New years eve 2015, it was windy and cold by the waters near Houston. Family fireworks about to start and since I was traveling lightly, I didn’t have my tripod. Let’s see if I can shoot this handheld. Here are the result.
Basically cranking up the ISO to 12800, shooting with my Sigma 35mm f1.4 lens at f1.8 and 1/30s. The focus is set to manual and to infinity. Quite acceptable result had been achieve with this handheld setup. Even though noise is visible in the images but at ISO 12800, the noise level is quite good. Same level of noise is probably what we used to shoot five years ago at ISO 3200. I am not about to print 20×30 with these images but these are amazing consider the portability of the setup. I was able to run around without much issue and getting the fireworks at different angles.
Here are a couple of shots of my mom holding a sparkler, also shot with the Canon 5D3 at ISO12800. The focus is with spot focus on the face and I was impressed how it was able to nail the focus consider how dark the scene was.
In light to the tragic events happened last night, it really brings me back to Paris and reminisce the peaceful time I had there a year ago. Late at night, we went to an unmarked beer store on Rue André Gill in the 18th arrondissement. It’s a crowded beer store without any seating. Everyone just grabbed a beer and sat on the streets. There were locals, hanging around discussing current events. A handful of tourists were also there, discussing about their travels.
For a while, my travel photo gears includes: Canon Powershot S90, Canon QL17 GIII + Canolite D flash and Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta B 532/16. The S90 serves as the all purpose camera, QL17 mainly for street photography and the Zeiss Ikon for portraits. For 135, I mainly use Kodak TriX 400, Fuji Xtra 400 and Agfa Vista 400. For 120, I use mainly Fuji Reala 100 which are excellent for portraits. All of these fits nicely in a small Crumpler camera bag.
Recently I went to Japan for a week and I was debating what to bring. I have upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark III recently and really wanted to try this out during this trip, but the sheer size of it gave me second thoughts. Since I am going for a week, the Zeiss Ikon also didn’t seem feasible. This medium format beauty can only produce 11 shots per roll, this means I will need to bring a dozen of 120s. Weight is not an issue, I am more worried about how the Fuji Reala will perform under hot temperature (30C+).
The final verdict, I took the dive and brought the 5D, along with the stock 24-105mm F4 L lens, 40mm F2.8 pancake lens and a Yongnuo YN-568EX flash. I decided to drop the Zeiss Ikon and brought the QL17 and S90.
I didn’t realize until I took the photo above that I have a complete Canon lineup. I swear that it wasn’t intentional, just happened that way. The S90 continued to perform well, especially for food closeup shots. I shot six rolls of Kodak Tri-X with the QL17 (awaiting for development). For the QL17, during the day, I often use a Kenko ND4 filter so I can use ISO 400 during the day. Nothing can beat the QL17 for street photography in my lineup, it’s small, non-intrusive, quiet and fast focusing. The 40mm F1.7 lens is perfect for that.
How did I find the 5D for traveling? It’s heavy but worth it. With the 40mm pancake lens, this is basically the same setup as my QL17 but with one huge advantage. That’s high ISO. I can shoot at up to ISO3200 without a lot of noise which makes this camera a winner for taking photos indoors and at night. The stock 24-105mm F4 L lens with IS gave a good working range for most travel shots, from architecture to far away objects. It is also quite a bit lighter than the 24-70mm F2.8 lens which makes this a bit more desirable for traveling. Did I need the flash? Yes! I actually used it often as a fill flash especially during late afternoon around sunset time.
All the equipment fitted in my Kata backpack. The new selection of travel gear added another few kilos compared to before but the 5D took beautiful photos and was worth it at the end.