the super secret spy lens

ElaineElaine Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 3,532 Major grins
edited November 11, 2009 in Street and Documentary
Has anyone tried this?
Looks kinda fun for street photography!
Elaine

Comments and constructive critique always welcome!

Elaine Heasley Photography
«13

Comments

  • sara505sara505 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,684 Major grins
    edited October 24, 2009
    Elaine wrote:
    Has anyone tried this?
    Looks kinda fun for street photography!

    While certainly novel, there's a level of dishonesty about this gadget that I find utterly offensive.
  • ToshidoToshido Major grins Registered Users Posts: 759 Major grins
    edited October 24, 2009
    I have seen this advertised for taking "secret" shots on a beach...
  • DogdotsDogdots Major grins Registered Users Posts: 8,795 Major grins
    edited October 24, 2009
    I've seen it advertised, but never heard of anyone that uses it.
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited October 24, 2009
    It's sneaky, underhanded, and for the chicken.

    Look your subjects right in the eye. Get their permission and engage with them.

    13485914_f8ypt-XL-3.jpg
  • ElaineElaine Major grins Registered Users Posts: 3,532 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Well, I guess I'm a big chicken, so no wonder it looked fun! Seriously, no offense meant. I actually think it would be fun to use with my kiddo...get some expressions that aren't "put on" in front of the camera. ne_nau.gif No matter, I won't be buying it anyway. Sorry I mentioned it!
    Elaine

    Comments and constructive critique always welcome!

    Elaine Heasley Photography
  • toragstorags Major grins Registered Users Posts: 4,614 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    thanks for posting Elaine
    Rags
  • rainbowrainbow Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,765 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Don't be sorry for mentioning it. I chuckled looking at the product.

    The truth is, any serious photographer worth their beans would never use such a product. No, they would have to purchase a "pro" lens with a focal length of three digits (and price probably with four digits). And then if it is white and draws attention to it, they could tape it black. Then if the subject still notices them taking an unwanted photo (and gives 'em the single digit), they would have a much bigger head start to get away... :yikes wave.gif
  • craig_dcraig_d Grinnin' Registered Users Posts: 911 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    rainbow wrote:
    The truth is, any serious photographer worth their beans would never use such a product.

    Poor old Paul Strand! Apparently he was never a "serious photographer" after all. Pardon me while I go burn every book I own that has one of his classic pictures in it... especially the ones he took with that sneaky view camera that he modified with an extra lens so that he could appear to be shooting forwards while actually he was shooting sideways.

    Seriously, people, my first thought when I followed Elaine's link was "Paul Strand", and the second was, "Cool!" I don't plan to buy one of these things, but I don't see anything at all wrong with them. In any case, there is still such a thing as a model release, without which your use of candid street shots is somewhat limited.
    http://craigd.smugmug.com

    Got bored with digital and went back to film.
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,360 moderator
    edited October 25, 2009
    I don't see anything wrong with using a gadget like this, but I do wonder what the image quality would be like. I think it would take a lot of getting used to as well. ne_nau.gif
  • ivarivar I'd be happy with a cookie Registered Users Posts: 8,395 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    I actually got that one as a present. The quality is quite good.

    It takes quite a long lens for it to work (size of the mirror/diameter of the thing); on a Full Frame I need quite a bit longer than 105mm for sure for it to not 'vignet'.

    I can see it being more useful for your kids as opposed to street shooting; It's hard to aim and focus in the beginning, if you can sit in a room with your kids, and just play around for a while it may give you some nice shots.
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,360 moderator
    edited October 25, 2009
    ivar wrote:
    I actually got that one as a present. The quality is quite good.

    It takes quite a long lens for it to work (size of the mirror/diameter of the thing); on a Full Frame I need quite a bit longer than 105mm for sure for it to not 'vignet'.

    I can see it being more useful for your kids as opposed to street shooting; It's hard to aim and focus in the beginning, if you can sit in a room with your kids, and just play around for a while it may give you some nice shots.

    Hey Ivar,

    Can you post a sample shot or two? And how long is long? 200 mm? More?
  • sara505sara505 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,684 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Andy wrote:
    It's sneaky, underhanded, and for the chicken.

