NikonGear

Images => Life, the Universe & Everything Else => Topic started by: Ron Scubadiver on November 22, 2015, 00:55:28

Title: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 22, 2015, 00:55:28
It is well known that two lenses of the same focal length but with a one (or even 2/3) stop difference in maximum aperture will differ greatly in price and mass.  This fact was highlighted by Nikon's recent release of a modestly priced 200-500 f/5.6 priced at one fifth of the 200-400 f/4 and about 1.3 kg less mass.  One may make all sorts of arguments in favor of the more expensive item but in reality will it really get that many more great photos than the already very good 200-500 which has range and handling advantages?  The same analysis applies to Nikon's excellent short primes, available in both f/1.8 and f/1.4 flavors.  Reduced depth of field is an often cited advantage of wider apertures but while shooting my 50 f/1.4 G (the least exotic of all f/1.4, 50mm or so lenses) at f/1.4 I have noticed the DOF is too thin for how I shoot.  F/1.8 to f/2.2 works best.

In Mexico I met another gringo who was shooting a D3.  He was saving up to buy a 200-400 and was an employee of the US government in Washington DC.  My first observation was he was not wealthy or a pro, but he chose to spend twice on a D3 what my D700 had cost.  The second observation was my personal philosophy is if you have to save up for something like that, you probably can't afford it.  OK, he and I both live in a free country where we can make these choices, but somehow I felt he was off course and letting his life be ruled by and uncontrollable desire for material things.  We have all heard of this.  It's NAS, GAS and so on.  Will your life really be better if you shell out big bucks for an exotic fast telephoto a 24mm f/1.4 or a Zeiss Otus?  In one forum some guy celebrated his purchase of a new 300 f/2.8 to photograph his 6 year old's soccer games.  I am certain those photos will be better than if a simple 70-300 had been used.   The boy will probably have to borrow an additional $15,000 to get through college because his dad did not put away $5000 in and S&P 500 index fund.  If the father's behavior persists across other potentially expensive activities it might be the difference between being able to pay for his son's education and his son being heavily in debt at age 22.  Student debt is rampant in the US.  Again, this is more a matter of values than of image quality.

There is a growing school of economists who believe in confiscatory taxes on the wealthy with redistribution to middle class citizens as well as the poor will stimulate the economy through consumer spending.  There are people who think we should eat crickets because the money spent on meat could be used to end hunger and less CO2 would be generated.  A Nobel prize winning economist tells us making more than $75,000 per year will not make you any happier.  He won the prize for some other work which is very signifiant if you know anything about economics.  None the less economics is the study of how people behave.  It's a social science subject to manipulation by those who are trying to justify a certain social result.

One last bit.  I believe Nikon is bringing out products like the 200-500 and f/1.8 primes to keep full frame DSLR photography relevant to a wider audience, not just those with deep pockets or incurable NAS.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: elsa hoffmann on November 22, 2015, 05:49:03
Interesting post Ron.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Bjørn Rørslett on November 22, 2015, 08:27:47
Expensive gear rarely, if ever, determine the photographic quality of the resulting images. Some people burn a lot of money before realising this fact, and some never learn at all. Photography is no different to other walks of life in this respect. 

One can make excellent deals on second-hand equipment because of these follies.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Hugh_3170 on November 22, 2015, 08:36:42
The late Galen Rowell often used "consumer" grade lenses for his landscape and mountainering photography.  He was a long distance runner and often ran to his favourite sites and was consious of the weight penalty of heavier "Pro" lenses, especially when he needed to be at the right place at the right time to get the best light.  His approach was to determine the two or three best stops for image quality that he was happy with and stick to them.  I feel sure that he would have been very interested in the new 200-500mm lens.  Sadly he and his wife were killed in a light plane crash.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: elsa hoffmann on November 22, 2015, 11:29:31
The late Galen Rowell often used "consumer" grade lenses for his landscape and mountainering photography.  He was a long distance runner and often ran to his favourite sites and was consious of the weight penalty of heavier "Pro" lenses, especially when he needed to be at the right place at the right time to get the best light.  His approach was to determine the two or three best stops for image quality that he was happy with and stick to them.  I feel sure that he would have been very interested in the new 200-500mm lens.  Sadly he and his wife were killed in a light plane crash.
he had some cool shots. Sad to have died so young.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: simsurace on November 22, 2015, 12:01:48
I second the advice of not letting your life be ruled by anything of this sort. It's a good habit to try to be as rational as possible about buying decisions in general, even when certain aspects remain irrational or rather very subjective. Meanwhile, almost all my gear has been saved up for, I would not have it otherwise. At least while you're saving up money, you have time to think whether you really need it, and if you find that you don't, you still have some extra money. If you have tons of disposable income, I think it might be harder to resist the temptation to buy on a whim some expensive stuff you don't really need, but I can't speak from experience.

Here in Switzerland you can find pretty amazing deals on the used market because people go and buy full pro kits and then find that they are too complex for them. They rarely fetch the same price again even when the stuff is literally untouched, because the demand is not high enough within our small country and people often don't want the hassle of selling it to a foreign country. Education is not as dependent on the depth of your pockets around here as it is in the US, so I guess that their adventures should not compromise their children's education too much. Or so I hope.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Bjørn Rørslett on November 22, 2015, 12:06:37
We have free education over here in my neck of the woods so parents' whims don't influence their children to the same degree.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Peter Connan on November 22, 2015, 14:03:29
Thought provoking, and I am unfortunately a prime offender.

Thanks Ron
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: HCS on November 22, 2015, 14:15:03
While i do agree with Ron's statements about saving up for child school/college/university fees, i also offer another perspective.

I ponder every euro i (want to) spend on photography, yet i did purchase the D3s a few years ago to "just" photograph my kids around the house. Reason for me ... the emotional value of the photos i was able to obtain while i couldn't get them in the way the D3s could with other cameras (with flash). I did push the other cams and flash etc. first before spending the awful amount of money (for a hobby). But again, it paid for itself emotionally within 6 months.

Just a different view on the same topic. This may have been one of the drivers of the soccer dad with his 300 f/2.8.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jan Anne on November 22, 2015, 15:39:20
In the end it all comes down to what I'm willing to pay for a certain experience or capability, as gear usually doesn't last longer than a year or two in the camerabag I'm more concerned about the depreciation than the price tag itself however.

For instance my D3s was bought new when released for €4500 and sold was for €3300 2,5 years later, though it was my most expensive camera ever it's depreciation was comparable with the D200 and D300 I had before (roughly €1000 in 2 years for each) and got a much better camera experience to boot, both with big tele lenses as well as with manual focus lenses (the latter didn't do well for me on the smaller Nikons).

I owned the 200-400/4VR for 7 months in 2009, bought it secondhand for €3900 to take it on the NG safari in Southern Africa and sold it again for €4250 including the RRS foot. Though I made a small profit I would have been OK with a loss as the lens provided me with an experience of a lifetime giving me memories and images I will cherish forever.

So, if birding or wildlife is your thing and it provides you with a lot of quality time in nature (something some us really need to stay sane) the depreciation of a few thousand bucks over the years on those big 200-400/4 or 600/4 lenses is more than worth it, both in experience and in the capability to capture memorable images.

Because I shoot less nowadays an unbalance was created in the money lost in depreciation vs the experience I got out of it so I've resorted to buying gear abroad for a lower price (less warranty but also less depreciation), buying second hand lenses (usually no deprecation) or buying lenses than can be used on multiple camera brands with adapters, so I can buy that Nikon mirrorless FX camera one day without the need to buy new lenses besides a native 35/1.4 AF lens (my main lens).
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 22, 2015, 16:26:06
Many thoughtful replies.  Thom Hogan writes a lot about Galen.  It isn't just about kids college education and cumulative student debt of over $1 trillion.  There is an issue with retirement savings in the US as well.  Some economists say there was a drop in savings and an increase in consumption starting in the 1980's.  Most people at retirement age in the US are nearly broke and must continue to work, but at wages lower than they previously earned.  My view is there are things we need to take care of before we consume.  I understand the "if it is your thing" concept.  That's fine just so long as one doesn't approach every activity that way.  If one has four or five expensive hobbies, perhaps it isn't your thing.  Some of the folks I photographed at the Renaissance Festival remarked their friends criticized them for spending a lot of money on their costumes.  It really was their thing, and they wait all year for it.

My view is US centric.  Norway is very different, but I wasn't born there.  Here we are on our own.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: elsa hoffmann on November 22, 2015, 16:29:17
Ron I get what you are saying.
For me - I dont save for photographic equipment. If I have the money - and I want it - I buy it.
I find however that the more my capital investments grow - the less I want to spend it.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jan Anne on November 22, 2015, 16:52:10
I hear yah Ron, the kids thing doesn't apply to me personally but I just bought a new house with the intend to make it completely self reliant on energy, water, etc in 5-10 years time and have its mortgage payed off by the time I retire. The aim is to have zero bills for my living accommodation besides insurance and an internet connection to the outside world 8)

But worrying about later too much while forgetting to live in the present is pointless, so as with all things in life a personal balance about priorities needs to be found...
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 22, 2015, 17:00:55
Jan, that is a worthy goal.  Other than getting a mortgage paid off, it is close to impossible here to have a near zero housing cost because of high real estate taxes and insurance premiums.  The need for air conditioning exceeds the physical ability to generate solar power on site, and possibly violates architectural restrictions in the neighborhood.  One of the side effects of the flood rebuild is my house is better insulated and more air tight.  I have been upgrading to LED lighting which has become inexpensive.  We do have relatively low utility rates here.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Frank Fremerey on November 22, 2015, 17:08:32
One can make excellent deals on second-hand equipment because of these follies.

