Cameras and Such

Good points. It’s not the first time I’ve used this rig, I’ve actually been using it for years. I just haven’t been using it much in the last year for anything quite so dynamic. I’m definitely kicking myself now for not thinking to practice by doing some ‘airplane watching’ especially as we have a fairly active banner tow operation going on at the airport; where they essentially dive straight at the ground and pull out at the last second so that the tow line will smack the ground and drag into the banner pick up. Dramatic stuff. Just never thought to try recording it.

If you do, post it, that sounds fukken rad to see.

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That shot you are trying to get is particularly difficult. Not only would you ideally have fancy gear for it, but what Luke said is very true. If you don’t have practice not just with the gear, but also with that exact type of photography, there’s just no hope of getting it on the first try.

I’ve learned that while there are many principles to photography that apply across the board, each different type of photography is really its own art. Fashion photography vs nature photography are as different as playing guitar and playing flute. The same principles of music apply, but that’s pretty much it.

One thing I can recommend, that even professional photographers do, is renting equipment. If you need something like a ridiculously long lens for a special occasion that calls for it, you rent one. It’s only worth owning something so expensive if you are going to use it very frequently. The other bonus of renting is that you will probably get some state of the art stuff that is well maintained. Renting is also a good way to test out something you might consider buying to see if it’s going to work for you.


The telephoto lens I use has image stabilisation built in, and it works remarkably well. I’ve take lots of photos of bird in flight, and plenty of videos too at maximum zoom (300mm).

It’s my second most-used lens. I’ve never used it on a tripod. Tripods are mostly used by people who don’t know how to hold a camera steady in their hands.

A great feature for moving subjects is the two different stabilisation modes. Mode 1 stabilises horizontally and vertically, and mode 2 only stabilises vertically. This mode is designed for following moving subjects such as cars, planes, people running, etc. It takes away the up-and-down shakiness but still lets you follow the subjects without the stabilisations messing up the shot.

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Whoa there, pardner.

The popularity of film photography has really been exploding for several years. With so few companies manufacturing any analog film or cameras, and economic conditions being what they are, the hobby has become wildly more expensive. Demand up, supply stagnant. I got back into analog film around 2014 just ahead of the boom. Or maybe I was a part of it. As much as I enjoy it, the cost is really pushing me back towards digital photography only.

One thing that looms large in the photography world, and still makes high end analog cameras, is Leica. What was originally at least a somewhat accessible brand at its outset, has long been an overpriced luxury brand. Luxury brands often have superior performance in ways that don’t matter. Many Lamborghinis only ever see a public street, and many dive watches never touch a drop of water. A camera, hopefully, actually gets used to take photos.

Does a Leica camera have superior performance? Quantitatively you’ll have to trust some people who optically measure lenses. Most of its superiority is qualitative. I’ve only ever used a Leica in a camera store. It does feel great to use. Just such a satisfying mechanical construction. The way it sounds and feels gives such good vibes. It could just be a psychological trick, like cheap wine tasting great when it came out of a fancy wine bottle. Even so, it’s hard not to want one. If somehow the supply were greater, and the price were reasonable, just about every photographer would have one.

The only Leica camera I would consider owning is the M6. I could have, and probably should have, bought one in '15 for under $2k. That’s a low price now :laughing:. The M6 is the last good mechanical analog film rangefinder they made. If you actually plan on using the camera, the M6 is ideal. Models M5 and older aren’t as user friendly and advanced. The M7 was weird. The M8 and newer are all digital. They still make the M-A and MP which are analog, but hideously expensive compared to M6. They’re also quite a bit different.

Due to this, the price of an M6 in working condition has gone way up, and rumors have been swirling. We’ve been expecting for a year or more that Leica would re-introduce a camera very much like the M6, but cheaper than the M-A and MP, to capitalize on this renewed demand.

Well, the rumors were true. The M6 is back.

Good news is that the camera seems to be largely identical to the old one. There are differences. Newer modern technology, especially in the electronic parts. Presumably even better manufacturing processes. Some different materials used in some components. But by and large, same camera. Only now you can actually get one new, if you can afford it.

