Jan 282015
 

Using the Sony A7

By Josh Seeto

Hi Steve and Brandon,

I am an Australian photographer based in Brisbane. Shooting for over 5 years, and spending thousands of dollars buying, selling and trading camera gear (working for 3 years in a camera shop did not help my GAS), I found myself in a creative rut.

Over the new year break I went on a two-week trip to Taiwan with my partner. Starting from Taipei, we worked our way around Taiwan starting from the East coast. Packing my suitcase was the easy bit – choosing ONE camera kit to bring proved to be incredibly time-consuming. Should I go for the mirrorless wonders of the full frame A7? What about the trusty D600? Would I find myself missing wide-angle with the x100s? Hm.. I was travelling – maybe I should drop both and bring along my RX100M2. What about film? I could have brought along 明瞭さ – my modified polaroid 420 or my Instax mini 90.

In the end, I decided to go with the A7 and SEL1635z. The A7 had proved itself as a beast in low light, had a viewfinder and tilt screen for sunny days, great AF, lazy man’s panorama and was easily stored. Restricting myself to one lens due to weight considerations I found forced me to explore and think about my creative options more. The lens itself was no let down, great construction, sharpness was on point and OSS definitely came in handy in low light conditions.

I wanted to share these photos with you and fellow blog readers as I feel they represent my lasting impressions of Taiwan. I’ve framed them to give a cinematic feel with processing in lightroom and photoshop.

If anyone is interested in seeing more, check out my flickr.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/13atman/

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Jan 142015
 

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My short and sweet Fuji X100T review

by Steve Huff

You can buy the X100T at B&H Photo, Amazon, or PopFlash.com 

Here we are, just about mid January 2015 and I have had the Fuji X100T on hand for 3 weeks. During those three-week I have used it for about 15 days and have had my ups and downs with it, mostly ups. At the price of $1299, we are still getting the tried and true Fuji X100 formula. Retro small body, light weight, the same 35 f/2 lens and overall, the same feel and vibe as the previous X100s. This is very much still a tried and true X100.

For me though, the X100T is not a HUGE upgrade over the previous X100s. When it comes to handling, speed, AF accuracy and metering, they seem exactly the same. When it comes to feel of the body, weight of the body and controls, it is really the same.

Nope, the X100 has not changed much since the 1st original best-selling X100 except in regards to speed (the X100s and X100T are much faster and more responsive than the original) and the sensor, which is now an X-Trans sensor. The X100 and X100T share the same sensor, so IQ between the two, for me, was exactly the same.

Click any image in this review to see a larger version

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I was and still am a HUGE fan of the original Fuji X100. For its time, it was quite the show stopper. It sold in mass amounts and was touted by many at the time as a ‘Leica M Killer” (which is in no way was). Many also were confused and called the X100 a rangefinder camera when it was and is nothing like a real rangefinder camera. The X100 V1 was something to behold. Fuji colors, a sensor that rendered in a sweet organic way and class leading high ISO for the time. It is the best-selling X100 to date due to the massive BUZZ surrounding it at the time of release.

1st things 1st…Research:

You can read my original huge X100 review HERE. You can see my X100S review HERE. This T version is really the same in most ways which is why this is a “mini review” so if you want more details on the X100 in general, read those two reviews to get the idea of the X100 series and what it does and who it is for.

Back to the X100T

I loved the X100 V1 but the speed of the AF was very frustrating at times. The main drawback of the X100 was SPEED. From AF, to menu browsing lag, to respond lag. The one thing it had going for it was its hybrid EVF that switched between optical and EVF as well as the delicious color and image quality. For me, that sensor in the X100 V1 was the best of the three, but now that Fuji is  using the X-Trans sensor in the S and T we still have a wonderful small camera that is capable of gorgeous results. I may prefer the old X100 sensor but that does not mean my word is final. Many prefer and adore the X Trans sensors and thousands of others can not be wrong.

*Also, for those who are thinking of an original X100, Fuji have improved on the speed dramatically with firmware updates, so while not as fast as the X100s or T, it is much faster than it was at launch. 

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When I was shooting the new X100T I remember thinking on more than one occasion..”I do not feel or see much difference between this and the previous X100s“. IQ appeared to be the same, speed seemed to be the same (though I was missing more shots as the AF seemed to miss 10-20% of what I was focusing on) and the only thing I found to be different in real world use was the new viewfinder, which many were raving on and on about.

Me, I actually was not a huge fan of the new EVF feature that allowed a sort of “picture in picture” effect when shooting with the optical viewfinder. What it was doing was planting a live EVF view in the same viewfinder frame with the optical, but that live EVF view was so small it made it very odd and cramped. It seemed to block the VF and for me, it was more of a hindrance than anything useful so I used it a few times and then just reverted back to the old way. Then it was just like shooting an X100s. The new feature is helpful for one thing though..which I will discuss in a minute..

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So away I went, shooting the X100T and it was a nice experience. Nothing new, nothing extraordinary, nothing surprising and nothing that screamed “I MUST OWN THIS CAMERA”. For me it essentially was the same old X100s. Same body, speed, IQ and bloodlines. After shooting the A7s and A7II extensively and recently I was sort of spoiled by this massively rich full frame color and image quality. I was spoiled by using my Leica M glass on those bodies and when going to the X100T I was a little let down by the flatter files and more limited dynamic range.

Even so, I really enjoyed the X100T as I have a soft spot in my heart for this Fuji series. I adore the X100 series almost as much as I adore the Leica M series. Not because the X100 is in any way like an M but because the X100 was first to come out with a body that resembled a Leica styled body and it had the same message, which was “take me, use me, be motivated by me”. The manual dials and controls were perfect.

The X100, X100S and X100T are all cameras that will make you WANT to use it. It’s fun, it’s stylish, it’s easy to use and all controls are laid out in a super easy way. I did have MANY issues with that damn X100T exposure comp dial though. It seemed 8 times out of 10 when I went to use the camera the EV dial was turned all the way down to the highest negative setting. The wheel is just too easy to turn and it turns constantly when I do not want it to. I would think that Fuji would have fixed this by now in this third X100 version.

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As the title of this review states, this is just a “short and sweet” review as to me, I feel the X100T is just a refresh of the X100s. It’s the latest version but not so much different from the S. Besides the new EVF/OVF features, there really is not much to mention that I did not already say in my X100s and X100 review.

One thing that is also new is the “Classic Chrome” JPEG color setting. This is a cool setting and is supposed to simulate a classic chrome film, and it does pretty well. I used it from time to time but this only really works when shooting JPEG depending on what software you are using to convert the raw files.

A JEPG using the “Classic Chrome” color setting. A bit subdued but nice…

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…compared to VIVID which boosts not only the saturation but the contrast and hue as well

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So what else is new in the X100T? 

Besides the new EVF/OVF feature of having the EVF overlay, the X100T now offers something pretty useful..Manual focus parallax adjustment. This will basically allow you to use the OVF and get the shot you wanted. In prior versions of the X100 the frame would be off from what you saw in the OVF, especially for close up focusing. Now this is a non issue as what you see is what you get. The X100T will shift its window to show you exactly what you are going to capture. This is a  godsend for many. Me, I always just used the EVF portion of the VF anyway, so this is a very nice upgrade for those who prefer to use the OVF.

The LCD screen is now 3 inches with a 1.04 million dot resolution.

The shutter speed max is now 1/32,000 of a second. This is cool.

Other than those updates and the new classic chrome filter, the camera is pretty much the same as the X100s.

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Personally, if I were buying an X100 today, I would spring for THIS ONE while there are a few left. If they were sold out I would go with THIS ONE and save some cash. But if I were one who loved the X100 series and always used the OVF instead of the EVF I would go with the X100T as yes, it is the most refined and polished X100 to date. I expect Fuji to do a major overhaul of this camera in the next 1-2 years with a new body style, new sensor and possibly a new lens.

Well, that is what my Crystal Ball sees :)

On our way to Cleator, AZ, passing through Bumble Bee.

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So do I recommend the X100T?

