Keep it simple: easier to say than to do!

We have heard this advice again and again in our life, but things are more “complicated” in reality than it supposed to be in books, movies or in any fictional representations of our day to day. Human behaviors are complex beasts to comprehend even for the most philosophic people. Because in fact life is a complex thing compose with an overwhelming number of different elements that seem to contradict themselves continuously over time and places.

So “Keep it simple” can be nice to say if you intend to relieve yourself or others from some tension but it is another affair when you try to apply it because it involves subtracting a lot of “disturbing” factors of the equation. The same remark can be applied in photography. You may be seduced by a certain context or composition but after taking the picture it happens that too many “foreign” and “none invited” objects are clothing the main subject and distracting the looker from the basic message of the image memorized.

In some aspects “Keep it simple” is easier to apply. For example, it is better for us, for our wallet and for our creativity to bring less photo gear and use the ones selected more intensively with a better understanding. In doing so we can better apprehend our subject and work with it.

I can apply the same motto for the technical aspects of our photography. The basic parameters (File format, monochrome or colors rendition, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, focus) can be mostly selected at first and then you can focus yourself on the final image composition and exact picture taking moment. So, there is a kind of preliminary routine to master before your actual photo shooting that will prevent you to be overwhelmed by the technical process of it. Many professionals use to work with the same formulas for their commercial or artistic production.

More important is to identify your main subject of attention and extract it from the disturbing elements of its surrounding. It can be done by eliminating them or by simply reducing them. For example, a main subject will be prioritized by being close to you if you are using a wide-angle lens. For their part the telephoto lenses have already the ability to isolate the subject and blurry its surrounding by the effect of a shallowed deep of field. Panning a moving subject can extract it from its detailed context. So, there are many ways to isolate and to enhance your subject.

“Keep it simple” apply also for your entire photo project. It is far easier to plan a photo session with less different picture assignations and concentrate our attention on variations of the same subject cooping on different angles of view or moments of picture taking expression. Specialize yourself with one or few specific photo approaches that will definite your style or your signature. All that will participate to your personal progression as a creative photographer.

One of the most difficult things about the “Keep it simple” philosophy is to be able to subtract ourselves from others influences and personal agendas (often unrevealed but clearly present). There is their way of doing things but the more important there is your own way that is ought to be protected and cherished.

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Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR: l’objectif intimiste.

Si vous aimez les appareils photo compacts, vous avez sûrement une certaine fascination pour tous les objectifs d’accompagnement qui sont de petites dimensions. À cet égard plusieurs modèles d’objectifs Fujinon de la série X répondent de ce critère. Ils sont discrets mais demeurent éminemment des optiques compétentes. On peut citer les XF16mm F2.8 R, XF23mm F2 R, 35mm F2 R et enfin, le propos de cet article, le XF 50mm F2 R. Tous ces modèles sont étiquetés résistants aux intempéries, Weather Resistant, et offrent des ouvertures maximales dans la bonne moyenne.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR est un petit téléobjectif qui affiche un grossissement modeste de 1.5X par rapport à notre vision normale. C’est donc dire que son champ visuel reste assez étendu, environ 32 degrés, et peut être assimilé à une optique presque standard. Sa distance minimale de mise au point de 39cm n’est particulièrement spectaculaire mais peut convenir à une photographie de proximité de sujets de dimensions normales. Comme plusieurs objectifs Fujinon de la série X, le XF50mm F2 R WR est doté d’une bague balisée d’ajustement de l’ouverture et d’une autre bague bien dimensionnée de mise au point. Enfin un petit pare-soleil est fourni à l’achat et le diamètre des filtres-accessoires est de 46mm.

Malgré son statut de mini-téléobjectif, le XF50mm F2 R WR fait montre d’une surprenante versatilité en termes de sujets abordables. Bien sûr comme tout objectif dont la distance focale est fixe, vous devrez faire preuve d’une plus grande mobilité pour assurer votre cadrage final. Cependant sa sélectivité accrue par rapport à ses semblables XF16mm, XF23mm et XF35mm vous facilite une certaine épuration du contexte de la composition du sujet choisi.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR s’harmonise très à l’usage d’un boitier Fujifilm plus compact des séries X-M et X-E et X-T10/20/30. Avec un boitier plus grand vous retrouverez également le plaisir de manipuler un équipage moins lourd et moins proéminent.

