The winners of the Historic Photographer of the Year Awards 2021 were unveiled today by broadcaster and historian Dan Snow. The awards, which celebrate the best cultural sites and historic places across the globe, attracted a “huge swathe” of submissions from amateurs and professionals alike.
The Overall Winner is Steve Liddiard for his shot of the Whiteford Point Lighthouse in the Gower Peninsula, south Wales (above).
The Historic England category was won by Sam Binding’s atmospheric view of Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, captured during a misty sunrise, above.
Meanwhile the Where History Happened category went to Iain McCallum for his picture of the wrecks of the Wastdale H and Arkendale H, which collided in the River Severn in October 1960 (above)
Commenting on the awards, judge Dan Snow said: “The wonderful entries we’ve seen highlight both the immense heritage that surrounds us, along with the often precarious and fragile nature of some of our most precious locations of cultural value. The awards demonstrate the huge dedication that entrants often go to when trying to capture that perfect shot, whether rising in the dead of night to capture the perfect sunrise or climbing, hiking and trekking their way to discover far flung places from our past.”
Beyond the UK, shortlisted entries captured historical locations ranging from Uzbekistan’s Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum (below) and the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima, Japan (above), to Paestum’s ancient Temple of Hera which dates back to 460 BC.
Entries were judged on originality, composition and technical proficiency alongside the story behind the submission and its historical impact. Another judge, Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions at Historic England said: “it’s been wonderful to see so many high-quality entries again this year, particularly given the challenges and restrictions faced by the photographers.”
“(The quality of the entries) was perhaps all the more poignant and redolent for the fact that there has been so much restriction, constraint and hardship for so many over the past couple of years,” said Dan Korn of Sky HISTORY, another sponsor. “But to see some of the wonderful work on display here and the iconic and significant sites from around the world captured so vividly was a sign that history and humanity are very much alive in all their splendour in 2021.”
If money is of little concern and cameras are what you’re interested in, then let us guide you through the realm of exotic and super-expensive cameras.
If you’re a professional photographer, then it’s likely that you’ll want to purchase a camera that fits your work-based requirements. For a great number of photographers, brands such as Canon, Nikon, and Sony will probably have something that will fit your needs. However, if money is no object and you want a camera that you can use for your work but also show off with, then this guide is just the one for you.
Price: $6,399 Sensor Type: 43.8 x 32.9 mm (medium format) Resolution: 50 megapixels Lens mount: Hasselblad X Mount Screen: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen LCD, 2,400,000 dots Max burst speed: 2.7 fps
The Hasselblad 907X is arguably the most beautiful medium format camera currently on the market. The design of this camera takes inspiration from the much-loved 500 series Hasselblad cameras that were produced during the film era. The leatherette finish, solid metal construction, and compact design make it more than just a camera. It’s a work of art, not to mention the fact that it may be the smallest medium format camera on the market.
For those of you interested in more than the aesthetics, this camera produces stunning results. The large sensor in this camera captures an incredible amount of data, making it a post-production dream. And for those that want perfect images straight out of the camera, the Hasselblad 907X is known for its amazing color rendition.
Despite being the least expensive option on this list, the Hasselblad 907X is not a compromise.
Produces some of the best-looking colors from any camera system.
A high-resolution sensor produces incredible detail.
The best menu system of any camera produced so far.
Compatible with a wide range of lenses, including both current and older film-era lenses.
Price: $8,995 Sensor Type: 24 x 36 mm (full frame) CMOS Resolution: 40 megapixels Lens mount: Leica M Screen: 3.0-inch fixed touchscreen LCD, 1,036,800 dots Focus System: Manual focus only
Leica has become synonymous with luxury. To some extent, Leica M series cameras could be considered a kind of jewelry. This is not to say that they’re not capable as cameras, because the Leica M10-R is utterly brilliant. With its 40-megapixel sensor and incredible ability at rendering colors, it’s difficult to be disappointed with it.
Also, the camera feels like a piece of art in the hand. The solid brass construction, along with the leather and glass, emanate quality. Leica M series cameras are a piece of history that have continued within the photography industry. If you have the funds available, it would be foolish not to have at least one M series camera in your collection.
It’s a Leica.
