Monthly Archives: January 2014

On a budget II

Super old stuff on your super new camera

 Here’s another top tip, to help you get the most out of your money. So, last time I talked about getting yourself a used mirrorles camera. Now I’m going to talk about the biggest expenses you’ll be making as a photographer, lenses that is. Yes, lenses are expensive as hell. Those little pieces of glass cost the same as an old car. So here’s how to get great image quality for the price of a tank of gas.

Old manual lenses are very cheap, very, very ridiculously cheap. You can pick them up for like ten bucks. So that’s amazing value. Because these lenses are often great performers, with IQ rivalling expensive lenses nowadays. I’ve been using old pentax lenses for a while now, and I can definitely advise anyone to look into these little guys. Old pentax camera’s were often sold with a pair of standard lenses, the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 and the 28mm f/2.8. I’ve been using both these lenses for a while and I can tell you, they are worth a hell of a lot more than what I paid for them. I bought these lenses with an old Pentax Super ME camera body for twenty bucks. I also got an old Philips C38 flash with that.

 Now these lenses are fully manual, so you’ll have to use both the focusing and the aperture ring on these guys. I found that to be absolutely lovely, it’s like using an old SLR again, except the pictures are instantly ready. It will take some getting used to for some people, especially the ones who grew up in an age of autofocus and advanced light metering systems. But if you wrap your head around that slower process of picture making, you might just end up loving it. Here are some appropriately retro pictures I’ve made using instagram:

 SMC-M28mm with Philips 38CT

And here a a few sample shots:

Using the 28mm

Using the 50mm 1.7

Using the 50mm 1.7

Using the 28mm

And here are a few things to consider:

Pro’s

-Excellent image quality

-Very affordable for everyone

-Awesome looking vintage gear

-Low profile street equipment

-Slow you down, so you might just end up with a higher keeper rate

-Relatively fast manual focusing using focus peaking

-You can use this method on any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system

Cons

-No AF or automatic functions (I find this to be a good thing, but it’ll take some getting used to

-Some old lenses might require some servicing, so look out for good copies:

  • Fungus might be a problem
  • Sometimes you’ll find specs of dust inside old lenses
  • Check for smooth action on the focusing and aperture rings

 Same goes for the old flashes, there’s no automatic TTL metering, you’ll have to set everything up manually. But the great photographers of the past managed just fine with these means, so we should be able to manage as well.

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On a budget

Used Camera’s

I’m one of those shooters that doesn’t make a lot of money with photography. It’s a hobby, something I do for fun. But there is no fun in spending loads of cash. So here’s a post for all you folks out there, who like me, don’t want to spend all their money on camera gear, but also don’t want to settle for entry level stuff. So for the first time in my photographic history, I’ve bought myself a Sony camera.

NEX

The Sony NEX 7 mirrorles camera was the top of the line flagship model for the Sony NEX line. Just over one year ago this camera would set you back over a thousand bucks. And now the price has dropped dramatically. I picked one up second hand for less than half that price, with a kit lens. That puts it right down there with the entry level Fuji X camera’s, or even the more expensive compact camera’s. You get everything but an entry level camera though. This is still one of the better compact ILC’s out there. This camera was released in early 2012, and was received very well by the community. But it never reached that very popular status that some other mirrorles systems did receive. Possibly due to it’s high pricing, or maybe because the mirrorles market hadn’t matured much yet. One way or the other this is a very capable little camera, for a very nice price now.

 Lenses

Back in the day, this camera didn’t have a lot of lenses available to it. But now the Sony E-mount hasn’t just got a lot of Sony lenses available to it, but also Sigma, Samyang, SLRmagic, Zeiss, and many other lenses. And then I’m not even talking about all the manual lenses that you can use with this camera. Taking into account that you’ll have to buy adapters for those old manual lenses, this system has more lenses available to it than any DSLR out there. This is a very good thing, because there are lenses available in any kind of price range. Even if you’re a bit low on cash you can probably still find a lens that really suits your needs. And that’s why this camera is an absolute dream for all the photographers on a budget.

 This camera does have a bit of learning curve. It’s hardly straightforward in its operation, but with a bit of practice it can be become quite intuitive. All the buttons are customizable, they ain’t labeled though, meaning you’ll have to remember what functions you assigned to certain buttons. But in the end your carrying a very lightweight 24 megapixel APS-C compact shooter for the money of a second hand Fujifilm X100. So if you’re on a budget, I can definitely recommend looking into buying something like this.

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