Tuesday, 1 March 2016

New accessories!

When I sold all my DSLR gear, I sold all my tripods etc as well.  Even though the high ISO on the X100T seems to be fantastic (I've been shooting at 6400 with no issues!) it helps to have a little support sometimes.  I figured having a small collapsible monopod would be the best way to go.  My old Manfrotto only collapsed in to 3 long sections, wasn't very small and was quite heavy, so I started looking for alternatives and discovered the Velbon Ultra Stick Super 8

The Super 8 is a collapsible 8 section monopod and it's perfect for cameras like the Fuji X100 series, X70 etc.  It's got an excellent twist lock motion that makes it really easy to adjust and it hits a total height of 156cm (just over 5ft 1in).  I'm 6'2 and find it really comfortable to use.  Best of all, it fits perfectly in the top of my Tenba Cooper 8 bag (although it does come with a belt clip as well if you prefer).  This is important for me as it's not something I will always use, but to be able to carry it with me at all times is really useful.

The 'pod is guaranteed for 5 years and weighs 347g, they do a lighter one but it's slightly longer, which is why I went for the Super 8. I'll update when I have got a bit more use out of it!


The next accessory I have received is the Op Tech Finger Cuff QD all the way from the United States (not currently available in the U.K.).

When I bought my camera I treated myself to a Hard Graft Reprocess neck strap.  This is a lovely strap and for when I am walking around with the camera for a while its great to have a neck strap, however when I am taking the camera in and out of my bag, it's a bit bulky so I was looking for alternatives.  In my quest for the perfect strap I came across finger straps which I didn't even know existed!

Finger straps go from reasonably priced all the way up to Leica ones which are, well Leica priced!  The Op Tech ones a re a simple design and the clip in section can replace the finger strap with a Op Tech wrist strap which is quite a neat idea. 

 I have reasonably large hands/fingers but found the neoprene cuff to be comfortable and secure and holds the weight of the X100T with no problem. I will be testing this further as well as the monopod and provide a more comprehensive review in the future. 
Bag closed with monopod inside

Tenba Cooper 8 bag with  the monopod







Sunday, 28 February 2016

Reflections

As well as buying a new camera, I recently joined a photography club to meet more like minded people with a love of photography.  I know clubs can be a bit of a Marmite subject ie you either love them or hate them but the one I am involved in is fun, relaxed and enjoyable.  We set a theme each month for a competition and this month it was reflections.

Firstly it was great to go out for an hour and focus on a theme as it made it much easier to "see" photographs.  Secondly it was a perfect opportunity to experiment with my X100T and I found the fixed focal length a real bonus because it was just one less thing to worry about so I could concentrate on my image and the settings.  I found I moved around my subjects more thing more about composition rather than just zooming in and out and it felt fun!



 I shot these three images in jpeg which is quite scary for someone who has shot in RAW for the last 6 years!  I did some processing in Lightroom and found the jpeg files to be very good to work with (not very technical I know but I look to the end result rather than how I got there!).

From using the camera there is clearly a lot more to it than I am using and it will take time to get the best out of it, that said I love the results I am getting and more importantly the way it makes me feel.

With the X100T, I feel I am in control.  I feel like I am creating the image and I really, really enjoy using it.  It sounds odd to form an emotional bond with a camera but that is what it does!  It makes me want to go out and shoot.  We're not at the point where I have named my camera, but it might not be far off!

Issues

To provide a bit of balance, it's not all perfect,  I am finding the WiFi feature a little bit slow and frustrating, this could be the camera, it could be my phone that I am transferring to.  It's still early days and hopefully I will get it working perfectly with the app over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Landscape: Memorial Park, Great Harwood


This is a quick landscape I took this morning from Memorial Park, Great Harwood in Lancashire.  My wife called me to tell me to try out the new camera as the mist was rising out of the valley, so I hot footed it up to the park!  The hill on the left is Pendle Hill.  It was a bit rushed and it's my first landscape using the new camera (enough excuses already!) but I quite like it!  As I no longer take a tripod with me as part of my minimal photographer kit, it was taken hand held and I used ISO 200, f8 1/420 sec.  I could probably have done with using f11 or f16 but never mind.  My plan for images is to edit on the go to free up my workflow if I can figure out the WiFi between my phone and camera, however, this one I edited quickly on my desktop and used a Fuji C-Velvia 100 preset. 

