At The Zoo

They tell me it's all happening at the zoo,I do believe it, I do believe it's true...

On Sunday, we went to join an iPhone meetup group for a photo walk at the National Zoo in Washington. While  I did shoot with the iPhone, I also shot a lot with the Fujifilm X-E1.

Here are my iPhone shots:

There are a lot of times I find using the iPhone camera(s) to be really frustrating. It's great for shooting when you can get in tight, or when you're looking to get a landscape, or for quick grab shots of friends in a pub, or for quick documentation. And using it to take pictures and "mess them up" is a lot of fun. But, dang it, there's a reason for interchangeable lenses -- or cameras with decent in-built zooms.

Here are my shots with the Fujifilm X-E1:

All of the shots were with the XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS, although I did use the XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS for other shots where appropriate.

Shooting at a zoo can be a significant challenge, as often, the animals are far away. In a lot of zoos, especially for smaller animals, the old-style barred enclosures have given way to natural barriers and fences with a relatively tight "weave." This is especially true for birds. While we can tend to look through without noticing, our cameras cannot. The trick is to get the lens as close to the fence as possible, and hope for some good separation between the fence and the subject. Even so, the fence or screen often has the effect of reducing contrast in our pictures. Finally, in a lot of cases, the backgrounds for the enclosed animals is, necessarily, less than attractive.

I continue to be impressed with the quality of the 55-230. The sharpness and contrast, coupled with its superb image stabilization, make it a great go-to lens for me. The only gripe I think I have is that when moving in and out of aperture priority mode, I have to scroll through all the aperture to reach the "A" setting. It's a little more cumbersome than on the XF lenses with aperture rings, because the control is not as readily accessible. Maybe if Fujifilm could release a firmware update that allowed the scroll wheel "push" to be set up to jump between the manually selected aperture and "A", or maybe allow it to be set on another button...