Site Update posts are a monthly (or best effort!) recap of happenings in the photography world, both from my personal experiences, as well as opinions on big releases or major events.
It’s a bit hard to believe that a month has already gone by since my CP+ post, as all the sights and sounds from the event are still so fresh in my memory. In that time, not too much has occurred in my own photography pursuits sadly, though I have to be glad it is not because of disinterest or an apparent lack of subjects to photograph. No, instead this month I am working toward recovering from a double knee injury brought about by many long-term factors that finally hit home–ironically–the day I went to CP+.
The good news is that I should recover fully given enough time without any surgery, the bad news is I made a total of zero photographs after my time at CP+. Unfortunate, for sure, especially given my new excitement for the photography industry, as well as considering a purchase of a new Zeiss Batis or G Master lens! However, I can’t exactly complain about not getting out and about as the Japanese winter is lethargic at best in moving out, and my hands never enjoyed shooting in the cold unless there’s snow on the ground!
Thankfully, I am not stationed in any sort of arctic region of the world, as the weather here is slowly changing to more favorable non-glove temperatures. The skies are getting bluer, the grass greener, and the myriad flowers are beginning to emerge from the bushes and trees. Coupled with a bicycle trunk camera bag, I see the rest of this month and April being full of weekend trips exploring a bit more of the Kanagawa Prefecture I’ve called home for the past four months. After all, I’m sure I could spend every trip photographing just Tokyo and never run out of opportunities! I do have plans to enjoy a bit of the cherry blossoms in an outing set for just a week from now, so my fingers are crossed that the weather cooperates.
Speaking of prepping for what’s to come, I have gone back and forth this month in an attempt to decide whether or not to get a new camera or a new lens. Though my time with Nikkor manual focus lenses is far from over (in fact, I doubt my 400mm f/2.8 or 200mm f/2 will ever see their way back to eBay), CP+ has made me come to realize that lens manufacturers have finally gotten to their senses in designing quality glass at pretty competitive price points. The ones that do this, namely those from outside the big three of Nikon, Sony, and Canon, either make excellent autofocus designs that stand out from the crowd in features and performance (Batis 85mm…you will be mine someday…), or strip away features to focus solely on cheap prices combined with surprisingly excellent optical quality. The latter is something I’ve already gotten a taste of with my Rokinon 16mm f/2, an inexpensive but high-performing lens that continues to surprise me every time I pull it out of my camera bag.
Other recent lenses from Samyang/Rokinon, as well as those from Zhongyi Optics and Venus Optics, impress me both in specs and what photographers make with ever-growing pools of sample images. I’m not talking about that Mitakon 135mm f/1.4 here, though if back strength and money weren’t issues, that lens would be in my bag all the time! Instead, it’s the more compact lenses out there, like the Mitakon 35mm f/.95 or Laowa 100mm f/2 that make me double-take when looking around for lens options. As I stick around the rumor mill a bit longer, I will have to wait and see what direction I take. If a more evenly-speced α7000 or maybe α9 pops up sometime soon I may go the new camera route to start taking advantage of all the neat features these modern lenses are capable of.
Speaking of cameras, α6300 reviews are steadily popping up around the internet from consumers to the big review sites. As I hoped, the general consensus is that Sony packed the tiny camera full of amazing features combined with a sensor capable of amazing performance in many conditions. However, there is one criticism I see among many of them that is still the nail-in-the-coffin in keeping me from buying it: no in-body image stabilization! I had hoped for so long since seeing this camera on rumor sites that it would have some form of IBIS, a welcome feature for manual-glass shooters like me. Some claim the feature is an impossibility with the size and form factor of the NEX bodies, but only the engineers at Sony know for sure. As I said last month, maybe, just maybe, this will be the distinguishing feature on a future α7000/9000 body—in which case I will be first in line to preorder!
Barring any surprise announcements from Sony or Zeiss, for now I am sitting tight just itching to get back out there and make some photographs of the area with a camera more capable than an iPhone! I hope monthly posts like these will help my readers know I’m still out there in some form, as it gives me a way to communicate plans for the site, get feedback, and keep in touch with the ever-changing world of photography. As always, thanks for reading and have a great day! To stay in the loop for new posts, check out that orange “Follow” button at the top right of the page!