While our friends, neighbors and relatives have been sweating out a late summer heat wave in Charlotte, here in Colorado Kathy & I have been treated to mid-70s temperatures with beautiful skies and low humidity. We took full advantage on Thursday when we headed out into the countryside with our pal Monte Stevens.
When we headed out we had no idea what we were looking for or where we were going, but I think we found it! Overall an extremely productive and rewarding effort. Hoping to get into the high country and chase some fall color over the weekend before heading north to Montana, where it is supposed to snow. Yikes!
Waxing crescent moon over Charlotte, NC tonight!
I’ve been cleaning up some old folders and came across some abstracts from 2014 that I hadn’t processed. Interesting what saw then, and what I see when I revisit old photos.
For our recent visit to Waynesville I rented another camera – the Fuji X-T3. It’s the latest version of my existing camera, the X-T1, and I wanted to see how it compares. It was an interesting experiment, with mixed feelings. The Folkmoot photos from my previous post were taken with that camera, and here are a few more.
All in all, the camera would be a worthy upgrade from the X-T1 if I happened to be in the market. But I’m not. The obvious reason would be cost, because in addition to the camera itself I would need to upgrade my memory cards, buy new batteries (my current batteries fit but have a lower power output so will supposedly not last as long), buy a new L-bracket and eventually – because of the 26MP files vs. my current 16MP – I would need to buy larger hard drives. Sorry, that would cover the cost of a nice vacation!
Another, albeit minor, negative would be the slightly larger size of the X-T3 body. In my opinion the X-T1 borders between just right and a little large (weird to say since my initial impression 4 years ago was that it was tiny compared to the Canon 5D!).
On the positive side, the files were quite nice, although I wasn’t blown away by a huge difference between the newer camera and mine. There is definitely a slight improvement in detail, and I found that with files almost twice as large, zooming in to 50% instead of 100% is far enough. Any closer than 100% just accentuates the flaws, and I don’t need to accentuate them any more, thank you!
The menus are a bit more complex, necessary due to the customization the camera allows. But it wasn’t impossible to figure out, probably because I’m already used to the setup. I liked being able to see blinking highlights in the viewfinder, which I can’t do with my current camera. That’s not a big deal but it is helpful in certain situations. The EVF is nice and bright, and contains all of the information found on the main screen.
One of the things I should have paid more attention to is the ability to set different autofocus parameters based on specific shooting situations. I tried tracking subjects in the parade but found a lot of missed shots because I didn’t have it set up correctly. That’s not something I usually do, so I didn’t think about it until after the fact.
I wanted to wrap up my thoughts on this camera for anyone who might be interested. Nothing earth-shaking here. Bottom line: I didn’t buy one and won’t be buying one. Below are a few pros and cons, some of which may repeat my earlier post, and all of them are my opinion only:
Excellent image quality – RAW files processed efficiently in Lightroom using the Adobe camera profiles. The “Auto” function in the Develop Module worked amazingly well. I could be comfortable with the results and seldom feel like I am compromising quality if this were my only camera.
Lightweight and Compact – The camera was very well-constructed and has a certain “heft” to it that speaks of quality, but is very light. I use a thin strap on my Fuji cameras, and it would easily accommodate the Leica. Although the Leica probably deserves a fancy custom leather job…. 😉
Good battery life – this is not fully tested since I made a point of recharging it daily. I only had one battery with the rental so I didn’t want to chance running out.
Size – I don’t have large hands, but it is a small camera and seemed to be a little small for me. I never felt like I was going to drop it, but some of the controls were a little touchy.
Manual zoom & focus – The primary zoom mechanism is a toggle switch that surrounds the shutter button. Many camera have that but I just never feel like it is very precise. In addition, there is a lens ring that can be set up to function as a zoom control. I actually prefer that, except that the zoom ring is right next to the aperture ring and I kept inadvertently changing the aperture!
Menus – people complain about menus on all cameras. This one was fine – I was able to figure out just about anything I needed easily. I think I went to the manual a few times but it was mostly out of curiosity.
The “Only Camera” Question – I could see myself having a camera like this as my travel camera. The photos are good enough that I don’t think I would worry about having the “wrong” camera with me if I left the Fuji at home. The zoom range is a little limiting for me, mostly on the long end as I like to get close to my subjects and frame tightly. That isn’t a big deal and there are plenty of pixels for a little cropping if necessary.
Lens Choice – I’ve gotten used to the ability to put together a kit of lenses for a particular trip. Going out the door with a Fuji body and a single prime lens is a great way for me to simplify and narrow my seeing. Traveling with a lens or two or the whole bag gives me endless choices. That can work both ways, but I’ve gotten comfortable with the idea of making a choice and living with it.
What’s Next? – I have a rental Fuji XT3 coming today for an upcoming trip. I can’t wait to try it out and compare it to my aging XT1. I’m not in the market for a new camera, but with a price point very similar to the Leica, it feels to me like the better option when and if the time comes to upgrade.
More words and photos to follow – stay tuned!
As much as Kathy & I like to explore new places, there is a certain comfort in the familiarity of places we return to often. Such is the case with our recent visit to Belhaven, in eastern North Carolina. Whenever we visit that area, we return to places like Swan Quarter, perhaps best known as the location of the ferry to Ocracoke Island, but also the location of a number of fishing companies and their boats. Englehard is also the location of an inlet that houses a number of fishing boats. Lake Mattamuskeet is the location of a number of interesting places and the photographs that can be made there.
While I rarely return with anything truly new, it is a good place to go and look for things I haven’t seen previously. Storms wash away old piles of debris and sometimes bring in new subject matter. Businesses come and go and sometimes the change in decor can mean new material. Sometimes returning to a place with fresh eyes can mean new opportunities.
This is another collection of photos from the Leica D-Lux 7 that I took on our recent visit there. I’ve got a few more batches that I’ll post once I’ve worked out the words to go along with them!
For years I have been steadfastly avoiding the use of Photoshop for processing my photos. No particular reason other than stubbornness and preferring to only use one program (Lightroom) for the work. Recently, Adobe began sending out free special effects actions for Photoshop. It sort of got me intrigued enough to download them and I finally got around to trying them out. This is a photo that I took a few years ago but never really liked the “straight” version. I’m not sure how much I really like this version using the “Watercolor Artist” action, but it is starting to grow on me. Like any recipe I’m going to need to work with the options a bit to get a “look” that suits me. But in the mean time it’s something interesting to look into, and it may even motivate me to spend more time catching up my Photoshop “chops.” I only have a 10~ year learning curve to catch up on! 🙂
While visiting the cyprus swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway, I did a few impressionistic photos of the trees using camera movement to blur the trunks. These are two of my favorites from that session. I love how the motion simplifies the composition by making it all about the lines of the trees and removing the distracting details.
I have a thing for Cyprus trees. The shapes are interesting, and I love how they live against all odds of nature. We found these in a swamp along the Natchez Trace Parkway today. I know there’s a rule about taking landscape photos in harsh sunlight, but I keep forgetting…. 🙂