Tagged: Fujifilm X100



Definition of perspective:  “the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically :  representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance.”

I named my blog “Everchanging Perspective” to serve as a catch-all title for my changing ways of viewing life.  I wasn’t limiting my blog to the main definition as noted above, but it is a part of my personal perspective relative to how I see things.  I like to use long focal length lenses to collapse the visual space and that affects the illusion of depth and distance.  I also like to use my articulated LCDs to get down low and look at common everyday things in ways that not all people would look.  This gives them a different perspective on everyday objects.  I have also changed my perspectives relative to photography in terms of what cameras and lenses I use.

There was a time that I preferred prime lenses rather than zooms because the prime lenses were faster and lighter and had better image quality.  In needing to go with lighter and more ergonomic systems I started using shorter and shorter lenses to cut weight.  It finally reached the point where I considered giving up photography with long focal lengths and started thinking more and more about taking my pictures with prime lenses and fixed lens cameras like the Fuji X100 series and the Leica X2.  Cameras with only a few normal prime lenses worked well for me while traveling when I really needed to cut the weight … but then I stopped traveling internationally.  In addition those cameras work great for street photography in dense urban areas.  I don’t walk crowded streets.

When the bulk of my photography was done close to home, I went back to bigger and heavier cameras with relatively faster zoom lenses.  I still have my Canon 70D and mostly use it with the Sigma 17 – 70 mm, f/2.8 – 4 zoom lens for photographing events, etc. here.  I also still have my Leica X2 which I sometimes use on local trips when I need a light-weight camera.  Neither of the cameras was of much value to me when I took walks so I gave up most of my flower, local landscape, and other photography normally made with long focal length lenses while walking.  I also gave up most of my collapsed perspective images … until recently.

I acquired a Nikon 1 J5 camera with the 30 – 110 mm lens and have returned to making many of my personal images at an effective 297 mm focal length.  I like them and I plan to continue with them for a while.  If you have followed my blog for several years, you have noted that I often change my cameras and lenses, so my current situation, perspective, etc. might not last for long.  I like to change; need to change.

No Interest in Beauty Anymore


I have lost all interest in taking beautiful landscape pictures like those which are all over the web now-a-days.  I have no desire to take the kinds of images which are most viewed and look like all the others that are taken by every tourist, often with smart phones.  To get those kinds of images it primarily requires being at the right spot at the right time of day in the right weather.  To be fair, one of my reasons for loss of interest is that I am not traveling to those kinds of places, and thus I have had to find different types of images to make.  If it isn’t possible for me to take the pictures, I’m not interested.

My changes have allowed me to use different, smaller cameras with shorter focal lengths and caused me to figure out what to do with scenes like above on the streets of Hanover, PA.  In my review of past experiences I have noted that the Fujifilm X-100 images that I took convert nicely to B&W.  It only had an APS-C size 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor … not the new X-Trans sensor.

Canon SL1 Focusing



One of the most mentioned problems that people have with the Fujifilm X100 series is focusing, so I am interested in seeing how well the Canon SL1 focuses.  In the past I have had trouble with most of my cameras other than the Pentax K-3 when trying to focus on something outside while photographing through a double pane window and between the venation blind slats, so that was one of my first trials with the Canon SL1.  As you can see, it did well auto focusing on the rhododendron with the 40 mm lens at f/2.8.  I used the center single focus point.  The only way I could do this with any of my Fujifilm X cameras was to focus manually.

For those who are wondering, Marcia was outside in 12 degree F. temperature sweeping up excess salt to keep it out of Misty’s paws.  The rhododendron was between her and the window.

28 mm Focal Length

I have been researching cameras and lenses looking for the best pocket camera for my needs.  I obviously would like the largest sensor I can afford as long as the camera fits in a jacket pocket.  The issue that I am exploring with the above pictures is lens focal length.  Lots of street photographers use an effective 28 mm focal length lens since it is wide and small and more discreet on a camera.  But how would it work for me around here?

