Become famous on social media

Allen Bell left a comment:

Your passion is teaching us at a time when social media is running rampant! Definitely need to know something about using a camera today.

Well, there is the option to simply not care about social media. Surely there are people in the world who don’t post every day on social media and they are doing just fine. Aren’t there?

But can I teach someone to become famous on social media? I can’t make myself famous because I’m a boring middle-aged man, and no one cares about people like that. But I do believe that I have the ability to curate the social media feeds of someone inherently more interesting and photogenic than me, and make them insta-famous.

Leave a comment if you’re interested. (I expect to share the profits, I’m not going to do it for free. But probably, this call for action will be a failure, because the kind of people who are inherently interesting wouldn’t be reading this blog. Can you imagine Justin Bieber reading this blog? I can’t.)

The fake war photographer

I actually think it was pretty cool that he was able to become Instagram-famous by stealing other people’s photos. I’m always impressed by a good hoax.

But what does it actually mean to be famous if you use selfies of some good looking guy as a stand in for yourself? (Probably, the guy behind the fake account is not as good looking. I am sure he’s a guy, I can’t imagine a woman pulling a hoax like this.)

Sony and Olympus to dominate the future of photography?

Andrew Liszewski, writing for Gizmodo (in a review of the Canon M100):

Nikon and Canon both remain the most recognizable brands in the DSLR market, and both have released some truly spectacular cameras embraced by professional photographers around the world. But it’s clear that neither company wants to put out an equally fantastic mirrorless shooter that might jeopardize their DSLR sales. So it seems that instead it’s going to let companies like Sony and Olympus continue to improve and innovate in that field until no one wants a DSLR anymore, and no one remembers who Nikon or Canon were.

I agree that Nikon and Canon both fear mirrorless.

Allegedly Nikon is working on a new super-duper mirrorless system, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

The benefits of Leica TL

Blogger Tiffany Lea writes about the benefits of buying a Leica TL:

I bought this fantastic camera while I was in Geneva a couple of months ago and it hasn’t left my hand since! While at the store, I was luckily able to completely personalize the design – cool right! I got to choose the color, the color of the cover, the cover itself etc.

That level of old-fashioned in-store service is one of the benefits of buying Leica. If you went to Best Buy (or whatever equivalent Big Box store is in Switzerland) and bought a Canon, they’d just hand you a box.

Is an $800 Olympus lens superior to a $1650 Leica lens?

I recently purchased the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens for $800 (on sale right now) and discovered that it was sharp all the way to the corners, at all focal lengths, and free from purple fringing. See my conclusion here.

I looked through the sample photos at for the Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 which is the normal zoom for its T and TL series of APS-C cameras, and sells for a very expensive $1650.

Looking at some of the sample photos, I saw corners that were mushy and had purple fringing. Unlike the sharper and purple-fringe-free corners of the Olympus zoom.

Furthermore, the Olympus zoom is a constant f/2.8, and although that’s equivalent to a constant f/3.7 on an APS-C camera with a 1.5 focal-length modifier, it’s still a faster lens than the Leica zoom.

Furthermore, the Olympus zooms out to a slightly wider field of view.

The only advantage of the Leica lens is that it weighs less, approximately 9 ounces vs 13.5 ounces. But the Olympus lens is faster, and faster glass is heavier, that’s just the way it is.

Despite Leica’s reputation for making the “best” lenses, it seems to me that the Olympus lens is superior to the Leica lens. And that’s before we even bring price into it.

Damn, my watch battery is running out again (and overpriced Leica cameras)

It’s a Swiss watch. A moderately priced one, because I’m too practical to waste thousands of dollars of my hard-earned retirement savings on an overpriced Rolex. But still three times more expensive than the best-FUNCTIONING watch that I own, a Citizen Eco-Drive watch, which doesn’t look as pretty as the Swiss watch, but it functions a lot better as a watch. It keeps perfect time without ever needing to replace the battery, plus you can even swim with it.

What does this have to do with photography? Leica is in the position of a watch like a Rolex. A prestigious and overpriced brand that doesn’t actually function any better as a camera than much lower-priced models from other brands. For example, used Leica M9s are still selling on eBay for $3,000 even though it’s sensor is rated as the second-worst full-frame sensor that DXOMark ever tested (scoring behind even Micro Four Thirds sensors which are one-quarter the size), it doesn’t have autofocus, it doesn’t have image stabilization, it doesn’t have zoom lenses, and probably a whole bunch of other things are missing from an eight-year-old camera which wasn’t even an especially modern camera eight years ago. I don’t understand why anyone would pay $3,000 for it except for the prestige of shooting with a “real” Leica.

* * *

I don’t even need a watch, I could just get the time from my smartphone. And hey, some people think that the same applies to cameras! (Although my side-by-side testing shows that my iPhone 6 sucks as a camera compared to a real camera. It’s on my to-do list to make a blog post about that.)

Photography in Soho

I didn’t actually take any picture while I was in Soho. 🙂

I visited the Leica store, a small store where the cameras and lenses are displayed in glass cases, like you are visiting a jewelry store and not a camera store. If you want to touch a Leica, you have to ask a sales person. I didn’t feel like I deserved to touch one, so I didn’t ask. A Leica Q sounds like a cool camera, but I wasn’t ready to drop $4,250 for one. None of my pictures are worthy of a $4,250 camera. I will run back and buy one as soon as I start taking worth photos. And even if I could afford something like $10,000 that it costs for a Leica M rangefinder and a single lens, I don’t think I’d benefit from giving up autofocus.

The Lecia store also has some black and white photos hanging on the walls, presumably taken with Leica cameras. That’s something that B&H photo could learn from: the nation’s biggest camera store, but nowhere is there an actually photograph to be seen.

Next door is the Rotella Gallery which has a much bigger display of photos, with two floors of gallery space. Being a modern person, I think of a photo as a digital file, a stream of millions of zeros and ones that can be nearly instantly copied and shared on the internet with everyone on the planet. But there’s no money in that, so the gallery tries to define a photo as a limited edition print that affluent people can collect.

As a money-making operation, the gallery needs to display stuff of a less highbrow interest than one might find at a museum or other cultural institution that displays photos without any intent to profit from their sale. But not too lowbrow! Because black and white still has a cachet of being more highbrow then color, this imparts a veneer of seriousness to the otherwise kitsch genres of animal photography (see my previous post about David Yarrow) and celebrity voyeurism (represented by the photographs of Terry O’Neill ) which are the themes of the main floor.

Outside a little ways down the street, was a street vendor selling matted prints of photographs from New York City and Paris. They were technically excellent prints, pin-sharp, beautiful colors, not overdone and cheesy HDR stuff, selling for a very reasonable price of only $30 for an 11×14 print.

No, they are not as good art as David Yarrow or Terry O’Neill. Both of those guys take photographs I can’t take. I don’t have access to any celebrities of note, and I don’t have the means to go to Africa and take photos of wild animals the way that David Yarrow does. But any schmuck with a decent camera can take nice pictures of city streets.