This happened today at 1pm, organised by sister-in-law Diane, and we walked around Pennington Flash as a tribute to Sue’s late brother Mark. There was quite a group gathered, and I made a group shot to commemorate the event.
After the walk, the magnetic attraction of an ice cream van overcame most of us.
Until there was but one buyer left.
Also at Pennington Flash was the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
It was good to see such a great turnout and a great opportunity to share thoughts and memories.
Kirklinto Hall is near Carlisle and another place worth a photographic visit. It is under a slow restoration, so return visits every now and again may see some progression. Our visit was way back in 2018, so here are some pictures from then. Hopefully soon we will be back for an update!
I came across a lovely description of the MR Jamess voice while reading a lesson in church as being delightful: he lend you his understanding of the text. Even 100 years ago, this was quite an achievement for most listeners with a lesson from the King James Bible.
This is something that we should aspire to achieving without photographs, showing people not only what was in front of us, but sharing more of the background, more of the facts about the situation. The question is, though, how we can achieve it.
Unless youre very lucky indeed this is going to require a lot of thought. You will need to consider what a viewpoint gives you a birds eye view of your subject, so that a landscape resembles a map, and you can trace routes through the geography and relate one part of the scene to another in a way which reflects reality. This isnt as easy as it seems perhaps there is a curve in a path as it passes through a dip, or a gate which is at right angles to the film plane so that it isnt visible.
If you are photographing a workshop the image needs to show what is done there and the tools used to do it in a way that reduces or eliminates the need for a written explanation. How do you make it clear that the pieces of wood on the bench will be assembled into a camera? Or how would you convey the idea that the round thing in the vice is the alternator from a car under repair?
Trying to find a good example in my own portfolio proved somewhere between difficult and impossible. Well have to make do with a view of Symi from the room we stayed in in 2015, which at least shows the complexity of this town. (Id planned to use a view of Lindos but Symi is an easier place to explain, visually ) And it makes me want to go back for another holiday on Rhodes: sadly, it would be this year.
It’s been a long time coming for some of my gear. I hardly used it and it was worth more to someone else.
Like many film photographers, I have had an inordinate number of cameras in my collection over the years. So much gear in fact that I was hardly ever able to use most of it. This may sound like a lot to you but if you are a film photographer or are friends with someone who is a film photographer, this information should not surprise you. The fact of the matter is that for years, cameras, lenses, and camera accessories were inexplicably cheap and for film enthusiasts, it was difficult to say “no” to new gear. So, there set in the problem for photographers like myself. That is, I (like many) had a problem acquiring more and more without letting go of what you are not using which is of course a problem of logistics.
With all of this said, this problem is not unique to film photographers. Indeed, there is a name for the compulsion to get more gear that applies to film enthusiasts and digital-only photographers alike, “gear acquisition syndrome” also known as GAS. I suspect this is something that you are familiar with and that you explain away buying more and more gear while there is already a pile of gear sitting somewhere in your home that is not used near as much as you said you would when you were first attempting to justify the purchase of the gear. Does this sound familiar? I bet it does.
Here we get to the point of this article. That is, letting go of much of your unused gear. I recently sold off or listed for sale a good number of pieces in my collection of gear and truth be told, it felt much better than I thought it would. When I decided to start letting go of some of my gear, I found such relief that I actually started saying goodbye to gear I thought I would never part with. In reference to film gear specifically, this list includes the Fujifilm GA645, Nikon F100, Nikon FE, Nikon F2, the lenses for these Nikon cameras as well as an assortment of other lenses.
In addition, I have let go of the Sigma 35mm f/2 (review here) I recently reviewed which I really liked and thought for sure I’d want to hold on to (I ended up going with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM and prefer it to the Sigma). Lastly, and where I surprised myself the most, I let go of my Mamiya RZ67, 110mm f/2.8, and 65mm lens for the RZ system. Though I have not completely decided one way or the other, I am also trying to decide whether or not I want to let go of my Mamiya 645 Pro-TL. I doubt I will but I’m on the fence about it.
Why You Should Say Goodbye
So now let us go over why you may want to consider letting go of some of your gear and the benefits that it may bring. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, your used gear is worth money that can be used for other, more useful things. Take for instance a lens that you very rarely use and could sell for $500. Those $500 dollars could be used to travel and put yourself in an environment where you can make some beautiful photographs or you could put the $500 towards a different piece of gear that you may well actually use on a more regular basis. Keep in mind though, buying more gear may indeed put you right back into the same place where this begins.
