Home Cameras/Lenses Canon Cambodia, a country just made for colour

Cambodia, a country just made for colour


Ten years ago, almost to the day, I was on a riverboat sailing down the Mekong in Vietnam, having just crossed from Cambodia.

It was a great trip and I was reminded of it recently when I saw another set of photos taken in Cambodia. Strangely, in view of the subject, they were in black and white.

Small place

Now I am no longer a black and white enthusiast. Don’t get me wrong — monochrome has its place, but to my mind, that place is now very small.

I’m no stranger to monochrome since, for the first 40 years of my photographic life, I shot, processed and printed predominantly in black and white. So I can claim the medal for taking upwards of 50,000 shades of grey. I’m no stranger to the nuances of back and white, in other words.

The big switch

While I always enjoyed working in the darkroom, it was economics that dictated my long embrace of black and white. Colour film was expensive and slow. As soon as digital offered a means of shooting acceptable colour, I switched over and I have stuck with it almost exclusively for the past 15 years.

The photos I took ten years ago in Cambodia were, of course, in colour. A far as I am concerned, Indochina is such a stunning region that not to use colour is to miss recording an essential part of the culture.

In this article you can see some of the images resulting from my trip a decade ago. All were taken with my then camera of choice — a little Canon G7. The G7 and its replacement, the G9 (there was no G8), were superb cameras in their day.

They have metal bodies, a very good zoom lens, straightforward menus and controls and an integrated optical viewfinder. The G7 took only JPEG files but that shortcoming was corrected in the G9 with the introduction of RAW.

By today’s standards, the low-light performance of the small sensor in the G7 and G9 was poor, but for most of the time, this was not an issue. The early G-series cameras from G7 to G12 are still exceptional photographic tools.

As I type this, my old G9 is currently on active service in Morocco in the hands of my son-in-law while my daughter has taken along her personal G9.

The good news is that you can still find a low-mileage G9 on eBay for as little as A$100 ($70, £50, €60). What a bargain!

You can find more from John Shingleton, at The Rolling Road. And on Instagram

More articles by John Shingleton on Macfilos


  1. These are truly beautiful images John. Your two images of Banteay Srei with the hanuman statues capture the beauty of the place. I guess when travelling it’s that kind of image that makes me wish I had a longer lens reach, being limited to 47mm at most. If my memory is good I think the third photo with the bridge was taken not far from the night market on the other side of the bridge but I may be wrong as there are a few similar ones in the area. You did a grand job with that little canon. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Canon did you proud! All the photogs on Mac always accompany with wonderful text. I wonder with all you travelers what country stands out for color. Seems like, not having been there, just by photo evidence alone that India has colors that probably haven’t even been named. Thank you for another great set of photos.

  3. A very nice series of image John, and I agree they all suit a colour profile. For me monochrome has its place in certain circumstances, as some images just have more personality and punchiness processed that way. For the rest colour is more appropriate.

    Is it permissible to ask how Mrs X1 has coped with her 50,000 shades of monochrome?

  4. I had been eagerly anticipating more lovely colour images from you, John. You do not disappoint.You are at your most persuasive with the camera and who could argue with these gorgeous images? I particularly admire the second image, the close up portrait, the shot of the boys beside the river and the one of the old lady seated and looking to the horizon.You have made a convincing case that Cambodia is “a country just made for colour.”
    And yet, Cambodia has other positive attributes other than colour. magnificent though her colours are. I refer to those attributes of extreme harsh lighting, of line and shape, of texture and form, of rich blacks, tonal range and more.In these cases, Black and white images may be even more effective than colour at doing justice to Cambodias non-colour charms.
    As ever, its a matter of taste whether one prefers a colour or a mono version of a particular image. I love your beautiful colour images in this article, John , but I also love some of Jean Perenets Cambodian images in mono. Chacun a son gout.


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