Did it motivate me and push me to get out and shoot? Well, yes it did. Not as much as a Leica but it’s a camera that makes you happy to own it. It is a camera that will reward you with beautiful colors and images. In the right light it can be unstoppable, in the wrong light it can be a bit flat. High ISO performance is pretty much what we had in the X100s (be sure to read that review HERE if you missed it as it goes over more as does the X100 review). 

I had some issues with the AF missing its target (using center point) and I had the same overexposure issues that plagued the camera since the version 1 X100. Those who shoot the X100 series usually dials in some negative EVF comp to make up for  the slight overexposure of the cameras metering system.

X100T vs Same Price Range. Anything better?

For the cost of $1299 I would look into the fabulous and pro level Olympus E-M1 as it is a better camera in every way but size (its a tad larger/thicker) and comes in at $100 less. Of course that is without a lens but man, so many great M 4/3 lenses out there. The E-M1 for me bests all cameras up to full frame where it can not compete but I have yet to use an APS-C or smaller camera that beats out the E-M1 in 90% of situations.

Don’t hate on me now…I just call it like it is. The E-M1 at $100 less has a much better weather sealed build, is much faster, much more accurate, has 5 Axis IS, better video and is much more responsive. It’s a joy to use and own. Of course a good lens will mean you have to spend at least an extra $350 (45 1.8) but in the long-term it is a camera that will last you many years. I still own one myself. It’s too good to let go. Check out what Neil Buchan-Grant does with his E-M1. 

But be warned, the E-M1 though is like a Mini DSLR and does not stand for what the X100 series does, which is simplicity..one focal length and a camera that is nice and slim and more compact. If this is what you seek, the X100T is fantastic.

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Fuji is one of the “Big 3″ for mirrorless cameras in 2015. They are going no where. We have Sony who is IMO leading the pack with the mirrorless bodies and full frame sensors as well as the tech/build and overall usability. Then we have Olympus who IMO makes amazing bodies with gorgeous IQ and the lenses from Olympus are nothing but the finest you can get in the mirrorless world for size and quality. Then we have Fuji who is pushing along with new bodies every year or so and great fast primes that many of us want. For me, these three companies are as good as it gets in the Mirrorless world. The Fuji X100T is the latest and greatest for Fuji’s X100 line, and if this camera attracts you or pulls at you heartstrings, $1299 is what it will cost you, and its worth it.

I wil not buy an X100T because I already own 5 cameras but to those who want to get into Fuji with the most simplicity, beauty and the most zen like camera of all of the Fuji’s, the X100T is your best bet!

Highly recommended.

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You can buy the X100T at B&H Photo, Amazon, or PopFlash.com 

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PLEASE! I NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THIS WEBSITE RUNNING, IT IS SO EASY AND FREE for you to HELP OUT!

Hello to all! For the past 7 years I have been running this website and it has grown to beyond my wildest dreams. Some days this very website has over 200,000 visitors and because of this I need and use superfast dedicated web servers to host the site. Running this site costs quite a bit of cash every single month and on top of that, I work full-time 60+ hours a week on it each and every single day of the week (I received 200-300 emails a DAY). Because of this, I need YOUR help to cover my costs for this free information that is provided on a daily basis.

To help out it is simple, and no, I am not asking you for a penny!

If you ever decide to make a purchase from B&H Photo or Amazon, for ANYTHING, even diapers..you can help me without spending a penny to do so. If you use my links to make your purchase (when you click a link here and it takes you to B&H or Amazon, that is using my links as once there you can buy anything and I will get a teeny small credit) you will in turn be helping this site to keep on going and keep on growing.

Not only do I spend money on fast hosting but I also spend it on cameras to buy to review, lenses to review, bags to review, gas and travel, and a slew of other things. You would be amazed at what it costs me just to maintain this website, in money and time. Many times I give away these items in contests to help give back you all of YOU.

So all I ask is that if you find the free info on this website useful AND you ever need to make a purchase at B&H Photo or Amazon, just use the links below. You can even bookmark the Amazon link and use it anytime you buy something. It costs you nothing extra but will provide me and this site with a dollar or two to keep on trucking along.

AMAZON LINK (you can bookmark this one)

B&H PHOTO LINK – (not bookmark able) Can also use my search bar on the right side or links within reviews, anytime.

Outside of the USA? Use my worldwide Amazon links HERE!

You can also follow me on Facebook, TwitterGoogle + or YouTube. ;)

One other way to help is by donation. If you want to donate to this site, any amount you choose, even $5, you can do so using the paypal link HERE and enter in your donation amount. All donations help to keep this site going and growing! I do not charge any member fees so your donations go a long way to keeping this site loaded with useful content. Thank you!

Jan 082015
 

Me and my Fuji X100 (original)

by Jonas Luis

Hi, Steve!

I have followed your website for several years, now. I always look forward to new entries especially new reviews and daily inspirations submitted by photographers all over the world.

I started photography 8 years ago and was primarily a Nikon user. Then, came the Fujifilm X100. I just fell in love with the design of that camera. It reminded me of my Dad’s Kodak Retinette. So, I pre-ordered it and read all the online previews and rumors. I kept on waiting, even after production halted in the Fujifilm factory in Sendai, Japan due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami. After almost a year of waiting, I finally received my order. I wanted to use the X100 as my travel camera, not just as my primary travel camera, but my only travel camera. Of course, I had to contend with the built-in lens. I thought having a single lens would be liberating (if you have a DSLR with multiple lenses, you know the mental anguish of choosing which lenses to bring, packing, etc.) I sold all my other Nikon DSLRs but one, and traveled with my little X100. I also put-up a group pool in Flickr called X100rumors for users of the X100 camera and its future variants. Yes, coming from DSLRs, the X100 was frustrating initially: back-focusing issues, useless manual focus, camera freezing up, etc. (all of which were vastly improved and solved by firmware updates). Still, instead of traveling with an entire system, I now travel with “a camera”. In the beginning, the limitation of having a single lens bothered me. Soon after, it became a personal challenge to obtain the best image I can with that single focal length.

Before I took photography as a hobby, I usually buy souvenirs from my travels. Now, traveling with a camera, I am more inspired to bring home photographs of a place – photographs that I could truly call my own. Before traveling to a particular place for the first time, I would Google images of that specific place – trying to see note-worthy attractions, what tourists usually photograph. Then, I would choose which attractions to photograph, and imagine how I would shoot it in a way that probably nobody has ever done before (or at least not shown in Google images, Flickr or 500px). I usually take note of the predicted sunrise, sunset and weather on each day during my travel. As you all know, aside from the Golden Hour, a lot of exquisite images can also be taken in the rain. The following images were taken by my little X100 throughout the years. They were all re-sized for this website in Lightroom.

This first image was taken when I first saw the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I noticed that the other tourists had their cameras with zoom lenses and camera phones aimed only at the bridge. I soon spotted these array of coin-operated binoculars just in a corner, seemingly neglected – seating there while time and technology just whizzed by. They were probably fascinating and a novelty during their time, but now, just a relic. Yes, I was more enchanted by these shiny binoculars than the enormous man-made achievement that everybody flocked here for. I took a photograph of the binoculars, edited the image with Fujifilm’s free SilkyPix software and a free open-source software, Gimp. I ended up calling this piece, “The Old Robot”.

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Image number two: my girlfriend and I traveled to Chicago. I wanted to have a souvenir photograph of the “Cloud Gate” like everyone else who has been there. If you Google it, you would know that this piece of art has been photographed a million times. So, I decided to have our souvenirs by putting my X100 in a Tamrac Zip-shot tripod, attached an infrared filter and with a couple of Cokin neutral-density filters to the lens. I then set the camera on long-exposure. My girlfriend and I took turns photographing each other. The shots were very long exposures, so we would take a comfortable pose while the one photographing would continually wave his or her hand like a conductor in an orchestra – letting the other know that the shutter is still open and for not to move. The image was converted to black and white and edited in Lightroom.

