I put all six of my usable cameras on my desk today to spend a few minutes using each one. I wanted to decide which one would be the best (and only?) one for me to use. I made notes about how each one felt in my hand, which one was the easiest to use, which one wouldn’t give me back pain after a day with out it, image quality (film or digital), and which camera gives me the best photos without having to spend any time at the computer adjusting sliders. Although my four film cameras are all wonderful in their own way, I decided that I would be better off using a digital camera for reasons of economy and convenience. That left me with the Nikon D810 and the Fujifilm X-T3. The X-T3 has retro appeal and the simulations are similar to film. But it seems like I spend a lot of time making adjustments to get an excellent exposure. Always second guessing the camera. I don’t have to do that with the D810. The exposure is always dead on, except in those situations that will fool any camera meter. Sand or snow, for example. And the D810 isn’t any more complex to use than my F6 or F80. It’s a professional piece of kit that gets out of your way. And when I look at the images on computer later I don’t have to think much about changing contrast etc etc. Nikon’s picture controls do an excellent job of that. The only problem is . . . it’s quite a bit heavier than the X-T3. As I learned last year when I brought it to Canada with a large and heavy zoom lens (I think the zoom lens might have been the biggest part of the problem). What to choose for my main camera? The compact X-T3 with the disadvantage of its fussiness? Or the D810 with the inconvenience of its weight? I’d like to use only one for the sake of simplicity. I was leaning towards the D810 by the time I finished looking over my notes, so I attached a light 50mm F1.8D lens and went downtown to make some photos.
This was the only keeper from my downtown outing, but that was my fault, not the camera’s. I love the 5:4 frame and getting the proper exposure was a piece of cake by just adding 2/3 of a stop with the command dial. The camera took care of everything else.
What’s a photo outing without a picture of the cat at the end of it? I didn’t do anything to this one.
With a prime lens on the camera, I hardly felt the weight on my shoulder even after a couple of hours. I think I would have felt the weight if it was around my neck, though. Not so with the X-T3. Still, maybe I’ll start bringing the D810 and a prime or two with me from now on. We’ll see. I’m so wishy-washy about cameras that next week I might be using my iPhone for everything.
We’re having renovations done in the house and the computer was buried under sheets of plastic for a few days. Thus, no updates here. Just a little bit left to do with the living room wall and then wait for the paint and plaster smell to disappear.
In the meantime, here’s the cat looking unhappy. As he’s been for the past week. The photo was actually taken quite a while before the work started, when his only annoyance was me sticking a camera in his face.
I would like to write that this is a photo essay about something something something, but it’s just a few photos from a roll of Portra 400 that I thought were good enough to share.
Sometimes the photo I make to remember the camera I used it at the end of the roll and sometimes it’s the first picture on the roll. In this case it was the first. As you can see (probably), this roll of film was in a Nikon FM3a and I used the Nikkor 45mm F2.8P for at least this photograph and probably more. Although the thin lens paired with the FM3a makes a compact camera kit, the lens can sometimes be a little awkward to use because the aperture and focus rings are so narrow. Also, the focus ring on this lens is quite stiff and it takes a while to focus. Maybe I should give it a second chance and hope it loosens up. Or only photograph stationary subjects. Anyway, it looks great. And that’s important to the people who collect end-of-an-era cameras like this.
Three of the five photos in this post were made on the way to, in, or on the way back from the town of Seongsan south of Gangneung. The town is not much to look at and its claim to fame is having some very good restaurants that people from Gangneung will drive to eat at. I don’t go to the restaurants on my bicycle rides to the town, but I usually stop at a convenience store at the far end of town. I thought this was a pleasant little scene and made the photo while having a tin of Coke. This Billingham bag was expensive, but it’s very good. I wanted the tan canvas version, but it wasn’t available. In fact, the canvas version doesn’t seem to be available in Korea at all. I don’t remember the name of the synthetic fibre this bag is made of, but it’s sturdy. The red and pink flowers in the background are oversaturated, but these colours seem to be difficult to reproduce well on both film and digital.
The first step of this stepping stone bridge is a long one. I wouldn’t try it with anything valuable in my hands. Like an FM3a.
On the way back home I took the short route over a hill and came across this curious three-wheeled motorcycle. Most three-wheelers I see are smaller than this and look like the pan was attached by “a friend of a friend who knows a guy whose middle school senior owns a welding shop now.” This one is quite long and it seems like it was designed to look like this from the beginning. Except for that seat, maybe. That’s quite a throne. Wait a minute, where’s the engine? In that box? That seems strange. Maybe it’s an electric vehicle?
Amice likes to attack my tripod legs when I move it. But when it stops he likes to lie down next to it. A cat I met at an historical site one time did the same thing.
That’s it for this post. The next film photos are a long way away, but I should have some digital photos to post in the near future.
Except for two out of focus photos of my students, this was the only picture on a roll of HP5+ worth keeping. My FM3a was new and I was eager to test it out. This was the first photo I made on the roll. Sometime later I went for a walk in bright light along a boring road and wasted some good film. My apologies to all involved in the film manufacturing, developing, and scanning processes.
I received some encouraging comments and an email about carrying on with posting photos here. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write. I went to Seoul for a few days and enjoyed using a few rolls of film as well as getting my X-T3 fixed. This morning I went downtown and made a few photos while waiting for the post office to open. I made a few that might be keepers, so perhaps I am coming out of my slump. The photos I made in Seoul and the pictures I took this morning will appear here later, but, in the meantime, here are a couple photos of my cat. Meow.
Amice lying on the arm of the living room chesterfield. You can see he marked his territory by scratching up the back rest. We bought a cheap chesterfield because we knew this would happen . . . .
A dog is a man’s best friend. My wife is Amice’s best friend. Whenever she lies down, he appears and demands to have space made for him to snuggle up.
I sent my film from the Seoul trip off to the lab this morning. I should probably get the scans tomorrow and the negatives the day after that. I’m looking forward to seeing how badly I screwed them up. I hope the FM3a made up for my deficiencies . . . .