So I’m getting one, right? Hello no! Why? No surprise, the price is $5,295 with no lens. I can snatch a used M6 on eBay in great condition for maybe $3k.

I understand a luxury brand isn’t going to come out with something cheap. It was never going to be $1k. But Rolex does sell watches ranging from around $5k to $100k+. They have a wide range of luxury. Leica doesn’t really have that range. All of their cameras are in the $5k-$10 range. The lenses are also hideously expensive. I thought with the popularity of analog photography likely being temporary that they might come out with the camera for $2.5 or $3k, matching the market price for old M6s and making up the profits on lenses, accessories, and bringing people into their ecosystem.

The end result is a Leica camera is something that I will just have to do without unless there is some unforeseen financial windfall, and I don’t buy lottery tickets.

What I am considering doing camera-wise is

  • Selling all the camera equipment I don’t use enough.
  • Replacing my most-used camera, the Fuji X100F, with the Fuji XPro4 (if and when they ever come out with such a camera). It has to be soon-ish, since the XPro3 is old already.
  • Getting some of the Fuji Instax printers so I can get instant photos from just about any digital camera. My only instant camera now is the Lomo’Instant Square, and it’s more than a bit flaky.
  • After using all the film I have, not buying more film unless prices go down at some point.
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Given the resurgence in the popularity of analog photography over the last several years, and the fact that PENTAX has never been that successful in the digital photography realm, they have decided to produce some new analog film cameras.

This is a good business move by them I think. The only new analog film cameras available these days are either ridiculously high end, like Leica, or low end toys like you get from Lomography and various crowd-funded projects. Almost all the film cameras people use are several decades old.

That’s great actually that this old stuff still works. All of mine are old and used, but still work great. They are fantastic cameras even today. Great for the environment also that we are reusing and repairing old things that still work just fine. Maybe it makes up for a small amount of the environmental damage of analog film production and processing.

That said, having a brand new analog film camera will also be really great. The rest of the camera can be modernized and they might make something better than everything that already exists. Look at the Canon EOS1V and add a few decades of improvements you could really have something there. Even just simple improvements like faster autofocus, faster maximum shutter speeds, wireless (phone app) remote control, modern lenses, and rechargeable batteries will be huge.

It will be nice for people to be able to buy a decent analog camera from a non-secondary market. To be able to know they are buying something in brand new condition. To have a warranty. To have parts available for repair. To have a set MSRP instead of having to win an eBay auction. To be able to actually get the camera they want from the store, and not have it be super rare and overpriced (looking at you Contax G2!).

The problem I see is that the film itself is in danger. The increased demand and supply shortages are raising the price a lot. Developing isn’t cheap either. Fuji in particular has cancelled some lines of film in recent times, and the situation only looks to be getting worse.

It would be pretty sad for everyone to suddenly get their hands on great new analog cameras and for it to be difficult to get film to shoot with.

I’ve got quite a bit of film saved up in the fridge. It’s expired, but it should still be fine due to refrigeration. I’ve tested some, and it may as well be new. I really wanted to use it all up because I bought too much. But now that prices are up I’m trying to use it sparingly.

Will I actually buy this Pentax camera? I kind of want to, but it would make no sense given the cameras and lenses I already have.

Scott talking about film, made me think about the impossible project which then led me to finding out they bought the IP and Copyright to Polaroid itself and then basically became the brand and then I found this cool portable wi-fi app based printer for making polaroid photos using your phone as the camera which I think is pretty neat.

You don’t want that. Get Fuji Instax instead. I just got the new Square Link.

I mean part of the appeal is the very specific recreation of the Polaroid developer color palette. There is an aesthetic that those original Polaroids had that was kind of the whole deal behind the original impossible project.

I’m very skeptical. I’m going to guess you can achieve close to the same results by post-processing the digital photo before printing.


If I would have known this was coming I would have waited and saved some money.

Notable death - to close: Digital Photography Review

Thanks, Amazon.

