An Interesting New Camera

There are a couple of main trends in cameras these days, many of which benefit everyone who takes photos, but a few of which try to pigeon hole any photographer into narrow definitions. For example sensor technology improves every year, leading to lower noise sensors for everyone. The other trend at the moment is towards smaller cameras, but almost exclusively through removing the mirrorbox and optical viewfinder. I like optical viewfinders, in fact I love optical viewfinders. Using an optical viewfinder makes using cameras more fun to me. To the degree that I like old film cameras because they have viewfinders that put the best of today’s cameras to shame.

One of the cameras I own (and starting a sentence thus is a sure sign I own too many cameras), is an olympus 4/3 camera. The 400 series, which is their intro model. I considered the 500 series, which might have gotten me a slightly better sensor and in body stabilization. But after thinking about it, the lighter weight and increased portability of the smaller camera won me over. But four thirds seems to be a dying system, no matter what Olympus might say. The last four thirds camera released was a few years ago, and the lenses are getting more difficult to find every day. So while it’s a great system, it’s almost like using my old film cameras. Amazing technology & utility, but sadly no longer made.

So I was excited to hear that Canon is introducing a new camera this year, I believe it’s the Rebel SL1, or 100D. And it’s essentially one of their crop sensor cameras, except miniaturized to the degree possible while retaining an aps-c sensor. So modern sensor (win), great lens selection (win), optical viewfinder & smaller size. If I were looking for a camera this one would certainly be near the top of the list. Probably my biggest worry would be the mirror instead of prism viewfinder. Now if only I had a collection of Canon lenses instead of Nikon.

Anyways, gizmodo did a nice write-up & you can see the specs on Canon’s website.

Navitar DOZ-6X12.5 on Micro Four Thirds

I have a 20mm security tv camera lens which is hands down my favorite micro four thirds lens.  It has flare like you wouldn’t believe, and the aperture doesn’t even try to approximate a circle as you stop down, but indoors neither of these present real problems, and at 1.4 it lets you keep the iso way lower than the kit lens.

Anyways, I was intrigued by the idea of a fast zoom offered by some of the c-mount zoom lenses.  The issue is that there is none or at least very little documentation telling you what sort of coverage you might get with these lenses.  While I have only experimented with one lens it’s likely that the same would apply to other lenses of approximately the same focal length, 12.5-75mm.  You’ll probably get better coverage with lenses that start at a slightly longer focal length, but some of these lenses are really quite large relative a micro four thirds camera, they’d probably look almost comically small and balance much better on an aps-c or full frame camera.  They’ll probably be more comfortable on a dslr styled camera (think g-series) than a compact styled camera (think e-pm1, gx series).  In fact the reason I chose the particular lens I did was that it was very small relative the other options.

The navitar 12.5-75mm DOZ-6X12.5, has an image circle of about 13mm (a little less at the wide end, a little more at the long end).  If you crop to minimize vignetting you get a little more than half the resolution out of your sensor at the wide end, and more than that at the long end.  Nothing is as valuable as examples, so I put some uncropped and cropped images up here.  I would only really look at the coverage, because I wasn’t shooting at reasonable apertures and there’s no guarantee I nailed focus on these photos.  But it’s slightly more interesting than shooting newsprint.
Because of the vignetting these make great toys, but I’m still not sure how frequently I’m going to grab it when going out.  Also, I think its motivated me to add a grip to my e-pm1, because it really is easier & more comfortable to hold the camera steady with something on there.

Choosing Black & White Film

It seems that black and white film is just a little harder to find than color film.  Or at least my amazon search wasn’t instantly successful.  Anyways, Kodak T-Max and Tri-X seem to be two of the most popular.  And it’s a little difficult to find just how they differ on a user’s level.  The most useful comparison I found was here, and after looking at that, I think I might have a preference for T-Max, but I’m going to get a couple of rolls of each and see how it plays out.