And look at this absolute beauty! I’ve wanted one for years, and now they’re finally cheap as chips! #Graflok back and EVERYTHING! A #Graflex #SpeedGraphic, model uncertain, but in spectacular condition. Watch this space for when I figure out how to use it… #largeformat #5x4 #camera UPDATE: it looks like a Pacemaker Speed Graphic from 1955 with a #Polaroid #Prontor shutter on a #Rodenstock-#Ysaron 127mm lens. Brilliant!
Posted instagrama few seconds read (About 34 words)
Belatedly forcing leather balsam into the straps of my intrepid #billingham550 even though it might be too late. Like many brilliantly-made things, it can survive anything but neglect. 25 years old, cost £149 from #Jessops in #Hanley. Still in production at an eye watering £529. Who would pay that much? No use as a #camera bag anymore but a cracking travel companion. #billingham #billinghambag #photography #leather
Posted instagrama few seconds read (About 17 words)
These days, I spend too much time behind a camera hunting for pretty pictures, and too little simply documenting what I see around me. The latter is very satisfying, very amateur (in a good way) and largely what I did for ten years before getting slightly more serious about it all. The upcoming project documentary is going to take more observation than perhaps I’m used to these days, but the more observational work I do meets a positive response - The Council Estate and just yesterday, The House - and it’s all good practice for the big project. I’ve spent a lot of time in Pondicherry since I was a baby, and there’s a familiarity which prevents me wandering around as I might in a new town or city. So much of this place is tied to my family and its history, that I’m looking at my own family more closely, even as I’m stared at in the street… Christina found a splendid internet cafe last time she was here, and where I sit right now, and of course the people here know my family, don’t they? Pretty much everyone and anyone in the ashram knows Atma, my eldest cousin, and ashramites all know each other anyway. So I’m being observed too, as it happens, and noting that, I’m off to photograph the derelict patch of land that my father and his two brothers have owned since the 1960s.
Background: So I’ve talked myself into taking the gf’s D300 to India, for I need a zoom telephoto while I’m there, my least-preferred lens, but I either shell out 700 quid for a new Canon lens which isn’t as fast as my old Nikon 80-200 f2.8, or just borrow the damn Nikon. Easy decision. So it’s time to start learning the Nikon, a system I haven’t touched since I chucked the D1X and D70, and so far, it’s been fun. Setting aside the (rather endless) question of image quality, what we have here is a lightning-fast camera. It just responds. The focus is rapid, the drive is twice as fast as the 5s and it all just works. Last night, I was shooting with the 5 in a dark, dark nightclub. 25600 ISO all the way, which, incidentally, I absolutely love. So it was dark, and the 5D was just refusing to lock focus. Not surprising, but the 5D often does that when working at speed. But the D300 isn’t. The focus points are large and easy to catch, there’s 51 of them, and focus tracking, watching the point zip around the viewfinder, works well. I tracked some seagulls flying over on the South Bank and all was good in the hood. Last time I tried it with either of the 5s, it was a complete waste of time. So. What we have here is Canon putting photographers somewhere other than first. We get a camera that barely focuses, but does put out 21 megapixels. A camera with a poky viewfinder, but does shoot video. I have no brand loyalty, by the way, so this isn’t an advert for one company over another. But Nikon seem to realize that it is possible to make a series of high performance professional cameras over a wide range of prices and sizes without disabling them in some way, rather than only two at the top end, like Canon. Some of us, indeed, plenty of us, don’t want a massive heavy body, let alone two of them. But we do want good weather sealing and excellent build, top-notch AF and high-speed motors. And with Canon, there’s this huge patch occupied by the 5D series. A good camera, but I wish it was better.
The standard focusing screen with this camera is rubbish. It shows too much in focus and pictures shot wide-open have very different boke and DOF compared to the viewfinder. But this new focusing screen, the Canon EG-S, appears to fix that. It’s designed for manual focus, insomuch as any focusing screen without a split-prism can be used for manual focus, but it’s much snappier than the standard screen. Focus comes in and out quickly and sharply, and the boke/DOF issue is gone. I’m told it’s dimmer. Impossible to really tell. In any case, Canon viewfinders are rubbish compared to my old Nikon F2 and F3. Cinematic viewfinders you could draw a mural on.