Most of my equipment was bought second hand. Motto: Better buy a second hand Mercedes than a first hand Fiat.

Plus: I sell all equipment I do not use on a regular basis.

I am not a collector. I take photos. And that I can do with very reduced equipment.

Currently I use the D600, the X100T and two Nikkors: 1.8/50 ... 1.8/85

All the other stuff rests idle on the shelves, more or less, but it is needed for jobs and I am happy to earn money with it.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Alex Cejka on November 22, 2015, 19:10:19
Perhaps we can view it from a different perspective: does this make us happy?  Happy people make others happy as well. Some people spent more money on alcohol and cigarettes than I do on photo equipment. Friend's of mine hobby is sailing. He spends lot of resources and time doing it but it makes a difference in his life in terms of enjoyment and happiness. I like photography and its gear. For most part I do not own the latest equipment but I have everything to have the job done (I shoot weddings and special occasions). From this income I support my hobby. Beside that I have full time job and that is strictly for our family needs. If I could I would be trying all kind of new cameras and lenses, but isn't it is always better to go out and shoot with what you have instead?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: armando_m on November 22, 2015, 20:48:42
Photography is a hobby for me, I think any hobby is an expense

If I get to use pro lenses they will likely not be owned by me
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 22, 2015, 21:25:29
I was at a wedding rehearsal dinner last night.  The photographer who will also do the wedding was shooting with a D700 and what looked to me like an older version of a 24-120 zoom.  She can earn a living this way.

By no means should we deny ourselves what we can afford, but we should be careful in reaching a judgment about just what is we can afford.  Also, we should not let the acquisition of material goods of any kind turn into an addiction.  When one is addicted to anything they are in pain until the addiction is fed.  That leads to a mistaken sense of well being.  Just watch a smoker have their first cigarette when they leave a no smoking area.

The one stop parable was chosen because it is something we can all relate to as photographers.  We know what it does and what it costs.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: charlie on November 23, 2015, 00:43:45
We should also be careful not to judge other people based on what we think they should be doing with their lives.

While I fully agree that our culture has bred a huge desire to acquire material items, I'm not sure I understand the point of this post. You may think that the "not wealthy or a pro" government employee's D3 and 200-400 is overkill for him and his uses, someone else could just as easily feel that your D700 and 200-500 lens is overkill for what you do and you could just as well use a point and shoot camera. Isn't this just a matter of perspective? Do you feel that your life is ruled by material things also? 
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 23, 2015, 04:50:40
We should also be careful not to judge other people based on what we think they should be doing with their lives.

While I fully agree that our culture has bred a huge desire to acquire material items, I'm not sure I understand the point of this post. You may think that the "not wealthy or a pro" government employee's D3 and 200-400 is overkill for him and his uses, someone else could just as easily feel that your D700 and 200-500 lens is overkill for what you do and you could just as well use a point and shoot camera. Isn't this just a matter of perspective? Do you feel that your life is ruled by material things also?

You sure are judging me.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Akira on November 23, 2015, 07:24:40
I think Ron's initial post makes a lot of sense in many respects.

That said, hobby is a strange behavior or a habit, is highly personal and is sometimes unconceivable.  Owing cameras and lenses doesn't 100% mean that his or her hobby is image making.  Some (mostly guys) like precision mechanism and can go to heaven just by fooling around the equipments.  The more expensive, the better and the more addictive.

Some prefer nettles.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: elsa hoffmann on November 23, 2015, 08:43:24
It makes a lot of sense to me too :)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jakov Minić on November 23, 2015, 10:23:55
People buy stuff that they can afford.
If you feel like walking the park with your kids and acquiring for that purpose a D4s + 200-400VR, do it!
I am all for using the best possible tools all the time. I don't believe in compromises. I used to carry a D700+70-200VR to the beach.

I agree with Ron's view that we shouldn't spend all our money on gear especially if the money could be used for our kid's college funds. But how do you determine when you see someone on the streets with expensive gear that he cannot afford having the gear and paying for whatever else is necessary?

I would rather choose another approach in a more artistic way and claim that you can make wonderful photos without focusing on your gear. And that gear doesn't make a photo it's the photographer.
But if you can afford to buy and use a 400/2.8 for your daughter's soccer game, you have all my support :)

Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Fons Baerken on November 23, 2015, 10:30:36
Seen many great images done with a simple ps,
even if you dont have to support children, anymore,
blowing all your dough on gear for gear-sake, will rob you of the opportunity to go places to photograph.
Like buying a Ferrari and no money left for gas , now it sits in the driveway for you to dream-on.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: tommiejeep on November 23, 2015, 11:31:27
Well Ron, I am rapidly approaching 70 year and have a son rapidly approaching 15 years (thinking he's 20 already) .   At the moment, and particularly in light of Paris, I am more concerned about the world he is inheriting .  I am also concerned that going in debt for expensive education is not the value for a future that it used to be.  Unemployment of young people in parts of Europe is not based on Educational qualifications.   The age demographics in India are frightening.

I now drive a hand-me-down , 8 year old SUV, from my wife.  My last jeep lasted 16 years before it became too tough to keep it running.   In the past I have owned many expensive cars including one mentioned by Fons .  I had the money for petrol but the bi-monthly trips to the garage for tune-ups were too much.  I buy camera gear because it is what I enjoy.  I agree , and disagree , with Bjorn on gear making me better.  The 300 2.8vr really opened up my Sports shooting and the D3S was the icing on the cake.

I have never claimed to be a photographer.  My images confirm that but many people use, publish and enjoy my images.  I agree that going into debt for any hobby is silly.  The only money I owe anyone is for my wife's new car and I should have paid cash for that .  I do not have deep pockets.  Recently I've started selling gear just because I do not use it or it is not worth enough to sell it.  I finally sold my D200 to a good home even though I still enjoyed it and it had less than 6K clicks.

I try not to judge any one on what they spend or how they spend it.  Just nothing to do with me.   Photography has to be fun  :) , same goes for life in general but seems to be getting harder  >:(  I do judge people by how they treat others!
Navy is in the top 20 so life isn't all bad  ;) .... next weekend Ron, crunch time when they go to your fair city.
Just my take,
Tom
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 23, 2015, 15:26:36
Many interesting thoughts...

Fons mentioned spending it all on gear and have nothing left to go anyplace interesting to shoot.  I have heard some lament they had fallen into the trap.  Akira  mentioned those with a desire to own precision mechanisms.  There may be something good about those folks because they add to camera and lens sales making it possible to bring this stuff to market.  For nearly any durable good you can buy there is a super high end alternative.  Look at Viking kitchen appliances for example.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 23, 2015, 17:20:10
For me, reading your OP has generated two courses of thought ... personal and photographic.

1) Personal- Decades ago an accountant and good friend told me of one of his clients that was living debt free. He paid for everything with cash. If he didn't have the cash on-hand ... it was not acquired. I appreciated that concept so much that I have adopted a similar approach. Presently, I haven't any debt of any kind. I only use a debit card. I like having no debt.

2) Photographic (my personal experience)- When I was shooting professionally (photojournalism), a Stop made a significant difference. (While the paper provided my equipment, I still had and used personal gear on assignments.) Regardless of weight and size, I always used fast lenses. In breaking news photography, there is no second chance ... missing a photo ... getting scooped because of equipment ... just was not acceptable for the professional.

But for the hobbyist ... only a few hobbyists, (the members of this forum notwithstanding), can take advantage of a 'Stop' or of flagship, top-of-the-line cameras. Generally, better more expensive equipment will make it easier to capture the exceptional image above and beyond what you would capture with lesser equipment. In other words, you'll get more keepers. In a competitive environment, ala news, when there is a person to your left with a D4 and a person to your right with a 1DX ... your are at a serious disadvantage with an entry level camera and a kit lens.

But for most of us with hobbyist level skill, shooting non-professionally and shooting in less than hosile envronments ... and with the additional power of high ISO/low light level imagery and IS/IBIS capable cameras ... a stop is meaningless other than ego.   
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: HCS on November 23, 2015, 21:34:02
... and claim that you can make wonderful photos without focusing ...

Stop right there! This is you Jakov  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 23, 2015, 21:46:01
For those with pro level skill ... better gear will deliver better and more consistent shots and photography.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jakov Minić on November 23, 2015, 22:09:15
Stop right there! This is you Jakov  ;D ;D ;D

You got me Hans! :)

I agree with Charlie on judging, and I agree with Gary on better equipment gives you more opportunity to achieve great results.

And I will stop right here as Hans pointed out and go make a blurry image with my pro level gear  8)
Just because I can and I can afford it, although I cannot use it properly  ::)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: charlie on November 23, 2015, 22:38:51
You sure are judging me.

My apologies, Ron, I didn't intend to offend, just disagree and I could have been more graceful in my response. And just to be clear I enjoy looking at your photos and wasn't insinuating that your work is not worthy of your equipment. My point was that I don't see how it is anyone else's business who uses what equipment and for what reasons.

