Author: Houston In Style Photography

I am a professional photographer located in Houston, TX. I offer a wide range of photography services. Feel free to visit me at: http://www.instylephotography.net

Fuji 50-140 2.8 R LM OIS WR review

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Fuji X-Pro2 First Impressions

I want to make it clear this is not a review. These are my first impressions of MY copy of the newly released Fuji X-Pro2


 

I posted a similar thread the other day and my post was met with a lot of mean-spirited attacks. If you feel the need to call me an idiot or any other pejorative term I will report you as spam.

 


 

I purchased my copy of the X-Pro2 March 4th. I used it for a photo shoot March 6th. I was using my Quantum T5D-R* as off camera flash triggered by Pocket Wizards. The “on camera” transmitter was a Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 for Canon.  If you know anything about Pocket Wizards you know that the MiniTT1 can be set in basic triggering mode which causes it to act like any other Pocket Wizard. The flash had a PlusX attached as the receiver.  The lens I was using the 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR.

While shooting I got a “internal temperature warning” screen.  I turned off the camera and when I  turned it back on and got the same screen.  To the touch nothing felt warm, much less hot.  When I removed the OEM battery it felt fine.   In short, the tactile heat inspection of the camera and battery passed with flying colors. I then changed the transmitter from the MiniTT1 to a PlusX and didn’t have this issue for the rest of the shoot.  I also noticed that my camera setting had completely reset to the factory original settings.  I did call Fuji and gave them this information and they said they would pass it on to Japan.  Very nice person at customer service by the way.

To be fair, the issue could have been with the MiniTT1 but I’ve never had this issue when I used the MiniTT1 with my XT-1, XE-2, Pentax 645z or Leica M Type 240.  My guess is that Fuji will provide a firmware fix shortly. One great thing about Fuji is they do an excellent job providing firmware updates.  I did call and talk to Pocket Wizard support as well.  They confirmed that the fact the MiniTT1 was for Canon is a non issue seeing how it is designed to work with any camera as a basic flash trigger.  The TTL functionality specific to Canon has zero affect on the basic triggering mode.

One other thing I noticed was the slow write speed.  I was using Delkin 633x SD cards and it was noticeably slow.  But I have since purchased Lexar 1000x cards and no longer have an issue withe write speed.  The AF seems a good, maybe slightly better than my XT-1. Again, this is just my eyeball test.  Nothing scientific here.

I feel compelled to state one more time that these are MY first impressions of MY X-Pro2. I had the X100 in my hands the day it came out, same with the X-Pro1. I have been sooting Fuji X system for wedding sine 2013.  Yes, I know how to set the camera settings.  No, I’m not an idiot.  THIS IS NOT A REVIEW

*I have since switched to the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra for my location lighting.

UPDATE

I connected the MiniTT1 to the X-Pro2 again with a different battery and lens and itmdidmthe same thing.  As soon as I powered up the camer I received the internal temperature warning.  Used the MiniTT1 On my other cameras with zero issue.  Also if you follow the Fuji X Forum you will read a lot of posts about a lot of issues with the X-Pro2.

PROBLEM IDENTIFIED:  The X-Pro2 has the additional flash hot shoe post for supplying power to the flash much like that of the XT-1.  This extras post seems to be the culprit.  I will find out of the solution I’ve come up with fixes the issue permanently.  That solution being, buying a single post hotel short adapter and mounting the MiniTT1 to it and therefore bypassing the power supply post on the cameras hot shoe.

Pentax 645Z Review


The Pentax 645Z is Nothing Sort of Amazing!

 

I freely admit I am a camera gear junkie and on no level apologize for the illness!  I am always looking at the newest, latest and greatest thing to hit the market.  While I will never do video review full of sarcasm and profanity I will however, offer my real world opinion of newly purchased gear.  Today I want to talk briefly about the new Pentax 645Z!

I use the Fuji X System for a lot of my work, mostly wedding work but I wanted a dedicated  “portrait” camera, one with substance. A camera I could take into the wilds of locations shooting.  I had the Nikon D800 and while a nice camera, it just isn’t do it for me.  I have alway lusted after the “medium format” digital cameras, but found them very expensive, so much so I did no feel comfortable taking them on location.  Then Pentax released their 645Z, or zed for you Canadians!  Why did I choose this camera for my portrait work?

