FUJI X100F – 6 Month Review

Enter.

I like this little camera. Model Ana Rivera ain’t bad either.

So it has been 6 months since the Fuji X100F debuted and I of course purchased the first one sold in my city of Baltimore. In fact, I have yet to see another X100F in Baltimore, but I digress. Since I bought the camera I’ve shot ~5000 photos and spent untold lunch breaks going through the menus. I’ve shot sports sidelines, pretty models, and I’ve shot and killed streets. I’ve hooked up an external flash, more on that later, and have fallen in love with using the LCD only to shoot.

WHAT I LOVE

I started out with this camera thinking I could shoot jpegs using those cute film simulation modes. I really tried to make it work too. My favorite one is ACROS (followed by Classic Chrome). I used ACROS a lot. I knew though, that sometimes I needed to record a scene in color so I quickly started shooting RAW + Jpegs to my card, which slows my Lightroom flow down, but it was manageable. Then, at some point, I downloaded the fuji film simulation plugins from some damn place on the internet and installed it in Lightroom. That way I could change a Fuji (only Fuji) RAW file to the Classic Chrome look if I wanted, or whatever. After a while I figured there really is no fucking difference between the in-camera jpeg film simulations and the Lightroom plugin camera conversions, AND I noticed that Fuji RAW files have a shit ton of dynamic range. I shoot all RAW now. Fuck it. Those in-camera film simulation modes are too cute for me…

I never understood or cared about having a leaf shutter until I started shooting sidelines at sporting events. I normally shoot 1/1000 F5.6 and auto ISO range 200-800 during the day for streets. When I’m shooting events I turn on the built-in fill flash just for shits and giggles. This is when I discovered that I could overpower the sun and create these hauntingly half dark images. I continued this trend later shooting models using an external flash….

The image quality beats the unholy fuck out of my Canon 5d Mark III, even when the DSLR is coupled with the world class 70-200 2.8 IS II lens. This little Fuji point-and-shoot compact beats it handily as far as micro contrast and sharpness is concerned. RAW to RAW the Fuji wins handily when it comes to dynamic range for both shadow pulling AND highlight recovery. Colors are more of a taste thing, but I find Fuji colors to be more accurate than Canon, even though Canon’s colors are warm and lovely.

The face detection works reasonably well, and it will even detect a models eye (left or right depending on your chosen setting) when it feels like it.

 

This is most likely the finest street photography camera ever made.

Models and subjects smile at this camera, as opposed to my big ass Canon which makes folks get all serious or run away.

THINGS I HATE

The afl/ael button is useless and positioned horribly. I have reassigned it to change my focus type.

The control ring concept is so horrid that I try my best to never touch the lens unless I’m changing apertures.

What the fuck is up with Fuji and off camera flash? Nothing works right. I can get my Canon (actually a Pixel Mago) flash to fire in manual using a chord that I have to jiggle and pray to get it to work. When it works the results are good though. I’m getting the X-T2 and some lenses soon as well as this new Godox flash trigger and flash unit that’s supposed to work with Fuji TTL and HSS and do it all wireless. We shall see…

I hate the view mode button. God forbid you ever hit that bitch by accident and spend an hour thinking your camera is malfunctioning. Perhaps I’m just an idiot but still….

FINAL THOUGHTS

This camera is a nice intro into the Fuji universe and also has a leaf shutter. That’s the deal. The jpegs are good but overrated. The RAW files are superb. It’s compact yet made of steel. It’s sharp as fuck. It’s silent. The autofocus is good in single shot mode. If you’re a street photographer this camera is superior to almost any camera you can buy besides a manual focus Leica and maybe my beloved Leica Q. None of those cameras have a fill flash though. This one does….

Exit. Please like and subscribe.

Tee shirt available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X8L6WS

Model: Ana Rivera @myrlanis_ on Instagram.

The 2017 Summer Has Been Boring AF

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This summer, for some reason that goes beyond me being an old shut-in, has been boring.

I’ve ridden my motorcycle as much as makes sense given the Seattle-like climate that seems to hang over the mid-Atlantic region each summer. Still, there is no place to ride. Nothing is happening. I can’t ride to go shopping. I need a trunk for that. Shopping isn’t really fun unless you’re rich or maniacal anyhow….

