An Olympic Year in photo equipment!

Who said that the traditional photo market is shrinking at an accelerated pace? It seems that the camera manufacturers didn’t get the message or simply (temporarily) ignore it to invest their strong effort to reveal a plethora of new (and expensive!) camera and lens models. We know already that the next summer Olympics will attend in Tokyo and selected areas of Japan. So, there is certainly a question of nationalist pride among the Japanese camera manufacturers headquarters ***.

Bruny Surin, 1992 Canadian Olympic Trials
Photo Daniel Marchand

What is significant in that large effort from the different brand names is the concerted priority to offer new or enhanced “Pro” oriented equipment. That is may be interesting in term of technical advancement but for the “common” no-penny photographer, this represents often products beyond their reachable budget capacity. Fortunately, many manufacturers have already presented more affordable photo devices during the last year.

Another good news for the starting 2020 decade is the “rebirth” of the APS-C format with the recent contributions of Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm (who was may be the first one to acknowledge its mirrorless potential). Alongside with the still living Micro Four Third (MFT) format, the APS-C represent the real future for a compact ILC system if you consider also the physical lenses dimensions that are incorporating the latest technological advancements.

The D-SLR era is entering in its lasts glorious moments with the 2020 summer Olympics event. It will be very doubtful that Canon or Nikon will continue their development past this particular moment in time. The mirrorless technology is a lot more mature than ten years ago and its “pro” and enthusiasm acceptability have convinced a lot of potential photographers over the planet. Will it least less longer than the D-SLR/SLR successful chapter has been? We cannot say because with the electronic development, the things may change radically in a very short laps of time.

So, at least, the year 2020 is looking good into the photo equipment frontline after years of depress reports and consolidations of the industry (which is not fully completed incidentally). A kind of a break for us who would to concentrate on the pleasure of taking picture with our beloved camera equipment.

*** I have serious doubts that, without the Olympics incentive, the camera manufacturers like Canon or Nikon would have consider to invested again on D-SLR pro models like the 1DX mark III or the D6 considering their new involvement into their brand new series (with FF sensor format) of mirorless cameras and lenses.

The Fujifilm X-E3: The compact “off-center” mind.

I’ve got a long love affair with the original rangefinder cameras (Leica M4-P & M6) and the now digital rangefinder style cameras (Fujifilm X-E2, X-E2S & X-E3). I don’t know if it is due of the fact that their viewfinder is located off center (meaning not in the same optical axe of the picture taking lens). But that peculiar camera body design seems to stimulate my creativity and my motivation to brought the camera in places and at moments that I will have a tendency to ignore.

The Fujifilm X-E3 is the fourth version of a popular model design (X-E1, X-E2, X-E2S, X-E3) that many photographers like to bring with them as their main camera or at least as their back up camera body that happens to becoming eventually their most used. The X-E3 is using the same 24MP image sensor that the X-T2 and the X-T20 have. So the picture quality is at par of the two last mentioned models. Some people may call the Fujifilm X-E3 as a compact version of the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 although there are many differences between these two models especially in regard to the viewfinder system which is simplified to the only electronic option with the X-E3. Moreover the X-Pro 2 is a more rugged camera with a proclaimed weather resistant status.

One of the thing which most interesting when you are using a rangefinder style digital camera is the fact that they are less noticeable, less protuberant, less intrusive in front of the subject. This characteristic to be more discrete is always appreciated by the spontaneous photographer on the street, during a travel and even when you taking a candid portrait of a person (The camera seems to be less “serious”).

Many people were tempted to make the comparaison with the Fujifilm X100F which a compact APS-C digital camera doted with a similar fixed lens of 23mm. If you combine the Xf23mm F2.0 lens with the Fujifilm X-E3 the two cameras will give the same angle of view. But the Fujifilm X100F is more a (large) pocket camera while the Fujifilm X-E3 is an interchangeable lens camera (ILC) that have a more standard dimension.