First and foremost the price was excellent.  I got a great deal at Houston Camera Exchange  The Pentax 645z body with the 55mm f2.8 AL [IF] SDM AW lens for $6,999.99.  For the cost of some of the higher end DSLR’s I was able to move into the world of the much larger full frame medium format sensors, and boy howdy I am glad I did!  Admittedly the 55mm is not a portrait lens, but, the line up of Pentax FA lenses is decent and affordable so I picked up the 75mm FA, 120mm FA macro and the 150mm 2.8 FA, now I am set for lenses!

The second reason I picked up this camera is the weather sealing.  I will never, nor have I ever shot in the rain But in Houston humidity is a real concern and I figured that having a weather sealed camera is not a bad thing.  To be fair. Most, if not all, of the newer professional lines of cameras come with weather sealing and the Pentax 645Z finally joined their ranks.  The only lens I have that is weather sealed is the 55mm the rest are not.  But to spend $4000.00 for the 90mm Macro is not on my list of things to do any time soon.

Lens quality is the third reason I picked this camera.  I knew I wanted this camera for a specific purpose and that being portrait work, so a huge lens line up was not necessary.  The Pentax 645 lens line up may not be extensive but they have a perfect line if you ask me.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that they may not have a ton of lenses like Canon and Nikon, but what they do have is very high quality and cover your needs nicely.  I am not a zoom lens kind of guy, but they do have a couple that are really nice and affordable.  I have used and still use my Pentax 67II and have always loved the quality of their lenses and the quality is there on the 645 lenses as well.

Megapixels galore!  Yes, at 50 megapixel I get full, sensual, detail rich ACW files and I love this!  I am a fan of anything that is RAW and the ACW files seem to plays nicely with Adobe.  Yes, my slow to evolve Fuji X is only 16 megapixels, detailed for sure but when you compare those files with that taken from the Pentax 645z their is simply no comparison.  I like detail.  I like the ability to crop without losing image quality.  But mostly I like that option of doing all of this which the Fuji X simply does not offer.  I know the Fuji X Pro-2 has been announced and yes I know it is up to 24 megapixels.  But this is all on a APC cropped sensor.  Fuji, WAKE UP and make a full frame!  The size of this sensor makes all of the difference as well.  You get the “medium format” depth of field at 2.8.  I love shooting my Pentax 67II and the 105mm 2.4 at an aperture of f2.4 and the Pentax 645z allows for that same look, which is a great thing!

The “hand feel” of this camera is excellent.  It is not a Leica M6, but then again nothing else is.  It’s not any more cumbersome that my D800 was.  In fact I find this camera more comfortable to hand hold.  The grip fits me perfectly and the rubberized texturing is tactile enough for me to eel very confident while holding onto my new love.  The controls are well places and they are intuitive.  People feel the need to point out camera control placement and make poorly placed controls the be all-end all of their world.  The way I see it, ya gotta place the buttons somewhere right!  Nothing gets in the way with this camera and that’s all I need. By the way, the worlds worst button were on the original Fuji X100!

In conclusion:  This is the best decision I’ve made in a long time when it comes to new camera gear.  I own a lot of gear but it is the Pentax 645z I find myself reaching for more times than not.  If you want DSLR handling but in a medium format digital camera then the Pentax 645z is a no brainer!


 

Some sample images froths camera:

Julia2-W

Pentax 645z with 5mm 2.8

Keira-Chic1-W

Pentax 645z with 150mm 2.8 at 2.8

Julia6-WPentax 645z with 75mm2.8

Sammie3-WPentax 645Z 55mm2.8

Julia3-WPentax 645z 55mm 2.8

IMGP0417Pentax 645z 120mm macro

P645-Selfie2WPentax 645z 55mm 2.8Rose-P645-WPentax 645z 120mm f4.0 Macro

All images are copyright 2016 Scott Evans all rights reserved.  Do not republish or reuse without written permission

Why are you not printing your work?

It’s a simple questions really.  With all the chatter, to be more accurate, clacking, about the ease and instant gratification of digital cameras why are you not printing your work?  It’s just as easy to do and to do well.  Inkjet printers are capable of creating stunning prints.  Printers are affordable and easy to use.  So I ask again; why are you not printing your work?

