Equipment

Digital: I do most of my photography with a Canon S110 Digital Elph which is always at my side. The Elph sacrifices lens quality, resolution, focussing reliability, and manual control to gain tremendous portability and convenience. It weighs 8 ounces and is definitely pocket-size. Having the camera with me all the time has led to many shots I'd never have taken, and in the 18 months I've owned it I've put 17,000 exposures on the frame counter.

If I were in the market for a new digicam, I'd look for a lens with less spherical abberation, a sensor with more pixels (and ideally the Foveon X3 technology), and perhaps an uncompressed storage-format option. I'm not sure how the new 3 megapixel Elph fares in the abberation department, but I know someone who has recently bought one and look forward to finding out.

Current digital SLRs seem way too expensive for their capabilities versus film SLRs right now. Once there are more, and more cheaply available, full-frame models, and hopefully a full-frame X3-sensor model, I'm likely to change my mind.

Film: When explicitly going out to shoot pictures I often carry a Canon T-90 35mm film SLR -- the last and most advanced manual-focus SLR Canon made. It has a truly addictive multi-spot metering mode and is well designed and built. The only major fault I find in the design is the large amount of noise the motor drive and shutter mechanism make. High quality Canon FD lenses are readily available used nowadays making manual focus seem even like a sort of advantage.

Lenses I carry usually include a 50/1.4, 20-35/3.5, and 135/2.8. Sometimes I also carry a 200/2.8 or various others depending upon my plans. As you can tell, I like fast primes. I aspire to someday own a 135/2.0, 24/2.0, 200/1.8, and 300/2.8. *grin*

Scanning: Sadly, I've been disappointed with the film scanners I've worked with so far to transfer the images into my computer. The most recent scanner I used (rented for a weekend) was a Kodak RFS3600. The quality of the scans was reasonable, but the software was buggy and unable to do more than a dozen or so 3600 dpi scans before crashing. (despite my using the latest drivers and firmware) The only solution was to reboot the computer every 10-15 scans -- pretty inconvenient for a scanner designed to feed whole uncut rolls of film!

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  File /art/photos/equipment.mason, updated 7 May 2003