I had to walk down to another building this morning with some papers so I stuck my Olympus E-PL5 with the 14 mm (effective 28 mm) lens in a brief case along with other lenses.  As I was walking back I took the above pictures.  I tried to cover a range of subjects to see how it performed in good light.

Long ago, well it seems long to me, I primarily used long focal length zoom lenses with an effective 300 mm being a much-used focal length.  It was not until I traveled to Ireland that I found that I preferred wider, faster, prime lenses for those conditions; but for walking around places where I live I still preferred longer focal lengths.  In the last couple of years I have noticed that my most used focal lengths have continued to drop … mostly to 40 – 75 mm effective focal lengths.  Lately I have been primarily using an effective 35 mm focal length for my indoor projects.  The issue I am exploring now is could I get-by with 28 mm for a walk-about pocket camera.

Based on what I have found so far, I am thinking about the Ricoh GR camera for a pocket camera.  It is the smallest, most pocket-able APS-C, effective 28 mm camera.  I had the Fujifilm X100 when it first came out.  It is an effective 35 mm and at that time I was worried that it wasn’t long enough.  In addition it is a much heavier and larger camera than the 28 mm Ricoh GR.  The GR also slides in and out of pockets easier than my E-PL5 with the 14 mm lens … it projects only 35 mm vs. 67 mm, and is lighter, 245 g vs. 425 g … and it has an APS-C size sensor vs. the micro 4/3 in the E-PL5.

Rain & High Water


The above is my view through the window this morning.  It is still raining, and I no longer have a weather resistant camera.  I have mailed off my K-5.  If this rain keeps up, I better start thinking about a waterproof camera.  In the past I always took a waterproof camera as a backup camera for days like this while traveling during downpours.

I wonder if anyone ever tried to take a kayak down Plum Creek.  It would have to be during real high water.  Oh, I just remembered there are barbed wire fences across the creek to keep the cattle out of Homewood.

But I don’t really need a waterproof camera or a kayak if I photograph from my car.  The creek is high but not as high as other times I have seen it.

Soon … Hopefully … Maybe

In the past I have walked some of the streets of Hanover just to make a few pictures that attempt to capture the sense of the here and now that isn’t much different from many decades ago.

Mostly I have previously shown the pictures in color but I have tried some in B&W … really monochrome.  The problem is that I think monochrome pictures should work well with these scenes, but I haven’t found a style that I think is most appropriate.  The above are some conversions of a previous picture that I have worked on.  The picture isn’t of anything unique but it is a good example of images taken in bright sun.

The first picture is pretty much a neutral conversion of the color picture.  The second and third images are some presets from Silver Efex Pro which I could use as starting points, but they might go a little too far.  If you have an opinion please comment.  I would like to settle on a style before I go back and attempt to make some more pictures.

If I don’t find a monochrome style that I like I might go back to see if I can find a color style that I like.  In the meanwhile I will keep experimenting with older pictures.  I have at least two more weeks of restrictions on my activities since I’m still on antibiotics and recovering from my infection, but I at least got it closed and stitched up yesterday.

And then there was One

121224-081956_sun rise

Start of another day

When I wrote my last article I had four different cameras in the house, and they all worked.  I had gotten them for use in different situations and I started thinking about how I would choose which camera to take and use depending on where I went or what I was photographing.  It was then that I seriously realized that I had a lot of duplicative capability and that I was going a lot less.

After sweating through some buyer’s remorse about my last acquisition, the Olympus E-PL5 and its’ kit lens along with the Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 lens, I decided to return them.  The quality of the K-5 images was better than that of the E-PL5, while the E-PL5 was smaller with only slightly poorer ergonomics; but, do I really need both?  I finally decided that they were too similar and that I don’t need both.  Having a smaller camera was not going to increase my productivity.

