Right. Had it all figured out. Monday, mow lawn before it starts raining Wednesday.
Er, starts raining Tuesday.
Uh … didn’t even get the mower started before the sunshine turned to dark clouds and the rain began – on Monday.
So much for plans.
Now for other things.
This is the reason why I looked into longer lenses for the Canon (more on the Nikon at a later date). I had some fun looking at ‘bargain’ long lenses, reading and watching reviews. Well what do you expect from a $150 lens? Right. While the reviewers put their best faces on and try not to say anything bad … well one of the lenses bent noticeably in the middle like a wet noodle. Yeah, that’s quality build! *LOL* Some of what I looked at were mirror lenses. I had one once. Guess what? The laws of physics haven’t changed since then.
The apologetic reviews were about how you can fix the flaw in post, ’cause you know everyone is willing to spend hours correcting images that took a fraction of a second to make. Hmm. Might be easier to just draw the scene by hand on a piece of paper with a pencil.
Anyway … no new lenses. Oh and from when I started looking a week or so ago until this post the prices on every one went up about 33%. I make that 1700% annual inflation rate. You know, every time I go to the store at least $100 disappears and yet even in my feeble state I have no problem carrying the bag in.
Never mind. At least it isn’t snowing. That’s scheduled for tomorrow.
Could see the full moon eclipse Sunday due to clouds. This is half a moon taken with the big camera. Another reason why I want a longer Canon lens.
So it’s “play it by ear” from now on as I try to sort the many little and some not-so-little jobs of Summer into a scheduled fraught with rain.
Right: I’m skipping the bit about spending $250 on a 97¢ surgical mask. (Okay, it was actually a trip to the dentist – who evidently is making up for lost time and income.) Let’s go right to cameras because they’re more fun.
The best/worst suggested solution so far to my continuing low-eyesight shooting problem: buy a Pentax 645D. Why yes; I bet a medium format DSLR has a really big, bright viewfinder that would work well. I can’t get past that $2,000+ no-lens price tag, though. Pretty sure a long focal length lens would be problematic as well, even with 41 MP to crop from.
Now let’s veer off course a bit so I can complain about how bad cameras are at video. Sure, I don’t do video. But in the interests of all the people who do I had to take a look at how well it’s being handled these days. I actually have two cameras which are acclaimed for their video abilities: the Lumix ZS60 (which actually can do 4k) and the Sony a6000. In reality they both suck at video. Why? Number One Problem would be “controls in the wrong place”. Believe it or not, when it comes to ‘push the red button’ videography the old Nikon wins again, and it’s not even HD. After reading and watching a lot of people’s reviews of various cameras they use for video I can’t help feeling that it’s the ultimate case of equipment designed to make money not produce results. For one thing, external microphone jacks are missing on most of them. The built-in mikes have built-in problems that can’t be gotten away from by any simple means, other than taking the mike off camera. Also there is far too much reliance on LCD viewing rather than a decent viewfinder, and guess what; many people are finding it hard to see what’s happening when they shoot in broad daylight. Well colour me not surprised. Other frequent complaints include that the mikes pick up more camera noise than sound, and that the focusing swiftness leave much to be desired.
Manufacturers might try listening to photographers, you know. I don’t do video and even I could design a camera that would be better at it than what’s out there now. This is because no matter how good, the video is always an add-on afterthought rather than a goal to achieve from the start. As it is you have to spend some serious money to get anything that’s good at it, far more than you spend to get decent stills (we’re not talking about smart phonetography* here of course). That means you end up buying a lot of ‘features’ you never use. Does that sound familiar? So I now have much empathy for videographers as it seems they are suffering from the same lack of attention from camera makers that still photographers have to put up with. That is fundamentally wrong in every way.
You know, no one ever gives me anything for free. Except a bad time of course. Gee, do you think any of those companies has read my ranting and determined I’d be a poor risk for product evaluation? Nah, they’re not that smart. Obviously it’s simply that they never see anything I write. Lucky bastards, eh?
