street photography

Some words about the CONTAX G1 and G2

Hi everyone!

I had heared a lot about the Contax G cameras on youtube and other medias. Before I began my trip within the compact camera realm I wasn't too sure about the Contax G system. Mostly because of the general idea that the AF on compact cameras weren't that good. After some reading and research on the web it seemed people were very pleased with the system and the Contax glas has always had a good reputation. BTW check out Mike Thomas review of the G-cameras on you tube. 

Anyway several months after, as the GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) had been laid to rest, my friend Ola Billmont popped the question if I was interested in buying a G2 kit he was selling. The Contax G2 with 28/2.8, 45/2 and the 21/2.8 with external finder! All for a very good price. So.. I felt the GAS coming back and thought that I should try this camera. I later found a very cheap G1 on ebay for dual wielding of course :)

Don't worry I won't bore you with the same old facts you find everywhere :) There are so many thoughts about this camera, and some many really nice things.. First of all the autofocus system was better than I expected, on both cameras! The G2 actually has two systems that operate side by side. The first one is contrast based and the other one uses infrared technique. As it focuses it uses the contrast based one first and then confirms it with the infrared light, which is not visible to the eye. In low light where the contrast based system may struggle it uses the infrared one to focus. I have never found the camera hunting focus at any time. It focuses almost instantly. This autofocus system works really well! The G1 only has contrast based focusing and a striped red assist light that helps it in low light. Honestly its hard to tell a difference in good lighting. They both work very well. 

There are some small differences between the cameras other than the autofocus system, size and the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 vs 1/200 on the G1. But all in all they are very fine cameras. Personally I find the G1 a bit nicer. It fits my hand better and weighs a bit less too. One thing I didn't find too good was the viewfinder. This is a very relevant opinion. The size of it is perfectly fine, but the thing is that even if it is a rangefinder camera it doesn't show anything outside the fames lines in the finder, like say a Leica. Having used a lot of rangefinder cameras I am used to seeing the frame lines and outside them to help me compose and anticipate what's going to come into my frame. The G-cameras only show what you are going to get as a SLR would do. Outside the parallax adjusting frame in the cameras is only black masking. This took me some time to get used to, but now I don't think about it that much.

My final words is that this is one of the most useful cameras according to me. I love this camera! It has autofocus, it's quick, small and light! Great for snaps and street photography as well as travel photography being a compact and "light" system. Here are some random shots with the G1 and G2.

G1, G2, 28mm/2.8, Ilford Hp5 @1600, developed in Xtol stock solution. 

These photos where taken during a yearly event called "Bike in Tweed". The Tweed Run is a group bicycle ride through the centre of Stockholm, in which the cyclists are expected to dress in traditional British cycling attire, particularly tweed plus four suits. Any bicycle is acceptable on the Tweed Run, but classic vintage bicycles are encouraged. Some effort to recreate the spirit of a bygone era is always appreciated. 

G2, 45mm/2, 28mm/2.8, 21/2.8, Ilford Hp5 @400 developed in Xtol 1+1.

G1, 28/2.8 Hp5 @400 developed in Xtol 1+1

© 2016 Photography by Joel Foo

The past 4 months..

Hi everyone!

It's been too long since I wrote anything. Doing too many things at the same time, too little time and a pinch of laziness. Anyway..

So after Dubai and my rebirth or reincarnation I started experimenting with some of the thoughts and ideas that awoke. I wanted to eliminate all the technical aspects of my photography and just explore my creativity. I took out my Holga120N and a couple of other compact cameras and loaded the with film. I also acquired a Holga BC 135+flash and another Holga 120 with built-in flash. 

High in spirits and I went out and ventured the exciting and unknown. In the beginning it was a bit fiddly with the new gear, but it grew on me. Actually its just point and shoot.. well more or less. The great thing with the Holgas are that they creates a rather unique aesthetic to the photographs besides vignetting and light leaks. Using flash is something I haven't been doing within street photography. Mostly because I didn't have the guts to use it. But with the boost of confidence from my workshops in Dubai I was willing to give it a try. Here are some of the shots taken with my compact cameras. The cameras I used was the Holga 120N, Holga 120CFN, Holga 135 BC with Holga flash, Ricoh GR1/v and the Miolta Hi-matic GF, shot on Tri-x, Hp5+ and T-max.

As I wrote on previous blog post one important thing I learned from the workshops was that as a photographer you choose what to show and not show. This gives you great power in creating your own story. If you show too much you might reveal the whole story and the photograph might not be too interesting. But if you leave some of the more revealing bits out and just focus on the details or the abstract feeling the photograph may seem much more interesting and open to different interpretations.

Another thing I wanted to experiment with was hands and gestures. People express them selfs by facial expressions and body language apart from verbal expression. I find hands interesting. Maybe it's because we use them in so many ways that they have their own character. Soft hands, hard working hands, women's hands, dirty hands.. I know. It's a bit weird or even a bit of a fetish, but it's interesting to me.

All the above photographs are also black and white. Although my eyes opened to color in Dubai I still wanted to do this type of photography in black and white. The aesthetics and dramatic contrast worked best in this case. 

Shooting with point-and-shoot cameras or equivalent really freed me from some of the things that sometimes distracts me while shooting. I don't have to think so much about exposure or focusing correct. I had a little light weighted camera that didn't weigh me down, no distracting technical stuff to think about. I just felt a sense of freedom and very open minded as if I could do anything I wanted without getting judged on technicalities or what's correct or not. 

Next post will be about me venturing to the world of color and maybe some more reflections about my photography and what has been going on in my head. Thanks for reading and please comment and give any kind of feedback. 

Keep calm and keep shooting!