#790. Monday Post (26 Nov 2018) – Rant Receptors Ready!

#790. Monday Post (26 Nov 2018) – Rant Receptors Ready!

You wouldn't really want this in your pocket would you?

You wouldn’t really want this in your pocket would you?

 

An f0.65 lens. WTF?

 

If you’re a regular DS reader, you’ll know we’ve discussed the new generation of über lenses exhaustively in recent times.

 

The trend continues and I was hardly surprised to see a report in the photography media, suggesting that Nikon has calculated its new Z mirrorless camera body could use and focus an f0.65 lens. Accompanying the report was the image above. That’s the 52mm f0.95 – just the thing to pop into your pocket for a quick photo walk around the neighbourhood.

 

I’m guessing that the f0.65 might be even bigger and have even less real world usability. You’ll find it alongside the still impossible to afford 8mm fish eye on eBay in a few years time, no doubt.

 

I’m reminded the MHz race of the ‘80s and ‘90s, where Intel and their competitors would race out the latest and greatest X86 processor, rated at higher and higher clock speeds. Now it’s about power and battery life and Intel is on the back foot – see Apple rant below for more on this topic.

 

Anyway, it went nowhere in the end, just like this ridiculous race to make faster and faster lenses.

 

“But they are great for surveillance,” you might suggest.

 

“True, but you’ll have to be very smart to recognise someone by the one eyelash you got in focus. The rest is a sea of bokeh.”

 

Sorry to our own bokeh-slut, Philippe, but this one just doesn’t fly.

 

Beobab sunset

Beobab sunset

 

Kruger Park sunset

Kruger Park sunset

 

Late afternoon watering hole. Look close and spot the 6m crocodile, waiting for dinner to get just a bit closer...

Late afternoon watering hole. Look close and spot the 6m crocodile, waiting for dinner to get just a bit closer…

 

RAW Power

 

When Apple binned Aperture, a significant portion of photographers, including several of us at DS, were forced elsewhere and have yet to find an anywhere acceptable replacement. Either Capture 1 or Lightroom being the choix du jour. We were all pretty much uniform in our dislike and resentment.

 

Then a year or so back, Nik Bhatt – formerly one of the lead developers on Aperture – and his Gentlemen Coders, rolled out RAW Power, a RAW converter, unsurprisingly pretty much like Apple’s now neglected powerhouse.

 

It worked too, good conversions, ease of use – an all round solution. But, this was a V1.0 and lots was still missing.

 

A couple of weeks back V2 edged out of the lab and it’s a huge improvement. Lots of the missing tools and functionality is now in place and a file browser has been added. I haven’t had a chance to use it much, but I like what I see. A lot.

 

Cape buffalo - one of the meanest spirited and dangerous animals in the bush

Cape buffalo – one of the meanest spirited and dangerous animals in the bush

 

The jury is out - no agreement whether this is a juvenile Bateleur, or a Tawny Eagle

The jury is out – no agreement whether this is a juvenile Bateleur, or a Tawny Eagle

 

In contrast, ON1’s release of their 2018 app was hailed in beta and still seeking a split from Lightroom, I ponied-up my US$79 for the new release. I got it a few days ago and it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. New interface, powerful, big, well featured and generally not bad.

 

It has got itself confused a few times and crashed however. The keywording seems to be pretty flaky and there’s still no geotagging option.

 

That’s on top of 13 mails I’ve had from ON!, offering plug-ins, conversion kits, training videos, Black Friday offers and the usual sexual enhancements, all for next to nothing if I acted NOW!

 

Enough already. If you can’t sell your product on its functionality and reputation, a deluge of e-mail isn’t likely to make a difference. ON!’s performance? I’m still not convinced.

 

Sunset

Sunset

 

Setting sun near Talamati

Setting sun near Talamati

 

Setting sun near Talamati

Setting sun near Talamati

 

Setting sun near Talamati

Setting sun near Talamati

 

Lots has been said about Apple in recent times, from new iPhones to the revised Macs and a slew of iPads.