I went to Beaumont a few weeks ago and had lunch with two very talented and smart photographer friends of mine.  Oh and we had amazing Indian food, but I digress.  While waiting for Jeff to give us a meet up time Richard and I were in his living room talking about many topics one of which was the printed image.  Richard’s living room is a fine art photography gallery.  Showcasing is amazing, and I do mean, AMAZING photographs which are printed and hanging with great care.  I remember commenting then that no one prints their work anymore, why?  Cost?  Access to quality printing?  Who knows the answer to the question but what I do know is this:

The image you are seeing one your iPhone or iPad or what other “i” device you are using cannot compare the quality of a well done print.  Don’t believe me?  Then pay just one time and have a high quality print done of your favorite image and then see if you still think the iScreen is as good.  If you are going to take the time to learn how to use our new D-whatever that cost you $3,000.00 or more and then take the time to learn Lightroom or Photoshop, why are you not learning how to print?  It’s like hitting the ball over then fence and then stopping at 3rd base.  Take it all the way home and PRINT YOUR WORK, ya bunch of knuckleheads 🙂

Fuji XT-1, is it as good as the D800?

In order to fill the void between wedding shoots I offer actor head shots and am learning the art of food photography.  While learning the latter I noticed something interesting.  I notice there are glaring differences between the Fuji XT-1 and Nikon D800.  The first difference that jumps out at you are the colors.  One is not better than the other but the differences are eye-popping and very noticeable.  The second and equally as noticeable difference is the sharpness and resolution with the clear winner being the…

When it comes to gear I hear all the time that: “the camera is just a tool”.  While that much is true I would like to point out that you would not use a roll of paper towels to hammer a nail now would you?  A ridiculous example I know but back to my point.  Yes, the camera is just a tool and each tool serves its purpose and the Fuji XT-1 is no different.  I am a huge Fuji X fan, I mean HUGE fan of these cameras.  I use the X-Pro1, XE-2 and the XT-1 and by use I mean this is what I carry to shoot 100% of my weddings!  The reasons why I shoot the Fuji X series for wedding are many, and I’ll list some (but not all) of them for you:

  1.  Light weight
  2.  Amazing low light shooters
  3.  Great skin tones
  4.  Stunning B&W images
  5.  Amazing fast lenses with my favorite being the; 56mm 1.2, 23mm 1.4 and 35mm 1.4

When it comes to flash photography the Fuji’s do just OK, but wireless manual flash using my Pocket Wizard in tandem with my Quantum T5-dr’s are as good as anything else compared to any other camera.  Because the Fuji X system cameras are such amazing low light shooters I find myself using less and less flash.  With that said there are some limitations to these cameras the caused me to pick up a Nikon D800 and I’ll get into these reasons now.

Back to my opening statement.  The D800 is not only a great camera but it nicely fills the void left by the Fuji’s.  What void you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  First off the D800’s auto focus is, well, better.  As in, no comparison, even with the newest firmware update on the XT-1.  Yea, yea, yea, I know that XT-1 is not designed to compete directly with the pro end DSLR’s, but I am a pro and I am going to talk about this anyway because using the right tool for the job matters!  The other area of difference is the resolution.  At 36 megapixels the D800 captured more detail, period!  Where I noticed this was when I was shooting food and this is where detail is critical and the D800 did not disappoint.  When severe cropping is needed he D800 retains all of the detail, even at a 100% crop which makes the Nikon D800 is the clear winner.  The sharpness, colors and full frame-ness of the D800 really shines in this and other areas of photography.

Where Fuji has the advantage is in the area of mobility and stunning black and white photography.  For all of my street photography the only thing I will use is my Fuji X-Pro1 and 35mm 1.4 & 23 1.4.  I adore the Fuji as a travel camera.  In fact that’s all I ever take with me when traveling.  I am headed back home to New Orleans in August and my XE-2 and X-Pro 1 will be with me for sure.  They are do wedding dresses better than anything else I’ve used.  They are almost noiseless up to 3200 ISO.  They are silent, discreet and most of all my back is not killing me at the end of a 12 hour wedding.  The auto focus is much improved and the lenses, well those lenses are simply put, YUMMY!

So, is the camera “just a tool”? In short, yes. The right tool for the right job in the hands of the right person matters more in my humble opinion.  When you need the most in the way of detail, sharpness, resolution and cropping the clear winner is the Nikon D800. But when you want B&W photos and for shooting brides the Fuji wins.  So is there room for both a DSLR and a Fuji X camera in you bag?  Yes, there is plenty of room for both and the amazing thing about living in “Merica is that you can have both!

JamBall1-WIG

Above D800 100% crop

JamBalls2-W

Above XT-1 10% crop with 18-55 2.8-4.0 R

PastryXT1-W

Above Fuji XT-1 with 56mm 1.2

PastryD800-W

Above D800 no crop

Why I kept my Fuji X Pro-1

With all the new fangled, fancy pants, digital gee-wiz-a-bang’s being released seemingly on a weekly basis, I decided to stop!  I decided to stop buying the latest and greatest version of what I already have.  I have the Fuji XT1 and love it but I also KEPT my Fuji X-Pro 1, and here’s why.

