About four years ago, the first mirrorless cameras came onto the photography scene and since then, they have greatly evolved and are now widely available. One thing that did disappoint me early on was the lack of camera bags that were specifically designed for these new systems. In the beginning, I tried using smaller bags that were designed for a DSLR, but it always seemed like a major compromise.
Since then, things have changed dramatically. There are many camera bags now that are designed with mirrorless camera systems in mind.
A few days ago, I published my thoughts about a pre-production X-E1 (click here to read it) that Fujifilm was kind enough to lend to me for a couple of weeks. Overall, it seems that most people who read my article were intrigued by this camera and quite a few people actually pre-ordered it.
Of course, there are some (a very small minority) who simply aren’t happy no matter what they see or read. There is no need to flame people in online forums or (anonymously) send inflammatory messages to me. That is such a waste of time and energy. My advice to them – if a camera makes you that unhappy, move on and find another one that you can enjoy. Life is just too short to get that worked up over a camera.
A number of people did ask me if I could provide some high ISO shots from the X-E1. I plan to do some more shooting with it over the next few days, but I wanted to give you a few images to look at before the weekend. So as promised, here are a few more images …
In one of the worst kept photography secrets this year, Fujifilm announced the X-E1 on September 6, 2012 – the second interchangeable lens camera that uses their newly developed “X” mount and corresponding lenses. For our regular readers, it is no secret that I absolutely love using my X-Pro1 which was announced in January of 2012. When Fujfilm let me know back in June that the X-Pro1 was about to get a little brother, I must say that I was intrigued and excited as it is great to see this line of cameras expand to include new products.
Fujifilm was kind enough to let me use a pre-production model of the X-E1 for the past week and I will have access to it for another week. The purpose of this article is let you know my initial impressions of the camera and to show you some images I have taken with it. This is by no means a complete technical review – I will leave that to websites like dpreview.com to explore all of the minutiae and fine details of the camera.
I am also assuming the reader has some familiarity with the X-Pro1.
One of the great things I love about being a travel photographer is being able to, well, travel. And – one thing I don’t like about being a travel photographer, is well, travel. Allow me to explain.
I really enjoy exploring new places and seeing new things. I love connecting with people and experiencing different cultures. And given that I am a photographer, this usually means I am in paradise when I travel. What I don’t like is hauling around a bunch of camera equipment, especially with all of the
draconian measures some airlines are taking with respect to baggage – both checked in and carry on. It seems like there are more and more restrictions each passing day and that things will get worse (and not better) over time.
With respect to carrying my camera gear with me, one thing that has made my life a lot easier is my Think Tank Ultralight V2.5 backpack. I can fit a lot of camera gear in it and is guaranteed to fit in the overhead bins on all aircraft – not to forget, it will also slide comfortably underneath the seat in front of you. It is lightweight, sturdy and well designed. Overall, it is a fantastic bag that I have used on dozens of trips.
I know quite a few people who are taking major trips soon – most of them to Antarctica and Africa. They wanted me to recommend a backpack that they could take on any aircraft as carry on luggage. Unfortunately, the Think Tank Ultralight V2.5 backpack has been discontinued, however, Think Tank has replaced it with three (yes, three) new and improved backpacks – each one catering to specific needs:
For years I have been using off camera flash, no matter what camera I happened to own at the time. It produces beautiful lighting when used properly and helps you avoid that flat, “deer in the headlights” look with your images. David Hobby (Strobist), Zack Arias and Joe McNally (just to name a few) use off camera lighting all of the time (I know, I’ve seen them in action) and if you want to improve your flash photography, I recommend you do too.
I find myself using my X-Pro1 all of the time (and soon, the upcoming X-E1) and I have continued to use off camera flash. I had an unfortunate incident with my old Pocket Wizards (which were extremely reliable) which I used to trigger my remote speedlights and wanted to replace them – ideally with something smaller to match the compact size of the X-Pro1.
At first, I found some “el-cheapo” radio triggers on eBay. A number of people I know swear by them so I thought I would give them a try. They were quite small, however, I found them to be unreliable. They always seemed to stop working when I was at a client site (why, I do not know) and the transmitter gave up the ghost after a month of use. Perhaps I was unlucky and received a bad set, however, the last thing I want when doing paid client work is having equipment that I cannot rely on.
I was speaking to Billy of the Fuji Guys who showed me a tiny radio transmitter/receiver pair which he used with his X-Pro1:
For years I have always wanted to visit Iceland. Many photographers who have been there before are mesmerized by its diverse landscape and staggering natural beauty. There are glaciers, mountains, fjords, wide black beaches and many active volcanoes. With only 320,000 inhabitants of this small island nation (who all love nature), most of the country is unspoiled. It is simply a feast for your eyes and soul.
It is no secret that I am a big fan of Compact System Cameras (CSC) – I love the fact that they have a large sensor in a compact body which means they have the potential to deliver image quality (IQ) equal to a DSLR at a fraction of the weight. I have used numerous systems from Micro Four Thirds to Samsung NX and now use a Fujifilm X-Pro1 system.
In September 2011, Nikon announced their new CSC called Nikon 1. Introduced were two different camera bodies (the J1 and V1) and three different native lenses. I have to admit that I did not pay much attention to this announcement as the Nikon 1 system uses a 1″ (diagonal), 10 megapixel, CX format sensor. As the CSCs I was using at the time had an APS-C format sensor (which is larger than Nikon’s CX format), I did not give the system much thought.
Here is size difference between different sensor formats:
In February of 2012, Nikon announced their D800 professional DSLR camera. Nikon users (such as myself) were looking forward this announcement as many were expecting a “replacement” for their D700. Nikon threw a bit of a curve ball at the photographic community with the announcement of the D800 for the following reasons:
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I first read the announcement – a 36 megapixel FX DSLR for $US 3,000.00? That’s medium format territory for relatively little money, compared to these high end, high resolution cameras. Surely Nikon must have compromised something to attain this price point?
As I was about to find out, I was wrong. Very wrong. Read on to find out …
I’m not much of a historian, but one figure from the past has really taught me a lot in life – and his lessons have carried through to my photography. That person would be Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, the early 20th century Antarctic explorer.
Shackleton led a most interesting life and was obsessed with conquering the continent of Antarctica. Despite being one of the first people to (unsuccessfully) attempt reaching South Pole, his journey was by far the closest anyone had come to attaining this goal up to that time. For doing this, he was knighted by King Edward upon returning to England. Unfortunately for Shackleton, Roald Amunsen of Norway and Captain Scott ultimately beat him in reaching the South Pole.
Shackleton then turned his attention to what he said was his one remaining Antarctic goal – he wanted to cross the continent from sea to sea, via the South Pole. No small feat, indeed.
I have received a lot of really great feedback over the past few weeks on my presentation at the Exposure Imaging Expo in Toronto. One section that I called, “Before and After,” was especially popular and I was asked if I could turn it into an article to be posted on this site.
So as requested, here is the requested article straight from my presentation.