Peak Design Once Again Creates Innovative Solutions – This time for Mirrorless and Compact Digital Slr cameras

Peak Design Once Again Creates Innovative Solutions – This time for Mirrorless and Compact Digital Slr cameras

 

Why Have You Stopped Taking Pictures

Lately I have been speaking with people from all walks of life who used to love photography and making pictures but for reasons that are not really clear, just stopped doing it. 

What started the conversation was my little Cosyspeed Streetomatic Plus camera bag with a Manfrotto Pixi Evo table top tripod sticking up out of a side pocket.  When I explained my passion  for going minimalist they wanted to see what that meant.  Then they began to talk about the photography they used to do.

Men, women, young, older than young told me that at one time they owned a camera and lenses, still owned a camera, film or digital and some even had spent time in darkroom or at desk top computers with their photography.  Most said they had their phones, but really did not feel that a phone camera provided what a system camera like Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Nikon or Canon did.  The one common denominator was that at one time they loved, loved their photography.

When I questioned why they had stopped most really weren’t sure but felt perhaps that other priorities in life such as career building became a dominant factor and certain things had to be side lined in order to grow in other areas.

On a personal note and I told them that I felt that it was sad that they had stopped recording the important moments of their lives, abandoned something they loved to do instead of trying to incorporate it not only in their lives but the lives of their friends, their families.

Not only was all of that left behind but too was a chance to expand, to grow their artistic capabilities and to share those capabilities with others.

I have spent a lifetime involved in many aspects of photography having started in my dad’s darkroom right up to today. My love for photography as a hobby and a profession spans a lot of years and I consider myself fortunate that my personal love of photography was enhanced and expanded by working in world of photography which fortunately did not diminish my personal photography endeavors.

As I told the folks who I have met, if you have side lined photography, for whatever the reason and have interest in coming back at any level, I am here to help or guide you along that path.  So if I can be of any help please be sure to contact me. 

My Friend Bill – Last Year He Left The Room And Broke My Heart – But He Is In My Thoughts A Lot And I Miss Him

My Friend Bill – Last Year He Left The Room And Broke My Heart – But He Is In My Thoughts A Lot And I Miss Him – I am not totally sure why I am writing this blog now but I am sure there is some great emotional need for me to talk about him once again.

Bill, like myself had a passion for everything photography and his love for Nikon Camera gear was surpassed even by people like me who worked for Nikon for so many years.

He loved to join me on Nikon in store demonstrations and Nikon schools as he just loved to talk to others who either shot Nikon or who he wanted desperately to convert to Nikon shooters.  He was unrelenting in his passion for the brand and at times to his detriment. (I say that smiling)-

He would find no greater pleasure than sitting down with folks who he either knew or would come to know him forever and tell his tales of his life and his experiences and share is knowledge and wisdom about video and still photography  with old friends and new ones as well as those who would be friends. He considered himself Nikon representative.  And yes, that sometimes created confusion because I was the Nikon rep and after me there were a couple of other Nikon reps and to their benefit he was determined to help with his knowledge and enthusiasm.  It made him happy and after all he was more of a loyalist to Nikon than most people I had ever known.

When I say he lived and breathed Nikon it’s not even close to an exaggeration.  It is a truth beyond all truths and because he was that way I have to say that on the day his family and friends and co workers came together to celebrate his life, in a last good-bye, something was missing.

What was missing were all of the Nikon corporate people who knew Bill so extremely well and who Bill had helped in oh so many ways were sadly absent.  Not only were they absent but not one acknowledged that Bill had left the room.  Not a sigh, not a whimper, not a high-five as a thank you.  NOTHING.

That saddens me and I just felt that I had to say something.  Giving name, rank and social security number would not make a difference and after all the mindless, uncaring, self-absorbed son of bitches more than likely know who they are.

It is not that Bill and I always agreed and there were ups and downs but we were really true friends and cared for each other and in the end I only choose to remember the ups and what a dear friend and wonderful human being Bill was and is as he lives in my heart and mind.

I love you Bill.

What Happens When Your Camera Is The Same As Every Other Camera? An opinion piece!

 

What Happens When Your Camera Is The Same As Every Other Camera?  An opinion piece

I have used a lot of different camera brands and overall they all produced very nice images.  But the system that I finally wound up with after all my years of shooting with different cameras is the Fuji X system.  If I was to look at images from my current Fuji X camera, the X pro 2, and other camera systems all intermixed in the same folder and dumped into the same software I would have a very hard time knowing what camera produced what images in that folder.

