‘Standard Lens’?

For many years the 50mm focal length has been considered to be the ‘standard focal length’ because it was considered to be similar to what our own eyes see.

If you examine this notion though, a lot of people challenge that ‘theory’. Recently I watched this video by James PopsysThe New Best Focal Length?

He is a landscape photographer who I’ve been following for a few years now. His photography has inspired me quite a bit.

He explains why 40mm might be closer to our own natural field of view.

For some years I’ve tended to use a zoom lens, but these can be quite bulky and heavy. The later is something you don’t want if you are travelling.

I recently bought a Canon EF-S 24mm f2.8 fixed focal length lens. Fitted to my APS-C cameras that results in an equivalent focal length of 38.4mm close to 40mm. This lens is very shallow and lightweight. The combined weight of the EOS100D body and lens is only 545 grams and as you can see it is very compact.

This camera set up will be perfect for a couple of short trips I’ve got planned in the coming months. Yes a fixed focal length will make me zoom with my feet a bit more, but for simple shots it will be perfect. I can carry an extra battery pack in my camera pouch ‘just in case’

Using a fixed focal length for me is like going back 30+ years in terms of photography. But a big advantage is the larger base aperture, so better shallow depth of field. Yes, framing a shot precisely isn’t as convenient but it’s not a major disadvantage.

What is your ‘Go to set up for travelling?’

I took the following photos on a bit of a grey and cloudy February day to test out this camera/lens combination on our typical local countryside walk. I will use this combination some more in the coming weeks.


Current Cameras

I still enjoy shooting film with my Canon EOS30, a camera I’ve owned from new. I find film enjoyable, but quite hard work to use compared to digital after about 20 years or so. Shooting film isn’t cheap though, but as an occasional indulgence it can be good for the soul.

I still occasionally like using my Canon EOS20D, low on MegaPixels, but nice and ‘chunky’, it has quite a bit of heft to it. No video, but as you will discover that doesn’t concern me. I bought this new back in 2004, I use it with the battery grip. I initialy used it constantly for about 10 years.

In 2015 I needed something a bit more compact and lighter for a trip to USA and Canada, it was a holiday of a lifetime at the time. I bought a Canon EOS100D it is tiny compared to the 20D, but it fits the bill for me.  Yes it does video, but I’ve only ever used it less than five times for video.

In 2021 I inherited a Nikon 300D camera and glass. It was a bit of a culture shock, having never used a Nikon DSLR before. Fortunately as well as the Nikon manual I was also given three other books devoted to the D300. I spent quite a bit of time ‘learning’ the system and the differences to my Canon ‘roots’. I would say I’m still learning, but I’m enjoying the process and the differences. In a way the D300 re-kindled my interest in photography.

Looking for videos about the D300 I discovered ‘One Month Two Cameras’ and Lucy’s Analogue Adventures… so good things come from older cameras!

More recently at Christmas 2022, my son (who inherited my interest in photography) passed on his ‘no longer used’ Canon EOS600D, after giving it some TLC and recharging the batteries etc. it has become my ‘go to camera’ most of the time. It falls between the 20D and 100D in terms of size and weight, may be a little bit lighter than the D300. It does the job. Being ‘another Canon’ the transition was quite quick in terms of getting it set up and adapting to using it.

I nearly forgot! Tucked in my messenger bag is a Canon Powershot SX120is, it nearly qualifies as a digicam, again there are some limitations with it, no viewfinder being one of them. But again fun to use compared to just using my iPhone!

What of the future? I really don’t know… but for now I’m enjoying the ones I have. Remember there are #nobadcameras

Until next time, it’s time to take off that lens cap and take some pictures.

Photography on a budget

If photography is only a hobby, which it is in my case. I’m sure you will agree that photography has never been considered an inexpensive hobby. Well it can be with some investment and time.

As an amateur photographer I always have this desire for better higher specification cameras that are either way beyond my budget or they would be difficult to justify spending that much on a new camera or a better lens.

I always stall at the question. ‘Would a Xxxxxx model yyy help me produce better photographs compared to the cameras I already own and use?’

