SIZE IS NOT IMPORTANT…IT’S HOW YOU USE IT (AND WHAT YOU’RE PHOTOGRAPHING.)

by Feb 2, 2024

A LOOK AT VARIOUS PHOTO EQUIPMENT – WEDNESDAY 31st JANUARY 2024.

Us photographers are great ones for comparing our equipment with others, be it the cameras, lenses, bags, tripods, filters…the list is endless. Tonight, our club members brought along various photography-related items for all to see, discuss and compare. We went through some sixty-plus years or more of items and saw lots of new gadgets – there will always be the “newer version” that’s just arrived.

David A took the presentation lead role and told us that he was considering switching to a mirrorless camera, to replace his current Nikon. Discussions followed where those of us who had brought along our cameras compared what kit we had, where it became clear that size played a role in what was chosen but it is not the most important factor.

As you can see from the above, the camera bodies vary greatly and, in many cases, there are suitable lenses to choose from that are of a similar size to the camera, thus reducing size and weight. Others may be smaller cameras but they work with the “full size” lenses and can therefore be just as big overall.

As to the march of the mirrorless cameras, a question was asked as to why they are “better”. Many reasons come to mind – size and weight being the most obvious. But the removal of the mirror also means that the sensor can be better protected when changing lenses and thus help keep it clean. There are also far better communication options between the camera body and lens, as can be seen by how many features can be added and controlled by the lens – e.g. in Canon RF lenses, you can assign different functions to different lenses to control features like white balance and aperture so that each lens can be suitably set up for your needs.

Dave S explained that his Olympus camera (now branded as OM if you are looking) has many built-in features that are exclusive to it, e.g. over a long exposure, you can see your images building in the viewfinder. It’s like a built-in ND filter. If you’re interested, more can be found here:

https://explore.omsystem.com/us/en/om-1#tech-specs

The choices are often based on what is planned. Many will simply use the smartphone camera for the opportunistic shot when out and about. Personally, if I have planned a true photo walk, then I will bring along and carry the full kit, tripod, filters and the rest. It is always going to be the case – a street photographer wants something small and discreet if they are aiming for the spontaneous but if you have planned your day, you will take along whatever is suitable.

Paul S then showed us how it used to be with two superbly maintained film cameras that he uses for his street portraits. The first dates from the early sixties – the Mamiya C3. This can take 6 x 6 or 6 x 9 – with a plate fitted. The second and his favourite is the Voightlander, complete with a custom leather case. Both are in fantastic condition and Paul is clearly someone who cares very much for his cameras. They and the lenses were carefully wrapped and packed in his bag. He also showed us some images taken with these and revealed he had achieved his ARPS way back when the RPS HQ was in Mayfair – with red mounts no less!

Just to follow up, Paul and others highly recommend Mr. Cad for all things related to film photography. The store can be found in Victoria and the link is here:

Getting back to more modern equipment, David A demonstrated his extra-long monopod – mainly used for his work as a surveyor. Linked by Bluetooth with the iPad, he took this shot of us all.

Chris R then took us right back down in size with his new Platypod. More with the link below but it is a very effective small and firm camera stand that can be used when tripods and such are not allowed. Very discreet and easy to use.

Dave S then got rid of the photo gear almost entirely and showed us his Loreo Lite 3D viewer. He had also brought along a set of “3D” images. These were simply two shots taken with a conventional camera but taken some 6” apart – on the same plane – so that, when printed together and viewed with the Loreo, a true 3D effect can be seen. Pretty much all of us who looked did get the effect.

For my part, I had my iFootage monopod with a difference – the bottom is a mini tripod. This can be great for a stand-alone low-level shot and can also be taken along with a full tripod so that one can get down low if needed.

I also had my set of Urth magnetic filters – these being 43mm for the 50mm RF 1.8 lens. The set can be seen in the link below and the magnetic strength is excellent.

Alfred demonstrated his variable ND filter. He had brought it via Amazon US as it was far cheaper. It is two polarising filters together and you turn to increase/reduce the effect. Be careful though as at a certain point, there can be a “crossover” effect on the image. The link here is to Amazon UK:

David M showed us a “Reverse Grad” filter – where the middle of the filter is darker than the top. This is ideal for sunrise/sunset when the horizon can be the brightest part of the overall image.

We enjoyed much discussion and I think we also got a lot of useful knowledge from the evening. Thanks to everyone who came along – including our guest, Anne – and to everyone who brought something along and shared their enthusiasm.

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