Mirrorless Cameras (MILC) and Lenses

LunarMist

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It will probably be a fast, manual focus lens for the poseurs.
A few years ago Nikon had those ads with the creepy guy wandering around the woods with Nikon Df.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Long photo-related but mostly off-topic rant to follow

My partner just moved from an iPhone 14 Pro Max to an iPhone 15 Plus, because while she is happy to get USB-C to match every other goddamned thing in the house (jokingly, the same charger as her vape), the Pro Max doesn't come in pink, and she wanted a pink phone. I am not joking about this. She was given so much value on the trade-in that she has a credit on her cell service now.

Anyway, I have learned some things.

She had about 135,000 photos on her old phone. These are the photos of her ENTIRE LIFE, starting from the time that she was three years old. This by itself is absolute insanity to me, because even the oldest images of her are 5MP and approximately DVD-quality video. It's all documented to that degree.

About 25,000 of the photos she has are photos are from her past adult modeling work. Not necessarily photos she took herself, but photos that are stored on her phone and ONLY her phone. This is the biggest reason she has avoided cloud photo storage. I didn't even know these photos existed until a few days ago. And herein lies the problem:

Apple does not appear to allow mobile devices to show albums as they exist on a phone when the phone is connected to either a Windows or Apple PC, and it also does not show photos in a coherent filesystem through a data cable connection unless they were taken with the current device. I have laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports. I have Thunderbolt 3 cables. I have a couple Macs sitting around. Neither of them are exactly current M-whatever models, but the newer one is a 2018 Mac Mini, which is upgraded to Sonoma.

When I view the "filesystem" presented to any sort of personal computer by the phone, it only displays the photos taken on the old phone, and not any other photos that might reside on it. This is pretty easy to figure out in her case, since nearly all the photos she's taken with the phone have wound up being the usual selfies and pictures of food. Notably missing are, you know, the other 130,000 photos. They're just not presented if you open Finder or File Explorer. They also don't SEEM to follow any sane folder organization. We could find photos taken the same night in three different folders.

Apple's current instructions for itunes/Windows say that version 12.12 should have device control, including the ability to view photos and albums. This does not appear to be correct. The icon to control the phone that way never appears on a Windows 10 device connected over Thunderbolt.

It DOES show up on a Mac, but the Mac still cannot view the photos in their album organization unless both the Mac and the phone are signed in to an Apple ID.

Users do not have to make an Apple ID to use a Mac, any more than Windows users have to make a Microsoft ID. Moreover, Nadia has never used more than the basic 5GB of backup on her Apple ID. But the Albums from the phone didn't show up until she made an account using her Apple ID on that Mac, nor could we see some of the folders that had been saved from other devices. Basically, even WITH the Apple Account, not all her pictures showed up.

The intention had originally been to make sure that everything was backed up locally, since she's never been willing to pay Apple for cloud storage. Turns out that most of the photos on her phone just aren't exposed through the visible filesystem when the phone is connected to a computer.

Wanna know what finally fucking worked?

Google Photos. Google Photos could see all the pictures, all 135,000 of them.

I have a 5TB Google Workspace account. I made a shared album and she moved all her pictures into THAT. It only took us about 14 hours to figure out that solution, plus another four or so hours of waiting for the all clear that the sync finished, but it was honestly the only thing that actually fully addressed the issue without buying a 2TB iCloud plan that she didn't want in the first place and which I am sure is the reason the experience is so broken to begin with.

This HAS made Nadia kinda-sorta see the light about iOS, but since her phone is still absolutely a status symbol for her, she still thinks it was all worth it. I think the goddamned things and every single human being who uses them should be ejected into orbit.
 

LunarMist

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Kids with no tech savy is no surprise. I suppose she doesn't travel much.
 
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Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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She travels more than I do. In fact, she won't even be back in Indiana until the end of October and after that, not until December.
 

LunarMist

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In every country I've been to the devices are subject to inspection at customs.
 

LunarMist

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DXO 7 was announced. Other than possibly fixing the funky colors, I'm not sure what it brings besides being a requirement for newer cameras.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Maybe they'll have some extraordinary new AI DeNoise. I'd pay $300 for DxO if it means getting something closer to the thing built in to Lightroom Classic.
 