Fujifilm X-E3 w/ Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

Reviewers will talk in length about the good or the bad handling of a camera model. It is always a very personal and intuitive impression at the end. Ergonomics are designed by technicians that are biased by their own physical and cultural differences. All this has been said, one thing that I have experimented with the Fujifilm X-E3 is its fine ergonomic in terms of the camera body and lens combination and I am surprise how good and easy it is still true even when you are using a larger zoom lens such as the Fujinon XF55-200 F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. As a travel or street photographer I fully appreciate this ability. If you combine with the Fujifilm X-E3 a “pancake” style lens such as the Fujinon XF 27mm F2.8, you will find it is resulting in a very small photo devise package.

About the tiny Fujifilm EF-X8 electronic flash which is included with the furnished camera accessories, at first I was skeptical of its practical use but I have found later that it very easy to bring with me and to position it the X-E3 (You can leave it at rest on the Fujifilm X-E3 camera at its down off-position). Dont forget that the EF-X8 is using the battery pack power of your camera. As a fill-flash and as an emergency flash unit, it may be the two best tasks for the EF-X8 unit. For a more extended use of an electronic flash, it is better to couple an external unit doted of its own power management.

Window back lightning interior ambiant light exposed

Using a fill-in flash can be one of the most rewarding thing to do with interior photography with subject that are backlighted during the daylight period. The color temperature is similar between the ambiant natural light and the electronic flash output and the only big task is to choose an interesting exposure balance between the two in preserving or not the shadows or even simply voluntarily underexposure the ambiant (effect often use in fashion photography).

Using the Fujifilm F-X8 as a fill-in flash

Small in-board camera flashes are a very handy solution but they are located usually too near the taking lens  and they  are often interfering with the lens hood (you have to remove it to prevent incomplete flash bottom coverage). The Fujifilm EF-X8 give a more elevated flash reflector position. You just have to push it in its down position if you want to shut its power off.

Officially the Fujifilm X-E3 is a less “sporty” camera model than, let’s say, the X-T series models such as the X-T20, X-T30 or the X-T2, X-T3 or even the X-H1. The off-center viewfinder may create a small different perspective between you naked eye and the image recorded by the taking lens but if your concentrate your attention at your viewfinder, it wont be noticeable. So spontaneous photography stay a strong opportunity.

As for most of the Fujifilm X-series camera models, the controls of the photo basic parameters are designed in a similar fashion way that it is used to be for the traditional analog (film) cameras. Shutter speed, lens aperture, exposure correction and focusing options including manual adjustment can be selected with direct dials or control rings. The others parameters have to be adjusted through push buttons, touch screen options or using the versatile joystick located beside the rear screen. All these functionality controls need to be learn before really be able to master them without hesitation.

Using the Quick menu (Q) and reprogramming certains function controls can facilitate the handling of the Fujifilm X-E3. Most of the menu option presentations are easy to understand and interact but some functionalities may need more time and essaies to get the habit. There is a lot of autofocusing modes at your disposal that can tailored your shooting workflow. The all-“AUTO” option (lever next to the shutter speed dial) is a good idea for emergency snapshots without disturbing your already programed setting.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is fine detailed with all the (configurable) information you need and got an auto-rotation presentation very useful for vertical framing. In some specific situations the image on the EVF will be more contrasting making more difficult to evaluate low and highlights. For people who are wearing glasses like me, the eye relief is more limit and will ask you to pay more attention to the corner of your framing composition of your subject. The back and none-orientable live screen (LVF) give you a better reviewing rendition of your picture facilitating a deeper image analysis.

The side location of the Fujifilm X-E3 electronic viewfinder may give you a better viewing confort compare to the centered viewfinders of the X-T series models. The  instant picture review is easier and the reviewing (Play) push button is rightly located on the bottom right side of the LVF.

In all the Fujifilm X-E3 is a very convenient camera model, a compact size device but without sacrificing too much better handling compare to the “center viewfinder” model type.

If you are already an owner of other Fujifilm X-series models you will fully enjoy that the X-E3 is using the same battery packs and external electronic flashes and is part of the same optical lens X-mount system.

