December 18, 2014
Zack Arias has a lengthy blog post about Fuji lenses, which you should check out if you’re interested in the Fuji X system. In my opinion, the lenses are the reason to get into this system, as they’re so obviously targeted at photographers who like the more traditional feel of metal-bodied lenses with aperture rings, not to mention a solid selection of fast primes. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy with my X-E2 body, but I think other systems are progressing faster and farther with their camera bodies (Sony, for instance). Still, the lenses are the more critical part of the kit, and I’m confident that Fuji is capable of progressing satisfactorily with their cameras.
I currently own the 23mm f/1.4, the 35mm f/1.4, and now my recently acquired 56mm f/1.2. None of these lenses disappoint, and they’ve fueled my desire to sell the Nikon gear and double down. I don’t actually have much else I’d buy, to be honest. The Fuji lens roadmap (how cool is it that they have a roadmap?) has two new lenses of interest: the 16mm f/1.4 and the 90mm f/2. I’d like a wide-angle lens, and it would come down to the 16mm or the already released 10-24mm f/4 OIS. I briefly had the 14mm f/2.8, but didn’t feel it was up to the level set by other Fuji lenses I’ve used and f/2.8 felt slow for a prime of its size. The 10-24 would be great to pack on mountain bike trips, so it may be the winner, especially since it has image stabilization. Still, the f/1.4 on the 16mm is enchanting, and would be useful in low light settings as can be encountered at some biking destinations. Decisions, decisions.
There’s not much to say against the idea of the 90mm; it just sounds lovely. I’ve used my Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 as my main lens for portraits up to now, but I don’t plan on replacing it with the recently-released Fuji equivalent; I’d rather have the 56mm and 90mm tandem, since I’m not really shooting action.
It’s a great time to be in the market—there are so many good things being released. I’m definitely looking forward to the next high-end X camera, which I’m sure to get.
Sad that the Mayakazi retired and now Studio Ghibli is going to stop making features. They made some real classics.
December 16, 2014
I’ve been cleaning up and consolidating photos on some hard drives, and came across these photos taken on a ride earlier this year. Didn’t do much else other than apply a Velvia 50 film look and merge them to a pano. That was a good day, and seeing the pic made this cloudy/rainy day just a little better.
December 16, 2014
Shooting with strobes/flashes with manual exposure settings on your Fuji camera and seeing only black in your electronic viewfinder or rear LCD? Here’s the fix.
The Fuji X cameras with only EVFs have one challenge by default when shooting in the studio: they show your current settings live in the EVF (and on the rear LCD). A lot of time, the studio is a dark place, only lit briefly by strobe lights, but your camera settings reflect that bright moment, often with the shutter at something like 1/125 and aperture at f/8.
The fix? Go into the menu, Setup Menu #1, and select “Screen Set-Up”. In there is a setting called “Preview Exp. in Manual Mode”, which is on by default. Turn it off and you’ll be able to compose in the darker light of the studio, but the camera will still capture at your manually set exposure.
December 15, 2014
Warning: Nerdy photo rambling follows. Feel free to just enjoy the picture and skip it if you’re not into the technical details.
It’s been a long time since I shot with my lighting setup, and I used the arrival of my new Fuji 56mm f/1.2 lens as an excuse to give it a little workout.
The setup was simple: a 5' Elinchrom Octa camera left as key and a square softbox camera right, pointed mostly at the background, but also hitting her a bit. Both lights are Elinchrom BXRi 500s. The camera is my Fuji X-E2 with the new 56mm mounted. The Fuji makes a nice, light little package. Here it is with the Elinchrom Skyport trigger:
I’m rusty! I took a long enough time fiddling around that the kid had no patience for another setup, so I left the lights up and I’ll do another round later in the week. I purchased a Kupo Junior stand awhile back, and this was the first time I used it; it’s very nice. I originally wanted it so that I’d have a stand that was strong enough to hold the octa or a beauty dish on a BXRi over the camera position, but the boom I have (a cheapie) is missing its mounting hardware. I need to order the Kupo steel boom for that much equipment anyway. Still, it’s a confidence-inspiring stand.
The lens is wonderful. The select above was shot at f/8, and I’m very happy with how it came out; I didn’t do too much in the way of post-processing. I haven’t given the lens much of a test, particularly using its awesome f/1.2 max aperture, but I’m very happy with the initial results I’ve seen. It’s particularly nice to have a lens where f/2 is stopped down two stops and most aberrations are gone!
The 23mm f/1.4 and the 56mm f/1.2 are great buddies, and make quite an awesome kit. I’m lusting after the viewfinder in the X-T1, though, I have to admit. I hope Fuji get the new model of the X-T and X-Pro out soon. Given how happy I am with the Fuji, I think I’ll probably sell off my Nikon gear at the beginning of the year and go all-in on the Fuji system.
I think all the Fujis are great looking cameras, but that one is particularly sweet. It came out too soon after my X-E2 purchase to consider, although that viewfinder beckons. I’m planning to wait for the next generation X-Pro or X-T to consider jumping in.
