May 062011
 

Look what I got today! A nice red Artisan and Artist strap and a mini classic soft release to fit to my X100. For about $100 total it has transformed the look of the camera and now screams out “Im An Expensive Camera, STEAL ME!” Lol. I love the cloth straps from Artisan & Artist as they can be adjusted to be long or short. I like wearing my cameras around my body and have them hang low. This is the only A&A strap that I am aware of that lets you do this. ALSO, it happens to be amazingly comfortable. I first used one a year or so ago on Seals M9 and it was so comfy when I shot with it that I knew I wanted one. Took me a year but hey, I bought a red and a black on from popflash because I noticed they were having a “Spring Special” on many A&A products, mostly the bags and cases. I bought a red strap for the X100 and bought a black for the M9. The red soft release looks really good on the X100 too. I am and always have been a fan of Artisan & Artist though they are usually on the pricey side. The cool thing about their products is that they are functional, and that is most important when shooting every day.

Not everyone will care for the red as it is a bit flashy but you can also buy the strap in black for a more stealthy look (on my M9 and will add a black soft release and black dot soon) so there is something for everyone.

Dale Photo also sells the A&A line including the straps, bags, cases, etc. I bought from PopFlash as the prices they have now on the bags and cases are great, for A&A, as they are normally pretty pricey. Saving money is always good!

I am still enjoying the X100 and took these shots with a Panasonic GH2 which just arrived for me to review along with a GF2 and Olympus XZ1. Lots of fun work for me over the next two weeks! The X1o0 though, even with its quirks and oddities, is still a GREAT picture taking memory making machine! Amazon is taking pre-orders if you want to get in line…Enjoy!

This cloth strap is wide, and soft. Very comfortable on your shoulders or neck.

This soft release is a Metallic Red and screws right into the X100 shutter release. Sort of matches the OVF/EV lever. Matched with the red strap, you have one Sexy looking camera.

Next to my camera “soulmate” the Leica M9 – also fitted with an Artisan & Artist leather case and cloth strap

Ready to travel in an ACAM-7000, also from A&A – This bag will hold two cameras, 2-3 lenses, your passport, paperwork and even an Ipad or Macbook Air 11-13″. $239

May 062011
 

Is the Yashica Electro the best deal in rangefinder photography?

by Ricky Opaterny

 

Eight years ago, I shot with a Leica for the first time and immediately found the experience to be photographically unparalleled. Although I longed for an M7, my budget at the time could only accommodate a used R body, an old 50mm Summicron-R lens, and an even older 28mm Elmarit. Nearly seven years later in 2010, my budget still was not really a match for an M7, but I decided to get one, anyway, along with a 50mm Summicron-M in a deal that was too good to pass up.

Oftentimes, online discussion of camera gear frames the equipment as a tool to accomplish an objective, the instrument used to realize a vision. And while that is true, I find that much of photography for me is about the experience of taking photos, and the gear you use can make that experience more or less enjoyable‚ more or less inspired, more or less memorable. There are few regular experiences in life that I find more enjoyable than that of looking through the viewfinder of my M7 and hearing the kiss of the shutter release.

So, why would I ever bother with another camera, especially one made with a darker viewfinder and focusing patch, a comparatively inferior fixed lens, and an aperture priority system that doesn’t even let you know what shutter speed you’re using without full manual controls that requires a battery no longer produced? Why would I get a camera from a seller who couldn’t even tell me if it worked? Why, in short, would I bother buying a Yashica Electro 35?

There are two reasons: 1) I found the sample images I saw online be excellent for a $20 camera and 2) How can you possibly go wrong on a $20 camera with a 45mm f/1.7 lens that isn’t completely awful? Yes, f/1.7 in Leica terms is halfway between a Summnicron and a Summilux. A Summicrux, perhaps?

(I should note that there are several old, film rangefinders available with nice, fast, prime lenses. These include, among several others, the Canon Canonet QL17, the Konica Auto S2, and the Yashica IC Lynx 14E.)

 

 

The Yashica Electro 35 rangefinder comes in four different variations: the GS, the GSN, the GT, and the GTN. The differences between these cameras, produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s include color‚ black vs. chrome‚ and hot shoe vs. without hot shoe. But with an f/1.7 lens, you shouldn’t worry about having a flash, and the differences between the variations are negligible.

Obtaining a Yashica Electro seems to be no problem; there are several available on eBay at all times. Finding one that works, however, is slightly, but not much, more difficult. Because the Yashica takes a mercury battery that is no longer made, most sellers are unable to test the function of the meters on these cameras. Fortunately, my friends and I have purchased five of these cameras and three of them had meters that worked out of the box. Two of them required minor repairs.

To test a camera, you first need a six-volt battery, because the original battery was longer than this six-volt battery, you’ll need something to conduct electricity from the battery to the contacts. An elegant solution is this battery adapter. You get two for $9.49. If you want to spend next to nothing, make a cylinder out of aluminum foil and use it to connect the battery to the contact.

The most common problem with these cameras is corrosion on the contacts. Use a Q-Tip with vinegar to clean them. The other problem we encountered involved a wire from the battery compartment whose connection to the circuit board had broken‚ nothing a little soldering couldn’t fix.

Once you have the meter working, even if it requires no work, you may want to remove the top plate, anyway, to clean out the viewfinder windows. Removing the top plate is also the first step to any wiring repairs that the camera may need. The Yashica Guy site contains for this procedure and several other common repairs.

I said this camera was cheap, not easy. However, based on our small sample, the odds are that your camera won’t require any work at all. So, let’s move on to the features.

I mentioned the 45mm f/1.7 Yashinon lens, which is excellent for the cost. It has an aperture ring that goes from f/1.7 to f/2.0 and then in full stops to f/16. Of course, there is a focusing ring and depth of field scale. The minimum focusing distance is 0.8 meters, or about 2.6 feet. There’s also a mode dial to switch between automatic aperture priority mode, bulb mode, and flash sync mode.

There is no manual mode. Most of your time will be spent in aperture priority mode. You set the aperture on the lens and the camera picks the shutter speed automatically based on the aperture, meter reading, and ISO setting. You can set the ISO from 25 to 1000, and the ISO dial also provides a way, albeit an inelegant one, to compensate for the meter reading.

The shutter is a wonderful, stepless, quiet leaf shutter whose sound some of you might even prefer to those on your fancier cameras. It maxes out at 1/500 second at the fast end and can deliver shutter speeds up to four minutes long at f/16 at the slow end.

 

 

On the top of the camera, you’ll find two lights that correspond to two equivalent lights in the viewfinder. One is labeled “slow,” which means that the lighting conditions require a shutter speed below 1/30 of a second. It’s just a warning for you, if you’re handholding the camera. The other light is labeled “over,” which, predictably means the metered shutter speed is faster than 1/500 second. You can still shoot at 1/500 second, but the camera is warning you that you may be overexposing the shot.

SLR users are used to being able to see metering information in the LCD displays on the top of their camera bodies, but this is a foreign concept to users of M-mount rangefinders, who bring their cameras to their eyes to get a meter reading. That is, unless you’re using an external or hotshoe-mounted meter, such as the Leica Meter MR.

This is a feature I thought useless at first but now find convenient. I can check to make sure I’m within the correct aperture range for a given lighting condition without raising the camera to my eye. So, when I see a scene that I want to capture and bring my camera to my eye, all I need to do is focus, frame, and release the shutter.

As for the rangefinder, it’s not as bright as one on a Leica, but it’s also not too bad. Focusing is very easy in a yellow diamond, split-image focusing patch in the center of the viewfinder. Out of all the Yashicas I’ve tried, not one had a misaligned focusing patch. The 45mm bright lines are bright and the viewfinder’s magnification, I would guess, is around 0.8x.

I tried to take a photo through the viewfinder. It did not work out so well, but you can see that the frame lines are bright.

Film loads normally and easily after you open the back door and rewinds via a release on the bottom and a standard rewind knob on the top of the body. This all sounds fine, but the real questions are: What is it like to use this camera? And what kind of results does it produce?

It took a while to get used to the limited shutter speed range. I always seem to want to shoot at f/4 or f/5.6, but I often found myself having to shoot at f/11 with this camera, especially at ISO 400.

The first roll I shot was Kodak Ektar 100, which requires fairly precise metering, close to that required by a slide film. I’m happy to report that the Yashica’s meter did an excellent job. Sure, there were some backlit situations that it misread, but that’s a mistake that almost any meter would make‚Äîcertainly any simple, reflective non-TTL meter like the one in the Yashica.

Headlands Center for the Arts

Headlands Center for the Arts

Framing with the viewfinder is accurate‚ it’s parallax corrected and focusing poses no problems for anyone who is used to handling a rangefinder camera. Coincidence is not difficult to spot. Even at f/1.7 and close distances, I found the rangefinder alignment to be accurate. If I missed focus on any of the shots, it was my own error that caused it. Have I mentioned how quiet the shutter is? I have. Nonetheless, it is very, very quiet. My only complaint is that it’s too easy to accidentally fire the shutter when you’re just trying to activate the meter.

 

Bokeh at f/1.7

Bokeh at f/1.7. The lens becomes noticeably sharper at f/2.8.

 

The lens, which was the main attraction of this camera, performs quite well. It vignettes slightly but not unattractively at all apertures. Wide open, it produces some nice bokeh. However, if you want to shoot wide open outdoors, you should probably invest in a neutral density filter. (It takes 55mm filters.) You may also want to get a hood because this lens flares easily. Unlike the vignetting, I can’t say that the flare is attractive. It often takes on the pentagon shape of the aperture. It looks as if someone drew a semi-transparent pentagon on your photo. In other words, the transition from flare to no flare is not, in any way, gradual.

 

One of the few times the lens flare didn’t look hideous

However, under most conditions, the lens gives a nice vintage look and a pleasing bokeh. I can’t say that the Yashica will replace my M7, but it’s certainly a fun little camera. And I’ve never carried a camera that elicited more comments from passers-by. Many people asked me what kind of a camera I was carrying. One man told me he had just bought one for himself. A woman at one of the trendiest restaurants in the city asked me, “Is that a Yashica? My father gave me one of those. It takes great pictures!”

