Random Thoughts... [Photographic Edition]

I recently went to get my now decade old Olympus OM-D E-M5 fixed.

That camera body got a sudden meeting with the floor of one of the Hurtigruten ships back in 2017. The screen was smashed to pieces, and had to be replaced. Since it was super old, I didn't bother sending it in for that fix, I just bought a screen myself and thought I could fix it. Turns out that wasn't so easy to just connect up a simple flex cable and have the screen glued back on. But, they fixed it at one of Oslo's photo stores, and I now have a good backup camera again.

Also, bringing out the E-M5 classic was a nice experience, it reminded me of so many nice memories I made with it, as it has been with me for a very long time and has a solid amount of wear & tear. The strap lugs are loose, so I don't trust them anymore, so I have fitted an eye in the tripod mount and I have jerryrigged a strap to use with that, it looks rough, but it works. One detail with the E-M5 classic is how satisfyingly nice the shutter clicks, it's the best sounding shutter I have ever heard. I also have my old E-M1 classic, which also works and is the stand-in for my E-M5 mk.III that I had to send in for service to have the thumb-grip-rubber (that always seems to peel off) reapplied.

I have gotten so lazy with the photography lately. With my E-M5 mk.III I can transfer RAW-files wirelessly directly to my iPad mini, and edit them there, which is so fast and convenient compared to how I used to do it; Remove SD-card, insert in computer, copy files over, open them in camera RAW, make adjustments, export to .jpg, move those to my synced folder, plug my iPad in, and synchronize with iTunes. The only minus with the new solution is that the RAW-files remain in the gallery, and they do take up a lot more space than a .jpg, so I'm now much more stingy with what photos I keep.
 
They're apparently still producing that film, so it isn't a rare item and 'wasting' it wouldn't be a crime. If anything, buying a roll to use in the point-and-shoot and then another roll for the SLR plays a small part in giving Kodak a reason to keep producing it. I read that it's a good amateur level film that's forgiving, so ideal for a point-and-shooter or novice SLR user alike.

Of course how much you value the shots taken is going to depend on how much you paid for the film. I found lots of shots taken with it on the Lomography.com site. It's the first time I've heard that phrase, I don't like it. It implies that film shots are low-fidelity and that's completely untrue. As the site shows, film can produce excellent results when used correctly and I disagree with anyone who assumes that film photos are supposed to be crap. I saw a few on the site and there wasn't much interest. Maybe this works with Polaroid but to me a bad photo is a bad photo. :dunno:

There are examples of people using the mechanical nature of a film camera to get double and split exposures though. I like those. I don't really see what else a digital camera can't do in terms of 'fun'. :p

You're selling yourself short on the SLR, you understand the controls of aperture and shutter speed. You understand ISO and know you're stuck with ISO 200. While you won't know exactly what the result will be in any situation, you can get a good idea. If you're wanting good shots to keep, maybe it would increase the satisfaction if you had the DSLR with you to help set the SLR up. That's something I would do, but then are you just back to your original situation with the DLSR and wanting to be technical.

I used to shoot full manual, but after I starting focussing on wildlife I saw that was pointless and I mainly use aperture-priority now. Maybe you need to give some control back to the camera. I do change the auto-exposure weighting around quite a lot depending on scenes.

I realized I never replied to your message so I'm rectifying that mistake.

Well, my decision is to start shooting with the SLR first, the point-and-shoot will probably get used some other time. I still need to find someone who sells a decent 4SR44 6V battery, though.

Funny thing that you should mention giving some of the control back to the camera, the AE-1 has a shutter priority mode. While opposite from what I'd want to do (aperture priority), it'll still help getting better shots than if I went fully manual. I'll definitely try aperture priority on the DSLR, I've been planning to go shoot some street photography for a while, but first it was moving places that got in the way, then university, now it's weather. Although I might go shoot a bit tomorrow shall it not rain at some point.

Also, speaking of analogue photography, my father wants to digitize his old films. He came to the conclusion that the best way to do it is to scan them with a digital camera with a macro lens. I'm fully willing to lend him my Nikon D5100 for the job, but I have no macro lens. I found a Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 AF-S Micro for €265 at a local pawn shop, with my dad claiming that's too much, while I claim it's a pretty good deal. Looking such lenses on eBay and in classifieds, they don't go for less than that in classifieds, and while I've seen some sold for lower on eBay, it wasn't much lower, meaning shipping would've likely exceeded the difference in price. Not to mention none are for sale currently in Europe.

