Tagged: lenses

Future of (My) Cameras

I wish the above was an all-seeing eye that could look into the future, but it’s only a small shell we found in Ireland.  For looking into the future I can only look at current trends in conjunction with the changes in the environment, and I include all aspects under the environmental umbrella.  Those aspects include everything from political, to natural resources, to fiscal, to climate, etc. … including declining physical abilities as we age.

For cameras in general, I expect that we will see the size of sensors grow with the demise of very small sensors in P&S cameras.  The cell phones will use the smallest sensors and replace most of the small P&S cameras.  I expect to see larger sensors placed into smaller cameras, but I don’t see the size of cameras dropping much, if any more, due to ergonomics.  The 1 inch to micro 4/3 sensors will be the new smallest size sensors in cameras with the APS size sensors taking over in the small to medium size cameras and eventually the so-called full frame sensors growing in number in the better equipped cameras.  I also think that the low-priced entry-level DSLR cameras like the Nikon D3200 and the Canon Rebels will be displaced with smaller mirror-less cameras as prices of mirror-less cameras drop with volume sales.

The biggest change that I think we will be seeing will be the continuing computerization of cameras.  They will become (now are) small computers with no moving mechanical parts other than lens components.  The shutters, focus, and zoom mechanisms will be all-electric.  The biggest change will be in the on-board processors.  They will become more like general purpose computers in the sense that we will be choosing functions by acquiring software and loading it on our cameras.  As the cameras have fewer mechanical parts we will update our cameras by updating the software in them.  This could enable us to keep our cameras longer with less need to replace the camera, but we will have to wait and see how the manufacturers react to this possibility.

Another change that has been evolving is the shrinking of lenses.  I originally switched from an APS DSLR to micro 4/3 cameras since in addition to the cameras being smaller and lighter, the lenses were a lot smaller and this resulted in smaller, lighter systems to carry around.  Now the APS size sensor cameras are also getting slightly smaller and lighter lenses since the cameras are mirror-less and are using electric motors to control focusing and zooming and not the older mechanical systems.

My decision is to decide how, and when, I will react to the above.  I have no doubts that my Pentax K-5 DSLR and its’ lens system is going to become the dinosaur of cameras.  It will grow heavier, relatively speaking, as I get older and it is probably the last of the old style mechanical cameras that I will purchase; but, for now it does a good job.  If you have read my blog for any time, you also know that I have had a desire to reduce the number of my cameras to one so that I can better learn and use it without having to remember and think about the differences in controls and settings, etc.  At one time I thought that micro 4/3 cameras were the solution for me … until I had problems with the size, control layouts, etc. and I started to have doubts about the sensor size relative to future capabilities.  All of this leads me to thinking about another solution … another camera.

I’m thinking about switching to Sony cameras.  Given my beliefs about the computerization of the camera, I’m thinking that going with Sony might be the best technical and most economical direction.  Besides, almost all the camera manufacturers are now using Sony sensors … from Olympus to Nikon to Leica.  The Sony NEX-6 has an APS size sensor packaged in a camera about the same size as my previous micro 4/3 cameras and the ergonomics with the hand grip and controls looks like it might fit my needs better.  Up to now Sony’s downfall with their cameras has been the size, quality, and quantity of available lenses.  Recently they have rectified this problem and other third parties have started producing lenses in their E-mount, so I don’t think this will be a problem going forward.

My big problem is that no one near where I live carries the camera so I have to order one to see how it works in my hands.  I will also have to wait until I see some reviews of the camera after it starts shipping, which probably won’t be until Nov. before I make up my mind.  Hopefully I’ll have an answer by late Nov. since I have my order in for the Sony NEX-6 camera so I can try it.

Changes in “My Vision” for 2011

Street scene in Tunisia

Photography Opportunities

In the past I have mostly taken pictures while traveling but since I probably won’t be doing as much international traveling as in some of the past years, I hope to expand my shooting to other venues and subjects closer to home.  The changes are still a plan-in-progress and I hope to be showing you and telling you more in later articles.