Even if it’s not a conversation starter, changing equipment for a day can be inspiring or at least compel you to just go out shoot. I don’t know of a camera with a better quality to price ratio than the Yashica Electro with which to do so.

Ricky Opaterny is a writer who dabbles in photography in Paris, San Francisco, and New York. He occasionally maintains a bloga photo blog, and a collection of things he likes, many of which are related to photography. He collected some photos from France in a book.

May 052011
 

Hey Steve,

I’m a longtime reader of your site and have finally decided to make my first submission.

I chose to send you these three photos principally to show your readers the versatility of the M9. Whether I’m shooting street, fashion, portraiture or even party snaps, the M9 performs flawlessly each and every time. This camera has literally changed my life. I can’t emphasize that enough.

All photos were taken with my M9 and (I believe) a Voigtlander 35 f/1.4 (the horse may have been with a 50mm Zeiss but I’m unsure).

Photo 1 – Horse: I found this guy deep in a teak farm while traveling through Costa Rica. I’ve since made a 40×60 print of it and the quality is incredible.

Photo 2 – Guitarist: I was doing a behind-the-scenes type shoot of this musician’s music video in Central Park when it suddenly started to absolutely piss rain. He had a crowd of people following him as we escaped and I was lucky enough to snap him crossing the street.

I should also mention that at this point in time my camera was entirely soaked. I had the fear Steve. I saw my investment crumble before my eyes and was terrified that my little rangefinder would drown. It didn’t. Snap snap snap, wipe wipe, snap snap snap. It never faltered once. I once even dropped mine in the mud around the Omaha Beach landing site in Normandy. I picked it up, gave if wipe, and off I went. Just incredible for a camera with little or no weather sealing.

Photo 3 – Zuza: This photo shows what you can do with the loathed SF 24D flash and an off-camera cord. The amount of hatred for this little flash across the various Leica forums is incredible given its real-world results. It’s lightweight and it works. Even Seal agrees. I use mine as often as I can.


Thanks for taking the time to review my submissions and please keep up the great work.

-David Reeve

david-reeve.com

May 032011
 

The Fuji X100 Real World Review

Does it live up to the Hype?

By Steve Huff


WooHoo! The Fuji X100 is HERE and my review is EARLY!

The Fuji X100 has been one of the most anticipated camera releases of recent memory, and understandably so. It is so much different than the crop of DSLR’s and tiny DSLR copies that flood the market every month or two and Fuji seemed to have listened to what many photographers, hobbyists, and pros alike wanted in a camera. They also seemed to be going after the Leica X1 from day one, even going as far as naming this camera the X100. Fuji knew what they were doing, and their marketing and hype for this camera has been remarkable. Perfect.

The Fuji X100 has those luscious Fuji colors which I LOVE. Super sharp here, even at f/2

Fuji says that the X100 was designed by photographers, for photographers. Even Fuji themselves consider the X100 the “professionals choice” and at $1200 it is priced up there with some very good DSLR cameras, but those who are interested in this camera are NOT interested in a big old DSLR. Nope, those who want the X100 are looking for something fresh, new, exciting, small and classic. As I recently found out for myself, the X100 is all of that and more.

There has been insane amounts of hype over the past few months on this unique little guy, and here I am, with my very own X100 sitting on my desk! What you want to know of course is if it is all it is cracked up to be. Well, the answer to that will lie in this review, so read on. In many ways, the X100 is a phenomenal camera, and in others it almost feels like a rushed to the market product. How so? Read on to find out the details and ALL of my findings during my review time with this special breakthrough camera.

It’s all about the photos right?

Just so you know, this review will be heavy on the photos that this little camera can produce in regards to image quality, color depth, character, lens character and ISO performance. Not so much on technical testing and freaking out over every little thing. I’m a laid back reviewer and prefer to talk about the “usability factor” of a camera rather than stress over silly tech things. If a camera works well out in the field AND gives good results AND is a joy to use, then hey, I’ll enjoy the hell out of it. But right off the bat, I knew the Fuji X100 had some serious MOJO going on with its super sexy Rangefinder style design and it’s very cool OVF/EVF Hybrid design. I also knew the image quality would deliver once I loaded up some early images…

The X100 – Love the classic rendering

The Fuji X100 – This image was shot at F2 and ISO 1250 – where is the noise? What IS there is very pleasant.

Base ISO – The richness, color and dynamic range is spectacular!

The X100 is Classic in looks, But it is NOT a rangefinder!

I was out with the Fuji this weekend and a guy approached me asking me if that was indeed the X100 I had strapped around my neck. I told him “Yes it is!” and he continued on to say how Leica is now in trouble as the M9 will drop in sales. He asked “Who would buy and M9 for $7000 when you can get an X100 for $1200″? I then went on to explain that the X100 is NOT a rangefinder camera, using manual focus with it (the x100) is slow, cumbersome, and unpleasant…nothing like an M. I also pointed out that it has a different, smaller sensor size, and a fixed lens. It’s also not built as well as the M9 nor does it give the total image quality of an M9. He thought for some reason that the X100 was a rangefinder! Made me wonder how many others out there thought the same thing? Still..an M9 is $7000. A 35 Summicron is $3000. The X100? $1199.

If you are familiar with my reviews, you have seen this shot a few times already :) Driving, and I snap the image in my rear view mirror. Out of all of these shots I have taken, this one with the fuji is my fave.

True, the X100 has the look, feel and style of a rangefinder camera but this is in looks only. In operation and use it feels like a traditional digicam. In many ways, it feels like the classic Digilux 2 sometimes. It’s on the small side, its shutter is super silent, you can adjust aperture on the lens, and it has that classic look and feel. It wipes the floor with the Digilux 2 though in regards to ISO performance, image quality, and with its great OVF/EVF viewfinder. So just keep in mind that the X100 is more like an Olympus E-P2, a Ricoh GXR or Leica X1 but…and yes, I am saying this…IT BEATS all three of those in almost all areas.

Size wise, it reminds me of the Olympus E-P2, just a bit taller (due to the viewfinder). It feels about as solid as an E-P2 as well, maybe a bit more solid, which is a good thing as the E-P2 is the best “feeling” PEN camera to date IMO. Performance wise, it is up there, if not better than the Leica X1 and Ricoh GXR, both of which surpass the little Olympus PEN and Panasonic micro 4/3 cameras due to the larger APS-C sensor that resides in them.

The X100 has a smooth rich quality when shot at lower ISO’s…

wide open at F2 and ISO 200

Using the spot meter I was able to accurately expose this shot in the full AZ sunshine. At F4, the X100 is razor sharp. Click image for larger better version. The  greens are rich and deep. Leave it to Fuji for color! TO BE Honest, this file challenges what I get from the M9. IMPRESSIVE.


The Specs of the X100

  • Large 12.3MP APS-C Size CMOS Sensor
  • FUJINON 23mm (35mm equivalent) Single Focal Length Fixed F2 Lens
  • Switchable Optical/Electronic Viewfinder
  • 2.8″ LCD Monitor W/460K-Dot Resolution
  • JPEG + RAW (Process In-Camera)
  • 100-12800 ISO Capabilities
  • HD 720p Video W/Stereo Sound
  • Classic Design Magnesium Alloy Body
  • High Speed Contrast Autofocus
  • Built-In Flash–Compatible W/Optional EF-20 & EF-42 Shoe-Mount Flashes

The Shooting Experience – Feel, Menus, OVF/EVF, AF, and Taking Photos with the X100

As I may have mentioned I was VERY excited to receive this camera and the one shop that came through for me in getting the X100 so fast was Precision Camera.They are not a site sponsor nor do I make any money from them but they were fantastic. I dealt with Robert and he was GREAT. Even shipped it out to me for Saturday delivery! Great guy and great shopping experience. B&H Photo who is a site sponsor also sells the X100 HERE.

After charging the tiny battery up I took the X100 outside to my backyard for one of those quick snapshot test sessions. You know the ones, where you go outside and shoot trees, leaves, flowers and even dirt just to see how the camera renders. I do this to see the cameras character because I can tell just by shooting leaves, or trees, or my dog how the camera is going to perform once i get it out and start shooting some real stuff with it. Then over the next couple of days I started taking it with me everywhere. In Phoenix AZ it is pretty boring photography wise. It’s hot, the sun is brutal, there are lots of “browns” due to being in the desert and there really is no cool downtown life here. So my first few days with the X100 were limited to shooting my son, my dog, my feet, and heading out on a solo trip to the Zoo. Fun :)

When I shot with the camera I always shot with JPEG Fine and RAW so I could judge the JPEG’s and the RAW files. When shooting JPEG you can choose between Fuji film stock like Provia, Velvia and Astia but IMO they are not really so accurate. To get the most of the X100, shoot RAW.

ISO 400 – f/2  – Lovely!

The rendering is almost…shall I say…Leica Like?

Great portrait  rendering at f/2!

One of the Giraffe shots in full mid day sun. The built in ND filter on the X100 is a godsend. Leica, are you listening? This was shot at f2.8 and is as sharp as any APS-C file I have seen to date.

LOVE the way this camera renders portraits

OK Here it goes. I am enjoying the hell out of this camera. Shooting with it was pleasure and the OVF is amazing for this class of camera. I hear people saying the X100 costs too much. Huh? It’s closest competition, the Leica X1 is $1995…$800 more, yet the X100 beats it in just about every conceivable area, and I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE Leica guy! Uh oh! Now I did it. The fact is that I have extensive experience with the Leica X1, and I LOVE the X1. It was my fave compact for a loooong time, but it’s getting old and the Fuji X100 proves that fact.

The Fuji X100 vs the X1 – from a hardcore Leica guy.

Let’s take a look at the facts…

Resolution

X1 – 12MP – X100 – 12 MP – TIE

Build

To me…the X100 wins here. Just feels a TEENY BIT more solid to me. Both are very good though.

Looks

Both are awesome. Both are classic. This will be personal pref. Me? I like the X100. More classic. At the same time, when holding and looking at them side by side, I also love the X1. The X100 looks a little cheaper in looks, though the design is more classic. The X1 is more classic modern.

