Word and Image

Posts tagged “Camera

Film

It’s like most – 99% – of images are smart phone now. Film? First you load it, then shoot it, then develop and print it, and repeat. And a film camera? Oh my! Too much! It won’t even fit in your pocket. Mostly, it’s cost. $$$. Smartphone images are free. An SD card will shoot thousands of images for pennies. There are those who will, one day, look at gasoline cars with awe that we drove them once upon a time. You use a fob these days; grandpa used a crank. Or, was he just “cranky?”


Phases

This was my fake flower phase. I collected bunches and stuck them in our spare vases. And then I went and got vases to…. I’m collecting old cameras – about $10 tops – because they are curious connections to a past I never knew. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 100 and the first I ever used was an Argus C3. Colleen collects old bobbins. We like stuff and things. They gather dust… and cat hair. No matter. Would it be ok to say we collect dust too?


Evolution

No, not the genetic debate. (Shhh… there really isn’t any debate.) …It’s the change occurring in my photography as a result of change in my cameras. It has caused my technique to evolve. Evolution is slow and the change that results is subtle until it isn’t. I found the DSLR viewfinder of my Nikon D610 to be restricting. I got (am now) used to a movable LCD screen that allowed me to get down to eye level with my cats. This translated to: getting down to eye level with the flowers in my garden. There are a lot of moving variables to consider: shutter, composition, focus…. I get it that iPhone users just want to click and forget. All around me, family has little or no interest and they are quite content to have iPhone as their primary camera. That little tiny lens… Yes, a screw driver is a hammer in a pinch. But, the converse is untrue.


Canon G3

Canon G3

I have to credit Lisa with transitioning me to digital photography. She bought me this camera one birthday long ago. Until then I was an Ektachrome slide photographer. Nikon would not put out the digital D70 for a year or more. This (G3) was the camera recommended by the camera shop. I enjoyed the use of it though I never made it my “go to” camera. Nonetheless, I used the G3 to shoot some of Susan’s daughter’s wedding though I never did use it extensively. And then, the Nikon D70 came in 2004. I shot Dave’s high school graduation and never shot another frame of slide film after that. Just like that – analog slide to digital. Julia swore she could always tell my scanned slides from digital images, until she stopped complaining one day. Yup, I still have this camera. It’s unused. It occupies a treasured spot on the shelf, honorably retired. (My mistake. it’s gone missing. The G3. I have an extensive collection of unused gear. It’s there somewhere, just where, I’m not sure.)

The latest greatest? I just learned (realized) how much I have evolved. I did a photo shoot with a mirrorless camera. Advantages over my big Nikon DSLR: smaller, lighter weight!, LCD viewfinder. I shoot at different angles and compose differently. Embrace change? It’s a tool (camera). Know your camera and it’s capabilities. Use it. I love learning new things after all these years.

And, once more I apologize to my dear (present) wife. Colleen weaves. She reads (weaving), takes classes, and watches video at every opportunity. I have often wondered why? You know it, already? And then, I look at what I know and how it evolved. She’s always right. And, I can hear, “I told you so,” coming right around the corner at me!


No

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Sometimes, I have to go take a picture for this blog. The new Nikon D780 is out and reviewed. It fills me with camera envy. I have been faithful to the Nikon line since the Nikon FTn. I have had a progressive body up to the Nikon D610. And then, the timing of my purchase was such that the D750 was released about two weeks after my purchase. (Yup!! Buy high! Sell low! Duh!) Enough tech and numbers, I grew older and my interests changed, not for photography but for cameras. Point and shoot cameras grew up. The iphone turned everything on its ear. Now compact, sleek, carry in your pocket cameras could do everything as good as a big DSLR without the heft, and especially, the cost. I can now upgrade or change for way fewer $$ as the whim carries me. Longing? Yes, I long for the brand new spiffy D780. (Hint: Colleen?!) But no! Not for the $$$$. There’s more bang for your $ and I no longer shoot events, parades, or weddings. The D610 works great. Nikon made a good product that lasts. Therein lies the need for advertising to convince this poor consumer to shell out $$ for a spiffy newer better beat all DSLR. Ante up? No.


In use… what’s in your pocket?

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While I have been on the subject… what camera is my current fav. Well, it varies. I have a Nikon D610, Sony RX100 VI, Canon G7X, and a Canon EOS M6 II in rotation at the moment. I started as a SLR/DSLR person with the requisite lenses to show for it. I have been through the Nikon body line, but no more. I stopped at the D610. It’s 5 years old and working just fine. It’s huge and clunky, too much of a statement for my purposes these days. I’m not shooting for profit or magazine. The G7X was my dive camera. I loved it. I am preserving it for future dives. It has 89k clicks. I want it to last; I have an expensive dive housing specific to this camera alone. The RX100 has been through 7 iterations. I succumbed at the 6th. It has been a great go to camera for 99k clicks in a bit more than a year. The EOS M6 is my foray into mirrorless. It’s less clunky and way lighter on the shoulder. This one is a work in progress. I have had a host of point and shoot style Canon (mostly). They have had far less play. They have a role but for some reason, portability was not the main consideration. The iPhone is great for photographing something I need to remember. Otherwise, it is not a memory keeper. I know I’m swimming uphill with this idea, but that’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ with it.

