"You, sir, are an arrogant jerk and should leave your judgmental
attitude out of reviews if you want to be taken seriously." -- Kat
"Keep up the informationless, opinionated drivel, it keeps you off the street corner soapboxes." -- Simon Allen
"His articles are like a less-articulate K*Rock that uses rage faces & memes to communicate bad opinions." -- red19fire
Hello! I'm Lewis Collard, a guy from Norfolk who likes taking photographs. This is a site about me taking photographs. I write more regularly about other things over on my other site, Exhaust.
This site exists because I want you to get out there, with whatever camera you have, and take much better photographs than I do. I hope you find something of value in my photography or my writing that will help you do that. :)
You might be interested in my motorsports photography too.
New: A British Rail clock - a recreation of an iconic British Rail design from 1965, in your browser! There's a small page with more details about it.
If you're using Internet Explorer, this might not work for you. Let me know and I'll see what I can do.
Hey, only a minor and boring technical update here, but hopefully one that makes everyone's lives a bit nicer: I've moved my site onto a more powerful (and more expensive) server. A side-effect of the move is that this site uses HTTPS, which makes everyone a bit safer. A handy side-effect of that is that this site now supports HTTP/2 for the 80-ish percent of browsers that know how to speak it, which makes it even faster!
(From the UK, I'm measuring 68 milliseconds for my latest article to become readable, and a mere 0.8 seconds till all the images have loaded. This is awesome!)
I don't expect anything to have been lost in the transition, but if you spot anything weird going on around the site let me know. Thank you <3
New article: the Nikon 18-200mm VR (the original, non-II version). It's probably the most useful lens for cropped-sensor Nikon digital cameras!
And another new article: the original Fujifilm X100. I loved this camera very much, I wanted to love it forever, and sold it out of frustration with its slow operation.
Yep, it takes forever for me to write new articles; I need to use something for at least a few months before I am sure I've found all the stuff that might annoy me about a camera or lens. In the case of the X100, I wanted to write with a clear head long after I ragequit it, and in the case of the lens I've used it for so long that I am on my second 18-200mm!
At last: the ancient 8 fps pro SLR deathmatch! Nikon D2Hs vs Canon EOS 1D Mark II! I spend at least a few months with any of my cameras before writing about them, so these things tend to be a while in the making.
Also, my drifting site recently got a gorgeous visual makeover by pro designer Chiara Mensa, so check it out. :)
My site has always been a negative-profit operation, run out of my wallet for the benefit of photographers and (especially!) people who want to get into photography. I fully intend that it will stay that way, forever.
This site exists because I like helping and entertaining people, which means I can improve my site in ways that might make life a bit harder for me but will make your visits a little better. As such, I made a couple of little changes:
Enjoy your even-faster, not-being-tracked-by-Google lewiscollard.com!
Oh, and photography? I added thousands of new photographs to Horsepower the other weekend.
Coming up next: the Fuji X100. Plus, the Canon EOS 1D Mark II!
Yeah baby, there's going to be another bargain SLR deathmatch, this time with mid-2000s, 8-frames-per-second professional SLRs!
A reader asked how big he can print from a 4.1 megapixel Nikon D2H. Let's talk about big prints from low-resolution cameras!
I fully support the Death to Bullshit campaign - I love giving people a little ad-free, nagging-free oasis, and the fan mail tells me a lot of people appreciate it, too. (I love my readers who write in; they're invariably cool and interesting people. Even the occasional hate mails are almost intelligent and logical!)
The guy who cleaned my sensor that I promoted a while back (read about him a bit further down this page) seems to have disappeared, so I went to see Image Evolve in Ipswich to clean my sensor. They did a fantastic job, at a very good price (£30!), so thanks! Go see them if you're anywhere near Ipswich!
Here's what I would like to do, though. If you or your company runs an independent sensor cleaning service in the United Kingdom, I will promote you for free on my website. I am especially interested in people that will do this outside of London. If I get at least ten of you, I'll put together a page on my site to promote you, and hey, if you're within a reasonable travelling distance of King's Lynn I might even use you every couple of months. Email me.
So what has Lewis been up to?
Oh you know, just taking photographs and stuff. :)
Luke Riches, NADT Run The Wall at Swaffham Raceway, 2015-09-12. Nikon D2Hs, Nikon 28-80mm at f/4.8, 1/60 at ISO 200.
