2008, Photography

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Now I love horizons. They add dimension, depth, perspective, and can broaden your view. And speaking of perspective, dimension, depth, and broad view, I noticed a rather funny topic on the dpreview Canon Talk about the just recently posted review on the Canon PowerShot G10. People, who probably spent a lot of money on their new camera, trashed the final ‘Recommended’ conclusion in the review. They complained about the lack of objectivity, but I honestly doubt if there is anything as objectivity.

We have seen it all before with other cameras being reviewed. The Ricoh GX100 got recommened just, and the world tumlbed down for some. But come on! What I like about a camera, might not be your cup of tea. Do you seriously buy a camera only, because someone else, who you don’t know, thinks it is a great camera? Do we sometimes forget that compact cameras have some limitations? I could nitpick about the high ISO performance of my camera, but I knew it when I bought the camera that it wasn’t good at high ISO’s. So should I be bothered when a reviewer complains about the high ISO performance? No, of course not. I didn’t buy my camera for that reason. There is a distinctive line between something we wish for and something that already exists.

I like my camera, and I want to keep it as long as possible. But I like to have more details in my prints, and finer and more subtle tonalities and a broader dynamic range. In that case it makes no sense to buy a small sensor camera, because these cameras unlikely will fulfill this task. That is why I want to broaden my camera horizon. Ideas and suggestions are very much welcome!

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

17 thoughts on “Horizon

  1. Wouter, If you’re looking for suggestions, I like the Olympus cameras and lenses. I have the E520 and 12-60mm lens. I simply love this pair. There is also the new E30. If high ISO performance is what you are looking for then you’ll need a Canon or Nikon, but IMO the Olympus is a better all-around camera. The lens has a lot to do with this. Though I must note one quirk is that it has a hard time focusing in low light. The E520 is compact and light, and easier to hold than the smaller E420. They will also have a micro four thirds camera soon.

    I have a Canon 5D, but the fact is that in most cases I prefer the GX200 and E520 better. The 5D is my go to camera for available light when there is not much of it.

  2. Wouter

    It really depends what you are looking for in a camera. In my view, the Ricoh you have is already one of the best digital serious compacts, especially for bw. I have bought the Canon G9 just when the Canon G10 came out (at kamera-express.nl). I am aware of its limitations but one can carry it along and has the fast digital flow. I have looked at the new Lumix G1 and the Lumix Lx3/Leica. Both of which are impressive but I have yet to see great shots on flickr.

    The best camera I have is the Leica M6. It is an analog camera, simple but excellent. The worst that I can say about the camera is that it is analog and the best is that it is analog…:-). It is my preferred camera but film/developing/scanning is often too time consuming and costly (I paid 20 Euros yesterday in The Hague for 1 film).

    If I were you I’d wait until the new small M43 Olympus comes out next year.

  3. I’m happy with my Olympus e-410. There are cameras that are better for shooting in the dark, but the e-410 is just right for my outdoor pictures. It’s also OK at 1600 ISO when I do indoor snapshots of my family. It’s light enough to wear on a shoulder strap without really knowing it’s there. The selection lenses will let you grow if your needs change in the future. Micro 4/3 is the only other system that I might consider if I weren’t already invested in 4/3.

    Speaking shoulder straps, I find the Upstrap to be as good as it gets. They don’t slip off my shoulder. In the past, they couldn’t be exported because they’re “military spec”. How silly! Now, they can be sent to a number of countries including the Netherlands.

    I almost forgot to mention that I like your pictures for today. Were they shot with a “Horizon” panoramic camera or were they cropped from your Ricoh? Either way, you got a nice result.

  4. Hi Wouter,

    You might want to check out the much overlooked nikon p6000. It seems to be a “sleeper camera”. My friend
    Ben loves his p6000 more than his G10. Better color subtleties/tonality, less artifacts(in RAW). This may just a bit perform better than the ricoh’s in the noise department and better dynamic range.
    Handling is even better. But the GX200 has better controls than the nikon. You could check this out http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1007&message=29699699


  5. Thank you all guys. Some very interesting suggestions, and certainly many Oly’s. To be fair and honest, I am not really looking for another compact camera. The GX200 (although I impressed recently by gorgeous results from the LX3/D-Lux 4) is fine as a compact, but I really want more dynamic range, better performance at low light (higher ISO’s), and shallow depth of field.

    I am not considering a zoom lens. I only want one or two prime lenses. And I am not sure if I could deal with the 20 mm prime lens (40 mm equivalent) as a single lens.

