Entries in fuji x100 (28)


Photo of the week - June 2, 2015


What is a "professional camera"

A lot of concert (and other) venues note that no "professional cameras" are allowed, and by extension, that "non-professional" cameras are okay. This post isn't intended to cover whether one has the right, or not, to take pictures at a concert (or how to do so respectfully/discretely). Instead, I just wish that someone would define what a professional camera is...

  • Does "professional" mean that one is making money from their pictures; e.g., like a professional vs. amateur athlete? If so, then it's the use of the images, and not the type of camera that defines "professional."
  • Or does "professional" mean interchangeable lenses? This doesn't make much sense either, since by this logic the $2800 Sony RX1R and $1300 Fuji X100s are non-professional, while the $500 Nikon D3200 or 1-system are professional?
  • Does "professional" mean a zoom lens? Telephoto? A certain length?

Here's a list of camera regulations at each of the NBA arenas. Some of policies actually have a useful level of specificity! In addition to detachable lenses, the length of the lens seems to be a determining factor (6" seems to be the cutoff between non-professional and professional cameras).

The Fuji X-system (specifically thd X-E1 and similar) should be okay by most, but not all, definitions. It's not a DSLR, it has a relatively low-profile (i.e., no big viewfinder hump), and most of the lenses are under 6". The only sticking point is that it does have a detachable lens.

I've never been hassled with my X-Pro1 (or now X-E1, since it's even smaller) with the 60mm f/2.4 lens. I just received the 56mm f/1.2 which is bigger than the 60mm, but hopeful still won't garner much notice.

Update: I did recently get hassled by someone checking bags at a concert over my X-E1 wearing the 56mm lens. I mildly protested, and another person working the doors came over and after asking if it was a "zoom lens" (which it isn't), let me in. In the future, I should make sure the X-E1 is wearing a pancake lens when getting checked at the door so that it resembles a point and shoot, which they seem to be fine with.


Photo of the week - March 18, 2014

Concert-goer at the Arcade Fire show in Philadelphia, March 17 2014. Fuji x100 f/5.6 1/25 sec, ISO 4000.


Love for the Fuji X system

Ever since getting my Fuji X-Pro1 last July (along with the x100 the previous fall), I've hardly touched my Nikon D90. Although I did use it extensively in Amsterdam, Germany and Austria, and Italy last June, since the arrival of the X-Pro1 my Nikon gear has been largely dormant. Why I've bonded with the X-Pro1: 

  • Size and weight. This is the obvious benefit. The X-Pro1 body is smaller and lighter, as are the lenses. It's awesome for travel.
  • Discreteness. Similar to the size and weight advantage, but having more to do with others' responses (or lack thereof) to me shooting with the X-Pro1. This is even a bigger deal for me than the actual size of the camera. In particular, I've taken it to a few concerts recently and have shot from my seat with excellent results (see here, here, and here). My guess is that an usher would have stopped me if it was my D90 because it looks "too professional." 
  • Manual controls. Selecting shutter speed with a dial? Check. Setting the aperture by turning a ring on the lens? Check. A dial for exposure compensation? Check. I love the old-school controls.
  • Adapted lenses. I dig that I can use my Nikon lenses with it. In particular, I figured that my 10.5mm fisheye would be really useful; the 135mm f/2 is surprisingly good too. I like manual focusing; if Fuji implements focus peaking or some other way of confirming focus, the X-system will be awesome.
  • The optical viewfinder. I love the OVF, especially with the 35mm lens, because you can see outside of the framelines to get a better sense of the scene. As much as I love the OVF, the electronic viewfinder is growing on me, having used it a lot recently with the 60mm lens and adapted Nikon 135mm.

