How to take great photographs

A passion that has stayed with me since I was a teenager is photography. It began with a Kodak Instamatic that I bought from a secondhand shop with my pocket money for next to nothing, one of those cameras that used a flash cube. I progressed to borrowing my father's Leica M3 Rangefinder camera with it's 50mm f1.5 lens and Elmar 90mm f4 lens, and later when I started my first job I bought a Nikon FE aperture priority camera with a 50mm f1.4 lens. I then bought a second Nikon FE and several lenses such as a Tamron 500mm mirror lens, a Sigma 80 - 200 zoom lens and a Nikkor 28mm wide angle lens.

More recently I have been using a Canon 5D Mk II and a Canon 7D. The 5D is a full frame camera and fully utilizes Canon's series of white lenses. With them I use a Canon 24-105mm f4 lens, Canon 17 - 40mm f4 lens, Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens, Canon 70 - 200mm f4 lens and a Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens. These are not the best lenses available by far, but they are affordable and prove adequate for my photographic needs.

In addition I use a Lee Filter system with both Neutral Density Graduated and coloured filters. Other filters that I commonly use are the ND8 and ND400 filters. The last one I often use is a circular polarizing filter.

To compliment my camera gear I also have a Manfrotto carbonfibre tripod and two Manfrotto carbonfibre monopods (one with extending feet). My other equipment includes a Canon wireless remote control, two Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash units with flash filters, a Canon Battery Grip for each of my cameras, several SanDisk Extreme Pro memory cards,  several spare batteries and a Canon battery charger. I also have a remote trigger system and a tether cable and a full set of lens hoods for all my lenses except the 50mm f1.4. And I also have a Hoodman HoodLoupe Optical Viewfinder.

The last piece of equipment I have is a large electronic automatic digital control humidity dry box to store all my cameras and lenses.

Although I am not a great photographer, I do thoroughly enjoy taking photographs. In the coming weeks I hope to be able to discuss with other members in this Forum about photography, techniques, experiences and perhaps give some guidelines on how to take great photos and do basic photo editing and I would love to learn from others with more experience than myself.

About Equipment:

If you want to take good photographs then pretty much any compact camera will do and the brand doesn’t matter a lot. I used Canon Powershots and Sony compact cameras for years. They are small, inexpensive, easy to use and take nice photos.

But if you want to get serious and start taking great quality photos then probably you should buy a Digital SLR camera that allows for interchangeable lenses. The most commonly used today are made by Canon and Nikon, although Leica, Pentax and Sony also have excellent DSLR’s. There are a lot of cameras out there that offer all kinds of fancy specifications and powerful zooms but for me I would only choose a Canon or Nikon.

For those with a limited budget, a camera such as the Canon EOS 1300D with an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Kit lens is a good starting point and will only put you back about Rp5.33 million. But if you can get hold of an old Canon EOS 1000D or a 500D or 550D they will do equally well.

For Nikon, the D3300 with an 18–55mm f3.5-5.6 Kit Lens will only cost about Rp5.5 million. However, secondhand older Nikon cameras such as the D90 will also do just fine.

Nikon systems have better quality lenses than Canon and produce truer colour images whereas Canon cameras have slightly enhanced colour in the images and a very wide range of lenses.

Kit lenses with a focal length of 18–55mm are fine to use for landscapes, portraits, street photography and travel photography, but you might want to consider getting a zoom with a longer focal length such as an 18–135mm or even better an 18–200mm. These lenses are sometimes also offered as Kit lenses and relatively inexpensive. Alternatively, consider buying an independent lens brand such as Tokina, Tamron or Sigma who all make excellent lenses.

The lenses which produce the best images are the prime lenses which have a fixed focal length. For me, the most important are the 50mm and 100mm lenses. I use the 50mm for portrait and modeling photography and the 100mm for macrophotography. The best 50mm lens is the 50mm f1.2 which is a fast lens. This means it allows more light to reach the camera sensor and can operate well under low light conditions. My own lens is a 50mm f1.4 which is a medium speed lens. The 50mm f1.8 is the slowest lens and by far the cheapest both in price and quality. The faster the lens, the less chance of camera shake under low light conditions. My 100mm lens is an f2.8 which is standard for macrophotography. It is fast and produces some nice photos.

