I used a single effective 35mm lens to make these pictures as I walked around a block. I might continue with such a lens for my pictures around Hanover, but I also want to try different focal lengths before I decide. The advantages with a fixed 35mm lens are size and weight, and that it works well for images like these.
I captured this image on my Leica X2 last evening. What you see is a jpeg image as it came from the camera which was set to vivid film preset. I love the details of the cloud including the colors. I also captured the same image at the same time as a raw DNG file so that I could use LR to try and make my own preset to tweak DNG files to create the equal of the jpeg. I haven’t been able to do it yet and doubt that I will succeed. The jpeg has more depth, variability in the colors, etc.
I also captured many other, different images, including high contrast B&W jpegs plus DNG files with the thought that I would develop my own presets. I can get closer with the B&W images but I haven’t matched them either. The lesson I have learned … if I like/prefer the Leica file renderings I will have to use Leica jpegs.
It also means that there is no way that I can mix and match images from my various cameras if I use jpegs. So far this hasn’t been a problem since I have used a single camera for each event or output. I would expect it to be a problem if I mixed camera jpegs in one book. So far I haven’t in the three books I have made.
I got a smaller and lighter camera to use along with my Fuji X-Pro2. I bought a used Leica X2 so that I had a camera to always take with me that wasn’t as heavy to carry and so that I could take it in a small bag, or jacket, or vest pocket. But equally important to me … it is a very simple minimalist camera. It is simpler, smaller, and weighs about 26% less than the Fuji X100F which I had been waiting on; but I’m not waiting any longer. I prefer the more basic X2 except for the LCD, the dynamic range, and fewer pixels. The Leica LCD is of poorer quality in today’s technology standards but I plan to get an EVF to use with the X2 so that I can compose better in sunlight. More on how I hope to use the X2 in a later post.
Maybe all the Germans living around me have had some influence on me. In addition to getting the Leica, I started reading a book called D Day, Through German Eyes. The author’s grandfather had planned to write the book based on his interviews of troops who were there. He had interviewed them before D Day and then later looked some of them up and interviewed them again in the early 1950s. He died before he finished the small book so his grandson wrote it for him using his notes. It is a good description of what it was like on D Day.
I’m still testing a Leica X2 camera. It is an older camera that I purchased used. One question that I had was whether I could just use it with jpeg images and not use the DNG files. The above images are all vivid jpeg images that I was testing. I was concerned with the colors and how much tweaking the files could withstand. The first two are extensive crops that have been resized. I have no problems with cropping or the colors. The last image is straight out of the camera. Looking good so far.
I do most of my photography for Homewood with the X-Pro2 using the program mode since I need to work fast under changing conditions; so, what I am writing about in this article doesn’t apply to my event photography. I am writing now about how I photograph my own work when I am experimenting and learning. As I have done this, I have been exploring more types of photography with my X-Pro2 and the HX80. I like the size of the HX80 and I can do a lot with it, more than many would expect; but, there are times when I need more.
The things I really like about the X-Pro2 are the controls. I can make the changes I need to make just by looking at and changing the external dials. Not having this capability is alright if I’m photographing in program or auto modes, but is much harder to photograph in manual mode with the HX80 which doesn’t have the nice controls of the X-Pro2. And don’t forget that the capability and image quality of the HX80 are way less than what the X-Pro2 has.
I have been doing more experimenting while I practiced with the above cameras. As I have been doing this, I have been finding the value in photographing in manual mode. This realization, along with the limitations of the IQ and controls of the HX80, have started me wondering if I can find another camera that is in between the size and weight of the X-Pro2 and the HX80; but choosing one involves other compromises, constraints, and changes, including my continual battle with finding things to photograph, deciding whether I am going to need/use longer focal lengths, considering weight and size issues related to my physical abilities, etc.
The above have moved me to keep going lighter and smaller with my cameras, but ones with better controls, so I have been thinking about going back to the older Leica X2 or the older Panasonic LX100 or the Leica D-Lux 109. I had a Leica X2 once before, and I am going to give it another try first. I liked the minimalist simplicity of the camera in addition to its small size and its external controls. I should have another used one in my hands this coming week to check out.
As I reduce the number of my cameras, I keep evaluating the pros and cons of the remaining ones as I slowly reduce the number and decide whether I need another camera other than the Fuji X-T1. Yesterday I sold all of my Canon gear (70D and five lenses) as well as my Leica X2 camera. This morning I started thinking harder about my Lumix LF1.
The advantages of the LF1 are that it fits in any pocket, takes pretty good macro images, and has great depth of field. When I walked Misty this morning I had it in a hip pocket of my jeans. The disadvantage can be the image quality, but that depends on how the camera is used and how much light is available.
I took the above pictures while walking this morning as the sun was starting to clear the trees on the horizon. The light was just adequate for the camera. My preference is to use the camera for small details like with the small feather, but it even works for distant photographs like this morning’s moon.