Things the Nikon still does better:

  1. Long telephoto lenses. I have the Nikon 70-300mm lens; I don't use it much, but it's nice to have that flexibility when the situation calls for it. The forthcoming Fuji 55-200mm should cover this, so disadvantage #1 will been moot soon. And a ~135mm fast prime would have me opening my wallet in a heartbeat.
  2. A super-wide zoom. My favorite lens on my Nikon system (especially for travel) is the Tokina 11-16mm. With the Fuji platform, the only lens in that range is the lauded 14mm 2.8. It's apparently a spectacular lens, but is it wide enough? I do shoot the Tokina at 11mm quite a bit; but also at 16mm (about 75% of my shots with that lens are at one end or the other). There's also a 12mm lens coming from Zeiss soon; maybe that will suit me? Both the 12mm and 14mm lenses are pricy too. If it's optically excellent, the 10-24mm that's coming at the end of the year probably is the best fit for me (even though it's likely to be expensive too. But that means waiting! Basically, overcoming disadvantage #2 just requires a bit of patience or committing to either the Zeiss 12mm or Fuji 14mm. Update: Decided to go with the Fuji 14mm, and will think about the 10-24mm zoom when it comes out...
  3. Macro. Yes, the Fuji 60mm does allow close focusing, but it's not as long as other macro lenses (like my Nikon 105mm). And it's EVF only. Then again, see the argument about size and weight above. The Nikon 105mm micro is not a small lens. And if I want to manually focus, I can use the Nikon 105mm lens with the Fuji with an adapter.
  4. Speed. Quibbles #1 and #2 above are all well on their way towards being addressed with the growth in the number of lenses available. The one place (at least for me) where Fuji lags behind SLR systems if in shooting fast-action sports. I don't do a lot of this, but as a cycling fan, I like to shoot bike races when I can (see here and here).

What's next: 

  • Zooms: I have the 55-200mm lens on preorder (update: now arrived); my fingers are crossed that it will arrive before we leave for vacation, although right now I have it shipping to my parents' house so I can get it while I'm there. And I really want the upcoming 10-24mm offering, but that's not due until the end of 2013 and sits behind a couple of other lenses in Fuji's "roadmap." As much as the 18-55 "kit" lens is appealing, I'll probably hold off on that one. Update: This last sentence turned out to be untrue.
  • I'm trying hard to resist the 14mm lens, even though it get rave reviews. Ditto with the promising Zeiss 12mm, although if the distortion is limited with this one, it would be tempting. Update: Resistance is futile. The 14mm is on its way...
  • The 56mm 1.2 is interesting. I've been using the 60mm macro for shooting a concerts, but the two extra stops of the yet-to-be-released 56mm lens is attractive. Update: It is great!
  • There are 23mm and 27mm lenses on the Fuji roadmap but at this point I'm less interested in those (at least while I have the x100). Update (12/7/13): Found a great deal on the 27mm pancake lens, so that's on the way...
  • I'm thankful that Apple is now supporting RAW files from the X-Pro1!

Travel photography gear, recap

We’ve been back from Europe for almost a week, and I’ve had time to reflect on how my photography and computing gear performed. Before the trip I mused about the gear I was planning on bringing here and here.

Atlas at the Archeological Museum in Naples (50mm lens on a Nikon D90; click to embiggen).Across the three weeks I took more than 2200 photos (about 30GB). My 64GB iPad had enough storage for all the pictures, but that’s with a minimal amount of movies/music loaded (although a lot of apps). For a longer trip, storage would be a problem. My planned strategy of uploading photos from the iPad to Dropbox worked okay when there was a good internet connection, but took a long time (i.e., had to let it upload overnight). Given the limited internet access in some of the smaller hotels and B&Bs, it would be a problem if I had to rely on this. But overall I didn’t miss having a laptop at all. Traveling with the iPad is great.

Processing photos on the iPad was better than I expected (all of the the photos posted in my albums from this trip were done on the iPad). I used the Snapseed app for the majority of the editing, although iPhoto was useful for some touch-ups since Snapseed doesn’t have a clone tool. My only complaint about Snapseed is a minor gripe about the black and white conversion tool, compared to Silver Efex (both Snapseed and Silver Efex are made by Nik): the filters in Snapseed aren’t adjustable like they are in Silver Efex. They are either on or off, and can’t be tweaked. But other than that, I’m really happy with the quality of the edits from Snapseed. 