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The third image is a photograph of the Smithsonian garden in Washington, DC using the same tripod and infrared filter. I was carefully composing my shot one afternoon, when a gentleman just sat down on the bench at middle of my frame and unmindfuly read the day’s newspaper. Irritation turned to inspiration when I started seeing the results on my X100’s LCD screen. To me, the resulting image just exuded leisure and relaxation. My office and I ended up gifting a framed print of it to a co-worker who recently retired.

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This photograph of the beach, was taken in Cancun, Mexico. I was initially drawn by the red color of the floaters. Up close, I was amused to see a beer bottle under the lifeguards’ tall chair. Looks like they had a little “refreshment” while at work. To me, the image says, “Chill out! You’re on vacation! You are not in the USA!”. This was edited in Lightroom.

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The fourth image was taken in Richmond, Virginia. While gazing up the monuments and buildings, it reminded me of the architecture in the Eastern Bloc during the cold-war era. So, I edited this image to have a utopian look in Lightroom.

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My foray into street photography is pretty limited. Unlike other photographers, it is hard for me to find something to photograph on the street, that to me, seems worth-while. Maybe, I don’t have an eye for real street photography, or maybe, because of my little experience with a film camera as a child, that I try not to waste a photograph unless I see a potential story in the picture. In my mind, I keep on judging a potential photograph as just a regular snapshot, or a potential story that is worth telling. In this case, my girlfriend and I were crossing the street in Chicago, after a late dinner. I saw this cyclist coming towards us. It was close to midnight, it was cold, it was raining and I thought, “Why is this guy out here on such a miserable night? Is he going home? Going to see his lady, perhaps?” Granted, he could just be a regular commuter but I can’t sometimes help making up crazy stories like these. So, without thinking, I just stopped in the middle of the street and took a photograph while the cyclist and all the cars are rushing towards me. All the while, my girlfriend is shouting at me to cross the street. Until this day, whenever I look at this image, I still wonder where this night cyclist was heading to. This image was edited in Gimp.

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Image seven is a photograph of the outdoor public market in my hometown in the Philippines. During some days of the week, there is a public outdoor market, and vendors are there as early as two in morning, preparing their wares and produce. I took this photograph around sunrise. Now, I don’t know any of these people. I was only walking around taking photographs. I like this particular photograph because when I took it, I was in the middle of the crowd. But as you can see, I was nothing but invisible to everybody. Everyone had their own stance, their own gaze – as if actors on a stage and only I, could notice the play unfolding. Almost like a Renaissance painting. Edited in Lightroom.

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This colorful image of lights was taken at Disney World. I took this hand-held with the X100. I was surprised when I opened this image on my computer because it already looked perfect, straight out of the camera. The X100 has a great low-light capability. I converted it in-camera from RAW to Velvia. I only increased contrast a very tiny bit in Gimp. But you are hard-pressed to tell the difference between the edited from the original.

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This next image of a crashing wave is when my X100 nearly got nearly got killed. I was in Pebble Beach in California. I was trying to take photographs of incoming waves with a small tripod. Because the X100 doesn’t have a zoom lens, you really have to keep the camera a little close to the water, the tripod was set low and and I was almost seating on the rocks. Anyway, while composing my shot, I noticed a rather large wave coming in. I was quickly debating if I should go back and save my camera, or hold my ground and maybe, will have a helluva of a shot. I decided to hold my ground. So, as soon as the wave came crashing in, I took a single frame then immediately, raised my camera with the tripod over my head. My shorts got wet, but that little gamble paid off. Image edited in SilkyPix.

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The last image was taken in Baltimore, Maryland during one summer. There were a bunch of kids playing and running around the fountain. Like in a playground, all these kids were all chasing each other and playing despite being practically strangers to each other, all but these two boys. I saw that they were in their own little world, brothers – probably twins. Somehow, it reminded me of my brother and I, during my own childhood. So, I edited this image in Lightroom in a way that invokes a sense of nostalgia.

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All these images were taken by my beloved Fujifilm X100. It was only more than a year ago, that I upgraded my computer that I was able to embrace Lightroom and Photoshop. For more than five years, I was using a free program called Gimp and also the SilkyPix software that came with my X100. To me, having the X100, limitation became inspiration. Could I have made these shots with a DSLR, given the chance? Most definitely. But I selected a particular tool and made full use of it. Even my choice of editing software is of no importance. Coming home from a travel, I usually personally judge my photographs if they are worth the ink and paper they will be printed on, if not, I usually not bother sharing them. Years ago, I would spend more on gadgets and lenses. Now, I’d rather spend on printing and framing and decorating the house.

Finally, I continually strive for the elusive “6-second photograph”. If a stranger is able to look at a photograph for six seconds or more the first time, then I would consider that as a very successful photograph. Have I tested that silly theory? No. But it’s a lifelong goal that keeps me on clicking.

I hope I can inspire all of you, especially to those who are just starting photography, that regardless of the camera that you have, regardless of the latest editing software, the most important thing is your own vision and the stories you can tell. Only after extensive use of your camera that you will develop your own style and personal inspiration in photography. Even in music, the student plays somebody else’s music in the beginning. Only when they feel comfortable and proficient with their own instrument, when they usually feel inspired making their own tunes. Gadgets, extra lenses and accessories are fun, but most of the time, they just distract you from your own imagination.

Now, with my X100, would I be upgrading? Maybe not anytime, soon. Now unless… Fuji comes up with a X100T in graphite silver? :)
Keep on clicking!

Jonas Luis

JonasLuis.com

Dec 132014
 

Switching to Mirrorless from a DSLR

By Mohamed Hakem

Hello Steve!

Whenever I’m into any stage of photography I come to my passionate website :)

Mirrorless really helped me unhinge a new passion for photography.

I always considered myself as a nature/landscape. I had a D800 and all what I was interested in was landscape, nature and architecture. I was never a people’s photographer, not because I couldn’t but because I’m a little bit shy and not the right personality for doing weddings and commercials. Despite loving street photography and portraits of normal people in the street, it is an absurd dream for me in Egypt. In conservative cultures, people get offended when you point a camera and snap a picture, they might even get aggressive. So for me this category was off the list. Until when I got a Fuji X100 and things change! magically people in the street began accepting the photos! I had more and more confidence and I liked the Idea of having a camera with me 100% of the time! I found myself leaving the D800 and other lenses at home despite knowing that they are way more capable.

I gradually began shifting towards Fuji, I got an Xpro-1 and a couple of lenses and began traveling with the Xpro-1 18mm F/2 + 35mm F1.4. I started to discover new horizons for me in street photography. I really liked it! It wasn’t long since I got an XT-1 and sold all my nikon glass and committed myself to Fuji.

I started to get the courage to get closer to people here in my country and surprisingly having a retro style camera shifts you towards an artist more than a spy or a CIA agent or even a journalist!. I went with some friends all lugging around huge backpacks full of equipment and I really pitted them, I was going light with just the Fuji XT-1, 35mm and a 23mm. I could move more easily, having just a small shoulder bag that doesn’t even look like a camera bag I was able to get closer to people. I took some portraits of amazingly kind and simple people all with a friendly spirit.

I just LOVED mirrorless more and I knew that I took the right decision. believe me people it’s not sensor sizes or charts or dynamic ranges. It’s only you who really knows what makes you happy, Don’t just sit and read articles like mirrorless VS DSLR or buying gears just because it has a PRO marks all over it! for me, being light and mobile allowed me to get more! to discover more and to move more!

before I had the D800 and Nikon’s trinity, I couldn’t wish for more quality and supreme performance, but with the Fuji, going around more and having a clearer mind allowed me to do settings more wisely, intuitively and faster. Yes the Fuji is a slower less capable camera than the Nikon, but its combination with ME is a faster package, even the Landscape that I come from is much easier and nicer.

It reminded me with the good old days when I had the Nikon FM2 and a couple of lenses.

My website:

http://www.hakemphotography.com

http://500px.com/hakem

below are some street photos that I took with my XPRO-1 and X-T1

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Sep 252014
 

Country visions

By Doug Barry-Martin

Hi Steve,

Having followed your blog for some time now it is interesting to see its influence on my photography . I now shoot some landscape subjects with a narrow depth of field to focus more on the subject whereas before I probably may not have considered it.

