Inconvenient secret: we reached peak-sensor long ago, with the BSI generation, and don’t/won’t see significant IQ improvement until a profound innovation shakes the industry again (curved sensor, organic sensor, all those wonders reportedly maturing in R&D labs). But the state of the art wasn’t always so flatlined. And, back in the days of rapid – and useful – resolution increases, the following photograph served as a beacon for many dreamy-eyed digital photographers, myself included 🙂
Or, rather, a photograph of this view with what buildings were standing at the time. London may not be Shanghaï but it’s the fastest evolving city I’ve ever experienced long-term.
Back in ’em days, dpreview was still on the proper side of the Atlantic Ocean (insert silly grin) and various contributors, most often Phil Askey, regularly posted sample galleries shot from London’s Southbank.
At the same period, my summer vacations often took me to the same spots of Borough Market, the docks, Tower Bridge, Saint-Katharine’s marina,the fugly-but-great Hayward gallery, the Southbank center, … so the photographs echoed particularly strongly with me.
Remember those days when every new release brought with it a tingle of excitement, offering new possibilities such as – gosh – printing in A3 😉 ? Days when ecosystem variety increased month after month (a concept that seems so utopian now that all adventurous manufacturers have been weeded out at the tiranic hand of predatory pixel capitalism)?
For some reason, when I visited the Southbank again a few days ago, those happy-days dpreview galleries immediately sprung to mind. I still vividly remember the D700 shots made at Tower Bridge and in the marina, the fat pixels and lovely image quality out of my financial reach.
And this idea of a dual-memory-lane post followed immediately. Who else (is old enough to remember and) misses the London shots in dpreview? Who else has stumbled accross favourite locations photographed in influential gear reviews? Who else still smiles at the thought of modular cameras, foveon beauties and lens/sensor pairings? Oh, the thrill …
Little things please little minds, I guess (“and little knickers fit little behinds” would add my grandmother, bless her cotton socks) 🙂 🙂
Moving on. But, briefly, two notes:
(1) If you want to see for yourself how much London changes in a decade, take a look at this photograph (one of those that convinced me to buy a Nikon D80), or the one below, from 2004, kindly sent by Alan McKensie, and compare the skylines behind the bridge.
(2) Back in those days, websites such as dpreview had real clout. I bought several cameras based solely on what the galleries on that great website revealed. Nowadays … not so much. The words yawn and boring come to mind. None of this pixel peeping makes any sense anymore. They could get their mojo back by using a more systematic and qualitative approach to testing.
For example, by shooting the same scene with various cameras and showing how pretty (ghasp, the concept) each makes it. If you ask me, my beloved Mjölner makes those very purdy indeed, and no amount of added resolution would make them nicer.
T’is time for a new challenge.
A recent post on blurry images struck a chord with many readers and John Wilson quite rightly suggested we make that a topic for the next challenge. So let’s do just that!
And let’s not be overly restrictive about it. All types of blur are accepted: motion, focus, post-processing, filter, flare … If it’s blurry, and it works well for you, please send it along. All I’d like on top of the photograph(s) is a brief description of why you like the effect in question. In the spirit of Ansel Adams’ “there’s nothing worse than a sharp image of a blurry concept”, let’s send in blurry images of sharp concept 🙂 Blurry by design.
Note: for them what haven’t noticed: I recently published a page in the Creativity section of the website entitled How to Master 3D in photography. You’ll see that blur plays a fascinating role in this matter …
Usual rules of the game apply: please send me (pascal dot jappy at gmail dot com) your photographs in medium res (1000-2000 px long side) with some small (or longer, if you wish) commentary, by mid October 🙂 I’ll post a reminder or two before then.
So here’s to fond memories of the past and fond anticipation of your future wonders of the blurry kind! Very much looking forward to seeing them 🙂
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