LunarMist

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From what I see the PS and LR classics are $240/year; probably some discounts are available. The DXO 7 Elite upgrade is $109, but I won't get it yet.
Regardless of what software you use it is a trivial cost compared to the overall cost of doing business: camera gear, lighting, props, advertising, insurance, etc.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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There's an even cheaper plan that basically doesn't have any online storage but for me the there's a matter of principle because Adobe is on the same list as Apple and Western Digital. If someone ever makes me the benevolent dictator of the world, past and present employees of those companies are going to get to see my Pol Pot side up close and personal.

The biggest problem with Adobe was dealing with their (old) licensing system, where you might have to wait two weeks for their support to get back with a request to move a license from one PC to another. Which would lead to graphics people begging IT admins to put their personal or pirated copies on new computers, just so they could get back to work. Adobe just didn't care, and it to all kinds of problems.
But then you also had Flash and Acrobat, which were kind of the unprotected anal intercourse and heroin needle sharing one-two punch of PC malware infections.
 

LunarMist

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So you don't like to use PS, then what for the noisy images? I don't think anything is nearly as good as DXO or adobe. Topaz has lost the plot.
 

LunarMist

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I can't even tell what's being advertised by that.
Z 135/1.8 S. The main claim to fame is the relatively low light falloff wide open. Of course the bokahs are excellent. I have zero use for that kind of lens though and Canon has a 135/1.8 which is pretty fine also.
 

LunarMist

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I've stuck with Topaz for now.
The DeNoise or the AI? I only use Topaz for the TIF files. DXO is much better for high-ISO RAW files. It's not even close and Topaz AI is not a full program. I suppose people use it for DNG, but now why not just use PS or LR altogether?
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I've been using Topaz AI. Lightroom is vastly superior from a tech standpoint, but as a question of whether or not I'm willing to give Adobe a blank check to use its software for all time, the answer is no. I can get acceptable results out of Topaz.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Do you use LUTs or presets in processing, ever? I very often use LUTs that simulate well known medium format film stock to finish portraits. I see that DxO has a collection of those that can be purchased with DxO.
 

LunarMist

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Not a chance. Film curves were not really accurate, but we worked hard to make them look good. Now those goofy DXO and similar profiles make digital look worse in some cases than film needed to be back then. It's ridiculous, like when somebody take a high quality film from 40 years ago and makes it look like it was dragged through the dirt for neuralgia purposes. The youths out there have no clue that image quality (and sound quality) from decades ago was possibly quite high at the time, but look "old" now due to fading film stocks, multiple generation copies, etc.

Why medium format film? I cannot think of any 120/220 emulsions that were not available in 135 format. There were far fewer options in 120 and even fewer yet in 220. 120 was stupidly short unless you were on 645 or barely OK for 6x6, but I used mostly 6x9 (8 frames on 120) and 6x7 (10 frames on 120).
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Photos of human subjects can at times appear too sharp. There's a balancing act in this, but a shot at f/5.6 might not exactly be forgiving to a subject, even if that's what it takes to get a most of a person's body in focus. I find that fine grain can tone that down without much loss of actual detail, and a lot of models find the effect pleasing. It's nice to lose a little bit of skin detail in a way that doesn't contribute to a plastic effect.

Medium Format wasn't the explicit preference so much as the item on offer, although I do also like those LUTS for several options in monochrome processing.
 

LunarMist

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I can't say much about artsy effects, because I find humans one of the least visually attractive subjects. A high-energy mamal with limited fur (to dissipate heat by sweat) and fat visible under the thin hide just does not compare well aesthetically to most birds, insects, fish, furry mammals, other tetrapods, etc. I do understand that the human appearance is important in socio-economic standings for millenia and of course to the photography business. Diffusion filtering has been used since the 19th century, in the 20th century stuff like black dot filters, and later the Photoshop tools.

On the subject of Topaz AI, I have found some uses for it besides just AI NR.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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Yes. I've been looking at DxO. The default "Natural" processing works pretty well for anything shot in natural light but oh boy does it ever screw the pooch on RGBW or stage lighting. I'd say it can have higher highs than default processing with Capture One but also much lower lows than Capture One. I recognize that I don't have to use its presets to do anything in particular, but the disparity between it working well and it making extra work is actually kind of amusing.

If I decide to buy Photolab, there's a real case to be made for getting Filmpack and Nic's Collection at the same time.
 

