The Q&A post: ask me anything! (form now closed.)

At the suggestion of one of my readers, I’m going to try something a little different for today: Ask Me Anything, and I mean literally, anything – photographic or otherwise. There’s a question submission form after the jump which will be open for a few days; and at the end of it I’ll pick the most interesting questions to answer in detail. These will then be published in a future post. One caveat though: I won’t be answering any ‘what should I buy’ or equipment speculation type questions, because they are meaningless. MT

Update, 8 May: After receiving an overwhelming number of entries, the form is now closed.


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  1. Hi again
    Will you do an article or video or master class teaching us how to “ultraprint”? Even if we are compromised on our printers to say epson 3800 or above vs what you use, and/or RIPs etc you may use and/or, etc; we strive to be our own master printers and the concept of very high resolution yet limited sized printing technique is VERY exciting. I will happily be 1st in line for any of the above learning opportunities.

    Thanks alot for considering this

    • We wanted to, but the short answer is no – because it would be meaningless and just not practical. It would not be worth the number of complaints and emails I would receive about people not being able to get the same results (or not knowing the difference because they do not have a physical reference to tell the difference in the first place). That is just a headache waiting to happen.

      Let me explain why. Firstly, we are using custom hardware and software. Without that, and pixel-perfect input files, then it’s impossible to replicate the result. Secondly, it’s already difficult enough to demonstrate the difference with high resolution images online; a video would completely miss the point of printing. Thirdly, you’d have to come to KL for a workshop, because moving a 150kg printer – excluding all of the other support gear and supplies, and the printmaster – is completely impractical. There are just not enough people interested to justify even doing one locally.

      Finally, the point of Ultraprinting is not for the sake of increasing more resolution. It is in the pursuit of transparency to better convey an idea or concept or experience. If the idea or concept or experience is not clear to begin with, or doesn’t make the most of the technique, then it is again pointless.

      • “There are just not enough people interested to justify even doing one locally”

        If there were, would you?

        • I have done and attempted to host local workshops in the past. Not only were there very few takers, but even worse, Malaysians have a habit of committing then never turning up – we were left waiting for two participants who didn’t even have the courtesy to inform me they weren’t coming. That kind of thing has never happened overseas…

          If there were enough people interested and they were willing to seriously commit (i.e. pay deposits upfront), then yes, I’d host a local workshop.

  2. Lucy March says:

    Geez, left out the “do” too. Working in this ER is getting to me . . .

  3. Lucy March says:

    Oops, make that “could,” not “an.”

  4. Lucy March says:

    If you an be paid well to the assignment of your dreams, what would that assignment be?

  5. I have a D810 and I’ve been having some color issues especially with the greens and reds. It happens in studio and outdoors even after properly white balancing. Is there a process to see whether it’s the camera or operator error?

  6. Do not know if you do multi-day hike but if you did (or imagine you did), what will be your camera equipment?

    Lets say the scenery is beautiful (worth capturing with enough details since you won’t revisit soon) and there is weight limit (lets cap it arbitrary at 5lb). I know you like Ricoh and Merrill is out there too but what else?
    (BTW, I have gone through many iterations of the solution to this problem for myself but will be interested to know your thought)

    • If I’m going to bother hiking there to shoot, I’m going to carry the D810, but with lighter lenses like the 45P and 90/3.5 APO Lanthar.

      • Thanks Ming. Carrying a high resolution camera make sense. But won’t you carry a wider lens too?

        • Probably he would take his 20 1.8 Nikkor AFS 18-28mm FL are ideal esp. for landscapes…the 20 1.8 is not much better than the 28 1.8 if not equal, the sigma 24 1.4 art has better optics but much double weight,larger and only 24mm…..there is no real very good or even excellent (ultra) wide angle lens even not the zeiss 15 2.8 zf2 lens is not stellar 😉 on par with the nikkor 14-24 2.8 lens and the tamron 15-30 2.8 vc imo….hope that helps….

          • Landscapes don’t always have to be shot wide, and I rarely do actually.

            • Thank is correct, however my preferences have changes towards wider side in last few years. I guess it depends on how one sees the world and there is no right way. Four years ago I didn’t own anything wider than 50mm and I was perfectly fine. 🙂

        • I’d stitch or use the GR – the wide options for F mount are still rather meh.

  7. Rosa Michaels says:

    Are there any cameras, (not other smartphones) as good as the iPhone 6 in AWB , AE , and SOOC Color ?

    • Wouldn’t know, I only own one phone, use the camera on it because it’s there, and have no reason to buy any more. You’re probably better off consult a phone review site.

