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.

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?