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Ted Szukalski

Gallery of fine art photography.

Cameras can be so complicated

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I often get asked to help people chose a camera. It is a difficult task as people expectations are as individual as they are. A good camera for some people is a cheap point and shoot and for others it maybe Canon 1D mark IV. Selecting camera is not a trivial thing as there are so many models available on the market with so many different features. In case of a digital SLR the selection is further complicated by the choice of right lenses. Here again there are many models from cheap (and nasty) to excellent but expensive top of the range lenses.

I made my choices based primarily on the subject of my photography. In this case the deciding factor was speed of focus and number of frames per second. I needed this for fast moving sport photography.

Taking into account I take a lot of street photographs, I am considering a very different camera in the future. I have some ideas in my mind what it should be and I am watching the product advances very closely. The camera I’d like to have has not been produced yet but I think Micro Four Thirds Olympus and Panasonic cameras are on the right track, as is Leica with small body full frame solution. These cameras are are small, light and inconspicuous.

I think this format of a camera will be increasingly popular choice for people who outgrew the point and shoot cameras but do not want the bulk of full DSLR. They do need a good range of quality lenses to complement the system and for me ideally a tilt/swivel LCD.

People photography – Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM

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One of the aspects of street photography is ability to come close to the people you photograph and show the environment around them. This is a primary reason why most of street photographs are taken with wide angle lenses. Yes, you can zoom in with a telephoto zoom, but a narrow angle of view will exclude the environment. Until recently my lens of choice was Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L. The lens has a nice range but I found myself in many situations where it was not wide enough. This is were my new Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM lens comes in. The view at 16mm covers so much of the scene it is incomparable. The lens is rectilinear meaning it does now curve the view the way fish eye lenses do. This in return means less distortions, a very important aspect when the main subject of interest for the photographer are people. The wider the lens the more attention needs to be paid to keeping your camera straight, otherwise people and buildings are elongates in the direction of the tilt. This is a challenge in street photography, where many photos are taken “from the hip”, where the photographer does not look at the viewfinder to compose the scene. This was a concern for me, as Canon EOS-1D Mark III is not exactly a stealth camera. It is quick to focus but it is hard to make it invisible. To my surprise, most of the photographs turned out well, holding the axis close to perpendicular and only requiring small rotation in post processing. I think I just found my new favourite lens.