Review – Fujifilm X-Pro2

The X-Pro2 is the first X series camera to feature Fujifilm’s new 24.3 megapixel X Trans sensor. That’s a decent jump from the 16.1 megapixels of previous X series bodies. Coming 4 years after the original and revolutionary X-Pro1, the X-Pro2 is every bit the flagship camera Fuji X shooters have been waiting for.

20160808_185623_HDR (1)

Fujifilm let me borrow an X-Pro2 and the super telephoto XF100-400mm lens to review on a mid summer 3500km road trip through British Colombia and Alberta. I brought along a few other Fujifilm lenses as well as a Rokinon X mount 8mm fisheye to see what the X-Pro2 could do in various situations.

IMG_4816
X-Pro2 – XF100-400mm

This camera is gorgeous. It has a classic rangefinder look reminiscent of 1960’s Leica’s. As with all other X Series cameras that beauty is more than skin deep. The X Trans sensor is superb, offering outstanding detail and rich colours. The increased resolution gives you the ability to crop a bit more than you could with the old sensor.

IMG_4659
X-Pro2 – XF27mm f/2.8

Low light performance is good up to ISO 6400 and very usable up to ISO 12800. The mechanical shutter is good for 1/8000th of a second, up from 1/4000th on the X-T1/X-T10. The electronic shutter remains unchanged at a top speed of 1/32000th. It’s great for stealthy street shooting.

IMG_4548
X-Pro2 – XC 16-50mm

Auto focus points are WAY up, to 273, all of which are accessible. Wide tracking autofocus is significantly improved and the burst rate of 8 frames per second makes the X-Pro2 a real option for things like motorsports. My X-T10 handled a Formula 1 race with ease but the X-Pro2 would’ve been that much better. Time to plan for next year.

IMG_4425
X-Pro2 – XF100-400mm

The hybrid viewfinder is as cool as it gets. If you long for the days of film but need the information of a modern camera you will love the optical viewfinder (OVF). If you need to see exactly what you’re shooting you will love the electronic viewfinder (EVF). I shoot mostly with the EVF, its ultra fast refresh rate and high resolution work better for me but the OVF saw some duty with the XF27mm f/2.8 during some street shooting sessions. Of note for people who wear glasses while shooting, if they’re polarized sunglasses all you’ll see is a black EVF or rear screen when shooting landscape. I don’t get this with my X-T10 and it’s a bit frustrating.

IMG_4615
X-Pro2 – Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye

The controls ore excellent and you have 6 programmable buttons to personalize. the shutter speed and ISO dials are stacked like on old 35mm film camera and I absolutely love it that way. So many reviewers/photographers have complained about this setup and some have questioned its longevity. My 1960’s era Pentax SP1000 35mm SLR has an almost identical setup and it works perfectly.

IMG_4802
X-Pro2 – XF 27mm f/2.8

There’s a new joystick for selecting autofocus points. It’s placed within reach of your right thumb and is a great addition that will hopefully make its way to other X Series cameras. My only beef, and it’s a very small one, is that when carrying the X-Pro2 with a shoulder strap and leaving the cameras powered on between shoots it can easily move you focus point by rubbing up against you while walking.

IMG_4714
X-Pro2 – XF 100-400mm

Shooting with the X-Pro2 is so rewarding. Every button, every click, every shutter actuation sounds beautiful. The images are sublime, as X shooters have come to expect, and Fujifilm’s legendary film simulations look better than ever and the new Acros simulation is downright mesmerizing.

IMG_3025 (1)
X-Pro2 – XF 35mm f/1.4 R – Acros film simulation 

 

The semi-matte finish and magnesium body ensure this thing will last and age nicely. With weather sealing to keep dust and water out you will be shooting with the X-Pro2 for years to come. The diopter is new and improved, with a bigger dial which is easier to handle and less likely to be adjusted in you camera bag.

IMG_4819
X-Pro2 – Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye

 

There are dual card slots under a weather sealed door that has moved from the battery compartment to the side of the body. Shoot raw and JPEG simultaneously, use one for video and one for stills, whatever makes you happy. I’m not a video guy but the 1080 60p is better than previous Fujifilm efforts. If you want 4K you’ll want to wait for the X-T2.

IMG_4417
X-Pro2 – XC50-230mm

Overall the X-Pro2 is an outstanding camera. Good looking, solid performer, great images, extensive Fuji glass to suit every photographer. But that can be said about lots of cameras from every manufacturer. The difference with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is something that isn’t technical, it’s a feeling. The X-Pro2 makes me want to use it. It makes me want to flex my creative muscles, it’s makes me feel like an artist as opposed to just some guy with a fancy camera.

IMG_4604
X-Pro2 – XF100-400mm

If you’re an X Series shooter, and want to upgrade your gear, the X-Pro2 will not disappoint.

Scott.

Review – Panasonic Lumix LX-100

When I want to review a camera but the manufacturer plays the “someone will contact you shortly” game… I buy the camera myself. The Panasonic Lumix LX-100 has been on my radar for some time. 4K video, 12.8mp micro four thirds sensor, fast Leica glass. All the ingredients for a great little camera. Do the specs add up? Let’s find out.

IMG_3697
This thing is a dust magnet…

Let’s start with 4K video. I’m not a video guy but this thing is seriously impressive given it’s small size. 30 frames per second might not be enough for the hardcore videographers out there but this camera isn’t aimed at them. Sadly my video skills are abysmal so I’ll post something dug up from YouTube in place of my kid playing indoor soccer.

Video = good, but how does the LX-100 fair as a still camera? It’s bigger than the Sony RX100 IV but it has a larger micro 4/3 sensor, larger than the Sony’s 1″ sensor. It fits in a coat pocket but it’s a bit big to tuck into your Levis. Full manual controls with dedicated dials for shutter speed, exposure compensation, and an aperture ring on the lens. The Lieca DC Vario-Summilux lens is fast and sharp. Its 10.9-34mm focal length (25-74mm full frame equivalent) and f/1.7-2.8 aperture are a good combo.

P1030029

Colour and contrast are are good in most light as long as you don’t push ISO above 1600. Higher ISO’s produce a strange yellow/orange hue. This is my first micro 4/3 experience and I was hoping for better ISO flexibility. That being said the built in image stabilization made hand holding longer shutter speeds a good option.

P1030074

Low light performance is just ok. Noise is controllable as long as you stay under ISO 1600, ISO 800 and under are strongly recommended. Auto-focus in low light is truly terrible (sorry Panasonic) and often results in complete failure. Manual focusing is a good alternative. It utilizes a zoomed in area and focus peaking in the center of the frame.

P1030055

The Leica glass is impressive. Edge to edge sharpness is good wide open and gets better as the lens is stopped down. At f/1.7 you can get acceptable shallow depth of field but the bokeh is kind of blah. It almost looks like smartphone bokeh.

P1030060

Macro shooting is good but again auto-focus drops the ball. To focus on close subjects you have to use manual focus. Pretty typical for close focusing though and not a bad thing.

P1030020

There are some creative filters you can shoot with but they’re mostly garbage. The only one I found useful was high contrast black and white. After shooting with Fujifilm’s film simulations other creative filters are always disappointing. Let this be a lesson, don’t shoot with filters because they suck.

P1030064

Long exposures look good aside from some weird lines in the starbursts around lights. Noise is well controlled and the menu and dials are easy to navigate to get the perfect long exposure.

P1030022

For all of you food instagrammers the LX-100 is a great choice. Small, discreet, good colour, rich detail, shallow depth of field wide open. Food photography is where this little camera shines.

The odd thing about the LX-100 is that it has a twin. The Leica D-Lux Type 109. It’s almost identical inside and out. The LX-100 has a nice grip and thumb rest where the D-Lux is smooth and minimalist but other than that? The LX-100 costs $800-$1000+ CAD where the Leica is $1599 CAD. I can’t imagine the Leica being worth the extra cash.

So who’s the Lumix LX-100 for? It’s perfect for the hobby/enthusiast photographer looking to take their images and video to the next level. It combines great video with good image quality and packs it into a small, well built camera with a premium feel and look that will appeal to the fashion conscious. It doesn’t quite hold up if you’re a serios shooter looking for a pocket/travel camera. It’s close but it’s not quite there.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Scott.

 

Retro Review – Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

Retro Reviews are something new for WFLBC.com. I love film, I love old cameras, this is something I’m very excited about. First up, the Minolta Hi-Matic AF2. A 35mm fixed lens point and shoot from 1981.

