Of course 19°C (66°F) is pretty Spring-like, but watching the satellite picture says there’s still snow out at the lake. The forecast says no lows below freezing now, so perhaps another week …
In the meantime I have started working around here as there are a few things to deal with. That’s why I moved 600 lbs. of stored papers out of one shed and into another; so I can get at other stuff and perhaps make enough room to complete the modifications the local Mafia, er government, wants to a shed that has been standing for years without incident. I am and engineer you know. Bureaucrats need to prove they have power over everyone, though.
All that off to one side, I tried out the Canon 1Ds on some night shots and need to do some tweaks before I take more. First of all, the 64MB CF card is horrible for hi-res as it only holds <10 pictures. Can’t do much experimenting with that. Second, the camera’s maximum ISO of 1250 is real but pretty low for star shots. That can’t be helped, so either I take ‘trace’ shots (30 second exposures are about 3X too long to prevent this) or do lots of enhancing post-shoot. I need to try it with the 50mm f1.4 lens I was using the 35mm f2 because that’s what was on it when I woke up in the night and decided to try. It’s one more stop of exposure anyway. I can see where a real ISO of 3200-6400 would be of great use here, but the camera hasn’t got it. At least it does a good job at the speed it has, and the ‘noise reduction’ (second image method) is more effective than with any other camera I have. The biggest problem is that it’s not really dark until 10:00 PM now, so night photos interfere with my sleeping habits.
Many other things are going on around here right now, some of it rather stressful. Vaccine? Nope. Surgery? Ha! Our hospitals are full-up with COVID patients (cases are out of control and the government isn’t even trying to stop the spread now) so that’s not happening. I need to get equipment ready for this year too (including fixing the trailer), and … well just all sorts of things.
I had fun doing the IR photos and still have some more experiments to conduct with the 1Ds but they will have to wait for now. I have even toyed with the idea of selling it and everything else I’ve got to go for a 5D, but I suspect my equipment wouldn’t bring enough to cover the cost. C’est la vie photographique!
I’m still using the Nikon P610 a lot, and it is still malfunctioning. But it hasn’t quite completely. Yet. Which is good because I can’t afford to replace it. I still want to shoot more with the G11 and now that the weather is better I should be able to. Previously every time I’d go to town it was so miserable and cold that taking pictures was right off the list.
I have been avoiding using the Nikon P610 because of the ridiculous apprehension that its next picture will be its last. I know it is failing and will ultimately stop altogether one day, but it is silly to not use it just to put off the inevitable. In the course of taking these pictures (about 50% success rate) it failed to focus a few times and the exposure needed tweaking on many images due in part to the aging sensor but mostly because of the poor lighting conditions. Still and all, it does a good job for a five-year-old almost totally worn-out camera.
The Major sat on the counter and grinned his evil grin. “My purpose in life is to make your life miserable” he said.
“Well you’re doing a damn good job” I admitted, “so you should be promoted. To Glory, by preference.”
Now that we’ve got that out of the way …
You know what’s not fun? Getting home from shopping on Friday to discover that now there’s a package waiting at the post office. It will have to continue to wait until Tuesday.
You know what else isn’t fun? Having a COVID-19 outbreak not only at the nearby reservation (where the infection rate is 25% and climbing) but also at the hospital in the ‘big city’. Our “isolated” community is now a contaminated one, and there’s no vaccine in sight. As such I have adopted some of my wife’s pandemic paranoia for my very own.
Another thing that isn’t fun is finally getting a lens that was ordered back before Christmas, and finding it is a C/Y mount (Contax/Yashica) not a PK mount (Pentax K bayonet) as was advertised. This means either a long-distance, cross-country exchange or buying an adapter to make the lens usable on the Canon (or the Olympus, which I’ve found also can take it). Because I need the hassle of that? No, I don’t.
