Random Brain Waves, vol. 5

I’m taking this week to attend to some personal chores at home. Occasionally I’ll take a break and read news sites, or other photography blogs. Reading the comments sections of these sites often reminds me of a recent quote from film critic Roger Ebert…

“On the internet nobody need really know who you are. You can create a fake persona or a fictional email address. You can sign yourself ‘anonymous.’ Behind that facade you are free to say almost anything, without taking any responsibility… This seems to be an attractive opportunity for countless users. I will not speculate on their gender or age, although I have some good ideas. The comment areas on sites like YouTube and IMDb are wastelands of vulgarity, stupidity, cruelty and illiteracy.”

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Judging a camera by the size of it’s sensor is like judging a car by the size of it’s engine(I suppose I could have used another example, but this is a G-rated blog). Just as there’s more to a car’s performance than raw speed, there’s more to a camera’s performance than raw(small letters) image quality. Great image quality coupled with poor ergonomics, or a slow inaccurate autofocus system, or an inconsistent metering system makes for a lousy camera. Furthermore, technology is always moving forward. Small sensors are now performing at levels that would have been unthinkable for much larger sensors just three or four years ago. Unless you have a specific need for a full frame sensor – such as you like to make billboard sized prints, or you enjoy shooting your 50mm f/1.2 wide open all the time to admire it’s bokeh, or you like to photograph black cats in coal mines – there’s no longer a valid reason to avoid m4/3 or APS-C cameras. To continue to “diss” these cameras suggests you’re either uninformed, or you’re a camera snob who uses his gear to claim superiority over others. Smaller sensors are now good enough for 98% of the photographers out there, 99% of the time.

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Lonesome George has passed. George, estimated to be 100 years old, was the last remaining member of his subspecies, the Pinta Island tortoise. For 40 years George resided at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos Islands. As Charles Darwin formed his theory of evolution, one of the species he frequently observed was the Galápagos giant tortoise. We have George and his kind to thank for much of today’s scientific enlightenment. Pinta Island tortoises have disappeared largely because of over-hunting in the 19th century, and because of the introduction of invasive feral goats which decimated much of the tortoise’s habitat. Over the years, millions of people visited George at his Darwin Research Station home, and during this time he became something of an icon for the conservation movement. So long, George.

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