Saturday, 13 March 2010

Will We See Russian Digital Cameras?


It may be a dumb question to ask but I for one will love to see a digital serious compact done by Russian camera makers.  Fact is, the former USSR had a long history of camera making.   At least the books say so. From 1932 to 1990, there had been quite a number of camera brands in USSR.  Their logos are displayed in the following image.

imageRussia may not need to build back its consumer-camera  industry from scratch.  OEM products are not a new thing.  If Ricoh can buy Sony's sensors and Nikon supplies its camera bodies to others, Russian cameras can follow this beaten track of development.

Why Russian cameras?  I think the mysterious fanciful history of the former USSR will arouse a great deal of interest in Russia's cameras.   There are just too many cool USSR cameras with sort of a sexy period outlook.  If the right amount of investment is made in buying the right sensors and optics, the Russian makers can revive the glorious past of the USSR in, well, the cameras.

Or will the Chinese chew up the Russian brand names and produce Russian cameras with a Made in China tag?  Some of the sexy USSR cameras:

Chaika-3, 1971-1973.  Feature: Settings are made on the top plate--


KIEV-35M, c1990.  Feature: Front cover folds down to switch the camera on -


KIEV-5, c 1967 – 1973.  Feature: This one is equipped with the extraordinarily rare ultra high speed REKORD-4 f0.9/52mm lens -


Oh, or are they ugly to you?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Technically Grumpy

RIMG0107 (Large)[4] Recently, I stumbled upon a photography forum in which a technically grumpy fellow ranted about how a camera maker (Was it Ricoh he/ she had in mind?) should not market the point-and-shoot camera with a tiny sensor and a zoom lens as capable of reaching a focal length in 35mm-equivalence, like the CX3 branded as having a lens of 28mm to 300mm.

Technically, he brought home to us some fact which might not known to the newbies. But, practically, for most of us who don't make cameras or lenses but simply take photos, the fact is irrelevant. Someone can as well point out that the good of a P&S capable of zooming the lens that far. Take for example, the shallow DOF. This is in fact more practical for photographers.

RIMG0109 (Medium)[2] These technically grumpy photographers are galore around the Internet. It is one thing to learn about the technical aspects of a camera. It is entirely another thing to fuss about such aspects which have no practical value to doing photographs. Just this morning when I read the post on a renowned blog about how closing down the aperture (or something else? I didn't quite bother to read to the end anyway) rendered the difference between two sensors of separate sizes indiscernible in print, I was utterly bored.

What can I say to them? What will you say to them actually?

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So, we know that the a 35mm-format lens with a long focal length has a unique optical characteristic: very shallow DOF. As pointed out above, it is not the case for a tiny-sensor camera like my CX1. This gives such a camera the edge in taking street photographs. (Note: the DOF also depends on the distance between the lens and the subject. If we are talking about a landscape photo, the DOF may not give any difference no matter what format the camera you're using is.)

Unlike a 35mm-format zoom lens, the 200mm focal length of CX's lens is best for compressing a scene without compromising the DOF. This is great for doing street photographs because we can really make use of the farthest focal length to, say, photograph subjects standing across a street without ending up with a blurred background too. RIMG0083 (Medium)[2]

Using a bit of creativity, you may bring a long-zoom P&S to take photos with a bird’s eye view. Certainly, if you're going high up enough, the DOF does not matter with either a large- or small-size sensor. But fact is, the P&S is way more portable, enabling the photographer to stealthily bring it to a place where he or she is not really supposed to take pictures therefrom.

Oh, I've been hearing that the CX3 is interesting. If you're interested to know about the camera, email me or leave a message so that I have a reason to borrow one and evaluate it.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Layers of Photos

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I went to see an exhibition in which some display showed photos of the same scene superimposing on one and the other, ending up in a three dimensional image.  This is a fad here in Hong Kong.  These photos are mostly done for the old shops and street scenes.  The one above shows a shop selling paints, metal- and plastic-ware.

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The second image gives the viewers a glimpse of an old street where the vanishing Daipaidong (alfresco diner in local style) can be seen.

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The third shot is of a grocery of which the same were ubiquitous in Hong Kong before the arrival of supermarkets in the 70s. RIMG0864 (Large)

This last shot is of an old stationery store. 

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Best Costume

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I like the old lady's style, using a plastic bag as a makeshift hood of an imaged raincoat.  It's real cold today.

Monday, 8 March 2010

People in the Rain

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It is turning cold and raining again.  It is going to fall below 10 degree centigrade.  This is the time to take photos.  The street scenes become different.  People act not in the same way as in a fine day.  The streets are wet and the reflections are great for photography. 
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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Selected Excellence: Eyes

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Thanks to Chris, our long-time reader, for the intriguing photo.

Have a nice weekend!