Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Back from Greece!


Back from Greece and my first real use of the Fujifilm XT-2. Awesome, buy one!

I got my bud Ray to dive in the pool in our rented villa....every shot in focus at 10+ frames per second wow! Tip: Click the first image and the pictures are then big enough to see the focus, if you have an Apple magic mouse, stroke it for a video effect...

I'll be posting stills and 4K video later this week for you to see.

In the mean time check out Peter Gregg's blog to see my appraisal of the Canon 5D4 was on the money. Sorry Canon you brought out a nice stills camera with major flaws!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Introducing: the Fuji X-T2

It's here and some pics to prove it:

Compared to my Canon 5D3:
Compared to Canon EOS M:

Initial reactions:

  • smaller than I expected
  • beautifully made
  • batteries not charged so I have to wait!
  • the booster/vertical grip looks fantastic, more buttons than expected
  • I'm going to carry this everywhere
  • watched Ken Wheeler's videos on YouTube and thought 'can I wait?' then FedEx turned up!

Got to go!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Fujifilm X-T2 released tomorrow (? please!) and more on that new Canon

I'm really looking forward to my X-T2, early signs are that it's very special...

Wow Canon what have you done? Early signs are that, as I suggested, the focus shift technology is unusable, you have to, it seems, use DPP software which nobody does and according to Tony Northrup (check him out on YouTube) the pixel shift does indeed make the files doubly as big and actually does so little to the image to make it of no real value.
On top of this Ken Wheeler (Angry Photographer) reports that the JPG files from the new camera are poor...
Is the dynamic range better, no.

200GB for one hour of 4k not even full frame video (compared with 50GB for a ff Sony) - is just another example of how lazy (because they didn't bother writing a decent codec) and greedy Canon are with this camera

Don't forget, the recording medium is still CF/SD, no CFast or XQD, and a SD card which is NOT mk11 compatible - WHICH IS MY BIGGEST GRIPE WITH THE 5D3 - the SD on my camera goes to around 45x so buying a fast CF and having the SD being written to at the same time slows the camera to the snail's pace of the SD card all because on a £2.3K camera Canon put a crap SD reader inside, and they just did it again!!!

I really want to understand why this camera is priced so highly - the same in dollars as pounds, why?

Friday, 26 August 2016

Where I think Canon missed an opportunity

I really rate my 5D3. But, over time, Nikon has improved the exposure latitude of their sensors, it remains to be seen if Canon have now caught up. The new 5D4 introduces a new and clever sensor, that if you specify when shooting, (sort of) records two images which if you use Canon's software (does anyone?) you can fix the focus a bit... Note the sensor still has an 'AA' filter. The focusing is greatly improved too.

The new camera is launched as a 4K video camera, but, no focus peaking, no electronic viewfinder and a massive crop when switching to 4K. It does now feature a touch-screen, but if you use an electronic viewfinder, you don't need one - why - because you know you've nailed exposure, and for me, the rear screen is inadequate to review image detail especially in sunlight. When I'm out shooting, I almost never review on the screen, for my type of photography, a missed shot is just that.

Above all, why the massive price hike? The 5D3 came out at, I believe, £2.3k body only - what exactly makes this camera worth an extra grand? Put another way, camera plus kit lens + £500 = 1DX mk11! Um, let me think...

So what should Canon have done:

  • no anti-alias filter
  • a viewfinder system like the Fuji 100T with focus assist
  • improved OLED screen and not just more dots
  • 10 fps
  • GPS, yes great, but wi-fi that is basic - reminiscent of the EyeFi system - didn't they look at Nikon's snapbridge?

that, I think would command the extra £1K...

Thursday, 25 August 2016

I am so looking forward to...a new camera!

On the day that Canon announced the 5D Mk 4 I thought that it was time to post again.

It's not that I had nothing to say for a year, just that I have a life too!

I have paid for and am awaiting delivery of a Fujifilm X-T2! Because I can't resist an offer I have already got the 16mm f1.4, the 35mm f2.0, the 90mm f2.0 and the camera is coming with the grip and the 'kit' lens. For once I have B+W filters for protection rather than my usual Hoya HD's.

Am I therefore feeling a little sick that the replacement for my Canon 5D3 has reared it's head? - NO! At £3.5K body only, are Canon for real? Then add £1.1K for the kit lens, £2.35K for the third iteration of the 16-35mm and well, no, n,n,n,n,n, no! My entire Fuji haul is better made and costs less than the new body only...

The camera is compact and a lot lighter than the Canon 5D, when attached to the grip you loose this benefit, but go into boost mode which gives it twice the shooting power of the 5D in terms of frames per second.