AF Speed

X100 wins SLIGHTLY, even with the X1 V2.0 Firmware update. Low light AF speed? About equal which is not the best but not so bad either.

High ISO

X100 gets the nod. ISO 6400 is usable and pretty damn good. X1 max is 3200 though still good at this ISO. Still, X100 is cleaner at 3200.

Lens Quality

TIE but X1 is sharper – Not only is the X100 lens faster at F2 vs 2.8, by 2.8 it is just as sharp by F4 as the  X1 lens and appears to give more shallow DOF for some reason. BUT the X100 lens has more barrel distortion than the X1. It’s a tradeoff. DO you want super crisp lens perfection (Leica) or a more creamy smooth look with more speed but just as sharp, only with some distortion? Hmmmm. X100 = classic low contrast look – X1 = sharp contrasty modern look.

Image Quality/Color

TIE – Personal preference here . The Fuji will give you those Fuji reds, blues and yellows. The X1 is more neutral, which can be good.

Viewfinder

X100 as the X1 doesnt have one. The VF in the X100 is SUPERB. OVF/EVF – brilliant.

Battery Life

TIE – Both seem about the same. 250-300 shots.

Usability

X1 – The X1 wins here as it is just so simple. Nothing difficult at all. Just turn the knobs and shoot. The X100 is also excellent with it’s aperture dial on the lens but it has some issues with usability and buttons. Most can be fixed with a firmware update.

HD Movie Mode

X100 – X1 doesn’t have one.

Price

The X100 is $800 less and honestly is the camera filled with more features. This means that the Leica X2 will have to kick some serious ass to compete.

That just about sums up my thoughts on the two cameras. The X100 surprised me as many were telling me it wasn’t up to the X1 level. I found it to be the opposite so I am telling it as it is. It’s just “different” in its image output.

COMPARISON

I just added a whole post with my comparisons against the Leica X1 and you can see it HERE. For this review, here is a quick comparison made by a reader of the site, Chad Wadsworth (Thanks Chad, his website is HERE) –  Two RAW files, processed exactly the same. One from the X1 and one from the X100. I no longer have an X1 so I could not do a comparison.

The Image that was shot with both the X1 and X100

and the 100% crops. Processed the same from the RAW files

The X100 Crop

and the X1 crop


So as you can see from that comparison, the X100 is equal, if not a tad better than the X100 in regards to detail, and IMO, color. How about one more?

and the 100% crop from the Fuji

and the X1

It’s a close call, almost equal even and when printing you would never see a difference. But there is a different color signature to each camera, so which one do you prefer? GIven that the X100 at least matches the X1’s image quality, and it has all of the extra features like the Viewfinder, better high ISO, HD video mode, same classic styling, beefier build, and a faster lens it seems to me that the X100 is the better buy at $800 less.

The X100 1st look and a more detailed look on video…


A more detailed video going over the menu system and more…

The X100’s Build & Feel

The camera felt wonderful in my hands. Light enough to not get tiring but heavy enough to know you are shooting with a quality camera. The black grip material that covers the X100 is a bit slick. It doesn’t feel luxurious or anything (but neither does the material Leica uses on the M9 or the X1) but it does its job and provides a grippy feel when your fingers are wrapped around it.  The camera feels like it is built well but it is not a tank like or jewel like build that many associate with Leica or some professional Nikon cameras. It feels much more sturdy than the Leica X1, but not as nice as an M9. Hard to explain but let me say that I thought the camera looked much nicer in person than it does in the photos we all see, even the photos on this page. The camera feels GREAT slung around me with a long strap. I was happy with the build of the X100.

The X100 in action at night!

USE A FAST SD CARD for fastest performance of the X100!

When I first started using the X100 I was using standard SD cards. Start up time was SLOW ranging from 2-4 seconds! After buying THIS SD card, which is a 45 MBPS card, startup is almost instantaneous, AND write times have improved. I highly recommend THIS card! It’s what I am now using in my X100.

The X100 Has Serious MOJO- The IQ and Hybrid VF – AWESOME!

Image Quality – Wonderful!


The good news is that the X100 can put out a really nice quality image. The 35mm equivalent lens on the camera is more classic than modern, but it’s VERY nice. At F2 the camera is sharp but classically smooth. By 2.8 it is SHARP and detailed as you could want it to be. There IS barrel distortion with the lens though and if you take a close up portrait you can see it with the effect of someones face or nose being larger than it is. The lens is not perfect, nor is it a masterpiece but it is probably the equivalent of something like a Leica 35 Summarit in the way it renders along with its distortion amount. That alone makes the camera a great buy IMO. The lens is not one of those super sharp corner to corner types when wide open but stop it down and yo will get detail. Generally though it is sharper in the middle and gets a bit softer towards the edges when shot wide open.

Wide open at F2, ISO 1000

Here is a shot I snapped of a Semi that needed a wash…X100, F2, ND filter ON. Processed from RAW with a filter from Alien Skin Exposure 3 added.

Up close, macro mode in the mall. A hermit crab rests on a hand. F2, ISO 200, 1/70s – Easy  to get shallow DOF and the Bokeh of the lens is nice.

When you combine super color, hugh dynamic range and fantastic lens qualities, you get amazing results

I brought the X100 to lunch with me and snuck a shot of two guys across the way. Sharp, detailed, great color. F2 at 1/125 s.

On the streets of Tallinn Estonia – X100 wide open

The Viewfinder – NICE!


The X100’s viewfinder is really the first of its kind and I applaud Fuji for thinking outside the box here. For the first time you can use a camera with it’s LCD, or its EVF (Electronic View Finder) or its OVF (Optical View Finder) and the OVF has an overlay that puts up a frame line for you as well as info on your settings. It’s VERY cool but I found that I was using the EVF the most as it was more accurate for framing and it uses less battery over the OVF. Then I started using the OVF and was blown away by the clarity and the overlay of the data. This is a GREAT idea and I hope to see something like this implemented in the next Leica X.

Just flick the lever on the front of the camera and it will switch in real time. Pretty nifty.

Also, an earlier report on this site that was written by a reader here stated that the viewfinder was small and tiny. NOT true. I found the VF to be just fine. No, it is not going to be like a Nikon D3 but it’s hardly small. I was able to frame my photos just fine using it. The X100 is a camera that one needs to use for a week or two before deciding on its fate. It does take some time to get used to, ESPECIALLY if coming from a speedy DSLR.


The X100’s AF performance – It’s NOT Perfect!

So you are probably getting the feeling that I am liking this camera! One thing I have not really talked about yet is the Auto Focus performance of the X100. How is it?

The Auto Focus performance. It’s quicker than the Leica X1 but damn, it’s tough to get it to be accurate all of the time. I have had many misses with it when using the center focus point and I just could not get it to focus on what I pointed it at.

UPDATE: When using the OVF, and shooting up close your focus may be off. I found when using the EVF or LCD the AF was spot on.

Overall, the AF of the X100 is very good but not perfect. Doesn’t stop me from loving the camera.

The turtle in the pond. Again, the way the X100 renders the light is superb.

Using the Macro mode I was able to get semi close to these leaves blowing in the wind. Notice the flare? I like it…

The X100 and High ISO

The latest group of digital APS-C cameras have been getting better and better in regards to High ISO low light shooting. The NEX-5 was the 1st to break the ISO 6400 barrier with USABLE files (in a compact, smaller NON DSLR camera).  The Leica X1 maxes out at 3200 and it has some noise but it has always been a nice kind of noise. The Ricoh GXR with the 28 and 50mm modules also had great low light performance at ISO 3200 and the Pentax K5, which is a killer SMALL DSLR also has silly high ISO capabilities.

So how does the X100 fare against these already good low light performers? Very good. From what I have seen the X100 has some of the best high ISO performance I have seen in a camera this size.

It’s me! Late last night, almost NO light in the bathroom. This image is showing the scene to be brighter than it was. ISO 6400, F2…NOT BAD for ISO 6400. The color is still there as well.

ISO 6400 – My desk at night. Only light was from my Imac. From RAW with no NR! Click image for the correct size so you can see the 100% crops.

ISO 1000 – The colors are fantastic and  true to life, even at higher ISO

So, this is where I would normally put a crop from EVERY ISO but why would I do that? If the performance at ISO 1000 and even 6400 is this good, we know that anything UNDER this will be even better. It’s all good.

The HD Video Quality

The X100 shoots 24FPS, 720P HD video. It is a but limited in this area because there is no manual focus during video and you can not change the aperture during video either. The mic pics up the noise of the lens focusing but from what I have seen so far, the video quality is excellent, mainly due to the lens on the X100. There is no image stabilization either so video can get a little shaky without a tripod.


The X100’s Panoramic Mode

Much like the Sony NEX-5 and A33, the X100 has a sweep panoramic mode and when I saw it included in the “drive”menu I thought it was a novelty that wouldn’t work so well. I had some luck with the Sony panorama mode so I took ONE shot today with the X100 in Pano mode and that was it.

You can click it to see the full size JPEG. You can not record a Pano in RAW mode, so you only get the JPEG. This is straight from camera using the “Velvia” preset.

The X100 Detail…

How about a look at some full size files and crops to see if this sensor can give us the detail we crave? (HINT: Yes it can!)

You MUST click on the image to see the larger version and the true 100% crop within the image. Detail? The X100 has it. This one was shot at F4 and as I would do if I were printing, I added some sharpening during the RAW conversion on this one.

Saw this woman at the Zoo with her kids and snapped one as she fed the Giraffe. 100% crop detail is in the frame, but you must click on the image to see it correctly. F2.8 – NO sharpening was applied to this file.

f/4 detail  – click it to see what I mean

Here is a full size image, from RAW and some slight sharpening which is what I would use for print. Saved as a “9” quality JPEG in Photoshop. Click for full image!