The second reason you should consider letting go of some of your gear is to consolidate your equipment and force yourself into fewer options. I think that a lot of photographers have found that when in a position where their options are more limited, their creative juices flow more. In addition, limiting the number of your cameras and lenses means that you will use each piece more often, and eventually meaning that you will get to know the ins and outs/strengths and limitations of each piece of gear. This will, in turn, lead to more successful outings.
Thirdly and lastly, selling your infrequently used gear gives other photographers the chance to buy it for less. That is, if you have a properly nice lens or camera body or lighting equipment that doesn’t get used enough to justify holding onto it, there is likely a photographer looking to upgrade to just that piece of gear that would appreciate the chance to buy it for less than it would cost new.
When it comes to film gear, there is a fourth reason which may be the biggest incentive. You could likely sell the gear for a profit. Of all the gear I have recently let go of, only two pieces were new enough that you can still find them at B&H: the Sigma 35mm f/2 and the Tamron 45mm f/1.8 that lived on my F100. As it happens, those are also the only two pieces that I took a loss on. Everything else was film gear and even after only owning a piece of gear for 6 months (in my case, I’m referring to the Mamiya RZ67), it was worth so much more than I paid that I could sell it for less than all other competing listings (for hundreds less), pay the seller fees, and still make a few hundred dollars. It’s difficult to argue with that. So much so that it is the only reason that I would ever consider selling my Mamiya 645 Pro-TL. For as little as I paid for it a few years ago, it is worth easily three to four times what I have invested.
What are your experiences? Have you acquired a large collection of gear in your years as a photographer? Have you parted with or sold any of your gear? How did it feel to let go?
Previously, we explored topics like which Micro Four Thirds system held up better over time, which line of Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras is most popular, or which DSLR system held more of its value. This month, let’s look at which Leica M-mount film gear is the fastest-moving off the shelves.
This story is part of KEH’s Tilt-Shift Report, where the company shares exclusive data and unique insights into the latest trends in camera gear buying, trading, and selling.
There is a little context I need to give around the storied Leica M-mount. Basically, it was introduced in 1954 with the launch of the Leica M3, replacing the M39 screw-mount for a favorable new bayonet design that made switching faster, while locking in the lens to the body more precisely and securely.
“M” stands for messsucher, or “rangefinder” in German, and it’s a design still in use with digital Leica-M cameras today. The rangefinder has indeed proved to be an enduring form, as many photojournalists, documentary and street photographers favor it for its simplicity, size, reliability, and quick operation.
The original M3 sold around 220,000 units before production ended in 1966, making it Leica’s most popular rangefinder ever, and it led the way for a long lineage of M-mount bodies, all notable.
While prices are steep, Leica is still producing film cameras to this day — the MP and M-A — but has largely shifted to manufacturing digital M-bodies since its first foray with the M8 in 2006.
Although a new, cheaper film body is rumored to be released in 2021, the most sensible way to get into the Leica M-mount rangefinder system is still to buy used models from yesteryear.
Of course, Leica isn’t the only manufacturer who makes M-mount gear — Voigtlander, Zeiss, Rollei, Konica, and Minolta, amongst others — have made both M-mount bodies and lenses through the years, and then there are newcomers like 7artisans or TTArtisan who recently started offering a bevy of excellent, moderately-priced M-mount glass as well.
With nearly 70 years-worth of gear, the M-mount has had plenty of time to grow, evolve, and cement itself as one of the most sought-after systems on the market.
Because we sell more M-mount gear than just about anyone, we know how tough it is to keep certain items in stock. Let’s look at which bodies and lenses have the shortest shelf-life in our warehouse—if you’re eyeing this gear for your own collection, you better be able to pull the trigger quick once you spot it on the site.
For M-mount bodies, it’s no surprise as to who takes our number one spot.
The Leica M6 is all over our chart. On our list of the top-20 fastest-selling M-mount bodies, the M6 takes up nine spots, as a matter of fact.
