JONATHAN JK

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Posts Tagged ‘issues

Photojournalism ~ Looking Inwards Rather Than Out.

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I came across this post by David Campbell via Photojournalismlinks titled ‘Who’s afraid of home? Photojournalism’s foreign fixation’.

David discusses how photojournalists go abroad to create their stories instead of staying here and documenting stories here back home in the UK or the US. There are more ‘x’ number of journalists documenting ‘the other‘ rather than what is happening at home, David mentions how foreign stories outnumber domestic ones by a 3:1 ratio. It’s a great thought provoking read. I recommend it if that’s your bag. Kinda worrying in my view if the issues at home are being ignored.

I believe as a photographer and just as a person, we as a society should take care of social issues at home first before we look at other social issues around the world. Looking inwards as opposed to looking outwards for most of the time.

It’s MY bag because I’m shooting a project in Swansea, documenting culture here, I was happy to see a number of links to other photographers who have created various projects in the UK and the US with which to inspire and encourage me.

I’ve included them here as well for those who want to see some great documentary photography:

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There is a ton of more material in the original (first) link. Plenty for me to get my teeth into at least as I’m trying to better understand how to represent those in society with my own project.

 

 

Focusing on the Fuji X100

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There is an interesting discussion in the main Flickr group for the Fuji X100 regarding the focus mechanism employed. Most commentators in the forum hope for a software fix for the focus ring as from what I can read, takes too long to manually focus. Aside from thinking it would be a good read, it’s also a shout out to anybody else who thinks the same and should contact Fuji over this issue in case a software fix can be applied. There’s no point just discussing it on the Flickr board after all. Especially if the issue rests on the software.

Another fairly good review for the Fuji X100. A personal review from Ian Wilkinson, a working photographer from Australia. Ian shot a wedding and described his experience using it. He hates the Silkypix software that comes with the Fuji X100 but didn’t mind the write speeds (must have had a fast card :-)) or surprisingly, the focusing mechanism. He has this to say about it:

I found the best way was to choose manual focus and use the AE/FL button to focus while in MF mode; that’s a very clever feature Fuji has given us there. Doing this the camera fires instantly.

On a side note, I really like his watermark and generally, I don’t like watermarks.

UPDATE: Ian Wilkinson, who I’ve linked to in the past when he has reviewed the Fuji X100, has posted a gallery of wedding photos here. He is certainly showing off what the camera can do in a work environment.

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There is a discussion over on the largest Fuji X100 Flickr group about little tips to using your Fuji X100.

Another discussion, this time from the DPreview forums. It’s about the parallax focus shift in the Fuji X100. www.x100rumors.com comments, that while the discussion is informative because it illustrates how a rangefinder like this works, it also shows the differences present within this camera compared to a P&S or a DSLR and people’s incorrect expectations of using it.

Are you annoyed by the Fuji NP-95 charger, a few X100 owners are, even reviewers have commented on the poor design. Here are a bunch of alternatives (US), here (US) and here (UK).

Ich habe auch einen Test der X100 auf heise.de gefunden. (German website that reviewed the X100. Check out the four way ISO comparison with the Fuji X100 against the Canon 500D, Canon Powershot S95, SONY NEX5 at 3200 ISO and 12,800 ISO). The Fuji X100 does really well, less noise and sharper overall.

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Having trouble with the X100 ISO? This blog post by Patrick la Roque might help. He has a website you should check out, frequently trying to do something different with the X100. Original source, Robert Catto’s blog (also interesting).

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One clever photographer is using his X100 with a Canon 430EX mk2. I’m not sure yet whether it can communicate directly with the flash or it’s entirely manual, most likely the later. Here is his Flick Stream with his latest fashion shoot. Various videos of the behind the scenes shoot are here (also shot with the Fuji X100).

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Looking for more coverage on this camera than what you find on this site? x100rumors.com is one place to go, I’ve mentioned it in the past but it’s worth another pimp since it’s more focused resource than my blog. Another is Brandon Remler’s blog, why? He’s the US Fuji representative. He’s quite upfront about things planned for this camera (the firmware updates), the marketing speak is non-existent, it’s his voice and he is using the camera for himself.

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A followup article by Luminous Landscapes regarding the flaws present in Fuji’s camera of the moment. Luminous Landscapes received an email from a reader, he is largely negative about his shooting experience with the Fuji X100. It’s a continuation from Luminous landscapes previous review of the camera and the issues within the camera’s software.

Accompanying the email, and the discussion to hope Fuji is taking a knife to the software inside the camera (meaning, they will bring out a decent software update soon), there is also a short article about Moire and the AA filter.