Well now next week the ice should be off the lake and the snow off the road so I can go take a ‘first look’ at the cabin for this year. I will license the Nissan and check it out, fill it with too expensive gasoline, and give it my best shot. Ooh that’s going to be another $1,000 expense right there.
My camera plan for the trip is to charge up all my Canons: the G11, T100, and 1Ds. That’s probably a mistake because the Fuji and the Nikon are better suited to handling all the conditions I might encounter, but we’ll see. As with everything else, subject to change without notice.
*New word: phonetography; taking pictures or video with a smart phone. Registered Trademark and sole copyright are mine. If you use it, you owe me $1.
(A scheduled rant because who knows what Wednesday will be like.)
This is precipitated by a blog I read wherein the writer postulated that film cameras will still be going after digital cameras have quit. Initially it looked like a claim that we’d all go back to film, but the actual point was that digital cameras individually are doomed to die within a few years whereas there are film cameras that are still functioning after more than a century.
Boy don’t I know it! I have several examples myself, from the handful of digital cameras that have passed on to the recycling bin to the 100+ year-old Brownie that I’ve taken pictures with – including using a digital camera as ‘film’ for it.
Of course everyone who reads my drivel knows my prejudice against smart phones. Can we add to the standard complaints the fact they are designed to land in the bin before they’ve even stopped working due to Planned Obsolescence on Steroids?
Let’s just look at film versus digital for a moment. Again.
What are the main drawbacks of film? It costs a fortune to use as supplies dwindle and the chemistry involved becomes ever-more expensive and scarce. Whereas digital uses cheap, reusable technology. Also film has that ‘wait’ factor where you have to shoot the whole roll and process it before you see what you got. Digital is nearly instant. Film is fixed in its results, digital is variable at several stages from changing the ISO frame by frame to post processing with the click of a button.
What are the main advantages of film? A good film camera need not be dependent on batteries and is unlikely to fail as a result. Indeed it can be “always on” and at the ready, with no lag between spotting the shrike in the bush and grabbing the shot. Some digital cameras are really slow to start up, or even capture after pushing the button. I’ve got a lot of pictures of where birds were a fraction of a second before the camera actually fired. True it can happen with film, but it’s less likely. And as mentioned at the start the film camera may still be functioning long after the digital one has given up. Most film cameras, even many of the cheap ones, are built like tanks. On the other hand digital cameras are generally built to be replaced in a couple of years (that ol’ obsolescence thing again).
I’m not going to discuss film image quality versus digital image quality as that really is a moot point and one that’s purely aesthetics.
Can you get a digital camera that will last? Sure. Got a few thousand dollars to spend? And then we still need to define “last” because a 150,000 shutter count can go by faster than you think, even when you are paying a small fortune per frame.
Is there any point to this post? No, not really. Certainly no conclusions. Just observation. But yes I would still use film if it were at all practical because I really like the way some of the old film cameras work (I often set my digital ones to imitate the functions, although not to the “simulation recipe” extreme). But I would use it alongside digital because both have advantages when it comes to getting the results you want.
When someone does make a camera I’d like (Pixii) It of course comes with a price tag that is more in line with what I spend on a vehicle. Shall we lament that no major company had brains enough to do this? Shall we laugh at the paradox of spending truckloads of money to buy fewer ‘features’? Ah the price of being a photographer rather than some jerk with a device full of technological glitz that they never use.
I can appreciate every aspect of this Pixii and wish the company great success. Although given the limited number of potential sales they may need a miracle to achieve it.
What I can afford is … junk.
Seriously the one on the left cost $50 some years ago and never gets used because its image quality is so bad. The one on the right is not “4K” but does make a decent dashcam for the Xterra (you’ve seen some stills from it posted before). Both have over-emphasis on video, which is a common problem with cameras these days. I say “problem” because for all the emphasis they then fail to do the job well, concentrating on image and ignoring the other half of video; the sound.
Anyway, not a good time around here. I’m actually refraining from posting images out of fear there will soon be none. The venerable Nikon P610 now ‘stutters’ on every zoom. And my eyesight certainly isn’t getting any better.
C’est la vie photographique.
