X10 First Impression

20130917-080528.jpg After all the noise I've made about getting this new camera, I thought you might be interested in my first impressions. I've not taken any pictures with it to speak of -- I've just putzed around with the various settings either in the conference room at the office, or in the kitchen late last night -- so nothing worth posting yet. So these comments will be limited to the "look-and-feel" of the camera and controls. I'll do some subjective imaging impressions very soon.

Right off the bat, the X10 simply oozes quality. It is very reminiscent of classic rangefinders from the likes of Minolta, Konica and Contax. Some other folks have even compared various Fujifilm models to classic Leicas, and based on my first impression here, I can see why. Although a little smaller, the X10 has a feel that is very similar to the rangefinder models that I've used or handled.

The construction is all metal, with real leather applied. This is wholly unlike any of the competition at this price point -- similar models from Canon, for instance, are made of composite plastics. The controls feel solid, with detents that click positively into position. All of the buttons feel solid and are well placed. The only control that concerns me is the sub-command dial that surrounds the 4-way switch. It's made of an engineering plastic that I know is very strong, but the part is fairly thin and feels just slightly flimsy. I don't remember reading any user complaints about, and Fujifilm used the same part on the step-up X20, so I'm confident that it should hold up just fine.

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My X10 from Wolfe's came with the original Fujifilm "ever-ready" case thrown in (it regularly sells for about $50!), which, like the rangefinders of the past, must be removed to access the battery or "film" compartment. Fujifilm have redesigned the case since the original model to allow access to the batter and SD card compartment without having to remove the case.

I'm really looking forward to getting out and shooting the X10 this week and weekend.

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X10 Inbound

Fujifilm X10 I pulled the trigger and ordered the Fujifilm X10. I’m really looking forward to getting it. Unfortunately, it probably won’t get here before the weekend.

I find it very interesting that several of the well-known photographers I follow are relying more and more on various compact system cameras and less on their big DSLR kits. Many of them seem to be gravitating to the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 or maybe the X-E1. I find them both to be very intriguing, given my current desire to simplify as much as possible without sacrificing quality. Unfortunately, my budget does not allow purchasing any of the APS-C X-series camera bodies any time soon.

Another sticking  point for me is my lenses. I really don't want to lose the use of the few Minolta lenses I have acquired. Obviously, I can keep my Sony SLT-A35 body and continue to hold on to that kit -- which I'm certain I will for some time. There are some adapters available to use A-Mount lenses on the Fuji bodies, but they do so with no automation what-so-ever. Without aperture rings on the lenses, I have no idea if the operation would be acceptable.

As I re-read what I've just written, I see that I'm echoing the comments of several other photographers who are making, or have made, transitions to "digital rangefinders."

 

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Maryland Renaissance Festival 9-2-13

We visited Revel Grove again today, this time with our friend Lynn in tow. Since Lynn is not going to be heading out the Festival as often as we are this year, we did pack in a lot of activity -- I think we caught six or seven performances this day! Our feet are tired, and our muscles sore, but a splendid time was had by all. We also ran into one of our favorite former baristas from our favorite local coffee shop.

We also paid another visit to R.E. Piland Goldsmiths, a fine jeweler who has had a shop at the Festival for as long as I can remember, with an eye to finally get our permanent wedding bands. I think we've just about made up our minds which ones we want. All I'll say for now is that the rings are from their Silver Celtic Wedding Bands collection. There will be pictures once we get the new rings sometime in the next few weeks. We will be looking into getting Donna's diamond reset as well.

Due to other commitments, we won't be back at the Festival until the weekend of September 21.

On a "photo-geek" note, I took all the pictures yesterday and today with the old Maxxum 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens. I'm pretty sure I'll be sticking with the Minolta (and Sigma) lenses when I use the SLR through the rest of the Festival run. As old as the Maxxum lenses are, they're sharper and faster than the more convenient Tamron 18-270mm all-in-one lens. Furthermore, I really prefer the way these old lenses render colors -- I spend far less time "fixing" in post processing, and can concentrate more on "creating" instead.

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Java Hafla September 2012

We went to the Java Hafla at Birdies in Westminster last night, and the hostess asked that I bring my camera along. I took it as an opportunity to play some more with the Minolta Maxxum 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens I recently purchased.

Shooting at Birdies is a challenge at the best of times, and when it's crowded with dancers and on-lookers, it's even harder. The lighting is poor and the space is cramped. So, I wasn't really all that sure how many usable images I'd be able to get.

Even having made the mistake of not taking the big flash and Lightsphere with me, I was still able to get quite a few good pictures of the event, and was really quite pleased with the lens. Even in the poor conditions, focus was generally accurate and reasonably fast, with minimal hunting. Nothing was shot above ISO 400, and I generally let the camera make most of the exposure decisions.

The more I shoot with these older Minolta lenses, the more they impress me.

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ACR / Lightroom Color Profiles for Sony Digital Cameras

Sony shooter Maurizio Piraccini has made color profiles for every Sony (and Minolta) interchangeable-lens digital camera made, and they're available for free download from his web site. Photoclubalpha provides some good background and "how to" advice for using color profiles as well. Note that Maurizio's profiles are designed to work with raw files, not JPEGs, the idea being to mimic available camera creative settings.

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The Allure of Old Glass

Last week, I wrote a short post called The Beauty of the Old, in which I shared my first experience with a 25-year-old Maxxum 50mm f/1.7 lens. Yesterday in a post on one of the many online forums, a user posted the comment, "I just don't get why people are willing to pay so much money for the big old Minolta prime lenses." This, of course, is a small part of her post, but this one sentence was the gist of it. She went on to comment that old things break and it's hard to get parts, etc. A lively discussion has ensued, focused (no pun intended) more on the mechanics of things and the currently available A-mount offerings. Her question is valid. Often times, the old Maxxum primes sell for nearly as much as their newer counterparts. In the course of the discussion, little has been said about why people actually want these things. Here's my perspective:

Konica Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 7D

I remember when then Maxxum 5D and 7D were introduced. Minolta did a series of advertisements featuring "interviews" with prominent Japanese professional photographers who were Minolta shooters. Of course, the ads each featured stunning photographs taken with the Maxxum 7D and a Minolta lens.

In each of the ads, the photographers moved quickly beyond the technical aspects of the digital cameras and spoke about being able to leverage their existing Minolta lenses. They spoke at length about the aesthetic advantage they felt that Minolta optics gave them in their photography.

Minolta optics have an interesting history which certainly helped to shape the subjective quality of their lenses. When Minolta was developing their first SLR (and again with their first autofocus SLR), they entered an agreement with Leica for assistance. The result was a combination of German precision design and consistency with Japanese aesthetics. The lenses were very carefully ground and polished and the coatings were developed to create lenses with a color balance that was consistent across the entire line. This philosophy continued up to the point when Minolta no longer made their own glass lens elements. Many of the Japan-made Maxxum primes reflect this early philosophy.

As I related in my earlier post, there is a certain "look" to these lenses. Those of you who have been following my posts over the years (predating this version of gerenm.net) will know that I, perhaps romantically, prefer a more "analog" look and that I feel that a lot of today's cameras and lenses are almost too perfect; and that I also have a preference to do as much in-camera as possible.

Recently, I've had a bit of a shift in perspective about what I'll do in post-processing (see my recent comments on Snapseed, for instance). But there are certain things that can't be done in post. I think that certain aspects of the basic "look and feel" of a photograph begin with the lens.

So, that's why I'll be willing to spend money on those old lenses. I'd love to see your thoughts on the subject. You can post them in the space below the related articles?

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