A wonderfully satisfying camera to shoot with.
Small and compact design.
Does not compromise on image quality.
Price: $9,999 Sensor Type: 43.8 x 32.9 mm (medium format) CMOS Resolution: 102 megapixels Lens mount: Fujifilm G Screen: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen LCD, 2,360,000 dots
The Fujifilm GFX 100 is probably the best medium format camera currently on the market. It’s the first-ever medium format camera with phase-detect autofocus and built-in sensor stabilization. It’s without a doubt the most sensible camera to purchase if you want something that costs a lot of money but can also produce the goods. Of course, if you’re planning on being sensible, then the Fujifilm GFX 100S is probably a better option.
Then again, luxury is rarely about being practical. And also, who wants to spend $4,000 less for something that’s almost as good, only to forgo all of the bragging rights an almost $10,000 camera brings.
Probably the most capable and practical camera on this list.
Price: $19,995 Sensor Type: 30 x 45 mm (medium format) CMOS Resolution: 64 megapixels Lens mount: Leica S Screen: 3.0-inch fixed LCD, 921,600 dots
With the Leica S3, we can start to look at properly expensive cameras. At almost $20,000, the Leica S3 will give you that “look down your nose” attitude when you look at most other camera systems. Its medium format sensor offers a good deal of resolution and helps to produce beautiful results. It may not be as pretty as the Leica M10-R, but then, this is more of a powerhouse camera.
Of course, one could make the argument that the Fujifilm GFX 100 is a superior camera. However, the Leica S3 costs more money, so that means it’s better, right?
Price: $32,995 Sensor Type: 53.4 x 40 mm (medium format) CMOS Resolution: 100 megapixels Lens mount: Hasselblad H Screen: 3.0-inch fixed touchscreen LCD, 920,000 dots
The Hasselblad H6D 100c is the first camera on this list that some consider being a “proper” medium format. The sensor in this camera is huge in comparison to most digital cameras. This is also one of the reasons it’s so expensive. The H6D 100c is what real photographers should be shooting with. Anything less than this is not even worth looking at.
The images this camera produces have a certain magical look to them that simply isn’t possible to produce with anything else. The “medium format look” is pretty much synonymous with Hasselblad, and the H6D is the current flagship.
The colors from this camera are in a completely different league.
Seriously, the colors from this camera are incredible!
We finally arrive at the current most expensive commercially available camera on the market. The Phase One XT IQ4 150 MP is the highest resolution medium format camera. More resolution is often better, and Phase One sits in its own league.
The XT camera system is unique in how it operates. It’s predominantly built for architectural work or for photographers that wish to have better control over perspective. This camera system truly is something for the elite photographer.
I was thinking of calling this blog The P3200 Paradox but I cant resist a little drama This is actually about unintended consequences and mission drift.
For about three weeks, Ive been aiming to develop a new film, so that I can post some fresh Film Friday pictures: this week, I finished a roll of Kodak P3200 in a Canon EOS 620. Feeling very pleased with myself, I decided Id achieve some economies of scale, and develop two films at once: this requires that I take some more pictures with my Pentax Spotmatic.
Ay, but theres the rub. Suddenly, the weathers sunny. P3200 is (keep up!) 3200 ISO, and the Pentax shutter goes to 1/1000 second: the lens stops down to f/16. And I cant find the 49mm polarising filter that might let me expose the reasonably in sunny weather. So Im busking it again with old films newly scanned
How often are our choices driven by previous choices? I started using Sony digital cameras because Id got a Minolta film outfit, so the lenses fitted, and it would have cost thousands to buy similar lenses for another brand. For a while, that seemed an economically-forced decision, though over the last three or four years, Sony has emerged as (arguably) the leading camera and lens maker.
My mother had never owned a car that was not wearing a Morris badge from the late Thirties until the Seventies, when a friend suggested a Hillman Avenger: a choice she regretted when she took it through a car wash and found theyd failed to fit the door seals She returned to the fold with three Austin vehicles, though her last car was a VW sold to her by the man who sold her the first Austin more than 20 years earlier.
