Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Thoughts on Cameras

 A bit of a diversion into the world of photography, with some relevance to modelling.

During lockdown I took a lot of photos during walks along our local marshland coast. Some of them were quite good, though I say it myself. Since then though I've sort of stagnated. Unlike modelling, where I come to a full stop, I tend to carry on taking photos in Zombie Mode.

One problem is how "good" my Google 6 Pro camera phone is. It is so good that I increasingly can't be bothered to use either of my mid-range compact cameras. But here are two catches. Both are related to the amount of in-camera processing. The first is that it isn't quite as clever as it thinks it is, which means sometimes photos don't stand up to close scrutiny. This usually isn't evident until you get home and look at them on the PC. I'll be honest often these are photos that would be a challenge for any camera, but it can be deeply disappointing. The other catch is that times the processing does so much I don't really feel that it is "my" photo. Anyone could have taken it.

It does at least give me an option to save RAW files, but when you look at them they need massive amounts of processing and to be honest, even Photoshop struggles to do what the phone does internally.

So what to do about it?

First and foremost I have to accept my compact cameras are now obsolete in practical terms for general purpose photography, whilst my mirrorless cameras still have life left in them.

So that means buying a more specialist compact that does fewer things but does them brilliantly. There are a couple of options, The Fuji 100v and the Leica Q2 Monochrome. Neither are cheap.

Another option would be to move to a newer generation of Fuji bodies in combination with more prime lenses. Mine are both ten years old and whilst they can still take great photos there is no doubt the current range is a lot more capable.

In the short term, with a birthday due, I'm treating myself to one of the new generation of cheap lenses.The TTArtisan 23mm f1.4 You sacrifice electronics for decent but quirky optics. No big deal when you grew up with manual lenses, and the quirkiness is something I often find myself adding in post-processing anyway.

The prime modelling question is what would I take to an exhibition these days?  Before Covid I tended to rely on the Fujis for the bulk of my exhibition photos, with the phone doing the more general shots and for getting into awkward spaces. The compacts were never really that useful. 

I'm not sure of the answer.

When it comes to photos of my own models, where I have a lot more control, I really can probably depend on the phone 90% of the time.

The secondary thought is about the route TTArtisan have chosen to go down, and the appeal of it.

They are using modern design and manufacturing techniques to produce a product that is good, but lacks bells and whistles. Although Hornby have their Railroad range I think perhaps it is something worth considering, especially as prices rise.

Finally what about our own modelling? Using this lens makes me work with the constraints of its design. But I actually find that very liberating compared to the multi-purpose phone camera. Do we too often try and square the circle, rather than living within it?

Time for some thinking.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

A Fall in the Spring

Both Spring cleaning and Flemish Quay have to be put on hold. My wife has always had hip and back problems, but three recent falls have seen it become a major issue requiring urgent surgery.  Most of the last two weeks has consisted of hospital trips, waits for ambulances and utterly fruitless phonecalls. To add to the fun I'm also working on a deal in Australia, so my body clock is a mess.

If all goes well the surgery will start to improve things.