The Fujifilm X-E3 doesn’t have an in-(camera)body-image-stabilization system (IBIS) and will rely on your ability to set and handle the camera in effort to avoid generating blurry from the photographer’s movement. Of course you can couple a lens with an optical image stabilization (OIS) that will help you to prevent that phenomena and further permit you to select lower shutter speed in low light situations or simply to get a smaller lens aperture (for increasing the deep of field). As a loosely rule of thumb, no stabilization is available with focal fix lenses (except for the new XF80mm F2.8 OIS Macro and the XF200mm F2 OIS) and it is the contrary with zoom lenses (with some noticeable exceptions such as the XF16-55mm F2.8 Pro). At this day the Fujifilm X-H1 is the only X-Series model equipped with an IBIS.

What I am appreciated the most of the Fujifilm X-E3 is its compactness and its very discrete status in regard of other people ressent when they are facing the camera. It is what can call not only a user-friendly camera but also a subject-friendly photo device. Combined with a short fixe focal or short zoom lens, the X-E3 appears to be part of the family. It is not perceive as an agressive intruder of our life compare to the look with the DSLRs. So the interaction between the photographer and the subject is very different and much more positive.

If you like Black & White photography you will adore to work with the Fujifilm X-E3. This lovely camera model offers you a choice of two monochrome reddition, standard Monochrome and Acros, with 3 different filtering variations, Yellow, Red or Green. So you can literally transform the X-E3 as a Monochrome camera without further expensive investment. (This remark is also good for the other Fujifilm X-series models).

Is it sufficient to simply have a good camera device that can deliver not only nice, well exposed and focused pictures but which is also a creative tool fun to use and to bring with you? Sure, there will always be more performing camera models now and in the future and that is inevitable in this race for better human crafting. But in the mean time, we have not to forget that the most interesting and rewarding think is to do photography.

In a sense, the Fujifilm X-E3 fulfill nicely the task of proximity photography essential in close urban situations or in interior contexts. The Fujifilm X-E3 is a compact photo companion that is not only a competent tool but is also an inspired creative photo taking device.

(Revised in January 2020)

2020: the “climatic” year for photography

Things are changing in a very fast manner especially into the environmental context. The demographic pressure of the last two or three decades is pushing profound physical and psychological transformations around and inside us. And we can add without much risk that it will be the same for the years to come.

It may be because that we are entering in a real globalization of human activities without any opting-out still available and it brings a lot of frustration among people that are afraid of the changes to come. But with that inevitable fact in view, many individuals and collectivities are trying to avoid it by building new physical frontiers that will simply crack up under the necessity of the human Mondial needs in living in this planet.

Further than that, the human presence is directly affecting our surrounding in the air, in the water, on and in our soil. The climatic changes are the consequence of our environmental pillage provoked by our gradual territory invasion. The so-call “natural” (unspoiled) habitat is now, at least, a think of the past and, at most, a old fantasy for some. Many animals and vegetal species have already paid the extinction price of the human territory expansion and transformation.

On the photographic point of view, most pictures presently done will not be easily reproduceable if not completely impossible to redo as everything is mutating in a fast pace. Even the “nature” of humanity is now largely different from what we have seen in a recent past, let say twenty or twenty-five years ago, since the event of the popular Internet availability.

Documenting visually our civilization evolution can be the next primary task as many references of today or yesterday have a tendency to evaporate in a short lap of time. The big challenge will be how we will be able to transmit into the future generations of the next decades and the next centuries all those images. Hardcopy prints are may still be the surest way to do it again knowing that digital archives can be lost easily or, more important, they can be no more accessible because of the technological changes.

Can we reinterpret the “Family of Man” exhibit (***) sixty-five years later? Can we produce a planetary photo album of our humanity that will be available to everybody of this world as a sounding testimony of the human diversity but also about its profound closeness? Yes, our body envelop can be very different, but our soul is common to all. Photography can transcend superficiality to project the inner expression of our feeling, our understanding and our hopes.

Because today more than ever we need more photographic authenticity which is opposing the actual tendency to artificially mask it or recreate it. We need to preserve “what we are seeing” instead of “what we want see”. Yes, there is still a place for personal interpretation of realities recorded because we cannot avoid the obvious difference of perceptions. But integrity, honesty and respect have to be the guide of our human photo quest.

