-heeled photographers and hobbyists are buying expensive DSLRs. But for a large segment of the market I believe that these new digicams offer tremendous value. The are relatively small, can produce excellent image quality in large print sizes, have great features (more than most people will ever use), and don’t cost an arm and a leg.
I therefore intend during the next month or so on testing all of the new 8MP models coming to market. In addition to theSony F828I have already begun testing theOlympus C-8080andKonica-Minolta A2. TheCanon Pro 1andNikon 8700are also on their way. These tests will all be in the form of my typical hands-on field reports as well as lab tests withDxO Analyzer.
And lest anyone think that this is going to turn strictly into an equipment test site — fear not. The usual blend of travel reports, photo essays, editorials, essay, and rants will always have their prominent place.
And — while I still have your attention — have you considered subscribing toThe Luminous Landscape Video Journal? Join the thousands of photographers around the world who have. It’s the world’s only video "magazine" about photography, with the same mix of great content as this web site, but in broadcast quality video, published quarterly on DVD.
February 24, 2004
Today see the publication of my tutorial onhow to read and interpretDxO Analyzertest reports.DxO Analyzerwas announced to the industry atPMAearlier this month. It is a major new testing system for digital cameras and lenses. After working with it for several months in both alpha and beta stages, I have adopted it as my new testing standard. It will be utilized it from now on whenever I review new camera and lens systems. Of course my empirical hands-on tests and field reports will still form the backbone of my testing methodology.
My first fullDxOtest report will be on theSony F828camera, and will appear later this week. Additional camera and lens tests will follow in the weeks and months ahead. At this time it appears that a number of photography magazines and web sites will be adoptingDxO Analyzer, which is good for both the industry and for photographers. We will at least have a generally available test system that produces consistent results regardless of who is doing the testing.Find out more here.
February 22, 2004
Mike Johnston‘sSunday Morningcolumn for this week is titledParameters of Lens Specification and the Properties of Lenses. It’s actually a lot more interesting than it sounds. Really.
This coming week will see the beginning of my publication of lens and digital camera system optical tests usingDxO Analyzer. I will start with an overview of the testing methodology in the form of a reference page and tutorial, and then later in the week will publish some initial optical performance tests of theSony F828and the about-be-be-releasedOlympus C-8080. This particular report will be part of an overall review of this new camera.
In the weeks ahead I will also be publishing reviews andDxOtests of each of the other new crossover 8MP cameras fromNikon,CanonandMinolta. I will eventually be publishing tests of a broad cross-section of cameras and lenses, but since producing these is a great deal of work it will take some time. Lots to look forward to though.
UPDATE:TheDxO Analyzertest results for the Sony F828 won’t be online until later this coming week. But, while completing the report, the results seen when measuring chromatic aberration help explain whysomepeoplesometimessee CA, and others sometimes don’t. The appearance of CA with the camera is very much tied to the focal length at which the zoom is set. A dramatic demonstration of the value of scientific testing vs. speculation. Atable of test resultsand brief discussion has now been added toPart 2of my original report on this camera.
February 19, 2004
Adobe’sCamera Rawplug-in was updated this month to Version 2.1, and became available for free download (forPhotoshop CSowners) just a few days ago. I now havea reporton this new version online. It includes a list of all cameras and backs supported (officially as well as unofficially), descriptions of some new features, and some hints on getting the most from this almostuniversalRaw file converter.
A reminder that the opening of mygallery exhibitin Toronto takes places this evening (Thursday), from 6-9pm at thePikto Galleryin Toronto, Canada. The public is cordially invited. If you live in the Toronto area I hope that you can make it. The show runs through March 14th.
February 18, 2004
There are as many styles and types ofpeoplephotography as there are photographers. These range from formal portraits to surreptitious street shoots. But there’s also something in between. Something that I callFound Portraits.
Mark BakerandRichard de Lhorbeare starting aLarge Format Camera Societyfor the Toronto and surrounding area in Ontario, Canada. While they are mainly interested in landscape and nature photography, other large format aficionados are also welcome. They are looking for like minded photographers to meet for discussions, technical exchanges, photographic outings, print viewings and critiques, and when possible seminars with guest speakers. If you are interested contact either one of them at the links above.
February 16, 2004
I’ve just learned thatPC Magazinehas published their new book byDon WillmotttitledBest of the Internet. This 450-page guide to the Web features 1,000 sites in about 100 categories. I’m pleased to note thatThe Luminous Landscapewas selected as the top pick in its category.