      Edit: I misread this comment, my apologies. My bad. The short answer is probably no, because the amount of processing power in the iPhone far exceeds any camera out there…I cannot think of any others that have the same capabilities when ti comes to multi-shot parallel processing for noise reduction, stitching etc.

    • snappycow says:

      I think Rosa meant which other non-phone still cameras has processing that is equal if not better than the iPhone 6, not other smartphones.

      Personally I find Olympus cameras have very good OOC JPEGs in terms of color. Punchy, but not overdone.
      But my aging Canon G11 still has the most accurate AWB I’ve seen.
      AE is moot, since you should use spot metering with exposure compensation if necessary/available.

      • My bad. Short answer is probably no, because the amount of processing power in the iPhone far exceeds any camera out there…I cannot think of any others that have the same capabilities when ti comes to multi-shot parallel processing for noise reduction, stitching etc.

  8. Nick Coenen says:

    A human dimension rather than a gear or technique question per se (I’m still re-reading the first 1000 posts….) But, considering photography as an art form, what project (commercial or personal) caused you the greatest challenge – not so much from a technical standpoint (although that would be of interest), but from an emotional standpoint. Anything that enveloped you to the point that took you completely by surprise?

    Background – you obviously devote great emphasis on detail as well as being prepared for all contingencies. The gist of the question centers on the unexpected; how some emotional aspect of a project – either the subject matter or the personalities involved (not including examples of the “difficult client”) – caught you off guard, how you responded, and whether or not you were satisfied with results.

    Interesting topic – thanks for your willingness to share your knowledge and experience.

  9. This exercise seemed very promising however I must say, I’m underwhelmed. What happened?!

    • As per the post: questions are submitted to me via that form and email, and I’m compiling them into a future post. I’ve chosen and answered about 100 so far, and if this continues, I’ll have enough material for an entire book by the time I close the form. I will probably cap it at 20,000 words of replies and then split it into several posts. A little patience, please 🙂

  10. Arthur Winner says:

    With the onset of mirror less bodies, do you know if there are any mirror less medium format cameras in the pipeline?

  11. D810: sharpness vs moire and thoughts on moire removal tools etc.
    keep up the good work!

    • Never had to remove moire, but I don’t shoot anything with textiles.

      • interesting.
        I’ve noticed it in architecture from time to time if it’s right in the focus point of the shot.
        stuff like the mesh in fences on bridges etc.
        that said i also saw it from time to time on my D700 in similar situations even tho it had the filters (not to mention lower res).

        • It tends to be less of a problem with higher resolution – moire may show on screen, but often that’s a scaling artefact rather than a capture one.

          • true.
            i’ve definitely seen examples of both….one the “fake” kind you only see in library previews, reduced jpegs, ipad screen etc (that is not actually in the file itself)…but also occasionally the kind i see at 100% when editing (that goes away w use of the moire tool and must be i suspect intrinsic to the raw file).
            that said…i’ve never seen it in a print (although on the few images i’ve seen it in on screen that are printed big enough to see it i’ve always removed the moire beforehand so as not too waste a print).

  12. Daniel Boyd says:

    Are you working (in collaboration with others) on developing a new class of camera(s)? If so, can you share when we can expect to have the specs and launch date?

    • No, I’m not. I don’t have the budget to compete nor do I agree with the vision of any of the products I’ve seen. There is either too much adherence to existing archaic ‘history’ or reinventing the wheel for the sake of it, neither of which is a really good solution.

  13. Hakan Lindgren says:

    Ask you anything? Really? You just opened Pandora’s box here 🙂

    I’d like to learn more about getting good white balance – all the way from the shot (do you use a gray card?) to the raw converter.

  14. You are the only person on the whole Internet who used the phrase gross macro contrast. Google came up with only one exact match, namely your previous post. Would Guinness world records be interested in that I wonder?

  15. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Diffractive lenses ?
    Now that nano technology advances,
    I suppose the possibility to design quality compact lenses by using more diffractive elements may not be so far off anymore?
    Consider thinner large sensor zoom compacts?
    ( With *good* EVFs, 😉 .)

  16. Given the declining sales of upper-end photographic equipment, how do you see technology developing? More high-resolution sensors (aka following Moore’s Law, doubling of semiconductor density every 15-18 months)? Smarter ways of getting the last quantum of information from the sensors we have (Olympus and Pentax sensor-shifting)? Or is the trend towards better and better glass, but for prices that us normal hobbyist folks without huge incomes and with kids in college can contemplate affording? 🙂 Or will there be a major shake-out in the industry (not next year, but five years down the road)? Will Sony-Olympus challenge Nikon for the high end? 🙂

  17. Ok here’s my question: what should I ask you? Lol hope you’re doing well well Ming. Enjoying your posts!

    Cheers, Kevin


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