Friday, March 18, 2016

Working the skies

This is the kind of photo that I want to take. This is actually a photo that I took some while ago. I used to have a Tamron 17-35 f2.8 but when I was dumping some kit a while ago, I took it along to see how much it was worth and found it had something called the Schneider effect which was slowly destroying the glue that held the front element on. I thus sold the lens and resolved to replace it with something better. This lens had a problem with soft corners too.
Thus, I have been looking at several options. The first is a wide lens such as the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 which goes new for $275-$299. I don't often see that lens going secondhand, sadly. As far as I've seen, it's OK wide open but has a slight barrel distortion effect in the center.

I've looked at various oprions. Since it seems f2.8 and 1600 ISO is the minimum needed to get night sky images such as the one above, the options are either a new lens at $275-$299 or a new camera with a higher ISO that'll use my current F4 lens. To do that, the ISO would have to be 3200 or higher. Another alternative would be to get a different camera system. Looking into that, the Olympus system seems to be quite good with a decent f3.5 lens at 14mm. That's approximately the same coverage as the 14mm on my Canon system. Now that comes in (new) at $299.

The interesting thing is that just about every option seems to come it at around $275 - $300. Looking at secondhand cameras, the cameras seem to be $150 and the lenses are seprate at $100 . So, to get great sky photos it looks like a $300 expenditure. Meanwhile, my existing Canon cameras really haven't had that much use. I checked and the shutter count is around 8,700 on one and 5,000 on the other. I'd be really uncomfortable selling cameras that were so costly for the low sums they would go for. Literally, they have depreciated about 95% but still take phenomenal images.

So, the question is whether I spend $300 and gain extra gear or sell everything I own for next to nothing to part-subsidise a kit that is nowhere near as comprehensive. I notice that my existing stuff has 0.5 stops more dynamic range than the best micro four thirds for example. It's all really rather frustrating and confusing. I see the phenomenal photos that others take using their kit of night skies using ultra-high ISOs and fast apertures. It just annoys me that my kit won't allow me to do that.

There really isn't much solution that I can see that doesn't involve money. I waver from one solution to another. I certainly like the idea of a smaller camera such as those offered by Nikon and Olympus. The problem is I am unsure just how much I'd use them. As an example, I haven't gone out with my camera since March of last year when I went to the zoo. That's not the kind of thing that really merits spending money. On the other hand, the reason I have not is because my cameras are just bulky - so bulky they put me off wanting to use them. A smaller, more pocketable system is much more desirable. Hence, I take many more photos with my smartphone. 

To date, all the photos of my bus have been done with my smartphone. There's a reason for that - instant upload and instant editing. I can take the photo with my smartphone then head to my tablet and the image is ready online to insert into my blog. All I need to do is to write the entry.

With my older model cameras, uploading is a royal nusiance. I have to connect the camera to the tablet then I can upload solely JPEG images. I cannot process RAW images. Thus, I'd have to use a computer which is where there's a problem. My Macbook is almost 10 years old and the battery desperately needs to be replaced. The screen keeps going black because of it. In addition to that, it needs a new hard drive as the one in it must surely be about to fail. As it's an older connector, the cost is high. I'd be looking at a minimum of about $400 to replace the battery and the hard drive and would at the end of all that still have a 10 year old macbook.

I definitely do not recommend living in South Carolina where it's almost impossible to find real work. I've been stuck in ass-end jobs that don't pay a worthwhile living for the last decade. With the income I have, all these desires will probably be unfilled 10 years from now. If enough people clicked one advert on this site, I might get a dollar or two but nobody will do that.

In terms of income, I notice this site makes between 0 and 2 cents a day from the adsense advertising carried. It's getting to the point where I'd consider going ad-free. The advertising just doesn't seem to produce any worthwhile income at all these days - pretty much like work.

On that depressing note, I'll run off to bed and wish probably my only reader, good night.

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