Testing the kids camera.

Son two is going to camp next week and is taking his canon powershot A1000. This is a couple of casual shots of a very wet back yard… Autumn has come before February has finished.

Shot through window: there is some chosting and internal reflections from this… but the colours at least are accurate. But this reminds me why I don’t like point and shoots. I like more control…

Gear lust costings…

For this, I am using Adorama.

Some principles.

1. Big sensors are good.
2. Film is as good as a big sensor…
3. Fixed lenses are good.

I’m comparing the two cameras I’m thinking of getting in the next year or so — I don’t NEED them. I need a Nikon battery charger (I lose these things all the time) but I’ve been shooting Black and white film in a Voighlander Bessa R with an old Summicron F3.5 35mm today… so this at present is just an exercise.

Now the best DSLR at the present is probably the Nikon D800. Using manual lenses you get something like this…

Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera Body, $2,999.95
Nikon 85 F2 Ais Lens *52 USED $299.00
Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 $449.00

Subtotal: $3,747.95

If you want a rangefinder with interchangeable lenses you will have to go for film. An M9 body is $6,995 @ Adorama (where I am doing my costings from). A M7 is $4,995, and an M4-P is the same price. A Zeiss Z-I however, is affordable. Again, looking at two lenses — there is no point getting a zoom, but an normal lens and a reasonable wide angle…

ZIess Ikon body 35 mm Rangefinder body $1,618.00
Ziess T-Planar 50mm lens $ 781.00
Ziess Ikon with 50mm f/2.0 planar lens $2,300.99
Voightlander 15 mm F/4.5 Hellar M mount $599.00
Voightlannder 15 mm viewfinder 209.00

Subtotal $ 3108

In short, you can get a moderate rangefinder kit for around the same price as a top line Nikon Kit. If I added the 28-300mm VR zoom (if you need zooms, getting a body with less pixelisation would make more sense) you need to add about a thouosand dollars, but on the other hand, the F/0.9 Nokton is a thousand and the faster and better Leica lenses start around that price and go up. Way up.

Now… I have a functional, cheap, screw lens Rangefinder system. Upgrading the SLR would be useful for scenery, action and potraits: but continuing with a cheap voightlander when travelling and taking street shots makes sense. I’m only carrying a few hundred, not a few thousand, dollars worth of kit.

Cellphone photos

All these photos were taken with an HTC android phone. It is what I was carrying at the time.

The chidlren were busking at the farmer’s market, the tower and storm is behind Dunedin Fire Station, and the tree is in North Dunedin.

Odd shots, old cameras… old city

These are a couple of photos taken when I visited Florence in April 2009. They are clearly not tourist shots, and I no longer have the cameras or the cards. The bicycle was taken with a Lumix G, and the room was taken with a Nokia camera that happened to also be a cellphone

Sealions, Kaikoura

These photos were taken in the summer of 2008. I was driving with my boys from Auckland to Dunedin, and we stopped at Kaikora, where on the side of the road there is a sea lion colony.

Photos taken with an Olympus e300 and Tokina Zoom. I sampled one of these photos as the image for dark brightness.

Gear Lust: Nikon D800 and Zeiss Ikon.

The cat photos were taken with an Olympus e300 volt, one of the first 4/3rds cameras. It tends to fight against you, but you can get some reasonable shots. I still occaisionally use it, but the standard cameras at present are a Nikon 3000 and a Voightlander Bessa T.

I’m in the process of playing with black and white film and some street photography with the Bessa: I’ve not been using the DSLR much in the last week or so. In addition, I’m back at work, whcih makes for an interesting week.

But there are two things that I would really like to get. One is an M-series film rangefinder, and the Zeiss Ikon and/or the Voightlander R3M are on the shopping list. Yes I would like a M6, but both the new options are cheaper, and to get a bespoke Leica M would cost… lots. I could get the Zeiss Distagon 15mm and the Sonnar 50mm and still have money left over.

(and yes, I’d go for the Sonnar. It may not be as easy to use, but I use film for more moody photos. If I want pin sharp… any electronic camera will do this.

But the other camera that I am wanting is the new Nikon D800. Ken has a review up. It would mean I’m finally moving to full size sensors, and that is more than big enough for me. If you look at the promotional material, it seems to be aimed at wedding photographers, where the extra pixels will allow greater quality when enlarged. It’s being criticized as bad in low light — but I have never used ISOs of 12,800. That is why a tripod is in the car, you have fast lenses, and you use long exposures. Besides, I tend to do landscapes, not sport, nor portraits. (I do the latter, but family pix ain’t shown here).

Well, I now know what I want to give myself for birthdays and Christmases for the next five years or so. Bodies first, then some lenses.


1. Ken was right. Amazon has sold out its pre orders of the d800
2. Cliff Mautner has some really nice shots taken with a pre order d800,
3. Ken is too late with his recommendation that you use the Voightlander f/2 40 mm lens with this as well as the 28-300mm VR. Adorama is out of both. Deep sigh. It will cost @ todays prices around $3 800 to get an 800 with the voightlander and an old manual zoom lens. (The great advantage of manual is that you can set the aperture without looking at the frigging menus). And most of this will be on wait list. And… most shopping sites say that it is unavailable… in the US and NZ.

Palm Cove

I really have only two shots of this as such, and they are far too touristy

However the reforestation of Northern Queensland is driving the Kangaroos into suburbia… the roo is a bit out of focus here (but is plainly visible).

Pictures I should annoy Ken Rockwell with.

There are a bunch of images that I took with the Bessa on the same roll of film that are frankly distordted. The colors are completly off. The saturation is nowrong. Now Ken says that he wants the most arresting image in a contest. And the dmage of the film actually made some good ones.

This is the first. It was a stadnard openin shot of the view from my home. But the tones are completely wrong, and the shot is under exposed…. I have scaled it and adjusted the contrast and brightness in GIMP.

During the period between Christmas and the New Year one of my sons and I went exploring. L lost a few shots of waterfalls — the film is a blur, but this wrecked shack is again an distorted, unbalanced, vintage image.

This final image is of Totara tress above Dunedin. I have not shrunk this as much, as I conside that it is a better shot than the one I put into the darn competition.

Technical: Bessa R with 35 mm Elmar F4.0 lens, Sensia film, cross processed and scanned.