Has Ken's body been snatched?

Friday, October 02, 2009 ·

Ken Rockwell is continuing to behave in a strange manner. He used to go on about how the camera wasn't important, how megapixels didn't matter, how sharpness didn't matter and how he only shot jpeg as raw was for chumps. That was Old Ken. New Ken seems not to be the same person, leading to speculation that he has been taken over by some alien life-form, possibly emanating from the German town of Solms.

I've already posted about how New Ken seems to have become obsessed with cameras - mainly Leicas - and now goes on about sharpness an awful lot. Now, he has just posted a Leica M9 v Nikon D3X v Canon 5D MkII sharpness comparison and, it seems, has started using raw files. This, he says, is because the M9 uses the DNG format which New Ken can open straight away without having to wait for software updates as is sometimes the case with manufacturers' own raw formats. That's not what Old Ken used to say. This is what Old Ken used to say, "I never shoot raw. Why would I? Raw is a waste of time and space, and doesn't look any better than JPG even when you can open the files."

Anyway, Ken's Leica, Nikon, Canon comparison is possibly quite interesting. I can't really say as it's too confusing for me. Although billed as an M9 v D3X v 5D MkII shoot out, the D3X was replaced by a D300s because Ken didn't have Nikon's top of the line to hand. You can read about it here. You might be able to make more of it than I can. The way it's presented, the D300s as tested is the equivalent of a 27mp full frame camera. The M9 is used with an old 50mm Summilux and the Canon had focusing problems that basically ruled it out of the race. The Nikon and Canon were using 50mm f1.4 lenses, too.

I'm not sure how valid this approach is but the upshot, for what it's worth, is that the D300s, from what I can tell, is more or less on a par with the M9. Ken's spin on it is this, "Tricky devil that I am, what I've really shown is that the 18MP LEICA M9, with a 45-year-old lens, performs as well or better than the newest 21-27MP full-frame DSLRs from the Far East." My spin on it is that a $2,250 Nikon outfit keeps pace with an $8,000 Leica outfit.

Even Ken admits as much when he adds, "Don't go blind splitting hairs. At f/8 these are all too similar to worry about, especially since your choice of software makes as much difference as the cameras.

"Ultimately, none of this matters. All that matters is getting the right picture with whatever camera you have with you." Now, that's the Old Ken speaking!