En ce qui concerne sa performance optique, le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR répond très bien aux exigences des capteurs les plus récents utilisés dans les modèles ayant une définition de 24 mégapixels ou de 26MP. Le profil colorimétrique de l’objectif s’inscrit parfaitement en phase avec ceux des autres objectifs de la série X, la distinction se faisant surtout sur les propriétés de compression propre à un petit téléobjectif.

Fujifilm catégorise le XF50mm F2 R WR comme une optique intéressante plus spécialement pour le portrait et la prise de vues en faible éclairage. C’est en effet presque un lieu commun pour ce type d’objectif mais je considère cette classification un peu trop limitative. Et pour certains photographes, je reste convaincu que le XF50mm F2 R WR pourrait être leur compagnon optique favori. Ce phénomène n’est pas sans évoquer le Leica Summicron-M 75mm F2 APO en format analogique-film 24X36mm bien qu’il s’agisse de deux technologies de fabrication très différentes.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR est un autre petit joyau optique de la gamme des objectifs de la série X de Fujifilm. Alors pourquoi s’en priver car il est non seulement abordable en termes de prix de vente mais il est surtout un outil créatif amusant et de premier ordre.

The Fujinon “reframing” zoom lenses.

There is always be that dilemma of selecting between a classical fix focus lens and a more flexible vario-focal length zoom one. That debate will never end but you can simply look at the optic kit used by everyday photographers (amateurs, enthusiasms or pros) and chances are great that they are using the two categories of lenses. So it is not really a contest, it is simply a matter of convenience for each different use.


Many have described zoom lenses as the best replacement for, let say, two or three different fix focal lenses ranging from wide-angle to small telephoto or from small to longer telephoto or even the summation of all these angles of view. For each of those complex optics their designers have calculated the best technical combination available in term of size, price point, maximum aperture, minimum focusing distance, etc. But something you do more with a zoom lens compare to a fix focal one is implicating some obvious compromises.

And many zoom lenses are chosen first for their extreme focal length setting … and often use exclusively that way! The manufacturers are aware of that way of using their vario focal length models and pay a more careful attention to the optical quality output observed at the very start and the final focal range of them.

But there is also an whole array of focal length choices between the two extremums of a zoom lens. We could call them the “lens-framers” of the photographer. There are very thoughtful optic tools that allows us to refine our picture composition on place with less quality loss compare to the post-processing reframing. Zoom lenses can be very proactive in a way that they are asking to the photographer to be more cautious about the selection, the position and the context of your subject.

Like we have said earlier the zoom lenses do compromise on others characteristics such as their maximum aperture, their weight and size, their minimum focusing distance, etc.. With a smaller maximum aperture your deep of field control will be diminished that can be partly compensated by selecting a longer focal length if possible. The zoom lenses size will result in a less discrete optic that can be more intimidating for your subject. A more distant minimum focusing distance can prevent you to be able to do easily close subjects.

Short and medium zoom lenses as for the extreme “traveler” zoom lenes are the most versatile in term of angle of view. Many photographers will adopt them as their “stay-on” everyday zoom lens for most of time. Casual, urban, close, travel photography are rightly served by these lenses. The better image output quality will be obtained by selecting the mid-range priced ones to the most expensive ones.

The long telephoto zoom lenses are more specialized optics. Portrait, wildlife, sports and action photography are their main domain. They are bigger optical devices that can ask you to pay more attention to their stability in order to counteract the photographer “blurry” effect by using a more sophisticated stabilisation arrangement from the camera (internal and/or optical stabilisation options, higher shutter speeds and/or ISO setting, tripod/monopod). Again their maximum aperture is smaller but usually at those focal lengths the deep of field is already shallowed.

