The latest and greatest from the podcast laboratory is a discussion with my good friend Kerry Garrison, and we tackle this hot topic of 3rd generation cameras. Are these for real? What is the deal? What to look for, pros and cons…and a teaser about the DIY Prequel! All that bundled into a great episode of The Learning Digital Photography Podcast! (Episode #66).
For another bit of maintenance, I was reminded that the January contest ended and I never launched the February contest, so apologies to all who waited so patiently! Bragging rights for January (and February I guess), go to:
Evelyn gets to pick the theme for the March contest! And it’s with great excitement that I share the news there will be two winners for the month of March! My new friend Joe Farace (fellow photographer and Coloradan, as well as an esteemed journalist and long-time writer for Shutterbug magazine) has contributed not one but two copies of his book titled “Studio Lighting Anywhere”! You can read reviews and catch a sneak peak of his book over on Amazon, or simply submit your photo to the March contest thread, which is open early!
So, get shooting, and look for the word from Evelyn (hopefully in this thread) on what our theme will be. Standard contest rules apply! The thread will go live hopefully by the end of the weekend (this also gives Evelyn some time to both brag about her win and think about the theme!) Before we sign off for the weekend though, here’s the show notes for the 75 minute podcast with Kerry!
3rd Generation Cameras
1st Generation digital cameras â€“ characterized by low MP counts, â€œjaggiesâ€ and major deficiencies in tonal range
2nd Generation digital was/is todayâ€™s classification â€“ basically the maturity of the DSLR
3rd generation â€“ what we can expect in the future
Defining the Future
1.No more mirror â€“ Good vs bad?
2.No more view finder â€“ Real time versus almost real time
3.Sensor sizes â€“ non-full frame, how important is it?
Phew, long post and tons of content today, but hopefully enough to get you through the weekend! Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here on Monday! Special thanks again to Kerry Garrison for taking the time out of his schedule to sit in on the podcast, and to Joe Farace for his contribution to the monthly contest series. You can find out more about them on their website and social media presences:
I’ve long been fond of my status as a “vendor-neutral” blogger. Shortly after beginning this blog I realized that it’s not the camera that makes the photographer good, it’s who’s behind the lens that matters. I’ve got many friends who are Nikonians, others who are Pentaxians, and even a few Olympains out there. The camera doesn’t matter. I still shoot Canon-centric gear…
Equally, I’ve worked my way up the heap in a predominantly Windows-world. Beginning with Windows 3.1, 3.11 for workgroups, then on to 95, 98, the worst idea ever – Millenium, then on to XP, Vista (a.k.a. Windows 7 beta), and finally to Windows 7, I’ve become intimately familiar with the inner workings of each of these operating systems. During that time I also became pretty familiar with Apple systems: Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, and today’s Snow Leopard.
Last but not least, my phones started with the LG Flip Phone, before I migrated to a Blackberry, then an HTC. On the heels of that, I’ve also used the Samsung, Motorola Droid, Motorola Droid 2, and last but not least, the Motorola Droid X. This past weekend, I finally caved…
I now am the owner of an Apple iPhone 4s. The circle has been completed – working from home primarily on an Apple Macbook Pro, an iPad 2, and now an iPhone 4s – this Windows certified technology geek is now pretty much an Apple fanboy! I gotta admit – it is pretty cool gear! I do still work with Windows systems, primarily XP and 7 (along with the server equivalents), and am still pretty well-versed on the Android systems as well (I did a roll-out of over 250 phones on my last contract job including Windows Mobile, Android, Blackberry, and Apple devices.)
I’ve resisted the single-source ownership of computing devices for as long as I could – but the deal was just too good to pass up (psst…thanks Verizon for being out of the iPhone 4….the 4s is a great device at the discounted rate I got!) Why did I switch? Touch screen more than anything else. Every smart phone I’ve had (primarily the Motorolas), the touch screen has lost sensitivity to the point where I have found it difficult to even unlock the phone or answer a call. My upgrade window at Verizon kicked in Jan 1st. I debated long and hard about it as the iPhone 4 was a $100 upgrade cost, and the iPhone 4s was a $200 upgrade.
After trading in my Droid X and an old iPod Touch, I had about $94 in credit due…so figured for $6, I could try it once. A visit to the store and I was told that the iPhone 4 was out of stock – would I be interested in the 4s? Well sure, but I had not intended to pay more than my original upgrade cost. Well, Mr. Anderson, since you’ve been a faithful Verizon customer for so long, let’s see what we can do. I walked out of the store with the 4s for $6! Sort of a no-brainer…
Are you resisting the trend? What are your platforms? Am I joining your fold or have I betrayed the open sourced cause?
A recent birthday launching me firmly into my fourth decade of existence yielded some nice returns…which has afforded me the opportunity to upgrade my monitor. I’ve been in desperate need of an upgrade to my setup as I have been working off a Dell 19″ and a Dell 17″ for my two display setup for a while now. Given the birthday broohaha, I had about $250 to go find something new. So, on a shopping spree I went, and I come back from said spree, with three new nuggets of information to share…or more to beware of when purchasing a new monitor.