Jonny Goddard of Status:Slide, NADT Run The Wall at Swaffham Raceway, 2015-08-08. Nikon D2Hs, Nikon 28-80mm at f/8.5 and 60mm, 1/100 at ISO 200.
Ryan Cooper of It's a DRIFT life, NADT Drift Weekender at the Adrian Flux Arena. Nikon D2Hs, Nikon 18-70mm DX at f/8.5, 1/100 at ISO 200.
It's long overdue that I got Horsepower updated with hundreds of these. Lets see how busy I get! But in the meantime, stalk me on Tumblr, Google+, or Twitter to see what I am up to. :)
This was overdue: a big update to my article on the Nikon D2Hs. More photos and more words! It's still a fantastic camera that gets fantastic results, without any qualifiers like "for a ten-year-old digital SLR".
Announcing: Horsepower, a motorsports gallery by me. If you wondered what I've been doing photography-wise since April, here it is!
Hey, I'm now on Tumblr where I will be posting stuff that doesn't go into my gallery, mostly drift racing stuff.
I've also been on Google+ for a while (which is much of the same stuff). Come say hi!
New article: the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-D. A bargain as far as f/2.8 telephotos go, but for DX cameras with subjects that stay still, use the 55-200mm VR at a seventh of the price bought new.
Time for a couple of recommendations.
So, I made the mistake of changing lenses while shooting drift racing, and my Nikon D2Hs's sensor got pretty filthy. What I learned, is that if you live any substantial distance north of London, it is very, very hard to find a place that will clean your digital SLR's sensor. After a lot of digging, for someone that works a sensible distance from me (I know what couriers are like, so I refuse to post it), I found a guy that does.
Please check out
Sensor Clean Service (link dead as of 2015-07-03). He is in
Birmingham, and he did a beautiful
job of cleaning my sensor. He's not especially expensive, either; it's
£35 regardless of the size of your sensor. Better yet,
he "took the liberty" (in his words) of cleaning months worth
of drift racing dust off my camera. The D2Hs came back
so clean on the outside that I had to fight back tears when I
I am paid nothing to say this, and won't be paid a penny if you get your sensor cleaned by him; I paid full price. This is a sincere recommendation from one photographer to the rest of you.
My second recommendation is for you all to check out Esther Turner. I saw her busking in Birmingham after I picked up my camera and she has a lovely voice.
Hey, can you believe that this was shot with the ancient D2Hs at ISO 1400? Yup, it still looks fantastic at any non-pushed ISO!
New article: The Nikon bargain digital SLR deathmatch! D2H vs D200 vs D70 vs D1!
New in the gallery: 99 problems but a drift ain't one. The D2Hs is still superb!
Today I found out that "died in a photography accident" returns no results on Google. It does now!
Hey Lewis, don't do that to us, where are your super camera reviews? said like one person. Teaser:
Oh yes. The Nikon F5 is unbelievable. It is as easy to use as a digital camera and as fast as a D2Hs. It is truly beyond comparison with any film camera I have ever used, and probably ever made. Wow.
Review coming. (I have a couple of digital articles in the queue as well, which might be done first.)
New article: Yongnuo RF-600TX and RF-602RX radio flash triggers. They're cheap!
New gallery: Vehicles. Only a small one (but it will grow!). Some old, some new. :)
New article: the Nikon D2Hs.
Oh hello. I'm back!
The weird rant I had about quitting, well, sorry about that (and thanks to the people who registered their concern with me). As Vinay Gupta told me: If you burn out, just do something else until you feel better. That's what I did! I took a few weeks away from it, I'm shooting again, and if you use the number-of-shots-taken metric I've shot more in the last week than I did in the whole year up until my burn-out. Which is nice!
Also, I've been shooting this:
(Yeah, the weird rant has gone. Sorry about that. The original is out there if you want it badly enough. The offer to download and copy everything here remains and is irrevocable.)
You can now download everything I've written or taken for free thanks to archive.org:
As my non-copyright notice says: Anyone caught copying any of my photographs or text will be considered a mighty good friend of mine. Which is to say, please go ahead and copy all my stuff, and use it in any way you see fit. No, you don't have to ask permission to paste one of my articles into your blog, set one of my pictures as your wallpaper, use a photo in your school report, or do anything else with any of my stuff. I'd love to hear about any great things you do with my pictures, though.