This is as good a time as any to remind new visitors that in addition to this independent and unsponsored site we also publish the world’s only DVD-video publication about photography —The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. Containing on-location shoots in some of the world’s most exciting locations, live reviews of the latest products,Photoshopand shooting tutorial, interviews with famous photographers and more, each issue has some 2 hours of professionally produced broadcast-quality video programming. Why not subscribe to this unique publication and also support this site? While you’re at it, you couldwinattendance at a workshop withMichael ReichmanninIcelandthis summer — a prize worth U.S. $6,000.
We want you to subscribe. We offer a money-back guarantee. What are you waiting for?
MyPMA pagewas last updated at 4:00 pm EST.
February 15, 2004
Mike Johnston‘s column for this week is titledDigital Sizzles in the Desert. In it he gives us his thoughts on the latest camera introductions at PMA. And people sayI’mopinionated. Cheech!
A friend of mine, well known architectural photographerSteven Evans,is also a collector and dealer in vintage photographs, including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, salt, albumen, carbon and platinum prints. He now hasa new web siteonline where these works can be seen and purchased.
The site’s new home-page photograph is also now myMiscellaneous Momentfor February.
On the June 18-19 weekend there will be a seminar titledPhotoshop Soup2Nutsgiven in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Such Photoshop luminaries asThomas Knoll, Jeff Schewe, Katrin Eismannand others will be offering numerous sessions of interest to photographers of all skill levels. Proceeds from this event will go to worthy educational causes.
February 13, 2004
Today is a travel day — returning home from Las Vegas. MyPMA report for todayconsists of a few observations about some industry players, the upcoming 8 Megapixel digicam wars, and my preliminary thoughts on which of the five new 8 Megapixel digicams might win the gold medal.
WARNING — this report containsopinionsrather than recycled press releases. Reader discretion is advised.
Two reminders: Myone-man showon Toronto at thePikto Gallerybegins next Thursday, Feb. 19th, and runs through March 14th. The opening is on Thursday evening from 6-9pm. If you’re in town I would enjoy seeing you there. My fine-artprinting seminaroffered by theCanadian Photographic Centrein Toronto on March 1st is now sold-out. I am talking with them about conducting another one some time in the Spring, and will announce it here as soon as plans are finalized.
February 12, 2004
On this, the opening day ofPMAin Las Vegas, when we are focused on equipment rather than photography, what better time to shine a bit of light on the growing problem of defective products. All those shiny new baubles carry with them the lurking curse of potential failure and the disappointment of design defects. In my latest essay, titledClearing the Air— An essay on product quality, and why it’s often missing, I show that I am an equal-opportunity grouch, finding fault with the products from at least 15 different companies. Did I include your favourite?
The first day of PMA is now over, andmy show report is online. There were a number of new products, though most were already announced or hinted at previously. Tomorrow is spent flying home and resting my feet.
February 11, 2004
I’m now off toPMAinLas Vegasfor a couple of days. I’ll report from there as I can on new products that are of interest, both traditional as well as digital.
If you own anEpson 2100/2200printer you may want todownload new profilesthat have just become available on the Epson web site. I won’t be able to test them myself until I’m back from the show, but I’ve been told that they are very good — better than the original profiles provided by Epson.
February 10, 2004
Can a large-format fine-art landscape photographer find happiness on a trip to Paris, while shooting with a consumer DSLR? Find out inAlain Briot‘s new article —A Rebel in Paris.
February 8, 2004
Mike Johnstonis taking the week off. HisSunday Morningcolumn will resume next week.
Studio, event and technical photographers will rejoice at the recent release ofDSLR Remote Pro, a new remote camera control program fromChris Breeze. This Windows program, available for all Canon DSLRs, allows you to directly operate your camera’s controls and take photographs from your PC. Myreviewis now online.
February 7, 2004
Theprinting seminarin Toronto which I had to cancel due to my emergency travels last month has now been rescheduled. It will take place on the evening March 1st. This seminar is offered by theCanadian Photographic Centre. A few space are still available.
February 6, 2004
In 2002 I wrote about how to use 35mm full-frame rectangular fisheye lenses along with image correction software. This allows reduced frame DSLRs to achieve really wide-angle coverage. Today I review theMC Arsat 30mm f/3.5, a full-frame rectangular fisheye lens for medium format cameras that accomplishes the same thing, and it’s cheap like borscht.
