Equipment Review

Fuji X-E1 v’s Sony NEX-6

A head to head battle…

I was hoping to do a comparison between the NEX 7 and the X-E1 as I know many people are wondering how they compare. Now Sony has released the NEX 6, the specs of this camera are very close to the specs of the Fuji X-E1 but can it come close to the image quality that Fuji has created?

The Camera Store TV has put these two cameras head to head in the Fuji XE-1 vs Sony NEX-6 Shootout…

Today’s iCandy – Up…or Down?

I worked on this one for a while, and I did a lot more than I would normally do… sometimes I get inspired and carried away when I am processing a photo and use a bit of creative license. I usually have my iTunes playing in the background and just get into a rhythm and in most cases, something good pops out the other end. I don’t normally share any before pics with you, but today I am going to so you can play spot the difference, Here you will see that sometimes, Photomatix doesn’t do a great job… I ended up not using the photomatix image in my final version and just used Photoshop and Topaz Adjust to create the final image. I have also included my “the aliens are coming” version of the pic below (I have no idea what possessed me to make an aliens version… maybe it was the aliens!) – So… that only leaves the question… is this lift going up, or down?

The Before Photo

This is after I had used Photomatix to create my HDR image

This is after I had used Photomatix to create my HDR image

And After…

Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

And of course… the one the Aliens made me do…

The Aliens are coming....

The Aliens are coming….

Categories: Australian Locations, Daily Blog Post, Equipment Review, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fuji X-E1 and the 18mm f2 lens

And a little Pano Mode trick…

Fuji 18mm f2 Lens

Fuji 18mm f2 Lens

Since getting my 18mm f2 lens, it has hardly come off the Fuji. It is so small and light and the IQ of this lens is amazing… It is the equivalent of 27mm in Full Frame and seems just about perfect as an all rounder lens. I can get great landscape shots, but it also doubles as a really nice portrait lens too… especially for groups shots. If you want just head and shoulder shots the 35mm f1.4 is better, as you don’t need the get right in the face of your subject, but the 18mm will do if that’s all you have. I also really enjoy using the 18mm in pano mode.. I have worked out a little trick that is cool… instead of setting the Pano direction left to right or vice versa (horizontal sweep) I set it from top to bottom (Vertical Sweep) then flip the camera into portrait and shoot left to right. It gives a much better result!

Today’s iCandy – Bridge View

even on a grey day in Sydney there is iCandy everywhere….

Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

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Fuji X-E1 Review

Updated with extra pics and some HDR samples

I have been using the Fuji X-E1 for 6 weeks now and have taken a lot of photo’s in all sorts of conditions and find it to perform really well. It won’t be replacing my D800, the Nikon will still remain as my trusty workhorse, but I do find the X-E1 a very capable camera, especially for things like street photography or family do’s where the big DSLR is just cumbersome to take along.

I have also got myself the 18mm f2 lens and find it to be great for everyday shooting. It is a pancake lens, about half the length of the 35m and lighter so it is great and I have it on the Fuji most of the time.

I have a page dedicated to the Fuji X-E1 (CLICK HERE) that you should check out if you interested in getting a mirrorless camera.

Today’s iCandy – Smile

I posted this on my Facebook page and one of the comments said his name was Danny Lim. Apparently he is seen all over Sydney wearing his messages of Joy. It is always nice when I gesture to someone if I can take a pic and they’re not only happy for me to do so, but they also turn on a smile and a bit of a pose. Thanks Danny!

I took this with the Fuji X-E1…

Smile, hard not to when you see this!

Smile, hard not to when you see this!

Categories: Australian Locations, Equipment Review, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hydra Pro 3.1 Review

Is this the HDR software for you?

Let me start by saying that if you own a Windows PC then it isn’t for you… for no other reason than this is a Mac only app, and according to worldwide sales only 10.8% of you are mac users… so for one in ten of you, read on…

mac-vs-pc-user-profiles

As a writer for HDR one, I was asked by the editor to do a review on Hydra Pro 3.1, his reason for giving it to me to do… he is one of the 89.2% that don’t own a Mac! I haven’t done many software reviews so this was going to be fun. I loaded the app onto my iMac and straight away I had some challenges… There were some things that Hydra Pro does REALLY well, and some other things it struggled with… time for me to redirect you to the FULL review with screen captures and a quick summary at the bottom for all of you that can’t be bothered reading the full review… Here is the full review on the HDR One Magazine Site.

