Multiple Cameras – Keeping It Interesting….

Over the last little while, for me, it’s been just busy enough at work that photography per se, has been the last thing on my mind.  Mind you, in saying that, I did catch a few neat downtown Calgary skyline shots with my Fuji XF1 and Nikon S9400 when the weather was a little “less cold”Smile  I really hadn’t noticed this skyline shot as it’s been dark when I’ve gotten to work and headed home.  It just now hit a point where we actually have daylight now earlier in the day and later in the evening.

Skyline

Up until the Fuji XF1 entered the picture, I’ve been taking my Nikon S9300 and Nikon S3400 in my daily commute as they are both very tiny.  Adding the XF1 was pretty easy as it added  very little weight.  This current contract has me going about an hour one way using public transit. 

S9400_XF1

One of the key things that attracted me to the XF1 was it’s fast lens.  At f1.8, one can do a amazing amount of low light “stuff” handheld.  My usual cameras that I take with me are would usually be my Fuji X10 with it’s f2.0 lens or the Panasonic LX7 at f1.7.  The XF1 is actually smaller, lighter, as fast, and has the same sensor as the Fuji X10, so no real worries about quality.  One of the things during my commute, is that I have to transfer a couple of times in my daily commute.  It’s bus to downtown, transfer to the C-Train (Light Rail Transit), and then another bus.  A recent new building, the Bow Tower is pretty neat first thing in the morning.  I took these with the XF1 set to EXR mode – High Resolution, Low Noise and handheld.  In reality, I have a lot of photos on this building Smile

Bow TowerHead_Bow Tower

Not too far away is shopping centre called TD Square and they have this indoor park called the Devonian Gardens.  Once in a while, I’ll stop there for a few minutes, and this spot is also a good test for low light.

Devonian GardensDevonian Gardens1Devonian Gardens2

These were taken with the XF1 in Programmed Auto.  One of the things I do like about the X10, XF1 and LX7, is their ability to do low light work.  For the things I do, they are great little units.  My current collection of cameras has been based around mobility, so this, for me goes a long way for always being ready for a shot. 

For me, this is a huge change from my 35mm days.  Digital is a whole new space that I feel has made photography more popular than ever.  Couple what one normally does in the realm for photography, plus couple this into what we are doing in social media, and how digital is being utilized, it is pretty amazing to me.  It’s only been in the last couple of years where I’ve really taken a keen interest again.  It’s not that I haven’t had a camera kicking around, we have, but we only used them for snapshots.  My wife is also an avid photographer and her “big gun” is a Panasonic FZ50, which is a few years old now, but still works fine.  She also uses a pointy shooty, a Pentax Optio P70 plus a couple of my cameras, Panasonic SZ1 and 15 depending.   For her, portability is also key.  She volunteers for a few groups, and having a larger camera is simply not convenient.  She recently got back from a trip in Europe as a chaperone representing Travel Alberta and she only took the Panasonic SZ1 and 15.  She got some fantastic photos!  She took something like 800+ photos during the week she was there.

So… multiple cameras.  I’m actually scared to count just how many cameras I own Smile  Yes, I do use them – I’m figuring at least 10 if not a lot more.  My quest started out in finding out that one camera didn’t quite do the things I wanted.  For the majority of things that I do, I’m one that finds the travel cameras are probably the most functional as an all around camera.  They’re small enough to fit in a pocket or pack and take up literally no space, They can produce very high quality photos.  Not necessarily the best for low light work, but not bad.  That’s where the X10, XF1 and LX7 come into play.  I have quite a few in this space, and each one does something a little different.  The ones I find I use the most are the Nikon S9400 and the Panasonic ZS25.  I also have a Canon SX270HD that is gaining in popularity.  If I think I’m going to need more advanced functionality (though this can be subjective), I have the Fuji F800 and Sony HX30. 