On a slightly related note, my 56mm f/1.2 arrived today, and it’s a wonderful little lens in the hand. Sadly, I didn’t put a battery in my camera before leaving in the house, so it’s a non-functional package at the moment. Gah!
Jonathan Jones from the Guardian, on his way to trashing a photo that pulled in a record sum of money, says:
“Photography is not an art. It is a technology. We have no excuse to ignore this obvious fact in the age of digital cameras, when the most beguiling high-definition images and effects are available to millions. My iPad can take panoramic views that are gorgeous to look at. Does that make me an artist? No, it just makes my tablet one hell of a device.”
Now, this whole article is clearly a troll, but check out his earlier piece, “Photography is the art of our time”, which argues exactly the opposite. Clearly, this guy is just out for page views.
The Guardian can and should do better.
Straightforward photography of the key locations. Though they’re kind of pedestrian, everyday places, some are made creepier with the context of the murder and mystery.
I’m not so sure the difference is as big as Johnston makes out but, since I’m in the Fuji camp now, I ordered the recently reduced-in-price Fuji 56mm f/1.2. I’ve been pining for that lens since its introduction, and finally pulled the trigger. It was a bit of a hard decision, since the extremely well-regarded 85mm Nikon is pretty easy to find substantially cheaper than the Fuji, and it’s hard to argue with the quality of that lens on my D800.
I have to admit, though, that I’ve had no lust for Nikon gear lately, but do find my eye wandering to look at the Fuji lens selection. That, coupled with the lens roadmap Fuji’s put out (oh, the 16mm…) has me considering whether I shouldn’t sell off my Nikon stuff and be done with it. I’ve done that twice before and come back each time, so I don’t want to make that decision lightly. I do have significant money tied up in my Nikon gear, and it’s not seeing action these days, so it probably makes sense to move it on.
Back to the linked article, though: I have to admit that despite the love for the Fuji 56mm, that Leica is wonderful. Were it available for the Fuji mount natively, I might lean that way, even at the price differential. Image stabilization is a big win, even at a slight size increase. I can only hope that the next X-Pro 2 has IS built-in.
Beautiful and appropriate.
Jason Snell wraps up the announcement in better detail. Love the poster and its callback to the Spectre logo.
This is shaping up to be great! Christoph Waltz, who I have loved in every movie I’ve seen him in, has been confirmed for the movie, and Monica Bellucci is also in. Man, I hope the script backs up these great casting moves.
December 03, 2014
I really enjoyed the last few episodes, which is a relief. I had been ready to write the show off—and actually would have—except my wife wanted to keep watching. In any case, I’m glad we did. The story picked up the pace, in fact moving a little too quickly; I thought there was more to mine in both the cannibal storyline and the hospital one. It felt like they moved past the cannibals a little too quickly in order to get to the hospital, which then also came to a resolution quickly. I wonder: Had there been no arbitrary mid-season break, would the stories being told here have naturally spread over a couple more episodes, maybe even span to the end of the regular season? I think so. (See below for more on this.)
Regardless, the characters got back together, some quite the worse for the wear. The overarching theme since their dispersal, that the humanity of the survivors is being stretched across a terrible continuum that has many moving the line-that-can’t-be-crossed. It’s been compelling television. The cannibals at Terminus were clearly the ultimate representation of what can happen to otherwise “good” people in these extreme conditions, and we’ve seen our protagonists—particularly Rick—moving down that path to darkness.
Beth, who had been one of the better “good” people, even darkened a bit, having killed live people recently. (It’s weird to make that distinction, but when you “kill” so many “dead”, it’s hard to describe otherwise.) The only person probably more “good” than Beth has been is Tyreese, having recently recovered to that state after a dark time spent battling with inner demons himself. That she met her end in this episode will likely cause the group to skew darker upon the show’s return.
Unlike my earlier stance, I’m looking forward to seeing more from The Walking Dead.
I’m going to rant a bit, even though it retreads a bit of ground. How fucking stupid is it that we have a “mid-season finale”? Regardless of the quality of the episode in question, which is high, why is the fucking series on hiatus—only six episodes into its season—until February? And why is there a pre-hiatus finale? I’ll tell you: To build up hype and give them an opportunity to pimp some other show, this time the it’s-got-to-be-doomed-to-fail Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. It sucks, and I hope that either AMC stops the practice or that it fails to generate another show I care to watch.
“And despite what some readers might think when I call it a work of fiction, "The Wire” captures a core truth of Baltimore. It’s the same one producer Sarah Koenig nails in “Serial”: that there is a lot of crime in this city, and to live here is to develop a kind of combat-tested, rueful acceptance of its prevalence."
The Baltimore Sun on the recent debate about the effect The Wire has had on the image of the city. There’s also a tie-in to Serial, the podcast I’ve linked to recently, which is about a real life The Wire-vintage murder case. Serial is being reported on by Sarah Koenig who, like David Simon, is a former reporter for the Sun.
OK, OK, no more about The Wire for a bit, I promise!