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Re: [OM] Window Shopping for cameras

Subject: Re: [OM] Window Shopping for cameras
From: Ken Norton <ken@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2020 16:58:45 -0800
Moose thus written forth:
> OK, I'll bite. Other than "Mine is BIGGER than yours", what is the point of 
> such large sensors and huge numbers of pixels?

Huge numbers of pixels? I am pretty convinced that there is a
diminishing return after a certain point. What's that point? I think
it's about 16MP. However, as we talk about micro-contrast, I think
that more is better. This was always true in the film era where medium
and large format B&W images seemed to always have smoother gradients
than 35mm images--even with the same film. I think there are
exceptions to the rule, such as with the E-1, which hugely punches
above its weight, and the E-3 which has the proverbial "Glass Jaw" in
this regard. For the most part, I could easily work with 16MP for just
about anything and not come up lacking. For sharing on social media,
even the E-1 far and away exceeds the "output medium" of a typical
1600 pixel width.

Size of the sensor is another story. However, this is less about the
sensor and more about the lenses. I really like some of my old OM
Zuiko lenses and want to use them more properly than a crop-sensor
will allow. But is this a practical consideration or is this a "want"
consideration? Good question. The lens selection of m43 lenses from
Olympus and Panasonic are simply incredible. It's a VERY rich platform
in this regard. However, if I could say that there is an inherent flaw
in the lenses is that they are too perfect. The entire look/feel of
the images are heavily engineered to perfection. But in that, they've
engineered out some of the seasoning that makes me smile.

Of the OM Zuiko line, the lenses I'd like to use in native range are
the 21/3/5, 28/2, 35/2, 35-80/2.8, 100/2, and 300/4.5. Most of the
other lenses, as good as they are, can be matched or exceeded by
native m43 glass. That little body-cap Lumix 12-32 lens is easily one
of the sharpest and well-behaved lenses I've used in any format in any
system. Alas, no focus ring and very small maximum aperture. As a
creative tool, it lacks the flavoring I want. But as a go-anywhere
lens on a toy-sized camera? You betcha.

I do have to do some herd thinning around here. The body count is
higher than a Chicago morgue on a summer weekend. It really is getting
out of control and I'm just not using some stuff any more since I
closed down the darkroom. I really don't want the Zone-10 Living
History Farm to turn into a museum. With some items, it's long-since
passed that point.

> I have stood in Ctein's printer room, peering closely at prints made from 16 
> MP Oly E-M5 II files and from E-M5 II HR
> Mode files. The HR files are 64 MP, but closer to 50 MP in actual detail 
> resolution.

As seems to be typical, all the way back to the L1/E330 days,
Panasonic has a slight edge when it comes to the edge. The AA filter
is either non-existent, or greatly weakened as compared to the Olympus
cameras. This is a double-edged sword, though, and aliasing artifacts
will occur. That said, Lightroom is now so capable of pulling details
out of Olympus files (even the E-1) that there is little reason to
worry about resolving abilities. The latest/greatest from Adobe
breathes new life into almost any old camera image in ways that are
mind-boggling. I've been revising old files and it's like I have a
brand-new camera.

> More dynamic range? Sure, if you say so. And yet, recent µ4/3 sensors are 
> remarkably ISO invariant. Shoot to hold the
> highlights and pull up the lower regions in post. Do I really need more 
> practical DR than this shot, taken with the last
> generation of 4/3 size sensors? 
> <http://www.moosemystic.net/Gallery/tech/GX85/GX85Shadows.htm>

That's pretty consistent with my results too. The GX85 has more
practical DR than the "Kodak Kids", but an S-Curve is required to get
the mid-range tones to come alive. If you pull up the shadows in the
CCD images, you get a ton of noise, but you also get a ton of color
integrity and detail. The "painterly effect" is pretty apparent with
CMOS images that isn't there with the CCD images. Canon files are very
problematic in this regard. But the highlights contains gobs of
information that you can recover and use. But the CCD images are
blocked up.

> I have been shooting with a FL range of 14-800 mm, (now 10-800) FF eq. and 
> often find myself wanting longer and wider.
> The FL range of Fuji lenses in GF mount is 18 to 85 mm eq. with Laowa 
> offering a manual 13 mm eq.

I think a 7-14mm in 43/m43 would be nice... That would lock down the
wide-end for me. On the long end, reaching out longer would be better.
The zooms get me out to 150mm (300 equivalent), and I am using the OMZ
200/4 and 300/4.5 lenses for additional reach. These days, that's
mostly for airplane photography. I certainly would like a little bit
longer zoom range.

Where this is all going, I'm not sure, but I've got reason to consider
expanding the m43 system. The Virus thing has completely upended stuff
this year, but I'm getting back into doing some wedding and portrait
photography. For weddings, it's critical to have two cameras with
matched "color science". I'd prefer to stick with the Kodak CCD sensor
stuff for portraiture, but for weddings, I really need something that
is more/better with high-ISOs and fast AF, or at least a form of focus
confirmation. The Panasonics give focus confirmation, but most cameras
do not. For hiking/nature photography here in Alaska, smaller really
is better.

And that's another reason why I'm not feeling excited about Sony.
While I get to use some lenses the way they were meant to be used,
it's still another camera with another color science that has to be

AG Schnozz
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