Wet and bedraggled….

A7300402So the heatwave and drought of Summer 2018 had to stop sometime didn’t it?  Well, that was today, and temperatures in the high 20’s were replaced by 18deg, and persistent rain. Not that we didn’t need it of course – the lawn in our garden is completely yellow through lack of rain, so hopefully that will do it some good.

It did however mean that my trip today to the annual Festival of Transport in Audlem was a bit of a damp affair, actually a very wet affair, and to be honest I almost didn’t bother. Seduced by a weather forecast that said it wasn’t going to rain after 1pm I pottered up there at around 2pm only to find it was far from dry – some of the exhibitors had already called it a day, and most of the others were huddled with the meagre number of visitors under the trees.  A7300420Still, the showers did ease off a little, and I was able to wander around for an hour or so, albeit with camera in one hand and umbrella in the other – wasn’t really sure whether to believe the Sony claims about weather-resistance, but decided not to chance it so kept camera and lens well-covered.  Likewise it wasn’t a day for changing lenses either, so stuck with the rather awesome Zeiss 55mm – I know I am a zoom person at heart, but goodness, these prime lenses are so sharp and contrasty!

A7300396So despite the weather, I took a few photos of the cars, before heading down to the canal to catch a view of some of the collection of narrow boats that had assembled for the day.  Lots of restored classic working narrow boats as well as the usual leisure conversions (I’ll post these photos later).

A great way to spend a few hours (despite the rain), and best of all, it was free, and just 7 miles up the road from us…

Here are a few more photos of the exhibits.

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Here we go again…

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Daisy-Mae 85mm f1.8

There were so many things I loved about my two Olympus cameras, but ultimately I just didn’t find the overall image quality satisfying. The Pen-F was retro-chic, and had knock-out features like keystone correction, and Livetime mode (great for long exposures), and with smaller prime lenses gave me real portability.  The E-M1ii added pro-quality construction and ergonomics, Pro-capture for fast moving action, blazingly fast AF, and battery life that rivalled good old DSLR cameras.

Without doubt these cameras are superb for sport and wildlife (because the 2x crop factor brings subjects in that much closer) and there is a great array of compact and reasonably priced lenses available.  Sadly only the c. £1k Pro lenses make the best of the cameras (and these lenses are no longer small!) but even then, for me, images just didn’t have the ‘punch’ or saturation of cameras with larger sensors.  In poor light, or high contrast subjects where recovering detail from shadows is needed, they really fall down.

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Sony 85mm f1.8

So, even though it means going back to a larger, heavier setup and foregoing some of those unique Olympus features, the whole kit has gone, and the new kid on the block is a Sony A7iii. Resolution at 24mpx is a little higher, but this is a full frame camera so a sensor four times the size, and that really shows in image quality.  I can’t say I care for the Sony ergonomics – the body has lots of squared off corners – it just isn’t as ‘organic’ as the E-M1ii, and the button and menu layout aren’t exactly intuitive, but it does have great battery life, and the AF is ‘good enough’ for what I want. From all accounts its not as well weather sealed as the E-M1ii so I definitely won’t be taking it out in the rain!

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Sony 28-70mm ‘kit’ lens

Although my camera came with a fairly basic ‘kit’ zoom lens (it was the only way to get it quickly) my plan is to just use this for ‘walkabout’ or casual shooting, and get prime lenses for anything ’serious’. I’ve made a conscious decision to use just prime lenses with a limited range of focal lengths rather than wide-ranging zoom lenses – I’m hoping that rather than limit what I can shoot, it will actually enhance my creativity.  Without doubt it will mean sharper and crisper images – something of a holy grail for me.

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Sony 85mm f1.8

So far, in addition to that ‘cheapo’ everyday zoom, I’ve picked up the 85mm f1.8 Sony FE medium telephoto lens, a general purpose 35mm f2.8 Sony Zeiss lens, and a Zeiss Batis 25mm f2.8 wide angle. This latter lens was one I tried a few months ago at a Sony event, and the sharpness and contrast blew me away.  Still on the shopping list is a Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8, but that is waiting for more funds!

All is looking good so far, and these are just a few photos I’ve taken in the week or so I’ve had the camera. Watch this space!