Jakov summed up what I was thinking, and much more eloquently I might add. Gary also made some excellent points on the matter.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: golunvolo on November 23, 2015, 23:22:43
I need that extra stop, that slightly faster and silent auto-focus, that better high iso... :-\  But that just me. Still, going places is better.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Frank Fremerey on November 24, 2015, 10:50:47
A good friend once told me: "every new lens you add to your equipment will devalue all the other lenses that you have."

Do I have to explain?

In other words: my shooting experience with a 50-mm-prime is so huge that I can survive any day and most jobs with one.

Any 24-mm-prime is of less worth to me because I only spent a few hundred hours with 24-mm-lenses.

Any hour I spend with another lens I do not spend to master the others.

85 and 50 are body parts. 35 ist growing fast on me.



All other stuff is specialized. Macro. Table Top. Repro. Panorama.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jakov Minić on November 24, 2015, 11:00:27
A good friend once told me: "every new lens you add to your equipment will devalue all the other lenses that you have."

Do I have to explain?


Yes Frank, please elaborate more.   :)
How any good lens that I add to my line-up devalues the ones that I already have.
I don't value a lens by the amount of hours I use it, but by the results it produces when I use it.

Can the negative analogy be made to children too?
With every child a mother gives birth to it devalues the children that she already has?!?!

Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Frank Fremerey on November 24, 2015, 14:45:36
A child is an Entity not a tool.

A tool gains value the more you use it. I do not grasp how to use a zoom. That is why I use primes. 24mm is great fir me wirking from a tripod inarchitecture but I am  unhappy with most of my handheld 24mm shots. You learn to master the tool by using it.

A child has a value of his own. It profits of every hour you spend with it. The more children you have the less hours you spend with any of them in a one by one relation but one by one is not a necessity.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 24, 2015, 16:51:49
A good friend once told me: "every new lens you add to your equipment will devalue all the other lenses that you have."

Do I have to explain?

In other words: my shooting experience with a 50-mm-prime is so huge that I can survive any day and most jobs with one.

Any 24-mm-prime is of less worth to me because I only spent a few hundred hours with 24-mm-lenses.

Any hour I spend with another lens I do not spend to master the others.

85 and 50 are body parts. 35 ist growing fast on me.

All other stuff is specialized. Macro. Table Top. Repro. Panorama.

For me, there is a lot of merit in what Frank has said ... at least in mastering the lens ... the devaluation part is highly arguable.

When I was growing up, way way back in the film-only days, money and material things were much more precious and harder to obtain than objects of desire are now. One purchased a SLR with a 50mm. You mastered that 50mm, you shot the hell out of it until you knew that lens inside out, like it was your right hand. You knew exactly how it performed at f/2.8 or f/11, you memorized the FOV to where you knew the frame/composition without having to bring the camera up to your eye. After reaching a certain point of usage/mastering you felt it was time to move on and you purchased your next lens. (The whole time spent mastering the 50mm you were saving for the next lens.) You didn't need to go on a forum and ask strangers what your next lens purchase should be ... you knew after shooting the hell out of the 50 if you needed to go wide or long with your next purchase.

Once you decided on the second lens, you shot the hell out of that lens until mastering. Et Cetera. That was how you learned photography and built up your system. When I was working news, lenses were an extension of my eyes and the camera an extension of my hands. Manipulation of the settings was performed semi-automatically, never pulling my face from the viewfinder, concentrating nearly all my brain power on composition and capturing the story. Back then zooms were quite crappy, zoom lenses were like the bottoms of Coke bottles, so changing lenses in a fast moving environment had to be precise, there wasn't much room for error. Intimately knowing the FOV and DOF of each lens makes the difference between success or being scooped by the competition and getting your butt creamed by an editor, between keeping your job or getting fired.

I am a very strong proponent of what Frank is saying. It is a slow and painful process, but it does make you a better photographer than not mastering your equipment. Buying a whole lot of stuff is a lot more fun, but a lot of unmastered equipment dilutes the photographic process and will stretch out the learning curve.

While most of us here are hobbyists, the advantages of mastering a lens are not as valuable as they would be for a professional (especially when shooting news where speed is critical). But there is still a ton of value to be able to mentally compose your images at different FOV's and DOF's. To be so comfortable with your equipment that it is next to nothing to pick up and use a different camera. When how a camera/lens feels in your hand is the last factor you use when purchasing equipment.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 24, 2015, 22:28:08
It never fails to amaze me how much shooting I can get out of a 50.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Erik Lund on November 25, 2015, 09:14:24
I have family in USA so I can relate to the issues raised here and I find it worrying... Ron you raise some very interesting points! Below follows my thoughts on this but with no direct one to one connection...
 
Here is the situation in my case in the tiny country called Denmark.
I'm a single father of three boys and a semi pro I work for a big company where I shoot about 15% of my working days and I have a small one man photography company on the side as well as shooting voluntarily for the boy scouts when needed.
Makes for a good opportunity to shoot the kids growing up - I feel lucky about that and I fully enjoyed shooting kids playing football with a 300mm 2.8...
In Denmark we have free education like in Norway...
My boys have been brought up to work for their 'own' money they need for themselves, now the two above 18 take care of themselves for apartment, furniture's and food etc. the one turning 16 is in a boarding school I pay for, as well as I pay for cloths etc.

And then I came to think about this;

Here in Denmark we have something called Janteloven, here follows some excerpts from Wikipedia:

The Jante Law as a concept was created by the Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose;
Generally used colloquially in Denmark and the rest of the Nordic countries as a sociological term to negatively describe a condescending attitude towards individuality and success, the term refers to a mentality that de-emphasises individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers.

The ten rules state:
1.You're not to think you are anything special.
2.You're not to think you are as good as we are.
3.You're not to think you are smarter than we are.
4.You're not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
5.You're not to think you know more than we do.
6.You're not to think you are more important than we are.
7.You're not to think you are good at anything.
8.You're not to laugh at us.
9.You're not to think anyone cares about you.
10.You're not to think you can teach us anything.
These ten principles or commandments are often claimed to form the "Jante's Shield" of the Scandinavian people.
In the book, the Janters who transgress this unwritten 'law' are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against the town's communal desire to preserve harmony, social stability and uniformity.
An eleventh rule recognised in the novel as 'the penal code of Jante' is:
11.Perhaps you don't think we know a few things about you?

It actually applies to a Forum like this as well... A small community where we know each other quite well...

Just a heads up from Denmark ;)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Erik Lund on November 25, 2015, 09:15:55
It never fails to amaze me how much shooting I can get out of a 50.
I feel the same, although I now prefer a 35mm and to step one step closer for better 'contact' with the subject ;)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: elsa hoffmann on November 25, 2015, 10:32:53
Interesting post Erik.

I was once told "we all think we are better than we really are"

Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Bjørn Rørslett on November 25, 2015, 10:46:28
Aksel Sandemose is the only Nobel Prize candidate I ever met in person ...  A highly eccentric and memorable personality.

The Law of Jante is from the novel "A Fugitive Crosses his Tracks" (1933) and the book is very readable if you focus on the underlying motifs and text lines.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 25, 2015, 17:11:49
Interesting Erik. I think most governments strive to implement those 'commandments'. Somehow, after reading your Jante post, I thought of the Ben Franklin quote of "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In my little cream cheese brain I can associate/contrast the Jante Law with giving up our liberties.   
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: simsurace on November 25, 2015, 17:23:31
Generally used colloquially in Denmark and the rest of the Nordic countries as a sociological term to negatively describe a condescending attitude towards individuality and success...
(emphasis by me)

Do I get this correctly that the attitudes expressed in the "law" are widespread in Scandinavian countries, but not generally viewed as desirable? Or the other way round? I got confused between your statements and the wikipedia excerpt, and don't really see the connection to the original post, except perhaps that the guy wielding an expensive camera could be seen as sticking out of the uniformity and thereby violate the commandments?! Also how exactly does it apply to the forum?

Anyway thanks for sharing, interesting bit of information I didn't know!
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Erik Lund on November 25, 2015, 18:07:17
You both understand correctly, the Jantelov is not regarded as a positive thing...

The similarity between a forum or a site and the Jantelov is that; The book is about a relatively small tightly knit community where more or less everybody know each other...

So put these two together and sometimes I can see Jantloven come into action, as a 'negative pointing fingers' type of remark on behalf of 'the community'.

I hope you get it  ;) If not please google Janteloven and seek perhaps a more educated version  :D
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 26, 2015, 00:47:14
My concern is, and I hope this is obvious, not limited to photography.  It is about excessive reliance on purchasing material goods as a means to achieve happiness.  Like the relief a smoker shows when they light up, this relief is temporary.  Overspending in the US economy can produce a situation where one does not meet their obligations to others like their children, or even themselves due to a failure to save for retirement.  The situation is very different in Scandinavia as the State assures many benefits that we pay for ourselves here.  Taxes are a lot higher too.  In the sink or swim world one does have a lot more freedom to mess their life up financially.

The government employee I mentioned was closer to a Scandinavian than most people in the US.  He and his wife were childless, he had much better than average job security and the assurance of a generous pension.  Perhaps what caught my attention was when he brought up "saving for a 200-400" out of the clear blue along with why an amateur would pick a D3 over a D700.  It was a lot of little things about how I read him.  Anyway, I hope he is happy and found his 200-400 before the price went up.

