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Saturday, 20 June 2015


My vote is that he gets the next version of the Olympus E-M1. He will want to have a small, light camera and relatively small and light lens. He probably has a good collection of micro 4/3 lens already and the new E-M1 will sport (I predict) the sensor shift trickery that the new E-M5 has so that he can get a large mega pixel image when he wants without the weight of a larger camera. This will be done by June 21 2016.

And now I was thinking Ctein had a new camera he could strap onto his wrist...

Maybe a Parrot?
Two birds with one stone, so to speak?

(A) When: In time for traditional Xmas treats.

(B) What. Well, the New Walter Leica Nut Cracker camera, of course. "Klick-N-Eat", as they say.

As seen at la Vida Leica: http://lavidaleica.com/content/new-walter-leica-nut-cracker

To me, the current "cool"/"hot"/"sexy" (all very scientific terms) cameras are the Fuji X-T1 and the Sony a7RII (possibly also the new Leica M Monochrom (type 246)).

My bet is also on the Sony, probably on September 28th as there will be both a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon on that date.

By the way, what about a special edition of the book sold with one original print of one Ctein's space picture? I am lucky to already own a few prints of Ctein's space picture and they are wonderful.

Ctein is a wise and thoughtful man (I met him once and his talents bring to my mind the Oracle of Delphi), and a few years ago he decided to be an early adopter of the Olympus OMD-EM5 and a select number of lenses. Ctein is a pragmatic scientist, so I don't believe that he has a desire to acquire Veblen goods.

I recall a post that he made while he was considering the Olympus and that it was a horse-race between the Olympus and the Fuji offerings.

As a statistician I see three outcomes:

One: he does nothing since his images look spectacular with the equipment he is using today.

Two: he modestly trades his OMD-EM5 body for the current Mark II version only because it has a really cool half-pixel shift in the sensor that makes 40 mbit images of stationary subjects. That is something that could technically better his images since there are no moving objects in his portfolio.

Three: he dumps the Olympus and gets the Fuiji X-T1 and the lenses he likes (and follows in Mike's footprints). Today Fuji rocks.

Finally, he will wisely invest his new found wealth so that it will grow in case he someday needs those funds.

My money is on outcome Two.

Q maybe?

And I'd always assumed it was named after Berkeley, Gloucestershire, a small village not very far from my home city. The home of Edward Jenner, who invented vaccination (1796). Nearby there are two entombed decommissioned civil nuclear power reactor vessels and the castle where Edward II met an unfortunate death.
However, Wikipedia's attribution to Bishop Berkeley, author of 'An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision' (1709) seems altogether more apposite in Mike's blog. I expect he would also have been pronounced the English way, to rhyme with darkly.

Ctein with a camera with a PASM dial? Just more kidding around, right?

If I had ha Graham's number of $$$ (http://waitbutwhy.com/?p=3003), I'd certainly get an Alpa A-series with a Phase One back (https://goo.gl/zqr4oU). :-)

With a bank balance of $∞ (relative), there's less need to worry about exposure range, resolution and the like. Thus, the chart of Ctein's cameras by size over time can resume its remarkable downward trajectory.

Ctein's next camera is the Pentax Q-S1, in gold. Bring on the print sale, Mike. :)

"Each increment of halfway to finishing takes just as long, and thus, theoretically, I can never finish. "

Ah, you must be using Zeno's word processor.

I've been using it for years

One datapoint: I've got an Oly EM5. If I had the cash, I'd have an Sony A7RII by August.

However it is spelled we pronounce it "Barclay". Relative to us, of course. And M is definitely last century.

The first two chapters are awesome. Looking forward to October!

Will an audio book be released as well? Please? Pretty please?

Betcha a Q. A new letter.

That is not how Berkeley is spelled.

So you are Achilles and the camera-post the turtle? Bad for us!

I might have to don a flamesuit after saying this, but after almost three years with the E-M5, the idea of going back to a DSLR is not very attractive to me.

