Decopix Art Deco Gift Guide

Disclaimer: Apparently it’s a legal requirement to explain that the items in this post are accompanied by referral links. When you click on a link and decide to buy something, Decopix gets a small commission.

You pay the same price regardless. But if you start your internet “journey” by clicking a link you found on Decopix, you’re supporting my efforts to bring you photos and posts on the world’s Art Deco buildings. I really appreciate it, thanks!

Books (below)

Camera gear for photographing Art Deco buildings – Recommendations

DVDs

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”9627872016″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51i%2BYbKzgxL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”112″] A Last Look. For many years, the standard (and only) book on Shanghai Art Deco. If you’re planning on coming to the 2015 World Congress on Art Deco, here’s a sneak preview.

FYI, the same authors, Tess Johnston and Deke Ergh have produced a “deluxe” volume, Shanghai Art Deco but it seems to be currently out of print. Incidentally, both these books are self-published in small quantities by Old China Hand Press and every OCHP book I’ve bought has ended up being worth more than I paid for it.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0967612535″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FLOtERvDL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”122″]Cincinnati Union Terminal. Recently saved by a tax measure to pay for repairs, this is the story of the greatest Art Deco railroad terminal in the world, now enjoying new life as the Cincinnati Museum Center. Over 250 vintage photos, excellently reproduced, a few in color. Highly recommended.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1874181551″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519YPl7c2oL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”126″]The Midland Hotel. Many people will be familiar with the Midland Hotel from it’s appearance in Poirot but the real life story of the hotel’s rescue and restoration are interesting as well.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1922175471″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GEr6-Ou5L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”128″]Melbourne Art Deco. A beautiful and thorough study of Art Deco by Robin Grow, president of the Art Deco & Modernism Society of Melbourne.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”189044913X” cloaking=”default” height=”131″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513DtWBgFSL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Kesling Modern Structures. The only book on the larger than life Mr. Kesling. Between 1935 & 1937 (when he went to prison) Kesling produced some of the most iconic Streamline Moderne houses in America. Essential reading for anyone interested in southern California streamlined homes.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1568982100″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OoychNiHL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”97″]The Havana Guide. If you’re looking for a coffee table book on Havana there are many and this isn’t one of them. But as a reference to Havana’s architectural heritage, it’s a jewel. There are small black and white photos of hundreds of buildings, with date, architect and even maps(!) Most key Art Deco buildings are covered and there’s even greater coverage of Havana’s abundant 1950s architecture.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0525486046″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XYJ536TVL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”116″]Rediscovering Art Deco USA. Here’s one I worked on and it’s a good overview of a vast subject. I did shoot the cover and most of what’s inside, but not everything.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0883971577″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51K7BiS%2BJeL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”121″]Deco Japan. There isn’t a lot of Art Deco architecture in Japan so it gets only brief discussion in this gorgeous volume which covers every type of object, along with articles on the cultural context in which these items were produced. The section on Cafe Culture and the Modern Girl is particularly interesting.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0912020245″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fiGTThwXL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”134″]Treasure Island. Although long out of print, this one’s favorite of mine. Richard Reinhardt reminisces on visiting the San Francisco World’s Fair of 1939-40. Tons of photos.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0884963519″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51M5ok4FsCL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”128″]Robert Stacy-Judd. This isn’t exactly Art Deco but what category should we put 1930s Mayan architecture in? I think of it as Art Deco meets Raiders of the Lost Ark.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0500280932″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/619dZSRnn7L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”133″]American Art Deco. I did the cover and most of the architecture section in this one. Quite a good book, actually.

 

 

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B000SHNFVQ” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41bI%2BJfLp2L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”107″]Just Around The Corner. The only non-photo book here, Just Around the Corner is a melancholy and frequently hilarious non-fiction account of what it was like to live through the Depression.

 

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0500280207″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51c9ZlxXzLL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”136″]Art Deco Interiors. My good friend Patricia Bayer’s excellent book on the subject.  Highly recommended.

 

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0810919230″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nXCk3XfoL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”116″]Art Deco Architecture. Another outstanding book from Patricia Bayer.