 

I really wanted to believe the new iPad Pro would finally arrive and make it unnecessary to haul a full-on MacBook Pro notebook with me on my travels. In theory, it should. It has power to spare, lots of memory and an SD card reader, so that I can secure and edit my images as I travel.

 

Cool.

 

Not.

 

On average, I shoot between 50Gb and 75Gb on a trip, all of which would fit easily on my new iPad Pro. I could even send my usual daily image to Flickr, Facebook and wherever.

 

Once back home, the problems would begin. There is no way to transfer hundreds of image RAW files directly back to my desktop editing, storage and archiving system. The only realistic way is to send everything to iCloud and then download it all again to my Mac.

 

What?

 

Yup. Upload everything from the iPad and then download it again to the Mac sitting next to it. I’ve searched the Interwebs for a solution and spoken to some of Apple’s specialists. There. Is. No. Other. Solution.

 

Apple’s AirDrop functionality in MacOS and iOS sometimes works with single files from iPhone to Mac, or the other way round, but despite several updates, remains flaky and will doubtless baulk at several hundred RAW files.

 

So, the new iPadPro is off my Xmas shopping list.

 

Another gripe is the cost of the new MacMini. The previous generation unit have cost well south of £1000. The new one, admittedly with a 2Tb SSD and lots of RAM tops out at £3800! WTF Apple?

 

It’s inevitable that Apple is going to replace the Intel processors in the Macintosh with the same in-house developed A series processors that power the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV and Apple Watch. It’s smaller, produces more computing power and costs a fraction of the Intel units they would replace. What’s holding Apple back? Aside from the iPhone and iPad not having a conventional file system, not very much as far as I can see and the savings in manufacturing costs and software development/maintenance could be huge.

 

High tension hyena - this family group of 6/7 animals was squabbling about a hind quarter all that was left of a dead zebra after the alpha predators had had their share

High tension hyena – this family group of 6/7 animals was squabbling about a hind quarter all that was left of a dead zebra after the alpha predators had had their share

 

Still life in the bush

Still life in the bush

 

Sunrise near Talamati

Sunrise near Talamati

 

There’s lots more to grumble about just now, more than enough for another Monday Post ‘ere long.

 

This week’s images were shot in the Kruger National Park during the last couple of weeks. I used my Fuji X-H1, X-Pro2, 100-400 zoom and the SBH (16-55 zoom).

 


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27 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Mike November 26, 2018

    Changed my mind. I’m sure that raptor is an immature Bateleur.

    • Avatar
      paulperton November 26, 2018

      Thanks Mike. Too late to change the caption, however.

  2. Avatar
    Jens November 26, 2018

    Paul, lovely photos! I particularly love the one with the croc waiting for its dinner. Brings it all back to me, the trips on a mokoro in the Okavango, cruising the semi-deserts and savannahs of Botswana, Namibia and Zim….
    But what’s with the ranting? Of course I’d love to put one of those big and bouncy 0.95 babies into my pocket and take it on a late afternoon stroll with me (but nowhere else, mind you). None of us really need those Zeiss lenses with their Zeissiness, 42 MP, Raw converters, fast data transfer, etc etc for what is being presented on a computer screen. We simply love working with these beautifully engineered gadgets for their own sake.
    So why don’t we just get ourselves a photographic life and get on with shooting great stuff? You seem to be doing just that, only using a humble Fuji and some average glass – and your work shines …