Also it isn’t fun when the temperature drops to -12 every night as the weather gears up for that being the daily high. I must split more wood before it does. That means more pain, and I’ve got too much of that already. I keep waiting for remission but get increased symptoms instead.
So while I’m bored I troll Ebay for no good reason, and worse. You do see interesting things though, and some laughable practices. Anyway I look at cameras. Despite insisting I do not collect them anymore. I do like to look, however.
Now, if I were to collect them again … well there are a few I’d add to the arsenal ‘just because’. In alphabetical order, then:
Canon; in addition to the Canon cameras that would add to my repertoire there are some that might be nice to have. The 40D for example, because it would be a second EOS body but in the 10MP size which is my preference for “low” resolution. Conversely something like a 90D would be nice for exactly the opposite reason: it is definitely “high” resolution at 33MP and I’d like to try that for myself just to see what observations I’d have about it. I could compromise on a T7, which is 1/3 more MP than my T100, but they’re all too much money – even the 40D – for cameras that I know would not get much use after the initial experiments. I’d also like to try the PowerShot Elph 135 to see how its CCD sensor compares to others.
Fujifilm; any X model. Really this is a range of truly nifty cameras with great styling (especially the retro-look pseudo rangefinder models) and excellent image quality. Not a one of which could I afford and none would add anything to my shooting. Owning one of these is a purely aesthetic pipe dream. The Fuji I have, an F80 EXR, is an amazing performer that’s just the right size for my shirt pocket to go along everywhere in case I need to take a picture. I’ll stick with that one.
Kodak; none. Sorry, George, but even though I’ve had excellent use of three different digital Kodak cameras over the years there is nothing in the now-defunct company line-up that has anything ‘special’ about it. Even the few with exceptional specifications are plagued by a reputation for premature failure.
Nikon; does “D” stand for “Dull” or “Don’t bother”? I’ve tried out a Nikon D80 that was my Dad’s and it didn’t ‘connect’ with me. On the plus side the retention of the film camera lens mount would be great, especially if I’d been able to keep even some of the dozens of Nikon lenses. But I couldn’t so … mute point. I chose the Canon digital system because it is better at adapting old lenses of many brands, it having a very large ‘throat’ compared to the Nikon or Pentax. If I were going to pick up a Nikon digital it probably would be a D80 or a D200. But have you ever noticed how many broken ones are offered? Partly this is due to high sales in the first place, although you also have to wonder about the quality. There seems to be a disproportionate number of failures compared to other brands. Anyway there are no ‘special’ aspects to them, they are just competent cameras. But they all cost too much, even broken.
Olympus; well yes I’d still like an E-300 or other CCD version of the E-410 I have. It would be silly to buy one, though. In fact a PEN E-PL1 (or later version) would be better as it has the micro 4/3 lens mount which is more adaptable of classic lenses. But it would have to have the optional EVF as using just an LCD is a right pain in bright light. Besides, the T100 already does the job of adapting old glass. I wish I’d saved some more of that old glass. *sigh* If wishes were Porsches beggars would drive*. As for the OM-D models … well the touch screens put me off. Also the prices.
Pentax; a K10D for me, please. Old enough to have a CCD sensor but new enough to have 10MP and sensor-shift stabilization. The K10D is probably the pinnacle classic Pentax DSLR. It’s also one of the priciest. The other Pentax model I’d love to try out is the medium-format 645D/Z. I could make an argument that it would add to my photography, but what it would take away from my bank account would be scary.
Sony; well, something. I should have some model from this brand. I have looked at Sony bridge cameras and not bought any for various reasons. After that you’re into the a6000 or a7 series models and that means the kind of money that could buy a good used car. I doubt even the best of Sony’s offerings would help my photography in any way; my art doesn’t call for such levels of perfection. It’s just that I’d like to try it out to see what all the pros, and amateurs with too much money to spend, are talking about. The downside here is that I might like it.
I’ve skipped some brands. I’ve skipped many models. I’m just dreaming out loud here. I haven’t even given a hint (or have I?) about the Mystery Camera, which is what made the images for today.
