Travelling light

Over the years, I have dabbled with many different makes of cameras, always hopefully, looking for the best one I could possibly afford, and yes, of course I have coveted full frame and Leica cameras.

The full frame dream became a reality a few years ago, having acquired the Legendary Nikon D700, an absolute tank of a camera but with the ability to produce some really good images.

But here lies the issue,  I found after a while that I was taking my smaller mirrorless cameras out more than the Nikon, just because of the weight.

Over the last 12 months, my mindset with regards to the importance of sensor size has changed, so much so, that for my personal photography I use Micro four thirds cameras.
I still have a full frame camera but this is used mainly for work shoots, where I like the extra resolution and low light performance for the bulk of my shots, but the close up images are taken with the M43 gear.

Just recently, I have added a little gem to my M43 list, the Lumix LX100, a camera ticks the take everywhere box, its 24-75mm equivalent lens, has a fast f1.7 aperture and lurking inside, is the m43 sensor!
lx100

Using the LX100 is a pleasure, great for those days when a good hike without a bag of gear is required.

I have managed some really good candid shots with the LX100, to all intents, it looks like a compact snapshot camera, but produces some quality shots!

50mm lens challenge – second outing

Today saw just my second outing of my self imposed single lens challenge

I prepare for each outing the evening before, where possible, so batteries are charged, and I would normally select a camera bag based upon the lenses I would normally choose to take with me.

The one lens challenge makes this ritual easy, the smallest camera bag I own with a couple of spare batteries and a lens cloth!

I am beginning to appreciate the versatility of this focal length.
With decent wide apertures, 50mm can create some lovely soft focus close up shots, but stopped down to F8, I can also get some good landscapes.

With overnight rain and a promise of some early sun, my hope was to catch water droplets on flora with a little of the diffused morning light.
I was not disappointed.

At just the second outing I am ‘seeing’ the shot in my minds eye, before I have the camera switched on, I honestly thought this process would take longer.

The only time I really wished for another lens, was for the butterfly, but in all honesty, I am really happy with the shot I got before it flew off, and at no other time did I feel I was missing out.

Using vintage lenses

My enjoyment of photography leads me to reading and researching a lot about the latest advances in photographic technology, or just reading about how other photographers approach their work.

One such article caught my interest about 18 months ago, a former pro photographer was using his old film camera lenses on his digital camera with the help of an adaptor.

Many of todays mirrorless cameras facilitate such adaptors very easily, so I set about a little more research, eventually acquiring such an adaptor for my Xpro 1 Camera.

The adaptor (M42 screw mount) cost around £15 (no electronics for autofocus) , the lenses anywhere between £10 and £75 – this being my pre defined budget, some of the more sought after vintage lenses will command a lot more in terms of price, but there are some little gems to be found even in the lower price range.

My first acquisition was the much talked about (in forums and such) Russian Helios lens, a 58mm F2 (helios 44-4), a well built lens that at shallow depths of field, produces a swirly bokeh that is liked by many

At F2 the images can be soft around the edges but stopped down, it is a lovely lens to use, especially for portraits.

I really enjoy the tactile experience of a manual focus lens, it has taught me to be more deliberate in my approach to a shot.
Yes, there are times when I have missed certain shots that a modern autofocus lens would have nailed, but somehow, the shots you do get feel like a reward.

It is strange to think that when these lenses were the technology of their day, the lens flare and the faded rendering of colouring of the odd one or two, were considered to be flaws, now we have a more nostalgic view of them, it is called character.

Over the last few months I have acquired a number of lenses, the ones above being in my ‘most used’ section.

Of course, they will not be for everyone, today’s lenses are pin sharp, machine made precision products, with fast autofocus and for wedding photography, I would reach for the native lens without a doubt but for my own enjoyment, vintage lenses have taught me to enjoy photography even more.