 

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”071482884X” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41A804076SL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”136″]Art Deco Style. A superb book from the man who coined the term Art Deco. I think I have a photo in this one.

 

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”8174364471″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51oU0EaRVgL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”157″]Bombay Art Deco. Any place where the British Empire flourished, you’ll find Art Deco. This well illustrated book shows the enormous variety found in Bombay with lots of color photos. The section comparing Bombay Art Deco with Miami Beach is an interesting take.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0747804648″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hYOKi158L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”113″]The 1930s Home. This small 40-page book takes on the task of putting you in a 1930s home. Furnishings, fixtures and even Bakelite items are shown.

 

 

 

Camera & Photo Recommendations

Digital cameras have never been better and you can expect any camera you purchase to outperform cameras from just 3 or 4 years ago. That said, architectural photography has certain requirements that favor some cameras over others. On the one hand, a good camera for architecture needs lenses that are sharp right into the corners, but on the other hand, fast operation isn’t much of a concern, as it would be for sports, for example. So my recommendations may differ from what you read elsewhere.

The other thing I want to point out is that without exception, cameras with small sensors just don’t capture enough detail to render fine details very well. While very compact and relatively inexpensive, these cameras are being replaced by cell phones which work just about as well. With the above in mind, here are my recommendations.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B007FGYZFI” cloaking=”default” height=”126″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51a0nRQhFzL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon 5d mkIII. This is my main camera. As you would expect for the price, the image quality is excellent. But the real reason for having a “full frame” SLR is the lenses that are available for it. My most used lens is Canon’s superb 24mm TS-EII (below) but before I move on to the lens, one reason I prefer the 5D mkIII over the less expensive but very good Canon 6D is that the 5D mkIII allows bracketing of up to 7 exposures which is very useful for HDR (high dynamic range) photos–when the brightness range of the scene goes way beyond what the camera can capture in a single exposure.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B001TDL2O0″ cloaking=”default” height=”120″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31d9crjSL5L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon 24mm TS-EII lens. For well over 100 years, the tool for architectural photography was the view camera (the thing with the bellows and the cloth over your head.)  The bellows design of the view camera made it possible to “shift” the lens upwards without tilting the entire camera. If you’ve ever pointed your camera up and watched the building appear to lean over backwards, you see the advantage of having a lens that can shift. Shift lenses for modern SLR cameras perform the same function but there there are two catches. First, the amount of shift available is small and second, if you shift the maximum the lens allows, the image quality suffers, which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Long story short, I am both a Canon and Nikon user, but Nikon’s 24mm PC-E lens just isn’t as good as Canon’s 24mm TS-EII. Both companies make great products and in a prefect world I’d be able to put the Canon 24TS-EII on a Nikon body, but looking at the big picture (no pun intended) in this instance, Canon meets more of my needs.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B009B0MZ8U” cloaking=”default” height=”120″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416qY%2BKzHOL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon 6D. I’m not a fan of camera fans, but the Canon 6D really is under-appreciated. With image quality essentially the same as the 5D mkIII, the 6D is smaller, lighter and much less expensive. Of course it uses all the same great lenses. My only reservation is that it won’t shoot a series of seven bracketed exposures, which I frequently need. But 99% of people probably won’t miss this feature, in which case, by all means consider the 6D a very fine choice.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B0076BNKOY” cloaking=”default” height=”126″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XEvG%2BtLlL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS lens. Here, we have a sleeper. The 24mm focal length is about “standard” for architectural photography. Longer focal lengths, say 35mm, just aren’t wide enough for most interiors. But anything shorter (wider) tends to exaggerate perspective and IMO, gives an unrealistic appearance. What makes this 24mm lens unusual is that it has image stabilization. Image stabilization (which Nikon calls “VR” for vibration reduction) makes it possible to take pictures at slower shutter speeds and thus in lower light without a tripod. Conventional wisdom is that since wide angle lenses minimize camera shake (telephoto lenses actually magnify camera movement–think about holding binoculars steady) so image stabilization is not needed in a wide angle lens. I beg to differ. There are any number of situations where light levels are very low and flash is either not allowed or not practical. Sometimes tripods aren’t allowed either. This is where a stabilized wide angle lens shines and why you’ll see several in this list. BTW, the Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS is very sharp, too.