Although I may be critical of certain kinds of behavior, I firmly believe in a person's right to make choices.  At the same time I wonder what will happen with the mountain of student debt and large numbers of folks who are aging past their peak earnings and are close to broke.  The progressives' solution is to raise taxes and send the bill to those who did save and prosper.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 26, 2015, 01:53:42
There are collectors, those who are more concerned with resale value than image quality and more concerned being seen with an expensive camera than using an expensive camera. There are photographers, who's primary and often sole concern is image quality and image impact.  There are people with a foot in both camps with various degrees of concern for resale and image quality/image impact.

   
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 26, 2015, 03:54:58
There are collectors, those who are more concerned with resale value than image quality and more concerned being seen with an expensive camera than using an expensive camera. There are photographers, who's primary and often sole concern is image quality and image impact.  There are people with a foot in both camps with various degrees of concern for resale and image quality/image impact.

Some lenses increase in value, but not many. IQ and impact are important, but one must reach a level of expertise where the magic of certain lenses can be fully extracted.  Anyone who wants to be seen with an expensive camera and can't utilize its inherent qualities is lame.  I can't tell you how many pro and fine art photographers are out there earning a living and satisfying customers with gear that is obsolete or regarded as junk in many photo forums.  There is no substitute for talent.  In particular, photographing people is a special thing and IQ often means nothing.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 26, 2015, 16:58:40
Some lenses increase in value, but not many. IQ and impact are important, but one must reach a level of expertise where the magic of certain lenses can be fully extracted.  Anyone who wants to be seen with an expensive camera and can't utilize its inherent qualities is lame.  I can't tell you how many pro and fine art photographers are out there earning a living and satisfying customers with gear that is obsolete or regarded as junk in many photo forums.  There is no substitute for talent.  In particular, photographing people is a special thing and IQ often means nothing.

Conversely, I suspect that most professional photographers use equipment that is relatively up-to-date. For pros, the only thing that matters is the final image. Economics notwithstanding, if a more expensive piece of equipment would deliver a better IQ or increase the Image Impact or make it easier to capture the desired photograph (elevate consistency/higher keeper rate), most pros I know would opt for the better hardware in a heartbeat.

Yes, there isn't a substitute for talent ... skill and experience. I suspect, (again), that most pros with 'obsolete' equipment can outshoot a collector with newest, shiney, top-of-the-line gear.

When I was shooting news (back in the film-only days), nearly all my assignments were to photograph stories of people. IQ has an importance in all images. But the significance of IQ varies by each subject. Generally, and in my opinion, the greater the Image Impact ... the less IQ is required for the photo to be successful and vice versa.  Nick Ut's Vietnam War image of the screaming, naked little girl, escaping a naplam attack, has horrible IQ, it is unsharp, muddy and grainy. If the image was sharp, less grainy with better contrast would the image improve? Certainly, but not significantly. Eddie Adams image of the South Vietnamese general shooting a communist suspect on the streets of Saigon, is in focus, not grainy with good contrast.  Would his photo be less successful if it had similar IQ as Ut's photo? Yes, but not significantly.  And, there are always exceptions to all general statements.

My point is, as a former pro people shooter, I much rather capture my people images with a high IQ than a lower IQ. IQ always matters in varying degrees.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 27, 2015, 01:26:12
"Rather".  A lot of my friends children are getting married.  I see what wedding photographers are using and it is definitely not the latest and greatest.  I travel a lot and see what other travelers are using. Full frame 135 gear is relatively rare.  I go to art galleries showing photography and see rarely are these photographers using the latest and greatest gear.  We worry far too much about that last bit of sharpness and detail.  I know some very successful photographers who shoot mostly blurry images.  Exact renditions are not as creative as those which are off by just the right amount.  Many of the best images of the 20th century are a bit off.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: elsa hoffmann on November 27, 2015, 03:43:05
Quote
Gary:
...the greater the Image Impact ... the less IQ is required for the photo to be successful...
IQ always matters in varying degrees...

Sums it up nicely Gary - it's all relative.

In the end we take images so others can look at it. And we want an emotional response to our images. The bigger the impact - the more successful the image. And we will do anything to maximise that impact. If that means gear will give us the edge - gear shopping it will be.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 27, 2015, 17:13:26
But ... The pros I know are always striving for perfection. Ut does wish that his photo was in-focus, properly exposed and without grain. But we all build upon our experiences, so next time Ut shoots a recently napalmed village he be ready to get it right.

Seriously, my point is that the pros I know, would much prefer a properly exposed, properly composed (no cropping), in-focus image over one that has any imperfections, even if both images are equally successful. A properly exposed, in-focus, successful image, projects a greater level of photographic skill over a successful image with imperfections.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jukka L on November 27, 2015, 17:59:23
The biggest difference between a pro and an amateur is (at least here in Scandinavia) that the amateur has better equipment. The pro gets what he needs and can afford. The amateur gets what he wants even if he could not afford it or even if he could not use it. I'm not a pro...
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jakov Minić on November 27, 2015, 18:05:58
May I go the Shakespeare-Mongo way by saying:
What's in a name?
What's in a 3rd person?
and
What's in a perfect image?
 8)

Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jacques Pochoy on November 27, 2015, 18:07:55
May I go the Shakespeare-Mongo way by saying:
What's in a name?
What's in a 3rd person?
and
What's in a perfect image?
 8)

LOL... :-)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 27, 2015, 19:29:37
The biggest difference between a pro and an amateur is (at least here in Scandinavia) that the amateur has better equipment. The pro gets what he needs and can afford. The amateur gets what he wants even if he could not afford it or even if he could not use it. I'm not a pro...

It's like that everywhere.  Some folks get a fix by buying expensive things.  There are some things a pro just must have like a 70200 f/2.8 for shooting wedding ceremonies without flash.  It isn't cheap, but it isn't insanely expensive like the exotics.  I find it hard to think of a situation where an f/1.4 prime will make a critical difference over an f/1.8 prime of the same focal length unless someone around here thinks shooting portraits where the ears are OOF is the way to go.  If my 50mm f/1.4 G fell in the ocean (not unlikely the way I live) I would replace it with the 1.8G even though the price difference is only about $200 just to get a lighter lens..

If any photographer wishes some image had been more in focus that is likely not a function of having a top of the line pro lens as opposed to the less expensive slower version, or shooting with a D4 instead of a D750.  It was because things were happening very fast while bullets were streaking by and the photographer did not have the luxury of time, a tripod and precise manual focus.  I actually think some of these technical deficiencies add to the image. 
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Airy on November 27, 2015, 21:49:35
Using and old, deprecated, obsolete MF Lens is a good way to tell "interesting" apart from "perfect". I happen to use the old 50/1.4 no-Ai SC (1974 vintage) equally often as the Zeiss 50/2 which is not perfect either, despite the higher price. They are - different. I manage to shoot junk pics and good pics with both, at about the same rate (90% junk). But again, the good ones are different. That's the only reason for me to collect +/- 50mm primes (I think I have 10 of them, in the 40-58 range). Not sure I'd be able to tell them apart in a blind test, but you should also look the other way round : different tools will *lead* the worker towards different results. Same as with a piano or pipe organ. Even my worst lens (28/3.5 PC) was precious in teaching me "slow shooting", and yielded a nice percentage of keepers.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Fons Baerken on November 27, 2015, 23:26:23
I have family in USA so I can relate to the issues raised here and I find it worrying... Ron you raise some very interesting points! Below follows my thoughts on this but with no direct one to one connection...
 
Here is the situation in my case in the tiny country called Denmark.
I'm a single father of three boys and a semi pro I work for a big company where I shoot about 15% of my working days and I have a small one man photography company on the side as well as shooting voluntarily for the boy scouts when needed.
Makes for a good opportunity to shoot the kids growing up - I feel lucky about that and I fully enjoyed shooting kids playing football with a 300mm 2.8...
In Denmark we have free education like in Norway...
My boys have been brought up to work for their 'own' money they need for themselves, now the two above 18 take care of themselves for apartment, furniture's and food etc. the one turning 16 is in a boarding school I pay for, as well as I pay for cloths etc.

And then I came to think about this;

Here in Denmark we have something called Janteloven, here follows some excerpts from Wikipedia:

The Jante Law as a concept was created by the Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose;
Generally used colloquially in Denmark and the rest of the Nordic countries as a sociological term to negatively describe a condescending attitude towards individuality and success, the term refers to a mentality that de-emphasises individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers.

The ten rules state:
1.You're not to think you are anything special.
2.You're not to think you are as good as we are.
3.You're not to think you are smarter than we are.
4.You're not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
5.You're not to think you know more than we do.
6.You're not to think you are more important than we are.
7.You're not to think you are good at anything.
8.You're not to laugh at us.
9.You're not to think anyone cares about you.
10.You're not to think you can teach us anything.
These ten principles or commandments are often claimed to form the "Jante's Shield" of the Scandinavian people.
In the book, the Janters who transgress this unwritten 'law' are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against the town's communal desire to preserve harmony, social stability and uniformity.
An eleventh rule recognised in the novel as 'the penal code of Jante' is:
11.Perhaps you don't think we know a few things about you?

It actually applies to a Forum like this as well... A small community where we know each other quite well...

Just a heads up from Denmark ;)



A Royal Affair (2012)
"En kongelig affære" (original title)


Recommended film to see
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Erik Lund on November 28, 2015, 08:45:46
But ... The pros I know are always striving for perfection. Ut does wish that his photo was in-focus, properly exposed and without grain. But we all build upon our experiences, so next time Ut shoots a recently napalmed village he be ready to get it right.

