You caught me. You know me so well. It had to happen sometime. You know what I'm talking about, I woke up this morning and I just had to have a full frame camera. That big ole 35mm frame that confers so much on a photographer. And you could tell what with my flirtations about Nikon and what not which direction I'd head in. I mean, it was like a trail of bread crumbs, right? First the dalliance with the D7100 and then the manic acquisition of two D7000s in short order. It was only a matter of time before Photography's most fickle practitioner reached out and grabbed up a working, big, sexy full frame Nikon.
I've got the camera set up just the way I want it. I've got an AIs 60mm lens on the front and I've got the internal mechanism set to shoot monochrome (or black and white) at 400 ISO. I takes a little bit of getting used to, I mean the positioning of the controls and the very, very, very understated menus, but I seem to be getting the hang of it. The weird thing is that the body I picked up, while huge and very heavy, seems to be following the new Leica-trend in terms of minimizing features in favor of unimpeded operation. This unusual full framer does have three metering modes but it doesn't have any special AF point distribution modes. As best I can tell it's limited to only using the center focusing point. The finder doesn't light up in red like a Christmas tree when I half press the shutter button. It does seem to snap into sharp focus with gusto!
I've also been over every square inch looking for picture looks or profiles but I can't find any at all. Then there is the relief of not having the stupid features resident on so many competing cameras. Things that clutter the mind and suck on batteries with reckless enthusiasm. Crap like GPS (who, besides cartographers actually uses that frivolous feature? And you really depend on it? Sure.) The camera maker kindly resisted efforts to include wi-fi, bluetooth or AM radio as well. Which is good because I understand that the model I have chosen requires a ridiculous amount of post processing before the files are usable. Nothing you can pop up on Facebook that lets you tell all your friends, "I am standing in front of the middle urinal at the south Costco and things are coming out fine..."
While I loves me the EVFs there's no option for that here. Just an OVF but a pretty nice one. It's usable for interior and exterior shooting and does a good job conveying bokeh if I squint just right. Excuse me for just a minute but I need to look at the manual again because I can't figure out how to switch back to sRGB.... Oh, right, there's no color management on this camera. But it's heavy enough to anchor a small boat. And when it first came out the magazine reviewers fell all over themselves to praise its operation.
What is today's usable camera? See attached.
I woke up this morning with a strange desire to shoot some Tri-X black and white film in a camera that's really just no fucking nonsense. I guess it's a reaction to shooting and processing well over 20,000 digital frames over the last two months and just being bone tired of remembering to switch color balances, switch to uncompressed raw from Jpeg when switching from a web assignment to a magazine assignment mis-remembering whether or not I turned off the I.S. when I put the camera on the tripod and the frustration of hitting the video button when sticking my camera back in the bag only to find an hour of so of very dark video resident on the now full memory card after lunch.
I know, I know; I'll soon (probably mid-afternoon) chaff at carrying this primordial beast around all day without sherpas. I know that the digital revolution has hacked away at my once great attention span and by 4 or 5 today I'll be so anxious to see what I've shot and so ready to blog about it.... But I guess this is another one of those ill-fated, Zen-Like, self imposed exercises where we try to re-learn patience, humility and focused thrift.
Call it a day off with an old friend.
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