Thursday, October 30, 2014

iPhone - Smartphone Street Photography Workshops

iPhone 5S. 1/2933 sec f/2.2 @ ISO 40. Douglas Coupland's Gumhead at the Vancouver Art Gallery


I announced back in the summer that I would start doing photography workshops... and then I went silent. Not because of lack of interest or desire on my part, but because I was busy on many other smaller projects. However, I was continually teaching and running private workshops for individuals and groups. The recurring question and inquiry I was getting was how I'm able to take 'professional' pictures with my iPhone. If you look at my Instagram Feed, 95% of the pictures are taken with my iPhone and post processed using mobile applications (VSCO, Camera+, PS Express). I've been very transparent with how I take the pictures and post process, but many have suggested I start workshops to physically show people how it's done.

My website is not yet set-up for on-line registration (it will soon!) so if you're interested in my 2 upcoming workshops in Vancouver, please email me at takeatbigheadtacodotcom. I will run my first workshop this Saturday afternoon (1:30-4:30pm) at 40% discount because of the short notice ($60 per student), and next weekend (either Sat or Sun) at full price ($100 per student). I will only take 5 students maximum per workshop so I can give as much attention to each student. Thank you again for your patience and I look forward to meeting you. If there is any interest for those in Hong Kong ( I will be there late November to early December), please email me and I would be happy to arrange for either a private or a group workshop on street photography or smartphone post processing. 

Thanks for all your support and happy shooting!

Best regards, 

Take Kayo

BHT

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Impressions: The Fujifilm X-100T is a Subtle but Significant Upgrade

Fujifilm X-100T @ 23mm. 1/800th sec f/4 @ ISO 400. Chinatown Vancouver


I finally have the new Fujifilm X-100T in my hands. It feels familiar, and it should. It's basically the same as the X-100S with subtle exterior upgrades. So subtle that many reviewers didn't mention some of them. However, for an X-100 shooter, it's the subtle upgrades that will help you shoot faster and with more confidence. This isn't the X-200, so don't expect any extreme upgrades. Yes, an articulating screen would have been nice, but focusing on upgrading the hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder was a good idea. Concentrate on what makes you different, and not what everyone else is doing. Almost every manufacturer is abandoning the optical viewfinder (except higher end DSLR's and Leica M rangefinders). Fuji is investing in this older technology, but improving upon it. This is good news. My first impression so far is that this is a must-have camera for those who love to shoot through optical viewfinders and also those who love Fuji X-series cameras. Let's take a quick look...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fujifilm X-30: Small But Powerful Enthusiast P&S. Can it keep up with the competition? Does it have to?

Fujifilm X-30 @ 50mm equiv. 1/250th sec, f/6.4 @ ISO 200 with EF-X20 flash @ 1/8 power



When I first heard about the new X-30, I was a bit hesitant. Did I want to review it? When I finally got my hands on it, I liked it immediately. It wasn't about image size or if it had an optical or electronic viewfinder. It was about how it felt in my hands. This camera makes you want to shoot with it, period. It feels like a compact X-100 series camera with a zoom. It's solid build quality and ergonomics makes me want to run out and start taking pictures immediately. 

There has been much talk about the smallish 2/3" sensor that is no longer considered large compared to the 1/1.7" sensor that was the previous standard in most enthusiast point-and-shoot cameras. Canon and Sony have 1" sensors, and now Panasonic has leap-frogged everyone by going M43 with the latest LX100. Can the X-30 keep up in this very competitive enthusiast market? Does it have to? Let's take a look and see what this camera can do...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fujifilm X-30 YouTube Video Review: Is the 2/3" Sensor Too Small?

Fujifilm X-30 @ 50mm equiv. 1/500th sec f/5.6 @ ISO 200. Provia film simulation JPEG

I thought I would quickly release my YouTube video review of the Fujifilm X-30 before my full written review. Not everyone wants to read through an entire article. I understand. As mentioned on my previous preview video, I really like the X-30. It handled really well and the control features are very 'Fuji intuitive'. It's everything the X-100S should have been in terms of ergonomics and functionality. In fact, I would argue the shooting experience on the new X-30 is better than the X-100S (except for the optical viewfinder option on the X-100) in a more compact, lightweight package. The only minus is the sensor size. Is it too small? Look forward to my full review for my full answer. Until then, enjoy my full review video. 



Monday, September 22, 2014

Camera Preview: Fujifilm X-30. Is it worth it?

Fujifilm X-30 @ 35mm equiv. 1/140th sec f/4 @ ISO 400. Classic Chrome JPEG


I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Fujifilm X-10 and X-20. I loved the concept, build quality and principle behind the design and features of the compact camera series. Manual on/off and zoom ring, optical viewfinder, larger than normal 2/3" sensor (the competition all had 1/1.7" sensors), retro styling. It all made sense. However, when I looked at the image quality, it was only slightly better than my Ricoh GR-D IV at low ISO. The X-20 added the X-Trans technology, but I still wasn't blown away. I classified the X-10/20 as an EDC (every day carry) camera, and I wasn't convinced of its place in the market place (although the camera did reasonably well and beloved by many fans). I believe that Fujifilm was targeting the Canon G series cameras, but it's a shrinking market, even for Canon. The Sony RX-100 was the game changer, and Canon had more success with their smaller S100 series cameras, which had the same sensor as the G series, but in a much smaller form factor. The industry is moving towards a 'bigger sensor in a smaller body is better' philosophy, which isn't horribly wrong. But it also needs to shoot well and have the right functions and ergonomics to make it a success. The Panasonic LX and Canon S series proves this philosophy correct, as they both have smallish 1/1.7" sensors.