The Film Presets – Velvia, Provia and Astia

When shooting JPEG you can set the X100 to shoot in one of three color presets. The Standard is Provia, which is supposed to simulate Provia film. For more vivid color, choose Velvia and for a more subdued soft look, Astia. Some early reviews pointed out that the Provia and Astia presets were mixed up…reversed. I also believe this  to be the case because the Astia preset, which is supposed to be more subdued and “soft” is more bold than the Provia preset. So it appears they are reversed…

Here is a sample of Each…

VELVIA PRESET – JPEG

PROVIA PRESET (Is this one REALLY Astia)? – JPEG

ASTIA PRESET (is this REALLY the Provia preset)?- JPEG

Compared To…

  • The Leica X1 – Already touched on this above, sorry for being repetitive. OK…this is the one that will cause X1 lovers to get mad at me if I say the X100 is better, and the Leica haters and X100 lovers to do the same if I say the X1 is better. It’s tough running a site like this because when I praise the BEST cameras I have ever shot with, usually Leica, I get labeled a “fanboy”. Do I care? NO! Because if using the cameras that give me the best results mean I am a fanboy, then so be it! Lol. But let’s get to the real deal. The Leica X1 is almost $2000 and has the same size sensor, is smaller, lighter and has the Leica red dot and great lens. It’s slow to AF, slow in operation and built on the “light side”. The X100 is built better than the X1, has the OVF/EVF that the X1 is lacking, has a faster lens that opens up to F2 (Leica is 2.8), and also has a HD movie mode, stereo mic, and the same manual dials and controls as the Leica with the addition of the Aperture dial on the lens. AF sometimes misses on the X100 but I have seen it miss on the X1 as well.

Winner – Easy really. The X100 due to its $800 lower price, better build, Hybrid Viewfinder, better high ISO performance, faster lens, movie mode and slightly larger size that is easier to hold. Yes, I like the X100 better than the X1 but my guess is there will be an X2 announced THIS YEAR sometime that will surpass the X100. Just a guess. For now  though, I would take an X100 over an X1. My personal opinion, and I am the one that many call a Leica “fanboy”!

  • Sony NEX-5 – The NEX-5 and kit lens is $699. ALMOST half of the X100 cost. BUT it’s a totally different style of camera. Small, odd menu based system ,and borderline crappy kit lenses. Same size sensor but I’m getting much better image quality from the X100 and it’s easier to shoot with and more enjoyable to use. I love the NEX-5 for what it is though and it is much cheaper.

WINNER – Still, the X100 has my heart here. Better quality IMO. But so much different in use.

  • Ricoh GXR – This is tough. I LOVE the GXR system though it is very similar in quality to the X100, maybe a tad better. I do like the looks and concept of the X100 over the GXR but I have to give credit where credit is due. The GXR rocks and does great in low light as well, and the focus is faster and more accurate with the GXR. You can pick up a GXR and 28 module for under $1000 and it’s build and controls are top notch as well. My brain says GXR but my heart says X100. TOUGH call. I love both and either will do a great job. The X100 does have the ND filter built in though, which comes in handy since it, just like the GXR is limited to 1/1000s shutter speed wide open. I prefer the X100 color, style and just everything it stands for. AND it has a built in VF.

TIE, but leaning X100 due to VF, color quality, ISO capability, ND filter.

  • Leica M9No contest. M9 wins. Sorry! :)

Well, I was going to put up a side by side from the M9 and Fuji with crops and all but why? The M9 is a $7000 camera and a 35 Summicron will run you $3000 as well. $10,000! This is not in the same class as the X100. The M9 has it all over the X100 in build, design, feel, image quality, file quality, detail, etc. I can say that in my limited side by side tests, the M9 showed a bit more detail and had smoother files even at low ISO. It also had  the full frame “look” which made the X100 files looked cropped. So we all know the M9 is a better camera, as it should be for the price. It is also a totally different shooting experience, so I wont be doing a comparison. Maybe I will do a “Crazy Comparison” post one day soon.

Just for fun though, here are two shots – one from each. No crops, no full sizes, just some processed and resized images.

Shot with the X100 – f2


and this one with the M9 at 35mm – f2

PROS and CONS of the X100

PROS

  • Size, Build and Feel are GREAT!
  • Lens has a mix of classic (at f2) and modern (f4 and up) with wonderful Bokeh qualities.
  • Virtually ZERO CA in this lens. Shoot bicycle spokes in the full sun, no purple fringing :)
  • AF in daylight is pretty speedy.
  • Colors, if exposure and light is right can be magical!
  • The Retro design is so cool. Had quite a few ask me if it was a film camera.
  • High ISO is up there with the best – of ANY camera.
  • HD movie mode included!
  • The viewfinder is one of the coolest on ANY camera to date. Optical, Electronic and an LCD on the back.
  • Has a macro mode though not really MACRO, gets closer than the X1 can get.
  • Smooth, rich file quality.
  • All in all, a better camera than the Leica X1 feature wise and the IQ is great though  a little soft at F2, wide open.
  • Has spot metering that works very well
  • The shutter is SILENT and the camera could be put into Silent mode for extra stealthy shooting
  • You can choose between Provia, Velvia and Astia film stocks when shooting JPEGs.

CONS

  • The X100 is a bit slow to AF in low light, though just as good as other compact offerings.
  • Sometimes the AF misses its mark (Update: When using the OVF and shooting up close your focus may be off, use the EVF)
  • Battery design is odd as you can put it in backwards or upside down by mistake
  • Slow to start up at 2.2 seconds – can get annoying (UPDATE – Use a fast 45MBPS card such as THIS ONE and startup is almost instant)
  • Quirky controls in regards to ISO, ND filter, etc. Could use a firmware update.
  • Jog wheel in back is a bit small and can get irritating.
  • Manual focus…I wont be using it. WAY to slow and cumbersome though Zone focusing is possible. You can use the AFL button during MF mode  to AF, so this is good.
  • Should come with the lens hood.
  • There is a “quick start up” option in the menus but it uses more battery life when turned on
  • The RAW button should have been assigned to either the ND filter On/Off or Movie Mode.

Took three shots of this tree trunk in FULL HARSH Az sun. Spot metering saved the day. Shot at F2.8 and 5.6. Click the images for a larger view and see how nice the rendering is from the X100. Makes for superb B&W images.

These images really wowed me in the quality department. They look amazing on my 27″ Imac but YOU MUST CLICK ON THEM TO VIEW THEM IN THEIR HIGHER QUALITY AND LARGER VERSIONS!

The X100’s Menu System and things that could be improved with usability of the camera.

Many have complained about the X100’s menu system and the (not so) ease of use in the early reviews and for this review I actually read the manual while the battery was charging just because of all of the early griping going around. The menu system is not bad at all IMO. It’s easy, just a couple of screens with options. It’s not as clean or simple as the Leica X1 or M9 menu system but it is also much easier than something like the Pentax K5 menu system. Just something that will take a day or two of getting used to.

As far as the camera in USE, there have been many quirks reported. In my time with this camera to date, I have found a couple of  things to complain about.

These are things that could have/should have been perfected IMO.

UPDATE: MANY of these have been fixed/improved with firmware updates as of May 2012!

  • The X100 is slow to start up. The 1st day I had the camera I thought it was broken as it would start up and the LCD would come on but I couldn’t do anything else! I realized that it just took a couple of seconds to fully power on and be ready to shoot. 2.2 seconds to be exact. UPDATE – USE A FAST SD CARD, such as THIS ONE at 45 MBPS and startup is almost instant. – This has been improved as of May 2012 with new firmware!
  • The camera is also slow to write to the SD card. Not a deal breaker for me as I am used to the slow M9 but for many this may be an issue, especially if you are coming from a speedy DSLR. Im using a 45X Extreme Pro card and it helps but the camera is still somewhat slow by todays standards. UPDATE – Again, a super fast SD card will speed  things up dramatically.
  • ND filter & ISO access could be better. By default the camera ships with its Fn button set up to change ISO. BUT it would be better if Fuji would have put an ISO button along with a ND filter button. I found that I needed the ND filter quite often outside in the full AZ sun and it was a hassle to go through the menu to turn it on. I since changed the Fn button to turn on the ND filter but now have to go to the menu to change ISO. – UPDATE May 2012 – This is now easy and quick as the firmware updates allow you to customize the RAW button as well and the camera now allows you to have a one button press ND filter turn on. PERFECT!
  • No dedicated video button. Again, Fuji should have added a small video button up top to activate the video. As it stands now, you have to click on the “drive” button and change the drive mode to “movie”. Sort of a pain and not quick! – UPDATE 2012: YOU CAN NOW ASSIGN A BUTTON TO BE THE MOVIE RECORD BUTTON!
  • The battery compartment is silly. It lets you insert the battery 4 different ways but only one way will work. On day one I thought the camera died. Nope, I just inserted the battery upside down by mistake!
  • Manual focus is sort of a let down. It’s slow as molasses and is the typical digi cam manual focus implementation. I’ll leave it at this…I will NOT be using manual focus unless it gets improved via firmware. Too slow and hard to use. – UPDATE – again, it’s as if though Fuji read my negatives and fixed them all! This is now improved as well. 

So there are my initial thoughts on some of the quirkiness of the X100. Are any of them big enough issues to where I would not buy this camera? NO, not at all! Why? Well, because I use a camera for a specific reason, and that reason is PHOTOGRAPHY! ALL cameras have their quirks and oddities but if it can give me a great quality file, and I can adapt to those quirks, then I am fine. After a few days of daily shooting with the X100 I started getting comfortable with it and it became second nature to operate it.

So..My Final conclusion on the Fuji X100

It’s so odd to sit here and write this review as a huge Leica fan because I saw THIS POST just today where someone called me a Leica shill over at X100 rumors :) The guy obviously does not know me, he just skimmed my site, saw all the Leica reviews and assumed I was going to trash the X100 and say the X1 is better. Lol. You can also see my reply to them in the comments. I often get called “Too Enthusiastic” which is silly. Just because my excitement shines through in some of my reviews? Please! Thats just me, and always will be!

The truth is I am as honest as they come. If a camera is GREAT and I enjoy it, I will write about it and say so! I can;t help it if almost every Leica I have tried has given me the best photo results out of all of the other camera systems. I just “mesh” with a Leica. It’s my tool of choice. My reviews are MY opinions and I am not a shill for Leica. Leica gives me NOTHING, believe me. I wish they did!

