Archive for January 2013

Light & shadow on a boat

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This light & shadow composition was taken on the ferry from Bastia, in Corsica, to Marseille. Although I had plenty of time to search for interesting subjects, this scene was very short-lived. Only for the blink of a moment the bow of the boat was lit by the evening sun while we were turning on our way out of the harbor.

2013/01/31 by Florian Freimoser
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1000 $ is enough!

Several times I have expressed reservations about the review-preview-rumor culture and consumerism in photography (most recently in a fairy tale), but I do of course not completely ignore the technological side of photography. My main criticism is that most reviews are pseudo-objective, theoretical analyses of specifications or performances that have little practical relevance. Buying and using a camera is not objective, but a very subjective action and decision.

Although it has been stated over and over it must be repeated: the best camera is the one that you have with you most often and that you use most regularly. Therefore, it may be relevant how much (theoretical) image quality you obtain with each gram of camera that you carry around. Furthermore, I think it is important to question how much image quality you obtain for the money you spend on a camera. I have been wondering if the existing camera ratings, in particular the DxOmark overall scores, can be used to answer these questions. Here, I show you two graphs that I think reveal interesting aspects about camera performances, weight and prices.

1. IQPW & IQPM
I have arbitrarily selected 31 current cameras that were tested by DxOmark and for which I found current prices on www.toppreise.ch (for discontinued cameras I estimated the price of a used camera). Then, I calculated the IQPW (DxOmark overall score divided by the camera weight) and the IQPM (DxOmark overall score divided by the camera price). The IQPW tells you how much DxOmark score you receive for each gram of camera that you are carrying around and IQPM indicates how much DxOmark score each swiss franc (or whatever currency) buys you. The results of this analysis are shown below (the cameras have been sorted based on IQPW in descending order).
Image quality per camera weight (IQPW) and per money (IQPM) for a few mirrorless, DSLR and point-and shoot cameras. Image quality is defined by the DxOmark overall score and the current lowest price (in Swiss francs) was looked up at www.toppreise.ch. 

Three noteworthy observations:
  1. With the Sony DSC-RX100 you obtain 4.6-times more DxOmark score for each gram than with the Canon EOS 1Dx (and the Sony already has a lens, while the Canon is only the body).
  2. You obtain twice as much DxOmark score for each Swiss franc spent on the Nikon D3100 as compared to the Canon EOS 1Dx.
  3. All compact cameras (compact system and point-and-shoot cameras, area shaded in blue) have a better IQPW than conventional DSLRs (area shaded in red).

2. DxOmark score vs. price and weight
Next, I have selected all cameras with DxO mark scores, wrote down the prices (in US dollars) that are listed by DxOmark (I corrected one price that seemed completely wrong) and looked up the weight of all the cameras. I ended up with 189 cameras. Also in this case, compact cameras had a much better IQPW (the first 35 cameras belong to this category) than classical DSLRs. For the comparison depicted in the scatter plot below I cut the x-axis at 10'000 USD.

Camera weight (in gram, left y-axis, red triangles) and DxOmark overall score (right y-axis, blue dots) plotted agains the camera price (in US dollars). There are much more expensive cameras in the database, but the x-axis was cut at 10'000 USD.  

Two noteworthy observations:
  1. The DxOmark score reaches a plateau as soon as you spend about 1000 USD - beyond that point more money only marginally increases the DxOmark score (blue dots). For example, you can buy a camera with a DxOmark score of 81 or 82 for less than 700 USD (Nikon 3200) or almost 7000 USD (Canon EOS 1Dx)! 
  2. Although there are outliers (for example the expensive but tiny Sony DSC-RX1, Leica M9 and M8), camera weight correlates better with price than the DxOmark score. This means that we do not pay for the quality of the sensor in a particular camera, but rather for the amount of material that was used to build it! I think this is an important observation: In many instances, you pay for more solid build quality, which results in a heavier camera, NOT for a higher quality image sensor! This is very different from many other industries, where the lightest items are often the most expensive ones. 

I could continue to discuss and argue over these numbers at length, but I rather leave this to you. For me, there are two important take-home messages:

  1. Do not spend more than 1000 USD on a camera (unless you need incredibly high resolution or a camera that is built for eternity).
  2. Try to ignore DxOmark ratings and similar metrics because they are not relevant for real-world photography and fail to reflect important properties of a camera (e.g., weight, price or sensor size; after all, a medium format digital back is not comparable to a point-and-shoot camera).

In order to finish off with photography rather than with tool talk, here is a photograph that was taken with a tiny point-and-shoot camera; most likely with an abysmal DxOmark score. However, at that moment it was the best camera of all because I had it with me!

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A colorful facade outside of StockholmSweden.