Inspired by the great photo documentarists, the photojournalists and the street photographers, many of us may assigned themselves to record and share this human interest about the faces, the activities, the moods, the relations and their ecological surrounding. Curiosity can guide us to new perspectives. Studies of the past can generate a search for new interpretations of our present realities. Different image interpretations can help to up-come new ideas and analysis.

A new “climatic” year for photography should be the opportunity to refocus ourselves about the integrity of ourselves regarding our world’s surrounding.

(Photo equipment) Obsolescence seen as a state of mind (Keep it, Use it, Enjoy it!)

The tungsten light that have permitted longer hours of human activities

It may appear obvious that every new technological small or big steeps is pushing the precedent one to obsolescence. And it is true to say that the lasts two or three decades of photo equipment development have totally change the way we use to do, to explore and to show photography. The ancient way to photograph by using analog film and printing, edit, enlarge or diffuse the final picture has been mutate into a digital recording manner presented into a multimedia different platform.

So, the bridge we have passed over the large river of changes is very extensive to an obvious none-returning point (except for the analog traditionalists!). Consequently, the digital science in photo equipment have followed a fast pace in its recent development. But since the very last few years, thinks are getting more peaceful in the photo gear planet. Many manufacturers are reconsidering their future development orientations with a more circumspect point of view.

Can we have reached a plateau in photo equipment technical advancement that will prevent us to discard too early good photo devices on the assertion that something new will be much better than its predecessors? That question has been answered by some prolific photo (gear) reviewers that have started to propose a longer maintaining of our present photo arsenal. And that can be a clever proposal as long the manufacturers can guaranty the hardware and software support of their past models of cameras and lenses. And because of that, it stays obviously an unstable situation for the long term of digital photo equipment use.

The hard recorded music supports have preceded the cloud now availability 

Material obsolescence is a plague of our present civilization. At a time that we are speaking about durable development, photo industry seems to be in a world apart simply ignoring the urgent task of environmental preservation. And the (camera-lens) consumers are participating directly to that contradictory tendency.

Even today, the pictures of the past are still a valid artistic expression of our visual (and virtual) world. They are history but they are also an art expression as we told of painting, or sculpturing, or writing, or theater, etc. So, it is true to say that is not the tools used to create pictures that are paramount to photography but, moreover, it is the picture representation by itself which is most important. Yes, the tools are a form of cultural testimony, but we have to not concentrate our mind on the means only but more importantly on the results produced by them.

Brace and bit: before the electrical power tool era. 

Yes, a beautiful design of a (highly) practical tool like the today’s digital camera is not only pleasant to use but it is also the expression of an esthetically functionalism. And many camera models can be classified as beautifully crafted photo devices which can be very inspirational for the users (mea culpa for myself!). But equipment durability must be part of the entire cycle of human appreciation as we do with older analog camera models. That material continuity is part of the evolution process that preserve our past heritage and giving the base of future (material) advancement

Books are now on recycle shelves (or into bins!) 

Some camera manufacturers may have already understood the importance of continuity like Leica, Fujifilm or Olympus. I hope others will follow that path. Because ingenuity is not only to start on a fresh blank sheet of paper but depend also how to reinterpret strong ideas of the past that can survive to the futility of a momentary and superficial mood.

Proclaiming obsolescence over many awesome photo devices from the past or even the very recent past is an easy critic to do, often without any real justification. The photo fundamentals didn’t basically change over the years except maybe in terms of enhanced performance versus a more lagging time of reaction of the older analogic camera models if you are speaking of light exposure or of autofocus accuracy for example. My only hope is that the responsible manufacturers will support their products further than only the first few years following their release.

Is it really the camera fault???

Doubting is a profound human nature (except for overconfident people!). So, you may ask yourself, is it the camera (or the equipment) fault if you cannot get the best picture that you are looking for? Yes, by today very high and demanding image standards, we are asking for almost perfect exposed and focused photographic subjects right from the camera output file. And, I must add, those modern picture devices are doing an outstanding job compare to not that far ago analog counterparts, thanks to the combine advancement of internal compute abilities and of sensor newest technologies.

But, even with the most sophisticated system, can a camera be able to really anticipate what will be our photo interpretation of a scene or a specific subject? Because, in some ways, that is the crucial point. Unless you were able to teach (or configure) yourself the behavior the internal camera computer, it will rely on bases implemented that are the summation of multiple selected and pre-experimented situations-solutions. In one word, it is a replication of the vision of others.