Brand loyalty isnt a bad thing certainly its better than constantly changing kit to own the latest well-reviewed camera, car or hi-fi. Though God bless the brand-hoppers, because they feed the market with little-used secondhand gear to keep the costs down for the rest of us. And that means that we can avoid the horrible logic that led to this blog, because I couldnt bring myself to develop one film on its own yesterday afternoon
Youtuber and photographer Dustin Abbot has published his “definitive review” of the Sony a7C camera where he sought to determine if it was better or worse than the a7 III. In this lengthy 29-minute video, Abbott covers the IBIS, shutter and burst mode, focus system, and sensor performance.
Since the sensor in the Sony a7C is “more or less identical” to the one found on the much older Sony a7 III, this latest from Sony is its strongest when you consider its size and is specifically going to stand out to those looking to pare their kit down.
Abbot mentions that Sony does a particularly good job taking the most advantage of this sensor, with photos looking higher resolution than they actually are thanks to a lot of detail.
“Everywhere you look there is really fantastic detail,” he says. “It’s something that has really impressed me about these 24-megapixel sensors.”
Abbot also mentions that he has really enjoyed the colors that this particular sensor produces, and says that the nice level of saturation and overall pleasantness of the images may be due to software companies getting better at interpreting Sony images as they have grown in popularity over the last several years.
“As far as the ergonomics of the camera, I definitely prefer the body and handling of the a7 III,” Abbot says. “But at the same time, if you really want to go compact you’re not losing a whole lot in terms of the functionality, in fact in many ways you may actually be gaining functionality.”
Overall, Abbott is happy with the camera but says it’s not necessarily for him.
“In a lot of ways, the a7C is a great camera for the right demographic,” Abbot concludes. “If you don’t need to go compact I think there are better options, but if that is a priority and your idea of mirrorless is small and light, and this gives you a chance to go full-frame while still keeping the body style and size of the a6000 series, the a7C might just be the camera for you.”
Most of us do not enjoy being out in bad weather and would prefer to be outside when it is warm and sunny. But when it comes to photography, sometimes, good weather is boring and bad weather is far more interesting for creating compelling images. This fantastic video discusses why you might just want to grab your camera and head outside the next time the skies look moody or stormy.
Coming to you from Chris Sale, this great video discusses why bad weather can be the best friend of a landscape photographer. Certainly, as people who just enjoy being outside, blue skies and warm weather are generally preferable. But these conditions can be rather boring from a visual perspective, and moreover, we are very used to seeing images taken in nice weather. On the other hand, moodier skies commonly offer a lot more contrast, detail, and texture. Furthermore, since fewer photographers brave the elements to capture such images, they are instantly more interesting to the viewer. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Sale.
Remember this from school? The cry that indicated that a teacher was abandoning all the psychology of education theyd learnt, and was falling back on being in charge
But there are times when it can be helpful to have an unexplained instruction: when youre about to put petrol into the tank of your diesel car, for instance, its a good idea to heed the cry of stop! and check whats going on.
After having a shower installed in a spare corner of our hall (I know a weird place, but convenient), my wife wanted something to replace the dark wood sideboard which had stood where the coat hooks now sit. She opted for a white-finish pine cupboard unit, which I duly ordered. Last week, it arrived.
I was expecting it in one piece: it came in two cardboard boxes, and with around 20 pages of instructions, as well as a plastic bag containing all the bolts, screws, dowels and specialised fixings needed to assemble it. The graphic on page 1 suggested that it takes five hours to assemble: it took me around five, spread over two days.
I didnt go off track much, and Im confident that the little collection of fittings I have left (including a full set of 8 screws shown in the instructions) are actually surplus to requirements. Why a low, stable unit needs a stabilising strap, I dont know, and I havent used it.
The point is that there are so many parts that it would require stunning levels of visuospatial ability to work out what goes where in advance, helpful as such a visualisation would be. So many bits of wood with weird holes in them Much as I hate to do it, I fell back on looking very carefully at the destructions, and finding every bit and piece, matching them precisely to the diagrams, and trusting in the process.
