Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Nikon D600 - the countdown is on

Almost definitely, the new Nikon D600 will be revealed just before Photokina, probably around the 10th of September.  I believe 'entry' level full frame SLRs will be the big hit in the photography industry over the next year.  Shortly after you will see a similar camera from Canon, and with all likely hood Sony and Pentax will follow.

Start counting your pennys as full frame DSLRs are about to go mainstream.

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Monday, 27 August 2012

Trips x2

In the last week I have had two trips away, one to Pembroke in Eastern Ontario, and the other to Rochester NY.  On both trips I took the D90 with 18-200mm lens, and I took the NEX5n with Sigma 30mm to Pembroke.  For Rochester I took the Fuji X100.  Only once did I take out D90, and I ended up taking two shots with it, before putting it away.

However, both the X100 and the NEX5n got used a fair amount, and I took approx 50 shots with each on the trip.  Small, usable cameras are very often the ones that get the shots because they're their when you need them.

Fuji X100 - St Lawrence Markets

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Versatile, but....

As I mentioned in a previous post, the X100 is a very versatile camera , but there is one situation where it will just not work, and that's for telephoto shots.  The only way you can make it work is to shoot and just hope there is enough resolution to pick up the subject.  This was the case when this ground hog appeared on the front 'lawn' of a house a few doors up.  he wouldn't let me get very close, so I had to shoot and hope.  I would say I was partially successful.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Shooting Street Scenes with the Fuji X100

The Fuji X100 is an incredibly versatile street shooter, despite the fact that it has just a prime 23mm lens.  Here's a few very different shots, all taken on Mt Pleasant Road in Toronto within 30 minutes of each other, that demonstrate that fact.

The X100 has lovely bokeh when shooting with a shallow depth of field.

It is able to focus extremely close.  This shot was of a diorama positioned only a few inches behind the shop window glass.

Normal street scenes are a cinch. 

The camera is non-threatening in a way that a DSLR isn't, allowing you to squeeze into places to get shots you normally couldn't.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ottawa Valley Prep

Tomorrow I go on a trip to the Ottawa Vally for work and I am wondering what camera to take.  Usually I try to take just one body and one lens, but going to more rural areas presents photographic challenges.  Wide lenses often don't work as things are off in the distance, while a tele lens restricts to many opportunities.  I might end up taking the D90 and the 18-200mm, but having a small camera sitting on a pocket on the centre console of the car is very handy.

Decisions, decisions.

Tall Poppy cafe, Wellington, ON               Sony NEX5n with Sigma 30mm f2.8

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Elmar love

A few days ago I pulled out my Leica 90mm f4 Elmar with the NEX 5n and decided to shoot a few flowers in the garden.  My Elmar is a collapsible one, dating from around 1957-1958, and though clean outside, it has a couple spots of haze inside.  However, this doesn't stop it from producing outstanding photographs. Here's a couple shots of dahlias, both being straight out of the camera and lightly cropped.

Friday, 17 August 2012

DSLR vs Mirrorless - what do I buy?

Sometimes people ask me whether it's better to go with a D-SLR or one of the new mirrorless cameras, and as usual, my comment is "Well, it depends".  Here's my pro list for each type of system.

DSLR pros
-Fast auto focus
- Generally a very wide range of lenses and other accessories available, both new and used
- Fast operation - ie easy to access menus, very little shutter lag, optical viewfinder

Mirrorless pros
- Size and weight
- Ability to adapt a huge variety of old lenses

- Image quality

At the end of the day it really depends on what you will use the camera for.  If you need a small sized camera, but want to step up from a compact, then go mirror-less.  If you need flexibility so that you camera can shoot a wide variety of subjects, the get a DSLR.  I, like may others, have both; and this allows me to choose the perfect camera for what I need.

Barn on Prince Edward County  - Sony NEX 5n with Sigma 30mm f2.8  (mirrorless with AF lens)

Nikon D90 with Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro - AF lens
Daffodil - Sony NEX5n with Leica 50mm f2 Summicron - adapted MF lens (Note: Pic is heavily cropped from original)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

So that's where they're from - Sigma DP1 and DP2 Merrill

The interesting thing about the new Sigma DP1 and DP2 Merrill high end compact cameras is not the 48MP Foveon sensor (it isn't really 48MP), but the lenses that come with these cameras, a 19mm f2.8 on the DP1 and 30mm f2.8 on the DP2.  Sound familiar?  Well it should because these are exactly the same specs as Sigma's new prime lenses for NEX and M43 cameras.  Looking at the front element, I bet the lens design is exactly the same, except it folds up compactly as a fixed lens on the Sigma compacts.
Even though these lenses are well priced, it doesn't mean the quality isn't there.  Far from it in fact.  They easily outdo all of the native Sony E mount lenses, except the super expensive Carl Zeiss 24mm f1.8.

