Rekindling an old hobby

It’s partly John AE5X‘s fault. John has several digital photography sites linked from his blog and I’ve been reading them for a while with growing interest. It’s been a very long time since I delved into photography at that level. Many years ago it was my primary hobby, even before Amateur Radio. I had some nice 35mm equipment and even my own darkroom equipment (though the “darkroom” was the dark basement at night with my equipment by the washtubs.) I would process my own black and white film (Tri-X and Plus X as I recall) and make prints with a Beseler 23C enlarger. I also did some color prints from slides using Cibrchrome.

Old Nikons – FE and FM

From 1981 to about 1987 I spent a lot of time at Road America and an occasional trip to Mid-Ohio photographing things like this:

Porsche 935

And this:

Porsche 956

Lots and lots of rolls of Kodachrome went through those old Nikons. Through this time school, marriage, and later kids happened and other than photos of kids and some canoe and hiking trips, photography sort of fell to the wayside.

Cameras for quite some time have been mostly point-and-shoot or variants thereof. In 1998 I bought a Nikon Pronea S and two lenses. This was an APS film camera. While it took nice photographs it was too late, digital was coming fast. I bought my first digital camera, an Olympus C-3000 Zoom in 2000. It had a whopping 3.4 megapixels. Quite a step down from the approximately 140 megapixels of Kodachrome. I hemmed and hawed about a DSLR and about five years ago I bought a Nikon Coolpix P600. It’s seen a fair amount of use and I’ve been quite pleased with it. It’s not a DSLR but it has served my purposes well. Woven in there were a pair of Canon point-and-shoots. the Powershot A3000. We ended up with two in order to increase the chances that you could find one of them when needed. These were nice little cameras that could easily be stuffed in your pocket and probably carried the bulk of kid photography for a number of years. And of course there was the onset of cellphone cameras. While they are cameras in the technical sense, I don’t know that they are tools for actual photography.

Over the last several months there has been a lot of time for reading and not much radio station operation. I’m not real sure why other than cancer has a way of getting your attention and changing your focus. I’ve been spending a lot of time coming up to speed on the world of digital photography. I’ve been away for a very long time and it’s been fun to rekindle thoughts about an old hobby with so much new technology. So all this reading starts one to thinking…maybe it’s time to get back into this with something other than a point-and-shoot.

As many of you are aware there is well more than a plethora of digital cameras on offer. Even though cellphones have put a significant dent in digital camera sales there are an enormous set of options for the person wanting more than a cellphone can offer. One of the newest things that caught my interest were mirrorless cameras. These were all new to me. I read a lot about the pros and cons of mirrorless versus DSLR. One of the things that appealed to me was their size. I wasn’t all that interested in a big DSLR. The P600 is nice but you can’t really put it in your pocket. Even a large pocket.

So after a bunch of thought and no small amount of research I narrowed my choices down to the Canon EOS mirrorless offerings and was mostly set to get an M100 but then found a very nice used M6. What tipped the balance? A bit more ability to control the camera combined with a very nice grip.

Canon M6 and EF-M lenses

In addition to the “kit” lens, the 15-45mm, I have since added the 11-22mm and the 55-200mm. All Canon EF-M lenses. B&H Photo have become my new friends. They have everything you need, good prices, and ship as fast as lightning.

Thus far I am exceedingly pleased with this new camera. My first new camera with this level of control in a very long time. The size is wonderful. Much smaller and lighter than a DSLR and while it won’t fit in a pants pocket it will fit in a jacket pocket. It is packed with more features than I’ll likely ever need and it all fits nicely in a Tenba DNA 8:

Tenba DNA 8

Tenba DNA 8

All in all much less size and weight than the old Tenba bag I used to carry around:

Old Tenba P795 bag

And a lot more functionality.

I’m glad that I waited to jump into the digital photography world. Perhaps I was waiting for mirrorless cameras before I knew that they even existed. Thanks John!

As for my health, I finished the sixth round of chemotherapy four weeks ago with some side effects but nothing overly debilitating. On our recent trip back to Mayo another PET scan was even better than the one back in December so the disease is headed in the right direction. Next step is a stem cell transplant in a few weeks. After that our hope and prayer is that I can start to string together days, weeks, months, and years without cancer. I can’t wait until summer when treatments will be over and I’ll be on the way to recovery. I’ve got a new camera to use!

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2 responses to “Rekindling an old hobby

  1. Great shot of the 935. I’ve seen a lot of race cars over the years, from that era through today. Some were faster, but none had more character.
    Enjoy your return to photography. Hope your remaining treatments go well.

    • Thanks Steven. I agree, the 935 was and still is a great race car. My favorite races were the IMSA races of years ago with the GTO\GTU and later GTP cars. If I recall correctly the race at Road America was the Pabst 500. 125 laps created a lot of opportunities and plenty of time for good photographs.
      73,

      Tim
      KA9EAK

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