More later, unless WordPress pulls the plug on the Classic Editor or I fill up the allotted storage space.
*Original version: “If wishes were horses beggars would ride.”
Are you one? Do you prefer the images from older digital cameras? Do you prefer using the older digital cameras? Maybe they’re all you can afford. There’s no shame in that. In fact you should be more ashamed if the first digital camera you buy is some ultra-expensive, loaded-with-everything, professional grade unit of which you won’t use a fraction of its capabilities.
Using obsolete, I mean classic, digital cameras has become “a thing”: the preference for CCD over CMOS sensors, an absence of techno-glitz like wireless connections and touch-screens, and the realization that the picture is what matters, not how you achieve it. So we sacrifice megapixels in favour of colour gradients. Most digital images are seen at less than 2MP anyway (on a computer screen).
As is often the case with my posts, this one started out going somewhere else so it’s bound to be a little incongruous at times. I was looking around at camera offerings (which is almost a pastime in itself) and noticed one or two (or ten, or twenty) interesting cameras that didn’t actually fit my current equipment needs but were nonetheless intriguing. I’ve got and sometimes use some older digitals, mostly the Kodak P850 – even though it has quite a few operational quirks these days (like a bad habit of resetting to +3 EV and not co-operating with changing this back to zero). I really don’t need any more old cameras. I am no longer collecting cameras. Say it louder: I AM NO LONGER COLLECTING CAMERAS!Nevertheless …
Let’s look at a few anyway. There’s no harm in looking, right? They can’t make you buy.
First let me say there are hundreds of models you can dismiss out-of-hand. Maybe thousands. All those ordinary ‘cookie-cutter’ compact cameras that have #MP and #X zooms and look like they’re all made in the same mold with different names slapped on afterward. It’s not that they aren’t adequate, it’s that they aren’t exceptional. If you’re going to use classic equipment it should be something with at least one unique property that makes it stand out from the run-of-the-mill production.
So in the category of compacts let me suggest a couple that I have: the Canon PowerShot A70 and the Fujifilm F80 EXR. They don’t have to be those exact models as there are many similar ones which will perform as well or in some cases even better. Why I like the Canon is that in addition to an excellent glass lens it has an optical viewfinder. Nothing like it for shooting in the sunlight. In fact that’s one area where the Fuji fails. Canon made several PowerShot cameras with optical finders, some up to 16MP and 5X zoom. Well worth it if you can find one in a thrift store for $5 or $10. Why I like the Fuji is the EXR processor function. It is exceptional. Again there are several Fuji EXR cameras, including the very nice (but rare and therefor expensive) HS20 through HS50 series ‘bridge’ cameras, which have significant zoom capacity.
Now let’s talk about some more advanced cameras. There are a few models I’ve come across recently which have caught my interest. If I were free to indulge myself however I wish, I would definitely buy these (or something similar).
1). Olympus Evolt E-300. This is a micro four thirds camera with pentaprism and interchangeable lenses. It’s only 8MP, but unlike the newer Evolt models it has a CCD sensor (one seller referred to it as a “Kodak sensor”). Some specs from Camera Decision: Olympus E-300
2). Pentax K100D. A mere 6MP APS-C DSLR using the Pentax KAF lenses, it has in body image stabilization (IBIS as it is known). An affordable way to use a huge number of quality lenses. Some specs from Camera Decision: Pentax K100D
3). Samsung GX-1L. You want something different? Samsung is a name you won’t see on a camera often. This one is a 6MP APS-C DSLR like the Pentax, but without the image stabilizer. The one I came across had a Schneider-Kreuznach 18-55mm lens which is bound to be sharp (the S-K on my Kodak sure is). Some specs from Camera Decision: Samsung GX-1L
4). Nikon Coolpix 4500. This is a weird little 4MP (in some versions less) camera with a twist: literally. You twist the body to move the lens into shooting position. They made several similar cameras, known as the ‘Coolpix 950 series’. Functionally it’s no great prize, but the body design certainly isn’t the usual motor-driven-extend-o-lens of other compacts! Wikipedia entry: Nikon Coolpix 4500
Those are just some examples of classic digitals I’ve come across which intrigued me. There are many variations of these, and you have to look up which models have which features (for example the Fujifilm HS10 does not have the EXR processor whereas the HS20 through HS50 do, and the Pentax K110D doesn’t have IBIS like the K100D).
Now we have to talk about prices. For one thing, you may be choosing a classic camera because you’re no relation to Bill Gates and can’t afford multi-thousand dollar Fujifilm, Sony, or Leica machines. Even if that’s not the case it’s too easy to overspend on an old one. Always remember the camera that is working today may not be working tomorrow, especially if it isn’t new. The cameras I mentioned above range from $6 I spent on the Canon to $60 on the Fuji, and the ‘numbered’ ones were all listed for between $100 and $200 CDN (that’d be a lot less in the US, believe me). Ultimately the price should be what you feel you can afford and not a penny more. Beware auctions like Ebay: make your maximum bid and then stop; there will be another one along if you miss out. Patience is a virtue. So is frugality.
Side note: I’ve seen offers of groupings along the lines of “20 untested digital cameras for $60 – plus shipping” (shipping often being as much or even more than the price). You know what 20 untested digital cameras are worth? Right: $20. It isn’t that hard to test a camera, so assume “untested” means “not working”. I tested a couple of dozen that my Dad had picked up cheap and found all but one – which happened to be a Fuji and the best in the bunch – did work once you stuck batteries and an SD card in them. I still had to give them away. It’s not like fixing one of these is a practical option, after all.
If there are a lot of photographers near you, get together and form a club. That way the group can more easily afford a larger selection of cameras to work with. Just watch out for people hogging one model to themselves! Most importantly, have fun.
As for me, I will continue to “put the brakes on” when looking at old cameras. Especially as it looks like I will need a Canon SX70 to replace the ailing Nikon P610: since it is my “main” camera replacing it with another used machine is courting disaster, and the Canon best fits the specifications – aside from being pricey at $600+.
But hey; you never know when the ‘brakes’ will give out, eh?
Addendum: CCD means Charge Coupled Device, whereas CMOS means Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. They are the two types of image sensors you will find in digital cameras. The former is usually fewer megapixels in resolution, but generally has a greater tonal range. The value of this is subjective. One curious side effect of fewer MP for a given size sensor is that it is more sensitive to light as each pixel covers a larger area. So a lower MP but same-size sensor can yield better low-light results.
Also, be aware of what kind of memory card your used bargain camera takes. Not every one uses the now-standard SD card. Olympus and Fuji, for example, often used xD cards which are now somewhat hard to find. There are adapters for these to use micro SD, but the reviews on them are mixed as to fit and quality for any given camera. Likewise Sony used a variety of “memory sticks”, and in the Mavica 3.5″ computer disks – good luck finding those or a machine to read them. Even the Compact Flash cards can be difficult to obtain at a reasonable price these days.
Remember too that a working used camera may not work as good as it originally did. The screen/EVF may have faded, the sensor may not deliver full contrast/correct colour or may have hot/dead pixels, and the exposure may be off or inconsistent. All this in addition to the fact it probably did not perform to the high expectations of today in terms of speed and accuracy in focusing – or even snapping the shot (a lot of older cameras have quite a noticeable delay between the button being pushed and the image being captured). You have to expect these things.
Well that wandered a bit!
Since writing this I note that the camera offerings mentioned above have all sold but one, so I guess they were pretty good deals for someone!
This is image #3000 on the latest SD card in my ailing Nikon P610. Yes, we’ve had yet more snow. The forecast is basically “guess and see” as the weather changes quickly these days.
We wait and see about everything now, from weather to auctions to vaccines to … whatever.
