Shiny Photos
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Gear

My gear

Camera equipment: simply the tools of the trade and anyone that owns a camera is a photographer, right? Try though I might I have never produced a masterpiece on canvas when handed a paintbrush... Nevertheless we can all learn from each other and sharing our equipment is a good way to get the conversation started. I have made many choices that other photographers might think are odd but I usually had a good reason for doing it.

Many photographers will shun this kind of salivation over gear and equipment but I don't. I originally got involved in photography for the image, of course, but in times of artist's block I've found that a new piece of equipment can get me out of a rut.

Leica M Monochrom (Type 246)

A camera almost nobody needs at a price few can afford.

The 246 Monochrom is the only digital camera in production with a monochrome sensor. I started out shooting and developing my own black and white film and this camera has been the best way to return to that purest form of photography for me. 

I think differently when I use the Monochrom. I work more deliberately. I take great pleasure in the simple nature of its user interface - the camera doesn't get in my way.I have chased this camera since the original version was introduced in 2012 and after nearly a decade of saving and debate I purchased this unusual camera for myself.

The camera doesn't convert color data to black and white, it captures it that way from the start. Reviewers far more eloquent than I have written volumes about this camera but suffice it to say that there is no higher standard for black and white photography than this camera.


Leica 90mm f/2.0 APO Summicron Lens

Some of my favorite images of all time have been made with this lens.

90mm is the sweet spot for portraits and lenses don't come better or sharper than the Summicron lenses by Leica.

At 90mm you can isolate a subject easily. At f/2 that subject's entire face can be in sharp focus while the background fades away into the softest bokeh.


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Leica 50mm f/1.4 ASPH Summilux Lens

My walking around lens

 

The Summilux line of lenses are the finest light-gathering optics in the world. That is, until you need more light-gathering power than f/1.4. The only thing better is the Noctilux line also from Leica with a whopping f/0.95 aperture.


Sony RX1-RII Camera

The Sony RX1-RII, like the Leica Monochrom (Type 246), is a camera that almost nobody has any business owning.

The Sony RX1-RII, like the Leica Monochrom (Type 246), is a camera that almost nobody has any business owning. The battery life stinks, it' has a fixed 35mm lens, the user interface is a nightmare of buttons and features, it only shoots 1080p video and, at that, crappily, and it's bloody expensive. 

But it's also an absolute dreamboat. This is the smallest full-frame digital camera available and because of that it it can go where some other cameras can't go: concerts, clubs, the street, etc. The RX1-RII is discrete but exquisite. Few people will recognize it as anything more than just another rinky-dink digital camera.

That fixed 35mm lens though? It's a Zeiss f/2 that is out-of-this-world incredible: sharp without being clinical, contrasty without being over saturated, and a wide aperture that does a respectable job at bokeh even considering the wide field of view. 

The sensor? 42MP, the same sensor in the Sony A7R-III but in a Lilliputian package.

The dynamic range at 14 stops puts it in a DxO lineup competing against the Hasselblad X1D-50C and the venerable Nikon D850... but, again, it fits in the palm of your hand. 

Incredible. Beautiful. The perfect travel camera for the photography-obsessed. Don't buy one.


Canon 6D Camera

A reliable workhorse.

I can hear you reading this. "The what?! Surely he means the 6D Mk. II?" Nope.

Where would my life be without this workhorse of a camera? All of my Real Estate, architectural, and much of my timelapse work was done with this camera and I continue to use it since I bought it new for $1900 in 2013. By today's standards, the 6D is a dinosaur. A paltry 20MP full-frame sensor that is chock full of noise above 1600 ISO with poor dynamic range to boot. 

The Canon 6D does have a few things going in its favor, however. The built-in GPS is surprisingly helpful and welcome as is the Wi-Fi (unusual for the time), the battery lasts for hundreds of shots, the Canon user experience is the best in the business, and they're cheap! A new copy will run you $1000 these days but a used one will run you $800 or so. That's pretty reasonable for a full-frame body with all of these features even today.

I have taken 6D bodies all over the world with me. In Iceland in 2014 I ran two 6D bodies concurrently making 4K timelapse content of the aurora and I dare say I'm likely to do it again. Every time I consider upgrading to, say, the 5DSR, for example, I reflect back on the hundreds of thousands of frames I've shot with the 6D and marvel at its staying power.


Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens

My go-to lens for interiors and landscapes alike.

My go-to lens for Real Estate, architecture, and landscapes. I have owned, sold, and/or destroyed four copies of this lens in my lifetime. This is the only Canon lens that I still own.

The EF 17-40mm f/4L is one of the most affordable lenses in Canon's L series of professional lenses. Plenty sharp at f/5.6 and above, more affordable than the 16-35, and takes less expensive 77mm filters. Unless you need the fast aperture of the 16-35mm f/2.8L I recommend this one.