JAMES CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHY

b&w images • blog • easter island journal

since May 2006

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The Moon has been Eaten – Se comió la luna

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Moon over Maunga Tea Tea 2

Monday, February 20, 2017

Naturally as I was working up the newer versions of the Catalog and Book PDF files I found one I missed posting here. Oops. Nan likes this and wanted it included. We were setting out for a long, grueling day on Poike. I stopped and braced the camera on a fence post and took this shot. The detail in the 15x20 enlargement makes the moon seem to just hang there. Twenty minutes later I stopped and took Moon over Maunga Tea Tea (1), already in the folio. It was cloudier, more dramatic and interesting in its own right:

These smaller maunga on Poike are made of trachite, a hard white volcanic tuff sometimes used to make smaller moai. The view at the top is growing on me – conveying the challenge of the trek ahead at that point.

The Catalog, that I carry on my iPad, has thumbs linked to larger images on the site, etc. It comes in handy occasionally, especially for selecting an exhibit list. The expanded The Moon has been Eaten is almost done, another week maybe.

Holy Shuttershock Batman – it's Fujiman

I was planning on simply making a couple of notes at the bottom of a regular posting about my new camera – Fuji X-T2 – but it deserves a lot more than that. My entire Canon system is gone, kaput. The last body and two lenses sold on eBay this week. I'm not going to write a proper review of the camera – there are far too many out there already – I'll provide a couple of links at the bottom for anyone interested. I'll simply list the real-goods, the not-so-bads and the one-ugly. Of course all the top-end cameras do almost anything, and quality is close to universal today. It's all about personal needs and likes.

     That being said, there was a lot to learn. Like when we bought a car after thirteen years, and of a different make to boot, everything is different.

The really-goods:

     • Half the size and half the weight of the Canon DSLR. At the same time it's larger and heftier than its main competitor the Lumix GH5, which I find just a tad on the small side.

     • Feel and handling takes me back to my favorite old camera, my Canon F-1n, almost like it's what the F-1 would be if it were alive today as the F-16 or F-1nnnnnnnnn..

     • Both eyepiece and back panel viewers are to die for – the electronic eyepiece the best of the kind I've used.

     • External dials and buttons to access and control most of what is buried in the menus – accessing settings in menus is the bane of photography today.

     • Three-way tilt rear view screen will definitely come in handy.

     • No freaking touch screen – yay. Nan got a Canon point-n-shoot with a touch-screen and immediately regretted it. I sold it on eBay for her and she got a fantastic Lumix LX100 that opted out on that. In fact it's so nice that it is good enough for me to use as a back-up until my photography budget allows for something else.

     • Fuji knows how to write an instruction manual, Canon should hire them. At the same time it's never enough. Then there are all the videos and write-ups on line to help. Google rules.

     • Vibration is way down because it is mirrorless + the lens isn't so heavy that it unbalances the camera accentuating shutter shock + the shutter itself seems to be very dampered + Fuji lens stabilization is awesome. I got razor sharp test shots at 1/4"

     • Even with the 3/4 sensor, Fuji's 24 megapixels via its unique randomized-pixel sensor generates files viewed sharper at 100% than 22 megapixel files from my Canon 5D II (I cropped to make the mp equal).

The not-so-bads:

     Fuji's unique sensor is to die for, but presents a couple of issues for those who shoot RAW. Of today's RAW converters only one – Iridient Developer at $99 – is designed to do an optimum job on the files. Not that anyone could tell the difference at anywhere under 100% enlargement. In fact, shy of going for large B&W prints, my tests show the issue to be irrelevant.

   Fuji's X-series of cameras has a somewhat smaller list of available lenses than Canon, etc. BUT the ones they have are both enough for me and extremely sharp. The standard zoom is only a 28-85 equivalent, down from my Canon 24-105, but much smaller, quicker, better balanced on the camera and with a wider aperture. Works for me.

Note: 35mm film cameras generated lenses that we all grew familiar with. 50mm was normal, anything lower w/a and anything higher telephoto, all in increments of magnification of 50. So 300 is 6x, etc. One simply has to get used to the fact that Fuji's 3/4 sensor means adding 50% for the equivalent lens focal length… the 18-55 standard lens is therefore the equivalent of a 27-84mm lens for a DSLR with a full size sensor. The 1/2 size sensor on a Lumix GH-5 means doubling the numbers, an 18-55 lens would be the equivalent of a 36-110 lens. Pretty straight forward actually until one puts an adapter on the Fuji or Lumix and mounts a lens labeled for a full frame camera on it. Then you gotta do the math in the opposite direction. Interestingly, well not to everyone, the aperature numbers will also change, making those listed on the lens barrel way off.

The one-ugly:

     Well not really "that" ugly. One of the X-T2's function buttons is placed – on the right front of the camera – precisely where I simply cannot-not accidentally press it regularly if I hold the camera the way I want. Cannot, no matter how much I try, hold the camera in a way that lets me leave that button active. Press it and you are in the menu – then you gotta make sure it didn't get chaged and get out of there. Awkward – if my hand were slightly larger or smaller, it wouldn't be an issue. Fortunately any function button can simply be switched off. I originally set this one to bring up wifi connectability (they all have that now, use your phone or iPad to run your camera remotely). I don't mind so much going into the menus the hard way for that.

Conclusion:

     The Fujifilm X-T2 is the first camera since my old Canon F-1n that makes me feel naked without it in my hands. Everything in between was simply a tool to get a job done. I could like them, appreciate them, be happy with the results, even enjoy working with them. But nothing until now brought me back to that point where the camera felt like an extension of me, like we're linked. I shot film through 2005, using the F-1 and a Mamiya M-645 mounted on a tripod for scenics – I did a lot of those. The X-T2 not only gives me the feel and flexibility of my favorite 35mm, it generates files that rival the negatives generated by the medium format camera – the best of both worlds. I'm really enjoying this.

It very well could be the beginning of the end for the hay-day of the DSLR. Mirrorless is finaly ready for prime time. I would suggest that if your ultimate goal in shooting is the fine print, especially B&W, then look seriously at the Fujifilm X-T2 or the X-Pro2. If on the other hand this is not a prime consideration, I would check our the Lumix GH5. Either can do either well, this is just my take.


Link to one pros using the Fujifilm X-T2 and/or X-Pro2 systems with his camera set-up:

http://www.fujixpassion.com/2016/11/24/my-camera-set-up-and-settings-for-fuji-x-cameras/

Link to a professional photographer who just dumped his DSLR system for Lumix GH-5 system for all of his work:

https://photoapps.expert/moment/switching-micro-four-thirds-commercial-shoot-convinced-me/19378#.WKmboRiZN_k


P.S. I have one tiny little issue with almost all high end cameras. Even on the iPhone where you have camera apps that shoot both RAW and JPEG, most of these also have the option to save the file as a TIFF. Sure, I wouldn't use it, I prefer RAW for too many reasons to list. BUT a LOT of people might like to have a high quality image that any app can open without having to trudge through the swamp that RAW can be. JPEGs are a messy compression that's unsuitable for either much in the way of tampering with or printing large. Yet very few of these top-of-the-line cameras have an option to save the file as a TIFF. Why? They certainly try to sell to amateurs who want to spend the money, who would be a heck of a lot better off with TIFFs than JPEGS. They're no larger than RAW files to save to the card. And it certainly would not demand any addition to the technology – phone apps do this. A number of Nikon DSLRs do have this option, why not everyone? Not one mirrorless so far. Strange – I can imagine a scenario where one could need to turn over a printable image file directly from the camera, that isn't in RAW or JPEG.