LunarMist

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They usually have a black Fridays sale.
I'm interested in the supposedly improved color management. Do you use a MacBeth color checker?
 

LunarMist

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The one with 24 patches? Then you should be good with creating profiles per project as needed.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I have a chance to get a Sigma Sport 120-300/2.8 for $600. It's second hand and I don't exactly need it but that's such a good deal that I'm not sure I can pass it up. I've been looking at either the RF 28-70/2 or 70-200/2.8 for a while now but 120-300s are in the same usually unreachably expensive range. Definitely somebody's dream lens.

My Sigma lenses come from a friend as she's upgraded to RF stuff. I'm sure it's in perfect condition. All the other ones have been.
 

LunarMist

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Why are you being offered the used lens at below market price?
 

LunarMist

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Then it's a no Brainerd. Make sure you test it thoroughly in case service is needed. Sigma support may be removed soon on the discontinued lenses.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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This is the Sigma but I was glad to find a place to try it out, given the rain and moisture we've had.
I knew it was heavy (with my camera, about 8lbs) but I was thankful to have ledges and rails to shoot from after about my 10th shot. What I'm doing in that circumstance is close to sports photography, except that I normally try to reposition frequently and also to shoot from a wide variety of heights. I can see how important a monopod with a rapid height adjustment will be for using this lens in particular.
 

LunarMist

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Why do you need rapid height adjustment on a monopod for humans at 70ft? Which head are you using?
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I have a Surui ball head. x40something. My gimbal also works for that but not with a lens that big.

Height adjustment is a common need in many places where I shoot. In an auditorium or stage setting, I may be up too high to want a camera another 60" higher, or I may just prefer to shoot up at my subjects from stage level, if I can get that sort of shot. I'm shooting people and I can move around, remember?
 

LunarMist

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If you are changing location, then I'm sure you have time to adjust the height. Does the venue prohibit tripods and allow only monopods?
What kind of wimpy gimbal head cannot handle a setup that a 40mm cheap Chienese ball head reliably handles?

I use this 1.5 lbs. gimbal for up to a DSLR and 600/4 EF III lens. That Alaskan dude uses it with the original 500/4 IS, 2x and a 1D series body. That's more than the design weigth of 10 lbs., but it is fine. I have also used it with the 200-600 on a monopod on land and in a motorboat.
Overall I probably have a quarter million images on the BWG-J3K with everything from 16-840mm.
 
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Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I think my Gimbal is rated for 2kg, which I know means I'm not running anything longer than a 24-70 on it with the bodies that I have.
Actually, my partner is better than I am at running the Gimbal anyway. She can actually kind of run in the steadycam gait and I am NOT that coordinated.

If you are changing location, then I'm sure you have time to adjust the height

I've had a couple different name brand tripods with different adjustment styles. I like twist style locks that I associate with Manfrotto better for reliability but lever style locks are definitely much faster to adjust up and down.

The most common venue restriction I run across is actually interchangeable lenses. I've gotten yelled at for putting a Moment lens on a phone camera when I was informed my Canons aren't welcome though. I do have contacts so that I can take real cameras in a lot of interesting places these days.

Turns out that getting to take photos is one thing but getting releases to post photos somewhere is a whole other ordeal, at least if you aren't already a working professional photographer. Usually you need to have the promoter, artist representative and sometimes also record label sign off. Promoters are easy enough to talk to but good luck getting a band manager or agent to message you back.
 

LunarMist

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Well, I'm glad he is alive. Coug will probably come back to beat on me for being so silly.
 

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Fatwah on Western Digital
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I swapped the 6650XT in my Ryzen 5900 system for an Intel A770. My partner brought home just under 700GB of photos from her five weeks in New York, Nashville and Boston and I'm really looking forward to seeing how much of a difference Quickpath makes for Lightroom AI Denoise. Most of them are awfully noisy compared to what I would get out of the R6. Hopefully we'll wind up with a massive improvement in processing time for having QPI and double the texture memory.
 

LunarMist

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I don't know about NY, but have had no issues in Boston or Nashville with lighting. Was a P/S or some tiny sensor used that created excessive noise? What is meant by the Quickpath? The website indicates it is a platform for AI something or other, but nothing in particular for photography. Other uses are a keyboard or some hardware to connect in iNtel processors.
 
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