Want to see how bad that “action camera” is? It’s this bad. (Yes I use YT for storing unimportant videos I want to show to people. I don’t “do” video.)
To start with, I looked up the average size of an adult male’s hand and checked several sources for confirmation. It’s about 19cm (7.5″) from wrist to tip of middle finger. Thus my hands are actually normal size, and not gigantic as so many of the tiny devices in our lives today have led me to believe. This doesn’t really change things, though.
Over-all, ‘handling’ is a highly subjective criterion. Gripping the camera easily is surely the main part, and secondary to that would be the controls falling into place where those most frequently needing changing would be readily accessible. This is somewhat (but not very much) standardized across camera makes and models these days, with only the occasional “gotcha!” cropping up to ruin the experience. Your actual mileage may vary, as the saying goes. So let’s look at me gripping my cameras and discuss some other minor details.
I generally have no trouble holding this camera or operating its controls (except when they stop working). The grip area measures about 4″, which is a little shy of accommodating the whole hand but does take up more than half. I’m pretty comfortable with it. My major complaint about the controls is that ISO is buried in the menu settings instead of being a dedicated knob or at least easily-accessed adjustment. There may be some way of programming that, but even if so I’d never remember where it is. I don’t like “programmable” buttons for that reason. If you only have one camera or multiples of exactly the same camera you might remember which button is set to do what, but … not me.
As you can see it’s a little smaller handful than the Nikon, despite having a larger sensor and generally being about the same body size. The ‘finger grip’ in front simply doesn’t stick out as far. Still very usable, and some of the small controls are more sensible on this camera. Of course there’s no zoom control because of the detachable lenses. The ‘PASM’ dial, which also serves as the on/off switch, on top is fine. The ISO access button on the back is okay. Adjusting shutter speed or aperture when in the respective ‘preferred’ mode is also okay with the thumb dial, but I do prefer actual dedicated controls.
I like using this camera. It has the build and ‘feel’ of a 35mm SLR. But holding it is something of a challenge. There’s almost no ‘finger grip’ and the body is small (and lightweight). Most of the controls are well-placed, and it has a door on the side for memory cards (in this case CF or xD: no SD card) where it should be. Yeah putting them under the same access as the battery is a cost-saving measure, not a better design. The settings access for ISO, shutter, and aperture could definitely be better than it is. I still like using it. Too bad the battery is failing and only lasts about 20 shots at best. Also the auto focus is abysmally slow. Then again it’s an old (by digital standards) camera, dating from 2007.
This one is problematic in the extreme. I can practically encompass half the camera in my hand, and its utter lack of front ‘finger grip’ means my palm hits buttons on the back changing settings when I don’t want to. This can make it really annoying to use. Paradoxically, it has ‘handy’ knurled wheels for adjusting settings which are right where you can change them with your thumb – albeit sometimes you do so accidentally. Other than those problems, which are significant, it’s a good camera that takes good pictures. In some ways it’s the best I’ve got, such as the speed of autofocus and ease of adapting vintage lenses. It’s a dust magnet though, and the handling really is problematic. Oh I said that already. Did I mention the handling is problematic?
I will take a moment here to talk about lens rings. I like them. I want one for focus, one for zoom, and one for aperture out there in front like a film camera would have. None of my cameras meet that spec, although zoom and focus rings are present on some of the DSLR lenses. The Lumix has a ‘pseudo’ lens ring which can be assigned different functions such as zoom or focus or program adjustment, but it is not dedicated and sorting through the menu to find the adjustment is frustrating. The Sony’s kit lens has both a zoom button and a zoom ring which is redundant and annoying. Duplication of controls is never helpful. Using manual lenses eliminates a lot of this, but also eliminates autofocus and exposure. I see many Fujifilm professional cameras have very ‘film-like’ controls and so I envy Fuji users that. I certainly can not afford one though.
