A tale of two canons

I had not intended to begin a new project so soon after my last one but typically my enthusiasm got the better of me and here I am, jumping feet first into my next, where I shoot with older cameras bought at bargain prices.

The last week or so has been like Christmas come early, where two packages awaited my return from work on consecutive days, my canon G11 and Canon S95.
Spare batteries for both were to follow but I had to wait until Saturday morning before their first proper shoot, a walk around Exeter city centre and quayside.

With the S95 having such a small form factor, it’s potential for street photography is evident, nobody worries about a small point and shoot looking camera, the S95 is however very capable with manual controls easily to hand.

The G11 is bulkier but not hugely so, the longer zoom of 28-140mm will be something different after being so used to just 50mm.

The colours from both are very pleasing, canon’s colour science is legendary and with some beautiful light already present, getting some decent images was not difficult.

To say that I am happy with what these aging cameras turned out is an understatement, my previous shunning of small sensor cameras left in tatters as I have three candidates for my favourite photos of 2022 among this set of images.






With a Lumix GF2 and 20mm F1.7 lens waiting in the wings and a potentially successful bid on a Lumix LX5, both may have to wait a while for their turn on my weekend outings, needless to say I shall be looking forward to this Saturday and Sunday.

Foggintor with the Canon G11

It’s the Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend, the last throes of the summer holidays for many, for me, a time to secretly look forward to those cheeky Friday’s off and three day weekends as the food industry gets a little quieter.

Normally on a bank holiday, I would stay closer to home, allowing the madding crowds to descend upon their chosen destinations but an invitation to visit Dartmoor will rarely be turned down, especially as it will be one of my favourite parts of Dartmoor – Foggintor.

I decide today to bring the Canon G11, it will be the perfect way to get more used to this latest of my ‘old gear’ purchases but a camera I am finding a joy to use.

The last time I travelled this light with camera gear was when I shot an entire year with a Fuji X100F, even then, I would sometimes bring a tripod and filters, not so this time.
Of course with the G11, I have the luxury of a zoom lens, something that is taking a little used to after using fixed primes for so long.

Just a couple of brief trips with the G11, has brought a real sense of fun to my photography, with a bigger full fame camera, there is a subconscious demand on myself to produce the best images I can, where the G11 just makes me want to walk further, see more and take more images.

While I say that the G11 is for fun, it takes some seriously good photos, in fact it is this very camera that has produced one of my favourite images of the year so far…



The G11 captured this, the beautiful light and shadow on the landscape, a favourite image of 2022

Of course, this is just one of many images on today’s walk and while I am praising the image quality of the G11, it does have a couple of small annoyances, one being that it is easy to alter settings by pressing buttons accidentally when carrying the camera in hand but all in all a small gripe in the grand scheme.

Enough about the camera’s faults, and more from its strengths, taking images:


Given the number of images in the gallery, it is fair to say that I really enjoy using this 12 year old camera, needless to say it will be heading out with me on a few more walks in the coming weeks.

One frame – and then there were three.


My camera collection has grown a little over the last few days, my recent outing with a Lumix LX3 that I had bought for next to nothing, prompted search for more digital compacts at reasonable prices.

While an online search was promising, a friend of mine mentioned he had a box of camera gear he was looking to shift and would I be interested?
Does a bear facilitate its lavatorial functions in the woods?

Long story short, I have four ‘new to me’ cameras in my collection, two of which had their first proper shoot yesterday, the others will have their day in the coming weekends.

The Canon G11 and S95 are both around 10-12 years old and fit my old camera theme very well, so I was looking forward to using them on today’s shoot.

While the S95 is very pocketable, the G11 is bulkier but both lighter in my camera bag than my trusty 5dII.

Keen to get out before the bank holiday crowds descended, I set out at just after 6am, a familiar route along the riverside for what was to be one of my most enjoyable photo walks.