I recently had the opportunity to stay at a farm in a rugged valley near Nelson, New Zealand.  It had been raining for a few days and the morning was cold and dark and a bit misty so I took the opportunity to get out my old faithful combo of 5D Mk1 and 24-105 L lens. It is still my best camera and I enjoy using it despite its primitive menu and hard to read viewfinder info. Yes the 7D is a much better camera to use but I enjoy the slower 5D more (and the image quality eats the 7D). My Fuji X100 is a great companion to the 5D and a useful hiking camera but again the 5D has better IQ. I have recently also bought a Panasonic LF1 and it is a very handy and fun pocket cam but not for serious photography.

The 5D handled the gloom admirably and gave me some nice moody images.

The shot of the shed is two images combined.

You can see more on my Flickr site. www.flickr.com/photos/dougbm/

Keep up the good work. It is great to have a photo site like this where we can get inspiration from many different photographers.

Regards

Doug

Your holiday accommodation awaits…

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Beautiful girl…

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140 year old walnut trees and happy chooks

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Lovely views from the farm

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The old shed

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I am lichen this fence post. : )

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Deep in the woods…

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Aug 052014
 

USER REPORT: Shooting the Sigma Dp2 Quattro and Fuji X100

By Michal Adamczak

Hi Steve and all,

I wanted to share my experience with Fujifilm X100 and Sigma DP2 Quattro. Attached are the pictures I took during my last trip with X100 as well as during my first trip with DP2Q. Note that the X100 pictures were developed from RAWs, while in case of Sigma they all are out of camera JPEGs (except for the balloon picture which I developed from RAW with corrected exposure). That may be not a fair comparison but I don’t really mean to compare them against each other. While I have been shooting RAWs only with X100, for practical reasons I plan to change my workflow with my new camera and use the OOC JPEGs most of the time. The size of the Sigma RAW files and the speed of their PhotoPro, the only software supporting the camera, make working with the DP2Q RAW files quite troublesome.

Back in 2011 I decided I would not carry a DSLR during my next trip. I though I would buy the best P&S I could find, one with a fairly big sensor and ideally with a bright prime lens – if there was such a camera. I had not been really following the market and was happy to found out that Fuji just released X100 – the camera I dreamed up and it was just a few clicks away from being mine! (Obviously the Fuji product managers must have dreamt about it a year or so before I did.) The camera looked great and felt good; even more so with the leather case which covered some of the plastic parts. Nothing is perfect but the camera was very close it to. I was happy with the image quality; the ergonomics and controls were great too – no need to enter menu while shooting. If I could change anything that would be the Manual Focus which I found out not really useable. I would love to have a mechanical focus ring in a “street” camera.

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Fujifilm X100 felt great and I love shooting with 35mm yet I found it limiting at times and wanted to change perspective. If the tele conversion lens for X100 was available a few months ago – I might have ended up buying just it. But it was not. I was in Japan when Fujifilm XT1 was released and if it was available in a small photo shop in Okinawa I visited – I would probably have bought it. But it was not. Then I found some pictures from Sigma DP Merrill cameras and knew what would be my next camera. And it turned out an updated version was about to be released!

Sigma DP2 Quattro is very well made. I like the futuristic design though I would still prefer they kept it shorter, even if thicker and taller, to make it more pocketable (which it is not). The camera feels a bit weird to hold at first but personally I find the ergonomics good *if* using both hands; it is not comfortable to use with one hand only. The menu and buttons are well organised, LCD is good except.. that in no way it is a substitute for a viewfinder. I was using EVF 90% of the time on X100 and that is probably what I miss most in DP2Q. I have read a lot about how slow Sigma Merrill was. I cannot compare it with Merrill, Quattro is not a speed demon but I don’t find its speed a huge problem either. Autofocus is fairly fast in good light (similar to X100) but can be very slow in low light (then again – it is not a low light camera). It takes about 8 seconds to write a single photo and there is a buffer for 7 pictures. Depending on shooting style it can very little or just enough. Personally I don’t remember filling the buffer while shooting. I find it very annoying, however, that the camera is not useable 2 seconds after taking a shot.

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Sigma DP Quattro offers quite a few usability improvements over Merrill but at the same time have somehow compromised Foveon sensor with low resolution Red and Green layers. It was a hard choice to make , but eventually I could not resist and decided to take the blow and test DP2Q myself. One of the reasons was supposedly improved JPEG engine (especially considering that the Sigma RAW files can be process only with Sigma’s own software). So how the image quality live up to the hype? Well, see for yourself. Overall I like the rendering, it’s smooth and have somehow painting like feeling. While I find the default sharpening too aggressive, there is definitely a lot of details there – just check the people on the beach or next to the balloons. Disappointingly there is a noticeable smearing in some parts of the pictures – check the grass in the shadow on the balloons picture. The camera gets very noisy starting from ISO 800 – check the incense picture; I find the B&W part very nice, however the red colour is washed away. (For a comparison ISO 3200 picture from X100.)

International Balloon Fiesta

Incense

Retro X100 and futuristic DP2Q – the cameras are quite different to use and have different strengths. I find it a good opportunity to “change a perspective” which after all was the reason to change my camera. I am still learning about DP2Q. I have a bit mixed opinion regarding the image quality – there is a lot of “good” there but some “bad” as well. I was considering using the low resolution JPEGs (without extrapolation) but while 19MP is more than I need, 6MP is a bit too little. The camera feels good though and I am looking forward to using it during my next trips. I will probably buy an optical viewfinder which shall solve its biggest, usability wise, problem.

Michal Adamczak

A few from the X100…

Super nanny / Super niania

Najlepsza knajpa na Tokashiki.

House with a view / Domek z widokiem

Bramy nocą

Japanese wedding

and a few from the Dp2 Quattro

Nephila pilipes

Emerald Valley

Youzihhu

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Jul 072014
 

Fuji X100 Full User Report

By Matt Cole

Hi Steve,

I am a 21-year-old film student from Canada who has always had a passion for cameras and photography. Like many photographers I struggled to find a subject that I liked to shoot and a camera that I loved. I started off with the Fuji X10 several years ago and moved on from there. Over the past 3 years I have gone through more cameras than you would imagine; I have owned a Canon Rebel T2I, Sony NEX-3,6&7, Fuji X-E2, Olympus E-M5, Panasonic GX7, and a Leica M8&9. But to me, none of these cameras could hold a candle to my beloved Fuji X100. There was something special about the X100 that just made me want to go out and shoot and my problems of finding what I liked to shoot slowly melted away as I fell more and more in love with this magical little camera.

Recently I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel through Europe for 2 weeks by myself and 2 weeks with my girlfriend and when it came time to choose what camera came with me on the trip there was not even a question; without a single hesitation I packed up my camera bag with my X100, 2 extra batteries and a lens hood, and that’s it! This camera is the do-it-all wonder; it is small, well-built, and the 35mm equivalent lens is the perfect all around lens for landscapes, street, and portraits. Not to mention the lens is extremely sharp and renders images in a spectacular way!

I know this has been said so many times, but one of the things I love most about this camera is its retro look. As a new photographer that is what originally attracted me to the camera before I knew much about it. Now, as with everything in life, nothing is perfect; as many have stated before the autofocus is not the fastest and the menus are not the most intuitive, but this camera is so amazing that it allows me to look past its flaws and see it for what it truly is. One remarkable camera that will be remembered for years to come!

Although the X100 is quite old (in the digital era), it has dazzling low-light performance and the ooc jpg’s have great color! During my whole month spent in Europe I did not encounter a single situation this camera could not handle. I brought the camera everywhere with me from walking on the beach to late night adventures on the streets of Cannes with some new friends. The X100 powered through it all, and with great ease. Not to mention, the hybrid optical viewfinder was an absolute joy to use late at night when the evf would lag slightly due to the low lighting conditions!

