What Matters article from Luminous Landscape -By Michael Reichmann

What Matters.

This a very good article about the state of the industry.  It is worth reading and learning from.

Brian and I have been telling all of our students and those who use ouremail tech help, to concentrate on exceptional lenses.  High quality lenses are what will provide excellent hi res images with all the detail you want.  New lenses coming out in the high end category are worth the money if you can budget it.  As with many of us sometimes you have to wait and save up, but in the end the quality of the results will prove themselves out.




3 thoughts on “What Matters article from Luminous Landscape -By Michael Reichmann

  1. This comment was sent to me by Mike McGeary:
    I am sending this direct so I don’t have to go through Facebook or Twitter–you cna post it if you want:

    If I were a major camera manufacturer, I would follow developments in phone cameras (what phone makers include and what apps and add-ons become popular). Given the limits on what can be included or added to such a small instrument, and need to keep phone prices low, presumably what users find to be essential would help guide me to see what features to emphasize and which I could drop.

    On the other hand, I am one of those enthusiasts Reichmann mentioned, who knew going in that my D800 was better than me, a lot better, but my goal is to learn all I can about the camera’s capabilities and figure out what would help me get the photos I want (develop a camera flow, as it were, that works for me, parallel to the Lightroom flow that follows)–then I will just ignore the other features. Also, I use my other cameras when appropriate-Canon S100 in JPG mode for family events, D90 for street photography. So I feel that I am a huge beneficiary of the way things have developed. Next step–get one of those high-end large format printers that are nearly affordable.

    Mike McGeary


  2. I responded to you at length in another version of this posting. Not sure where it actually went. Anyhow, I don’t agree with Mr. Reichmann mostly. Best, Joe Lee

    This is the comment that Joe Lee placed on Google + but did not get it to appear here. This is it:

    I generally agree with almost all of your posts and notwithstanding my lack of experience as a photographer and spokesperson like Mr. Reichmann, I find that I disagree with him in a number of areas.

    His article, prepared as a number of rhetorical questions, is long on re-stating his opinions but offering really nothing new and certainly open to interpretation.

    First of all and most obvious, where was he during the massive recession of the last five years. Millions of people are still out of work. They have no money for relative luxuries. The smartphone with camera has filled a niche. People get more for less, but generally, I have not heard anyone claiming that they feel they are getting “great” photographs from tiny lenses in smart phones. The exception is people selling smart phone and options for smart phones.

    There is in physics (optics) a calculation called the Airy limit. These paragraphs come from Wikipedia and are accurate.

    -The resolution of an optical imaging system – a microscope, telescope, or camera – can be limited by factors such as imperfections in the lenses or misalignment. However, there is a fundamental maximum to the resolution of any optical system, which is due to diffraction. An optical system with the ability to produce images with angular resolution as good as the instrument’s theoretical limit is said to be diffraction limited.[1]
    -The resolution of a given instrument is proportional to the size of its objective, and inversely proportional to the wavelength of the light being observed. For telescopes with circular apertures, the size of the smallest feature in an image that is diffraction limited is the size of the Airy disc. As one decreases the size of the aperture in a lens, diffraction increases. At small apertures, such as f/22, most modern lenses are limited only by diffraction.

    More glass and better optics are going to cost more money and the correlation is not linear. The real issue is what people hope to accomplish.
    Painting is an art form and older than photography and yet I note a growth in shopping center craft studios and community craft centers where people learn to paint. I would argue that part of the problem that Reichmann is pushing involves the very people that have the most to gain or lose from photographers (customers). In other words the industry is at fault.

    I used to do a lot of business with Ace Photo. That is where we met. I did business there because you in particular were helpful and not disinterested because I wasn’t a professional. When you and some other folks left, I stopped doing business there at least at the scale I had been. But I was victim to unemployment, family tragedy, and the recession just like others. My point is that the people who are selling cameras largely are like the staff at a summer camp or the crew on a cruise ship (I have a clear picture from my son who has been at sea for about four years now and many cruise ships). These people put on false smiles but largely are utterly contemptuous of the campers and the passengers. Now days I get the same treatment when I go to Ace Photo or call some of the online people (like B&H). They are happy to take your money but really don’t view you as a serious photographer.

    Please allow me, if you are interested, to retort some of Reichmann’s postulates:

    · Most cameras are better than most photographers (this is his most egregious and false premise). No camera is better than any photographer (ok maybe a blind one). Photography is largely subjective excepting certain technical uses involving measurement, comparison, medical use, etc. Just because I see things differently doesn’t mean my pictures lack whatever attributes he feels have the markers of a great photograph. Most of all this is a stupid argument. Cartier-Bresson, my hero, is clearly one of the greatest photographers. He achieved fame in his lifetime. No doubt there are many great photographers, who like the painter Van Gogh did not. Cartier-Bresson used a Leica. That is probably part of why I wanted Leica. So what? Actually, the camera choice and photographer are separable issues. Any photographer can benefit from feedback, consideration of alternative composures, exposure choices, etc.
    · Most cameras are too complex. Partially true. But more true is the fact that they don’t come with good instructions and dealers who could better compete with internet sales through interest in and instruction of their customers, simply don’t want to be bothered.
    · Most cameras are highly flawed in one way or another. Examples? Is a pinhole camera flawed? “Their users don’t understand how and why.” See the note about dealers and instructions above.
    · “It doesn’t matter what camera you have if your photography has nothing worthwhile to say.” I accept this as his opinion. But my wife for example, is mostly interested in family pictures and she likes to go through them in her hands over and over. She touches the images she has taken (with a Leica by the way) of her grandson. It says loads to her but would not interest Reichmann at all.

    . “A high quality lens will always trump the sensor when it comes to producing superior image quality. Sensor size and high megapixel count matters little, unless one is making very large exhibition sized prints.” So what?

    The camera industry is likely in trouble because it is being steered by people who have lost any sense of the value of their customer base, are not responsive to customer needs, and most of all wanting to lord their own sense of I know something you don’t over the customers. Unfortunately, the photography industry is not the only one with this posture.

    Will people buy a new camera to get improved dynamic range, better color temperature measurement, faster focus, etc? Maybe, but especially if someone were interested in explaining why any of this was important. This is an area BRP excels in.

    Thanks for listening (reading) Sensei.

    Best, Joe Lee



    1. It’s wonderful to disagree but I happen to think he is correct in this instance. The camera manufacturers for the most part are stagnant and are trying to draw out the photo enthusiast by adding useless frills to camera bodies and software menus. Years ago the major companies used to have feed back meetings with consumers as well as camera store dealers. Consider the fact you are a Leica user. Leica has managed to maintain the user control interface even in the digital age and continue to make some of the finest if not the finest glass in the world. Your images by example show the true nature of Leica glass. Your Canon 5d however, like so many other cameras in the market today is so over stuffed with useless buttons and menu items that truly are not necessary for getting the image right. Individuals spend more time surfing the menus as opposed to simply taking the good picture.


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