  1. Just because Fuji released something new does not make my X Pro-1 a bad camera.  
  2. The B&W I get from the X-Pro 1 is more like film than any other camera I’ve used, X100s a close 2nd
  3. It’s focusing is fast enough, certainly faster than I can manually focus my Leica M6
  4. It’s a pretty tough camera.  In fact I have my XE-2 repaired from a slight drop where as the X-Pro 1 still works
  5. The X-Pro 1 fits my hands perfectly.  I love rangefinders and this is a rangefinder-ey as you can get

Now, please keep in mind that cost does factor into this process, but not to the degree you might be thinking.  I have learned that when you find something that just works keep using it until it breaks.  Then get it repaired and keep using it until it needs to be replaced.  Then buy a used X-Pro 1 from B&H or KEH then repeat the steps above.

I have always, and guess always will, wrestle with the film vs. digital thing with no clear winner in sight.  The Fuji X-Pro 1 is the only digital camera I have used that comes closest to the look of B&W film.  And for me that matters.  I rarely shoot in color but when I do I am equally pleased with the color files.  I still use the heck out of my X-Pro 1 at weddings.  It along with the X100s are amazing wedding cameras!

In the end as long as my X-Pro 1 works and Fuji updates the firmware I will keep shooting it.  I liken the  X-Pro 1 to Alanis Morrissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album, they both got it right the first time!

The death of film. Well, maybe not! But most likely. But when?


 

We have to accept that in these days the Leica myth has more nostalgia than future. The exhibition is a proof that the future is not a continuation of the past and even Leica can not disregard the writing at the wall.” …Erwin Puts from The TAO of Leica 2014 “Augen auf!” exhibit

 


 

My Leica M6 is and I guess, will always be the crown jewel of my camera world, aka “obsession”.  Any photographer worth their salt puts the emphasis on the image, the subject if you will.  The story the image tells.  The emotion it evokes.  Second to this is the camera they use.  After all the camera is just a tool right?  The flip side of this argument is: does the “tool” matter?  I guess I fall on both sides of this discussion.  I use my Leica M6 for the image quality, ease of use, the fact I shoot film and the “stealth” like shooting I can do.  But I am not how “stealth” I am at 6’3″ and 360!  But I digress…

As much as I yearn for the days of film I am constantly drawn to the merits of digital.  One of the best art nude photographers I know, Richard Tallent of Beaumont, TX, scratches is head each time I post anything about shooting film.  Ya see, he is 100% digital and misses NOTHING about film shooting.  Richard is always befuddled as to why I choose to still shoot film.  My answer to him is always the same;  It’s because it slows me down and makes me feel more like a real art photographer.  Which I am sure makes zero sense to him and most of you who might real this.  Now enter The Fuji X system.  This was a BIG TIME game changer for me.

The Fuji X Pro-1 with the 35mm 1.4 lens and my ability to really use the hell out of Silver EFX Pro2 made me really second guess the use of my Leica M6.  Well, for a while that is.  No one can argue the exacting and amazing image quality you get out of these cameras.  The B&W images from the Fuji X series are simply stunning! But even with a tool that mimics the M6, there was still something missing in the final product to which I have struggled to put words.  Until now!

To me the digital file is too exacting.  Too literal if you will.  It’s cleaned and polished with every pixel is right where it should be.  Digital images are the Stormtroopers of photography.  What I get with film (talking B&W film here) is a buttery creaminess coupled with (arguably) wider dynamic range and tonality.   It has the serendipitous imperfections that make each frame on the roll truly unique, absent of subject matter.  The grain is real and not a created digital version of grain.  When you look at a frame taken with my M6, Hasselblad 500Cm or Pentax 67, there is no doubt this is a film image.

Even with all of this spoken I constantly hear; “but you still have to scan it to make it a digital image so why not just shoot digital“?  My answer to this is always the same.  Because a scanner takes a “picture” of what it is scanning and therefore I retain that look and feel of a film image even after it is scanned.  I then ask; why do you shoot digital and then spend hours on Photoshop or Lightroom trying to get it to look like film?

Now, do I shoot digital?  Heck yes!  Do I feel like I am giving up something in the way of image quality because I am NOT shooting film, sometimes.  But I am learning that I am not giving up image quality in as much as I learning the differences in image aesthetics when I shoot digital.  What I know to be a fact is, not one of my images would have been a “better” image had I used a film camera.  The reverse is also true.  This harkens back to my earlier statement. Care more about the photograph and less about the gear to truly see what kind of photographer you can become!