We already that modern sophisticated digital cameras are deeply configurable even in some ways that were unimaginable a few decades ago. Speaking of color (and black and white) renditions, of focus stacking, of exposure bias and corrections, of high-resolution picture merging, etc. The contemporary photo equipment is simply amazing and honestly can surpass the common knowledge of most photographers. So, the “pre-processing” of a taking picture intended can be a dire task if you agree to invest truly in that process. Moreover, the post-processing of the image file can also very complex providing you have at first a good basic image (RAW) file registered.

Creativity is not already part of all the algorithms introduce into the artificial “intelligence” of the newest digital camera. There is still places for selecting a subject into its context and for choosing the moment to register it. Because the photographic expression can still be a matter of personal interpretation. Even the most technical parameters have bias that could be voluntarily accentuated by the photographer. The choices are still present into the photo taking process.

Therefore, freedom of subject choices and personal pictorial interpretation have some consequences. No automated systems can guarantee a perfect camera set-up. Furthermore, there are technical limitations that every photo equipment will reach depending of the picture taking situations. So, is it really the camera fault? Or is it because the photographer intends to do something that his/her photo equipment is not able to cope with? Or worse is it a wrong configuration on the part of the user? The key point here is that we still have to learn how to our photo equipment is working and how to properly set it. And this simple fact is deterring a lot of people that are used to simply take a device and spent a very minimal time on learning to use it.

Here are some parameters (among others) that can be useful to check and possibly to change on your camera:

The picture quality set-up: Image file compression (JPEG, RAW) and resolution (Fine, Normal, Small); Sensor sensibility (ISO); Color and black and white rendition (Picture modes, ); Exposure set-up (Aperture, Shutter speed, Light distribution curb); Special effect picture modes (that can be a lot of possibilities there); In-board picture camera (post) processing; Avoiding too low shutter speed or unstable camera sit can generate micro blurry line of definition; Preventing incorrect focusing and/or insufficient deep of field will produce softy subjects; Rejecting low quality glasses (like cheap filters); Cleaning dirty front glass on lenses; all these factors can enhancer or destroy a nice picture.


The composition of your subject: The point here is to better analyze what is in the subject arrangement that is catching your attention. Don’t forget that your photo interpretation has to be translated on the two-dimensions picture file. Framing; object or subject dimensions and localizations; light distribution; context references; you are the master of your picture canvas. Like the painter, we have to exercise our inspiration “to get the picture”. Past and repeat experiences learned knowledge throughout others works or personal critics and experimentations can refine your subject composition.

The photographic moment and the interaction between you and your subject (if applicable): It is the (perfect) timing of a picture taking moment. It can freeze an expression, a position, a glimpse of light, a documentary event. The key is anticipation that can be subjective or truly conscient. You can be lucky but most of the time it is better to prepare yourself by learning about your subject or following it in its changing evolution. You can also rely on your (photographic) instinct to immortalize this very magic instant of time.

You may ask yourself again: Is it the camera fault? Yes, it can be, but the real disturbing factor is most of the time located behind the camera often by a technical misunderstanding from its own (photographer) operator. The modern digital cameras are sophisticated tool with many ways to be configured, thanks to technology and the people who have engineered it. But even with this marvelous imbedded electronic aid, the photographer setting task stay paramount for producing from good to outstanding pictures.

Antoine Desilets, une influence au-delà des images

Antoine Desilets
Photo Jeannine Alain, Source: Le Devoir

Il ne faut pas réduire l’influence d’Antoine Desilets à son rôle de photographe car il était éminemment un homme de paroles à l’image de cette génération de québécois qui par la chanson, par le théâtre, par le journalisme et les autres médias ont caractérisé cet effort de se débarrasser du carcan de la “petitesse canadienne-française de leur temps” et entrer de plein pied dans la globalisation humanitaire.

Certes Antoine Desilets avait ce charme des mots qu’il employait mais aussi son propos pouvait être incisif à sa manière en ce sens qu’il provoquait en vous une recherche plus profonde d’émulation et de dépassement car c’est bien d’en parler mais surtout c’est beaucoup mieux de le faire.

