Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Peaks and Valleys (2)

No.  The Muse has not yet returned.  She must be away on extended holiday somewhere.  Not that having spent the last five weeks with family guiding them through their Europe Vacations (including time in Spain) had any impact on... wait... that must be it...

Shapes and Light

I have not had any time to work my art.  Of course the Muse couldn't find me.  I've been up to my ears in distractions!

One thing I've had time to think about is that I can proceed in at least one of two ways.  I can strive to create images that make other people happy by studying and then making images that are culturally "current".  Or I can simply create the art I want, for better of worse.  It was then that I had another, stronger realization; I need to know what I want to create if I take the second approach.  That's the tough part, now isn't it?

Visiting museums in Spain, I had the opportunity to see just how great artists of the 19th and 20th centuries could be.  The real surprise was Picasso.  Up until this visit, I'd viewed him from the position of my own ignorance.  Then, after visiting the Prado in Madrid, I became convinced that Europe's greatest artists deserved their places in history.  Fabulous works all around.

If I studied beautiful works of art, would the Muse would return?

Shapes and Light

Once back in Paris to home and hearth, I couldn't help but notice that the World of Photographic Tools continues to grind out new and interesting toys to ogle and drool over.

Joining Canon's WIFI-only PowerShot N comes Sony's hybrid offerings in two lenses with sensors in their QX series.  These can be strapped on to and controlled by a cell phone or tablet.

If you remember, I wrote a fair bit about how nearly instantaneous art creation could become when combining a WIFI enabled lens/sensor system to social and image sharing networks.  Canon's and Sony's product offerings have yet to take the fully integrated step of combining a lens/senor system with and Android or iPhone operating system that Samsung has.  Still, progress is being made, even if it is in Baby Steps.

Then, yesterday, like a meteor hitting Terra Firma, came Sony's full frame E-mount (NEX-like) product announcements.

I've been thinking about down sizing my image capture systems.  The older I get, the harder it is to hold and manage a full frame Canon DSLR.  Would Sony's new products attract me enough to encourage me to sell my old gear and move into a new system?  The costs would be high and living on a fixed income would force me to seriously study any potential wholesale move such as this.

Shapes and Light

Quick as a bunny, I took a look at the specifications of the new Sony 7R and Vario-Tessar products.

It seems like Sony has done a nice job in creating a new family of products that are WIFI connected while offering the kind of image quality that large sensors can help an artist achieve.  The weight of the 7R body is 407grams without battery.  The weight of the 24-70 f4 Zeiss is reportedly 430grams.  While the lens is a little short on the long end of things, I would minimally need combination to shoot in the studio.

The weights compare with the Canon 5D MkII's 810grams and the 24-105L f4's 670grams.  That's Sony's 837grams, not including battery versus Canon's all up kit weight of 1480grams.  This seems a useful improvement.  It would be really great if a full frame Sony could also replace my current "walk around" NEX5 kits too.  The all up weight of the NEX5 with battery and kit lens is 502grams.

The old NEX5 would be 60 percent of a 7R/Zeiss kit weight.  The new Sony full frame would be 56 percent of the weight of the 5D/240-105L setup.  Hmmm... this is squarely in the middle between my "walk around" and "studio" setups.

Shapes and Light

Obviously, weight is only one dimension to be considered when evaluating imaging systems.  The breadth and depth of optical solutions, 12 versus 14 versus 16 bit A to D's used in the sensors, as well as support by third party suppliers, and long term engineering investment are important too.  In this way, Sony's new products do not contribute anything new nor compelling.

I don't yet see a clear way through this.  At the bottom of it, Sony's newest full frame mirrorless offerings are not really any more capable than my current images makers.  In fact, if I consider long lenses for bird and automobile photography, as well as ultra short optics used in tight situations, my Canon DSLRs remain the Cock of the Roost.

I will continue to watch the industry to see if they can strike the kind of balance between size, weight, and capability that I've been waiting for.  This might change completely should Canon buy a medium format sensor company and start engineering very large sensor solutions.  In which case I might head in a completely different direction with my art, enabled by a radical chance in tools.

Shapes and Light

What I'm really waiting for is the Return of my Muse.  Then all these mental machinations over new toys will subside and I can once again get down to the business of image creation.


Al Arthur said...

Welcome back Chris! Hope the inspiration returns soon. Are you still having fun with the camera(s)?

I'm pleased about the new Sony mirrorless. Not because I particularly want one, but it will hopefully help people to see mirrorless as a 'pro' option rather than just consumer level. I'm surprised at some of the initial lenses though - I thought they'd be faster.

Christopher Perez said...

Hello Al,

Back, indeed! Dog tired. But...

I too was a little surprised by the speed of the new Sony FF E-mount optics. The 55mm is really the only one that is "fast". AND at 1000Euro... YIKES!

On some level, it feels like more "camera bling" than a serious tool kit. BUT, this is just their opening salvo. So who knows what the future holds for the new series?

For myself, I think it'd be very exciting if Canon were to come out with a 40+ mpixel FF DSLR in the price range of the original 5D MkII. Alternatively, if they were to offer a sub-4,000Euro medium format... well... all this talk just stands in the way of the Return of the Muse... right? LOL!