Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Ever since I saw a $30K digital back for my Hasselblad, I've been waiting for digital photography to come to REAL cameras. The guy at the store said, "some day they will be cheap enough to be worth it." Then I saw the article about the Digital-Modul-R digital back for the Leica R8/R9, I decided that I was going to go that route. I have a whole R8 system with many many lenses and this just made sense to me. Yesterday I went to a camera shop and asked when they would have them. "Oh, probably about a year from now." !!! I broke down and bought the Canon EOS "Kiss" Digital or a 300D as they call them in the US. I'm very happy with it. It's reasonably priced and just works. I was getting really frustrated with crappy digital cameras and using the 300D just feels right.

I'll still use my Hasselblad and my Nikon Coolscan 8000 film scanner for medium format work, but I think I'm going to dump 35mm photography and switch to digital for awhile and see how it goes.

Yesterday, I played with my camera and posted more pictures of the house and of Bo. Still messing around...


Joi, who are you that you hang out with journalists?

How do you make your post a comment section appear below your blog rather than in a seperate window?

I hope you will not think me rude but answer these questions in good cheer.

Happy New Year.

Why this one over the 10D? The features on that one look to be worth the extra few bucks. I don't use Canon's but have seen some great stuff from friends with them. Their autofocus is way better than the Nikon digital's too. Can't wait to see the goods.

Lovely shots Joi - your new camera looks pretty good in low light situations. Those times when light is low and there's a certain mood I'd like to preserve without a flash - that's the holy grail of digital photography for me.

I love the steam caught rising off a hot bowl in the mochi picture. Browsing those pictures of your new home is like a visit to an old Ryokan - natsukashii! Congratulations on a beautiful dwelling; I hope you enjoy that calm setting.

Jonathan, for some reasons, many of my best friends are journalists. I was actually thinking about it the other day. I think it's because many of them have a very twisted sense of humor like myself, don't get offended by name-dropping and tend to be well informed and cynical, which I enjoy.

As for comments on the entries, it's in the templates. I do this so that the comments get index by google together with the entry itself.

Jason, I looked at the 10D. To be honest, they didn't have it in stock. I was thinking of buying it. Also, I do own a Nikon D1, but my friend borrowed it and hasn't returned it so I didn't want to spring for the "high end". But I'm happy with this 300D. It does just about everything I need it to do. The autofocus is good.

Justin, the cool thing about the 300D is that you can change the ISO on a per shot basis with just a flick of the wrist. This is VERY good in low light situations where color quality is more important than detail. Yes, I'm loving my new house.

Jaosn, what camera do you use right now?

Also, what are people using to keep track of their digital "assets"? iPhoto is about to blow up.

Wow, Joi, the house is *beautiful*! Thanks for sharing the photos!

i would love to have Canon EOS "Kiss" Digital one od those days

RE: iPhoto blowing up. If you haven't done so yet, close all rolls. It should speed up some.

I'm using the D100. The one that I had at Supernova and the party in SF when we met. I love it to death. I mothballed my N90s ages ago and haven't shot a roll of 35mm in years. The new Nikon dSLR is more geared towards photojournalism but it does have a pretty cool WiFi attachment that lets you FTP images directly from onboard the camera. Mighty sexy. I love my Nikons just because they're so damn rugged. I've dropped this thing a few times now and it hasn't missed a beat. That's my only complaint about the Canons. Just not as tough. I will say though that the 1Ds is mighty sexy!

Joi - there's a little utility floating around called "iPhoto Library Manager" that lets you create a new library when iPhoto gets too slow - indispensible when you are dealing with pictures as large as you will get from the EOS.

I take a *lot* of pictures with my D-100 and the best and simplest way I've found to organize them is to dedicate a large disk on a server at home and create date-based folders - 20031231 and the like. When you plug in your camera to your mac, first copy the pictures into a dated folder as an archive, then let iPhoto do the import, knowing that you can delete the iPhoto copies at any time, since you have the originals on the server.

Good idea Jim. I'm going to start doing that. I found something called iPhoto buddy that lets me do the multi-Library thing which seems useful.

slightly off topic perhaps, but may I ask what is the timber used in the house interior?

Congadulations! I bought mine a few months ago and have had nothing but success with it. I highly recommend working from raw mode, but I don't know of any Mac-compatible software for "developing" CRW files (perhaps Photoshop CS?).

Those 2 iPhoto library tools rock and i'll be reviewing them for the next Lockergnome OS X newsletter. Thanks! I've been using iView Media Pro which doesn't choke on huge libraries. My main photo archive clocks in at 65 gig now and iView is perfect. I used to use Cumulus but it's just an evil waste of time.

Richard, interesting. I will try raw mode. I think there is software bundled with it that does that. What is the advantage of raw mode?

Andrew, the house is mostly made of pine all gathered from the neighborhood 22 years ago when this house was built.

The key question for replacing film is whether the sensor and files captured have more than 8-bits of data per channel.

See my discussion of Ansel Adams & digital photography

If I save the image in raw mode and transfer it to Photoshop, I get 16-bits per channel, but it's a bit of a pain.

Actually they call it the 'Digital Rebel' in the US. I think 300D is what it's called in Europe. It is an amazing little camera though.

I just took delivery of my 300D today! So far, very impressed but I'm somewhat of an SLR newbie.

Happy new year.

The photo "Hallway near back of house" demonstrates one of the remaining failings of of digital photography: contrast ratio. In mixed scenes with very bright areas and shadows, the brights are washed out and the shadows are too dark. 10-bits is of course better than 8-bits, and 16 bits even better (though I don't think any image sensor actually outputs a full 16-bits right now), but a good film has a dynamic range more like 24-28 bits. When we did film scanning ten years ago we used a special sensor with a logarithmic converter and it was still hit or miss with some scenes.

The other dirty secret is the single chip imager in most all digital cameras with the color filter in front. I don't know of any really high end cameras have three chips, like the good video cameras do; but I like the work that foveon has been doing. The first camera with their chips, the Sigma SD9 was a little rough around the edges, but the new SD10 that came out this fall is supposedly pretty good.

Of course right now I'm slumming around with an old $150 digital camera with no zoom, but its good enough for chasing after the kids.


I also got my Rebel about 6 weeks ago, despite Minami-san having bought and sold his in less than a week. I think it is a great camera and have been impressed by the photo quality.

I have used Canon EOS since they came out in the early 90s, a switch from Nikon then Olympus then Canon. They have always had the best software and focusing system.

As for the question about why not a 10D I have a simple answer;

- half the price ($999 w/ lens vs. 1499 w/o lens)
- lighter weight
- new digital lens compatible
- same photo quality
- few missing features, smaller buffer, lower cost focus indicator, plastic body, a little less program control.

As for a Mac program that processes raw you can use Adobe Photoshop Album to do simple adjustments and conversions, strangely Elements and Photoshop do not handle them.

Barak, at least on the Mac, what I was able to do was to set up the Image Transfer Application in the File Viewer Utility that came with the camera to Photoshop. If you open a raw image with the File View Utility to Photoshop in 16 bit mode, you end up with a 16 bit TIFF file in Photoshop. A lot of steps, but pretty nifty.