Saturday, August 15, 2015

“The Best Camera”

There are always articles and blogs trying to determine which camera is the best camera. I have even succumbed to this temptation a few times but I confess that when its all done and said I am a firm believer that the best camera is the one you have with you when you need or want to take a picture.

You can have the world’s most expensive camera with the highest resolution and “super-duper” lenses but if its not there when you need or want to take the picture it is less than useless. For this reason I have long advocated for compact and dare I say, point & shoot cameras.

Naturally being an image quality kind of guy I want something that will produce a decent image and I want to be able to override the “Auto” functions and take things into my own hands when the situation demands it. For all those reasons I carry a Nikon Coolpix P-300 with me and that is what I used for the photograph above.

This picture above of me and my new grandson John Michael, was taken by my wife the day after he was born using the little Nikon set on “P” (program) mode with the ISO manually set to 3200 to allow the shot to be taken in a poorly lit hospital room without having to resort to using the built in flash.

Had I used a DSLR or a 35mm SLR the image quality would have been much better but the convenience of the diminutive Nikon point & shoot allowed me to carry it around throughout a lengthy labor and delivery and have it with me at just the right moment.

For more on this amazing little camera see the link to my blog post on it below.

Nikon has released a number of later models of this same camera (like the P-310 & P-330) with bigger, higher resolution sensors and more features but I am still happily shooting the original one I bought back in 2011.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Going for that Vintage Look

The vintage photograph look is all the rage today. That’s probably why Instagram is such a big draw with its various filters and effects making cell phone cameras produce photos that look like something from the early 20th century.

Its actually a simple matter however, to produce real vintage images by using a real vintage camera, any number of which can be had from thrift stores or garage sales for little or nothing.

The photograph above was made with a Kodak Duaflex IV on Kodak Tri-X black & white film. The light leaks are authentic (no special effects needed) and to be expected from a 60+ year old camera. I used the “warmfly” setting in Picasa to add the sepia coloration because it brings out the gray tones better but the image is otherwise just as it came out of the camera.

Most folks think these old film cameras are obsolete and that you can no longer get film for them but that simply isn’t true. You cannot walk into your local camera store or drug store and get it. That’s true, but you can order both film and processing for almost any of the old film stocks online.

I personally use The Film Photography Project store ( ) for buying most of my film and The Darkroom ( ) for most of my film processing. These are not the only sources available but are the ones I like and use the most.
Walmart and Target as well as some Walgreens, CVS and other such local stores still sell some film (usually just 35mm and some instant film) and some even offer processing, either in store or sent out.  There are even a few local camera stores carrying film in some areas.

Having hit an all-time low a few years ago, film photography is now growing again. It will never be what it once was because digital photography has pretty much taken over but there is a growing host of young and old film photography hobbyists enjoying once again or learning for the first time the joy of film photography.