The Dash It All, Watson Camera

DSCF0101The current rage for the dash camera – possibly due to by the current rage for rage – is firmly set in the public mind. You see them many vehicles that don’t even approximate racing cars. And in positions that seem to have nothing to do with what is going on. But people feel that they need them to prove that someone else is at fault.

I’ve never been bothered with this – I am convinced that everyone else is at fault anyway and do my best to avoid them. But lately I have been wondering if I am missing the point – if I had a dash camera I could enter the YouTube stakes and go viral.

I could also record silly license plate numbers for my car column. The trouble with the dash cam is that it occupies little space but a lot of time. Should you ever record anything that you want to show around you spend a great deal of time viewing everything until you get to it. I’m looking for the nuggets without the dirt.

Well, I own lots of cameras. They’re getting smaller and easier to use since the advent of digital but that doesn’t mean they do not take up time and effort – you have to keep a battery charged for them and you have to keep them turned on while you are driving. And you can’t put them to your eye for sighting as you drive along – this would be worse than texting while driving and that is completely forbidden by law.

So I’m going to experiment with the smallest of my Fujifilm cameras – the x100. I bought a cradle that hold the camera with an Arca-Swiss mounting on the bottom. I’ve got several Arca-Swiss -style quick release blocks with 1/4″ sockets on the bottom. It cannot be that hard for an inveterate photographic gear maker like me to rig up a mount for this cradle on the dash of the Suzuki within easy reach of the driver. I’ll pop the X-100 in there at the start of the journey, set the ISO to Auto 3200 and longest exposure 1/125 of a second. The focusing can be set to manual and thrown out to about 25 feet. Then all I need to do when sighting a likely plate is flick on the camera and press the button – without taking my eyes off the road.

I should get some record, and if I’m lucky it will be blog quality. When I get to my destination I just take the X100 out of the cradle and sling it over my shoulder as per normal.

If it all succeed then the next stage will be the 12 x 16 plate camera with the Petzval lens. Dash art…

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