JOPLIN, Mo. —
In photography, size matters.
The size of the lens makes all the difference. The bigger and better the glass, the better the quality of the photo.
The only problem is that lenses are expensive. And that is in direct competition with my inner cheapskate. But a Christmas present for my stepson led me to discover the beauty of smartphone lenses.
Normally I shoot pictures and video with a Nikon D5100, which Globe photographer T. Rob Brown says is a great consumer-grade camera, putting a little bit of emphasis on the words “consumer-grade.” If I had my way, I’d snag a 16-85mm wide angle-capable zoom lens and an 18-300mm telephoto zoom lens and never need another. The only problem is that those two lenses would set me back about $1,700.
Man, the pictures I could take with those two lenses. And there’s plenty I could shoot, from news assignments to the massive playing card collection at Geek Central. But not for $1,700. I have a hunch that the Globe won’t buy lenses just for me to take photos of cards.
As it turns out, my family is rich with photo-savvy people. The Lovely Paula has a sharp eye for images and can capture beautiful scenes. Duncan is also pretty good: Between an iPod repair session and a trip to Grand Falls, the kid took more than 200 pictures with the Nikon, and 150 of them would look great on our walls.
But Mitchell, he has the eye.
Let me back up. I identify three levels of photographers. This may seem harsh, but I am an editor, and I’ve been judging photos for journalistic purposes for more than a decade of my life:
• Those who don’t have a clue. These people are few and far between, but the one thing they have in common is that they say they are awesome photographers. Not even advances in technology can help them, and constructive criticism is lost on them.
• Those who are very good. There are many of these people, but the one thing they have in common is that they all think they are not very good at photography. They are greatly acquainted with the features on their camera and know when to use them. Technological advances greatly assist their pictures, because they have a large amount of competence.
• Those who have the eye. These people are few and far between, but the one thing they have in common is their photos drop jaws and stop breaths. They see the same things as us completely differently and know their equipment intuitively, whether it’s a smartphone or professional rig.
This group includes our award-winning Globe photographers such as T. Rob, Roger Nomer and B.W. Shepherd. It includes former Globe photogs David Stonner and Noppadol Paothong, who now have rock-star photo jobs with the Missouri Department of Conservation. It includes Peter McKinnon, a co-worker and friend with my second job, who can make a playing card look like a divine object from another world. It includes my cousin Holly, who is just as skilled with 35-mm film as she is with her iPhone.
I’d like to say that group includes me, but saying that might put me in my first group, and my ego can’t handle that right now.
But I know, without a doubt, that Mitchell has the eye.
He hasn’t had a professional photography job yet, but there’s one in his future. I’ve seen the photos he’s taken. He’s already won a photo award: He won second place in a competition at the Joplin Public Library.
As a high-school graduation gift, we got him a Nikon D3100. I’ve seen what he’s done with that camera, with our D5100, with an old point-and-shoot Samsung and his Galaxy S3 smartphone.
Because he has the eye, and because he loves that new S3, we found him some smartphone lenses for his camera as a Christmas present. After shopping around, we found the best deal on price and quality at Photojojo.com: We found a combo of fisheye, telephoto and wide angle/macro lenses for $50.
They attach magnetically, so as to not hurt the camera, and they came with enough ferrous rings for all of our smartphones to use the lenses. And they work incredibly well. So well that I bought my own set.
My BlackBerry Torch 9810 doesn’t have the best camera on the market — the 5-megapixel, 1.2 Ghz processor do pretty well in heavy light, but introduce a lot of digital noise in darker conditions. The iPhone and Galaxy take much better pictures.
Still, these lenses are the perfect way to address my camera shortcomings. They let me feel like I have access to those mega-expensive lenses for my D5100, and I can carry them around in my pocket.
Like I said, size matters.
JOPLIN, Mo. —
In photography, size matters.
Going Western: Indie film 'Wichita' to show tonight at MSSU
Nicholas Burton isn't exactly raising a cash cow on his livestock ranch. But the Wichita, Kan.-based filmmaker has an advantage over other film producers: Westerns are in high demand, and he's in the perfect spot to make them.
Love, labor liven up JHS musical 'Pajama Game'
The spring musical put on by the Joplin High School Theatre Department deals with a labor of love among a labor dispute.
MSSU choir, orchestra combines for performance of legendary 'Carmina Burana'
The free performance is a joint effort between the Southern Symphonic Chorus, which is composed of the MSSU Concert Chorale and volunteer singers, and the orchestra, which is made up of Missouri Southern students, faculty and professionals from the community.
Globe Phone Test: Nokia Lumia 1520's outstanding camera offset by frustrating OS
On Monday, news broke that flight attendants aboard Delta Airlines flights would receive Nokia Lumia 1520 devices in October. The devices will have flight manuals, support on-board sales, allow attendants to process credit card payments and crapcan heavy 500-page manuals they used have to bring.
The move is similar to how American Airlines attendants were give Galaxy Note phablets. Because Delta already gave attendants similar smartphones, it's reasonable to assume that the company places a lot of faith in the Windows Phone system.
But Delta's choice of device is puzzling because the 1520 is better suited to take photos and videos of people on board an airplane, not take their drink and meal orders. And because the device is so big, I'm not sure how flight attendants would feel carrying it around in a cramped flight.
As the iOS and Android systems struggle for the top smartphone operating system, Microsoft's Windows Phone has scratched its way into the No. 3 spot, pushing past BlackBerry. Nokia, once one of the top names in devices, is pairing with Microsoft to make a device that features an incredible camera. The company already made the Lumia 1020, which features a humongous 41-megapixel camera that does amazing things.
The Lumia 1520 is its biggest offering to date. The device, available exclusively from AT&T, is one of the biggest phablet-style phones on the market today. For about 10 days, I tested out a black-colored device provided by AT&T.
Jeremiah Tucker: Kurt Cobain likely would have thrived in today's music scene
I have no memory of the day he died. A friend asked me about this recently, and I said at that age -- I would've been 13 -- I was probably still rocking my cassingle of the Escape Club's "Wild Wild West." Needless to say, my middle school years were rough.
Benji Tunnell: 'Winter Soldier' sets a high bar for summer movie season
If a film was truly great, it would be held until June or July. Or so the thinking might have been before the release last week of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."
Marta Churchwell: Joplin mural part of Benton's larger message
Recently, I received information on Joplin's celebration of one of its native sons, Thomas Hart Benton. In observance of the artist's 125th birthday, City Hall will host a collection of his works alongside his mural that honors Joplin history.
World Fest pairs well with Celebrate America
The Slinkerds think Silver Dollar City's World Fest is a great opportunity to show their young children other cultures and introduce them to people from around the world.
Ka-Pow! New attraction offers free-fall plunge
On May 17, two brave souls willing to whether mid-May¹s unpredictable weather will climb into the two drop-floor aqua-launch capsules atop KaPau Plummet.
Jeremiah Tucker: Letterman performance gives deserved boost to Future Islands
It's hard to believe an appearance on a late-night talk show can still make a band's career. It's such a common occurrence and the cultural currency of the late-night format has dropped so much in recent years that, short of literally setting the stage ablaze or stabbing the host, the most a band could hope for is a couple of polite blog notices.
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