On the ATP Electronics GPS PhotoFinder

I will keep this short.

The ATP Electronics GPS Photofinder doesn’t work. Mine is in a box on it’s way back to the folks at B&H.

And I’m out 3 hours and the cost of round trip shipping…

To be precise, and why not, it is a tiny battery sucking GPS with a sub-microscopic display. Not only is the display small, well actually smaller than simply small, it cannot be read by humans when viewed while the sun is up (which is when I do most of my photography…) The three LED confirmation system that augments the really tiny and unreadable-in-sunlight LCD display is just dim enough that you have to hold the device up to your face to see confirm that the thing is working. Holding the unit will, in almost every case, cause the PhotoFinder to lose satellites.

However, despite the worthless display and the dim blinking LED’s, it doesn’t actually do the one thing that made it worth considering. Sure it logs Latitude and Longitude but that’s not so hard. In the end this device is a one trick pony. It is supposed to append GPS info directly onto JPEGs stored on SD cards in the field.


And it doesn’t.

Ken Rockwell’s History Lesson

Michael Reichmann disagrees with Ken Rockwell and does so in a public place.

When someone disagrees with (apparently) one of your core beliefs you can:

1) Ignore them.

2) Make a reasoned argument that solidifies your point(s). or (and you don’t see this one nearly enough)

3) Launch an ad hominem attack against an entire country and include a irrelevant history lesson.

Oddly enough, or maybe not, Rockwell choose number 3. I wouldn’t dare to paraphrase this jingoistic nonsense so here is the meat of it in his own words.

Maybe I’m American-centric. American’s don’t understand words like “no,” “I can’t” or “impossible.” In the 1700s everyone knew a motley band of rabble rousers couldn’t defeat the world’s most powerful empire, but we did and created the United States of America in 1776. Everyone knew heavier-than-air flight was a proven scientific impossibility, but in 1903 the Wright Brothers flew anyway. No possible way could men ever get to the moon, but back in 1969 we sent men up there just because we could, and although we continued to send men up there on an almost weekly basis until we got bored of it in the 1970s, no other nation has ever been able to get there to this day almost 40 years later. Tell a Texan (an especially tough breed of American) that he’s got cancer and only 6 weeks to live, and he’ll cut off one of his own nuts just to keep things fair and go off to win le Tour de France — seven times in a row. Do you think it was his bicycle?

So I guess when you try to tell an American that he can’t make good pictures with a crappy camera, that won’t stop him, but Geeze, it would be a very sad world if only Americans had the gumption to make decent photos with crappy cameras. I honestly doubt that.

I sure know I’ve also seen far more really crappy photos made with great equipment, in fact, I’ve made thousands of the crappy ones myself with great gear!

Reichman is a little too found of his toys . Rockwell is a crappy writer who has trouble actually crafting an argument. That said, this round goes to the Canadian for, if nothing else, attempting a reasoned argument.

And for not once mentioning Lance Armstrong…

Postscript – 2013. I long ago quit suffering through Ken Rockwell’s web site. He is an untalented if enthusiastic photographer. What makes this post almost prophetic (it is pathetic) is the fall of the Great, One Nutted Tour de France Winner. If Ken Rockwell’s argument seemed odd at the time, it only gets more so as Armstrong admits to using PED’s to win those Tours. Tough Texan my ass. Rockwell has, probably a good move, buried or killed the post that I pulled the above quote from. That said, it’s real and he is an unexceptional human being and an equally unexceptional photographer. He will never be mentioned again – my time is too valuable.

Michael H. Reichmann is Too Kind

Michael Reichmann of the Luminous Landscape calls out Ken Rockwell…

One of the hoariest of the hoary cliches is that a good photographer can take a good photograph with just about any camera. Horseshit.

I’m certain that Reichman didn’t intend to, but comparing the writing and rants of Rockwell to horseshit seems demeaning to horses.

Sean Reid, An American, Nails It

While Ken Rockwell has been tinkering with his “The Camera Doesn’t Matter” (see my previous post here) retort to “that Canadian”, aka Michael Reichmann, for a week or two, he still hasn’t succeeded in actually making any real case – or much sense.

I’m guessing he won’t – tinkering with the edges of a flawed thesis, will, in the end, just waste time. that said, it is his time and he can waste it however he wishes.

Sean Reidwriting in the Luminous Landscape, uses relevant historic references (as opposed to the Wright Brothers and Lance Armstrong) and avoids slandering an entire country (please, Canada, except my apology) to put photography, photographers and the tools we use into proper perspective.

And, damn it, as Reid himself proudly proclaims:

Sean Reid, an American, has been a commercial and fine art photographer for over twenty-three years.

Rockwell should read it. Once finished, he should concentrate on doing what he does best – re-writting Nikon press releases. Play to your strengths – critical thinking is not among them. Or History for that matter.

In Defense of the APS-H Sensor

The Canon APS-H sensor, lately of the Canon 1D Mark III, with its 1.3x crop factor is looking more and more the orphan. If true, and the inference comes mainly comes from Canon USA’s inscrutable Chuck Westfall, it will be missed.

The APS-H sensor sits squarely between the full frame sensors found in the Canon 1Ds series as well as the Nikon D3, and the 1.6x crop, APS-C sensor that is found in just about every other DSLR on the planet.1While there isn’t quite the telephoto bump of the APS-C sensor, the 1.3x crop is kinder to wide angles.

Canon has held the 1D Mark III sensor to 10 megapixel. Physics being what it seems to be, the larger photo sites beat smaller. The combination of just a bit bigger sensor along with some welcomed restraint by Canon’s pixel packing engineers, results in image quality that is as good as a very small group of DSLR’s.

As compromises go, it’s a good one.

1 There is a smaller yet standard for DSLR’s. The Four Thirds System format isn’t as popular as the APS-C but the small size of the sensor, along with some nice engineering, result in some very interesting products