  3. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron November 26, 2018

    You’d never VERY large pockets, it that’s where you intend to keep the beast – and if you do put such a thing in your pockets, don’t be surprised if other people give you some very strange looks! How many f-stops faster than 1.4 is a 0.65 lens anyway? – would it really be much of an advantage
    After something Pascal said a while back, I got stuck into trying different software packages for PP. And yes, most of the promo was twaddle – some of them do stack up – some of them could, if they got their act together – some are ridiculously expensive for what they offer.
    While I resent having to do it, at the moment everything is being cycled through 4 different programs, because none of them do all the stuff I want – and I’m not even trying to do fancy stuff – just bread & better tidy up stuff. I think the PP software industry really needs to get its act together and stop mucking around.
    Love your sunsets. It struck me immediately that there’s a difference, in yours – most of mine are over oceans – although I’ve caught some in my own street, that was chasing different impressions of the street and I hadn’t planned those shots as “inland sunsets” like yours.
    PS – If you spend all your time grumbling, Paul, others will sit at a different table. 🙂

    • Avatar
      paulperton November 26, 2018

      Stay at the table! At my age, I’m told I can grumble. I also understand how irritating it can be. Maybe I should have called the post Rumination Receptors Ready, but I think it might have lost something.

    • Avatar
      jean pierre (pete) guaron November 27, 2018

      It might seem odd, replying to one of my own replies – but I’ve just had “time out” because of a software problem and while I was sorting it, I discovered there’s some kind of “auto complete” APP running on my computer – God and the culprit know who did it – I suspect Google, it’s their sort of “thing” – but I’ve no means of stopping it without asking God (or the culprit) who did it.
      And so it came as no surprise to find the word “need” had been transcribed to read “never”, making nonsense of my opening sentence (in the bilge that this bilge is “replying” to).
      So – dateline November 26 – what I said was – “You’d need VERY large pockets, if that’s where . . . ” etc etc
      Sorry folks. I’ll control my culprits better, now that I know they’re there.

  4. Avatar
    Kristian Wannebo November 26, 2018

    > “.. MHz race of the ‘80s and ‘90s, ..”
    The then ARM 3 MHz was outrunning the then 16 MHz x86.
    It’s not only the specs, it’s the contents…
    Like with pixels…
    – – –

    Have you considered DXO Photolab (+Nik software)?
    They have a 50% discount -26/11.

    I’m quite happy with the old Essential version (free download), so I’ll bite today.
    ( N.b. I’m a beginner at PP.)
    – – –

    Your photos helped a lot to keep my mind from delving into technoland!
    🙂

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy November 26, 2018

      Hi Kristian, I’d love to hear what you think about DXO Photolab + Nik. Will you let us know ? Cheers.

      • Avatar
        Kristian Wannebo November 26, 2018

        Pascal,
        As I’m a beginner at PP and rely only on my b/w darkroom experience, I’ll only be able to comment on ease of use.
        ( Without a printer or a calibrated screen any attempt at judging quality is vain – and anyhow I’ve no other program to compare with.)

        I suggest Keith Cooper’s reviews at
        http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/keiths-photography-blog/ ,

        http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/dxo-photolab-review/ .

        He has also reviewed DXO Viewpoint and all of the Nik collection.

        ( Btw.: I enjoyed reading his articles on printing very large, even from only 12 Mpx.)

        • Avatar
          pascaljappy November 26, 2018

          Thank you Kristian. You’ll find there’s only one rule in PP: season to taste. The real challenge is to know what your taste is.

          Basically, go for global adjustments first. You can start with contrast add or remove some, to get the mood you want. Then bring back the highlights and shadows (with exposure + highlight and shadow sliders). When that’s done, you can fine tune white balance. Saturate your photo a lot (much more than you’ll end up with) and fine tune white balance until it looks like what you want. The bring saturation back down to what feels like the look you’re after. At that point, you can think about local retcouching. Getting this zone darker, give this area more clarity (for example shadows often pick up detail when you add clarity, but mid tone and highlights quickly look aggressive).

          That’s a very quick ‘n’ dirty outlook and people like Ming Thein have a much more elaborate process in place, but that will give you a quick way to see what sort of look you like and how to get there in a repeatable manner. At that point, you can fine tune a process that works better for you.

          Hope this helps 🙂

          • Avatar
            Kristian Wannebo November 26, 2018

            Pascal,
            Thanks a lot for your brief!
            The tip to temporarily increase saturation for WB adjustment sounds like a very good idea, must try it!