    Look your subjects right in the eye. Get their permission and engage with them.

    Amen! Not to mention, unethical.
  • DogdotsDogdots Major grins Registered Users Posts: 8,795 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Elaine don't be sorry for asking about the lens. This is how we learn here on dgrin about new things, different things and everything in-between.

    I think it would be great for using with your kids. Would of loved one of these when my boys were younger as I know about the "acting" kids will do with the camera pointed in their direction. Heck...my Dog even does it rolleyes1.gif

    As for street photography -- I'm not touching that one :D

    So don't let comments here stop you from "asking away" thumb.gif
  • Art ScottArt Scott Have PASSPORT will TRAVEL WICHITA, KS USARegistered Users Posts: 8,959 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Elaine wrote:
    Well, I guess I'm a big chicken, so no wonder it looked fun! Seriously, no offense meant. I actually think it would be fun to use with my kiddo...get some expressions that aren't "put on" in front of the camera. ne_nau.gif No matter, I won't be buying it anyway. Sorry I mentioned it!

    Thanks for the posting ELAINE.....brings back memories........


    Actually these have been around by numerous manufacturers for a very long time......as a kid I saw them in the back of comic books as well as the spy periscope.....and in the offering of some of the now gone defunct photo mags.....A long gone supplier of strange and novelty photo items...SPIRATONE...used to sell the "spy lenses" as well as very cool softfocus 90mm portrait lens with a t-adapter.......
    "Genuine Fractals was, is and will always be the best solution for enlarging digital photos." ....Vincent Versace ... ... COPYRIGHT YOUR WORK ONLINE ... ... My Website

  • Wil DavisWil Davis Thaumaturgist… Registered Users Posts: 1,692 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    …Meant to fit the end of your SLR's zoom lens, this guy has a secret cut-out on the side and a precision mirror assembly inside. In short, you can shoot left, right, up, or down (it swivels 360 degrees), all while appearing to shoot straight ahead.

    The result? The picture-perfect candid shots you've always dreamed of.

    …all for $50! Yup, I guess you gets what you pays for…

    BTW - Great picture Andy! That look says so much more than words could ever say! Nice job!

    thumb.gif

    - Wil
    "…………………" - Marcel Marceau
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Registered Users Posts: 3,804 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Andy wrote:
    It's sneaky, underhanded, and for the chicken.

    Look your subjects right in the eye. Get their permission and engage with them.

    13485914_f8ypt-XL-3.jpg

    I don't know, Andy, but I wouldn't call all the greats of street photography, or candid photography, "chickens." All due respect - but NO! NO! NO! - Do NOT ask your subject's permission- because the instant you do, you are taking POSED photographs. You are no longer shooting what you saw. You are NOT doing street photography.

    Not that there's anything wrong with posed photos - but that's what you're shooting as soon as you engage with your subject, because at that instant the photo, the shoot, becomes theirs not yours; they control the image, depending upon how they stand, what they do, what expression they select to show you.

    On the other hand - You don't need to use a spy lens to shoot on the street or in public. rolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gif
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • ivarivar I'd be happy with a cookie Registered Users Posts: 8,395 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Richard wrote:
    Hey Ivar,

    Can you post a sample shot or two? And how long is long? 200 mm? More?
    A somewhat educated guess: 150? maybe a tad more? That's on a full frame, so a (little less than) 100mm on a crop body?

    Compared to the 24-105 (it's not THAT 'super secret').
    691936307_NGJoj-L.jpg

    The ring goes between the 'spy lens' and the real lens. It's needed to get the correct thread-size:
    691936381_WAjmQ-L.jpg

    so in this order:
    691936431_svnZb-L.jpg

    The whole contraption:
    691936541_UWWus-L.jpg

    I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure these two were shot with it:
    691940386_ttRyD-L.jpg

    691943171_JHJqd-L.jpg
  • bdcolenbdcolen CaptureReality Registered Users Posts: 3,804 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    sara505 wrote:
    Amen! Not to mention, unethical.

