The Second Day – The Second Thoughts

The Second Day – The Second Thoughts

Armed with my trusty Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and equally trusty 18-135mm f:3.5-5.6 zoom lens, I visited the hot rod show again on their second day of operation. It was in the spirit of scientific enquiry, as well as the spirit of having another day out looking at cars and avoiding having to fold the laundry. Science by itself is all very well, but there are certain social sweeteners too…

And this weekend I did not want to risk the wrath of the readers by giving them a half-baked report or treading upon someone’s toes.

Pure science would have demanded that I take the same cars from the same angle with the same exposure. Pure indulgence meant that I took some of these, but then went on to discover new hot rods that were missed on Saturday. In any case, the 18-135 got a wringing out and I have brought the files home to compare with the ones taken with the more expensive lens.

I must say, that at the size I use and the resolution I command out of the computer, there is little to pick between the lenses. The 18-135 seems to focus nearly as fast as the 16-55, and has the advantage of an OIS mechanism. I regularly dropped my hand-held shooting speed to 1/30 and have seen no ill effects. As well, there were some exhibits kept back a distance from the public for security purposes – the longer lens let me single out details of these without having the resort to heavy cropping. A definite advantage when one is not able to approach closely.

The longer lens can look a little daunting when zoomed out to full extension, but clients will note that they have very nearly the same length when they are zoomed in. Carrying the combos through the crowd was a similar experience – sort of like following cattle through a bog. But cattle generally dress better…

Never mind. It was a fun day, and new things were seen and new ideas learnt. The trial also included shooting using the available light in the hall…but only on the car stands that had provided floodlighting or spotlights. And none of it done in the dreadful Yellow Chamber. When you play it by Auto White Balance you can find situations where the sources are so disparate as to get past what the computer can cope with. Then you’ll either get one side illuminated well and the other side strangely coloured, or just in inadvertent art all around. At least if you flash from your own settings you can get some accuracy.

Those of you who see Fujifilm files on this weblog column and are tempted to think that I have boosted up the contrast or saturation are generally mistaken. Fujifilm sensors and processors present much brighter things out of the card. As well, hot rod colour choices run to either rust or riot – they are a real tonic against the white/black/grey streams of 4WD vehicles that form the daily grind in Perth. And generally driven with much more care and aplomb.

Conclusion about the lenses? I will reserve one tiny judgement later for when I get to see the performance of the shorter zoom on a dim dance stage, but from the looks of it, my current Fujinon lens can cope as well for the cars. My wallet is safe for a little while longer. But if you are in the position of being ready to buy a Fujifilm X-series camera the 16-55mm is a wonderful thing to contemplate…



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