Seriously, my point is that the pros I know, would much prefer a properly exposed, properly composed (no cropping), in-focus image over one that has any imperfections, even if both images are equally successful. A properly exposed, in-focus, successful image, projects a greater level of photographic skill over a successful image with imperfections.
I agree
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Erik Lund on November 28, 2015, 08:47:03
The biggest difference between a pro and an amateur is (at least here in Scandinavia) that the amateur has better equipment. The pro gets what he needs and can afford. The amateur gets what he wants even if he could not afford it or even if he could not use it. I'm not a pro...
Strange, newer seen this here in Denmark...
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Erik Lund on November 28, 2015, 09:01:19
It's like that everywhere.  Some folks get a fix by buying expensive things.  There are some things a pro just must have like a 70200 f/2.8 for shooting wedding ceremonies without flash.  It isn't cheap, but it isn't insanely expensive like the exotics.  I find it hard to think of a situation where an f/1.4 prime will make a critical difference over an f/1.8 prime of the same focal length unless someone around here thinks shooting portraits where the ears are OOF is the way to go.  If my 50mm f/1.4 G fell in the ocean (not unlikely the way I live) I would replace it with the 1.8G even though the price difference is only about $200 just to get a lighter lens..

If any photographer wishes some image had been more in focus that is likely not a function of having a top of the line pro lens as opposed to the less expensive slower version, or shooting with a D4 instead of a D750.  It was because things were happening very fast while bullets were streaking by and the photographer did not have the luxury of time, a tripod and precise manual focus.  I actually think some of these technical deficiencies add to the image.
Your wrong in you basic way of approaching this IMHO.

A Pro photographer shoots with what is in his hand at the moment of action or if time permits he chooses his tools that suits the job best. Just like any craftsman.

It's a lot about being prepared for whats going to happen.

For fast paced action you use the fast AFS lenses like 24-70 or 70-200 2.8 etc. you don't have a chance to catch any action with a 24mm 1.4 G up close, no way!

For low light dreamy shots he chooses 1.4 or 1.8 doesn't really matter since it is about how you use the 1.4 or 1.8 that makes the whole difference.

Only advantage for 1.4G is the better, in some cases, Nano coatings. In some cases it's a nuisance but what the heck...

Please let us have our 1.4 lenses with being poked at.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Michael Erlewine on November 28, 2015, 16:25:22
I shoot for my mental clarity, not for others. Of course, I may show other folks what I am doing. I approach photography as an impressionist. I don’t criticize other’s photo impressions, and don’t benefit from others criticizing my photos, any more than I would criticize your appearance. No accounting for taste.

I have learned that even the best lens expert’s opinion (the ones I admire) may not work for me; typically, I have to see for myself what a lens can do for me. The photographer with the best all-around eye that I have ever seen is, IMO, Ming Thein.

I send a lot of camera equipment back, especially mirrorless cameras, so far. I used to save all of the lenses that I have “moved through,” so to speak, but I finally realized I did not want a museum of lenses I never use, so I have been selling them off. I don’t miss them and am not sentimental about lenses. I only use zoom lenses for snapshots and family stuff. Everything for me is about fast primes that are sharp and, most of all, highly corrected.

I am always teetering on the bleeding edge, wanting something that does not exist yet. Things I am (recently) thankful for are the ISO 64 on the Nikon D810 and the just-barely-good-enough LiveView. One Thing I desperately feel I need is a D810-equivalent camera with a great EVF and the ability to magnify the image in order to focus better.

I love Nikon camera bodies, but only some of their lenses, the more exotic ones, industrials mostly. Of course I have the Nikkor Trifecta, the 14-24, 24-70, and the 70-200, but I seldom use them. I seem to be very sensitive to lens correction. Most of my working lenses are APO lenses and have been for many years.

I am even thinking of selling my three PC-Nikkors  (24mm, 45mm, 85mm). They are sharp enough and fun to use (especially for stitching), but they just are not highly corrected enough.  Bummer.

I have tried many different photography sites, but this is the most interesting for me. I like gear and I like to see what others are doing with their gear. Luminous Landscape, another site I like, is now going subscription, but not charging a lot, something like $12 a year. Anyway, that’s my two cents.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 28, 2015, 20:37:36
Your wrong in you basic way of approaching this IMHO.
Please let us have our 1.4 lenses with being poked at.

Wrong is a pretty strong word.  One may shoot whatever they please.  My approach is there is a point of diminishing returns.  If you can afford it and have the desire, need is not a requirement.  In this life doing things which make sense is not a requirement.  However one who is headed down the road of needing a fix costing several thousand dollars every few months (whether it is photo gear, bicycles or guitars) and has no savings for retirement really needs to review their priorities.  Remember, this is the view of someone who lives in a country where our guaranteed old age pension is not much above poverty, college education is not free, student debt is approaching crisis levels and millions are hitting retirement age with no savings and no plan.

What I think you are saying about pros is the better ones anticipate what they will be shooting and have the right setup in hand.  Did I disagree with that?

I go diving and see other divers with $1800 wireless computers.  These are less reliable than a $400 basic computer and a $75 brass air pressure gauge.  The fancy computers have a lot of options for things few divers understand and may result in serious injury if one accidentally enables a different gas mix than what is being used.  The urge to have the best keeps these things selling.  I know people who buy $2000 wheels for their bicycles and tell me they can ride 5 km/hr faster.  An engineer will tell you the difference is less than 1 meter per 1000 at racing speeds.  It might make a difference in an elite race, but these are being used for training and recreational riding.  Those wheels will last about a year on the street.  Good coaches will say to train on second class wheels so you will ride like a rocket with the better ones in a race.  Am I a bad guy for thinking these people are silly?

In both of these examples people are indulging themselves and achieving a negative result.  It's like the opposite of Galen.  It is possible to load up with so much gear one either is hindered by bulk and mass or has no money left to go places to shoot something interesting.

I might not think like the majority around here, but does that make me wrong?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: simsurace on November 28, 2015, 21:40:15
Am I a bad guy for thinking these people are silly?
Your examples exemplify how susceptible people are to marketing claims, and how effective marketing is in distorting people's perceptions. But the issue goes even deeper I think. One could perhaps say that this is just human nature, and human nature can be extraordinarily silly. Spending money on the 'wrong' product* is perhaps the most harmless form of human stupidity, but you are right in pointing out that even that can have long-term consequences that are problematic. But maybe this behavior is a symptom rather than a cause of the greater economical and social crises that are happening?

* In the example of bicycle wheels, the tradeoff is speed vs. longevity, but for a recreational rider longevity is objectively more important than a minuscule gain in speed. Therefore the buying decision has to be accounted for by either exaggerated marketing claims or a heightened self-perception, i.e. the rider thinks that he is the next world champion, or indeed a combination of both, i.e. the product gives him the feeling that he belongs to the elite of bicycle riders and the illusion of being similarly fast. Thus the buying decision has become almost totally irrational. For camera lenses the more expensive ones are often also more durable, so paying more can cost you less in the long run.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Tristin on November 28, 2015, 23:02:17
Good thing you're not responsible for their finances.  ;)

I support other people wanting only the latest and greatest.  Keeps the used market cheaper for myself and others.  :)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 29, 2015, 00:49:00
Simone, it is a symptom.  The underlying cause cause could be described a lot of ways.

It is true that Nikon's pro equipment and even a lot of the semi pro stuff is "built like a tank".  There are other ways of wasting one's money that are even more harmful.  I know someone who bankrupted himself building a dream house in a remote part of New Mexico.  His folly was so severe it wound up costing his sister a bunch of money.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Jan Anne on November 29, 2015, 14:26:16
For me life is too short for mediocracy, I've come to terms with the fact that I can not own or do everything in life so decided that the few things I do own are of high quality.

Besides bringing me joy and pride of ownership with each use, the longer lifecycle these items usually bring to the table is also cheaper in the long run but more importantly also a more efficient use of mother natures resources.

We live in an over consuming society that is so disconnected from the production of the goods we use and the food we eat that the majority treats them as throw away items not realising how much resources and effort were needed to make them. And because we want everything in life we buy the cheap stuff and throw it away when it breaks or is no longer needed replacing it with new cheap stuff or an abundance of food we don't really need.

Almost a decade ago I bought my first MacBook Pro 15", before it became popular by the masses to do so, and people ridiculed me for doing so because of the amount of money involved. That same laptop is still in use by my sisters family after their third cheap plastic laptop died in the 6 years I had the Mac, they only needed to buy a new battery and charger and they have been happy campers for the last 4 years. Same for my 6,5 year old MacBook Air and 5 year old iPhone 4, they aren't the speediest devices anymore for my use but they are still in use by friends and family built from roughly the same resources but with a little more design and production effort than the cheaper stuff.

To put the massive waste of food into perspective; the western countries waste more food than is needed to feed the one billion malnourished people in the world....

Not trying to insult anybody here but I do wonder how people see the world around them when they make a pyramid of food on their plates at a buffet, only eat half of it and repeat this a few times because the food has been paid for. Maybe because I'm raised to only take what I need but I hate throwing away food so much that I only order steaks in places that I know can cook them properly medium rare as I don't like eating overcooked meat and don't want them to make me a second one.