The kit lens that doesn't know it is... and £200 off when bought with the body

And those lenses:

I toyed with the 56mm f1.2 but decided instead on the 135mm equivalent, the 90mm f2, as my favourite Canon lens was/is the 135mm.
This lens is the way you get bokeh on a wide prime!

At £274 for what a lot of pros are saying is a 'must have' well...

These lenses are exquisite in terms of build quality, and come with a great reputation, and these three cost less than the last lens I bought for my Canon, a 100-400 mk11!

Latest reports are that with the new firmware (still pre-release) the camera is quite simply unbelievable at continuous focus.

I still love you Canon, I think...

Friday, 23 October 2015

A bit about gear

I've used both Nikon and Canon as my main camera over the years and currently use a Canon 5D Mk111 which, at around £2k body only i.e. no lens, is not for everyone.

There are two important things that effect image quality, the sensor and the lens. The sensor needs to be free of noise and as large as you can afford - not in terms of megapixels, but in terms of area, and the lens needs to be 'good'. Put simply, a cheap compact camera will have a tiny sensor and tiny lens - most probably with a massive number of pixels and ridiculous zoom range. Any lens that zooms more than 3-4x is going to be very compromised, top pros tend to use 'prime' lenses which don't zoom at all! Where pixels are concerned, 12 megapixels are generally considered to be all you need for all but very large prints, so don't be the victim of marketing men if you want quality.

My rules when you purchase:
  • buy a compromise and you'll buy twice
  • buy into a quality brand
  • lenses last decades, cameras last 3-6 years
  • avoid off-brands when you have adopted a brand (use Canon lenses on Canon cameras)
finally, and I need to remember this one
  • limit the amount of gear, small quantity high quality
In early 2013 I swapped from Nikon to Canon full-frame and the difference has been amazing. I was using a Nikon D7000 with a number of lenses, my favourite being the 80-200 f2.8 - a lens I bought direct from Hong Kong because in 2007 when I bought it, I saved a bundle even after paying import duty - it's not the same now as the differential is not so great.
The 80-200mm is a real pro lens, it's replacement the 70-200 f2.8 VR is one of Nikon's best lenses and differs mainly in the fact that it has vibration reduction, the model I have is technically very good, look at the spider's web and bokeh in the shot below:

I found two massive benefits in swapping systems:

The Canon 5d Mk111 nails more shots and has better colour than the Nikon. It may not be fair to take a pro-sumer camera like a D7000 and compare it with a pro's camera, but the fact remains, I get more useable shots now than I did before.

For me the current best camera, because it has improved at each iteration is:

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

My Canon lens advice

Canon Choice - Lenses

Every year Canon seems to offer great discounts on their kit, and other than the NEC Photo show in March, there is no better time to buy. If you are considering Canon kit and you are wobbly about which lens to buy, I have done a lot of research and indeed purchase and below is what I recommend. I don't have all my recommendations, but I do know what kit is ideal, compromise and probably don't bother...

Of course, what you buy very much depends on your 'type' of photography, so I'll have to assume you know the difference between focal lengths and so on.

Wide lenses for landscapes, interiors and interesting perspectives:

I have just bought a 35mm f1.4 (MK1 not MK11), why, because at around £900 with £150 cashback, it's a bargain. The MK2 version is bigger, heavier, more plastic, sharper but has worse bokeh! I suggest you do the same while stocks last - I don't see you losing money as I think these exceptional lenses will hold their value.

Good, general purpose and affordable (what I use) Canon 17-40mm f4

The new and expensive 11-24 is beautiful but at £2.8k should be.

Standard lens and zooms that cover the so-called 50mm standard

Pro choice 24-70mm f2.8

50mm f1.2 - pricey, big, heavy and difficult to use

50mm f1.4 - does the mid range and what I use despite below - this is arguably the worse 50 that Canon do - the 1.8 STM is great for not a lot.

24-105 f4 - the kit lens, great lens, lots of pros use this, probably the only kit lens I would buy and yes, I did!


Here's where I will get disagreements!

Lots of people love the 85mm f1.8 - it's great for sharpness and bokeh, but I sent one straight back as I couldn't stand the purple and green fringes, only part of which I could get rid of in DXO software... unfortunately


85mm f1.2 - I so want one of these

100mm f2.8L macro - fantastic lens - I have one

a 70-200... the f4 if you want it for travel too or the 70-200 f2.8 VR 11 if not, you don't mind the weight and want what must be one of Canon's best lenses - I bought one of these and it's stunning!

Longer zooms and primes

a 70-200 see above

135mm f2.0 - my favourite lens

400mm DC - if you can afford/justify it

400mm f5.6 - if you can't

100-400 mk11 - a great lens, but with an extender (1.4x) on my 70-200, I'm there anyway (98-280 f4 and a crop if needed).

400mm f2.8 - it's the 300, but more