Posts Tagged ‘street’
Logged more time with Sony’s powerhouse of a compact camera this weekend. This thing is a serious imaging machine!
Do I love it? Yes. The image quality is absolutely stunning, as expected, and the camera’s build quality is top notch. But I only borrowed this thing to keep me occupied while I waited for my rangefinder to come out of repair. Once I get my M3 back, I doubt I’ll miss the RX1. =)
All Images: Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1
Fuji X100 | 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 2000
The Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag: Photographer tested, Shiba approved. Ever since I started regularly heading out with smaller, lighter gear like my EPL2, X100, and even Nikon FM, I’ve been yearning for an appropriate bag. I have a “carry everything bag” already, so what I need here is a bag that will carry just what I need for a particular outing. The requirements were pretty simple: durable, comfortable, portable yet efficient, and most importantly, inconspicuous.
I realized something about the design of this bag while eating dinner at a restaurant over the weekend. A family with baby in tow sat down at the table next to us, and I noticed that the father had a bag that looked just like mine, only a bit bigger and with cartoon designs all over it…and it was filled with diapers. But hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed about! Like a good diaper bag, the Retrospective 5 has a very minimalist but efficient design.
Made of highly durable cotton canvas and available in Pinestone (mine) or Black, you certainly wouldn’t confuse it for a diaper bag, but you wouldn’t necessarily think it was a camera bag either, and that’s what I love most about the Retrospective 5. I carry it around with me everywhere, so the last thing I want is for it to scream “I have thousands of dollars of camera gear in me!” According to Think Tank, the minimalist design was intentional in order to help photographers inconspicuously blend into different environments.
Fuji X100 | 1/480 sec, f/2, ISO 200
Under the main flap there’s a clear pocket for your business card along with a really cool hook-and-loop strip system equipped with what Think Tank calls “sound silencers.” Again, the design of the bag is purposefully minimal and inconspicuous, so how inconspicuous is opening a hook-and-loop strip sealed bag in a quiet environment? Not very.
The image on the left shows one of the hook-and-loop strips in “silent mode.” In this configuration, the flap just falls over the bag instead of attaching at the strip, and hence makes no noise. This is how I leave the bag most of the time. On the far right the strip is active, and noisy. =)
Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | 1/50 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400
The strap is awesome. The strips of highly grippy rubber (feels like silicone) along the strap’s padding are extremely effective at keeping the strap from sliding, allowing me to hang the bag on the edge of my shoulder and move around with confidence while the bag stays put. Thoughtful little details like this add up to make this bag great.
On the left is an included, seam-sealed rain cover. It covers the entire bag with the exception of the straps to protect your gear in the rain. You can see it deployed here.
Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 1000
Even though the Retrospective 5 was designed with rangefinder or micro 4/3 systems in mind, it will still happily carry a big DSLR (though your shoulder may not be quite as happy). In the bag above is a D700 with Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G mounted (that’s a big chunk of glass), and in the side pocket a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, stacked on top of a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. There’s still plenty of room to the left of the 50mm, so a bigger lens could definitely take its place. I could mount my 24-120mm f/4 VRII and put it in the bag with my 70-300 VR and have a really wide range in a very small bag.
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 400
This is my most common setup when I head out onto the street, walk the dog, or for travel. In one compartment is my Fuji X100, and in the other, my Olympus EPL2 with Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 mounted, effectively giving me a wide and a telephoto in two cameras. This setup is extremely light. The bag also comes with plenty of removable compartments that allow you to customize the interior any way you like. Think Tank says it can easily take a Micro 4/3 system with 3-6 lenses plus accessories. I believe it!
Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | 1/20 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400
See that front pocket in the image above? It’s expandable, so much so in fact that it can swallow my D700 body with ease:
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400
Of course, it has no problem carrying my X100 all by itself. If I want to travel as light as possible, I just slip the one camera in the bag, and the rest of the bag easily holds chargers, batteries, and other accessories.
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/50 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400
Finally, a removable carry handle. Sounds simple, but it’s extremely convenient in practice.
This post doesn’t even cover every single feature, just my favorite ones. There are many little purpose-made pockets and compartments in the bag that I didn’t mention here, but the bottom line is that if you’re a micro 4/3 or rangefinder system user, or even a DSLR user who wants a more compact and inconspicuous solution for carrying a camera and one or two lenses, the Retrospective 5 is a great choice.
Just like any given subject on the planet, there are many varying opinions on the JPEG vs RAW issue. As for me, I shoot RAW. Ok, so I’ll shoot the occasional JPEG, perhaps when using my Canon S90. But other than that, it’s all about RAW for me. Why?
