Sunday, January 28, 2018

You Shall Hear of Cameras and Rumors of Cameras

It's late January, with the holiday season but a memory now. Hopefully you would have gotten the camera that you were hoping for. If that doesn't describe you, then hopefully the camera that you have is the one that are happy with. Why? Because a new year brings a fresh season of camera rumors. Just a few tips to remember if you find yourself hoping for the next thing on the horizon:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

What the Camera Industry Did not Learn from Apple

Back in the years leading up to Steve Jobs' passing in 2011, Apple was well and truly on an ascendant path. New products every year, incredible growth in unit sales and an expectation that there was always going to be something new on the horizon. It's not so much today in 2017, where their product lineup can best be described as evolutionary and their strategy to be one of consolidation. But never mind that; those of us roped into corporate strategy meetings at the time were subjected to one too many gatherings that basically revolved around the theme of "How can we be like Apple?" Actually, what our corporate masters meant was "How can we make more money like Apple"...  because why bothering making the tough choices that Apple made and doing all of the hard work when you can just emulate their success? /sarcasm

Here's one of those "be like Apple" moments in history:

Source: Apple via CNBC

There's a gem in the data and it's clear as day. Do you see it?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vancouver in Anime Form

This one certainly caught the locals' eyes here in Vancouver.

This is the short anime commercial "Warm, Winter Canada," complete with famous Canadian tourist destinations rendered in anime form. (Banff, Vancouver,  Niagara Falls, Toronto) The promotion piece was produced by studio CoMix Wave Films of "Your Name" fame. What's amazing about the Vancouver portions of the film are how instantly recognizable they are, but in a romanticized way. Take these two cuts from Granville Island:

First, the entrance to the public market:


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Nikon D7500 Review and Buyer's Guide

A little bit of old, a little bit of new. The Nikon D7500 with hte AF-D 50mm f/1.4.

The usual logic of DSLR upgrades is to wait at least two generations before upgrading if value for money is the main consideration. As such, there is an easy case to not upgrade to the Nikon D7500 if you already own a D7200. In fact, there is a solid case to still go for the older camera in 2017, as the D7500 isn't so much of an up-grade as it is a side-grade. In years past, Nikon came out with the metal-bodied semi-pro version of their serious DX bodies first, then the lighter enthusiast-grade plastic bodies later. The business sense behind this is that cameras like the D100,  D200 and D300 bring in more margin by virtue of the higher price point and the fact that users of these cameras tend to be willing to by that the start of the model life-cycle without the benefit of instant rebates or discounting. Once the sensor generation was established, the platform gets migrated to the broader D70/D80/D90 level where sales volume takes over.

That was a predictable pattern until the D7000, which split the difference between the enthusiast and semi-pro levels. While many waited (not so) patiently for the D400 (eventually to arrive as the D500), the D7xxx series became the unified face of serious enthusiast and semi-pro, and did so credibly. Even if they weren't as rugged as the D300, the D7000 and it's successors were nonetheless more capable by the sheer fact that time had moved on, and along with it the underlying technology.

During this time Nikon did everything it could to steer what used to be D300 users up to full frame; from the ill-fated D600 up to the well-rounded D750. However, there is only so much money to go around, and only so much of it that can be spent on full frame. Nikon's commercial viability depends the enthusiast/semi-pro class of DSLR's, as this is a large portion of their total sales volume.

So is the D7500 the step-down of the D500? Yes, very much so... but just as the D7000 broke the predictable 1-2 roll-out pattern, the D7500 is yet another fork in the product pathway for Nikon.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Banality of Professional Equipment: Meditations on the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM II

"Beyond the scope of this blog" is the standard excuse I've used over the years whenever I've written about things that I have no business writing about. True professional photography is certainly one of them; and if ever I had proper reason to shoot with an Canon EF 600mm f4 IS USM II then perhaps I would be more versed and qualified to pontificate. However, even for the non-working photographer,  there are a few things that are easy to pick up on when you do get your hands on upper-level equipment. One of the most counter-intuitive is just how easy things can be with pro-grade equipment.

Certainly a EOS 5D Mark IV (like the one above) or a 1Dx Mark II (like the one below) have more features and customization than lesser cameras, but when the time comes, the actual act of shooting becomes so much simpler because of their capability. You would think that there would be some grand sense of the moment using a lens that costs over $11,000 USD , but once you concentrate on the task at hand, things become.... easy.... uneventful even. This is really what "professional quality" should mean; the equipment should be more sophisticated in order to make the job easy.