For zoom lenses I use a 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens. This is the lens that is on my camera most of the time. It is perfect for street and travel photography. The superior lens to mine would be the 24-70mm f2.8L which is a faster lens, but is considerably heavier and more expensive. I also use a 70-200mm f4L IS USM zoom lens which is great for sports, wildlife and even landscape close-ups and produces reasonable bokeh. The superior lens to mine would be the 70-200mm f2.8L which produces fantastic bokeh and very sharp images. However, this lens is much bulkier and weighs about 1.5 kg which is double the weight of my own lens. My most powerful lens is the 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM and I use it at 400mm focal length for most of my bird and animal photography. I use this lens when I am at Taman Safari Indonesia and KL Bird Park. The results are quite sharp with reasonable bokeh. Of course if I were to use a 400mm f2.8L prime lens my results would be much better but that one costs almost Rp138 million.

Much of my camera gear, especially my lenses were bought in Jakarta over the past 5 or 6 years. I usually buy from either JPCKemang or Focus Nusantara. They both have excellent websites and provide a professional service. Once, when I was waiting at a coffee shop at Taman Aggrek Mall, they brought me a selection of lenses to choose from. After examining the lens that I wanted I noticed dirt inside the housing and they happily went back to the store and brought me another one, which I eventually bought.

Most of these cameras and lenses can be seen on the following store websites in Jakarta:

So if you do not already have a DSLR camera, I suggest getting one, any brand really, but my personal recommendation is to go for a Canon or Nikon because of the build quality, reliability, range of lenses and accessories and because they provide a good warranty and after sales service.

Could you describe from the smartphone for example Samsung J1ACE?

What is your idea of a good camera?  As I need good pictures for my writings, travel writings.


Looking after your equipment:

With DSLR's that have interchangeable lenses, whenever you change the lens there is a chance that dust and dirt can enter the camera. So you should change the lens carefully and quickly and away from dusty or windy areas, Dust may still get into the camera and onto your sensor and although some people are able to clean it, it is actually quite difficult to do properly. If you have dirt on your sensor your pictures will have dark spots in them which are particularly noticeable in skies and pale backgrounds. It has happened to me and I had to edit out the spots from each photo that I wanted until I could have the sensor cleaned.

You should take your camera to a service centre to have the sensor cleaned properly. It doesn't cost a lot and if you are lucky the technician may be able to do it while you wait. it can take 20 - 30 minutes to clean properly. If you are not expert at doing this I would advise against trying it yourself with a sensor cleaning kit as you could make the the sensor even dirtier. Camera technicians clean sensors all the time so it is a very routine job for them.

This photo of a tree and crane in Japan has several dirt spots on the sensor. The close up shows how they appear.

A potential problem with lenses is fungus growing inside the lens. I lived in Singapore for many years and one of my lenses had fungus that was growing on the inner side of the lens due to humidity getting inside the lens housing. I did have it cleaned but it is never really the same as before. That is why I recommend using a humidity dry box. These come in different sizes and remain plugged in to the mains at all times. The cost is around Rp1.5 million for a cheap one and Rp3 - 6 million for a good one.

Cleaning tools and materials are also important. Apart from a blower with a brush, and specialized lens cleaning cloths, it is important to have a Carbon lens cleaning pen which will easily remove fingerprints and greasy smudges safely without damaging the lens. I always keep a couple of them in my camera bag.

Finally, if you use a tripod and it gets water or sand on it, give it a good clean when you get back home. If it has been in or near the sea then wash it with freshwater and dry it properly That way the moving parts will continue to function smoothly and any non aluminium or carbon fiber parts will not rust or corrode.

