Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Looking Up

Image: 5D Mk III, EF 16-35 f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/80th sec at 17mm, tripod.

Don't forget to look up, a perspective that is often missed, some times getting the camera down low and taking a shot looking up will give you new and interesting images.

I saw some folks taking pictures of these sculptures that I have never seen before and noticed a similar composition to one I had done with the Space Needle and the Pergola.


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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Brilliant Time Laps

The Lion City from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Brilliant work by  Keith Loutit


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Monday, October 21, 2013

Fuji X100s Review

Image: X100s, f/11, ISO 800, 1/70 sec

100% crop of upper image.

I'm going to do something here I don't normally do, review a camera. I'm doing this for a few reasons, first is, I would like to get a review out there based on a Landscape photographers view of the X100s. Also from some one who has not yet drunk the Fuji cool aid. Secondly from the perspective of using it as a second camera in a more casual manner. Lastly, I like what I see Fuji doing with their design and I have been intrigued by it for some time.

So if your interested in how the X100s behaves, check back from time to time as I update this review.

I will be shooting mostly RAW and converting with Lightroom 5, finished images will be done in CS6, that is my normal workflow. Most work will be done off tripod so I can see how it resolves at higher ISO's.

 Image: Out of Camera jpg, Street Art, 1/2500, f/5.6 at ISO 200

The look:
Fuji has decided to go a different route than other manufacturer's, with the look and feel of their cameras and how the final images appear on screen and print. At the heart of this look is the X-trans sensor, see the Fuji site here I wont be detailing specs here, that's been done all across the web for people to find.

 As most people are aware of, this camera produces some of the finest OOC (out of camera) jpg's that can be found today. Fuji has managed to find a way to reproduce very natural looking images straight out of camera. This is an exception in today's market and Fuji should be commended for that. a lot of it is based on Fuji's history in film and their detailed analysis of color. I used to shoot with Fuji Velvia 50 back in the day, for landscape it was hard to beat. Fuji has done a great job of reproducing true to life color in their jpg output.

 Image: x100s, ISO 640 at f/11, 1/125 sec, hand held.

Fuji has found a way to to appeal to the photographer of yesteryear with their vintage range finder looks, its a camera that will appeal to film shooters and photographers that like s lot of manual control in their camera. This camera will greatly benefit people that don't like to sit behind a computer useing imaging software, it just takes fantastic images. Having said that, shooting RAW will almost always allow you to pull more detail from an image.

The Lens:

 Fujinon lenses have been around for years, pro's have been using them on their Hassy's for decades, Fuji makes great glass. The 23 mm aspherical lens on the X100s is no exception, not super sharp at f/2 but no slouch either, sharp stopped down, as good as any when good technique is used. Prone to flare but that can be easily remedied with a lens hood.

 X100s Flare example, 1/125 at f/11, ISO 200
not as bad as the camera used by J.J. Abrams in Star Trek

Sharp and relatively distortion free, the 23 mm f/2 lens is a winner as most other Fujinon glass is. Focusing is smooth and the lens is well built, manual focusing is easy even if you don't have the best of eyesight, using peaking and split image aids is a blessing. Micro contrast and resolution are very nice.

I thought it would be very limiting using just a 23mm lens (35mm equivalent) but I was wrong, it just makes you get a little exercise is all, your creativity will thank you for it.

 This is where most people are let down by the  Fuji cameras, with reason. Fuji has made great strides forward in improving their cameras handling, especially the auto focus. If you are used to shooting a DSLR however you will be disappointed, but that is currently the nature of mirrorless cameras. There are also some finicky menu options and a few quirks that makes one shake their head. Fuji, however fix's most problems with firmware updates, I returned the original X100 within a couple days due to handling issues, the X100S though, looks like a keeper. One needs to understand when using this camera, it takes a little more time, its more about the experience with the X100S.

 A good byproduct of its size is, it appears to be less intimidating when you point this at people, instead of a large DSLR, so people feel more comfortable with you taking their photo. This camera can be pulled out quickly and unobtrusively and the shot taken before people even realize you have taken it. A fast flash sync speed and quiet leaf shutter also help to be less obtrusive and the flash is pretty amazing for a built in.

Manual focusing is relatively easy with new features like focus peaking and digital split imaging, many other improvements over the original X100 make the new version a pleasure to use.

Image Quality:
This is what its all about and this is where Fuji makes things happen, with out a doubt this camera produces great images, even jpg out of camera shots are very nice. As good as a full frame DSLR?
no, I'm afraid not, but you can't expect that from a APS-C camera. Color, texture, detail, micro contrast and sharpness are all excellent. People shooter, that's how I like to think of the X100S. I enjoy using it to take pictures at parties and occasions. I love what it does for people, especially skin tones. It excels at images of friends and family.

