Cameras – remember them? – were the black things you slung around your neck and occasionally pulled up to your eye to photograph family, friends, pets and holiday scenes. And then along came the mobile smartphone – and before you knew it you were using your Galaxy or iPhone to snap constantly and indiscriminately, from each and every meal you’ve eaten in the past seven years, to more selfies in the past half-hour than images taken in the entire history of photography. All of course dutifully uploaded to social media for Insta-pals to “like”. As for the camera, well, that’s lying untouched, unused and unloved in a drawer somewhere.
But as today is officially designated World Camera Day, we’ve decided to re-acquaint you with that oft-neglected apparatus. In fact, we’re taking the opportunity to showcase three items of kit whose versatility, ergonomics, stunning image quality and sheer covetousness might just have you reaching for them next time you’re minded to take a pic, rather than that infernally ubiquitous phone. Happy shooting!
The Japanese electronics manufacturer has moved into photography in such a big way that it’s now contesting Nikon and Canon for leadership in the professional sector. And with models such as full-frame, mirrorless, 42.MP Alpha a7 mark III, which came out late last year, the company counts among its inventory one of the most sophisticated and versatile cameras that money can buy – one that can be customised by the user every which way and offers incredibly high-speed burst shooting (great for sports) and high-quality 4k video, as well as a bewildering variety of superb lenses to choose from.
The retro, rangefinder-style, compact CL is one of the latest products from a company that, in its more than 100-year history, has morphed from simple camera-maker to one of the most desirable luxury brands in the world. Using a 24MP APS-C sensor, the mirrorless CL features an electronic viewfinder and Leica’s L-series mount, the latter offering a range of prime (ie, fixed-focal-length) and zoom lenses that should cover almost every photographer’s requirements. And when the compact Elmarit 18mm f2.8 wide-angle glass is attached, the CL’s almost small enough to carry in your pocket.
Another extraordinarily desirable rangefinder-style camera is the latest, “F” model of Fujifilm’s X100 series. It now features a high-res 24MP X-Trans sensor, yet with its hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, a leaf shutter and a fixed-focal length 23mm f2 lens, it also offers properly old-school character and ergonomics. As with all current Fuji digital cameras, its processing engine serves up gorgeous colour, analogous to the company’s near-legendary film stock, and – a big plus – it can even be charged from a USB port.