I have an advertising shoot with a young Puerto-Rican model for my line of T-Shirts coming up next weekend. I’ll keep you posted on that. Still, even though I love taking photos, it’s work. It’s not guilty, ignorant fun. I want THAT. The ignorant shit.

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I’m getting old. My romantic engine is showing it’s age and struggles to get started most days. My sufferance of fools and friends is at an all time low. Despite this, my overall temperament feels jovial. I’m not brooding.

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I need activities. I’ve taken some pretty neat photos this summer. A handful of winners maybe, but thats all that can be expected. My X100F remains a solid choice of mine. It’s the greatest street photography camera of all time perhaps.

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As I’m trying to transition into being a full-time photographer and do it MY WAY, I find myself treading water most months financially. A monetary breakthrough would be nice. With my checkered past, age, and tendency to be self reliant we shall see….

Exit.

 

Muggy Summer

This summer has been very hot and muggy. Blame global warming I guess, but if I’m going that far I may as well blame the sun while I’m at it…..

I’m gearing up to accept a second sports photography gig for the school year. Here goes….

I’ve been shooting street, working full time hours at my day job, and launching a few other business ventures. I’ve also resumed investing in my potential retirement. Here goes….

Single again. Here goes…..

Summer means scooting around on my Harley. I’ve been doing that a lot. If I wasn’t so busy maybe I’d combine my rides with street shooting….

The next big purchase for me is the Canon 1dx II. Then after that I’ll try to get the 300mm 2.8 IS II…..

Besides that shit is real. Keep banging….

Exit.

Why I want the Canon 1DX Mark II…

Somehow. Some way. I am getting the Canon 1DX Mark II.

This isn’t GAS. I need it.

My Canon 5D Mark III is awesome and everything, especially with a 70-200 2.8 IS II on the front of it, but for fucks sake it’s so slow at 6 fps. It feels like 1 fps really.

I shot a massive soccer tournament last weekend, a total of 57 games. Um, I really could have used the 14 fps that the 1DX II offers. This is really about speed people. The image quality from my 5d3 will probably prove to be a hair better in daylight shooting. For my upcoming night football this fall, and volleyball as well, the 1dx 2 should fare better when I push up the ISO.

The 1dx 2 is expensive as fuck. It’s $5999, which is basically a billion dollars….

Still, it’s for business purposes only. I have my Fuji X100F for street stuff and even casual portraiture. I’ll likely keep the 5d3 for any major portrait work that pops up, or god forbid a goddamn wedding or something…

Quick 1dx 2 specs: 20.5 megapixels. 61 focus points with 41 cross type (same as my 5d3 basically). Faster focus acquisition and better and more reliable focusing in low light. Built like a weapon. That’s it really besides the burst rate. Well, there’s the “my camera is better than yours” factor I’ll feel when facing every person I meet along the sidelines, regardless of what they have if it’s not my camera.

I’d love to get it by the start of football/soccer/volleyball/cross country season in the fall but most likely it will be around Christmas if that soon. Once again this isn’t GAS. This isn’t me wanting the 2 year old mirrorless Leica Q for $4300 or the slow focusing medium format Hassleblad X1D for $9000. This is strictly business, as I’ll likely not even touch the 1dx 2 when not shooting sports. I’ll keep you posted as I get closer to my purchase date.

Oh….before I exit. That Sony A9? Lol. The sonofabitch has overheating issues in STILLS mode! Wow. If that proves to be a permanent feature of the camera then it’s dead to me. Well, deader than it already is, being a Sony….

Exit.

The May Gray….


I was born in May. If that were not the case, if somehow I were born in March, then I’d hate May. I mean, at least on the east coast of the United States, May is pathetic. 

Rain Rain go away and all that bullshit. Sure, shooting street photography in the rain ☔️ can be fun sometimes, but only as a novelty. I’m a sun baby. That’s probably why I long to move to Phoenix. I could live there, sunbathing (baking) in 100 degree heat all year round, happily shooting photos and smoking California weed all day. 


Also, I can’t ride my motorcycle as often as I’d like when it rains so much. It just sucks all around, May does. May isn’t as bad as April though, where pollen and allergies force me to contemplate suicide annually. May is just a wet, trashy mess and I just happen to have been born in May so unfortunately I can’t hate it. 


Oh well. I’ll snap photos of what interests me in this mucky weather until summer arrives, if it ever does. Day after day of incessant rain and one can’t be sure anymore. If you find yourself bored on a rainy day you can check out my book Tiny Daggers in my Heart, which was published in 2011 and is available in very limited quantities on Amazon here

Exit. 

7 Random Thoughts Before Summer….

I’ve been busy launching a new business venture, settling into a new relationship, and generally shooting less lately now that spring school sports has ended. I have some potential gigs lined up to shoot over the summer, but besides that let me give you 7 random things from my brain meat….


▪️ Sony has made their move to take over the professional photography market. You may not notice it now, but I think the modern DSLR is dead….

▪️ This might be the worst allergy season I’ve experienced in my life. Brutal….

▪️ After sniffing around I’ve discovered stock photography is not worth the time, money and effort required to make a decent bit of coin from it. 


▪️ Even though my current boss at my day job is cool as fuck, I hate nothing more than having to answer to a boss in the first place. I really want to work for myself.

▪️ I am not at all interested or excited about the newest iPhone coming in a few months, despite the fact that it’s near time to upgrade my phone. I love apple of course, but I’m not excited in the slightest. 

▪️ No GAS for me lately. I’m still getting the Leica Q and the Hasselblax X1D though, but there is no real timetable set. 

▪️ My birthday was May 2. I was born the same year as the former twin towers in NYC. Do the math. 


Talk to you soon folks! Enjoy your week. 

Exit. 

Stock Tips Needed (The Photography sort…)

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Being a blogger, I am well aware of the need for stock photography. Not that I need stock photos for what I do, I normally use my own self-taken photos, but I can see how non-photographers might be in a tight spot without access to stock photos. As for myself and my eternal desire to earn more green fabrics, I am contemplating shooting stock photos and posting them to one of the sites that play middle-man between we shooters and potential buyers. My main question is: do people still make money doing this?

Oversaturation has smashed almost every online money scheme imaginable. Do you want to sell sneakers? If you do then be prepared to compete with hundreds of already established sneaker sites doing the same. Do you want to sell arts and crafts? ETSY.com has thousands upon thousands of folks already selling all types of shit, with mixed to poor fiscal results on average. Even more involved processes such as app development have ferocious online competition. This is especially true for modern photography as a whole, including stock photography, the competition part. There are millions of stock photos already available online with thousands being added each hour. For every person reportedly making 50k annually on GettyImages there are thousands of poor guys and gals earning somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 bucks a month or less on some lesser site. It’s savage out there…

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Still, something about the prospect of passive income has always attracted me. I am paranoid monetarily and only feel secure when I am able to earn a living from multiple streams of cash. I do not like to load all of my income eggs into one basket, so to speak. Thus, even though I’m not terribly excited about the prospect of uploading 10k images on istockphoto, I would appreciate say…. an extra 200 bucks per month or so, especially if I didn’t have to book clients, drive to and shoot sports, or deal with diva models. I could make a lot more of course if I am lucky and good, but I’m trying to be bearish here.

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Do any of you folks shoot stock? A Facebook chum of mine shoots stock for Getty and she claims to be doing nicely. She even earned enough to buy the mirrorless Hasselblad X1D and a 45mm lens (around 12k worth of gear). Nothing beats a good try right? I’d appreciate some good stock tips here…..

Exit.

PHOTOGRAPHY: A Disorganized Mess….

Why don’t photographers have unions?

I get it: photographers are not thought to be as “important” as electricians or bricklayers, nor are they generally thought to be as valuable as teachers or meat cutters, but has anyone ever attempted to organize photographers into anything more than an elitist collective like Magnum?

My thoughts on this are as follows: most photographers are petty and despise the work and success of their contemporaries. It’s pretty hard to organize into a brotherhood when you think that way. You cannot be petty and small-minded if you want to unionize. It would be nice to, for example, have standard levels of apprentice, journeyman and master photographer, and to have wage scales commensurate with said levels. This would make shooting for a major publication a straightforward process financially speaking, and may add clarity as to what an apprentice should charge to shoot a wedding as opposed to a journeyman.

Let me pause and say that I’m a political moderate AKA a registered independent. I’m not typically the guy who has strong opinions about labor unions. There are all sorts of counter-argumentative things to consider when organizing a photographic union, and price undercutting and scab behavior would be rampant, but this is just a thought exercise, not a proposal….

Actors and screenwriters have unions, so it’s not like you have to just build or fix or teach something in order to unionize. There can be artists (if we are indeed artists) who form unions. Many photographers would be utterly terrified of being blacklisted or denied work, but I also think many of us on the street photography side would consider joining such a union. Street photographers don’t get paid anyhow and most of us earn a living through conventional jobs. It’s the wedding, portrait, sports, magazine and commercial shooters who would bitch up and cross hypothetical picket lines in all likelihood. I understand that we all have families to feed, but a union would be beneficial to all of us in the long run and provide a much needed hierarchy and eventually structured payment to the whole genre. Of course, as I said earlier, most photographers seem resentful and jealous of other, more accomplished photographers. That is unfortunate and is part of the reason, along with affordable amateurism, that the whole of the photographic profession is drying up money-wise….

This is no micro-struggle. This is real shit that I’d love Peta-Pixel or one of the big dog blogs to address. We are dying and we need to band together in order to survive. Of course I could be wrong for caring about this, being that nobody else seems to….

Exit.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: For a living?

I’ve mastered the art of being broke I think….

I mean, I’ve never earned what some may call a significant income, or anything close to that. I’ve basically toiled alongside the legions of the working poor my entire adult life. Trust me, I’d love to earn an income that would enable me to buy a house or a killer condo downtown, but right now that’s just a dream, sitting beside winning the lottery or finding an original copy of the US Constitution at a garage sale in my mind. 

I do love taking photos though. I mean, no other activity that I earn money from has brought me as much pleasure while doing it, including my days as a rapper signed to a major recording label. Taking photos beats rap in activity based pleasure, though perhaps not in POST activity perks such as groupies and free alcohol and weed. Plus I was young and blissfully angry and stupid back then….

In an ideal world I’d love to earn money from shooting street photography. (FYI, I don’t want you help whores giving me suggestions or condescending pep talks in my comments section. If you have a real offer contact me discretely.)

Street Photography is notoriously ineffective as a profitable venture. I’d have better luck as an electrician or a landscaper, but I HATE doing that stuff and LOVE taking photos in the streets. For this reason I suppose I wouldn’t have to be paid much to be happy doing it. Shit, I don’t earn THAT much shooting sports but I love it so much more than anything else I’ve ever done for money 💰 that I don’t mind the lack of life changing income. Again, I’m not looking for business pep talks here….

Maybe I will figure out a way to earn a nice living shooting women walking down the street. Most likely I’ll live and die and the world will do the same as if I or it never existed….

Exit. 

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY: The Art of Disrespect 

Nobody respects us. 

The minute you tell a so-called “professional” photographer that you shoot street, they immediately think you’re an amateur. Of course they might be right, but never mind that. The thing that so-called and especially “wanna-be” professional photographers fail to grasp is that most of us shoot street because it’s fun. We know it doesn’t generate income. We are fine with that…

I’ve been challenged by many photographers who swear they know composition, shooting strategy and have mastered editing. Most (and by most I mean none) don’t know that I also am sports photojournalist and have been doing it for years. My editing and delivery standards for my “pro” work is worlds apart from what I generate in my personal street projects. This leap in logic is apparently beyond the old film guys and young hustling coons I run across in various Facebook groups. They refuse to believe that people can enjoy being liberal in their artistic persuits, but be very conservative in their professional persuits. People do it all the time. Eddie Money was an honorable NYC cop before he became an 80’s radio rock overlord. It’s called balance.

Maybe I’m just upset that photographers love playing the critic role way too often, as if their own work is more than marginal or derivative. If you like shooting black and white photos of flowers 🌺 then that is entirely up to you. If I don’t like it I don’t feel the need to be critical of you. It’s your shit. Do you. I don’t have clairvoyance to be able to predict what great art will be. All I know is the rules and that I should break them whenever the fuck I feel like it….

Exit.