Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ricoh GR, You My Only Friend

So, we already know the dSLR is dead (to me). 

But recently I have had the urge to take that last step and downsize to ONE CAMERA - ONE LENS.
I spent a sad amount of time deliberating the next purchase:
  • What single focal length suits me best? 
  • What features can't I live without? Viewfinder? tilty screen? Fast lens?
  • Do a want a new camera, or one lens for the NEX? 
  • Do I dare get a small sensor'd p&s as my only camera?  
  • Do I "cheat" and get a zoom?
  • How compact do I actually want/need?

I used various methods to attempt to solve this. I parsed 10 years of EXIF data, across several cameras, hoping for an answer. I tried using my wife's Panasonic LX-7 to see which focal lengths I used most and if I could stand a small sensor.

Nothing was conclusive.

So I just looked at most recent shots. By this time, I had sold all the lenses for my NEX-6, and had nothing to shoot with. I DID find I was missing the two Sigma primes, especially the 19mm. When I looked at the last year's worth of shots, they WERE mostly with that lens. But could a 28mm equivalent really be my ONLY focal length?? I just spent the last few months wondering if 35 was too wide, or if 50mm was too tight. Surely, a 28mm is less than ideal; not wide enough to be wide, and no where near tight enough for even standard walk around shots.

Well, In the end, I just went with my gut. I purchased the camera that seemed absolutely insane on paper, but that I also couldn't stop thinking about.

  • Fixed 28mm(equiv): TOO WIDE!
  • ONLY f/2.8: TOO SLOW!
  • Slow AF: SLOW!
  • No Image Stabilization: HANDHELD NEVERMORE!

What can I say? This is the camera I have been looking for since before I knew I was looking. Not only is it more than the sum of it's parts, it's orders of magnitude thereof. Im so taken with this camera, that I'm considering getting a GR1 film camera.

Here she is, shots taken with the LX-7 in 1:1 (these are not crops):

dolled up/red lipstick/night-on-the-town mode

stealth mode

Ridiculous transformers mode

obligatory banana for scale (this thing is tiny)

Stay tuned for some actual pictures from the camera.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another year older (pics and "Private in Public" sneak-peek)

Well, I just celebrated my birthday. It seems as though, as I get older, the years tick off a lot faster than they did when I was half my age. I know - not exactly a revolutionary observation, but it's one worth mentioning in light of another (counter-intuitive) insight I've had of late.

I'm TAKING time. Time to appreciate, to investigate, to create.

This apparent shortening of the days - which turn into weeks, months, and years - can easily become a mask that blurs, and eventually completely obscures, the fine detail of life. It can be a bit of a struggle to shake yourself out of that fog, especially when nature and the very environment you inhabit seemingly conspire against you.

  Photograph jobs jobs jobs by Instant Kamera on 500px
  jobs jobs jobs by Instant Kamera on 500px

The solution is, of course, change. Coincidentally, as we age we become averse to change and more set in our ways. Familiarity FEELS comfortable and safe. But it also stagnates our growth. Pay no attention to that voice that says "maintain status-quo". That's just the mist seeping through the crack under the door; that's more of the grey.
Change your perspective. Change your routine. Change your clothes, your hairstyle.

And if you don't like the changes you've made, change your mind.

Anyway, this post really wasn't intended to become pseudo-motivational drivel, so without further ado, here's a sample of a project I've been working on for the last year or so. It's called "Private in Public", and are, ostensibly, pictures of locks. More on that once it's complete, but enjoy.

  Photograph PinP #1 by Instant Kamera on 500px
  PinP #1 by Instant Kamera on 500px

Saturday, March 1, 2014

'2013 In Review' or 'The year the dSLR died'

So it's been quite a year. I intended for this to be a new year update, and it's currently March 1st.
Something something family ... something something work ... something something busy.

Whatever, let's just get to the point.

The most noteworthy event of 2013 (photographically speaking, of course) was the DEATH of the dSLR.

Ok, that's a tad dramatic, but this was the year that I finally embraced the minimalist movement and sold my "gear". All of it.

(Not pictured: the $600 tripod legs and head, $200 unused crumpler backpack, and sundry items that I also parted ways with.)

All of it was replaced with a Sony NEX-6 mirrorless and three small, cheap, fixed/prime lenses.

Crazy? Maybe, but my reasons were (and are) numerous:

-  I was tired of all the gear.

There's a burden that comes with owning every piece of equipment under the sun. It's one that actually LIMITS photographic creativity, beyond the oft-quoted "the best camera is the one you have with you", though that was certainly a factor. While it's possible to reach a level of familiarity with that much gear, I always felt an almost intimate connection with my f717 that I was unable to replicate with any of my Nikon stuff. This smaller mirrorless camera, while not perfect, is a good step towards a succinct setup that I can take everywhere.

- I also missed composing with a WYSIWYG viewfinder. 

As mentioned previously on this blog, I came up in digital, and was never burdened with the ridiculous idea that an optical viewfinder is the be all - end all. I enjoyed the (relatively) terrible EVF in my previous cameras and found that the trade-offs fit my style better than the traditional TTV OVF.

- I felt stuck in the ever shrinking world of 'crop dSLR'. 

DX specific lenses (in the Nikon world, at least) are scarce and it didn't make sense to incur the high cost of FX lenses (both monetarily speaking, as well as size-wise) to not even use them to the fullest of their capabilities.

- I know what I shoot, and I simply don't NEED all this shit to get those shots. 

I think there's a period in the photo enthusiast life-cycle that includes GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome); this especially true if you are into "gadgets". Thankfully, I've been able to get past that, and it's been extremely liberating.

So, for anyone considering doing the same, I say take the plunge.

Fuck it, you really have nothing to lose. 

And for those who may be suffering from "writer's block", this may be the creative unshackling that you so desperately need.

Me? I'm already looking to downsize even further ...

Till next time, have a few rando pics from my last visit to Montreal:

  Photograph Light in the Shadows by Instant Kamera on 500px
  Light in the Shadows by Instant Kamera on 500px

  Photograph Barrée by Instant Kamera on 500px
  Barrée by Instant Kamera on 500px

  Photograph Directing Traffic by Instant Kamera on 500px
  Directing Traffic by Instant Kamera on 500px