Sorry for the rant but thats what you get when discussing non photographic topics on a photography forum ;D
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Bjørn Rørslett on November 29, 2015, 14:46:44
Well, I prefer this discussion at least to have an ectoplasmatic relationship and significance to photography. Ron raised relevant issues in his opening post. Let us take it from there.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ilkka Nissilä on November 29, 2015, 20:06:07
I think the f/1.4 lenses make sense to some photographers who are either making frequent use of the shallow depth of field (e.g. full body portraits need a wider aperture to separate the main subject from the background than head shots), or when photographing at night / indoors in available light. I do this a lot, with concerts, karonkkas etc. where I find often that I have to put up with a lot of noise or motion blur if using f/2.8 or even f/1.8 lenses. Every little bit of extra light helps.  In November or December it is typical that my ISO setting lives in the narrow window between 3200 to 6400. I just talked to a wildlife photographer who said there is often a very narrow window of opportunity both in terms of time (to catch an event in nature, e.g. bird attacks prey, 3 seconds of shooting after 16 hours of waiting in a hide), and light (in Finland the sun often shines from a low angle, which creates nice moody lighting but the quantity of light is often very low), so he felt it necessary to use lenses like 500/4. A 200-500 can do if you have enough light. In November-December in some years there is only a few hours of sunlight per month. That doesn't mean photographers don't want to make new images during this period of time. Also, in the summer around sunset and sunrise, there are several hours of soft beautiful light, but there isn't a lot of it, so again a fast lens and ISO 6400 may be needed to work with this light.

What can be used to save money is how many focal lengths you really need with a large aperture. A few well selected primes usually is sufficient even to the most ardent low light photographer. And no, they don't need to be zooms, if you're willing to work at the pictures.

In my country the education is free, day care and health care are both heavily subsidized. Retirement is collected automatically if you're an employee and you can't touch the money (and spend it on something else); the only way you get some of it back is by actually retiring. So, yes, we pay higher taxes but we can't quite screw up our lives (or our children's lives) by not saving in the same ways as someone living in a different system could. However, we also pay a bit more for our lenses because of the higher VAT. Most of the taxes go to fund these benefits that everyone in my country can benefit from, especially families that have small children get quite a bit of support from the state over the years. So the education you get is not limited by your parents economic or social status, although in practice well educated parents' kids tend to follow in the footsteps of their parents because they were brought up to value education highly.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Tristin on November 29, 2015, 20:24:57
I would like to add that for some, faster aperatures are a need and not a want.  I love shooting local music in underground venues, which always have very dark lighting.  At f/2, I am always at ISO 8000 or 10000 and, even then, I often have to lift the exposure later.  Going with a cheaper lens for me means having to always shoot at extended ISOs.  For my uses, it makes no sense to spend thousands on a FF Nikon and then save a few hundred and cut my IQ quite severely.  F/2.8 is often useless for me, at that point I might as well just use my phone with it's flash. 
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 29, 2015, 21:45:34
I must be spoiled by having too much sunlight.  Houston is at 29.7 North, within the Tropic of Cancer.  In the summer the sun appears directly overhead on a few days.  Next week I will be at 20.8 North.  Anyone want to guess where?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Gary on November 29, 2015, 21:49:30
Santa's Village, helping to prepare the sleight and all the goodies ... ?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Bruno Schroder on November 29, 2015, 22:42:56
20.8N is more likely Santa's holiday beach ;)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on November 30, 2015, 02:53:02
20.8N is more likely Santa's holiday beach ;)

There is most definitely a beach.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: schwett on December 20, 2015, 18:11:42
There is most definitely a beach.

there are a lot of beach candidates available at that latitude! maui, pv, cancun, even jeddah. i personally wouldn't recommend the latter ;)

Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: schwett on December 20, 2015, 18:19:14
ron's original post is an interesting one, but i'll admit that i think the "concern," if that's what it is, is a bit misplaced. i highly doubt that the people who are buying a 70-200 f/2.8 over a 70-200 f/4, or even a 200-400 f/4 over a 200-500 f/5.6 are the ones who are imperiling the world's economic future, and if they are, it isn't from 5 or 10 or 20 grand in photographic expenditures. ron's politics and mine clearly differs, so perhaps the less said about the better, other than perhaps that the united states is fairly balanced in being both a low-tax country (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP) and a low-benefit country (no "free" education, limited "free" housing, terrible "public" transport and national rail, etc.)

so i guess i'd ask what the concern really is? as michael noted, most amateurs don't take photographs for profit, but rather for the pleasure of it. if your DC bureaucrat gets more pleasure from photography with the 200-400 than the 200-500 or 70-300, that in itself can and may be both the end and the means.

those who chase only the latest gear in order to have a feeling of superiority, and derive pleasure from only that rather than the inherent pleasure of using or owning well made or well designed things.... well, i don't think there's many of those people on this website, and in my life i've actually met relatively few of them. they're probably not out taking pictures in crowds or at a freezing (or boiling) dusk/dawn/twilight, that's for sure...
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Andrea B. on December 20, 2015, 18:47:18
I have absolutely no idea what I "need" for photography beyond "needing" to create images and art. As a mostly amateur (?? who knows ??) I bought a D3S because it was hugely better than anything else out there at the time and permitted me to be both creative and have good image quality when I wanted it. That D3S never got in my way. I did not have to make do with the D3S or learn workarounds. There is a glorious freedom in that. And I LEARNED from that camera. And, yes, absolutely - that camera made me happy. Does that make me some sort of shallow materialist? Don't know. Don't care. I paid my dues. I donate to charity. Who can possibly care whether I shoot a D3S or not? Who knows why a soul yearns for art? Shoot what you will and let others have the same freedom.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Akira on December 21, 2015, 05:05:49
I have absolutely no idea what I "need" for photography beyond "needing" to create images and art. As a mostly amateur (?? who knows ??) I bought a D3S because it was hugely better than anything else out there at the time and permitted me to be both creative and have good image quality when I wanted it. That D3S never got in my way. I did not have to make do with the D3S or learn workarounds. There is a glorious freedom in that. And I LEARNED from that camera. And, yes, absolutely - that camera made me happy. Does that make me some sort of shallow materialist? Don't know. Don't care. I paid my dues. I donate to charity. Who can possibly care whether I shoot a D3S or not? Who knows why a soul yearns for art? Shoot what you will and let others have the same freedom.

Well said, Andrea!  Totally agreeable.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: tommiejeep on December 21, 2015, 06:23:43
Andrea, the D3S certainly did not make me a better shooter but the sense of freedom to shoot how, and what, is fantastic.  I do not use it as much as I used to but cannot bring myself to sell it because it is just always there for me  ;) .  It did make me lazy about the constant need to change setting for the best speed/iso/aperture combos... just set the bloody thing to cover the speed and worry about trying to clean up the image later  ;) .  This is sort of my gospel :  Anticipate the Light and wing it when you get it wrong.
 I certainly agree with your post  :) .
All the best,
Tom
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Frank Fremerey on December 21, 2015, 09:13:17
I have absolutely no idea what I "need" for photography beyond "needing" to create images and art. As a mostly amateur (?? who knows ??) I bought a D3S because it was hugely better than anything else out there at the time and permitted me to be both creative and have good image quality when I wanted it. That D3S never got in my way. I did not have to make do with the D3S or learn workarounds. There is a glorious freedom in that. And I LEARNED from that camera. And, yes, absolutely - that camera made me happy. Does that make me some sort of shallow materialist? Don't know. Don't care. I paid my dues. I donate to charity. Who can possibly care whether I shoot a D3S or not? Who knows why a soul yearns for art? Shoot what you will and let others have the same freedom.


For me the D3 was the camera that made me happy. A reliable tool that does not get in my way. That is what I need.

If I have such a tool, the FM2 was it in Film Days, I can simply design the photo.

with unreliable tools like the D70 one always has to do work around it like a rubber hammer to handle steel nails

The D600 is somewhere in between. After two years with her I do not get unexpected results anymore

reliable? Nope
learnable? Yes

a wood hammer instead of rubber

a D3Xs with 2015 technology would be my tool of choice.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: the solitaire on April 29, 2016, 12:50:31
Nice to meet someone who came from a Nikon FM and moved to a D3 and thought of it in the same way I do.

Compared to most photographers I really have no financial means. My budget is non-existing, but over the years I built up a set of working gear that lets me do pretty much whatever I like photographically, plus some bells and whistles.

I started photography with a loaner Pentax SLR but soon found a way to pay for a used Nikon FM with a beat up 50mm f2 Ai. My next lens was an 80-200 f4 Ai-S zoom followed by a Tokina 17mm f3,5 wide. 2 years later I could afford a 2nd body. A used Nikon FM2.

15 years later I bought quite a few lenses cheap and sold them with small profits. At one point I had some freed up cash and bought a new 14-24mm f2,8 which I traded for my current D3 some 6 years later.

Even with a budget of -XX$ and having to save and put aside money to buy the lenses and cameras I use I never regretted a single purchase when it comes to photographic equipment. Today I am watching an ebay auction for a 5cm f2 lens and hope it does not exceed $75 because with that it would exceed the money I have to spend on photography by more then $75.

One thing that really enriched my photographic experience is meeting my girlfriend who shares the passion for photography with me. Because we both do not have amounts of money that would allow us to freely buy what we want we decided that I sell duplicates of lenses and focal lengths we both own to spend the money on an 85mm f1,4 AF-D Nikkor. Another purchase well worth the money.