Camera Gear

I have decided to continue with my photographic preferences and that is to keep my gear small and light using equipment and techniques suitable for traveling light … whether internationally or locally.  In addition, I plan to try to always have a camera with me and move towards simpler solutions and approaches as I make changes in the future.    I have recently been using my time to analyze whether I needed to upgrade or expand my cameras and lenses.  Since my cameras aren’t that old and are still more capable than I am in using them, I have decided to not get any different cameras at this time … but that is dependent upon future changes in subjects and travels.

The issue relative to lenses wasn’t as easy to resolve since it depends a lot on where and what I will be shooting in the future.  One of the things that I did was to analyze what focal lengths I used the most in the past.  Since I have used different cameras over the years and locations, all the focal lengths quoted in my review are shown as effective (e) 35mm lengths.  In Tunisia I took over 61% of my pictures at 28 to 40mm (e) and a little over 19% at 80 – 84 mm (e).  In Costa Rica in 2007, 35% were taken at 40mm (e) (the widest I had with me) and 32% were taken at 440mm (e) (the longest that I had).  In West Virginia in October, 35% were at 28mm (e) and the rest were all over the spectrum between 28 and 375mm (e).  Basically all that I learned was that if taking outdoor landscapes I mostly have used a wide lens of 28 mm (e), if taking a mix of street scenes, ruins, people, etc. I have mostly used focal lengths of 40 mm (e) and below, and if taking wildlife shots, I mostly used 375 to 440 mm (e).   That was helpful, but only if I know the type of shots I will be taking in the future.

Basically the above told me that for a good part of my shooting I have tended to use the two extremes of the focal lengths I had available … either as wide or zoomed in as tight as I could.  What it didn’t tell me is “What would I have used if I hadn’t been limited by what I had?” nor did it tell me “What focal lengths would I have used if I had taken more time to compose the scene?”  Most importantly, since I am not sure as to what kinds of shooting I will be doing this year, I have decided to proceed with the following equipment until I develop my vision and techniques some more.

I will be continuing to stick with my Pentax K-7 while using three lenses:  the 18-250mm zoom, the 18-55mm weather resistant zoom for inclement weather, and the 40mm for light weight and compactness while using the K-7.  This camera has a 1.5 crop factor which means that the effective focal lengths are 1.5 times the actual focal lengths of the lenses.   This system is just about the smallest, versatile, economical DSLR package which is weather resistant that I can put together.  Depending on whether I will be shooting wildlife in the future, I might replace the 18-250mm zoom (which tends to creep quite a lot) with a 50-300mm zoom of a little higher quality.  My previous article showed you my new preferred small bag-carry system for carrying my K-7 camera and lenses.

In addition, I will be using my Olympus E-P1 micro 4/3 camera as my small, easier to always have with me camera.  I have two lenses, the 17mm and the 14-42mm, both of which I used for the trip to Tunisia.  This camera has a 2.0 crop factor which means that the effective length of the lenses is 2 times the actual focal length of the lenses.  If I need to travel as light as possible I will probably continue to use this system.  But, I have decided to make one change and that is to get and use the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens with the E-P1 rather than the 17mm F2.8 lens.  I like my compact package with the 17mm Olympus lens, but I wanted something equally compact but with a faster lens and a little better quality for low light shots as my small, always take with me system, especially since it doesn’t have a flash.  At this time, that is the only change that I have planned in equipment.  I’ll be telling you my impression of the 20mm (effective 40mm) lens for my future uses in later articles.  A lot of its’ utility for me will depend on the type of shooting I will be doing with it.


You may see changes in my photography in the future (maybe this spring when it warms up), but for now I just wanted to let you know my current views.  The only thing that is definite is that there will be changes but to what degree I’m still not sure.  Hopefully you will start to notice positive changes in my pictures and my blog.  This year I expect to make changes in my photographic style, techniques, and subjects while working on perfecting and expressing my vision.