Now let’s step over the edge of the cliff into the realm of the sublimely ridiculous:
Right. Same hand, different camera. No argument about a “too small” body here! It would be great – if it didn’t weigh in at over 1.5 kilograms (more than 3 lbs.) and did have a 1500mm lens – which it would need to be because it’s a full-frame camera. Only 11MP, but great for low-light photography like night skies or infrared work because of that ‘low resolution’ in combination with the sensor size. Fairly impractical for daily shooting, though. Of all my cameras this one has the worst controls for convenience of access. Nothing is straightforward or dedicated about them, and a lot of ‘double pushing’ is needed to change things (hold one button down while advancing settings with another).
Yes if the lens were retracted I could hide that one in my hand. There are smaller cameras than this, but they do not take as good pictures. Again the viewfinder issue (it hasn’t got one) and focal length limit. But you can carry it anywhere. Besides that it’s the only one that automatically shifts resolution to get a better picture. That EXR function is quite a thing: so good that I never take the camera off automatic. This one is point-and-shoot heaven.
Is there a winner here? Yes, and it’s the *cough* Nikon P610. Were you surprised? One of the things against the P950 and the P1000 is that they are physically larger (and heavier), but offer no advantage from that increased size: they have the same tiny sensor as the P610 inside. Mostly the bodies got bigger to hold the larger lenses which at 83X and 125X respectively are probably best described as “overkill”. Or maybe “clunky”. I guess the thinking was “half an improvement is better than none”? The P610 aside, the next best in my collection for handling is the Canon T100. It is the most modern as well, with an 18MP sensor that allows some reasonable cropping (the 24MP Sony a6000 is actually an older design).
I don’t know how a Canon SX70 or Panasonic FZ80 handles and it’s unlikely I’ll find out. There are no camera stores near me and the closest is over 2 hours’ drive away, with no guarantee they’d have what I want to look at.
Even if I could afford it.
Addendum: adding a picture of the Pentax K100Ds. As you can see it fits my hand as well as the Nikon does, and indeed is a very nice-to-handle camera. It has a few faults, though: it’s only 6MP which I find too low for my usual photography (even though the images get shrunk way down before presenting), I’ve only got one auto lens for it and any new one costs as much as a lens for the Canon or Sony, and the pentamirror is desilvered to the point where not only are there large black spots in view but the light transmission is lower than normal for a DSLR. But it is a nice camera. I would have had the slightly newer K200 but ego-Bay killed me before the sale was complete. Another thing to ‘thank’ them for.
So much going on I didn’t know which way to turn. It has taken me days to decide just what the “weekend post” would be of/about. Thus it’s a sampling because I couldn’t make up my mind.
I’ve been ‘trying out’ the Canon lately to evaluate it as the next ‘main camera’ to use. I like using it but it simply can not do the things the Nikon P610 ‘bridge’ camera can, so I find myself repeatedly grabbing that instead when going out.
I have stopped using the Olympus for now. Not just because the battery is failing and I’m loathe to put money into it, but also because I need to force myself to evaluate the future of photography for me and it is unlikely the E410 is the answer no matter how much I like using it.
What with everything everywhere being as bad as it is (yes, my wife is still in England with no return date even guessed at) switching to “artistic” photography only is about all I can do. I loathe the idea of it as I do very much like taking wildlife photos. You know: pictures of birds I can’t actually see because they are small, far away, and hidden in tree branches. Do I need to mention the failing camera + failing eyesight thing again? No. Not going to say anything about the triple digit inflation rate around here either.
Just trying to keep my sanity together. Remind me again exactly why I should do that.
More analysis coming up. Er, camera analysis that is. I could probably do with the other kind as well, to be honest.
So I have been looking at things, albeit blurrily of course. Videos, cameras, finances, realities. Yes, plural on that last one as I’m pretty sure I live in a different one from everyone else and mine only sort of intersects with theirs in the same way you can get cross-over frequency interference on an old stereo. (Don’t expect this to make sense. You didn’t expect it to make sense, did you?)
There was this video with a title like “Five Tips From My Five Years Of Photography”. Gee, should I do something like that? It’d have to have a slightly different title. Something like “More Than Fifty Tips From My More Than Fifty Years Of Photography”. Fortunately for everyone I don’t do video.