Actually, we do this all the time with a satnav, which doesnt give the sort of overview that writing out (or getting ready-made from the AA) a series of turns and road numbers. But if you follow the system carefully, it usually works. Does anyone remember the days when you could ask the AA to send route directions, and they came as a series of vertical-format pages with a map down one side and details on the other? I have vague memories of reading these out to my parents from before I learned to drive
The system requires absolute trust in the person or technology youre using, and its not comfortable, I find. Im much happier if I have at least a vague overview of where Im going, and its the same with the furniture.
And it sometimes applies in photography. You can leave it to the camera, or you can follow precise instructions, but some orientation always helps! And when youre entering a new area, theres something to be said for getting advice preferably of the hand-on type that lockdown prevents from someone more experienced.
My tuition is often about this. When you start using studio flash, everything changes, technically. Camera shake isnt an issue: and program mode isnt an option. Its probably a big help if someone says, for now, just set f/11 and 1/100, and see what happens. Dont worry! Successful results then give confidence in the system, and space to explain why it does, and the significance of any given setting. Understanding the whole shooting match is likely to come slowly, and anyone wanting to know it all before they start will need considerable intellectual ability I know I couldnt do that!
There are current parallels for all of us, with Covid-19 and various restrictions: the number of people who have an intuitive and accurate understanding of the epidemiology, the safety measures and the risks are very few and far between: they are the scientists who work in one or more of the relevant areas. For the rest of us, its not a matter of civil liberties violated, but of what protects society as a whole, as well as what keeps us safe as individuals. Sir David King, a former chief scientific advisor to the British government, knows more than you, me, and the Prime Minister, and Im happy to do what he suggests without understanding exactly why.
Anyway, the cupboard unit is complete. The instructions can go in the recycling. And the bits and pieces can go into the bottom of my toolbox. Sadly, my stock of face masks cant, at present.
So you say that you’re a landscape photographer and the appeal of new gear affects you like every other photographer? I’ve got just the suggestion for you.
Back in the day, prior to the ubiquity of digital photography, film cameras and film camera gear took up more shelf space at camera stores than digital cameras. Even then, let’s say the 1990s and early 2000s, the film cameras that were primarily offered new were auto focus cameras (think F100 and the like). Prior to those, film cameras were all manual focus and even some did not offer internal metering. Back then, the bar for 35mm was set a bit lower – grain and a general lack of sharpness were accepted as part of the film way. Even now days, those qualities are much of why a lot of photographers choose to shoot film. For many people, these qualities which some photographers apply to the lenses used on these cameras.
In this day and age, fast auto focus lenses are getting bigger and bigger and heavier and heavier. For landscape photographers who hike to get the views they want to photograph, the heavy weight of lenses can add up and can make hiking less pleasurable. So, what then is a landscape photographer to do? The first thing to counter the heavy weight would be to consider using manual lenses as opposed to auto focus lenses. And while they do make modern, manual focus lenses, the prices are still pretty high. Manual lenses which were originally intended for film cameras may be considerably less expensive and offer many, if not all, of the same benefits of a modern lens. Indeed, you may well find that the build quality of a vintage lens is in fact better than that of a modern, new manual focus lens (sans weather sealing).
There are several considerations to make when you’re looking into older lenses. It’s true that in many cases their optics are not inferior. The coatings on the other hand are sometimes not on par with the best of modern lenses. With that said, there are pros and cons to every lens and I would be willing to bet that in many cases, a lesser expensive, vintage lens would be the best valued option. Below, I will attempt to go through some of the considerations to make when looking into manual, vintage lenses.
The biggest benefit would have to be the lower cost. Compared with modern manual lenses, vintage lenses are often a fraction of the cost. Take for example, a new high-end Nikon lens is $1,300 compared to less than $200 for an older Nikon lens of the equivalent focal length and maximum aperture. While that is just one example, this relationship is pretty consistent with only a few exceptions. In addition, the average vintage Nikon, Mamiya, and many Canon and Pentax lenses are very well built often with metal barrels that have held up well over the decades.
Aside from the obvious price benefit of vintage lenses, the issue that many people care about is sharpness. For many lenses, the vintage primes often offer similar sharpness but not always. In some (somewhat rare) instances, however, vintage lenses may even have better sharpness than their more modern counterparts. For those vintage lenses which are somewhat less sharp than their modern counterparts, the primary difference comes when they’re shot wide open which, let’s be honest, is rarely done in landscape photography. Moreover, in those instances where the vintage lens remains ever so slightly less sharp even when stopped down, the real question is whether or not the difference would ever be noticed when you’re not doing a side by side comparison. Finally, even if you’re doing a side by side comparison and you notice a slight less sharp image, ask yourself if the price difference between the two lens makes up for it.