May I know how about using video for recording events for narration?

Some Basic Rules and Advice

Camera Shake:

You may wonder why your photos are not super sharp. More often than not it is caused by camera shake. Camera shake is usually a result of one of two problems. Either the photographer is pushing the shutter release button too quickly, or the shutter speed is too slow.

People sometimes take aim and then push the shutter release button as quickly as possible to capture a shot and this often causes the camera to jerk. The proper way to do this is to take aim and then push the shutter release button smoothly and slowly to avoid any sudden jerking action. Pushing quickly almost always causes the camera to jerk and the shot will not be very sharp or appear slightly out of focus. When you push the shutter release button the camera will take the shot at the shutter speed that you have already selected, so pushing it quickly makes no difference except to jerk the camera.

Even better is to lean against a wall or any solid object to increase the steadiness of the camera and of yourself. If your shot permits the use of a tripod or small beanbag, then use it as it will help steady the camera. Many good shots can be spoiled because of camera shake.

If you are taking a hand held shot, then ideally you need to use a shutter speed of at least 1/90 sec or 1/125 sec or faster. If you have a very steady hand then you can reduce it down to about 1/60 sec but it is better if you can lean against a wall to be more steady.

Shutter speeds of slower than 1/60 sec will almost certainly require the use of a tripod unless you are taking a specialized shot such as panning which requires a shutter speed of around 1/30 sec.

Tilting Horizon:

This is a very common problem and although some people shoot pictures at an angle on purpose, especially for snapshots of people, in most cases it detracts from a good photo. If you look through the pages of pictures in this and other Forums you may see photos with tilting horizons. The most noticeable are when taking shots of the sea. If your photo has a tilting horizon then my suggestion is to edit it in Photoshop by rotating it until the horizon is level.

In the following example, the first shot shows a tilting horizon and also where the subject is too close to the centre of the shot. The second shot shows a straight horizon with the subject about a third of the way from the right (see rule of thirds below). The second photo is better composed as well as having a straight horizon.

Tilting Horizon

Straight Horizon

Rule of Thirds:

We are all guilty of taking photos with the subject directly in the centre of the photo. For portraits this is somewhat acceptable. But when composing a shot, imagine a grid divided into nine equal sections, 3 x 3, and then try to place your point of interest on one of the intersection points. Of course this rule can be broken, but as a general rule is often makes good sense.

The following is a good example of using the rule of thirds for composition. The picture can be divided into three horizontal sections, the sky, the water and the boats. Ideally the horizon should never be in the middle of your picture but should be either a third of the way down from the top or a third of the up from the bottom. In this photo the mountain is positioned a third of the way from the left side which is also good in terms of composition.

Use of the Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is only a guideline but should always be considered when composing a photo. In the following two photos, the first has the subject in the centre of the photo, whereas the second shot has the subject about a third from the left side and the photo appears better composed. Both photos are acceptable but the first one appears more like a portrait or snapshot.

Ignoring the Rule of Thirds

Using the Rule of Thirds

Basic Camera Settings:

Understanding and optimizing the settings on your DSLR are very important and can decide whether your photo is a success or a failure. Many people will only go half a step to understanding their camera and will choose either the Aperture Priority setting, Shutter Speed Priority or Fully Automatic. And whereas these will indeed help you to take good photos which may require a fast speed or a specific depth of field, it won't guarantee a good photo.

The basic settings that you should familiarize yourself with are:

1. ISO. In most situations you can leave the ISO setting on Automatic. However, in low light conditions when not using a tripod with a timed exposure you should increase the ISO upwards to allow the shutter speed to remain fast enough to avoid camera shake. For example, if you are taking a photo in the evening time as the sun is going down, you will need to open the aperture or f stop and reduce the shutter speed otherwise the photo will be too dark. By increasing the ISO form 100 to 400 or 800 this will allow your shutter speed to remain fast enough to avoid camera shake so that the photo remains sharp. When it becomes even darker then you can also increase the ISO further to 1200 or even up as high as 6400 or 12800. This will allow your photos to be not too dark. However, the photo will become grainier. But in most situations I am happy to use an ISO of 100 or leave it on Automatic.