So what does that leave me with?  It leaves me with a mirrorless camera system called “X” which is aesthetically very pleasing to look at and very comfortable to use having all kinds of dials and buttons for doing creative photographic stuff.  But it also leaves me with the feeling that the images that came from the first X cameras like the X100, X10 and X Pro 1 were much more AESTHETICALLY (film like) (smooth) (sort of pastel) pleasing which was why I bought into newer generations of the X brand.  It was not only the Jpeg files which are processed in camera but it was also the raw files.

This does not mean that the images out of the X’s today are not excellent because they are.  It means that a certain quality that Fuji seemed to have master with their first X bodies has been replaced by something that any dSLR can produce.

So that leaves me with the aesthetic look and feel of the body and the prime lenses I use.  And that will have to be enough I guess because at this stage of the game I have to admit that I am not disappointed in the image quality when it comes to resolution and dynamic range which is on a par with other cameras.  But I am disappointed with the overall look of the images from an emotional point of view.

I have to ask how and why this has happened?  I was led to believe that it was the different design of the Fuji sensor that made the difference in color and texture in the images but I guess that turns out not to be the case.

It’s not a deal breaker only because I no longer have the desire to break in a new system that for all practical purposes will give me the same image quality I am currently getting.  But I do miss that aesthetic look of the images from the first early X cameras.

Monochrome — updated July 13th, 2017 with a better viewing method

 

Monochrome — updated July 13th, 2017 with a better viewing method

Many many years ago when I was just a kid working in my dad’s darkroom, black and white photography was what we did.  People shot in black and white, processed black and white and created images that were story telling, dramatic, honing in on what was the primary subject and not the colors.  Black and White totally eliminated color and isolated what is important in an image, the subject.

I am not against good color images and to be honest, if done right can provide us with the beauty of the world overall.  Color is most certainly a part of photographic lives and story telling so I am not discounting what great color represents to the photographer and the images a photographer gives to us.

There is a long-awaited and most certainly deserved rebirth  of the monochrome image, which is not solely black and white.  People are beginning to appreciate how a monochrome image draw them into the image, right to the heart of the story, the subject.

Overtime and even more so today I have processed digital images that were created in raw color by the cameras software, into monochrome images with a variety of software products.  With wonderful software in the market today I have come to process images both in color and black and white in Picktorial 3.0 raw processor which provides me with universal and local adjustments for all my tools.  Then in the final process should I want a more artistic approach I either export a copy of my image to Nik Silverefex Pro 2.0 (soon to be discontinued completely) or Alien Skin X2 Layer software  and/or On1 Photo Raw

However, as I am a Mac user, I do use Picktorial for over all adjustments and then Alien Skin x2 to finish if necessary.  I should note that Alien Skin is also a raw processor for both Windows and Mac as is On1.

I have also set up my Fuji X cameras, all three of them to shoot black and white Jpegs and color raw files at the same time.  So what I see in the viewfinder and LCD screen is a black and white (monochrome) image.

Definitions

Adjective:  1) having only one color, 2) representing colors with shades of gray (photography).

Origin: From Ancient Greek μονόχρωμος ‎(monókhrōmos), from μόνος ‎(mónos, one) + χρῶμα ‎(khrôma, color); mono- +‎ -chrome.

First known use: Early decades of the 19th century.

Modern use: ELLIOTPAULSTERN.ME

Digital photography, monochrome is the capture of only shades of black by the sensor, or by post-processing a color image to present only the perceived brightness by combining the values of multiple channels (usually red, blue, and green). The weighting of individual channels may be selected to achieve a desired artistic effect; if only the red channel is selected by the weighting then the effect will be similar to that of using a red filter on panchromatic film. If the red channel is eliminated and the green and blue combined then the effect will be similar to that of orthochromatic film or the use of a cyan filter on panchromatic film. The selection of weighting thus allows a wide range of artistic expression in the final monochromatic image.

 

Essential = absolutely necessary; indispensable-Cosyspeed Streetomatic plus

Essential = absolutely necessary; indispensable – Cosyspeed Essential Solutions

 

That is what most dictionaries say.  And what that means based on what each individual believes will determine what in their photographic life is essential.

For the fun of it I am including a small poll to see what you feel is essential.

