Friday, January 20, 2017

Bling Bling: The Fujifilm X-Pro2 Graphite Edition


If you look at the modern history of professional cameras, the concept has always been pretty simple: build it sturdy and keep it stealth. Thinking back to all the flagship pro cameras of the past few decades, the 'all black' flagship is the standard across almost all Japanese camera manufacturers (with some exceptions of course). The Nikon F series (even the titanium versions were painted black), Canon F1 and EOS 1 series, Minolta 9xxx series (and Sony 9x series). Minolta did have that one horrible Maxxum/Dynax 9 in a gold titanium series, but I've never seen them in the hands of working pros. I shot pro sports for years, and all the cameras along the side lines, always black. Black means pro to many in the industry, and I tend to agree. Working photojournalists, sports photographers, conflict zone photographers, wedding photographers, they want a camera that work. The fact it's gold, silver or pink really isn't a priority and often a distraction (or the wrong type of attraction). This is why I understand the original X-Pro1 only came in black, and when the X-Pro2 was released last year, I knew that the engineers and designers would insist to only release it in black.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why I Still Love Shooting with my Ricoh GR


When I went to Hong Kong in the summer, I announced on my YouTube channel that I wasn't going to take my personal Ricoh GR. It was a tough decision, but I had my reasons (I explain it in this video). People thought I was giving up on my Ricoh GR, that I was a total Fujifilm and Leica convert. This couldn't have been further from the truth. I don't own any Fujifilm or Leica gear, I just review them. Yes most of my videos are about these two brands, but that's because I review cameras, that's my job. My Hong Kong trip was for work and there was no personal time to take my own pictures for myself. That's why the GR stayed at home. A month later I took off to Osaka with my wife to visit my little brother and his family. Guess what? I took my Ricoh GR in conjunction with the Fujifilm X-T2 and XF 23mm f/2 WR. Did I have fun with the GR and was it still a significant photographic tool? Yes and yes!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fujifilm X100F, X-T20, XF 50mm f/2 WR, X-Pro2 Graphite Edition

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 Graphite Edition, X100F, X-Pro2, X-T2 with booster grip, X-T20, XF 50mm f/2 WR
Fujifilm has started 2017 with a splash. Look at all these new goodies in store for all you Fujifilm fans. Which ones were you anticipating the most? The X100F? The XF 50mm f/2 WR? Sorry, I'm on the list to test the GFX but I still don't have my review copy yet. Fujifilm could have decided to release all these new items at CES 2017... but they didn't. It seems like for the past few years they've ignored CES and saved the best for their own press release. Let's look at what's new, what's old, and what's up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Keeping it Simple from BHT

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF35mm f/2 WR. ACRO + Ye
Dear blog followers,

I apologize for my lack of posts for the past.... few years. As you know, I've shifted my focus to my YouTube channel and Instagram account, and for that I feel badly. My blog started it all. My blog helped me through some pretty tough times. I use to post to my blog similar to how I post to Instagram, snapshots with short and sweet stories. This is no longer true. The past few months have been insane. I took on a project in Hong Kong that was bigger than I could handle. In 3 weeks I shot almost 40 videos, shot with 5 different cameras, much of which I still have not edited. I've started about 4 articles on my blog, but they're all in draft mode. Each article is long with lots of pictures, and I guess that's been my format for a while. Maybe I should change back to the old format? Perhaps I should start slowly again with smaller, shorter articles with a single point or thought? How about a single picture (or two) with absolutely no thought? Yes, that's what I'll do.

Thanks for following and happy shooting.

BHT

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Streets of Hong Kong with the Fujifilm X-T2 and Zooms

XF10-24mm f/4 R OIS
I've written many articles about my struggle choosing between the Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2 as my travel camera on FujiLove magazine. I love both cameras, and before three major trips, I really had to think about which camera to take. I love the X-Pro2 for it's sleek styling, the optical viewfinder, and slightly more compact size and weight. I love the X-T2 for everything else. Power, speed, dials, ergonomics, accessories (vertical control grip), video features, etc. In the end, I always chose the X-T2 because of it's video capabilities. The ability to shoot consistent video with 3 batteries, a standard 3.5mm microphone input, start-stop using the shutter button, 4K, video audio monitoring (via the grip). It was a no-brainer for a photographer-YouTuber. As I've said before, my heart (and eyes) say X-Pro2, but my logical brain tells me the X-T2.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Review: Hasselblad CFV-50c Digital Back (HK 2016)


Digital medium format. If you're already confused with the whole 'full-frame' equivalent terminology, then this is going to confuse you even more. Let's just say that in the days of film, 35mm (24mm x 36mm) was the most common format to use. 95% of all cameras were in this format. Once we went digital, it made the most sense to reference this format as the universal standard in terms of how we refer to the focal length of a lens. The problem is, not all the sensors were the same size. Welcome to the crop factor phenomena. An 18.5mm lens in the APS-C format (24mm x 16mm) gives the approximate field of view of a 28mm on the 35mm format.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hong Kong Project 2016: The Beginning (at the End)

