I was reading a recent post on Monte’s Blog in the context of a commercial print job I’m currently working on. Monte was discussing how much he wanted a new Fuji lens (me too!) but indicated that his current cameras – 4 and 6 years old – still suited him fine, and he reminded us that all cameras still require a photographer to work.
I was recently contacted by a local restaurant owner about providing prints for their bar and dining rooms for an upcoming remodel. I’m flattered that they asked me, and even more excited that it is one of our favorite restaurants. And that they want 17 photos! One of the things that interested me in the context of Monte’s post and the discussion about needing a “pro” camera for doing quality work is the breakdown of the cameras that were used for the photos we chose for this project:
Canon 5D – 1
Canon 5D Mark III – 3
Canon Powershot G12 – 4
Fuji X-10 – 2
Fuji X-E2 – 1
Fuji X-T1 – 1
Medium Format Film Scan – 1
I wasn’t too surprised about the number of 5D shots, and I wasn’t at all surprised at the number of shots from the Fuji X-E2 and X-T1, my current cameras. But I was quite surprised at 6 of the photos coming from two point & shoot cameras! Maybe there is something to be said for ditching all of the interchangeable lens cameras and just buying a single, good, point & shoot camera!
I’ll share the photos later. Or even better, photos of the photos once they are hung! 😉
When I made these photos I wasn’t thinking about hurricanes, but they do have a bit of a cyclonic look to them. I have all of my friends along the coast on my mind as I post this, and hope they all remain out of harm’s way.
These are a little cliche-y but I think serve the purpose quite well.
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.
So, no new cameras for me – yet! Although those new Canon point & shoots are due out any time…hmmmm! 😉
Kathy & I have set a goal to visit all 50 of the US states by the end of 2020. Well, all except one. If everything goes according to plan we’ll cap the project off with a trip to Hawaii in 2021 to capture that elusive #50. We have a long way to go, but do have a plan to get there.
The first challenge was to define a “visit.” Do we need to sleep there, have a meal there, drink a beer there, or what? For us it is easy…we need to take photographs! There are a number of states that we have actually been to through the years, but we have not counted them as visited yet because we don’t have photographs. I know I’ve been to Arizona, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois & Indiana and others but I don’t have photos from those states, at least none I’m willing to use for this project. We’ve been to airports in Dallas and Newark, but those don’t count as Texas or New Jersey!
Every state has it’s “Best Of” locations, but we aren’t necessarily looking to do that. We’d eventually like to visit the famous places like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite or Mount Rushmore, but those are places that justify longer stays than just a “drive-by” long enough to take a picture or three. For now we’ll be happy to get photos from more off-the-beaten-path kinds of places. It’s our project so we get to decide. I love being able to make the rules!
I’ve recently added a new section to my website titled – amazingly enough – “50 States” with a separate gallery for each state that we have visited so far. This gallery is a collection of representative photographs from each of the states that we are counting as “visited” according to our definition of having a collection of photographs. These are not intended to be the “top” anything or most famous locations from these states, simply photographs that show that we were there.
We’re planning a trip up the DelMarVa peninsula in August to catch Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Then later this fall we’re hoping to make a road trip out west to catch a dozen or so states in the middle part of the country. I’ll update the photo gallery and the accompanying map as we go, and of course I’ll post about it here on the blog.
If anyone has suggestions about “must see” locations, feel free to pass them along in the comments or via email!
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.
Kathy & I were talking to friends recently who asked me about our travels to Italy, when I remembered that I had never published a gallery of Italy photos on my website. It’s only taken a year, but I finally got around to it. It’s a lot of photos – admittedly way more than I would ordinarily put in one gallery. But it was a huge trip with lots of photos! I ended up with about 3,000 processed photos, so a gallery with “only” 180 or so images is really editing it down!
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!