De son œuvre iconique, je retiens l’universalité des thèmes et des sujets et plus encore l’ironie et la justesse de son irrévérence qui, sans être maligne, nous procurait cette distanciation humoristique nécessaire à la tragédie grande ou petite de l’humanité.  De sa démarche pédagogique, il n’y a qu’à saluer sa profonde influence dans l’univers des amateurs de photographie à titre personnel ou professionnel. De son implication humanitaire, il faut aussi retenir sa grande modestie.

Admirateur et émule comme tant d’autres d’Antoine Desilets, j’ai eu l’occasion de le côtoyer pour l’élaboration et la réalisation d’une exposition rétrospective il y a plus de 25 ans. J’en garde le souvenir d’une personne humble et rayonnante pour son entourage et surtout je conserve l’image indélébile de son sourire si particulier. Oui il aimait bien vivre et aujourd’hui, il continue de le faire à travers nous.

Pour en savoir plus sur Antoine Desilets:

Article-hommage du journal Le Devoir

Wikipedia

 

2019: the turning year in photo equipment!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2019 will be the year marked as the definite separation between the “mass market” industrial philosophy and the return of the traditional “niche” photo enthusiasm market. That turning point was already inevitable since the Photo equipment industry cannot really compete with the smartphone electronic manufacturers.

What is interesting and we are now knowing is that a technical fusion between traditional photo equipment and the newest smartphone products are not and cannot easily mergeable to get commercial success. For many years photo equipment reviewers were appealing for a such thing but consumer experiences had proven that many attempts to do so were almost always some kind of failure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo traditional photo users’ market is still demanding for a … traditional photo equipment at least in its design and presentation. All the efforts to divert from the classic ergonomics seem to not attract the photo equipment consumers. All major photo equipment manufacturers have quietly agreed to adopt a more orthodox approach for their camera line up. Today most camera models might be confused to analog (film) camera devices offered thirty years ago.

The none-event of the 2019 year might be the cancellation of the renew Photokina first planned in spring 2019. The Photokina organization have tried to recreate a photo industry gathering based of the past fast changing rate of the digital photo equipment of the last ten or fifteen years but without acknowledging this era was already finish. Now the big photo equipment shows are doomed to short presentations that are not able to compete with the strength of the Internet power of attraction. Can Photokina will be capable to reinvent itself without the contribution of the Nikon, Leica, Olympus or Fujifilm of this world? It appears to be a very difficult task.

The photo manufacturers are entering into a turmoil of indecision regarding the photo equipment evolution. Manufacturers like Nikon or Canon are skeptical to invest further into new technologies such as mirrorless cameras without knowing what the photo equipment market state in would be the next few years. In fact, they apprehend the worst with a constant disaffection of the traditional photo field. The last photo equipment consumer statistics are not looking conclusive. We are facing a mature market in “reflexion” and that is tempting to return to their obvious past (recent) choices as we are seeing from some prominent photo web reviewers.

IMG_0285
Photo Manon Paquette

At the end, the great era of the frenetic digital photo equipment consuming (at a fast rate of changing) have now went to its finality. Many are now welcoming to the return of more reasonable approach of choosing and buying their photo arsenal. In a more responsible eco world, that can be the real good news of this 2019 year!

 

 

SPPA: le syndrome post-photographique aigu!

Que l’on le soigne ou qu’on l’ignore, le SPPA (syndrome post-photographique aigu) est bien la plus insidieuse maladie qu’une ou un photographe peut souffrir dans sa vie. Le syndrome fait souvent suite à une série de traumatismes patents du monde de la photographie. Il se caractérise par un manque soudain et général d’intérêt pour le médium d’expression visuelle auquel tout notre parcours exploratoire et créatif avait été assujetti.

Mais quels sont ces “traumas” avec lesquels le SPPA fondent son éclosion? Bien sûr, il y en a plusieurs vous diront les spécialistes qui ont intérêt à allonger leur période d’analyse ($$$!). Nous pourrions les subdiviser ainsi: les facteurs matériels, les facteurs culturels, les facteurs sociaux et les facteurs personnels.