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Probably will want a tripod for this feature.

This is pretty.

This is a good trick. Take advantage of rolling shutter to treat each pixel as a sensor. Can increase your sampling rate to ~number of pixels x camera FPS.

You might remember the idea from “bag of chips as a microphone”.

I’m reminded a little of this trick I came across recently too, where you remove the lens from a camera, and use the pixels as a ruler. Both using the physical properties of the camera in a creative way.

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A real fake camera, inside Blender, to take real fake real fake photographs.

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Nikon previously released the Zfc. A modern digital camera in a body like an old SLR. The only existing camera in that class is the Fuji XT series. But the Fuji XT is the top end flagship camera from Fuji. The Zfc is much less expensive. Still a very tempting camera for those who have Z-mount lenses.

Now Nikon has released the Nikon Zf.

Wow, this is a tempting camera. It costs only a bit more than the Fuji XT-5, but it’s full frame. This is, to my knowledge, the only modern digital camera with a full frame sensor and an old school SLR form factor. Just like the Leica M is the only modern full frame digital camera in an old school rangefinder body (that I know of).

I have a Fuji X100F, which is an APS-C rangefinder with a fixed lens. There is an X100V, but I skipped that as it didn’t seem like a necessary upgrade for me when it came out. Meanwhile the X100F is still my favorite most used camera. It still takes great photos. And somehow I’m still learning more about it all the time. I’ve just really fallen in love with the way the Fuji cameras work.

That said, the X100F is now starting to show its age. The battery life is not great. It still uses micro USB. The newer Fuji cameras that have come out have some great new features and film simulations. And the new improved, supposedly actually works properly, Fuji app doesn’t support this old camera.

I’ve been waiting for a new release from Fuji to upgrade. A new X100 would be tempting. But I’m really hoping for an XPro4. That’s basically an X100 with interchangeable lenses. The XPro 3 exists, but it’s from 2019. It’s been discontinued, and has all the same oldness issues as the X100F.

All that said, this Nikon Zf really changes things. As much as I have come to love the Fuji system, here I could get a full frame sensor from Nikon in the form factor I want at a pretty reasonable price. I think I’m going to go to a camera store and try it out. Or maybe I’ll become one of those camera people that keeps buying and selling cameras more frequently. I do have a few sitting on the shelf that I could move along.

Edit: I said the Nikon Zf is much less expensive than the X-T5. It’s not actually. Zf is $2k and the X-T5 is $1700. That said, the Zf is a full frame sensor, even if it’s not the absolute top of the line Nikon sensor, it’s still pretty high end. The X-T5 sensor is APS-C, but is the best Fuji has to offer (except for their medium format cameras, obviously). When you consider that it’s just $300 difference for the sensor size upgrade, and that other full frame mirrorless cameras like a Sony a7Cii cost $2200+, the price of the Zf is very attractive and competitive.

Edit 2: Additional info! This camera has an SD card slot AND a micro SD card slot. My GH5 has two slots, and I use it for various things, like separating video and photos to separate cards. Or recording to a panel to two cards at once, for safety. Or if I ever make an insanely long video I can have it rollover from card 1 to card 2.

On a purely photo camera, with SD cards as big as they are, what do I need two slots for, especially if one is micro SD? I think it’s actually really genius. You use the SD as your primary memory card. But you put a micro SD in there and just leave it. You can keep taking photos off of the SD and erasing it between shoots, but leave the micro as a permanent backup of everything you’ve ever shot. And if you ever grab the camera to shoot quickly, you don’t have to worry if you remembered to get a memory card in there. the Micro SD is always in there for sure.


Excited for the Nikon Z and Nikon .

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There was recently a paper published describing a camera setup from some researchers. It records 7 frames at 4,800,000 fps.

It uses a smart trick with a DMD (the mirror array inside any modern projector) to produce a changing diffraction pattern. That fans the 7 frames out across the sensor that does the actual recording.

The paper has some pics:

Extra cool because it’s all relatively normal, cheap parts. In theory, basically any camera could be used to capture the image.