The weaknesses, while several in number, are not much of a big deal to me. I tend to avoid the lenses which are susceptible to have the greatest degree of shortcomings and focus on the hundreds if not thousands of different options which are available. The lenses which generally have the most issues are zoom lenses. It’s true, there are some decent zoom lenses but I don’t own any as the ones that I have had experience with would tend to be very soft, particularly at the widest and longest focal lengths. In addition, vintage zoom lenses often suffer from bad mustache and/or pincushion distortion. Along with vintage zoom lenses, vintage wide angle lenses are generally much slower and not quite as sharp as their modern counterparts. While floating lens elements are not a modern development, they were not particularly common. Further, many decent to nice vintage wide angle lenses can be considerably more expensive than more standard or longer focal lengths.
Aside from personally avoiding the above two types of lenses (with the exception of the Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S which I absolutely love and is actually still sold new), I should also circle back around to the point that vintage lenses may have lower quality coatings than nice modern lenses. The real question is whether or not those lower quality coatings actually equate lower image quality. True, if you’re shooting a back lit scene, you may well see a big difference but for many cases even then, the difference may be negligible. Another weakness that may matter to you but has yet to really make a difference in my life is the lack of modern weather coatings. If you’re someone who typically ventures out into awful weather conditions, perhaps the weather sealing is a must for you but for general purpose landscape photography it isn’t much of a big deal in my opinion.
My first suggestions would be to use lenses you already own (assuming you already have some film gear). If you don’t already have any film gear, I would suggest looking into Nikon lenses. At one point, I had a couple copies of 50mm f/1.4 lenses and I didn’t care for them so I gave them both to friends. I’ve since picked up a 50mm f/2 and while it isn’t quite as fast, wide open the performance is much better but stopped down they’re pretty similar. Some of my favorite glass to use on my Sony is my Mamiya 645 glass which, because it’s medium format, the focal lengths are pretty long and terrific for my style of landscape photography.
Do you have any experience using vintage lenses for landscape photography? What lenses were you using and what did you think?
Keen amateur Abi Winkle took the plunge and bought second-hand, and she’s never regretted the decision.
What kind of photography do you like to do and how did buying second-hand help? I’ve really loved taking photographs for a number of years but it’s only been the last two or three years I’ve been taking it more seriously. I love landscapes, long exposures and night time photography. I’d like to get into portraits and give street photography a go, too. I started off with a bridge camera which was fine at first, but I felt it hindered me once I started learning new aspects of photography, so I did a lot of research into getting a DSLR. I discovered I couldn’t afford one brand new so I hunted high and low all over the Internet for a second-hand one. Buying second-hand helped me take the next step in my photography quicker than I thought it would although it did take me a few months to find a good deal and the camera I wanted.
One of Abi’s atmospheric street scenes
What gear have you bought second hand? A Canon EOS 4000D DSLR with an 18-55mm kit lens. Following this I then bought a 50mm lens which is a great all-rounder to get started with. The 4000D was perfect for me as it allows wifi connection to my iPad so I can transfer images easily, giving me the opportunity to edit them using Photoshop Express and then upload them to my Instagram account (@asl_photo) or enter them into competitions.
What tips do you have for other people buying or selling second-hand? Do your research! Not everything is as it seems, so read all the descriptions and buy from a reputable seller or retailer. I bought from a specialist retailer and the camera came with a six month warranty, which gave me peace of mind. Once you’ve made your mind up on what you want, you can then compare prices from different websites, check the condition of the item and don’t feel too scared to ask questions. If you can view the item before buying, I highly recommend this. Look for dust in the lens, viewfinders etc as this can effect the photographs you’ll take – although it can be rectified if you seek a good technician who can professionally clean your lens or camera, but this will cost extra. I will definitely buy second-hand again; I’m current researching my next lens, which will be a telephoto.
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