New article: M42 compatibility with digital camera systems.
New article: the Pentacon 50mm f/1.8. I've been using it on-and-off for half a decade, so this is a little overdue!
I'm experimenting with the star-ratings at the top of that one. The downside of the fact that I ramble too much is that if you're just skimming what I read, it's hard to tell what I actually think about something without reading me carefully. I figured I could either 1) not be so boring, or 2) put a brief summary at the top for people who are in a rush. I did #2!
Meanwhile, I'm slowly (very slowly) upgrading the pictures on my various review pages to 800-pixels-wide, up from 500 when I first started doing this site. 500 just isn't big enough for modern screens. It's a slow process because sometimes I have to track down the original photographs on my drive, when they're not photographs from my gallery. I keep all the originals, of course, but with tens of thousands of them they're often not easy to find.
New look: I've refreshed the look of this site a little (I'm still sticking with minimalism here). Among other things, it should look much better on mobile devices. Let me know if anything looks really weird in your browser. (But clear your cache and refresh first!)
New in the gallery: Pumps, II.
New at wikiHow: How to Test a Used Film Camera. (This is actually a couple of months old; I'd just forgotten to link it here when I finished it.)
A couple of readers gave me corrections for manufacturing dates I had in a couple of articles (the Nissin 360 TW and Nikon Series E 70-210mm f/4). I love my readers!
Posterous is closing, so I've gotta move what little of value I had on my old Posterous blog to here. You'll probably get at least one article out of that shortly. But there's something bigger at work here:
If you care about something, host it on a domain you own and hosting you pay for.
I'm not going to join in with the chorus of "ha ha you get what you pay for and you should have made geographically redundant backups of all your stuff on at least two different kinds of physical media and oh God why is Lewis punching me in the face" nerd-outs. Nope, I'd only do that if websites weren't implicitly urging you to trust them with all of your stuff. But they do. Show me where Fotopic (wow, they suck) said "we're so incompetent that we literally can't build a business model around people giving us money, so don't let us be your only copy!". Show me where Posterous said "host your stuff with us - we're here at least until we're acquired by another company for our talent!". Then you would have a point. Until then, they are not the good guys.
I'm glad I figured all of this out a while back, long before the acquisition and consequent death of Posterous. The senseless murdering of Geocities (on which I did not have a site) brought that home to me. Jason Scott, who downloaded Geocities, was a big factor in that as well. (Warning: you can easily get lost in his archives over there. He's a great writer; he's controversial, passionate, and could easily have a career in teaching the effective and hilarious use of profanity if digital archiving didn't work out. You'd be right to see some of his style in my own; it's not because he's ever read me. He and his merry band are downloading Posterous, by the way.)
Here's the thing: The degree to which a company gives a damn about you is determined by whether 1) you are giving them money and 2) you can quickly and easily move all your stuff somewhere else. But more than that, you are a free person, in the sense of not being at the mercy of others, to the same degree as the latter is true.
See, eventually a site is either going to make money, get acquired (like Posterous), or go bust. And if it's a choice between "not punching users" and "making money", you are going to get punched at some point. Like when photographers expended lots of time and effort to build up substantial followings on Facebook, and then Facebook decided that if they wanted their followers to see updates they had explicitly signed up for, that the photographers would have to pay. That was awesome. And by "that was awesome" I mean "don't be that guy".
This, by the way, is why my site is actually a bunch of static HTML files. See, I like my web host plenty, and I don't see them going away any time soon. But if they did decide that "punching users" was a good addition to their business model of "give people disk space and bandwidth in exchange for money", I am literally a card payment and an rsync command away from hosting all of this with someone else. Having to dump and restore databases and deal with subtle hosting incompatibilities would make that job a lot harder. I'd still switch given enough punches, but if it wasn't convenient for me to host my site somewhere else, that threshold would be a lot, lot more punchy.
One more thing: don't be an early adopter. You'll be counting on that platform being the one that wins. The odds are usually against you by definition. Posterous ended up as Tumblr food, but remember that the opposite outcome was entirely as plausible in 2008 or 2009.