#1 – Understand the data
I was out two weeks ago with this money (probably burning a hole in my pocket, and came across an HP monitor in none other than Best Buy. The price was right ($249), as were the dimensions (23″). I was looking at some of the other monitors, and none really filled the bill like this one did. The only downside was that there was no USB port (or so I thought). The salesman also pointed out the contrast ratio of 40,000:1! Without thinking about it to much, I figured it certainly wouldn’t be a bad monitor – so why not give it a whirl! After all, a 30 day return policy to the brick-and-mortar worked in my favor. So, home it came for setup. A few landmines awaited:
Size – While the dimensions of the monitor are always important, another consideration to take into account is the elevation or lift you get. My old faithful Dell had a telescoping arm that elevated it nicely over my Drobo, and kept it right at eye level for me (or very near it to prevent me from hunching over too much and becoming Lurch!. The HP 2310m had no such benefit and I then found myself shopping around for monitor stands. Subtract another $40 for a decent quality stand (Allsop).
USB Ports – I neglected to consider that the HP had no USB ports. I previously had 3 things coming off the old monitor – a printer, my mouse, and a dangler I could connect my card reader to easily. So, some rewiring was in order. But, this helped me clean up some cable management issues, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Contrast Ratio – If you take away nothing else from this post, consider this: contrast ratios are meaningless! That’s right, they are meaningless numbers, generated by each vendor to measure their own “belief” of what the expected performance could be of the monitor under the most extreme settings. I got a hard knock here, recalling after some collaboration with the crew over in the NAPP forums (thanks to Andrew Rodney for the reminder). As it turns out, pretty much anything past 1000:1 is meaningless under a calibrated workspace, because monitors just aren’t made to produce a useful contrast past this once calibrated. Some of the really price ones from LaCie and Eizo do, but those are in the thousands of dollars range. So, keeping true to my budget, I had to settle for consumer grade gear. But, I wish I would have known that before buying, because the decision was made in haste and on bad information. So, lesson learned – know the important data! Contrast Ratio = 1000:1 or greater is fine!
#2 – Don’t Be Afraid to Settle
After finding out all these little caveats, I also got an email blast from Newegg, touting their Halloween deals, and of course, a monitor came up in the laundry list. An ASUS 25″ for $230! I was floored. Two more inches of real estate, for $30 less! So, I started digging into the reviews, forums, and consumer reports. I’d purchased a few of their motherboards over the years and was happy with those. A trip back to the NAPP forums did alert me to a few misgivings some had about the brand though, so I decided against returning the HP in exchange for the ASUS. After all, it was only $30 difference in price, and would have possibly got me in a situation where I may not have been able to return the ASUS without getting an ugly restocking fee. And besides, the low profile and lack of USB were also present there, so there wasn’t much to gain. Then I saw the LG.
It was on display at Sam’s Club, and I’d seen these things in use in lots of retail settings, including warehouse environments, retail, and even doctor offices. The seemed to be of decent enough quality, although the contrast was always way over cranked. I could fix that with a calibration though, so checked the price: $189! A savings of $60 (figure in tax). That would negate the $40 spent on the monitor stand and give me a little change back in the wallet. Off to the web I went for more research. Turns out this isn’t that bad a monitor. I decided to go for the savings and returned the HP, bringing the LG home. Now, all that was left was to set it up, and I was off to the races!
#3 – Calibrate it!
Last but not least, I set the LG up to calibrate. After twenty minutes trying to dial in the color, contrast, and brightness, I was beginning to understand the differences between vendor makes and accuracy. I’d heard of monitors that just wouldn’t calibrate and was suspecting that this was the case for the LG. (The luminance was just way to low, and the colors would never fully align to center in my Gretag Macbeth colorimeter. I finally gave up, and went to take the colorimeter off. On doing so, I noticed that the ambient light filter was still on the puck that I had used to measure ambient light. That explained it! Sans filter, I placed the colorimeter back on the monitor, and within 5 minutes, had things dialed in pretty close to perfect. My luminance is 0.5 off, the color is at 6500, and contrast is spot on dead center. It’s got 30 days to satisfy me (and assuming nothing else goes on sale…) So, word to the wise – when calibrating your monitor, remove the ambient light filter – it can save a lot of headache!
I’ve now moved the 19″ into the secondary position, the 23″ has become the primary, and the added benefit of the monitor stand has given me two new rows of surface area to store things like my thumb drives, media cards, businesss cards, and other bric-a-brac. More storage in an increasingly cluttered life is a good thing!
So, watch that contrast, check to calibrate, and exercise caution in spending habits – especially if you can’t return things easily.
Now it’s your turn – got any purchasing stories or tales to share where you learned something in the experience? Sound off in the comments, let me know your thoughts on the above, or to share your own “war stories”. Thanks for stopping in and we’ll be back tomorrow with more photo goodness.
P.S. Another heads up reminder, that the November Newsletter will be coming out this Friday, so if you’ve not signed up – make sure you pick up a subscription for it either in the sidebar or here. It’s free, and only available to subscribers!