Retro Camera Design

Old school or just more sensible?

For several years now we’ve been getting used to camera designs that have have shifted to a more compact retro look. And it’s not just because they don’t have mirrors and prisms. It seems to me SLR camera design was hampered in the first instance by the 80s and 90s preference for LCD screens and menus.

Perhaps manufacturers are learning it makes practical sense to have physical dials and knobs on a camera body. For one thing cameras can be operated very conveniently often without taking your eye from the viewfinder. ISO, exposure compensation, manual control, drive modes and so on, can be adjusted by finger and thumb. That said, having used both styles, the practical differences aren’t significant enough to be a deal-breaker for me.

Arguably, the downside of this retro revolution has been overenthusiastic manufacturers’ determination to keep body sizes too small. Emphasising lightweight bodies became an advertising obsession. So things became a bit fiddly to say the least. This was my main disappointment and only frustration when I first used the Fujifilm X-E1 (focussing performance isn’t an issue for me).

Hopefully cameras like the X-T2 are an indication that typical mirrorless designs are now being rethought. Or maybe bodies have to grow simply because there’s so much technology crammed inside. It’s astonishing when you see a modern camera without its shell.

The top picture was taken with the 2005 EOS 5D (see below), a camera that is almost as far removed as you can get from today’s more popular mirrorless designs. Pronounced size differences will suggest to some photographers the balance is somewhere between the two.

Personally I’d favour slightly larger mirrorless designs, even if there’s no actual need for them to be manufactured that way. The weight would stay roughly the same while cameras would remain more user-friendly than those that are partly designed around screens and menus.

The brick-like Canon EOS 5D, still a pleasure to use.

Top plate comparison between the Fujifilm X-T2 and the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. It’s worth pointing out that including battery and card the 2017 6D is 258g heavier than the X-T2. Using an overall lighter kit can offer significant advantages for some photographers. See HERE for some thoughts on this.

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Margaret Gallagher and Her Cottage

Click on the picture to watch the film, All I’ve Ever Known.

Early one morning in July 2017 while travelling through County Fermanagh in Ireland I stopped off just a few miles outside Belcoo to photograph Margaret Gallagher’s cottage. Unexpectedly the lady herself was already up and about attending to chores. I hope she didn’t mind the scruffy stranger in the distance waving his camera about running off a few shots of her charming home. Had it been later in the day I’d have said hello.

I’d recently seen Miss Gallagher in an excellent BBC film produced by John Callister around 25 years ago. To watch it yourself click on the smaller image above.

Image

Dyed 1777

It’s difficult to make out the surname on this gravestone in Rossinver Graveyard, just off the R218 in County Leitrim (54°23’46.5″N 8°07’05.3″W). I haven’t been able to find listed in a grave search any John who died in 1777.

The images below were taken in the same graveyard. All 3 were captured handheld with a macro lens.

 

 

 

 

 

Slieve Binnian 20/6/17

A quick and imperfect camera-stitched panorama of a view from the middle of Slieve Binnian. From left to right you can see Doan with Slieve Loughshannagh behind, then Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Bearnagh, Slievelamagan, Cove Mountain, Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Donard, Rocky Mountain, Chimney Rock Mountain, and Annalong Wood.

 

X-T1 JPEG

This is a 100% crop of a JPEG captured by the Fujifilm X-T1. The plant was in direct sunlight.

Settings:
ISO 200
F3.6

Standard film simulation
auto white balance
-1 2/3 exposure compensation
+1 saturation

RAW processing, or a TIFF from it, may benefit from subtle localised sharpening. But I wanted to share the camera’s impressive JPEG. Tap or click on the image for the 100% cropped file.