So there you are: I go off the grid for barely two weeks and Fuji releases its major X100 firmware update while Apple manages to shake the very foundation of its pro apps division. At least Lion didn't come out while I wasn't looking…!
An ocean away
We had a great time in France. No wonder street photography was born in Paris: the city grabs your eyes and never lets go. The buildings, people, cars, motorcycles... the movement of it all is just endless. New York is like that too. A creature onto itself. Myths aren't born out of nothing.
Weather wasn't really collaborating but luckily for us we pretty much followed the sun by traveling south during our stay — most of the country was struggling through rain and cool temperatures. We did Paris then Carcassonne, Perpignan, Nîmes, La Ciotat and Nice. I now have close to 3000 pictures that need a serious editing session. More on that soon.
The FCPX debacle
I'm not going to delve deeply into this one but it's too big a deal not to address it.
I used to work in broadcast television. I edited music videos, worked in a post-production house and was a partner in a production company called Nexzo. I first worked on Avid systems and then helped our company in the switch to Final Cut Pro (version 1.5 at the time, then 2-3-4). My girlfriend is also a post-production coordinator at a major production company — all this to say I know a thing or two about the requirements of this industry.
Like many others I'm having trouble understanding why Apple is doing this. And the manner in which they've chosen to do it. While I'm sure FCPX brings a whole heck of a lot to the table and appears to innovate in several areas, they've essentially killed off the pro in Final Cut Pro. They've taken out most of the features that allow the product to be used in a film and broadcast environment. This is serious guys: after years of courting and servicing the high-end post-production industry, going head to head with Avid and creating a real competitor Apple has basically told everyone to forget it.
Imagine if Aperture 4 came out and replaced Curves and Levels with iPhoto's Auto Enhance. And only allowed exporting small jpegs... through iTunes.
Apple's corporate behaviour with FCP is troubling to me as an Aperture user. If they can show this much disregard for the film and video industry, how much can I trust them with what has become the basis of my entire workflow? It appears Apple can wake up tomorrow and decide I'll now be working with a hammer instead of a screwdriver.
The price points they now choose for their software is now raising questions in my head as well. Of course I'm happy to pay less for the tools I use but these changes to FCPX shed a different light on the matter: are they abandoning any semblance of pro support? Should we be reading more into all this?
I love the fact that more users can come into the Aperture fold thanks to the new pricing on the Mac App Store. But at the risk of sounding like a big 'ol snob, it's made communities like the Aperture Discussions Forum a lot less interesting to read. You now have to sift through tons and tons of extremely basic discussions that should only require a quick read of the user manual, from users with only a passing interest in the software . The top content is much more diluted. And while I love to help out new users (and do so on a regular basis) I can't help but miss the old community.
I can only imagine what a $49 Motion 5 is going to do to that forum.
Don't get me wrong: I love how empowering this is for those who couldn't get on board before — but the future certainly holds a lot of questions…
For more on this matter check out John Gruber at Daring Fireball who's been linking to several reactions on the matter.
Last but not least: the 1.10 X100 firmware update. Not much to say right now since I've only had time to apply the update without really shooting with it yet. Release notes are plentiful (here) and while I'm still waiting for coherence in the ISO menu department, there's still a lot to go through (if this is your first update with this camera you might want to check out this post for clearer upgrade instructions). I'm curious to see how Velvia has been improved since my major reason for not using it was the crashing of black levels, a problem which is supposed to be fixed. Yup, still shooting JPEG with this camera.
Btw if you haven't read it yet JONATHANJK has a great — and extensive! — personal review of the X100 that's well worth the time. I finally got around to reading it last night... Told you I was off the grid ;)
Two trip pictures to end this wordy post. More later.