You can well think; a camera is a camera as an image is an image. Pixels, schmixels. I happen to subscribe to the notion of getting the best image available. So, I have a higher level of expectation and tend to leave the smaller point and shoot cameras behind. No, i did not shoot with all of these. Some were collected for a few bucks when film went away. Curiosities.


481, 379

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… and counting, since 2003, when I started using a digital camera until now. Oops! Database miscalculation – make it 526,183 images not counting my iPhone pics. Aren’t you impressed I have kept track thru a database? This image is nearly the last to date (as of a month ago). It’s all cataloged (very roughly) in a database, and, in Lightroom. It would be a monumental task to look thru the Lightroom catalog too. I’m not bragging. And, you might well shake your head. Too many, too many pics. And what for? Throw away the duds. (I did, a few) That’s just digital. There are more than 100k of slides too. I did not count print negatives. Those were too hard for me to track. (Read: lazy) … I like the symmetry – the roof, the sky (who sees such a clear demarcation), and the sun poking thru the clouds. … I ‘ve been thru at least 15 different digital cameras. Favorites come and go as the model changes and the technology improves. Would I, should I, upgrade? Of course! I don’t drive/lust fast cars. (thank $$$ goodness) Cameras have been my weak spot though my camera envy has been well controlled. I have held a Leica but never shot one. I am permitted my passion. There are far worse things… Some days, it’s good to glance back at the legacy I have made. And, I shall keep shooting. Why go thru all of this? I am able to locate an image  – in not too much time – upon request. Organization in the midst of chaos, imagine that!


Experi(mental)

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In a follow-up to the new camera post, here are some shots and observations. Different? Better? Needed? Canon EOS M6 II, mirrorless digital camera

Film cameras are done. Like time, life is one way, forward. Film is around. I will likely never shoot another frame.

  1. From the early film camera of my youth – Argus C3 “brick” was the camera my mother got and I used once. I was an utter dismal failure. Don’t ask. Later, Kodak Instamatic to Nikon SLR to DSLR.
  2. From the early film camera of my youth – Argus C3 “brick” was the camera my mother got and I used once. I was an utter dismal failure. Don’t ask. Kodak Instamatic to Nikon SLR to DSLR. I believed that I had evolved to the pinnacle of development. No, NO!
  3. Flash has always been a challenge (for me). But, it works. I prefer to defer (rhyme). Cameras have built-in flash that leaves a lot to desire but it’s there.
  4. WiFi, Wow! Double wow! The darn camera connects to my iPhone and I can download images to my phone, hence, to message and email instantly. I know you could do this before. But, moi? It’s the first time it worked without agony for me.
  5. Selfies? Never easier.
  6. As an aside, we live on a pond and the water level/table is high. The neighbors have a pool. It’s the oddest…. attached to the house no more than a few feet wide and about twenty feet long. What do you do with that? Laps, it’s too short. Frolic, it’s too small. Just picture me – puzzled.
  7. So far as digital cameras go, they almost cook your breakfast now. There are a myriad of settings and adjustments that you can customize on the fly. TMI!! But it’s there. It’s a steep a learning curve as you like. Or, you can shoot in automatic and the camera will do a spiffy job. Whatever! We’re a long way from film. I have my iPhone (thanks Dave) but I keep my camera ready 99% of the time.
  8. Need? There’s wine and there’s wine. There’s beer and there’s Bud.

 

 


Doldrums

It’s leap year! Leap day!

How do you get out of a rut? Huh? I’ve been in the camera doldrums. Eh? I’ve been just doing the same old… We’re planning to travel again. Ah! Photo ops! But… Shake things up. I’m fortunate to be able to shop cameras. Anything new? Any new ideas? Ah! Well, I’m looking to lighten the load I carry. The big old DSLR is weighty – mighty! I’m ditching my big 80-400mm zoom on the next trip. …too much weight. Mirrorless – ILC (interchangeable lens camera)  – lose weight. I’m not yet ready to give up a camera for the ubiquitous iPhone shot. That tiny iPhone lens can’t compete with a dedicated lens/real glass. So, I got one. It was $$ but not $$$ or $$$$.

And, I got a series of shots I would not have bothered to shoot a few days earlier. Yeah, fun again. It’s good to have fun.

