For those of you who use filters with your X100 and also like to leave the lens hood mounted, I’ve come up with a very simple solution to adding a lens cap without adding even a mm in length to your hood. It’s cheap, too!
If you’re anything like me you’ve never given your wife a hard time about the number of handbags that over-populate her wardrobe. Why? Because you probably have just as many photo bags and other canvass and leather transportable goodies. I was introduced to Domke bags back in the 90s. I spent two decades of my life travelling and working around the globe and needed a bag for my photo equipment that could take a severe beating and still look the part. I also wanted something that didn’t look like a standard photo bag as I knew beady eyes were constantly scanning me, especially in countries where the colour of my skin didn’t quite match that of the general population. When others used backpacks for travelling I’d long since learnt that a sports bag thrown casually across the shoulder attracted far less attention and made me considerably less of a target. In fact, in over 20 years I managed to avoid being robbed or mugged in close to 40 different countries. At the time I was using a Leica M6 TTL and had three or four lenses and a flash to accompany it. A good friend who was also well travelled showed me his Domke F-6 made from ballistic nylon and immediately I knew that was what I’d been looking for and within a day one was winging it’s way west from the US. Since that day my photo equipment has been entrusted to no other brand but Domke and I’m guessing things will stay that way. I’ve since purchased an F-2, an F-1X and I still have my trusty F-6, so when I recently purchased the Fujifilm X100 it was time to do a bit of research and see which bag would suit. I decided to be a bit more open-minded with this purchase so I diligently read up about a plethora of bags from several manufacturers as this market area is not short of makes and models. After a week of reading, however, it was a Domke which, once again, seemed to cater to my exact requirements.. Read the full review to find out which one.
My wife, my son and myself went for a long stroll in the woods this morning and as is now always the case the X100 was thrown across my shoulder with great gusto!! The woods can be a great place to shoot but also quite a difficult one and the percentage of keeper shots is is always down in single figures. That said, during a day that so far has been incredibly dull and grey we were blessed with a few rays of sunshine during our sixty minute ramble. I think the below shot (click to enlarge) is probably my pick of the bunch so far, though it’s also the only one I’ve thus far processed so that could have a lot to do with it.. Shutter speed set to auto, ISO200, film = Velvia and f2. There’s a little processing gone in to this one: very light crop (maybe 2% literally), 10% sharpening, graduated ND filter applied, slight softening, red +2, green -1, blue +1 (faded to 52%), 5% unsharp mask.
OK, this is more for fun than anything else but I’ve just spent an hour taking some macro shots with the X100 after reading on various forums how useless it was in macro mode. It got interesting when I went past 1:1 with a B&W 10+ Diopter Filter..
This is not a cheap piece of kit! $190 plus shipping for a grip and tripod plate is not small change by anyone’s standards and if you’re based outside of the US territories it gets worse. If you’re UK based, for example, you’ll end up with a total bill of $306 shipped and taxed. Is it worth it? Read the full review and find out!
A most unexpected package arrived this morning containing a lovely Footprint bridle leather wrist strap. It wasn’t something I’d ordered but rather sent to me compliments of Clive who runs the Footprint company! (Thank you, Clive!!). So being as I’m having a slowish Friday and am already in “weekend mode” I thought I’d take the chance to review it as I know many readers actually prefer a wrist strap to a shoulder strap. You can find the full review here. Oh.. and does anyone own a more pimped X100 than this..? If you do, leave a comment below and let me know what you’ve got on your’s that this one doesn’t.
Right, first watch post of the year!! I purchased this bracelet last year but I’ve been unable to use it before today as the spring bars that hold the links together were shot and needed replacing. That now done the end links have been correctly adjusted and it’s sitting proudly on the watch, now making this the full set as this is the bracelet that was sold with the 11630 GMT way back in the late seventies when they were new. There are few watches with such amazing presence, beautifully intricate dial and hands and colour combinations just bring a smile to your face whenever you check the time. This isn’t a status watch. If you want that you buy a Rolex or Patek. Very few people will recognise a vintage Heuer on your wrist but those who do will recognise a true connoisseur of horological goodness(!) and those that don’t will often still offer you a quick: “What a gorgeous watch!!” And of course, they’re right!!
Yesterday my new Luigi Half Case arrived and I reviewed it here. Today a strap arrived that I was beginning to think would be surplus to requirements as Luigi’s cases come bundled with a beautiful strap and shoulder pad. My only gripe with Luigi’s strap is that it could be a tad longer. It’s about 40 inches long and sits just proud of where I’d ideally like it to sit, which is with the top of the X100′s dial in line with the middle of the belt on my trousers when the strap is worn diagonally from right shoulder to left hip. Knowing this, I’d ordered the Footprint bridle leather strap in 45 inch length and that turned out to be pretty much spot on for my 5′ 11″ frame. Read the full review here.
Whenever myself and friends used to buy a new Leica M the first thing we did was order a good half case and strap for it. It’s an essential piece of kit which can help you shoot better (if the strap is adjusted correctly) and most importantly it will protect an expensive asset from unnecessary damage. There are now a plethora of offerings of varying quality from all over the world and from within every price braceket but for us an email still always goes straight to Luigi Crescenzi of LeicaTime who’s cases are always expensive but with good reason as they are generally regarded as the best of the best. (Click any image to view a larger version)
Nowadays, your email will need to be sent to his charming daughter, Ginevra, but it will be met with equal enthusiasm and a lot better English! With my new FujiFilm X100 bedding in nicely that email whizzed it’s way to Roma, Italy late last night and at 11.30pm Ginevra was still kindly helping me decide which case to order. Hopefully the result of that conversation will arrive this week and when it does I’ll post a detailed photographic review in case anyone else is about to pimp their X100!
