Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Leica M10 vs Fujifilm X-T2 vs GFX 50S for High ISO Performance


The Leica M10 is very special. It's also very expensive. Of all the cameras I review, I get the most criticism from both fans and critics. The one thing we can't argue over is the final image quality. It is what it is. Although I rarely do back-to-back comparisons between various cameras, I was curious about the new sensor in the M10. I knew the new 24MP sensor in the Leica M10 has better higher ISO sensitivity, but how much better? It's definitely better than the older M240, but how about against the latest Fujifilm sensors, both the APS-C and the medium format sensor? I decided to shoot an impromptu portrait session with Marcello at Push Pull CafĂ© in Vancouver. Here is a quick indoor natural light comparison between the Leica M10, Fujifilm X-T2 and the GFX 50S at ISO 3200. Can you tell which sensor is which?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Why I Shoot Film: Hong Kong Edition


As someone who gets to review cameras for a living, as well as being a self-professed gear nerd for many years, I've had the opportunity to test drive a plethora of cameras. I started at the height of the film era (1990s), where amazing cameras were being built and innovative technological advancements were being made (OIS was invented during the film era). At the time everyone had access to a dozen film manufacturers and hundreds of film types. Used camera stores were stocked to the ceiling with old classics like the Nikon F3, Canon AE1, Minolta X700, etc. This was the final golden age of film photography.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Childhood Pictures: The Friendly Neighbourhood Photographer


In the mid 1970s, my family immigrated to Vancouver Canada from Okinawa Japan. We settled into East Vancouver, a working class community made up mostly of Hong Kong Chinese, Italian, Portuguese and Indian immigrants. It was a time when you could spend all day playing with the other kids on the block and parents didn't have to constantly monitor your whereabouts. Good times. I remember playing along the front of our house with my siblings with our bikes and scooters, creating a sort of social magnetic field, unwittingly pulling in the other kids from the neighbourhood. We would spend all afternoon doing absolutely nothing, but having a great time doing it. These definitely were my wonder years.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hong Kong, Bangkok and Beyond. Where Have I Been?

Chinatown, Bangkok. Fujifilm X-T2 + XF10-24mm @ 10mm
Yes, yes I know. I have not kept up my promise of writing an article once a week, even if it's just a short little ditty. Since my last article on the Fujifilm SQ10, I've been all over the place. I took off to Hong Kong, then to Bangkok, back to Hong Kong, back to Vancouver, and busy ever since. I've put myself in a position that I'm at least 20 videos behind schedule, and about 40 articles behind on my blog. My photography has been backed up as well. I've shot, but I have not yet looked at much of my images. I still have many rolls of film to send off to get processed and scanned.  If you follow me on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, you can piece together what I've been up to. However, this is not a good thing. My personal blog and website is my home base. This is where the meat of my content should reside. For this I am sorry. I am sorry for all my readers who have not given up on this grossly neglected and horribly laid out website. I am still working on a plan to migrate this website to a WordPress or SquareSpace template, but it is still months away. For now, let's just try and play a bit of catch up shall we?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The New Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Hybrid Instant Camera


The Fujifilm Instax film cameras and film has been the shinning star of the film world for the past decade. As Polaroid declined in popularity and profitability, Fujifilm transformed their instant film business from passport and ID pictures to family and friends. The cameras were simple to use, cute to look at, and fun to share. One weakness of these cameras was that it was easy to mess up a picture, a costly mistake (about $1 USD per image at least). The compromise was the Instax printer. It could print directly from a Fujifilm camera, or using an app, directly from your smartphone. Another complaint was that the cute and fun Instax Mini prints were too small, and wouldn't print the square Instagram images properly without cropping the sides of the image. How would Fuji solve this problem? A new film format and a new hybrid camera system would be necessary.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Believe in Film: The Leica M-A with 35mm Summilux in Hong Kong

Cinestill 800T
Film photography. Is it dead? Not dead. Dormant? No, it's actually growing. Will it ever be what it was? Probably not. Digital photography is here to stay, but so is film photography. There will always be a niche market for any sub-section of any hobby, but film photography wasn't a hobby. It was the primary way we captured images for over 100 years, so film isn't disappearing any time soon. One reason is because of the hardware. How many film cameras exist today? In the hundreds of millions for sure. Lenses, the same. Since the 1930s, film cameras and lenses were produced for the mass market, as well as for the technical and professional markets. Many of these cameras were built like tanks, meant to last for generations. Yes, film photography and film cameras are here to stay... for a while still. It will never be a mainstream product, but it's more mainstream than people think. Many think of iconic European manufacturers of high quality film cameras who have either disappeared or moved on to making digital products exclusively. There is one major exception. Yes, Leica Camera AG of Wetzler Germany.

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.