Saturday, January 14, 2012

Interview: Kayce Baker, Fujifilm, X-Pro1

Interview: Kayce Baker, Fujifilm, long article.

Interview with the Director of Marketing of Fuji USA, herself a keen photographer.
Quite interesting. For example, here we get confirmation that the "pro" in the Fuji X-Pro1 is no accident, like I said, they are aiming for full professional quality here. She says their aim was to make the ultimate leisure-time camera for the professional photographer.  Lissa;

...take the image quality above and beyond what is considered mirrorless. So we definitely want to stay in a different stratosphere. Look, are we Leica? It's not going to cost you $15,000 to walk out the door with one of these things, but at the same time we have a premium model here that's going to give you premium results.

She claims that this camera should give full-frame quality (resolution and signal to noise ratio) in a smaller camera and sensor, due to the new type of sensor and lack of softening filter ("low-pass"). Verra interesting. If it really lives up to these claims, and they have a very impressive track record, then the price might be compared to full frame cameras rather than M4/3 cameras, and that's rather a different perspective! Especially since the camera is smaller by far than full-frame cameras are. Actually even smaller than reduced-frame DSLRs, due to no space needed for mirrors and prisms. Could be a good deal in some ways.

If one is the type to hate to compromise on quality, but is tired of  2-kilo cameras, and maybe like to have a 28mm lens and a 90mm lens instead of a zoom, then this camera is a worthy candidate for sure. (They may make zooms in 2013 it seems. I wonder how they will attack that, given the compromise-free approach here. Zooms are usually all about compromise, though less so these days.)

Personally, I'm not sure it's for me. I love it in principle and I'm really happy they made it, but the type of premium quality we're talking about here is mainly noticed in really huge prints, and I don't tend to make those. So, while I reserve the right to change my mind every three minutes like usual, I think the X10 is a better fit for me for now.

Will said:

Thanks again for your review of the Fuji X10. I've had mine for a few weeks, and I love it. Best camera I've ever had. It's equally good at family snapshots in peculiar lighting conditions (and aren't they always?) and at serious photography (to the extent I'm capable of it). It really hits the sweet spot.

I fully agree, that camera is really a big surprise. If I could only keep one camera, that would be the one.

It's perfect for things like family documenting. I remember trying to take indoors pics of my nephews with my Fuji F10 (which was otherwise ahead of the curve then). But even though it during day, they just got blurry, shaken. (And on-camera flash looks awful usually.) With the X10 that's no longer a problem, if I can see it, the camera can handle it! The stabilization adds at least two stops, and the sensitivity at least another two stops, that's huge. Oh, and the lens is faster too! (OK, the X10 is bigger than the F10, but not huge. Still a good size for travel.)

Silver halide film, ghost begone!

That's an ad I just got.
Isn't it a wonder that after, what, 170 years of photography, we finally get rid of the limitations of silver film, we can now make pictures look like anything digitally... and some people want to emulate "the magic of silver halide film". It's also one of the follies of the otherwise wonderful camera company Fujifilm (perhaps because they used to make film and they miss it), their cameras always have these stupid "film simulation" settings. You can't even get out of them, at best you can set it to "Provia/standard". I don't even know what "Provia" is, I've never used one in my life.
 I'm sorry, I think film looked like shite if you weren't lucky. It was so grainy and blotchy, and getting tones and colors right was a constant battle.  For me this is like being nostalgic for the era of medical healing of anything by bloodletting, or curing mental problems with lobotomies.

Pop said:
Now look what you made me do. I re-awoke my blog to post this on it. I can hear it grumbling in the next room…

Friday, January 13, 2012

Canon G1 X

If my Fuji X10 didn't have such surprisingly good low-light quality, I might have regretted getting it just before the Canon G1x was announced. For the G1x is pretty much the same camera as the X10: high quality, compact, all-round camera. But the G1x has a larger sensor, larger than M4/3, and so in theory it probably has yet better available-darkness powers.
But then it's bigger and heavier (530 grams vs 360 grams, big difference), and it's sort of brutish looking.     :-)

Ah, and the Fuji, no doubt helped by the smaller sensor, does have one clear advantage: its zoom is much faster, F:2.0 to F:2.8, as compared with the Canon's much more limited F:2.8 to F:5.8. Particularly at the long end where you need all the help you can get, that's a two-stop difference! (I think Fuji has the record in zoom speed.) ("Speed": how much light a lens or sensor takes in per second.)
Still, doubtlessly this is a very powerful all-round and travel camera.

When a Mac won't download a file

Here's a simple trick that many new Mac users don't know: sometimes, I'm not sure why, a Mac won't download a linked file from a web site, depending on the page's programming.
There are two solutions: either option- (alt) click on the file, this forces a download of the linked file.
Or Control-click on the link, this will give a popup menu which contains "save linked file" or similar command.

The control-click thing is universally useful. It's the Mac equivalent of "right-clicking".

A lovestruck fan

Thanks to TCGirl. Well, this is unusual, but I have to admit, she is very attractive.

Fujifilm X-Pro1

When the Fuji X100 came out a year ago, many people found it highly desirable, but some wanted exchangeable lenses. This was not a trivial task, of course, but Fuji has done it. They have just introduced the Fujifilm X-Pro1 at the CES show in Las Vegas.

This camera won't be cheap (maybe $1500 body-only), but it seems likely that it will punch the hardest in its size class for image quality, maybe even similar to the much more expensive Leicas.

UPDATE: Emptyspaces said:
Just got back from CES, and got a chance to handle the X-Pro1 a bit. 
They had a 40x60" print hanging in their booth taken with the X-Pro1, amazingly detailed. 
Different Bayer array should make for sharper images (Fuji explained it as a 6x6 array vs. the normal 2x2).
16MP APS-C sensor.
Physically it's a little bigger than the X100. The lenses are fairly small, kinda reminded me of M42 lenses.
Killer hybrid viewfinder. 

Thanks. Yes, the pattern in the sensor is more random than usual which helps with Moiré patterns (interference patterns on clothing), so they don't need the usual mild softening filter to combat this. (This idea is pretty old, and older in digital printing (stochastic patterns), it's a pity it has not been used more often yet.)

It seems clear that while the camera is meant to be more compact than most SLR cameras of course, it's not more compact "than it needs to be", and they seem to not have compromised on strength and handling, I think they aimed clearly at a pro camera.

"My New Favorite Portrait Camera"

My New Favorite Portrait Camera, article
The autofocus really is fast – and accurate – ... It’s DAMN fast. One other thing I like about it is the ability to detect a subject’s eye. When you turn on face-detection in the camera, the AF will place a box around what it thinks is the subject’s face. The E-P3 gets this part right 99% of the time. About 90% of the time it finds the eye, and puts a smaller, different colored box around the eye to let you know that’s the precise zone of focus. Now THAT’s what I’m talking about.
The new Olympus Pens and the new lenses a fast super-wide and a fast portrait lens, both of superior quality, are getting tons of praise. The portrait lens was even named Lens Of The Year by The Online Photographer

With these lenses and with the new superior features, particularly really fast focus, the Micro Four Thirds system of compact system cameras is really entering into adulthood, good enough not only for enthusiasts, but for pros too. 

Turning the pennies twice

Pretty funny, this guy finds the hight of romance in giving his wife a rose he rescued from a dumpster.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


[Thanks to Tom]

"You're Getting Old"

In South Park episode "You're Getting Old", Stan starts feeling and seeing more and more things as sh*t, and the doctor tells him it's a condition called "being a cynical asshole". I thought maybe it was some healthy self-reflection on the parts of Matt and Trey, but I am not sure they are capable of that.
I might also think it reflects on some aspect of myself, but then I'd have been getting old since I was about ten. Oh sh*t, it happened to Stan after his tenth birthday! Oh no, no, block it out, block it out!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Hobbit" home on the cheap

Man Builds Fairy Tale Home for His Family – For Only £3,000 article/photos.

More info on his own site.
(I see I was not the only one to immediately think of a Hobbit home.)

Seems  cool. And if it's as well done as the Woodsman's Cottage I've blogged before, probably very comfy and cosy too.