Dick’s Rant

The X-Pro series of cameras from Fujifilm have been taking pictures long enough for people to have had time to decide whether they like them or not. Of course for the photographers bound to another system or another philosophy of shooting, they may only be of peripheral interest. Nevertheless the features they carry are enough to get debates started, and perhaps to suggest to others that THEIR manufacturer of choice might be lobbied to incorporate them. I don’t know how closely the other large Japanese or German manufacturers monitor feedback from their users, but I suspect Fujifilm do keep a close eye on what is written and an open ear for the photo-talk. Well, away from speculation, here are the things I most enjoy about this new X-Pro 2 camera - remember that I own the previous model of the line: a. Gosh, it looks wonderful. You’ve read the gush two columns back so I needn’t repeat it here. b. The card slots - slots, note - are accessible from the side of the camera. Hooray and up she rises! This is a vast improvement...

“ Just Glorious ” is not the sort of thing that you generally want to read in a photographic analysis column. Figures on sensor size and density, autofocus speeds and EVF refresh rates, MTF charts…all these are the meat and drink of the avid internet reader. “ Just Glorious “ is the sort of language that you expect from a travel writer or music reviewer. But you’re getting it here based upon several factors; the appearance and the function of this Fujifilm camera have called it forth. It’s not a fresh chassis - the Fujifilm X-Pro2 has been with us for several months now - long enough to garner the first of its Fujifilm ‘ kaizen ‘ firmware updates. I have no idea whether the camera that I got to use in the Little Studio is running on those updates or not, but I can report that it is running magnificently by all means. I’m not entirely unfamiliar with the brand, nor of the lineage - I own and use a Fujifilm X-Pro1 for lots of things. I can find my way around...

Step One: Find a suitable location. Picking a spot to take your own picture can be easy or hard - but it always reflects upon you when you show the result to others. We have all seen the pre-ball, pre-dance show, or pre-wedding selfie taken in the hallway, broom closet, or toilets. No matter how wonderful the occasion or stunning the outfit, it never looks good with a background of a mop and bucket or an open stall door. National monuments, scenic wonders, and iconic locations make for a better deal, even if you are bobbing away in the middle of a harbour while you are doing it. Step Two: Hold the camera away from yourself. If you hold it close, you may get a picture of you ( and in many cases this is really the center of attraction for you...

Does it ever seem as if your entire existence is played out in shades of black, grey, and white? And that you find it unsatisfactory? This is not a dig at the people who are restricted by various degrees of colour vision deficiency. They live cheerfully, and I wish them well. They may even have an advantage over me in certain circumstances. What I am decrying is increasing emphasis in design for the boring choices; black, white, and grey. I recognise the elegance of it in some cases, but long for a spike of some other colour to brighten things. In fact I think I need a boost right now...

Now I get to have my fun - I’ve got a Tamron macro lens and I’m not afraid to use it! I’ve also got a new model car and a fresh pot of coffee. The people who seek macro lenses for their Nikon and Canon bodies are well served by their respective  manufacturers. There is no denying that in each case there is a range of macro lenses and one standout lens that the shooter can purchase to go to for superb results. The standout macro lenses have focal lengths that hover around the 90-105mm mark - and for a good reason. You can get good distortion correction there and a useful stand-off distance from the subject - even when you are cranking the lens to a true 1:1 ratio. The performances and weights of these premium lenses are reflected in the prices, which are also weighty. There has always been another alternative - the Tamron 90mm macro lens. It has in the past had a much lighter mount but an extremely good optical performance. Many people who didn't want to pay the major...

You may have noted a few irregularities in the presentation of this column in the last week or so. We apologise for any confusion. The changeover to the Wordpress system has gone largely as planned, though there have been a few inadvertent postings and one missed day due to security changes. The keyboard here at the editorial desk has also absorbed what looks to be the remains of a scone with jam on it - strawberry jam - and as a result the "e" key sometimes sticks. I note that occasionally the word "the" is rendered as " thee". While we are friendly, we have not become Friends. There will be no "thou". On an upbeat note, the graphic design department of the Weblog has acquired a new secondhand Pepin Press book of 1950's floral designs. Whenever there is no particular camera or lens to illustrate you can have a nice pattern - the featured image may well be Mamie Eisenhower's bathroom curtains....

A little while ago I reported on a stylish messenger bag from Peak Design that featured industrial-strength closures combined with an unusual fabric colour. It was stylish to the max but imminently practical - a good example of industrial design finally intertwining with fashion. Well, if you need to carry more camera gear and want to carry it on a different portion of your body, have a look at the Peak Design Everyday 20L backpack. It looks as though you finally have something that need not be seen halfway up a mountain to look right - this one you can take round town. As an aside, I wonder who would need a backpack in town? Editorial shooters with lots of gear and a fair way to hike in the urban canyons? Wedding shooters who do not want to look out of place but still need to pack spare cameras, lenses, and tranquillizer darts? Food shooters who need to do their work in restaurant kitchens and might at any moment be chased by a chef with a knife? I tremble. Well anyway, the fabric and...

Anyone who has eaten at a Perth pub has noticed that there are generally three things on the menu: a dish that is so expensive that it makes the rest of the stuff look affordable…a dish that is so cheap that you know it is going to taste bad…and everything else in between. If you are wise enough not to order fish surprise on Monday or vegan-free gluten salad at any other time you should be able to get along pretty well. If the price of a pint is the same price as filling your car’s fuel tank, drink petrol. Same goes with cameras and lenses. You can glance over the wildly foolish shelves to start with and marvel at the temerity of the manufacturer. Then you can look at the goods that are so down-market as to be subterranean. Then you can shift to the sensibly-priced section and actually get down to business. We all do this and the business gets down...