Is €265 an okay deal for such a lens? They don't make them anymore so I can't find new ones to compare prices, apart from Ken Rockwell's site mentioning it cost about $550 new.
 
Is €265 an okay deal for such a lens? They don't make them anymore so I can't find new ones to compare prices, apart from Ken Rockwell's site mentioning it cost about $550 new.
Seems good to me, you inevitably pay extra for the macro ability. UK used prices are similar. You might be able to find the new price through one of these Amazon price tracker sites or the internet archive, I wouldn't worry about it too much though.

I've still be very much enjoying using the Z9 with the 200-500mm, my collection of decent wildlife photos is slowly growing. I might only get one or two good shots per outing if I visit a forest, a much better hit rate for reservoirs but limited variety of subject. It's a damn heavy combination to carry but I'm used to it now.
 
After my first butterfly pictures at the weekend I went back to looking at macro tubes, something I've looked at ever since I got my D7000 but have never bitten the bullet on. Full control of focus and aperture was always a sticking point with F-mount tubes, as they often don't fully work.

I didn't even realise that Z-mount tubes were being made but I found a set of 12 and 24mm and ordered them. Z-mount lenses have the motors for focus and aperture inside, so the tubes just need electrical contacts. In my case the FTZ II adapter handles the aperture control and it all works perfectly. I'm sure there's a point where if you stacked enough there wouldn't be enough power to operate the aperture properly, but it's most likely that the whole setup would become unusable before this.

So far they seem good, with both tubes, the 200-500mm and the 1.4x teleconverter it's firstly still possible to get a picture and secondly at 700mm the minimum focus distance is brought in by a couple of feet. Need to get out and try them properly though.
 
I'm thinking of upgrading my camera body. There, I said it. But I don't know if it's a good idea. Let me give some pro et contra.

I kinda want to try shooting videos, but the current body (Nikon D5100) really sucks at that. Not only is it limited to 1080p@30fps, but it also doesn't give you full manual control. Also, while Nikon's F-mount lenses are fairly cheap nowadays, it seems to me that when it comes to certain mirrorless cameras and their mounts, there is much more to choose from. And then there's small things like the autofocus system being very out-of-date.

On the other hand, there's still probably lots of life left in the old camera. It's only done like 17,500 shots, which really isn't that much. I probably haven't used the camera to the fullest potential, even if I occasionally find some limitations. Besides, the camera isn't worth all that much, and neither are the lenses that I have for it, which means I can have more fun with it without caring too much about having an expensive camera.

Besides upgrading, I have some other, 'alternative' options.

One of them is expanding instead of upgrading. From what I've seen, there are some relatively inexpensive mirroreless Micro 4/3 cameras that offer 4K video capabilities, even if they're optically usually inferior to my Nikon. By grabbing a relatively inexpensive used 4K-capapble M4/3 camera, some inexpensive lenses, and some other video equipment such as a video tripod and UV filters, I could try out if the hobby is for me or not, and sell on the equipment without losing too much money in the process.

The other is more of a lucky coincidence, and that's the fact that my father's been thinking of getting a new camera as well, so instead of selling my current gear to him, I could get him to get a 4K-capable camera (I've actually been thinking of recommending a Sony Alpha A6000-series camera to him), and borrowing that camera from him. This could get my hands on a decent camera, and if I decide video making isn't for me, there's no big loss, but there are some very obvious drawbacks. I couldn't use the camera all the time (especially since we live in different towns nowadays), and also, I would be less comfortable using gear that wasn't mine to begin with.

And then there is the last, cheapest option: don't buy anything, don't sell anything, try shooting with your phone. It would indeed be the most cost-effective way, and I'd be buying least amount of (if any) stuff I don't need, and iPhones (currently using an 11 Pro) have more than decent video recording capabilities for a phone. However, there are many very obvious drawbacks, like not having much control, to the fact that it just doesn't seem like that much fun.

Do any of those ideas sound good? Am I missing something perhaps?
 
It's funny, I've had some similar thoughts.

Video was definitely a reason for upgrading the D7000 to the Z9, 4K60 being important. The D7000 did 1080p and I believe it gave full manual control (I'd have to check) so at the absolute bottom end, maybe a used D7000, 7100 or 7200 might be a good budget purchase. I was using my D7000 until a year ago and it still performed very well. At one point I know @IceBone was using his D7000 as a talking head camera, during a Google meet.