Les facteurs matériels sont les plus évidents à soigner car ils sont facilement identifiables comme la course sans fin pour le produit le plus récent ou le plus sophistiqué. Il y a aussi le désir d’essayer qui se renouvelle continuellement. Sans oublier la joie éphémère de tout posséder jamais vraiment rassasier son appétit de collectionneur invétéré. Enfin l’insécurité de ne pas posséder le bon équipement. Nous sommes dans un univers de consumérisme où le fait d’acquérir des biens et services est en quelque sorte aussi prononcé que celui d’exister, un paradoxe pour un environnement de plus en plus restreint démographiquement et avec des ressources de plus en plus limitées. C’est pourquoi il faut se sortir de ce cercle infernal en élargissant sa vision matérielle vers une expérience plus métaphysique de la vie.

Les facteurs culturels sont plus difficiles à cerner en ce sens qu’ils sont souvent reliés à notre éducation, à nos préjugés, à notre expérience et à nos connaissances en général. Ces facteurs deviennent souvent une contrainte qui limite notre horizon de créativité en imposant des frontières à ne pas franchir dans le choix, l’organisation et le traitement de nos sujets photographiques.

Les facteurs sociaux sont ceux qui nous imposent des contraintes fallacieuses sous des prétextes techniques impertinents en posant un jugement gratuit sur notre production photographique. Ils sont souvent le fait de personnes qui, dans les faits, se prétendre critiques d’un art qu’il ne maitrise pas eux-même. Ils sont aussi l’expression destructive d’individus incapables de reconnaitre l’originalité d’une oeuvre et dont l’objectif inavoué de nivellement par le bas rejoint leur propre impuissance et capacité à produire. En un mot il faut les IGNORER dans leur profonde insignifiance.

Les facteurs personnels sont souvent les plus difficiles à surmonter. La créativité est une fleur très fragile et souvent le manque de confiance en soi mine tous nos efforts à foncer et persister dans la réalisation de notre expression artistique. Il faut persister et surtout ne pas castrer notre motivation sur l’autel du manque d’assurance et du doute destructif. Pour chaque photo qu’on réalise, une porte s’ouvre et nous permet de s’introduire dans un nouvel univers visuel personnel où nos émotions peuvent s’exprimer.

Le SPPA ne doit pas empêcher notre épanouissement personnel. Identifier les obstacles, c’est bien, mais les abattre c’est essentiel. La photographie doit devenir une extension de notre pensée, de nos émotions, de l’interprétation de notre environnement humain et physique et de notre vision universelle.

About compactness*** in photo equipment

With the venue of different new camera models from the manufacturers, I am encouraged by a renew effort to design and produce more compact models (with interchangeable lenses) such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III & EP-L9, the Panasonic Lumix GX-9 (Micro Four Third – MFT) and the Fujifilm X-A7 (APS-C), not to mention the Canon M200 (APS-C) or the recent Sony A models (APS-C). So, there is still hope for us who appreciate to work with smaller cameras and lenses in order to be less intrusive for our subjects and … less tired at the end of the day!

We are now facing a much mature market that is excluding all the use-to-be very simple and small camera models rightly replaced with a lot efficiency by the “photo-multi-use-smartphone”. The technical fundamentals of the photo camera seem to reach a kind of plateau and now the advancements are more in the fine sophistication of the things.

I don’t want to provoke a debate about the pertinence to have a specific viewfinder on a camera device and I concede that now many users are fully able to produce very good pictures with the help of the back-camera screen. So, there is no point there. But the good news is about the definition and the dynamic of the newest image sensors available which are the most important elements required for good to excellent picture quality.

Almost every modern digital compact (Interchangeable Lens System) camera models are including all the features to operate them from fully automated to a complete manual configuring set-up. Control dials and buttons as for the interface presentation may differ from one manufacturer to another but all basic functionalities are available plus many other additional special features that are offered by each specific system.

Stabilization optionality is now another almost obligatory basic feature asked by the potential users. More and more the newest models are incorporating the functionality inside the camera body providing the IBIS (In camera Body Image sensor Stabilization) variation. Many basic zoom or prime lenses are also giving an optical stabilization optionality, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). Most of the newest camera model with IBIS will also work in conjunction with the OIS lenses. All these stabilization systems are trying to reduce the blurry effect generated by the photographer movements (shake).

