In the bag

A Crumpler shop? Here in Amsterdam? That’s like a CRACK DEN, don’t they understand? I swear I went out to buy a LowePro bag, but came back with another Crumpler. What? LowePro = expensive, ugly. Crumpler = less expensive, pretty. It’s a no brainer.

I walked in carrying my “Wonder Weenie” and the Aussie “no worries” shop assistant said ‘Great bag!’ Then he took a closer look and told me I had my strap done the wrong way. ‘Fix it, fix it!’ I told him, which he did. I loved it. Usually in shops these days staff know absolutely bugger all about anything, least of all the products they’re selling.

Did I really ‘need’ another camera bag? I did indeed, my old ones no longer fit my equipment.

So I came home with a “Loyal Chap” (black), which allegedly fits 2 bodies and 5 lenses. Haven’t tried that, but it fits my crazy large lens upright plus the body and three smaller lenses, leaving enough space for paraphernalia.

All the while I was eyeing their discount shelf (30% off last year’s range), where among others a pretty purple “Heinous” and one of their smaller backpacks (“Team Player“) in a fetching oatmeal/brown hue was giving me the eye, but I resisted temptation.

Two glasses of cool, please

Thanks to a tax return I’m travelling to Weesp today to pick up these two babies:

Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical RF.
This is the one I wanted to get in New York, but they didn’t have it in
store. This one comes in the box (which includes petal hood and padded
case), with added (and valuable: 170 euro) polarisation filter.

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8. Just because I could get a good deal on the two of them together. This one comes with a UV filter and hood.

They are second hand and no bargain, but I’m sparing myself a lot of
hassle not ordering ‘cheap’ online. Dutch online vendors don’t accept
credit cards, shipment always arrives when you’re out, lenses never in
store so you have to wait for weeks. And if you buy from a real shop,
you can put another 100 euro on the price. So… 425 for the lot, I’m
happy.

I expect the 28mm to become my standard lens. The 20mm is a huge fucker so that’ll be for dedicated photography trips.

Expect some pictures later today.

 Early Christmas II


Here they are. Unfortunately the weather is dull and it’s drizzling,
not ideal circumstances to give them a try outside the house.

Do my bidding

My 70’s 35mm rangefinder –  a Canon GIII QL17 – broke a few weeks after I bought it. The lightmeter’s kaput. I love this camera because it’s tiny and inobtrusive and has a fucking great lense attached to it. I’ve been wanting to get a new one and I’ve got a (low) bid on one going on at the moment. Six hours to go and no bids but mine as yet. Weird, as these cameras are hot property. I may get very lucky. Not.

There’s another camera from that era, that’s very similar: the Olympus 35 RD. They’re quite rare, but I’ve found one and am sorely tempted. It’s a ‘buy it now’ item.

I had a low bid going on a (digital) refurbished, unit only, Canon G5, but someone’s trying to steal it from under my nose and has driven up the price to a frankly ridiculous amount for a camera that comes without any of its paraphernalia. (It uses the same battery as the EOS 300d, so I don’t need a charger or software anyway.) I may end up overpaying for it now as I was drawn into this silly bidding war. Update: And yes, of course I won this one. I’m happy, but not as excited as I’d be over a vintage camera. This G5 will take over business formerly handled by my Ixus, the picture quality of which is just too disappointing compared to SLR. The G5 makes a good prosumer ‘back up’ camera.

Christmas bonus, eh?

Dutch travel tip: stay at home, it’s free!

I had a double scare today when 1. I couldn’t remember whether I need a visa for America. (I don’t) 2. I couldn’t find my passport. (I found it)

Looking for visa information I hit upon some Dutch travel tips for the USA. Halfway through I found this eye-rolling passage:

‘Overigens mag u in restaurants ook gewoon vragen om een glaasje water; dit is (meestal) gratis, en niemand kijkt er raar van op. Dat scheelt toch weer een dollar of twee. (You can ask for a glass of water in restaurants, most of the time it’s free and nobody will be surprised. That’ll save you at least a dollar or two.)’

Elsewhere on the page we are told not to use your mobile phone, or the hotel phone to ring The Netherlands, because it’s really, really expensive!

Or you could just go and, you know, ENJOY yourself.

Focussed

There are too many lenses too chose from, enough to drive a camera enthusiast crazy. But I think I’ve got it narrowed down. I’m looking to buy a 20 or 24mm prime (i.e. a fixed focal length, not a zoom) in New York. It’ll be good to capture the city and should become my standard ‘walk around’ lens. Good zooms (Canon L-series, i.e. not the consumer type) are too expensive for my budget and consumer zooms are too soft for me as I’ve become used to the quality generated by my 50mm and 85mm Canon primes.

These are my options:

Canon 20mm/2.8
| Canon 24mm/2.8 | Sigma 20mm/1.8 | Sigma 24mm/1.8

If it’s all about saving $$, I should pick a Canon lens. The difference between prices here and in the USA is quite a bit more than $100. There’s not as big a difference for the Sigma brand. Around 30 to 80 dollars (though they do come with hoods and tube cases. Canon is stingy on them.). It seems from the many tests and opinions I’ve read that the Sigmas out-perform their Canon counterparts for these particular focal lenghts. I reckon I’ll end up with one of the Sigmas, whichever feels the best on the day. They’re prettier too. Always important.

If money was no option, I’d probably get the Canon 16-35/2.8 L.

Also gots me one of these rapid Sandisk cards.

Canal Parade 2005

gaypride_6290

The Mayor of Amsterdam intervened to give this year’s canal parade (part of Amsterdam Pride)
the go ahead — there was some fuck up over licenses. I’ve watched the
colorful boats ‘n’ floats go by before, but this was the first time I
got a good spot at the barrier on Magere Brug.
It’s near the end of the parade’s route through the Amsterdam
canals, when the boats hit the Amstel River. All around me people
complained that it wasn’t as busy as last year (… that’s how I got my
spot!) and that the floats weren’t as good… I really didn’t care. It
was chilly and I got rained on a few times, but I stayed glued to my
spot for five hours, snapping away. Despite the fact that I was
coughing my lungs up and couldn’t see properly with my runny nose and
teary eyes. One thing I learnt was that my gear
isn’t up to this kind of stuff. I used my Tamron 70-300 4-5.6 and the
85mm/1.8. The 85mm was too short and the Tamron is a piece of crap.
Surprisingly, there weren’t a whole lot of photographers around where I
stood, but the ones carrying SLR’s all had top range zooms on them. I
am definitely going to get me that Sigma 70-200/2.8 for this kind of
work.