I haven’t just been using the Canon SL1 while I have been learning, and deciding, how to best use it. For the above pictures I used my Pentax K-3 and made these images at a focal length of 300 mm, or effective 450 mm. I am still concerned about not being able to take such images if I mainly use my prime 24 mm lens on the Canon SL1. I have decided that I really don’t wish to carry the heavier K-3 and 55 – 300 mm zoom lens, but that I still would like to be able to make such pictures in the manner of the above. My indecision is what to do about it.
I may give up long focal length photography or I might compromise and look for a lens to use on the SL1 that is lighter. Another choice might be to use my micro 4/3 Olympus EPL-5 with a long lens. For some reason, I keep “walking away” from my micro 4/3 imagery. I liked using it for my most recent long-term project of photographing the model railroaders here at Homewood, but my primary outlet for those pictures will be a video/slide show made with shorter focal lengths. My problem is that I would like a higher quality longer focal length lens. I have been using my low-quality 40 – 150 mm f/4 – 5.6 lens. If cost was not a concern, I could try the new Olympus E-M5 II and the Pro 40 – 150 mm lens; but I don’t wish to spend that much money for such limited use.
Another “discomfort” that I have, is switching back and forth between cameras with totally different control and menu set-ups. That and the need for multiple lens collections for different systems is a drag on my photography and finances. Resolving these issues requires owning just one system; but, which one? I now have Pentax, Canon, and micro 4/3 systems. I would prefer to use one. Should I replace the non-Canons with another Canon DSLR with some longer lenses to supplement my SL1?
I would like to consider my next system as my last one … one that will serve my needs into the future. I doubt that I am alone relative to this issue. Does anyone out there have any recommendations?
Which cameras I keep and use depends upon what type of pictures I plan to make and how I use them. As much as possible, I would like to downsize relative to weight and number of cameras, but I don’t want to go too far down relative to image quality. The question is, how far is too far. As an example I was out walking Misty early on a cloudy day and had the Lumix LF1 in my pocket which I used for the above image. It was at an effective 200 mm and then cropped severely and resized up to this full size. I then worked with the raw image to create this painterly effect using Light Room.
The LF1 might work for images like above, but it doesn’t work to get good, quick pictures of events around here. I also don’t use it on the streets. It is certainly small, easy to carry, and discreet, but it isn’t easy to change settings and shoot quickly. It takes too long to zoom the lens. For most events and on the street and for better quality landscapes I hope to use the Canon SL1 with both the 24 and the 40 mm prime pancake lenses. I won’t know for sure until the weather improves and I take a lot more pictures with it.
I still have my Olympus E-PL5 with many micro 4/3 lenses which I think work OK for travel since they pack small and are light for international travel. Since I am not doing that kind of travel anymore I am not sure how I will use them or even if I will keep them. I did use it a lot for my most resent indoor project here at Homewood, but that was before I got the Canon SL1.
I also still have my Pentax K-3 along with three lenses. At the moment it is the most unused of the lot. I might keep it and use it with a smaller but still weather resistant lens for photography in bad weather. Since I find it too heavy to use but for short periods with long focal length lenses, I might just give up that type of photography. As an alternative, I might try a long zoom on the Canon SL1. I don’t think it is a good camera for such use due to its size but it might work better than I think. It also depends upon how good I get at using the controls on the Canon SL1 to get the effects I desire. I might also just use a micro 4/3 camera with a long lens for long-range photography.
One of the least costly ways for me to downsize is to limit what I photograph and use the cameras and lenses I have. If I stop photographing with long zoom lenses, and outdoors in rain or snow, I could possibly shrink down to just three cameras, or maybe even less. At the moment I am considering using only my Lumix LF1, my Ricoh GR, and my Canon SL1 (with both pancake lenses). But I still entertain thoughts about limiting what I photograph to what I can make with one camera and one lens.
All of my trials are to determine what I want to photograph with what type of camera and focal length lens, and then, if necessary, buy a higher quality camera-lens combination and sell the rest.
