Burning Man Camera Trivia – Which Camera Took What Shot?

New eBook – The Beauty of Ambiguity

I have written a new eBook called The Beauty of Ambiguity! This extended, new piece will help you to better understand your own concepts of beauty and how it can be explored through your photography.

I also decided to make it an anthology of sorts, so I included updated versions of the most popular how-to stories like “9 Tips for your HDR Brain to Consider” to “HDR: It’s About the Light,” and I also revisited and expanded some of my popular long-form pieces, like the Chernobyl story.

Enjoy! We’ve been busy publishing new books over there, so be sure to check out the many other Flatbooks authors while there!

Answers to the Trivia

I have the answers here in the variety hour! Jump ahead to 30:30 where I describe the photos and the cameras with which they were shot.

The Camera Doesn’t Matter

I’ll go ahead and state my premise here from the outset.

I believe this is the best time ever for you to get into photography, and I expect my little trivia contest below will prove that a camera that is only a few hundred dollars (like the Olympus Tough) can take photos as interesting as one for a few thousand dollars (like the Nikon D3S) or even one that is tens of thousands of dollars (like the Phase One). There are so many cameras out there, but I try to boil it down to the good/better/best on the Camera Reviews page here on the site.

Hardcore gear-head photographers will get VERY ANGRY at the statement above, but I’d like to see how they do on the trivia test below!

I used many different cameras at Burning Man – everything from one that cost a few hundred dollars to something that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes, I didn’t feel like carrying around a giant medium format camera or a DSLR, and I just wanted to be handy and quick with a little handheld consumer camera like the Olympus or the Pentax.

The Methodology

For all the photos below, I stripped out all the metadata (I think) and made them all the same resolution (4000 pixels wide or high with various crops) so that would not give away any clues as to the camera that made them.

Also note that I have processed all these photos. Look, I can’t help it… This isn’t a pure lab situation… but life is not a pure lab situation. In some cases, I’ve even used Lightroom to add grain back into the photo. That will make your job even more difficult. I didn’t make Lightroom adjustments to make the trivia harder – I just did this style of post-processing on each photo because I thought it was kind of beautiful. And see that one I put in there with the spiral of fire? I DID put that one there just to mess with you a bit.

Anyway, I’ve never made any apologies about my love of hardcore post-processing. I think the photo itself is just the beginning, and then the real magic happens when I can bend the light to my will later.

In that sense, I really quite like this trivia contest. Since I’m not alone in my love of post-processing, it makes an even stronger case that the camera with which you initially capture the light is a smaller and smaller part of the equation. The bigger part of the equation is you, yourself – your personality, your tools, and how you choose to use them on any given day.

Trey’s Lightroom Presets

All of the photos below were simply edited in Lightroom. I used the newly released Trey’s Lightroom Presets in case you want to play with them yourself. I thought I’d get that little plug in there… hope you don’t mind. :)

The Cameras

Here are the cameras I used:
A – The Olympus Tough TG-1 – $369
B – The Pentax Optio WG-2 – $299
C – The Pentax K-01 – $546
D – The Sony NEX-7 – $1348
E – The Nikon D3S (closest Adorama link) – $4499 (note that I kept my Nikon D800 in the trailer the whole time and never used it… )
F – The Phase One (closest Adorama link) – Over $10,000

ANSWERS (Spoiler!):

1 – F
2 – A
3 – C
4 – B
5 – D
6 – E

The Photos

And here are the 6 final photos with the six different cameras. I put little captions under each one to give you a bit of context for the story…

HDR Photo

While riding by on my bike, I saw these three dancers-al-fresco enjoying the sun. It seemed to be the sort of thing that was interesting and just begging for a photograph, and, well, you can see what happened. And no, none of this was posed… it just happened.

 

HDR Photo

In the middle of the pink party, this girl was at center camp with pink ears and her dust cover. She was a very pretty bunny, so I gave her the international eyebrow-sign of “is it okay to take a photo?” and she lit up happily.

