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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Walked out with my camera bag, just to get coffee.  So beautiful that I headed out to Central Park.  And then to my favorite spot: the cherry blossom trees.  Two photographers were there already with big gear: Pentax 67 and some other huge thing on a tripod.  They told me that they had been there yesterday as well, but today was the best day for the blossoms: they were pure white.

I felt so free -- shooting for myself for a change.  Just smiling at people like an idiot.  Oh -- what a beautiful baby you have -- what's her name?  So many things were going on.  Kids being shown the blossoms; they had changed the fence that used to be around the resevoir so you could see down into the water; a major race was going on; Gary Null was "preaching" to a bunch of people who wanted to "be well."  I found two babies in a stroller, identical twins, fast asleep while in the background the big race came by.

I walked back home saying to myself, "Man, if you didn't get a good shot from that you should have your gear taken away..."

11:38:50 AM    

Now that is funny.  I was thinking about going downtown to buy the MIS Inks while I was still waiting for MIS to send them. I couldln't find them online at B&H Photo or Adorama, so I did a search in Google for "MIS Inks and New York" and my own blog page came up.

That is scary.  Do they sell these things in retail stores in New York?  I'll ask them come Monday, but I was hoping to get started today (Sunday).  I also received a note from R. to check out their site because a mistake had been made with one of the inks in one of the cartridges.  So that may have been the cause of the shipping delay.

So how long will it be before the Printer Manufacturers simply build their own, built in Continuous Inkflow Systems?  The CFS -- at least the one from MIS has that nice kludge look to it, i.e. can you even close the cover of the printer when it is attached?  I am wary.  But first things first -- get the inks.

- - -

Anyway -- I re-arranged the furniture to make sure the new scanner was out of reach of the cat, as well as the printer, and realized I needed a new piece of furniture to put the big flatbed on -- and went down to Gothic cabinets and bought a very sturdy t.v. stand for it with some space for boxes etc. inside.  As I was speaking with the saleman, a British accent he had -- I told him that I was buying it for a flatbed scanner, which led him to remark that he had been a photographer in England, working for Reuters (now selling cabinets etc.)  And he wanted to know what all photographers want to know:

What kind of shooting do I do, and what cameras do I use.

And when I told him the Elan 7, he made a slight face, and when I told him I had sold my Leica M6's, he practically had a heart attack.

I came back and it gave me the idea of writing a review of my beloved Elan 7.  I was looking for some analogy -- you know how they always say the Leica has that mystique, that magic German engineering; each lens made from magic sand; each gasket kissed by a German engineer; and the Contax G2, along the same lines but maybe the combination of German Engineering with Japanese know-how. 

What do you say about the poor little Canon Elan 7 which I've been using for the last two plus years?  It's not even a top of the line Canon camera. 

I was thinking about comparing it to different foods.  The Leica, was, of course caviar or a fine wine that would only get finer and more fragrant with time.

The best I could come up with for the Elan 7, was that it was like eating a very good corned beef sandwhich, heavy on the mustard, with potato salad and a can of coke.  Not exactly selling mystique.

As you can see -- ad copy is not my strong point.

Here's what it turns out that I like about the poor little Elan 7.

First off -- know yourself: when it comes to shooting, I turn out to be a generalist.  That means that walking out of the house I might have some idea of what I'm after, but most times I don't.  It could be anything from the recent portraits (a good dedicated flash was used); my father's 80th party; or a leaf on a ledge in the rain.

And I am a minimalist as far as camera bodies go.  I don't like switching from one system to another.  I like to have one camera that will -- with certain compromises -- there are always compromises with equipment -- do most of what I want.

Item: It is quiet for an SLR.

Item: It is relatively small for an SLR.

Item: I have used it in just about every snow storm and rain storm in New York for two plus years without a single problem.

Item: I have a wide choice of lenses to use, and if you do a little homework with the MTF charts you can get extremely sharp glass without going into hock.

Item: It has enough custom functions so that I can setup the way the camera works to my liking.  I probably shoot 90% using the back button to lock focus.  Unlike the G2, it doesn't want to re-focus for each shot (although there is a back button on the G2 but it doesn't stay locked).

Item: The viewfinder is better than the G2 (by far) but not as good as the Leica.

Item: You can over ride the lens focus manually.

Item: There are lots of stories about how you can drop the Leica and it keeps on ticking.  Great.  I've been shooting for about 37 years now and haven't dropped a camera yet.  Maybe as I get older and dropsey sets in this will be a problem, I don't know.

Although the camera is quiet, it would be a real kick if they'd put a real "silent" mode in like the original Konica Hexar (the only other camera I still have).

I had a conversation with a photographer friend the other day about the path through cameras.  He had ended up and was very happy with the Konica Rangefinder.  We both had a sort of epiphany as we realized that: a) he had begun life with rangefinders and I had begun life with SLRs (in my case the Pentax Spotmatic and then the Canon AE-1.  Maybe the camera systems we end up with go back to our own photographic beginnings?


4:45:51 AM    

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