Think about your camera, think about your motivations..

I have been buying and selling gear for 20 years, and for a period worked at a store.

I take an interest in finance, especially the the still image markets.

What used to take 6 years to cycle now takes 6 months. 6 years was the unwritten agreement held by the manufacturers because in Europe and Japan 6 years was the effective tax write-off period independent businesses (Professional Photographers) could write off the cost of their gear to zero.

A decade ago that started to shift and speed up and it was mostly because of the booming economies of the western world and tax write-off periods didnt seem to matter as much anymore, because disposable incomes were higher in comparison to the cost of the cameras. Additionally, we were already a generation into prosumer digital cameras- the first three generations were solely in the realm of institutions and consortiums with the prices of cameras in $15-25,000 a camera which in todays money is about 22-32k a piece.

When Canon brought out the D30 -the first major selling consumer DSLR- the turn around on gear was 4 years. By the time the 20D happened it was two years, straddled between the Nikon models. Nowadays Cameras like the 5DmkIII and Nikon D800 are dinosaurs within two years, and in many ways they are out of date a year after they come out. They rely on an older age-group of buyers who were brought up thinking that the DSLR is the benchmark for quality, as do their clients.

I dropped out of DSLRs 4 years ago in preference for mirrorless and have never looked back. I have purchased only four new cameras in my life, the Eos 5, which started a trend for me, to buy three Enthusiast aka semi-pro bodies for the price of one pro body and getting the same level of value out of those three bodies as my buddies ere getting out of their $3x pro bodies.. the Second purchase was my personal step into digital cameras with a Canon G1, a premium level point and shoot. followed by some time later by a productive years work and a flush account, I got a Canon 10D, and shortly after that a new 1DmkII, a rash decision that I now regret. Three years ago I got a Fuji X-Pro1, I bought it new because I was in need of a new definitive look to my images and the Fuji sensor was where it was at. I wasted no time and pre-ordered sight unseen and still have it. I traded some older lenses for a second body and that camera is still valid today, though the market has dropped for resale, so these are resale losses.

The Sony A6000 is a milestone in the financial side of the mirrorless scene primarily because it is a definitive price tactical change which will effect the market around it as it breaks new ground and infringes on DSLR territory. Big sellers like the Fuji X100 will be dwarfed in sales numbers by the end of this year from the sales of the A6000.

The market is tiered by expectation and the belief from the consumer that the more you spend the longer the investment is, which is completely rubbish. When the Leica M8 came out it was an $8000 camera and everyone who bought it believed it was the camera they would take to their grave. The truth is, the best thinking is in the lower middle range of product: look at the tech in the marketplace and the price from top to bottom to the point and shoots, which are now dead from Cellphone infringement, and the best thing to spend your money on is the cameras like the NEX5, A6000, Xe2, GX1, etc anything under $1000 because it will be worth 60-65% of its street launch price within a year.

Because digital cameras are now being marketed alongside other technologies the two year trade-show epiphanies are getting shorter. Every year we have CES and every two years we have Photokina, and now theres NAB and numerous other smaller events which all bring new release dates closer together.

At the end of the day we buy these things to make pictures, and the quality of the pictures has got to a point which is way ahead of the flexibility of film in about 70% of applications. 35mm film for professional use is dead because digital is more flexible, so toy cameras rule the 35mm market, enthusiasts mop up out of date junk films and spit out hipster art disposable mementos. The race is for the 50mp point with 4k output which will eat into the medium format realm. In 4-6 years Sony and Canon will have 60-100mp cameras and that will be the end of all film and photography will have transitioned completely into digital. Remember, in 2004 when sony entered into negotiations with Minolta, they said that within ten years they would be camera manufacturer #1 or #2, they make all the sensors for everyone except Canon and Leica and some of the exotic medium & large format cameras.

It blows me away that in December 2013 Sony announced the A7 & A7r, and they weren’t on shelves until March and used prices were floating at $1600 and $2200 and in just the last 6 weeks you can now buy a new A7r for $1825 and a used A7 for $1100… those prices are going to fall again in September when Photokina happens, they will settle within 2 months Until January when CES show happens and the pro-deals happen, and then they will fall again. By the end of summer 2015 you will be able to buy a used A7 for $700……………………..