Be careful out there.
Nikon D70 with Nikon 50mm f/1.8D (see also: better product photography for free).
The couple of digital-related articles I promised I'd finish up: the Nikon D70 and Nikon 55-200mm VR. I like them both very much.
Now to get used to writing "2013" on forms!
Almost the end of the year, so I'd like to float a few things about the direction of this site for next year.
I shall be updating much more, if not more often. 2012 has been a crazy, crazy year for me. I'm not even sorry about that, but one of the casualties of has been my site, which I don't update as often as people would like. I'll work on that.
I won't be covering much digital stuff, mostly because everywhere else does this much better than me, even when it comes to really old stuff that nobody cares about, like the D1. I've got a couple more digital pieces mostly written up, which will be here soon, but really, anything I write about digital won't add much to the discussion.
(Although, inexplicably, my piece on the Samsung Galaxy S II camera phone is by a very large margin the most popular thing on my site. If I get my hands on an S III I'll let you know. I'd at least like to see if they've fixed the white balance problem.)
There will be a lot more film stuff. Film still isn't dead! But there is a shortage of objective reviews of film camera lenses. By "film camera lenses", I mean lenses for camera systems that died off before the end of the 35mm era and thus never made it onto digital cameras. I'm thinking Canon FD and M42 screw-mount, both of which I have by the boatload.
Have a prosperous 2013!
Oh hi. I met Tashya, who is both absurdly photogenic and a very nice person. Do go follow her on Twitter.
Tashya. Nikon D70, Nikon 55-200mm VR at 200mm and f/5.6, ISO 500 and 1/60.
With the kind permission of Nick Youngman, there are now two more rare photographs of South Lynn's railways on my little tribute page to them. They are here and here. Thanks Nick!
Hey, let's punch Lytro in the face some more!
I've seen some real-world samples from the Lytro. The guys at Lytro must be fans of my website, because all the pictures I've seen seem to have been carefully picked to prove all my scepticism correct. (Just kidding, they actually blocked me on Twitter. Ha!)
So here's some new material in that article: Real-world quality (spoiler alert: dreadful) and things that you can buy for the same money that are not the Lytro.
I'm interviewed by Viktor Fejes! I'm always surprised when people take me seriously enough to ask for my opinions, especially real photographers like Viktor. But there it is!
Dalibor Jankov sent me some shots from one of his cameras and the behaviour he had right before his sensor died was exactly like the behaviour I have been getting from my D1, including brief periods of working normally. So yup, it looks like my D1's sensor really is on the way out. Bummer.
Update: An alternative explanation comes from reader Gerhard Reininger, who suspects a battery problem. It's a possibility; I didn't even think to check the voltage coming from the battery when it happened, and the PowerSmart battery is nearly new. We'll see; I put plenty of miles on my cameras so if it's going to happen again it'll be quite soon. If it does turn out to be the battery that'll give me the motivation to build a 18650-celled pack for it.
Here's what my D1 was doing by the end of yesterday:
Well. I fired up my D1 this morning to see what would happen. The first shot I took looked a little bit like the shot above, except the black-with-fuzzy-purple-stripe only covered about a quarter of the image, at the top, and the rest was normal. The next shot I took did not have this; it looked just fine. And now, it's back to normal:
I initially suspected overheating (this started on a hot day, and I'm sure it gets real toasty in a black, weather-sealed camera in hot weather), but I've shot it for longer on much hotter days than yesterday. Reader Dalibor Jankov wrote in shortly before this update and he thinks that sensor is dead. He's at least partly right (if it's not dead, it's definitely smelling funny). I'm just at a loss to explain why it would do this one day and not the next.
Meanwhile, a quickie over at wikiHow: How to Use Old Digital Cameras.
So today, my D1 started doing this:
It gets weirder if you look at it full-size. I'm stumped; did I just kill another Nikon?
I'd be grateful for any clues as to what happened. Here's some stuff you might need to know:
Any clues, my lovely readers?
Hey, since I'm shooting one old crappy digital camera, I figured now would be a good time to make it two. Behold, the triumphant (but temporary) return of the Canon EOS D30!
