An Optical Saturday

As the end of the Winter season inexorably approaches, some of us have accepted an offer to stay on for a second Summer.  There are many reasons for the offers that are all related to the planning and operations of the upcoming seasons, but suffice it to say that it’s an offer of continued adventure that some of us just couldn’t turn down.

The import of this is that the first voyage of the season, which is to resupply Davis station, will be our first chance to have mail delivered since March this year.  That, in turn, means many of us will be ordering more camera equipment now that we know what is (and is not) of use.  Mix all of this together with 100km/h winds and you have a recipe for a giant ‘show and tell’.

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As is often the case, we’ve had a few days of Nikon vs Canon, and APS-C vs full frame.  The argument as it stands conceptually is totally different from how it is practically, which is to say that technological advancements and features have not progressed at the same rate for both of the big marques, nor for both sensor sizes.

As it turns out, however, we have a representative from most of the combinations of bodies and lenses down here.  This lead to a ‘show and tell’ of noteworthy financial proportion, and some very stimulating discussions on the benefits of different cameras and, especially, features.  Seeing as I’m a fan of Micro FourThirds, I was more interested in comparing some of the interesting differences between the physically large DSLRs and my own little cameras.

I think the biggest advantage I found on my E-P3 and E-P5 was the amount of information displayed on the touchscreen.  Some of the other cameras displayed similar information on the LCD near the shutter release button, but the cameras from the lower ranges without the extra LCD display made it quite difficult to find out what everything is set at.  On my camera, conversely, the outside of the display is littered with icons that tell me information like ISO, focus mode, white balance, whether HDR bracketing is on, and many more tidbits.

Of all of the disadvantages to my camera (of which most are related to the physically smaller sensor, much like a small list of the benefits), the only one I felt affected my needs was the number of buttons available on the Nikon D800E.  It bordered on being overwhelming, but at the same time I felt an extra couple of programmable buttons in ergonomic positions on the E-P5 would make it a mighty camera indeed.  Then again, the E-M1 seems to have that sort of usage well covered, so I can’t really complain about my choice of body.

So this week is mostly text and not a lot of picture story.  I spent a great deal of time playing with different lenses and settings on my own camera during most of the DSLR ‘show and tell’ anyway.  I’m still trying different focal lengths, or revisiting lenses that I haven’t used for many months.  Here are some photos I took on a windy, lazy Saturday afternoon:

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As you can see, I’m also still playing with black and white with a view to learning more about contrast.  I’m also still playing with different aspect ratios to get an idea of how they can change the feel of an image.  It’s still a journey of discovery for me, so I actively invite your feedback on any or all of these.

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