But it was amusing as were several other of that content provider’s videos, many of which had to do with cameras laughingly labelled as “affordable”. This is where the realities conflict because it seems other people’s “affordable” is my “costs more than the entire photographic arsenal I already have”.
Oh gosh it’s not just cameras either: lots of “affordable” things out there that look like everyone but me has the kind of unlimited disposable income normally only available to governments. Basically I see it as bragging you paid 7 times as much as a thing is worth. Kind of odd, really.
Plenty of examples of another pet peeve of mine to: that companies are in business to make profits, not products. This is why the CEO of, say, a soft drink company can become the CEO of a computer company next week: the product doesn’t matter, only the profit. When the driving force behind design is “what can we get people to buy that we can make huge amounts of money off from?” instead of “let’s make the best [noun] we possibly can” you get a market full of crap, a society of unhappy consumers, and landfills that rival Everest in height.
To camera makers I would say this (if they would listen, which they won’t): There are FIVE things on a camera that need to have dedicated controls: aperture, focus, ISO, shutter, and zoom (if applicable). Oh you can have automatic override for any/all of them, but ultimately these are the things photographers adjust often when making pictures. If you want to go for six add exposure compensation because sometimes cameras don’t get that right (since they think all scenes average out to 18% reflective gray). Everything else you put on a camera is frippery. Most of those wonderful ‘features’ you include never get used.
To photographers I would say: you know what I just said is true. And if you really want to learn photography you should start with film if at all possible, or the closest digital equivalent to film that you can get. Why do I say this? Because I see a lot of professional photographers out there who are making a living by sheer luck with little to no understanding of the technical aspects, and I don’t just mean they failed to learn about infrared and the visible spectrum. These days “pro” seems to mean “obsessed with background blur to the extent that they only shoot wide open and end up disregarding the actual subject of the photo”. Don’t ask me how they get away with it.
Then again this weird reality you people are stuck in contains experts who think taking vodka off the shelf will stop a war. Hmm. Maybe not buying the vodka from an unstable dictatorship in the first place could have prevented the war?
Or people who praise the “science in Futurama” because they fail to recognize it is a cartoon and it is sending up the science in science-fiction; the actual laws of physics dictating that most of the things depicted are not possible. That’s the difference between sci-fi and fantasy; fantasy calls magic magic, not science.
Well I have some ideas for the time ahead to try and keep myself distracted from various horrors like losing further eyesight and not being able to afford food. Something of a long, strange trip which I will include you on if you’re foolish enough to hop on my metaphorical converted school bus.
*Panasonic Lumix ZS60, which really is not a good camera.
“Re-learning”? Not with this camera! This is the ‘full frame’ DSLR, and as such has the largest and brightest viewfinder. Seeing what I’m trying to photograph is the biggest problem these days, and with the 1Ds it’s almost not an issue. Likewise the Canon G11 with its optical finder gives similar performance. Only the EVFs and smaller, dimmer optical finders present much difficulty.
Okay this camera still has poorly-thought-out controls, but I know where they are and don’t have to change them often. Also it weighs a lot. But what about the all-important results? Well I took 28 photos and only 6 of them are actually bad. That’s the best post-eye-problem ratio of any camera I’ve got.
All these photos were taken with the 75-300mm Canon EF lens. Some are the full image, some are cropped to varying degrees. This is not the best lens either, but it was cheap and it works.
The success with using this camera reinforces the validity of my revised plan. In fact replacing this camera and the T100 with a 5D Mk II would by viable, but unlikely to happen. At this point I’m aiming for keeping the Fuji F80, Canon G11, Nikon P610 (which needs replacing at a later date), Canon T100, and this Canon 1Ds. Also I will use various adapters to allow the use of classic lenses with either Canon DSLR (the full frame cameras are not quite as good with this due to some lenses getting in the way of the larger mirrors).
To that end I have purchased some new equipment which hasn’t arrived yet but will result in further posts when it does. I’m not doing so well at selling off the superfluous stuff, but then there’s a lot else going on around here now with the start of the annual wood harvest.
Sydney J. Harris used to write columns about “Things I learned en route to looking up other things”. This is something like that, but not exactly.