20160323_113842_HDR
Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

This camera is very much a film equivalent to the modern Fujifilm X100 series of rangefinder styled premium point and shoots. 39mm fixed f/2.8 lens, auto focus, auto exposure, the only thing manual on this camera is film loading and advance. It has a large, bright, parallax corrected viewfinder with bright frame lines. There are 2 LED’s. one that indicates the need for the built in flash (which beeps like crazy) and one that tells you if you’re focused on something near or far. It also beeps if you’re out of focus which is kind of cool/kind of annoying.

Scott0340_2
Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400

Auto focus is very accurate and quite fast for a camera of this vintage. The lens gives fantastic contrast making it perfect for street photography and black and white film.

Scott0340_22
Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400 – with flash.

The shutter is very quiet, another good feature for a street camera. The leaf shutter makes a weird sound best described as a tiny robot sneezing.

Scott5425_20
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 – with flash

The little pop-up flash is impressive. It does its job well even in bright sunlight. Ilford HP5 loves this camera and the camera loves it back. Dark blacks and bright whites that border on overexposed when the flash is used. I like that look.

Scott0340_25
Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400 – with flash

Color reproduction is great, even with Fujifilm drugstore film loaded up. I’m blown away by the sharpness of the lens. This camera will probably see some travel miles logged this summer. Montreal, a road trip to Alberta, and a weekend in BC’s Cariboo region.

Scott5425_30
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Unlike a lot of cameras from this era the AF2 takes AAA batteries. Anyone who’s tried to resurrect an old film camera knows the pain of finding extinct batteries or using a modern equivalent that isn’t quite right.

Scott5425_9
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

The Hi-Matic line reaches back to the 60’s with some great manual rangefinders. I have a 7s I’ll be reviewing soon. The AF2 is kind of stuck between 2 eras. Rangefinders were all but gone in the late 70’s aside from Leica and a few others. The AF2 isn’t a rangefinder but it looks and feels like one. It adds some 80’s electronics but sticks to manual film advance. It’s a bit of an odd duck but that’s typical Minolta.

Scott5425_33
Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Scott5425_32
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Prices for the AF2 are all over the place right now. As more street photographers rediscover this little gem the price will certainly go up. Right now they’re anywhere from $10 to $100+. There are wide and tele lens attachments, just like the X100. It’s like Fujifilm used this thing as a template.

Scott5425_6
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

You may wonder why I bother with film. My digital Fuji X Series cameras offer exceptional image quality, the ease of automatic and digital everything along with great manual controls, and all the cool retro looks of film cameras. Megapixels, instant gratification, and the ability to shoot thousands of images just to pick a few good ones have dumbed down photography to the point where it is losing its artistic appeal. Film is magic to me. Film is the unknown in an age where Google makes you think you’re a genius. 24 or 36 chances to create art and you can’t be sure you’ve done anything until the roll is done.

Keep up to date on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Stay tuned for more retro reviews!

Scott.

Review – Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Photo Printer

Who doesn’t love instant photos? I have a Polaroid Supercolor 635 CL and it’s a lot of fun. The biggest problem with it and all instant cameras, aside from the ever increasing cost and availability of instant film, are the cameras themselves. Imagine being able to instantly print photos from your camera or smartphone in the same fashion. That’s exactly what the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 does.

IMG_1545

Not quite pocket sized but small enough for a camera bag or larger coat pocket, the SP-1 is wireless utilizing WiFi and CR2 lithium batteries to keep you printing wherever you are. The non-rechargeable batteries are good for 100 prints according to Fujifilm. In reality it’s closer to 75-80. I picked up an A/C cord on Amazon which uses any smartphone USB plug you already have laying around which cures my battery anxiety.

IMG_1546

The business card sized prints look great. Using the “Intelligence Filter” in the Instax App adds some color and contrast that help the instant prints pop more than unedited photos. The free app is available for iOS and Android and is easy enough for the most techno-phobic person to use.

The printer takes Instax Mini film which comes in 10 shot cartridges. The film is pricey on a per-shot basis, over $1 CAD per print and the printer is anywhere from $150-$220 CAD depending on sales or promotions. It probably isn’t an impulse buy but it’s not overpriced either.

IMG_1344

Who is the target buyer for this printer? I think that has changed since it was introduced. It has changed from a novelty item aimed at families, hipsters,  and teenagers and is now used by street photographers for making real connections with their subject matter. It’s also being used by professional photographers to show proofs to clients on the spot no matter where you’re shooting.