In term of physical size of the compact ILS camera models, we have reached a certain standard. In fact, many people do prefer a little more larger camera body for ergonomic purposes mainly. Furthermore, they fully appreciate a larger back screen and a more usable viewfinder if available. Hand prehension and related space for fingers are other factors in favor to get a more traditional camera body dimension.

Compactness of the camera lenses is the other aspect to consider. The big lenses with very large maximum aperture praised by some professional photographers and more by certain advanced amateurs are not small optical units and combined with a compact camera body, these optics have a strong tendency to unbalance to say the least the whole set. Some manufacturers are doing a better job in offering an array of practical compact lenses (prime or zoom) that have a more flexible maximum aperture like F1.7, F1.8, F2, F2.4, F2.8.

If you are the kind of photographers who likes to strongly postprocessing your pictures or if you expect to print big enlargements, you may choose to get a larger image sensor size to maximize your final picture output quality. But for most of us, the MFT and APS-C sensor formats can fulfill the bill very nicely. Going in larger image sensor formats will cancel most of the compactness benefits and flexibility.

Compactness is still a big criterion for many photographers when it comes to select an equipment that will be use on a regular base. The photo equipment market is acknowledging this fact by proposing different camera and lens models that respond to that specific preoccupation. The future of compact photography is as always interesting and encouraging.

*** Compactness is a very subjective notion. On the extreme side, it will represent the smallest size possible to produce an operational camera device. But there are some physiological limits to be able to properly use a camera model with confort and confidence. Those limits are very personal. In my book, a camera viewfinder or a camera back viewing screen should be large enough to be able to judge roughly the accuracy of your photo composition and the sharpness of your subject. Control dials and buttons should be reachable and ajustable easily with a minimum of involuntary activation. But at the same time, the camera body-lens combination should be small and light enough to be brought all-day long in your hand or around your neck without fatigue. So it is still a question of compromise between handling and compact design.

Fujifilm X-mount endangered models: please hurry to get one!

Usually I am not be the one who will encourage fast consummation of photo equipment but sometimes you have to push yourself to get profit of the decrease selling price of very fine products that are in process of replacement.

In the Fujifilm X-mount line-up, there are at least 4 to 5 models that we can classified as endangered species. Every one of those has its own specificity. For example, it is time to get a pro Fujifilm X-H1which is representing the best deal for a professional high-level camera equipped with the IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) which an exception compared to all other Fuji X-mount camera models. Package with its power grip and two batteries, it is a real complete kit and you can combine it with some excellent pro lenses.

What can I say about the Fujifilm X-E3 more that it represents an underrated, competent and, more important, real compact camera that you can get at a fair price especially with the XF23mm F2 or the XF18-55mm F2.8-4 lenses? And because it is a simpler interface presentation model (with less fussy control dials and buttons), you can concentrate yourself more on your picture composition and the moment of shooting. If you prefer to choose a center viewfinder that is more appropriate for sport or fast action photography, the Fujifilm X-T20 is still available at discount price with or without a lens. The X-T20 model add a tilt back screen that is very handy (low- or high-level viewing) such in macro or repro projects.

Lastly, I won’t pardon myself by not mentioning the Fujifilm X-Pro2 that will be replaced by the X-Pro, version 3. I don’t want to underestimate the advantages of the latest X-Pro version, but I do prefer a permanent back viewing screen (instantly available and “glued” to the camera body) compared with a flip-down one that require space and introduce some review delay.

Source: Fujifilm
All these Fujifilm X-mount models are doted of the same excellent 24MP image sensor and are offering you the same selection of different color and black and white Fujifilm rendering options that are so please among many photographers. They are using the same power battery pack and the same flash system. So, this equipment versatility is definitively on your side.
All these Fujifilm X-mount camera models are mature products that you can rely on it. They have been updated over time and they are now at their full technical development. Selling prices and availability of each one may differ from countries to others but be aware that most of these models should disappear in a relatively short term. So, it is time to act if you are interested…