The World of Ladakh and Zanscar with a Sony NEX-5
In August my son and I trekked for the better part of a month through Zanscar (Northern India) to altitudes of 16,500 feet. Originally, I was going to carry my wonderful but monster Canon 5D Mark II and at the last minute I chose the new (then) and incredible Sony NEX-5 (DP Review). light super sharp, low noise and a fantastic camera. The amazing thing is that the video (and I direct TV commercials using the most expensive equipment made) is remarkable, utterly remarkable. So as we traveled through this magnificent place on the earth I made images that I could never have made with the bulky Canons. I will use them for commercial work but I must say that these little Sony camera (and there are others out there with big sensors as well) in a strange way have changed how I see and make images of the world around me.
The fact that I do not have to bring a camera to my face in crowds of peoples changes the nature of being a “participant observer” in anthropological terms. I can recede into the social landscape and I can make images that are intimate albeit thoughtful and sensitive. Looking down onto the little window of life that the camera provides is wonderful. I wish during my 12 years as a National Geographic photographer I could have had a camera like this. Another aspect of this camera is that for virtually nothing I can and have adapted lenses from old Olympus OM days – the beautiful tiny and super sharp and FAST lenses – to the NEX-5.
I also have adapted my Contax Zeiss lenses (Contax G 45mm f2, Contax G 28mm) as well via a 35 dollar adapter. I now have a collection of tiny super sharp lenses that cover the entire range that I need without having to buy new glass (although it must be noted that Sony glass and optics are terrific in their own terms). In any case, the freedom that the size alone offers is magnificent, the images are all I can ask them to be and I can accomplish the vision that is uniquely mine far more easily that with this camera’s larger brethren. I am excited about this new tool and the upgrades that are shortly to be on the market. It must be kept in mind, that despite my appreciation of this tool, cameras do not take pictures…People do.
Camera handling, f stops and shutter speeds can be learned in a day or two but seeing, the act of visual intuition, is the thing that does not happen instantly. What this particular camera does for me is creates a much closer relationship with the my brain and heart and the content of my image. That for me is BIG STUFF. I will post a few images to show the work done with this piece of equipment.
This entry was posted on December 12, 2011 by William Thompson. It was filed under Photography, Trekking and was tagged with 28mm f2 Planar, 45mm biogon, 5D Mark II, 7D, aerial photography, contax zeiss, Himalaya, India, Ladakh, National Geographic, Olympus OM, participant observer, social landscape, Sony, Sony NEX-5, Southeast Asia, travel, trekking, Zanscar, zeiss lenses.