Black and White conversion:
The conversion to black and white is handled well, a testament to Fuji's dynamic range, you can turn blue sky's to near black before seeing any artifacts. A very nice feature to have.


The Final Word
I highly recommend this camera, for certain people, those that know photography well and don't mind working around the slower handling. To others it may be a little frustrating to use and at this price point, its not a camera you want to leave at home in favor of your point and shoot. It feels good to use, I feel like I did in the film days, I take more time. I am looking forward to more from Fuji.

I also highly recommend some accessories with the X100s, including the following, the Thumbs up EP-2S, a soft shutter release like the Act 3 and my favorite wrist strap by Barton, screen protection Expert Shield.

Buy the X100T from B and H here. Now upgraded and better.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

X-E2, 2nd generation Fuji

Now things are starting to look very nice in Fuji land, its been a busy week with new camera releases,  but this release seems to stand out, Fuji still looks like a very nice option, the X-E2 promises much improved performance along with improved image quality and top notch lenses.

Image: x100s, ISO 640 at f/11, 1/125 sec, hand held.
Larger Image 

 Image: x100s, ISO 800 at f/11, 1/25 sec, hand held
 Larger Image

the above image's are the same sensor and processor as the X-E2 and should be fairly representative of the new camera, which means it should have exceptional image quality.

Dpreview preview here 

Fuji site here 

Fuji X website here

Buy it here


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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

And now for those who want an ILC at a diminutive size, Panasonic announces the DMC-GM1, similar spec to the GX7 so this could be a real winner.
Will be interesting to see how this does with a nice lens on it like the M. Zuiko prime 75 f1.8

Panasonic site here 

DPreview preview here

Great review at ePhotozine here

Buy it here


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sony A7 and A7R a new era in SLR photography?

The new Sony A7R and A7 cameras where announced today, ushering in a new era in SLR photography ?

This could change things, this is the camera I wanted Canon to make, this is what could sway me to buy, this is what we wanted Fuji to do, but really only Sony had the muscle to make, for now.

But wait Sony doesn't have the lenses right ?

Wrong, today Sony also announces: The 55 1.8 Zeiss Lens,The 35 2.8 Zeiss Lens, 24-70mm F4 Carl Zeiss OSS, 70-200mm F4 Sony G OSS

So we will see how this camera performs, but on spec the A7R looks to be the one I want and if it performs I will certainly get. A brand new full frame 36mp sensor in a camera, that fits in the palm of your hand and with these new lenses, well like I said, if it performs.......

Also with adapters, you will be able to mount almost any lens to this camera, including Zeiss and Leica. The Metabonse adapter will allow full AF and metering with your Canon and Nikon Lenses.

Sony has done a job on Canon and Nikon from the looks of it. This is no surprise, the only surprise here is, Sony took so long to bring a 36mp sensor to market.

This also brings into question, what is M4/3's good for, this camera is not much bigger than the new Olympus OM-D E-M1, which is the M4/3's flagship camera, granted its half the price, but still the argument of size is no longer as valid as it was.

Only one thing missing here so far and that is, in camera stabilization. Knowing Sony though, the image quality in this camera will be the best, as of today.

Pre order it here 

As usual Michael Reichmann has a good assessment of the camera over at The Luminous Landscape here

See a preview at DPR here


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Monday, October 14, 2013

In search of Alpine Larch

5D Mk III, 24-70f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/125 sec at 39mm, ISO 100, hand held.

Government shutdowns and high country snow have put a damper on my normal locations for fall color this year (shame on my government) normally I make a couple of trips to shoot fall color at Mt Rainier, but this year its closed.

5D Mk III, 70-200f/4L IS, f/7.1, 1/2000 sec at 89mm, ISO 100, hand held.
Buck Mountain from the trail

Carne Mountain was this years fall destination, a wonderful hike near lake Wenatchee, not for the beginner, it is 8 miles round trip with 3500 feet of elevation gain, snow shoes may or may not be required at this time of year.

5D Mk III, 24-70f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/200 at 24mm, ISO 100, hand held.
Golden Larch on the trail

Larch grow between 6000 and 7000 feet on the east slope of the Cascades here in the Pacific Northwest and usually require a significant hike to be seen in any quantity. Their color is incredible if you hit it right, seen with snow and blue sky's makes it all the better, we had a real treat this last weekend.

    Image: 5D Mk III, 24-70f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/200 at 35mm, ISO 100, hand held.
Larch, Buck Mountain and the Chiwawa range
Larger Image 

See more images from this trip at my Flickr page here


Monday, October 7, 2013

Zeiss Otus 55 f/1.4

Is the perfect lens also the one you can't afford ? $3990 what ?

Will be interesting to see how many they sell, I'm sure its as good as it gets, but really ? $4k for a 35mm lens ?

sample image here

Zeiss web site here

more info here at DPP


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