    No, it is not unethical to shoot without asking permission. It is exercising your legal right to photograph anyone and anything you want to in a public place. A given person may be uncomfortable doing it, in which case they shouldn't do it. But is an entire genre of widely celebrated photography "unethical?" I don't think so.

    And I am smiling, Sara, as I write this. :D:D
    [email protected]
    "He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

    "The more ambiguous the photograph is, the better it is..." Leonard Freed
  • craig_dcraig_d Grinnin' Registered Users Posts: 911 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    bdcolen wrote:
    I don't know, Andy, but I wouldn't call all the greats of street photography, or candid photography, "chickens." All due respect - but NO! NO! NO! - Do NOT ask your subject's permission- because the instant you do, you are taking POSED photographs. You are no longer shooting what you saw. You are NOT doing street photography.

    Thank you, BD. You'd think some people around here had never heard of Paul Strand or his fake-out view camera -- which I bring up only because it's the most glaringly obvious example of one of the true greats of street photography using a method equivalent to this mirror gadget. Shouldn't everyone who aspires to be a "serious photographer" know enough about the history of the art to be familiar with Strand's work and methods? Alfred Steiglitz knew Strand, knew about the fake-out camera, and doesn't seem to have seen anything wrong with it; he even published some of those pictures in Camera Work. (Off-topic: If you haven't yet seen the Taschen edition of Camera Work: The Complete Photographs, I highly, highly recommend it!) I've read several books that mention Strand's fake-out camera and not one of them even hints at any disapproval or ethical concern about it. This sort of thing has been an accepted means of getting truly candid street shots for nearly a century, even if we assume Strand was the first to do something like it.
    http://craigd.smugmug.com

    Got bored with digital and went back to film.
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Elaine wrote:
    Well, I guess I'm a big chicken, so no wonder it looked fun! Seriously, no offense meant. I actually think it would be fun to use with my kiddo...get some expressions that aren't "put on" in front of the camera. ne_nau.gif No matter, I won't be buying it anyway. Sorry I mentioned it!
    Why on earth be sorry for mentioning it? We're all about discussion here. If you don't mention it, there's no discussion!

    deal.gif
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    bdcolen wrote:
    I don't know, Andy, but I wouldn't call all the greats of street photography, or candid photography, "chickens." All due respect - but NO! NO! NO! - Do NOT ask your subject's permission- because the instant you do,
    B.D., I ask AFTER I shoot it. I never ruin the moment.
  • toragstorags Major grins Registered Users Posts: 4,614 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    sara505 wrote:
    Amen! Not to mention, unethical.

    Hmmm... I must have missed the ethics manual imposed by the "control commission" :D

    I think the biggest restraint should be the threat of physical violence.

    I'm onboard with BD, catch 'em without their knowledge, else it's posed.
    Rags
  • craig_dcraig_d Grinnin' Registered Users Posts: 911 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Andy wrote:
    B.D., I ask AFTER I shoot it. I never ruin the moment.

    If you're going to ask afterward, then it hardly matters whether you used a mirror to surreptitiously take the picture in the first place.

    It's also worth noting that many classics of street photography concern people doing things that may be illegal or just embarrassing -- not exactly the kinds of things they're going to want on a gallery wall. My guess is that the photographers did not ask their permission and probably never had any intention of doing so. In street photography, what the subject wants is at best irrelevant, and at worst contrary, to the needs of art.
    http://craigd.smugmug.com

    Got bored with digital and went back to film.
  • sara505sara505 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,684 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    bdcolen wrote:
    No, it is not unethical to shoot without asking permission. It is exercising your legal right to photograph anyone and anything you want to in a public place. A given person may be uncomfortable doing it, in which case they shouldn't do it. But is an entire genre of widely celebrated photography "unethical?" I don't think so.

    And I am smiling, Sara, as I write this. :D:D

    B.D., I didn't mean it was unethical to shoot without permission, sorry I wasn't more clear. I totally agree with your earlier comment to Andy, that once you ask permission, it becomes a posed photo. One of my favorite things to do is get out there with my camera and meet people and engage with them and photograph them, but there's also a place for shooting people and scenes without the engagement, to catch the action as it is happening, spontaneously.

