Welcome to this new site. I’m David McAughtry and this is a companion to my general site at www.mcaughtry.com. This one is for the technical topics that make the eyes of my regular readers rotate in their sockets. I am a geek at heart – and I have amassed a pile of more or less useful technical information, which I have never had a viable outlet for. Until now!
So who is this new site for? It will be primarily useful for intensive users of high and medium-end systems cameras, who use their equipment for landscape (particularly long exposure), street, or travel photography. It’s also specifically directed to those for whom the weight of the total system is a major issue. I spend most of my time fiddling in this area – and trying to find the perfect combination of image quality, portability, and practicality. I should emphasise that for me it is all about the gear. I realised several years ago that I get at least as much pleasure (OK, more pleasure) researching and buying new camera and lenses, as I do in taking photographs. I think actually I’m not a bad photographer – I have a fairly decent following on Flickr and usually get 200-300 favorites per photo. But that’s really done so I can have the justification to get more equipment. And unlike many bloggers out there (I think), because I am a louche retiree, I have bought and owned a very large range of equipment, and I use it intensively.
So if you want to know…..
- Which system (camera, lenses, batteries) is lighter – the Nikon D750 full frame or the Fuji X-T1 mirrorless?
- Which is the best system and camera for street photography? (not a Leica, or X-100S/T)?
- How do the Long Exposure noise characteristics of all the major Mirrorless cameras compare to Nikon Full-Frame cameras?
- How can you have a stable tripod for a Nikon Full frame camera that only weighs 1.2Kg?
- Why the Nikon 14-24 F2.8 is one of the most useless lenses ever built.
- How to charge all your camera batteries (including Nikon ones) from a USB source.
…these and many other questions will be answered in future posts. Can you find this info elsewhere on the web, without the irritation of reading mine? Not so easily. There are of course absolutely zillions of sites where you can read reviews of new equipment. They tend to fall into four categories:
Firstly the top data-driven technical sites, like DXOmark, photozone, and ePhotozine. These are the cream for me – in that they generate real technical data that can help you make informed technical choices. None of these help you in assessing how practical the systems are in use.
Secondly the general review sites like DPreview, Photography blog, Camera labs and Imaging resource. These are sometimes helpful for specifications, but base their image quality tests on fairly meaningless standard patterns, which do not cover the real issues for me – namely long exposure results, and low-iso noise. I find these almost completely unsatisfying, with the exception of Camera labs (because Gordon Laing’s tests are rigorous, and he is an excellent bloke).
Thirdly there are the ‘bloke’ based reviews, by the likes of Ron Martinsen, Steve Huff, Ken Rockwell, Matt Granger and so on. These and almost every other source on the web show ‘real world’ jpeg images, at normal size, and tell you how fine the camera is from these shots. An iPhone would generate images as good in almost all circumstances, and these endless photos of wives, birds, nearby buildings and so on, are of no help to me. They are often entertaining, but not a source of useful working data. A notable exception to these is Tony Northrup, who bases his reviews on data from DXOmark, and is exceptionally rigorous – but does not cover long exposure or street in any significant detail (and who is only accessible via Youtube unless you buy his books).
Finally are the forums – mostly the DPreview forums. Here you can find nuggets of really useful information – usually from real experts in response to queries placed on the forum. But it’s mixed with often really offensive invective, and the information you need to know is split across lots of scrappy little posts.
Now let me be clear, I really like all the above sites. No disrespect. I follow every one of them daily, and value their input. They just are not specialised enough for me. So for many queries of my own, I have had to do my own tests and research. And the results will be presented as I excitedly learn them, in these pages.