2013/01/27 by Florian Freimoser
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Carcolors 16: The eye

Carcolors 16Carcolors 16: This carcolor composition seems to look at me. A dark blue car with the distorted reflection of car parked next to it - to me it looks as if there was an eye. You can find more carcolor photographs in other blog posts or in the Carcolors gallery

by Florian Freimoser
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Tree silhouette 6: Branch beam

Tree silhouette 6
Tree silhouette 6: A beam of branches from a wintery tree. Incidentally (or not), the tree is called the European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus in Latin). There are several Hornbeams around where we live and I like the silhouettes they create very much - such an intricate mixture between thick and thin branches! Other tree silhouettes posts are found HERE or in the tree silhouette gallery on Florian's photos

2013/01/24 by Florian Freimoser
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Light & shadow - Positive & negative

Light & shadow 51
lights & shadow composition on the roof of a church in Siegsdorf (Chiemgau, Germany). I like how the left and right part of the photograph look as if they were a positive and a negative.

2013/01/22 by Florian Freimoser
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Carcolors 15

Carcolors 15Carcolors 15: A red car with the distorted reflection of a blue building and an overcast, whitish sky. It was a rather expensive car and I do not think that the owner would like the pinkish appearance of his automibile. You can find more carcolor compositions in other blog posts or in the Carcolors gallery

2013/01/20 by Florian Freimoser
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Flora: Gentiana bavarica

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Bavarian gentian (Gentiana bavarica) near the Niedersachsen hut, Hohe Tauern Mountains, Austria

Of all plants, alpine flowers are my favorite; not a particular type, just about any flowering species. I even wanted to study them at one point, but then changed my plans. Alpine plants are well adapted to the harsh and cold environment in which they thrive and manage to grow, flower and produce seeds during the short vegetative period they have available (in the Alps, the vegetative period decreases by 6-7 days with every 100 m in elevation gain). All these plants are particularly well protected against drought and wind and most are characterized by compact growth and unproportionally big flowers in order to attract the rare pollinators.

In the photograph above, it appears as if the flowers grew right out of a rock. This impression is deceiving since the plants rather grew underneath the loose rocks that frame the flowers in the picture above. The Bavarian Gentian (Gentiana bavarica) shown here was growing near the Niedersachsen hut in the Goldberg group of mountains, in Austria. These mountains owe their name to gold that has been found and mined there already by the romans or even earlier (some references say as early as 4000 years ago). We also found a few gold dust particles ourselves, but we have not become rich. 

The Bavarian Gentian is one of over 400 species of the genus Gentianawhich all grow in mountainous regions of the world. Typical for the alpine species, the Bavarian Gentian has mountain blue flowers, but red or yellow flowering species are also found and are more frequent in other parts of the world. Some of the most archetypical alpine plants belong to this genus, and many species are very difficult to separate from each other. For example, the Bavarian Gentian is rather similar to Gentiana vernalis. However, you should most definitely not confuse the Bavarian Gentian with a Schnaps bearing the same name (I really hope that you do not prefer the Schnaps over the flower!).

2013/01/17 by Florian Freimoser
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Tree silhouette 5: A branch loop

Tree silhouette 5Esche Tree silhouette 5: A minimalistic branch loop composition. The four preceding tree silhouettes are found HERE or in the tree silhouette gallery on Florian's photos. For those interested: the tree is a European ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

2013/01/12 by Florian Freimoser
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Carcolors 14

Carcolors 14Carcolors 14: A bright and shiny dark blue car with the distorted reflection of a brightly lit office building. It is the first rectangular carcolor composition, the 13 photographs shown previously were all in square format. In this photograph, I really like the clean and smooth appearance of the car body and the different shades of blue. More examples are found in the Carcolors gallery

2013/01/06 by Florian Freimoser
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Hyperlinktionary

If you have seen a few of my blog posts, you probably realize that I like to link little bits of information to my photographs by providing hyperlinks to informative webpages. If you are interested, you are welcome to follow the hyperlinks to learn more about an animal, architect, building, or plant, for example, but of course you can also just ignore all the links and enjoy the photographs and texts by themselves. The problem with these hyperlinks is that you, as a reader, never really know where I send you. In addition, there is often more than one webpage that I would like to recommend to you.

The solution is the Hyperlinktionary! Instead of linking to Wikipedia or whatever other website, I will refer you to the corresponding entry in my all new hyperlink dictionary - the Hyperlinktionary. Every term in the Hyperlinktionary is shortly defined (I aim for only one sentence) and links to useful and informative websites are recommended. From now on, the hyperlinks in my blog posts will mostly link to the Hyperlinktionary and I hope that you find this solution useful and helpful.

Have a nice weekend!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Winter sunset behind Hochfelln (Germany)

2013/01/05 by Florian Freimoser
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Welcome 2013!

We wish everybody a happy, interesting, healthy, fulfilling and harmonious New Year 2013! For photographs like this (and otherwise too) it is really great to have three children. Please appreciate that they risked at least their hands and arms for this photograph :-)

2013/01/01 by Florian Freimoser
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