With that said, as much as I love the Leica X1 I have to give credit where credit is due. The Fujifilm X100 ROCKS and it ROCKS HARD. No, it is NOT perfect but neither is the Leica X1, or NEX-5, or E-P2, or Ricoh. What the X100 has is a combination of looks, size, performance and technology all wrapped up into one classic and sexy well built design. $1200? It’s priced right folks. To be honest, this could be my only camera and I would be happy. It’s light enough to take anywhere, it’s a joy to use, and once you get used to how it operates and exposes, the results are up there with the best of the APS-C cameras.

I applaud Fuji for putting out the X100. Maybe this will show other camera companies like Nikon and Canon that DSLR’s and crap point and shoots are not the be all/end all. It WILL send a message to Leica and I am sure their X2 will be the better for it.

So far, this is my favorite camera release of the year. I’m happy I now own one. You can buy the X100 at B&H Here, or Amazon HERE.

UPDATE: I published another article on seven of the X100 quirks…you can read it HERE. Also, you can see how I pimped my X100 HERE. Finally, my JPEG comparison with the Leica X1 can be seen HERE and the RAW comparison HERE.

UPDATE: A big comparison against the $7000 Leica M9 is HERE and wow, the X100 is impressive!

ACCESSORIES for the Fuji X100

This is an update to my review because I realized I forgot to talk about the accessories that you can buy for your X100! As some of you probably have seen, my X100 is now pimped out with a red strap and red soft release and it looks pretty sexy if I do say so myself. These were just add ons that I thought would look really cool on the camera, and they do but they do bling it out a little. If you are trying to be stealthy, I would skip the red and  go for black. The strap is made by Artisan & Artist and Dale Photo sells the entire A&A line of bags, cases and straps at their online Artisan & Artist store. The silk straps are also very nice. Also available at pop flash.com

In addition to the strap and soft release that you can buy for the X100, Fuji has a few items available for the camera as well, like their leather X100 case and the all metal lens hood.

JUMPING THE GUN – How about some ideas for a Fuji X200?

Just before publishing this review I received an e-mail from a Mr. Svein Gunnar Kjode at blankscapes.com. He sent along some designs he made for what he feels would be perfect for the next version of the X100, possibly, an X200. Wow, imagine an all black X200! I had  to show these here (with his permission of course) because I would LOVE an all black version of this camera. UPDATE: Fuji did in fact release an all black X100 and you can read about it HERE. It is gorgeous, and yes, I bought one.

UPDATE: Why shooting with a 35mm focal length ONLY can be liberating and help you in your photography skills.

There are so many reviews of the X100 out right now it is getting crazy. This has been, without a doubt, the hottest camera of 2011 so far. Fuji is shipping these cameras out to the shops as soon as they can make them, and they are selling each and every one at $1200 a pop. Still, one reason that many shooters would never bite the bullet on the X100 is due to the fact that it only has a 35mm equivalent lens.

It’s true. You can not add a zoom lens to the X100 nor does its built in lens zoom. When you invest in this camera, you are investing in a 35mm camera. Just like the old days. But I see this as a good thing and is why I also adore the Leica X1 (which also has a 35mm equivalent lens).

It’s all about simplicity and knowing what to expect from the camera. After a couple of weeks shooting with a camera like the X100/X1 you will start to be able to visualize in your head what your image will look like. You will know what angle to get, where to stand and you will get out of the “Zoom Lens” mindset, which IMO, makes you lazy. Now of course, sports shooters and wildlife guys need powerful zooms (or primes) but for most of us, including the hobbyists, it could be a great experience to just shoot with one lens and one lens only for a while.

I do it all the time. I could get by day to day with either a 35 or a 50. My favorite lens in the world is the Leica Noctilux, and right behind that the new 35 Summilux ASPH. I have shot with a 35 for months on end, and did the same with a 50. Did my photography suffer because of it? NO, in fact, it had the opposite effect. It IMPROVED it. Every silly sample image you see here was shot with the X100 and it’s 35mm equivalent lens. None of these images are award winners, but just snapshots I was able to get while reviewing the camera. At no time did I wish for a zoom lens, even when I took this camera to the Zoo.

Shooting ONLY a 35mm lens for say, 3 months, will open up your mind to other possibilities. You will not just aim, zoom and shoot but you will look around, think and ask yourself how you can get the best shot with what you have. Shooting at 35mm seems natural. You can get great environmental portraits and even normal portraits if you step back a bit. 35mm is great for landscape and urban shots. It kind of sucks you in to the image at times and is not too wide like a 24 or 28 might be, nor is it too constricted like a 50 can be in some situations.

In many ways, in my opinion, the 35mm focal length is the perfect focal length for shooting life as it happens. The things around you, the people around you, and the daily grind in general. If you have the chance, put a 35mm (equivalent) on whatever camera you own and shoot it for a few weeks. ONLY using that lens. My guess is that by the end of the few weeks you will have some amazing keepers, and you will also have learned a bit more about composition. You will also have a liberated feeling as the stress of “what lens should I use” will be gone. Just you and your 35…pretty cool :)

UPDATE: The hot, cool, sexy and gorgeous Black X100 arrives!

June 2012: Here we are 13 months after I reviewed the X100 and Fuji has come a long way with this camera. Yes, I loved it when it was released but the damn thing was full of bugs and quirks that I worked around just due to the camera being so cool and providing such great IQ. Well, with the latest firmware of 1.30 Fuji has taken this camera to the next level. They could have called it an X200 like Leica did the X2 but they seem committed to making this camera THE one to beat in this class.

The AF is much faster. I’d say at least 2X as fast. The AF is more accurate. The AF is no problem in low or almost no light. In fact, at the time of this writing the X100 greatly out performs their X-Pro 1 in the AF, accuracy and overall camera speed categories. I personally would rather have an X100 than an X-Pro 1. But that is just me. The size is perfect, the feel is perfect and in all black this thing is so so beautiful.

The menu system is now smooth and fast, you can assign functions to the RAW button now as well so if you want an instant ND filter, just press the button once. If you want to change ISO then you can assign that as well. JPEG film simulations? No problem? You can even assign it to movies or DR settings. Amazing.

After buying my own black X100 I can safely say I am happy I splurged the little but extra for the black limited kit because I now have the case, the filter, the hood, and a beautiful black X100 that performs fantastic. I have been without one for 6 months or so and I forgot how much fun this camera can be. I will be keeping it along with the Olympus OM-D and in fact, these two make me question wether I even need to have my M9 around anymore. The fact is that these two cameras can rival the M9 at times, and both wipe the floor with the m9 in the high ISO dept. The more i think about it, the more I think my plan will be to sell the M9 and save for the new Leica M Monochrom. This way I will have my dedicated B&W camera and these two awesome cameras for color, video, and anytime I need a HQ smaller camera.

Then again, the X100 does B&W very nicely as well…

So as for today, June 2012 – I can highly recommend the Fuji X100 and if you really want a treat, the Black X100 Limited Edition kit. Just make sure you download the latest FW because it will transform the camera and make it much more responsive. It’s a joy to use and the output is amazingly nice.

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If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Be sure and visit the all new forums on the site HERE, including the Fuji X100 forum!

May 032011
 

The British Royal Wedding with a Leica X1, M9 and Noctilux 0.95

By Edmond Terakopian

It’s not everyday that there’s a Royal Wedding and the last time there was this much excitement was when Price Charles married Lady Diana; actually, I think there may have been even more excitement this time round as Prince William is much loved and the nation seems to have taken to Kate Middleton rather well!

What all this meant was that pictures from the event would be sought after and the pressure was on. It soon became apparent that it was going to be a logistical nightmare; accreditation, the cost of some of the spots, geographical distance between locations and the hundreds of thousands of spectators meant that it would be impossible for one photographer to cover everything. The prime locations would be the domain of the papers and agencies.

I needed something different; I was shooting for Polaris Images and my pictures were headed more for the magazine market. I needed to find a way of telling the story. My decision was to photograph the reaction of the people and the atmosphere. I started my story with memorabilia, went on to the super dedicated fans who camped out nights before and then onto a good old fashioned British street party; all about atmosphere.

I was caught off-guard though! I had put aside an evening as i was invited to the World Photography Awards, followed by the exhibition, drinks and networking gathering. Halfway through the awards ceremony I saw an email from Polaris letting me know that campers had shown up at the Westminster Abbey and they needed material. I make it absolute policy to always have a camera with me no matter what. However, I was a bit worried if I could shoot a feature assignment properly on a pocket camera. Well, I must say that the Leica X1 rose to the challenge beautifully and I shot the entire set of night camping pictures on it. At 800 and 1600ASA it performed beautifully and I managed to get a few good shots.

I went back to the camp during the following day. This time I was properly kitted out. In my little Fogg b-laika shoulder bag I had my Leica M9, 21mm Elmarit, 35mm Summicron ASPH, 50mm f0.95 Noctilux ASPH and 90mm f2.5 Summarit. On my shoulder I also had a Canon 5D MkII with a 135mm f2L lens for the more distant and tight shots. Having worked the scene for around an hour or so I decided to leave and go to Buckingham Palace to see what was happening there.

Whilst at the Palace I shot a set of rehearsal type shots with the guards and also found more fans camping. It was wonderful; I had found fans from Zimbabwe, San Fransisco, Sweden, Australia to name just a few places. I made more pictures here and then shot off home to edit and file my pictures to Polaris.

For the day of the wedding, after several weeks research, I had found what I hoped would be the perfect street party and it turned out to be so. This lovely small road had been shut with a pub at one end and a row of tables filling the street to the other end. Taking pictures inside the pub whilst people watched the TV screens to the party outside gave me a nice range of atmospheric imagery. After around five hours I was done and I went back home to edit and send.

What surprised me about this assignment was just how much of it I shot on the 50mm Noctilux; I’d shot around 75% of the entire project on the Nocti. When I looked through my work, I realised that I could have shot the entire thing with just the M9 and the 50mm Noctilux!