Protecting my new camera

The idea behind buying the Fuji X100T was that it would be a camera to last me for many, many years.  I wanted a camera that made me want to take it out and shoot, that was light and portable but didn't sacrifice quality.  I know that in a few months time, there will most likely be a new version out, but that is always the case with technology, so I decided to opt out of the problem many photographers find themselves in, which is G.A.S.  Gear Acquisition Syndrome is all about being sucked into the marketing of huge corporations and buying their lenses, latest models etc.  Fuji is no different in that sense, they have to make money, but, I hope, that the X100T is a camera that will last me for many years to come, and may even be a camera I can pass onto my children in time.  So, I plan to ignore all of the hype around new technology, appreciate and understand the camera I have and enjoy taking pictures!


My new camera is an investment, so I need to protect it.  I guess there are 3 main things I need to worry about which are scratching the rear LCD screen, damaging the lens and protecting it against accidental damage, theft etc.

There are loads of screen protectors out there but they are not all equal!  I did quite a bit of research, but eventually decided on the Expert Shield as these have a lifetime guarantee and all the reviews seem very positive.  At the end of the day, it's a screen protector, what more can you say!

To protect the lens, I had already bought the genuine Fuji LH-X100 & AR-X100 set from Bristol Cameras as they had it at a great price and after my initial issues fitting it (see previous post!) I had to decide whether I wanted to use a 49mm lens cap or a clear/UV filter.  I opted for the filter in the end as most the lens caps looked pretty ugly and its another thing to lose!  The question of which filter is a personal one there are so many choices, personally I wanted a decent quality filter and I opted for the Formatt-Hitech 49mm Firecrest SuperSlim Stackable Ultraviolet 370nm Filter because it is was slim, good quality and good value.  Now I don't have to put a lens cap on and can just leave the lens hood attached so my camera still looks good!

Finally, I looked at insurance.  Sadly we all know there are unscrupulous people out there and that accidents can happen.  I have used Photoguard before, they have a low excess, good cover and the premiums were low too (about £3.50 a month).  It just gives me the peace of mind that if anything happens, I'm protected and it's far cheaper than buying a new camera!  Everyone's insurance needs are different, so if you are looking at insurance make sure you check out the policy to ensure it meets your requirements!

How to fit the Fuji LH-X100 lens hood to the X100T



So my first issue was trying to fit the   Fuji LH-X100 lens hood and AR-X100 adapter ring to the camera!  I thought I must be going mad!  


Anyhow, it seems I am not alone and this handy video by Eric Rossi explains how to do it!  Basically, use the supplied lens cap on the lens and squeeze gently, turn it anti clock wise and the cosmetic ring hiding the filter threads will unscrew.  Attach the lens hood to the adapter ring and screw on as you would a filter.  

It was at this point I realised I would need either a lens cap or a UV filter to protect the lens...




Monday, 22 February 2016

My Fuji X100T has arrived!

Well my new Fuji X100T has arrived. First impressions are very positive, it's beautifully designed and seems solid and well built!
It's a big change going from a Canon DSLR & L lenses to effectively a single lens point and shoot and I'm a little nervous. It seems so small! I'm kicking myself I forgot to order a LCD screen protector so had to order one on next day delivery which should hopefully be here tomorrow!

I'm getting to grips with the menus, buttons and the viewfinder tonight and will be getting some shots tomorrow. I'm struggling to get the WiFi link with my phone to work for some reason but I think that's user error at this point.
At the moment I'm cautiously excited. It's such a huge step for me but I'm certain it's the right move. Only the images will tell!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Welcome to My Fuji Life

I've been a photographer for years and in that time I've bought and sold various cameras and lenses. I've chased new technology and software and while I have taken pictures, I feel I lost my way as a photographer.
It was only when a relative recently asked me for some pictures of my children, that I realised that I'd recently taken very few pictures that were personal to me. I'd been shooting for clients, but not for myself. I had a bag of photography gear I never took anywhere unless I had to,and therefore I didn't take the pictures I wanted. I had fallen out of love with photography.
As this realisation hit home, I looked at what I could do, and discovered many other photographers were in a similar position. The answer seemed to lie in getting back to basics, simplifying equipment and work flow, and using a camera that made you focus on the images, that you wanted to take out with you wherever you go. While many manufacturers are chasing megapixels & future tech, only one seemed to really be designing cameras for photographers and listening to them. That is why I chose Fuji and the Fuji X100T.
I sold all my other equipment and have replaced it with a single camera with a fixed lens. This is my journey and these are my images. This is My Fuji Life.