Thinking some more about the future, I decided to reduce down to one camera and then see if I need another.  I have said for a long time that I thought that I would prefer to have one camera that I knew well, and I decided now is the time.  I sold my Canon S95 pocket camera along with my Fuji X100 (gulp).  I now only have one camera in the house, my oldest, the most versatile, now discontinued, Pentax K-5.  Since it was my best general purpose camera in terms of ergonomics, usability, and image quality, I decided to use it for everything … whatever that is.  And that is the root of my problem.  What am I going to be taking pictures of?  I have no single preferred style or type of photography so I will just use the K-5 and direct my energies towards developing my vision, rather than researching and getting different cameras in hopes that another camera will open up opportunities.

All of this just goes to show that I seem to have lost my way when it comes to photography.  Those who have followed my blog will recognize that I have wondered around a circle and arrived back to almost where I was years ago … at least camera wise.  I hope that this turning away from camera worship will help me to find my way in photography.  I hope to learn, and find, what it is I prefer to photograph.  I hope to simplify my photography and concentrate on deciding what I wish to achieve, and then build from there.    Maybe if I eliminate all the chaff and dust I will find the kernel and then I can plant it and let it grow.   I would like to find my muse and then feed it and nurture it before I decide what my next camera will be.

Will I get the Olympus E-PL5 and Return to Micro 4/3 System?

Years ago I had different Olympus PEN cameras and liked them very much when traveling.  I managed to own, at one time or the other, the Olympus E-P1, the E-PL2, and then the E-P3 camera.  I found that the PEN cameras were lightweight, small, and worked well with prime lenses when traveling in Ireland and Tunisia, but I eventually replaced them to increase the quality of my images.  I decided that the image quality (IQ) of the micro 4/3 system just wasn’t what I desired, especially at higher ISOs, so I replaced my Olympus E-P3 with a Fuji X100.

This year, Olympus came out with a new version of the PEN series, the E-PL5.  It has the same Sony sensor and processor that they use in the more expensive OM-D E-M5 camera.  That new 16 MP sensor has shown in reviews to have far better IQ than the older 12 MP sensors that were in my previous PEN cameras.  Based on the reported quality of that sensor, I decided to try an Olympus PEN camera again. The question:  “Is it now good enough to replace my Fuji X100 and my Canon S95 cameras?”  According to the literature, the IQ of the E-PL5 is almost as good as the X100 and the camera is smaller and lighter and has a wide choice of good lenses available for it.  The E-PL5 is larger but has far superior IQ than my Canon S95, and thus the E-PL5 fits nicely in between the two cameras that I have.  My Canon S95 is a very small pocket camera but I have stopped carrying it due to its’ relatively poor IQ.

If warranted, my intentions would be to use the E-PL5, mostly with the Panasonic 20 mm lens, as my jacket pocket camera and when I want a more discreet camera than my Pentax K-5.  I would miss the hybrid viewfinder of the X100 but the tilt-able LCD of the E-PL5 would probably compensate for it.  It also has the advantage of being able to use it to take pictures down low to the ground.  I have a very stiff back and can’t bend down low like I use to so I expect this to be a very useful feature.  The E-PL5 would also enable me to take occasional movies for insertion into my video shows.  I also imagine that I would use the E-PL5 when traveling, especially when flying when I keep the weight as light as possible.

In order to check it out, I ordered the E-PL5 with the 14 – 42 mm zoom lens.  I doubted that the kit lens would be useable from my perspective but since they include it for only $50 more than the body alone I got it.  So far I have only used the E-PL5 with the 14 – 42 mm zoom lens and I don’t like the lens.  It is a little too large for my use (carry in a jacket pocket), is too slow for low light photography, and is not sharp enough to allow for significant cropping.  The pictures at the top illustrate the limits of sharpness and low light capabilities for an optimum aperture and zoom for the lens.  These pictures were all taken hand-held with no flash at the 20 mm zoom range, ISO = 5000, f/4.0, and 1/25 or 1/40 sec.  I was surprised at the low noise levels at this high of an ISO … they cleaned up reasonably well using LR4 on the raw files of such a small sensor.  This shows that the sensor and processor of this latest PEN camera are far superior to the earlier ones.  My biggest complaint is the lack of sharpness at all zoom ranges, and this is due to the lens.  I have the Panasonic 20 mm lens on order and I’ll let you know how the E-PL5 performs with it when I get it.  There are newer and better lenses available for the micro 4/3 system but they are more expensive and larger.