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00K8942SO” cloaking=”default” height=”128″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41BwoFK-5yL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon 16-35 f/4L IS lens. By this point, you’re probably thinking I work as an endorser for Canon. Let’s put that to rest. Until recently, Canon’s wide angle zoom lenses for full-frame cameras were stinkers. Not that wide angle zooms are easy to design but Nikon’s 16-35VR was great, while Canon’s 16-35 f/2.8 was fair, and their 17-40 was pretty lousy. All that changed with the new Canon 16-35 f/4L IS. It’s very sharp, even in those critical corners at the 16mm setting, and the image stabilization is icing on the cake. As with all wide angle zooms, it exhibits barrel distortion at one end of the zoom and pincushion distortion at the other but this is fixable with software, making this a near-ideal architectural lens.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B001TDL2OA” cloaking=”default” height=”120″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41sekS-mVVL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon 17mm TS-E lens. Wow. Just wow. For now, the Canon 17mm TS-E is in a class by itself. Not only is it incredibly sharp, it seems to defy the laws of physics. Something I didn’t explain at the top of this section is that for a shift lens to work, it has to output a very large image circle (so, when you shift there’s still an image!) Problem is, wide angle lenses struggle to output an image circle that’s adequate for normal, non-shift use, let alone an oversized image circle. This is one reason why wide angle lenses frequently have unsharp corners. Well my friends, Canon’s 17mm TS-E is not just wide but ultra-wide, has needle sharp corners and if that wasn’t enough, it has almost no flare or chromatic aberration (color fringing.) It is certainly not cheap but it’s something of a miracle. For now, nobody has anything like it at any price.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B004YG7JXW” cloaking=”default” height=”107″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/319Oy9gvGyL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Powerpax. If you know a photographer who uses flash units, chances are they have lots of rechargeable batteries. But what to do with them all, rolling around, potentially damaging their innards when they hit the ground? There are all kinds of boxes and pouches but nothing as slick as Powerpax.  Seemingly unbreakable, Powerpax take almost no space and the batteries snap into place so they can’t fall out. Available for other battery sizes, too. Brilliant.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B000L9OIQ2″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/311S6ew8GWL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”76″]Giotto’s Small Rocket. Every photographer needs an air blower in their camera bag. The small rocket stands on it’s fins so it doesn’t roll around, it’s small enough for most camera bags and heck, it’s the cutest of the dust blowers out there.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00L8CZZQ8″ cloaking=”default” height=”101″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51a0h0Fzz6L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon Rebel T5i kit. As I write this, over Thanksgiving weekend, you can get a Canon Rebel T5i with two Canon lenses, for under $500. If a full-frame camera with exotic lenses is not something you’re interested in, this is an amazing deal that will bring you great quality images at a very fair price.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00LAJQVR6″ cloaking=”default” height=”134″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51keaCQQLfL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Nikon D810. When it comes to capturing detail, Nikon’s D810 has no peers except for medium format cameras which are really expensive. 36 megapixels and compatibility with almost any lens Nikon has ever made. Not much to complain about here, although some users find the D810 files are big enough to require getting a new hard drive or even a new computer. Were it not for Canon’s 17mm TS-E and 24mmTS-E II lenses, I’d be using a D810 right now. Well, right now I’m typing, but you know what I mean.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B0060MVJ1Q” cloaking=”default” height=”127″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nN1N9WQmL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Nikon D750. If the Nikon D810 is more than you need, there’s the new D750. The D750 has “only” 24 megapixels, more than enough for almost anybody. I am seriously eyeing the D750 as a replacement for my D700. The reviews of the D750 have been great and it’s just what Nikon needs following some missteps with the D600 and the Df models. Actually, the Nikon Df is rather nice.