Image Credit: LeicaTime
The FujiFilm X100 arrived with me yesterday and after some fiddling, cursing and reading today she sprang into life! And as the images began to roll off my SD card (after downloading Adobe DNG Converter 6.4, of course..yawn..) a big smile began to spread across my face. I’m not sure about later versions but Photoshop CS4 Raw Plugin will not recognise the native .NAF X100 RAW files so they need to be converted first into .DNG format and then into whichever format you prefer; not a biggy but an extra step I’d prefer not to have. The results, however, more than made up for the extra fiddle! I’ve promised to walk through my journey with this little camera and so here is the first image that rolled off the card. (Click any of the images for 1200 pixel version)
The little 35mm (equivalent) f=2 Fujinon lens is fast making indoor lowlight shots like this a breeze. I mounted the X100 on my small travel tripod, set the aperture to f2, shutter speed to 4 and kept the ISO at 200. ZERO post processing has been applied to this image apart from a slight crop, not even sharpening or colour correction. This is exactly how the shot left the camera and it’s exactly what I saw when taking the shot. The light, colours, everything is spot on and when a camera feels that in synch with your brain you know you’re going to have some fun together!
The shutter on this lens is virtually silent, as can be witnessed by my dog above, who blissfully slept through the shoot until I deliberately mentioned his favourite food quite loudly, at which point his body remained perfectly still but a pair of eyes emerged..
Had this been my Nikon D300s with 17-55mm f2.8 attached that dog would have done a summersault. With the unobtrusive X100 pointed at him he didn’t seem in the slightest bit bothered and it took me virtually yelling his favourite food at him in a very theatrical tone to illicit this slightly interested pair of ears..
I’ve always loved photography but I’ve rarely had chance to work with it. Many years ago one of my best friends and I spent a summer shooting aspiring young hard rock bands around Sweden using Leica M6 TTLs. The gigs were usually poorly lit, over-crowded and any photographer with a flash would soon find themselves out on the street, so the Leicas with their fast lenses and superb optics were just the ticket. Later the band members would buy prints from us, all of which were black and white, something unusual at the time, which was about fifteen years ago. Anyone who has used a Leica for any extended period of time will speak of something a bit special about the silky way they render images. “Smooth”, “silky”, “creamy” and other associated adjectives are all commonly used to describe the quality of the Leica image. But then came the advent of serious digital photography. The Nikon D1 arrived on the scene and the prospect of instant quality results with the added financial incentive of not having to buy and store film meant my trusty M6 moved on, as did my photography.
On the Leica forums it wasn’t long, however, before we all started to yearn for a digital Leica M. The Leica company would get deluged with emails asking when we could expect the first digital M and the reply came back each time that it was impossible to create such a camera and there were no plans for such a model in the near future. As digital camera became smaller and smaller the outcry became louder and suddenly, almost out of the blue (for me, at least) the Leica M8 was announced. The results with this camera were typically Leica and typically lauded but by this time I had a full Nikon DSLR system and all my Leica lenses and related equipment had long since found new homes. That coupled with the £4.5k ($7k) price tag of the camera body alone meant the M8 never graced my hands. Then came the M9 and I thought long and hard but justifying effectively $10k+ on a body and two lenses for the use of someone who does not work full time with photography was just not possible if my marriage was to remain stable so that idea also fell by the wayside.
Well, that didn’t stop me looking at some of the stunning images that others produced with their’s and it didn’t stop me yearning for that Leica lustre for some of my images.. and then by chance I stumbled over some Leica enthusiasts who were raving about the Fujifilm X100 and the “Leica-like” images it captured. To be honest, I’d heard this before about other cameras and side-by-side image shots always told a different story. The images these guys were showing, however, were different and whilst they weren’t quite going to match an M9 they were getting pretty close and this from a camera costing £700 ($1200) and that including the lens.
Hmm.. Rather belatedly, as this camera was first announced at Photokina 2010 and hit the market mid-way through 2011, a couple of days ago I slinked off to play with one at my local camera shop. As soon as I held it in my hand I immediately felt at home. Leica enthusiasts will not have had any problems familiarising themselves with this set of controls..
It’s been a while since any camera excited me in the way this one did and suddenly 2013 started to click into place. I wanted something different from last year. This was it. With it’s 35mm equivalent Fujinon fixed focal lens this is going to take me right back to the days when you zoomed with your feet and you really had to think about composition and every other parameter for that matter.. and I can’t wait!! Everything I need will arrive by or over the weekend and as I post images taken with this one I’ll also post some thoughts on using this camera and eventually post a full “review” in the second quarter of the year.
Images Credits: http://www.fujifilm.com/
Well, it’s been a funny year in which many watches have landed in my household as my two hobbies of horology and photography have merged and given me double enjoyment. THIRTYFIVEMILL began exactly twelve months ago to the day during which time I’ve posted one hundred and fifty seven times including nearly two hundred images. About ninety five per cent of those images have been watch related. This year, however, will be a little different. I want to concentrate less on watches and more on photography with completely different subject matter. I’m sure there’ll still be a spattering of watches as some things never change but I hope you’ll join me on a slightly different road. Where will it lead us? I haven’t got a clue!! Happy New Year!