The view from Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria (Tokina 11-16mm on a Nikon D90; click to embiggen).

In terms of lenses, the Tokina 11-16mm was used a lot on my D90. Other than the distortion and proneness to flaring, this is a perfect lens for the sort of travel photography I do. My guess is that 50-65% of my best pictures from the trip were with this lens. The second most used lens, at least in Amsterdam, was the 50mm f/1.4, although I ended up not using it wide open that much. But it was a good length for photographing the cyclists and architectural details around the city. I really only used the 105mm micro at the Amsterdam Botanical Gardens and Zoo, but it was great for that day. I’m wondering if a good combination/compromise would have been to pick up the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 macro and leave both the 50mm and 105mm lenses at home, but that $550 was probably better spent elsewhere. As anticipated, I only used the 10.5mm fisheye for a few shots. 

At the World Press Photo show at Oude Kerk in Amsterdam (Fuji x100; click to embiggen).The only time I really needed telephoto reach was on the Amalfi Coast leg of the trip; I was lucky to have access to the 18-105 lens that originally came with my D90, and is now on Jen’s camera. I ended up borrowing it from her a lot. It’s making me rethink not having a zoom lens to travel with. Maybe pairing the 11-16mm with a 24-70mm f/2.8 would be a good (but heavy) combination.

I used the Fuji x100 a good deal in Amsterdam, when I was traveling by myself and had plenty of time and flexibility to walk around to get the shots I wanted (especially since I was on my feet a lot, so it was refreshing to carry a minimal amount of gear from for a few hours a day). But in Italy I shot almost exclusively with my D90 given the range of the Tokina 11-16mm and Nikon 18-105mm combo.


Photo of the week - June 26, 2012

Elvis Costello in the audience at the Melkweg, June 5th 2012. Fuji X100 @ f/2. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - June 12, 2012


Photo of the week - June 5, 2012

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. Fuji X100 @ f/8. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - May 29, 2012

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. Fuji X100 @ f/16, with a Nikon WC-E68 wide angle adaptor. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Travel photography gear, part 2

I made a brief trip to Washington DC last week to give a talk, but it also gave me a chance to beta-test some of my camera gear plans for my upcoming trip to Europe (see here for previous musings on this topic). Some thoughts about the following stuff I had in tow along with observations about workflow (Fuji X100, Nikon WC-E68 adaptor, iPad): 

