#1115. Week Links of Photography: MQA, GPS R3, X60, IG, 8K, and more

By pascaljappy | Newsletter

May 08

In this week’s issue, a prepper destroys the GPS, MQA destroys the myth of resolution, Pop photo destroys wide angle distortion, a French weirdo optician destroys traditional photo lenses, a parrot destroys Chinese drone domination (not really), stock photographers destroy the market, the Canon R3 destroys the competition, Zeiss destroy the night, nature photographers destroy my biases, I destoy Instagram, competitions destroy me, and tornados destroy the midwest.

Castle Tioram panorama, Scotland – Sony a7Rii

Before this, just to remember what travel felt like when it was still allowed, here’s a pic of Scotland from a couple of years ago.


For those not into Audio, MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is a lossy compression codec and music capture/storage that claims to offer higher than CD quality in a conveniently small package. In a way, it is quite similar to the lossy RAW formats we get in video (ProRes RAW and BRAW) which all offer enough data for post processing manipulation, but in a file size no larger than those of lesser formats that don’t. In this video (thanks, Paul!) quite a few parallels are drawn between photography and audion. Of particular importance: the difference between the number of pixels (or claimed bits in a dynamic range) and the actual data content in the system. Interesting to watch.


Someone says drone, you hear DJI, such is the dominant position of Hasselblad’s Chinese mothership on the industry. But a little village in Gaul is resisting. Unfortunately for France, I don’t find this footage very inspiring compared to what we’re used to seeing from the competitors from the East. Caca boudin!

Now: what do a lighthouse and a modern telephoto lens have in common? Fresnel lenses. And this videos gives a very intuitive presentation of what those are.

My childhood would have been a lot more soothing – schoolwise – if my teachers had been this simple and entertaining πŸ˜‰

The Canon R3 Has the Potential to Transform Photography. Specifications, historical trends and academic research place this Canon at the top of the hill.

vivo partners with ZEISS to advance smartphone photography, starting with the X60. Apparently, vivo are a leading smartphone manufacturer, which probably explains why I’d never heard of them before (which is purely a judgment of my general market awareness, not a comment on vivo). Anyway, they are combining a Zeiss f/1.48 lens and a high precision noise reduction algorithm for great nightime performance.

Fujifilm X-A20 Review. Cheap thrills, what can I say? Plus a hands-on review that’s not made in grandma’s basement shooting paper charts.



Why do the Carters look so tiny alongside Joe Biden and his wife Jill in this picture? A lesson in wide angle perspective, further elaborated upon here: It’s not simply wide-angle distortion making this photo of the Bidens and the Carters look weird. Also, my guess is the Carters are fairly small people to begin with.

Shadows In TheSky (8K, 4K) from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

Mesmerizing work by Mike Olbinski …


Market & stuff

Inside the lucrative world of stock photography. A deep dive into the money-making tactics of millionnaire stock-photographers, and the world that surrounds them.

How to get started with a photography account on Instagram. Hey, I’m just kidding. The only good answer here is “don’t do it” πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2021. OK. I hate to admit this, but those competitors are becoming more and more creative every year. Defo worth a look. And since I’m renouncing all my anti-competitive vows, I might as well refer you to the really compelling (read different) photographs of the Winners of the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards.

Castle Tioram panorama, Scotland – Samsung Galaxy S9


A Mirrored Ceiling and Gleaming Tile Floor Turn This Chinese Bookstore into an Immersive M.C. Escher-Style Illusion. The title pretty much says it all. There’s not much here to learn, but it’s interesting to watch πŸ™‚

How long will GPS last if SHTF? What can break GPS? Fun probably doesn’t describe this properly. Interesting is probably a better adjective πŸ˜‰ This is a deep dive into how the GPS system functions, is maintained and could be taken offline, by a prepper.


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  • Dallas says:

    Pascal, love the Scotland picture, if plans had happened we would have been there know, next year. Great post as usual. Dallas

  • Michael Fleischer says:

    Wonderful post, full of interesting bits I would probably not have come across…like fresnel…(probably due to “The Usual Suspects” syndrome). The “Shadows in The Sky” is breathtaking, music so cool and contrasting laid-back and changing from Monochrome to Colour in the end really works! Thanks, and now I really want to travel.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I’ll have to leave MQA with the “smart” people like you, Pascal. I’ve come through the era of the old 78’s & “Gramophones”, through vinyl LPs and the ghastly problems with dust, the convenience of digi & CDs. And I’ve played “real” music all my life – still do. My main interest in records is analytical – comparing how half a dozen performers play the same piece – or hauling an opera into my study, to listen to a performance way beyond my own personal resources. While I was looking at your post, I was actually listening to Smetana – sigh!
    The baby FUJI looks interesting – I can imagine me as a child, looking for a starter camera, being mesmerised by that one. 16MP is quite enough, and the idea of a”real” camera that size, with interchangeable lenses, would have had mean drooling all over the floor of the camera shop, in my early teens.
    Marketing – competitions – Instagram. Pas pour moi. For well over half my life I’ve rarely even shown any of my photos to anyone else. Spend on photography – earn the revenue to fund the expenditure, some place else. Too harrowing for my introverted soul. Apart from things like family weddings, a commercial macro shoot I did of some jewellery – and my pet photography, but that’s different, people always fall over the photos of their pets!
    I’m afraid that Chinese bookshop wouldn’t suit me at all – you need a pet monkey, to scale those stacks and get down the book[s] you were interested in. Stunning views, in it, though.
    I like the idea of using fresnel lenses in an extreme tele – but what are the resulting optical qualities? A lighthouse is scarcely “equivalent” – their needs are less demanding. Machining a fresnel for high grade photographic lenses would be EXTREMELY demanding, I imagine. I’d love to see side-by-side comparisons!
    The end of GPS? Well no surprise that it attracts hackers – they a re always out there, trying to sharpen their knives and destroy something or hold somone to ransome. Curious way to go through life, but morbidly fascinating to those who do it, no doubt. Fortunately both my dog and I have our own inbuilt GPS, so I’ll sit this one out.

