Tag Archives: fujifilm
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:
And here a a few sample shots:
And here are a few things to consider:
-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
-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.
Some time ago someone asked me, what camera do you use as your main camera? Which was kind of a good question, because I didn’t really know. At that time I was using the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, with the Fujifilm X10 and the Olympus OM-D EM5 on the side (I sold my last DSLR last year). Now my X-pro got stolen and has since been replaced by an X-E1, which I now consider to be my main camera. But it got me thinking, because having all those camera’s isn’t really necessary at all is it?
I’m a big fan of the idea that a good photographer reaches their potential by having a keen eye, and vision you know? Not for having bunches of expensive gear. Digitalrev’s Protog cheap camera challenge series are a testament of this. So I sold my Olympus to a very nice bloke who will probably have a great time using it. Gave the X10 to my dad, who is very content with it indeed. And I kept the X-E1, for that camera meets all my requirements. And that is the important part I think, any camera that can help you realize your vision best, is the camera for you. For some people it’s all about the gear, and half of the time they’re not even out shooting. Just reading reviews and pixel peeping camera sensor data… I don’t think that’s what photography should be about. Don’t get me wrong, I sort of went down that same road, so I’m not judging. But I think if one camera does everything you want it to, stick to it. You don’t really have to replace it.
I chose the X-E1 because it’s very small and lightweight and I really love the output from the X-Trans sensor, the files are very rich and the colors are absolutely great. It’s a champ in low light and has more than enough mega-pixels to do some photoshopping and cropping. I use it with the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4, which is a massively sharp lens that produces great images for me. For all you pro’s out there, I do realize that having a couple of camera bodies is important to be able to quickly switch between focal lengths. But I don’t consider myself a pro, and when I sometimes do professional work I rent an extra camera body. But for my day to day shooting, it’s just the one camera and the one lens. As I explained in a previous post, I like to just use one lens with a single focal length because that helps me to visualize the picture before taking it. Instead of having to compose the picture whilst taking it, I think zoom can be a big distraction. Every photographer has is own style of shooting, but my advice to everyone who is starting to explore the world of amateur photography; try not to get caught up in the search for the best equipment too much. Explore photography, find your own style and just enjoy photography for the art that it is. Don’t buy a big DSLR because it makes you look all pro like, just buy a camera that feels right.