About me

Seven years ago I decided to buy an Leica M9. At the time all my professional work I was using a pair of Canon 5d’s an Mk1 and Mk2 with eight or so lenses collected since first switching to ‘film’ EOS cameras from Canon FD’s in 1989.
Late 2012 a miscreant pair of Nungar aborigines broke into our home totally trashed it and stole anything that their thieving hands could carry I disturbed these miserable bastards and they managed to escape in an ‘official’ paid for with our taxes blue Holden. There was a hint that they were armed so I did not pursue after I had committed to memory the licence plate number.
All the cameras, most of my Leica M lenses, Mac books, drives, jewellery you name it vanished. Only my wedding was recovered from a pawn shop six months later. A few Voigtlander M lenses, Drobo Back up drives and several formats of film kit was stored in my studio building which they didn’t get around to.
The first thing I did was buy a Panasonic G3 this was a surprizingly good camera that allowed me to carry on with product imaging for my clients websites. I even did a magazine shoot with it and nobody even noticed with the final images except one comment that the macro (close up really) shots had a terrific depth of field having both the stamen and all the petals in focus – quite tedious in plien air closeups of hibiscus, try it on full frame cameras its ƒ32 stuff!  The micro 4/3 shots were far better than even the most carefully posed shots on full frame cameras that x2 crop factor is magical and yet there is still significant ‘bow keh’ with the old Canon FD lenses mounted.

A few months later the Fuji Xpro1 was released and I tried one but it was oh so sloooow so I gave it a miss and kept on going with the G3 and later an Olympus EM1 which is by any standard a remarkable camera. Sensor size* aside better for me than the Canon 5D. The difficulty I have with the m4/3 format is that once one has to elevate the ISO above 1200 the noise begins to knock out the finer details in macro work. It also begins to show up in fine ink jet prints in areas of close tone think rose petals.  The Canons could safely be used to 3200 and by coincidence that to my eyes is about the limit of the first generation of Fuji sensors RAF files.

Anyway long story short a year ago I read a review about all of the updates that had been applied to the XPro1 and how the camera had matured into a good professional tool. The fact that the price of a body had also plummeted to AUD600 and cash back on a few lenses made it irresistible. The temptation was just too much I ordered one from Camera Pro who are the best online shop I have ever dealt with (Any sponsorship or web credits Available??????)

A year further down the road I still love this camera. Yes, there are features that I really miss, dioptric adjustment is essential for me. A touch screen is a marvellous feature for any still life or macro work it literally saves hours. Tilt screens are a must have as well they just help to save ageing bodies from perpetual gymnastics when getting into difficult composing positions.
Yes there are times when the auto focus could be faster and I would really like the OK button to protrude beyond the four direction buttons. Even the video capture is no where near as bad as many seem to call it. All in all its a very good camera.
Will I buy and XPro2? at the moment no because of some of the missing features as mentioned above, but if the XT-2 has as they indicate a threaded shutter button and a touch screen I think it would be a yes! For me the simple threaded soft shutter button for slow shutter speed work is a must and it is one of te features that will keep me using the XPro1 for a good while to come…

*there is no doubt that even with all the advanced programming and hardware developments digital noise in micro 4/3 is very evident above 800 ISO pretty much the same point that grain became a problem in the film days. I used a fair amount of Konica Centura 800 but with careful composition and consideration of light then printing very good results could be had at 10×8 and larger in some cases.

With fuji’s larger sensors on the other hand 1600 ISO can offer excellent results and even 2500ISO with fairly simple work in post….

And before this:

At age 9 I was given a 620 Imperial box camera by a sagacious aunt as a birthday gift. This led to black and white film development in my own darkroom – in a converted outside toilet! Contact prints from large zen like square negatives soon followed… After an apprenticeship, College and University a career as a designer for the print industry followed with a camera as a working tool and a constant companion.

The printing industry computerised in the late seventies and with advent of the Macintosh computers in March 1984 digital production methods took over. Print and photographic workflow became totally digital first with scanners then in the early naughties with digital cameras.

Training photoshop, Illustrator and workflow in TAFF and private colleges part time allowed the development of frelance Industrial, product and botanical photography which continue to form the basis of my practice today…

Web sites:

michaelward.com.au   perceptivelight.com   fuji.photography   thelauncestonpost.com.au


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