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I read (still). Ha! Photography! Still. And sometimes you learn something. After all these years… Simple. Pose. Those selfies….? Nah! Try turning your heads together. Wow! What rock have I been under? Yeah, yeah, someone needs a haircut.

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Just for fun. It was a rare time when Colleen was driving. I was sleepy. That darned vintage car followed us right to our destination! … and parked in the driveway two houses down. It followed us home!


Scene at the beach – redux

 

Here’s something I learned. The Sony RX100 does a better job focusing than the Canon. This is critical at the beach when I was trying to catch a wave. The autofocus was way better. The zoom has a longer reach. Bottom line: good wave detail. It is still dependent upon the photographer to get the right moment. I didn’t quite (do it). My bad. User error… Ok!?

So, a swimmer in the heavy sea and waves – his glasses are on his forehead. Intentional? Lifeguard – sexism? – she’s in a bikini, the men are in trunks. Waves bigger than your head – is it perspective or real – real! Portrait of a gull – he really did walk right up to pick food up right next to our beach chair.

Follow-up: Maybe I spoke too soon. Or, maybe I have not mastered the focus algorithm. But the Sony does hunt and frequently fails to focus on the subject at hand. It could be user error. I have to pay attention way more. The Nikon D610 has closest focus setting that gets the subject closest to the camera. That works for the most part. I can think faster than the camera can focus. And, I am frequently in too much of hurry to worry about focus until it’s too late. So, there have been some missed shots. Sometimes there is a do over and many times not.


Symmetry

Four years ago, we sold our apartment in Manhattan. I bought a new camera, actually a fair amount of new equipment that I had lusted after. This was followed by an extended trip to Maine. This year is redux; we travel back to Maine. I got this spiffy camera. I’m not a fan of Sony as a camera though I have owned many Sony videocams and Walkman. Four years ago, cats were theoretical. I had never met a cat I liked or who liked me. It’s been quite a transition. I’m out of Manhattan. I don’t miss it for all the troubles you have to put up with. I miss the action and the restaurants. But I eat well and don’t lack for anything to do. And it is/was time for a new phase. This one is way more peaceful. Anyway, things have a way of repeating. This one time it worked out. The road I have taken has been pretty spectacular.

Symmetry? We had another spectacular trip to Maine. Did I mention it was spectacular?


DSLR

Digital single lens reflex. If you don’t know cameras the initials stand for big serious camera with interchangeable lenses. …if you care. Go on. Use that iPhone… I always considered myself to be a serious amateur photographer. May 25, 2004, I received my Nikon D70. I opened the package near midnight. Yes, I worked late in those days. I like to say it was the last time I shot slide film from that day forward. It pretty much was the case. Digital was seductive and in my head I had a quality camera capturing the images that would be comparable to slide film with way less processing. Of course, the rest is history. I have been through several iterations of DSLR and now am using advance point and shoot cameras. The iPhone remains a distant (second) device though for many it is the camera of today. iPhone is $1000 as are advanced point and shoot cameras like the Sony RX100. Each has a purpose. I believe a camera dedicated to a single purpose is better than a smart phone.


New Camera

I got a new camera (last September)– Sony RX100VI. It’s touted as the best travel camera. It’s been raved over as a dive camera for years. I succumbed to the hype. I have buyer’s remorse. It’s good! But the Canon G7X is good too. And it cost a lot less. The Canon G7 Mark II is probably good too. I did need a new camera. Ha! I’ve got a case of camera envy. Actually, I justify the acquisition in the name of protecting and preserving the G7X. My dive housing is dedicated and if the G7X goes, then there will be a very expensive dive housing sitting without a place to go. Yeah! That does seal the argument?? The Sony is good. I’m just putting it through rigorous field tests. It’s good. I miss the G7X already. I’ll transition and everything will be okay. It happened with my Canon G12. That was a sweet camera until the G7X. And my Canon S100? What about the trusty Nikon D610? Ok, ok, don’t laugh. I’ve got cameras like… ladies have shoes (some not all). I have some test images. There are limitations in focusing and speed and … overall, the camera does well. It and I are still getting to know each other. There are advantages over an iPhone… and not. Mostly I’m a camera guy. I want to take a picture with a real camera and control certain elements that the iPhone doesn’t allow. Remember, I like to make the rules … not be ruled. Judge from the samples. I need a haircut.

Follow-up: Since there is considerable delay in my posts lately, it’s been two trips since I got the RX100. I have not shot a frame from the G7X. There are limitations. Focusing, touted as excellent, has been a problem with the RX100. Like anything else, you work with the limitations and adapt to the quirks. Looking back, the RX100 is easily an all in one travel camera for compact size and convenience. I still think and visualize faster than the camera can respond. And, I still see lots of pictures that the camera was not quick enough to respond to capture the image I saw.


