Panasonic 12-35mm - Olympus E-PL3 - Pixels and small sensors


All images - Olympus E-PL3 Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

Spotting some sunshine this morning, I was out the door at 7:30 AM. I took my E-PL3 + 12-35mm lens attached and got some shots I was pleased with before the weather closed in again. I used the Olympus for no other reason than I like using it and the 12-35mm works well on it for me. Just how I like a camera / lens combination to feel.






So only 12MP, but the whole "pixel myth" has come to the fore over the past week or so. The Nokia 808 PureView mobile phone has a 41MP camera built into it!!! Dpreview have reviewed it here:- http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8083837371/review-nokia-808-pureview  I looked at some of the samples and they are unspeakably horrible. At 100% viewing I was greeted by a processed mush, blown highlights, and artefacts galore. Only by downsizing to around 6MP was I able to get something that approached a viewable file. I thought this cramming too many pixels onto a very small sensor to get some headlines and impress airhead gadget freaks was a thing of the past. It seems not.

It was of course the trigger for all sorts of "Mobile Phones rule " "The death of the compact camera" etc. etc. type comments. As if somehow this appalling excuse for a picture making device was actually any good. Sometimes I wonder just what people look at and are capable of seeing. 

Talking about looking and seeing, one of the reasons I'm so anti mobile phones when they attempt photography is that mobile phones create behaviour that is the complete antithesis to what photographers (real ones that is) do. Instead of looking around at their surroundings, observing peoples behaviour and generally experiencing the environment in which they are in, hordes of mobile / smart phone users just look at their b****y phones all of the time. "Sharing" their banal lives with other "non-observers". Why on earth do these people leave their houses? There seems little point.

Nothing I've ever seen taken with a mobile phone has ever impressed me. As far as I'm concerned:-
All mobile phones take rubbish pictures.
Anyone who thinks they don't and calls themselves a photographer needs an eye test and / or a brain transplant.

Yes I've taken and posted pictures with mine, but they are just pictures of cameras. So, nothing important there then. Why people choose to document their lives with these things is beyond me. Do they attach no importance to doing this?

There's a really depressing example of this phone nonsense in this other item from Dpreview. 

Dan Chung is a top photojournalist, who works mostly for the Guardian here in the UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/danchung He was a pioneer of DSLR video and I've always loved his work and have a lot a respect for him. Why he and the Guardian have embarked on this "Lets get down with the kids" mobile phone exercise at the Olympics makes about as much sense to me as Eric Clapton turning up to play a concert with a plastic toy ukelele.

You'll see from the images posted just what a seriously good photographer he is. But what a waste. And also sad that both he and the paper have got sucked into this glorification of using innapropriate tools for the job. Will we now get surgeons in hospitals starting operations by saying "Hey wouldn't it be cool if I used my Swiss Army Knife for this one?"

Those who have dropped in here regularly will know that I'm equally as intolerant/critical/ignorant of the benefits of small sensor point and shoot compacts. However, like the rest of the photographic world I've been amazed by the samples from the Sony RX100. (The kind of cameras that will, of course, soon disappear because of mobile phones, if the forums are to believed) So I decided to stop just mouthing off about this kind of camera and try what seems to be the best example currently available. Its arriving Monday. So you'll then a get a review from someone who dislikes the whole idea of a camera like this on principle. You can put it in your pocket for gods sake! I've bought it myself obviously, so its going to be interesting to see if I can "bond" with a very small camera with no viewfinder, controls that one of the seven dwarfs would have trouble changing and has a sensor half the size of m4/3 crammed with 20MP. Should be interesting.

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