Fujifilm X Camera shooters can print right from their camera or use the app. Any WiFi enabled camera that can send photos to your smartphone can utilize the app along with any photos taken on said phone.  Gone are the days of instant photography guess work, you now know exactly what your print will look like before it’s done developing. The Instax Share SP-1 bridges old and new using modern image capturing technology to give you business card sized prints dripping with nostalgia. You can add text to them too, imagine being able to create a business card on the spot tailored to its recipient? So many possibilities, I’m just getting started with this thing!

Please like, subscribe, and share. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see what I’m up to!

Scott.

Portrait lens on a budget

Have you recently ditched your bulky DSLR gear for a mirrorless compact system camera? Are you considering it? Some people go all in right away selling everything, bodies, lenses, the whole farm. Others will hold on to a body and maybe a lens or 2, it’s hard to let go. For those of you who want to keep a few lenses I’m here to tell you that you’re making an excellent decision.

IMG_20150609_190652

Most mirrorless cameras use a proprietary lens mount system. In order to simplify this post I’ll be focusing on one system, Fujifilm’s X Series. The basic premise of this post will apply to most mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras systems. You’ll have to figure out your crop factor depending on your sensor. Here’s a handy chart.

Nikon, Canon and Pentax DSLR owners probably have a huge assortment of lenses that they’ve acquired over the years. “Nifty fifty’s” to zooms and everything in between. These lenses are great quality and in a lot of instances are more affordable than their mirrorless system equivalents. If you already own them they’re practically free!

12803198_1688352278048742_8521756928710700380_n

Those nifty fifty’s, 50mm lenses with an f/2 or larger aperture, make outstanding portrait lenses on apsc sensor and smaller sized cameras. They give an equivalent focal length of 75mm on apsc cameras. Mounting them to your mirrorless camera is a simple as picking up an adapter. Adapters are available for almost every lens mount ever made and they are very affordable. I have 2 in my collection. One for mounting M42 screw mount lenses and for Sony/Minolta AF mount to my Fuji cameras.

One of the drawbacks of shooting with adapters is you lose auto-focus and auto-aperture (auto anything) functionality. Manual focusing with Fuji X cameras is very good though, I use focus peaking set to high with red highlights. The results are always true to what I see in the viewfinder. If you have lenses with manual aperture rings you’re going to get better results. Fuji’s meter very well with manual lenses. Without the aperture ring you have to shoot wide open which is good for portraits but you lose depth of field control.

Another drawback is the loss of data when looking at your files. No lens, focal length, or aperture data is recorded. If you really want to know what you shot a particular picture with use a notebook or a smartphone to keep track.

If you shoot still life or portraits you shouldn’t need to worry much about those minor drawbacks.

IMG_2162

Here’s an example of the price difference between using a 50mm lens from another system versus Fujifilm’s lovely 56mm f1.2. The Fuji lens is $1000 CAD at the moment. It’s on sale and normally costs $1150. It’s a marvelous lens. Gorgeous bokeh, blazing fast f1.2 aperture, and impeccable build quality. The closest setup I have to compete with this lens is a Pentax Super Takumar SMC 50mm f/1.4 on a Photodiox M42 to X mount adapter. The SMC 50mm 1.4 is highly regarded for image quality, sharpness, and colour. I picked mine up a year ago on eBay for $60 CAD. Since then the prices have gone up as people rediscover this little gem. They’re now between $100-$300 depending on quality and timing. The adapter costs anywhere from $12 to $100 but I have yet to see any difference between the cheap ones and the expensive ones. Worst case cost is $400 but you can easily get both pieces for under $200 total if you do some digging. You can go crazy with Leica lenses too if you have a few thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, the possibilities are nearly endless.

There’s something magical about old glass and Fujifilm’s X trans sensor. The fact that you’ve achieved these results on a shoestring budget compared to buying a $1000 lens is the icing on the cake.

IMG_0234

The most unexpectedly great M42 mount lenses in my lineup is a Pentax Talumar 135mm f/3.5 which belonged to my grandfather. It produces gorgeous portraits like the one above even with its full frame equivalent focal length of 200+mm.

Hang on to the lenses that you love when you make the mirrorless switch. You’ll love the results and you’ll have some extra money in your wallet to buy batteries (that’s a post for another day…).

Please share, and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Scott.