I’ll get right down to specifics about what I use:

  1. If I carry 1 body, 3 primes and one 18-55 zoom, cable release, extension tubes, 4 batteries, extra memory cards (2), Custom Slr strap, Spider Light Belt Holster, Nissin i40 flash.  I use a Billingham Hadley Pro shoulder bag (cross chest).  It is quite weather proof like my cameras and lenses.
  2. If I carry 1 body, 3 primes, 3 batteries, cable release, lens cleaner, Nissin i40 flash, extra memory cards, cable release, cell phone   I use a ThinkTank Urban Approach 10 (weather resistant and rain cover)  shoulder bag (cross chest)
  3. If I carry 1 body, 3 primes, 2 batteries, 2 memory cards, small Fuji Mini Flash EF-X20, lens cleaner I use a waist pack called CosySpeed Streetomatic +.  This bag is adjustable up to 50 inches and can be warn around the waist with it resting on a hip.  It can also be used cross chest as well. It is weather resistant and comes with a rain cover.

It has taken me too many years to determine what is essential for me.  Every time I think I have figured it out I wind up still going back to old habits and taking with too much gear, most of which does not get used.  That was then and this is now.  And now after 74 years of weight bearing shoulders and back containers for carrying gear I know I have it licked.

The Cosyspeed Streetomatic + (plus) is the Goldilocks solution.  I is not too  big, to small. It is just right for a comfortable day out with the bare essentials I need for taking photographs all day long.

This is what I actually get in this bag.

  • Fuji X pro 2 with a 35mm 2.0 prime lens with lens hood mounted and an L bracket attached to the bottom of the camera for tripod mounting.  Please note that in a picture below I show the Cosyspeed finger strap attached.  It comes with the Cosyspeed bag and is a very secure way to have your camera in hand.
  • Fuji 50mm 2.0 with bayonet hood
  • Fuji 23mm 2.0 with bayonet hood
  • 2 Fuji (OEM) batteries
  • 2 Extra Memory Cards
  • 1 iphone 6 +
  • 1 small flash in a case added to the belt of the waist pack
  • 1 lens cleaning cloth

There are days when I may only take the 18-55 zoom with hood extended.  But usually it is my 3 primes.  Two of my primes are attached to back to back rear lens caps that I glued together for portability and efficiency.

The Exposure Triangle: Making Sense of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO-via PetaPixel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are about to learn something new, or are revisiting what you may of have sort of put aside for the love of automation it is always a smart thing to do learn or relearn the basics.

This article posted on PetaPixel is going to do just that for you.

How important is exposure in photography? What are the components of exposure? What is the “Exposure Triangle”? These are the questions I will attempt to a

Source: The Exposure Triangle: Making Sense of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO

Major firmware updates coming for Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2: DpReview & Fujirumors

Thank goodness there is at least one camera company that cares about and supports their customers.

 

 

 

If you are a Fuji X photographer you have to be in love with the folks at Fuji who have continuously updated firmware in their camera models at no charge and without any hassle since the inception of the product line.

Unlike other camera companies whose firmware updates are for fixing existing problems that should have been done long before the camera or lenses came to market Fuji not only admits when there has been a problem but also continues at least for a couple of years to update firmware so that it incorporates brand new features that the cameras did not have before.

In this case Fuji has announced one upgrade for the Xpro2 and the XT2 that will be here at the end of March and another that will probably come the end of may and it will add 33 brand new or enhanced features between the two models.

Not only do they produce beautiful and innovative products, you are virtually guaranteed that you will not be left behind as new models enter the market place.

I would call them the industry good guys.

 

Fujifilm will launch a couple of major firmware updates for its X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras. Features on the way include focal length-dependent minimum shutter speed in ISO auto and added tools for video shooters. Read more

Source: Major firmware updates coming for Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2: Digital Photography Review

AND THE CYCLE CONTINUES AS Nikon cancels DL compact series citing high development costs: Digital Photography Review

 

 

AND THE CYCLE CONTINUES AS Nikon cancels DL compact series citing high development costs

It was back in November 2016 that Nikon did what was unheard of in the walls of Nikon Inc., and downsized by 1000 personnel to help stop a leaking boat.

Now the exceptional, never delivered DL series of cameras is gone before it ever really got here.  They have had all kinds of excuses for why delivery could not happen and now they say it is too expensive.

Nikon says that the development costs had become too great to continue. A statement released today also mentions the company’s concern that it wouldn’t sell enough units to make up for the increased costs, due to a slow down in the market.

On top of all that they have had an extreme financial loss as stated in this article from DPreview.

