Light is Everything!

FujiFilm X100s

Fall and the X100s

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I love DSLR technology, don’t get me wrong. But there is something about the FujiFilm X100s that opens one’s eyes to a different kind of reality. It’s beyond the sensor and retro styling. It’s beyond all the amazing technology smooshed into a neat little X-Package. ;) The whole photographic experience changes when you’ve got one camera with one lens. It forces you to see the world differently but gives you all the tools you need. I love walking around with a camera that is so compact but also ready for nearly any situation.  I went for a little walk with the dog the other day to nab some more fall color. I didn’t feel like lugging the D800 and a lens bag around so I chucked the X100s in my pocket and away I went. I really wanted to make use of the Fuji’s in camera processing film styles. This is truly a versatile camera. Being able to tweak the shadow and highlight zones is super for enhancing a mood. In the case of fall quickly coming to a close, dark deep shadows and gloomy skies really bring out the over all death theme of the season. But at the same time, the rich velvia colours can really pop and make us think “no, all is not lost yet!” Some life still remains. :cool:


Competition

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So we went up to the grand metropolis of Moosomin, SK last night to take in the Fireworks Competition. This year’s combatants were CanFire Pyrotechnics vs. Canadian Pro Importers & Distributors Ltd. We missed the show on Saturday night, so we don’t have anything to compare Sunday’s offering with. It was still super fun! Everyone always loves fireworks, especially when they are choreographed to music. :cool: Our experience involved screaming and/or puking children so it was doubly rich! :shock: But once we got over that, it turned out to be a nice night. :D Put the fuji x100s to work. I am always blown away by that little camera. It is so, so ideal as a walk around, do anything, take anywhere camera.

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I played a bit with the fun Q menu and tweaked the contrast of some of these images to give them that crazy “over blackened art look”. But the skin tones in the color images are unbelievable. If I was lost on a desert island and I could only have one camera, it would be the x100s! :cool:


Plants and Massage and Heavy Machinery and Camping and Guns

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Well it’s been a bit of a gong show as of late. This past week was our Annual University pals campin’ trip. It was also the week when my Sacroiliac ligament decided to tell me to get bent. So, as my lovely wife boldly went camping as a single mom with our 3 hooligan children, I camped out on my mom and dad’s couch in Moose Jaw. It was brutally awful pain that left me debilitated and lying flat on a couch. I’ve never watched so many movies! But a couple of Chiropractor treatments and a massage later, I’m about 34% better. :cool: Needless to say, I didn’t do as much photo taking as I would have liked!

As the week went on, I was able to be a bit more mobil. I walked around mom’s garden and nabbed some flower shots with the X100s. The macro mode is pretty sweet. As mom and dad’s street was ripped up for construction, there was a bunch of heavy equipment lying around. My brother, who permanently looks like a heavy equipment operator was over so I conned him into doing a shot. Dad’s Canon 580 EX II flash through a mini beauty dish as key and my SB-900 on a small stand in an umbrella for fill triggered optically in SU-4 mode.

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Then, after my final chiropractor treatment, I joined the campin’ throng in Grenfell for a couple of days. I blasted of some B&W candids of the kids and of course, our annual group photo.

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And, I was able to nab a few shots of my buddy Craig who fortunately is ready for the next Zombie Apocalypse at all times. heheheheh… :cool: All in all it was a very nice “vacation” for me. It was great to see everyone even if it was only for a short time. I’m hoping to be back in the saddle soon and recover from my injuries. Lot’s of rest and more lying around. Woe to me. ;)

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FujiFilm X100s on Color

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Here’s the thing with the FujiFilm X100s camera. Color. It does colour, really, really well. :cool: I’m not kidding. It nails colour in a gorgeous richness. My daughter had this amazing little dress on and I knew I had to capture that colour. So I grabbed yonder X100s, a flash on a stand and away we went. The above image was 1/500 f/2.8 ISO 100 via pocket wizard plus x. Every time I pick up that camera, I get stoked about the images that I peel off the card. JPG for crying 8O out loud!  I’m thoroughly in love with my beautiful daughter and the camera that forever has frozen these images for me!