I guess we all come from different walks of life and with that have different views on what is nescessary and what isn't. I can only say that after years of saving and spending my money in a way that I consider wisely, I now have a set of lenses and a camera that allows me to enjoy photography like I never could before. "Worth every penny" would be the way I would describe my current set of camera gear.

(I think I paid less on all cameras and lenses combined then some have spent on a single lens or camera, but in the end the photographs do count, and photography is more enjoyable when your gear does not get in the way, even though limitations by camera gear are more of a mental infliction then a technology related one)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Hugh_3170 on April 29, 2016, 14:22:04
Buddy, whilst the differences between wants and needs can be subtle, it is more important to want what you actually have, than to have what you might want.

I suspect that this idea has helped you to maximise the benefit to cost ratio of your purchases.

Good on you.  :)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: the solitaire on April 29, 2016, 16:05:12
Hugh, I never managed to express it in so few words and still capture the essence, but yes, it pretty much comes down to that. And the realisation that we can own pretty badass camera setups these days without having to sell a kidney ;)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on May 18, 2016, 23:48:23
Buddy, whilst the differences between wants and needs can be subtle, it is more important to want what you actually have, than to have what you might want.

I suspect that this idea has helped you to maximise the benefit to cost ratio of your purchases.

Good on you.  :)

Brilliant.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Frank Fremerey on May 19, 2016, 00:20:31
Buddy, whilst the differences between wants and needs can be subtle, it is more important to want what you actually have, than to have what you might want.

These are very wise words. In Scotland I wore a T-shirt that is sold as merchandise for my favourite blog http://waitbutwhy.com/

It reads: "Reality - Expectations = Happiness" ... https://store.waitbutwhy.com/collections/tank-tops/products/wbw-reality-tank

which reduces it even further and so makes it so reach even further.

To want something and to get it does never mean you get happier.
With ownership and choice come the plagues of loss protection and having to choose.
A friend of mine put it this way: "Every lens you add to your bag will devalue all other lenses you already own"
He had all there is to have in Hasselblad, Linhof, Sinar, Leica and Nikon. He sold all but one body and three lenses.

You say that the FM2 and the D3 make you happy? Very good. I feel a reliable tool is worth every cent you spent on it.
When people come to me and ask I tell them to better buy used professional equipment in good shape than new plastic fantastic.
My argument is to better get a used Mercedes than a new Fiat/Ranault/Dacia.

What does one win?
A reliable tool simply melts into the background because it does what it is expected to do. Period.
A lens you often use gains value, because with training you get better and better.
Which lens this might be depends just on your own style of shooting.
Sharing equipment is always fun, sharing equiment with your loved ones? How much better can life be?

Money is no solution, money is just a method and a tool. As overvalued as many other things.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Airy on May 19, 2016, 05:14:17
Just curious - which one body and three lenses?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Frank Fremerey on May 19, 2016, 10:07:22
Just curious - which one body and three lenses?

D600 + 2.8/60G Micro + 2.8/24-70G AF-S + 2.8/70-200G AF-S

But I think he currently has other fish to fry than taking photos.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: gryphon1911 on July 19, 2016, 17:33:17
Expensive gear rarely, if ever, determine the photographic quality of the resulting images. Some people burn a lot of money before realising this fact, and some never learn at all. Photography is no different to other walks of life in this respect. 

One can make excellent deals on second-hand equipment because of these follies.

Indeed - and I am re-discovering that as shown in my recent "Df and older lenses" post.

I live firmly in a "right tool for the job" mentality.  I have rare occasion/need to break out the f/2.8 zooms and the f/1.x primes except for some of the most difficult of work situations that require them.  I'm enjoying the older lenses.  I LOVE having an aperture ring.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: David H. Hartman on July 19, 2016, 18:59:27
The late Galen Rowell often used "consumer" grade lenses for his landscape and mountainering photography.  He was a long distance runner and often ran to his favourite sites and was consious of the weight penalty of heavier "Pro" lenses, especially when he needed to be at the right place at the right time to get the best light...

Galen Rowell was often running at altitudes that would be hard for many to walk at. His favorite camera was the F100 but he use an N80 when he need to be light for trekking at high altitudes. One lens he used was a 75-150/3.5 Nikon Series-E. This shows what can be done with carefully chosen economy consumer photographic equipment. I would not use this specialized example as one would need Galen's eyes and brain of something similar to get the same quality photographs.

For trekking at Disneyland, Anaheim, California I used to carry a Nikon FM2n or FE2 with a 25-50/4.0 AIS Nikkor and 50/1.8 AIS Nikkor.

Best,

Dave

The better the photographer the more they can do with less.

Dave
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: David H. Hartman on July 19, 2016, 19:17:29
In one forum some guy celebrated his purchase of a new 300 f/2.8 to photograph his 6 year old's soccer games.  I am certain those photos will be better than if a simple 70-300 had been used.   The boy will probably have to borrow an additional $15,000 to get through college because his dad did not put away $5000 in and S&P 500 index fund.

What kind of car does he drive? Most will easily spend more than an extra $5,000.00 (USD) on a more expensive car every few years. Buying a 300/2.8 if frugal elsewhere may be quite reasonable. A slow telephoto lens for stadium sports sucks as you can't differentiate the action from stadium spectators.

My mothers best friend who she frequently commuted to work with drove a 1965 VW bug. Her husband was criticized once in a board meeting for owning a 26 foot (8 meter) sailboat. I don't remember his car but it was similarly frugal. The person making the personal attack drove a new Mercedes-Benz sedan. The boat owner was a radio evangelist who spend a little over half a year traveling in his work while the other was a church administrator (life of poverty, ad hominem, etc.).

Dave
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: BW on July 19, 2016, 21:54:11
I see no reason why I couldn't live with an eleven year camera for 95% of my photography. I took the D70s out for a spin today and it still delivers excellent images. This 2005, 1200 $ camera can take 2500 pictures in one charge, its highest shutter speed is 1/8000 of a second, it delivers beautiful colors from the CCD sensor, auto white balance is great, the 6 megapixels gives decent 8x10 prints. What else do I need?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Bjørn Rørslett on July 19, 2016, 21:57:04
I use older cameras on a regular basis. D40x, D2H, Fuji S3/S5, to name a few. Then we have the lenses of course, for which the majority must be 20+ years of age.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: BW on July 19, 2016, 22:31:58
There is no reason not to, since most of the marketing hype whenever new gear arrives, is only a hype after all ;)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: MFloyd on July 20, 2016, 07:29:13
I've been through all the seven pages. Interesting, although, my primary interest in this site, is the very high level of technical knowledge.  What do I have to say ? Beside all the thinking that I want simply to keep for myself: First, do not judge or impose what people should do, should buy, should think; if everyone thinks and behave alike, the world would be very boring; I am also not a fan of this type of "socialist paradise" where other people, a community, or a government decides how people should be "happy".  Two: equipment; I have always been a tech geek - may be because of my background as an engineer - and "fortunately", I'm often active in a sport / action environment where top of the line equipment is highly desirable, and needed, in case I would have to justify I'm shooting with a D5 and not with a D3200. Three: Aperture: from a light gathering perspective, I need less and less high apertures (the best aperture I have is f/2.5) as high ISO quality has so dramatically improved. The most expensive lens I have is the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 VR II, which I shoot wide open in most of the cases - why, otherwise invest such an amount of money, to only shoot it at f/8 ? - the real reason is that I have often "polluted" backgrounds which I can easily rub away with high apertures. The latter will also be the reason to have a closer look into some other very high aperture lenses.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: BW on July 20, 2016, 10:57:19
I often tend to test and sometimes buy the newest gear as well, but I always find that my images never improve for that reason alone. Standing in front of something interesting, framing and quality of light helps. I honestly dont see any radical about this view. But personally I am more interested in image contents than "cropography". I would agree that the technical development has opened up possibilities that expand our way of photographing, but lately the curve has come dangerously close to the asymptote, and no real improvements. Making darkness look like daylight is to me not an improvement, but a scam brought upon the viewer. That is of course a personal view. Ex the D5, a 6500$ camera, has an operating environment of 0-40 degrees celsius, and 85% relative humidity according to the manual. Thats the same as every digital Nikon camera for the last 15 years, and that is what the guarantee is worth if you get a leaky gasket. If you look at the commercials this is hardly what they try to communicate to potensial buyers. I would call it technical improvement if they upgraded this to some "real world" standard and back up their price with some hardcore guarantee.
Title: The medium is the message ...
Post by: Les Olson on July 20, 2016, 15:06:20
... as Marshall McLuhan said.  The choice to photograph, rather than draw, the choice to use film instead of digital, the choice to use a D5 or a D7000, the choice to use an old manual focus lens, etc, are all aspects of the medium and therefore of the message.  Even if the medium is not a choice - if, like me, you can't afford a D5 - it is still part of the message. 

In a good photograph the medium and the message interact productively.  One of the things an Ansel Adams landscape says is "Look at America's eternal, pristine beauty", so of course he used large format equipment and perfect focus.  The message would not have been the same if he had used a Box Brownie and not removed the dust spots.  One of the things a Cartier-Bresson picture says is "Look at all these moments passing by" - so of course he used a 35mm camera.  The technical aspects can also play against the scene to create an ambiguous message - as in Irving Penn's picture of Lisa de Fonssagrives in a spectacular frock but with a slightly awkward pose and with the edges of the backdrop showing.  The medium can also fake a message - as in anything by Steve McCurry (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/magazine/a-too-perfect-picture.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fon-photography&action=click&contentCollection=magazine&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=collection is worth reading). 

