Flowers, Trees and Stones, March 2012

Over the weekend it has been gray and stormy. The last of the summer flowers are still out. We went for a walk around Outram after church. The river is flooding, and although it is cold frosts ahve not started so the growth is quite lush.

These are the electronic photos. I also took a film camera, but the film (Velvia) will need to be sent away for developing.

Sometimes it is the freaking camera.

When I got home this evening there were storm clouds overhead. The heavens opened… and when it stopped I looked out at the cloudscape. It is the first day of autumn, far too cold (single digits) and after the experience with the D3000 I was fairly aware that the sensor would just give up and not allow a shot. So I used a 4/3 camera.

The sky -- for context

Now, I was not as much interested in that as the current flowers in the garden just next to where I was standing. These shots were taken with the evolt, an old 4/3 camera, with a small sensor and the olympus kit lens, which functions at around f/5

I simply don’t think I could have got those with the current cheap DX Nikon. It is really good at snaps with it’s kit lenses, but cannot handle anything fast. Let;s just say that i’m packing a camera most people hate for anything that looks difficult — or I am using film — until I can acquire a decent Nikon body.

PS. Yes, that photo was take hand held. Without VR. As was this one

Update. Steve Gandy sells a pile of adaptors for the 4/3 system. Including one for Nikon non gelded lenses. This means that I can use lenses like the 24 mm f1.8 and the 50 mm F1.4 on the evolt body — for about $150. The 8MP sensor is no way near as good as the new D800 (which, at 36 MP is 4.5 times bigger) but… let’s face it, it means that you can carry a small second electronic body for more discreet work than you can do with a big DSLR and use the same lenses.


In 2009 I managed to go to a conference in Florence. Since then I have managed to lose the Panasonic Lumix I had with me… but it did manage to get a fair number of photos. These are tombs and an altar inside one of the churches.

As you can see, I had problems with exposure and ambient light… Joys of being a tourist, and not being in the room early ehough, with a fast enough lens.

I want fast lenses, not Zooms.

Let’s start with photos I took on Friday. 7 am. It was dawn… but using the standard lenses on a D3000 the shots were not that good.

Part of the problem may be me. I was using an 18-55mm DX zoom. which is a good lens in other circumstances. The other two photos were taken in natural light, same lens, but not pushing it. Now, if I was using a manual camera, I would have opened the aperture fully and stepped down to 1/60. Then looked at the scan, and corrected the light — as I had to here. But you cannot correct overmuch for underexposure.

TO give you an idea, this is another shot that I have not corrected — just translated from NEF to JPG.

Which is why I am thinking of fast lenses and low light. For rangefinders this is fairly easy. Buy the Nokton 1.1 The Leica 50 mm 0.95 is probably better — but it is 10K US, rather than 1K. and the if one compares the classic noctilux with the Nokton they are pretty darn close. Add a wide angle, and I’m a happy camper with a rangefinder — the bessa has the 35 mm lens on it 90% of the time and I don’t think I would want longer than 50 mm for a rangefinder. I need too much help focusing at higher magnifications.

Of course, this lens does not come in screw in form. But bodies are cheap. Lenses cost.

Unless we are talking Nikon. Now… if I had on me a f1.4 50 mm… I would not have to be in darktable fixing something that ended up being shot at digital ISO 4000. (Oh, and get the unstable branch if you run Ubuntu or Debian. It is much faster and works better. The irony is that, although leica and voightlander make the fastest and optically best lenses at present for rangefinders, the Nikon fixed lenses are really cheap. If you import them… or find them on trademe. But in low light, they leave the kit camera lenses for dead — simply because you can manually crank the aperture wide open and then tell the camera to adjust.

Self portrait

As usual, when wearing glasses, i am left eye dominant. When I wear contacts, I’m right eye dominant… go figure. Nikon D3000, ambient light.

After the last snowfall.

This was taken just after dawn in early November 2011, through a window, of the sun striking the trees on my boundary. Modified in Darktable, then cropped. Olympus E300 ISO 100 F4.9 1/60 sec. hand held.