January 5 2010 - Photo Jottings

January 5 2010


Holy cow!  Some folks are actually counting the shadow width in pixels from each crop in my comp review, and drawing conclusions from the differences!!  Good Lord!  As I sit here in front of my cheap little windows computer laughing at it all, I can’t help but think some people would be better off participating in photography at some basic level, instead of being perpetual observers, and developing the persona of “online expert.”

I’ve had more offers this week to join “chat rooms” or “discussion groups” than all the offers combined from the last three years or more I’ve been doing this site.  I appreciate the offers, but someone has to actually produce material for the discussions in those chat rooms.  I’m too busy either making money taking pictures, hiking and taking pictures, or adding to this website by taking pictures.

I think the reason this comp review is so controversial is the expected results were not obtained.  Some people do not like unexpected results or surprise, in this case the surprise was the cheap little Tamron looked sharper than the much more expensive Sony models.  The usual gripe is that I must’ve bumped the tripod, or the focus wasn’t right.  I can tell the difference between veiling haze and camera movement, some people can’t.  I also know how to get the best sharpness out of a lens.

Speaking of sharpness and all the mess it creates, here’s a funny story, but sadly true; I do MLS photography quite often, which involves taking picture of homes for sale (inside and outside) for real estate agents to post in the local Multiple listing service website.  I go out and do the shoot, for inside shots I normally use a 10-15mm focal length and the A700.  I burn the full sized images and send them to the agent.  After the agent examines the images at 100% on their computer screen, sometimes they will go into a fit of rage because they think one of the shots is not sharp enough to show the 1/2 inch (12mm) high letters–usually at an angle(!) of the range brand in the kitchen, (like an expensive Viking etc.) taken from the living room 25ft away! You think that’s odd, read on.  The agent will then call me and complain because they want the name to be visible in the picture so potential buyers will see the expensive upgraded appliances.  Finally, after I explain  that’s involved with resolution and area coverage, the agent calms down and agrees.  In the end, the full downsized images are uploaded to the MLS website, which processes the images at a maximum 400 pixels wide using massive compression!!!  Now do you think sharpness matters one bit in this situation?  I guess I’m just trying to illustrate the illogical and often damaging importance people place on sharpness.

Another true story; I recently sold a couple of pictures printed and framed (image size 11″x14″) to some very nice folks.  Both images were taken with a 6MP point and shoot camera.  The subject in both shots was a Saguaro cacti, with mountains in the background.  The images were taken while hiking deep in the local mountains, which gave them the out-of-the-ordinary perspective that caught the buyers eye.  The buyers never asked about what type of camera I used, or how many megapixels it had, and the lens used etc.  The nice people enjoyed the pictures as presented,
and bought them, that’s it.

In the end, sharpness really doesn’t matter, it’s the right composition and lighting that will get you, or other people to take notice, not a fancy lens, or even a cheap lens in our recent case with the Tamron.  Take your pocket camera with you next time you take a stroll in the local park or area attraction and see what you can come up with, if you’re disappointed with your results, it won’t be because of sharpness, it’ll probably be from poor lighting and composition.

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