Jonathan's Photography Page
Cameras, lenses, compacts and now film... this is the unavoidable "gear" page...
The Photo Pages
I'm very much the amatuer.. and maybe, so are my opinions.. but I've seen worse on the web. Rather than have my slides sitting in boxes I've put some on the web. They are just snapshots of where I've been rather than real "photography".
- New Zealand gallery + links
- Index of New Zealand images
- United Kingdom (UK) gallery + links
- The Alps - Mt Blanc & Haute Route
- Alps index
- European gallery
- Index of European images
- The cave page + links New!
- Index of cave images
- New Zealand map tour (7k)
- Statistics Current and Previous
- Philip Greenspun's et al. review of Canon equipment
- The EOS archives... all you want to know about Canon lenses which you can't afford.
- B&H - where to get the gear + prices in US$
- Lots of Canon links - EOS magazine
- Lots of lens tests, info etc Photozone
- Contax G1 & G2 user pages
- Photography etc in Japan
- Canon links!
- This is the camera which I have used for nearly all my pictures... particularly in NZ.
- Excellent outdoor camera. A bit heavy but not impractical for tough 10+ day trips.. unlike the Nikon F4 and F5
- Excellent ergonomics... a camera with usable features and accurate autofocus
- Mechanically rugged
- The downside:
- No built-in Flash - fill flash for climbing, rafting etc would be great.
- A bit heavy.
- The Canon Flash system - for off-centre compositions it doesn't work (although the EOS 50E may have solved these problems?).
- Excellent outdoor camera. Lighter than the EOS 1, but not so ergonomic. Well built compared to all other EOS bodies bar the 1 and 1n.
...most of which I no longer own
- 300mm L F4 USM - awesome and at the limit of what can be carried and used in a wilderness situation. The new 300mm with image stabilisation could be a winner.
- 50mm F1.4 USM - Still need to test this. It feels like a nice lens though... However, is the extra size and weight + $ justify it over my 50 F1.8? ....??
- 200mm F2.8 L USM - an ideal travel lens: light weight, black, compact, superb contrast... unfortunately it got stolen within twenty days!!! ..but I bought another one (I prefer the older model with the built-in hood for convenience).
- 100mm F2.8 Macro - big, heavy, clunky, slow noisy AF (for Canon), has a delicate feel to it but extremely sharp/flat field of view.
- 100-300 USM light, fast AF, but stop-down for a decent picture... its no fixed 300L though.
- 28-105mm F3.5-4.5 a real love-hate lens. Extremely useful focal length, light weight, but not very robust (failed twice inside snow caves)... still if you can take only one lens (I used it for most pictures on the Hooker trip), then its either this or the...
- 24mm F2.8 - A robust, essential lens... but maybe the tilt shift 24TSE would be nice!
- Hmm... but Canon have just released a 28-135 F3.5-5.6... with Image Stabilisation!
- 50mm F1.8 - Light, fast robust.
- 135mm SF F2.8 - Light, robust - but not convinced of the quality
- COMMENT 24+50+135 combination is cheaper, lighter and faster than the 28-70 F2.8L.
- Canon 2X converter - works OK with the 200mm
- 70-210 F4 - Big, heavy, not robust, slow AF, rotating front element, but OK pictures
- 35-70 F3.5-4.5 Front element retracts inside barrel and rotates.
- 28mm F2.8 Great lens - and half the price of the 24mm
- 300 EZ - Compact but powerful suits the 28-105 lens.
- 420 EZ - Can't easily vary the fill ratio: better to get a 430EZ.
- ML-3 Macro ringlite
- Off camera cords - too much hassle, hardly ever use them.
- 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM. I've only recently got this (to replace a stolen 28-105). It's big (72mm filter thread).. and relatively heavy (520gm) compared to the 28-105. Also, its a bit slower (F5.6 - even given the extra focal length). Mechanically it seems more solid, however, after 2 weeks in the Pyrenees the zoom now `creeps' very easily! I bought the hood... but on a 28-135 it does little good (not really satisfying any focal length). Image Stabilisation! Does it work? I'll have to wait for the first 30 rolls of film to come back... but I will say that I barely notice the effect through the view finder (I have tried 2-3 versions of the lens). If I deliberately shake then I do see the effect. From this I conclude that I have a very steady hand - relative to others. Does IS degrade images taken at higher shutter speeds? ...What's the optical quality like? I don't know yet!
However, the lens has little distortion at 28mm (a lot less than the 28-105)... pincushion at 135mm is very noticeable!
17-35 F2.8 L
- 17-35 F2.8 L USM. A robust lens - I think I like it! Yes it needs to be
closed down to F5.6-8 near 17mm, although wide open it is good for people etc (not for landscapes). It is a lot bigger and heavier than the compact 24mm which got stolen... but the zoom is useful - i.e. one tends not to just use it at the extremes. Perspective and field of view changes are significant over the 17-21mm range.
- Billingham's canvas bag (it doesn't look like a camera bag, but it provides quick easy access and protection).
- Contax TVS with UV, warming filters, FL filter (if I could find one) - no case
- Flexi mini tripod
- 200mm F2.8 L
- 24mm F 2.8
- 28-105 F3.5-4.5
- YES - No flash! I wish the EOS-1 had a built-in flash, the contax does the job
- I'd look at replacing the 24 and 28-105 with a 17-35 F2.8 L (if I could afford it) - I know this leaves a gap from 35-200... maybe include the 50mm F1.8 - it weighs nothing, or relying on the Contax.