Now on the other hand I was never that impressed with the video from the D7000, it always seemed to be noisier than it should be. It's one of the flaws of using a DSLR, the sensor gets hot and quality degrades. The Z9 shoots beautiful video as you'd expect and being mirrorless it doesn't suffer from overheating (in my use anyway), but it's still not an everyday video camera. I've actually looked at the Black Magic Pocket Cinema, which offers a lot for the money. Only it uses Canon EF mount lenses instead of Nikon F. There's an EF to Z adapter* but then you'd need a FTZ II and you're hanging more and more stuff off the front of the camera.

I've watched the Sony range for a while, as their smaller RX cameras were popular for video, however their latest offerings seems a bit rubbish. Panasonic Lumix cameras now to be a very popular go-to for video, so I've been meaning to check those out but haven't yet.

For photography, the F-mount isn't dead yet. I chose to stick with it and have no regrets, however I'm pretty sure video autofocus would be better with a Z-mount lens. As such, a Z6 or Z7 might be a good upgrade option for yourself or your father, because you can keep your F-mount gear. I've never actually tried a Z-mount lens, so can't say for certain how they perform for video.

I'm actually waiting to get my hands on the new iPhone 15 Pro before doing anything else and seeing how that handles video. I was happy with the results of recording with my 12 Pro Max when I was in Portugal, given the situation. The Magsafe mounted GoPro handle made getting relatively stable footage a lot easier. There's still room for improvement with the camera though as the framerate wasn't always locked to 60fps. I haven't used my Moment anamorphic lens for a while, but that adds to the fun of shooting with the phone and their app is an improvement over the base iPhone camera app. With the 12 Pro Max the anamorphic de-squeeze doesn't work with 4K60 recording, which was off-putting.

*An important note there would be that as I mentioned with my macro tubes, you're keeping this all electronic up to the FTZ adapter and this ensures full control of the F-mount lens, assuming everything plays nice together.

As a random aside, I still want to make a shoulder mount for the Z9 so I can try it as a *proper* video camera.
 
We had some sort of 4K Blackmagic Pocket Camera at uni, unfortunately, I used it only once or so, so I can't really tell much about it. I'd usually be in groups that would use the Sony camcorder the university also had. (I don't remember the exact model, though.)

My general idea is to have something that's good for photography, but can shoot pretty good video while I'm at it, if I were to upgrade the camera. However, the idea of a dedicated camera for video has its charm, too, even if it's a less practical solution.

I've been actually thinking about the Z6, as well as Sony Alpha A7 III, as my next camera. The Z6 seems like a good overall camera that doesn't really break the bank, however, the A7 III has some niceties that I can't argue with, such as impressive battery life and more autofocus points, as well as more native lenses. A new A7 III is cheaper than a new Z6 II, but when it comes to used cameras, the original Z6's value can hardly be beaten. At least a quick glance at mpb.com tells me so.

When it comes to reusing current lenses, I currently own three lenses, all of which are of DX variety (Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED VR and AF-S 35mm f/1.8G - that's not counting the semi-functional AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G which I still have), so all of them are can use the Z6's full frame sensor partially. But I get that if I were to get some FX F-mount lenses for the D5100, I could reuse them on something like a Z6 with the FTZ adapter.

And for iPhone videography, thanks for mentioning the Moment anamorphic lens, definitely something to check out! The fact it doesn't work fully with 4K60 is a bit disappointing to hear, though.
 
The
It's funny, I've had some similar thoughts.

Video was definitely a reason for upgrading the D7000 to the Z9, 4K60 being important. The D7000 did 1080p and I believe it gave full manual control (I'd have to check) so at the absolute bottom end, maybe a used D7000, 7100 or 7200 might be a good budget purchase. I was using my D7000 until a year ago and it still performed very well. At one point I know @IceBone was using his D7000 as a talking head camera, during a Google meet.

Now on the other hand I was never that impressed with the video from the D7000, it always seemed to be noisier than it should be. It's one of the flaws of using a DSLR, the sensor gets hot and quality degrades. The Z9 shoots beautiful video as you'd expect and being mirrorless it doesn't suffer from overheating (in my use anyway), but it's still not an everyday video camera. I've actually looked at the Black Magic Pocket Cinema, which offers a lot for the money. Only it uses Canon EF mount lenses instead of Nikon F. There's an EF to Z adapter* but then you'd need a FTZ II and you're hanging more and more stuff off the front of the camera.

