September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
Fujifilm has just announced the release of a new enthusiast compact camera, the X10. It features a 2/3” CMOS sensor and 28-112mm-equivalent zoom lens at F2.0-2.8. As you can see, it borrows heavily design-wise from the Fujifilm X100, which has been a runaway hit with enthusiasts and professional photographers alike.
Some really interesting features that are quite excited include:
- 4x manually operated optical zoom – a rotating barrel lens that operates the zoom, for that authentic vintage effect.
- Bright Optical viewfinder – It doesn’t boast the hybrid viewfinder found on the X100 but to have a usable 85% coverage in a point-and-shoot camera is still impressive. Amazing to see that they have managed to pair a decently sized sensor with a zoom lens on this compact body.
- Full HD 1080p videos – at 30 fps is becoming standard but still really handy in a camera of this size
- Vintage styling – Its retro looks go a long way and old school dials and a full manual mode really complete the full vintage effect.
I love the all black die-cast magnesium alloy body which will no doubt be ultra light, stunning to look at and easy to use. It looks to appeal to the high-end compact enthusiasts photographers and with the X100 as its older brother, the X10 will no doubt prove to be a very desirable premium compact.
The X10 is up against some impressive competition, and in a red-hot mirrorless market, it will need to replicate the success of the X100 to succeed. The Nikon P7100, Canon G12 and Olympus E-P3 have been tremendous achievements for their respective manufactures, relatively lightweight, compact cameras that are discreet enough for street photography and don’t compromise on quality. As each manufacturer seeks to build on these successes, the competition will on continue to grow.
Premium compacts has really exploded in the last few years, making better quality gear more affordable to broader markets. Cameras like the X10 will allow people to be more technically creative with their photography than ever before, packed full of features often reserved for DSLRs. Cameras like the Fujifilm X100, Nikon P7100 and the Olympus E-P3 have really proved popular with both amateurs and professionals alike, this broad appeal proves the legitimacy of camera of this type.
The Fujifilm X10 will no doubt be one of the most desirable of the premium compacts and with good reason, a solid spec sheet and unique styling that can’t be matched. In a highly competitive market, buyers will be looking for features and details specific to there needs, and although the X10 carries a feature set which sets it on top of the heap. Hopefully these features can work as a package to deliver a DSLR images from a compact body.
September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
A list of reasons could be endless; bringing out the texture of a playful scene, accentuating the contrast in of a portrait to create drama, to focus on patterns or repetitions, the technical process to achieve an image or just creating focus to the story of a scene. These reasons make black and white photography both one of the simplest and sophisticated art forms and why it appeals to so many.
Black and white can be used in almost any instance, from weddings to funerals, landscapes to portraiture. It is also flexible enough to be used in a wide range of conditions, from the brightest days to the darkest corners. This versatility makes it a reliable old friend to photographers, allowing them great deal of freedom when capturing images either in a studio environment or on the road.
Distraction of colour
With the element of colour removed, the technical essence of black and white photography is defined simply by the exposure of an image; using the shutter speed, aperture and ISO to successfully capture a wide range of light. Exposure allows the photographer to manipulate a scene to tell a story without the distraction of colour. This allows us to focus on the details of an image or bring significance to a moment.
Emotion and realism
Black and white can emphasis powerful emotions or messages. Candy Cigarette by Sally Mann is a great example of an image that evokes a wide range of feelings from viewers and also asks so many questions. This ability to capture realism which can then be read in so many ways makes black and white a unique way of engaging with people.
Using black and white
Even though there are some basic practices one should adhere to, it can be fun to experiment and be playful to find techniques and methods that are comfortable with you and in the digital age, any colour shot can be processed into a black and white gem.
Keep in mind we are not suggesting that black and white photography is superior to colour photography, it is just different. Just like a palette knife or paintbrush, it is tool used by artists to tell a story.
September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment
Black and white photography has always been a keen interest of mine.
What I love about it is how well it engages with the viewer both visually and emotionally. It has the ability to tell a story so effectively and succinctly and for me it’s about reading into those stories and creating your own details. Even though it seen as one of the more accessible forms of the visual arts, I feel it is still a wonderfully expressive and tangible art form.
Moving over to digital over the decade has been liberating; the immediateness and instant satisfaction is really addictive and allows you to be more spontaneous and playful. It also means that you have to adapt quickly to improve results and be more creative in finding solutions to visual problems. What I’ve missed however, is the connectedness with the subject when using an EVF (electronic view finder), you miss the small things, like interesting movements of light or little details, which can really make all the difference. I’ve made up for this now by acquiring a Fujifilm X-100. I’ve been hanging on for a Nikon SLR, but this has everything that I look for in a camera. It’s compact (well compared to a SLR at least!) and best of all it has a bright and useful hybrid OVF (optical view finder) which gives that connectedness back.
Ultimately, the gear just facilitates the experience for a photographer, and for me it is being connected with everyday people in everyday places. This is why I love street photography and photojournalism, the places and subjects may be distant or foreign but the feelings and stories that are told through a photo communicate directly to the viewer and there is a sense of immediate connectedness.
September 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with travel photography. It’s proved to be a real challenge to put down the camera in some instances, whilst other times I feel I’m missing out on some great shots.
Most of my overseas travel has been to Burma, my cultural home for myself and my wife. Apart from being a real life-changing experience, its presented me with a vast array of photographic opportunities; my only regret is sometime not fully indulging on those opportunities. Perhaps some of my photographic reluctance in these situations comes from the me feeling like a foreigner with a camera. I’m not an extrovert and like to lay low especially in a country where foreigners stand out.
Do you feel the same way when traveling and mind standing out of the crowd when photographing?
September 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
Welcome to my musings on digital black and white photography. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin by introducing all of you to my daughter Sophia.
I’ll be exploring the various aspects of black and white photography; talking about techniques, subjects and philosophies. I’ll also look at new cameras and gear that makes the creative process fun! I look forward to taking part in discussions and collaborations with you too.