2. AF Point Selection. With fully automatic cameras when you push the shutter release button the camera focuses on many points within the field of view and produces a photo that is fairly sharp where the foreground, subject and background will also be relatively in focus. But with a DSLR you can choose which part of your image you want to focus on. I usually keep my camera's autofocus setting to a point in the centre of the image. This means that whatever I want to focus on be it an animal, a person's face or the eyes of an insect then that point will be the sharpest point in the photo. If I were to keep my settings on automatic, then several points of focus will be detected by the sensor and the chances of getting a sharp face of a person or sharp eye of an animal is low.

However, if I want to take a picture of a landscape, then I can change my AF Point Selection settings to allow many points of focus so that most of the photo will be quite sharp. The AF Point selection setting also allows you to select different areas and points in your field of view such as a specific point in the upper left or the general left side of the image.

3. Metering Mode. DSLR's allow you to select which part of your image you wish your camera's light meter to measure. If you select Evaluative Metering, the camera will take into account the entire field of view. In a landscape photo the camera will measure the light from the sky, the foreground and the subject and give an average reading that may result in an overbright sky and too dark foreground and the resulting photo may be similar to the exposure of a photo taken with an automatic camera. But DSLR's allow you to select which part of the image you want the camera to base it's light metering on. My own camera allows for Evaluative Metering, Partial Metering, Spot Metering and Centre-weighted average. Evaluative metering with take the average measurement from the whole field of view. Spot metering means only the precise centre point of the image will be measured. Centre-weighted average measures the general centre portion of the field of view and is good for taking photos of animals and portraits. It will produce a well exposed centre and the areas around the centre may be bright or dark, but the centre area should be perfectly exposed.

4. Picture Mode. The picture mode setting will affect the general colour and saturation of your photos. These include Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome. I coomonly select portrait or landscape. Portrait will have richer colours than landscape. You can also adjust the colour saturation and hue as required. But generally I keep these on factory settings. You can use monochrome too which produces black and white or sepia images, but as long as you take raw images then the colours will still be recorded and you can revert the image to colour using the camera's software or Adobe Photoshop.

5. Shutter Speed and Aperture. The shutter speed and aperture size can be adjusted, and as most of the time I take photos in Manual mode, I adjust these settings each time I take a photo depending on the light, required depth of focus and requirement for a faster or lower shutter speed. Obviously a higher shutter speed is neede for a moving subject or action shot and a large aperture size (smaller f stop number) is required to focus on a specific object and leave the rest of the image less in focus.

For depth of field, using an aperture of f1.4 would mean that the object that you are focusing on will be very sharp whereas everything else will be blur. With an aperture of f22 everything in the field of view would be in focus. When I am out and about and want to take street shots or travel shots, I will usually keep my aperture on f8 as that will keep most of the image in focus, with the focus point being the sharpest. For landscapes I will use settings of between f14 to f22, depending on what the light conditions allow. If the weather is very bright then I will use f22 and if it is less bright then perhaps f18 or f14.

For shutter speed, I try to keep this at least at 1/125 sec. But I must be prepared to adjust it up or down. In lower light conditions I may have to reduce the shutter speed and open the aperture. In bright conditions I might reduce the aperture and use a faster shutter speed. The aim is to create an image that is sharp with good exposure. Using the Manual Mode on my camera allows me to be more flexible so I can create an image different to what the automatic Mode of the camera tries to create.

6. Exposure Compensator. This setting is not used by everyone but I like to use it and often set my cameras to very slightly under expose my images. I usually set it at minus 1/3 making the resulting image very slight darker than normal. The exposure compensator has other uses too for specialized photography, but for the most part you can leave it on zero.