I've watched the Sony range for a while, as their smaller RX cameras were popular for video, however their latest offerings seems a bit rubbish. Panasonic Lumix cameras now to be a very popular go-to for video, so I've been meaning to check those out but haven't yet.

For photography, the F-mount isn't dead yet. I chose to stick with it and have no regrets, however I'm pretty sure video autofocus would be better with a Z-mount lens. As such, a Z6 or Z7 might be a good upgrade option for yourself or your father, because you can keep your F-mount gear. I've never actually tried a Z-mount lens, so can't say for certain how they perform for video.

I'm actually waiting to get my hands on the new iPhone 15 Pro before doing anything else and seeing how that handles video. I was happy with the results of recording with my 12 Pro Max when I was in Portugal, given the situation. The Magsafe mounted GoPro handle made getting relatively stable footage a lot easier. There's still room for improvement with the camera though as the framerate wasn't always locked to 60fps. I haven't used my Moment anamorphic lens for a while, but that adds to the fun of shooting with the phone and their app is an improvement over the base iPhone camera app. With the 12 Pro Max the anamorphic de-squeeze doesn't work with 4K60 recording, which was off-putting.

*An important note there would be that as I mentioned with my macro tubes, you're keeping this all electronic up to the FTZ adapter and this ensures full control of the F-mount lens, assuming everything plays nice together.

As a random aside, I still want to make a shoulder mount for the Z9 so I can try it as a *proper* video camera.
The fact the Z9 is mirrorless has nothing to do with overheating. It's just cost cutting on the mechanical side while investing in the electronics. I still prefer a good optical viewfinder for composition of photography, but for video it's pointless.
 
The fact the Z9 is mirrorless has nothing to do with overheating. It's just cost cutting on the mechanical side while investing in the electronics. I still prefer a good optical viewfinder for composition of photography, but for video it's pointless.
I thought that going to an electronic viewfinder and therefore having the sensor active all the time would force them to manage heat better. I didn't think I would like the electronic viewfinder but now I'm used to it I wouldn't go back, focus peaking in the viewfinder is something I didn't know I needed but it's useful for wildlife.
 
FWIW, as a optical-viewfinder diehard the Z9's finder is really quite good, I might be swayed to mirrorless someday.

In the meantime, I was looking at maybe grabbing a used D850, but I bought one of these instead.

LH5ViA7.jpg


It's got a roll cage!

(Picture stolen from the Interwebs, but they all look the same)
 
Been really leaning into 617 lately, enjoyed the using the 180mm on the 4x5 adapter but wanted to try something a bit longer.

Now the problem is that the offset 617 adapter on 4x5 vignettes on lenses longer than 180mm, so I just assumed that was just how things were. But then I got to thinking - there were some telephoto lenses offered for LF, which would call for a shorter register distance than the usual plasmats and thereby perhaps avoid the vignetting issue. I did some spec checking and it seemed plausible. However, I couldn't find anyone having tried it so all I could do was hit eBay and find out for myself.

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I am happy to report that some initial testing shows the Fujinon-T 300m f/8 successfully sidesteps the vignetting problem, looking forward to taking some shots with it!
 
Whoops, my finger slipped and I've ordered a 180-600mm Z lens. Last week I got out on three days to take wildlife pictures, and on two days the 200-500mm with FTZ II was playing up. I had always intended to get the 180-600 in the new year, this just accelerated the purchase.

I wasn't sure when there would actually be stock, yesterday afternoon nowhere had any but today a seller I've used before claimed to have stock. As I've just received package tracking it must be true! I will probably get the 1.4x Z TC to go with it, in a month or so.

I had also looked at getting a finance deal on the 600mm S prime lens or the 800mm prime, both considerably more expensive than this. I don't think I could use them effectively enough to justify the cost, so the 'budget' telephoto will do the job.
 
I just learned some fridges in the lab were being cleaned and emptied out and therefore this was just there.
I told them: "If no one wants it, I'll take it. Don't throw it away."
The girl just handed me the box with a "just take it" look. :LOL:
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Try as I might, I can't bring myself to upgrade my gear. First-gen E-M5 body is still serving me quite well, and these two film-era lenses are still seeing frequent use. Though at some point I may bite the bullet and find a more modern telephoto zoom.

