Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Casa Loma and the Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6

I will admit I don't use my super wide angle Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 a whole lot, but a recent visit to Casa Loma, the magnificent early 20th century castle in Toronto, seemed like the perfect opportunity to pull it out.  This lens is the widest zoom lens in production for full frame cameras, allowing an incredible 120 degree rectilinear view.

Though this lens is fairly slow at maximum aperture, the ultra wide angle means that you don't have to worry too much about shake, even at shutter speeds as low as 1/8th a second. At this shutter speed at 3200 ISO, as room is quite dark.  The other thing about this lens is that you dont have to worry too much about focusing - almost everything is always in focus.

A rather interesting quirk is that this camera lens combination tends to underexpose scenes inside (particularly those with a bright light source, like a window) quite dramatically.  One photo I have to add +3 stops on exposure compensation to get the correct exposure.  Outside there were no issues.

Overall it is a good lens, reasonably sharp and not too much distortion.  The corner quality does drop significantly wide open at 12mm, but this is to be expected.  12mm does give an unusual perspective on an object, and for this alone having the lens around is worth it.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Nikon Coolpix A consideration

Recently I had an offer to exchange some of my film gear and a little cash for a Nikon Coolpix A.  The Coolpix A is a cool camera - excellent 16MP Sony sensor and a fast(ish) 18.5mm f2.8 lens, equivalent to 28mm in full frame.   I especially like that it is very pocketable and has excellent low light capabilities, which is great for shooting around the house and out on the street.

The deal hasn't been done yet, but getting rid of some gear I don't use a lot to buy something I might use more is always enticing.

Nikon D3000 with Sigma 85mm f1.4

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My Sony NEX 5n and Fuji X100

One thing about the two cameras above that I have at home is that I feel no need to upgrade.  Yes, the new 16mp sensor in the X100S would be better, and a viewfinder like on the NEX 6 also nice, but neither are going to make a huge improvement to my photography.  I am looking for something that will be substantially better in image quality, usability and give me something that I can't do now.  As an example, a full frame mirrorless, like an E mount RX-1, would be something I would seriously consider worthy.  Until that time, I'll stick with what I've got.

Brown ale - Fuji X100

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

More interesting shots with the Leica CL

There were some interesting things that happened on, and as a result of the winter shoot that I wrote about in the previous post.

1) That damn filter
I had brought along a yellow filter to add a bit of contrast to some shots on the CL, and after managing to make drop it in the snow and make a mess, I also found out when I got back the photos that it also caused heavy vignetting, despite at 55mm fitment, being quite a bit bigger than the lens.

2) A shot crop
This photo, as a landscape, I quite like.  I cropped the top and bottom, which were just monotone sky and snow, and it turned out  much better.

3) Film scanner - NEX 5n
I ended up using the NEX 5n, and the Sigma 30mm lens perched above a light table with a tripod to scan the film.  The results were good, and the work flow speed reasonable.  A lot of the black and white shots I had to reconvert to black and white on photoshop, as they were shot in colour on the light table, some false colour snuck in.  Here's a none edited example of what I mean.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Leica CL in the park at winter time

A while back I wrote about my adventures here in Sunnybrook Park with a Leica CL, a Sony NEX 5n and a pair of snow shoes.  I fitted the cameras with the Voigtlander 21mm f4 and the Sigma 19mm f2.8, loaded some Fuji Neopan into the CL and ventured off.  

The CL is a cool camera.  It's really small, about the same size as a Sony NEX 6/7, and with the compact Voigtlander 21mm lens, it is almost pocketable.  The rangefinder is not even in the ballpark of the excellent Leica M3, but is comparable to cameras like the Fuji GS645S and the Canonet QL17.  With a slow wide angle lens like the Voigtlander, as long as you have focusing approximately right, there won't be an issue as the depth of field is so large.

Like I have written before, the Voigtlander is an excellent lens, and on film offers lovely tonality, commensurate with the Neopan film.  Compared to the shots with the Sony NEX, the contrast is much lower, with many more gradients of gray showing.  I will admit that I had set the NEX contrast artificially high, but I was still surprised to see the difference.