This image gives you an idea of the conditions here as the Mallards stand on the ice, but the quality of the image isn’t the greatest. I used my Olympus 40 – 150 mm lens on my Olympus E-PL5 held on a monopod while zoomed all the way out to 150 mm (effective 300 mm) from my back porch. In addition to using that very inexpensive lens zoomed all the way out to take this picture; I also cropped it quite a bit and then resized it up.
I do wish I had a better, longer lens; but that would be going back on my decision to try to become a bottom feeder in photography; i.e. see what I can accomplish with the entry-level cameras and lenses. There has been so much hype on the web about all the latest and greatest and most expensive photography gear that I am rebelling. I am tired of being told that I need the latest “bells and whistles”. I am of the opinion that most folks don’t need the latest and greatest and most expensive gear considering how we display our images. That is why you are seeing this picture as well as the ones in my previous posts taken with the entry-level Canon DSRL.
I am not yet ready to claim that these are all that I am going to use. I may still go back to a top line, latest and greatest mirror-less camera, but I doubt it based on what I am learning now. So far I have tentatively decided to sell my heavy Pentax K-3 and all the lenses and rely upon micro 4/3 for my long focal length images, like above. I may get a longer lens than the 40 – 150 mm lens, but maybe not. I am also considering just shooting with my effective prime focal lengths of 28, 38, or 64 mm. I may decide to not photograph the long stuff (effective 300 mm like above), or with zoom lenses.
PS, you can get an idea the difference an effective 300 mm lens makes when cropped by comparing the above with the following picture made from the same location but with the effective 38 mm lens on the Canon SL1. If you look carefully in the center of the picture below you might recognize the ice pattern of the above picture.
Don’t forget to click on a picture and view in gallery mode.
Just to show you how frustrated I am with little to photograph, I tried some hand-held slow speed shots of that fast-moving Bob Cat (a front end loader) as it was removing snow the other morning. You can see what I got … lots of motion blur.
I started to crop-zoom into some sections of interest … like above the wheel and along the snow-covered road but finally decided to just use a larger portion of the original picture using a square crop.
Just a few images of what was going on early this morning outside my window. The grounds crew was out early cleaning up the snow from yesterday. It went down to 10 degrees F. last night but had warmed up to 17 when I took these pictures before 6:30 am.
Now that it is daylight the wind is coming up and it is flurrying. Our forecast is for a high of 24 degrees today and a windy 8 degrees for tonight. Winter is here.
I was enjoying the benefits of having my Pentax K-3 when I took these pictures through a window from inside my warm Villa. They were all taken at ISO of 6400 and very slow shutter speeds for handheld with subject motion.
Since I haven’t been taking many pictures lately, I have been using my time to try to decide what I’d like to do when it warms up next spring. I am thinking about what I would like to photograph and what camera I would prefer to use. I thought that one element of this process should be to look back through some of my older pictures and pick out what I liked and so I did. The above are one set of results. I liked their simplicity and color and that they all had black in them.
I deliberately didn’t look at what camera I used or any other details about the pictures until I was done. Looking back later I noted that a different camera was used for all four of the above, but that they were all taken with a long focal length lens. Probably the only thing significant about the different cameras is that I have used many different ones; but another possible factor is that it indicates that the particular camera didn’t matter.
The long focal length is more troubling for me. I have liked long focal lengths since they enabled me to extract details from around me while blurring out the backgrounds. The troubling aspect is that I have had more problems with heavy camera-lens combinations. As a result of that, I have been carrying around and shooting primarily my Ricoh GR with a fixed effective 28 mm lens.
The problem that I need to resolve is that I prefer small light-weight cameras with prime lenses like the GR or a Leica X2 or the Fujifilm X100T while at the same time I preferred images made with long focal length lenses. This presents a real dilemma for me. Should I use a camera I like to hold and carry and seek out new compositions that I might like, or choose a camera with a long lens and shoot images like above? If I use a long lens, I might need to use a light-weight camera lens combination with a smaller sensor and lower image quality to keep the weight lower.