Not far behind that cluster of M6 bodies though, is another popular option—the Voigtlander Bessa R2A. The aperture-priority R2A usually sells within three days of hitting our site, while the all-manual R4M and R3M take about four days.
Another notable non-Leica M-mount body is the Zeiss Ikon, which sells on average within four-and-a-half days of hitting our shelves.
Other Leica bodies on the list are the aforementioned MP, which usually moves within a week, and the O.G. M3 double-stroke, selling on average at the slower pace of eleven-and-a-half days.
At two weeks apiece, the Leica Minolta CL sells just as fast as the identical Leica CL, while the Minolta CLE takes three days longer. Branding, it turns out, does make a little difference, and the Leica name still pulls some weight.
As far as lenses, there are a few classics tied for the number one spot.
It’s easy to see the appeal of this cluster of lenses at the top spot, and why they’re all gone within three days of going live on our site. The Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux Wetzlar is a classic from the 1960s, perhaps the quintessential vintage lens for use on an M3 or M2 body. Being that it’s an older M-mount lens, it’s more affordable than later versions, while still delivering loads of character and Leica charm.
Closing out the bunch at the top spot, selling within 3 days, the Minolta 90mm f/4 M-Rokkor might be a surprising result, but considering its low price and excellent quality, it makes all the sense in the world for it to be a fast-seller. It can be had for just $200-300 depending on condition, so it’s a natural pick to round out an M-mount kit on the short telephoto end.
The item which wins the distinction of “slowest-moving, fastest-aperture lens” on our list is the mighty Leica 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux, which because of its complexity, size, exorbitant price point, and limited audience, averages just over 10 weeks in stock before finding a happy new owner.
What’s clear from this data is that M-mount gear is still highly desirable, and because of its growing scarcity — especially for mint vintage pieces — it probably won’t lose its luster for quite some time.
About the author: Luca Eandi is a Brooklyn-based street photographer, creative director for KEH Camera, and a board-certified human person. He recently published “Signs of Japan,” a long-term photography project documenting illustrated Japanese street signs in the Tokyo area. He posts his daily street photography work on his Instagram profile.
Earlier today we shared photos of stockpiles of Sony and Nikon photography gear at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and now Canon has released more images from its own Professional Services Center at the Games. If you like pretty pictures of professional Canon cameras and lenses at the ready to capture the various Olympic sporting events, these photos are for you.
Canon’s photo service center for professional photographers is in the Main Press Center at the Olympics in Tokyo. Along with supplying cameras and lenses on loan to help photographers shoot the Games, the center also services Canon equipment.
“At the photo service center, which will operate under the motto of ‘Zero Downtime’ to ensure that photographers don’t miss their chance at capturing decisive moments of this intense competition due to equipment trouble or other such problems, Canon will provide speedy maintenance service, equipment repairs and loaning of replacement equipment so that photographers can always be ready and in the best possible condition,” Canon said in a press announcement.
“The Canon photo service center will provide such equipment as the company’s professional flagship camera, the EOS-1D X Mark III, as well as the EOS R5 and EOS R6 mirrorless cameras and super-telephoto lenses. In addition, elite and highly trained staff will be working on-site to support photographers until the end of the closing ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Games.”
It’s a long held belief that using software to enhance an image is the devil’s own work. I’m not talking about creating misleading, fake or fraudulent imagery but using simple basic adjustments that many images benefit from.
The idea for this blog came from reading a description of post-capture processing on an image uploaded for critique. It’s welcome to see someone detail their processing steps, so that we know what has been done to the image. It must be noted that these were bread and butter adjustments such as contrast, levels, and so on. It’s a pity the original unprocessed image wasn’t included so that a comparison and assessment of the changes could be made. Were the steps taken enough or did they go too far? That’s what’s needed in order to provide the most useful feedback. While different people will have different ideas, further small adjustments did improve matters.
Straight from the camera
That last sentence is the caveat. Ten different photographers will produce ten different results from the same image. I don’t mean because they use different gear (hough that could be the case), but give them a RAW file to work on and the same software to use you won’t get ten identical results. True, some will be quite close to one another, but some won’t. Indeed, a single photographer can easily create several versions all of which they like.