 

HDR Photo

On the night the man burned, 60,000 people crowded around the bonfire of mammoth proportions. Photographers did anything they could to see over the crowd, including this enterprising photographer-wizard.

 

HDR Photo

A girl rides in front of the most wonderful truck I’ve ever seen. Do you know the history behind it?

 

HDR Photo

On the night of the temple burn, millions of burning embers filled the sky like golden dust from the heavens. I aimed my camera up and twisted it with the beat of nearby music.

 

HDR Photo

There are over a hundred art-cars that roam the desert during the day and night. You can get on any one at any time and it will pick you up at a random place and drop you off at another. This little gypsy car was one of my favorites, and the music that flowed out of it was eclectic and relaxing.

 

Sample Answer (probably not right)

Photo 1 – B
Photo 2 – F
Photo 3 – D
Photo 4 – A
Photo 5 – C
Photo 6 – E

(And you can add some of your thoughts below your answer too if you would like to ruminate on one thing versus another!)

The Answer

I’ll give the final answer in one week after the initial posting…

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • susan ratcliff

    Oh wow – I love each one of these – each is so unique and awesome – looks like another fun year at burning man! I wouldn’t even begin to guess which camera you used – each photo is amazing!

  • louis van zyl

    They are all nice,will leave the judging to others.

  • Miroslav Petrasko

    There are all nice, but I agree with you only partially. There are situations where most of the cameras will create stunning or at least good photos. But still, if for instance I was going to shoot a night citiscape, I would never choose a compact camera for that. A good DSLR creates much nicer results in such a situation.

  • Chris McAdam

    Well I know next to nothing about those cameras, but in the spirit of taking part here are my random guesses.

    Photo 1 – F
    Photo 2 – D
    Photo 3 – B
    Photo 4 – E
    Photo 5 – A
    Photo 6 – C

  • http://www.facebook.com/JosephJFlores Joseph Flores

    These are incredible shots! I particularly love the first shot. One couldn’t guess which camera took which shot so your point is well made. I will guess that the D3s took either 3 or 6 while the Phase One took the other cause I believe the great ISO performance of those cameras helped get thos shots. If I had to stick a tack in it, I would say that the D3s took 6 and Phase One took 3.

  • Peter Novacco

    Photo 1 – D
    Photo 2 – E
    Photo 3 – A
    Photo 4 – C
    Photo 5 – B
    Photo 6 – F

    The variation in dynamic range and depth of field helps. Great diversity of shots, though that makes guessing tricky.

  • winter winters

    Photo 1 (dancers) – a (need fast shutter)

    Photo 2 (her eyes) – b (her eyes are so deep but bright hurts my eyes–ap 3.5-5?)

    Photo 3 (hdr bm) – c (high iso-mirrorless-hrd mode?)

    Photo 4 (truck) – e (so much texture on images on truck)

    Photo 5 (sparks) – d (high iso needed but seems pixelated)

    Photo 6 (artcar) – f (so much detail–feels like within image)

  • rj

    Fine work, Trey! You are totally right. I learned a very similar lesson in 6th grade on a mountain bike race (I only had a single speed Huffy). When the kids with the fancy bikes where struggling up the hills, I picked up my steel pony and ran. I took first place in my age group and the lesson “The bike doesn’t matter, it’s all about the machine behind it” still applies… even to camera and photography and our willingness to create and share our work! Such a terrific lesson and reminder to all (my Nikon D700 at many times took better photos than the PhaseOne on the playa this year).

    My guess:
    Photo 1 – CPhoto 2 – E (DSLR depth of field?)Photo 3 – APhoto 4 – F (MF aspect ratio?)Photo 5 – APhoto 6 – B (I’m thinking you took the coolest photo with the cheapest rig?)

  • http://twitter.com/PeteHalewood Pete Halewood

    Here are my answers Trey, and I won’t use explanations because I’m just going with spirit/instinct:

    1. F
    2. C
    3. B
    4. D
    5. E
    6. A

  • http://twitter.com/PeteHalewood Pete Halewood

    I think you have misunderstood Trey’s point there Miroslav. He states that any camera can catch as interesting shot as another, but he doesn’t state that every camera can do any job. When he says the camera doesn’t matter, it’s an artistic expression meaning, as so often has been said, that it’s the person taking the picture, not the camera itself. The best sports equipment you can get, will help your game better for sure, but give Roger Federer a budget tennis racket from Wal-Mart and he’s still going to play like Roger Federer.

