Adam Isler, photographer manqué
I intend to post here the photographs from my daily peregrinations, mostly around New York City. These will be images I believe are worthy of an audience, but not necessarily portfolio quality (the portfolio quality pictures can be found on my site for sale at http://islerphoto.zenfolio.com). This will allow both sites to be cleaner and easier to navigate.
I may also post occasional thoughts, on topics of interest to me, about photography, politics, or other subjects.
Please let me know what you think….
I’m not sure why these listings of equipment are considered de rigueur on photographers’ sites: is it because our readers want to know, or because we want to tell them?
I bought my first serious camera, a Voigtländer Vito C second hand for $30 when I was about 12. At 13 I used my Bar Mitzvah money to buy a Minolta SrT101 and I stayed with Minolta for most of the ensuing 38 years. Not too many years ago it was time to upgrade and a new generation of DSLRs had arrived. They offered higher IQ than any before: in particular CMOS chips with low-noise, high ISO performance and I had to choose among the Canon 40D, the Nikon D300 and the Sony A700.
I expected to go with the Sony, keeping all my Minolta glass and flash. Trying all 3 cameras in the hand at the NY Expo I found the Canon hard to control, the Nikon fast and responsive and the Sony bewilderingly different from my beloved 7D. I sold my Minolta equipment and became a Nikon shooter. While the camera is marvelous, fast, responsive, lets me shoot usably in the dark, hand-held – I must admit that several features that were intuitively obvious and easy on the Minolta are arcanely difficult to accomplish on the Nikon and, particularly in light of the Sony A900 reviews, I have sometimes wondered if I mightn’t have been better staying with Sony.
Update: as of April 2012 I am a Sony shooter with the new Nex-7. See my subjective first impressions posts if you’re interested in this kind of equipment geekery.
At times, over the years, I have also wished I shot with Pentax, Olympus, Canon, Leica, or medium format or view cameras – but the simple fact is my budget is meager and I have chosen what at the time seemed to provide the best combination of quality, features, flexibility for my shooting style and budget and then been locked in. As of 2014, while still mostly shooting with the Nex-7, I am considering whether to buy an Alpha 6000, wait and see if Sony come out with an Alpha 7000 or switch to the Fuji XT-1 (or, a yet to be announced, XT-2) and the enticing 23mm lens?
Update: as of November 2014 I am a Fuji X-shooter with the X-T1, the marvelous 23mm f1.4 prime and the excellent 18-55mm f2.8-4 kit zoom. I keep promising my impressions of shooting with it but haven’t gotten around to it yet. In short, I do not regret the jump from Sony (often).
In light of the foregoing, no one should take the following list as an endorsement of the equipment. Everyone’s needs and preferences are different as are their hand sizes. Furthermore, as should be obvious but often appears not to be, improving one’s photography is much more about learning craft and technique and, above all, how to see and frame than it is about equipment specs.
Update: In 2016 I got an X-T2 and just a few weeks ago (October, 2018) I got the X-T3 (some may detect a pattern – no prizes for guessing when I’ll get the X-T4 or maybe the X-H2 or 3). Along the way I have also accumulated the 23mm f/2, the 56mm f/1.2, the 14mm f/2.8 and the long zoom 55 – 200mm. When walking the streets of NY I mostly shoot with the 23mm f/2 which is smaller, lighter, and focuses faster than the f/1.4 as well as being weather-sealed. When traveling and unsure what I’ll see, I generally switch to the kit zoom 18-55mm.
Current Cameras and Lenses
- Fujifilm X-T3, X-T2
- Fujinon XF 18-55mm f2.8-4
- Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 R
- Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 R WR
- Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R
- Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R
- Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
I still have my Nikon gear which I used to use whenever I had to shoot with off-camera flash but it’s a bit long in the tooth now:
- Nikon D300
- AF-S Nikkor 24-120 f3.5-5.6 G (judged one of the worst lenses ever by Mike Johnston, though not by others, I admit to not having enough visual acuity to see all the flaws he did)
- Tokina SD 11-16 f2.8 (IF) DX
- Nikon SpeedLight SB-800
Cameras and lenses loved, but gone:
- Sony NEX-7
- Sony E 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OSS
- Sony E 55-210 f 4.5-6.3 OSS
- Sigma 30mm f2.8 EX DN
- Sigma 19mm f2.8 EX DN
- Sony HVL-F58 AM flash
- Canon G9
- Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D (one of my favorite cameras)
- Minolta 24-105mm (never sold it – would anyone like to buy it?
- Minolta 100-300 APO D
- Minolta 11-18mm
- Minolta Dimage A1
- Minolta xd-11
- Minolta XE-7
- Minolta srT101
- Rokkor MF55mm f1.7
- Vivitar 135mm MF f2.8 (never sold this either – anyone interested?)
- Vivitar 24mm MF (can’t remember how fast it was – left it on a subway platform 20 years ago and never saw it again)
Older equipment, mostly gone:
- Kodak DC280
- Vivitar “potato-masher” flash. The first thyristor model with a shoulder strapped battery pack.
- Voigtländer Vitessa
- Voigtländer Vito C
- Ansco Viking
- Kodak Hawkeye
Printer and Software:
- Epson SureColor P800
- Adobe PhotoShop CC (I relented and switched to the photographer option for $10/month – it winds up being cheaper than upgrading every other version and upgrading every version of Lightroom)
- Adobe’s awkwardly named PhotoShop Lightroom Classic CC is where my main workflow resides
- The Nik suite, especially Siver Efex Pro 2
- On1 Photo
- Zenfolio (and Friedl’s brilliant export plug-in for Lightroom)