Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another Fire Hydrant

You just never know where you will find an interesting photo-op. This little jewel showed up right outside the Steakhouse where we had dinner after my son's graduation ceremony. Although I had multiple cameras with me the Pentax K-1 begged to take the picture so I obliged it.

Fire hydrants are one of my favorite subjects, especially when they are as colorful as this one or discovered against an interesting background, as this one is.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Nikon Coolpix A vs. the Olympus Stylus?

Yes, I am really going to compare one of the latest, greatest, state of the art digital cameras with a twenty year old 35mm point & shoot film camera!

First of all in spite of all the hype the Nikon Coolpix A is really just a point & shoot camera with an APS-C sensor. I have a Nikon Coolpix P-300 that I truly love which is comparable except for the sensor. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a very nice camera and the APS-C sensor is not to be discounted. It has in fact become the standard by which everything these days is judged. The resolution and overall image quality of these “cropped frame” sensors has improved to the point where they can and do in fact compete with “full frame” (35mm) film images. They have taken over as the “go to” camera for most photographers although generally in a DSLR body rather than a compact point & shoot body like this one.

The truth remains however, that any good 35mm film camera with a sharp lens (like either the Olympus Stylus or the Canon Shure Shot I recently blogged about) can produce images just as good if not better with greater dynamic range than this digital powerhouse and the reason is simple.
The 35mm negative is substantially larger than the APS-C sensor and therefore capable of gathering significantly more detail, plus being larger it can be viewed or printed much larger without corresponding loss of detail. This all assumes high resolution scans or high quality prints of course.
All these arguments are clearly observable in the images and undisputed by almost everyone who has ventured into the film vs. digital debate. I haven’t even gotten into the more contentious issues like whether film generally captures and displays more dynamic range than digital sensors or whether there is some undefinable character that is missing from digital captures.

The bottom line for me is that it makes more sense to spend less $10 or less for a fine used 35mm point & shoot camera like the Olympus Stylus than it does to spend $1,000 for a Nikon Coolpix A and then spend hours in post processing to make the photos look like they were shot on film (like so many folks do).

 To be fair, shooting a film camera does require paying for film and processing and these digital cameras can do some things film cameras cannot, like shoot at very high ISO’s and have instant results. Still, you can pay for a lot of film and processing with the $1,000 saved by not buying the Nikon Coolpix A, and film shooters have been managing without shooting much beyond 3200 ISO for a long time.

Would I like to have Coolpix A? Absolutely! But that’s not a fair question. I would like to have at least one of everything out there. For now though I’ll keep shooting my Stylus.
By the way, the photo above was taken at night with the Stylus shooting Kodak Portra 400.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pinhole Mania Strikes Again!

The plastic fantastic Holga pinhole camera is amazing. Yeah, I know it’s a cheap plastic camera and this is only my second roll of film through it but just look at the results!

These are two of the shots I took on April 27, 2014, Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (WPPD). Because the day was mostly overcast and threatening rain or worse I loaded the Holga PC up with the very reliable Kodak Portra 400. Exposure for both pictures was about 5 seconds.

I haven’t decided which photo to submit to the WPPD website yet. I will likely wait until I get the negatives back in a few days from The Darkroom and do a high-resolution rescan for the one I submit.