So, I read the first two chapters of Ctein and John's new book (on an elliptical machine, no less) and it looks pretty good and now I'm miffed... Do I really have to wait until October to read the rest? :-(

Everyone should buy what interests them and makes them happy when price is not an issue. With his printing skills, and the best printer on the planet, I would think something with enough pixels to make prints that can occasionally use the 44" width of the 9900.
With his skill, that would be something to see.
Given his preference for small(ish) cameras the new Sony seems like a natural finalist. Although the Leica S would be the one for me.
I keep reading reports about 11bit compressed RAW files from Sony and wonder what his opinion of how much impact that might have? Or why they would do that??

Congrats on the book, --it's a nice camera 'problem' to have.

WOW..Sandford (uh, Camp) is a major hero. That f'n Flowers always has a good camera in his truck. Ctein better start renting deposit boxes to lay out all that dough!

> Each increment of halfway to finishing takes just as long, and
> thus, theoretically, I can never finish.

We don't know whether the fabric of the universe is continuous — i.e. infinitely divisble — or discrete — i.e. there exists a microscopic, fundamental unit that cannot be divided further.

The English language, OTOH, is known to be discrete — i.e. countable — as it's written using discrete entities called "letters".

The trick, thus, is to stop writing when there are only three letters to be added to complete the piece you're writing. The boundless time required to complete said writing would then automagically be reduced by 75%, and would therefore save enormous quantities of time, even if it means that your articles would appear to end mid-senten

For his maybe a Mk2 OMD would suit , in about 4 month, when the camera is better known. Gives him an improved EM5 with the 40mp option, but all else stays the same. Having a copy of his 17" print offer of the bridge, he could always go back to a Pen mk 1 without too much trouble so he may surprise us all.

Just my two cents worth - and my hands, not Ctein's - but I had a chance to handle the A7 II in a Sony Store in Berlin last week, and for me the feel in the hand was just not there. And I'm a Sony fan. Love my RX10, and am seriously considering spending the money to go with the RX10 II.

Only sure thing with Ctein - this from his comments at the Paris meetup - is that he's going to use some of the new gelt to fly first class next time.

Except between the r and the k.

I think the new sony A7RII is the first "II" version that does not have the "II" imprinted next to the name?

On Pharyngula there is a post about terraforming mars and evacuating the Earth. PZ points out that we would have to evacuate people faster than the birth rate to have any hope of finishing.

. . .waiting for the slidable/curvable chip that allows you adjust the "film plane" for use with wide angle lenses.

*but the satire answer is iPhoneS (or X, or whatever)


Hasselblad Lunar, for the win!

Interesting that there seems to a tacit assumption that Ctein actually needs more megapixels.

Your car analogy, if taken to it's logical extent, is that he'd also need an 6-liter Maybach to effectively get around the Bay Area.

I predict that Ctein will seek more aperture - but in a telescope, not a camera lens.

It seems appropriate for someone who is already into astronomy and has contributed to a book titled "Saturn Run".

Dear Robert,

“…his talents bring to my mind the Oracle of Delphi…”

Meaning that I'm invariably right but cryptic to the point of unintelligibility? Hmmmmm.

But in this case, it would serve well. My musings about the pros and cons of various cameras here should not be taken as any kind of a clue as to what I am going to do… If anything.

You are correct on one point, though. If I got the EM5 Mark II, it would have to be for trading my current body out. I couldn't use both. Olympus rearranged the controls between the two models! It would make me nuts. Irrationally, this ends up being a negative in my head. It's irrational because if I were to switch to a different camera system entirely, then of course I would have to trade out my old body. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't jump that way.

Given projected interest rates and my likely lifespan, growth is not a significant part of my financial planning. It's essentially a spend-down plan, adjusted for inflation.


Dear Gabe and others,

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Leica S. Something that bothers me about it (and the Sony) is the lack of an anti-aliasing filter. Aliasing was a distinct nuisance with the Phase One back. It only occurred in a minority of cases, but when it did occur it was very troublesome. The idea of buying into a system even as expensive as the Sony (let alone the Leica) and then being irregularly irritated by a “bug” in the design… Well, it rubs me the wrong way. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't jump that way.