  • t_linn

    Trey is repeating the ol’ “it’s not the gear, it’s the photographer” mantra and any experienced photographer would agree with that. However Miroslav’s point is equally true. There are situations where gear definitely *does* matter. Again, experienced photographers understand that both positions are equally true. Good gear doesn’t guarantee good images but a good photographer can often make better images with better gear.

    Regardless, to perform this experiment at Burning Man strikes me as cheating. :) The environment is so unique and diverse that just about any photo with any camera has the potential to be interesting—particularly if they are heavily processed in LR or PS. I expect you could also make the opposite argument here by mounting a camera to a dog and setting it to take a photograph every 30 seconds, using the resulting images to argue that the photographer doesn’t matter at all; just the camera.

  • t_linn

    Ah…Burning Man. I look forward to your images from this event every year, Trey. Awesome, as usual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MrAndyBird Andy Bird

    Modern cameras are so good now that it’s difficult not to get a good shot – great thing for all these photographers that are running around now is that the cameras do all the hard work for them, there’s really no need to actaully learn anything now other than how to switch on your camera, which I think is a real shame.
    On a positive note I love this round of Burning Man images regardless of what camera took them :)

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks for the guesses and discussion…. interesting… ! :)

  • http://twitter.com/PeteHalewood Pete Halewood

    Absolutely, Miroslav’s point regarding needing better equipment for certain situations is definitely true. I just couldn’t see where Trey was arguing against that point. We all know Trey adopts Miroslav’s stance, as he has nearly always been shooting with Pro Nikon equipment. Again, his case here though is regarding a picture being interesting, not how technically accomplished it is. Good points all round though.

  • http://www.projectemp.com/ Matthew Macias

    Oh this is fun
    Photo 1-D
    Photo 2-E
    Photo 3-B
    Photo 4-A
    Photo 5-C
    Photo 6-F

    Do we win the camera of our choice if we get the all right :) lol

  • Trey Ratcliff

    By the way, thank you to Andrew for letting me borrow that Phase One! :)

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe good idea! But no….

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks! :)

  • Gerardo M

    agree with this voting, a Nikon had to take that clean shot inside the van

  • DebinKC

    F
    B
    A
    D
    C
    E
    Since I have never used any of the cameras, I am totally guessing from how much they cost… ;-P

  • http://www.facebook.com/dstentz1 Debbie Stentz

    Photo 1-C
    Photo 2-A
    Photo 3-B
    Photo 4-E
    Photo 5-F
    Photo 6-D
    I would agree with you however it’s also nice to be able to
    capture the shot without excessive touch-ups. I think you have to ask yourself do I want to
    be known as a photographer an artist or both? Some photographers loose site of the beauty of
    the shot and try to make it a perfect photo. The camera is only an extension of
    you. I use a Pentax but like the color of some photos taken with a Nikon better as
    they seem to be deeper and more vibrant in color.

  • http://profiles.google.com/corbin.dunn Corbin Dunn

    I want to see the pictures you took of me doing the Cyr wheel (that big metal hoop thing I was spinning around in). I’m pretty sure that was you. I was going to say hi, but you disappeared too fast.

  • http://www.quiettime.org/ Catherine Martin

    Photo 1 – D

    Photo 2 – B

    Photo 3 – C

    Photo 4 – A

    Photo 5 – E

    Photo 6 – F

    That was fun – loved thinking through it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ernie.buffett Ernie Vater

    B
    F
    A
    C
    E
    D
    Thanks for doing this AFTER I bought my 5d II …. really …. I appreciate that! lol

  • Steve White

    Great images. I think I can probably differentiate between the large-sensor machines and the small-sensor machines, but anything further than that is too subject-dependent and if you don’t LIVE in that machine, you’re not likely to recognize it. How do you like the Pentax K01? I’ve got a K20D and a K5 (and some Sony P&S); I can recognize which camera produced which image when I slide the exposure setting one way or the other, but you can’t differentiate between them on my final images at anything less than full resolution, except in extreme situations.