I personally think the DL series had great consumer potential, if they had delivered  when they were supposed to.  I know a great many people looking to carry less and some were even willing to own both cameras in lieu of a DSLR outfit.  Sad.

What is even worse is the fact that Nikon was and is the only camera company not to embrace mirrorless cameras.  Unlike Leica, Hasselblad, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and the list goes on.

And then there is the Key Mission 360 degree cameras.  Is this late to the party POV camera enough to pull up the Nikon losses?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime competition like GoPro and others have been showing declining sales of this type of product for several years now.  Who is steering the Nikon ship?

The camera manufacturers have been on the losing end for a while because of steep competition from the phone industry.  But no matter what any one says, the phone concept as being a main camera for the serious photographer is BS.

In my opinion he quality of images from terrific stand alone cameras is still greater, better, and necessary if consumers are going to do the smart thing and print their images instead of goo gooing  over them in front of a tablet, phone, or computer monitor which don’t offer what a good print will always offer.

 

Nikon has officially put an end to the DL series. Announced just under a year ago, the three DL compacts would have had 1″ sensors, and were originally set to ship in June 2016. Read more

Source: Nikon cancels DL compact series citing high development costs: Digital Photography Review

The Philosophy Of Less – – – If You Own Way Too Much Gear Then It Is Time To Get A Smaller Bag

I recently had a visit from a photographer friend who I have known for a very long time.  We were friends in several territories I covered for Nikon for 33 years.

He was in Washington DC for an assignment and he had a couple of days before he had to get shooting.

He looked pretty tired and physically uncomfortable and I badgered him until he let loose with his story.wheelbarrowgear

He owns 3 systems of camera gear.  Canon, Sony A7, and Fuji X.  While he uses them all, his Canon system remains his current mainstay so he carries his 2 Canon 5D Marks, together with 3 zooms and 3 prime lenses, 2 flashes, etc.  His total load weighs in at about 25 pounds.  So he hurts from carrying all his gear, he carries the extra body, all the lenses and flashes and accessories.  But here is the real deal.  He generally only shoots with 2 of his lenses and 1 body and 1 flash.  He carries it all, even with all of his experience because of a fear he might need the focal length to get the shot.

So even after all the years of shooting he was still fundamentally impaired when it came to carrying less.

So I challenged him, well okay created a situation that would force him to change and adapt and have more confidence in his ability to get the shot with the gear I was going to let him carry.  I gathered up his Canon and Sony gear while he slept and secured it in a galaxy far, far away and left him only with his Fuji Xt1,  23mm 1.4, and 56mm 1.2, 50-140 zoom, small flash by Nisson 3 batteries, 4 cards, 4 packs of Lens Cleaner and lens tissue.  And I grabbed a ThinkTank Photo 30i mirrorless bag of my shelf and loaded his gear into it.  I shall not describe the reaction, the language, and the frustration he showed as he left to shoot his job, yelling I ruined his life.

Long story short, he returned from his job, 1200 images later, hopped up the steps in front of the house ready to go out for dinner.  He wanted to know if I would come live with him so I could hide his equipment on a regular basis.

Of course that is not going to happen. However, he is now convinced that self restraint, and reaching for the smaller  bag, making it a container that he has to live and work with, is possible and that less is more and better for his back.

He has been leaving his Canon gear at home.  Not because there is any thing functionally wrong with it except for the fact like Nikon and other full sized systems it is too big, too heavy.  He gets to his assignments in less pain and with more energy and has learned that even with all of his experience as a journalist, he can get better imaging with less gear by relying on the smaller bag and his exceptional talent.

For me the decision what to take is an easy one.  I own the terrific Fuji XT1 and 4 primes, and the lens that is generally on the body for my walk about is the pancake 27mm 2.8.  fuji xt1A very small but might sharp lens.  I generally couple that with either my 14mm 2.8 or 56mm 1.2.  I like fast primes.  My other system is one that most will not remember.  It is the Ricoh GXR system and lens modules.  I have the 24-85 zoom, 50mm 2.8 macro, and the 28mm 2.8.  That whole system fits comfortably in one small bag.  That bag is called the Cosyspeed Streetomatic (black but other colors available) and it can either be worn across the chest or around the waist.  These are small systems, with great imaging and controls and one or the other is always with me.

I have a lot of small bags and large bags for that matter but I have found the Cosyspeed Streetomatic protective while supplying quick access to my camera.  Very handy especially for someone like me who really loves street photography.