(I'd also have to figure out the MEANINGFUL differences between the various sub-models of the S, which have phenomenally different price tags.)


Dear Dave in New Mexico,

Oh, definitely not. I do not like drones. They are a Problem of the Commons in rapid making. What the world needs, lots more buzzing things in the sky.


Dear Franck,

John and I mused over how much we'd have to charge for a “special” edition of the book to make it worth our while. Are you really willing to spend between $500 and $1000 dollars for a copy?

Okay how many takers?


Dear Jim,

In truth, I almost never switch my OMD off of the A setting. Aperture priority is intuitive for me.


Dear AA,

Amazon and the other sales websites (linked to from my website and, not so by the way, if you buy through the Amazon link on my website, Mike DOES get his cut from that–– I used his link) indicate that it will be available in a variety of formats including audio. I really have nothing to do with that. I'm just reporting what I read.


Dear Steve G,

Alright, a prediction I can confirm! You are absolutely right. One of the things I vowed was that if we sold the book, I would never again fly coach if I could avoid it. Which seems like a splurge, but given the amount I fly each year and where I fly, it probably works out to about $500 a month additional expense. Not that big an indulgence.

I also decided, after the fabulous time that Bayla and I had in London and Paris last August, that if the book sold, I was going to take my housemate, Paula, to London and Paris, because she's a major European history buff (she still takes courses) and she's never even gotten across the Great Puddle. And, yes, we would fly first class.


Dear KeithB,

And who cares? Our book isn't about Mars and it isn't about terraforming. I think you're in the wrong conversation.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

My guess was that *if* Ctein were to get a new camera, the two that I o=would think might tempt him would be an Olympus w/ the pixel-shift that maes higher rest images. But A dark horse option would be the Pentax K-3II, which has a pixel shift feature that instead of increasing resolution, improves the color at each pixel site, so it's still 24MP (I've never gotten the impression that absolute pixel count is important to him), but 'better'. It also has a GPS that can control sensor movement for short-ish exposures to reduce star trails. And it uses the sensor shift tech to enable a virtual anti-alias filter when desired.


The 42MP Sony A7R II is quite intriguing.

The previous 36MP A7R has been said to suffer from shutter vibrations that could affect picture sharpness.

However, judging from this picture that's been floating on the net, even the vibration-prone 36MP A7R seems able to deliver quite impressive amounts of detail.
I understand the picture has been taken by mounting on a Sony A7R, via a mount adapter, Canon's latest optical creation, the EF 11-24mm F/4 super wide-angle zoom. The sharpness of the flower bed in the lower right corner is quite impressive, especially when one thinks it's delivered by a zoom.

The 42-MP Sony A7R II, thanks to its electronic first curtain shutter and higher resolution, would probably deliver even better IQ than the A7R
The fact that Sony's cameras can be paired, thanks to mount adapters, with quality lenses from Canon's or Nikon's stables is also pretty nice.

In fact, we probably have an IQ comparable to medium format film in a body size not that different from a MFT's.

As far as Sony's compressed raw file format is concerned, there are people who argue on the Internet that this compression would reduce the DR to, say, 11 bits.
When tonal gradations with steep (8+ EV?) luminance gradients occur within a range of only a few pixels, Sony's raw compression algorithm is alleged tp affect the transition smoothness in that stretch of pixels. It seems hard to separate that effect, however, from the fact that a transition from very dark to very bright within only a few pixels can never be entirely "smooth", as it must render the brightness change by using only a few pixels or numerical values.

I wonder how those people who claim that compression means that Sony's raw files must have only a, say, "11+7 bit" [sic] DR could explain why DxO's measurements show that the pixels in Sony's picture files have a DR exceeding 13 bits. Maybe they'll claim that they are more competent than DxO about assessing the quality of a signal stored in a raw file.