Over the years I have worked with different combinations of zoom lenses and I am always appreciating them as a very valuable option not only for spontaneous photography but also for more composed subject. For general photography I have really enjoyed the flexibility and the compactness of the Fujinon XF18-55 F2.8-4 R and the respectable magnification factor and the optical quality of the Fujinon XF55-200 F3.5-4.8 both OIS (which is a nice feature considering that some of my camera models doesn’t have an internal sensor stabilisation functionality). Many examples of my recent work are illustrating these abilities.

For travel and urban photography, the Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R OIS is sufficiently versatile for many usual photographic needs and moreover is enough discrete to be a full time lens. To know more about this trans-standard zoom lens model you can refer to this recent article of mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R OIS as for every other long telephoto zoom lenses is a different kind of beast. I call it a “bazooka” lens (especially with the lens hood mounted!). So it is not by far a discrete optic and you will surely impress your surrounding and probably intimidate some folks with it. The most intended purpose of these long telephoto zoom lenses is to isolate your main subject from its surrounding and compress its context. Careful off-center composition may be a challenge since we have a natural tendency to center a magnified subject.

There are several others options available from the Fujinon line of zoom lenses. The Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS and the XF100-400 F4.5-5.6 R OIS are very interesting options at each end of the optical spectrum. The same can be said about the “Pro F2.8” line of lenses (XF 8-16mm, 16-55mm & 40-150mm). For entry-level Fujifilm models, the Fujinon XC series is giving you more affordable optic options. Fujifilm offer also their own version of an all-around zoom lens with the XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R OIS which is in fact a larger optical package that may be more appreciated by nature travelers particular. Lastly we have learn that Fujifilm will launch in mid-2019 a new Fujinon XF 10-80mm F4 R OIS WR zoom lens which can be a very attractive travel-urban all-around optic.

Speaking of the versatility of the zoom lenses is not in any way unevaluating the virtues of the fix focal length optics that are smaller (discrete), have a larger maximum aperture and will give you very high quality image output and these advantages remain today.

A perfect fix focal lens or zoom lens that will fit for every photographic purposes is purely an utopian concept. So even with the add-on versatility of different focal length present of a zoom lens, it cannot respond for every specific need in imagery. But zoom lens do offer a very easy way of re-framing your subject on the spot and without asking you a greater mobility from your original picture taking position. In my sense this is one of the biggest advantage of all those vario-focal length lenses.

All pictures were taken with the Fujifilm X-T20 & X-E3 cameras and Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS, XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS & XF50mm F2 R WR lenses.

Le Fujifilm X-H1: la bête de somme chez les APS-C

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Oserais-je ou n’oserais-je pas? Telle est la question! Il y a mon amour pour les appareils photo compacts (à objectifs interchangeables) et il y a mon ancienne vocation professionnelle, tout cela chez un même aimant de photographie devant Dieu et les hommes. Bref une espèce de quadrature du cercle insoluble. Et cela s’ajoute ma passion pour les beaux objets d’équipement photographique!

DSCF1468Alors j’ai succombé à la tentation et tronqué mon Fujifilm X-T20 fiable et performant pour cet animal de trait qu’est le Fujifilm X-H1. En recevant le boite contenant l’ensemble  boitier et poignée d’alimentation, j’ai songé à m’inscrire à des séances-minutes de musculation mais heureusement en retirant le boitier seul de l’emballage, le souffle m’est revenu quelque peu. Car le Fujifilm X-H1 ne fait pas dans le petit compact (comme mon diminutif Fujifilm X-E3) et me rappelle bien mes anciens boitiers analogiques Nikon F3 et F4, sa préhension étant similaire à ces ancêtres si vous ajoutez la poignée VPB-XH1 au Fujifilm XH-1.