While it’s hard, if not impossible, to dial out personal choice and style, and I don’t advise anyone to go that route (unless they’re) there are good practices to observe. We all want our images to look as good as we want. It can be that we’re too close to our own work. Coming back a day later and evaluating what’s been done can be helpful. Sometimes a small comment is enough to make us see what needs to be changed. For example, on one of my images, quite a number of years ago now, reference was made to a slight magenta cast. It was there, and using the white balance picker on the white background made the image so much more viewable.
I’m talking about basic adjustments required in order to bring out the best in an image. Good colour, contrast, shadow and highlight detail retrieval, a crop maybe, and so forth. Nothing that creates a fraudulent result (for example removing or adding people from a street scene for political ends or creating artificial looking skin in a portrait, though those types of manipulation have ben done decades before digital appeared).
Straight from the camera
Years ago, photographers would choose a particular film for its characteristics. Velvia to a boost insipid tons in a drab northern European winter landscape, Astia for more natural skin tones. Filters would be used to control colour, polarisers to boost saturation. Not to mention the renditions of different black and white films together with contrast enhancing filters and control over the print using different contrast grades of paper. All of which are choices you have using the basic adjustments of which I described above. You’re just replicating what has always been done, albeit with a greater degree of control.
Levels and Curves adjustments and further Curves adjustment on the sky
The allegation of ‘cheating’ is misplaced and comes from a lack of understanding, mainly from non photographers who don’t understand either analogue or digital methods and would have had negative film processed at a low cost (that must mean good value and thus a good job) minilab and accepting the results as given. Even some dyed in the wool photographers at the start of digital photography regarded the greater control with scepticism, and I think, apart from the fact it was a change, considered it cheating because they didn’t understand computers and software not realising the potential and freedom to actually produce the style of images they always wished for. Yes there would be a steep learning curve, and that doesn’t suit everyone. There is also the fact that so much more responsibility was put on the photographer to come up with the goods. No more blaming it on the local photo processing lab.
There are still purists who don’t like post capture processing, preferring to accept the jpegs straight out of camera (or other device), not necessarily realising that a whole lot of processing has already been done defined by algorithms with no creative appreciation. That’s their choice of course. In the end they’re missing out on getting the best from their efforts.
So, for the rest of us, let’s continue with our adjustments.
Canon has given us a peek at what photography equipment they have stocked at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ Main Press Center (MPC) and now photos are emerging of what gear Sony and Nikon photographers have at their disposal at the Games. Sony photographer Dave Holland and Nikon photographer Vincent Kalut have allowed us to share their images of the two companies’ service centers at the Olympics and if you have gear lust, please try to keep your tongue in your mouth when you view these.
“For the first time ever, Sony has a pro services booth at the Main Press Centre at Tokyo Big Sight,” Holland wrote on his blog. “Canon and Nikon have always been present at the Games, but the great strides made by Sony since the PyeongChang Olympics have solidified their position in the game.”
Holland visited Sony Pro Services at the MPC and shot the below photos. Kalut’s photos of Nikon Professional Services in Tokyo are below Holland’s.
Im not sure how many blogs I have written since the start of the pandemic, but I suspect at around 400. And looking for signs that normality might be returning, Im particularly pleased that I shall be writing full-size articles for EPZ again. You can see the first one HERE.
So my output of blogs will be reducing, though as Ive promised a few people, I will be continuing to write them from time to time. As Ive said more or less from the start, I welcome ideas that people would like explored in this format. After my initial run through of the photographic alphabet, its often been a struggle to find something to write about. But a morning walk has often inspired me.
Thats all for today, but there will be more blogs to come!
And actually in Honfleur as well. Street photography, wherever it is, can be great fun to do. Gathering interesting and/or quirky pictures of people is great, and by and large the subjects tend to be quite happy about it. There are plenty of books on the subject of Street (Reportage, Photojournalism) but in the end, getting out there and having a go is the way forward.
I confess that at first it was a bit daunting. How would people react? My theory is that two things are necessary – confidence and efficiency. Looking like we know how to operate our camera kit slickly is a good start, doing it confidently rather than being shy and consequently a bit shifty and of course the secret weapon – a smile. A confident, friendly smile goes a long way towards reassuring the subjects.
So, some street images from my early attempts, shot in Liverpool, St Nazaire and Honfleur. Camera was the Pentax *istDS and the lens nthe SMC Pentax-DA 16-45mm f/4.
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