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00FOTF8M2″ cloaking=”default” height=”128″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ophhHJA3L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Nikon D610. With all the fuss about the D750, the D610 has almost been ignored but is it an excellent camera and more than enough for almost anybody. For most people, I think the D610 is a terrific buy in a full frame camera. If the D750 fits your budget, even better. But a 24 megapixel, full-frame camera for the price of the D610 is a sweet deal.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B000VDCTCI” cloaking=”default” height=”120″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yrmF4L6iL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Nikon 14-24 f/2.8G ED lens. Truth is, with interchangeable lens cameras, it’s all about the lenses–how many, how good, how expensive. Honestly, all the cameras are great. I’d be more worried about whether the manufacturer will be around in 5 years than concerned about getting a disappointing camera. Like Canon’s 17mm TS-E, Nikon’s 14-24mm is nothing less than a miracle. It’s very wide, it’s a zoom and yet it it equals the quality of the individual wide angle lenses it replaces. Always wanted a 14mm ultra wide? Got it. When 14mm is just too wide, there’s the 17mm-20mm range. Finally, there’s my favorite focal length, 24mm. That’s chocolate, strawberry and vanilla all in one cup and IMO, fairly priced for what it is. The only real negative is that it’s not just a monster optically, it’s a monster, period.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B0037KM0XA” cloaking=”default” height=”136″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41wjOF-NWuL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Nikon 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR II lens. (Hereafter called the Nikon 16-35 as the rest is too long.) Amazing as the Nikon 14-24 is, for some people, including me, 14mm is too short (wide) to see much use. Add the size, weight and cost plus the fact you can’t put filters in front of the 14-24’s huge front element, and the Nikon 16-35 seems like an ideal choice. And it is a great choice for architecture shots. Almost as sharp as the 14-24, much less expensive and the “VR (vibration reduction) saved the day when I was in a museum in Tokyo that did not allow flash. It’s a bit large and you’ll need to correct the distortion using software, but other than that, I highly recommend this lens.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00HQ4W1QE” cloaking=”default” height=”126″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41f0l9CPtDL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Nikon D3300. The Nikon D3300 is one of a new but growing group of digital cameras that don’t have an anti-aliasing filter. A paradox that Nikon’s less expensive cameras do have AA filters, so you are paying more to have something left out. Without going into too much detail, the pixel receptors in digital cameras are arranged in a grid, like a piece of graph paper. Under some circumstances, if you photograph a fine, repeating pattern like a window screen you can get moire, an optical artifact. How often does this happen? For most people, seldom or never. But the only way to be 100% sure moire will never occur is to slightly blur the image before it reaches the camera sensor. Yes, I said blur. The effect is slight, but blur is blur–not the reason you bought a fancy camera!  The D3300 does away with the AA filter making for sharper images. It’s not a full-frame camera but with 24 megapixels and no AA filter, it’s the next best thing and a heck of a lot cheaper.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B0039ZBEBM” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412kLK6cgYL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]ThinkTank Retrospective 10 Camera Bag. Last time I was in Mexico City, I saw a tourist with a Canon 5D2, red and blue strap marked “CANON” and a matching bag marked…Canon. This human billboard is great news for Canon, but when I hear about crime affecting tourists, I wonder if this is such a smart idea. Enter ThinkTank bags. Very light, very strong and inconspicuous. Of course at some point you’ll have to take your camera out of the bag, so this subterfuge only goes so far.  But even something as simple as getting your camera out is simple with a ThinkTank bag. The closure is just Velcro. Very strong, very fast. Not as secure as a bank vault but if somebody tries pull your ThinkTank bag open, you’ll know. The bags do have the option of folding the Velcro over on itself, making the bag silent. My ThinkTank Retro 10 easily holds my Canon 5d Mk III with four lenses (17TS, 24TS, 40, 70-200/4). And there’s room for more if my back can take it. I almost forgot, the bags have wonderfully comfortable shoulder pads too, something often overlooked by other brands.