The Black Camera Gang


Most of my cameras are black. It’s the traditional colour for cameras, mainly due to their having been made of leather-covered boxes for a long time but also to reduce unexpected light reflections. When I was young, the really expensive SLRs had an all black “professional finish” which eliminated the common satin-chrome trim. This cost the manufacturer less to build, but the customer more to buy. Go figure.

Here I am, then, with five black-finished ‘professional’ cameras. Okay, maybe not so professional, but mostly they work well for my purposes.

The Canon Rebel EOS T100

Raven – a 640×480 segment taken from a 5184×3456 image
Unlucky horseshoe – would also have worked in B&W but I like the warm red colours

This is my ‘experimenting’ camera as it has interchangeable lenses and a really wide selection of settings for … well just about anything. It is also the best in low-light because it has the largest sensor. Don’t be fooled by high ISO numbers as that isn’t all there is to getting decent nighttime shots.

Both of these were taken with the ‘long’ kit lens, 55-250mm, which is slightly sharper than the ‘short’ 18-55mm kits lens.

The Fujifilm FX80 EXR

Don’t even try to understand this
Crater Lake

This is my slip-in-pocket-take-everywhere camera. It replaces the ailing Kodak V1003, which I actually coerced into taking the group photo at the top (after a few false starts). It has a unique processor function which lets it ‘sacrifice’ pixels to improve the image. Not much good at anything besides snapshots, but it does those beautifully with film-like quality. And yes I realize I’ve just used it to present two “artsy” shots instead of the more-suitable-for-its-type documentation images.

The Kodak P850

Bubble, bubble

This is an old workhorse camera I’ve had for many years. It’s not great under conditions other than good lighting, but it has the most ‘artistic’ rendering of any thanks to its CCD sensor. This gives it a wide tonal range and full-yet-soft contrast.

The Nikon P610

A moon without friends
The baby day

This camera has the best optics of all, save putting one of the Super Takumars on the Canon. It also has the most fantastic zoom range which is great for someone like me who does a lot of telephoto work. It rarely disappoints and I usually don’t have to play around with any settings to get a decent image out of it.

The Panasonic Lumix ZS60

Resin blob
Stating the obvious

The worst of my cameras. I’ve given it all sorts of chances and tried every setting combination I can think of. Getting even a halfway decent image out of this is like pulling teeth – from a chicken. Its ergonomics are excellent, except for the near useless touchscreen. The EVF and LCD are the best of all my cameras, and it has the greatest manual focusing of any except the Canon with a manual lens. Beyond that … the exposure is consistently wrong and no simple EV ‘fix’ works around it, and the lens is so noticeably not sharp it isn’t even funny. Whereas the Nikon produces 90% successful images this thing doesn’t even make 10%. It’s so horrible I’m reluctant to even contemplate selling it on to someone else. Panasonic should be ashamed of themselves for making this camera; lots of glitzy features but it utterly fails to be able to take a decent shot most of the time.

I also have four silver cameras, and two blue ones. But they are not in regular use now due to various factors. At this point there are no other types of camera I particularly want, with the possible exception of a full-frame sensor. Other than the admittedly limited advantages they give, my photographic needs are so far met by the equipment I’ve got.

2 thoughts on “The Black Camera Gang

  1. All of my cameras are black (I should line them up and take a group photo). Sorry to hear about your buyers remorse over the Lumix purchase. I have to Panasonics, the GH4 and the G9. I also had a GX1 I gave to my daughter. In all cases the cameras are flawless and superb. Your problems reinforce my rule to never buy a fixed lens camera from any manufacturer. All of mine are ILCs, even the super cheap ones (I’m looking at your, Olympus E-PL1), and they all do quite well for themselves.


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