Ali Naqvi’s Photography Re-Initiation

A friendly phone chat with a Brit In Bermuda prompted me to write an article about my recent interest in photography and what gear I have accumulated in the last year or so. I have had little to no time to update my blog in the past year so apologies for anyone out there who has been waiting. Noticed a very old article still waiting to be published today, so did that as soon as I logged on. That’s how long its been. Anyway, since I have not mentioned photography at all up till now I will do my first post to cover how I got interested and what gear I currently own. I will then follow up with some cool photos that I have been able to capture so far.

I bought my first conventional SLR in 1999. It was a Nikon something something with a kit lens. I thought it was quite cool and I loved ruining almost all of my ISO 200 films on it. It was eating into my expenses heavily so had to take it easy. I used it off and on and brought it with me to London.

I used this camera a few times in London and burned into about 20 films before I got bored and stuck to cheapo digital point and shoots, the last one being a Panasonic LX3 Leica 24-55mm f/2.0 lens. Now, the LX3 wasn’t a bad camera at all but I just wanted to get back into those lovely out of focus background shots like this one I took of my wife in 2007 with the Nikon SLR.  Not the sharpest of shots, but I didn’t really care back then.

Samra Ali Naqvi at Hyde Park in 2007
Bokeh on this shot was ok, f/5.6 me thinks, not great but I didn’t know what bokeh was back then… click for full size

Watching my mates jumping onto the DSLR bandwagon one by one, I decided to try my hand on something that would be a DSLR-esque compact, unique camera with lots of good reviews and a healthy user community. After spending hours on end and much research on sites like DPReview, I purchased the Sony NEX-5N with a kit lens arrangement in late 2011. This camera is certainly a slick little number and has been pivotal in my sudden re-initiation and love for photography. I have discovered that legacy lenses still matter and that manual focus is so much more fun. Here is a shot of all the gear I accumalated with the Sony NEX 5N with some lenses from the 50s and the 60s.

Sony NEX5N with legacy lenses and other accessories
Sony NEX5N with legacy lenses and other accessories


I started buying lenses and accessories and adapters left right and centre, enjoyed it thoroughly, but it was short lived. I discovered (too much forum reading) that I need something better, something worthy of being called a DSLR. I started considering Canons and Nikons again. Looked at all their APS-C range but was drawn to full frame and went for the top of the line in the enthusiast category at the time and splashed out on a brand new Canon 5D Mark II in Jan 2012.

Canon 5d Mark II
Canon 5d Mark II

Its been a few months since I got this and have been buying accessories and lenses to compliment the impulse purchase. Here is a list of all the kit I have right now:

  • Canon 5D Mark II with 24-105mm L USM Kit lens
  • Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime
  • Canon 15mm f/2.8 ultra wide fisheye
  • Contax Carl Zeiss Distagon 28mm f/2.8
  • Contax Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.7
  • Contax Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonar 35-70mm f/3.4
  • Olympus OM 50mm f/1.4 MIJ
  • Minolta Rokkor-X PG 58mm f/1.2
  • Canon 430EX II Speedlite
  • Yongnuo 603C wireless triggers
  • B-Grip, hand grip, tripod adapter
  • RedSnapper RS-283 Tripod & RHS-12 Ball Head
  • Targus Monopod
  • Edelkrone Pocket Rig
  • All lenses with B&W MRC UV filters
  • A whole lotta various accessories
  • Kata 3N1 22 DSLR bag

I am still learning how to use this puppy and discovering new things almost every day. For instance, I can install a custom firmware on the 5D to literally explode the movie making abilities of the camera. Check Magic Lantern and you will see what I mean. I now also want to calibrate all my lenses with the camera using Reikan Focal. So much to do, if only I could find the time.

With all this fancy gear, I have realised I am lusting after equipment more than I should be and should really be concentrating on things like composition, lighting, shapes, generally the art of photography (someone stop me). I have already been accused of being a pixel peeper and a gear junkie in a few forums. I am happy to admit that I am but I guess a little bit of pixel peeping doesn’t hurt. Currently I am happy with only about 1% of all the photographs I have shot so far. Thats an awfully low number and I am hoping to improve on this. If only someone can slap some sense into me so I can stop running after the best most recent gear and concentrate on real photography. Anyone?

I am looking for a catchy moniker to put on my photos as a watermark. Any ideas?

Here’s one I came up with:


Some of the better pictures that I have taken will be coming up in subsequent posts. Watch this space.