3 weeks with the Fujifilm X-E2s

January saw 3 new cameras and a new lens added to the Fujifilm X series lineup. All of them were given extensive coverage and praise by many outlets, all except one. The X-E2s is an updated version of the X-E2 where as everything else was essentially brand new. Sure, the X-Pro1 and X-Pro2 look very similar but they’re so far apart in terms of performance it’s hard to see the 2 as a simple upgrade.

IMG_1173
Fujifilm X-E2s/Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8

I owned the original X-E1 but decided to pick up an X-T10 instead of the X-E2 due to a few performance differences. The X-E2s gives you everything the X-T10 has in a sexy rangefinder style body. The grip, top plate, and buttons have been slightly restyled from the X-E2 and they are noticeable but not life changing upgrades. With the firmware 4.0 upgrade current X-E2 owners get all the internal upgrades (electronic shutter, better AF etc.) for free.

DSCF0292

If you’re a Fujiflim X series shooter you’ll feel right at home with the X-E2s. The image quality is on par with the rest of the lineup and its firmware brings usability up to the same level as well. The only thing I missed when switching between the X-T10 and the X-E2s is the front control dial/button. It’s useful when shooting in manual mode and when doing long exposure work when using lenses without a manual aperture ring. Is it a deal breaker? Not really. The X-E2s is slightly smaller than the X-T10 and that is important in some situations.

DSCF0258

Price wise the X-E2s sits in the middle of the pack (excluding the X-Pro2) at $899 body only. That’s the same as the X-T10, $100 more than the X-E2 which is on sale until March 31st and still readily available, and $450 less than the weather sealed X-T1. The entry level X-M1 ($549 body only) and X-A2 ($549 with the 16-55mm OIS II lens) occupy the bottom end of the lineup but are crazy bargains given the image quality they produce.

DSCF0276

All images shown here were shot with the X-E2s and various X Series lenses except the product shot, that was an LG G4. Out of camera jpegs are outstanding and the latest film simulations are all there minus X-Pro2 exclusive Acros black and white. These aren’t filters, they are simulations of classic film stock right down to the grain and they’re fantastic to shoot with.

DSCF0243

Should you buy an X-E2s over an X-T10 or an X-E2? That’s a difficult question to answer. The X-T10 offers slightly more functionality with its extra buttons and tilting screen. The X-E2 offers a lower price with identical specs. The X-E2s does improve the feel of the rear controls over the X-E2 and the grip is more comfortable. I would guess the X-E2 won’t be available for much longer so keep an eye out for price drops and clearance sales. If you like the rangefinder style body and can live with fewer buttons get the X-E2s. If you like the SLR-ish look of the X-T10 you won’t regret buying it either. It really is a question of style, not substance.

DSCF0264

Thanks to Fujifilm Canada for letting me test this camera and share my thoughts. I’ll be reviewing the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 instant photo printer in an upcoming post. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see what I’m up to and what gear I’m using. You can subscribe to this blog or share it via the buttons below. Click some, you know you want to.

Scott.

Review – Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro Lens

A few weeks ago Fujifilm Canada sent me a brand new X-E2s to review. As a current X Series owner I have a few lenses already but Fujifilm asked what lens I wanted to test with the new body. My first choice was the XF 35mm f/2 WR but all the test units were being used so they sent me my second choice, the XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro.

Lens-copy
Photo – Fujifilm Canada

 

Macro photography is something I know very little about but I love the results. A friend of mine does amazing work with insects, check out his work at macromundo.org. I did a bit of macro shooting along with some street photography and short telephoto shots. The f/2.4 aperture is fast, produces decent bokeh and the 90mm full frame equivalent works well for portraits. It’s a bit too long of a lens for everyday shooting though.

DSCF0419
X-E2s, 1/4000 sec, f/2.4, ISO 200

Handheld results are decent considering this lens doesn’t have image stabilization. Shooting in aperture priority yields the best results.

DSCF0212
X-E2s, 1/1000 sec, f/2.4, ISO 200

This lens gives very shallow depth of field for macro shots which is typical. Manual focusing using focus peaking works very well, auto-focus is a different story. This is one of the original XF lenses and it’s showing its age a bit. Auto-focus is slow in most situations, especially during macro shooting. In decent light it’s fast enough and in low light it does well if there’s some contrast to work with. If you need to shoot moving subjects you’ll want to shop around a bit.

