Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cameras and coffee

click photo to enlarge
I've been idly thinking of replacing my Lumix LX3. Recent compact cameras, notably the Sony RX100, offer a much improved feature set in a similar sized body. In particular, the low light performance is considerably better, as is the video. Those are characteristics that would give me greater success in my evening photography in London and elsewhere, and with the photography I do with my grand-daughter.

However, though I could open my wallet and buy that particular camera, or another model that gave me better image quality, I won't at the moment. Why? Well, first of all there's the relative price. I judge the newer offerings to be too expensive. I'm sure others will disagree, but when it comes to spending my money then it's mainly about me! The manufacturers set the opening price of new cameras high, and they almost always fall, sometimes by an enormous amount. The Sony's price has dropped significantly already, and will, I'm sure keep going down. If it approaches my mental "guide price" I will consider it. Of course, the other thing holding me back is the fact that I know that while the surface qualities of low light shots from a new camera would be better than I get from the LX3, the more important photographic qualities will be no different. In other words, a new camera won't make me a better photographer. And lastly, while my old (in digital terms) camera produces shots like today's, this one, or this, that satisfy me greatly, then why bother.

I apply this kind of thinking to lots of things I buy. I have a guide price for coffee, for example, and won't pay what I think is the ridiculous amount asked by the bigger chains such as Costa, Caffé Nero, Starbucks etc (Starbucks' attitude to paying UK corporation tax is another reason to stay away from them.) As a consequence our coffee drinking is done in locally run shops and cafés such as the one above in Spalding, Lincolnshire. I took today's shot there as we ascended the stairs. The low viewpoint accentuated the coffered, concrete ceiling, and the single diner - others are out of shot - added the human interest I wanted in the photograph.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12.8mm (60mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: 2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/160
 ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On