7. File Format. Most DSLR's allow you to record in either RAW or JPG. JPG images are slightly processed by the camera to produce a nice image with nice colour. If you select to record in JPG format you have a choice of Large, Medium or Small sized images. Larger images obviously take up more space and take longer to transfer to your computer but they are better quality images. However, RAW images are the best quality and very large files. They are not processed by the camera at all and retain all the original colours of the image whereas in JPG's the colours have been somewhat minimized.

I usually set my cameras to take both RAW and Large sized JPG's. But I do know some photographers who only take JPG images and some who only take RAW images.

There are many other settings that can be adjusted but for the most part the above are the most important.

Taking Photos of Birds in cages

I really like taking photos of birds as it is quite challenging. There are a few simple rules to help improve taking photos of birds in cages. Of course in some places you may be able to go right up to the cage and point your camera lens through the cage and try to capture a shot of a bird, but that is not always possible and being too close to the subject means is also not good because your depth of field will increase a lot.

1. Use as long a focal length as possible. This means if you have a 70 - 200mm lens then use it at 200mm. If you have a lens with a focal length greater than 200mm even better. I take most of my bird shots at 400mm.

2. Set your aperture or f stop to between f4.5 and f5.6, This will ensure that all of the bird is in focus. If you use too wide an aperture such as f2.8 then parts of the bird might be out of focus. And, if your aperture is smaller than f5.6 such as f8 or more, then both the front and back of the cage will be visible.

3. Set your camera's point AF point selection to a single point in the centre of the field of view.

4. Set your camera's metering to "centre-weighted average". This is because you want the exposure of the bird to be correct and don't really care about the exposure of the rest of the image.

5. Point the camera at the bird inside the cage and focus carefully on the eye of the animal while making sure to use one hand to support the lens. Be sure that you have a clear view of the eye and far from any part of the cage. Then slowly push the shutter release button. When taking photos of animals you should always try to focus on the eyes. If the eyes are sharp then the photo may be good. If the eyes are even a fraction unsharp then the photo won't have any impact at all and is a failure.

The following are some photos that I consider successful:

This photo is nice but not totally successful as part of the cage is slightly visible on the right

The problem with the following photo is that the front of the cage is visible because the point of focus captured part of the cage and brought it slightly into focus therefore making it visible. You can see that the eagles eye is slightly covered by a horizontal cage wire. The point of focus must be aimed through one of the holes in the cage and not include any part of the cage.

Focal Length: 400mm, f5.6, 1/320 sec

The problem with this photo is that I had the camera set on 235mm focal length instead of 400mm. If you are using a lens with a shorter focal length then you will need to stand closer in order to sharply focus on the eagle's eye otherwise the cage becomes visible in your photos. Remember, to always use the maximum focal length otherwise the depth of field will be too great and the foreground and background will be visible.

Focal Length: 235mm, f5, 1/200 sec

Taking photos of birds in cages without seeing the cage is a little tricky but you quickly get used to it. For me, the difference between showing the cage and not showing the cage is everything.

Samsung S7 edge. makes a good quality shot.
i have one! :)

Taking Photos of Lightning

Taking shots of lightning is actually quite tricky and relies on both technique and luck. Some photographers use a trigger mechanism but I do it the basic way. I will use the following equipment:

1. Tripod:

I use a Manfrotto Tripod because it is sturdy and smooth to adjust and can support a heavy camera without straining. It is important to remember that when extending the legs of a tripod you should extend the sections at the top first and end with the sections at the bottom, and if possible, try not to extend the last sections at the bottom unless you have a very sturdy tripod. This is because the tubular sections at the bottom nearest to the feet of the tripod are the thinnest and therefore the least sturdy and more likely to move when you take your shot. Similarly, try not to wind up the head of the tripod as this also can create a weakness in the stability of the tripod.

2. Camera:

I can use either use my Canon EOS 7D or my Canon EOS 5D Mk II for taking lightning shots. The 7D can shoot 8 fps (frames per second) in continuous mode whereas the 5D shoots at a maximum of 3.9 fps.