But it is important to remember that no matter what kind of photography you love the Philosophy Of Less should apply.  Whether you are out for the day enjoying the sites, on the street to capture life as it happens, hiking through the woods, etc..

Everyone I know is strong willed enough to make a decision on less gear and learning to make less gear work for you.  Photographers for many years have done just that with great success and less stress.

 Go to the cosyspeed web site if you are using small mirrorless, or small Dslr products and learn what a pleasure going out for the day with your camera gear can be.

wjlzrz4jhz0sq0ltl9z4

The image to the left is the Streetomatic in different configurations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited By Brian Zwitwww.schoolofcreativephotography

You Have Finally Decided What Your Next Lens Will Be. Now What’s Next?

You Have Finally Decided What Your Next Lens Will Be.  Now What’s Next?

I am pretty sure I know what the next step will be.  It is going to be long and tedious and there is a possibility that the long stressful hours into the night will cause some form of pathological (my new favorite word) disorder.

Of course I am going to go down history lane and say “in the good ol’ days” my next step would be to walk or drive  or take a train or maybe a bus, maybe both to my brick and mortar camera store maybe after reading a review in a magazine.

But being this is not many yesterdays but today, I know that the first place you are going to go is Google or some other lesser search engine and find 60 reviews of the lens you are thinking about.  Here you may have an opportunity to read some biased and unbiased opinions, look at performance charts that mean nothing to you or the reviewer, while said reviewer will tell you at the end how great the lens is or is not but compared to his Leica Summicron which costs ten thousand dollars this lens is a piece of crap.

The internet can be a wonderful source of information or a bottomless cesspool of uneducated bloggers with very smelly misinformation.  The best way to figure out if your chosen lens desire is going to perform the way you want it to is go to a camera store, try it, buy it, take it home and try it again, go shoot and make great images.  Do not fret over your purchase, don’t surf the blogs for useless information, go shoot stuff.

Do not look for opinions on  argumentative forums or from self ordained gurus.  Just go shoot.  If you don’t read misleading “shitty” reviews then you will not have to fuss over bull crap written by less knowledgeable people than yourself and you will be amazed at how great your images look.

While I love the internet and I do read reviews, I am always amazed how many forums have very fine folks  for the most part, who spend more time testing their gear than actually using for what the bought it for.  They look for the tiniest flaw and then report to all of us how bad the product is.  Test less, get the hell out of the house and make pictures with your new lens, camera, filter, etc.

And most of all support what is left of the brick and mortar real camera store.  Not a Best Buys, Target or Walmart.  A real and totally dedicated camera store.  You will be better off for doing that.

Understanding Black and White Filters in Lightroom

Understanding Black and White Filters in Lightroom.

This is an excellent article for those who are interested in understanding how filters act to enhance black and white photography either in a program like Adobe Lightroom, or by selecting a filter in you cameras software if it has black and white presets.

This article explains how this filtration changes the look of the black and white tones.

It is very well written and educational.  Learn something today…….

The Everyday Messenger: A Bag For Cameras & Essential Carry by Peak Design — Kickstarter

This is totally unfair.   Just when I got finished getting rid of tons of camera bags, and packing up the expensive bags like Ona and Billingham  that I just could not get rid of, here comes A NEW BAG from PEAK DESIGN.

The Everyday Messenger: A Bag For Cameras & Essential Carry by Peak Design — Kickstarter.

It looks like it fulfills a lot of what a lot of people in general are looking for as it fills the needs of everyone in a rather ingenious way.

I have not had hands on so I cannot say for sure what it is really going to carry like but considering it is a PEAK DESIGN PRODUCT I am sure it is going to be ce14cddeb50ae0e4187c852aeecb613f_original-680x400JUST SUPERB.  

I am looking forward to getting hands on asap.

Improve Your Lighting Skills with a Trip to the Toy Store

 

I have been doing this with toys for the longest time and find them to be a wonderful way to do still life studies and learn about lighting .  Please read this article. It is great for a rainy day or when you can’t get out of the house for one reason or another.

Improve Your Lighting Skills with a Trip to the Toy Store.

Cosyspeed Camslinger Bags | PhotographyBLOG

Cosyspeed Camslinger Bags | PhotographyBLOG.

 

I have written about these bags before and I am now posting another blog’s opinion.  If you are looking for a bag for your mirrorless system that is adjustable, comfortable, lightweight fast access, weather resistant, and great for ALL DAY USE.

Elliot