Mirrorless: Two months in

I’ve had the Fuji X-E1 for two months now, I’ve taken around 600 frames with it. So far my impressions are generally good with the camera. The combination of the 18-55 f2.8-4 lens and the Xtrans sensor in the camera have produced some excellent results. The camera’s ability to take a great image far outshines my own.

I love the size of the camera, small enough to fit in my messenger style bag but big enough to properly fit in my hand. The electronic viewfinder is crisp and didn’t take much time to get used to. I like the ability to review my photos through the viewfinder, a great feature in bright light.

Working with a circular polarizer requires a little extra effort since the EVF adjusts the exposure as you turn the CPOL. The result is you can’t properly see the effect the CPOL is having on your image. The fix is to simply lock your exposure with the AE-L button or hold the shutter button down halfway to lock the exposure. Once this is done you will be able to see the changes in the EVF.

The sensor on the Fuji X-E1 is quite good. It’s super crisp (no AA filter) and it’s low light performance is pretty incredible. I can comfortably shoot at iso 3200 and 6400 and still get a usable image, great for street work at night.

I also love that if you choose to shoot with any of their film simulation modes or adjust your image aspect ratio; these changes are immediately represented live in the EVF. If you shoot B&W square cropped images the EVF displays a square image in B&W. Great for previewing how things will look ahead of time.

My next step with this camera will be to get another lens, something really wide for portraits. Maybe the 35 f1.4 or the new 56 f1.2 that’s supposed to come out soon. The Fuji lenses have a lot of awesome packed into a small package.

Mirroless for me…

I have had Nikon DSLR’s for almost 8 years now, they’ve served me very well. In fact, I can’t recall a single time where the camera was the reason an image didn’t turn out. I started with a Nikon D50 and progressed into a D7000 a few years ago.

Recently after a vacation back home to the east coast I was sorting through my lightroom catalogue and noticed that with the exception of the recent trip, I hadn’t taken more than a handful of images with my Nikon DSLR in 2013. Obviously not the fault of the camera’s, I just haven’t had the camera with me much this year. Most of my 2013 work is sitting undeveloped in the crisper of my office-fridge on rolls of 120 and 35mm film. (Lets not talk about my darkroom tardiness)

Generally the only time I seem to make for actual photography is before and after work days when I’m at my downtown office. As a result of this, I’ve been choosing a smaller, more portable Nikon FM2 film camera to take with me and leaving the D7000 at home to collect dust. It’s not that the D7000 was obscenely large but it just seemed to be too big to lug with me on the train along with all the items I drag around with me. The FM2 with a small 50mm lens is the perfect size to grab and go.

With this in mind I’ve recently sold my D7000 and associated bits and picked up a smaller mirrorless camera. I researched the different options and narrowed the field down to the Sony NEX-6 and the Fuji X series cameras. The Sony NEX options are compelling for their ability to take great stills and video. Unfortunately the NEX-6 was a little too small in my hand and they don’t seem to have the quality lenses like Fuji does with the XF series.

Ultimately I opted for the Fuji X-E1 with the XF 18-55 kit lens. The camera fits well in my hand and seems to be designed for serious photographers with it’s controls and lens lineup. I’ll do a post on my thoughts about the camera in a bit once I’ve had a chance to really use it.

Almost a year since my last post!

Yikes, almost a year since I updated the blog, going to make a concerted effort to put one post up a week. We’ll see how long that lasts. 😛

On the retro computing front I’ve been purging a lot of my collection as I don’t seem to have the free time to pursue hobbies lately. Most of my time seems to be consumed with work and being a dad. A lot of it was junk really and life is too short to horde old computer hardware. I will admit that after working on computers all day my desire to work on old machines is diminished.

I do still have an assortment of older machines, maybe 10 or so. A recent acquisition is an Osbourne One luggable for $2, has CP/M and bunch of software and seems to work well.

On the photography side I’ve made some good acquisitions. I picked up a Mamiya 645 Super with two lenses, power winder and accessories along with the original boxes. I also received a Mamiya RZ67 as a gift with a lens and waist level viewfinder. I also got myself a new Induro 214AT tripod and Manfrotto 498RC2 ball head. 2013 is the year of 120 roll film for me although I’m still shooting some digital and 35mm film.

Why?

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On Monday I had to get a passport photo done for an upcoming trip to Frankfurt for work. My wife suggested a small photo studio she had used when she got hers done last year. The studio was in a small strip mall and had glass cases on the outside wall with various old cameras on display. While waiting for the passport photos to print the photographer and I started talking about photography and he was showing me his digital canon gear. I mentioned that recently I had been shooting primarily film and doing my own developing and scanning. He was shocked and simply asked “Why?”.

I explained that the process involved in shooting film made me slow down and compose my shots better. It also made photography more about the process than the results for me, which I was enjoying a lot more. His brow furrowed and he continued to pack his camera away. I offered “well, I’m not in it for the money, just the fun.” to which he replied “Obviously”. 🙂

I still think there is value in the art of shooting and developing your own film, there’s a certain craft involved. Digital takes something away from the process. Also there’s the point that there is currently no better archival format than film. My negatives of my daughter will outlast me and likely outlast her. Who knows when the next hard drive crash or cloud provider failure will send all my digital photos to the bit bucket.

But maybe I’m just crazy. 🙂