For long I found myself happy and challenged with smaller cameras. My style and my kind of photography really worked very well with these cameras (or at least I thought so). The compactness and the quality of the files was enough and workable. But, and this is a big but, it is not enough anymore. At times my current camera drove and still does drive me mad. I don’t like the image files, the lack of detail, the excessive blue noise, and the tougher post processing. I miss shallow depth of field and fast prime lenses.
I would still prefer a small camera, but I don’t think there is no real option available. Oh yeah, what about the DP1? Yes, the prices are dropping and the image quality is superb. But I am still restricted to only one focal length. And a DP2 will set me back another 900 Euro. And that annoyes me when I still have some really good M42 lenses that cost almost nothing.
Although I would love to have a rangefinder camera, I made up my mind and will choose a dSLR instead. So now I am checking for prices of used cameras and see what would work best for me and what camera would work best with my M42 lenses. I have a 35mm f2.8, 50mm f2.8, 58mm f2.0 and 135mm f2.8 at home. Maybe I look for an additional wide angle lens for landscapes (20mm or even wider) and a fast 28mm lens for general purposes. Although some cameras will have restrictions with the metering system, I reduced my selection to cameras like the Canon 20D, Fujifilm S3Pro, Nikon D70s, Pentax K10D or Sigma SD14 with a preference for the Canon or the Sigma (despite the 1.6 and 1.7 cropfactor). A refurbished or second hand Canon 5D is still too expensive for me although I would love to have a full frame camera. But we can’t have it all and the nice thing about these older lenses that they will work fine on both cropped and full frame sensors.
I have no immediate intention to do so now, but this is what I am planning to do so for this year. I will of course keep my Ricoh besides me. I like to have a small camera in the bag.
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma
These photographs are of the most important factory in my hometown. Once the pride with more then 4,000 employees, it stopped its production line in the beginning of the 21st century. High production costs and loans here, and alternative cheap labor in East-Europe and Asia made their product, viscose, too expensive to sell.
More and more I get questions if I do portraits as well. But honestly, it is something I am still unfamiliar with. I am trying, and am even trying to use my current camera for that purpose. It isn’t easy though. No serious bokeh, hardly any shallow depth of field. Here is a take from yesterday, for Nathalie, from my lovely daughter.
Photograph by Wouter Brandsma
Do you know that feeling of doubt? The feeling of uncertainty? Zack Arias told it so well in his film I mentioned in my previous post. He hated his photography in the winter, he thought it was bad. But when spring arrives the energy comes back again. Now, I wouldn’t call it a winter depression, but with the dark light and pooring rainfall it becomes so much harder to find interesting things to photograph. And this winter I made less photographs then last year. Why, I don’t really know.
Last year I had constant doubts about the reliability of my camera, the Ricoh GX100, but the camera was so much fun to use. It made me think differently and I saw compositions unconsiously everywhere. This winter I photographed with the much more reliable Ricoh GX200. No dust or other stupid things. The camera is solid. But the files ain’t. I have said it before in my first impression of this camera. And I did mention it again in my final impression of the camera. Maybe I am paranoid, maybe it is the flat greyish season, maybe I want them to be different (or the same, I don’t know). But what now?
… I hate that camera now. I think the files are horrible and I didn’t change a thing. No feel of details, no depth, no selective depth of field. Some things are because of the camera, some things because I don’t like it anymore, some things because I want to see things differently. This suit doens’t seem to fit me anymore. Maybe I need more sunlight. It is certainly cheaper then a new camera, and I don’t have the money for a new camera too.
Look, I don’t really believe that a new camera will make you a better photographer. You probably use the camera more often and that might influence your photography. I think you need to be ready for a new camera. But I think we are dependent on the seasons too, just like life. The changes of the seasons provoke us, but when the seasons settle in it becomes all the same.
At beautiful sunny days I love the winterlight, but I think the winter is awfull when the skies turn to grey. And it does so very often here. It seems the world turns grey. The leaveless trees show their naked truth and reality and that can be beautiful and freightening too. The spring is about new life, people start to shine, the world turning green again, colors apear, and it is time for discovery. The summer brings heat and moisture, I dislike blue skies, but love partly cloudy skies. The warmth bends the late night sunlight in such a beautiful manner with gorgeous shadows. Autumn shows the harshness and decay of our life, though sometimes very beautiful, you realize that the winter season will be back soon.
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma
When the creativity returns, the joy of my current camera will return again, I think, or I want to believe so. It all is without contrast now, and my camera performs so badly without contrast. I perform badly without contrast.