DSCF1431Tout dans ce boitier X-H1 reste “somptuaire”. Son viseur électronique, EVF, vous donne un aperçu d’image très similaire à un viseur optique reflex traditionnel. L’information y est complète et configurable et l’affichage s’ajuste au cadrage vertical. L’accès direct aux ajustements de base (Sensibilité, vitesse d’obturation, ouverture de l’objectif, reprise manuelle de mise au point) est un plaisir toujours renouvelé. Sa stabilisation du capteur d’images est un outil sans pareil et plus particulièrement quand vous le couplez avec un objectif non-stabilisé optiquement. Sa discrétion de déclenchement est sans pareil tout comme la douceur de son bouton-déclencheur. Et il est résistant aux intempéries, une qualité toujours appréciée du baladeur impénitent sans égard aux conditions météo.

DSCF1442Plusieurs fonctionnalités comme les touches de mémorisation de l’exposition et de la mise au point sont très commodément situées et ne prêtent pas à confusion. Une prise flash-synchro traditionnelle est un joyeux archaïsme rassurant mais, avouons-le, tout à fait dépassé. L’ajustement dioptrique du viseur électronique est facilement accessible. Pour un utilisateur déjà familié à l’interface de Fujifilm, l’adaptation sera aisée.

Les possibilités de configuration du Fujifilm X-H1 sont très, très étendues et permettent une personnalisation très poussée de l’appareil. Peut-on vraiment être en mesure d’exploiter un tel instrument ne fut-ce qu’à une fraction significative de son plein potentiel? J’en doute même si pour certains aspects plusieurs pourront en commenter certaines limitations techniques et surtout du coté vidéo bien sûr (Ceux -là sont toujours à renâcler mais je vois rarement leur production!!!).

DSCF1405La présence de deux ports d’entrée pour cartes mémoires SD accroit significativement l’autonomie du Fujifilm X-H1. Couplé avec le poignée d’alimentation VPB-XH1, vous obtiendrez suffisamment d’énergie et d’espace-mémoire pour une journée et plus de prises de vues sans entrainer de changement d’accus ou de cartes. Bien sûr certains frénétiques du déclenchement incontrôlé pourront me contredire mais, au fait, que font-ils de toutes ces images (semblables)? Car nous parlons d’une capacité moyenne de 1000 prises de vues pour les trois piles-accus (boitier + poignée) et de plus du double pour deux cartes mémoires de 32GO ou mieux. Pour fin d’ironie historique, on parle bien de l’équivalent de plus de 27 cartouches de 36 poses en format 35mm film…

DSCF0086Il ne faut surtout pas omettre de souligner l’excellente qualité des simulations film offertes par le Fujifilm X-H1 et du niveau exceptionnel de son imagerie en format JPEG. Et que dire de ces riches alternatives en noir et blanc qui m’amènent parfois à revivre ma douce passion pour le monochrome parfois peut-être exagérément pour certains dont l’univers se mesurent en couleur plutôt qu’en nuances de gris. Car ce n’est pas justement l’aspect le plus essentiel de l’activité photographique, i.e. l’image qu’on en fixe pour sa petite éternité.

DSCF0110Bref le Fujifilm X-H1 a tout pour plaire même si sa présence physique se fait bien sentir. Que ce soit en main, à l’épaule ou dans le sac, vous ne pourrez pas l’oublier! C’est donc une bête conçue en priorité pour faire de la photo et non un accessoire d’ornement qu’on peut porter sans trop d’inconvénient ( soyons bons princes et princesses car Fujifilm offre déjà plusieurs autres modèles d’appareils conçus à cette fin … mais qui prennent aussi de bonnes images!).

DSCF1394Il y en a quand même quelques petits irritants. Par exemple un oeilleton d’oculaire de base (qui peut être remplacé par une version amincie EC-XT S) trop proéminent pour les porteurs de lunettes comme moi. Un accès moins direct à la correction d’exposition (la roulette avant ou arrière peut être configurée de façon permanente via le menu config. touche/molette @ bouton rég. comp. expo. @ bouton  marche/arrêt) comparé à tous les autres modèles de la série X ce qui est étrange pour cette catégorie “pro” d’appareils. Un bouton-poussoir d’accès au mode lecture situé sur le coté gauche supérieur qui le rend inaccessible au pouce de la main droite et oblige le photographe à utiliser sa main gauche (vous pouvez opter dans le menu config. écran pour l’affichage momentané ou continu de la dernière prise de vue). En un mot quelques vétilles comparés aux avantages inhérents du Fujifilm X-H1. D’autres pourront approfondir le tout pendant que nous prendrons des photos…

