When Fujifilm launched the X system in January 2012, it did so with an unusually high-end body - the X-Pro1. With its unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, solid metal body and analogue dial-led control philosophy, it was clearly targeted towards professionals and keen enthusiasts looking for an updated take on the classic rangefinder concept. The X-Pro1 was generally well-received, but its price was always likely to limit its appeal. Fujifilm's new baby, the X-E1, aims to broaden the line's appeal to wider range of enthusiasts, and will compete directly with the likes of the Sony Alpha NEX-7 and Olympus OM-D E-M5.
X-E1 - the more affordable X-Pro1
The X-E1 is in essence a slimmed-down X-Pro1, with the large, complex and expensive hybrid finder replaced by a purely-electronic viewfinder. Not any old EVF though - it uses a 2.36M dot OLED unit, out-speccing the X-Pro1's 1.44M dot LCD finder. In return its rear screen is slightly downgraded in terms of both size and resolution, to a still-respectable 2.8" 460k dot LCD - according to Fujifilm this is necessary to keep the camera's size down. The result is a compact body that's broadly similar in size to both the much-loved FinePix X100, and its most obvious competitors like the E-M5 and NEX-7.
The X-E1 gets a few new features relative to the X-Pro1, commensurate with its class. There's a little built-in pop-up flash, a 2.5mm stereo microphone socket for movie recording, and the ability to use an electronic shutter release cable in addition to the signature threaded shutter release button. But otherwise it's near-identical to the X-Pro1, using the same 16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor and EXR Pro image processor, and almost exactly the same control layout and interface.
Via Thomas Menk
When I was in Korea earlier this year, my friend and fellow street photographer David Kim shared a TED talk with me titled: “How great leaders inspire action.” David holds a leadership position at his job, and he told me that this talk changed the way how he lead others and how he leads his own life. Needless to say, I was fascinated by the talk and after watching it – it changed my life.
In the talk Simon Sinek makes the case that successful leaders/organizations/companies asked the question “why” before asking the “what” or the “how”. For example, he used Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright Brothers as examples who focused on the “why” questions. For Apple, they follow the “why” question when it comes to making computers. Why does Apple do what they do? They want to inspire people through elegant, simple, yet powerful devices. For Martin Luther King, why did he want to see equality and freedom for all races in the states? Because he had a dream.
For the Wright Brothers, why did they work so hard to build the first flying airplane? Not to make money, but to create a technological breakthrough that would help all of mankind.....
I’ve really enjoyed working on my long exposure photography technique. I wrote about it here recently. The image above is another long exposure image of moving water on Vickery Creek in Roswell, Georgia. I’ve taken a number of long exposure images in my day but it’s only been recently that I’ve tried to make images that have some artistic value, particularly in the realm of black & white images. That means I’ve spent time focusing on the proper balance of tone across the image and I’ve ensured that there is detail and texture in the water. Since the eye is immediately drawn to the brightest part of an image, nothing detracts more from an otherwise fantastic image than blown out highlights in the water.
Long Exposure Photography Equipment and Processing
For this image, I used the tripod mounted Fuji X-Pro 1 with the Fuji XF 18mm F/2.0 lens. In addition, I used a 6 stop B+W Neutral Density filter to allow me to slow the exposure down. Exposure was +1/3 of a stop for 3.5 seconds at F/8 and ISO 200. One of the great things about a tripod is that it really slows down the composition effort when making a photograph. I’ve found that while it can be a pain to lug the tripod around, my images tend to be better because I have to slow down and concentrate more on what I’m creating. This image was processed through Lightroom 4 where I applied a preset for black & white long exposures.
Via Thomas Menk
British photographer Craig Easton has been announced as the overall winner of the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2012 competition. Craig beat entrants from over 90 countries to win the world’s leading travel photography competition with four evocative, moody images of the ‘dreich’ - an old Scottish word to describe wet, miserable, dank weather - and an elegant series of four striking silhouettes of people in Paris. The New Talent award went to Alessandra Meniconzi (Switzerland), while 15-year-old Samuel Fisch (USA) has been named Young Travel Photographer of the Year.
Via Thomas Menk
Travel photography is quite different from other photographic endeavors especially if you plan to make a living from it. Most successful travel photographers are writers as well. Actually in the print world, you can't separate words from pictures.
I recently got my Fujifilm X-E1 body and was immediately very impressed with the AF speed, as was everyone else who tried it. It appeared snappier than the X-Pro1, but although I knew the X-Pro1 had improved lately with the new v2.0 ...
Ok, I have now made the decision change to Fujifilm compact camera system from my Nikon DSLR gear….its gone …. sold on Ebay …. time to order the Fuji XE1…. So what have I done? Have I done the right thing.
Continuing in this mini-series on street photography, there are a number of techniques that I use while shooting. Although it’s possible to describe most of them in some detail, full understanding requires both demonstration and practice – this is where joining one of my workshops is ideal Together with the basic principles of balance, perspective, composition and what makes a good image – these techniques may be used singly or in combination to generate strong street images. In fact, they also apply to documentary and reportage work, too; the only difference between good street photography and photojournalism is that the latter has a consistent theme and subject. It’s important to note that not every technique is suitable for every situation, and vice versa; as always, a good portion of making a strong image is knowing what to leave out. In a photographic situation where you have effectively zero influence of any of the elements in your frame except the composition and exposure, timing is the one key bastion of control that remains in the hands of the photographer. By making a conscious choice of when you push the shutter, you decide when each and every single one of the moving elements in the frame is in the position you want them to be in. However, it is too late to react only at the exact instant you see the composition you want. It is therefore important for photographers to be able to see a scene, visualize the potential contained there, and be able to imagine what the finished frame will look like once all of the desired elements are in place. It is then a matter of simply waiting for those elements to all come together, and being ready with the camera when they are. No matter how fast reflexes, or your camera, the fact is that if you react off to you see something, it’s too late; training yourself to anticipate action is something that can give you the critical second or half-second which can make all the difference between getting the that and missing it completely.....
