My third "Pic(k) of the week" season is now coming to an end! Yes another year is just about over and done...
Technologically for me it has been "the year of resolution"; not the resolutions we tend to make New Years eve, but the "pixel resolution" ones. It all started early 2012 when I picked up an iPhone 4S with an 8 megapixel camera and more importantly with its great high resolution "Retina" display.
When the Nikon D800 was announced early February, I was one of the first to place an order online. This 36 million pixel mega-monster has proved to be extremely useful with almost all clients loving the extra resolution!
Next was a new iPad; showing off your best work on one of these 2048 by 1536 pixel retina displays, is jaw-dropping.
Whenever I was on the road, my 3 year old Macbook wasn't able to keep up with the huge 36 million D800 files. A 15inch Retina Macbook with a SSD (Solid State Drive) was the way forward.
My last digital purchase mid December had nothing to do with bumping up resolution but all with reducing the camera size... Over the years, I've been on the look-out for a smaller camera body to take with me on my world travels. The answer is the FujiFilm X-E1 camera with the 18-55 lens. Even though I have not been able to fully explore the capabilities of this CMOS mirror-less, it seems to exceed all expectations!
The image above made at the Meydan horse racing centre, was one of the first coming out of my brand-new Sexy-1 (non-official nickname for X-E1). Image details: FujiFilm X-E1 with 18-55 lens ISO800, 83mm, f5, 1/1400s RAW development in Lightroom 4.3 Black and White in Lightroom 4.3
Even though this will not be a replacement for my full frame D800, the much smaller size, is a joy to travel with. End of the year I plan on spending a week in my home country Belgium where I should be able to give the X-E1 a good workout.
Just like the " 50 days with the D800 "post earlier this year, I will give you my thoughts on the new baby from Japan!
Remember, " January 1st is the first blank page of a 365 page book, write a good one"!
On 12-12-'12, I was out shooting at the 2012 Middle East Business Aviation convention (MEBA 2012) in Dubai. I was mainly there for a client, however I also managed to do some personal work.
The image above, is of a French built Dassault Falcon 7X; a top of the range business jet which some people call "the benchmark for the 21st century business jet".
For you guys (and girls!) wondering, the camera just below the windshield is a military style infrared camera, used for the "Enhanced Vision System" (EVS). This allows take-off and landings in poor visibility with the help of artificially enhanced outside visual cues.
Over the years capturing business aviation has become one of my favourite kinds of aviation photography. There smaller size and the visually pleasing aircraft, make them very interesting photo subjects!
It was the first time the MEBA convention was held at the new Dubai World airport ( sometimes also called, Al Maktoum airport). Even though one runway and terminal are operational, there is still a lot of work to be done, at what is supposed to become the worlds largest airport! Next year in November, the Dubai Airshow will be held at the same place.
Nikon D800 with 70-200 VR2 2.8
ISO100, f9, 122mm, 1/640s
RAW processing in Lightroom 4.3
SilverEfex 2 for Black and White conversion
Unfortunately, I'm not able to share the client's images, but a few more of my personal images shot that day, can be found in the MEBA 2012 gallery.
Staying with the aviation subject and for those of you not following me on social media, I've just been interviewed by the Belgian-Dutch aviation site "hangar flying.be". Unfortunately the article is only in Dutch, but I'm sure google.translate will do a "reasonable" job!
Remember, " To most people the sky is the limit, to those who love aviation, the sky is home"
When it comes to landscape and architectural photography, we all know that clouds really add an extra dimension to the image!
Driving along the Meydan road in Nad al Sheba area, with some threatening storm clouds at the horizon, I felt the urge to stop and "make" a photograph.
Recently the Indian Sobha group, announced it will develop the area where this image was shot from, into an 743.000 sqm housing, schooling and entertainment project. Work should start early next year. Unfortunately this will become a skyline view to be lost.
Over the last ten years, I've collected quite a few different views on Dubai's high-rise district. Some of them can be found here. I guess capturing the ever changing Dubai skyline never gets boring!
Nikon D800 with 70-200 2.8 VR2
ISO100, f5.6, 70mm, 1/320s with circular polariser filter
RAW development in Lightroom 4.3 RC
Nik ColorEfex for contrast adjustment
Knowing the people who are building Dubai, I think the following quote is quite appropriate :
"The city is what it is, because the citizens are what they are"- Plato
While attending the 2012 World Parachuting Championship Mondial in Dubai last Monday, I got to photograph some interesting sea based devices in action at the site.
One of them was this $100.000 Shark-boat made by Seabreacher which can reach speeds up to 80km/h above the water surface and 40km/h below. It is propelled by a 260HP Rotax engine which allows it to sustain high speed dives and then breach the surface.
The vectored thrust system mimics the tail articulation of animals like shark and dolphins. Not cheap, but an interesting little toy!
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR2
ISO400, 200mm, f6.3, 1/2500s
RAW conversion in Lightroom 4.3 RC
ColorEfex 4 for contrast adjustment
Remember: " We may have all come in different ships, but we are in the same boat now" - Martin Luther King
Courtesy to Gulf Photo Plus (GPP) in Dubai, I got to take the FujiFilm X-Pro1 for a three day test run earlier this week...
They give the camera on loan, for a nominal fee of 150AED. A no brainer if you are on the fence of buying, especially since they provide a full refund if buying a unit through them!
I've been on the lookout for a lighter travel/street photography camera for the last 12 months. It was the renown Atlanta based photographer Zach Arias which I first heard talking about this camera at a GPP event earlier this year.
The post is by no means a full camera review but rather a collection of some thoughts are having used the camera over a three day period. I suggest you check out the dpreview X-PRO1 review for a full multi page review.
Even though the size of this camera compared to a full frame body like my Nikon D800, is relatively small; it is by no means an ordinary point a shoot!
The X-Pro1 is a mirror-less camera with interchangeable lenses, that has a large size APS-C CMOS sensor. I got to test all three prime Fuji lenses, 18mm f2, 35mm f1.4 and the 60mm 2.4 Macro/Portrait lens. This allows for a real shallow, DSLR like, depth of field like in the image above!
If properly exposed it shows no signs of noise up to ISO1600 and with just a tiny bit of noise reduction images up to ISO6400 are more than useable!
Because the camera is that much smaller, one can almost be invisible like in the images above shot at the Dubai Fishmarket and in the Dubai Metro.
Most of the images have all been shot in the RAW format. Even though Lightroom does not have the different camera profiles like what is available for the Nikon and Canon DSLR's the RAW image quality and colour accuracy is extremely good!
What surprised me even more is the quality of the in-camera jpeg rendering. Especially the Black and White Film simulation modes... Fuji is known for its Black and White Film and this clearly shows in this digital camera!
Even though the auto-focusing is a bit slower than most DSLR's, it is more than adequate and once focus is achieved, it is right on!
Will I be buying this camera? No, but I do have a the newer FujiFilm X-E1 with the 18-55 f2.8/f4 zoom lens on order. This camera has exactly the same sensor as the X-Pro1 and is even a bit smaller and lighter, due to the lack of the Optical viewfinder (OVF). By the way, on the X-1Pro, I did hardly use the OVF and really like how the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) works. Will it replace my full frame Nikon D800? No of course not. For the moment there is clearly room for both. The X-E1 will go on my travels whenever I need to go light. I do however believe that the D800 might be the last DSLR body I bought. The future of the mirror-less is surely exciting and I sincerely believe they will eventually replace most if not all DSLR bodies.
More images from the three days can be found here.