On a similar note, here is a discussion about the accessories x100 forum users are purchasing. Plenty of suggestions for furthering your enjoyment of this camera.

Or will you just want the Special Edition X100 Camera case and straps designed by Luigi Crescenzil?

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Another honest review from Heathcliff O’Malley can be found here as well. It doesn’t go into much detail but it does confirm what others are saying about the camera; great ISO abilities, good viewfinder, slow buffer (but as I posted a few days earlier, it depends on the card), fiddly controls. Otherwise its still good to get general impressions from other photographers.

What Digital Camera have published their review for the Fuji X100. One of those review spread out over multiple pages. The last page just lists the specs so save yourself the time if you already know. They are not so down on Silkypix and What Digital Camera didn’t mind the weight of the camera either.

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review by a DPreview member ‘tashley’, lots of nice big images.

Want to pay more than retail price for your Fuji X100 because you can’t wait? Click here. :-)

Photographer Craig Arnold has posted his personal thoughts on his Fuji X100, it’s in four parts:

User ‘Pinphot’ from the rangefinder.com forums has made some really great observations about the Fuji X100 and has been in contact with Fuji, so there is hope the eventual firmware update will address those issues he stated.

If you have specific issues regarding the FujiX100 there is a dedicated email address for this camera.

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Now the fun stuff, the FujiX100 with adapter has a 49mm screw thread. So if you want to shoot at 24mm with this retro joy, then buy this. It’s a Raynox wide angle conversion lens.

Have you read the FujiX100 manual? Pengtoh did, there are interesting little tidbits in there he has read for us.

This is a great personal review I found over at Photo Rumors. It doesn’t cover all the things we’ve already read 10 times over either. It focuses on the important little details that matter to us. Details like the OVF framelines and manual focusing. ‘Dan’ the reviewer goes as far to say two things:

“In the world of single lens premium compact digital cameras, this is the best there is.”

And.

“…after-market prices have now risen to twice official price and at this level many people will balk.  Look at it this way: yes, you could buy a second hand Leica X1 for 25% less but the X100 is far superior a package and for the time being at least, far more exclusive.”

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Not from the Flickr pool of Street Life photographs, but an image that is doing the rounds on Dpreview. I’d suggest checking out the largest image offered. Seems to be the sharpest image shot at f2 with the Fuji X100.

Test of Fujiflim X100 - Full open

Shot by VOFAN.

Largest version can be found here.

VOFAN’s Flickr stream.

Aperture and performance Issues

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Keeping this short (but probably can’t), Aperture 3 (AP) is a really wonderful application to use but its performance sucks compared to competing images editors such as Lightroom (LR).  Aperture runs terribly slow on my Macbook Intel Core Duo 2 rated at 2Ghz with 3GB of RAM (the maximum sadly). But AP2’s performance was acceptable as was both LR2 and LR3.

I started using Aperture in its first incarnation, but soon replaced it with LR for a while and then went back to Aperture for version 2 and stayed with it since.  I’ve installed the beta of LR3 at the moment because its noise reduction techniques are really working for me (a few images Aperture can’t clean up are given a quick once over again in LR just to be sure).

Anyway.

A quick history, maybe inaccurate but written with honest intentions.

Some netizens were predicting the death of the Photo Pro App because typical of Apple, they work in secrecy while Adobe with LR have a much more open development; with regular betas released to the public and Adobe are quite vocal about their software in general anyway.

Having a 2 year window of silence (from AP2 to AP3) worried many photographers and many began to think AP3 was never going to come.  Tired of waiting, photographers began jumping across to Adobe LR. Understandable and quite rightly so.  This is the bit where I want to go all critical on Apple’s silence regarding their application. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t going to bring down the entire Apple ecosystem . Don’t misunderstand, I like how Apple treats its core products and how they never overhype or over promise, they just ship products when they’re ready.  But how much does Aperture really matter, especially when there is only 1 competitor.  Is it worth losing not just ‘users’ but professional photographers to a competing product?  At the moment Apple seems to think so.  Maybe their sales tell a different story and only the most upset and therefore vocal will discuss switching their allegiances on the various forums and blogs.

The silence has continued even after AP3’s release, but bug fixes have been regular after the initial release.  At the time of writing this, it has been 5 months since Apple released AP3.  If it feels like I’m making an issue from this then you’re right, I am and it serves a point later on.

I bought Aperture 3 right away and luckily didn’t install it till the second update so I never had any of the initial major library conflicts or weird bugs other photographers went through.