Imaging Resource, a highly respected equipment review site, has just updated theirSony F828camera review. Here is a link to their newly revisedconclusion page. I won’t write another word on the subject
February 5, 2004
Two weeks from today, onThursday, February 19th, the opening reception will take place for a one-man gallery exhibition of my work atPikto Galleryin Toronto, Canada. This is the first gallery exhibition of my work in several years. It consists of 24 prints, each 20X30” or larger, comprising photographs created during the past three years.
ThePikto Galleryis located at 55 Mill Street, Toronto, Canada; in the historic Distillery District. The show runs from February 19th through March 14th.
The opening reception is onThursday, Feb. 19thfrom 6pm to 9pm. The public is cordially invited. Refreshments will be served, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there.More details can be found here.
The January, 2004 semi-finalist in ourIceland Workshop Give AwayisRobert A. Kelleyof New York state. Congratulations Bob.
Several people have written to find out which DSLR and private workshoplocationRandy Vestalof Royston, UK chose. Randy was the winner of ourprevious give-away. For personal reasons Randy opted to take the prize as cash — $5,000. Your could be the next winner. Someone will. All you need to do issubscribe to The Video Journal.
February 4, 2004
Specialized types of photography require specialized tools. On my recentSafari in TanzaniaI brought along and used for the first time, theKirk Window Mount and Jobu Black Widow Gimbal. If you shoot with large heavy lenses from inside a vehicle, as many wildlife photographers do, these tools are must haves.
Regular readers will have noted my enthusiasm forDXO Analyzer, first reported on in myPMA 2004page several days ago. This is a high-end optical test system designed for reviewers and photo magazines, as well as lens and digital camera manufacturers. I have been involved withDO Labsin the development of this test suite, and now note that the highly respected French photography magazineChasseur d’Imagehas announced that they are adopting this new tool, and will have a number of "explosive" initial test results in their Feb. 12th issue.
I have just returned to my office after being away for some 5 weeks. This will allow me to resume a number of projects which have been on hold since before Christmas, one of which is beginning my series of lens and digital camera tests usingDXO Analyzer.
February 2, 2004
Photography in remote places has always been difficult. ButDigital Photography in the Wildernesspresents a whole range of new challenges. Today’s new article by contributorJean-François Maïonlooks at this issue from the perspective of someone whosebeen there and done that.
My essay onDigital Bridge Cameras and Cognitive Dissonanceof a couple of weeks ago has elicited more feedback from readers than anything that I’ve written in the past year. Today I have added aletter from Mike Simson the topic, because of the interesting perspective that it adds.
February 1, 2004
Mike Johnstonshares his thoughts on SUVs, rock and roll, movies and stereo equipment, and oh yes,cameras,in this week’s essay titledOf Old Dogs and New Tricks.
If you’ve read my recentTanzanian Safaricommentary you may be wondering —how can I do a shoot like that? We’ll, you can this summer withAndy Biggson hisJuly 6 – July 17, 2004 African Photographic Safari.
MyFeatured Imagehas been selected for January. It is fromTanzania, and I describe how it was made, and almost not found.
January 30, 2004
Today sees the publication of myTanzanian Safariportfolio and commentary. The wildlife and landscape photography opportunities on this 10 day trip done earlier this month were remarkable, and this article discusses both the location and the equipment used.
January 29, 2004
MyPMA 2004page was updated at 8 am EST.
January 28, 2004
The annualPMAshow is now just around the corner, and new product announcements (as well as "leaks") have started. As in past years I have created a page on which I discuss new products that I find to be of interest. I’ll be updating this page regularly for the next two weeks, and through the show. Please note that this isn’t intended to be comprehensive coverage — just the things that I find interesting, and which therefore I think that you might as well. MyPMA 2004page is now online.
January 27, 2004
I was reminded recently of some lessons learned during my days as a photojournalist. These topics are explored in a new essay titledTelling the Story, in which I look at the issues of shooting enough, and also immersing oneself in the moment.
Another photograph from my recentTanzanian Safariis now on the site’sHome Page.
January 25, 2004
To grow as photographers we need to do three things; take photographs, look at photographs, and read about photography (photography — not equipment). In this Sunday’s columnMike Johnstonreviews a book of essay about photography byWashington PostcolumnistFrank Van RipertitledTalking Photography.
January 24, 2004
While most people believe that theCanon 1DsandKodak 14nwere the first full-frame DSLRs, indeed they were not. They were preceded by almost a year by theContax N Digital, a 6 Megapixel camera based around the well-knownContax N1film-based camera.