I have partially answered this question by watching videos from a few YouTubers such as

There are plenty of others as well, just do a search on your own make/model of camera and find some for yourself.

I discovered a lot of people using much older digital cameras and reusing film cameras with great results.

In the past we just had ‘a camera’ it might have been a 35mm SLR or a compact 35mm camera or may be a larger format 120 roll film camera.

With digital cameras with their different resolutions, and the differences between DSLR or Mirrorless designs. You will hear recommendations from reviewers about the suitability of cameras for ‘Sports and Wildlife’ ‘Landscape’ ‘Street photography’ etc etc. Are these divisions really needed?

Going back to older designs my own Canon EOS20D is all of 8.3 MP, but it can still take very acceptable photographs.

Consider what you are going to use your photographs for, will a higher resolution camera improve your photos if they are mainly going on social media? Also those higher resolution cameras produce much bigger files that require storage and will take longer to upload.

Newer cameras can have improved low light performance or lower noise at higher ISO speeds, but if most of your photos are taken in good lighting conditions, will you notice the difference?

If you are a film photographer, you will be very aware of the cost of film and film processing. Many years ago I was very fortunate to have access to a full darkroom. I also had one set up in my own apartment. I never ventured beyond processing and printing black and white film.

Processing and printing or scanning your own film once you have mastered the skills can help you save money on your photography hobby.

I also used to buy film in bulk (100 metres) and using a bulk film loader I loaded my own 35mm film cassettes. Once you have mastered the skill of loading the cassettes you will start saving money on film costs even if you still get a lab to process the exposed films.

If you are shooting professionally, may be you are a wedding photographer or you are doing other paid for commercial work then your requirements will be different to those of the average or slightly above average amateur photographer. Being paid to do your hobby, something you enjoy doing can be very rewarding. That said I’ve heard people that enjoy photography without repayments and contracts involved. I once did a set of wedding photos for a friend of mine, it was quite stressful. You don’t get a second chance!

How do you keep your photography hobby from breaking the bank? Do you have any tips you would like to share in the comments.

Thank you for joining me this week. Remember there are #nobadcameras

Film Photography with a Digital Camera

Film photography has got expensive in recent months. The supply of film is struggling to meet the demands of photographers. If you can find a supply then the cost of rolls of film can be quite high.

A few years ago I came across an idea of how to shoot like film, but with a digital camera. Looking back on this now I think it’s a great exercise/project to try out. I’ve added in some of my own ideas too.

Firstly, you don’t need the newest and best digital camera out there. You can use one you have put away in the cupboard, one you have may be replaced, but you are hanging on to the old one for what ever reason.

Also find a small memory card, ones you now consider too small to use, or may be one that came with the camera. If it can only hold 36-40 images then that is perfect for this project. The higher resolution you use, or may be set your camera to RAW, then of course that reduces the number of images you can take.

Like a film camera you might not take all of the images in one session, it’s ok to put it to one side in between shooting.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Select a fixed ISO setting (film speed).
  2. Turn off image preview after taking a photo.
  3. Decide on what you wish to also restrict in terms of aids depending on the camera. (Autofocus, metering and exposure control etc).
  4. Do not download your images until you have taken at least 36 images and delay downloading them for 2-3 days after taking the last image.
  5. Try to resist the temptation of editing the downloaded images.

Enjoy the project, get to know your old gear again if you haven’t used it for a few years. Learn to cope with limitations. Use the project to improve your own creativeness and composition, because you can’t ‘fix it in post’

Repeat the exercise as often as you wish…. after all it’s not costing you anything.

I got this idea or the basics of the idea from another photographer, I suspect they saw it elsewhere too. Share the idea on your own Substack, YouTube or where ever.

Time to get shooting, remember #therearenobadcameras

Taken with a Canon 20D – 8MP from 2004!

A photography habit

I have a habit of taking photographs of the same scene multiple times! I am not sure if there is a name for this habit or not?

I like to use the same scene to:

  • Record changes over time;
  • To try out different cameras;
  • Experiment with camera settings

The results can be quite varied…

All of those were taken from approximately the same location. It is a viewpoint about 50 metres from our home here in France.