X100s Awesome Image Power

I was out on Saturday night partying playing poker with the guys  getting water in Alameda. I threw the X100s in last minute, anticipating a way cool sunset. Some nice colors started happening. I found a subject, grabbed the camera and realized I had no card in it. #doh #facepalm  :roll: Thankfully there’s a wee smidgeon of internal memory available for potential customers to check the images in store morons like me to use. I took an exposure metered for balance and here it is:

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Basic STD JPEG ISO 200 f/4 1/125 no corrections WB: Auto


Not too shabby. It’s metered for the sky and the structures go to mostly silhouette. I could meter for the building but then I’d lose the richness of the color of the sky. Or, I could use flash and illuminate the whole terminal. (Well, I could but that would be dumb). So the only other option is HDR, right? Layer several exposures together in software and get the shot. Well, not any more!

One of the other extremely awesome things about the X100s is the ability to take tonal control of the image. You can manually adjust the shadows, highlights, color and sharpness of any image before you take it. So, after reviewing the first one, I decided to hit the ol’ Q button and tweak away. Here’s the next image:

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ISO 200 f/4 1/125 Velvia Film Shadow Tone: -1 WB: Auto

This image has got the Velvia Film simulation going plus -1 dialed into shadow tone, decreasing the shadow contrast. Look how much more detail is there from one simple adjustment! It’s awesome! But I wanted to push it one step further and here’s the final image:

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ISO 200 f/4 1/125 Velvia Film Highlight Tone: -1 Shadow Tone: -2 Color: +1 Sharpness +1 WB: Fluorescent

There’s even more detail held with no sacrifice of color. I kicked it up a notch in camera. And, by switching to fluorescent white balance, I got a beautiful dusty rose tint to the image. That’s pure awesome! :D

These images are all straight out of camera JPEGS with exception of watermark and resize for web. The Fuji Rocks the Set. I rest my case. :cool:


Holy Sync Speed Batman!

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So I’m really liking the Fuji X100s. Leaf shutters are amazing creations, like hydraulics and GPS. Basically, it allows you to sync a flash at any speed. You don’t have to worry about 1/250 or 1/200. You can rock out at 1/1000s at f/2 in full sunshine and still sync a flash – at 1/8 power!!! :twisted: It’s crazy! The flash photo options available with this camera are nearly limitless! :cool: I took a 1 light setup outside yesterday to try and see how the X100s does in full sunshine. I locked on the internal 3 stop ND filter and was able to underexpose the ambient at ISO 200, 1/1000s at f/2. That’s pure sweetness! In contrast, to do this with a DSLR, you’d need to drop your sync speed to 1/250 and crank your aperture to f/5.6 to get the same exposure (before an ND filter). But the Fuji nails the sweet bokehlicious backgrounds and, I can overpower the sun with a speedlight on 1/8th power!!!!!!! Like, what’s not to love?! :grin:

Here’s the results (JPEGs shot in Astia simulation mode)


Here comes the Fuji!

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The Fuji in Action! f/2.8

Finally got a chance to use the X100s in a real world scenario. My good friend Susan from Susan Hill Photography had a wedding gig lined up and I asked if I could tag along as second shooter to really try out the Fuji. She graciously obliged. Not only was I using the X100s, I also got to try it out with my new pocket wizard plus x triggers. I’m happy to report that everything worked amazingly well. :D I confess though, that I’m naturally a telephoto-eyed shooter. So, I couldn’t leave my D800 at home. I had it with my 85mm f/1.8 on a black rapid strap as well as the Fuji. It truly was a dynamic duo as you get a pretty nice 35mm equivalent FOV from the Fuji and decent telephoto from the 85mm. And, the Fuji is so nice as a second camera because it is super lightweight. You can carry it around all day and not get played out. So all in all, it was a sweet mix. I just swapped the pocket wizard trigger back and forth from camera to camera as I needed to. I was using a simple one speedlight rig in a Photoflex octodome NXT XS on an ultralight LumoPro stand. It was a perfect on the move, versatile lighting setup. :cool:

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X100s at f 2.8

I really wanted to push the Fuji on this gig. So I tried to use it as much as possible and it didn’t disappoint. Despite being a wide-ish angle lens, you can really get some nice subject isolation with it. The colour and skin tones are amazing. I shot everything in RAW and JPEG but the images on this blog entry are all JPEG – they are simply that good. And, they tweak very nicely in post.

