Tagged: Ricoh GR

Simplifying my Photography Gear

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 Start

I accumulated too many cameras and lenses.  I primarily did that while trying to cover many different photographic situations and trying to figure out what I wanted or needed.  The above are what I had when I started my recent purging, and you will note that I had a lot of overlapping systems.  It doesn’t include all the other cameras I tried and sold previously.  Lately, I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what I want to do, can do, and will do, in my future photography so that I can simplify.  By-the-way, there are a lot of differences between “want to do, can do, and will do”.

The unmarked camera in the picture at the top on your left is the Canon SL1.  At the time I took the picture I had black tape over the lettering.  I had one other camera in addition to the above cameras that I used to take the picture.  It was the Ricoh GR.

I have given up on reducing down to one camera for the time being, but I am reducing the number of different systems that I have and selling off some of the above with the goal to end up with fewer options.  While trying to decide which way to go, I cycled through each of the above cameras and used them to remind myself of their individual characteristics and why I got them in the first place.  Each has a particular strength and capability so my decision process came down to deciding what, or how, I will not be photographing in the future.

I have tried to pick a subject to concentrate on.  I first thought it would be Hanover streets and buildings, and it might still be; but I have concerns.  In some of my trials I have had minor confrontations which I have been able to walk away from so far; but I am concerned that the confrontations might increase, especially if I use a DSLR camera with a long zoom lens.

I would like to do something with a rangefinder style camera with a focal length of 35 or 50 (e) mm; but that usually means photographing people, and is not likely … in town or within Homewood.  But, that doesn’t rule out such a camera for buildings, landscapes, etc.

What about other possibilities?  The big one is travel photography but for several reasons, that is not likely for me.  Another possibility would be nature, wildlife, etc.  We have limited wildlife but it is still a possibility.  There are also weather, clouds, etc. but that is limiting from an opportunity perspective.  I can’t photograph the weather effects when I wish since it is dependent upon the whims of the weather.

I am still trying to decide what it is that I mainly hope to photograph, but in the meantime I am going to concentrate on what is most likely.  The picture below shows what cameras and lenses I am currently using after going through my initial simplification and concentrating on what will most likely be available for me to photograph.

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Interim

The Pentax gear and the Lumix LX7 have been sold.  The rest have been boxed up for sale or storage.  I haven’t sold the micro 4/3 gear yet since I haven’t yet decided to give up on micro 4/3.  I like my micro 4/3 gear but I can’t do everything (especially in low light) that I would like as well with it.   You will also see my latest acquisition, the Canon 70D with the 18 – 135 mm lens attached that I am trying for 30 days.  Yes, the Canon is heavy (just slightly lighter than the K-3) but it has advantages and uses that I would rather not give up.  I really like the articulated LCD and fast live-view focusing.  In order to deal with the weight, I might not carry it far or often, and if necessary, I could get a 50 mm lens for it and back off using the longer, heavier focal length lenses.  Currently I am trying the Canon 70D for certain uses like clouds, wildlife, some internal Homewood projects, etc., and using the Ricoh GR for my pocket camera while walking about as well as for several projects close to people, etc. where all I need is an effective 28 mm focal length.

My objective is to just use the Canon 70D and the Ricoh GR for a while as I continue to evolve my future photography over time, and later replace one or both with a camera that is better for a more limited style of photography when, or if, I decide or find I need or want to reduce further.

Snow Flurries

The reason I haven’t been taking blog pictures or posting much lately is that I have been busy with other photography interests, thoughts, and ideas.  I have also been selling cameras and ordering a new one.  I haven’t finished, but I am trying to simplify and reduce the amount of gear I have.  I will be writing about it later.

I had to make a quick trip to the market this morning and I took these pictures from inside the car while waiting on my wife.  If you look closely, you can see that we had snow flurries this morning.

Winter Morning Thoughts

I am considering slipping into two different modes for much of my photography.  One mode tends to be sharp, clear, and documentary.  I will use this mode for my Homewood and Hanover related projects.  These types of images will probably be primarily made with both my Canon SL1 using the Sigma 17 – 70 mm lens and my Ricoh GR with its effective 18.3 mm lens.

Another mode that I like is similar to the images shown above.  These types are limited, collapsed perspective images made with long focal length lenses like the above made with an effective 300 mm lens.  Due to the necessity of a long focal length lens while at the same time desiring to keep weight and size to a minimum, I am considering using a micro 4/3 system.  I used my Olympus E-PL5 with the Olympus 40 – 150 mm lens for the above images.  My problem is that the camera I used, the E-PL5, doesn’t have a viewfinder and that is a limiting factor for long focal length lenses since it is hard to hold the camera-lens combination steady enough.  In addition, I tend to accidentally hit buttons when I use it vertically, especially when shooting quickly.

My other option is to expand my use of the Canon camera and get a longer lens for it.  The advantage is primarily using one Canon system; the disadvantage is the increased weight and size.  In addition, if I found a lens I liked and could handle with the SL1 camera, I could potentially sell all of my micro 4/3 gear and Pentax gear.

And then there is the “big option” … my Pentax K-3 with the 55 – 300 mm lens.  The advantage of it is that I have it and the lens is better and longer (effective 450 mm at the long end).  Other advantages are that I also have a vertical grip for it and I prefer the vertical/portrait orientation with this style of image, and it a weather resistant system.  The disadvantage is that the K-3 and lens and vertical grip is large and heavy.

Sun Sets on One Project and Rises on Others

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The sun has set on my longest project of the year.  That was photographing the work of the model railroaders here at Homewood at Plum Creek as they built and prepared their displays for their annual open houses during the holidays.  I finalized that project by creating a video with the images.

The reason that I am mentioning this on my blog is that many of the pictures that I now take are not shown on my blog due to privacy reasons.  This creates a slight dilemma for me since I have less and less time to find and take pictures to display.  While I have already decided to take on another major long-term project from now until the end of the year, and while such projects usually mean fewer pictures for my blog, I am not giving up on my blog.  There will be gaps between posts, but I have some additional ideas in mind for other projects outdoors after it warms up.  If I go forward with them, these might generate some interesting pictures for this blog.

The changing nature of my photography is also having an impact on my cameras and lenses and I hope to be writing about some of those changes as time goes on.  I will also be having more to say in the future about my past purchases of the Canon SL1 and the 24 mm pancake lens.  In addition, I will be mentioning some other pending acquisitions as well as about how the sun is setting on some of my cameras and lenses … maybe on the majority of them.

Which Camera, Depends on What I Do

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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.

What I Want

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What I want worse than another camera or lens is to get out and make pictures.  At the moment I am hoping for two things:  first some warmer weather and a camera that I like to use that I can carry for a while.  My objective is to find a camera that enables me to go out more for longer times and greater distances and take more pictures.  That means it has to be light-weight and easy to hold.

I actually might not need another camera.  My Ricoh GR, which I used to take the above picture, might be all I need, but it would be nice to have something else with a longer focal length at times.  I would like an option for when I need a longer focal length, but it also needs to be non-intrusive.  It needs to be a camera that doesn’t get in the way so that I can concentrate on the composition and not the camera controls, weight, etc.