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B004XYZI0Q” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LSJsYkCHL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]ThinkTank Retrospective 5 Camera Bag. The Retro 5 is just the thing for a small mirrorless camera system. Or, if you have one of those “prosumer” pocket cameras that doesn’t fit in a pocket, put it in the Retrospective 5 and use the rest of the space for keys, phone, water, lunch, etc. Typical incredibly sturdy ThinkTank construction. Overbuilt, really, for a bag this size.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B009YYFO0E” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41grvq2XXmL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]ThinkTank CityWalker 20 Camera Bag. Wow. Even lighter than the Retrospective camera bags, the CityWalkers conform to your body and feel almost like a pillow. Depending on how much you are carrying, this might be a heavy pillow but comfy nontheless. The secret is the outer bag is like a strong nylon pillowcase but the inside has a rigid “cradle” with adjustable dividers to protect your gear. This inner part is completely removable. What is this good for, you ask? I was in Tokyo and the hotel wanted $60 to wash two pairs of jeans. The laundromat was a 8 blocks away. I removed the camera gear and the divider section and used the CityWalker as a shoulder/laundry bag. Incidentally, despite the very light weight, ThinkTank’s CityWalker bags have the same heavy-duty straps and shoulder pads as the Retrospectives.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B009YYFM9M” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41iTNrpHAKL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]ThinkTank CityWalker 10 Camera Bag. The CityWalker 10 is just a little bit smaller than the 20 so for most uses I’d say get the 20. But I wanted a second CityWalker and figured with two identical bags I wouldn’t know what was in each bag.  So I use the CityWalker 20 for my Nikon D700 stuff and I use the CityWalker 10  for my Canon EOS-M outfit.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00K7O2DJU” cloaking=”default” height=”128″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41%2By%2BABpwML._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Sony DSC-RX100M III. The technology in this Sony is amazing. It almost fits in a pocket and it takes pictures almost as good as a (much larger) entry level SLR. This is obviously what a lot of people want and the RX100 series has been a runaway success. Since this is not an inexpensive camera, here’s how I think you should look at it. If you’ve been using a typical point and shoot camera (they have very small sensors and yes, it matters) the RX100 III will give you a big jump in image quality without too much of an increase in size and weight. You’ll never look back, and no cell phone camera will come close. On the other hand…if you’re currently using, or thinking of buying an SLR with, say, 16 or 18 megapixels, the RX100 will come pretty close but it won’t match the SLR. Given that there are SLR package deals with 2 lenses for $500-600, you’re paying a premium for the Sony’s compactness. But if the Sony is as big as you’re prepared to go, the RX100 sets a new standard for cameras this size. They’ve even managed to squeeze in a viewfinder so you don’t have to stare at LCD screen on the back. It’s a nice looking camera too, if that matters.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00I58M1VK” cloaking=”default” height=”107″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41-pxF-VpDL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Canon G1X mkII. I know, another Canon recommendation. Well, show me a Nikon compact with a sensor the size of the G1X and I’m sure it will be great. In fact, that’s a good way to start this recommendation. For the type of photography I do, the original G1X was a revelation. The sensor was nearly the size of the APS sensors used in SLR cameras and not surprisingly, the results were impressive. Like the G1X mk1, the sensor in the G1X mkII is larger than the sensor in the Sony above and IMO the Canon’s image quality is still superior. Technology is great but size matters. As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, to me, image quality is the bottom line and I will live with almost anything if the result is a better image. The G1X mkII is an excellent picture taker. It is bigger and heavier than the Sony and the interface is not as refined. Despite being larger, the G1X does not have a built-in viewfinder like the Sony but it’s got a great lens and there’s that larger sensor. It’s a close call but if you’re going to spend this much, I’d urge you to shoot both cameras, see how they feel in your hands and examine the results from each.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B002HZJ1T2″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/316aC3t%2BneL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”70″]Zeikos ZE-TR5A Flexible Tripod (or similar). Even with an image-stabilized lens or camera, there will be times when you have to use a tripod. These tiny flexible leg tripods are sold under a variety of names and they can be surprisingly useful with small cameras. For example, you can bend the legs so the tripod will sit on a bannister.  With a conventional table tripod, the legs will spread out too far. Note that the version shown here does not come with a head. That’s intentional, as the built-in ball heads are crappy. I suggest a nice Manfrotto ball head, below.

