Thursday, July 20, 2006

Comparing cameras and lenses, and I'm off

Dear faithful readers, I am away photographing and won’t have easy access to the internet, nor the time to write my blog. I’ll be back mid August.

I’m sure that my travels will inspire new articles and I’ll of course share any interesting stories.
This mission will be a good test for my new EOS 5D. So far I’m very impressed with the quality and performance of the camera. It’s one of the best I’ve ever used; a real pleasure. I particularly like the way the 5D draws its images. The images look like medium format film. The camera is also a lot lighter to lug around than for example a Mamiya RZ and the quality when RAW files are processed correctly is certainly on a par.

There’s a funny thing about the whole process of comparing cameras. I know I’m not the first person to point the following out. Scientific tests give you dry academic figures often highlighting such miniscule differences that you’d need a powerful magnifying glass to see what they’re talking about, which is certainly not the way ‘normal’ people view prints.

As far as I’m concerned there’s only one way to evaluate a camera and a lens. Take pictures with the lenses and cameras you want to compare under a variety of lighting conditions. Then compare the prints as you would normally view them. You will see the way the camera draws the image. Each camera and lens produces an image with a distinctive feel. Your finely tuned photographer’s eye will instinctively identify the look you prefer. I don’t know of any scientific test that can pinpoint the huge combination of factors that produce the final image in print.
Even if there were such a test it would not take an individual’s visual preferences into account. So the only true test of image quality at the end of the day is the critical human eye.
Your views are welcome. Just post a comment below or send me an email.

See you in August. In the meantime please feel free to peruse more than a year’s worth of articles on this blog. You could try looking through the archive for some of the highlights.

Happy reading.


PS please visit my online exhibition at
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