And What If The Gear Was Also What Makes… You a Better Photographer?

Of course, it’s the photographer who takes/makes the photograph. I’ve always said that but in the end, isn’t it a little demagogic. I know I’m not going to make a lot of friends saying this but, I do not completely agree when I hear that the equipment is not the photographer. Of course it is the photographer … at least partially! There are too many ingredients that makes that a photo will touch other people for us to exclude THIS reason. An 85mm f/1.4 is quite superior to a 28-70mm f3.5/5.6. And what if behind this “truth”, were hiding other feelings…

Photography is intimately linked to camera equipment. For a singer for instance, there is really no artifice. But a picture, it is different …

Talent is obviously above the material contingencies but with very good material it is better expressed if not simply expressed themselves. Cartier-Bresson worked with Leica, Vincent Munier, with the latest Nikkor telephoto lenses and Ussain Bolt does not beat his records with my sneakers! (Read our article about the favorite lenses of famous photographers)

Talent is obviously above the material contingencies but with very good material it is even better expressed!

So we all agree that these talented characters would still be very talented with low-end gear. But why be masochistic and work with cheap equipment just because we have talent? And why, if you have no talent – in one’s opinion – shouldn’t we use a wonderful lens? There, I think we will all agree.

What can this old saying be hiding in the back of our heads?

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I am aware that I therefore address a very tricky topic because often visceral. There are so many different ways to take photographs! With very simple equipment or very complex, very expensive or just very affordable, like your smartphone. Very pragmatic or artful, with or without talent …

So what about those who want this specific lens and, conversely, those who say that the material does not make you a better photographer. Here is what I think and here is my feeling about this: Continue reading And What If The Gear Was Also What Makes… You a Better Photographer?

The Sony Nomenclature and Symbols

You might have heard that the Sony E-mount system hit the 50 lenses a few days ago with the much anticipated 14mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4 from Samyang/Rokinon. It might be time now for a Sony guide as it is not simple at first to understand its nomenclature: there are different frames covered, several mounts and several product range. In addition, Sony optical technologies are bristling with sometimes complex acronyms. Do not worry, we will explain everything!

The Mounts A-Mount
E/FE-Mount
Adapters
Product range : Sony
Sony G
Sony G Master
Sony Zeiss
Nomenclature : Optical coatings and treatments A, AA, ED, Super ED, Nano AR Coating, T*
Auto-focus motors SAM, SSM, DDSSM
Optical stabilization OSS, Active OSS
Characteristics ADI, IF, FHB, FRL, RF, SMO

 

La grande famille des optiques Sony

The Sony Mounts

Sony has 2 main distinctive mounts: Continue reading The Sony Nomenclature and Symbols

32 Things Photographers Say And What They Really Mean

Photography has a language all of its own (Photography Slang Explained); a rich mix of camera jargon, lens acronyms and technical buzzwords that can be an utterly baffling sea of noise to beginners. But, with the internet and all, it doesn’t take long to know your f-stops from your fill-flash, and be able to separate HDR, DOF and TTL.

Forget photography slang terms and DSLR doublespeak, though. It’s the other things that photographers say – or rather don’t say – that are often more confusing. When a fellow photographer says that they’re ‘completely self-taught’ what are they actually trying to tell us?

WTD1283
http://www.whattheduck.net/

If they describe themselves as a ‘fine-art’ landscape photographer, what are they really trying to say? Some of the things that spill from the mouths of photographers are loaded with double meaning…

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of things that photographers say, and provided translations of their true meanings. Just remember that the purpose is also to have some self introspection and some humor is needed!

What the duck12
http://www.whattheduck.net/

When photographers say…
What are you shooting?
They actually mean… Continue reading 32 Things Photographers Say And What They Really Mean

Breaking the Rules – Street Photography with the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

We’d normally use ultra-wide lenses for two reasons: (1)  to capture something very big (i.e. landscapes, buildings, stars in the sky); or (2) to create a sense of space in a place where there is none (i.e. real estate photography). Portraits are generally a big no-no because its inherent visual perspective creates a sense of unease. But then again, a cinematographer like Masanobu Takayanagi can use it masterfully in Silver Linings Playbook to subtly bring out Bradley Cooper’s troubled mental state in front of Jennifer Lawrence.

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Ian Norman over at The Lonely Speck uses this Rokinon to great results for his astrophotography

I bought my Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 on a whim and while it was on sale. At $339 MSRP, it is one of the most affordable lenses in the Sony E Mount line up. But as neither a landscape or an astrophotographer, I had no real need for an ultra-wide. And I suspect for real-estate photographers, who incidentally have the highest average salaries out of all photographer types, they won’t be relying on this bargain basement lens with wild barrel distortions either.

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The Rokinon is also labeled as the Samyang. When mounted to the A7 series, it is absolutely humongous. Not the ideal street photography lens then, but fun to use nonetheless.

One day, over better qualified candidates like the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 and as if to defy the camera gods, I decided to bring this lens during my recent trip to China for Lunar New Years since Asia, in general, is great for street photography. So, I challenged myself to use a 14mm ultra-wide on the streets and this is what I’ve learned.

Continue reading Breaking the Rules – Street Photography with the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

Photographing “China B”

Spanning into the mists of time, its history has predicated thousands of years of philosophies, dogmas, and customs. It’s population, a conceptually difficult to imagine 1,357,000,000, is ultra diverse in its cultures, languages, and cuisines. It’s also very large, the same size as the United States, as it borders 14 adjacent developing countries.

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Shanghai, or as Anthony Bourdain put it, as city that makes his New York City look like a third world country.

What many envision China today, perhaps through news programs, tourism, or the Beijing Olympics, may be a rapidly developing economy with shining beacon cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing. However, few casual tourists or tie-wearing business people will have the opportunity to venture into China’s countryside, to rural roads less traveled, and to what one scholar termed as “China B.”

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Power lines stretch across resting winter farmlands.

In my recent travels to China during Lunar New Years, I had the opportunity to travel to an old town on the outskirts of Xi’an, in the Shanxi province, right in the middle of the country. Along the 1.5 hour car ride, I pointed my Sony A7 out the window and capture a side of the country rarely seen. Every image below was shot with a Sony A7 with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8. The lens focused quickly and confidently, but it was the micro-contrast of the images that really inspired.

Continue reading Photographing “China B”