I’ve finally had a minute to finish editing the images from our trip to Washington D.C. earlier this month (ostensibly to attend a conference). For this trip, I took my X-Pro1 with the 18, 35, and 60mm primes, my Leica M6 with the Voigtlander 35/2.5 Color-Skopar and Nokton 50/1.5, and my Mamiya 7 with the 80/4.0, along with a bunch of film (mainly Portra 400, Fuji 400H, and a bunch of different reversal films. The plan was not to carry all of this around with me all the time, but to afford me the choice of what to bring, packed into my Billingham Hadley Small, based on the shooting circumstances. I’d have the M6 for general use, the Mamiya for more structured shooting, and the X-Pro1 for low light and when I felt like shooting a digital camera. All of this gear still only occupies the same amount of space in my Domke F2 as the old Canon 5D Mark II kit I took to Asia in 2011, and I *MUCH* prefer this kit.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice that some of these images have some pretty nasty scratches on them. I wont mention the name of the lab that is responsible for this (email me if you live in Toronto and want to be spared this agony), but suffice it to say I got a bit anxious to see the images off of one roll and took the film to a cheapo lab, instead of Toronto Image Works, which is my normal lab. Sure, it was cheaper, but the results were terrible, and I eventually just got tired of trying to fix every last scratch in Photoshop. I wont cheap out like this again; in fact, I’m going to be experimenting with a Tetenal C-41 home developing kit next week. Stay tuned…
I was in D.C. to attend the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), of which I am a member. This is a massive, 20-30,000 people-type conference, and can get very overwhelming, very quickly. One ends up attending certain sessions of interest, and then steering clear for a good part of the rest of the meeting, which allowed me to do a bit of time to do some roaming and shooting. Fortunately, the weather was fabulous (warmer, in fact, than it was in Naples, Florida the week before).
Here’s a great example of why I love film so much. We had lunch at a great little Italian place in Georgetown, and I had both my X-Pro1 and Leica with me (some would call this overkill…I would not). Check out the differences:
The X-Pro1 is a wonderful camera, and the Fuji colours are absolutely incredible. This image took the very smallest amount of work in Lightroom to get right. The background is blowing out, but the muted colours are very Portra-like. I’m thrilled with the output of the X-Pro1.
On the other hand…
What can I say about these colours? I’m absolutely blown away by how nice the Portra 400 tones are, and especially by how much better they are than the already-excellent X-Pro1. If you’re shooting portraits and you’re not using Portra 400, you’re missing out. Oh, and the Nokton 50/1.5? What a beautiful lens.
I’ve still got a roll of Ilford PanF+ (120 format) and of Kodak Tri-X (35mm) sitting in my fridge, waiting for me to get off my lazy bum and develop them. I’ll post the best of those rolls as soon as they’re ready.
Well, the world didn’t end, so here we are, in 2013.
To kick things off, I thought I’d discuss some of my plans for 2013 with respect to my photography
1. The DSLR is dead to me
It’s no secret that “mirrorless” digital cameras are all the rage right now. And for good reason. They provide all of the image quality of a DSLR (since they generally use the same sensors as DSLRs), without any of the added bulk. Now don’t get me wrong, the DSLR still has its place in the photographic world, but it seems to me that the DSLR is becoming more and more marginalized. If you shoot macro photography or need lenses longer than 135mm (35mm full frame equivalent), then a DSLR is your best choice. Similarly, if you need very high frame rates, the DSLR is where it’s at.
But for those of us that live in the 21-90mm range, the benefits of the DSLR are minimal. After lugging my 5D Mark II, 35L, and 85L to France this past March, and after seeing what the X100 and X-Pro1 could do in terms of image quality, I resolved to move the bulk of my photography over to these fantastic mirrorless cameras.
And after a few months with this set up, I’m now prepared to say that the DSLR is dead to me. Yep, I said it. I no longer have any need for a DSLR. My X-Pro1 outperforms the 5D Mark II at all ISOs, the Fuji XF 35 f/1.4 is sharper than my Sigma 50 f/1.4, and – most of all – the X-Pro1 kit is much smaller and lighter than the 5D2 kit. I don’t shoot longer than a 90mm on the X-Pro1 (the glorious Leica Tele-Elmarit-M, FWIW), so I don’t need the 5D2′s ability to shoot >135mm. I don’t shoot 1:1 macro, so the XF 60 f/2.4 (1:2) Macro is sufficient for me.
Anyway, the 5D2 kit is for sale. I’ve committed to the X-Pro1 and X100, and I’m happy with that decision.