Headstones. Canon EOS D30, Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IV at 28mm and f/5, 1/80 at ISO 100
New in the gallery:
Caidoz, V. Nikon D1, Nikon 55-200mm VR at f/5.6 and 116mm, 1/80 at ISO 200, Nissin 360 TW flash at 1/16 power, raw file processed with Darktable.
What amazes me about shooting the beyond-ancient D1 is how little I miss compared to newer, far far better cameras, and how I've gotten used to its technical limitations. So it has awful colour. So does a Leica M9; shoot the damn thing in raw and quit whining. It has horrendous problems with highlights. So fix your lighting. The D-TTL flash system sucks. Good, a free opportunity: learn to use a manual flash gun. It takes roughly six days to write an NEF file to the card. Then shoot carefully. Of course I'm going to use other cameras, but I'll be a better photographer for having used the D1.
Short review of the PowerSmart battery for the Nikon D1. It works better than Nikon's own batteries ever did!
A review of Darktable on Linux!
New article: the Nikon D1, Nikon's most important camera of the 1990s.
Taken with the 2.7 megapixel Nikon D1 from 1999.
My D1 article is still in the works; I'm mostly waiting for this bug in Darktable to be fixed. Darktable is great, but it seems to have issues dealing with the embedded thumbnails in the D1's NEFs. (A full review of that is coming too; I'd rather that bug get fixed first so I have something good to say on that count.)
In the meantime, my buddy Viktor Fejes now has a real website. You should probably go check him out. (It's mostly in Hungarian, but who cares, the photographs are not.)
New in the gallery: Tiny teddy goes to the Norfolk Arena.
Shot taken with a Nikon D1. That's a 2.7 megapixel Nikon D1 from 1999, kids. Of course a full review is coming. In the meantime, here is a guy that I really like talking about the D1.
A new article on one of the best cameras ever made: the Olympus Trip 35!
You could have missed this; a few weeks back I added a few pictures of motorsports onto my page about the Nissin 360 TW flash gun. It's not a collector's toy like the rest of my old junk; it's an unbelievably powerful flash that you can buy for less than £20 today. If you have a small budget and know how to use a manual flash, it's as good as bargains get!
So you know I was saying about crappy old cameras? Check it out kids:
(Modelled by the Caidoz.)
And yes, I am nuts enough to try and use this for actual photography. Stay tuned!
(Thanks to Sam Lee for sending me this!)
I'm late to the party here, but if you want to see a head-to-head comparison of 2001's Canon EOS D30 (less than £100 used) versus an EOS 1D Mark IV (£3,500), have a look at this post by David Jackson. At sensible enlargements and low ISOs there is no clear winner!
Of course newer is better, but Jackson shows it's not that much better in the hands of a skilled photographer like him (rather than a guy with a website like me), so if you have less than £100 to spend on a camera then don't let anyone deter you from picking one up. Haters gonna hate.
On the subject of old crappy cameras: Stay tuned, things are about to get really fun.
New in the gallery: this and this.
These are actually old shots, reprocessed, with which I was testing Darktable. It works on Linux and it's so good that it might have finally converted me to shooting raw for everything important. Note that the latter shot was taken with a Canon EOS D30 (not even a 30D) and the former was with my dead D2H; it really does work wonderfully, even with files from very old and crappy cameras. Review coming once I do some serious stuff with it, but it definitely has my seal of approval.
My Praktica screw problem is now resolved; Gary White sent me several Praktica bodies, among other things, one of which will be a screw donor. Thanks, Gary!
Lytro quietly downgraded their specifications for their gimmick camera: while $399 used to get you 16gb of storage and $499 would get you 32gb, it's now 8gb and 16gb. You now pay $100 for 8gb of solid state storage, rather than 16!
Rest in peace: the Nikon D2H, died on shutter actuation #400,195.
Long overdue for an update: my page on my ancient Nikon D2H has been expanded greatly. Enjoy!
SCREW PROBLEM SOLVED. Gary White was kind enough to send me an assortment of Praktica bodies, one of which is not functional and contains a replacement screw for my Praktica MTL3. A huge thanks to Gary. My original plea for help was below.
The Praktica MTL3 is back!
The friend I lent it to in the United States had problems with light leaking into it since she got it. Strange. I figured it might have suffered some terrible damage during shipping. She sent it back to me, and it turns out that a baseplate screw either fell out or was removed, somewhere between me and aforementioned friend.