3. Electronic Remote Control:

This is important when using a tripod as it means you do not need to touch the camera or the tripod at all and so there shouldn't be any camera shake when the shutter release button is activated.

How to Capture Lightning:

Once all the gear is set up, I have a choice of two different ways to take the shot.

The first is by using the continuous mode of my camera. I will set the camera from single shot to continuous mode. I will test a few frames and then set my shutter speed and aperture to one that gives a slight underexposed result. I will set the ISO to Auto. However, it is important to remember that when lightning appears, the entire sky suddenly lights up for a split second and it may produce a very overexposed shot. So drop your settings down a little so that when there is no lightning the picture appears dark. Also set your focal range on infinity or focus on an object in the field of view that is very far away. Then comes the luck part. When I feel that the storm is close to it's peak, I begin to shoot about ten frames in continuous mode. I repeat this a few times until lightning appears and I hope that one of the frames includes the lightning. I can usually capture several lightning strikes by doing it this way.

The second method is by setting my aperture to f18 or above, set my ISO to 100 or even 50, and then set my shutter speed to manual so that when I click my remote control the shutter will open and when I click it again it will close.  The f18 and ISO100 will make the photo dark by underexposing it since the sky will already be quite dark, and allow me to keep the shutter open for several seconds, therefore increasing my chances of capturing a lightning strike. With practice, I found that around 8 - 10 seconds exposure time is possible this way. So, once I click open the shutter I wait a few seconds and if lightning strikes I immediately click again to close the shutter. I keep repeating the process until I get my shot.

Trying to take lightning shots can be tricky and time consuming. I will often spend a couple of hours trying and may end up with about 5 to 10 reasonable captures. Sometimes I will use a wide angle lens to capture the whole sky, and sometimes I will zoom in a little and concentrate on a particular part of the landscape where I notice that lightning commonly strikes.

negronggwapo :

Samsung S7 edge. makes a good quality shot.
i have one! :)

I'm sure it does. I use a Samsung Note 4 when I'm not using a proper camera and I think the S7 Edge must be better than mine.

negronggwapo :

Samsung S7 edge. makes a good quality shot.
i have one! :)

I agree.
I'm still using an S5, noting the camera is very good, but the S7 is far better.
A photography teacher I know is showing SMP kids the finer points of using phone cameras to produce pictures pretty much as good as many manage with top quality DSLRs.
I've seen the results, and very few could tell the results apart from professional work.
Many are, in my humble opinion, far better as he's a good teacher so arranges interesting subjects for his students rather than boring stuff we so often see on photography forums.

Good point Fred. Yup the S5 is alright. I used to have one a while back before I got the Note 4 and I gave it to my wife when she lost her iphone. When she loses the S5 I'll give her my Note 4 and get another Samsung with a better spec.

These days handphone cameras are getting really good. I'm using mine for most of my pictures these days as it's easy to whip it out to capture moments rather than hunking around a heavy DSLR and a bunch of lenses. In fact, many online photography clubs have a separate section for mobile phone pictures which just goes to show how serious it has become.

Shooting River Rapids at Slow Speed

Shooting slow speed river rapids (and waterfalls) is something that isn't difficult but just requires some  equipment:

1. DSLR with a Wide Angle Lens
2. Tripod
3. ND400  or ND8 Neutral Density Filter
4. Remote Control
5. Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Firstly you'll need to attach your camera to the tripod, remove your Skylight or UV filter and screw on the ND400 filter. This is because you should use more than one filter at a time if possible. If your image includes some sky then attach the GND Filter Holder to your lens and select a filter strength, 3, 6 or 9 depending on the brightness of the sky. If you do not use the GND Filter your sky will most likely be overexposed.

