OK, here’s the question a friend and I were recently kicking around. If you could only have one camera and lens, what would it be and why?
For me, this is really difficult. I have a lot of cameras and quite a collection of lenses. I can see the benefits and drawbacks of each and none is perfect for every eventuality. If I had to restrict myself to one, it would be the Sony RX10 for the following reasons:
The colours are wonderful and the image quality is good (at least it is now that I have had the lens replaced). I would though like a little more dynamic range in the RAW files.
The lens is excellent. I really like the fast f/2.8 constant aperture and the focal range is very good at 24 – 200mm equivalent. This is almost perfect for a hiking camera as you never need to change lens.
The battery lasts all day.
It fits in a small shoulder bag even with a couple of Lee Seven 5 filters and an adapter ring.
This is a hard one to describe but the camera is a joy to use. The quality is good and it somehow just feels right.
Sure, there is a lot wrong with the RX10 but for what I need and use a camera for, it’s pretty good. If it wasn’t the RX10 it would be the Fuji X-T2 with 18-135mm lens.
Last weekend I was an out and out tourist. I visited London with my wife and we spend 4 days doing the tourist attractions including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and had an amazing afternoon tea at the Corinthia Hotel. We also visited friends that we don’t see often enough.
It now seems strange but we both worked in London for almost eight years back in the 90’s. In that time, we hardly ever travelled into London for anything other than the daily commute (which we hated). Now we love to visit, even if I don’t like the cost.
Today I thought I would share an image of the Elizabeth Tower (often referred to as Big Ben, which is actually the bell housed in the tower). I shot last week using the Sony RX10 which I absolutely love since I had it repaired. The image quality and performance of the repaired RX10 is surprising me each time I use it.
Anyway, I’m going to shut down now as it’s been a busy week trying to catch up.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you may have noticed I didn’t publish the usual Friday Image last week. Instead, I was at a used car dealership picking up a new car. I decided after more than 6 years of excellent service, it was time to change my trusty Honda Civic for a newer car.
The Honda was now 9 years old and had 108,000 on the clock (90,000 of which is my mileage). The replacement car is a 3 year old Volvo, which I hope to run for a similar period and also hope is just as reliable. You see, I like to buy good quality used cars with low mileage, then run these until they start to wear out. This way, the bulk of the depreciation has already been suffered by someone else.
Taking the Honda as an example, the engine was running amazingly well and had plenty of miles left. But there were a few niggling problems starting to surface. The windscreen washer motor had sprung a leak and had to be replaced. Then the air conditioning had packed up a few weeks back. Then most worrying there was an odd mechanical clunk from the engine when setting off or slowing down which could be felt through the peddles. Time to change.
Whilst thinking about buying a low mileage quality used cars, I realised that my camera buying habits were quite different. Most of my cameras tend to be purchased new and I am the one suffering the depreciation. What I should be doing is looking for good examples of excellent used equipment that’s been well maintained. I could probably have saved myself a small fortune by now.
Changing the subject almost entirely, the image you see at the top of the screen is the one that I would have published if I had been able to shoot it in time. It’s a rock formation called The Trinnacle, found at Dovestone near to where I live. It’s one that I have tried to find a number of times in the past but often the path has been blocked by various natural and man made features. This time I was able to reach it and captured the image using my Sony RX10.
Since I had the RX10 repaired (the lens unit was replaced as it had a fungus problem – so much for being sealed) it’s performed brilliantly. The image quality definitely exceeds the previous lens and this continues to be my go to camera for walking. I wonder at what stage I will decide it needs to be traded in for a newer model.
Do you ever have that experience of visiting somewhere frequently and you instinctively know there is an image to be had. But despite this, you never seem to be able to quite capture it? That’s precisely the situation I find myself in with the image I’m sharing today.
This is Ogden, the same location as the pylon image in my previous blog post. The view you see hear is the first scene that greats you when you park and walk up the banks of the reservoir.
Despite visiting the location many times and under all kinds of weather, I never seem to be able to do justice to the scene. I keep thinking I’m nearly there but it never quite works. I have shot this scene in rain, sun, fog, hail, snow; if you can imagine a set of conditions, I have probably tried. It’s rather surprising then that this scene captured under a cloud sky with the sun breaking through momentarily seems to work best.
What I feel makes it work well is that the scene has shadows, but retains detail within the shadows. Too often we see images where the photographer has tried hard to remove all the shadows and show detail everywhere. This just doesn’t work in my mind.
I’m pretty sure most of the regular readers of this blog can see that my passion is the beauty of the natural landscape. What many probably don’t realise is that I have a fascination for manmade objects that have become part of the landscape. Don’t ask me to explain why or how this developed, I just know that some objects in the landscape catch my attention.
The image above is one example. Every time I pass this group of Pylons I spend time trying to capture them with pleasing compositions. I used to think of these as being ugly and a blot on the otherwise perfect landscape. Now I see them and find the interesting. I’m not yet sure I can call these pylons beautiful but they are a challenge to photograph and create interesting shapes.
The wind turbines that now litter our moorland and coastline are similar. I used to think they are ugly but now find them almost majestic. I even included a full-length editing example in one of my books for a wind turbine image.
Does anyone else find these things interesting or is it just me?
I captured this image last weekend whilst out for a walk on the moors near home. I was using the recently repaired Sony RX10, giving a real test. Looking at the images on the Mac screen at 200%, the results are superb. The camera is producing images that are way beyond the quality it previously did. I also note the front lens doesn’t have any play in it where it used to move slightly before – interesting.
I decided to shoot this scene because I liked the shape of the path and how it created a nice perspective with the distant path. Unfortunately, the continuation of the path into the distance doesn’t come through in the image. The other aspect of the scene that I liked was the strong sky.
My intention at the time was to process the image into black and white. Now that I have converted the RAW file and can see the lovely natural colours, I’m quite happy to keep the colour version.
I hope you like the image and have a wonderful weekend.
A few weeks back I wrote about my Sony RX10 and how it had to be repaired. The front element had a problem with mould growing on the inside and given the front element is part of a sealed unit ,the entire unit had to be replaced. Rather than use a Sony repair centre I opted to use The Real Camera Company in Manchester. These guys really know their stuff; I purchased my Bronica SQAi kit from them about a year ago.
Having received my repaired RX10, I have been unable to test it properly due to a combination of the weather, a trip to Madeira and having too much work on. At the weekend though I decided to take a walk in the Peak District and took the RX10 along in the hope of giving it a try. As it turned out, the weather wasn’t that good, clouding over quite heavily, and I didn’t shoot any great images. The image at the top of this page is probably the best.
What the trip did allow me to do was evaluate the replaced lens. In short, I’m very pleased. It’s as sharp as my previous lens and I’m confident that the results are much better. The corners are still a little soft, but the central part of the image appears excellent. The other point that I noticed is that more distant detail is now being retained better than with the old lens. Previously, you could see the finer details such as grass and rock turn soft. Now this isn’t noticeable.
I’m feeling very happy about my decision to have the camera repaired – it was certainly cheaper than replacing it. Could I do without the RX10? Yes. Do I want to? No way, it’s a brilliant camera and perfect for a walk in the countryside.