Saturday, 1 June 2013


Another branch of my local camera shop had a 'preview day' for a forthcoming Olympus camera today. I was carefully avoiding a trip into the city (a title recently bestowed upon the town, which isn't as big as a city ought to be in my book) until I had to go there to purchase something for work. As it turned out what I wanted wasn't in stock and I ended up with 90 minutes of free parking. Long enough to walk to the camera shop. Damn. On my way there and back I made a few snaps.

After perusing the used equipment cabinet I made to leave. The only thing was the guy demonstrating the new camera looked bored, so I thought I'd give him something to do. There were actually two camera being demonstrated. Last year's model had a viewfinder and appealed much more to me. I had a play around with it and it felt really nice. It wasn't as big as I'd imagined, only taking up as much room as my plasticky Panasonic. With a pancake lens on it it would slip into a jacket pocket just fine. The electronic viewfinder was much better than the one in the Panasonic - not surprising given how quickly technology improves.

By all accounts it's a very capable machine. But at over four times what I paid for my camera it's a lot of brass to fork out on what I use pretty much as as snapshooter. The screen doesn't flip round either, so it wouldn't double as a fishing camera. I still don't get the whole concept of these small system cameras - apart from them being small. I reckon small cameras should be cheap. If you buy into the system, using the best lenses, you're paying almost as much for them to get what amounts to a crippled set up. It might be smaller and lighter, but it's not as good or versatile as a DSLR system. The batteries only last a fraction of the time for one thing.

That said, the form factor is appealing and it does encourage you to carry the camera everywhere. If there was one with a better viewfinder, flip round screen, and improved dynamic range compared to the one I've got I'd consider shelling out a coupla hundred notes on it. Trouble is, it'd likely be three or four times that and I might as well get a crop sensor DSLR with a flippy screen! Then again, with care the camera I have can do a decent job when I think about what I'm doing.

One of today's themes was, as often it is, symmetry - with a bit of subtle recession commentary thrown in.

I always find it hard to resist signs.

I'm almost converted to the 4:3 aspect ratio now. Maybe not so much converted as accustomed. I found it difficult to 'see' pictures that worked with it before, often cropping to 3:2, but now I understand it better. I'm also experimenting with the 16:9 ratio too. Sometimes cropping to it from 4:3.

While I'm more flexible in this now I have come to realise how important it is to be consistent with formats when creating a set of pictures. Mix them up too much and the coherence gets lost in the muddle. I think two formats can be used in one series provided they are used consistently, one each, for landscape and portrait orientation. If presenting as pages in a book or in a slideshow then they ought to be presented in groups of three or more of a format. Too much switching is tiring on the eye and mind, I think.

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