Some random thoughts:
Black Friday sales have become a mockery of themselves just as the original sales were a mockery of (U.S.) Thanksgiving. It was bad enough that holiday has been corrupted by commercial (and to some extent political) exploitation. No longer is the famous parade about floats and balloons and bands; it’s about advertising and only advertising. And now the post-celebration sales orgy has turned into another pale ghost of what it was, with the “bargains” being no different than the typical reduced prices found at other times of the year. 60% off? Not likely. Get used to regular prices printed in red ink, descriptive non-sale tags like “great value”, and the ever-popular (with retailers) hiked-by-30%-then-reduced-by-10% ploy.
Our Prime Moron who bought 70 million+ doses of vaccine now tells us Canada can’t manufacture any and there probably won’t be enough for everyone or any time soon. What happened, Dustbin? Cheque for the bribe bounce? Something fishy about this sudden about-face on the availability and distribution of a vital prophylactic. I don’t know why I don’t trust him. Maybe it’s the four ethics violations he has to his discredit.
The real value in the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting 30,000 is that it proves anyone can play the game as long as the rules don’t keep changing. A stable government, no matter what kind, is one whose policies you can survive. How well remains open to question, but history tells us the worst thing for any country is to be run by someone who is demonstrably mentally incompetent. A highly unstable moron makes for the worst leader in the world ever.
Some people think being asked to wear a mask to help ensure the health of others is some sort of infringement on their rights and freedoms. Check the U.S. Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights: nothing in either about not having to follow regulations. If you think this is an indication of a totalitarian government, you have no idea what that means. Fail to comply here and you get a fine or possibly jail time. If it truly were a “totalitarian” government you’d be shot dead and dumped in a garbage can with the rest of the rubbish. Truly. There are actually governments in this world today that operate like that. Be glad you have no idea of what hardship really is. Think self isolation is imprisonment? Try a “tiger cage”, whiner.
The USA has achieved 4% infection rate: higher than any other country on Earth by a factor of 5.
Ontario has passed legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Because stupidity is even more rampant than COVID-19. Sandford Fleming spins in his grave.
I still have not succeeded in getting a Canon 5D. Perhaps I never will. I’ll live, just the same.
They put out a snowfall warning of a possible 10 cm on Friday. It was issued when there was already 7 cm on the ground so a pretty safe bet. On Saturday I cleared the driveway because, you’ll laugh, it was going to go above freezing for highs on the weekend. But that’s okay because (hold on to your sides) more snow is expected Monday! Another (wait for it) 10 cm. This to be followed by highs above freezing then … Do you see what’s going on here? It would be hilarious if we didn’t have to cope with it.
This has been a terrible week all around. Look at the news, if you dare. On a personal level it has been day after day of “just get through today”. As dismal as it’s been there were a few small victories, and some of the losses not as devastating as they might have been. The weather has made it excessively unpleasant as it continues to precipitate in various forms depending on whether the temperature is above or below freezing. Ice everywhere. Dangerous conditions. Wednesday morning saw the main (and only) highway through town shut at both ends due to accidents, one of which was fatal.
The good part is that I don’t have to go anywhere. The bad part is I can’t go anywhere; the last window of opportunity to get wood closed up as the sunshine vanished from the end-of-the-week forecast. Since it’s been cold we’ve been burning more wood and I’ve been splitting it when I can. Could have done with that one last row in the shed, but it’s not going to happen now.
I had words with the gov’t rep and since he was not the youngster looking to make points that started the mess we were able to come to an agreement. It will still cost me money, but not as much as it could have. And I have a couple of years in which to comply. Good, because this is not weather for working in.
October is almost over. November … well the start of the second American Civil War looms. No matter which way the election goes there will be violence as a result. Extremism has replaced rational thinking, and popular opinion has taken the place of facts. Welcome to the new world disorder. It’s like the imagined secret cabal that controls everything set out with a goal to make changes without making improvements and only causing damage. Wait a minute! Does that me Mark Zuckerberg is running the world? Or is Farcebook just a mirror of the unreality around us? (Their site has gone completely bonkers on me, never staying stable in its interface for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m not even trying to use it anymore.)