            Me, for the time being, if necessary I shift the histogram and WB, and then use DXO’s Smart Lighting, it’s like changing contrast and have shadow plus highlight sliders automatically following – those don’t need additional adjustment very often, then adjust WB.
            Plus perhaps just a little contrast or micro contrast.

            One reason I now bought the Elite DXO, was for practicing local work – not quite like tearing rough silhouettes in the darkroom…

            With the camera (Canon) set to “Neutral” colours usually come out OK – I’ll have to fake worse colours to get some colour training (my school time darkroom colour course gives me a little confidence) … practicing denoising and sharpening is enough for now.
            ( I haven’t yet grown out of the rather nice Amoled display on the Samsung Tabpro S.)

      • Avatar
        John W November 26, 2018

        I brought DXO a few years back to process the Nikon V3 files – it does the best job. There’s plenty of functionality and horsepower but the export function is SSSSSSLLLLLOOOOOWWWWWWWWW …. it can take several minutes to export a single 90Mb image. Maybe the current version is faster. Their RAW processor is very good and their Prime noise reduction tool is EXCELLENT … select the image(s) and click on the Prime button … All Done. I don’t use it for much else because they don’t support Fuji.

        I’ve been messing with Affinity for a couple of weeks now and its actually pretty good once you get the hang of it. the problem is getting the hang of it …. they do things VERY differently and can at time be extremely exasperating. But it is very inexpensive, so if you don’t like it no great loss.

      • Avatar
        jean pierre (pete) guaron November 27, 2018

        Hi, Kristian/Pascal – my PP production run starts with DxO Photo Lab – I export files from there to Capture One 10, and from there to DxO ViewPoint (where I correct the verticals, MIGHT adjust the horizon, and sometimes adjust the crop – relying on AUTO to do the crop after you adjust verticals can be a mistake!) After that, it’s generally over to PhotoShop for a light touch up, before sending the files to Mirage by Dinar, for printing.

        Having said that – there are sometimes things you cannot fix in PS – one that you can in LR, is adjusting orange tones – you have to go further afield to adjust purple (try ACDSee) – tones, as distinct from colours, are usually OK coming out of Capture One, but sometimes I find ACDSee better for that. Grad masks (eg where part of the picture is too light/dark), you need LR or Luminar. I find noise reduction is better in ACDSee. Halos are an endemic problem with digital photography, but I’ve yet to find a program that deals with them properly.

        Why use Mirage? (A) it’s miles faster and (b) unless you go to extraordinary lengths to tweak PhotoShop, it’s “print” function doesn’t transfer your colours properly from PS to your printer. Example – I had a shot of my wife which was impossible to print from PS, even though I finalised the JPGIN photoshop – no matter what I tried, her face looked as if she’d been caught in a fire, or had a terrible skin disease. But that same JPG, with no alterations whatsoever, prints perfectly on the same printer, if sent there by Mirage, instead.

        Seriously guys – since I installed Mirage, I’ve saved a bundle on paper and ink, by not producing duds through printing via PhotoShop.

        • Avatar
          Kristian Wannebo November 27, 2018

          Jean Pierre,
          aargh,
          you almost scare me off colour PP…
          🙂

          At school age I did a course in darkroom colour enlarging, but the costs and complexity put me off – b/w gave easier and quicker satisfaction.

          Now the digital version sounds even worse! 😉
          – – –

          I’ve read a bit about different PP software but differences are none too obvious!
          I’m curious as to why you switch to Capture One from DXO halfway through?

