Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Coffee With Mentors > Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Is bigger better?
Old 04-19-2019   #1
Bill Pierce
Registered User
 
Bill Pierce's Avatar
 
Bill Pierce is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,162
Is bigger better?

Richard Butler has written an article on DPReview that cuts through the confusion and lack of clarity that surrounds sensor size and pixel count. For anyone choosing which digital camera to buy, it’s one of the best short, to-the-point articles I have read. It’s in 3 segments. I would enjoy hearing what you think about what he says. I say “hooray.” But there are those that may disagree.

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/55...out-pixel-size

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/27...-sensor-better

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/22...of-sensor-size
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #2
zuiko85
Registered User
 
zuiko85 is online now
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,864
Condensed version of the three articles.

‘Everything in photography is a trade off’
True of many aspects of life in general.
But, that said, he laid it out fairly succinctly.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #3
Takkun
Ian M.
 
Takkun's Avatar
 
Takkun is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Sunny South Seattle
Posts: 730
Ha, its a lot to unpack from such a succinct series. But I mostly agree; puts to rest a lot of the FF vs crop technical arguments.
It's been interesting over the years watching APS-C DSLRs go mainstream and a whole industry of smaller-format lenses develop, only for full-frame to take the crown and trickle downmarket, then small-sensor and mirrorless catch up in performance, and now those going full-frame and bigger. I pity those jumping into a new camera system from scratch with all the choices out there.

If I only shot digital, I'd probably be just as happy with a small format like the Fuji X system, and very nearly dumped everything for it a few years ago. It's miles away better than the old D2x and D3 I used to use. But I do shoot just as much film, and am happy to have moved to FF with Leica, where my lenses behave the same no matter what they're attached to.
__________________
Ian M., Seattle
Current bag contents: Bronica SQ-A, Mamiya C33.

currently trying to find a use for a Nikon D2.
--
my infrequently updated blog
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #4
Photon42
burn the box
 
Photon42's Avatar
 
Photon42 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Neutral Zone
Posts: 617
Bigger is better unless you need smaller and lighter.
__________________
My Gallery
My Instagram
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #5
xayraa33
rangefinder user and fancier
 
xayraa33's Avatar
 
xayraa33 is online now
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,845
This no different then the old days of film and different film format sizes.

35mm vs 6x6 cm vs 4x5 inch etc.

It all depends on what you got at hand, what you require and what you prefer.
__________________
My Gallery
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #6
ptpdprinter
Registered User
 
ptpdprinter is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,644
The take away is that all formats have their advantages and disadvantages. Pick your poison. As shown in the comments to the articles, a lot of people get lost in the weeds (FPS, MP, DOF). Step back and take a big picture approach.
__________________
ambientlightcollection.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #7
zuiko85
Registered User
 
zuiko85 is online now
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,864
Of course, he did leave out ‘bragging rights’ as a potential reason for getting the biggest or most expensive sensor/cameras. Although the perceived adulation is 99.9% only in the persons imagination.
Companies do the same thing, to the detriment of easily swayed consumers.
“Oh no! I just got my 50mm f1 seven months ago and now they brought out a 50mm f.95!
Oh the humanity! How will I ever survive.l
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #8
Ko.Fe.
Kostya Fedot
 
Ko.Fe.'s Avatar
 
Ko.Fe. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MiltON.ONtario
Posts: 7,110
As of now we could have both. FF sensor in small body already exist. It is Canon EOS RP.
Here is small Sony with FF and fixed lens for years as well.

I don't need to read three articles about something very obvious to me.
I like FF sensors and I like small pixel counts on them. Canon 5D, Leica M-E.
Obviously if you want to work in macro, pixels will help. Or blow it on the canvas.
But if all you want is many pictures of your family, nobody needs more than 10MP pixels for it. Absolute majority takes pictures with flea sized sensors on mobile phones. And next to none of them cares for pixels and sensor size.

BTW, I not considering DPr as something worth to read after they refused to deal with hateful and racist comments on lomography products.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #9
ptpdprinter
Registered User
 
ptpdprinter is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
BTW, I not considering DPr as something worth to read after they refused to deal with hateful and racist comments on lomography products.
How could you make a racist comment about a camera?
__________________
ambientlightcollection.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #10
zuiko85
Registered User
 
zuiko85 is online now
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,864
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post

I don't need to read three articles about something very obvious to me.
I like FF sensors and I like small pixel counts on them. Canon 5D, Leica M-E.
Obviously if you want to work in macro, pixels will help. Or blow it on the canvas.
.
Probably a lot of people know these things. But not everyone seeking to buy a camera does. So, for the neophyte such information may save them some money.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #11
ColSebastianMoran
Registered User
 
ColSebastianMoran's Avatar
 
ColSebastianMoran is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,322
All good stuff in the articles.

