What’s in my camera bag? Part 3: Canon Powershot A590IS

The next item I’ll be going into depth on is my digital camera, the very compact Canon Powershot A590IS. I much prefer shooting analogue photos, particularly 120 film, but there are times a digital camera is the more appropriate choice. Some of the more obvious benefits of going digital include: quickly, cheaply, and easily accessing, sharing, and printing photos (one roll of Ilford 120 film costs me around £4, or slightly less if bought in bulk, and cost a further £15 each to have developed and printed… which, needing to be taken to a specialist, takes over a week); the ability to take many photos in quick succession and delete them at will when/if one runs out of memory (my analogue camera is currently set up with a frame that allows 12 photos per roll); and being able to change settings such as ISO at the touch of a button (unlike analogue rolls, which determine ISO, and thus must be changed for a different visual effect).

Whilst many would argue that the digital camera has made the analogue options redundant, but I couldn’t disagree more. I grew up regularly visiting my local Tate Modern, and the Guggenheim and MACBA when visiting my Spanish family each summer (amongst many other local and international modern and contemporary art institutions), so it is perhaps natural that I gravitate towards the abstract over the precise, the emotive over the technical, and spontaneity over calculation, something clearly reflected in my tastes in photography; I love light leaks, natural soft focus, motion blur, and other “unwanted” inclusions that occur naturally, particularly with the more primitive box-cameras, but more on this when I come to cover my beloved Diana.

No photographers’ work has ever captured my attention more than that of the Japanese Provoke artists – Daidō Moriyama being my favourite photographer of all time – and so it seems only fitting that, an unconscious homage of sorts, I too should take the first camera I was given and stick to it.

I got it as a gift, but when I used it, it was unexpectedly good. Any camera is fine. It is only the means of taking a photo. – Daidō Moriyama

And this first camera was the Canon Powershot A590IS, a gift for my 15th birthday (almost a decade ago), chosen by my mother (a very good photographer herself, and undoubtedly her wonderful choice is also partially to thank for my never having felt the need to change camera), and with which all my digital photographs have been taken since. It’s joined me on all of my travels, both national and intercontinental, and as practical as it is – being a compact camera – comes wherever my analogue camera goes too.

It has absolutely everything I could possibly need: a viewfinder (though I sometimes also take “no-finder” shots) and control over the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The camera is “only” 8 megapixels, though pixel size says very little about an image’s quality (for all you mobile-phone photographers out there), but takes great photos without the need for any photo editing or manipulation, something very important to me. After all, every minute spent learning and using photoshop and similar packages are a million moments I won’t capture, so I much prefer spending that time roaming, camera in hand:

Time past is expunged in favour of a permanent present. The PROVOKE photographers viewed the act of pressing the shutter as affirmation of their ‘own immediate reality, and no one else’s’. – Kazuo Nishii

Anyway, if a picture is worth a thousand words, let me leave you with two thousand of my own:

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Nami (2017).

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Iceland (2011).

 

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What’s in my camera bag? Part 1: Overview

Like many people, I like to carry a bag with me almost everywhere I go. Beyond being pretty handy for carrying reading materials on long train journeys, a raincoat (oh the joys of living in Blighty), or stowing away purchases while out shopping, my favourite rucksack (with its well hidden laptop slip, very large central compartment, and two outer pockets) also lets me carry my entire photography kit with me wherever I go.


Left to right: 2011 MacBook Pro (still going strong!), Canon Powershot A590 IS, “Explorer Nocturne” Diana F+ (1 of a Lomography special edition run of 1000) and flash with colour filters, mini telescopic tripod with phone and action cam mounts, notebook (by Muji; for camera settings and photo locations, dates, and times), Akaso EK7000, iPhone 6s, chest mount harness (with action camera, mobile phone, and camera tripod head screw options; action camera mount pictured).

I am sure many will be quick to notice the absence of a (D)SLR (often so bulky that one can easily occupy a similar amount of bag-space to my entire current kit combined): an absence that is not just practicality- or financially-motivated, but also personal choice formed over a decade of photography, but more on that later. Whilst some items (the notebook, tripod, and mounts) need little introduction and even less discussion (though the value of a notebook, particularly for analogue photography, should never be underestimated), over the course of the coming post series I will be going into depth on each part of my kit and how I like to use them, illustrated with examples of my work.

 


Apple iPhone 6s – Nami (with adjustments using Apple’s in-house editing tools).

 

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Canon A590 IS – Nami (no post-processing).

 

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Diana F+ – Nami (400 ISO colour-negative 120 film with blue flash, no post-processing).

 

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Akaso EK7000 – Gloria (no post-processing). I very rarely use the photo mode on this camera due to its fish-eye lens, the lack of any kind of zoom, and the very limited camera settings, but it does step up to the plate in dirty, sandy, and wet environments (the worst enemies of a typical photo camera).

 

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