Take It or Make It

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I read somewhere recently that you either take a photograph or you make a photograph.

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To me those I would describe as ‘takers’ are like my friend Claire of www.itsnotthecamera.wordpress.com whose images require very little in the way of post processing, though she swears she PP’s them all. Technically and compositionally excellent, I reckon she can take a pic, slap it straight on the Net and instantly receive ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.

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Me? no such luck.

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Luckily, I would guess that most of my readers are ordinary folk (as in not photogs), and from feedback I gather that the pix people most like are the ones that evoke an emotive response or the ones that are a little funky, stylised if you will (that doesn’t mean stylish btw).

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Those that don’t practise photography may not appreciate how difficult it can be to compile enough GOOD images for a blog post. On one camera I own I have, in less than a month taken about 2,000 shots. How many get posted to the web in that same period? 50 to 100 tops.

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I, and lots of others I know of, actually spend a fair amount of time analysing our camera/lens combo’s, taking note of things like sharpness, micro contrast, dynamic range and the biggest killer, low light performance/noise at high ISO. Like these, taken (respectively) with the Sony A7R, SOny A99 and Sony NEX 7:

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These are all heavy crops of the original images, and settings, whilst almost identical, may vary a tad. There is of course a clear winner, but without cropping and at web viewing size the differences would be much harder to spot.

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I’m not a reviewer by any stretch, so if that’s what you’re after you can head on over to www.stevehuffphoto.com  for all cameras sans mirror, or kenrockwell.com for Sony stuff in particular. There are countless others, but these are the ones I visit.

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For lens reviews I go to kurtmunger.com (Sony)http://www.ephotozine.com/  and http://www.photozone.de/

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In all this testing, as Claire recently pointed out, its easy to feel dissatisfied with almost every camera, as having checked out some pretty awesome stuff, anything less seems…..well….less.

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But you have to look at it sensibly. The A99 will STILL (over a year after release) set you back about £1.700 brand new, the A7r is maybe £1,600 and the NEX 7 can be had for around £600. Noticeable differences in price, but I challenge anyone who isn’t a Pro to tell me which image from this series came from which camera, not including the noise crops, obviously.

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For me, which camera(s) I stick with has as much to do with the cost of building a decent system as it does about performance of said system. I would dearly love to have the A7R as my second body, but the price to performance ratio just doesn’t stack up over the NEX 7 for my particular needs.

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Maybe next year……..

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8 comments on “Take It or Make It

  1. marla2008 says:

    Ok, couple of brilliant shots again in this post, which are : first Max shot. Casey shot with huge glasses (amazing, as almost anything Casey), hooded Max, low key Ty, high key Kira (facing the cam with blown highlights hair) and last Kira. All of those are winners, and the others are pretty sweet as well.
    Do I qualify as a “taker” ? Although I preview and arrange all shots in my mind (and also indeed, post process *every single one of them*, albeit lightly), I’m content to be called a Taker, as my approach is definitely PJ (photojournalism) typed, in that I just try to document and capture life around me as it unravels around me.
    Regarding cameras at the level of competence they all have reached it really doesn’t make much difference what you use. What you put *in front* of your lens, so just focus on that 😉

    • And that’s exactly the conclusion I’ve come to also.

      If I remember correctly: first max-nex7, Casey a99, ty-cant remember, blown kira shot-a7r, goody max-nex7, last kira shot-a99 with 85mm. So a fair mix, which absolutely proves your point.

      Yes, I think you’re a ‘taker’, you expertly capture what’s going on in the here and now – very PJ ish, and brilliant too.

      Give me a decade, I might get there 😉

  2. Love all the pictures of this post, but I have a weakness for the last one, most definitely (I am surprising myself here, usually I always biased toward B&W.)

    Funny I thought I was alone to read KR’s reviews……

    I enjoy Claire’s pics immensely, and I would probably not try to compare your pics to hers. Your pics have their own flavors, their own styles, and are a great source of inspiration for my feeble attempts to document the life of my own kidos (ok, except for the selective color, lol). Now, if the weather would cooperate a little on both side of the Pond, maybe we all could start to snap some pics outside, without snow pants and hats!!!

    I think most, if not all, of your great pictures would still have been awesome with any other (or even lesser) camera, no matter the system.

    • Hi Laurent,
      thank you for your super kind comments. I’ve looked at your flickr page and the photos are just awesome. I doubt anyone viewing them would say otherwise, and certainly not that your attempts are feeble. The B and W ones are beautiful atynd the ‘ready for school’ pic and flying sled pics are my favourites of your little boy.

      I agree, after trialling such a variety of cameras, that almost all of them are capable of excellent output, the G6, one of my favourites, proved that for me. Its all about personal choice, what works best in your hands. Even if I had a 5Diii and 135mm ‘L’ designated lens I couldn’t produce images like Elena Shumilova, though she would probably come close even with the G6!

  3. Jamestux says:

    Great images again – but I think that you need to get maker and taker out of your head 🙂

    They are the same thing (once you leave auto behind) – you chose the shutter speed and/or aperture – the camera settings, the jpeg output (or film) the ISO, all of it. And that’s what makes them your images.

    It’s your choice to let the camera capture things in a certain way and to then edit them later in software, but it’s not really any different in terms of the end result – OK maybe you can “make” 2 or 3 images from one capture but both ways you’re still making the image.

    • Hi James,
      Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog – and for your feedback. I think that you are right, taking and making are the choice of the photographer, who can utilise either or both methods to get to the desired result. Im no fan of auto, but in my early days of photography (last year) i would often blow a photo, but try and disguise it with wacky editing. These days I have a little more knowledge and a little more control and try to achieve what i see in my mind with the camera. Often tweaking in post, and sometimes creating a whole new image because I can visualise different idea from the original.

      • Jamestux says:

        Well that all sounds really good – the next step is to see your end result and then seeing it one step back to visualise what the camera will need to take in order to capture the information you will need (or to understand where the limits are and how to work around them).

        That’s what the shadow recovery stuff I posted about does so you are thinking about it which is the first step 🙂

        I will work on that article as soon as I can and post some raw files too so that people can play with them.

      • That is exactly it, you hit the nail on the head! Being able to visualise the shot before and then make it happen, rather than try to create it in post. That’s the difference right now between us; you’re there and I’m working toward it 🙂

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