It was a cold dreary rainy night last night. These are just a few images that I used to try some different adjustments on. I am thinking about making more similar images this coming year.
These images, as well as the pictures of the sun in the previous post are part of what I call abstracts. I refer to them as abstracts since they have been altered and are bits of what others might take a picture of.
I was walking yesterday before the rain started with the E-PL5 and the 20 mm lens in my pocket when I noticed these reflections.
Later after the rain started I took the following from the comfort of our rear porch using the K-3 with the 18 – 135 mm lens zoomed out to 135 mm. The shutter speed was 1/200 sec. but if you look carefully you can still see the rain coming down.
I have been thinking about what has changed and what it means for my photography. Some of the changes are: 1) Winter has arrived and it is cold and often windy. 2) My back got worse but I have learned that if I don’t stand too long, don’t lift much, don’t bend too far, and especially don’t twist even a little, and do my exercises with the help of some new medicine, that I can continue to function with little discomfort. But that is a big “if” and so far, I have occasionally been doing too much and paying for it. 3) I have been taking more pictures of people and things here that I can’t put on my web.
As far as my cameras are concerned, I have found that I should use my Pentax K-3 and lenses less due to the weight, size, and focusing and shutter noise around people. When I go out anywhere I usually just take the GR in a pocket and mostly just use the K-3 as a grab camera to run out the door to take pictures of clouds like above. I don’t walk much anymore with the K-3 or shoot for long periods with it due to its weight, and I don’t use it around people due to its lack of discreetness.
I can use the GR with its effective 28 mm focal length along with the E-PL5 with the effective 40 mm or 90 mm focal length lenses for most of my indoor pictures around people, but I sometimes miss having a zoom lens. I need to use prime lenses to handle the lower light and shutter speed requirements and achieve suitable image quality while indoors. I will continue to carry the GR with me in my pocket whenever I’m out as my “just-in-case” camera. It has been a big improvement over using my E-PL5 and 14 mm lens for that purpose. The GR is lighter, fits in a pocket better, and has better image quality.
Another concern at the moment is what to use outdoors if I can’t carry the K-3. I might eventually replace the Pentax gear with another micro 4/3 camera, and finally leave the big DSLR camera behind and make the switch to mirror-less cameras. I tried to do that once before and reverted back to the Pentax DSLR, but I think I am now about ready to make the final switch to mirror-less cameras. I like to keep a wide-to-normal lens on one camera and a longer zoom on another camera so that I don’t have to change lenses as often. Having two micro 4/3 cameras would enable me to make better use of my micro 4/3 lens collection, but I’ll have to think some more about it.
Another option would be to get an APS-C size sensor camera with one good normal range zoom lens and use it for all of my indoor work as well as shorter range outdoor shooting and use my 40 – 150 mm micro 4/3 lens on the E-PL5 for long-range shooting outdoors. The advantage of going this route is that I would have better image quality than I can get with micro 4/3 camera for my indoor work and I would have a better all-around single camera. That was what I was thinking about when I had the Fujifilm X-E1 with the 18 – 55 mm lens, but it was early in the process before they made some significant upgrades in the software, etc. Or, if I replaced the K-3 with the Fujifilm X-T1 and the 18 – 135 mm lens it would weight around 930 g. vs. the 1205 g. of the K-3 and the 18 – 135 mm lens, but I’m not sure if that weight savings is enough.
Other questions: Will I really be shooting much with zoom lenses, and if not, which prime focal length will I use most of the time? Would I rather have an APS-C sensor camera with an effective 35 mm focal length lens for better image quality or is my Panasonic 20 mm lens (effective 40 mm) good enough with a micro 4/3 sensor?
My main concern is how I am going to photograph scenes that are suitable for my blog, and more importantly, make pictures that I really like. The camera and lenses are not the main problem. I need to figure out what and where I will be shooting.