Zen + Yin and Yang… or: the art of street photography + the good and the bad of the X-E1

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image courtesy: Rinzi Ruiz (via erickimphotography)

Zen

These are some original tips to become a better street photographer, ispired by the book of Herrigel Zen in the Art of Archery (it’s well worth a read!). Eric adapted it to the photography, and wrote: “zen in the art of street photography“. Enjoy reading it at erickimphotography:

1. Lose yourself in the moment:” One of the philosophies of Zen is that you should lose self-consciousness of yourself, and especially of your own ego. You don’t think of yourself as being great and the center of the world. Rather, you see yourself as something quite insignificant and just like a grain of sand in a desert. When I am out shooting on the streets, the feeling of getting lost in the “flow” makes me feel much more comfortable shooting in the streets (and is often when I take my best photos). The second I become self-conscious, I find myself drawing too much attention to myself and my subjects can sense my hesitation and feel less comfortable.” 2. Ignore recognition/fame / 3. Don’t photograph others, photograph yourself “Embrace your subjectivity in photography, and try to shoot faithfully. Don’t photograph in a way which you feel doesn’t sit your personality. If you find yourself a shy and introspective person, you don’t need to shoot a stranger super-close with a flash. You might want to take a more detached approach, and not intrude on somebody”./ 4. Relax / 5. Focus on the journey, not the destination

Yin and Yang

the good and the bad, or the Yin and Yang, of the X-E1 according to soundimageplus (click here). Definitly a great camera, but battery life is “terrible“…. and what about the X-Trans sensor?

“I’m still not entirely convinved that the ‘foliage smearing‘ effect is entirely cured, even using Aperture. Sure, its a lot better than it was, but there are still problems. […] the sensor seems to have real problems with greens and yellows and doesn’t seem to be able to ‘sort them out’ properly. […]

So Yin and Yang. The technology that gives us spectacular ISO performance creates a somewhat ‘confused’ rendition of certain kinds of detail in the natural world.

image courtesy: soundimageplus

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Jackar Snapshooter 34mm f/1.8: Fuji X-mount lens for $175

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The Jackar Snapshooter 34mm f/1.8 is an old-school look cheap lens made in China that can now be pre-ordered for the Fuji X-mount at Adorama for $175 here. ephotozine tested it on the Olympus OM-D E-M5. Read the whole review here. The conclusions:

“This is an interesting take on the fast prime lens for Micro Four Thirds and NEX cameras, and the solid metal construction of the lens is re-assuring, although with the lens’ relatively low price, it’s clear that the optical quality of the lens isn’t likely to be the strongest feature. However, saying that, this lens performs better than other lenses we have tested (cough Holga, Toy-Lens, Pinwide cough), and with a sharp centre, bright aperture, and soft edges, this lens may be ideal for anyone looking for a good compact lens for portrait photography, low light, or creative control over depth of field.

If you want a manual, compact lens, then the reasonably price and high build quality would make this a good choice, however, for landscape shots and situations where image quality is more important, it may not be the ideal lens, but for low light, wide-open shooting, and portrait shots, it could be ideal.”

Image Quality: “why DPReview may be sometimes wrong” + “I was a skeptic but now I’m a believer” (Iridient vs Adobe)

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image courtesy: thevisualexperience

The good news is, Fuji X-photographers now have various options to process their X-Trans files and get decent results out of it. The most popular options are Lightroom, Silkypix, Capture One and Aperture. But there are other software programs like Raw Photo Processor (based on DCRAW), AccuRaw… (check out this X-Pert Corner RAW-comparison post).

But in the last weeks I told you several times of Iridient Developer (Mac 0nly). This is an option which you should seriously consider to add to your workflow (try the demo version). Does the details extracted from the RAW by IRIDIENT really blow out ACR? Could this be the software that finally unlocked the full potential of the X-Trans sensor?

Now, I’d like to share with you the following articles. The first one at thevisualexperience analizes the way dpreview tests the image quality of the different cameras, while in the second post, “I’m a beliver”,  Activatedfx talks of his conversion from LR4.4 to Iridient 2.1.1!

