Category: Articles

The Bokeh Dilemma

You know that tentative moment when you first say aloud a word you’ve only seen written? A word you’ve always sounded unhesitatingly in your mind, but which you’ve heard pronounced rarely, variably and without conviction? A foreign word that, for some reason, you must vocalise – you know, like ‘bokeh’. . . . Let’s do […]

Micro Four-Thirds: What is it?

The 2020 Coronavirus outbreak prompted much pondering on the nature of things. However Micro Four-Thirds (henceforth M43) has always attracted peculiarly fecund speculation about its nature and niche in the photographic ecosystem. What is it? Why is it here? And what does its future hold? As a religion, the primary doctrine of M43 is portability. […]

LAB Techniques

There are several web pages and YouTube videos extolling the advantages of using Photoshop’s LAB mode for colour correction, but the following are a couple of tweaks that could be incorporated in every photographer’s workflow, and are suitable for almost every image. LAB level and curve adjustments are the best way to make colour alterations, […]

Sony K800i v Canon 350D v 5D

[nextpage title=”Introduction”] Sony Ericsson K800i mobile phone v Canon 350D v Canon 5D Mark II [published july 2006] Everyone needs a day off. What better to refresh a palette jaded by the testing of $2000 optical exotica than to put a free camera phone through its paces. Seriously, though, the 3.2MP Sony Ericsson K800i is […]

Adaptor Compatibility

Many professional and amateur photographers have abandoned Canon lenses in favour of Olympus, Leica, Zeiss (and even Nikon!) lenses for their Canon digital cameras. Given the fact that a (frequently expensive) adaptor is required, and that the user is robbed of autofocus and required to deploy stop-down metering, some have rightly wondered: is it worth […]

Lens Rating System

Photography is part art, part science; choosing and using lenses similarly blends subjective and objective views. The ultimate merit of a lens is arguably best measured by its ability to become invisible, to deliver unadulterated reality to the film plane. However, lenses by definition offer the camera anĀ interpretationĀ of reality. They are designed according to constraints […]

Pentax FA 35mm f3.5

Elegy or Eulogy? Given the present uncertainty as to whether Hoya/Pentax have axed the long awaited Pentax 645 Digital, the undervalued Pentax 645 range of medium format optics remains practically homeless.* While Mamiya 645 users are exploring the realms of possibility opened up by the ZD back and body, rediscovering the excellent lenses in the […]

DXO V3 Review

[published february 2007] DXO: Digital Problems, Digital Solutions Once upon a time, the photographer’s work was done when the shutter curtain fell. Now it’s just beginning. The digital age has somewhat diminished the role of the ‘shutter monkey’ in today’s busy studios. Supervised creatively by Art Directors, in technical matters they are likely to defer […]

Mamiya ZD Review

[nextpage title=”First Impressions (June 2007)”] For me, this system, comprising a Mamiya 645 AFD and the brand new ZD digital back, represents both a step backward and a step forward: a sort of karmic splits: a return to Mamiya medium format (I loved my 7 II), and a tentative move into the realm of ‘oversized’ […]

Zones and Circles

You may have noticed and/or been confused by the convention used here in which lens performance is addressed by ‘Zones’ rather than the more commonplace ‘centre, edge and corner’ designation. At the risk of treading on the toes of Ansel Adams of Fred Archer, I feel that this, more empirically explicit, system is helpful. Here’s […]