Anyway, the A7RII's resolution is 5304 x 7952 pixels; this means the pixel pitch is approx. 36mm / 7952 = 4.52µ in the horizontal and vertical directions.
In the diagonal direction, the pixel pitch would of course be sqrt(2) times larger — about 6.40µ; this is therefore the maximum distance between two adjacent blue pixels of the Bayer array, and determines the worst case Nyquist limit of the spatial frequencies resolvable by the sensor.

The Airy disk radius for blue light of, say, 470nm wavelength, would be 1.22 * F * 0.470µ, where F is the lens f/stop.
This means that at about f/11.2, the blue light Airy disk would be sufficiently large to straddle two blue pixels even in the worst case — the diagonal direction.

Thus, thanks to diffraction, once a lens is stopped down to about f/11, it would be physically impossible, even for a 42-MP FF sensor without any optical low-pass filter, to generate any moiré.

For red light with, say, a 610nm wavelength, the f/stop beyond which diffraction renders the apparition of moiré physically impossible would be about f/8.5

The nice thing about cameras with high-resolution sensors is thus that, for static subjects than can be photographed using a tripod, one can take a picture with a normal f/stop, say, f/4.0, and then take a "backup" picture at, say, f/11.2 that could be used to "paint over", using Photoshop layers, any areas of the f/4.0 picture where moiré happened.

In other words, with hi-res sensors, one can, in effect, use the lens' aperture setting to flexibly "dial in" the amount of low-pass — a.k.a. anti-alias — filtering one requires.


When the pixle pitch is 4.52µ, the horizontal and vertical distance between two blue pixels of a Bayer array would be twice that — i.e. 9.04µ.

The absolute worst case, in terms of Nyquist, would be in the diagonal direction and would be 12.8µ.

For blue light with a wavelength of 470nm to have an Airy radius of 12.8µ, one would need to stop down the lens to f/22.3 if the lens was optically perfect, free of any aberrations — which no practical photographic lens is — and if the scene was entirely lit by 470nm blue light.

In practice, thanks to lens aberrations, and the fact that most real-world scenes are not monochromatically blue, it's likely that at about f/13, moiré would be reduced to such an extent that it would be negligible.

Dear William,

After my first, humongous dye transfer sale, I bought Paula a 10" Dobsonian for Xmas. I think that's all the aperture I can stand-- a 12" is too big for us to move. As it was it was quite the job keeping it hidden from her until 12/25... not to mention wrapping the box!


Dear Patrick,

Yeah, all three of those features on the K-3II push my personal buttons. But, so far as star tracking goes, my friend Rachel got one of the Sky-Watcher tripod mounts, and it totally rocks. 1-minute exposures are trivially easy, with pixel-perfect star images, with the Olympus 75mm lens. Which, not so incidently, is an amazing optic. Wide open, the star images at the corners deviate only ever so slightly from perfection. That's remarkable performance.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com


Yes, the star tracking seems like it wouldn't do the trick for people who actually photograph stars, it'd just be handy for folks like me who would want to do it occasionally. I'm certain serious astrophotographers wouldn't consider it useful, because their needs are more demanding.

On a separate topic, wow, I can't believe how badly I typed my first message.

And my guess was that there was only a 25% likelihood that you would be buying a new camera with this windfall. I think it more probable that you keep using what you have for a few years.


OK, I should have just quoted Kati's FB post: Telling a wedding florist that she can't use roses in your arrangements is apparently like telling Anne Geddes she can't use babies in her peapod photos.

My snarky reply was to ask: But *we're* still getting *our* pictures in peapod, right? RIGHT???!?!?

Also, I can tell you from experience that the Amazon Echo is a nice little Bluetooth speaker, but I use it's other capabilities infrequently. I
'd get another for $99 (the price I paid), but probably not for $180.


Dear Stephanie,

Truth be told, I am not really a car person. But if I were to decide to indulge in the car, it would be a Tesla.

pax / Ctein

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