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Old 3rd May 2019
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year

This has been on a while and I only got round to seeing it a few days ago with my daughter, but I thought it worth raising a few points. It's been on at the Natural History Museum in Sth Kensington since October 2018, and runs until the end of June.
https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibiti...-the-year.html

I enjoyed it, and thought it was well worth the entrance fee, benefitting from a further move away from the sterile, technically-perfect record shots so popular a few years ago, towards more atmospheric, 'environmental' and (yes) arty images and portfolios that told stories.

If you haven't been, I think anyone would enjoy it regardless of their interest in photography & wildlife.

I did my usual casual noting of the systems used to capture the c. 100 featured images:

One Nikon F4 with Tri-X (!).
3 Sony A7-series and 1 A9 mirrorless.
1 Sony RX1Rii Full frame compact.
1 Lumix GH3.
1 Lumix compact.
1 Leica M240.
6 images in a portfolio about a flamingo taken on various Leica full-frame mirrorless bodies.
1 Olympus microscope.
4 DJI drones.

So, around 84 taken on assorted Canon & Nikon DSLRs (mainly the former), including a significant proportion on 7+ year-old bodies (especially from eastern European, South American and Asian photographers). However, commonest by far were various iterations of the 5D Canon.

So, as usual, mirrorless penetration is still relatively invisible. (In fact, the only annual competition show I attend in London where mirrorless is now creeping up the list is the Travel Photographer of the Year.)

Two of the Youth awards were taken allegedly by teenagers using Canon body-lens combinations that currently cost £14,800 new from Wex. Lucky, eh.

By the way, the images taken on the GH3 and the Lumix compact were absolutely superb, detailed and almost totally lacking in visible grain. Despite being reproduced on backlit screens maybe 3 feet across
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Old 4th May 2019
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Interesting analysis Mark. I always did like my little Lumix TZ1 it performed superbly well above it's weight. Not been used for ages though, maybe it's time to dig it out. Perhaps we ought to have our own wildlife challenge, just using our old gear?
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Old 4th May 2019
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

I see literally thousands of pictures each year in competitions, many of them are as good as the ones in the WPOTY. It’s very rare that I get to know what camera took the image, but occasionally someone will tell me, especially if they have just changed to a new system or Olympus (knowing that I use Olympus kit)

The fact that there is nothing of the original sensor data on display in digital images and there is every likelihood that post processing has been used, I cannot help but wonder why the kit information is given such credibility and the post processing given none.

At least with film, especially slides, there is a direct link between the kit and the images produced and the information had more relevance.
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Old 4th May 2019
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
I see literally thousands of pictures each year in competitions, many of them are as good as the ones in the WPOTY. It’s very rare that I get to know what camera took the image, but occasionally someone will tell me, especially if they have just changed to a new system or Olympus (knowing that I use Olympus kit)

The fact that there is nothing of the original sensor data on display in digital images and there is every likelihood that post processing has been used, I cannot help but wonder why the kit information is given such credibility and the post processing given none.

At least with film, especially slides, there is a direct link between the kit and the images produced and the information had more relevance.
Yes, that's correct Graham, although I started noting these details around 5 years ago and I find the information very useful as a reality check. This is not for the individual image, but most of us here live in a little mirrorless bubble and I find it useful to be reminded that way most of the reasonably serious photography world still uses DSLRs.

It also reminds me that all the on-going developments in camera and lens technology, and the vast sums people spend on them, and the huge weights of gear humped around the world, and the hours and hours spent obsessing over gear on fora such as dpreview, are largely peripheral fluff when measured against the abilities of any kit in good hands to deliver a winning image.

The other personal note I make at the Landscape Photographer of the World show is how many images were taken wider than around f5.6: usually none or just a tiny handful. So there's a huge weight and expense of f2.8 glass unnecessarily being hefted up and down the world's mountains! This is particularly so now Canon, Nikon and others are at last producing superb quality f4 zooms that are much smaller and lighter.
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Old 4th May 2019
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Re: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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Originally Posted by drmarkf View Post
The other personal note I make at the Landscape Photographer of the World show is how many images were taken wider than around f5.6: usually none or just a tiny handful. So there's a huge weight and expense of f2.8 glass unnecessarily being hefted up and down the world's mountains! This is particularly so now Canon, Nikon and others are at last producing superb quality f4 zooms that are much smaller and lighter.
That’s such a good point. I have found that the “sweet spot” on a cheaper lens, will often produce an image every bit as good as that from the expensive lenses.
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