As I said there has been no sun and there is no promise of it really. The idea of buying the Canon 5D has vanished with the money to do so and the fact the price got jacked up again. Follow the Zen.
Anyway, here are some pictures. Two each from the Canon, the Nikon, and the Lumix(!). These images have just been sitting around on their respective SD cards for awhile because there’s no way of taking decent photos in the dross outside.
Three is an amazing number. It turns up in all sorts of places. Especially stories. In this story it turns up as the number of cameras I’ve set my sights on having. Yes, only three. Right now I have ten – I think. More than I need, anyway. So here is the goal:
1). The Take-It-Anywhere Camera. This slot is currently fulfilled by the Fujifilm F80 EXR. It’s the perfect little point-and-shoot that fits in a pocket but gives great results like a quality 35mm compact. It often exceeds expectations in fact. So no change there.
2). The Daily Grinder or Workaholic Camera. This slot is currently fulfilled by the Nikon P610, which unfortunately keeps failing. Sometimes on shots that can’t be duplicated. It is nearing 3,000 pictures on the current SD card, and I’m pretty sure it was never built to last so long with so much usage. I need the superzoom so that I can quickly switch from a flower close-up to a bird in a tree when I’m out and about. Most of the photography I do gets handled by this camera. The best candidate to replace it is a used Sony DSC-HX350 for $250. Comparable new cameras are 2 to 4 times as much as I paid for the Nikon in the first place, and don’t really offer anything that would justify the expense (I do not have unlimited funds to work with here). The Nikon P950 is the company’s current equivalent and it’s $950 when on sale. It offers more zoom (83X), which is ridiculous in light of the difficulties encountered handling the 60X of the older model, and a lot of ‘gizmo-tech’ I’d never use, along with a certain reputation for fragility that I don’t want.
3). The Experiment Camera. This slot is currently fulfilled by the Canon T100 and I must say it does the job wonderfully. The only shortcomings are the Canon lenses: be warned that EF-S lenses are not up to snuff when it comes to quality. You need to spend silly money to get good glass on these, or else do like I do and shoot with the ancient Takumars. This is the camera I most want to upgrade, and that would be to a Canon 5D. Why? Because of the bigger sensor. That’s not much of a reason because the only advantage is better low-light imaging. That is one thing I could stand to have as I do occasionally shoot night scenes. It just isn’t major. I’ve been waiting for a used one for cheap, but so far ‘cheap’ has been over $700. They just dropped the price on the one I was looking at to $680, so it will probably be sold before my next ‘financial cycle’ starts this coming Thursday.
For all the introspection I’ve done lately on my photography and what would enhance it, this is the result. It would help if I could first unload some of the superfluous cameras, but there are only two that would likely fetch any money worth bothering with. I’m going to try anyway. I would also sell the T100 once there was a 5D to take its place, providing I was satisfied with the exchange.
A curious side note is that 3,000 has nearly come up not only on the Nikon, but on the Canon that I’ve only had since 2018. It’s also coming up on the SD card in the Kodak 850. There isn’t a chance it will occur on the Lumix, as at 500+ images so far the ‘good picture’ rate for that camera is less than 2% and it isn’t likely to improve.
At this point I could move forward in my plan by dropping about $1000. This is not the time of year to spend that money: Winter tends to bring unexpected expenses and it’s a good idea to cushion the bank account a bit beforehand. Plus I have more wood to get, and you just never know what might happen while doing that.
Even if I can and do make these minor changes, what of it? Would anyone besides me notice or even see the difference? Probably not. And what of the other digital cameras that would still be hanging about taking up storage space? Or the next one I see that I want for some trivial reason and decide to buy anyway.