    • Avatar
      jean pierre (pete) guaron November 27, 2018

      ? – I never complained about your rant – I LOVED the elephants – I ALWAYS love elephants! – when I was a kid, I had heaps of them – in my drawer full of toys (when I had polio for a year or two, I was buried in toys! – people are very nice to cripple boys! – while I was lying there, my grandmother taught me how to cheat at patience, too – of course it’s not a particularly useful skill – you can’t use it to beat your opponents, because there aren’t any!), and several [elephants, not grandmothers!] on the mantelpiece, too.
      (Not to mention the rest of the menagerie – LOL)

  5. Avatar
    pascaljappy November 26, 2018

    Hi Paul, great photographs, but this has become a pretty standard comment on your posts 😉

    Expansion / contraction. That cycle seems to rule the world and we’re in a contraction phase. Every one wants to own their technology, split off from the rest. It’s a loss of trust and, one day, the tide will move back out (remember when collaboration was buzzworkd of the month ?) In the mean time, it means we have to suffer shittier products, when the combined technology available has never been as incredibly good as it is today.

    The solution : we shouldn’t buy them. It’s our way of voting and telling Apple (and others) to go and suck eggs. Don’t get me started on my MBP or on that iPad Pro I so desperately wanted to love. Don’t get me started on the stupidity of the post-processing market … Uh 😉

    Nikon, I can’t rant about. This can only be a premature April fool’s mockup. Right? Right?

  6. Avatar
    Peter Oosthuizen November 26, 2018

    Definitely a Bateleur – the bare cheeks and bare legs are the giveaway. Lovely image, thanks.

  7. Avatar
    John W November 26, 2018

    Back in the 60s before the Big Bang the great arms race in cameras was bigger and bigger aperture lenses. We needed them back then because films were so abysmally slow low light photography was really problematic. There were lots of f1.4s around but Canon was King of the Hill with a 50mm f.95, a full stop faster. That lens is now a collectors item.

    Once they got over that crush the next affliction was “The Millimeter Madness”!!!! Bigger and longer/wider lenses … Canon had the .95 so Nikon had to one up the with the insane (for the time) 8mm fish eye which now costs more as a collectors item than it did new.

    The megapixel arms race has pretty much settled into a stalemate in the FF-DSLR arena. They can all buy Sony sensors, so ….. where can they now differentiate themselves???? Hmmmmm …. remember those big aperture lenses we used to do back in the 60s? What if ….

    And that Grasshopper is how History Repeats Itself.

  8. Avatar
    Steve Mallett November 27, 2018

    Lovely pics Paul. I was going to plump for a Bateleur too, so no votes for the eagle. Makes me realise it’s been way too long since I was in the bush but Pembrokeshire in November is hard to beat. Cough, splutter….

    You grumpy? I recently ponied up for a new iMac to replace the near 8 year-old one that has served me well but is now considered “end of life” and the op system can’t be upgraded. Migrating is easy, right? Fire up Migration Assistant wait a few hours and everything is copied from old to new and working swimmingly. If only. Transferring licences ought to be easy, not so. Installation assistants that don’t work with OS X Mojave’s security features. Mails to software vendors that take 36 hours for each response that don’t answer the questions I ask but offer advice on stuff I already know or have tried (and told them so). I’m thinking of developing a training course; Trouble-shooting for Dummies. Lesson 1, read the email carefully, pause, engage brain, ask yourself, “Have I understood the problem?”. If so, answer queries clearly, preferably in the same language as the original mail. Read response thoroughly before sending, etc, etc.

    I’ll resist moaning on about PP other than to say Raw Power looks good so far…Luminar with browser due early December. And around we go again.

    The Baobab sunset is stunning!

    • Avatar
      Kristian Wannebo November 27, 2018

      > ” [Support] that don’t answer the questions I ask but offer advice on stuff I already know or have tried (and told them so). I’m thinking of developing a training course; Trouble-shooting for Dummies. Lesson 1, read the email carefully, pause, engage brain, ask yourself, “Have I understood the problem?”. If so, answer queries clearly, preferably in the same language as the original mail. Read response thoroughly before sending, etc, etc.”

      HEAR, HEAR !

      And it’s sometimes not easy to formulate a question to them so that THEY understand it – unless one is expert enough to solve the problem oneself…
      – – –

      HOW are support people recruited?
      Hypothesis:
      Those who would be good at it fit even better in the development section.

