Camera Lessons

Dear J-

My weekend workflow is unnecessarily complicated by wanting to lug around my big, heavy dSLR everywhere I go; it was the final piece in my 5-MP upgrade plan of a few years ago (started off with the DSC-V1, moved on to the DMC-LC1, and settled on the E-1 — if you’re going to lug around something as big and heavy as a dSLR (LC1), you might as well go with a dSLR), but I still haven’t forgotten the siren call of a good-performing small-sensor camera.

The LC1 is (was) darned close, but far too bulky:  I loved the zoom range and lens speed, but the camera itself didn’t fall to hand quite like I thought it should, and the ISO range pretty much limited it to daytime shots; there’s a lot of atmosphere to twilight, and all I kept getting was banding and noise — it made for interesting, textured photographs, but not the reality I saw.  The V1 is a good carry-around camera, and comes with an excellent lens; its sole weakness is the battery life (I always forget to keep it charged).  So the E-1 goes everywhere, even though it can’t be considered a pocket camera by any means.

in-flight-0495-sm

I have learned a few things from the E-1 experience, though.  I can’t stand waiting for the camera — when it falls asleep and I have to force it awake, it can’t happen fast enough; I’m finding that I live right around the 35mm-equivalent focal length, and that not having a built-in flash is liberating, although there’s been more than a few fill-flash opportunities I’ve missed.  The nice thing about having lots of options means that you’re able to pick out the ones that work best for you, so it makes you (theoretically, at least) a more educated consumer; on the other hand, if you’re cursed with a long memory, there’s always a ton of interesting cameras that were prohibitively expensive new but reasonable used — and I’ve got to try them, right?  This is how I ended up with two titanic shelf-queen Kodak DCS 600-series bodies at one point, after all.

Mike

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