Set your camera on Manual and adjust the shutter speed to 3 seconds. Focus on rocks in the river by switching to LCD view. Set your ISO at 100 ISO and your aperture to about f14. you can also switch off the autofocus and use manual focus. Then using the remote control click to take the picture. Once the picture has been taken check it to see what adjustments need to be made. If the image is too dark then you can change the f stop to a wider setting such as f8 or f7.1 etc. If the image is overexposed then try it at f20 or f22 etc. Alternatively, instead of adjusting the f stop you can also adjust the shutter speed. If the picture is too dark then change the shutter speed to 5 seconds. If the image is too bright then change the shutter speed to 2 seconds or 1 second.

Eventually you will find the right settings and get your picture.

An example can be seen as follows:

This is the image taken normally, perhaps on automatic setting:

This is my friend setting up his camera. You can see that he has a square filter on the front of his camera. This is his GND Filter which is necessary because the image has sky in it. He keeps the tripod as low as possible to avoid the slightest movement by wind.

Finally I ended up with this shot, perhaps still a little dark.

I took another shot at a different location and arrived at this shot.

Those lightning shots blew me away, awesome! Worth the planning and patience that I'm sure was required.

Over the years I've had many cameras, the best from a flexibility point of view being a Minolta 35mm XG-1 SLR that I bought in Hong Kong in 1978. That camera, motor drive, matching flash gun and assorted lenses is now in my daughter's growing vintage camera collection. After that I had a couple of 'point and shoot' compacts, the best being an Olympus. Then, along came the digital cameras.

I made the switch fully to digital in about 2001, when I won a Fujifilm Finepix camera at a business conference in Florida. Although only 2 megapixels, that camera had a very good lens which, calling on my 35mm SLR experience back in the Minolta days, I realised was usually the weakest link in the camera specification chain. That camera took very good snaps.

Fast forward to today and, for a variety of reasons, including the ever increasing capability of smart phones, I haven't reacquainted myself with the SLR world, even though I'd like to when I have more time that I could devote to photography.

Now, as well as the obligatory smart phone (Sony), I have a Fujifilm Finepix X10 (now superseded by the X20 and its big brother X100), purchased in Kuala Lumpur for about $600 in 2012. This is an excellent camera, providing many of the capabilities of a low end DSLR with most of the advantages of a compact.

Through all this, I've become aware that producing results like those shown here (and in Hansson's West Sumatra thread) take a lot of thought, skill and some fine equipment. The results speak for themselves and I for one get much pleasure from seeing the end product.

I look forward to seeing more, as well as learning more from the excellent tips provided here by Hansson.

Thanks again for your very helpful contributions.

It's my pleasure Geoff. That Minolta equipment sounds very interesting. I remember when Minolta used to make those miniature cameras forty years ago, their technology was really advanced back then.

My first digital camera was a Sony 1 megapixel, a really tiny thing given to me by a friend from Taiwan, I used it to take the pictures uploaded in the Guadeloupe Forum. After that I went through a string of Canon Powershot and Ixus cameras. Digitial cameras have made it all so easy for us these days. Back in the 80's and 90's I'd spend a fortune buying Kodachrome, Ektachrome and Ilfachrome 35mm slide film. If your ISO wasn't set correctly then all the photos would be too dark or too bright.

But I do think phone cameras are really important, at least for me. When I am out shooting pictures such as at the flash flood disaster in Garut City, I used both handphone and camera together. If I need to forward my photos instantly then the phone camera is important so it's useful for journalistic photography. However, for serious photography, I'd say you need a DSLR and at least one good lens.

"I remember when Minolta used to make those miniature cameras forty years ago"

As a matter of fact, I have one of those, purchased in Nadi. Fiji in about 1967. It's still in its original, beautiful red velvet lined presentation case.

It's a half 110 film frame camera. I used to go to my camera store to buy film that they cut in half (lengthwise) for me and wound it onto the spools that belong to the camera.  It's a thing of beauty.

Unfortunately, it uses/used a Selenium cell as a light sensor. That part stopped working a long time ago. I'd love to get it fixed but getting unexposed film to fit and then getting it processed is probably very unlikely.

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