I love my Fuji X100 and it would be a difficult decision to sell it if I decide to keep the E-PL5.  I definitely wouldn’t sell it if I didn’t have the Pentax K-5.  While I have had problems in the past carrying the weight of the K-5 with heavy lenses, I am managing it now and I have enjoyed its excellent IQ and other features.  My K-5 will remain as my go-to, preferred camera when its’ quality and features are desired and I can handle the weight and size.

Basically I am still a conflicted photographer.  I enjoy photography but find that I really have no particular style or preferred subject.  If I did, my camera of choice would be an easier decision.  I have always believed that having and using just one camera would be preferable for me.  Since I don’t have a particular preference in type of photography, and since I have had various physical limitations that have changed over the years, I have tried different cameras with the hope of finding “the one” for me.  What I have found is that there doesn’t seem to be “one camera”; therefore, I’m hoping to use the K-5 as my preferred camera and something like the E-PL5 as my discreet carry with me camera when among people.

I believe that my camera capabilities exceed my capabilities and that I need to focus more on getting out and about and taking pictures.  I still need to practice and try more things and I’m hoping that having the small E-PL5 with a prime lens on it in my jacket pocket or a small bag will enable me to do that.  Some may think that I have taken two steps forward and then one back with this latest choice of camera, but I’m going for more portability with a more discreet choice as part of my plan to be a better opportunistic photographer.  As Ming Thein would say, I’m going more for sufficiency than quality.

Which Comes First … Camera or Image?

On the Edge

Generally we find what kind of pictures we like to make and then buy cameras and lenses that best fit our interests, but what if we reverse this process?

The above picture was taken with a 50 mm (effective 75 mm) prime lens on my Pentax K-5.  I have used this combination a lot lately.  For most of the summer I walked around with my 55 – 300 mm lens on my K-5, but not lately.  It hasn’t been because I don’t like the 55 – 300 mm lens.  I actually like it a lot, particularly the focal lengths.  The problem has been the weight and size of the camera-lens combination.

Those who have followed my website for a while know that I replaced my first K-5 and lenses with several micro 4/3 cameras and lenses to reduce the size and weight … and then went back to the K-5 because of the ergonomics and image quality.  Now I’m revisiting the situation.  No, I am not going back to micro 4/3 cameras.   I’m trying a different solution.  I have used a prime lens, the Pentax 50 mm on the K-5.  Since I miss having the long zoom capability, I have done a lot of zoom-cropping.  I can’t recover the same capability but cropping helps.  The above picture was taken while out walking with the 50 mm lens.  I had to do some heavy cropping to get the above image.

I also have a Fujifilm X-100 camera which has a fixed 35 mm (effective) lens.  This is a nice small camera that I love and have used mostly for indoor work or for when I want a small camera under my jacket just in case an image pops up.

The above is an introduction to my current issue.  Do I end up making pictures based upon cameras and lenses I prefer to carry, or do I make other changes?  This issue is of particular interest to those of us aging photographers.  If our physical or economic conditions change, how should we adapt?  Can we change the style and type of pictures we make based on other limitations?

There is a classic recommendation that one should shoot with one prime lens to improve his or her photography.  One of the ideas behind this is that if you shoot long enough with a single focal length you learn to visualize the image before you put the camera up to your eye.  You improve your ability to see and recognize images suitable for your camera and whichever prime lens you have chosen.  I have tried this, and while it’s probably true, it isn’t easy to change, especially if you have been mostly using zoom lenses.  I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there; but, I still do a lot of cropping since most of my shots are wider than the final composition as displayed in my web site.