On the whole, this camera is the best camera I have owned; not to say that the others I have owned were not fantastic. I found that this was the best camera for me, for others there will probably be a better camera it really just depends on who you are and how you like to shoot. I find that the best camera is the one that makes you want to go out and shoot and for me that is the Fuji X100.

Here is a link to my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/123579812@N06/

Cables

Cannes

London

Map

Metro

Paris

Tower

Tunnel

View

Jun 262014
 

Shimmering Light in Venice with the Fuji X100

By Drew Raitt

Hey Steve!

Maybe your readers would be interested in my recent trip to Venice.  The shimmering light of Venice is extraordinary! I live in North Devon U.K. overlooking the Atlantic ocean and here the sea is normally cool grey or blue. But in Venice, in April, the water is a translucent green, reflected, subsumed and suffused into every nook and cranny of this lovely city.

As a landscape photographer it took a while to adjust to shooting buildings and canals where there is no horizon. Sure I took loads of shots across the lagoon but the inner alleys and waterways are where the best images are found. Here the light works magic, although colours are subdued every building seems to glow , faded paint and pastel shades come alive, in every shadow there is a glimmering, a warmth that feels unique to me. I carried only my brilliant Fuji X100 (purchased thanks to great earlier reviews by Steve and others on this site). I know things have moved on in the Fuji World and now I am hankering for maybe the XT1 with a 56mm lens but for Venice the 23mm on the X100/s is superb.

I shot pretty much in programme mode and even in the deepest dusk managed to grab the image I wanted. I felt I needed to take time over each shot, savour the light and the atmosphere. In the early morning and late evening Venice is subdued, like the light, calm and quiet and around every corner is a painting waiting to be explored. I only use the electronic viewfinder which to me seems clear and precise whatever I throw at it. With the back screen off I avoided the temptation to ‘chimp’. The exposure compensation dial is incredible, easy to access without taking your eye away from the camera and instantly responsive in the viewfinder. So plus or minus two stops enabled me to fine tune the image I wanted to take. Using Astia mode for a more natural look, plus raw mode, I shot 260 images in four days and still had plenty of battery power left. The enclosed shots are all Jpgs with shadows,highlights and tone curve adjusted very slightly in Lightroom 4. I suppose it is obligatory to visit St Mark’s Square where there are a thousand others making their images. I have never seen so much camera gear slung around, it seems, every neck and in every hand a smart phone. I am no street shooter, the concept is alien to a rural photographer, but I felt so inconspicuous with the tiny X100 every thing became possible. In this shot five Policemen walked across the square which seemed to empty for a second, one of them stopped for a moment so I took the opportunity to photograph him. The other images I enclose I believe speak for themselves about the wonderful beauty of this place. many regards and thanks for such a great website.

Drew Raitt

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May 072014
 

Memories of New Zealand…and Julia

By Doug Barry-Martin

Once upon a time in a land far away there was a Pōwhiri…
and a tall man turned to a beautiful stranger.

I met Julia at the Waitangi Day Pōwhiri (greeting) at the local Maori Marae (meeting-house) in Nelson, New Zealand on
Waitangi Day. This commemorates a significant day in the history of New Zealand. It is a public holiday held each year on 6 February to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, on that date in 1840.

The crowd was waiting outside and were asked to turn to the nearest stranger and to give them (or share with them) a Hongi (nose to nose Maori greeting). I turned and saw an attractive women and thought ‘yes’ and so it went. We spent a half day together and continued to see each other over the next few days. Julia is a German woman in her thirties on a return visit to New Zealand in order to see if she would relocate here. Anyway she continued her travels a little but we arranged to go in a camping holiday on the West Coast of the South Island together about two months ago. I took my trusty Canon 5D MK1 and 24-105mm f4 lens and my ever-present companion the Fuji X100 I bought new 3 years ago when it first burst onto the scene.

The first stop was actually in Nelson at Tahunanui beach where we had a nice kebab. “We are not going to get far at this rate” we thought. Next stop an hour or so south was the beautiful Nelson Lakes. A popular scenic spot but noted for its sandflies. After a lovely walk on the shores of Lake Rotoiti we drove to the adjacent Lake Rotoroa in order to set up camp. Having chosen a spot near some bush, and as we were setting up at dusk, we were over run by hungry sandfles. Fortunately Julia was clever enough to buy some really good sandfly repellent from the Nelson markets the day before. Thank God for that!

So we discovered that camping in early Autumn in the South Island is cold but was rewarded the next morning with beautiful scenery as the sunrise caused the lake to steam off it’s water as vapors.

The Pōwhiri – X100

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Julia – X100

Point and Shoot – easy Scenic shots at Nelson lakes (Lake Rotoiti) – X100

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A clear evening at the lake (Lake Rotoroa) -5D

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A cold but moody morning at Nelson lakes (Lake Rotoroa). – 5D

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A cold start but a sublime view at Nelson lakes (Lake Rotoroa). – 5D

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So after camping at the Nelson Lakes we aimed to make it to Karamea at the top of the West Coast (as we had the day before too!).

It was not to be as we both seem to be ‘side track’ artists.

We had hardly driven 50km when we stopped at the Buller Gorge Swing bridge and spent a few hours there.
Julia was drawn to the water – and to the derelict machines and we even created a bit of rock art and saw a jet boat.
At the time it appeared Julia had the 5D (how trusting am I??) and I grabbed it of her and just managed to get a shot. They are damn fast!

The Buller Gorge really is a lovely drive and the swing bridge (New Zealand’s longest) is worth a visit.

Swing… – 5D

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Don’t look down! – 5D

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She started it!! The rock art. I went for gold with the third smallest and the smallest piece. Buller gorge. – 5D

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We did have to abandon the idea of camping a) because we, as was becoming our pattern, arrived in Westport late (6pm) and b) it was obviously going to be a typically wet West Coast night. We got a cabin in a holiday park which was hardly our idea of camping but it was OK and there were some interesting folks. Not least the old fellow without a leg who was touring the South Island.

A friendly local (and there were a few of those in Westport) recommended a walk for us the next day. About 45 min north of Westport there is a small mining operation and beside it runs a creek along a disused coal mining railway. Charming Creek certainly lived up to its name – especially after so much rain. The hours walk to the booming waterfall was well worth it and all the better for being so wet and green. It was more raging river than creek and a great dose of the West coast environment. Of course the wild beaches really define the coast as much as the damp green hills. I recently read New Zealander Elanor Catton’s 2013 Man Booker Prize winner The Luminaries set in Hokitka. Recommend as a masterclass in writing and a damn good yarn although maybe slightly too clever for its own good and at 800 pages requiring a good deal of dedcation from the reader.

After this we again heading towards our destination of Karamea – as far as you can go almost over the ranges via a long winding road to the semi-tropical north. Hangout of eccentrics and dropouts, entrepreneurs and lovers of nature. And near the beginning of the Heaphy track – a popular 4-5 day walk in Kahurangi National Park

A walk along a disused coal mine railway – a green tunnel – X100

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A walk along a disused coal mine railway – a rock tunnel- X100

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The Bridge to …..??- X100

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The thundering falls of Charming Creek after the rain – I needed a person for scale. They would be about as tall as the smallest rock in the middle! – X100

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Charming Creek froths after the rain (still raining as you can see) – X100

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After a night in Westport and a fantastic walk up Charming Creek we finally set our sights on the far north over the ranges.
A beautiful winding road through super lush native forest eventually drops us into the plains not far from Karamea. On the way we deviate to a small idyllic lake and just generally soak in all the greenery.

We blow right through Karamea after fortuitously making it to the store 2 minutes before it closes. God we nearly missed out on buying beer and wine!! What sort of camping would that be? About 16km north of the small sleepy hamlet of Karamea is the DOC (Department of Conservation) campsite at the beginning of the Heaphy track. We set up camp just before dark (as usual) trying not to get too much of the view-blocking white camper van in our sights and cook our dinner. Usually we take turns each night and the fare is not too bad.