On a technical note, I did all my editing, captioning and image processing on Apple’s Aperture 3. For the black and white images you see here, I also used Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

To see more of these pictures, please visit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/terakopian/sets/72157626496350197/

and for colour:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/terakopian/sets/72157626629213070/

 

I also have a short blog post at:

http://photothisandthat.co.uk/2011/05/02/royal-wedding/

My website is at: http://www.pix.org.uk/

 

Lastly, you can follow me on Twitter – @terakopian

May 022011
 

Had a few requests for a video on how I processed the truck image from the X100 so here you go! Very quick, very easy! It came out a bit different than the original but I spent less time on this one. Same steps though. Enjoy! If you want to check out Alien Skin Exposure 3, you can download a free Demo HERE.

May 022011
 

Hi Steve,

I’m a French software engineer living and working in Paris, France. Photography has been my main hobby for the past 12 years.

Your website got me interested in street photography and rangefinders, I read everything I can on the subject and now own a little Canonet (one has to start somewhere) which I love ! I love the fact that in street photography, you never know what’s going to happen in front you. It also forces you to master your equipment ! The Canonet is so easy to master: Aperture, Shutter Speed, Focus, that’s it.

Until this recent shift in my photography style, I were a little bit bored with the kind of pictures I took. Some of them were pleasing to look at, but not all that interesting. I’m not saying that the pictures I take now are all beautiful and meaningful but at least I now know what makes an interesting photo.

And for me it involves the human presence (visible or not), good composition and a scene that is not too obvious; What I love about the pictures of the street photography masters is that reading them is not straightforward, they either have a deeply buried meaning or they’re fairly open to interpretation.

Taking a picture that matches the above criteria is very hard (at least for me) and I often get frustrated when missing unique scenes (actually hundreds of them) because of shyness preventing me from making those extra 2 steps !! But I’m getting it..slowly…and really enjoy practicing !!

Here’re some of my attempts:

Distracted
Rue de Rivoli, Paris
Canon Canonet QL17 GIII, Kodak TRIX 400
What I find interesting about this picture is the difference between the attitude of the policeman in the front and those of the following policemen. The first is serious and stiff, reinforced by the frame behind him, the others are distracted, relaxed, smiling.

I won’t tell you what made them smile and turn their heads, I’ll let you imagine :)

Vintage For Sale
Place des victoires, Paris
Canon Canonet QL17 GIII, Fujifilm Superia 200
In this shot, if you look at the sign on the car’s window, you’ll know that the car is for sale. But then, is one of the three guys the owner and the other two potential buyers or are they just bystanders enjoying vintage cars ?

Even I don’t know for sure…

Untitled
Jardin des Tuileries, Paris
Nikon D90, 35mm
This picture reminds me of the photographic workflow: The man on the left is taking a picture, the bent people on his right are looking at the result and the last standing man is looking for other photo opportunities.

The big wheel might suggest that the workflow is cyclic, never ending. Well, it’s my interpretation anyway :)

 

That’s it, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and get inspired by them the same way I got inspired by the other readers pictures and words.
Steve, thanks for the hard work on the site and for building the great community around it !

Camille Wanty

 


Apr 302011
 

Fuji X100 and the Leica M9

ATTN: THIS IS NOT MY REVIEW! Review is coming in 1-2 weeks! More shots posted HERE.


It’s Saturday, the last day of April 2011 and UPS just dropped off a package weighing in at 4lbs. Inside this box is the long awaited, much anticipated, shiny new Fuji X100 shipped to me from Precision Camera, which was one of two places where I pre-ordered the camera! Precision came through first and they were top class all the way. Even shipped it for Saturday delivery when I asked about it. Awesome! Here is their X100 page if you want to check them out.

A short video I made the day I received the X100…a quick first look

The X100 cometh…

I remember when this camera was first announced and we all freaked out that FINALLY, a company was GETTING IT. A small rangefinder design, great build, manual aperture control on a fast F2 lens…it sounded like everything that the Leica X1 should have been! On paper at least.

Over the past few weeks, a few websites out there posted reviews with pre-production copies. Fuji refused to send me one after several attempts. They kept telling me mid March, and then just ignored me all together. Maybe they were worried about a Leica guy reviewing the X100, not sure. But I was genuinely excited about this camera as it was right up my alley in all aspects. The style of the Leica in a MUCH cheaper package. In no way did I ever think it could or would compete with the M9, (Though many thought it would) but it’s not about that. For me it was about having a high quality, small size camera to take with me everywhere while reserving my M for those special times.

That’s how I envisioned the X100 would integrate in to my life and daily routine, as a daily shooter. The M9 is a $7000 machine and I probably should not be shooting everything in sight with it because there is no way I could afford a 2nd M9 body if something were to happen to it. But still, the M9 is still my camera of choice, no doubt about it.

I’ve had many others…the Sony NEX-5, the Olympus PEN series, the Leica X1, and loads of others. The Fuji X100 is the one camera that excited me more than any of the other APS-C cameras. Is this THE ONE? I guess I am about to find out, and as I find out, you will hear about it all right here!

There have been loads of complaints about this camera as well as equal amounts of praise. So which is it? Most say the image quality is not up to the X1 and that the manual focus is not the best (I agree) but what about everything else? For me, the handling, controls, and feel are equally as important. I did do some digging and while I did not find any photos from the X100 that truly wowed me like those from the M9 do, we have to remember that this is not an M9, nor was it designed to compete with an M9. What I havse found were a few people with really nice shots from the Fuji and some with not so nice shots from the Fuji. Maybe it all comes down to the person using it, like all cameras :)

I have seen some fantastic shots from ~6 with the X100 so I know it can indeed take a great quality photograph. My job is to find out if it is worth the $1200 and worth more than double of competing APS-C cameras like the NEX-5 or something like $300 cheaper GXR and 28 2.5 combo.

So to be clear, I put this camera in the class of a Sony NEX, Ricoh GXR, and Leica X1 and NOT the M9. Does that mean I will not compare it to my M9? NO WAY! I love crazy comparisons so I will be shooting the X100 side by side with my M9 and 35 cron just for giggles.

This just may be the camera that stays in my bag next to the M9. I look forward to shooting with it, and plan on doing several reports on it as I will be shooting it on a road trip or two, and if all goes well with it, I will be taking it to Europe this summer for the next Seal tour along with the M9. Look for my 1st report/review really soon. I’ll post pics and my thoughts as I gather them and eventually will have a full detailed review, in my typical style, on the X100.

My 1st impressions out of the box? Nice build, great feel, very compact, and yes, it has that Fuji color that you will see in the greens for sure. It’s VERY quiet and the lens seems more like a classic Leica in the way it renders. Not as sharp or brilliant as the X1 files but not bad, more of a pleasing smooth quality. I am not writing any more until the full review :)

For now, here are a few of the very 1st shots out of the camera itself! More to come…much more! Maybe even an X100 daily diary page :)

Keep in mind: These are just the very 1st QUICK snapshots with the X100 in my house and backyard – will have better photos in the review :)

UPDATE: Posted a few more shots HERE

 

The 1st shot – click for 1600 pixel wide version. This was converted from RAW in Lightroom

As you can see, my son Brandon is as happy as ever when I take his picture!

Went outside in the light…click image for larger and more accurate view – f2, iso 200

again, f2 – iso 200 – click for better version

BELOW: FULL SIZE OUT OF CAMERA JPEG FILE AT F2 – ISO 200 –  – CLICK IMAGE TO GET IT! Not bad huh?

Click to see the vivid fuji color and a 100% crop – wide open!

and a quick B&W…

and a 100% out of camera JPEG – in camera B&W

and Scrubby! Macro mode, F2

Macro mode is not really “Macro” but it does allow you to get in closer.

 

Apr 292011
 

自粛 ”JISHUKU”: Tokyo after the earthquake

A photo essay

By Francis Harrison

“Jishuku” (自粛) refers to the general mood of self-restraint and self-denial which permeated Tokyo in the weeks that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami of March 11. Overnight all TV commercials were pulled, to be replaced by monochromatic public messages about breast cancer testing, helping old ladies across the road and fervent “Japan will rise again!” messages from pop idols and other personalities.

An Odakyu Railway guard strikes a stoic pose during morning rush hour. Devotion to duty is key to understanding the kind of everyday heroism on display by ordinary Japanese during these dark days.

Within five days 100,000 expats had fled the capital urged on by panicked messages from the embassies of France, China, the UK, India and finally the USA as well. This was the greatest exodus of gaijin since World War II. In just a few days, Tokyo went from a cosmopolitan metropolis to a provincial Japanese town.

What drove the panic of course was fear of radiation from the unfolding disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. In those first few weeks, no one knew for sure whether we were safe or not…

 

It rained hard the day before and we were told that radiation levels had doubled, carried by the rain.

Power outages also resulted from the nuclear fiasco up North. To avoid blackouts companies started turning off lights in offices during the day, plunging workers in near darkness at times. (It was also a way to save pennies…)

At my office in the Ginza, we work by the lights of our PC screen, squinting whenever we have to read a printed page.

 

As “Jishuku” gathered momentum, folks started to feel guilty about enjoying themselves or being seen to have a good time. By respect for the atrocious suffering of their fellow citizens in Tohoku, they avoided restaurants and bars, resulting in a severe strain on an already stressed economy.

A chef meticulously prepares a window display in an empty fish restaurant in the Ginza.

The loneliest bar in the world. (Yurakucho).

The bars and casual restaurants under the railway tracks in Yurakucho are usually bursting with happy customers.

A masked punter walks by a basement night club in Yurakucho.

For a brief spell the regular preoccupations of the city’s youth seemed to go by the board and it looked like nothing would be quite the same again.

Young ladies drift past a no longer relevant billboard advertising a once popular fashion brand in Shinjuku.

The ultimate challenge to the gathering gloom of “Jishuku” was the looming sakura season. Traditionally “Hanami” or “sakura viewing parties” are a sacred rite in land of traditions. This year many debated whether it was even proper to celebrate those pink blossoms while so many thousands had died up North or were living without electricity in homeless shelters.