This past Saturday evening I had the opportunity to kill a couple of hours in Chinatown and North Beach while waiting for my Apple Store appointment time to roll around. I decided that it’d be a good time to see what my present street photography setup was capable of in low light. The results were mainly satisfactory with a couple of hiccups, as is to be expected when shooting moving, uncooperative subjects in low light. I have read and agree with many others’ findings about the X Pro 1 and its prime lenses for street photography – that the 35mm is too slow and its autofocus too inaccurate to be counted on when speed is crucial, particularly at night. Also, 35mm (52mm full frame equivalent) is too long for how I like to shoot, while 18mm is too wide. I find that the 24mm lens, zone focusing, a generous depth of field and the X Pro 1′s OVF allow me to get many shots I might otherwise miss while the 35mm/1.4 dilly-dallies around trying to focus. I love that lens and the images it makes, I just don’t love that its autofocus is slow enough in bright light to be noticeable and didn’t want to stake the evening’s results on that lens. Another gripe is that the refresh rate of the EVF on the X Pro 1 gets awfully choppy and grainy the lower the light levels get. In some of the brightly lit shots, it’s a non-issue. In the case of the man on his phone in front of the shadowy sidewalk, it was tough to get the image in focus. In fairness, that shot is more about the shapes and shadows than it is a portrait, anyway, but I’m a pretty harsh critic of what I create. So, what’s the verdict? Well, heck – I love this camera and lens combo at night, too. Sure, I missed critical focus many times. Sure, people moving around makes for great backgrounds with extra grainy/blurry people. At 1/125, though, I think the results are good enough to share. Post processing is done in LR4.2. Although I’m a fan of black and white, for this exercise I eschewed black and white as I like several of these in color and feel that the colors contribute significantly to several of the images.
All from X Pro 1, Canon FD 24mm/2.8 SSC at f4.0 or f5.6, 1/60 or 1/125, ISO3200 or 6400.
When the X-Pro1 was announced to a surprised market earlier in 2012 I then remarked on my scepticism at the release of a magnesium alloy bodied, mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.
Then it sunk in and I added that other companies had performed ‘major rethinks about the future of upper level digital cameras: like Olympus with its retro OM-D and Nikon with its bare bones N1.’
It was obvious that Fujifilm had done ‘a mighty rethink about gaps in the pro market and come up with a camera that has some pretty clever answers to some profound questions.’ Since then there have been other models in the X-mount line and the XE-1 is the latest.
Fujifilm XE-1 Review Verdict
well above average.
Why you’d buy the Fujifilm XE-1:
you have the skills to exploit it.
Why you wouldn’t:
the LCD screen does not tilt.
The X-mount series of cameras goes from strength to strength. This sits easily into the lineup.
One of the most popular questions I get asked is “What is the best camera for low light?”. As with most photography related subjects, this question is entirely dependent on what it is that you are trying to photograph. The answer also depends heavily on the equipment you are working with.
Photography requires a combination of three elements that determine exposure – aperture, shutter speed and ISO. In low light situations, the weakest link here is the ISO sensitivity. ISO is a measurement of how sensitive the capture medium is. This applies to film as well as digital camera sensors. Both of these mediums work in very different ways, but on the same principal and measurement. Film is material sensitive (for a later chemical application) and digital sensors record light electronically – but they both work with the same sensitivity measurements. Both mediums also see the best image quality at lower ISO ratings, but as we move into the 21st century, digital cameras are receiving an incredible amount of research and development making higher ISO ratings better every year. Lets look at the technical aspects of these applications.....
Via Thomas Menk
There’s a lot of discussion out there about what makes a great landscape camera. This month’s Outdoor Photographer magazine has a feature article on which camera to buy. The article touches on a few mirrorless camera examples but they’re mostly fixed lens cameras. For whatever reason, given the mirrorless technology that’s now available, a full blown, mirror slapping camera body is still considered superior. In the article, the tips they share don’t lean towards landscape photography with a mirrorless camera. There’s even a story on PetaPixel about photographer Gordon Laing being denied a permit into Antelope Canyon because he had a mirrorless camera. Clearly, mirrorless cameras haven’t been embraced yet for what I’ll call “heavy lifting” in the landscape photography arena. The mirrorless camera category is a very exciting segment right now. It’s a rapidly changing, ever updating segment with a lot of fierce competition and oneupmanship taking place. Whether you like micro 4/3 cameras or something larger with a APS-C sized sensor or even a Leica with its full frame sensor, it all boils down to your needs, pocketbook and the subject matter you want to capture. In my case, I was lugging either a Canon 7D or a 5D Mark II and several associated lenses, along with a tripod, into the field. That kit weighed a lot and I’m not always interested in carrying that much weight on my back. I began to consider mirrorless options when I started carrying a used Fujifilm X100. I fell in love with the camera because of its simplicity of operation and image quality. But it fell seriously short for me as a landscape camera because I wanted the ability to zoom in and out without always relying on my feet to do the zooming. After a lot of research, I settled on a Fujifilm X-Pro1 and its APS-C sensor and the 3 associated prime lenses ranging in focal length from 18mm to 60mm. The combined weight of that kit was significantly lower which made hiking with gear more fun and easier on the knees.....
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