They stand silently, but yet menacingly above the homes they provide to. Giant creatures turned to stone as they moved between a multitude of houses. One of them alone holds a million gallons of water elevated to the birds domain. They have become part of the landscape and accepted by the occupants below. Without height there is no pressure. Without pressure there is no water. Without water there is no life. I had a fantasy more than 30 years ago that one day I would convert one of these water towers into a house and retreat from the world. It would just be H2o on stilts, me, a saxophone and a camera. I would live high in the air, away from society and shoot anyone that dared come within range of my lens. Within range of my H2OME………
I think it’s about time that I updated my Cotton Carrier review (and a few others, probably) since switching to the Fujifilm X-series of cameras. In January 2014 I made the ‚move to mirrorless‘ that so many other wedding & portrait photographers have done, and ended my days with Canon DSLRs as I built up an arsenal of Fujifilm X-series bodies & lenses. My reasons were simple: Firstly, the quality of the images the Fuji cameras, and their excellent XF lenses, produced were stunning! Secondly, the reduced amount of weight I had to carry was an added bonus. I began with the X-Pro1 and eventually added a pair of X-T1’s and an X100T (watch out – those wee Fuji cameras are addictive!) However, all in the garden wasn’t rosy as I discovered one major issue – for me at least……
In the last part (click here) we looked at Jpegs and Raw, the benefits of each, and why (in my opinion) you should shoot both. This time we’ll take a look at the Dynamic Range (DR) feature and it’s relationship to ISO. It can be a contentious subject.. Certainly the online forums are full of questions and debate about its function and its value. Some swear by it, others swear at it. Am I about to end that debate? Will this article once and for all answer whether or not to use it? No of course not! As with everything camera related, it’s about understanding the function, then deciding if it works for you (or not) Let’s start with a quick explanation of Dynamic Range (DR) This is the easy bit! DR (within a photographical context) is the amount of light and dark that can be captured before detail is lost. When the LIGHT detail exceeds the DR abilities of the camera (or film) the image will display only WHITE. When the DARK detail exceeds the DR abilities of the camera (or film) the image will display only BLACK……..
Twenty months ago I bought a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera. I was so impressed by it that I also bought an X-T1. Since then I’ve hardly used the X-Pro 1, which was relegated to the status of backup camera / second body. When I started out in photography I read repeatedly that you should always have a backup body, in case your main one stops working. That could be the worst advice I’ve ever read. I can understand why pros need second bodies (it would be foolish to go on a commercial shoot without a backup of some sort) – but not only have I never had a camera go wrong, I always end up using one camera all the time, and the other one just doesn’t get used. The way digital cameras depreciate, that’s just wasted money. I did have the idea that I could use the X-T1 and X-Pro 1 in conjunction, each with a different lens, and just switch when needed. But the cameras operate so differently that it’s hard to move from one to the other. Plus, the extra body adds weight and I prefer to travel as light as possible. I thought about selling the X-Pro 1 body, but even before the X-Pro 2 was released the resale value wasn’t very high………
I started using the X series in August 2011. The attack and capture of Gaddafi’s barracks in Tripoli, Libya drove the fall of the dictator. I was using an X100 and unfortunately, to protect myself during a rocket firing, I threw myself among the stones broke the LCD. It would have been the same with any another camera, but the need for me to switch from DSLR to Mirrorless was obvious from this day. The files were already substantial at the time despite the sensor size. I did not wait long then I became the first Fujifilm French Ambassador in January 2012. A year after I won a “Visa d’or” award of photojournalism for my work in the Photo festival of Perpignan and several pages published in the Figaro Magazine……….
Yes, I’ve let my blogging stagnate for a while. I was shocked to discover that the last time I posted anything was in May of last year. I may not have been blogging but I’ve certainly been busy. Something I’ve enjoyed in the past is shooting with “vintage” lenses attached to my “modern” camera bodies. Why? All kinds of reasons, the main one being it’s a lot of fun! But there’s also the different look that each lens creates, different renderings of colour, distortion, weird “bokeh” (the out of focus portion of an image). Plus it’s possible to pick up some really very capable old lenses for not very much money at all. I recently took the plunge and bought a Soviet made Helios 44-M 58mm f2 lens, manufactured in 1978 and snapped up from eBay for around £30 (and that was one of the more expensive ones on offer)…….
PEOPLE FREQUENTLY ASK WHY FUJIFILM NEVER OFFERED CLASSIC CHROME AS A RENDERING OPTION FOR THEIR X-PRO1 AND X-E1 CAMERAS. I confess that I’ve googled to see if this update is available on a few occasions. It isn’t, or at least the availability is not obvious. In fact, both the X-Pro1 and X-E1 are boxed with a custom version of SilkyPix a RAW converter that is specially adapted for the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor. Classic Kodachrome was included within the rendering options available from the end of February 2015. This is often overlooked, however, because the .jpg files from all the X-Series cameras are so good many, especially professionals, avoid using RAW. RAW processing increases workflow time, and when you’re busy, rather than a hobbyist, time is money……..
Being half term for schools in England, and as per usual raining it’s difficult to know what to do with the kids to keep them occupied. As it happens the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire is not too far from us so we decided on a quick trip down there to see what it had in store having had a bit of a make over recently. Being home to the largest collection of British motor vehicles it’s home to a lot of different vehicles so is a great opportunity to explore the the good, the bad and the ugly of the UK motor industry. I wanted to travel light for the day, so just took my Fuji X-Pro1 and 18mm lens on a neck strap which was perfect for slinging over a shoulder and using as and when needed. No need for a bag or rucksack, just a lightweight system for an easy day out……..
It’s been a while since I wrote you last. As of today, I still shoot with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and edit my pictures in Lightroom CC. I might upgrade to the X-T2 when it comes, this summer. The Fuji RAW files are still not fully supported by Adobe, which is a drawback. As I’m sure you are aware, some details like foliage for example, will looked smeared. Inspired by the amazing photographer Olaf Sztaba, I decided to download the trail version of the photo editor Iridient Developer and gave the Fuji RAW files a run for its money. Let me tell you, the difference is real. Like going from 480p to 1080p on Youtube. I used Olaf’s settings in Iridient Developer, choosing the unique sharpening method ‘R-L deconvolusion’ and setting the radius slider to 0.5 and the Iterations slider to 30…….
Boy meets camera, lives happily ever, right? WRONG! But how wrong? And can two wrongs make a right? I’m a funny bugger when it comes to camera gear… Don’t get me wrong, I can suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), my obsessive collection of Transformer toys as a kid, various motorcycles that I’ve pimped up, and a one-time large collection of wrist watches that basically all looked the same… Yup, if you say to me, “Adam, I know I don’t need it, but I simply HAVE to have it” then I’ll unflinchingly look you back in the eye, fix you with an understanding look and say, I know, I know… let’s figure out a plan to get you what you don’t need… What have you got that can be flipped on eBay, how much room is left on your credit card, do you have 2 functioning kidneys?……