Shy cherry blossoms make a first appearance by the railway tracks in Yurakucho. The sakura were late this year as if they too observed some form of “Jishuku”.

Apr 282011
 

Ricoh Co., Ltd. will present the acclaimed photographic exhibit

~ “Kioku no Sakura – Reminiscence of Sakura” ~

as a Platinum Sponsor at the international New York Photo Festival 2011

 

Ricoh Co., Ltd. is proud to announce their participation as a Platinum Sponsor in the New York Photo Festival 2011 to be held in New York from May 11, 2011. In addition to this sponsorship, Ricoh’s photographic gallery RING CUBE will present the photo exhibition “Kioku no Sakura – Reminiscence of Sakura” at the festival.

Ricoh established the “Candid Photo culture” the essence of which is to “lightheartedly carry your camera and cherish and enjoy the photographs lightheartedly taken” and named the activities backing this concept the “Candid Photo Project.” RING CUBE was opened as a part of these activities to show and provide the camera as an enjoyable tool for taking pictures and to hold various photographic contests. RING CUBE also supports artistic and cultural programs in cooperation with art museums and educational facilities. The sponsorship and exhibition at this year’s New York Photo Festival 2011 will provide a chance to present Ricoh’s Candid Photo concept to the whole world.

The New York Photo Festival 2011 is an international event that gathers photographic works from around the world. This year’s event, which is the fourth, will be held under the shared rubric of “PHOTOGRAPHY NOW: engaged, personal, and vital.”

Ricoh is proud to announce their participation as the platinum sponsor of the New York Photo Award 2011 to be held during the New York Photo Festival 2011.

Ricoh will provide prizes of GXR+S10 kits (GXR Body with RICOH LENS S10) for six winners in the General category and GR DIGITAL III cameras for six winners in the Student category for a total of twelve prizes.

 

http://www.nyphotofestival.com/newsletters/110418/

 

The Photo Gallery RING CUBE will present works from the popular photo exhibition “Kioku no Sakura – Reminiscence of Sakura” from March 23 to April 10 at the gallery. “Kioku no Sakura – Reminiscence of Sakura” is a collection of photographs from nine famous Japanese photographers including Daido Moriyama. Mr. Moriyama described the exhibit with these words: “Photographs express the emotions of the photographer, yet the bright colors of cherry blossoms can be seen as shocking or the beautiful by some viewers. I hope that the visitors seeing these works from various artists can feel the emotions of the photographs in their own way.”

For RICOH, RING CUBE is more than just a “place to show and appreciate photographs.” RING CUBE aims to be a spot that opens up all the possibilities of photography, a place where people who contemplate self-expression through photographs can congregate and enjoy photographs. RING CUBE will continue to hold events that showcase a wide variety of Japanese and international photographers and their works.

 

[About Ricoh]

Ricoh Co. Ltd. is an international company established for nearly 70 years and is engaged in the manufacture and sale of electronic office equipment. Its products include multifunctional and dedicated printers, document and device management solutions, optical storage devices and digital cameras. It operates in five regions around the world – Japan, the Americas, Europe, China and the Asia-Pacific region.

 

[About RING CUBE]

Ricoh Co. Ltd. opened the RING CUBE photo gallery on the 8th and 9th floors of the Sanai Dream Center in Tokyo’s Ginza during the GR Digital launch in October 21, 2008 as a place to foster the “Candid Photo culture” of lightheartedly enjoying photography.

RING CUBE is more than just a “place to show and appreciate photographs,” RING CUBE aims to be a spot where people who contemplate self-expression through photographs can congregate and enjoy photographs. RING CUBE’s goal is to become a center for spreading the possibilities of photography where visitors can enjoy looking at photographs and also experience the joy of taking pictures to become more familiar with photography and nurture a strong connection with Ricoh and with other visitors. Besides the round exhibition space “Gallery Zone” that can accommodate many types of exhibits, RING CUBE also offers a “Creative Zone” where visitors can explore new photographic expression and enjoyment, and the “Camera Zone” where visitors can experience new products and see the generations of Ricoh cameras.

 

[Exhibition Outline]

Exhibit: New York Photo Festival 2011

Organizer: New York Photo Festival Office

Dates: May 11 (Wed) to 15 (Sun), 2011

Locations:

Photographic exhibits: 55 Washington Street – Ground Floor, Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Booth: 1 Main Street Storefront, Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Title: Kioku no Sakura – Reminiscence of Sakura

 

[About “Kioku no Sakura – Reminiscence of Sakura”]

Cherry blossoms somehow have a special place in the hearts of the Japanese people, and everyone treasures their own unique images and memories. These photos of cherry blossoms by the artists bring the scenes from deep inside those memories to life and maybe even imprint future ones.

Attendees can enjoy a wide variety of images under the theme of “memory” and experience a new way of looking at cherry blossoms.

[Participating photographers]

RYO OHWADA / KENJI GOSHIMA / SHINGO TAKEI / YASUTAKA TANJI / MASATO TERAUCHI / ASAKO NARAHASHI / MOTOHIKO HASUI / KOZO MIYOSHI / DAIDO MORIYAMA

 

[New York Photo Festival Outline]

The New York Photo Festival is one of the most well-known photo festivals in the United States with over 14,000 attendees from all over the world and participation from photographic magazines such as PDN, zoom, and foam, and leading photography media such as the publisher, Aperture Foundation. The Guest Curators of this year’s festival will be the Colors Magazine Editorial Director Enrico Bossan, and The New Yorker Visual Editor Elisabeth Biondi.

Apr 272011
 

Film Types and Examples

By Tyson Call

One of the most daunting things about starting to shoot film can be walking into your local camera store and seeing multiple varieties of colored boxes with names like Kodak Tri-X and Ektar. The clerk asks you which one you want and you stutter, trying to figure out why there are so many K’s in this section of the store. I would like to save you this embarrassment. I will be talking about some of my favorite films and providing examples as a guide in choosing from the many types of film available today.

One of the things I enjoy about this site is that one can find real and sometimes controversial opinions. I am no expert on film. In fact, I am very far from it. I don’t develop my own, and have only been shooting film for a year. If you would like expert opinion, I’m sure you can find it. I only hope this is helpful to you in some way.

Some thoughts on film

Before I begin I would like to share why I shoot with film. I shoot digital as well, and do not feel that one is “better” than the other. Just like a convertible sports car and a jeep, they have their strengths and weaknesses which don’t always exactly line up for a perfect comparison. I will admit though that there are plenty of barriers keeping one from shooting film.

One of my favorite aspects of using film is that you have access to the past century’s greatest film equipment at very low prices. Look at a camera price list from old magazine and then jump on Craigslist and find those same cameras for next to nothing. You can shoot with the equipment National Geographic photographers used for 90% of the photos they have ever published for about the price of an entry level DSLR.

Here is a photo I took with a $37 find on Ebay, a Minolta AL-s rangefinder.

Only $37! Keep in mind that although Leicas are great for shooting film, you don’t have to wait until you have saved up for an MP and 35mm Summilux ASPH to start shooting film. You would likely be unable to take full advantage of it anyways, for while film is a joy to use, it does take work to get right. Besides, the real bargains to be had are in equipment that doesn’t work in conjunction with new digital equipment. Most of the photos in this article were shot with an M6 and one of the newest Summicrons. There are a couple shots from other cameras, but I’ll never tell which…

Different Film Types

Each different film has a different tone, way it renders color, grain count and shape, as well as ISO sensitivity. I would like to share a couple of examples as well as my personal thoughts on different types. Please don’t take these opinions as gospel. I’ve never tried a film I didn’t like, but some I like more than others. This can vary with shooting style, so what I think may not be right for you.

Fuji Velvia 50

This is my favorite. It is a slow slide film with a rating of only 50. This means that you are going to want to use it outdoors. Use it when you want highly saturated, candy colors. In my experience it has a lot of contrast, with very little shadow detail in scenes with wide dynamic range. There is not much room for error in exposure. Expose it over or under much and your photo will look washed out or muddy. Since it is a slide film you can mount the film and throw it in a projector to show the inlaws! Kidding, but only slightly. Be careful with portraits, as it can sometimes be unkind to flesh tones, making them oversaturated and cartoonish (mainly during the golden hour). That said, I have shot people successfully with this film.

Kodak Ektar 100

This film I consider to be a very “safe” film. Part of the reason I like to shoot film is that photos shot using film look unique from the sometimes clinical perfection that comes from a good digital file. Photos shot on film look like photographs. The ones you grew up looking at in Nat Geo. Ektar has great, poppy color reproduction on all spectrums. It may look kind of look like a digital file sometimes, but it will look like a great digital file. At times I have found it to be a little on the warm side, sometimes oversaturating skin tones.

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP5 Plus(pushed to 1600)

Something fun to do is shoot a film at a different ISO rating than what’s on the box. Notify the lab that you have “pushed” the film and they will develop it accordingly. I like to do this for low light and night shooting. I have paired these two films as I don’t really have a preference for either. Using these films in this way will give you the dirty, rough, contrasty black and white look, which works for street shooting.

Ilford Delta 100

This is a good standard fine grain black and white film. It will give you a broad dynamic range, with black to white and every step of gray in between. I have found it to be low contrast, and very forgiving. Use this or Ilford PANF 50 for outdoor shooting if you want to shoot wide open for good subject isolation.

Ilford Delta 400

Choosing what ISO to take can be difficult, since unlike digital you can’t just change the setting on the fly. Taking a 400 speed film will allow you to shoot outdoors and indoors (for the most part). You will experience a little more grain, but again, many shoot film for the grain.

Kodak Ultra Color 100

I haven’t shot this film much, though I don’t know why. It hasn’t ever let me down, though maybe that is why I haven’t shot with it much, it always obeys and I don’t feel the need to wrestle with it like Fuji Velvia 50. Bright color, yet soothing. It is the chicken noodle soup of color films, comforting and steady.

Kodak Portra 400 (New)

This film is interesting. I haven’t had much luck with it, though everything I see online from it looks great. I think this is mainly due to my aversion of higher speed color films. I like shooting wide open and outside. I think that once Kodak combines their NC and VC films in the 160 ISO line I will use it quite often.