1) Why DPReview may be sometimes wrong

This is how dpreview tests the image quality of cameras (source thevisualexperience):  a) Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled) b) Set Sharpness to zero (all other settings default) c) Open file to Photoshop d) Apply a Unsharp mask: 100%, Radius 0.6, Threshold 0 d) Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download

DPReview paved the way for “scientific” comparison of camera performances, guiding passionate and professionals in understanding “what is worth to buy” and what is not. […] So ACR is the “meter” used to compare cameras for what concerns RAW. You can jump to the “Image Quality” of each review and use the tools to compare RAW performances.

But now that Iridient delivers such great results with the X-Trans files, thevisualexperience suggest to DPreview:

[…] please start taking into account different RAW processors or, at least, make some claim that the RAW results people are inspecting may be not representative of the REAL POTENTIAL a camera may have (since the meter you’re using is, somehow, not the best).”

2) I was a skeptic but now I’m a believer

And here there is another photographer that was blown away by the Iridient results and posted his comparison… at the great dpreview forum (check it here)!

“The Iridient image has more DR, richer colors, more detail in the sky, and a noticeably SHARPER image with no halos or artifacts. To my eye, it doesn’t looksharpened” at all. In particular, look at the detail in the background of the road sign at 100%. The pattern is much more distinct in the Iridient image. And it’s not because of more contrast.”

Do you consider to swich or add Iridient to your workflow and you do not own a Mac? Apple just released the new MacBooks with an incredible battery life! Check them here at your Amazon.

all the best
Patrick

Should Fuji find a firmware solution to allow us to control ISO values with front/rear dial?

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“the amazing evolution of the X-PRO1” (henrysmithscottage)

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image courtesy: henrysmithcottage

A couple of weeks ago I posted an article where fujifilmxseries explains how Fuji is adopting the idea of Kaizen to constantly improve its products via firmware update. The “old” X-PRO1 is a good example. The camera has deeply changed from the launch to now. Firmware after firmware Fuji was able to speed up autofocus, improve manual focus and start up time, add 3x magnification and the auto-ISO 6400 option, improve writing speed to the memory card and more. Who owns the X-PRO1 from the very first day can confirm what Henry Smith said:

“Over the history of this product, Fujifilm has managed to transform the X Pro 1, through software, in a profound way. I don’t recall any series of firmware upgrades, offered by any manufacturer that has so completely transformed a piece of electronics or a camera.”

But Fuji has not rested on its laurels. Now the arrow-down button works as a second Fn button (with AF field selection option) and the next firmware update in July will bring a long expected feature to the X-PRO1/X-E1: focus peaking! And also the AF-speed will be improved again.

Henry Smith seems to appreciate Fuji’s Kaizen business philosophy and wrote this article here. The new FN arrow down buttonfor an autofocus guy, this essentially fixes any problem I had previously. It is now fast and easy to quickly choose a focus point. If I loved the camera before, I really love it now.” At the end he says:

I am delighted that I invested in this system. As a long time (and sometimes disappointed) user of their photography products, I perceive that Fujifilm is really hitting its stride. Other companies take note: this is how you treat your customer base.”

So any suggestions to Fuji for future firmware improvements? I know you’d like to be able to set minimum shutter speed in auto ISO. It’s possible on the new X-M1, but Fuji didn’t promise this feature in the upcoming X-E1/X-PRO1 firmware update. So, write your firmware wish list in the comments… I’m sure somebody at the Fuji headquarters will read it!

feel free to share your wishes

sayonara
Patrick

Lightroom 5 or Photoshop? + LR5 up to speed (in-depth look at the new features)

– “Which One? Adobe Photoshop CC or Lightroom 5: An Intro For the Completely New Photographer“. Read this phoblographer review here.

– LR5 arrives, is it worth? Read the answer of fixelpix here. “Having played with the beta and now the full version could I survive without this upgrade. Well, probably but at the cost of time. I see the new tools considerably reducing the time I spend in additional applications. Could LR5 mean I no longer need the additional power of Photoshop?

– photograper Piet Van den Eynde published his book “Lightroom 5 Up to Speed. Everything You Need to Know About the Adobe Lightroom 5 Upgrade” at Craft&Vision here. It costs just $5 and most of the images in the eBook were shot with Fuji gear! “This eBook walks you through the installation of Lightroom 5, the new Advanced Healing Brush, Upright, Radial Filter, Smart Previews (offline editing), the improvements to Book and Slideshow modules, and almost 30 other changes, big and small. It also gives you tons of suggestions on how to exploit the potential of these features; plus a bonus chapter about the new and improved Lightroom plug-ins.

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