Leica M-A with 35mm Summilux Asph. Shot with CineStill 800T film. Approx 1/60th f/2.8
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy taking pictures in Hong Kong? Digital, film, point-and-shoot, ILC, smartphone, I don't care what I use. As long as I'm on the streets where the action is, I'm ready to shoot. Unlike the past two years where I've gone on vacation to Hong Kong with my wife (aka Camera Girl for you YouTube followers), this time it was an actual work assignment. MonogramAsia invited me to interview landscape photographer Michael Kenna, and I invited Ryan from Arcade Original to join me. In homage of Michael Kenna's film-only photography, I asked Leica North America to loan me a film camera (the Leica M-A), and I asked Fujifilm Canada to send me some film to shoot (Pro 400H and ACROS 100). I also had the new (but pre-production) Fujfilm X-T2 with booster and the new (and impossible to find) Canon G7X mrk II. I was also testing the new BitPlay EF18 ultra wide angle lens for the iPhone 6S. Yes I had many ways to capture Hong Kong, and I took every opportunity to use each tool to its potential. Did I have a favourite? Of course. Can you guess?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Upcoming Hong Kong Instagram Project


**Thanks to everyone who contributed to this campaign. It was a success and I was able to complete all the projects necessary. This project has now come to a close. Anyone contributing to my PayPal account from now on is making a general donation to my website and YouTube account. I will still email back a thank-you but this project is now closed for new contributors. Thank you very much for your support. I will leave this post up and follow up with a new one soon.

In less than 2 weeks I'll be in Hong Kong on a work assignment. MonogramAsia has invited me to shoot a series of YouTube videos for their upcoming event with renowned landscape photographer Michael Kenna. To accomplish this, I asked Ryan from Arcade Original to join me on this project as my videographer and editor. Since I'll already be in Hong Kong with no family obligations (my wife is not coming) I decided to produce some smaller projects for myself. I'm flying out a week early with Ryan and we're going to hook up with some old and new friends to shoot some unique videos. I will also have some pre-production equipment and review cameras with me from Fujifilm, Leica and Canon (sorry no Ricoh). Because of this, I have some unexpected expenses to cover. To raise extra funds, I wanted to do so in a creative way, as well as offer unique content for those who wish to help. Instead of selling prints, conducting workshops or asking for outright donations, I decided to create a private IG account. How will this funded IG project work?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Review: Leica M-D Typ 262

Leica M-D with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux. 1/250th sec f/4 @ ISO 400
Like many photographic tools created by this iconic German manufacturer, the Leica M-D Typ 262 is polarizing. You either love it or hate it. In my recent YouTube video review, commenters were either mad at me for misunderstanding this 'purist camera', or thought I was crazy to review such an expensive camera that lacked basic digital features. Yes, without an LCD or an EVF, there's no way to preview the image in-camera on the Leica M-D. Isn't that the whole premise behind digital photography, instant preview? It's at least a major advantage of shooting digital over film. However, with every technological advancement there's often an unforeseen crutch. Having the ability to view images instantaneously has made a previously confident film photographer neurotic with constant chimping and second guessing one's photographic prowess. The solution? Remove the screen. Does it help? Yes and no. What about the price: Is this screen-less Leica M body worth $6,000 USD body only? Again, the answer is yes and no. The big question is, did it make me a better photographer? Totally. Did I have fun shooting it? A definite yes. Why? Das Wesentliche or 'The Essentials'

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The FujiFilm X-T2 PRO? My 1st Impressions


What's in a name? Everything. Toyota knew they had to create the Lexus brand to compete with Mercedes and BMW. Honda created Acura, Nissan created Infinity. In Japan they didn't change the name, but for the export market the name was everything. It's no different with cameras. Slap the name 'Pro' or designate the number '1' (Canon EOS 1 has always been the flagship AF model, the Canon F1 was the flagship pre-AF model) and everyone expects it to be the best. Since the release of the original Fujifilm X-Pro1, the consumer has always looked to the hybrid viewfinder mirrorless body as the embodiment of Fuji's top technology and features. The problem occurred when the X-T1 was released 2 years later with a completely different form factor with better performance and features. The X-T1 became the unofficial flagship, but that's a problem. You can't have conflicting nomenclature within a product line-up. It's confusing. When the X-Pro2 was announced in January 2016, it was very clear that the X-Pro series was back on top. New sensor, new processor, top functions and features. Yes the new X-Pro2 deserved the PRO designation. Now comes the new Fujifilm X-T2... same problem as before? Yup. Although the X-Pro2 and X-T2 share the exact same sensor and processor, again the X-T2 trumps the X-Pro2 on many features and functions. The difference isn't as bad as the previous battle between the X-Pro1 and X-T1, but the differences are great enough to question the naming of the new X-T2. I have absolutely no issues with either the X-Pro2 or the new X-T2. Both are great cameras and this will be the year for Fujifilm. Not only will they have the film and Leica crowd scrambling to buy the X-Pro2 (and upcoming X200), but now they've targeted Canon and Nikon's DSLR market with the X-T2. I'm just wondering, shouldn't they have named it the X-T2 PRO? Let's find out: