I thought I’d do a very quick post about my current cameras. This blog did used to have more ‘technology’ posts, but many of those are now private (or on brightblack) as over the last few years I’ve tried to focus more on outdoors and motorcycling here, though I thought for a change today, I’d do something about my current cameras.
Let me be up-front here though – I’m not a photographer, I just want to take photos to remind me of times I’ve had on the road, or wherever I happen to be. I’ll be honest – I have hundreds of photos of my bikes in front of beautiful vistas.
The ‘larger’ camera
For many years I had entry-level Nikon dSLRs – a D40, then a D3200 – and I really liked both of them. I amassed a kit 18-55mm lens, an f1.8 35mm prime and a 55-200mm telephoto lens for them too. They were great value for money cameras and lenses.
Then in April 2020, I moved over to an entry level Fujifilm mirrorless camera system, the X-T200. I like taking photos but my skill level and disposable income for cameras doesn’t justify huge expenditure, so better to get a cheaper body so I can afford a few lenses down the road. So for the Fujifilm, I have the small and light kit 15-45mm, then a 23mm prime lens and a 16-80mm travel zoom I bought used. When possible I sell off old gear via online auction or more recently to Fujiya Camera, which is where I got that used 16-80mm Fujifilm lens.
As it’s a small APS-C based system, I find these don’t add much bulk or weight in a backpack or my topbox, so on days out I actually enjoy stopping, getting the camera out and looking around. And drinking tea.
Why the X-T200?
The X-T200 is light and small. It’s takes great photos, and like all Fujifilm mirrorless, has great colour and film simulations in JPG which is what I mainly shoot in. It also does very good video, which my previous dSLR cameras didn’t. The X series of cameras is being actively developed and I could move into weatherproof bodies going forwards, and there’s also plenty of weather sealed lenses – including two of the ones I have – which might not be a bad idea given some of the places I end up.
The Action Camera
My first action camera was a GoPro Hero HD2, which I thought was great, even with the required case, as it was a camera I felt safer mounting to helmets or taking snowboarding. After quite a few years, I sold it and got a Hero 5, then a few years later sold that when I got a Hero 7black as a gift. The 7black is great for video, especially it’s amazing stabilization. The downside was it was very buggy on launch (mostly fixed), and can be temperamental in sub- and near zero temperatures if care isn’t taken. I often use it for time lapse too, and I find it actually takes decent photos with a bit of patience.
Their hardware seems mostly well thought out and durable, which I think is where they lead cheaper brands and is mainly why I’ve stuck with them – I’ve never had one really fail on me. Their software and other business strategies seem to be all over though, which is concerning since I see action cameras as a niche and declining market as people just use water-resistant phones, or put the phones in waterproof covers. For example, their idea of charging 50USD to use an external mic is my favourite example of trying to make money where a lower margin would likely drive more sales. I even did a post about it. Again, well built cameras and better image quality if that’s really a factor.
Yes, the best camera is truly the one you have with you. I don’t buy high end phones unfortunately, but I use whatever I have if I just need to take that photo. I used to have point and shoot cameras, like the small Canon Ixy range, but ultimately found I used the big camera more, and then the phone or the GoPro if I had them with me. Eventually the point-n-shoots never got replaced when they wore out. Currently I have a Google Pixel 4a, and yes, very happy with the photos.
A more flexible option?
Pricey, but I know a few bikers who swear by the Sony RX100 range, pocket sized cameras which take great photos and videos. There’s similar ones such as Canon G5 range that perhaps could be an option in the future. Who knows!
Basically then I don’t have a massive number of cameras, but fairly specific ones I suppose, and I do like to take photos even if they may not be ‘good’ photos, I treat them very much as a way to trigger memories, or a way to share them with people – usually they’re a great aid when explaining something. So for example, when explaining how I stalled my bike on an inclined curve, and had to slowly lower it to the asphalt, I can describe the road, but I think this photo makes it a little easier to understand: