The History of Photography: 1999

by Matthew Cole
1998 The 1990s 2000

Leave Those Pesky Lenses Behind
Leave Those Pesky Lenses Behind: At some point you decide, you know, I've got a lot of gear and my camera bag weighs a lot. Let's try something simple. So I drilled a hole in the body cap of my Nikon FE, made a pinhole in some .002" brass and shot this picture of the campground at Pike's Peak State Park in NE Iowa, camping for meteors with the Salamons. Left to right you can see Paul Salamon, Anne Salamon, Paul again in a bit of sunlight, and Henry, the green object in the chair by the fire. Nikon FE, pinhole, est. f/180 for 60 seconds, Fuji Sensia

Equipment changes. I bought a LowePro Orion waist pack in purple and discovered that if you bite the bullet and use 8 lithium AAs in the MD-12 motor it weighs a lot less. Despite this discovery, I sell the MD-12 and the black FE, 55 Micro, 35PC and 300mm, a bunch of really nice gear which I hardly ever use. Buy a light, compact, quick Contax G2 with 28, 45 and 90mm lenses and enter the world of autofocus (though I still have the chrome FE and four lenses). Also discover eBay, the auction site, which is where I flog most of this stuff and some odds'n'ends like monopod, filters, camera manuals and disused enlarging lenses. Having fun with new gear, I take lots of pictures and maybe one day I'll post some of them.

The G2 is pretty nice. It's not a lot smaller than the FE, but the lenses are smaller. There are those who profess that the Carl Zeiss lenses are much superior to the Nikkors. I'm not sure about this, either. They can be pretty nice, but the Nikon was certainly no slouch. Funnily enough, for being an autofocus camera, I have more focus problems with the G2 than any camera I've ever owned. With the separate viewfinder, there is no confirmation in the sense of the image getting sharper, like on the Nikon or Rolleicord. Not really being a rangefinder, there is no double-image to superimpose like the Mamiya 6 or Olympus XA. There is a little scale at the bottom which reads in meters, and you can judge if that's reasonable or not, but then it's not much different than judging scale focusing on the old Paxette and Halina.

More Photo Hints from 1999

Trust Your Autofocus
Trust Your Autofocus, or, Nothin' But Bokeh: These modern expensive autofocus cameras sure have some impressive capabilities! Look at all this bokeh! It's Henry in uniform waiting for the bus and me learning the ins and outs of the Contax G2. Contax G2, 45mm f/2 Carl Zeiss

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