Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 lens as a travel lens

There was once I went on a Bangkok trip and the fastest lens I brought was the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens. The video footage I shot at night with the GH3 was unusable because of noise.

I told myself that I must bring the Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 for the next trip.

In my most recent trip to Cambodia, I brought the 20mm f/1.7 lens instead. I wanted to pack lightly. BIG MISTAKE AGAIN! Turned out that the video footage at night is unusable again.

So the next time when I go on vacation, I will bring the 17.5mm lens regardless of weight, even if it's going to be the only lens I bring.

If you have that lens, bring it even if you have to leave it in the hotel. When you need it, it's a life saver.

Thoughts on Fujifilm X-T1



Fujifilm has finally announced their new X-camera with the X-T1.

For those considering switching into the Fuji system, this might be that compelling camera. I've been using the X-Pro1 since launch and will not be upgrading to this. It's seriously tempting but I'm waiting for that significant image quality improvement.

Here are some quick thoughts about it from what I've read and seen.

Since it uses the same X-E2 sensor, image quality is going to be brilliant. Fujifilm jpeg is insanely good. If you're the type that don't want to waste time post-processing, well, this is the camera for you, as are all the X-cameras from Fujifilm.







The top plate now has dials for ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, drive mode and metering controls. All the important shooting parameters can be changed now without going into the menus. This saves significant time.

When shooting with manual mode, now you can use the ISO dial to go through the ISO that's right for the situation. Automatic ISO settings for manual mode does not make a manual mode.



They are still using the NP-W126 battery across their X-cameras. It's not very lasting battery but you can reuse the batteries from other cameras. I hate it whenever companies introduce new batteries and you always have to buy spares. With Fuji's X cameras, you can reuse your spare batteries. No battery innovation is going to double capacity compared to a spare battery.

Even the extra battery grip uses the NP-W126 battery. Bravo.



The big 0.77 magnification EVF is obviously a huge plus. I've a GH3 also and that EVF is miserable, worse than GH2. X-Pro1's EVF is nice but the refresh rate is slow. Hopefully the advertised lag time of 0.005 seconds means that WYSIWYG when the shutter is pressed. My biggest peeve is the lag. E.g. When you see in the EVF that someone is walking left foot front and hit the shutter, the picture you get is the right foot forward. Fail. So seriously, if Fujifilm nails the responsiveness of the system, this will be fantastic.

The EVF hump. Well, left eye users should be able to use this with relative ease.

Face detection mode is a godsend. When you pass the camera to your friend to shoot, you do not want a photo that focuses on the background and not the face. For the X-Pro1, I had to turn the aperture to f/8 when passing the camera to someone to shoot, just to make sure everything is in focus, relatively speaking.

The weight is 440g which is alright.

Dpreview says there is no direct way to move the AF point. Yeah. I like that so that you don't move your AF point by mistake, and have to look through the EVF to see where your AF point is. The way I shoot: For discrete shots, frame the photo in my mind, press the down button to get into AF mode, hit the centre button to reset the AF point to the centre, then move the AF point into position, all these without looking into the EVF.

So seriously, this is a camera you can use without ever wasting your time in the menus. Timing is crucial especially for reportage work, and you need that shot by the time the camera reaches your eye. It is precisely because of the lag of responsiveness of the X-Pro1 that I cannot bring it out for reportage work.

The release date seems to be March 7 on Amazon. They have already put up the pre-order pages for the Fujifilm X-T1 body and Fujifilm X-T1 + 18-55mm lens

I hope the X-Pro2 comes with this awesome EVF.

More photos




I don't know. I think the case looks ugly with the camera.





Reference:
Fujifilm X-T1 First Impressions Review by Dpreview
Fujifilm X-T1 homepage
Fujifilm X-T1 body on Amazon
Fujifilm X-T1 + 18-55mm lens on Amazon

Book Review: LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer


This review is written by Robin Benson.

Le Corbusier's visual notes

Tim Benton has written an exhaustive overview of Le Corbusier's photography though as he says in the introduction Giuliano Gresleri's 1985 book reproduces six hundred photos when he found the negatives and contact prints in a library at La Chaux-de-Fonds. Benton's book has some overlap with Gresleri's but really considers different aspects of Jeanneret's creativity.

The book is in two parts: Jeanneret's photos from 1907 to 1919 and the second part looking at Le Corbusier's photography and short movies during 1936 to 1938. In the first section Benton suggests that Jeanneret made serious attempts to take professional architectural photos but by 1911 gave up on this idea and used his camera to take visual notes. He took hundreds of these though very few were published. The pages reproduce many of these as large thumbnails (and there are color photos of the types of camera Jeanneret used and tables of technical detail about the models). Benton makes the point that to understand the photos you have to be aware of how these cameras functioned. The second part looks at Le Corbusier's more ambitious photo and movie output, he used a Siemens B 16mm for movies. You can see seven montages of this work accessible through QR patches placed at the start of several portfolio sections in the book.

Many of the thumbnails in the text are reproduced much larger in the thirteen portfolios of photos that follow each chapter. The earlier of those mostly feature architecture and landscapes. From 1936 they feature Le Corbusier's family, Europe and various trips overseas. The longest portfolio is forty-two pages of photos taken on the SS Conte Biancamano in August 1936 and rather than photograph passengers he concentrated of the ships machinery.

I thought it slightly unfortunate that all the portfolio sections (they take up half the book) are printed on black pages which overpowers the photos. So many of them are grainy and with subdued tonal quality. The thumbnail versions, printed on white paper, have much more sparkle.

I thought Benton's final chapter: Conclusions raised some interesting points. On page 403 he asks why take these photos seriously because they are mostly of mediocre quality. His explanation is that Le Corbusier used photography as a memoir of his personal and professional life and they offer a look at his psychology. Despite taking may hundreds of photos (and short movies) over his lifetime he preferred to regard them no more than visual notes and this explains why this aspect of his creativity is little known rather than his towering genius as an architect.

*The book is landscape size: 9.5 by 6.5 inches.

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository (US | UK)

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer

LC Foto: Le Corbusier Secret Photographer


Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

This book is available at:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com | Bookdepository.co.uk

Book Review: Desert America: Territory of Paradox


This review is written by Robin Benson.

Plenty of thing going on besides hot sun

Now some years old this can be picked up quite cheaply as I did for my copy. Considering how inexpensive it was I enjoyed looking through it. This is really a contemporary photo book of the south-western States and how the hand of man has shaped it. But considering the size of desert America with millions of acres, it's worth saying that man's hand has only really touched a small fraction of the land.

It's the comprehensive coverage that I thought was rather impressive. Chapters (rather ostentatiously called books) look at illegal border crossings from Mexico, the Salton Sea, energy (wind power, Hoover dam, sun arrays) tourism (Sun City, Las Vegas) the military (the biggest polluters in the area) Davis-Monthan plane graveyard, the Saint Agustin radio astronomy reflectors, Kitt Peak observatory and more. They all get excellent color photos that say something backed up with some historical black and whites plus maps and other graphics.

If you are interested in this part of America I think the book is worth getting because it covers so much of what is going on there and it's all presented in a well designed and printed landscape book.

Desert America: Territory of Paradox is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository (US | UK)

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox

Desert America: Territory of Paradox


Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

This book is available at:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com | Bookdepository.co.uk

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)



Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)



Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

Sketchers at Bedok Reservoir (Jan 2014)

All shots from Fujifilm X-Pro1, 23mm f/1.4 lens, post processed with DxO FilmPack 4 using the Provia 100F setting.