Friday, May 8, 2009

Camera gears and me

Many times, I tried to post something about photography, but I ended up deleting everything because it's such a messy subject. So I will just talked about how I ended up owning the gear I own today. It will be a very photographic oriented post, so if you are not interested... just skip it..

The first contact I had with camera was the Minolta film camera... 35-70 I think, nothing fancy, AF and that's all... It was just to take pictures during a trip in the center of France.

My second contact came with the digital camera Canon S45. A good camera over all. I think my brother still uses it, I am not sure, if he read this passage, he may confirms it. The color was a bit reddish, noise were quite obvious, but it gave good results for a first digital camera. I also liked its compactness, though I would have preferred a slimmer body, some quicker reaction time and by the time, I was dreaming about interchangeable lenses bodies at the time.

Then, I revert to the past. In 2004, I took a Voigtlander Bessa R2, with few lenses. A film rangefinder. Few years ealier, one of my friend showed me his Leica M3, it was magic. The way you clearly see everything, the way you can precisely focus on anything and the silence... So, naturally, I was looking for a rangefinder. while I could not afford any Leica bodies, the Bessa R2 was a quite good alternative. It was a good camera, well built, good handling, very light and compact. The viewfinder was fine. But, the base length was short (in other words, the focus stroke was short, it focused too quickly, so prone to error) and it was loud. The camera was making a very distinctive "chlack" when taking pictures. Sometimes, I was lacking of precision with tele lenses. Talking about lenses, I owned a Voigtlander Ultron 35/f1.7, sharp, compact, very well built, I liked it a lot. I also owned a Jupiter 3 50/f1.5, a soviet lens. I took it at 100USD on ebay, quite expensive but a really good performer. I used this lens 90% of the time. I liked the field of view, its bokeh. It appeared clear to me that with this lens, I found the way I look to the world. I also owned a Jupiter 9, a 85mm f2. Could not do too much with it as it was too long for the R2 to get a good grasp on focus precision.

Later, in 2005, As I wanted to do some macro photos, I started looking for SLR. Also, did not have a lot of money by the time... student life... so I got my hands on a 2nd hand Nikon F3 from ebay. Built like a tank, it was nearly fully manual, no AF, just a A mode, huge viewfinder. A very good body. Along with it, I asked Yukyin to get me a Tamron 90 f2.8 SP Di Macro lens, a very good macro performer too. I started to get some macro and some portrait shots but not that much... Doing film was still quite expensive, so I couldn't do much.

I kept these two bodies until 2006. The Bessa R2 went on sale with all its lenses, except the 85 that I left in France... don't know why... Yukyin was complaining that I never process my rolls of film, which it was the case, I still kept them in my dry box, I don't have the time to work on them. So, we broke the credit card and I got my hands on a Fujifilm S5 Pro, a DSLR, Nikon outside, Fuji inside, and that was make all the difference!!! Fuji is known to have unmatched color rendering especially for skin tone. As I only do portraiture, macro... It was perfect for me.

Following the body, I purchased a Nikkor AF-D 35 f2, a lens that would give me the same framing as the 50mm for film or Full Frame body. This lens is my all-around lens. It sits 90% of the time on my camera. The lens is sharp, fast. For the cons, I would say that I would prefer a focus ring that does not turn when focusing, a IF design and some weather sealing, but that's probably asking too much.

Then, at several occasions, we quickly find out that I could not frame wide enough, so I went to fetch a wider angle lens and finally took a Nikkor 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 Nothing much to be said, a good Swiss army knife. But I think I won't keep this lens so long, I just use it wide open and there is too much distortion, so will probably sell it to get a fix focal wide angle or an ultra-wide lens.

Last Christmas, I decided to sell the F3... another hard time... well, I was not using it a lot... in fact, not at all. So, guess it's better that way.

My last purchase was a SB-900, a flash. I got it just before Nikon raised their prices :). I am still learning how to use it, so pictures will come later.

Now, for the things I want, there is probably too much to say. But I know that I will continue portraiture/macro work, so I'll probably go towards long fix focal with macro possibility, like the Sigma 150mm f2.8. For the body, it's just a tool, as far as the S5 turn on and give me some good pictures, I keep it.