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Try as I might, I can't bring myself to upgrade my gear. First-gen E-M5 body is still serving me quite well, and these two film-era lenses are still seeing frequent use. Though at some point I may bite the bullet and find a more modern telephoto zoom.

I also still have my OM-D E-M5 classic camera laying around as my second backup camera, it's still perfectly fine at doing its job. However, for using manual focus legacy lenses the OM-D E-M1 is the petter choice as that has the option of focus peaking which is a very useful tool when you have manual focus lenses. I still have my E-M1 classic laying around as well, it's my primary backup camera.
 
IMG_4984.jpg


Today's flea market finds: a €10 Olympus Mju-1 (I already have one, but this seems to be in better condition, even if it's the version with the annoying quartz date feature), a €5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 (it seems to be in a rather sorry condition, no battery or SD card, but if it somehow turns out to be working, it's a bargain), and three underwater plastic landfill cameras that I only bought because a) they came with Kodak Max 400/24 film each, and b) because they were €5 total. Granted, the film expired in 2006, and god knows where and how it's been stored, but for less than €2 per roll, it's a risk I'm willing to take.

Now I only need to find out if the film is DX marked, and therefore compatible with the Mju.
 
I recently learned about the Epson RD-1, and I need it.
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Come on, having analog dials and a shutter charge lever in a digital camera is just too much for me to resist.
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The itch to upgrade my camera is there again. After doing some shooting with my D5100, I just realized that despite still being decent for my needs, I could really benefit from some of the newer stuff they're putting in cameras nowadays.

Those who have met me in person probably noticed that I suffer from essential tremor, which makes me want cameras with higher ISO and better stabilization. I know I could use a tripod, but 90% of the time, tripod is an annoyance for me. I like my photography somewhat spontaneous, and the tripod takes away a lot of that spontaneity. I also realized that while I like the look of photos taken with a narrow angle lens, it's not something I'd excel at, as I don't have the steadiest hand. So all of that is making me want to shift my focus in what I want in photography. And then there's the fact I want to shoot video, which is one of the weakest points of the D5100, so it makes sense that I have the itch to upgrade.

To reiterate a bit, my current digital setup comprises a Nikon D5100, a kit lens (18-55 mm, f/3.5-5.6), a moderate narrow angle zoom (55-200 mm, f/4-5.6) and a 35 mm f/1.8 prime. I'm still undecided if I want to go full frame yet or save that for another time. If I were to go full frame, I'd need new lenses, so that'd be quite expensive. Right now, for what I want to do, the best buy seems to be the original Nikon Z6, but that's a full-frame camera that I'd need a bunch of new lenses for.

The second option is to get something mirrorless with an APS-C size sensor. Nikon Z50 seems like the best option there, but it lacks Z6's IBIS (unsure whether it's a must-have, but it's definitely a nice-to-have), and it still has a different lens mount than my D5100. The obvious solution is the Nikon FTZ II adapter, but that thing costs about €200 alone, used. Okay, there's the original FTZ, which costs some ~€50 less, but I've heard the FTZ II is miles better, so it might be a better investment. That way, I could use all of my current lenses, but a friend shoots with a Z50 and an FTZ adapter, and says that autofocus doesn't work all that well. So not an ideal situation either.

Now, as for what I want to shoot. I mostly shoot while I'm traveling, and then it's mostly stuff like landmarks, architecture, landscapes, cars and general scenery. It's rarely people, I'm an introvert. At first, a kit/zoom lens seems like a fine idea, but I still somehow prefer primes, even if I've never actually shot portraits. So maybe I could make do with a Z6 and a couple of lenses?

And then we come to my fascination with the Ricoh GR series, even if they seem to be geared towards street photographers, I'd love to get one of them for traveling. I like their minimal size and weight, the picture quality seems excellent, too, and the GR III series even has built-in IBIS, but they are definitely too expensive for me. Used ones hold their value remarkably well. However, I'm not sure if I could stand being constrained with just one lens.
 
Yeah, I recently learned about the Ricoh GR cameras and they really seem interesting as a "no-frills, just got out and shoot" kind of camera.
I am quite pleased to see more cameras like that coming out, like the Fujifilm X1000VI, even if they're a bit on the expensive side (let's not mention the Leica Q3).
 
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