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00009R6ME” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Q8S5BNYRL._SL160_.gif” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”132″]Manfrotto 482 Ball Head. Yes, there are cheaper Chinese ball heads but the ones as small as this Manfrotto tend to slip, bind or both. This is the least expensive small ball I’ve found that’s decent.

 

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00BOZ1XOM” cloaking=”default” height=”105″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yLNwtCZ4L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Nikon Coolpix A. Here’s an intriguing choice for a small archtiectural camera. With it’s large sensor and fixed focal length lens the Coolpix A produces fabulous images. Not having a zoom results in better lens performance and a more compact camera. If you can live with a fixed, 28mm wide angle lens, the Coolpix A is a blast. The price has recently come down, too.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00CGY4N7Y” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51N4BfD5aOL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”160″]Ricoh GR. Ricoh has been making beatiful, pro-quality compact cameras for years now and like the Coolpix A, the Ricoh GR is a terrific fixed focal length wide angle camera. If anything, the Ricoh’s image quality beats the Coolpix A but both are fantastic. The Ricoh’s interface is renown for it’s ease of use. As with the Coolpix, if you can live with a non-zoom lens that’s wide angle at all times, you won’t be disappointed. Oh, to be the unlucky person who has to choose between the Coolpix A and Ricoh GR.

 

DVD Recommendations

DVDs are difficult because some of the most amazing Art Deco sets are in movies that are less than amazing. Consequently, I often recommend movies that are close enough to the period that I think Decopix visitors will enjoy them anyway.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00BX49BAC” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514nM0r230L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”129″]Things To Come (1936). The film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ tale of mankind making the same mistakes over and over. Wells predicted a second world war (check) followed by a complete breakdown of society (true or false, your call.) Finally, a peaceful modern world through the application of science and Art Deco styling. Even today, the monumental Streamline Moderne sets are staggering!

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B002OQZEJU” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hDotiKe8L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”111″]Streamline Express (1935). A funny romance, with a little danger on a streamlined train.

 

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B002UKIJVA” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515ei46uaYL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”112″]Deco Double Feature, Transatlantic Tunnel & Non-Stop New York. Transatlantic Tunnel has it’s moments but the Deco styling is the real star. Non-Stop New York is much more fun. A young woman needs to get to New York ASAP, taking a streamlined airliner. I think these are in the public domain so don’t expect pristine quality.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00DOF9N42″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zKO1tJpaL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”107″]Farewell My Lovely (1975). The story is they thought Robert Mitchum was too old to play Phillip Marlowe. Ha! The only Art Deo scenes are at the end, on the Queen Mary but this is one of the great retro-noirs. Beautiful melancholy score by David Shire.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B000M2E3GI” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hF6GbS4NL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”112″]The Naked City (1948). There isn’t much Art Deco in The Naked City but it’s one of the great police procedurals, ever. Filmed on the streets of the city, Naked City is even richer now with views of real coffee shops, drug stores, night clubs and of course, the subway.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00HJRVWM2″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jU7f%2BMRVL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”131″]The Two Jakes. Even if you don’t like The Two Jakes you can get it as a double-feature with Chinatown. Where most people go wrong with The Two Jakes is trying to figure out the plot. That’s a high hurdle without several viewings, but the sets, the actors and most of all, the mood is a perfect 1940s Los Angeles.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B004DK8UVE” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61tQhZ88I1L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”113″]Madam Satan. If you want Art Deco here’s an extravaganza here it is. Haven’t seen it in a while but it’s hard to forget people arriving at a party by Zeppelin.

 

 

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00782O7IY” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kx4mWwghL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”decopix-20″ width=”112″]The Artist. This modern-day silent movie is charming. It does have Art Deco sets but the story, about a silent movie actor who finds himself no longer wanted in talkies is really well done. Some unfamiliar actors but John Goodman is the studio boss.

 

 

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