- No 70-200 F2.8 L!! Yes, it would be nice.. but the fact is that it is too big and too heavy.. relative to the 200mm. Similarly, the 28-70 is too big and conspicuous.
- I would also consider a 24mm TS-E if architecture was going to be a big issue on a trip.. but then you need a decent tripod.
- Remote switch, polarisers, pocket knife, insulation tape, compass (most important), cleaning stuff, ultra lightweight and compact nylon day pack (I got this in NZ - it folds down smaller than your fist... and is useful for guide books/water bottle etc
- All this with film and batteries is very manageable for 3-4weeks continuous travel carrying everything (6kg camera + 7-8kg for everything else!)
. . . or maybe a Contax G2
- Very impressed by this camera. Lens is superb. This isn't the compromise compact camera I thought it would be. Many reviews miss the point of this camera with comments like "fiddly, complicated to use".
- A camera to carry when don't think you can... and still get pro results.
- Could this be the minimal climbing outfit?
- Mechanically seems rugged and discrete (it's black).
- The following looks like a lot of criticism, but basically this is a great camera... which could be a bit better...
- The downside/how to make it better:
- Needs Exposure Lock!.
- Overexposes slide film by 1/3-2/3 stops under normal daylight conditions - have to compensate... however, for night photography - indoor 1-2sec it seems to be easily fooled by a street light or any light anywhere in the scene - I consistently need to overexpose.
- Active autofocus consistently fails in steamy or misty cponditions - especially in a humid cave - I always have to manually focus - a bit fiddly when you are covered in mud!
- More powerful flash - actually it is probably the best you'll get on any compact!
- Make it quieter - like the Contax TVS.
- Built-in spirit level/bubble on top plate.
- Provision for a filter (mechanically impossible?).
- Lithium 2CR5 battery (same as EOS would be nicer - I don't mind the bulge of a hand grip.
- Quieter overall operation
- Programmed exposure down to 30sec
- Viewfinder display like Contax TVS (but no LCD mask!!!).
- Viewfinder displaying distance AND shutter speed at the same time would be nice.
- Shutter speed displayed on top panel.
- Exposure compensation dial can be difficult to read - a larger dial might be nice - plus a separate control leaver.. probably running out of space for this.. see the Leica Minilux dual control dial.
- Off camera flash adapter (PC socket and/or dedicated flash) - with the provision not to fire built-in flash!
- One small nag... when a roll of film finishes automatic rewind commences, but the lens does not retract until rewind is complete.. leaving it vulnerable.
- Too soon to judge this camera... but see the cave pages and Wales
- Why a TVS?.. not really because of the zoom but rather because of the filter provision and the 16sec programmed exposure.
- Mechanically seems more fragile than a Ti28.
- But, its significantly quieter.
- Passive auto focus is more reliable.
- The downside/how to make it better:
- No provision for a cable release or two touch bulb mode - This fault is so stupid.. why have bulb? ...it halves the usefulness of this camera for me.
- There should be a black version.
- Make exposure lock and focus lock independent (currently have to set focus manually to independently lock focus.
- The viewfinder has a greenish colour cast - rather have the Nikon parallax correction.
- Same flash and 2CR5 battery comments as for the Nikon Ti28.
- Exposure compensation dial too difficult to use - why not have another wheel dial?
- Focus dial has no "feel" to it - too loose.
- Unreadable LCDs at night... where is the backlight????
- Focus distance should be displayed in the viewfinder and on top of the camera for immediate feedback to the photographer.
- Same flash suggestions as for the Nikon Ti28
NEW! The Rollei QZ35 looks like it answers all my compact complaints... but at what a price! ..and just how "compact" is it? (a Contax G2 might be better?) ..reports seem to suggest that it is not a great camera sadly.. but price is down to 66% what it was in the UK.
Update: The Rollei QZ35 seems too big... alas it is not a pocket compact - a Contax G2 would be better. I've grown to like the TVS and use it the most... except it got stolen recently!
NEW BETTER?! The Richoh GR1, GR1s - new version takes filters - passive AF! ultrasharp lens!....
Wish I could check out a Ricoh GR-1. 28mm ultra sharp lens, 195gms, passive AF,
centre weighted and partial metering... and a lot cheaper than any of the other
high end compacts!! No Bulb unfortunately, but 2-1/500sec shutter speed is OK.
- 2 Velbon VEF3 - good, but I'm too old to carry them up the Tasman Glacier or on 12 day trips in Fiordland
- Jessop's little bendy tripod - great for the compact cameras - I often use them against a wall or a lamp post.
- Silk - < 500 grams a compromise tripod for climbing and most trips I do now.
- Kodachrome 64 seems to work well for capturing NZ bush (forest), but I have problems with it up in the snow line. It's grainy but the grain is pleasing. K64 has to be sent to Australia from NZ to be processed (some 4000km of travelling).. still the turn around is as good, if not better than here in the UK (travel 400km by land!)
- Velvia rated at ISO 40 - it's probably the best except the colours (greens) can be over saturated... unreal. Also it's slow... but worth the effort!
- Provia is the practical alternative speed wise and process-paid Sensia II is economical here in the UK.. also the Fuji lab seems to be one of the few which do not carve scratches through all your rolls of film.
- I used to use print film: Ektar 25 (so I can't complain about Velvia) and Ektar 100. I thought Ektar 25 was excellent, but I got too frustrated with bad
processing. Warning: there is no decent lab for printing prints in Christchurch or Wellington (NZ) - what they can do to an otherwise excellent exposure is incredible, also the more you pay, the worse the quality?!
The cave page
Copyright (c) 1996 Jonathan Carr