Kodak Porta 160 VC (Vivid Color)

This is one of my favorites. It is great for portraits as it renders skin tones neutral and appealing. It is slow enough to let you open up your aperture but doesn’t hang you out to dry when the sun isn’t out. They also offer in Neutral Color, but I tend to like things bright and poppy. NC is better for portraits in some situations though.

Kodak Kodachrome 64

Now discontinued, I just wanted to include this for fun. Famous for being the film of choice for Steve McCurry and his National Geographic compatriots, this film has beautiful candy-coated colors while not going over the top. The process for developing it was incredibly involved and so it is no longer produced. If you haven’t shot some yourself you could try developing it in the tears you shed while looking at Mr. McCurry’s portrait portfolio, wondering why you were shooting digital when this film was available.

Ilford Delta 3200

This film is grainy, rough and super sensitive. You won’t be photographing babies with this one! Best for private eye murder scene photos, zombie uprisings and ninjas (if you can find them).

Lomography Color Negative 100 & 400

These “toy films” can be a lot of fun if you step off your high horse and walk into Urban Outfitters to buy them. They offer a variety of films (repurposed Afga films, I believe) that are meant to have unique characteristics; from over the top color to extreme red cast.

Conclusion

I hope that this helps give you an idea of what film to try next. You can also search Flickr and find groups dedicated to each type of film, it just won’t be as convenient as this post…

You can find Tyson Call on Flickr as well as Twitter. He also writes for the humor site The Tawdry Typist.

 

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Apr 262011
 

So last night I start getting e-mails flooding my inbox about this Leica i9 concept camera that has been posted online by Black Design Associates. I took a look and it appears there has been quite a bit of thought put into this thing! The i9 would combine your Iphone 4 with a fixed Leica lens rangefinder system.

Just sliding the phone in to the back of this camera body would activate it and you would be ready to rock with dedicated aperture dials, a light meter, and a flash. The camera back opens like a film door and is interchangeable, so when a new Iphone is released, a new back would be as well. Interesting idea with a target price of $1200, but again, this is all fantasy and concept. Fun to see someone putting some work into this though. Besides, this could be the future of cameras! Who would buy one of these if it were available? I have to admit, it looks gorgeous!

Be sure to read all about it HERE.

Apr 242011
 
From Steve: Received am e-mail from Amy Medina who just purchased my favorite DSLR of 2010/2011, a Pentax K5. She bought it in the Silver Special Edition of which only so many have been made. (Does anyone know the number?) This is a fantastic little camera and capable of superb results in such a compact but well built size. You can read my full review of the standard K5 HERE. Amy’s first impressions are below. Enjoy!

Pentax K-5 Silver Edition
First Impressions on a Rainy Day…
By Amy Medina

It’s sort of fun for me that Saturday was the first day I had the K-5 out and about, and it was pouring rain. This was my #1 intended purpose for this camera, as I love to shoot in adverse weather. Of course, I don’t have a weather-sealed lens yet (just the FA 43), but I’d typically have no weather-sealing at all and be out there, so I call it a step in the right direction ;)
First… Friday night I did a test shot of my cat (of course) and it came out great…

… one thing to note though was that It was indoors under tungsten light and the focus was spot-on… HOWEVER, that was before I updated the firmware to 1.0.3… and interestingly enough, after doing the update, I’ve had to do a fine adjustment of +10 to get it back to where it should be. Someone else told me they had a similar experience, so I wasn’t surprised. I will say that before getting the camera I was a little daunted by the idea of doing “fine adjustments” to lenses if they needed them… but it was both quick and easy to do. I actually did it out in the field in the rain on Saturday!

In one day of shooting, this camera has amazed me. It is the complete opposite of the experience I had when I bought the GH2 (which I’ve already since sold). I struggled to be happy with my GH2 images, but am simply blown away by the file quality of the K-5 images… and do not feel the same “battle” in the slightest. Of course, that’s ME… I know others will have different experiences with the GH2; I personally just had a really hard time loving it for a number of reasons… but mostly because of the noise in the blue channel at base ISO, and lack of “pop” in the files (harder to quantify and maybe more personal?…)

Back to the K-5… The amazing dynamic range was immediately obvious to me and the sharpness with the 43mm lens boggles the mind. I am not typically a pixel-peeper in general, but even in ACR at the “fit to window” size these things jumped right out at me. I called my husband and brother over to the computer to see, and they were both “wowed”… my brother even said it made him a little jealous (LOL)! Based on one day with the FA 43, all I can say is I can’t wait to get the FA 31!

I love all the buttons and dials on the K-5… all the tactile controls are right up my ally. The placement of the ISO button is PERFECT and use of the camera is very intuitive. Build quality is outstanding… solid but not heavy at all (which is a big thing to me). It’s physical size is bigger than I expected (or remembered from handling it a few months back in a local store), but not too big for me. The grip is wonderful (and it’s slightly different on the silver version from what I hear).

As a comparison… one of my favorite shooting kits for a while has been the M8 + Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Nokton. That combo weighs in at 1.76 pounds. The K-5 + FA 43mm f/1.9 (with an almost identical FOV to the M8 + Nokton) comes in at only a teeny-tiny bit heavier: 1.8 pounds.

The absolute only complaint I have up to this point is that I wish Pentax made more of their great primes with weather-sealing!

Now some photos…

This one was my favorites of the day, and part of the picture-a-day series. I shot it at ISO 1600 because I wanted a large depth of field (shot at f/11)…

I had to walk out onto a slim dock to get this shot. Along the walk there were these smaller, very narrow walkways and one was going to get me even closer to the steps, but the whole thing started to wobble back and forth and I didn’t want to take a dip with my brand new camera on a rainy day! LOL! I slowly back out and remained on the wider, steadier dock…

This one is a bit of a “typical” shot for me… seascape stuff is one of my favorite subjects to shoots… especially in gloomy weather. My family all think I’m nuts and sit in the car watching me snap away in the rain.

 

The last one I shot before getting back in the car to head home…

So overall, I’m very pleased and am really looking forward to enjoying this camera. Being an M8 and m4/3 (EP1, then EP2) shooter for quite a while, this is the first dSLR in a long time to really get me excited. As a very capable entry-level dSLR, I liked the Kx… but really only used it for my daughter’s theater shows (mostly). That isn’t going to be the case at all with the K5… I have a feeling I’ll be using it a lot!

Website: www.DangRabbit.com/Photography

Picture-A-Day Series: www.DangRabbit.com/Photography/pad

on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DangRabbitPhotography

on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DangRabbit

 

Apr 242011
 

Cool Sunday Links for April 24th 2011 – HAPPY EASTER!

Happy Easter Sunday! Hope everyone is having a great day. Me? I slept in, ate breakfast, watched some TV and decided to sit down at my desk and post some cool links that I have gathered up during the last few days :)

First off, check out this article written by Nikon Guru Thom Hogan over at Luminous Landscape. He outlines his wishes for a Leica M10. What he says makes sense but my crystal ball does not see a B&W digital M in the future. Hmmmm….maybe I should dust off the old crystal ball and see what it shows me for a future M10…then again, it may be too soon to divulge any predictions.

One area where I disagree with what Thom said is where mentioned than the M9 did not bring any new people to Leica. That is 100% untrue. The M9 has brought TONS of new people to Leica. I know because I have spoken with thousands of them via e-mail over the past 2 years! There are MANY Leica 1st timers due to the M9, and even the X1. IMO, they did get the M9 right! Even after 2+ years, it is my camera of choice and the camera I use to judge all others by. Is Leica working on an M10 as I write this? Of course they are, just as Canon and Nikon are hard at work designing their next DSLR and other surprises.

Im guessing we will see an M10 by 2012, maybe hear about it earlier. I don’t know this to be fact, just my personal guess. Until then, the M9 is doing a fine job for me.

Check out these nifty film canister USB flash drives. Cute.

OK, it is Easter so you have to see these camera covers/cases. Would anyone actually buy one of these?

Pinhole cameras made with Photo Paper courtesy of PetaPixel

Miss using Layers in Lightroom? If so, this software may be for you!

I stumbled upon this page one day and loved the photos. A must see…

Ace photographer Felix Kunze has posted a new photo essay with gorgeous photos on glass making. I know he shoots with a D700 and the photos here are really beautiful. I met Felix in NYC during my last meet up and he was a great guy who was FULL of passion for photography. I should have an interview with him up in the near future…

An article on concert photographer Jim Marshall and his photos of Johnny Cash. Jim always shot with a film Leica M. Awesome.

I received an e-mail from a Mr. Marius Rustad who posted an e-book of 52 images shot with his Leica M6 from various places across the world. If you want to see it, just click here!

How about taking a look at a disassembled Fuji X100?

The 50 greatest photographs of National Geographic!

Interesting photo set “Remembering The Past”

Apr 222011
 

 

Lots of posts today but here is one more! I Just received a package this morning from FedEx! That is always fun as many of you know :) Anyway, this package came direct from VAJA and it included the nicest little leather Ipad 2 messenger bag I have ever seen, as well as a special edition Red and Black Iphone 4 case that is stunning. It also happens to match the bag perfectly with the pebbled leather in black and red. Wow.

The bag is small, but soft, supple and luxurious. It fits the Ipad 2 (Im sure the Ipad 1 would also fit fine) as well as the Iphone, maybe the charger and some papers and a passport or wallet if needed.

I am going to use these as my travel set for airplanes, or even car rides. Will hold what has now become my “travel essentials” as I always like to be connected. Also, the Red smart cover for the Ipad is just insanely cool with this set. I am extremely happy with the quality of the bag and the case. Vaja is my favorite case maker and  they are all handmade in Argentina and shipped direct to your door.

You can see their offerings at vajacases.com. I do not make money from them, and I did pay for my cases! Just love their products and wanted to share because as fellow Leica lovers, I am assuming you guys also love nice, hand made quality STUFF!

Below is a youtube video I made showing the bag and case. Enjoy!

One more quick video I made of some Iphone 4 cases for those who are interested…

 

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