DSCF1437Le Fujifilm X-H1 ne craint pas les contextes de faible luminosité intérieure ou extérieure. Avec son viseur électronique et sa stabilisation embarquée, tout est prétexte à photographier et laissez-vous tenter car les opportunités de belles images sont là. Pour les adeptes d’éclairage naturel et de sujets pris sur le vif, le X-H1 est l’ami de tous les photographes spontanés dont je suis membre du club sélect depuis longtemps! Même la plus grande inertie (poids) de l’appareil encourage une meilleure stabilité de prises de vues.

DSCF1475En “shooting” vertical, i.e. en cadrage portrait, le Fujifilm se manipule aussi bien avec ou sans la poignée d’alimentation optionnelle VPG-XH1. Cette poignée d’alimentation s’adaptera d’autant plus aux situations où vous opterez pour une optique plus volumineuse. Les vertus de la poignée VPG-XH1 comprenant également une autonomie accrue par trois, une meilleure préhension verticale de l’appareil avec certaines touches-fonctionalités de base reportées et un port d’entrée pour un casque d’écoute. Douce attention de Fujifilm, un adaptateur-chargeur secteur est fourni avec la poignée et permet la recharge des deux accus à même celle-ci.

DSCF1457Le Fujifilm X-H1 reste un appareil très versatile au sens qu’il permet l’ajustement des mêmes paramètres mais de différentes façons, ce que rend très aisée sa configuration et facilite le confort de l’interface d’utilisation. L’adaptation demeure rapide et sa personnalisation très efficace. Et les résultats photographiques sont à l’avenant de la qualité de construction de l’appareil. Nonobstant sa dimension plus moyenne que compacte et son poids accru, la présence de la stabilisation interne du capteur et la finesse de son viseur électronique justifient en grande partie ce possible inconvénient. Et sans oublier sa vocation a priori pleinement professionnelle.

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Note: Comme à l’accoutumée, je ne traite pas ici des caractéristiques propres à l’utilisation vidéo du X-H1.

 

 

 

 

Toutes les photos illustrant le X-H1 ont été prises avec l’appareil Fujifilm X-E3 et l’objectif Fujinon XF 50mm F2 R WR.

Blog-Insert: The “Pro” madness with the Fujifilm X-H1!

I cannot prevent me to consider having a professionally label camera. I think it began right from the beginning in my past analog film days. And there were many reasons to do it during this analog era partly because so-called “pro” camera models were designed to sustain intense (ab)use in sometimes very adverse conditions. As a sport and general photo reporter you like to rely on the most confident material available from the manufacturer of your choice. And usually every camera makers have one specific model that withstand these particular need.

I must add that “pro” cameras don’t necessarily do better quality picture since they are using the same sensor and post-processing technology (assuming that you are selecting the same optics). So there is no debate for the imagery output vertu issued from “pro” models compare to the more amateur ones.

I have been using some Fujifilm X-series models for 4-5 years and I have fully appreciated the way they have designed theirs cameras and their lenses and it is a real pleasure to benefit of their outstanding competence regarding all the aspects of their imagery process and their picture outputs. I cannot prevent myself by saying that Fujifilm is the true successor (in my book) of the Leica and Nikon analog tradition into the digital mirrorless category.

Today I have done it and have sold my trusty Fujifilm X-T20 and plunge into the “pro” mania with the purchase of the Fujifilm X-H1. I know that there is already the new “3” generation (X-T3, X-T30) of Fuji X-series products but as usual I prefer to rely on an already proved and enhanced (by firmware updates) model which is labelled professional by Fujifilm themselves.

