As an avid Street Photographer, I have been searching for a Lens that could function as my all-purpose Street Lens. My criteria for this particular Lens would be one which would posses a medium focal range to capture life as it unfolds, whilst retaining the integrity of the scene with no distortion to the final image.
My first venture into finding such a Lens was inspired by Bryan Peterson, the author of "Understanding Exposure". Bryan spoke about his favourite all-purpose "Street Lens", the Nikkor 35 – 70 mm. This Lens was first introduced in the mid-1980s and has become a sort of classic within the short focal range, particularly because of its F .2.8 aperture.
After doing some research, the closest Lens within that focal range which appealed to me is Sigmas 17-70mm f2.8-4 dc macro os hsm.
I am a big fan of Sigma Lenses and I thought I would give this Lens a shot. I have to say, after mounting this Lens on my D90, it felt like a perfect fit. The overall weight and balance on my camera feels absolutely perfect - the next test would be the image quality.
I took the Lens out for a test drive around my local neighbourhood. As we are in Autumn, the light was overcast, in fact, perfect autumn photography conditions. I am absolutely delighted with the image quality generated by this Lens. The images are sharp, crisp with a rich and beautiful colour reproduction. If there's one thing I want to achieve with my photography, is getting my shots perfect in the camera, which means spending less time at the computer post processing. I much rather spend my time either writing or practicing magic.
I've added some photographs in the slideshow below so that you can see the quality for yourself. I know very little about how the lens functions inside so I can't tell you very much about the actual mechanism and engineering aspects. All I care about is the context within which I shoot and is there a lens that can help me capture my vision. This Lens ticks all the boxes and will be on my D 90 every time I go out for a street walk - capturing wide-angle vistas, 35mm imagery and up to 70 mm, bringing the action little closer.
The following picture was a "picture perfect" moment in my studies. I was doing some Street Photography down Portobello Road last week and after walking for what seemed like ages, I came across a stall selling really old antique Cameras. If you have been following my site, you will see below in another post my experience seeing, holding and being enamoured by an original Lecia Camera.
Imagine my joy when I came across this authentic piece of equipment from the past, the classic Rolleiflex.
This camera was used by the sensational photographer Vivian Mayer.
The vendor selling this camera was asking £650.00. Seeing this camera made my day and I felt like I experienced a piece of history, I felt the same way when I was given an original copy of Dr J.N.Hofzinser's classic Book "Card Conjuring" from 1932.
Moments like this are a privilege regardless of your chosen subject. For me, my passion for the craft of magic and photography are the same. I am lit up and inspired by the great people who came before me. Ansel Adam, Vivian Maier, Helen Levitt, Henri Cartier Bresson, Brassai, Gary Winogrand Bryan Peterson are to photography what Dai Vernon, Tony Slydini, Harry Loryane, Darwin Ortiz, Dr Hofzinser, Robert Houdin are to the craft of magic, masters of the craft. To come in contact with a significant piece of history like this inspires me to be the best I can be with my camera.
Armed with my D90 and my favourite deck of cards, my life has purpose and meaning.
Life can be full of meaning and purpose when inspired by one passion.
To have two passions in life is a gift from the gods - my gift back to the gods is to fulfil my mission in life which is to communicate, love, create and make a difference.
I have a third passion, that's for another time.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip into photographic history.
Until then next time, thanks. x
Now, don't get me wrong, I love my D90 and will not be trading it in anytime soon. However, my Canon 35mm EOS 500N is a nifty little worker. I got the shots back from Kodax today, one hour service and was very impressed with the shots. They look gorgeous, the sharpness of the lens was just perfect.
I spoke to my guru Nigel of Spectrum TCR LTD on Tottenham Court Road and he told me that the camera is fine and I don't need anything else for it, possibly a zoom, for now, it is good to go.
Considering how old this Canon model is, I am very impressed with it as a 35mm.
It struck me today as I was working with it, given the fact that this camera is 35mm and shoots 35mm film, technically speaking, I am working "FULL FRAME" on film Camera. Now, contrast that with my D90 Crop Sensor 1.5, I think I can now explore the full benefit of Full Frame Photography without the financial burden of purchasing a Full Frame FX DSLR Camera - at least for now. This is great news for me and my wallet.
Today was great because I went back to Camden Market and shot exclusively with this camera. Given the fact that I could not see the results of my shooting, I feel very secure because, I experienced feeling at ease working with this analogue Canon and working in Aperture Value Mode, Program and Manual Mode. I am in no rush to see the images, I will process them in a few days. For now, enjoy the slide show below, these are from yesterdays shooting along with the blog from yesterday.
Can you imagine my surprise when a bit of spring cleaning offered up a wonderful surprise?
I discovered a camera I purchased around 1996/97 - The Canon EOS 500N complete with camera bag.
I remember purchasing this camera for Christmas and using it on a number of occasion. What surprises me is that my passion for photography never took off at that time. As you may have read on this site, in the last year, my adventures into DSLR Photogrpahy has gathered momentum.
During my studies, I have come across many experts who have said that shooting film on a designated 35mm camera will improve my photography. The main reason being is that shooting film is expensive, so the composition and the emotion of the shot must be worthy for it to be a "keeper". When you contrast this with shooting digital, digital shooting can make for lazy photography. If you don't like the shot for whatever reason, you can always hit the delete button. With this camera, I don't know yet what my shots will look like because I have to take them to be developed, "oh what joy and expectation".
When I discovered this camera, I was delighted, it meant that I could really expand my appreciation for this wonderful craft. I purchased some film and during my activities today, the camera was around my neck and the first thing I became aware of was how light it is, really light, compared to my D90. It is quite small in size, nevertheless, it felt comfortable to hold.
This image was shot using my D90 and you can see the form factor, this camera is very cute. It can shoot in "Aperture Value", "Time/Shutter Speed Value", "Program Mode" or fully "Manual". It even has an Exposure Meter which means, everything I have learnt on my D90 so far, I can make use of on this film camera. The lens on this body is a 28-80mm - I have shot a complete roll today of 36 exposures and I have noticed already that the depth of field is quite good with the aperture wide open, resulting in good "Bokeh". I took a shot of a former student and a good friend of mine today so hopefully by my next blog post, I will be able to share the digital version of the prints once I have had them developed.
This camera, I can already feel, will sharpen my shooting skills and creative vision, simply because I will not have any visual evidence once the shot has been taken. Having to wait until the film has been developed means that my composition, framing and confidence in my technical ability will be down to my practice and comprehensive understanding of "ISO", "Aperture Control" and "Shutter Speed" manipulation. This is brilliant because I can no longer count on the digital feedback or post viewing after every shot -aka "CHIMPING".
This blog post will continue once I have seen the images so stay tuned to this post.
It's not every day you get to experience a little piece of history. On a recent trip to Edinburgh, I got to experience first hand one of the most iconic Cameras every crafted by the hand of man, "The Lecia Rangefinder".
This particular model has a manufacture date of around 1964 and belongs to my friend Paul Novak aka "The Grumpy Magician".
Paul was a commercial photographer for many years, shooting for magazines and he came with me, John Henry Blacksmith and Neil Stirton for my camera walk in Edinburgh last Sunday. It was a big thrill to see and hold an original Lecia in my hand - it was heavy metal. I could feel the beauty of the engineering in the palm of my hand, truly gorgeous.
This camera forced the photographer to work for his shots. There are no batteries, everything is springloaded, fully manual and it takes 35mm film so you couldn't see the image, you would have to wait to until the roll was developed before seeing your work.
This camera was the heart and soul of master craftsman Henri Cartier Bresson, he built his body of work and legacy using just this camera and a 50mm lens throughout out his entire career.
The Lecia brand is still going strong with more up to date range Finders and you will not get much change out of £2,000.00 if you want to buy one.
Take a look here for more details on The Leica Rangefinder.
007 is in town and for a whole year at that. This is perfect preparation for the next film installment in the very successful franchise.
I have been waiting for this event for a very long time and it was well worth it. If you are a lover of all things Bond then do yourself a favour and take a visit to The London Film Museum and catch this exhibition. It features all of the Bond Cars, Vehicles and Gadgets that have been featured in all of the Bond films. This was an afternoon of pure nostalgia and brought back a lot of memories from the moment I saw my very first Bond film.
I was able to take some photographs which came out pretty well considering the low light conditions. My ISO was up to 1600 to get the fast shutter speed, nevertheless the images are quite decent.
The highlight of the day for me was seeing this classic car in the living flesh
Today was great fun and I enjoyed the whole experience with camera in hand. My friend Aadil and I used this experience to catch up and reflect on life and just be boys for the day.
With only a week to go before I attend The Bond in Motion event, look what showed today.
Such a beautiful piece of engineering.
I couldn't resist shooting.
Between now and next week, I will be posting any thing that triggers a Bond moment for me.
For the next year, James Bond will feature very heavily in London. A new museum show featuring all of the Bond motor vehicles will hit London. The cars and gadgets have all featured in the films and will be on display. I will be attending the event and will do a comprehensive review with photographs. For now, here is a glimpse of my favourite motor car never to have appeared in a Bond Film.
The James Bond Motor Show starts on the 21st March - Click here for more details
©Mike Vincent Photography 2015