A bit of CONTRAST

One of my favourite features of the X-Range of cameras is how you can select a film simulation (for example Monochrome)  then tweak it. Living by the coast I often get up early and go for a wander, camera in hand. Yesterday it was an X-T1, 14mm Lens with the film simulation tweaked with the Monochrome set to Red Filter and the +1 on both Shadows and Hilights. I then Post the images with no edits (except the square crops for instagram)…

Beach Cleaning

Someone had a “good” night out.

A different type of Groyne.

Its all Groyne shots this week


The water is warming up

Not yet open


GV


You choose your path – into the light or into the dark….

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X100

Fuji  have brought out a new version of the first Fuji camera I brought – the X100F. The Mk1 was the camera that started me on this journey from big DSLR’s to mirrorless  and so I’m torn.

This morning I went for a wander, and reminded myself how much I just love this little camera, going back to basics just like shooting with a ‘trip or such like as I did as a teenager.

 

I’m not sure if I can build  business case for the new little un or not….

 

 

NIK collection away for free

I know a few have asked about my processing of monochromes…

Well today Google have announced they are giving the NIK collection away for free and that includes my beloved Silver Efex Pro…

Today we’re making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free.

Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.

Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days.

We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now.

https://www.google.com/nikcollection/

Looking Forward

I’ve waited a week into the new year before posting this as my feed has been filled up with “my best photos of 2015 blogs”.  Although I have blogged a “best of” for the past couple of years, this year I did not want to, I wanted to look forward…

This is mostly a “Fuji Gear” blog so with that in mind, what am I looking forward to?

First I am expecting to review/test the 1.4x Extender for the 50-140 zoom. Yes I know this has been out for a while but I have not seen it nor tested it yet having held off because I’m pretty sure I would decide I need it (due to the lack of long lenses)..

Which brings me to what I am really looking forward to. The XF100-400 zoom (rumours are it should be quite soon). It’s quite clear from earlier posts that a “long” is what I am missing (for those “Royal” jobs, the music gigs from the sounddesk, the long shots at conferences). You can view the Fuji X Les Roadmap here… I’m pretty sure (assuming it performs as well as the other lenses) that I will be purchasing this fairly quickly.

The new X-Pro2 is due to be announced shortly, the specs look good and it should be an good indicator on how Fuji is developing, particularly in the area of sensors and auto-focus. Rumours are there will be a new X-T2 announced in the summer. My plan is to review these bodies and see how far forward a step they are before committing.

So thats camera gear. One of my photographic aims this year is to shoot more formal / creative portraits (most of the news work I do is informal so it would be good to get back to working with lights more). Therefore I will be looking more into speedlights/strobes vs continuous and (my favourite) LED’s. I started looking at LED’s a few years back and really like the light (I have a couple that I use for monochrome work). However the price being charged for systems with a good constant white (high CRI) was just too high along with the output being too low meant they could not become everyday tools. I am hoping that has changed. If not, I’ll have to continue with the speed lights (I like portable!) ..

Well, those are my plans, what are yours?

 

 

New Announcements and Rumours.

So, rumours are rife and announcements are expected. In fact Nikon announced new shiny cameras yesterday.

I’m a member of many so-called “professional” photography forums and yet after the announcement all the discussion was about the features, what cards the cameras took, OVF vs EVF vs Flipscreen. How many mega-pixels….

These are NOT the important questions a freelance photographer should be asking themselves:

THESE are the questions they should be asking!

“Will it enable me to deliver better product to my clients”.
“Will I be in a better position to compete with this compared to my existing kit”
“How much more money will i be able to make by investing in this? What will the pay-back time be”?
This is business, not play time!

The Long Problem: Part 1

My theory was, like the iPad post and the Focus post, this post would be a single post with maybe updates in the future. However it is not, it’s just the start.

At the moment the longest Fuji lens is 300mm equivlent (the 55-200) which is fine but not long enough for some of the jobs I do. There is a long lens in the roadmap (due for early next year) but this is not soon enough and of course I need a solution now.

HRH The Prince of Wales prepares to lay a wreath at the drumhead. X-T1/55-200mm

The solution in my mind and tested initally is the Nikon 300mm/F4 on a Nikon to Fuji adaptor. Of course I had tested this before the switch and it seemed to work fine. In fact a few years ago I mounted it on the front of my X-Pro1 using a fotodiox adapter to photograph a Bryan Ferry concert when I knew our position was a fair way back. Focusing was not easy back then, the old EVF is not quite up to the job but those I did get were really quite nice; sharp and contrasty.

Nikon 300mm F4 with Fotodiox Nikon G - Fuji X

Nikon 300mm F4 with Fotodiox Nikon G – Fuji X

I had purchased the Fotodiox as a cheap solution back when I first got the X-Pro1 so I could play with my Nikon Wide lenses and also an old shift lenes I have. Back then I did not really foresee the route I have taken an the facr it would become a part of my working kit.

A few weeks back, there was a full moon and again I tested the solution and it seemed fine but come last week, when I had a “proper” news job that really required a long (Horse Guards Place in London is reallydeceptively  big), I tested again.

Nikon 300mm F4 with Fotodiox Nikon G - Fuji X

Nikon 300mm F4 with Fotodiox Nikon G – Fuji X

The results were hit and miss. Testing on “my” beach, images I was sure the peeking was showing in focus  were soft, with some sharp and I coulp not work out the reason. Looking carefully i could detect some play in the connection between the lens and the fotodiox adapter (the adapter to body connection was fine). I cannot work out wether the play is just sliding in the plane of the mount or if it is actualy rocking slightly. I’m also not totally rulling out my technique.  I would not call long lens work my strongest work and if may just be that the sensor on the Fuji is more sensitive to movement on the long.

Actor Charles Dance. X-T1 / Nikon 300mm

The job went fine, I refined how I worked and made sure I was able to file a good set of images using this combination  but it was still too hit and miss.

X-T1/Nikon 300mm

My first port of call though is not my technique, its the adaptor. The fotodiox item is really quite cheap and although it does seem well made I think replacing it as the weak link is my first port of call. If I continue to have the same issue when using the Metabones adaptor I have just ordered, then it must be my technique.

Part 2 will be a review and notes on using this new adaptor.

Footnote: Just as I was publishing this the Metabones adaptor was delivered. If the packaging is anything to go by, this is going to be a very good investment.

Power to the Camera

One of the problems with the Fuji’s is that for a full day you need quite a few batteries. At least the X-T1 and X-1Pro take the same one.. I have 11 of them…

Charging station

Charging station

And I have the 3 chargers that shipped with the cameras plus a new dual charger.

This was supposed to be a blog on the “Long Problem” (long lenses on the X-T1) but I’m still writing it… Also coming up will be a review of the 16-55/2.8 and my thoughts on using flashes…