There are many advantages to shooting RAW, but let’s stick to one for this post. In the screen capture above, the color of the image on the right is very close to what came out of my camera when I took this shot. If I shot it in JPEG, the warmer white balance I chose on-camera would have been locked in, making this the only possible interpretation of the scene’s color. The ability to reinterpret a scene by selecting a different white balance later is one key reason I shoot RAW.
When I first took this photo, I was pretty happy with the way the warmer color looked when viewing image on the LCD of my camera. After uploading it to my computer and viewing it larger, I was still pretty happy with it. Upon giving it even further thought, however, I decided that the warm color didn’t really represent how I truly felt at the moment of capture, when I was actually there. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s very important for an artist to convey not just what a scene looks like, but what it felt like to actually be there, experiencing the scene.
So what was I feeling at the moment of capture here? A little bit of loneliness from strolling the streets of Kyoto very early in the morning for one. The cool spring air was chilling yet refreshing, and I was dazzled by the all the reflections on the ground that were caused by the light but steady rainfall that day. I decided to convey that feeling more effectively by turning down the white balance temperature (in LR3 beta), resulting in the cooler, bluer version of the image (above). If I had shot JPEG, I would have been stuck with the warm version. It would have still been a nice image, but again, I would have lost the ability to reinterpret the scene in a way that truly conveys my feelings.
Couldn’t I have just taken a second shot with a cooler white balance adjustment at the camera? Of course! But that idea didn’t really hit me until much later. Only after several times of coming back to this image and thinking about the scene did I finally decide that I wanted it to look different than I originally intended. Shooting the image in RAW allowed me to go through this longer thought process, and then make the desired changes to the image. Who knows, maybe I’ll want to change even more aspects of this image later, with newer, more powerful software that will inevitably be released as time goes on. RAW gives me that flexibility, JPEG doesn’t.
…and that’s one reason why I shoot RAW!
Top Image: Screen grab from the develop module in Lightroom 3 Beta 2
Second Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 60mm f5.6 ISO400 1/125 second
Be sure to check the progress of my gallery of images from my last trip to Japan on flickr!
Bridget and I spent the entire day in the Gion area of Kyoto today. Here’s bridget taking a break with a can off coffee when….
Oh my goodness! Is that a Maiko!?
Wow, a very pretty sight indeed. It was a beautiful day in Kyoto today. Rainy but warm, with overcast skies, which is PERFECT for photography. I’m excited about the many photos I still have to process (maybe I’ll get started on the looooong plane ride back to SF this weekend, ugh). One more day in Kyoto! Tomorrow we’ll try to get an early start again…
Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8
The weather in San Francisco hasn’t allowed a lot of shooting lately, as the fog continues to thwart my attempts to capture beautiful color in the sky, but tonight I found a patch of blue night sky in Corona Heights after taking my dog to the park there for an evening run. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 continues to impress, and as of now, is mounted to my camera a good 90% of the time I’m shooting.
Ran out in the evening after dinner to start getting a feel for the new Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. It’s a blast shooting with this lens! The above image is slightly cropped. Taken at Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco.
Well, after wanting an ultra wide angle zoom lens for months and months, I finally bought one today. I’ve been scouring around trying to find the sold-out-everywhere Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ATX PRO DX lens for some time now, and until today was considering just going for the highly praised 12-24 f/4 from Tokina as it is readily stocked by many dealers. I’ve been checking back at places like B&H every morning for a few weeks (that’s how I was able to snag my hard to get AFS 35mm 1.8G), with no success in finding the 11-16 in stock. This afternoon I did a search for Tokina dealers in the San Francisco bay area, and found that there’s only ONE in San Francisco. Not expecting much, I called and asked if they had any 11-16′s, and WHAT!? One Nikon mount left!
I rushed over and picked it up without hesitation. While I was there the guy at the shop (really cool staff there) let me try a bunch of lenses while he rang up the bill. I tried the Tokina 12-24, and while I liked that it extends out to 24mm, I was more swayed by the 1mm extra on the wide end of the 11-16 AND the 2.8 constant aperture, despite it’s very limited zoom range. I tried the very interesting (and very new) Tokina 16.5-135mm lens, as well as Nikon’s highly regarded consumer lens, the 16-85mm 3.5-5.6 VR, which I found of similar to size to the 18-70 I used to use on my D70, but it felt much heavier! I really liked the 16-85mm’s range and the fact that it has built in VR, and I may want to pick that lens up for travel when more money comes in.
But back to the important lens! My wife and I (and doggie) strolled around downtown after leaving the shop and I got to snap off a few shots before the sun went down (I really wanted to get some sunset and dusk shots but we hadn’t eaten dinner!). Initial impression is veeery favorable. I am absolutely floored at the sharpness of this Tokina, even at its widest aperture. The build quality is outstanding as well, and overall I am really excited about putting this thing to use. I’m going to bed with a huge grin on my face! More shooting tomorrow!