Tag Archives: gear

Fuji Should Release a Digital X-Pan

I think they should. I would be one of the first to snatch that thing up. They don’t even need to use 2 full-frame sensors. They can even use two 1-inch sensors to do this. That can save costs and will be about the same area as an APSC sized sensor. But if they use 2 APSC sized sensors, that would be amazing.

They can even make it fixed lens, about 40mm f/2 (if they use 2 1-inch sensors) or 80mm f/4 (if they use 2 APSC sensors). Make the form factor and features similar as the Fuji X100T. Sure, this would be a niche product, but I would be very excited if they released this.

The Fuji 60mm 2.4 in Real World Situations

I’m a cheap frugal photographer. I don’t do this as a day job. I do it for fun, as a hobby. So when I buy something, it comes out of my pocket. I can’t write it off or anything. Therefore, I have to watch what I spend on gear.

I was chomping at the bit for a good portrait lens for the Fuji X series. I waited for the 56mm f/1.2, but when I saw how expensive it was, I looked for a cheaper alternative.

There was the 60mm f/2.4. I heard horror stories about the slow autofocus. However, when Fuji gave the discount for their lenses, the 60mm looked too cheap to pass up. So I decided to get it. But first, here are some photos I did with the 60mm:

 

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So do I like this lens? Yes and no. But first, let’s talk about lens and perspective in general.

As you know, you don’t buy the lens to “zoom in” or to “get more reach.” You buy lens for their perspective. As of right now, for fashion or portraits, the 35mm focal length on an APSC sensor is my favorite focal length (50mm on a full frame sensor). If I go any wider, the person starts to look too distorted for me. If I go longer, the person may look too compressed in certain poses.

I have shot with a 23mm (APSC) lens before with my Fuji X100s. I did a lot of full body and environmental shots. The closest I got was half body. I have done head shots with that lens, but the distortion looked too noticeable. So I usually did a half body and cropped. But that was a lot of wasted pixels.

With my 35mm (APSC) lens, head shots looked better. But I felt I needed a longer focal length. So I got the 60mm.

I got the 60mm not just for head shots. I also got it to separate the subject from the background. I shoot it wide open and try to bokeh out the background. Also, the longer perspective helps to remove more of the background.

I bring my 60mm with my gear now. So, how did it work during photo shoots with models when they won’t hold still? It was quite frustrating. With my Fuji X-E1, the 35mm felt a lot snappier compared to the 60mm. I actually needed the models to slow down or hold their positions longer with my 60mm. If the subject holds still, it’s not bad. But when you try to keep up with a moving target, the 60mm breaks down.

I do love the quality that comes out of the 60mm. It is freaking sharp. It is a nice lens.

If you shoot stationary objects, the 60mm is a great, cheap, mid-telephoto lens. If you need to chase something or shoot something that moves, this will frustrate you. It is possible, but you will say some cuss words trying to get it to work.

Right now, I’m not sure if I’ll buy the 56mm, even though that might make my life easier if I need the longer perspective. Since I rarely use the 60mm, I’m not sure if I want to spend $1000 for a lens I might not use too much.

For Beginners: What Camera Do You Need? What Lenses Do You Need?

As a beginner, you get caught up in figuring out what gear to get. People usually say to get the best glass available. That is true. So one common thing I see in forums is beginners getting caught up in which set of lenses to get. They end up getting a couple of primes or a few zooms. That’s a lot of lenses just to get pictures of their kids, cats, and flowers.

What do they really need? Just one lens. Just pick one. I would recommend a something in between a 23mm and 50mm and stick with that for a year or so.

As for the body, it doesn’t matter. Anything that is at least a micro 4/3 or higher will do fine. 90% of the people won’t be able to tell the difference if it’s shot with a m43, APSC, or Full Frame sensor. Seriously, they can’t, unless you’re planning to print huge prints and paste them on your wall.

For camera bodies, it more about how it fits, the usability, and the style points. As long as it’s a modern camera, the IQ won’t matter much. They will all look similar.

Once you shoot in one focal length for about a year, you begin to realize what you need. I shot my X100 and X100s (the same camera basically) for a whole year. I realized I’m more into portraiture. So I wanted a longer lens. So I got the X-E1 and got the 35mm lens. Now I’m 90% content.

When the 56mm f/1.2 lens came out, I pre-ordered it. But I’m wondering if I really needed that  lens. I’m so happy with the 35mm, I wonder if I made the mistake getting the 56mm. Sure, it’s probably good for closeup face shots, but I do that anyway with the 35mm since the distortion doesn’t seem bad.  I’ll probably get it and see if it’s something I would want to keep. If not, I’ll just sell it.

