Daily Inspiration #343 by Vinh Tran

Hi Steve,

I’m a late starter in photography. Only 2 years ago that I have my first ever real camera – the Yashica 35 GSN.

I have always interested in photography in general but never had time in university. After graduation I got my first job and started to explore different hobbies.

And I want to learn the most basics so I thought let start with a film camera. It’s the easiest way to learn aperture/iso/exposure without going straight to a DSLR with the Auto magic button. And I found myself falling in love with rangefinder cameras and Kodak Ektar 100.

It taught me to slow down, to think before each shots and be very selective when I shot. My friends would joke that I took forever to finish a role of film.

Then one day I stumbled on an Epson RD1s with a Nokton 40 f1.4. I jumped in right away knowing how closely it is to my Yashica and will be such an improvement in image quality. And I’m in love ever since.

The picture with the title Lookout was taken with the Nokton at f1.4 of my girlfriend before I left back to my country across the ocean. (we still live in different countries now and maintain a long distance relationship). Black and White conversion was done in Lightroom with minimal adjustment.

After that I stumbled to your blog and decided to give the 35 summicron a try. The next two pictures were taken with it.

The invisible woman picture was taken when I was walking the street of Vancouver. The man reminded me of myself when his wife/girlfriend wasn’t there but in the painting.

The last one was taken in the British Museum when I came to visit the HCB’s display in their photography section.

Conversion to BW was done in Silver Flex plugin. And thanks to you that I know of it.

And talking about the Epson Rd1s, in my personal opinion it never disappoints me at ISO 1600 and i think it’s a better shooter than the M8 and more like the baby brother of the M9. The best thing is 3 controls I need the most (ISO/Exposure/Aperture) are laid out without the need for using the LCD. In fact I shoot with the screen flipped in most of the time, turn off picture review to save battery.

I think I will stick with this combo a long time (until the camera stops working).

The 35 summicron is a bless with its tiny size and remains razor-sharp at all stops (more like a 50mm on the 1.5 crop of the Rd1s). It surely is one of the best lenses ever made. I’m sure others can look at your review and see for themselves.

Now I’m just reading a lot of books that I can borrow from the library to improve my techniques and understand the history. Also reading blogs from you and other street photographers are inspirations to me.

I try to carry my camera on the way to work and back so I can practice and enjoy it daily.

Here is my flikr:





  1. Lovely images. I agree wholeheartedly, that you can have the latest technology but that does not mean you will be a great photographer.
    Sometimes less is more.

  2. Wonderful images. Keep up the good work, you have it in you. My first real camera was a Yashica electro 35, basically same as yours, purchased at a time when it was new. Still thinking of it fondly. My pics are no better now than 40 years ago. Just many more of them, and loads of money wasted on keeping up with digital “progress”. Do not let yourself be distracted by that!

  3. Nice history, it reminds me of mine. I bought my Epson RD1 last December and am in love with it ever since. Like you I try to use it every day on my way to work to practice. I also have the Nokton 40mm 1.4.

    Your photos are really nice, I really like the 3rd one.

    I have a photoblog with RD1 photos, It is in french but some might find it interesting.


  4. #2 and 3 get my vote and glad to see another person enjoying the DD “Digital Dinosaur” still a great camera and has a very loyal following it is not all about mega pixels but the skill of the operator

  5. Hi Vinh,
    I really like your picture invisible woman. It gave me emotion. This is something you cannot see everyday.

  6. Hi Vinh,
    nice pictures, I like especially The Balcony and Rocking my Fred Perry and Eat, Pray, Love on Flicker.
    Kind Regards …. and luck in your partnership

  7. Exquisite work, thanks for sharing this with us. It proves, once more, that one doesn’t need the latest gazillion-pixel monster to create stunning photographs. I love the second picture, of the girl. Very graceful, natural. Excellent work.

  8. Proof that the latest gazillion megapixel gadget cannot make a good photograph – that’s all down to the photographer!

    great set!

    • Thanks Ibraar. I really enjoy your Punjab portraits series on this site. Its a pleasure to hear opinions from more experienced critics here.

  9. That is way cool. I had never heard of an Epson RD1! Those pics look great. Makes me wonder why all the bashing of different sensors? M 4/3, or 12 Meg. pixels vs. 26… and what ever. I always like to know what type of equipment was used in a photo, but if I didn’t know, I certainly wouldn’t be able to guess. Especially with post production available. Hahahaha… that cracks me up. Just get a camera and shoot. 🙂

    • Hi Rick, if you want to find out more about the Epson RD1 then the links below should help with the 2nd one being quite recent & 1st is the highly regarded Sean Reid’s review –



      But in a nutshell the Epson RD1 was a digital Leica M mount RF camera produced by Cosina Voigtlander & Epson in a Bessa R body using the same 6MP sensor from the Nikon D70. One of the superb features of the RD1 that many miss is the 1:1 viewfinder, compare that to the average of 0.72 (0.68 in digital M’s !) in most Leica M’s that really is an impressive feature and even beats the 0.91 view of the Godfather M3 that has the best VF of all Leica bodies. 🙂

  10. All the recent talk on here about all these new wonderful cameras that nobody can live without then you come along Vinh and with just 3 photographs on an obsolete RF camera made from an ancient Nikon D70 6mp sensor what a complete load of old crap all that talk is! Hahaha 😀

    SUPERB photographs Vinh!!!

    Love the 3rd one. It’s a great capture sure but especially the exposure/metering used on that shot which makes it what it is. Thanks you so much for coming along and proving that buying the new latest camera is a waste of time and money as it is talent that produces great photographs and not a full wallet or a credit card bill. Bravo Sir!

    • After seeing this, I almost feel guilty chasing all the new gear… I more than agree with your observation…



  11. Thanks guys for the kind words. It’s only the beginning for me. I do love to take images from the ordinary day life.
    And just want to show some love for the Epson. It has been overlooked with so many new cameras released daily/monthly. I remember Steve Huff has a review on it as well with amazing shots. The limit is really my ability.

  12. Yes, Vihn, stick with the Epson RD1s, and keep borrowing those photography books from the library – be inspired by the great photographers of the past and present. Taking plenty of pictures helps to tune your eye to the given moment and helps you know your camera.

    Enjoyed looking at your photographs here and on your Flickr portfolio.

    Best wishes.


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