Dear rangefinder enthusiasts and classic photographers,
Thank you for allowing us to share some news and random thoughts with you.
The Eye and the Camera
Simply stated, the pursuit of photography requires 2 essential elements: eyes to see and a camera to capture what we see. From 1826, when Nicéphore Niépce made the world’s first photograph through to present-day digital imagery, a photograph is exposed by opening a shutter so that a fixed amount of light is recorded on a light-sensitive surface. A good photograph is a cohesive, believable representation of what we saw.
With the arrival of the Nikon Z9, the first camera to entirely eliminate the mechanical shutter, we are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the age of global shutters. While the Z9 still scans the sensor, albeit at a fast speed, global shutters will be capable of simultaneously exposing each pixel for a given amount of light, freeing a photograph from being a representation of what the eye sees. In its place, we will have a virtual image.
Look at the computational pictures captured by your iPhone. Are they beautiful? Damn right. Do they incorporate AI and loads of fine tuning? You bet, but I am nervous that the global shutter will not just carry photography into the future, it will forever change the nature of photography!
The Nikonians Strike Back
“I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama, don't take my Kodachrome away”
—© Paul Simon
For those of us born before 1970, Nikon was synonymous with camera and lens perfection. From the Nikon F to the end of the film era, Nikon cameras stood witness to our changing times.
For the past few years the company has been mired in the doldrums, but with the launch of the Z9, it’s clear that Nikon is all in on mirrorless. If technical perfection is what we seek, this is a camera that instills confidence. The specs are formidable: 45.7 MP stacked sensor, lightening-fast and accurate AF, 20 fps RAW shooting and 120 fps jpeg @ 11 MP, no mechanical shutter, 8K video, and the list goes on.
The Z9 is a singular achievement. Kudos to Nikon and welcome back!
Don’t Miss the Train while Waiting for Godot
The 11th day of the 11th month is Remembrance Day, the day that honours those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
While I don’t agree with picking this date to hype any products, that is not so for all inhabitants of the Leica rumour mill. According to Internet lore, this is when a new Leica M will be announced. Rumoured specs include a 60 MP sensor, IBIS, and some form of electronic focus aid. The very last thing I want in an M camera is such a high-resolution sensor that robs me of any forgiveness from the tiniest amount of focus inaccuracy and the slightest shake.
While we wait for what comes next, there are 3 superior offerings – M10-R, SL2(S), and the simply perfect Q2 – that are readily available. (As I write this, I’m keeping an eye on the front door, waiting for new Q2 stock to arrive.)
Food for thought: The price for a pre-owned M6 is higher than it was 25 years ago, when it was new. At this moment, the M9 is more popular and sought after than when it debuted on September 9, 2009.
Fujifilm’s GFX50SII: The Happy Medium
Pining for remarkable resolution, low noise, and greater dynamic range? No longer do you need a bank loan to enter the world of medium format!
Priced at less than most pro-class, high-end full-frame cameras, this new, 50 MP offering weighs in at a svelte 900 grams, has IBIS and is even capable of shooting video in a pinch. And don’t discount the ability to take full advantage of reasonably priced, superior Fujinon lenses. Despite what certain Internet gurus would have you believe, this is one medium-format camera more than able to withstand the rigours of hard, daily use.
Andrew Brestansky: The Right Approach
Want to watch some online videos about photography and cameras, but have reached your limit of hyperbole, nonsense and razzmatazz that so called experts flood Youtube with? Here’s one YouTuber with real credibility, smarts and soul.
Andrew is affable and non preachy, and the images in his videos are a feast for the eyes. He’s a young Montrealer with tremendous talent and undeniable passion, a rising star well worth watching and following.
Ned Bojic: The Conscientious Observer
Discreet, tuned into his surroundings and as quiet as the shutter on his Leica M, the photographs Nenad takes mirror his personality. That’s high praise, as street photography rarely has such a strong sense of place, emotional content, and empathy.
I’ve known Nenad for the better part of 15 years. Among his many gifts is an ability to tune out the noise of the digital medium. He’s not been tempted to move away from his beloved film, and we are the beneficiaries of this steadfastness. With a great eye that sees and captures the scene as it unfolds before him, he lets the magic of the analogue process take hold, from capture to processing to printing.
I’m happy to announce that a selection of his photographs are on display in the gallery section of the Boutique.
A Troubled Soul Immortalized
In an era of evaluation and revision, triggering and cancelling, when statues are being ripped up from Halifax, NS to Victoria, BC, a bronze statue honouring the late photographer, Diane Arbus, was recently installed in New York’s Central Park. (As if I needed another reason to look forward to my next trip down the Hudson!)
Diane Arbus remains a divisive figure, an imperfect individual whose oeuvre challenges us to question basic assumptions about people, especially those on the fringes of society. Her relevance 40+ years after her passing, underscores that life and celebrity are less sanitized and more nuanced than today’s virtuous and woke arbiters would care to admit. With this everlasting tribute to her work, it’s fair to say that she finally arrived home.
Looking Back: Nature and Me Photo Contest
The age of Covid has robbed us of many beloved activities including photo walks, M Vision workshops, talks, get-togethers and exhibitions. While online events will never replace the real thing, I’m happy to report that our last virtual activity, the Nature and Me photo contest – winners were announced on October 1 – resulted in the greatest number of entries we have ever received.
A tip of the hat to everyone who created images that took our breath away, or gave us a moment to pause and appreciate our natural surroundings. Your love and respect for our fragile environment, and your passion for photography are reflected in your efforts.
It’s been a beautiful fall in Quebec. My Parallax partner in crime, Daniel, created some memorable images so you can relive this season that’s gone in the blink of an eye.
Always looking forward to your comments.
Jean Bardaji and Daniel Wiener