  • http://twitter.com/ntal1 N T

    Photo 1 – D
    Photo 2 – E
    Photo 3 – B
    Photo 4 – C
    Photo 5 – A
    Photo 6 – F

    You should’ve posted an instagram too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1191821786 Jeff Sullivan

    It’s hard to tell or prove much at Web resolution, where noise can’t be seen. How many people intend for 900 or 1000 pixels wide to be the maximum they might ever want from a photo, and never even print a 4 x 6, let alone a 20 x 30″ print?

    Even so, trying to solve the puzzle could be fun. I think that photos 1 and 6 are from the higher-end cameras, possibly 4 (and 5 could simply be an uninteresting result from a good camera). The rest… eh, pick a letter from A, B or C.

    Photo 1 – D (or E) Nice, shame I can’t compare at night against the camera which took #6
    Photo 2 – A (could be B or C) wild guess: cheap lens and poor dynamic range of a durable camera?
    Photo 3 – B (could be A or C) wild guess: high depth of field of a small sensor? Bummer about the low dynamic range (blown highlight).
    Photo 4 – F Medium format? Relatively low depth of field, poor attention to dynamic range (4×5 shape could be a red herring)
    Photo 5 – C (could be A or B) wild guess, not much to go on at such a simple subject at low resolution
    Photo 6 – E (or D) Great dynamic range and low light performance, I’ll take this one please!

    I support post-processing, use Lightroom always and HDR as I please, but in these examples I suspect that you may have shown that even aggressive processing can’t always adequately dress up the results from cheap cameras (A, B, C), even downsizing images to exceptionally low resolution. Can’t wait to see the results!

  • http://www.facebook.com/VickiWilsonPhotography Vicki Wilson

    All of these photos are awesome!!! This looks to be so much fun, wish I could have been there. It is really hard to tell which camera took each shot. Photo 6 – F and Photo 3 – E are my guesses, not sure about the others.

  • Derek K

    I can’t tell the difference. You win, Trey! Noise and the look a photo gets when noise is subtracted are the things I’m looking for, but if you’ve played with those it will be very hard to tell the cameras apart.

    But hey, I have to guess!

    Photo 1 – A

    Photo 2 – C

    Photo 3 – B

    Photo 4 – F
    Photo 5 – D
    Photo 6 – E

    Now I’m interested to see what others have picked (I wanted to chose mine first without influence). :)

  • Michael Reed

    Sup Trey. This is fun, can’t wait to find out the answers.
    Photo 1 – F
    Photo 2 – D
    Photo 3 – E
    Photo 4 – A
    Photo 5 – C
    Photo 6 – B

  • VISION

    Photo 1= E
    Photo 2= F
    Photo 3= A
    Photo 4= C

    Photo 5= B
    Photo 6= D

    Well for sh@ts & giggles. Here’s my go! Gotta say, I dig the gypsy cart but the dancers are a fantastic snap!

  • http://www.facebook.com/agoovi Peeyush Kumar

    C
    D
    A
    F
    B
    E

  • John Giordano

    I’m going to say that to prove your point you used the cheapest camera and did a hell of a job with the post processing. So I guess: 1-B, 2-B, 3-B, 4-B, 5-B, 6-B. I really dig the artistic spin you put on photography which has helped myself become more creative.

  • Taylor Jenkins

    Photo 1 – D, Photo 2 – B, Photo 3 – E, Photo 4 – A, Photo 5 – C, Photo 6 – F. I love the Dancers, Sparks and Gypsy Car, in that order.