DSCF0194
X-E2s, 1/100/sec, f/2.4. ISO 200

It’s  tack sharp, only falling off a bit at the edges between f/4 and f/2.8, and produces great colour in combination with Fujifilm’s unique X-trans sensor.

DSCF0193
X-E2s, 1/2500 sec, f/2.4, ISO 200

On the street this lens is great for picking out interesting details and lighting in architecture. Every shot in this post is a jpeg straight from the camera with no editing. The results are consistently good, something Fujifilm X Series shooters have come to expect from the entire range.

DSCF0403
X-E2s, 1/400 sec, f/10, ISO 400

As a telephoto lens the 90mm full frame equivalent focal length is a bit awkward. It never seems right, either a little too close or not close enough. It’s very sharp stopped down a bit and again the colours are great.

I’ll be sending this lens back to Fujifilm soon and I’ll definitely miss it. Macro shooting is a whole new world to me. I can see this lens making it into my lineup at some point. Thanks to Fujifilm Canada for sending it my way.

Scott.

Wellington Photo Roundup

It’s been 3 months since I was in New Zealand and this is my first post about Wellington. I connected with Wellington in a way I can’t explain. These are few photos I took, I hope you like them. I honestly can’t find the words to express what Wellington meant to me.

"Solace In The Wind."
“Solace In The Wind.”
Wellington architecture is a constant juxtaposition.
Wellington architecture is a constant juxtaposition.
New Zealand was choosing a new national flag while I was visiting.
New Zealand was choosing a new national flag while I was visiting.
Baked Spanish Eggs at Fidel's Cafe
Baked Spanish Eggs at Fidel’s Cafe
The Wellington Cable Car.
The Wellington Cable Car.
The Beehive, aka the New Zealand Parliament.
The Beehive, aka the New Zealand Parliament.
Rain on Cuba Street
Rain on Cuba Street
Free range balloon.
Free range balloon.
Beef Wellington from The Tasting Room
Beef Wellington from The Tasting Room
Street Art.
Street Art.
The Bucket Fountain.
The Bucket Fountain.

Project Pocket Camera Is Finished!

I’m sure most of you know I’m a camera hoarder. I prefer to think of myself as a rescuer of vintage cameras. I have some wonderful old film cameras that get used and appreciated instead of ending up in a landfill. Film is a bit of work, it is getting expensive to buy and process, and it sucks to travel with. My digital lineup used to include a Pentax DSLR but late last year I sold it and committed to the Fujifilm X series. My first “real” camera was the Fujifilm X-A1, an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with an APS-C sized sensor. It was the camera that sparked my interest in photography. It had its limitations, the biggest being the lack of a viewfinder. After I picked up my Pentax DSLR the X-A1 didn’t see a lot of action. When I sold the Pentax I bought a Fujifilm X-T10, the little X-A1 was always around though. It was a gift and I couldn’t bring myself to sell it.

IMG_1027

A few weeks ago Fujifilm announced some new hardware. The XPro 2, the X-E2s (I also owned an X-E1 briefly which I loved), the X70, and the XF 100-400mm zoom lens. The X70 got me thinking about my X-A1, I could essentially make a pocketable fixed focus camera with similar specs for a lot less money. Project Pocket Camera was born. I purchased the Fujinon XF 27mm f2.8 pancake lens from London Drugs and stuck it to my X-A1. It fits in a coat pocket and takes fantastic photos. The X70 is $899 new, my X-A1 setup is around $200 less. $250 for a used body, $399 for the lens, and $50-$60 for the optical viewfinder I found in the Ukraine. Do you need the viewfinder? No, but it sure is cool.

IMG_1031

The image quality this package delivers is outstanding. The 27mm focal length works out to 40.5mm in full frame terms given the crop factor of the APSC sensor. I’ve seen a few people complain that this lens doesn’t have an aperture ring. It would be nice but the rear control dial does the trick in aperture priority mode.

IMG_3349
Granville Street at night
The f2.8 aperture is fast enough for most low light situations. The X series is decent up to ISO 6400 with minimal noise, even when shooting jpegs.

Yukon Blonde at The Commodore.
Yukon Blonde at The Commodore.
I have a few X series lenses, the 16-55mm kit zoom, the XF 35mm f1.4 (which is dreamy), and the 55-230mm zoom. The 27mm is impressive and versatile, it is well suited to travel and street photography, and the autofocus is fast and accurate. The X-A1 is a prefect companion for this lens, the rest of my lenses do the heavy lifting on my X-T10.