I will post another blog over the next day or two of the many pictures I took today but my favourite was a minimalist image of 3 pigeons perched on top of one of the flood defence pillars on my route, the almost clear sky adding a good backdrop.

Initially there were just the 2 pigeons, as I approached, a third joined the avian meeting, which made me remember one of my favourite Genesis albums “And then there were three”

With the s95 in hand, the image was mine, I knew immediately it was going to be a monochrome image, the slight grain from the tiny sensor adding more character to the image.

I think the S95 will be in a bag with me at all times now, it’s small size is ideal, as I still prefer a camera to my mobile phone for images.





What next?

After eight months of shooting with a 50mm lens, this was the first weekend where I could select whatever gear I wanted from my photographic armoury, whatever I did select, would be in keeping with my other theme of 2022, shooting with older gear.

Alongside my Canon 5d Mk II, I also have a Canon 50d and a charity shop bargain in a Panasonoc LX3 digital compact camera.

It was the LX3 that found its way into my bag this Saturday and Sunday and I could not believe how much I enjoyed using this great little camera.

Now I have a confession to make, in that my previous obsession with uber sharp images and keeping up with the latest tech within my budget had made me a ‘sensor snob’, I followed the well trodden path to the holy grail of photography ‘full frame’ having fallen for all those articles online and watching those you tubers who would only review the latest offerings with the most expensive lenses.

My eureka moment, or epiphany was watching my all time favourite landscape photographer, Charlie Waite on a shoot with a digital compact camera, the Lumix LX5, the younger sibling to my LX3, if this type of camera is good enough for a photographer of Charlie Waite’s standing, it is more than good enough for me!

With such a small camera in hand, the freedom from a bulky DSLR is evident and with a decent macro mode, I was in my element.

The true revelation of this camera was seeing the images on a bigger screen, the lens on the LX3 is superb, the in camera dynamic black and white is very good!

Naturally noise is an issue with these tiny sensors, evident from iso 800, yet the grain is not unpleasant, for me, it adds more character to the black and white Jpeg’s, and dare I mention the ‘filmic’ look with the older CCD sensor.

While I am no longer in the market for the latest and best, I will be on the look out for more of these older cameras for sure.

50 days of 50mm – the final day

After eight months, today sees the completion of my 50mm project and where better to complete my goal than my home city of Exeter, sharing some of my favourite views and images through my Carl Zeiss 50mm F2.8 Tessar lens and trusty Canon 5d II camera.

It has been an enjoyable journey, seeing the world through one focal length has honed my observational and creative skills no end, one revelation being my now regular usage of multiple vertical shots stitched together in post to create panoramas without the barrel distortion a wide angle lens would have.

Wider apertures on a fifty make them ideal for low light shots or those close ups I have come to enjoy so much, especially with the vintage manual lenses I have used more often than not.

There is no doubt that I will continue to have a 50mm lens in my bag, it is a lens that I have rediscovered after thinking I preferred 35mm.

From a financial prespective, I have rarely thought about new expensive lenses or gear since this project began, if anything, I will continue my ongoing ‘older gear’ theme for some time to come.

I already have a few ideas in the meting pot for new projects but for now I want to dig out more of my other vintage lenses and get used to shooting with a variety of lenses.

To all that have followed and encouraged me on this journey, thank you.. here are the pick of day 50’s images

50 days of 50mm #49

As I edge ever closer to the finishing line of my 50 days project, I am keen to reach my goal by the end of this weekend, so decide to get out for a rare week evening outing, for a short stroll with my Pentacon lens

The evening is still rather warm, temperatures have been in the mid to high twenties celcius this week but at just after 7pm, the harsh sunlight has gone.

I decide to take in one of the public parks / gardens, about a 15 minute walk from home, just to see what nature shots I may find.

Using a 50mm lens for this length of time has brought me a lot of pleasure and I have truly realised the versaltility of this focal length.

I have always enjoyed macro photography, but this old lens can focus close in to capture the finer details of nature without the expense of a dedicated lens.