Based on the above images and my ability to carry the camera in a small pocket, I am thinking harder about keeping the LF1. Since I am trying to get down to one or two cameras, I now have to decide whether to keep the LF1 or the Nikon J5 which is larger, has a larger sensor, and theoretically should have better image quality. As it looks now, I am thinking that the LF1 will make a better compliment to the Fuji X-T1 and prime lenses, but the final decision will depend upon how and when I decide to use a second camera.
I am in the throes of trying to decide whether to totally give up taking pictures of wildlife with long zoom lenses. I have made the decision to change to a lighter weight camera with prime lenses to reduce the size and weight of my gear … at least for the events I photograph here at Homewood. If all works well, I will be using a Fuji X-T1 with two or three prime lenses to replace my Canon 70D with lenses between 17 mm and 255 mm.
I have two options that I’m considering for my other photography. First is to keep my Nikon J5 and lenses as my second camera. If I go that route I could still use my Nikon one inch sensor camera for wildlife and flower images like above which were all taken with it at 110 mm and then cropped and resized. The second option is to sell the Nikon 1 system and keep my Leica X2 or Ricoh GR primarily as a backup camera and use my X-T1 with a few prime lenses for all of my photography. If I take the second route I will have no long focal length lenses for wildlife. The first option gives me more opportunities for different types of pictures and the second option retains a higher quality camera and forces me to learn how to get the most out of wide-to-normal prime lenses and photograph exclusively with them.
It is coming down to sticking to what I have mostly done in the past when I used long focal length zoom lenses, but with lower quality, or forcing myself to learn what I can photograph exclusively with wide-to-normal prime lenses with a better camera and lenses. My long zoom capability has been my crutch in the past when I didn’t know what I was going to photograph. I always seemed to be able to extract an image from a distance out of the overall larger view. Prime lenses would force me to get up close.
I am waiting for the new camera to be delivered so that I can spend some time using it and see which choice I prefer to make: only using shorter prime lenses with better image quality, or keeping an option for longer focal length images albeit with lower image quality.
While I’m pondering what lenses to get and thinking about what I’ll be able to do with them, I stepped out this morning and took a picture with the Leica X2. It doesn’t focus close but I was able to crop the image to get the above. These flowers are only about an inch across and since I’m concerned about being able to get pictures of flowers in the future with a normal prime lens I experimented on them.
It was a noisy morning wakeup for some on Friday. They showed up outside my Villa at 6 am. I waited until it got lighter to make these images. You can’t see it was noisy, but it was. You can see the dust they were stirring up. They were cleaning the roads before they seal them.
I used my Leica X2 with its 24 mm lens to make the above images. I really like that focal length and camera, but I am not sure about the future. I miss having a viewfinder and a tilt LCD on the Leica X2; therefore, I am thinking about replacing it with a Fuji X-T1 with a prime lens.
I am also planning to sell my Canon 70D and all of its lenses. It just isn’t fun to walk around using the camera due to the size and weight. I am going to try replacing it with the Fuji X-T1 with prime lenses rather than heavier zoom lenses. That will create a big change in how and what I photograph as well as reduce the amount of gear I use.
If I get the X-T1 and use it to replace both my Canon 70D and Leica X2, I have been thinking about getting three primes lenses and no zoom lenses. The prime lenses I had been thinking about were the Fuji 18 mm, 35 mm, and 60 mm. I could also get the 23 mm f/1.4 R lens with an effective focal length of 35 mm, but I don’t want too many lenses. The 23 mm focal length has been a good all-around focal length for many pictures and it could possibly be a one lens compromise for the 18 and 35 mm lenses.
The above dithering about what lens focal length I should get wasn’t getting me to a decision, so I took a step back and thought about why I’m making a change in cameras. I feel that it is necessary to reduce the size and weight since it is hard to walk around with a cane and a camera and sometimes with a bag; therefore, I need something lighter and smaller, but with good image quality. From this perspective, smaller and lighter, both the Fuji 23 mm and 35 mm lenses are medium in size; but, the Fuji 27 mm F2.8 lens is a smaller and lighter lens and is also a focal length compromise between the 23 and 35 mm lenses. It also has a better price, so I plan to try it as a better compromise due to weight and size. I have ordered the X-T1 with the 27 mm lens. I will use that lens while seeing if I like the X-T1 in terms of size, weight, and ergonomics. If I keep it and sell the Canon and Leica, I will then probably eventually get the 18 mm and 60 mm lenses.
As you have probably already figured out, this change in my cameras and lenses will create changes in what and how I photograph. I am going to let the “tail wag the dog” so to speak; i.e., adjust my photography to fit lighter and smaller gear. I will be writing about that after I get the X-T1 and am sure that I’m keeping it. I tried the Olympus E-M5 with the 14 – 150 mm lens and ended up not keeping them. The ergonomics and image quality weren’t quite what I’m looking for. Note that I haven’t mentioned how the Nikon 1 J5 camera and lenses fits into my future scheme. I’m still pondering that.