In the distance is the town of Thouars,(Nouvelle Aquitaine) and the land in the foreground is part of ‘Le Cirque de Missé with the river Thouet winding its way around the curves and pass a small hamlet of Fertevault.

I’ve often cropped my photos from this view to create some great panoramic photos.

I have sometimes spotted a lovely sunset whilst closing our shutters, grabbed a camera and jogged down to the viewpoint in my slippers! Unfortunately our house doesn’t over look this scene, but we are close enough.

Do you ever repeat photos of the same scene?

Photography Resources

There are dozens of YouTube channels and web sites devoted to Photography, here are some of the channels that I follow.

Take a look and see if there are any that interest you.

Comparing the output of digital cameras

I wanted to do a simple experiment to compare the output of my different digital cameras.

I took approximately the same scene at about the same time on the same day. With the cameras set to approximately the same settings and similar focal length.

The images are unedited and only converted to JPG for the purposes of uploading them to this site.

So do mega-pixels count? And has camera technology changed between 2004 (EOS20D) and 2019 (Apple iPhone XR)

Canon EOS20D 8.3MP (2004)

Canon EOS 100D 18MP (2015)

Nikon D300 12MP (2009)

iPhone Xr 12MP (2018)

Canon Powershot SX120IS 10MP

I also I carried out tests on a range of old mobile phones, not as easy as it sounds these days! But I eventually managed to get the files off of the phones.

Nokia 6230i 1.3MP (2004)

Nokia 6300 2MP (2007) Phone A

Nokia 6300 2MP (2007) Phone B

Apple iPod Touch Gen 4 0.7 MP (2010)

iPhone 4 5MP (2010)

Nokia C2-00 3.2 MP (2011)

Nokia C5-00.2 5MP (2011)

Apple iPhone Xr 12MP (2018)

Using what you already have….

We seem to go through life hankering for the latest thing, the newest phone, a better car or what ever your interests might be.

As a keen amateur photographer the trend in camera gear seems to be to bring out new ‘better’ cameras every few years. Fine if you have the disposable income to replace your gear that frequently.

Last year I inherited an old Nikon D300 camera, in terms of current camera technology it’s considered to be ‘vintage’ ! It came out in the late 2000’s. It’s all of 12 MP and I was fortunate to get the manual and a lot of accessories with the camera.

For several years I’ve used Canon cameras, starting with a Canon EOS30 film camera, then the EOS20D 8MP digital SLR. More recently in 2015 I got the small EOS100D, which is the perfect light weight travel camera.

Picking up the Nikon last year, it is quite a hefty thing, in a way something I missed from using my 20D. Those two make the 100D look like a toy camera! It might seem odd, but the weight and balance helps you hold the camera steadily.

I still have the EOS30, the 20D, they were just not getting used so much.

This last year or so I’ve been looking at the new cameras that have come out wondering what I should buy. Prior to getting the Nikon D300, it would most probably have been another Canon, but having used the Nikon for the last year it has somewhat confused the decision.

However, should I even be considering buying another camera? Would I gain anything by having a new camera?

Looking around on YouTube for videos about the Nikon D300 I came across ‘One Month Two Cameras‘ a channel that specialises in using older ‘Vintage’ cameras. The channel got featured on Fstoppers yesterday as well in their article: Are Vintage Digital Cameras the Biggest New Photography Trend?

I find it funny that in the scope of digital cameras, vintage seems to be anything that came out pre-2010. In the world of Filofax vintage tends to be the early 1980’s or before, but that’s a whole new discussion!

Having watched several of the videos I started to realise that older cameras can still produce very acceptable images. Even my old Canon EOS20D with only 8MP is still very usable if you take a few precautions. Shooting in RAW, and keeping the ISO speed low. Memory card size isn’t so much of an issue these days, so don’t you have to worry about the file size so much. The Nikon D300 can take a 16 or 32 GB CF card, that gives me plenty of capacity for a weeks worth of photography easily.