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D800 f/2.8

Some stuff though is just made for telephoto and I did find myself swapping in the D800. I still believe that people look best shot with telephoto focal lengths. But the variety of having both cameras and not having to change lenses (hence lugging around WAY less kit) is pure awesome.

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X100s f/2.8 1/500, 3 stop ND filter on, full Pocket Wizard Sync. Boo ya!

This wedding session was all formals with some candids with the big family at the end. We setup in the Carnduff golf course because after all, it’s May and there is still snow lying around… shudder. :roll: But, we did our best. So we found this little tranquil spot and knew we could do something with it. When I got home and looked at the file, it struck me. This image looks fake! It looks like my 1985 kindergarten portrait studio backdrop! I think it’s attributed to the being able to nuke the sun with the deadly combo of the Fuji’s built in 3 stop ND filter and higher sync speed. This one was f/2.8 at 1/500 via Pocket Wizards. Sweet sassy! I’m gonna like that capability more and more me thinks. :mrgreen:

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X100s f/11 1/30

The other killer thing with a small, lightweight camera is that you can hand hold slow shutter speed shots no problem. There were a metric tonne of kidlets around for the big family photo and I thought, lets get them buzzing around the bride. With the ND filter still on, I cranked the aperture up to f/11 and dialled the shutter down to 1/30s. The bride is sharp handheld, the kids are pleasantly blurred. My only regret is not popping a wee bit o’ flash on the bride. It would have made for a stellar image. But one gets caught up in the moment. :oops:

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All in all, it was a super fun 2 hours on duty with the Fuji. I love that it’s small, lightweight and ready for anything – like when all the kids in the family decide to start rolling down a goose crap encrusted golf course hill. :lol: It’s just there and ready to rock!


OCF and the X100s

20130429G-15Not many people can say that they still get winter storms on the 30th of April. It’s because many more (sane) people don’t live in Saskatchewan. :twisted: This winter just . . . won’t . . . die! But before the snow came, we had these amazing clouds and lots of rain. I grabbed my X100s, my sister in law, a black umbrella, my SB-900 and brand new Pocket Wizard Plus X triggers and headed out for some dramatic environmental portraits! When we found a cool spot with lots of great cloud structure, I got setup. It was then I realized that I forgot the PC cable for the Plus X. DOH!!! :roll: I have a lot to learn about radio triggers! So, rather than go back and risk missing the sky, I put the SB-900 into SU-4 mode and triggered it optically from the Fuji’s built in flash. It worked in a pinch, even though I wanted to try the Pocket Wizards out. Heheheh… :cool: I heightened the structure of the clouds in post, but I love the drama of the B&W.

20130429G-5I did a similar one using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro  and kept the colour, but on this, I prefer the black and white.

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X100s in the Dark

20130426EBD-14So grandma & grandpa bought the coolest birthday present ever. It wasn’t the new socks or garden tools, it was the “LED, light up, noise making, bubble-blowing gun of amazing times!” :D We killed off our ambient light via switching and this was the product! It was super cool to see the bubbles go lit up by the sparkling LED madness. I thought, “hey, this is a fine time to test how the FujiFilm X100s focuses in no light.” And, I tell you it was a challenge! A challenge for any camera, especially when your auto focus assist beam is off. But just the same, the fuji focused and nailed the shots – not every time mind you, I was focusing in AF-S (not continuous) and the kids weren’t sitting still. I was blown away that the X100s even could capture focus at all let alone produce some keepers. It’s just another testament to the absolute gem that Fuji has made in this camera. :cool:

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And So This is Earth Day: A Photo Essay of Reality

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Today is earth day. Nice green trees, fresh water streams, bumble bees going hither and thither. Not here! We’re still caught in the death grip of winter at the end of April for crying out loud! It’s insane. Riddle me this. Why don’t climate action groups ever hold their meetings in Oxbow?! Nope, it’s always Florida or Hawaii or someplace nice! ;) Come here and get your global warming, it’s buried under 3 feet of snow! :twisted:  (more…)