Today’s iCandy – Fan Fair

When I was in China I visited many of the parks, and in the mornings, a lot of these parks let the locals in for free to do there daily excersize and the likes. They played all sorts of games and would dance to Chinese music. It was nice to see that they did this every day!

Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Beijing, Daily Blog Post, Equipment Review | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nikon S800c Android camera thingy

I wonder if Nikon are barking up the wrong tree?

I understand the temptation for camera companies to try to come up with something that with rival the smartphone, I can imagine the boardroom conversation of Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Olympus… etc. “How do we create a camera as popular as the iPhone?”… the R&D departments of these manufacturers would be in overdrive, whilst Apple and android developers have this market pretty well stitched up…

Nikon have released a camera, sorry, no, they call it an ‘Android Camera’. The idea is you can get better quality pics on the go and post them to all the social sharing sites… the only problem is it isn’t a phone, so it does not have cellular connection and only works on a wifi, so you need your smart phone with you as well if you want to post pics on the go

It looks like the Nikon Marketing department have done extensive research (not) and seem to think that using this new ‘Android Camera’ over your smartphone will result in more likes for your photo’s, making you more popular and helping you justify carrying the S800c and your smartphone everywhere you go!… watch the video if you like lame stuff…

todays iCandy – Smokey Sunset

Smoke always deepens the colours of a sunset or sunrise. I was on my way home from the Gold Coast and decided to stay overnight at Coffs Harbour. What a great place for photography! The harbour has many vantage points and it is one of the few where you can capture sunset, and sunrise… this was at the end of a rock wall that must have been built to protect the marina, and as I was watching the sun set with my family dolphins were frolicking in the water around us… perfect!

Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Australian Locations, Coffs Harbour, Daily Blog Post, Equipment Review | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hydra Pro 3 review

My thoughts…

Recently I was asked to review the Hydra Pro HDR software for the HDR one online magazine. The software itself has a sexy User Interface and is very ‘Mac’ like. I have been using Photomatix for some time now and so I can give you a direct comparison and say that I would still choose Photomatix over Hydra. I am sure that as time goes on the Hydra software will become better but for now it is suffering from a couple of issues, the main being that it struggled to process larger files from my D800. The second issue that I found is that you have a lot of ability to control the final output image, and some of you would say this is a good thing, and I agree, but it is only good if it is easy to use and in the case of Hydra it starts to get confusing when you start making more advanced adjustments.

I think that all HDR software developers stop trying to be the one stop shop and just focus on making a program that is really good at tone mapping, aligning and de-ghosting. We can use Photoshop and a host of other plugins to add the final touches… just my thoughts!

Make sure you head over to HDRone.com and check out my full review… it should be published in the coming weeks…

Today’s iCandy

‘Fire in the Sky’ – Sometimes the sunrise doesn’t look like it going to be that great, this particular morning there was a storm off the coast and the cloud on the horizon was thick and heavy… this moment as the sun broke through lasted less that 2 minutes… it pays to be ready!

(Click on the photo to order yourself a print or to download (please see licensing for the rules!)

Categories: Australian Locations, Daily Blog Post, Equipment Review, Gold Coast | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fuji X-E1 and HDR

Your questions answered…

A lot of people must be considering the X-E1 as their next camera… maybe you are too! I get over 100 hits a day on my blog with the X-E1 in the search term and I have had over a dozen requests to test my X-E1 out doing HDR and to post my findings here. Finally… I have done just that.

The X-E1 is a great camera, and the only short fall that I can see at this stage is to read the .RAF RAW files the Fuji creates you need Photoshop CS6 (which I don’t have) or use the Fuji supplied RAW editing software (and it sucks!).

For me, I have my D800 for shooting raw and wanted the Fuji as an everyday walk around camera. It is much lighter than the D800 and the image quality is damn good… I don’t need to shoot RAW for everyday snaps so the whole .RAF RAW file issue doesn’t bother me too much.

I have a page dedicated to the X-E1 that I am always updating and adding photo’s to… you will find it HERE

How does the X-E1 perform when it comes to shooting HDR?