However, when I heard there was a new X-30 coming out, I was convinced Fuji was going to upgrade the sensor to at least a 1" (although this means they would have to design an all new X-Trans sensor, and not just buy it from Sony). It makes business sense to keep the 2/3" sensor, I understand. Why gamble producing an all new sensor if they weren't positive that it was a growth market for them? My guess was that they were either going to shoe-horn an APS-C X-trans sensor into a compact body (similar to the Ricoh GR), or shrink the size of the camera. Fuji did neither. Instead, they added tons of new features, updated the software, and improved the ergonomics and functions while making the camera slightly bigger. Is this enough to keep up with the current and upcoming competition? Let's see...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Leica Akademie Vancouver: Guest Speaker

Taken w/ Ricoh GR. 1/180th f/5.6 @ ISO 500. Edited in CS5 & Photoscape. @loiterbench (IG) in Chinatown, Vancouver.



Since starting my Youtube series, I've been getting emails from people asking if I run any workshops on street photography. As you may know, when Eric Kim was in town in Vancouver, he invited me to audit his 3 day street photography workshop and I had fun watching someone formulating how to teach this unusual photographic 'art form'. Eric insisted that I should run my own workshops and I thought a good way to start was accepting the privilege of being the guest speaker and instructor for the upcoming Leica Akademie in Vancouver next week.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Video Chit-Chat: Fujifilm X-T1, X-Pro 1, EF-X20 flash and a Green Canoe

Here's my latest YouTube video and my first video with a guest, even though he's not a photographer by trade. Kurt Dahle is a drummer for a pretty cool indie band (he's very shy about his band so I won't mention it here for his sake), but he's also a huge camera nerd like me. I bumped into him while I was reviewing some cameras a few months back (Leica T and Fujifilm X-E2), and we got along really well. I decided to invite him on my latest video since he picked up the pretty sweet EF-X20 flash unit for his Fujifilm X-Pro 1. I also complain about Fuji burying the flash compensation feature in the menus, which would be a quick firmware fix (please fix this Fuji!). The video is mostly just me and Kurt chit-chatting about nothing, as it was hard keeping this video on track. Even still, I'll have Kurt (and maybe his bandmates) back for more videos since we had such fun shooting it. Camera girl was all smiles while shooting this video, which is a good sign. She usually looks confused when it's just me nerding out on camera details. Enjoy the video and happy shooting!


Monday, July 28, 2014

New Video: Fujifilm X-T1 vs X-E2. Also water pour test on X-T1 and XF 18-135 WR!

Hello everyone, 

I've been so busy working on my different projects that I haven't had much time to focus on my YouTube videos and my articles. I'll be back in full force in the next week or so. I currently have on review the following: Fujifilm X-T1, X-E2, XF 18-55mm, XF 35mm, XF 18-135 WR, SHARE SP-1 wireless INSTAX printer. I also have some Leica cameras on the way: Leica M Monochrom and M240 and some lenses. I will be a guest speaker at the upcoming Leica Akademie being held in Vancouver so I have to make sure I know what I'm talking about before the workshop! 

So here's my latest YouTube video. I'm comparing the X-T1 and the X-E2 and help people decide which one to get, and I also do a water resistant test with the X-T1 and the XF 18-135 WR. Enjoy and happy shooting.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Street Photography, iPhones and Instagram

All images taken with iPhone 5S and edited with Instagram, VSCOCam, PS Express, and/or Camera +


I love reviewing cameras and I enjoy street photography. I only review cameras that interest me and want to use while shooting on the street. I care less about absolute image quality, but focus on what camera is best for shooting quickly and discretely, important qualities while taking street images. Funny thing, I've been spending much of my time shooting with my iPhone and using Instagram as the primary platform for my street photography work. When I upgraded my iPhone 4 with the latest iPhone 5S back in December, I saw a leap in image quality and felt it was powerful enough for me to shoot with it as a serious imaging tool. What makes smartphone cameras ideal for street photography? Here's a few things I've learned while using my iPhone and sharing my images via Instragram during my street photography project...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gear Review: Leica Brightline Finder M-24


When I received the Leica T to review for the second time, there was an odd accessory in my review package, the Leica Brightline Viewfinder M-24. The angle of view (24mm) didn't really work with the lens that was provided (standard 18-56mm zoom lens), and they included the EVF in the package anyway...so why did they include it? Who cares! This is a great accessory and I wasn't going to complain. I had an awesome time playing with it and it made my shooting more enjoyable. The question is: how good can this very expensive viewfinder be? Let's just say that it destroys the competition...