So here's the problem: I need one of these screws. I'm hesitant to kill a working or could-work-with-some-TLC Praktica in order to get one. Unfortunately, the screw in question does not seem to match any metric or BA thread size. I've measured it with a digital vernier gauge and the diameter of the thread is 1.34mm (metric sizes are either 1.2 or 1.4mm, 12BA is 1.3mm). The head is a dome head measuring 3.15mm across, and the screw is 3.44mm long overall (about 3mm of which is the actual thread -- this was much harder to measure).
Is this some other thread system, or is 0.04mm within the manufacturing tolerances of a 12BA screw? I'm hoping there are some model engineers or other smart people out there who can help me with this. If you know one, pass it on!
By the way, since the MTL3 is back, I figured you should all have a human-readable howto on using it because the manual is awful. I wrote that and it's over here on wikiHow. You can spot the missing screw if you look hard enough!
Land Rover wheel compatibility! We've learned a lot of lessons the hard way so you don't have to. :)
Hello folks, it's been a while again. Don't worry, it's not about to turn into a website that apologises for not updating enough. Those of you that don't know me all that well (and honestly, I'm surprised at how many hits my silly website gets, so I'm sure that the vast majority of you don't!) might not know that I actually get up to a bunch of things in other places. Here's some things I've been up to:
By the way, I hang around in #wikihow on Freenode, for those of you that use IRC. Feel free to stop by for a natter; I'm lc2 (that's lower-case LC2, if it's not clear in your font).
New in the gallery: Japanese Perfection and Road, Tottenhill Row. On the latter count: film is always perfect, even when it expired 7 years ago!
I've been away in the wilderness for a bit (which is to say, working up in Lincolnshire), but while I was there, I received a lovely fan mail which apologised for emailing me with questions. This has happened before, too. Hey guys, I love receiving fan mail, that's why I have my email address at the bottom of every page on my site, so don't apologise. Unlike most photography websites, mine has no ads and so this actually costs me money to run. I'd keep doing this if I didn't get nice mail from my readers nearly every day, but it sure does motivate me.
In the gallery: Maria. Another one on the instructional/self-critical side.
Alan of the East Anglian Railway Archive kindly gave me permission to use a very rare photograph of a DMU at South Lynn on my page on remnants of railways in South Lynn. Here it is, thanks Alan!
Wait, did you think this site was still about my photography and cameras and not trains? Don't worry, I finally finished off the roll of expired-in-2005 Agfa Optima in my Kiev 88. I'll get it back in a few days!
The Nissin 360 TW, a cheap semi-automatic flash from the 1980s.
You are not a photographer, either, you just run "youarenotaphotographer.com".
A table of 35mm-equivalent focal lengths for the Kiev 88.
Nobody is as awesome as this guy I found today who takes photographs using actual wet plates.
New in the gallery: Toyota Celica GT-Four and Symmetry.
Here's an article punching Lytro in the face.
Actual photography is coming; I'm slowly burning through a roll of expired ASA 200 Agfa Optima film in my Kiev 88. Woohoo!
I have an article on railway bridges in South Lynn. No great photography there, just a little bit of history.
There's a new mega-review of the camera of the Samsung Galaxy S II, the finest Android phone of 2011 that also has a camera that is much better than I expected from a camera phone!
In the gallery: Tiny teddy sits under a tree and Tiny teddy on the rocks. Lewis Collard, teddy bear photographer. There's also this one, which is more on the instructional/informational side. :)
Happy religious-terrorists-trying-to-blow-up-a-democratic-assembly day!
A new article: the Nikon Series E 70-210mm f/4. Also, Cow, abstract in the gallery.
New in the gallery: Bridge, one I've been hesitating to show anyone else.
New in the gallery: Tiny teddy watches the sun rise.
Good news: everything in the gallery is now available in much higher resolution (50% bigger in some cases). Better news: I've done that while keeping the file sizes reasonable, so it should still load quickly. Hooray!
Three new articles in a new miscellaneous section: the Arctic Freezer Pro 7 Rev 2, HP LaserJet 4000 on Ubuntu (short version: use the hpijs driver), and increasing contrast with GIMP.