 

Until I can deal with the mental block of shooting digital as an art medium I will still use film.  Admittedly I am shooting less and less film.  I think I feel obligated to shoot film because I have these cameras and because the ever so annoying hipsters still shoot film.  However, the Fuji X Pro-1 is helping me a great deal with this issue.

 

FYI my Nikon D800 with its mammoth 36 mp is really changing my opinion!

The death of professional photography

I am sure some of you who read this will take exception to what I am about to say, and well, ok then.  But for most of you my opinion will make sense.

I have been a professional wedding and portrait photographer for over 14 years.  And in that time I have seen many trends in photography.  From the use of caution tape to models posing with pit bulls.  All of that, as cliche as it was, were trends with relation to style and concept.  The trend that I am seeing now is far more troublesome to the professional photographer.  And that is the “dumbing down” of the client.

When digital came into it’s own the debate over the death of film raged.  I always held the opinion that film use would diminish but not disappear.  The same way that photography diminished the painter.  Instead I took the stance that with digital and the internet would be a vessel that would contain millions upon millions of images.  On the surface this seems like a great idea but in reality it is very dangerous to us professionals out there.  The “how” is simple really.  The internet viewer is bombarded with these images and 99% of which have no regard to quality.  From the duck-face photo of the hot chick on Facebook to the ever so classy “look at my ab’s in the gym mirror” photo.  All of which are taken with cell phone cameras with zero regards to quality.  This list could go on and one but I will spare you this time.

Now, here is where it gets a little more complex.  With each crap photograph piling upon the other crap photographs, the viewer, aka, bride to be, actor needing head shots, family wanting portraits and so on, are lead to believe what they are seeing is what is now considered a “quality” photograph.  The are being brain washed into accepting low quality crap images are the norm and sadly this has become the new standard.  Try as we professionals might, the dumbing down of the average viewer will have a permanent impact on those of us who make a living with out cameras.

The flood of digital images have forced most professional to lower their pricing to try to stave off the influx of so called”wanna-be”, Cragislist photographers.  These  part-time, weekend warriors are the ones that will do a whole wedding for $500.00.  My issue is not the GWC (guy with camera) trying to make a buck.  My issue is with the client.  The bride who has been so condition into believing that what she is seeing on Pintrest and Facebook is the norm.  She has become oblivious to the fact that she should to expect MORE in the way of quality from her photographer rather being forced to settle for low quality crap images.

Most clients have devalued true professional photography.  They are willing to settle for low quality images for the sake of savings.  The real issue is that the clients are right!  They know they can hey a GWC for $500.00 and be ok with just “ok images.  The super majority of photographers are not professionals, they are simply GWC’s and don’t care about quality or customer service.  And this is the core issue.  The clients are being duped into accepting low quality because that is all they have seen.  And to be frank, I do not see this trend changing.  So what can we do?  Nothing really.  We can keep buying the newest $3,500.00 digital cameras and hope for the best!

Affordable Wedding Photography In Houston

If you are looking for high quality and yet affordable wedding and bridal photography then In Style Photography is your place!

April-Bridal1-W

Relax! It’s Just A Photograph…

It’s OK, it’s just a photo shoot!

From time to time I come across a person or a couple who just cannot relax in front of the camera.  This is unusual by any means.  In fact few people are 100% comfortable  being the center of attention.  Not all of us are an attention seeking Kardashian!  OK with that said below are a few tips which might help you when you have to get your head shot, model beauty shot or engagement/bridal photo:

  1. Be yourself!  Too many time people feel the need to “act” instead of simply being who they are
  2. Move!  As in actually move.  I do not mean sprint like you’re in a race, but simple move and sway
  3. Take a deep breath.  I know this sounds so simple but it really does work.  Heck, take 2 deep breaths, couldn’t hurt
  4. If you have the choice shoot in a location that’s familiar to you.  Strangers and storage places add to you being uncomfortable
  5. Feel comfortable with the photographer.  Rather a good photographer will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and safe

As you can see, nothing on this list is terrible complicated.  In fact it’s pretty darn basic.  But of none of this works, there’s alway wine!

To book my service please visit www.instylephotogrpahy.net or simply send a message using the contact form listed below.  Have a rest week form your jolly ole photographer Scott Evans with In Style Photography in Houston, TX