We awake to a lovely morning and I arise first in time to get some of that magic early morning light. It’s a bit nippy though folks! The sun soon warms us up and after driving back into town to check things out we finally set off on the track for a walk up to Scotts beach. We had thought of going to a DOC hut on the track but you have to book and pay online beforehand. Too much bother so we enjoyed what we did anyway.

The Scotts Beach/Heaphy track climbs steadily through beautiful bush studded with nikau palms, karaka and rata.

After a stunning sunset we have yet another cool night in the tent and the next morning we set of early (for us – 9am!). Prior to setting off I bump into Courtney and Brian whom I was sharing a house/community dwelling with recently in Nelson. A lovely young American couple they had descended from a hut during the night and were rewarded with several Kiwi sightings but had the misfortune to have their tent nearly taken out at full tide by a big wave as they were camped on the beach. They were shaken but not stirred and their usual chipper selves the next day when I encountered them.

After this we called in at the famous Rongo backpackers – mainly to see Paul. I was lucky to meet with him and he was his usual affable, larger than life self. The place itself is well worth a look with lots of eccentric artworks and a graffiti wall in the hall. Nowadays backpackers seem overrun with quiet iPad scrolling young people making them seem somewhat like a digital library.

A mans work is never done…gidday mate!! – X100

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Alone in paradise (almost!). Scotts beach. – X100

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The beautiful wild West Coast – 5D All 5D from here on except the very last.

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Morning has broken…

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And evening falls golden upon us…

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See how small we are…

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And the fire of the sun’s last gasp lights the land…

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As the poetic moon rises in the sky…

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So we departed Karamea and headed south towards the popular Punakaiki (or pancake ) Rocks about 40 min south of Westport.
The lookout walkway forms a circle and was populated with asian tourists prompting Julia to comment that it looked like the great wall of China!

As usual we had no real plans for where to stay. However fortuitously I had asked a local in the car park of a supermarket a few days previously where we could camp up north of Westport etc. When we arrived at Punakaiki we went to the tourist information office to see about potential camping spots. The fellow I approached recognised me and declared ” I know you, you are looking for freedom camping!”. I was rather perplexed by this. He, it turned out, was the fellow I had talked to in that car park! He (ahem) quietly recommended an ‘unofficial’ spot to camp not too far from Punakaiki. Other than that he said the local camp grounds were good (we soon ascertained that they were not to our taste but were a good source of clean water (ahem).

So we proceeded up a long and twisty and somewhat rough gravel road with the most beautiful scenery. It was a lush gorge lined with sheer rock cliffs and covered in greenery.

At the end we found a lone tree and a beautiful mountain range vista painted by the setting sun. We quickly found a flat spot to set up camp in the long grass. However the car was parked some distance from where we wanted to erect the tent and couldn’t be driven closer due to some rough ground. We needed to use the car to pump up the king sized mattress with the electric charger. Julia had the bright idea of assembling the tent with the mattress inside near the car and then carrying the whole thing with inflated mattress to the site. Brilliant!! As usual we just managed to have beers and scrape together a meal and soak up the scene before it got dark and spent another cool night ‘roughing it ‘ on a comfy mattress! What was wonderful was we had the whole place to ourselves which was a lovely change from the white camper van posse of the Heaphy track’s DOC campground.

The power of the West Coast lies as much in its rugged beauty as its rugged weather…

Even the well-known is still sublime… Punakaiki.

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But there are still secret spots…

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Idyllic camp site

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Sleeping beauty

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We set off the next day to head back to Nelson. After a couple of nights in Nelson I drove Julia to Picton to catch the Ferry to the North Island.
After we said our goodbyes that was the last time I saw her in person. She would like to return soon but doesn’t know when she can.
All I know is that my holiday with Julia was special and I have some wonderful memories (and photos) of it.

Thanks Julia!!

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THE END

Many more images from this holiday can be seen on my Flickr stream

Regards from New Zealand

Doug Barry-Martin
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougbm/

Mar 262014
 

A Month on the Road with the Fuji x100/Why It Is Still My Soulmate

By Andy Eclov

Hi Steve, thanks for the opportunity to share my story!

My name is Andy, I’m a 21-year-old musician from Chicago. I spend about 3-5 months out of the year touring with my band and, for a while, I would bring my 1D with several lenses and two-speed lights on tour, but that was ultimately too much to lug around and too much to risk losing.

I then spent about a year shooting photos only with my shiny new iPhone 5 so that I would be forced to compose with the provided lens, and have to work to get nice lighting situations. Just like Steve said in his recent article, I sometimes focus too much on the beauty and acquisition of photography gear and not enough on the process.

iPhone

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The convenience was obviously there with the iPhone, but the quality was suffering, and so was my interest in taking photos. Being able to shoot a photo, edit it in-hand, and upload it to my blog in less than 5 minutes was an undeniable benefit that I didn’t want to go without by going back to the Canon gear. So I spent my countless hours of research and review-reading focused on the mirrorless systems. The Fuji x100 was an easy choice. It stood out to me physically, the viewfinder is attractive, and the photos have a certain sparkle to them when compared to similar cameras’ photos. Being a collector of 35mm rangefinders and SLRs made the Fuji impossible to pass up.

Iphone

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset

I spent a couple of months carrying the x100 with me everywhere, spending as much time as possible getting to know it and it’s quirks. I scoured the internet in search of every accessory I could justify (or afford).

Fuji

Austin TX Fuji

But before too long, the snowy and freezing Chicago suburbs got in the way of any motivation to go out and take photos every day. Besides the studio project from time to time, my x100 was bound to taking photos of my puppy in the kitchen for a while.

Finally the time came to head out on another tour, and I was delighted to finally have an opportunity to shoot with the Fuji. I appreciate that I was able to spend so much time getting the camera set up just right for my exact specifications, it seems like a very customizable interface – once you get the hang of it.

Fuji

Broken Arrow OK Fuji

Kansas City Fuji

The camera came out every time I got out of our van. No matter what the scenario, it was beautiful to see it through that viewfinder. It gave me a reason to be the first one awake every day. I’d try to get an idea of what the city we were in each night was like, and then the next morning I’d walk and snap photos for a while before we moved on to the next place.

I used my wifi SD card to send my images from my camera to my phone, where I would edit them with VSCO cam and some other apps, and then post them to my blog right away. Before long I couldn’t stand the quality I was losing by compressing the original files through my iPhone anymore and decided to take the time to shoot RAW and edit more carefully and selectively.

Fuji

St Louis Fuji

Brookyln NY Fuji

I think shooting with the Fuji x100 has made me a better photographer and I think it will continue to do so. More than anything, it keeps me in love with my photography. Though it may be nearly outdated already by some’s standards, I think this camera will stay with me for a long, long time.

I keep a detailed blog of my travels here: noctevolant.tumblr.com

 

Mar 072014
 

Faces of Malaysia

By Wijnand Schouten

I went with my family to Malaysia.

My wife is half Malaysian so I met a lot of relatives whom made it possible to stay far away from the tourism roads..Which is a good thing at my opinion. I love faces of people and met a lot of them. Trying to get them out of a pose and get the moment of them they are in at that time. Nothing can be taken…all is there to be received. With all the beautiful colours in Malaysia i still prefer black/white processing though.:).

All shots were made with my Fuji X100s and worked on it in Lightroom.

Greetings from Wijnand Schouten

www.wijnandschouten.com

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wijnandschouten

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Feb 202014
 

Shooting with Fuji

By Olaf Sztaba

It is not common in the days of big egos and anonymous message boards that a great photographer and hugely popular blogger stands back and allows other photographers to share their work on his own website. I applaud you for such a generous approach.

This is our first submission to your website, so a few words about our philosophy. We believe that as we have all been taking photographs for over 100 years, we are experienced enough to go beyond portraits and landscapes to take photography into the artistic realm. Capturing the emotions you feel as you look at people and landscapes is another level of photography, as is capturing the essence of a person or landscape.

