Looking Back…

As we approach the end of 2018, I’ve been looking back over my photography and also picked a few of my favourite photos from this year.


Perch Rock – E-M1ii & 12-40mm

I started the year with a couple of Olympus cameras – a Pen-F, and an OMD E-M1ii – both excellent cameras with amazing features.  The E-M1ii was probably the best-handling camera I’ve ever used, and the arsenal of lenses I had acquired over the previous year or so were all excellent. Despite this, somehow the results I was getting didn’t really make me happy.  I tried every which way to get the result I wanted, but there was always something that didn’t quite work for me.


Loch Lomond – E-M1ii & 12-100mm

I’d tried a Sony A7Rii previously, and although I liked the image quality, I just wasn’t sure about going back to a full frame camera with it’s bigger lenses etc;  one of the things that attracted me to the Olympus had been it’s compact size and much lighter weight. When the new A7iii came out with it’s superb image quality and better handling, auto focus, viewfinder and battery life than the ‘old’ models, a change was inevitable… I realised that convenience was never going to be a match for image quality.


Ramshaw Rocks – Sony A7iii & 16-35mm

Rather than risk the uncertainties of eBay, I sold all my Olympus gear to mpb.com – not the absolute best prices, but fair enough, and of course a risk free and speedy transaction. This bought me an A7iii body and a couple of decent prime lenses, to which I’ve added the superb 24-105mm ‘everyday’ zoom, and the super wide 16-35mm f4 Zeiss lens. I’m certainly happy with what this camera can do – the RAW files are truly amazing, and there is no significant image degradation even with fairly heavy post-processing. (By contrast, the Olympus files would ‘break up’ under even modest processing, with nasty artefacts and excessive noise.) No such problem with the Sony camera.


Double Trouble – Sony A7iii & 55mm

To be fair, I haven’t used the camera to it’s full potential – in fact I haven’t used it a lot as yet, but every photo I have taken with it so far has exceeded my expectations. The images (especially those taken with the prime lenses) are razor sharp, and the massive 15 stop dynamic range means that shadows can be recovered in post-processing without creating excessive noise. So much so that I think I’ve only once needed to use my graduated filters – I’m seriously thinking of abandoning them altogether, which is a fair weight saving when walking.


Lichfield Cathedral – Sony A6300 & 20mm

I did dally with a Sony A6300 for a while – I figured it would give me an additional more portable option than the A7 kit, and at a pinch would do as a backup body, but it just complicated matters.  The image quality, although great, just wasn’t quite as good, and I found myself always wondering which camera to take when I went out, so in the end let it go. Too many complications! Just having one ‘proper’ camera makes life much simpler…

With the improvements over the last few years in the cameras in smartphones, they are at last a viable alternative to a dedicated camera for everyday use (holidays, walking, family occasions etc). So when the A6300 kit went, I got myself a new iPhone XR, and haven’t looked back – for social media posts and general family photos it’s plenty good enough, and of course it’s with me all the time. I’ve just acquired a wide angle lens for it, and that opens up more photo options. Telephoto lens next maybe?


Plas Power Woods, Wrexham – Sony A7iii & 24-105mm 

So what does 2019 have in store?  Well, I’m certainly planning to get out more with my Sony camera – I’ve already booked to go on a couple of one-day events – not so much photo workshops as ‘opportunity days’ – the chance to shoot subjects that wouldn’t otherwise be as easy to access.  I’ve realised that I don’t really get much from traditional group photo workshops; they tend to be quite expensive, and with up to 12-14 attendees it can be rather limiting – all standing in line to take the same shot. So I’ll mostly be going it alone…


Peatswood – iPhone XR & Moment w/a lens

I’m also super-excited about using my smartphone for ‘off the cuff’ photography – there are so many photo opportunities in everyday life, and having a half-decent camera with you all the time is definitely the way to go.  This photo was taken on my iPhone while on a family walk, and entirely processed using Lightroom Mobile & Snapseed on the phone itself.   It obviously takes longer to ‘process’ a RAW image from the phone than it does to use the standard JPG file that phones capture by default, but it really does open up some interesting possibilities.

I don’t think I will ever give up having a ‘real’ camera, but who knows!

2 thoughts on “Looking Back…

  1. Nice photos ! I too am hesitating to move to an A7III and renew my lens kit, though I already come from Sony. I have an A7II that”s good, but I’m pretty certain touch focus and Eye AF would help me save tons of shots, while I’m also hesitating to swap my 25f2, 55f1.8 and 85f1.8 kit for something like a 24-105 and maybe the 135f1.8 that’s just been released.

    I’ve also been looking for something I could have with me all the time. I like your idea of using your smartphone for more casual photos. I don’t have the instinct to do it myself yet, but it’s true Smartphones are so good now it can be a great alternative to some secondary camera like a Ricoh GRIII. I hope I’ll see the results soon 😉


    • I don’t think there has ever been one ideal ‘setup’ when it comes to photo equipment! I moved from Full Frame (Nikon) because it was so big and heavy, but none of the smaller formats I’ve tried over the last few years (Fuji and Olympus in particular) have really given me the image quality I wanted. Yes, they are more convenient, and great for sport etc, but not for landscapes and architecture. I tried the Sony A7ii a while ago but wasn’t convinced to buy into Sony until I tried the A7iii… Yes, the AF and touch focus etc is good, but what really sold it for me was the exceptional battery life, and the dynamic range of the sensor – I’ve hardly used graduated filters since I had the Sony, but used them all the time with the Olympus. I had the 25mm f2 Batis, along with the 55mm f1.8 and 85mm f.8, but really wanted the flexibility of a zoom. Tried the 24-70mm f4 (not so good) but eventually got the 24-105mm, which I have to say is brilliant. Maybe not so completely sharp as the Batis at 24/25mm, but perfectly good enough. I kept the 55mm and 85mm for when I want a ‘fast’ lens. I also now have the 16-35mm f4 for wide angle photos – that too is very good indeed. But it’s all quite heavy to carry around! I would quite like the 70-200mm f4 for ‘longer’ shots, but that’s another story altogether!

      Liked by 1 person

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