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Choosing a format

Tintern Abbey – shot with a Nikon V1 while walking to find a good place to shoot with my large format camera.

I am going to publish an article I wrote about full frame 35mm and medium format soon but first I thought I would instead of arguing which is best show how the formats can live together.

Nikon V1 10mm f/2.8

First micro formats, smaller then MicroFourThirds.

This will be like the little Pentax system, Nikon’s short lived Series 1 experiment (which I liked), and just about every modern phone. The top two pictures were taken with them.

It means small cameras, small lens, lots of depth of field and a camera you can always carry with you to get the shot. I expect unless someone releases something like a pro version of my V1 then this type of camera is going to become our phones and the rest will disappear.

Olympus OM10 Micro Four Thirds

This is a truly useful format as all the pictures coming from phones prove.

What is the best camera, the camera you have with you.

Now we get to Micro Four Thirds. For many this is the best compromise, we still get small cameras and lens, but true system cameras. With a Micro Four Thirds Camera over the shoulder who needs anything more, and if you do a full frame 35mm would make an excellent companion.

Nikon D200

Now for DX cropped 35mm.

Some would say the perfect compromise. While bigger lens, you get more reach then full frame 35mm but still some of the smallness that a cropped sensor brings.

I have used a pair of Nikon D200’s with there DX 1.5 cropped sensor for many years, shooting event photography, weddings, wildlife, studio portraits, fashion, glamour and art nude. A true allrounder.

Now we get to where all the arguments start. Full Frame 35mm.

Good depth of field control, excellent system choice, the perfect all rounder some would counter to the DX cropped crowd. With modern 35mm digital now hitting 60 mega pixels, who needs medium or large format, and with small mirrorless bodies from Sony, Canon and Nikon you can have a small camera too. The downside is; this is 35mm full frame, the glass is not going to be small, unless your talking slow lens, or none autofocus.

Jasmine in Red

If your willing to carry the glass its hard to beat today. It could be your only camera system, or partner it with Micro Four Thirds when you need to travel light.

So now for the big boys. Medium format.

Hasselblad Fuji RDP100

Now cameras like the Fuji GFX and the Hasselblad X1D the new mirrorless cameras one can argue are easy light and portable cameras, but most need a tripod and care with setup.

Large Format 5 x 4

For any one with a mirrorless medium format then 35mm as a second camera does not make sense. A DX body for when you need something smaller and more portable does make a lot of sense.

Its when you think about what formats make good companions, you get why Fuji are only concentrating DX crop and MF crop. They make good bedfellow.

If you wanted just one camera system what would it be.

If you wanted two what would make good companions.

Ageing Tech – when to upgrade

Apple Powerbook 12 inch, my first photo editing laptop

Its likely that Apple will announce their new iPhone this week, so it made me think; when should we upgrade our ageing tech.

I am now typing this on one of Apple’s latest 16 inch laptops, close to top of the range, I only upgraded once Adobe no longer supported the spec. So far in my computer upgrades, its always been newer software that’s driven me to upgrade. My last laptop lasted twelve years so I saw a major improvement in performance and usability.

I tend to upgrade my phones every three to four years. Currently in our family, my iPhone 6 Plus is still getting heavy use by my wife and it is six years old and working fine. My current phone is the iPhone X.

I am thinking of getting a new phone this year but its likely to be one for Caroline, she likes the larger screen so mine will have to last that little bit longer.

Upgrading cameras I tend to skip about to generations. I switched to digital with the Nikon D200. That was replaced by the D300 and then the D300s. I upgraded when the D800 appeared. So jumped from 10 megapixel cropped format to 36 megapixel full frame. We have now had the D810 and then the big jump to the D850, a camera that really tempted me, it was a significant improvement over the D800. I really hope the D850 replacement is another big jump. Either way I am really going to notice the improvement.

Professional Mirrorless Cameras

We are now entering the stage where professional mirrorless cameras are becoming a thing.

Now I am not getting into the debate of, what is a professional camera. For a street artist that might be a little Ricoh GR compact, or a Leica M Monochrom. For a studio worker its likely a big old slow medium format camera. No here we are talking about good all round professional system cameras that can take a beating and get a job done. Whether its snaps of a rapidly unfolding news event, a simple portrait, sports or wildlife. The good all round camera that we then to call the Pro SLR. Here we think about the Canon EOS 1D and the single digit Nikon’s ie the current Nikon D6.

Many would say we are here already and have been for a while with cameras such as the Olympus OM1.

Olympus OM-D E-1MX

The current model is quite a beast and I would agree it is a pro level camera with good system support.

As is the Leica SL and some would say the Fuji; but its only when Canon and Nikon step up that many people take notice.

So now we are starting to here rumours about the Nikon Z9, which is believed to be a mirrorless D6. This would make it close to a 50 MP camera, 8fps, and its rumoured to have 8k video support in a pro body.

For these wanting high megapixels there will also be a Z8 which will share its sensor with the D850 replacement.

Interesting times ahead.

Range Finder Options – PIXII

PIXII Range Finder

Range finder options are few and far between. If your want to use film there’s quite a selection to use. I enjoy using my old Leica M4, but film is not for everyone. I have an old digital M8+ and Epson had their RD1/2.

If you want something modern Leica has been the only option until now, with the PIXII. Its an interesting take and a little like a more modern interpretation of the Leica M-D.

Leica M-D Rangefinder

I like the M-D its very like film like, has no screen but you can use your phone. The new PIXII is very similar.

PIXII Rangefinder

No rear screen but you use your phone and an app. At nearly €3000 its half the price of the Leica, it has a cropped DX sensor so has pro’s and cons, but is another option.

Made in Germ*\ Portugal

It is unfortunate when politics gets in the way of photography, but then photography can be a political statement.

The USA has placed an additional sales tax onto German lens hitting Leica, so Leica who also have production facilities in Portugal are now producing lens there to ship direct to the USA mitigating the sales tax.

It is a shame these cheaper lens cannot be purchased here. I would like a 75mm or 90mm Summicron.

Made in Germ*\ Portugal

Leica Glass – Made in Germany

It is unfortunate when politics gets in the way of photography, but then photography can be a political statement.

The USA has placed an additional sales tax onto German lens hitting Leica, so Leica who also have production facilities in Portugal are now producing lens there to ship direct to the USA mitigating the sales tax.

It is a shame these cheaper lens cannot be purchased here. I would like a 75mm or 90mm Summicron.

Made in Germ*\ Portugal

Leica Glass – Made in Germany

It is unfortunate when politics gets in the way of photography, but then photography can be a political statement.

The USA has placed an additional sales tax onto German lens hitting Leica, so Leica who also have production facilities in Portugal are now producing lens there to ship direct to the USA mitigating the sales tax.

It is a shame these cheaper lens cannot be purchased here. I would like a 75mm or 90mm Summicron.

The best camera is the one with you

So while washing up a bird of pray appeared outside the kitchen window, having only a few moments before it flew off, I grabbed the nearest camera and fired off a few shots through the glass window.

A Leica M10 with 50mm lens is not the best choice of cameras but it was all I had to hand and so, as the old adage goes, – the best camera is the one with you.