Why the Fujifilm X-H1? Of the many reasons you can find is the presence of the internal camera body stabilization. Just this could be sufficient to justify the change by itself. Stabilisation is for photographers “on the spot” like me a manful advantage. The stronger weather resistant protection (combined with Fujinon WR lenses) is another winning factor especially considering the sometimes very adverse Canadian conditions.

Now I am waiting for my new toy that Canada Post Santa Claus should delivered within the next few days I am finally released from the stress of taking the decision to do it or not. It’s done!

Update April 4th, 2019

Thanks to my very efficient friends (Hi Sheldon) from Downtown Camera of Toronto, the Fujifilm X-H1 kit has just been received yesterday (the next day of the order confirmation!). Unwrapping the product has revealed a very sturdy camera as you are expected for a professionally oriented photo device. Although the hand grip is massive (but very secure when you are using a bulkier lens) the camera body is on the moderate size dimension for that category of equipment. If you add the vertical power booster grip (VPB-XH1) which very well designed too, you will increase a lot the prehension ability of the combination which is perfect for studio, news, sport and nature work . At that point it become a full size camera system where compact consideration is no longer a factor. Next step is doing pictures with this new beast…

Cubanitas with the Fujifilm X-T20

The Cayo Largo island has been (and still is) a frequent destination for recharging your frozen batteries affected by our long Canadian winter season.

Located south of the main island of Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico, this idealistic place is share by people in search of calm, of nice long white sandy beaches and of friendly Cuban people.

Although many hotels installations are now more on the rustic side because the buildings are suffering a lot into the southern weather since the island seems not to have a lot of material resources to refresh them properly, vacationers from Canada and other countries are coming back year after year and some are paying visits for even a more frequent pace over the year!

We know now that there is very few probabilities that the island of Cayo Largo will be ever “americanized” in any ways in the near future. The Italian travel agencies seem to be the only ones really interested to invest on the island and have created a group of specific resorts strictly controlled and only available for their clientele.

I am particularly fascinated by the architectural point of view of many earlier buildings since they represent a kind of merging of the hispanic heritage blended into the Cuban modern way of building back in the 1980s and 1990s. And because it has not been reproduced in the last twenty years, it may be important to preserve some image temoignages of what may disappear in mid-term.

All the pictures of this articles have been taken with the Fujifilm X-T20 camera and the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens.

The Mind and Photography: an ongoing process.

Yes I know I am repeating myself in saying that photography is a more precise medium than video. We sincerely love video because it is live, it is colorful, it is soundly, it is cinematographic. It is fiery tail on our animated visual and earring senses. All those things that photography cannot compete in terms of modern popularity. But strangely still images seem to last longer in our memory and be more informative than a stream of pictures.

Glimpses of selected reality (as perceive by their auteur) photography offer a full view of an instant visual memory. Just think about the multiple aspects of a face expression photography is may be the best way to freeze those fugitive moment of great signification.

Behind and beyond the image are always part of the mental process that a picture can trigger in our mind. There is the pictural story on the paper (or on the screen) but there is this other story that our brain is developing about the picture itself. It is self-information added to the strict imagery of the picture. The complexity of the train of thinking triggered by a photo can be infinite as for the multiple personal interpretations we can give to it and this is the beauty of it.

We have to not forget that photography is in fact an instant glimpse of the past since it is already a selective past moment. Every time we look to a photograph we see an imperfect repetition of a subject or a context.

Unstatic Memories

Is there a learning curve about imagery? Because photography is segmenting our timeline almost on an infinitive base every single picture got the glimpse of eternal history into our mind memory. So it happens that picture became a reference you can remember under every circonstances you wish to do so. With time passing by all those pictures are stacking at a point difficult to apprehend and many picture frames of our distant past experiences seem to vanish of our voluntary recollection but time to time they appear without notice.

Mind is complex because it memorize not only pictures, odors, tastes, sensations but also impressions even interpretations. With age we sometimes experiment warp return of past moments to our astonishment. It demonstrate how the process of our mind is ongoing continually.