    • Avatar
      jean pierre (pete) guaron November 28, 2018

      Thanks so much, Steve, for completely ruining my summer – I have to replace MY 8-year old iMAC in the next couple of months – your punishment for “bringing it on early” is 3 months in soggy, muddy, half frozen Pembrokeshire. Life is a game of choices and consequences – so you’ve only yourself to blame for choosing perennial cold weather over the glorious sunshine I’ll be enjoying while you finish stoking up the fire in the belly of your new toy! 🙂

  9. Avatar
    NMc November 27, 2018

    Paul
    I get the feeling that 2018 will be remembered as the most over hype-iest, over promise-iest and under delivery-iest year in photography gear. From the little time I have spent reading reviews (ok just the conclusions) everything has been a disappointment in some fundamental way. The exceptions were the Panna G9 and Fuji T3, which both delivered what was advertised in a refined and functional way. Both were lambasted prior to release, and still are, by the online commentators as failure due to sensor size, and that people could by new- old stock, low performance, minimum build standard, full frame cameras for less money at the clearance sales.
    Can I say we are seeing a lack of vision (ok pun intended). 😉
    Regards Noel

    • Avatar
      paulperton November 27, 2018

      You can definitely say that Noel and I would find it hard to argue with you. Photographically, the industry seems to be running out of innovation and the buying public are possibly reaching the end of their willingness to buy stuff that satisfies today, but leaves one wondering tomorrow.

      All of which is exacerbated by the endless stream of Internet pundits, most of whom wouldn’t know what to do with most of this kit, even if it was inserted in them (thank you for that quote, John Cleese).

  10. Avatar
    Dallas Thomas November 27, 2018

    Great photos Paul, that one is a big WOW.

  11. Avatar
    Dallas Thomas November 27, 2018

    Great photos Paul, the last one is a big WOW!!!

  12. Avatar
    KirkH November 27, 2018

    Paul,

    I have been looking at the iPad backup approach for my wildlife photos as well. There is a solution. What you need is the Apple lightning to USB3 adaptor: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MK0W2AM/A/lightning-to-usb-3-camera-adapter?fnode=f308514e7754867f6255280c166d2e034069b8f0476ff875dbb7a7972691dc23a5eb7e1903c1d0d5ca19a58c549a71041f540c6e19c7ac8b2acf452e706f0769d27cc8a163077f396886f198306cc9d8ed9bcf89c4c7cec5c71c86a90bfeb50b

    This has both a USB connector and a lightning connector. You need the lightning jack because you have to provide power to the adapter if you want it to upload photos.

    So the steps are:

    1. Attach a power adapter to the USB3 adapter via lightning
    2. Attach a card reader to the USB3 adapter (with card, of course)
    3. Start up the Photos app on the iPad and hit the ‘Import all’ link at the top
    4. Done!

    To get the photos off of the iPad and onto your Mac, the steps are:
    5. Attach the iPad to the Mac via lightning
    6. Fire up the Image Capture app (it is in the Applications directory, but very few people know about it)
    7. Click on the iPad link under Devices – this will bring up all of the photos on the iPad
    8. Tell the app where you want the files sent using the ‘Import to:’ at the bottom of the app
    9. Hit the ‘Import all’ link at the lower right of the app
    10. Done!

    I did this a few minutes ago – works like a charm. Not entirely intuitive, but not overly complex either.

    There is a hitch, of course, which is that the new iPad Pros use a USB C connector. So you would have to attach the USB3 adaptor to the iPad via a lightning to USB C adaptor – I am sure such a thing exists, but it may be a bit of a challenge to find one.

    Note that you must use the specific USB3 adapter that is shown in the link above, because you must be able to provide power via the lightning connector.

    You can test this on your older iPad by buying the USB3 adapter and giving this a try. A bit pricey (this is Apple, after all). But I have been using it to feed music to a DAC, so there are other uses for the adaptor.

    Cheers,
    Kirk

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