Yonge and Bloor subway station, Toronto ON.     Sony NEX 5n with Sigma 30mm f2.8

Monday, 13 August 2012

C64 Memories and Photokina

I saw this mint-in-box Commodore 64 a while ago at the Antique Markets at the St Lawrence Markets.  I made me think for a bit as that a piece of the latest technology when I was in High School is now at an Antiques store!  This makes me feel very old.

Still technology is a wonderful thing, and the upcoming Photokina in Germany will show many of the latest cameras to come out.  New arrivals that are expected include the Nikon D600 and the Fujifilm X200.  There may be an appearance by a Nikon D600 competitor from Canon (a 6D?), and perhaps even a preview of the Leica M10.

All in all it promises to be an exciting show!

Fuji x100

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sign Intrigue

One thing that the recession did a couple years ago was to consolidate a lot of the antiques dealers in our area.  One on Mt Pleasant Road that recently close was sporting a damaged sign, with the previous shop owner's sign showing.  The sign underneath is very old, I suspect from the 1960s, and it is quite wonderful how our history can be preserved and turn up in the most unlikely places.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Sony RX100 and the Nokia 808 Pureview

There's two just released products that have really caught my eye over the last week or two, and while completely different, in some ways they are remarkably similar.

The Sony RX100 is a large sensor compact that is closer in to size of a small credit card sized compact, than say a Fuji X100.  It has a sensor the same size as a Nikon 1 series, and has sharp and fast Carl Zeiss zoom equivalent to 28-100mm, yet has a fast aperture f1.8 @ wide angle.  This drops off to a slow f4.9 at the far tele end, but still pretty good.  From what the reviews say, the image quality is truly remarkable for a camera this size, and ISO 1600 and 3200 are still quite usable, unlike any other compact which is no good past ISO 400.

The Nokia is a camera phone, in that order.  A camera first, a phone second.  It also has a very large sensor, similar in size to the RX100 and also uses a fast aperture Carl Zeiss lens, this time a prime.  The remarkable thing is the sensor that is an incredible 41 megapixels!  That's more than the Nikon D800, and similar to most medium format cameras.  It runs software that interpolates pixels down to a more manageable 5 MP if desired.   It is far and away the best camera in a phone out there, but is hindered by clunky software.

For both these cameras I love the idea of portable go anywhere ability.  I especially like the idea of the Nokia as I almost always have my phone with me, and having a great photographic tool as part of it would just be icing on the cake!

Distillery District    Fuji X-100

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Ralph Bissonnette - In memory of a Skater Boi

Earlier this year a skate boarder was knocked down by a taxi on King Street and was killed.  A few days after, my wife and I passed by the exact spot where he died, and a make shift memorial was erected in his memory.  I don't know the exact circumstance in which he died, but I believe the taxi driver was later charged.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Same Scene, two different shots

These two photos were taken only about a minute apart, but are completely different in look and feel.  For the first one I had forgotten to change the settings on the X100 from forced flash with exposure compensation dropped by 2 stops from an earlier shot.  That's why it has that late dusk look.  After I had discovered what I had done, I exposed the shot correctly, switched off the flash and generated a completely different image.

Friday, 3 August 2012

My Uncle's nasty cat

My Uncle's cat is a piece of work.  No one can get close to her without her hissing and causing a big scene.  Often you'll get swiped at if you're not careful.

However for some reason she didn't mind having her photo taken outside, even though I was quite close to her.  Maybe she liked the X100 as much as me.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Olympus EPM1 - super small micro four thirds

Though I have written about the micro four third format in the past (click here), the one camera that does intrigue me is the Olympus EPM1.  The M in the name is for mini, and it sure is small - just 270g for the body with battery and memory card loaded.  The two things I like most about this  camera is its tiny size and built in camera stabilisation.  

The lens I would get with it is the Panasonic 20mm  f1.7.  Its very small size and fast aperture make it ideal for this camera, and in camera stabilisation will allow it to operate in very low light, even with a lowish ISO.  Just as well as this camera doesn't have anywhere near the high ISO capabilities as the NEX 5n or Fuji XPro-1.

Used, the camera runs for about $250-$300 and the Panasonic 20mm lens for $300-$350.
As I have written before, the EPM1 would also work well with a full frame 60mm macro with an adapter.

Intrigue is an expensive feeling for me, so I better make sure I start to use something I already have quickly!

Distillery District Wedding - Fuji X100