#1349. Diversity in GAS

By pascaljappy | Opinion

Feb 26

This weekend, I was fortunate enough to try 4 cameras

Samsung Galaxy S9

Here’s another brief post from me as I return from a quick visit to the UK to see friends and family.

My X1D stayed at home to keep luggage light, but my old phone was always in my pocket. See pics above and below.

Out of camera, files feel a little flat. But with a little tweaking in Google’s app, they are easily good enough to document precious moments and even for more personal “work”. Two minor drawbacks are how slow the Google app is and that the jpeg files place a limit on how much editing can happen before the file looks unnatural. All in all, though, it’s fun, and impressive.

Galaxy S9
Galaxy S9
Galaxy S9
Galaxy S9
Galaxy S9
Galaxy S9

My son being the proud owner of an iPhone 15 Pro Max, it was possible to compare it to my much older Android offering.

The photos below are made in the same light and at the same time as most of the above, and all are SOOC jpegs. Yes, these phones can produce RAW files. But do you really want to shoot RAW on a phone ?

Without needing any retouching, those images are more painterly than those from my personal phone. They strike a very nice balance between the modern desire for resolution and contrast, and a traditional aesthetic. Given that this somewhat filmic tone curve isn’t what other iPhone 15 images display, I’m left to wonder whether Apple hasn’t applied some sort of “adaptive” processing that recognizes the quality of light (or something else) and adjusts accordingly. Whatever the case, Charlie Waite and his film 6×6 and filters wouldn’t have rejected this look! Kudos Apple.

iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max

The other two cameras were not phones.

A rare opportunity to meet up with co-writer Paul (Perton) offered me a chance to get my paws on a Hasselblad X2D and snap a few shots. Those shots are not with me now, but Paul did send one of his own over after our meeting (thanks Paul). Since it is in keeping with the theme of canal boats, here it is below.

The X2D feels quite different from the X1D in hand. The grip is thinner and deeper, the buttons more shallow and snappier. The AF and viewfinder certainly feel more modern and the image, from my limited experience, looks very similar (though with more resolution at 100%, obviously).

ngiyabonga (c) Paul Perton, Hasselblad X2D and XCD 120 Macro

And, finally, my daughter brought another camera to our meeting. A … film … camera.

Hmmmm after all those years, I did not think the temptation was still here, bubbling quietly beneath the surface of my consciousness. But using that old Canon AE-1 brought back sooo many conflicting feelings.

I don’t want to use film again. It’s an urbanite thing. Out in the boonies, a liability. And an expensive one at that. But the shooting experience … oh dear, so so good. A story for another day. Let me just say that it was loaded with b&w film, that the photos haven’t yet been developed (the stand-in below is from my Galaxy S9) and I really anticipate seeing them 🙂

Galaxy S9

So, while it’s possible to compare those cameras on standardized technical terms and on aesthetic ones, it’s the use-case that stands out to me the most (although seeing the incremental aesthetic effect of larger and larger sensors, on this page, does make me regret once again that the industry shifted towards more pixels rather than larger surfaces).

My S9 is decent enough to indulge in light PP, the iPhone delivers a wonderful finished image, the X2D provides a feeling of towering potential and the film takes you somewhere else completely, both in terms of shooting experience and final looks.

Aren’t we lucky to have so many options?


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  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Aah, makes me think of The Wind in the Willows…:

    “Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily: “messing—about—in—boats; messing—”
    “Look ahead, Rat!” cried the Mole suddenly.

    – – * – –

    Great, Pascal,
    how you show that quite often sensor _size_ doesn’t really matter!
    – – * – –

    For anyone wanting to read more about the role of sensor size:

    Ming Thein – while he maintained his blog – wrote a couple of posts on different aspects of sensor size.
    He gives good reasons!
    Here are links to three plus a nice post of his on DPReview.


