Thursday, January 23, 2014

Upcoming Review: Fujifilm X-E2 & XF18-55

Taken with Ricoh GR-D IV. 1/45th sec F/2.8 @ ISO 125.

The Fuji X series cameras have slowly grown on me. Last year when I tested the Fuji X-E1, I liked the camera, but not enough to want to buy one for myself. I was impressed with the very sharp and fast kit lens, and I liked the retro but still modern layout (healthy mix of dials and buttons). The image quality was very good as well, with a very unique look of their own, including classic Fuji film simulated jpeg modes (Provia and Velvia are my favourite). But there were some ergonomic and functional issues that made it a bit slow to shoot with, and I really wasn't a fan of the slow refresh rate of the EVF. In the end, I gave it a good, but not an excellent rating. I wasn't alone with these complaints. Fuji engineers are good listeners however; and with each new X series camera, they continually made small improvements to the layout, the sensor, AF speed, etc. I loved testing the X-Pro 1, and I really loved the X-100S. Each new X-series cameras comes closer and closer to what people want from this retro inspired line-up of cameras.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Upcoming Review: Ricoh GR Ltd. Edition

Taken with Ricoh GR-D IV. 1/70th sec F/2.8 @ ISO 125. Shot RAW and converted in CS5

I enjoy reviewing cameras like a car guy would love reviewing cars. The only difference is that with a car, you usually only have it for an afternoon, and you can't really test to see if you can incorporate it into your daily living. Sure it drives great on the track, but how does it park in the garage or drive in rush hour traffic? It's different with a camera. It sits next to your desk while you work or next to your bed before you go to sleep. You can take it with you to lunch or dinner, or even just a coffee. You can see if you can incorporate a camera into your lifestyle. In a way, the camera you choose can reflect who you what type of camera person are you?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

iPhone 5S: An Awesome Panorama Camera

iPhone 5S. 1/120th sec F/2.2 @ ISO 160. Original file 8.2mb 7742 x 2448 image

I've recently upgraded my dying iphone 4 (not the S!!) from 3 years ago to the latest and greatest iPhone 5S. Before the iPhone I was a Palm Pilot guy (Palm T3 was my last one), and even before digital PDA's I always used a paper daily planner with phone numbers, notes, to do list, calender, etc. When the iPhone came out I was excited, as it merged a phone with a digital organizer... little did I realize that this little gadget would change how I viewed photography!

The new camera on the latest iPhone and the software that runs it is very simple and intuitive to use, but it also takes great images. Yes the dynamic range isn't what I would get on a "proper" camera, but the convenience of a camera on our phones can't be denied. Take a picture, edit it in-camera, and immediately share it with the world. I know the new iSight camera has many cool features, but specifically I wanted to talk about the panorama camera feature. I'm currently reviewing the Fuji X-E2 and I've always loved Fuji's "Motion Panorama" feature; the best of all the major manufacturers I thought... until now.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Shibuya Backstreets with the Ricoh GR-D IV

Ricoh GR-D IV @ 28mm: 1/350th sec F/1.9 @ ISO 160. CS5 & Photoscape editing

As I look through my Tokyo pictures I'm still amazed at the ability of the little Ricoh GR-D IV to be able to capture so much depth of field wide open at F/1.9. Yes, the dynamic range is very limited (shooting lower ISO and RAW helps) compared to a large sensor camera, but the deep DOF you gain is worth it. I'm going to write a Ricoh GR-D IV vs GR (5) comparison again. The more I shoot with the smaller sensored IV, I think I prefer it over the newer, larger sensored GR 5. I'm actually trying to choose between the two cameras, which one to get the 21mm wide angle lens adapter for. 

The advantage of having the wide 21mm lens on the GR-D IV is the amazing depth of field you're going to get. My guess is from 6 ft onward, everything will be in focus, even wide open at F/1.9. No need to even autofocus in many situations. The advantage of the new GR is that you have much higher resolution, so you can do more aggressive cropping if you need to. But with a 21mm lens, what's the point of cropping? The whole reason you're shooting with a 21mm lens is so you can get more into the image, not take away. Sorry, I'm just rambling now. I just wanted to share the above image and show the advantage of small sensored cameras. Full-frame is great (I really want the new Sony A7 because of my collection of legacy Minolta lenses) but know why you want it.