I Love, Love, Love My Digital S L R

Let’s see if the third time is the charm. The first time I was almost done and I hit some key that made it go away. Then second time, almost done and IE or Vista decided it needed to protect me and it went away again. This time I am doing it in Works.

Last night I set up for a photo shoot and was struck with how much camera equipment has changed over my lifetime.

Skipping over the fixed-focus fixed-exposure “**** Tracy” camera toy and the Kodak Autograph camera that I never mastered and maybe could have never gotten the right film for, anyhow; I’ll start with the Nikon F that I bought in 1958 or 59.

The Nikon F had manual focus and manual exposure control. Exposure was so manual I needed a separate hand-held exposure meter. I would check for the film speed/ASA/ISO that I was using in the camera, make sure if was on the light meter, I would read the meter, pick the setting and then set it on the camera. My first flash used actual flash bulbs good for one shot each. But it was not reliable so I replaced it with an early electronic flash. It was reliable alright - as long as it was plugged into a wall outlet. That made doing my sister-in-law’s wedding interesting. What also made the wedding interesting as well as many other shoots was that I only had one lens - a 50mm standard lens. If I wanted to get closer - that’s what I had to do: actually get closer. And shy guy that I am, that was hard.

I gave up that camera when I was divorced in 1970. I replaced it in 1976 (camera technology had changed big time, or so I thought) with a Canon EF with 50mm standard, 35mm wide-angle and 85~>205mm telephoto zoom. And shortly thereafter I added a slightly older but more professional Canon F-1 with a 50mm macro lens and a 24mm wider-angle lens and a 1 shot/second power winder. This stuff was the cat’s meow - or so I thought.

Both cameras still had manual focus. The F-1 had a built-in exposure meter although I would have to match the meter needle with a needle representing the lens setting to actually set the exposure. The EF was really up to date; if had a more sensitive meter and I would only have to indicate the shutter speed I wanted and the camera would select the aperture necessary. Still had to set film speed/ASA/ISO myself, these cameras did not read the conductive strips on film cassettes. I could even take remotely triggered photos with the F-1 using the winder. I was all set.

Those cameras were long obsolete (low sensitivity meters, manual focus, etc.) by the time my late wife bought a Sony α-100 (now obsolete but four years ago it was camera of the year. HA) for me in in 2006. My Goodness, how much the technology has changed.

What brought this story to mind last night was that last night shoot was with a different set-up than the previous. I did NOT have to consider which lens of the various fixed focal lengths, I did not have to move the tripod nor adjust its height to maintain my desired angle. I just looked through the viewfinder and set the zoom as I wanted. My shoot last night only needed one picture. However, I could easily, and cheaply (Oh, did I mention how much more inexpensive digital is in comparison to film, even when doing your own processing) take insurance photos to make sure the lighting was correct, the pose and set-up were correct. I could even check for the evenness of the lighting before the real shoot - something I could do in seconds compared to hours with self-processing or days with commercial processing.

With auto-focus I don’t have to ever have to look through the view-finder if for some reason it is inconvenient or impossible.

While I was doing a tripod shoot last night, recently I did some long telephoto shoots of the moon with my 75~>300mm (112 ~> 450mm in 35mm equivalents) hand-held and the anti-shake built-in enabled me to get good pictures with a decent shutter speed for the available light.

One shot I have long wanted to take is the long exposure of flowing water, typically over a waterfall. The active water in a time exposure takes on a dreamy quality. The photographer must balance the long exposure time with the abilities of the lens and the availability/non-availability of a tripod. I have never been really successful when I tried it with a film camera. But recently, while I was in beautiful West By God Virginia I saw a small waterfall in a beautiful setting and tried using the digital. I am so pleased with the outcome

I was able to take multiple pictures, evaluate results and make further adjustments until I achieved the results for which I was looking. 

MPsslavetommy MPsslavetommy
70+, M
3 Responses Jul 15, 2010

Got it. Thank you so much !!! I shall try it this weekend....

Thank You. <br />
My secret for the Moon is no secret. The Moon is a dirty ob<x>ject illuminated with full Sun. So the old f16 rule is a very good starting point if you do not have a spot meter. A good spot meter maybe better, that's what I used for my latest but starting with F16 at 1/ISO is pretty good, <br />
Maybe to pick up a little detail open a stop or so. The problem comes when the dark sky is allowed to fool the camera so either spot meter to not include the sky or manually set as if it is in normal daylight<br />
<br />
Early this month I got a full Moon shortly after Moon rise, still yellow from the Earth's atmosphere at 1/200, f5.6 ISO 400 [the 1/200 makes it one stop over and the f5.6 adds 3 more stops or 4 stops over exposure compared to the f16 rule - I think I could have been a little too much over on that one]. Last month I got a higher Moon, less atmosphere at 1/500, f5.6 iso 400 {the 1/500 is 1/3 under and the f5.6 is 3 stops over or total 2 and 2/3 over - makes up for the Moon being a dark dirty ob<x>ject itself I think that one is better] I can't post them here will do in separate story.

ooooh good job!!!!! ~clap clap clap~ I too love capturing water with the slow exposures.... LOVE IT. Lets talk moons. I can NEVER get a good picture of the moon. What is your secret?