11
Sep
07

toys (cameras)

Although I’m usually down on getting too preoccupied with tools, I know people get excited about such things.  So here’s a rundown of my current photography equipment:

Nikon D40 – I really like this camera.  It’s my first DSLR, and the first one that gets around many of the things I dislike about DSLRs.  It’s small, light, and ergonomic.  I particularly like the seemingly endless battery life and the 4GB memory card… it is to photos what Indiana Jones’ gun is to shooting.  No reloading, ever!

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens – This is my near 100% of the time lens now.   Unfortunately, it’s manual focus only on the D40, but I don’t mind too much – I often prefer manual focus anyway, due to my shooting style.  The effective 75mm length is very nice for the kind of photos I take, picking up individuals or small groups without decontextualizing them from the environment too much.  And I can always “zoom” by walking closer or farther.  Zoom can make a photographer lazy.

Adobe Lightroom – I’ve been running a demo version of this excellent software, but I think I’ll have to break down and buy it.  Besides being very convenient for photo editing, its library also keeps my photos organized, something I’ve been trying to do better lately.

Fuji F20 – This pocket camera has done a great job for me.  It’s small, does the Indiana Jones gun thing, and can shoot without flash in appallingly low light (noise is bad, but I cope).  If I want to be a sneak, this is the camera I’d use.  And at only $200, it’s a bargain for low-light photographers.

Olympus OM-1 – This is my main film camera these days, a pure mechanical, professional quality beauty from the Golden Age of 35mm.  I also own a more “modern” OM-2S with a spot meter, but I prefer the simple centerweighted meter and pure mechanical design of the OM-1.  Lens-wise, I use a 50mm f/1.8, a 28mm f/3.5, and a gorgeous Tamron 90mm f/2.5 macro (I might try this one on the D40 in manual mode, just for kicks).

Yashica Electro 35 GSN – I haven’t used this camera in a while, and the batteries are dead, but I’ll probably get it out of mothballs and use it again soon.  It’s a fixed lens, leaf shutter, aperture priority design from the early 1970s.  The exposure is always perfect, and the single-coated 45mm lens has a uniquely beautiful sense of color and focus – maybe not as “accurate” as sharper and more contrasty modern lenses, but it makes the best of everything.

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