Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘camera

First Shots: Canon G1 X Mark II

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I’ve been shooting with Canon’s brand new flagship Powershot camera this week, the G1 X Mark II. The original G1 X didn’t really interest me at all. This camera, however, is a different story.

I’m still assessing its abilities, but right off the bat I’m impressed with the image quality. The RAW files respond well to one of my favorite VSCO presets, Velvia 50, which I used to process most of these shots.

The video mode isn’t very robust, but the quality is pretty good. Footage below was shot hand-held with the camera set to 1080/30p. You can check out more footage on my Youtube channel as well.

I’m really liking this camera so far. It’s pretty quick and responsive, I love the dual control rings, and the 24-120mm f/2-3.9 lens is fast and flexible. Can’t wait to spend more time with this thing!

 

Written by Jonathan

April 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Small Camera, Huge Sensor

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Logged more time with Sony’s powerhouse of a compact camera this weekend. This thing is a serious imaging machine!

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Do I love it? Yes. The image quality is absolutely stunning, as expected, and the camera’s build quality is top notch. But I only borrowed this thing to keep me occupied while I waited for my rangefinder to come out of repair. Once I get my M3 back, I doubt I’ll miss the RX1. =)

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All Images: Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1

Written by Jonathan

December 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Sony RX1

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 Sony RX1 | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 6400

Got my hands on a brand spanking new Sony RX1 this evening! Despite the high price and the little time I’ve actually spent with this camera so far, I can already tell the RX1 is going to make some waves. It’s basically a point and shoot, and in practice it operates just like you’d expect a compact camera to operate. The fact that it’s packing a 35mm film-sized sensor, however, is just crazy considering how incredibly small the camera actually is.


 Sony RX1 | 1/50 sec, f/2, ISO 800

Built into the RX1 is a nice chunk of Zeiss glass, a 35mm f/2 Sonnar. You won’t be swapping lenses with this thing, which actually doesn’t bother me too much since I’ve been shooting with my fixed-lens Fuji x100 for such a long time.  What does bother me is that the RX1 costs more than double what I paid for the x100. Ouch.


Sony RX1 | 1/80 sec, f/2, ISO 3200


 Sony RX1 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 6400

I’ll need to wait until Adobe releases RAW support for the RX1’s files before I can post process the camera’s output myself. For now, the images in this post are all camera-processed JPEGs.

These images where shot hand-held at very high ISO. Pretty impressive performance low-light performance, which is not too surprising considering the big fat sensor Sony stuffed into this thing. More impressions to come on the RX1 as I evaluate it over the next week. Stay tuned!

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Written by Jonathan

December 4, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Analogue Adventures Part II

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Image: Fuji X100 | 1/55 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 

I’m pretty sure I’ve found a camera that will most certainly help me drain my bank account due to film and processing costs. I picked up this Olympus XA at a local used camera sidewalk sale the other week. A tiny, durable little film camera with a 35mm f/2.8 F-Zuiko lens, aperture priority auto-exposure and manual focus using a small RF patch in the viewfinder. It’s smaller and lighter than my Nikon V1 (my smallest digital camera), so there’s always space in the camera bag for the little guy.

The XA really came in handy one morning when the batteries ran out on the digital camera I was carrying. I loaded a roll of Velvia 50 and used it as my only camera for the entire day, and wouldn’t you know, it was the most fun I’ve had shooting in a long time.


Image: iPhone 4s 


Image: iPhone 4s

The last time I shot Velvia I had the film cross-processed, which produced some funky results. This time I went with standard E6, and when I placed the processed strips of film over the light table at the lab (above), my jaw dropped. Not only are the colors amazing, but the camera itself performed beyond my expectations. The following scans do no justice to what I actually saw on that light table, but here’s most of my first roll of RVP50 from my new favorite film camera. It should be obvious from these frames that Suki really tries hard to never look at the camera:

You all know I’m partial to Suki, but I must say, this image I took outside my favorite coffee shop is my favorite frame from the roll:

Hah! Makes me laugh every time I look at it =)

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All images: Olympus XA | Velvia 50 | E6 Processing (unless otherwise noted)

Written by Jonathan

April 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Suki…Unleashed!

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Fuji X100 | 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

Such a historic day for Suki, and as you can see, she’s quite happy about it. Today we granted her the most off-leash freedom she has ever had. There’s no better place in the city to do this than at Fort Funston, an old military outpost located at the south end of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The area is full of wide open space, sand dunes, trails, and of course, there’s the beach.

When Suki was younger we let her off leash at this same park, and quickly regretted the decision as she bolted off into the horizon with no regard for her pack (her comparatively slow-moving human parents). Most Shiba owners have at least one Shiba-bolting horror story to tell….I have like…20. In fact, I took my opening photo of my 52 weeks project at this location. Check out the image here. See the leash? Yeah, I totally didn’t trust her back then.

But while I’d still never ever let her off leash on a city street (it’s not legal anyway in SF), I’ve come to trust the bond Suki and I have built over the years. She definitely knows we belong to each other, and while Bridget was feeling a little hesitant today, I knew that Suki wouldn’t ditch us this time.

So, at peace with the entire concept, we stepped out onto the ice plant and set her free:


Fuji X100 | 1/80 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200

The image above represents a very memorable moment for me. She actually bolted ahead of us, turned the corner and disappeared. Before I could even call out to her, she reappeared just as you see her above. That’s right. A Shiba Inu waiting up and making sure her humans are following….for reals?!?!