Mirrorless Cameras & connected futures

I’ve been using mirrorless cameras for a while, a mirrorless camera is a camera with no mirror, so nothing other than the shutter has to move out of the way for an exposure. This makes the camera smaller and lighter but doesn’t effect the quality of the images produced. I just did a google for any professional photographers using a Sony A6000, and found a website which had 13 pros who had made the switch, however, most of these were not photojournalists.
Heres what I wrote;
Since the Panasonic GF1, I have been using mirrorless cameras, alongside DSLR and Rangefinders. In 2012 I consolidated everything into two Fuji X Pro-1 bodies and two lenses, a 28mm and a 50mm. Since then I’ve added two tiny Sony cameras; NEX 5n and recently an A6000. I still shoot some projects with film, using a Hasselblad X-Pan and a Leica M6.
It’s really just a matter of trust and knowing how the camera will perform in the environment. I took the two Fuji’s to India last year and shot about 100,000 exposures in pretty extremely climates, and my backup was an Olympus TG-1 a Sony Action Cam and the X Pan with 500 rolls of slide film.
The web chatter complaints about the Fuji X Pro-1 was that they had slow responsiveness and slow focus, however a little dedicated time in hand and practice, you will get to know any camera, and its strengths and weaknesses, and I bet you I am as fast with my X Pro-1 as you are with your DSLR. I was fast with my Leica M6 too.
The Fuji’s never gave me any trouble. I had them exposes to 54c temperatures 98% humidity, extreme dust, floods, and baking in the direct sunlight. For a 1.0 camera system (at the time), that is pretty damn solid trust building stuff. I have my complaints about them, but I’ve never had the perfect camera, there is no such thing. It just takes daily care and cleaning, your gear theoretically should not give you any problems.
I am a documentary reportage photographer and sound person. I spent most of my time out of the tourist areas, Chattisgarrgh, Bhopal, Bombay Slums etc. The cameras where amazing, I wont be moving back to reflex cameras at all. I like the form-factor of the X Pro-1 and the A6000 where the VF is et the edge of the camera. They are small, light and you can have three cameras in a bag each with a different job for half the weight of two DSLRs.
I’m testing out this A6000 right now, as I’ve been blown away by the NEX5n for its size and burs rate. The A6000 is a nudge bigger, but has a viewfinder and 11fps, plus when connected to a wifi signal can upload directly to FB or Flickr- that right there is immense, a complete game changer for me. No more laptops no more extra stuff. Sony have taken the camera to where it needed to go: against the cellphone, which will never give you the same control or ergonomics a camera can.
This year, I’ve been doing video, press photography, spot news, product, portraiture, architecture all the stuff I ever did with SLR cameras and even with large and medium format cameras. Adapted lenses like my collection of Pentax, Leica-R and others, on tilt-shift, and Speedbooster’s have opened up so many other possibilities on these cameras too. Anyone still shooting on a DSLR either doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to know. Having legacy fast lenses with fast AF is about the only excuse for still using a DSLR.

A picture of my well used and loved Fuji X Pro-1 with a brass thumb grip and accessory hand grip.

20130705.USA.JO©.SEA.0062

My well loved camera. This has come with me daily everywhere since February 2012.

Amazing Environmental Audio from Maha Kumbh Mela

I’ve been back from India just over a year now, back living in the US and in that time its been a real struggle, both on a personal level and financially.
Looking back on that time, a half-year spent in India, thinking about it and thinking about how much I miss it, and yearn for the Utopian chaos to run through my veins once more.
I have edited my photography over and over trying to extract the essence of the experience. However the personal journey that India was to me, has obscured my objectivity, something that only time can distill.
I have started once again on the editing process, going back over the audio recordings I made, and in doing so, had an epiphany about the work. I realize that I have no choice but to go back to India, and capture more audio, this time with an expanded kit. And to dedicate much more time and effort into making quality environmental recordings.
Audio recordings offer a taste of reality that video and photography simply cannot touch. Where video has to be constructed to make a compelling presentation, and photography provides specificity, and depth, that depth is within just that contextual intimacy.
Audio offers a living reality of time based exploration. Audio treats the consciousness to a wide layered mental vision, one that the mind is intrinsically connected to, there is no learning to listen, whereas there is learning to read photographs.

This Location Sound during the Anup Jalota concert at Pilot Baba’s Ashram camp 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, Sangam Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh India. I had decided to walk around the sector 9 area where the ashram was located, about 7 miles from the actual main bathing area.
You can hear all of the local sounds, and the far distant sounds of the millions (130,000,000 to be more accurate) of pilgrims who existed at the ‘city’. Headphones highly recommended. Sit back and enjoy the Mela as I did for thirteen minutes.

Pride Festival, Seattle 2014-06-29

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.

2014 Seattle Pride Festival has grown exponentially over the last decade. It now regularly attracts crowds in excess of four hundred thousand people.