Earlier, I reviewed the excellent Godox Ving V850 manual flash. It still is one of my favorite flashes for off-camera flash photography in general and on my Fuji system in particular. However, recently, I’ve also been working a lot with another manual system: the Cactus RF-60 flash and the Cactus V6 transceiver. As this is a manual system, it isn’t exclusive to Fuji users: almost any camera with a central firing pin on the hotshoe can use it. That’s the beauty of manual flashes: they work on every camera. In this blog post, I’ll focus on the V6 transceiver……
I am currently running Fuji X cameras alongside a Canon 5D Mk3 although I suspect this will not last for long, I feel so much more comfortable with the X-T1 and X-Pro2 and the lesser weight of the Fuji X system suits me too. With the Canon I needed the 100mm Lee Filter System but I experimented with the Seven5 on the Fuji X cameras. I have wondered for some time what I would take with me when I sold the Canon and so it seemed sensible to make a comparison of the graduated filters and weigh up the pros and cons. First step was to make a proper comparison of the extent of the graduation and see how much difference there is in the fall off; simple enough to do by placing identical strength filters from each system along side each other. The pictures tell the story quite clearly. Now what of other considerations? …….
Where do you set the focus? One should always consider this question. How accurately do you want to focus? That is another important question. And on what basis are you adjusting the focus? Does it suit your needs and style? X-Pro2 allows two options for „Depth of Field Scale“: Pixel basis and Film format basis. This allows you to adjust the camera setting to suit your need and style. Technically, the only region that is in focus is one particular plane parallel to the optical axis. All other area will be out of focus, even when moved by 1mm. All other plane are in „bokeh“, theoretically that is. The reality is that, the amount of bokeh is so tiny that it appears to be sharp. You can basically ignore it. „Depth of Field“ is about the plane in focus and areas in front and back of the plane that appear to be in focus (although it is defocused in theory)…….
Often I hear photographers and reviewers remarking that a certain lens is not sharp in the corners. But is it really not sharp? Or maybe what you are seeing is the result of a curved field lens being tested against a flat subject. I wrote about curved field lenses versus flat field lenses with some illustrations on the difference here.. If you are interested, please follow the link and read it.Here is a practical example of what I mean. The image above was made using the highly touted Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4 XF lens. The lens is very sharp, even wide open and contains an aspherical element. I used it to demonstrate that, looking at the image above, one may wrongly conclude that the lens is not sharp in the corners……
I can still remember the day I heard the news about the coming Fujifilm X-Pro1. It’s four years ago but it’s still a clear memory. I could see that all I had wished for in a digital camera was in the X-Pro1. I just knew I had to have it and I wanted to be the first. My love affair with the digital Fujifilm cameras started already with the X100 in 2011. I had been looking for the perfect digital camera for almost ten years and tried a lot of different brands and models but none of them came close to my demands. I wanted a camera that would perform the image quality and handling of a professional but with the size of almost a compact camera. When the date for the release of the X-Pro1 came up I contacted my professional camera dealer ProCenter in Stockholm and told them, I need to have the first X-Pro1 that you get! I called them every day and demanded to know, when will you have the camera! So I got the first sample and I’m convinced it was the first in Sweden………
The truth about the „Fastest“
„The AF is faster“. That is the impression that many users are left with, when they test the new X-Pro2 that are now being displayed in many showrooms and in stores. It is not hard to imagine that many of those that are eager to test the X-Pro2 are the X-Pro1 users. X-Pro2 has seen a major improvement in AF performance compared to the X-Pro1. So the above impression is in fact „true“. But if you are comparing the speed with the X-T1, X-E2 or X-T10 (cameras with phase detection AF), then your impression is „wrong in terms of numbers, but true feeling-wise.“ „The fastest AF speed“of the X-Pro2, measurement based on the CIPA guideline, is same as other cameras with the phase detection AF. X-Pro2 is not breaking the record of the AF fastest speed of the X Series. „The fastest AF speed“ is a bit tricky one. This measurement is conducted under a particular environment specified by the guideline. So the shooting scene inevitably gets detached from the real shooting environment. The score of the AF speed isn’t necessarily what the users experience in reality. Therefore we say it is „wrong in terms of numbers, but true feeling-wise“……..
After a brief moment of spring, winter has returned to our corner of the world. Snow is back on the ground that temperatures are back to normal. With fond memories I was looking through my back catalog of images taken in 2015. All those little trips we have taken, getting lost in the back roads of Alberta. Edmonton is situated a little further from the Rocky Mountains, and usually it’s at least a day trip to be able to visit. Our backyard is mainly prairies and forests. It can be challenging sometimes, to create good images. Luckily we can compensate by finding a bit of history, and abandon farm, or church. Some are nothing more than a roof, yet some are still standing, remembering better times. Most of the histories of those places, have been lost in time, but stopping to photograph them, one can imagine the laughter and hard work that was normal not so long ago. We love doing these little historical trips, to find these little gems, and photograph them. I’ve witnessed a few places which I managed to capture, and are no longer standing…….
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……….
Among some photographers there is a certain pride in delivering pictures right out of the box – referred to as SOOC, meaning straight out of camera. But for many reasons I think the SOOC concept is quite silly and in my mind, is an illusion. The most important thing to get right and straight out of your camera is exposure and framing.. (and shutter speed, ISO and aperture). If you get that right, you have the best possible material to work with because you don’t have to crop your image or push your files too much in the exposure department. If you have the basics nailed, then there is less work to do afterwards. If you on top of that, have a camera that produces very nice JPG images, that are processed with the cameras internal computer, then you have even lesser work to do……
Last week ago Michael Evans wrote about Fuji’s policy of offering firmware upgrades to bring older cameras as near as possible to later releases. It’s a policy that most Fuji owners appreciate. Fuji refer to it as kaizen. My venerable X-Pro 1 has been continually rejuvenated over the years by Fuji’s commendable firmware upgrade programme. Here it is in fully updated mode alongside the new 35mm f/2 and the old 27mm pancake lens Kaizen (改善), according to Wikipedia (remember when Encyclopaedia Britannica was the fount of all knowledge?), is the Japanese term for „improvement“, or more literally, „change for better“. Pretty well anyone in business concerned with manufacturing or logistics and supply chain will be familiar with the term. It’s also trendy to apply it willy-nilly to all sorts of endeavours from song-writing to weight loss. In the Fujifilm sense it applies to their willingness (note that I don’t use the word „policy”—more of that later) to improve upon products that have already been released into the market through making available free firmware upgrades. The most recent of these, for the X-E2, effectively brings it almost on a par with the X-E2S. Why should Fuji do such a thing? Are they not, to all intents and purposes, cannibalising their own sales? …