    The problem I have with the spy lens is that it adds a level of dishonesty to photography. *Be" a paparazzi, if you must, but do it honestly, bravely, and with dignity. Yes, there's a certain amount of finesse and skill that it takes to get good candid shots, to blend into a scene in a stealthy manner but that is different than using a spy lens.

    And yes, there are times when it's unethical to take a photo - and that is a decision we photographers are faced with every day.

    And Elaine, don't feel badly about your post - as someone already said, it's the way we learn, which is why most of us are here, and besides, it has opened an interesting discussion. Those of us who are pooh-poohing the lens are criticizing the lens, not you.
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,360 moderator
    edited October 25, 2009
    sara505 wrote:
    The problem I have with the spy lens is that it adds a level of dishonesty to photography. *Be" a paparazzi, if you must, but do it honestly, bravely, and with dignity. Yes, there's a certain amount of finesse and skill that it takes to get good candid shots, to blend into a scene in a stealthy manner but that is different than using a spy lens.

    I don't get this at all. If we (and our equipment) could become invisible, wouldn't that be the ultimate tool for street shooting? Once you accept shooting without permission as being OK, it seems to me that the equipment and techniques you use are ethically equivalent. In the end, it's the image that counts, and whatever you are comfortable with is fine.
  • Wil DavisWil Davis Thaumaturgist… Registered Users Posts: 1,692 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    sara505 wrote:
    snip
    …Those of us who are pooh-poohing the lens are criticizing the lens, not you.

    I entirely agree with your post.

    My comment was bemoaning the tendency for many photographers to add bits of cheap (or even expensive) plastic into the optical path, defeating any advantages some optical engineer has spent years of their life designing into a lens in the search for perfection†

    $2k5 lens plus $50 gadget… make sense? I'll leave to the reader to make up their own mind…

    Good discussion though… (I'm still wondering if Andy got whacked :D )

    - Wil

    † optics which neither add to nor remove anything from the original image, nor distort in any way
    "…………………" - Marcel Marceau
  • craig_dcraig_d Grinnin' Registered Users Posts: 911 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Richard wrote:
    I don't get this at all.

    It makes no sense to me, either, especially since the word "paparazzi" is a plural and refers specifically to photographers who chase after celebrities. It has nothing to do with street photography.
    Richard wrote:
    If we (and our equipment) could become invisible, wouldn't that be the ultimate tool for street shooting? Once you accept shooting without permission as being OK, it seems to me that the equipment and techniques you use are ethically equivalent. In the end, it's the image that counts, and whatever you are comfortable with is fine.

    Yes, I agree completely. If I had Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, I'd see nothing at all wrong with using it for street photography.
    http://craigd.smugmug.com

    Got bored with digital and went back to film.
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    craig_d wrote:
    If you're going to ask afterward, then it hardly matters whether you used a mirror to surreptitiously take the picture in the first place.

    It's also worth noting that many classics of street photography concern people doing things that may be illegal or just embarrassing -- not exactly the kinds of things they're going to want on a gallery wall. My guess is that the photographers did not ask their permission and probably never had any intention of doing so. In street photography, what the subject wants is at best irrelevant, and at worst contrary, to the needs of art.
    Sigh. OK cheers.
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Wil Davis wrote:
    (I'm still wondering if Andy got whacked :D )
    Nope, got a broad smile and a chuckle.
  • sara505sara505 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,684 Major grins
    edited October 25, 2009
    Richard wrote:
    I don't get this at all. If we (and our equipment) could become invisible, wouldn't that be the ultimate tool for street shooting? Once you accept shooting without permission as being OK, it seems to me that the equipment and techniques you use are ethically equivalent. In the end, it's the image that counts, and whatever you are comfortable with is fine.

    For me, no, the image is not the bottom line. Have I invaded someone's privacy? Insulted or demeaned someone?

    If I need to resort to being invisible, or using a secret spy-glass lens, chances are, it is not appropriate to be taking the picture, at least, it's not the way I want to take pictures.

    These are my standards for myself, not meant to be imposed on anyone else - each has his/her standards. These are mine.

    There's actually a lot of discussion about the ethics of photography - both the taking and manipulation of - if you poke around.
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