Of Cameras & Martyn

(Above photo was taken on the iPhone 6)

Over the years I’ve owned many cameras.  My first ever digital camera was a Sony Cybershot DSC-S70 and was pretty special for its time in that it had a massive 3.3 megapixel capable sensor plus a Carl Zeiss lens.  It took really great photos too.

Subsequently I upgraded to a Canon Powershot G5 which too was an excellent camera – but it was a bit bulky (and at the time, even second hand) felt as though I paid the Earth for it.  But I was extremely happy with the quality of photos it produced.

Last year I bought a Canon 700D DSLR and, for a while, was over the moon.  But the problem with it was that it was far too bulky and the camera bag and associated gubbins was just too darn awkward that I subsequently sold it (to a photography student, so it went to a much better home).  The aim at the time was that I’d take a photography course to learn the ins and outs of proper photography, and then take it up as a proper hobby.  After all, I needed to get out and about more after my divorce and this seemed to be a good way of doing about it.

So that never happened.

I was quite content with the iPhone 6’s camera and felt that was all I needed to take decent photos quickly.  I could carry the phone about all day without any issues.

Then I went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago.  And the iPhone 6’s battery drained much, much faster than I anticipated (and I didn’t bring a charger with me).  The photos came out fine (along with a video of the wedding ceremony itself), but having tinkered with my father’s Canon Powershot G1, and having talked cameras with a relative, I felt it was probably time – especially as I have a rather substantial holiday coming up in the US – to invest in another decent camera – but this time a much more compact one.

So I went into research mode.

I looked at the Powershot G1 X mark II, the Powershot G7 X, and the Powershot SX700 HS and there was a lot of oohing and ahhing as to which would serve me the best.  The cheapest was definitely the SX700 HS, but the other cameras had much better sensors and better manual control over things.

Then I read a review of the Sony Cybershot R100X III.  And many other reviews – and practically every single one of them has given it the best scores for a compact camera I’ve ever seen.  It is consistently generated superb scores.  It also has an electronic viewfinder.  But the cost!   It was £200 more expensive than the G7 X, and nearly £400 more than the SX700 HS.  It was also more expensive than the DSLR that I had!

But I have always believed that if you want something that’s going to last, and that it produces good quality photos, you need to pay the price.  I can’t remember what I paid for the original Cybershot DSC-S70, but I feel it wasn’t too far off what the RX100 III costs now.

So now (thanks to John Lewis) I’m the proud owner of an RX100 III.  I’m still waiting for a memory card to turn up, and then I’m intending on taking it for a spin.  What attracted me to this camera was not just the excellent photo quality, but the video mode is also superb.  This review pretty much convinced me this was the camera for me:

I’ll upload some photos (bear in mind that it’s going to take me some time to get used to the controls – the first batch is likely to be all shot using automatic mode) later so that you can see what this thing is like.

But let me tell you, it is incredibly small.  It’ll fit into a trouser pocket no problems.  So I reckon this camera will get a LOT of use – more so than the iPhone.

No more gadgets for me for a loooooooong time.

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

Update: If you check out the HTTP response headers for this site, you’ll see I’ve implemented GNU Terry Pratchett, an idea brilliant conceived from his book, Going Postal.

Featured Image Photo © Copyright Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons – used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons - used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license
© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons – used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

I was deeply saddened at the news of Sir Terry Pratchett’s passing yesterday afternoon.

When I first started reading – properly – during secondary school [1] , the first author I really loved was Douglas Adams[2].  I adored his sense of humour and outlook on life, and humanity.  So it was natural that I was drawn to Terry Pratchett too (and Robert Rankin, and Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke – all of whom are authors I can’t read enough of).

I can’t remember the first book in the Discworld series I read, but I knew that I wanted more.  I hadn’t laughed so hard or spent so long reading in single sessions than I had before.  His books were, quite literally, difficult to put down.  They were so good.

Through Pratchett’s humour, you got to make a bit more sense of the crazy world that we all lived in.  Discworld and Ankh Morpork, despite potentially millions upon billions of light years away, were twinned with any Earth-bound town or city you could think of.

Heck, even his portrayal of Death made the whole process of living (and dying) a bit more bearable.  In some ways, thinking about Sir Terry Pratchett’s own death gives you a sense of comfort that he’s in good hands – shepherded onwards by somebody who really cares about his job.

As has already been said: it’s cruel that a man whose creativity and sharp observation on life, the universe and everything (to paraphrase Adams) was taken from us all by a such an awful and cruel disease.

I count myself very, very lucky to having had the teeniest amount of involvement in the first live action TV adaptation of Hogfather.  I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was when I found out – I had gone down to the longform broadcast/commercials division at MPC and saw various models relating to Discworld.  It was confirmed were were working on Hogfather and it made my week.

Many months later, I was returning to my desk in the engineering department of MPC and man dressed in all in black wearing a black fedora hat and a marvellous white beard was walking behind a colleague and heading into the MPC machine room just as I was turning a corner.  I rushed back to my desk, put down my Diet Coke, and headed back to the machine room and pretended to do something important just so I could see what was going on.

I  subsequently named a machine in Pratchett’s honour – Vimes.  I can’t remember what we used it for – something vaguely security related I’m sure – but having had one of the biggest selling authors – and a personal favourite of mine – there in the same building as I worked – well, it was a no brainer.


[1] The last year of primary school saw me attempt to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy – which, unsurprisingly, I didn’t really get into due to Tolkien’s use of language.  It’d take me nearly two decades to get around to it – even after visiting New Zealand when they started filming the trilogy of films.

[2] Another author who was taken from us far, far too early. 

I do all my proof-reading after I've hit the "Publish" button..