I have once said that persistence is an important creative factor in photography because the subject of it is in continuous dynamic of change. Light, position, context, etc are in constant evolution and the photographer as an observer should take all the opportunities to note and memorize the movement of life surrounding us. Training yourself to translate your impressions on a 2-D support is a perpetual task to accomplish with curiosity and will to repeat.

So photography is an expression of learning life through a mind process of apprehending selecting instants moments.

Hors-Propos: Le déclin de l’intelligence Internet

Avec la nouvelle explosion de la tendance populiste, il fallait s’y attendre: le déclin de l’intelligence “Internet”. Et plus étonnamment encore à une vitesse croissante exponentielle. Si bien qu’aujourd’hui nous avons l’impression d’une caricature de ce qu’était le Web il y a quatre ou cinq ans., i.e. avant 2015. Car le point est là où plusieurs esprits plus retords ont vite compris la grande faiblesse d’Internet, de ses réseaux et de son auditoire participant, c’est-à-dire sa grande naïveté ou plutôt en langage plus correct, son ouverture d’esprit qui était d’abord sa force.

Comme au judo (“utiliser la force de l’adversaire à son avantage”), ces grands malveillants manipulateurs que ce soient des personnes, des groupes, des corporations ou des institutions, tous ces “e-déviants” ont profité du formidable outil de communication que constitue le Web et ses composantes pour propager leur vision d’une pseudo-réalité non avérée, non-vérifiable et totalement belligérante. En faisant cette description je suis déjà convaincu que vous avez une multiple d’exemples en tête.

Le même phénomène s’est propagé sur toutes les plates-formes et a envahi tous nos secteurs socio-culturels y incluant celui consacré à la photographie. Bref tout a été politisé dans son sens le plus petit, le moins constructif et le plus réducteur.

Dans cette nouvelle perspective ce n’est plus l’intelligence de l’auditeur qui est sollicitée mais plutôt sa réactivité primaire face à l’interprétation profondément biaisée et non-démontrée d’une réalité dont on prétend qu’elle est à plusieurs facettes d’abord pour ensuite la réduire à celle qu’on veut bien nous imposer. C’est au point où tous les participants du Web ont compris que seuls l’image et le contenant sont prioritaires au delà du contenu. Le message lui est implicite car on ne veut pas vraiment qu’il s’affiche ouvertement par crainte de sa réprobation.

Bref de plus en plus les agenda de chacun sont devenus stratégiquement cachés. Sincérité, intégrité et spontanéité sont bannis des qualités requises pour réussir et ne sont évoqués que pour servir de facade rassurante, de cassette redondante de diffusion.

Alors qu’est-ce que l’avenir nous réserve à propos d’internet? Certainement l’avénement, déjà amorcée, de plusieurs petits réseaux underground avec leurs faiblesses et leurs dérives certes mais aussi leur aptitude à déjouer les grands ensembles régulateurs biaisés. L’éclosion de banque d’information disponible sur l’Internet, les bibliothèques Web, qui tentent de préserver l’information  de façon accessible même si le tri, le classement et l’interprétation de leur contenu ne sont pas par définition totalement objectifs. Le retour à la communication interpersonnelle sous toutes ses formes qui propose lien direct entre interlocuteur via la discussion, la causerie, la conférence, l’animation, la formation académique ou autres, etc.

Toute cette micro-communication sera évidemment confrontée au méga-canaux utilisés par les groupes socio-politiques et économiques manipulateurs légitimés par l’organisation humaine des grands ensembles. Le défi premier en sera donc un d’espace de diffusion qui deviendra lui la nouvelle définition de la démocratie des mots et des idées.

Il en est ainsi de la nature humaine, imparfaite en soi mais aussi parfois mais pas assez souvent évolutive.

 

Toutes les photographies de cet article sont prises avec un Fujifilm X-T20 et l’objectif Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS / All pictures taken with a Fujifilm X-T20 and a Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS.

The Fujinon XF23mm F2.0: the everyday observing lens

Let us rewind to the analog film days of photography. The 35-50mm taking lenses were kings of their era and were present to almost every manufacturer systems offered. Their maximum aperture were ranging from a modest F3.5 to an astounding F1.2 if you were able to afford it.