  6. Thank you Maggie. A 20 mm prime lens on a Nikon DX body would make a 30 mm equivalent, nice! And Dwight, the horizontal shots are crops of some of my Ricoh photographs.

  7. Great pictures Wouter and good post.

    I can only recommend you to wait right now and see what the new year brings or maybe look at the Panasonic G1 and get an m-mount adapter so you can add very fast primes to it. Still, at the moment I don’t see any really impressive camera being out there aside from the compacts you have or mentioned, the Epson RD1s is old and still one of the best alternatives out there and the G1 would be great if only it had a better design and build.

  8. I am in no rush. I will wait for the things to come. I am curious about the Olympus m4/3 camera, the Sigma DP2 for instance. The Epson R-D1s is great, but stil a bit pricey. There are rumors though that Epson might be working about a R-D2, but with the current financial situation I am not to sure though.

  9. Great Horizons Wouter,
    I’ve been following that discussion in dpreview and it always amazes me how much folks get so bent-out-of-shape over a camera…they need to be out working the camera, like you do, getting amazing results despite the limitations. I bought the G10; previously owned the G7, but in both cases, I researched and understood the limitations before I bought them. The challenge is to make them work for me. I’m still field testing the G10 and I may have some very positive commentary on it after I review this week’s images. Still looking forward to the micro 4/3rds and DP2 but I have held and been impressed with the Olympus E-420. In fact, I am toying with the idea of replacing the Nikon DSLR, getting the E-420 with 25 mm pancake lens.

  10. I hadn’t noticed that you like broad landscape type photography? Is this something new?


    I particularly enjoy the first of the three images and oddly enough it is because of the foreground. I like the way the fencing (I’m guessing it is on either side of a small bridge over a creek) helps guide the viewer into the much larger space that is the field beyond, then to the line of trees in the distance and finally into the great big sky. Really lovely work (as always!).

    Regarding your desires for a different camera…..I certainly can’t help you there. Being the bold, brash and giant American I’ll all about an over-sized dSLR! I wonder though…..what about the Sigma DP1 and DP2? I know I’ve read about your love of the images, but would this be the right direction for you in terms of sensor size?

  11. Hmm– you want subtler transitions, and more dynamic range, and more details. Maybe you need a DSLR again!

    Well subtler transitions suggest you need more pixels (nice article by Tom Hogan recently about the benefit of pixels on transitions). That would suggest a full frame DSLR; proabably the Canon 5dMkII

    But slightly fewer pixels might have better dynamic range: that might suggest the Nikon D700

    Detail in large prints? Back to the 5dMkII

    Actually I suspect the IQ is much the same. I may come down to which feels nicer. I’m used to Canon ergonomics, (which I like with various custom functions set, but not out of the box) but Nikon seems to be the choice ergonomically for those who use both.

    But something I am very tempted by is waiting for the Olympus version of the micro 4/3

    I use my dslr a lot, but many of my favourite pictures are from wilderness adventures on which I wouldn’t take it, and instead used a GX100 and later an LX3. Maybe I would be prepared to take a slightly bulkier micro 4/3 body on such trips with a couple of lenses. That ought to give much better transitions, noise, DR and detail than a small sensor, if not in the same league as full frame, and a little worse than APSC.

  12. You might want to wait too James! Next year Olympus will come up with their m4/3 camera and a 20 mm prime. And the DP2 will have a 41 mm equivalent lens.

    I have had some great suggestions, and although a FF camera might me the biggest step forward it is also the most expensive one. Also the form factor remains a con for me. The DP2 seems very interesting indeed. As small as a compact camera, but certainly with the image quality of a dSLR.

    Again thank you all, and I will keep you informed on my options, doubts and maybe final conclusion.


  13. You can criticise me, but don’t you dare criticise my camera or my car.!!!!!!!!
    Like you I was amused by the reaction to the review, guess they took it as a criticism of their judgement.

  14. Wouter,
    I understand quite well the need for a change, or rather options in the way one sees.
    I felt that strongly and ended up with the e410, I get some of the shallow DOF ass well as much finer tonal/color gaduations.
    Pproperly adjusted it gives much the same ‘bite’ as my GRD as well.
    Still, it is much larger than the Ricoh and so does not go with so often.
    The GRD spoils me there, it is effortless to carry.

    Anyway back to your stated needs, perhaps a Pentax and one of their faster primes would do?
    A K200d and the 40/2.8 and 21/3.2 pancakes makes a terribly sharp and fast handling package that coud give superb results.

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