Last week I posted about my "new" Olympus C-3000 from 2001 and how I was going to take it out and see how it worked in a street photography environment. Well, yesterday was the day to test it out and here is the report (with some images).
Street Photography In Atlanta's Piedmont Park
Pam and I met up with a few members of a local street photography group at 4PM in Atlanta's Piedmont Park, which is a major public park in the midtown area of the city. It was a crisp Fall day with clear skies and sun. A fair amount of people were out and about in the park so there was plenty of things to photograph. In addition to the C-3000 I brought my Canon Powershot S95, which is a nice point-and-shoot camera with RAW file capabilities. I was intent on shooting the C-3000 in the Tiff mode to get the best possible image quality. The theme for the shoot was "framing" so I was tasked with trying to use the things around the park to frame the subjects. A nice challenge but a tough one as well since the Park is fairly open.
We all headed off to see what we could capture in the hour or so before the sun went down. That's when the pros & cons of using a 14-year old digital camera became evident. I'll start with the cons and then finish with the positives and a few images:
Downsides Of The C-3000 For Street Photography
- The camera is SLOW, especially in Tif mode. How slow, you ask? How about nearly 30 seconds between shots while the camera writes the Tif image to the card. Want to review a tif file?, wait another 30 seconds. The camera is substantially faster in jpeg (but still slow), about 6 seconds. I had forgotten how much time it took between shots but the camera quickly reminded me :-)
- 64mb memory cards are terrible for tif's. Back in 2001 64mb/card was enough memory, especially for shooting low res jpeg's. I can get 35 images on SHQ mode, 84 in HQ and 199 in SQ1 mode. In tif mode, however, I get 6 images per card. Back in 2001 I shot in HQ mode and had multiple cards with me. At the time a 64mb card was equivalent to about a 36 exposure roll of film in SHQ mode. Once again we are so spoiled with today's cameras with their multiple gig memory cards.
- The camera sucks up battery juice like Niagra Falls, especially in Tif mode. I got a grand total of 11 images on my set of rechargeable AA batteries. All that time writing the tif files to the Smartmedia card impacted the battery life to a huge degree. Jpeg files gave me quite a bit more but not nearly as many as a modern-day digital camera provides. Once again I forgot the fact that back in 2001 when I used the camera I routinely carried 3 sets of batteries with me for just 1 day of moderate shooting.
That's it for the cons. Basically the c-3000 is a super-slow camera with very limited memory cards and a penchant for sucking batteries dry in the blink of an eye. Now for the advantages:
The Good Side Of The C-3000
- It's fun to use. Maybe it's just me but even with all it's flaws, the Olympus C-3000 was fun to use. It brought back memories and made me realize how lucky we all are to have such advanced cameras today. The C-3000 is quirky and slow, especially if you want to capture in the highest quality format, but it is fun.
- Image quality is pretty good. The camera has a good quality lens on it so if the exposure/focus, etc. is good the image should be fine. Grranted 3.3 megapixels isn't a lot to work with but I've printed a couple of photos up to 8x10 size with acceptable quality. Colors are nice as well.
Sample Images From Piedmont Park
Here are five images from yesterday. In 4 out of the 5 I tried to apply the "framing" challenge to the images. The other one was just an interesting shot with some colors in it that I liked. Without further ado, here they are with a bit of commentary after each image:
This was the first shot of the day and maybe my "best". I wanted to catch people walking along the path as they passed through the framing of a trash barrel and recycle bin that had about a 1-foot gap betweeen them. I felt a little self-conscious as I knelt behind these waiting for someone to walk by. I noticed a man and his dog coming down the path and fortunately, despite the slow auto-focus of the C-3000 I managed to capture them almost in the middle of my "frame". If you notice the Dog's back foot is lifted while the Man's front foot is lifted. That was pure luck but I like this image because of the little bit of symmetry in it. I also like the fact that the guy is texting on his phone. That adds a little to the image I think.
This image was taken behind the split in a tree's branches. I wanted to frame the men on the bench. It came out OK
These two women were sitting on a bench enjoying the nice day and reading their books. There's some framing if you consider the two trees as a frame. My goal was to get them centered between the two trees and make the photograph without them noticing me. I succeeded, though just barely. Right after I pressed the shutter button the woman on the right looked up, saw me and immediately got up and walked away.
This sset of steps in the park was a popular place for runners to go up and down. This particular gentleman was running up and down the stairs, doing multiple sets. I decided to frame him by using the railings and wall.
The bright pink color on this lady's boots and little bit of shirt caught my eye as we were walking back to meet up with the rest of our group at the end of the shoot. About all the framing I did was to try and get the two of them in line with the other three people walking towards me. I also wanted to get the little cement curb lined up with the lower right corner of the frame to serve as a leading line....Almost.
Overall I enjoyed using my vintage Olympus C-3000 to practice my limited street photography skills. While the camera is very slow by today's standards, it makes decent images for what it is. Will I continue to use it? Yes. Will it replace any of my other cameras?...Never. It's fun to use but any of my film cameras are actually faster to use compared to the C-3000. Bottom line is that this vintage digital camera was very good in it's day but very outdated today. I'll still use it from time to time but only as a secondary camera.
I do plan on devoting some time in the upcoming year to improving my people/street photography skills so stay tuned for updates on that front.