Having said that, we put a lot of effort into the visual and emotional quality of the photograph; only after that do we strive for technical perfection. Our photo trips usually take us into unknown and forgotten places, some of which may seem obscure and rusty at first sight but somehow they interest us more than what’s new and pretty. I had my first camera at the age of four and ever since my eyes have been searching for the perfect composition, light and subject. My wife Kasia and I are based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

We are currently shooting with the Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji X100S cameras and Fujinon XF lenses, which fit our style of photography well. With the basic gauges at our fingers, we can focus on what’s important: our subject, emotions, visuals and light. We believe that every photographer has special needs and preferences, so I don’t want this post to be about equipment.

After all, a strong, artistically beautiful image, even if it is technically imperfect, will always triumph over a technically perfect but dull image.

Thank you for the opportunity.

Olaf & Kasia Sztaba

www.olafphotoblog.com

www.olafphoto.squarespace.com

 

Image #1: Fuji X100S

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Image #2: Fuji X100

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Image #3: Fuji X-Pro1 & XF 14mm F2.8

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Image #4: Fuji X100S

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Image #5: Fuji X-Pro1 & XF 14mm F2.8

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Image #6: Fuji X-Pro1 & XF 14mm F2.8

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Image #7: Fuji X-Pro1 & XF 14mm F2.8

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Jan 252014
 

Fuji’s X100(s) series, What else?

By Renaud Perez

Hello Steve,

A while ago, I’ve already sent some posts to Steve about the Fuji’s X100 and X100s. I took some time to write a bit more and share, on this fabulous website, more of my thoughts on this camera series, as I’m using it exclusively for 2 years already. I’m not going to talk about camera’s performance but more about how I’m using this system and try to explain why I don’t see the point right now to have anything else. Actually I’m going to speak as an “X100s” since I did the upgrade 8 months ago and this is the only camera I own right now (+ the wide angle converter WCL-X100).

 1/70 f8.0 ISO-400. WCL-X100. Converted from RAW.

Sun set, south west of Koh Kood island, Thailand,

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After two years shooting with this series (both camera are more less the same on the outside) I can say that I feel it has the perfect from factor, body + lens. It’s small of course but not too small and I they fit 100% right in my hands. In term of from factor, it has something a lot of people forget while comparing camera size… the thinness. I can strap my X100s on my shoulder, have it under a very light jacket, nobody will never ever figure out that I have a camera one me. Only the pana 20f1.7 on a small m43 body could give you the equivalent, for the rest of the lenses, I mean prime’s people are often talking about, just forget about it. That’s the fixed lens advantage (other X-mount do not offer this either!).

I consider the source of both X100/X100s mojo’s to exist due to 3 reasons;

 #1) The Hybrid viewfinder. What did Fuji here is magic, it gives you both of the 2 worlds. EVF is a great technology improvement over the past years, it gives you the possibility to manual focus more accurately than you could through an OVF. It’s also better for a perfect framing and gives you a good overview of your real exposure, WB and color rendition. On the other side it’s a lot of tech’ adding “filters” between you and the real scene. If you shoot RAW, you do not really care about your color rendition, WB or exposure since all this can be adjusted during later on post processing. One remark on focusing, for those who never used an X100/X100s, since it’s not a ranger finder, you cannot manual focus using the OVF. Then comes the OVF, and that for me is a very very very important part of the photography experience. When I’m using an OVF, I’m slowing down. I take time to look around and concentrate on the instant trying to catch interesting things and just simply enjoy! Add to this the LCD screen of the X100/X100s that you can just leave displaying the most important info, focus point, metering, AF-mode etc… No live view and go out for a RAW shooting session, never reviewing any of your photos during it and you will enjoy a classic photography session!

 1/30 f2.8 ISO-2500. Converted from RAW.

Self-portrait at Bangkok airport,

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By the way, I keep wondering how Nikon missed this one on the Df? If this Df would had integrated such an hybrid system, it would have been a real killer! Come on, the designing and engineering team could not manage to insert an additional mirror switch mechanism to give you a great EVF in the viewfinder, allowing you to manual focus old school lenses perfectly? This would have been a real statement from Nikon that compact Full Frame DSLR are here to compete with the mirrorless FF offer (A7/A7r).

#2) The controls. Controls as they are designed today are nearly perfect to me, giving you access to the shutter speed, aperture (on the lens) and exposure compensation in a very intuitive way or I would say and old school way, back to basics! The only thing I wish is to see coming in next version(s) is an ISO dial, giving you direct control over the 3 mains photography parameters, Speed / Aperture / ISO. I also would like to see one more Fn button in the right bottom side of the camera front, close to the lens. For me this one would be fully dedicated to the ND filter, leaving the Fn button next to the exposure dial for other things. I think it would be a much better ergonomic in this way since you could with your left hand control the aperture + ND filter without having to go back to the rear part of the camera, leaving your right hand dealing with shutter and exposure compensation while holding the camera.

 1/2000 f4.0 ISO-200. Converted from RAW.

Phra-Si-Rattana-Chedi, Grand palace Bangkok.

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Holding the camera is also leading to the debate, is inner camera stabilization necessary? In the X100/X100s concept I would clearly answer NO! But of course if cameras maker’s competition is bringing this inside, I would not refuse it ;-) No, simply for the reason that you do not need it during day time, due to the X100/X100s 35mm eq fixed focal, no telephoto super zoom here! And for night time shooting, using the auto ISO between 200 and 6400 paired with a minimum shutter speed of 1/30 (for those who don’t know, a good rule of thumb is to choose a shutter speed that is one over your focal length to ensure no camera shake due to hand’s movements), is sufficient for you to get crisp looking photos. The only situation where it would be useful is for a night scene without any moving subjects (important), and where you would need to keep ISO 200 for later on post processing, so having to use a long exposure. But for that very kind of shots, It’s possible to plan them a bit in advance bringing a tripod and if not, you can still use other elements around you to set-up a support for the camera (since night scene + long exposure does not require any “instant” capture and rush). Finally, do not forget that there is no mechanical vibrations issue with the X100/X100s. Which brings me to the last part of the X100/X100s magic.

 1/750 f2.0 ISO-200. Converted from RAW.

Golden portrait, Grand palace, Bangkok.

image004

#3) The leaf shutter. What is a leaf shutter? It consists of a mechanism with a metal leave which pivots to let the light going on the imaging element (film or sensor). It offers lot of advantages, no any noticeable inner vibrations (camera shake due to the focal plane shutter curtains impact) and is dead silent (i.e. some complain about these issues on the A7/A7r). It is so quiet that you can discretely shoot a guy you are talking with and he will not even notice it. This added to the camera size, and you get a system which is not intrusive at all, so it does not interfere in people’s interaction. Usually when you talk to guy, furtively give a try to a “lucky” shot and the camera gives you a loud click-clack, you interlocutor will pause with the kind of expression in his eyes saying “hey, what are you doing here?”. You camera will simply have broken the moment and that’s not what we want! There are of course hundreds of other situations where having a silent camera is a golden gift. Of course the sexy retro compact look helps a lot, the camera not being intrusive, even giving interrogation to people and being a discussion starter, I’m not going to say more on this since everybody know how beautiful are looking these cameras.

 1/60 f4.0 ISO-3200. OOC Jpegs, B&W+Green filter, Highlight & Shadow tones +2.

My mother’s emotion after the birth of our baby girl, furtive catch

image005

Finally I will end with things I discovered using the X100s.

About the X100/X100s sensor rendering, as Steve and others mentioned I also found that OOC jpegs can be flat, it mostly appear when the light is not there but IMO that’s just internal jpegs processing, since the RAW files of the X100s are very rich and with a RAW you can pimp your picture as you want.

If you are shooting RAW with the X100s, I strongly advise you to set your DR to 100%, do not use the auto DR. The principle of this DR feature is to upper the ISO to get more details out from the shadows. So basically if you are in auto DR and that the camera says you need a 400% DR (which is the maximum), you will have to be at least at ISO 800. It‘s well known that Fuji X-Trans is great at high ISO but if you are working on extracting details from a RAW, you’d better stay at ISO 200. If you go for a jpeg session, just leave the DR in auto, it’s doing the job very well.

 1/2500 f5.6 ISO-200. Converted from RAW.