    I also remember a post about a professional project where he – needing extra large DOF – used a small sensor (~1/2″) compact zoom camera for many of the photos, and the customer never guessed that he hadn’t used his FF system.

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      I love “Wind in the Willows”, too, Kristian – in fact I still have a lavishly illustrated special edition of it. And I’m glad Ming left his blog open, for the rest of the world to continue to explore his legacy. A truly remarkable man!

      • Kristian Wannebo says:

        🙂 , Pete!
        Some years ago I gave an illustrated Swedish translation to a (grown-up) friend – and later found out that the important chapter about hearing and almost meeting (and forgetting about it) the Friend and Helper was missing!
        I guess some over ambitious un-understanding editor had cut it.

        I *hate* it, when grown-up people underestimate children and deny them important experiences!!

        But the latest edition is complete again.
        – – * – –

        Aye, there’s certainly a lot of great photo stuff on blog.mingthein.com !
        And a lot – especially in later years – of *very* good photography.

        And there’s where I found out about DearSusan!
        🙂 !!

  • Jon Maxim says:

    Thank you Pascal. Fascinating post. Did it make you want to run out and trade in your X1D?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you, Jon. The X2D didn’t, though I might need to at some point because the X1D is on its last legs. But the film camera did send shivers down my spine … ouch 😉

  • Allan Dew says:

    Hi Pascal,
    As always your images are beautiful.
    I’m in complete agreement with you regarding the “pixel” race. My arsenal consists of the original 24 mp Q, iPhone 15 pro and the 61 mp Sigma Fpl. What I’ve learned while travelling with the Sigma is it takes very little time to fill your iPad and if you don’t have high speed internet a long time to get those large files into the cloud. That is never a problem with the 24mp Q or the IPhone. I can only imagine what it’s like with a 100mp camera. For me I feel this is where “ less (and bigger) is more”.
    All the best

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Allan, the promises of “reviewers” don’t always stand in the face of reality, do they? I do wish more of those high-resolution cameras offered options for lower ones when the highest res isn’t needed or desired.
      All the best, Pascal

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone else who’s managed to wear out a Hassy!

    For the record – I only ever resort to using the camera in a telephone when there is no alternative. If there’s a camera within range, no, never, absolutely not! It’s like trying to eat spaghetti with your fingers! While I admit that it’s “possible”, it simply isn’t “interesting”. And I am still rejoicing at the memory of that fool who thought he could take a pano of Rottnest, too, and proceeded to produce something that was shaped like a very curved banana, with a deep royal blue sea, and the wholel image surrounded by a severely serrated edge. Somewhat different from mine – which has a boringly flat horizon, is 2 metres wide and 15 cm high, and hangs above our bed.

    But getting back to your theme – over many years, I tried and/or saw a huge variety of images. Both in B&W and in colour. I always thought Kodak was loud, brash, bold and hideous – colours designed to scream at you, to flip unthinking minds. Ektakolor was far more life like, if still slightly OTT. Liveable. Fuji was a delightful change – a bit too subdued perhaps, but always very pleasant.

    And then came digi. With it, the ability to carry out my own processing on colour photos. So I abandoned all my film gear and went totally 100% digi – practically all colour, instead of mostly B&W. And I’ve been revelling in it ever since.

    Throughout this journey, there have been two driving forces – creativity and pleasure. Interrelated and inseparable. I’ve mentioned before, discovering – and then discarding – the “rules” of composition. It was a brief flirtation, but like many of the flirtations we had when we were young, it was never going to last. For one simple reason – I’ve never liked being “told” what to do – it stifles creativity, and destroys pleasure.

    And I think that’s a large part of my reason for ignoring the possibilities of cellphones. OK for some, but for me, they just don’t “click”. In either paddock – creativity – or pleasure. It’s like flying. Some prefer to sit in an Airbus and leave the flying to the pilot. Some like to fly single seater, single engine job. Some like to fly a helicopter. And some like hang gliding. À chacun son goût!

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