50 days of 50mm #48

Early on in this 50mm project, I saw an opportunity to get more acquainted with some of the vintage 50mm lenses I had acquired from charity shops and online outlets.

My good intentions were halted in their tracks by the enjoyment of using my Pentacon 50mm lens, more often than not but today’s walk finally saw me using my Carl Zeiss Jenar Tessar 50mm 2.8 lens.

The pattern for much of August so far has been to get out early, more to avoid the inordinately high temperatures we are seeing in the UK at present than to chase a sunrise.

Even at just after 5:30 am, there is a warmth in the air, the sky an expanse of beautiful blue with no hint of clouds, another scorcher on the way.

The Jenar lens is one of the few lenses that will focus to infinity on the 5d, without grazing the mirror, one of the reasons the Pentacon has taken a firm place in my camera bag.

As with many of these vintage lenses, the colour rendition is very pleasing and even at the widest apertutre of F2.8 this lens offfers a pleasing bokeh and subject separation.

As I take my normal route towards my riverside walk, the light makes for some pleasing images at St. David’s church, even at a wide aperture the images are pleasantly sharp without being clinically so.

With a mixed bag of monochrome, reflections and close ups, I have enjoyed this morning’s walk and I shall look forward to sharing the images later in the day.

50 days of 50mm #47

With the welcome return of some of my most anticipated yearly events, today’s visit to Torbay steam fair is one I have looked forward to for some time.

It is another day of cloudless blue skies and hot August sun, a reminder perhaps of that summer of ’76 when I was just a ten year old with seemingly endless weeks of summer holiday ahead of me.

The photographer in me would love to see a few more clouds in the sky, the realist in me is just so glad to be back at an event that I have always enjoyed, a comment that would be said more than once today by fellow spectators and exhibitors alike.

The event sprawls over two very large fields, with an array of classic cars, motorcycles, tractors and traction engines, as well as a number of fairground rides and various food stalls.

My sense of smell is working overtime, the aroma of fried onions from a burger stall has to compete with the delicious aroma of Indian spices from a curry stall, that in turn over ridden by the smell of coal and oil from the stars of todays outing, the traction engines.

Using a 50mm lens for such an event is certainly challenging at close quarters , these iron leviathans soon fill the frame, so I decide to get closer still and pick out the detail shots of the engines and their owners as they work on their machines.

My camera has worked hard today, a good few hundred images will take some sorting but here are a handful which hopefully capture the essence of one of the highlights of my photographic year.



50 days of 50mm #46

Back in the late spring, I visited a forest that to my shame, I had not really explored that much, despite being just a few miles from my doorstep.

I blame my preoccupation of Dartmoor and the nearby coast for my lapse but today, I intend to fulfil a promise I made to myself after the last trip, which was to become more familiar with my local forests and woods.

Immersing myself within this beautiful landscape is not hard, listening to the stonechat just ahead of me, interrupted very rudely by the screech of a jay, neither of which I see, just knowing they are here is good enough.

I choose once more to use my manual focus 50mm lenses (50mm takumar F1.4 and Pentacon F1.8), as I find the act of twisting a focus ring so much more pleasurable than pressing a button, that same feeling goes for changing aperture value on the lens itself, rather than through a screen.

Hopefully the enjoyment I had here is evident in my selection of photos in the gallery below, I will also ensure my next visit will sooner than the autumn.

50 days of 50mm #45

Sunday morning has rolled around far too quickly, my brief visit to Salcombe is almost over as I make my way back to Exeter to commence another working week.

In my usual manner, it will be a meandering trip back, stopping off to add a few more photos to my collection and to complete day 45.

Totnes will be the first stop, a bustling market town just about 20 miles from Salcombe, where I will follow a footpath along the river to the local steam railway station but only after I have made my usual vist to ‘the island’ a very pleasant and popular public space by the River Dart.

Today, I have decided to use my Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 lens and my Pentacon 50mm F1.8, same focal length but so different in their rendition of colour and sharpness.