My Demons

One demon that I have been wrestling with again is the weight of lenses.  I make a variety of images from the hands of people up close, to details of landscapes, to wider landscapes, to distant wildlife, etc.  Most would say “use a zoom lens” since I am often out photographing this range of things on one walk.  But multipurpose zoom lenses are heavy, not as fast, and often don’t produce the same image quality of prime lenses.  I could take multiple primes lenses in a bag, but rarely do because of the weight.  When walking, I prefer one camera, one lens, and no bag.

I am currently making my pictures with two Fujinon prime lenses, the 23mm or the 35mm F2 WR lenses.  When I know I will be outside, I use the 35mm lens, which is an effective 50mm on my Fuji X-Pro2 camera.  I then often crop the images.  The above pictures are an example of the uncropped and the cropped images from a single picture to give you an example.  This has worked well for me, up to a point.  Now that the new 50mm F2 WR lens is out, I might order it to increase my range.

The bottom line is that I will probably not use my zoom lenses and mostly use prime lenses for my serious photography.  My practice will mostly be to only take one prime lens with me unless I am photographing an event and know I will need more than one.  Using just prime lenses gives me the most flexibility for the least weight, even in bad weather since they are all weather resistant.

Those who know me know I am always planning for the future when I find that I need an even smaller and lighter camera.  I will be watching all the reviews of the new Fuji X100F camera very closely.  Its built in effective 35mm lens with the digital zoom of effective 50 and 70mm focal lengths using the cropping and resizing option within the camera might work for me.  Hmmm, get the new 50mm lens for the X-Pro2 camera or sell everything and replace them with the X100F?

Sony HX80 Color Images and LR Preset

The above are a series of pictures that I made with the Sony HX80 in bright sun as I walked around Homewood at Plum Creek using the same preset that I used the other morning, but this time in color.  They are OK if I don’t look closely at the pixels and I don’t attempt to crop them.  But, I doubt that I will be using the HX80 camera much until I try it on the streets off campus.

The camera settings I use with the HX80 camera for both color, and the previous B&Ws, with jpegs are ISO 800 and -1 exposure settings in camera, with the following additional adjustments in LR:  Whites +26, Blacks -15, Clarity +31, Strong Contrast tone curve, Split toning highlights Hue 54 Sat 10 and shadows Hue 36, Sat 11, Sharpening 25 with masking 100, Noise reduction 50 with detail 50 and color 50 with detail 50 and smoothness 50, and Grain at 15 with size 25 and roughness 50.  I also usually adjust exposure additionally somewhere between -0.65 and -1.3 in LR.  The reason I use ISO 800 is to keep the shutter speed faster.

While making these pictures, it dawned on me that I have been using it as a crutch.  I think that what I really need to do is concentrate on using my Fuji X-Pro2 with prime lenses and work on getting closer and not using long focal lengths.  I will keep the HX80 in a pocket just in case I see something when I’m out walking but not use it for serious photography.

Sony HX80 B&W Images Processed in LR … Why?

I’ll start with why I like the Sony HX80 pocket point & shoot long zoom camera with a tiny sensor.  It’s small and easy to carry and I own it.  My problem has been that even though I love the size and utility of the camera, I have stopped using it multiple times due to the image quality.

After hauling my Fuji X-Pro2 with the 55-200mm lens around the other day while out walking, I decided (again) that I really can’t keep doing that just in case I see something to photograph.  Thinking about that, I started looking at one-inch sensor cameras with long zoom lenses.  I found them to be expensive and large and heavy and I wasn’t interested in spending that kind of money for something that large.

The only thing left for me to consider was either backing off from using long focal length lenses (again), or finding a way to integrate my processing with a small sensor (1/2.3”) to a type of image that I’m OK with.  I think I can do it since I have some prints on my wall that I made with older P&S cameras that I used in Tunisia and Egypt that are acceptable.  I would like to be able to make more, if only to prove to myself that I can do it.

The pictures above are my latest processing attempts of a range of images that are close, if not OK, for my continued use of the HX80 camera and long focal lengths.  I took the above pictures and processed them this morning.  They were all made in the lower early morning light.  They are a mixture of images with some made at the extreme end of the zoom range, some through my window, and some taken outside.  They were all taken hand-held.

I next need to take the HX80 for a walk in bright sunlight to see how the processing I did works under those conditions.  I also want to take it on the streets of Hanover and see what I can do with it under those conditions.  I may need to either tweak my settings or develop multiple presets for different lighting and locations.

I imagine that some of you are wondering, what about in color.  I haven’t given up on color and expect color images under good lighting will work, but I’m concerned that they might not work as well.  The biggest problem I have with the small sensor is squirrely images of distant subjects.  By that I mean that when you look closely at the pixels they seem to be painterly with a swirl effect.  I have done a lot of processing on the above images to minimize that effect.  My use of the camera will require that I integrate the processing with the type of compositions and the conditions under which I make the images, as well as how I use them.  I’m thinking print vs. digital web images.

If this works out; i.e. I can use the HX80 to make suitable images for my blog, I will go into the details of how I process them in another post.  I will also think some more about how I can use them.  I would be very happy to use my Fuji X-Pro2 for my Homewood photography and use my Sony HX80 for my personal photography, and blog about it.  My remaining concern, assuming I like the images under enough conditions, is getting out and using the camera for other than testing it and developing processing techniques.