  • I spent some time playing with zone focusing on the X100. This seems like it will work pretty well for unobtrusive and candid street photography.
  • Click to enlarge; Fuji X100 In my previous sessions with the X100 I almost exclusively used the optical viewfinder, which I like very much. But since I had time to visit the US Botanic Garden, I figured it would be a good opportunity to test the macro mode and electronic viewfinder. I've been torn about whether I should bring the big/heavy 105mm macro lens for my Nikon to Europe, for taking pictures of flowers and other details, but maybe I can get by with the X100's macro mode instead. It's not bad.
  • Given that at f/2 the X100 maxes out at a 1/1000 second shutter speed, the built in neutral density filter is a lifesaver. Thanks to a recent firmware update, the RAW button can be reprogrammed, and I've set mine to toggle the ND filter.
  • A few days before the trip I received a Nikon WC-E68 wide angle adapter that screws on the X100 lens with a 49mm-46mm step down ring and the Fuji hood adapter/ring. The Fuji WCL-X100 adapter was just announced (although won't be available for a couple of months) and it's relatively pricey although I'd be tempted to get one if it was wider (relative to a fullframe sensor, the X100 has a field of view similar to a 35mm lens; with the WCL-X100 it would be similar to 28mm, and with the WC-E68 it's akin to the field of view from a 24mm lens). From the samples I've seen online, the Nikon adapter lens works pretty well if the X100 is stopped down to f/8 or smaller. Based on the handful of shots I took between f/8 and f/16, it seems fine for my purposes (and the $40 price on ebay); although I'm not a pixel peeper, I did notice that it flared a bit shooting into the. If it had better performance wide open, I'd be tempted to leave my Tokina 11-16mm home, but for low light the Tokina + Nikon D90 that I'm planning on bringing will probably serve me better even though it will be heavy.
  • If I had an unlimited budget my travel kit would be the X100 and a Fujil X-Pro1 with the three lenses that are currently available (18mm f/2, 35mm f1.4, 60mm f/2.4 macro). The 18mm lens isn't quite wide enough for my liking, but if Fuji comes out with the 14mm lens that is listed in their X-series lens roadmap it would be ideal, assuming it performs well. I'll start saving now...
Click to enlarge; Fuji X100, converted with Nik Silver Effex Pro.
  • What about keeping it simple and traveling with just the X100? It's tempting. Creatively, I think it would be great and not too limiting. I'd love to be able to shoot wider, especially in Europe, but the Nikon WC-E68 will get me into that range, assuming I can stop down to f/11 or so. And the sensor and image quality are good enough that I could crop in for details when necessary. My main worry is the reliability of the X100. I haven't had any problems with it, but the camera-geeks on the interwebs keep talking about "sticky aperture blade syndrome" where the lens gets stuck wide open so you can only shoot at f/2. I'm not sure how widespread the problem is, or if this is some form of internet hysteria, but I'd hate to be on vacation for a few weeks and have the lens on my X100 fail without a backup camera. Another reason the X100 + X-Pro1 combo would be ideal! But for now, I think I'll lug the D90 along so that I can choose between the full Nikon system and the X100, depending on that day's planned adventures.
  • Using the camera connection kit, I uploaded pictures to my iPad. Any (or all) originals (as RAW files) as well as edited images (in Snapseed, iPhoto, PhotoForge...I still don't have a preferred editor yet) can be uploaded to Dropbox via WiFi (or cellular connection, but I won't have that in Europe). My Dropbox doesn't have enough storage to copy every single image over (I have about 30GB free, so this would be okay for a shorter trip), but I'll backup the very best on the cloud, and then keep the originals on the memory cards. And I am planning on clearing as much room on my iPad as I can for storing photos (i.e., sorry...the movies will have to go!).
  • As an aside (but related to video on the iPad), streaming Netfilx over the cellular connection worked pretty well, as long as the connection was strong. When I was on the train it dropped a few times, but overall it was very functional.
  • Black and white conversion with Snapseed is pretty good, although it doesn't offer all the same options as Silver Effex Pro (even they are both Nik products). I need to play with the other programs I have (i.e., iPhoto etc) to see which have the best control when converting one's images (filters, contrast, structure).

Photo of the week - May 22, 2012

At the Martin guitar factory, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Fuji X100 @ f/2. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - May 15, 2012


At the Martin guitar factory, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Fuji X100 @ f/2. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - May 8, 2012

At the Martin guitar factory, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Fuji X100 @ f/2. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - May 1, 2012

Kathleen Edwards and her band at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, Delaware. Fuji X100 @ f/2. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Kodak and Fujifilm: Past, present, and future

I stumbled upon this interesting article in The Economist on that state of two old rivals: Kodak and Fujifilm. As someone who is interested in film photography and has a Fujifilm X100, this piqued my interest. It's sad to see an icon like Kodak struggling, but at least we know that fans can keep niche film products alive, like when Polaroid ran into trouble.


Fuji X-Pro1

A pretty cool new camera platform... If I wasn't already invested in the Nikon system and didn't have an X100, I might consider jumping into this.

The draw here, of course, is that it's an interchangeable lens system. But it's not as compact as the X100, and I'm finding I really like the X100's 23mm (~35mm equivalent) field of view.


Photo of the week - January 10, 2012

Newport Bridge, Newport, Oregon. Fuji X100 @ f/8. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - January 3, 2012

Newport Bridge, Newport, Oregon. Fuji X100 @ f/8, 1/160. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - December 13, 2011

Ryan Adams at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Fuji X100 @ f/2, 1/15. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.


Photo of the week - December 6, 2011

Ryan Adams at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Fuji X100 @ f/2, 1/25. Converted with Nik Silver Efex Pro.