Sunday, February 7, 2016

Enhancing photos: How much is too much?

I'm a person who likes the truth.  What I photograph is what was there.  I don't add things to enhance the image.  I don't go for tricks, though I probably did that when i started.

While the Nikon D7200 has 14-bit raw files, I'm not sure whether the image quality and dynamic range actually have a huge advantage over micro Four-Thirds bodies in real life.

So, with all that in mind, the following photo has been enhanced by Macphun's Intensify application for Macs.

I'm not sure how I feel about the over the top enhancement, but it conveys what I was feeling, even though it is too much.

Tried this again, via Styles in Phase One to give an older, film look to the photo.  It's not bad, but I'm not sure how I feel about the manipulation.

Update 2017.01.01: I'm still messing with Macphun products, including their new raw development environment Luminar.

Original photo

Using Blue Sky filter

I have to experiment a lot but some of these filters, techniques provide useful results, allowing the viewer to see what is often hidden.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Is a mirror-less body's viewfinder placement that important?

I've seen a huge number of comments about rangefinder-like placement versus SLR-like placement of the viewfinder.  Many turn to heated arguments, for reasons unknown to me.  I suspect that it has to do with a person's original comfort (warm and fuzzy?) zone.

I've used a bit of everything but I eventually used SLRs more than anything else.  The only time I was truly uncomfortable was using a point-and-shoot camera where you look through a blank viewfinder and hope that what you want will be in focus.

To this day, I don't care for working with the rear display of a modern digital camera, when a proper viewfinder and focusing mechanism is available.

I use the following camera bodies:

  • Olympus E-1
  • Olympus E-5
  • Olympus E-M1
  • Panasonic GH4
  • Nikon D7200
  • Panasonic GX8

I had the Panasonic GH3 as my first micro Four-Thirds camera body and later, traded it for the E-M1 to ensure the trade-in value didn't drop when the GH4 was available.

For the most part, the only difference working with the bodies is whether I use an optical viewfinder or an EVF (electronic viewfinder).  In good light, I appreciate the optical viewfinder but in the dark, any EVF is more helpful, even when the refresh rate drops.

I agreed when someone mentioned the nose up against the rear of the camera being inconvenient.  It seems as though I have changed settings on the E-M1 because there is no cover over the rear display.  Beyond that, I don't see an advantage to one position over the other.

I use the E-M1, GH4, and GX8 almost daily.  Sometimes, I use two of them together.  As far as I'm concerned, they're just camera bodies--tools, weapons, as people say.  I suppose I'm very different than most.

On the GX8, I find the tilt more important than the placement, which is a strong reason as to why I bought it.  There are times when I must tilt the rear display and with the bright sun, I can't see much of anything.  The tilting EVF works very, very well.  I find it interesting that the people who like the tilting EVF hate the articulated rear display.  I appreciate being able to set the display to all sorts of angles to take architectural photos or skate park video.

I suppose my only warm-and-fuzzy preference is to have a viewfinder that actually helps me focus.