Temple of dawn, Bangkok

image006

If you are in a light situation where the output goes flat, and do not want to bother with post processing, what I usually do is I quickly tune the highlight and shadow tones levels to +1 or even +2 (both) and then I get the punch back.

I found that the internal B&W filters are working quite well. I’ve started to use it a lot recently, using the B&W+Green filter and setting the highlight and shadow tones to +2 since I like a lot punchy and contrasty B&W images.

 1/240 f4.0 ISO-400. OOC Jpegs, B&W+Green filter, Highlight & Shadow tones +2.

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 1/30 f2.0 ISO-250. OOC Jpegs, B&W+Green filter, Highlight & Shadow tones +2.

Fail to catch her – baby pics are a real challenge

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 1/60 f2.0 ISO-640. OOC Jpegs, B&W+Green filter, Highlight & Shadow tones +2.

Jeanne

image009

Jeanne,

Finally, the WCL-X100 is really the best convert I ever used. Actually I did not notice any loss of image quality compared to the original lens, I get wider and still keep the max f2 aperture. So IMO it’s just like changing the lens on the X100/X100s. It gives you a 28mm eq perfect for landscape (I found the 24mm to be difficult to fill). Just keep in mind the WCL-X100 is huge and the camera loses one of its advantages, as I mentioned previously, using it. When I say huge, I mean the camera cannot go under your sweater anymore, but it’s not bigger than the Pana 25f1.4 (to give you a better reference).

 1/350 f4.0 ISO-200. WCL-X100. Converted from RAW.

From my office, Beijing

image010

 

My wish list for Fuji. Through firmware upgrade;

– AF performance and the OVF framing lines, to me there is still some improvement to be done here.

– I would like also to see the ability to configure the AE/AF-L button to a Macro mode selection quick switch. Press it, you go Macro, re-press it, back to normal mode. When you are shooting during weddings, anniversaries, parties and so on… You are all the time in situations where shots need to be taken at distances varying from 3m to 0.5m this changing randomly at a high rate. I’m struggling and losing too much time with the current Macro mode selection, it should be faster to give time to the AF to re-adjust.

– In AF mode, the ability to use the manual focus ring to parse the AF points and select the one you need. Turning the ring, you can parse AF points from the upper left to the bottom right in line order.

 1/180 f4.5 ISO-200. Converted from RAW.

Street shooting, the spring roll factory, Bangkok’s China town

image011

 

For future version(s), I will not talk about sensor size here (even if nice rumors are talking about FF), but IMO it should be a least;

– Weather sealed. This camera concept as it is should be a life time camera. In a recent trip to Thailand, using it at the beach, I had the feeling that it would not last so long if I were staying there for some months. This camera should be rugged to support anything, having it with you all the time, everywhere.

– Battery life. This is a joke on both X100/X100s. Using it in real conditions, with performance mode set on maximum, reviewing some pictures with my wife or friends, I only manage to take a hundred shots, no more, on one battery charge (I always take two to swap but still… it’s not acceptable).

– On the rear part Fuji should add a rubber element for your thumb, like on the X20.

And after, of course, keep what makes this series so unique and improve the hybrid viewfinder, sensor, lens etc…

 1/18 f2.8 ISO-6400. OOC Jpegs, B&W+Green filter, Highlight & Shadow tones +2, NR to -1.

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At the end, I do not see any camera / camera system, which could give me more than what the X100s does end of 2013. I’m limited to wide angle (WCL-X100, 28mm eq) and the 35mm eq focal which is, anyway, what I would own if I had an interchangeable lens system. The only thing which is missing is an 85mm eq for portrait, here the X100/X100s have to admit, it’s out of their capabilities. Apart from this, what else?

 1/125 f5.6 ISO-200. Converted from Jpeg.

My wife & me, shot by our tour guide at the Grand palace Bangkok

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I wish to you and everybody all the best for the coming year and I’m sure that you guys will have a lot to do with all new stuff coming from camera makers ;-)

Enjoy, thx for the website and all the efforts and energy you guys put inside.

1/40 f2.0 ISO-400. Converted from Jpeg.

The Lying Buhdda, Bangkok

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Renaud.

Jan 182014
 

Monochromatic with the Fuji X100

By Renan Luna

Like many others, I’m a hobbyist photographer and I visit your site daily. I have been shooting for at least 10 years, mostly part-time with my old – and now semi-retired – Canon Rebel XS. I love this camera, but its weight and size hardly go unnoticed by the subjects.

In São Paulo, where I live, the people are not so open-minded to be photographed. In fact, they hate it! So, I needed to upgrade my equipment or lose one shoot after another. I decided…the Fuji x100 looks nice to me!

The camera is amazing (the Steve wrote a great review of that). The grip, lenses, size and everything fit with my needs perfectly! I’m back to action days, sneaking in the shadows and hunting for the photos without being discovered.

I’m a color-blind person and monochromatic photos is true passion to me. And again, the Fuji x100 supports me very well in this case with some interesting options of film simulations, especially the black and white ones, that do not need a lot of processing to get images with the results that I want.

After I bought the x100, my style changed a little bit. The fixed lens of 23mm has no zoom of course, but yet it is so versatile you can shoot in open areas and in a living room without losing quality or details. It’s a unique experience!

My intention with this text is just to show that a good camera is just a tool, what counts is the person who controls it. I hope this will inspire someone to do something special!

Thank you for the opportunity to write.

Wishing you well and good photos for us all!

My contacts:

http://www.flickr.com/renanluna

http://www.facebook.com/renanlunas 

Thank you again,

Renan Luna

A cat in the dark

Alone in the dark

Boys on the docks

Buddies

Ciborg

Danger

Faith

From old times

In doubt on shop

Serenity

Spray and push

Looking the ocean

Oct 182013
 

Fujifilm-X100-black-0

Fuji X100 Owners, get Firmware Version 2 for a speed boost!

DOWNLOAD THE NEW FIRMWARE HERE

YES! Fuji did it again and proves at least that they are the best in Firmware updates. They have released the firmware Version 2 for the Fuji X100 and below is what you get, so it is WELL worth it to do the upgrade!

Improvement of AF speed

Approximately 20% faster AF speed is achieved in various conditions such as bright scenes, dark scenes and changed focus distance compared to the previous firmware version.

2.Improvement of close-up focus performance

The focus distance from the lens surface without switching to macro mode is approximately 30% shorter compared to previous firmware version.

3.”Focus Peak Highlight” function for manual focusing is added.

The function, which features on FUJIFILM X100S and X20, is added and assists accurate and sensitive manual focusing by enhancing the outline of your subject in high contrast.

* With this update, “Focus Peak Highlight” function is selected as a default setting. Pressing the center of the command dial for a while enables you to switch the setting of “Focus Peak Highlight” and “STANDARD” (off of “Focus Peak Highlight”). And “MF ASSIST” is added in SHOOTING MENU where you can select “HIGH” and “LOW” in “Focus Peak Highlight” and “STANDARD”.

4.Improved manual focus operation

This makes it easier to capture the peak of the focus by displaying the image with shallow depth of field, using open aperture, when adjusting the focus with the electronic view finder or the LCD.

5.Faster start-up time

The camera start-up time is shortened by approximately 0.2 second with QUICK START mode OFF.

6.Improved operability of selecting focus area

Previously, the focus area was selected while holding the AF button on the back. With the upgraded firmware, pressing the AF button will switch to the focus area selection screen and the area of your choice can then be selected.

7.The phenomenon is fixed that a camera will automatically turn off during “Bulb (B)” shooting with the “CONTINUOUS” setting in “IMAGE DISP.”

Your feedback wanted!

Early reports are fantastic from X100 owners. If you own an X100 and did the upgrade, how is it? Is the AF slightly faster or much faster? Inquiring minds want to know! Sure makes the black X100 look extra good right now :) In fact, with this update, I would buy the black X100 at $1080 over buying an X100s as I prefer the older sensor. :)

DOWNLOAD THE NEW FIRMWARE HERE

© 2009-2015 STEVE HUFF PHOTOS All Rights Reserved
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