Saturday, 23 October 2010

Green Thumbs and Green Hands

SAM_7444 (Large)I have walked to some gardens with the EX1, seeing the plants meticulously cultivated by the caretakers with their green thumbs, leaves and taken shots of the mind-smoothing green setting.  As evidenced in the images, the Schneider lens of the EX1 manages to reproduce the images with good tonal transition from brightness to grey areas (crop at left).  Certainly it is no high-grade lens costing thousands of bucks.  Corner softness is noticeable.  It was taken at about 50mm.  But it is not any worse than its competitors.

Some green hands in photography have asked whether the F1.8 capability of EX1 has an advantage in giving bokeh to the shots.  The answer is yes... if you shot in macro mode like the close-up shot of the flower below.

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The answer is no otherwise for normal shots since the sensor is tiny and the focal length of 24mm to 72mm is only a conversion of the actual length of 5.2mm to 15.6mm.  The following shot shows how the F1.8 will give out in normal shots.  But the extensive DOF has many advantages.  Of course, any veterans know that.

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Friday, 22 October 2010

Quit for the Time Being

2782654235_6df3f925da_bAn email sent to Chung, the young film photographer, got a surprising reply.  The email was meant to ask for his permission to release his Flickr address.

2836325916_6e14254072_bThe young man wrote: "It is my honor to show my photos on your blog. I would like to release my flickr address too.

"The camera I played with in the cafe is Leica, not Nikon. Honestly, I have lost my interest on photograhing because of many assignments. I hope that I can get it back and share more photos with everyone."

Such is the suffocating city life many has found in this busy city.  Maybe it has been so busy that he is quitting for the time being.  But I think it is exactly with a busy life that we need some hobby.

Photos featured today are all Chung's film images.

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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Selected Excellence: Appeal of Film Images

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The appeal is in the personality of film, the unique layers and textures which are nicely told by the young photographer, Chung, in today's images.

Just click open the images for a larger size to check out the fine grains which are so fearfully avoided by digital camera users in general.  The feel is unmistakeably film.

These shots give out an atmosphere of serenity.  Fact is, this quality is found in most of Chung's shots.  A side note is that, compositionally, the dead space behind the subject in the first shot is less satisfactory.  Putting the person on the right side of the image is preferred for that matter.  Luckily, the patterned ceiling somehow reduces the adverse effect of the dead space.  The up-left to down-right rippling lines naturally guides the viewers' gaze to the lower right corner.  The texture of film add an extra dimension of interest to it.  Just imagine if it was a digital shot made spick-and-span.  The ceilings look more heavily layered in this film image.

And with the grainy texture, the awning looks real.  The image just has more depth, which can rather be the effect of the lens though.

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My favourite is the last shot.  The rough texture of the foldable metal gate is bewitching. The lock looks three dimensional.

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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

His Love Story

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Chung, a young man aged around 19, was toying with a big black camera which caught my attention when I was sipping a cup of aromatic coffee in the cafe.  He was with his friend who got a big black camera too.  It didn't take a photography master to tell that the young chaps were holding two old film cameras.

Curiosity caused me to go over and ask Chung, a name I knew only at the end of the conversation,"Wow, are you shooting with film cameras?"  As I moved closer, the eye-catching "Leica" on the ridge of his camera was unmistakable.  What exactly the model it was just slipped out of my memory.

"Yeah, this is a Leica film camera," he replied, beaming a smile of pride.

"Good for you!  It is not usual for young men like you and your friends doing films rather than going digital.  Why not?" I said to Chung while his friend was being more reserved in the background, shooting with his tool.

Chung nodded his head, saying, "I just don't like the feel of digital images.  They lack personality.  No fun at all!"

I pressed on, "A good point there, man.  So you've got how many film cameras?"

He went on counting one by one and told me that the cameras were selling cheap on eBay.  I played with both of their cameras and asked for Chung's flickr address before they left the cafe.  I checked out his shots on my netbook right at the cafe.  Wow, this budding photographer has a sharp eye for shots, some of which are being arranged and to be shown on GX Garnerings.

The three pictures here today are Chung's works.  In his arsenal includes the two cameras below.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Downsizing Reloaded

To photographers from the digital generation, the fashionable serious compacts sound to be an exciting novel idea.  Fact is, the whole thing is old wine in a new bottle.

contaxG2 3lensesContax G2 was the forefather bringing about the downsizing fad in the film era.
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When SLRs were at the height of its development, photographers were like what we are doing today: asking for cameras in a smaller body without scarifying controllability.   The only difference is that image quality was not an issue with the camera body back then.

So a new species of high-grade rangefinder film camera flourished and, much like the advert of MFT and mirror-less compact cameras to us today, became the talking point of the market.  Those cameras  allow users access to tweaking the EV, ISO value, aperture, shutter speed, using interchangeable lenses and the external viewfinder, to different extent.

The fad was brought about by Contax with its launch of the G2.  Other camera makers followed the example.  The Konica Hexar, Nikon 35Ti, Leica Minilux (which in fact was an OEM camera by Panasonic; hence the collaboration for the LUX series of today) and Ricoh GV-1v were the followers.

With reference to the development of those RF cameras, it is not foolhardy to predict that the wind of series compact cameras will continue to blow.  Probably, we will see some of these old bottles be given new digital contents, and more crossover moves for using old lenses like the Voigtlander's on them.

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Monday, 18 October 2010

Still Remember Negative?

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Familiar with the look of a roll of film no more?  How about a film compartment?  Miss'em?  Or are you from the digital age who have never loaded a roll into a film camera really?

Sometimes, toying with an old film cameras is just soul comforting for the older photographer folks. It would probably make us nostalgic about the granduer days it saw on our hands doing great shots too. Back then, we talked about the wide array of films, picking the one for the right character. There were a whole list of terms to describe films: resolution, sharpness, colour saturation, granularity, contrast, exposure latitude and the list goes on. With the advert of better sensors, photoshopping and HDR tricks, these terms will be history as the film cameras are turning into.

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Or will they?  I don't know about yours, but I just bought a roll of Fujifilm Superia 200 to tickle my fancy.  I was tempted to get the Reala but not ready to pay the extra bucks.
Just some two years ago, the diehard film users still argued for using films.  It was claimed that films had the edges in ultimate image sharpness, irreplaceable film personality, wider tonal ranges, pricing (film cameras) and getting the widest angle with the old "full-film" lenses.

They were cogent arguments, back then.  With a bit of photochromic tinkering here, a bit of technological progress there, the imaging sensors and algorithmic methods have since undergone leaping advancement.  Now, the only thing true about using film is probably that films have distinctive personality which digital files cannot quite fake...yet.

Well, new technology may bring this old tool to its knees.  But psychologically, films always hold a special place in our heart.  Interested in putting your faithful old friends to use and enjoy a great day together again?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Closing Down

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Tired?  This is Sunday, a rest day.  Go back and sleep in.

Have a nice day!