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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ending up with a Leica X2 Part II.

Simplification. Thats the best part about it. No other lenses, no excess weight to carry around. A lens that is tack sharp even wide open.

One camera, a few accessories (Strictly optional) and thats it.

#leica #leicacamera #leicax2 #x2

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How I ended up with a Leica X2

Last year I discovered that I was getting tired of small sensor cameras. Many of them were/are very good for what they are but I was having less and less use for them. My Leica D-Lux5 had not seen much use in about the last 8-9 months that it was in my possession, except for the same kinds of imagery that would have been best served by using my iPhone 4s.

No, I'm not saying the iPhone was a better imaging platform. Not by a long shot. Ever. Not for my uses. It just got to the point where I was using one of the best Point and Shoot camera in its class for silly snapshots and nothing more, which was a pure waste of such a great and capable little camera. It has since found a new home with a good friend in The Netherlands who has been having a great time using it. Thus began my quest for a smaller camera, to be used when I didn't feel like lugging my 25 pounds of Nikon everywhere I went.

I was giving the Fuji X-Pro1 a serious look and was ready to take ups  friend's offer to borrow his when I came across a deal I couldn't refuse. A Fuji X-E1, with an 18mm f2, the 18-55 f2.8-4 "kit" lens which was a damned sight better than any other kit lens on the market as far as I was concerned and a Zeiss 32mm f1.8, which as one would expect from such lineage was also an excellent lens. I added adapters that would allow me to use my old Olympus prime lenses as well as one that would allow the use of Leica M mount lenses.

My initial objective was to carry LESS. As it turned out, while it was less that my Nikon gear (No, I had no intention of getting rid of that) it was still too much. I wanted one camera, one lens and the best possible image quality I could get in that category. I started looking into the Canon G1x II, the Nikon P7700 (Same as the newer P7800 but without an EVF) and a few others. With the exception of the Canon, all of them brought me right back to the smaller sensor sizes that I no longer had an interest in.

The XE-1 is an excellent imaging platform, with the exception of fairly bad low-light autofocus and terrible manual focusing when it comes to using older lenses with adapters. The focus peaking was barely usable, which defeated my intention of using my Olympus optics or any Leica optics I planned to purchase in the future. I wanted to simplify, not complicate.

Enter the Leica X1. 12MP APS-C type sensor, 24mm f2.8 (Taking crop factor into consideration, 36mm) fixed lens and SMALL. Add the optional hand grip and the size was perfect for me. I had it for a weekend before a funny (Seriously. It was funny) set of circumstances removed it from my possession. About two days later, I bought a slightly used Leica X2 instead. Having a better sensor at 16MP as well as even better low light capability and a few other things I liked about it. The option of adding an EVF (I'm not the greatest fan of them but I can see how one would come in handy) made a difference as well. The autofocus is considerably faster as well.

I don't see a fixed focal length lens as a disadvantage. Lighter in weight, smaller and it inspires one to see things differently.

Limitations? No. Only possibilities.

#leica #leicacamera #leicax2 #x2

Monday, April 14, 2014

The medium format digital camera market has been gut punched by a veteran.

I've been looking at all the information out there so far on the new Pentax 645Z and it looks to be damned impressive. It's a gut punch to the medium format camera industry, from a seasoned veteran of medium format photography.

Pentax was one of the kings when it came to medium format film photography. The 6x7, 67 and 67II, as well as the original 645, 645N and 645 NII. I have owned both the 645 and 645N over the years and they were excellent cameras. Pentax's medium format optics were serious contenders as well.

Its going to be very interesting to see how the industry responds when Phase One and their IQ 250 costs just short of $35,000 and the Hasselblad H5Dc starts at $27,500. All three cameras use the same sensor- The first medium format CMOS sensor, which was developed by Sony.

The coolest thing about this new Pentax camera is that it will use any Pentax 645 mount lens going all the way back to the original 645 manual focus lenses. I have yet to see confirmation but that would also mean that their 6x7 lenses can be used with their adapter.

Looks like a win to me.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

My idea on how to handle people who run events but seem to have no budget for photography:

If they charge money for the attendees/participants, then have them raise the price by one to five dollars per entry (Depending on how much you're going to charge them) and the budget for photography should miraculously appear.

Simple, right?

Heres another one: If you encounter one of this many people who claim how much exposure you'll get by giving your work away for free (While THEY make money, of course), this is a guaranteed way to get them to put up or shut up:

You will draw up a contract describing the nature of the agreement which will go something like this:

You'll be more than happy to jump at the opportunity because the person who has made this magnanimous offer to you sounds like the kind of person who will scream about your talent from every rooftop imaginable, BUT:

1: They will pay your full rate. That is NOT negotiable.

2: For every PAYING client they send you (The referrals must come directly from the person who signs the contract), they will be paid a commission, percentage to be determined in negotiations.

3: The contract will be binding for as long as you are involved in that market, which will result in that initial client not only being paid back the amount they originally paid you to do that first job, but will continue to pay them for every paying client they send you. An annuity of sorts.

This is a great way to get the scammers and clueless to leave you alone. Not a single one of them will accept those terms, which instantly establishes their level of legitimacy. A legitimate businessperson would more than likely not even consider approaching a professional photographer in that manner in the first place.

Either of these scenarios are a Win/Win for you because you have either avoided dealing with a scammer, or you're going to get the job.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

S.O.O.C. and other amateur utterances.

As a professional, I try to do my part to give back to the community in any way I can. I've never felt the need to sound off about it as I just don't possess that level of narcissism.

I'm more than willing to discuss methodology with those who are truly intent on actual learning, those who understand inexperience and excuses don't make poor imagery into an acceptable product. I refuse to engage those in possession of a vehement uninformed opinion.

After deleting the majority of a long winded rant, I came to the following conclusion:

Lame excuses about S.O.O.C. (Straight Out Of Camera) and minimal use of image editing software can be cured by the following:

1: Get your hands on a film camera.

2: Add film.

3: Go out and shoot an entire roll, color or black and white. Maybe both just to round things out.

4: Dont take the film to a lab. Learn how to develop the film yourself, then do it. There are darkroom facilities around where you can.

5: Learn how to create your own prints in the same darkroom facility.

6: Do it all, successfully.

7. Shut up.

Those who don't get it can now go back to being a GWC/ FAUXtographer who thinks doing the same thing over and over for free, believing that will get you somewhere in "honing your craft"because your friend(s) and/or family keeps telling you what a great photographer you are.

If you missed one of my earlier entries about GWCs, it stands for Guy/Girl With Camera which is the kind of person who thinks the mere act of buying a camera makes you a photographer.

Now get off my lawn. I'm going out to the hardware store to buy a hammer and box of nails because I want to be a carpenter.