But misses the point that smaller formats will facilitate other advantages: Ultra fast lenses, image stabilization. Important Ming Thein essay... Consider a shot in low light, which will produce a better file:
- M4/3, 1/8 sec at f/1.2 ISO 200 or 1/15th ISO 400
- Full Frame, 1/30 sec at f/1.8 ISO 1600
- Digital Medium Format, 1/60 sec at f/3.5 ISO 12800


Ming Thein's Feb 2019 essay on this.
__________________
Col. Sebastian Moran, ret. (not really)

In Classifieds Now: Nikon DX Fisheye, photos in this Flickr album.
Use this link to leave feedback for me.

Named "Best heavy-game shooter in the Eastern Empire." Clubs: Anglo-Indian, Tankerville, and Bagatelle Card Club.
Sony E/FE, Nikon dSLR, and iPhone digital. Misc film.
Birds, portraits, events, family. Mindfulness, reflection, creativity, and stance.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #12
ptpdprinter
Registered User
 
ptpdprinter is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
Consider a shot in low light, which will produce a better file:
- M4/3, 1/8 sec at f/1.2 ISO 200 or 1/15th ISO 400
- Full Frame, 1/30 sec at f/1.8 ISO 1600
- Digital Medium Format, 1/60 sec at f/3.5 ISO 12800
Use a tripod?
__________________
ambientlightcollection.com
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #13
Dogman
Registered User
 
Dogman is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,426
Tripod adds another disadvantage.

You can go on into infinity on the merits of one format over another. It always comes down to what you prefer or what you need or what you have available.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #14
Doug
Moderator
 
Doug's Avatar
 
Doug is online now
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Pacific NW, USA
Posts: 12,933
An interesting and IMO useful comment in the first part of the article...
For those with the same area, “sensors have the opportunity to capture the same amount of light per-whole-image, regardless of how many pixels they have.”
__________________
Doug’s Gallery
RFF on Facebook
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-19-2019   #15
Toreno
Registered User
 
Toreno's Avatar
 
Toreno is offline
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 577
It doesn’t matter what sensor (digital, film)/ camera you shoot with, but it's how to use a camera to capture the light. IMO.
  Reply With Quote

Old 04-20-2019   #16
willie_901
Registered User
 
willie_901's Avatar
 
willie_901 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,293
Sensor surface area counts. Nothing beats more recording more total signal. With regard to signal, lens surface area counts just as much. So bigger is better when recording as much information as possible is a priority. While this is true, it is incomplete.

Photography's Not Just About Maximizing The Signal

Making photographs involves much more than simply recording the highest amount of light possible.
  • Some people prefer the convenience of zoom lenses. These have less surface area than fast prime lenses.
  • Some people prefer the convenience if using smaller and lighter systems and these typically offer smaller surface areas.
  • Some people prefer the aesthetics of prime lenses with smaller surface areas.
  • Some activities require using apertures that negate the advantage of lens high surface areas
  • People who enjoy lenses they already own want to continue using those lenses
  • Camera and lens costs typically increase as sensor and lens areas increase.
This list is unfinished which just shows how many variables come into play when choosing cameras and lenses. This implies using multiple systems is not always driven by GAS.

Sensor Area Alone Means Nothing

Roger Cicala wrote a blog post "Why Sensor Size Matters". He points out pixel size (pixel pitch) is an important consideration as well. Here's a summary and his conclusions about the relationship between pixel pitch and sensor area.
  • "Noise and high ISO performance: Smaller pixels are worse. Sensor size doesn’t matter.
  • Dynamic Range: Very small pixels (point and shoot size) suffer at higher ISO, sensor size doesn’t matter.
  • Depth of field: Is larger for smaller size sensors for an image framed the same way as on a larger sensor. Pixel size doesn’t matter.
  • Diffraction effects: Occur at wider apertures for both smaller sensors and for smaller pixels."
"Smaller sensors do offer some advantages, though, and for many types of photography their downside isn’t very important."

In general, newer cameras use more efficient sensor technologies. Increases in quantum efficiency and dual-conversion gain photodiode are just two examples of how newer cameras with smaller sensors can outperform older cameras with larger sensors.

If your options are not bound by lenses you already own and enjoy – if and you ego can take it, choose a sensor area that is compatible with all the aspects of your photography.

When affordable, use different systems for different purposes. Don't assume owing systems with different attributes simply represents a lack of self-control.
__________________
Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
Garry Winogrand
williamchuttonjr.com
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 16:35.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.