Hunkered down, spending money on groceries in ways not of our norm, enjoying the cold and rain, and getting out for walks. I get off the streets and onto a trail. Here is a view from above a local creek – all slushy brown leaves from last year and new ones leafing out.
It’s been a kick trying to take good pictures with a limited, prime, non-zoom lens. A challenge. So many absolutely dreadful ones, and the occasional good one. Learning curve! Not a bad thing at all. I’m glad I got this X100V – my mind is definitely rethinking how to make an image.
I was naughty and . . . “gear hound” that I am (and that was a great term from you-know-who-you-are), got the new Fuji X100V. I am a Nikon shooter, so this was an adventure into new territory.
So, why the X100V?
When the X100 series was started in 2011, I was drawn to it, but really could not justify buying it. The reasons then were partly financial, but also I was still learning photography and had Nikon digital and film cameras, with F-mount lenses. I like my Nikon systems and have no complaints about them at all – solid performers producing results I like. However, I am lacking something small and portable and sophisticated enough to challenge me. YouTube videos were singing its praises. So, I bit the first day B&H had it up for pre-order.
Beyond the hype of YouTube users discussing the camera itself prior to its official release, some yay, some nay, I am finding this to be a bit of a confusing camera. Experience will lessen this for sure. The confusion lies in its menu system – all new to me. As I play with it, I am finding a rich ability to customize images and aspects of the camera. I doubt I will use all of them, but it is intriguing – like a good novel – and makes me want to learn more. What I found I really like is that I can make more than 4×3 images – I can set the camera to make 9×16 and 1×1. Further, the X-Trans sensor (I think that’s the term) is different than Nikon sensors, so color rendering is different, and the visual differences are very nice.
The X100V has a new lens (23mm equalling a 35mm full frame), an upgrade from all previous models in the X100 series. It also has the ability to replicate various Fuji films, and that is becoming an exciting element in this camera. You can set color preferences (i.e. the Acros setting, with a red emphasis) to push the film in various directions, as well as add grain. Creative fun in the camera settings – how cool is that?
In using it for a day or so, I can see this will be a take-everywhere-I-go camera. I usually have a film camera with me, but the film speed can limit what I can do. A fixed focal length will challenge me in composition, but the fact I can get within 4 inches of a subject is very attractive as I like macro photography, and this is pretty close. The lens fall off (or bokeh) is very pleasant, and the lens is, as everyone has pointed out, very sharp at f/2. The tilt screen is useful, too; I have one on another camera, but I never really think about using them. I expect I will be more likely to now. It is also a touch screen, as is the other one I have, and I do like that element. The X100V also has the ability to use Bluetooth to transfer to other devices, but if you don’t turn it off, it gets warm and burns through the battery as it searches for a device with which to pair. I turned it off. I am not likely to use it, but you never know.
Finally, I found initially I could not use the RAF (raw file extension) files in my Lightroom set up. Hmmmm. I converted them to DNGs using Adobe Converter. Later, a bit of research showed me I was using my old standalone version of LR. I do have the annual account for LR and other Adobe products, but for some reason the Lightroom Classic CC had disappeared from my system. An upgrade to it, and we now have visible RAF files! Yay! This is when you have to love the internet!
The image above is pretty much a simple edit of the RAF file. I upped the lighter greens a tad, put is a soft vignette to lead the eye, and the usual framing and signature. Very little work required. The raw files really caught the bright green of the new leaves. The jpeg did, too. Here is where the Fuji sensor seems stronger than the Nikon ones. The detail, too, is well caught. Technique used, per LR, is 1/210 sec, f/8, iso 1000. I posted the full version of the image just to show off what the lens can do.
I took my Nikon N90s, Nikon 28-85 f2.8 Macro, and a roll of the new Kodak Ektachrome E100 to the botanical garden – always a favorite place! Springtime is the best, too, as trees and bulbs and plants are all in bloom. This was taken as the last of the narcissus bloomed and were fading away. At the gardens, the narcissus are the first up and first to fade.
I am pleased with the new Ektachrome E100. Yes, it’s a positive film, needing E6 chemistry to process, and it costs more than B&W or color. However, positive film has so much going for it, and here is more than ample proof. Film, camera, and lens all came together quite nicely.
Yesterday it was over 80F. Today it is a cool 69F. Little rain. Still, life continues. New growth on a pine at the local garden, where flowers are in bloom everywhere. A walk in the open space nearby found mockingbirds singing away, looking for wives, and staking out their territory. It’s a stunning time of year.
Ceanothus is also known as California Lilac. it is a shrub with glossy green leaves (as you can see in the photo!). It comes in other colors, too, but the blue is the original color. To me, it is always the sign that spring is on the way – and today I found it, along with a lot of other plants in bloom. I was as busy as a bee!
I used my Nikon V3 and 70-300mm lens, which, with a 2.8 crop factor, makes the 300mm closer to 810mm. It allows for great shots and I totally forget, until I use it, what a wonderful system it is.