Insurance

From the very first expensive lens I owned, there has always been a protective lens filter. Insurance. Precaution. Caution. In the normal course of business I never needed it…

I have never had this happen. I treat my cameras pretty carefully. But I do not baby them. They are all in use. There is exposure to dust and rain involved. And I suppose some rough handling. When I was diving there was the threat of ocean salt water. I have/am guilty of frying more than one camera underwater. This was a new one (mishap) for me. The camera slipped from my shoulder and the front of the lens hit a folding chair. As you can see there is a consequence to a forceful meeting. Luckily it only cooked the skylight filter and not the front element of my very expensive spiffy lens. I’ll replace the filter and thank my stars that for the first time – a filter actually did what I bought it to do – protect my lens. Praise Jesus, pass the alcohol.


Old Cameras

They (old cameras) don’t sell. They have no inherent value except as a dust collector. Film is gone. I know I’m being extreme in saying this. You probably can find film and even get it developed. But, film cameras are really mostly a curiosity nowadays. Soon enough few, if any, will remember how to load film into a camera. The Argus C3 (the “brick”) was my first ever camera – that I shot a picture. It was dismal. There was nothing automatic and I shot with nary a lesson. I shot in Charleston, WV when I won the Golden Horseshoe award. Nada! Not a single frame could be printed. I’ve never used a folding view camera. No box camera. And just like that … iPhone. We’ve come far. I have a collection of old cameras. Someday someone will try to sell them for money. Right now they are overpriced paperweights loaded with nostalgia.


Caveat!

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Available light has a soft appearance different than the look of a strobe. The majority of professional style images are all done with strobe lighting. Smartphone photos by far are the most dominant images posted to Flickr. This was a throwback day.

Sometimes things go to hell. I have had all sorts of problems underwater. The first worry is that salt water will leak into and damage your gear. Yup! Been there done that. Fried two cameras and counting… one strobe…. Fortunately, the strobe main body is waterproofed. So, the batteries fried not the $400 strobe. Dive computer – o ring failure – check, yes. Forgot my memory card on one dive… yes, stupid!

Things breakdown. It will happen. Be prepared. Have a backup plan. My buddy forgot to charge his batteries. I had spares to loan him.

The latest calamity? The wire that connects my strobe to the camera sheared. It’s a fiber optic system that simply broke apart. At the beginning of the dive…it’s always right when you are in the water and at the beginning of the dive. I even have a back-up camera – (did not have it that day).

So? There has been only one dive I recall when I did not have a camera. Otherwise, you improvise. I love it when my advice rhymes. I went available natural light. I haven’t done this in ages. You have to white balance every ten feet deeper you go. And there are a bunch of settings to adjust. I did it on the fly and it only took a minute to recall all that I needed to do. Saved! Well, it was enough for me to come away with images. You know? Make lemonade when they give you lemons. I tested and experimented. It’s a learning experience when things breakdown. Yes! I could take a sharp highly magnified image. The main difference is that your odds are better when everything is working. But you can still get something. So it was not a wasted dive. I learned something today.

So? What caveat? It’s about backup storage. It’s enough to strike fear. Do you worry about losing all your images on your phone? Have you heard of the cloud? Do you remember floppy disks? Or VHS tape. Did you ever see a Betamax player. 8 track tape?

The New York Times published a very earnest article by a so called expert who advised – use Google cloud. It’s advice. And therein lies the caveat. All that other technology became obsolete and discarded. Floppy disks are coasters. There are no readers, so they are toast. Companies come and go. Kodak! Did you ever think that the great “Yellow father” would be an historical footnote? Ever hear of a platinum print?

Pardon me Mr NYT. Fine and dandy, but at least let me have redundant back up on an external drive that I own and control. Google forever?! Do/did you Yahoo? I zen too, but I want my photos to be preserved. Zen will live on; will my photos? They say my blog will be on the net forever. I’ve got my posts on word and the images on my hard drive. Paradoxically, anything you wish would go away will follow you forever too. Like old girl friends…did I say that?


Canon S100

IMG_1142As I have aluded, my Canon G11 is gone, lost at the mall in mid-August, and not by mugging as Lisa has accused. Stupidity! Mine… So on to the hunt for a camera to replace it. At the moment an online used retailer is shipping one to me (August)  in New York. I’ll see how that goes. The reason for the used camera is because the darned thing worked so well with the underwater housing, which I still retain. But here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I needed an immediate replacement (August). I was diving in about 6 hours. In New York, no problem, there are a number of camera stores and you can get setup in less than an hour.

As luck would have it, I had seen a Canon camera store in one of the malls. It was a tiny store the size of a large walk-in closet. They happened to have a underwater camera housing on the display wall. So though I did not need anything at the time, I filed the location away for ‘just in case.’ And now the case had happened.

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Still listed as latest greatest in the catalog… two models behind

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