TheContax N Digitalwas withdrawn from most markets around the world not that long after it was introduced, and Contax did its best to prevent either online or print reviews from appearing. Consequently hardly any ever did.
But Russian photographer and reviewerIrakly Shanidze, who writes for both American as well as Russian publications, now providesThe Luminous Landscapewith some historical perspective throughan exclusive review of the Contax N Digital.
January 23, 2004
Did you know that this site is 100% commercial free? No pop-up ads, no sponsors. But we do have something to sell —The Video Journal— the world’s only video magazine about photography. We publish four times a year on DVD video, and each issue contains approximately 2 hours of broadcast-quality programming, including product reviews, travel segments, tutorials and interviews with famous photographers. It is fun, irreverent, informative and beautifully filmed at some of the world’s greatest photographic locations around the world.
For this free and non-commercial web site to continue we need your support via subscriptions toThe Video Journal. Watch some of ourpreview video clips. Readwhat subscribers are saying. Support theLuminous Landscapethough subscribing to our unique DVD-video format publication.
The Video JournalDVDs will play on any PC, Mac or set-top DVD player anywhere in the world. We have subscribers in more than 40 countries worldwide. We also offer a money-back guarantee. And remember, when you subscribe you are automatically entered in our contest towinattendance at a photography workshop inIcelandthis summer; a prize worth U.S. $6,000. Thanks for your support.
I am slowly working on my image files from Tanzania and will be putting a new one on theHome Pageevery few days. One of my favourites so far is now online.
January 22, 2004
Part II of my Sony F828 reviewis now online. This report is based on 10 days of use under the demanding conditions of a safari shoot in Tanzania, East Africa. The bottom line is — the things that I first liked about the Sony I now like even more, while the things that I disliked haven’t gotten any better. It’s still a"flawed jewel", but a great travel camera.
January 21, 2004
Due to a family member’s health emergency I am forced to be out of town for the rest of the month. Therefore, my seminar on fine-art inkjet printing at theThe Canadian Photographic Centerin Toronto, scheduled forWednesday, January 28th,has been postponed.I have also had to cancel a presentation to theToronto Camera Clubscheduled forThursday the 29th.
I am working with both organizations to reschedule for the near future, and wish to apologize for any inconvenience that these cancellations may have caused.
January 20, 2004
BothAlain Briotand I have been traveling a lot during the past month, and so the latest installment of his nine-part series onAesthetics and Photographyhas been delayed. I’m pleased to publish todayPart 5of the series titledHow to Select the Best “film” for a Specific Image with both Film and Digital Capture.
Alain has a series ofweekend workshopstaking place in thePhoenixarea this winter and spring. He also hasa special workshopinUpper and Lower Antelope Canyon
plus Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Anasazi Petroglyphs, Wutpaki National Monument, and The Hoodooscoming up in early May.
Steve Kossack’sDeath Valleyworkshop is now sold out, but hisGrand Canyon Rafting Workshopstill has two places available. These are all excellent opportunities to develop your photographic skills, learn from talented teachers, and meet like-minded photographers.
MyMiscellaneous Momentsphotograph for January is now online, and I have updated theHome Pagephotograph with another one fromTanzania. The shot was blurred by heat shimmer due to the use of a 500mm lens over a long distance, so I added a bit ofGaussian Blurto enhance the effect.
A word of thanks to the literally dozens of people that have written in support of my recent essay onDigital Bridge Cameras andCognitive Dissonance. At the moment I am dealing with a family member’s health situation in another city, and so have limited time to reply personally — but to those who have written, thanks for your thoughtful comments. And, for the two people who wrote to say that they thought I was an "asshole" for what I wrote, well, I’m glad you’ve gotten that off your chests
Sign of The Times:According toRob GalbraithKodak has informed its Pro dealers that theDCS Pro Backline of medium format digital backs has been discontinued. As regular readers know, for the past 6 months I have been reviewing theavailable MF digital backsand ended up last Fall buying a Kodak back for my own use. It could well be that discounts will soon become available as dealer inventories deplete, and thus a good time to buy one if such a device is on your shopping list. TheDCS Pro Backis still the most portable and lowest cost MF back on the market.
January 18, 2004
There will be twoSunday Morningcolums byMike Johnstonthis week, since I was away and didn’t publish last Sunday. The first is titledWorking For Pay, and I urge you to extend your support to Mike, as he is one of the only authentic and literate voices writing about photography on the Net today.
The second article, with today’s date, is enigmatically titledLost in the Gutter.
What’s Newlisting for prior years are also available…