  • Peter Grew

    I agree that you can take interesting shots with any camera, but the camera does matter in the sense that it should make you feel good holding it and be comfortable with the controls… a good experience! My analytical guess is: 1 – A 2 – F 3 – E 4 – B 5 – D 6 – C

  • Bill Ferris

    1=E, 2=D, 3=B, 4=A, 5=C, 6=F. If I got it, right, do I win an ice cream cone? :o)

  • Mike Stillwell

    1-D, 2-C, 3-B, 4-F, 5-A, 6-E
    Fun!

  • Cat Bend

    All of the photos are fun to look at, a couple are memorable. There’s nothing to prove here other than a reminder that the eye is central to the craft. I have not used any of the cameras but think the following fits. What do I win? :-)

    Photo 1 – A
    Photo 2 – B
    Photo 3 – C
    Photo 4 – D
    Photo 5 – E
    Photo 6 – F

  • Derek Carr

    I’m going with Trey’s original example:

    Photo 1 – B
    Photo 2 – F
    Photo 3 – D
    Photo 4 – A
    Photo 5 – C
    Photo 6 – E
    This is what I came up with on my own before realizing it was his example. I chose my answers based on dynamic range and low-light capability.

  • http://profiles.google.com/auriette Auriette Lindsey

    These are all really interesting photos, and I can’t wait to see which cameras took which pics. Here are my guesses, just for fun.

    Photo 1 – C

    Photo 2 – A

    Photo 3 – E

    Photo 4 – D
    Photo 5 – B
    Photo 6 – F

  • Juan Gonzalez

    E,F,D,B,A,C

  • ec lundburgh

    1=e dancers
    2=a eyes
    3=c manburn= pentax k-01
    4=b truck= PENTAX Opt
    5=d templeburnsparks
    6=f artcar

    thanks for the fun time investigating

  • http://www.facebook.com/ismail441 Ismail Mohammed

    Photo 1 – B

    Photo 2 – F
    Photo 3 – D
    Photo 4 – A
    Photo 5 – C
    Photo 6 – E

  • JM

    I do a slow inner burn when I show an image to someone and they immediately ask “what kind of camera did you use?”. Cameras don’t compose images…photographers do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/IslandRzrbk Tifanie Silver

    Why didn’t you use the Nikon D800 if you don’t mind me asking?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002136353623 Zeke Man

    Trey,

    We licensed 750 mutant vehicles…. in a typical year about 600 actually show up, but I have not heard the exact number for this year.

    That cool truck is by the Burning Man staff… I think it is used to deliver meals at least part of the time. Unfortunately, I do not know its history.

  • http://HeedingtheMuses.com nancee_art

    if you want to compare the original size just click on the picture which is linked to his SmugMug site

  • Andrea Boyle

    My choices:
    Photo 1-A
    Photo 2-C
    Photo 3-B
    Photo 4-E
    Photo 5-A
    Photo 6-F

  • http://twitter.com/dillion3384 Matthew Atkinson

    1.D
    2.C
    3.B
    4.A
    5.F
    6.E

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.ferris.71 Bill Ferris

    You deserve a prize for coming closest to identifying the cameras used. Nicely done!

  • DebinKC

    Thxx!! This was a fun and educated contest! BTW….I love the first photo!

  • DebinKC

    What are the correct guesses anyway?

  • Bill Ferris

    Swap your B & A guesses and you’ve got it right.

  • DebinKC

    WOW!!! You’re RIGHT…I do deserve a prize!! ;-p

  • http://www.facebook.com/JosephJFlores Joseph Flores

    Where is Trey’s answers? How do you know she is right?

  • Bill Ferris

    If you watch the most recent Variety Hour, Trey reveals the answers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JosephJFlores Joseph Flores

    Thanks Bill, I was waiting for the big reveal and I didnt watch the Variety Hour. I couldn’t really guess the cameras but I did suggest that 6 was E cause it had a Nikon D3s look to it!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Here are the Answers in case you did not watch the video above:

    ANSWERS:

    1 – F
    2 – A
    3 – C
    4 – B
    5 – D
    6 – E

  • http://twitter.com/mordani Rohit Mordani

    You should have taken a same shot with all of the cameras and that would make the case really strong !

Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!


x
  • © 2004 - 2014, SIC Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.