    • pascaljappy says:

      What competitions do, that doesn’t appeal to me, is to promote a winner takes all psychology, all based on very subjective criteria. There are some in the Sony winner list that would have been laughed out of the room by another jury, and others that are truly superb. Collective exhibitions appeal to me far more, because they all revolve around a central theme and show how individuals relate to that theme. Far more interesting in my mind. But competitions are easier to market so that’s what we are getting.

      The Baby Fuji is probably something Ansel Adams would have killed for. Kind of ironic that most clueless amateurs would look down on it today, right? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

      Andrew St Pierre White is an overlander who used to own a mapping company in Souther Africa. He explains in one of his videos that one irate client came to him at a fair to complain about the gross inaccuracies in the maps, which could have cost him his life. So Andrew returned to all the places he had painstakingly tagged with GPS coordinates some years before and found a significant few to be off by miles. Regularly, my own car GPS sees me driving in the middle of fields. And my son tells me he can’t rely on GPS why flying his planes. The whole system belongs to a country, with its own agenda, and is regularly hacked, most probably by its owners. So, never rely exclusively on it for life and death situations, I guess.

      Fresnel. I honestly don’t know. My guess is quality must be essentially the same in theory, but manufacturing probably involves different processes and probably leads to different “qualities”. Big brands wouldn’t use them in their lenses if there were big issues. My question is what happens to the paraxial rays that arrive smack on an edge between the circular lens profile and a cutout. My only experience with fresnel lenses if from the big plastic rectangles my grandparents used to magnify the text in encyclopedias. Those would not have made the cut for quality photo optics πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        “My question is what happens to the paraxial rays that arrive smack on an edge between the circular lens profile and a cutout”
        Quite – exactly – mine, too! At one particular distance from the camera, perhaps, everything goes through, the way it should. Stand closer or further away, and I cannot imagine that the incoming rays of light would ALWAYS miss the flat side of the fresnel.
        I can’t even imagine – in ANY circumstances! – ALL of the incoming rays of light missing the “joint” between the edge of the flat part and the edge of the curved part, on all of the rings, in a fresnel lens.
        But then WTF would I know anyway?

  • Paul Lasky says:

    Exciting work from Mike Olbinski. Huge tornados, flashing and violet lighting, creative mixed color and monochrome editing, beautiful color grading, haunting melody, gorgeous and extremely sensual vocals, this video has it all! But as great as this work is, it strongly ( in my opinion) illustrates a couple of easily overlooked features. As good as the components are, the sum of them together is huge and much better. Just as the haiku plus images project shows off something much more than the two parts, so does Shadows in the Sky. I am in awe of the work that Olbinski put into this. I’ve done storm shoots before out in New Mexico, and I can tell from personal experience, Shadows in the Sky, is truly exceptional. Also look at his other work, like β€œMonsoon 6”. It too is special.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Indeed. It takes a lot of experience, hard work, trials and talent to achieve something this good. As you say, the sum is greater than the components. Truly inspiring work.

  • Claude Hurlbert says:

    Thanks for this post, Pascal. Mike Olbinski’s work (new to me) is incredible. I followed the link to his Vimeo site–such powerful, awful (full of awe) work. The way he sometimes moves from the powerful to the beautiful in image, or vice versa, is spectacular. The sense of movement in his films is choreographic, precise, particular and, of course, sweeping. Wow.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Yes, this was my most pleasing find of the week. Superb work. It’s a little bit unsettling that such devastation can look as beautiful from afar, but there’s no denying storms can lead to wonderful images, when filmed with such talent.

      • Claude Hurlbert says:

        Yes, Pascal, though human suffering caused by storms is not Olbinski’s explicit subject matter in the films I have so far watched, one cannot help but think about the people on the ground. I am thinking, here, about his first Vorticity film. The cloud dance becomes more and more intense, ominous, until the tornado finally makes its appearance. It is a dreadful moment because one knows what may very well follow. The sublime reminds us of our place in the scheme of things; it reawakens and educates us. And here, in Oblinski’s work, it also reminds us of our ethical responsibilities or obligations to others, if by inference rather than explicit image. Thanks again for this post.


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