Flyin’ Down The Jpeg Line

Flyin’ Down The Jpeg Line

I’m always on the catch-up as far as the computer goes – I operate a Mac that doesn’t have the latest operating system. And I’ve resisted the calls to upgrade as it would cancel out my printer and scanner. The result is I am always a little behind the clock with RAW file decoding.

I can’t boil down Fujifilm X-E4 files. Anything I shoot with it has to be jpeg…so when I grabbed a camera and an 18mm Fujinon lens from the Murray Street cabinet I turned it up to large jpeg, auto white balance, middling high auto ISO, and let it have its head.

Street shots were just plain old Murray Street, though these days it is sort of gentrifying itself somewhat. The contrasts were strong, however, and that’s a wring-out for any camera. Commendably, the X-E4 coped very well with these. I think I should have to get down to pixel-peeping to complain if I had the RAW image beside these.

Inside was much the same. I must say I don’t agree with Fujifilm in getting rid of the pop-up flash on the X-E3 and X-E4, but you can still get one tucked away in the X-T30 and if they come out with an X-T40 I hope they are sensible enough to leave it on. There’s times when it is the saviour of the shot.

Performance of the lens as a close-range product shooter was also good. I keep one of these in the kit when I know I’m going to be inside a lot with the smaller cameras. It is really the equivalent of the one they put on their short-lived X-70 line…and that was a great travel camera when we could travel further than Murray Street. ( One advantage of vacationing in Murray Street is you can drink the water and are rarely kidnapped by dissidents. The prices in the coffee shops are the only obvious form of banditry. Step around the corner, however…)

The business of shooting with a new camera in the shop is something we all do. Staff as well as customers peer through viewfinders or into LCD’s and shift from one view to another. Shutters are snapped and screens chimped, and there really aren’t too many cogent conclusions arrived at. A bit of planning might make the experience more valuable:

a. Think out the type of photography you do and do some electronic research to narrow down your possible choices. Your time at the counter is valuable to you, and our time serving you is valuable to us…if we can all make good decisions. If you’re just in for a lunchtime poke around, do so, but try not to have butter on your fingers as you swipe left and right with the screens. Ham and salad rolls are best eaten on the footpath while walking, as is the best Perth tradition.

If you really want to get a camera or lens, have your money ready. You’ll have noticed that stocks are slow arriving this last year and if what you want is coming sideways through the Suez canal you may be wiser getting what is in the shop right now…

b. If you do small product work or food shots or jewellery, bring a subject to test out the gear. Not a plate of spaghetti, mind…If you’re a traveller, bring a beach with you, or make do with Murray or Stirling Street cityscapes. You can accurately assess how easy it will be to pack things by loading yourself down and trotting round the shop while the staff jostle you.

c. None of the staff are athletic enough to go high marks if you’re a sport shooter, so you’ll have to imagine that, but Stirling Street has its fair share of motorised hoons. You can practice track shots out the front.

d. BRING A CARD…if you want to take the images home for further study. Or buy a card, which is a better idea. Your favourite 2 Gb CF card from 2008 may not be helpful. Think faster, bigger, smaller, and newer.

e. Coming at noon when the rest of the world is in as well doesn’t work if you want a leisurely chat. Neither does 5 minutes before closing time with the staff trying to find lost sixpences behind the till while cashing up. We love you, but not long time.

f. Don’t get yourself in a tizz by trying to assess 10 similar products in 15 minutes. You’ll forget which did what and learn nothing. Compare two or three at the most. Better still, look at one thing thoroughly…and then screw your courage up to the sticking point and buy the blessed thing.



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