With the introduction of electronic autofocus and motorized cameras  they were replaced by a plethora of different trans-standard zoom lenses from the cheapest ones to the expensive “pro” such as the 24-70mm F2.8. And that tendency has been replicated right from the start of the digital cameras era.

With an angle of view of 63 degrees the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR can be assimilated as a “eye-normal” standard lens although for some their opinion is that this Fujinon model is a bit too wide to be classified easily in that category. Its close focusing ability is good and this caracteristic contribute largely to its versatility. It is not a (head) portrait optic but surely you can work full body view portrait with confidence and proximity of your main subject.

The Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens is a useful “interior” lens providing you are not looking for a very wide view (the Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 or XF10-24mm F4 R OIS lenses for example should be more interesting choices in that case). For sure in some narrow contexts you will need to contorsion yourself to embrass the whole subject.

Because of its reduced size, this Fujinon XF23mm f2 R WR is a discrete optic and more if it is coupled with a Fujifilm X-E or X-M series camera body. This particular nature will be fully appreciated if you doing street, travel or casual photography in giving you the possibility to be more spontaneous in your activity.

We cannot escape the (Leica) Summicron lens series analogy even if we are speaking of two very different lines of optics especially considering the electronic involvement into the Fujinon X-series.

The two control rings of the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR allow you to select your aperture and adjust your focus manually if needed or hoped. In the case of the aperture it is handy to be able to better control the deep of field of your subject and also with the focusing ring have the capacity to choose the optimal focus point. The Fujifilm lens hood furnished with the lens is small and none-protuberant (You can leave on almost permanently except if you intend to use optional 43mm screw-in filters).

What about the optical quality image output of the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens? Suffice to say that I cannot see any noticeable (for me!) between this optic compare to the others Fujifilm XF series lenses. To be more reassured you can consult the numerous technical tests over the web. But in my sens the best way of evaluating a lens for your specific needs is to take pictures with it. It can fit or not your style of photography and respond accordingly to your specific technical way of taking pictures. In some countries Fujifilm offers “try and test” session or even loan programs to do so.

So the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens is it for you or not? That is the big question. Focal fixed lenses are optics that are asking a photographer adaptability to be ensure their complete useful. So your mobility is a key point of success when you intend to select that category of optics.  If you feel better and confortable to work from a fixed point of view and reframe with a variable focal zoom lens that can be a big issue. On the contrary if you are a kind of “active” photo takers this Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR can be be an creative and easy manageable answer (as for all the others focal fix Fujinon lenses).

A few years ago I was discussing with Billy Luong of Fujifilm Canada about the possibility of creating a king of “bridge” new lens between the existing XF27mm F2.8 and the expensive XF23mm F1.4 R model and I have noticed his smiling facial expression at the moment. Less than one year after this conversation the new Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR was introduced on the market. Additionaly the Fujinon XF 23mm F2 R WR is now offered as a complementary (“kit”) lens combined with various camera body models at a very competitive price point. For many photographers it could a very wise and rewarding choice…

Close-Cat

The off-center mind of the Fujifilm X-E3

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 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.

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 model that have a more standard dimension.

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

Most people 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.

About the tiny Fujifilm EF-X8 electronic flash which is included with the furnished camera accessories I was skeptical of its practical use but I have found it very easy to bring with me and positioning on 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 are may be the two best tasks of the EF-X8. For a more extended use of an electronic flash it is better to couple an external unit doted with its own power management.

Window back daylight

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 EF-X8 as a fill-flash

 

Small in-board camera flashes are a very handy solution but they are located usually too near the taking lens  and often interfering with the lens hood that you have to remove to prevent incomplete flash 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 or the X-T2 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 to 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 as 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 snapshot 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 located on the bottom right side of the LVF.

In all the Fujifilm X-E3 is a very convenient camera model that respond correctly to the compact size device but without sacrificing too much better handling compare to the larger DSLR 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 without forgetting that it is part of the same optical lens 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 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 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 device.