On my recent trip to Fiji I decided to test it out, here is the original photo, this is taken with ‘Average’ metering. Given the dynamic range of the scene the camera is not going to be able to capture all of the detail with the limited dynamic range of the sensor.

The Correct Exposure using ‘Average’ metering

To take the different exposures I need for a HDR image the Fuji is limited in the way that you can do this. You could use the auto bracketing but would need to fiddle with the EV comp dial anyway to get the desired range in the exposures so I like to just use the EV comp dial and forget about the Auto Bracketing function. Maybe they will have a software update like SONY did that will make the Auto Bracketing more HDR friendly. Until then, the EV Comp dial is very easy to access and use.

Selecting +2 on the EV Comp dial

Selecting -2 on the EV Comp dial

After processing the image with Photomatix pro, here is the final HDR image, I used Photomatix Pro, I have tried lots of HDR software and find Photomatix the best. Use the Coupon code ‘ON3LEGS’ for a 15% discount, you can get it from here -> Photomatix DOWNLOAD

The Final HDR image

Categories: Daily Blog Post, Equipment Review, Fiji | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

I am Back… more news on the Fuji X-E1 soon!

back from Fiji..

Sorry it has been a bit quiet around here lately, I have just spent the last 2 1/2 weeks on vacation in Fiji… I took 3 camera’s, My D800, My Panasonic Lumix mostly used in an underwater housing and my Fuji X-E1. This trip really gave me an opportunity to give the Fuji X-E1 a true workout and can say I am really loving this camera! I am slowly transferring the hundreds of photo’s and images I took across to my iMac and as will start posting some soon. I will also update my X-E1 review page with more of my learning’s about the camera, and I am going to do a quick write up on the Lumix too for those of you thinking about underwater photography… so stay tuned!

Categories: Daily Blog Post, Equipment Review | Leave a comment

The Fuji X-E1 for HDR

I was asked, can HDR be done using the Fuji X-E1?

Being known as a HDR photographer I guess it was only a matter of time before I got this question, and the short answer is YES, the Fuji X-E1 can be used for HDR Photography.

However, it is not as easy as it is with my D800 that takes as many frames I need at 1ev apart using auto-bracketing. The Auto-Bracketing feature on the X-E1 give you the 1ev spacing but only up to 3 frames at a time, so the maximum you can do is -1, 0, +1, when for most HDR I need -2,0,+2. Sony have just released a firmware upgrade that has changes this for the NEX users so I hope to see Fuji follow suit. Until then, the easiest option is to manually change the EV via the dial near your thumb as you take 3 exposures… not ideal but it works!

The X-E1 has a Dynamic Range adjustment, where you are supposed to be able to reduce loss of details in highlights and shadows when shooting a high contrast scene. The highest Dynamic Range setting of 400% can only be used at ISO800 and above, so Noise will start creeping in… not that is matters as I have tested the DR function and could not see enough of a difference to even consider using it so I will stick to Photomatix and Photoshop for my HDR processing.

Here are the results of my test, I used a High Contrast Scene and shot one frame at ISO 200 with the DR function off, and the other at ISO 800 with DR set to the maximum of 400%… you be the judge… (click on image to see a larger version)

I had the metering set to ‘Average’ and I cannot tell the difference!

and here is a HDR image created using the EV Comp dial to get my 3 exposures and then I used photomatix to make the HDR…

HDR image using the Fuji X-E1 – 3 exposures -2ev, 0ev and +2ev manually done using the EV comp dial.

Check out my page dedicated to the Fuji X-E1 HERE for more of my insights and a Before photo of the above HDR image…

Categories: Australian Locations, Equipment Review, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fujifilm X-E1 review

Is the Fuji X-E1 the camera for you?

Fuji X-E1

The mirrorless camera is fast becoming a popular choice for photographers… for me it was the smaller size without losing the ability to have interchangeable lenses. I looked at the Xpro1, the Sony NEX7 and the Olympus OM-D and in the end settled on the late to the market X-E1. After taking a couple of hundred frames with the Fuji X-E1 I have started a page with my thoughts and ramblings on this little mirrorless beast! I have really enjoyed shooting with this camera and hopefully my page will help you decide if this is the mirrorless camera for you!

Visit the Fuji X-E1 page

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