Mooning… another photo chat

February 26, 2024

I have been diving into my image archives recently, to find some mentoring materials for a friend, who is getting into photography more deeply. It made me wonder about my Olympus gear from my years as a photo journalist. By now all of it is labeled ‘vintage’, but to me the 80s and 90s do not feel that far away! That probably makes me ‘vintage’ as well 🙂 In later years I switched to Canon and worked happily with the 5D Mark II for quite a number of years. And then I finally switched to the Fuji mirrorless system around 2016.

I wanted to give all of these brands a try when a beautiful full moon popped up last night. Of course, the Olympus takes film and even though I have some lying around, I opted out of loading a roll of negatives. I have other plans for that soon. But I did try to use the vintage lens. Not a success up to now…

Last night, I brought out the Canon and the Fuji, each positions on a tripod. Note to self for future similar endeavours: always bring your reading glasses ! and an online version of the camera menus! It is quite frustrating to conclude that, without the reading glasses, I cannot really see the information on the Canon body… It has two displays on the camera body, and neither can be seen through the viewfinder: an option I hugely appreciate having with the newer Fuji. Theirs is a so-called electronic viewfinder and it means I scarcely have to take my eye off it during photography. I can even instantly see the effect of changed settings. It makes one into a spoiled photographer, because the electronics do most of the work.

Humble pie…

So it was a bit of humble pie to set up the Canon. The strange (or not) thing was that my muscle memory kicked in after a couple of minutes. When I charged the batteries (the camera was unused for a good number of years), I was impressed that the clock cell batteries still worked, showed the correct date and time and all customised menus were preserved as well. So when I worked with the Canon for a bit, as long as I did not use my thinking head, my fingers instinctively went to the correct dials and buttons on the outside of the camera to manipulate the settings. This was essential, because both on the Fuji and the Canon these shots required manual settings. Focus was automatic, though. I think there must have been some camera shake with the Canon, even though the camera was on a timer (this takes out the risk of me causing motion when pressing down the shutter).

This is a good comparison of what the Canon should be able to do. Not a full moon, but actually just as interesting because the craters are nicely visible here. This shot dates back to 2010. According to the photo metadata this was with just 200mm. Maybe I will try that again tonight, if the sky stays clear, and leave off the extender tube.

I did one more experiment – but it failed. I have an old mount adaptor that should enable me to put the big Canon 200m on my Fuji body. And another for my old analog Vivitar lens. But the screen stayed black with both. So I ordered a new, better adaptor for the Canon and will explore why the Vivitar did not work – it may not be suitable for moon photography. The lens would still have to manually focussed, but at infinity this should not be an issue.

Muscle tune-up

It was kind of nice to play with all of this gear, even though the results were somewhat disappointing. As the saying goes: good photography comes more from the quality of the ‘glass’ (a.k.a. the lens), then from the body. But of course, this does not take into the equation mixing and matching old and new technology.

I am also clearly out of practice as well, so while my packing and moving muscles are in good condition, my specialty photography muscles need a tune-up, especially with the gear I no longer use at a daily basis!

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