Now, my X100s is my snapshot, food, travel, and do everything camera. My X-E1 is my portraiture camera. That’s all I shoot these days so I don’t need anything else.

Will I be able to shoot sports or wildlife? No, but it’s nothing something I need to do or interested in. So I have my gear set.

Here are some stuff I did with my year with the X100s:

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So as you can see, you can do a lot of stuff with just one body and lens.

My Ghetto Softbox for Product Photography

I made a ghetto softbox for product stuff. I used some foam core boards and just stacked them together. I used my Gary Fong Lightsphere because I paid $50 for it. Might as well use it for everything. 

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See, it’s so ghetto, I didn’t even tape them together. It’s just barely keeping itself together.

Anyway here are the results. These aren’t the best shots ever, but hey it seems to work. I think I need more flashes though. 

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Of course, I found out that Cowboy Studios has their own softbox tent for cheaper than the materials I used to make my ghetto one.  Oh well. 

A Short Review of the Gary Fong Lightsphere

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I am not going to write a technical review. I’m too lazy to do that. This is just my opinion about this thing.

Why Did I Buy This Thing?

I bought the Lightsphere because they have a good marketing team. Also, at every photo shoots and events I went, all the photographers seemed to use them. 

I shot at events before as an amateur. They were usually indoors in dimly-lit places. I used my bounce flash, on camera flash, or even no flash at all since my Fuji X100 has great low-light capabilities.

I was going to a photo shoot at the Havana Club. I decided to look like a real photographer and got the Lightsphere. Besides, I was curious to see what it can do.

How It Works

It’s like a bounce card. Except it works like a lamp and emits soft light everywhere. 

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See the picture up there? It does look like a little lamp. I can read a book next to it. Well, not really. I couldn’t see a thing since the flash only lit me for 0.001 second.

Basically, it bounces the light to the ceiling (or wherever) and emits a soft light towards your subject. 

PROS

I got the Lightsphere Collapsable. It collapses into a tiny shape. I carry a small camera bag because my Fuji X100 is small. I was worried that it wouldn’t fit in the bag. I was relieved it fit into my bag no problem. The collapsable shape makes it easy to carry.

They advertise it can fit onto many different flash units. That is true. It fit on my Fuji EF-20. The flash slid right in.

When I tried to fit it into my Yongnuo YN 560, it was very tight. I had a hard time squeezing the flash into the Lighsphere. But it eventually fit. I think most people will use this size flash with the Lightsphere. Well, prepare for a tight squeeze. Too bad you can’t use lube.

At the Havana Club, Mandi had a Sony HVL-F20AM, I think. It didn’t fit onto that. The Lightsphere was too big for it. So, if you have that dinky Sony flash, don’t get this.

Cons

It does give soft light, but you have to be standing about 3-4 feet away from the subject. Otherwise, you can’t really tell the difference between this and regular bounced flash. I mean, it is a small light source. It’s not a giant soft box. 

If you have a weak flash like mine, the Lightsphere is going to give it a workout. You lose about 1-3 stops of light. So the flash has to work extra hard to give off the same brightness. If the place has tall ceilings, black ceilings, or both; the flash is gonna have a bad time. Maybe you can carry extra Eneloop batteries. It caused me to slow down because I had to wait for my flash to charge back up. 

It’s too expensive for what it is. It costs around $50. Honestly, a simple bounce card would be the best choice. 

Final Thoughts

Like I said. Just use a simple bounce card. Otherwise, it’s overpriced. Maybe if it was $25, it would be a better value. It does work, if you stand close enough. 

Overall, I give it a “meh” rating. If this was Amazon, it would be 3 stars. 

Well, here’s a random picture I took with the Lightsphere at that club.

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What Is My Gear?

I use a Fuji X100. It has a fixed 23mm (35 mm equivalent) lens. It is fixed. I cannot change the lens on it. It has no zoom. I am stuck with this 23mm focal length.

I shoot everything with it. Yes, that includs portraits, studio stuff, and so on.  I do feel inadequate when I go to a studio shoot, and people have their Canon Mark III’s with multiple L-lenses. Speaking of which, if I was rich, that would be my dream setup. I wished I had the 85mm/1.2 lens to shoot portraits with. Oh well. I guess I’m stuck with this little thing.

I also shoot JPEG only. Yeah, I know. I should be shooting RAW. But Fuji’s JPEGs look so good I want to lick it. Besides, it saves space in my memory card and computer. So I shoot JPEG only.

I should conclude this post with a picture of my Fuji X100. Well, since I don’t have a cool looking product shot of my camera, I’m just gonna post a picture of my bird.

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