One message is no better than another so no medium is better than another.  John Dugdale (http://johndugdalestudio.com/intro) is no better - photographically - than Terry Richardson (https://www.instagram.com/terryrichardson/?hl=en).  But you can't be "Terry Richardson" and use 8 x 10 cyanotypes.  Pointing out that another lens or a faster lens or a camera with 12 stops of dynamic range instead of 10 will not enable you to take better photographs in a technical/aesthetic sense is missing the point.  The medium is the message, and for that reason alone a photograph taken with a D5 and a 70-200/2.8 is not remotely similar to a technically and aesthetically comparable photograph taken with an FM3 and a 105/2.5. 

Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: David H. Hartman on July 20, 2016, 20:22:35
Why can't a peasant own a sword?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: BW on July 20, 2016, 22:20:18
In the film days, format certainly was important and every photographer used a medium adapted to their genre. Today every "peasant own a sword" IMHO. I have a hard time distinguishing between gear when I see a picture online. If the caption doesn't state what equipment is used to create a picture, I want be able to tell if it is Phase One, Olympus M4/3 or god forbid, a cellphone. The "leica look" unfortunately died when photography went digital. If you want recognition for using expensive gear one have to make sure everyone know what gear is used. Gear is fun, but it is no fast track to better images, only a slimmer bank account ;)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Hugh_3170 on July 21, 2016, 02:42:10
Quality has been defined as "fitness for purpose".

The nature of the purpose will therefore have a strong influence on what equipment needs to be deployed.

A VW Beetle might be a perfect solution for a work day commute, whereas only a limousine would be appropriate for say  transporting a head of state to a formal occassion.

I cannot see why the choice of ones photographic equipment should not follow a similar path. 

Horses for courses is perhaps a simpler way to summarise this idea.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: David H. Hartman on July 21, 2016, 03:24:34
A VW Beetle might be a perfect solution for a work day commute, whereas only a limousine would be appropriate for say  transporting a head of state to a formal occassion.

Some heads of state should transported in a BMW, a classic mid '50s one door coup.

Dave

Please click this link for a graphic illustration...

Beam me up Scottie! (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/BMW_Isetta_-_Flickr_-_mick_-_Lumix.jpg)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Hugh_3170 on July 21, 2016, 04:36:40
Hi Dave, I cannot disagree with you at all - especially in respect to some of the turkeys who erroneously claim to be running Australia - maybe a sanitation truck would in fact be better for them than a one door BMW coupe!  (Sorry - I am off topic.) 

Some heads of state should transported in a BMW, a classic mid '50s one door coup.

Dave
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Les Olson on July 21, 2016, 11:06:08
Why can't a peasant own a sword?

Because a person who owns a sword is not a peasant.  Not owning a sword is just part of the definition of peasant. 

Remember the Kevin Spacey advertisements for Olympus? "I don't want to be the camera guy [...] don't be a tourist."  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vuDtcFngZc  A person who owns a Pen is not a camera guy, but is a photographer - why else does he show you that the lens comes off? 

One of the hallmarks of professionalism, in any field, is the ability to work productively with tools or people you don't like, but for even the most professional work is easier and usually better if you do like the team and the tools of trade.  For amateurs the link between liking and using is even stronger.  So, our choices do define us.  You can resist being identified as "the camera guy" because you have a dSLR and three lenses, but it is no good me saying "I own an FM3, but I am not the sort of person who owns an FM3": I do, so I am.   

And newness or innovation or elegance of design can be what a person likes, and there is nothing wrong with choosing because you like those things.  Choosing gear because it is cheap and functional is not a fundamentally better reason: it is still just what you like.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: David H. Hartman on July 21, 2016, 20:07:27
Because a person who owns a sword is not a peasant.  Not owning a sword is just part of the definition of peasant.

I referring to a time in medieval Japan when a Shogun came up from the peasant class and when he arrived he confiscated family swords and melted them down to make a Steel Buddha. This according to the History Channel years ago. I'm not interested in the politics, history or sociology of the time or today so please don't go off on current or ancient politics. I'm interested the idea that a peasant class (non-professional) photographer should not own a lens like a AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II or AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II.

I don't subscribe to the "Life of Optical Poverty®" [I remember this equipment debate came up frequently when I was at Photo.net]

Dave Hartman

Les, the above is referring back to the original post more than anything else. I agree a lot with what you wrote above. :)

---

So what is an f/stop worth? In stadium sports it's the difference between a confusing photographs where the action on the field is difficult to differentiate from the spectators in the bleachers because though out of focus they are not sufficiently blurred so as not to compete with the subjects on the playing field. There is a significate difference between many shots taken at 300/2.8 and those taken at 300/4.0 and 5.6.

There is a solid reason why sports and fashion photographers adopted the 300/2.8 lens as soon as it became available. It's the 300/2.8's large entrance pupil.

So why can't a peasant own a 300/2.8?
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: David H. Hartman on July 22, 2016, 00:29:25
Making darkness look like daylight is to me not an improvement, but a scam brought upon the viewer.

It's in your hands to tell the camera what you want with exposure compensation or full manual control. My 1970 Nikkormat FTn with center-weighted metering tried to make night into day.

Dave
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Ron Scubadiver on July 22, 2016, 20:17:09
After starting this thread I was surprised to find it attract so much discussion and further surprised to se it get pinned.  My personal values tend to keep me from buying very expensive gear.  Part of it is I see what I can do with the mid range stuff and part is about weight and bulk.  In no event would I ever advocate preventing anyone from spending their money on high end photo gear, even if it was an extremely bad financial decision.  That sort of person will wind up in trouble anyway because if he does not buy the lens he will spend the money on something else.

There are multiple things shaping our gear purchases:
1. Availability of funds.
2. Real needs such as a pro sports photographer who must have the fast long lens to survive.
3. Imagined needs.
4. Desires.  These are wants that translate into some objective photographic result, like buying a macro lens to take pictures of bugs.
5. Values.  This could also be called priorities.

However, I think it is useful to give a lot of thought to what we will be doing with new gear and what we will be giving up to have it before pulling the trigger.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Almass on September 22, 2016, 08:02:01
Why can't a peasant own a sword?

Did it not say in the book of Five (something) that it is the Sword which owns his man.

As for the thread, it is rather interesting that people like to overthink any issue.

As far as I am concerned, I would say: A stop is worth a sale.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Humboldt on October 20, 2016, 12:37:30
I shot photos several times every week, but most often with my mobile camera, because that is the camera I always carry. Of course the technical quality can´t match DSLR, but most of my photos are never printed and many will be sent to Instagram, and usually the quality is good enough. The best photos of mine is normally shot when I am doing something else. Like during bicycling, walking and climbing in mountains, during lunch when I leave the office for some food. Or when something happens in my ordinary life. There is a saying that the best camera is the one you do have at hand when you find something to shot. I have found out that, when I am hit by ambition - the ambition to shot "serious" photos - specifically - and I take my "serious" camera with me - it often just ends up in nothing and very boring photos. It is like the camera is standing between me an my ambition. So, nowadays, since I mostly shot during some other activities, I almost only use a mirrorless 4/3 camera - if not just using the smartphone. But even the mirrorless is to bulky to carry all the time, so I am actually considering something like a Sony RX100 or maybe a Nikon V3, but the later has received so much of negative criticism that I am unsure if it is worth buying.   
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Andrea B. on October 21, 2016, 17:58:45
Perhaps you can rent a V3 to try? They are rather clever little cameras but it takes a while to learn to use them to their best advantage. They are certainly easy to carry around on a cross-chest strap.

I once used the small Nikon Coolpix A (28mm fixed field of view) for a summer and had great fun with it. I put a toggle on it so that I could hang it on my belt loop for easy access. The RX100 would be easy to use like that so might be an excellent choice.

I like having the mobile camera always handy, but I get annoyed because it is so slow to start up. And it does not automatically return to shooting mode after making a photo. And I'm always touching the screen and triggering a response I do not want. I put the mobile cam onto voice control, but that method has its own problems. When in public on the street, it is not a good idea to be saying "shoot", "shoot" at one's mobile cam. That can be misinterpreted.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Humboldt on November 16, 2016, 11:02:54
When in public on the street, it is not a good idea to be saying "shoot", "shoot" at one's mobile cam. That can be misinterpreted.
:o  ;)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: ColinM on April 29, 2020, 12:22:15
(https://pbase.com/celidh/image/170650727.jpg)
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: Matthew Currie on April 29, 2020, 21:21:07
I had to look twice at that one, but mine was done with different equipment.  Exif is wrong here, because I forgot to reset it.  It's really a 55/3.5 on a D7100 at unremembered aperture.
Title: Re: What is a Stop Worth, and the Meaning of Life
Post by: ColinM on April 30, 2020, 11:45:35
I had to look twice at that one, but mine was done with different equipment. 
It's really a 55/3.5 on a D7100 at unremembered aperture.

Nice version Matthew
Mine was done with a 300mm F4 PF about half an hour after the sun got above the trees

It was the sister shot to this (which probably doesn't strictly belong in "What's a stop worth" but hey!