My X100s Review

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I was super fortunate to be able to take my new Fuji X100s for an extended tour of duty as a travel & event photographer. It was precisely for these two applications that I bought this camera, but after using it, it is quickly becoming my “go to” camera. I’ve never owned or shot any traditional film rangefinder cameras and I’m coming to the X100s from a D800 and other Nikon DLSRs. So it was a new experience and a nifty learning curve but this camera fits like a glove. All the reviews of the internet celebrity bloggers like Arias, Hobby, and others have lauded this camera and all I can say is that everything is true. It is THAT good. Even if your friends accuse you of down grading from a DSLR, just smile and nod. :lol:

You can look up the tech specs on Fuji’s website. This review is about the user experience and the pure can of whoop @$$ this camera packs into such a sweet little package. Firstly, it is a dream to use. It’s an extremely tactile camera, everything clicks. Nicely. The buttons have a great feel to them and are easy to use. The only gripe I have is that the on/off switch can easily be flicked unawares when putting the camera into a pocket. But that is an extremely minor gripe. The new “Q” button is really, really handy for making changes on the fly. Also the 3 custom user modes are perfect for events as you can switch back and forth to customized presets without having to burn through tonnes of menus. LOVE that feature. During my trip we attended a friend’s wedding and I shot the X100s in Black and White mode mostly because I love the look of the files (and being able to tweak the tonality of shadows and highlights is the bees knees). But, I could switch back to Provia colour in a button flick. It’s a really great experience all round in using the camera. The one fixed 23mm f/2 lens is super sharp and you don’t have to worry about changing lenses. Ever. :)

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I found that the camera truly was ready for nearly anything. Not even once did I wish I had my D800. The low profile of the rangefinder style is really unique. I found that people were less nervous getting their photos taken by it. The camera changes the photographic relationship if that makes sense. It certainly makes you push in closer to get the shot, which was a bit uncomfortable at first for me. I’m naturally “telephoto eyed”. I love my 85mm 1.8 and I take mostly everything with that. So the 35mm equivalent made me get closer and in so doing created a photo and look that I really enjoyed. While at the wedding service, the paid pro was walking around with a loud Canon 5D Mwhatver and the shutter sounded like a Clydesdale horse plodding through the mud “Clug-clock, clug-clock, clug-clock!” Meanwhile my X100s set to silent mode was like a ninja’s shadow! Truly, it’s totally silent and unobtrusive. Thank you leaf shutter! :cool:

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The image quality is outstanding. I shot the camera at 3200 ISO nearly the whole time I was at the different events on my trip and when I got home to look the files over, they blew me away. The files aren’t D3s clean but there’s no noise. It’s a silky grain that adds to the character and personality of the camera. The color. The color is unbelievable. I can’t get over how amazing and beautiful and rich and vibrant and . . . you get the idea . . . the color is. I love color and the Fuji files pop off the screen with scrumptious tonality.  The photo of the roses was shot in a Costco under those heinous “sodium-vapourizer-punch-your-auto-WB-in-the-face” lights. Auto white balance and like all the photos on this review, SOOC JPG.

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This window light portrait was shot at ISO 400, f/2.8. I really love the over all look of the files. The skin tones are amazing, the colors pop. What more can I say?! The files are gorgeous straight out of camera, as is my smokin’ hot wife. :D

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I feel about the X100s the same way I felt when I got my first DSLR (Nikon D40) – Romeo & Juliet. I’m in love! :cool: But the best part is, we’re not star-crossed in any way. The camera is a finely revised version of an already great model. It brings the thunder in every way. It’s no nonsense. The user experience is great. The autofocus speed is slick. The files are pure awesome. It’s literally anything anyone would want in a compact travel/event camera in nearly any situation. If you are a rangefinder retro-style junkie, buy this camera. If you have an X100, buy this camera. If you want a camera that you can pick up and feel that it is an extension of your photographic creativity and skill, buy this camera. It’s a 5 out of 5 star camera only because I can’t give it 6 out of 5. It’s cooler than the other side of the pillow. :D


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