Contre Jour, last rays of sunshine on a tree fern…

Last-sun-rays-on-tree-fern

One thing I really like about the Xpro1 is the large easy to see exposure compensation dial. It allows one to manipulate the exposure while composing. For me its in the exact right position. Note to Fuji don’t change the position in the Xpro2!

Some of my favourite photographs taken by the well known photographers over the last hundred years have been shot ‘Contre jour’  or against the light. That increase in contrast created by under exposing the subject simplifies the subject often by pushing much of the peripheral content into shadow and defining that which is highlighted. Its a wonderful tool for creativity made easy by good design of the camera.

 

That macro button and Fuji X macro shooting…

Pink azalia's by the Band Stand in cataract gorge park Launceston

Using mostly the standard 18-55mm ƒ2.8 zoom on our evening walk I often wish I had a tripod and a macro lens with me. Scott Bourne criticised the Macro button a few ‘We shoot Fuji podcasts ago’ and until I heard Scotts condemnation of this function button I have to say I paid very little attention to it.
To a large extent there were very few ‘Macro Lenses’ available until the 1970’s. The first one I owned was a Canon FDM 50mmƒ3.5. There was an ‘exotic’ FL50 produced in the mid sixties but I don’t think it ever arrived in the UK.
The FDM 50 manifestation needed an adaptor to take it to a full 1:1 magnification that was also very difficult to buy. However the FDM 50 worked well on Canons beautifully machined bellows and copy attachment.
Other than that most people used +1, +2, +3, closeup filters,  the problem with filters in my experience is that unless they have been paired and made by the host lens manufacturer there will invariably be chromatic aberrations or fringing as it later became known to photoshop users. In the sixties and seventies extension rings were probably the most popular device to obtain close focus or macro photos. The cheapest device was a reversing ring where one obtained a filter size ring that had a lens mount on the other side so the lens was just reversed. I personally never worked out what the reproduction size was as my only experience with this device was a loner from a shop where I eventually purchased the 50mm macro lens.

The Macro button on the XPro1 seems to reduce the focus distance down to roughly 200mm with the native Fuji lenses that I own. I have no idea how it does this but I suspect it is achieved electronically something like the reverse of a digital zoom function found in many digital point and shoot cameras. My only quibble is that the auto focus seems to miss a lot in that Macro button mode. Personally having shot thousands of macro photos for employers there is no substitute for a macro lens and a tripod, it is the only way to achieve fine focus. More so than with any other photographic subject matter, how and what you focus on when close up makes of breaks the overall look and feel of the photograph. For me thats why manual focus is better.  I used Canons for many years and when they switched to AF that predictive auto focus at times drove me bonkers. Fortunately the Xpro1 doesn’t have it I don’t know about the other Fuji’s.

The Azalea’s above were shot hand held using said macro button!
I recently took delivery of a Novoflex Canon FD to Fuji X adaptor and it works well. I may be flamed for saying this but the only way I have found that macro auto focus to be better than manual focus is where the camera has a touch sensitive monitor and preferably one whose monitor swings out from the camera. This makes macro work in rural areas a more comfortable pursuit.
While working in bush environments too many times have I been bitten, stung and sucked on by various creatures of the Australian bush. Having kangaroo ticks removed from testicles is not nice. One time while working in sand dunes East of Albany W.A.  I was so busy battling the wind which was moving my subject all over the place I completely forgot about snakes.  Then it happened a two metre Black Dugite slide past me at 45 degrees. I saw its tail end in one corner of the viewfinder and froze. Fortunately they move quickly and it had no interest in me, but it made my heart race for a few moments.

On a practical level I sincerely hope that Fuji adds a swinging touch screen to the XPro2 it makes macro auto focus really functional. In following blogs of other professional botanical and garden photographers I have been surprised by how many have actually adapted to using the touch screen technology.

Cherry blossom time…

Cherry blossom time

Our Japanese friends go gaga over the scale and number of blossoming trees in Tasmania. Indeed we have to be some of the most fortunate people on the planet to have a site like this to wake up to for a few weeks in the year. Likewise as a photographer I am enjoying the Fuji X pro 1 camera. This as every Fujiphile knows was the first of a new range of mirrorless cameras that Fuji introduced some three years ago. Unlike most manufacturers, Fuji through downloadable updates have recently turned a three year old into a new current tech camera. The camera has evolved!

To be perfectly honest there is another mitigating factor I bought the X pro1 as it was being offered by Camerapro.com.au at a very reasonable price less a cash back offer from Fuji resistance was futile. I have been a Leicaphile almost for as long as I can remember and when my M9 was stolen in a very violent break in I put off replacing the M9 as the 240 was about to be introduced. My other half was also concerned about the cost, lugging 15k of camera kit around for her was a liability she was not comfortable with, especially as on one trip to Bologna I had a pocket picked! For me the look and feel of the images was paramount but when I began to compare the IQ of the Type 240 and the Fuji’s glorious X Trans sensor my steadfast Leica loyalty began to falter then wane away. This process took three years I’m not prone to hasty decision making. With every upgrade and new Fuji model the IQ scrutiny continued, the pixel peeping and even the odd print was over analysed ad nausium. Then it happened, Leica type 240 was reviewed by AP – Amateur Photographer and Fuji introduced an upgrade within a few weeks of each other. To my eyes the IQ the look of the Fuji image had all the qualities I wanted from a Leica it was then the purse strings were unleashed.