Out of Focus

Ignore the title; this is not an essay about cameras. I am tired of cameras and the arguments about which is better and how one lens is sharper than another. Truth to tell all cameras are good and phone cameras are exceptional. If you want to know the truth about cameras, follow the idea of an expert. A friend, Geoffrey Christen, who sold more cameras than you could shake a stick at, used to say: ‘Pick it up, if it feels right, it will be good.’ Geoff is correct.

I use one camera, a Canon. I use its standard zoom lens; it is a good camera. There is no interest in pixels and resolution. The criteria are, will the image look good on a computer screen. Will the videos be clear and good enough for my work?

It is interesting to read the information people write about cameras on their blogs and websites. They compare the latest X with last years B and talk about pictures being printed at A3 or A2. When was the last time you printed an image at A2? Probably never and probably never will. So why does it matter if one instrument slightly out-resolves another? There is no importance to the questions or the answers. The observations are valid and at the same time of no importance. Chances are you’ll only put images on the internet or your phone.

For all you have read about my opinion about cameras, earlier this week I looked at some pictures taken with my Canon, and many seemed out of focus. This disappointed me because the pictures were of Alice standing next to an ancient tree in Canterbury Cathedral grounds. The chances of retaking the frames are next to non-existent. Alice is growing, and it will be some years before we visit Canterbury again.

Unsharp Image
Unsharp Image because of the filter

I reviewed many of the pictures taken and realised many were out of focus. I checked the camera and its settings. Reset the camera to factory settings. I continued the tests using the basic and my own camera profiles, and the pictures continued to fulfil the expectation. They were not as ‘bad’ as the Cathedral images, although, there certainly was ‘something’ wrong with the pictures.

As a last resort, the protective filter screwed to the lens was removed, and a few test frames were made. The results were as sharp as a pin, contrasty, with vibrant colours. Two hours wasted, the problem was the filter. With scrutiny, it is discovered the whole of the filter is covered with minute scratches. I must have cleaned the glass with a dirty cloth and ruined its surface. I assume under a specific lighting condition, the light passing through the glass diffracted and caused the soft image.

There is an interesting lesson which correlates to a Blog I recently unfollowed. The author of the Blog is articulate and clear minded. Indeed the writer holds a doctorate. The essay described the writer preferences when reading another individual’s work. The first few paragraphs were taken up with information not required: –

Inaccurate information.
Self Opinion.
Their ‘own’ story.
Self Help.
And describing the ‘best way’ to do something.

I read the essay and felt uncomfortable with the sentiments. Not wanting to form an immediate opinion from one post, I read many of the essays in the Weblog’. After an hour or so, the conclusion is the writer had fulfilled each of the above criteria in the essays.

Of course, it is not for me to judge anyone’s work. This essay is not criticising the author of the essay. There is a valid and interesting point of view in the post. My observation is a paradox, the writer failed to realise the points not liked in other peoples work were the basis for their own. An absolute superiority is suggested by the author’s opinion. Of course, it is our choice to read and write whatever we like. From my standpoint, the beauty of the words and the clarity of the writing is as important as the sentiment or story. For example, I am reading a book on documentary film production at the moment, and Ron Geesin’s chapter on Sound Recording is not only an excellent lesson in the art, but his writing is also superb.

weird effect
The filter produced a weird effect

Let’s return to the writer and the list. Without a doubt, every one of the subjects not liked by the essayist was within the post. Now, the writing is like my camera, capable of expressing incredible imagery. The difficulty is, the writer’s observational filter is scratched, and the information is ‘out of focus’ because they have not taken the trouble to read with a critical mind the sentiments and associations within the essay.

The reader of this article must be aware there is no mention of the name or WordPress site. It is not in my nature to hurt or offend anyone. I respect the opinion and understand why the post is created. Indeed, the style and accuracy of the writer’s style elicit a seed of envy within my being. And many of the previous posts are informative and entertaining.

No Filter and Sharp
No Filter and Sharp (I like meths with my water)

So why have I un-followed the Blog? Because it seems to me, it follows a similar pattern to the camera critics. The: – My camera is better,  Nikon is superior to Canon, and a Leica lens is the benchmark which surpasses all optical designs. The difficulty with the essay, is not accepting that we humans are nosey, inquisitive, gossip’s, interested in news, scandal and intrigue. In reality the majority of humans are flawed, an all the better for our flaws. And the majority of us accept: –

Inaccurate information.
Self Opinion.
Their ‘own’ story.
Self Help.
And describing the ‘best way’ to do something.

As normal aspects of our lives.

Life is not always factual or accurate; we can have a doctorate in physics or brain surgery. There is every reason to be as honest and transparent as gin (big smile H.P). And, for all of our goodness, we are as secure as the worst person in our lives.


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