Expired Ektachrome E100VS in the Pentax 654Nii

By the numbers

I always start with the statistics. The year ended with 6,698 photos added to my catalog, or about 13% fewer than 2018. This may be from more aggressively deleting mediocre photos, but it's probably also because of life with a toddler. I've noticed that more clearly than before, my photos fall neatly into one of three categories: family photos, event photos, or project photos (a.k.a. dumpsters and driveways).

Of those 6,698 photos, 77% were digital. Opening up just the digital photos, 14% I shot using the Pentax 645D, 3% with a Fujifilm X-E1, but the bulk was dominated by 83% with a Fujifilm X-T3. Digging into the Fujifilm numbers in specific, my most commonly used lenses were the XF 23mm f/1.4 with 31%, the XF 90mm f/2 with 22%, the XF 35mm f/1.4 with 16%, and the XF 18mm f/2 with 12%. The XF 50mm f/2, which is a fantastic lens, I only used for 7% of the photos, and the XF 16mm f/1.4 which I claim to love, I barely touched, shooting only 2% of the photos with it.

Peaking under the hood of my Pentax medium format digital numbers, 43% of the photos I shot on the standard 55mm f/2.8 lens, 28% with the standard zoom 45-85mm f/4.5, 4% with the 200mm f/4 telephoto, and the rest with older non-data lenses.

With film, the statistics are less indicative and more difficult to calculate, but apart from dabbling with some one-off cameras here and there, I largely stuck to my old favorites. I gave the Leica M3 some use (385 frames), kept the Pentax 645Nii in heavy rotation (406 frames), got the Hasselblad 500C/M out of the house a few times (203 frames), and relied on the Nikon F80 for its reliability (254 frames).

Expired Sensia 200 using the Nikon F80

Gear

As far as buying and selling goes, 2019 was quiet for me, relatively speaking. At the beginning of the year it's true, I got my hands on a Pentax 645D, which is no light purchase, but I've always thought of it more as a long-term rental, and plan on selling it soon. I also added the much more affordable Nikon F80 with 50mm f/1.8D lens to my arsenal, with a more permanent mindset. I haven't yet written up a full opinion on either, but I am planning to. My "main" Fujifilm setup remained the same, except the end-of-year addition of the XF 100-400mm behemoth. And lastly, just before the year ended I snuck in a pinhole RealitySoSubtle 6x17 camera.

RealitySoSubtle Pinhole photo on expired Portra 400NC

Also in 2019, I played with and was unimpressed (or at least not impressed enough to want to reuse) a Yashica Electro, Fujica Half, Lomography Sprocket Rocket, Konica Big Mini, Pentax Zoom90-WR, and a broken Nikon N75. The sum of my disappointment in those was the reason for the Nikon F80 – the search for a reliable, simple, automatic 35mm film camera.

That's now the essence of my gear list: without consciously intending to, I've now a reliable and simple camera in each category of automatic and manual, 35mm and 120 film, and digital.

Stupid gear photo

Presentation

There's two big and related things that in 2019 I began putting more effort into, and recommend others do as well, but that don't make for good blog articles: visiting photography exhibits at museums and studying photo collection books from photographers you admire. As a consequence of that, I've put more thought into how I personally present my own photos. I'm finishing up a long project of rebuilding my photo websites (including moving this blog to its own domain name!), pushing my personal photos to my personal website, presenting my dumpsters-and-driveways series in the best way possible, and keeping the content on this blog focused.

Industry

The biggest highlight in the hobbyist photography industry was Lomography's introduction of a new film stock: Metropolis. It's a negative film which intentionally mutes bright colors and has a cool color balance. But new film??? In 2019??? That's incredible, even if it is Lomography.

New Lomography Metropolis in action, using the Nikon F80

Fujifilm released the X-Pro3, the newest version of their rangefinder-styled top-tier camera. I've held myself away; the launch price is hefty, and I was never enamored with the X-Pro2. The design hides the rear viewfinder, replacing it with a film emulation display. This interests me, gimmick that it is.

For lenses Fujifilm seems to be concentrating on fleshing out the high-end and low-end parts of their line, ignoring the mid-tier stuff I favor. They've also sidestepped creating a "version II" of any lens on their line, a strategy that I'm suspicious is nearing its end.

Hasselblad showed off some neat videos announcing the "CFV II 50C", a digital back which mounts to a V-system camera like the one I have. It's 50 megapixels with 14 stops of dynamic range in what looks to be a 3:4 image ratio (a failure not making it square-frame) on a sensor significantly smaller than the 56mm square of film run through the camera. No price has been announced, but what I'd pay for a true 56mm square sensor is far more than I'd pay for what they've announced so far.

Beyond these, as far as I'm concerned, in the photo industry nothing much happened. Minor iterations to systems I'm not using don't spark interest, and a shrinking market is taking its toll.

Photos

And here's some more pictures.