But even updated with the latest version installed, I actually haven’t escaped some very large problems, I have only realised it this week.  They were problems you wouldn’t recognise as being severe and could be masked by my poor hardware setup.  I had slowdowns when it came to using brushes, exporting images took an unbelievably long time.

Aperture 2 to Aperture 3

I think the first mistake was to upgrade the AP2 library to AP3’s.  You’re not strictly starting from scratch with this method as you’re bringing with you AP2’s legacy into a new library.  A better method would have been to install AP3, then import the raw files.

So after installation my work flow slowed.  I was dissapointed and expected speed improvements, eventually I put my problems down to the fact the hardware requirements were slightly higher and I was amassing a larger library because I was shooting more. But the process of upgrading Raw files from AP2 to AP3 as far as I know is quite intensive.  I did try to follow the tips that had started to float around the internet tubes.  One was to turn off Faces and Places, which I readily did as I have no use for them.  The second tip was to limit the size of the library; removing projects that were finished.

One nice feature within Aperture is that it can now work with multiple libraries.  Everything doesn’t need to be in one library, greatly reducing library sizes.  But I’ve used this feature and sadly didn’t notice any difference with performance.

Purchasing an SSD is supposed to help with performance, at the moment they’re expensive and limited due to the size of SSDs.  But even these high performance disks would suffer the same fate as I’m about to describe.*

My own tip was to use my 8 megapixel camera instead of the 16 megapixel.  For most things I didn’t really need 16megapixels so I did start to use my 1Dmk2N more often.  I figured if I generated half the pixels, the performance would therefore double.  Wrong!

‘Aperture is Broken’

This blog caught my attention because of the similarities:

We created new Libraries, did fresh imports, repaired permissions, dumped .plist files from the system Library, ran on local drives instead of external drives… even ran repairs on drives… all to no avail.

I haven’t done this yet and I’m not going too, having discovered this second link from Apple’s own support forum from the blog’s comments.  It’s 11 pages of really good technical information and some solid troubleshooting for improving performance.  Even those with MacPro’s seem to be suffering.  It isn’t just slow hardware like I had thought.  Upgrading to a new machine will help, but overtime the problems creep back.

Reading the entire thread, the issue is with Aperture’s handling of its database, simply put, its likely to fragment over time with constant writes to the hard drive.  It doesn’t matter how much processor power or RAM you can utilise when the hard disks have your information scattered all over the drive.

User and thread starter, Kevin J. Doyle has put together a large, lengthy and invaluable set of instructions for optimising performance.  I want to summarise his solution here but that would be wrong considering the time he’s taken to explain his solution as its very through.  It’s a combination of e-sata drives, rotating backups, preventing Spotlight from indexing drive and keeping the libraries off the main boot drive.

The sad part is that Apple should be explaining this and this leads me back to my main point on Apple’s silence.  It is a shame Apple doesn’t spend the time itself on problem solving and providing feedback for what is a Pro Application on an issue which is very fundamental to the smooth operation of Aperture.

I’m convinced by Kevin’s workaround and will be implementing it as soon as I’m able too, everybody else with the same issues should take the time to read  it.  Quite an education on not only managing ones images within Aperture but also managing Aperture itself.  Until Apple suggests something else this could be the best solution for the time being.

*On a side note, the recent benchmarking by barefeats reports that having an SSD doesn’t actually improve the use of Aperture, not even for exporting images; taking advantage of the faster write capabilities of the SSD.  During the export process, the CPU is actually the bottle neck! Link: http://barefeats.com/wst10c4.html

Written by jonathanjk

June 24, 2010 at 17:50

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 HSM review

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Oh yeah, coming very soon, just bought the new Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 lens.  I’ll be comparing it to Canon’s mark 1 24-70mm f2.8 L version and my 24mm prime L series lens.  Leave any comments if you want anything specific from me that I should test.

I bought it from Jacobsdigital for £560 with a coupon.  Normally its £599, which is strange and good value in itself because it retails for £799 elsewhere in the UK.  Normally for me I would buy my gear second hand and normally I would buy Canon L as well.  I had my eyes set on repurchasing the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L which at second hand pricing is between £700-£800.  But I had given it some thought as to whether weatherproofing was worth £200 extra.  All the stories about Sigma’s mis-focusing or quality control are entirely subjective and can’t concern me until I have one in my hands.

Now I have one and a review will come, my housemate has the Canon L version so I have the opportunity for a good review.

Written by jonathanjk

April 15, 2010 at 14:04

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