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, heir to the Minolta name, 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.
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 was 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.
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 in 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). 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-T4, 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
- Fujifilm XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro Lens
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
I don’t use a lot of lights but I do have a Flashpoint Flash for Fuji and transmitter that I use occasionally (mostly in a soft-box or bounced in an umbrella, off camera) and a Lytro cube which I’ve been playing with and a small, cheap LED panel.
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 – this was a remarkably usable all-in-one, early “prosumer” digital. image quality wasn’t as good as some others at the time but it was remarkably well made, versatile and ergonomic – a fantastic introduction to serious digital photography.
- Minolta xd-11 – probably my favorite Minolta film camera, it was smaller and lighter then its predecessors and had a really cool touch sensitive shutter release, rich leather body and some other novelties. Back when I was shooting events with this I had a black body and a chrome body version.
- 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 – my first foray into digital was this 2MP beauty. also my first camera with full program exposure and auto-focus.
- Vivitar “potato-masher” flash. The first thyristor model with a shoulder strapped battery pack.
- Voigtländer Vitessa – inherited from my father who bought it at a PX in Germany. Sometimes known as the poor man’s Leica.
- Voigtländer Vito C – my first “real” camera
- Ansco Viking
- Kodak Hawkeye – bought for $2 and some boxtops, back when I was about 7. Shot 127 square film with negatives about 1″ x 1″ if memory serves
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 – some cool features but I’ve mostly given up on this.
- CaptureOne – I tried converting to this for a few months and was getting the hang of it, but in the end I reverted to Lightroom. Then, since late 2019 I’ve been working mostly in Capture One again. There are a few things I miss from Lightroom but mostly I think it’s better, especially for Fuji files.
- Sharpener AI from Topaz Labs. Does an amazing job of sharpening but also tends to crash my Mac so I use it only when absolutely necessary.
- Zenfolio (and Friedl’s brilliant export plug-in for Lightroom)