Aaannd… I’m done. I surrender. There’s no use in even trying to fight this anymore. Apologies for talking about it again, but barring some unforeseen bugs when it finally hits the streets, as soon as I can afford it I’ll be adding the X-Pro1 system to my arsenal. This is not about shiny new things or the lure of greener pastures… It’s about zeroing in on the right tools for me. And I’m ready for a change.
Earlier this week I wrote about new official samples released by Fujifilm and how impressed I was. Last night I downloaded yet another set of samples, this time from lensTip.com via Fujifilm Poland. This was the proverbial push overboard.
All the pics were shot by photographer Wojciech Wojtczak and they’re original out of camera JPEGS, with NR disabled and sharpening set to low. No 100% crops or pixel peeping this time folks: just look at the tone in these images. Heck, just look at these images, period. Wow.
Again, I downloaded the full-size files and loaded everything in Aperture 3. I then played around, pulling them a little more into my color palette just to see what I could get. Case closed.
The site even does an interesting comparison between the X-Pro1 and scanned in Velvia film shot with a Mamiya. There are obvious differences in curves and tone between the two but I quickly fixed these in Aperture. What’s interesting is how very film-like the X-Pro1 pictures look to my humble eye.
I don’t know what it is about the Fuji output, but it kicks the crap out of anything I’ve ever gotten out of my Nikons. I’m not talking specs here, just raw feelings, entirely subjective stuff. It feels more… alive.
So many things have changed this past year. I used to shoot exclusively in raw and never thought in a million years I’d even consider JPEG - and yet the X100 made me do exactly that. I still shoot raw mind you. But what used to be dogma just isn’t so clear cut anymore.
My world changed with the X100 and as a result the path before me has shifted. The lines have blurred. Nothing’s a given. Photography is a highly technical art form, but I’ve always felt it feeds off randomness and chaos. For some intangible and unknown reason, Fujifilm gear is somehow reintroducing randomness into my world, organic chaos. And I’m re-evaluating workflow and shooting style to accommodate that on a professional level. If it means slowing down, then I’ll slow down. I don’t shoot sporting events. I can afford to do it and I have a sneaking feeling it could bring my work somewhere else.
That said, I won’t be getting rid of my current Nikon gear. For one, I need a telephoto and the 70-200mm f2.8 is a superb lens. It would probably pay for the X-Pro1 body but getting rid of it isn’t an option.
This week Lensbaby released a new optic for their system: the Edge 80. As the name implies, it’s an 80mm focal length with an f2.8-f22 aperture range. It looks pretty stunning and might find its way to my gear bag.
I’ve always loved the original Lensbaby, the old plastic version with the rubber rings aperture system. I usually have it glued to f2, with all the crazy blurriness and CA associated with it, the reason being that I personally don’t like a super clear and delineated sweet spot. I prefer a more feathered look.
This new optic allows tighter levels of control over DOF. It’s still a niche effect mind you, but this makes it possible to do a much more subtle job of it.
It also seems to be a new, more serious class of optics for Lensbaby. Full details and a stunning gallery from photographer Fritz Liedtke on their site.
UK photographer Derek Clark and I share some very similar passions and his new documentary photography site has me feeling… Well, jealous. What a brilliant idea. The site will revolve around stories, told through Derek’s pen/keyboard and eye. There are two stories up already and he’s added a contact form to encourage local people to submit themselves to the process. I really love this. It’s rooted in community, words and images. Brilliant.
Soon he’ll be shooting with the X-Pro1 too. I seriously hate the guy. Check it out at derekclarkphoto.com
Another UK photographer who’s work I really like is David Charlwood. He posted a two-part series this week entitled ?? . Part one shows the pictures, part two goes behind the scenes. All shot with a 50mm f2 lens. Gorgeous natural light work (unless I’m mistaken, in which case David will hopefully correct me). Part one is here, part two here.
The Strobist linked to an old (1995) PBS American Masters documentary on Richard Avedon which is now available on YouTube. I watched it last night, mesmerized. Avedon was a force of nature and sheer will. His ability to destroy conventions literally transformed photography overnight, profoundly and forever. The amount of soul-shaking imagery he produced during his lifetime is mind-boggling. Transformative.
It’s a 90mn show cut up in 10mn segments. A bit of a pain but well worth it, believe me. Strobist has a playlist but it stopped working for me at some point. Here’s the link to the first segment on YouTube.
It was well after midnight when I finished watching Avedon. But I had to shoot something. Self, X100 1/125 f16 ISO 200.
Have a great weekend.