Thursday, August 29, 2013

Leica M Monochrom = Street Photography

Do you notice that our cars seem to drive better after we've washed it? Or how we physically feel better when we wear our favourite pair of jeans? Sometimes the physical objects we adore can affect how we feel, making us better at whatever we're doing. The Leica M Monochrom is exactly that, an emotional catalyst that changes how we feel and can improve our ability to take great pictures. 

No autofocus, no EVF with live histogram, no colour images, no 1 million dot LCD screen to check for focus? How can this camera possibly help us take better pictures? By its limitations, we are forced to use the M Monochrom as a tool and not a device (more explanation in my full review).  We don't depend on technology to take better pictures, we depend on our eyes and our hands... and the camera of course. This is where the Leica is a solid tool, it's dependable, focused, precise. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Upcoming Review: Fuji X-Pro 1 with 14mm

Fuji X-Pro 1 with 14mm F2.8 lens. 1/1000 sec F/11 @ ISO 1600, manual mode, zone focus

A few weeks ago Fujifilm Canada asked if I wanted to test the X-Pro-1 with the updated firmware 3.0. The main improvements are faster autofocus speeds and the inclusion of focus peaking. I said sure, but I asked for the 14mm F2.8 lens, as well as the 18mm F/2 lens. The irony is that these aren't the best lenses to test the improvements of the new 3.0 firmware, but the improvements were noticeable. The full details will be in my upcoming review. 

What I did really enjoy was using the 14mm lens. It's amazing, and I want to do a separate review of just the lens on its own. At 21mm equivalent, it's great for street photography. At first I thought it would be too wide, since I would have to be that much closer to the subject to capture their essence. However, as the above image shows,  the wide angle lens really brings in the surrounding environment as well as focusing on the main subject. The trick is to bring the subject in closer than usual (compared to 28 or 35mm lens) and make sure the surrounding is interesting as well.

I'll try to get my review up in a few days, but until then, keep checking back for more images. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and don't forget to comment or if you have any questions. I have a few more cool cameras that I'm reviewing now, but I'll keep that a secret...happy shooting!

Now Posted: Full Review of the Fuji X-Pro 1 

Public Chess Battles? Goto Van Art Gallery

Ricoh GR-D IV. 1/1000 sec F/2.5 @ ISO 160

It rains a lot in Vancouver. You sort of get use to it, especially when you spend time outdoors. I rode my bike to work for 6 years, and during high-school I had an early morning paper route. Rain or shine, you do what you have to do. Whenever anyone complained about the rain, I would always say: If you stopped doing what you were planning to do just because its raining, you wouldn't get anything done in Vancouver!

My hardcore opinion has changed recently as I spend more time downtown while testing camera equipment (upcoming review of Leica M Monochrom and Fuji X-Pro 1 with 14mm F2.8).  I see street artists painting masterpieces on busy sidewalks, public pianos throughout the city for anyone to play with, and street musicians on every other corner. More of a participatory activity, public chess boards left out for anyone to play is a great idea to encourage people to interact with others in a stimulating public forum. Where can you find these outdoor gamers playing on a concrete platform? 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ricoh GR D IV: Firmware Update Ver 2.30

Ricoh GR D IV 1/17th sec F/1.9 @ ISO 200: self portrait with sick beard

Ricoh is committed to their products, especially the GR series cameras. They understand its cult-camera status and treats it as such. If you can believe it, Ricoh has just released firmware update version 2.30 for the now discontinued GR Digital IV. What company prioritizes firmware updates for a discontinued camera instead of a currently available camera, the new GR? It's not just fixing bugs, but they've added 4 new features/functions:

1. Additional White Balance modes (expanded fluorescent lighting)
2. AF/Spot Focus added as custom Fn feature
3. Vignetting added to certain Jpeg modes
4. Target Selected function added to Macro button

Check out the full details on their global website:

Check out the full review of the Ricoh GR Digital IV here

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Upcoming Review: The Leica M Monochrom

1/250th sec F/5.6 @ ISO 1600 converted from RAW file

When my Leica rep asked if I was interested in borrowing the Leica M Monochrom, I got pretty excited. I've been wanting to hold this camera ever since it was announced, and I finally was allowed to test it for a week...and then I got sick!! Nooooo!!! I spent most of the week playing with it in my bedroom and taking self portraits. I know, pretty sad. 

I did eventually get 2 full days to shoot with it, including the above picture of Moustafa and Miles, students at the Vancouver Film School. Speaking of film, although this is a reduced sized image from the original 35mb DNG file, you can see how film-like the picture is. The Ricoh RAW files converted to black and white also look a lot like film, but the M Monochrom does it better...much better. It's safe to say, it's the most film-like images from any digital camera I've ever shot with so far.