The primary issue for me is whether I really can make this change.  Will I be able to give up shots of wildlife and other scenes taken with a 300 mm lens?  Can I change the type of pictures I take so that they are more suitable to be made with a smaller and lighter system … maybe just with the X-100 with its’ 35 mm (e) lens?  If the answer is yes I can change my photography, and I enjoy the change, I will then put off thinking about another lens or camera until I really need to replace one that I have, or until after I make major changes in my photography and decide I need something different.

Before I make this change, or try to make it, I need to find other things to photograph.  New subjects are difficult for me to find.  I still haven’t been able to find a ready supply of images, that I can and want to make, close at hand.  The answer depends upon what is available to shoot as well as my interest in the subject and the appropriate style of photography.  I probably picked the wrong time of the year to try this experiment.  Everything is dark and dreary.  It’s like no color exists anymore.  The leaves have turned and blown away and all the flowers have died and departed.  The only color that exists is the occasional lovely sunrise.

It looks like it is going to be a long cold winter with little opportunity to practice photography so don’t be surprised if my pictures become farther apart, less interesting, and fewer in number.

Aging Photographer Issues … Back & Knees

Four years ago I was starting to have a lot of trouble walking and was using a cane or walking stick, but after a few rounds of physical therapy I recovered enough to stop using then.  Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.  I started having even more major problems walking until I couldn’t walk, even with the aid of a cane for more than a very short distance.  That episode ended after I had lumbar fusion surgery two years ago.  Fortunately the surgery was quite successful and I now walk pretty well as long as I don’t stand or walk too long.  I still have stenosis and other problems at other locations in my back, so I still use a cane or walking stick now and then, especially if I know I will be going far or out for a longer time.

Many older people with arthritis or other back problems walk with the aid of a cane or walking stick, but for photographers this is a problem.  If you are holding a cane in one hand, that only leaves you one hand to hold a camera.  The picture above shows how I deal with this problem.  I have attached a nylon cord to my walking sticks and canes as shown above.  I put the loop around my wrist and tighten it so that I can let go of the cane without it falling to the ground while I then use the hand to steady my camera.  I carry my cameras on straps either around my neck or across my body while walking and using the cane or walking stick, but I need two hands to adjust and hold the camera steady while taking pictures.

The knob on the top of my walking stick screws off so that I can use it as a monopod when necessary with my smaller camera.  Getting smaller cameras is also something that older photographers find advantageous.  With my back I find that using a lighter camera enables me to walk further and photograph more.  I have a Pentax K-5 which along with a long zoom lens at times has been too much for me to carry.  To lighten my load, I bought a Fujifilm X100.  With its’ fixed effective 35 mm lens it is light but still has excellent image quality and fits nicely on a monopod, but I rarely need to do that.  I’ll probably have more to say about other suitable cameras in a later article.

I first got interested in using a smaller high quality camera from an article “On the Trail With the Leica M9” in a web article on Luminous Landscape.  Please click on it and read it.  It is an excellent example of what can be achieved.  My main problem is that I can’t afford a Leica M9 camera so I substituted the X100 for it.  I also went for a less expensive combined walking stick – monopod.  For my uses they work just fine.  In addition, as the article explains, I only use a camera bag to transport my cameras and lenses and I put extra batteries, cards, and lenses, if necessary, in a jacket or vest pocket

For those who don’t wish to go light with their equipment as I have done, they might want to try using a jogging stroller to carry their gear.  Don’t laugh, read this article.  Buying one second-hand would give you a very sturdy way to quickly move your gear down the walk.  It would be similar to a walker with wheels but capable of carrying more at a faster pace.  If you use a wheelchair, you can mount your camera on the chair.  One such device for doing this is shown here.