Jen Allan Photography

Me and my photography

I started to have an interest in photography more years ago that I would care to tell you! After playing around with simple cameras, I eventually progressed to a Praktica Nova 1B SLR and learned the hard way about exposure and focusing. From there I moved up to an Olympus OM1 and then to an OM2N. I enjoyed many happy hours in the darkroom, although could only ever do black and white printing, on cost grounds.


In 1985 I got my first auto-focus camera, a Minolta Dynax 7000i followed by an 8000i. In the early nineties I bought my late father a Canon EOS 1000F because he was having trouble with his eyesight, which then meant my husband wanted a similar camera. Eventually, we decided it was crazy buying both Minolta and Canon lenses so I jumped ship and went with Canon, buying an EOS 100 - a decision I have never since regretted.


I took my first steps into the digital world in 1998; initially I had an Epson 850Z which was quite a nice camera. I remember the cost of a 16Mb card at that time being £146, I still have the receipt! I got frustrated because I wanted to be able to control things better, having been used to 35mm photography. No way could I justify the cost of a DSLR at that time, so I got a Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS in 2001. This was a great improvement with 10x optical zoom. Problem was that the lens reacted at 70mm focal length setting like a ........ 70mm lens, although on the Pro 90 it had the equivalent angle of view of 370mm lens. Rather like the 1.6x 'crop factor' on DSLRs.


I started off with a Canon EOS D60 in December 2002, and upgraded regularly after that. I eventually got an EOS 1Ds Mk III in December 2007, which gave me back the familiar lens characteristics of 35mm photography. Because of a traffic accident in April 2009,  I had to sell the 1Ds Mk III as it was not possible for me to handle it properly - at least not for the foreseeable future. I then bought a 5D Mk II and a 7D as my cropped sensor body. There is a place for both formats - they just suit different situations in my opinion. My husband had a 5D Mk II which he likes a lot, and a 60D which is a good crop sensor camera.  For some strange reason I never forgave my 5D Mk II for not being a IDs Mk III, so bought the 60D for my husband to replace his 30D. I have now managed to get my hands on a 6D and grip, so I have a full frame body once more!


I also have a Canon Powershot SX 1 IS which I will not part with, even though a few other compact/bridge models have been sold. Two Fujifilm models have appeared in my bag, with the EXR sensors they are very impressive and would love to have one of their CSC models.  My prized possession is a beautiful Fuji X100T, and I also have an  X-S 1. My old F70 EXR is just fine for always having with you, and eBay photography.


I sometimes missed having a film body so I picked up a beautiful EOS3 with battery grip on eBay, and I love it. The next addition was an EOS 33V, which is very similar in design to the DSLRs. I still like to shoot some film, but sometimes wonder why I can't check the image on an LCD screen after taking it  and not many women I know have a table-top fridge in their kitchen full of film!


I started to regress to my younger days, and accumulated some very nice Olympus film bodies and lenses, before my accident.  I am hoping to do a lot more film photography in the future; people ask me 'why', I always reply 'because I CAN'. I still hope to be able to do more work with film, at some point, but my current situation does not leave a lot of time available to do this.


As an extension of my roots in black and white photography, I branched out into infrared. Before my accident I bought an EOS 30D which had been converted for infrared, which nicely gets rid of the problems associated with R72 filters. I replaced that one with a converted EOS 500D, so will probably stop at that for DSLRs. I have bought a couple of older digital models which work really well with infrared light, unlike the new ones. I believe it is connected with the modern coatings which are used on lenses these days. The two I have both date from around 2001/2; Nikon Coolpix 950 and Olympus C2020Z.  Having recently bought a Canon Powershot A2200 with a 590nm filter fitted, and had my G9 converted to full spectrum I have plenty of options for 'alternative' imaging. Not content with that, I have a Panasonic Lumix TZ30 which I bought on eBay, used, and had that converted by KolariVision in the USA to full spectrum with a fitted 52mm step ring to allow use of filters. It can be used as a colour image camera by adding a 'hot mirror' filter. These are made by Tiffen and the B+W one is 486 UV/IR Cut. To be honest, the KolariVision one is MUCH better than either of those!


If you are really interested, equipment list is here