With care you can extract some very good quality images from these old cameras. As long as you aren’t zooming in too far on the images or cropping them too much you will still have a very good quality image to use or print.

If you consider what we use our images on these days, Facebook and Instagram or any other social media platform they all tend to be fairly low resolution.

  • Facebook – 1,080 x 1,350 pixels
  • Instagram – 1,350 x 1,080 pixels or 1,080 x 1,080 pixels

If you need a higher mega pixel image then there are lots of software options these days that can boost the image resolution using artificial intelligence to fix issues with picture noise etc.

I tend not to edit my images that much though. I might correct the image for any tilt and may be crop out any distractions. But I don’t spend hours in Lightroom… I don’t even have it! I only use the Photos app built in to the MacOS it is good enough for what I need.

On a similar theme to using old cameras I’m still using a couple of old camera bags too. My Lowepro Orion AW shoulder bag/backpack and an even older Lowepro Mini Treker. The elastic parts have been replaced in recent years, but other than that both bags are still giving great service.

Will I be investing in a new camera any time soon…. at the moment it looks unlikely!

Always expect the unexpected – Filofax

Did you ever own a Filofax or other personal organiser?
Do you still own one?

Contrary (perhaps) to popular belief, it’s still going as an effective time management and even life management tool. A super-enthusiastic community worldwide is extremely active and knowledgeable.

You may also ask how I and this blog about Romans and thrillers are connected to Filofaxes. Well, this brand new A-Z guide, available for pre-order today, was written, compiled and sweated over by my husband, Steve Morton, and published through my imprint, Pulcheria Press.

Available now for pre-order:
Ebook: Kindle (Amazon worldwide)    Apple    Kobo    B&N Nook
Paperback: Amazon UK   Amazon US    Barnes & Noble
Book Depository   Waterstones
(Publication date 3 January 2022)

Who is Steve?
Although he bought his first Filofax organiser in 1986, Steve moved to an electronic organiser in the 1990s. A change of job in 2005 where he worked in a high security environment prompted his return to a Filofax.

He has used one daily ever since.

Now retired from being a radio and electronics engineer, Steve now devotes his time to the Philofaxy blog website and the planner community.

Quirky fact: he featured in the highly acclaimed The Dull Men of Great Britain book published in 2019 by Random House due to his Filofax dedication.

Since 2016 Steve co-hosts a podcast, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Plannerverse, devoted to making better use of planners.

So, what could this book do for you?

Filofax is the great survivor turned indispensable cult.

  • But how do you choose the size and the inserts from so many on offer?
  • How do you select the design to work best for you?
  • How does your Filofax fit into and enhance your life?

Whether you’re thinking of getting your first Filofax organiser, have just bought it or are a long-term user, this guide will help you get the best out of it, from the basics to the clever stuff.

  • Easy A-Z format
  • In-depth review of different designs (and their quirks!)
  • Secret features users might not suspect exist
  • Timeline of Filofax’s history through the last 100 years
  • Introduction to other leading manufacturers of organisers (Gillio, Van Der Speck)

Several years of pain, fun and experience are brought together in one book which will suit both new and established users.


Connect with Steve and the community
Philofaxy blog: https://philofaxy.blogspot.com

The Philofaxy public page: www.facebook.com/Philofaxy/ 
Steve’s Philofaxy page: www.facebook.com/MrPhilofaxy/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/MrPhilofaxy/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philofaxy


I’m very proud to be able to place my editing, formatting and publishing skills, experience and contacts behind this great reference book. I know Steve is my life partner and has been for over 35 years(!), but I think this guide is not only useful in a practical sense, but also an extremely accessible guide to take you through the world of personal organisers.

Here’s where you can pre-order it now:

Ebook: Kindle (Amazon stores worldwide)    Apple    Kobo    B&N Nook
Paperback: Amazon UK   Amazon US   Barnes &Noble  Book Depository


fILE OF fACTS: A Comprehensive A-Z Reference for Everything fILOFAX
Publication by Pulcheria Press 3 January 2022
Ebook: ISBN 9791097310332
Paperback: ISBN 9791097310325


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. Double Pursuit, the sequel, is now out!

Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

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