Winter in Vancouver.
Winter in Vancouver.
To be honest if money was no object I’d have bought an X70 instead. This setup is a compromise but the results have exceeded my expectations and my X-A1 has found a new purpose.

raw test 1

Stay tuned for more photography related pieces in the future. When the weather clears up I have some projects I want to tackle. I have a trip to the Canadian Grand Prix coming up and I’m hoping to get into the heart of the BC back country this summer.

IMG_3302

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @wflbc.

Scott.

What World Photography Day Means To Me

A couple of people tagged me in a Facebook post because it was apparently World Photography Day. I had no idea but there’s a “day” for everything so it makes sense. Socks and Sandals Day is April 21st, mark your calendars. Being tagged in those posts made me think about photography and what it means to me. Turns out it means a lot.

My kid is my favourite subject
My kid is my favourite subject

I’ve become the person who always has a camera with them . Not a smartphone, a REAL CAMERA. My smartphone has an amazing camera for a phone but it can’t come close to the image quality of a proper camera. This has made it possible to capture wonderful moments with my daughter as she grows and learns. She even has her own camera and we go on photography adventures together.

This is a family heirloom. I spend a lot of time letting it teach me how to shoot.
This is a family heirloom. I spend a lot of time letting it teach me how to shoot

Photography has given me a chance to reconnect with my Grandpa who I lost when I was a teenager. The Pentax SP1000 pictured above was his and I’ve recently restored it using a parts camera a found on a local auction site. Shooting with film teaches me how to use light in a way digital just figures out for you. Using those skills with a digital camera has made me a better photographer.

I love long exposure photography
I love long exposure photography

Long exposure photography is awesome. You’re capturing light over a long period of time creating dramatic photographs. You can use long exposure to capture light streaks, light painting/writing, stellar photography. It’s given me somewhere to be at night that isn’t a bar.

Street photography, balancing art and not getting punched in the face
Street photography, balancing art and not getting punched in the face

Street photography can be a little intimidating but it’s given me a reason to get off the couch and explore the world around me. Not everyone wants their picture taken so it can be tricky. I switch between prime lenses and long zooms depending on what neighbourhood I’m in… You know?

Editing is not my thing but sometimes I make it work
Editing is not my thing but sometimes I make it work

Post processing isn’t my favourite part of photography. My editing (outside of Instagram…) is usually just cropping and straightening. Every now and then I dive into Lightroom to play around and I’ve come out with a few keepers. Overall though I like to take pictures that stand on their own and don’t need hours of work after the fact.

Better than a selfie
Better than a selfie

Portraits are so much cooler than selfies, that’s a fact. The only problem I have with portraits is how critical people are of their own appearance. It makes me turn away a lot of paid work because I don’t like hearing people pick themselves apart over the way they look. You’re hot, I’m hot, let’s take some pictures.

I love film
I love film

I know I’ve already talked about film but it really is a wonderful thing to use. You don’t get to take 300 pictures to get 10 good ones. It forces you to compose better, to be picky about your subject, and to understand the basic functions of a camera. Film cameras are very inexpensive these days because no one likes to do anything themselves anymore. Pick one up and shoot a few rolls of film. It’ll make you a better photographer.

IMG_0708
Fuji X-E1

I shoot with Fujifilm X Series cameras for most of my digital work. I was given an X-A1 which got me hooked on this great camera system. I picked up a used X-E1 body at a local camera shop a few months ago and I have 3 X-mount lenses along with some adapters to use some old glass I have. I also have a Pentax DSLR but it’s too big for most things I like to shoot. It’s a great camera though and Pentax uses a lens mount that gives you thousands of options.

Black and white is worth the fight
Black and white is worth the fight

What does World Photography Day mean to me? Well, nothing really. What does Photography mean to me? I’ll try to keep this short. It means I have a hobby that gets me outdoors, a hobby I can share with my family, a hobby that isn’t drinking beer or eating food in the name of “blogging”. It allows me to be creative, to be sensitive, to show the world the things that make my brain tick. Photography has changed the way I look at the world, it has changed the way I interact with people. When I take a picture I am stopping time.

There it is. You may now set your alarms for Socks and Sandals Day 2016.

Scott.