Idly I am poking through equipment for sale, wondering if certain items can be fit into the revised Master Plan, and occasionally bidding on whatever I think might. This has included some rather wild detours like Sony a6000 to get the hi-res sensor and mirrorless adapt-almost-any-lens ability to switching to Nikon DSLR for the same hi-res reason or even because I want to try out some of the older, CCD equipped cameras of theirs. None of that happened. A lot of lenses passed as well.
What I did buy was some more lens adapters for the Canon EF cameras, just in case I found a Canon FD or Nikon F lens for such a price as couldn’t be passed up. In essence, the redesigned plan is to reduce the DSLRs to Canon only, because then it’s all fairly interchangeable and a lot of old glass can be easily adapted to it. Also no need to memorize six or eight different control configurations. Makes sense, right?
The only change, then, was acquiring a Canon T7 to get a 24MP sensor (1/3 more pixels than the T100 so worth the switch). I haven’t succeeded in this either, as they mostly go for more money than I’m willing to put into this project at this point. For another thing, selling off the superfluous equipment is proving to be quite a stumbling block.
Anyway, that’s the plan now: Canon 1Ds (too big and heavy for anyone else to want), replace the Canon T100 with a T7 to get higher res on the hi-res camera, keep the Canon G11 and Fuji F80 carry-along cameras, and continue using the Nikon P610 as the “daily driver” until it fails entirely. Hopefully by that point I can save up enough for a replacement like a Canon SX70.
Oh and one other thing: try, try, try to avoid buying any more equipment just because it’s cheap or interesting (and cheap). Sensible, right? Right. Let’s see me actually manage to do it.
Now off to one side I come across this blog by favourite writer Eric L. Woods: A Sigma dp2 Quattro Fascinating camera. The Foveon sensor is built like a layer of colour film, and the results show. Several of the other X3 write-ups I found dismissed the design as though they were written by people with stock in other sensor manufacturers or something. Much of it was confused and contradictory so I guess maybe they didn’t understand it. Personally I like the concept and the results.
I also like the fact they didn’t go crazy on cramming “features” into this camera. It has some faults to be sure, like no EVF. Considering how expensive it is that’s just stupid. But largely it is a digital camera for a film photographer. Too bad about the price. In my “ideal” camera design I can see that Foveon X3 sensor as a key element.
That’s all as maybe. I have to try and focus on my current projects, including the wood harvest that has just started. It’s been difficult as the still-present smoke makes me cough almost instantly when I so much as talk, never mind work. I got a lot done yesterday when there was no smoke about, so timing is vital to success.
In the meantime there’s only a few more things on e-Bay I want to keep track of. Just in case.
Time to bring you up to date on what’s been going on around here.
First of all, the picture I forgot to include in the blog about the Olympus E-410:
This shows that the camera used with a good lens doesn’t have problems. You see grain, not blur. That means the Olympus lenses are where the shortcomings are with that system. Goes with this pic, btw:
Second, we had a visitor on Thursday:
He spent most of the day crashing around in the foliage by the creek, just beside the cabin. He was stripping off berries to eat and driving the dogs crazy. I believe it’s one of the cubs that were coming ’round here with their mama this Spring. Seems to have gone now.
Third item is that the smoke has rolled in again as of Friday. Along with a high of 97F. Fires are still bad and people are being warned to stay away from certain areas, not just the evac alert/order zones. Honestly anyone vacationing in BC right now must be certifiably insane.
Fortunately I was able to do some photo work before it got like this. Can’t even breath out there now. It’s looking a bit “life crisis” for me in fact. Bad enough I have to re-arrange my camera arsenal without having to re-arrange my entire way of living.
I’m actually working on a new “Master Plan” to go with my failed eyesight. The best camera I’ve got for working with my vision right now is the Canon PowerShot G11, which not only has a purely optical finder and limited zoom range (so basically anything I can see I can shoot), but also the nice colour tones of a CCD sensor. Beyond that … well I’ll explain the equipment shift at a later date. It’s still in flux anyway.