From that point forward, it was all smooth sailing:


Fuji X100 | 1/280 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/280 sec, f/5, ISO 800

Suki is definitely the recon member of our family, scouting ahead from time to time but never forgetting to pull back and let us catch up, even stopping when we stop:


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/850 sec, f/2, ISO 400

Thrilled with the entire situation, we continued onto a trail from the dunes down to the beach. At this point Suki had burned off a significant amount of energy, and now more relaxed, stuck even closer to us:


Fuji X100 | 1/950 sec, f/2, ISO 400

Unlike the puppy Suki of old, today’s Suki won’t chase absolutely anything that runs (above).


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 400

A simple “let’s go, Suki,” and she snaps away from what ever she’s doing and follows. If I didn’t have these photos I’d swear none of this was real, just an awesome dream.

The following are a few of the images I took at the beach, processed into black and white in post:

When we were done at the beach, it was a long climb back up the cliff. We took the stairs, and Suki…well, eventually got on the stairs, but not before breaking a few rules. In the image below, she’s looking at me as I yell out “hey silly, you do NOT qualify as wild life! Get back on the stairs!”


Fuji X100 | 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 800 (flash on)

Such a beautiful area to bring the dog, and such an exciting day for Team Suki!

One side note: I’m getting a lot of questions and emails about what picture settings I use when I shoot with my Fuji X100. I’ll go ahead and answer that question here once and for all. I’ve mentioned this before, but for most of my recent blog posts that involve shooting simple snaps and documenting life etc, I find it easier to work with the JPEG files from the camera than to shoot everything in RAW. So when I’m not shooting RAW, I use these picture settings:

Film Sim: Astia
Dynamic Range: Auto
Color: High
Sharpness: Hard
Highlight Tone: M-Hard
Shadow Tone: M-Hard
Noise Reduction: M-Low
White Balance: Auto
WB Shift: +2 Red, -2 Yellow

I make slight curve adjustments in post to my taste, and that’s it. Depending on the situation, I sometimes use the Provia film simulation as well. The other question I get a lot is “does the X100 produce great JPEGs?”

YES.


Fuji X100 | 1/420 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

I’m proud of you Suki. Today you have proven yourself off leash. =)

Return of the Suki

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I am happy to report that Suki has completely recovered from her recent illness.  A long stroll in Golden Gate Park ensued, with no itching and scratching I might add:


Fuji X100 (all images)


Fuji X100 | 1/25 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

I am Suki the Shiba Inu, and I am way too cool for the cone of shame.

Written by Jonathan

July 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Fuji X100 : Intelligent Flash

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Fuji X100 | 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800

You know those tiny and often useless flash units built into many smaller cameras or that pop out of the top of many DSLRs? The ones that many people totally avoid using because they seem to hurt more than help? The X100 has one of those. Here’s the thing though: I actually find it useful.

Sometimes you’re dealing with pretty crummy lighting and you need a small amount of fill, a kiss of light to hit your subject to keep them from being all shadowed up. Muah:

A few more examples of how well the fill flash works on this camera.

In these three image there was so much harsh sunlight (the sun was directly above us at this particular time of the day) that a straight shot without flash would have looked terrible. So I had my subjects look down, essentially shadowing their faces, and I popped some on camera light at them. Worked great for preserving detail in the background without completely silhouetting my subjects.

There is one problem you can run into however. You can see it in the image of the wifie above: Notice how her eyes and nose are lit by the flash, but there seems to be a loss of light from her nose down? That’s the accessory hood getting in the way:

I kind of light the spot light sort of look it gave to the image, but in most cases you’ll want to remove the X100’s lens hood (if you have one) before you use the flash.


Fuji X100 |  1/950 sec, f/2, ISO 400

I wrote a post a while back that covered the X100’s ability to sync with my SB-900 flashgun at crazy high shutter speeds. That high speed sync helps the camera’s tiny, relatively low-powered built-in flash as well, allowing you to shoot wide open and still light a heavily backlit subject with it, as seen in the example above.


Left: Fuji X100 | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 3200 || Right: Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t go out of my way to use that tiny little on-camera flash. Sometimes however, using it becomes the difference between getting a shot and not getting a shot. In that sort of situation, I’m pretty surprised at how easy it is to get natural results with the built-in flash. Low light portraits are a good example (above).

Ever use flash to take someone’s photo in a dark room or outside at night and get a super bright or even blown-out subject with a black hole for a background? Yuck. You can usually compensate by manually using a slower shutter speed to burn in some ambient while you mix your flash in to get a better image, or in the X100’s case, just turn the flash on and shoot.  Both of the low light shots above were taken in Aperture Priority Auto. All I did was turn the flash on and the camera did the rest, properly exposing my subject and balancing in the ambient (whatever little amount of ambient there was anyway).

Of course, human beings are not the only subjects the little flash can help you out with:


Fuji X100 | 1/750 sec, f/10, ISO 400

A little on-axis fill to lessen the harsh shadows on Bo Bear here. Also comes in handy for bringing a little more detail out of heavily shadowed areas of your frame. Check out the difference in detail, especially inside the shadowed area of the gas pump on the right, between the first image shot without flash, and the second with flash activated:


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 800 (flash off)


Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 (flash on)

I like that the results are subtle. They don’t scream “taken with flash!!!!”


Fuji X100 | 1/220 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

These leaves were pretty heavily shadowed. Use the flash to lighten them up against the background.

I must say, when I first saw the little built-in flash on the X100 I just chuckled. But hey, it comes in handy. Fuji calls it an “intelligent flash.” Seems like an appropriate name considering how easy it is to get natural results with it.  Good job, Fuji!

Written by Jonathan

July 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm