We’re Getting Closer….

To Spring that is :-)  Family Day today, and I’m actually taking a break from working.  Yup, getting caught up on some stuff relating to my work.  Yes, I am working from home.  Blogging this post with my almost new Lenovo U530 🙂

Anyway…. we’ve been away from this –30 deg C stuff and hovering in the 0 deg C/32 deg F for non-metric and here I am catching up on my blogs:-)  I should be out taking photos, but I have a few things that simply need to get done.  End of story.

Soooo… since I got my Fuji XF1, I have had an opportunity to shoot with it a bit.  Not as much as I would have liked but nonetheless, a few pics.  The other day, Valentine’s Day actually, I was commuting home, and knowing that my transfer home was going to be a 20 minute wait (I have bus, Rapid Transit, bus each way…), I thought I would use that time and try the available light capability of the XF1 at an indoor park in the downtown core.Dev_garden1 Dev_garden2

One of the reasons I got the XF1, well, actually 2 reasons.. is first off, the fast lens.  At f1.8, it’s faster than my X10 at f2.0 but not quite as quick as my Panasonic LX7 at f1.7, but at the same time, it has the larger sensor in a smaller package that fits nicely with my commuting needs.  More important, being a Fuji, it has that great EXR mode which I dearly love for available light things like this.  The shots were more for test purposes from my side and I shot with several difference settings including Programmed Auto at about ISO 400 to compare.

I’m pleased with what I got – in fact, I’m quite please with the camera overall.  Oh yes, the other reason I got it, and I’ve mentioned this before – it’s got this neat classic line about it.  My Fuji X10 is very much like a Leica from the 35mm days, and that’s one of the key reasons I bought it.  It’s also what got me back into photography, and so.. a big bunch of cameras later, here I am at the XF1.

Now – to get a couple of things straight.  I am definitely a serious amateur, but at the same time, I haven’t really taken the deep dive, so to speak.  I have a lot of gear, don’t get me wrong, but it might not be how one would perceive :-)  Yes, I have a DLSR – a Nikon D3200, BUT I also have a couple of compact system cameras – Panasonic GX1 and Nikon 1 J1, both with two zooms.  I also have the Fuji X10, Panasonic LX7 and now the Fuji XF1 in a totally different class, and then I have my travel zooms.  Let’s also not forget a couple of pointy shooties for good measure.  I think I have about 6 or so in travel zooms.  Interestingly, the D3200 was literally the last of my purchases.

So.. why not just go out and get DSLR stuff?  OR why so many cameras?  Well, it was an evolutionary thing and I got this stuff as my photo tastes changed over the last couple or three years.  I was starting to exploit this Digital Photography thing and this was simply how it came about :-)  Now, there is method to the madness.

When it comes to high quality photos, I’m probably at the picky end of the spectrum.  I do want a high quality photo, don’t get me wrong, but in saying that, not to a point where I have to lug tons of gear around if I don’t have to.  I’ve blogged about this mobility thing a few times now.  I have a good background in photography, in the world of 35mm I was a very serious amateur that took a lot of photos.  How many photos?  Well, I’ll put it this way – I had a Canon F1 that went in once a year to get the shutter over hauled.  That meant over 200,000 photos – that was where the shutter was rated before exposure got impacted. When I got back into this over the last couple of years, the evolution piece sort of went along these lines.

When I was shooting in 35mm, it was a combination of hobby/pleasure with a bit of wedding/photo journalism, event shoots, which were paid events.  At that time, I had my Canon F1, a motor drive and just about every lens that Canon made between 17mm and 200mm.  Plus of course a couple of extra bodies, studio lights, a BIG Metz flash unit.  Oh, let’s not forget a full sized B&W darkroom to boot.  When I got back into digital a little more seriously a couple or three years ago, I decided I would take a different path.  When I looked at digital, up to that point, I was only taking photos on a very casual basis.  Kids, family events – very much so the candid side of things.  It was more than good enough for what I was doing.  Now, as I started back in, one of the bigger things that changed dramatically for me, was the fact that I was commuting very day.  Time was harder to come by, so if I wanted to take photos in a more serious way, it had to be in “snippets” of time.  Like noon hours.  When I made the jump, there was a few months of research there.  To emphasize the need for a better camera, was a short holiday we took to ‘Vegas.  We got some good pics, don’t get me wrong, but we missed out on a bunch of  low light ones because the equipment was up to snuff.  That brought me to the Fuji X10.  Opened a whole new world in digital for me, and then, for all intents and purposes, I went literally ballistic after a few months. 

Now, because I focused around mobility and commuting, I deliberately kept away from bigger units.  One of the mandates, was that it had to fit in my daypack.  Later that year we went to Hawaii and had a fantastic time coupled with 2500+ photos that we took in about a week and a half.  X10 worked fantastic and we used the pointy shooties too.  For al l intents and purposes, a great time.  One thing that did crop up, though – the Panasonic ZS-1 – despite the fact it had a 10x zoom, I found it wasn’t enough for certain shots.  When we got back to Calgary, the quest began :-) 

So.. now enter the travel cams.  OK – I’m not going to dwell too much here, I have a bunch of them, but more important here, was the realization that for the most part, I was in a place in photography where that combination of mobility and picture quality was a pretty good compromise.  When I stop and reflect more on this – I really like the results I’m getting with what I have.  Yes, I do have larger sensor cameras like the GX1 and the D3200, but at about 8×10, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference.  I’m not after that prize winning photo anymore – I just want a good photo that I can be proud of.  Content is everything to me at this stage.  I have many friends who are very much in the DSLR “mode” and they obsess about image quality – fine, that’s their space, they’re entitled to it.  So be it.  I have my space and I’m happy with it as well.  I sometimes think that perfect color overrides content in some instances.  I tend to look at photos from the perspective of “as I saw it”, If I can get close, fine.  Sure there are the other shots that do require better control, and I’m good with that, and that’s why I bought the better gear – to address that part.  I use the D3200 and the GX1 and Nikon 1 as situation require.  BUT, not at the cost of mobility either.  If I really really do need the gear, so be it, I’ll take it, but if I think I can get away with my X10 or LX7, I’m gonna go that way instead.  If I’m using the GX1, both the X10 and the LX7 will come along.  It just depends.

When I know I’m going to need the extra resolution that the higher end units can pull off, yes, I’m going to ensure I have the stuff with me.  Otherwise, nada.  This is where the XF1 kinda hit the soft spot for me – it was actually a smaller unit than my LX7 and does an amazing job really, all things considered.  I got mine on sale for about $229 and so got it for 1/2 the cost of the LX7 and literally 1/3 of the cost of my X10 – not going to argue about that.  Couldn’t go wrong there. 

So now…. spring is getting closer.  I’m hoping to get more photos this year than last year – and I got a lot last year, but in saying that, I also have way more gear now too, so it should be a good time from the photo standpoint.

Onward….

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About gkamitomo
IT Busines Analyst

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