One of the things that I’ve done, and it’s told by many who are the “pros”, is to learn your equipment so you know what type of shots you can and can’t take.  I feel that for most, this is not necessarily a bad thing. BUT the average person probably won’t do that.  From my days in retail photography, which run about 15 years or so, the average person who takes photos does exactly that – take photos that only concerns the memories that want to preserve.  Those are the ones that make up most of the market.  The manufacturers, on the other hand, are trying to promote advanced capability to try and get them more interested in taking pics and as a result, get a better camera.  The problem with getting a better camera, though, is that you one needs to learn more about photography in general.  Like anything else, getting a better tool doesn’t necessarily make you better.  I understand about learning what the camera is capable of doing, but at the same time, one needs to gain some understanding of the “craft”, so one can take advantage of the technology.

For me, having multiple cameras puts a whole new meaning on handy.  My  DSLR and Compact System cameras are set  up with their own bags.  Same with the X10 and LX7.  Reason – they all have spare batteries, hoods, chargers, etc. so keeping them with their accessories keeps everything together.  For most part, the travel cameras, or pointy shooties, tend to be available all the time.

One of the things that I’ve learned from my 35mm days was that back in those days, It was the film that dictated how your picture looked after processing.  Fuji was known for it’s blues, greens, oranges & yellows.  If you wanted a combination of reds and oranges and fine grain, it was Kodachrome slide film, Kodak Ektachrome got you the blues.  The camera itself, well, quality was about the same, Nikon was the pro level, Canon was just behind, and with Pentax, Olympus, and a few others tossed into the mix.  We also had large format cameras back then – Hasselblad, Mamiya, Pentax 6×7.  Leica was 35mm but in the category of “elite”.

Today, some things have stayed the same, and a lot hasn’t Smile  Nikon and Canon are still the “goto” cameras at the high end – we still have Pentax, Olympus in there, but Panasonic and Sony are also in the game.  Lots of other players,  Sensors have replaced film and about the only one that I’ve run into that has retained some of the film characteristics has been Fuji.  Compared to the old days, everyone has something everywhere.  If anything, getting a camera today has probably never been harder.  In fact, from what I’m seeing, if your average “large photo” is around 8×10, which is about what an iPad would show, any camera can take a good photo.  To a point Smile  IF you have a sunny day, or inside the range of the built in flash, the photo quality can be quite high.  Many cameras also have pre-sets for various types of shots like snow, sunsets, certain low light situations to help the user from having to understand the technical side of things.  In watching and helping others, I’ve found that most of the people don’t even know some of these features exist. They stick it in auto and just start taking photos.  They don’t know or probably don’t care about ISO and how it can increase your flash distance or anything like that.  Interestingly, even the more advanced cameras are surprisingly automated over and above their functionality.

I’m one of those that go looking for certain things that a camera can do better than some others, and at the same time try to obtain the highest quality photo that I can get for a given situation.  If I think I’m going to crop or do much post processing, I’ll use the equipment for the photos I want to get.  My middle line cameras are my Fuji X10, XF1 and Panasonic LX7 fit that line for me.  I try always have one of those with me.  If I’m in that higher quality space, or something that I know I’ll be doing more post processing, it’ll be the Panasonic GX1, Nikon 1 J1 or Nikon D3200.  The rest are done with my travel cams and pointy shooties. 

Understanding exposure and how you can create different effects or change how shadows “play” can make for an interesting set of photos.  Today, I happened to spot one of my wife’s XMAS cactii blooming again.  She’s got quite the green thumb, but she also works in a garden centre seasonally, so to say we have plants in the house and yard is an understatement Smile  In any event, the sun was shining thru the window and I took some shots across several cameras.  I got a surprise when I used the XF1 in Programmed Auto – the image blew out way more than normal.

XF!_blowoutXF1 blowout1

This was highly unusual but a valuable lesson.  Somehow, I think, the sensor must have hit a reflection or something, I dunno.  I kicked the EV down about 1.7 and got some shots, and then used my D3200 and Nikon 1 and then a few with my Nikon S9400 and Panasonic SZ25 to test.  In the end, I ended up with these.

DSCF0146_editedxf1_comped

DSC_0599d3200DSC_0600_edited

So… it’s getting late, but in the end, having multiple cameras was a ball for today. 

Onward….

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About gkamitomo
IT Busines Analyst

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