Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Silver Lining

It's finally out, and I have to say, the X-T1 is definitely my top choice for being my next camera! The good folks at Fujirumors were really on top of coverage, and the awesome people of dpreview were also very timely in presenting a meaty 'First Impressions' article. 

Now the latter folk have had their own constructive observations of the X-T1, but in my personal opinion they seem to be issues I can ignore and/or live with. I was initially concerned that the lack of an internal flash would mean a set back in utilizing off-camera flash (which would be important in taking ID pictures or formal portraits); but I was relieved when they reported that the external flash (which will come with the camera) has a commander mode.

With nothing but praise to be said for the excellent quality EVF on the X-T1, I suppose it would be a good transition for me, coming from the OVFs I was used to using on the Nikon D40 and D80. The SD card slot door was reported to be a little flimsy, so I guess that's one part of the camera to be careful with. 

A good majority, if not all of the rumors that came before this announcing were all true... And now, I'm not looking out, but I'm still praying. The $1300 body-only price tag was true, and you get it with an 18-55mm f2.8-f4(?) lens for $1700. I've been hearing a lot about how good a kit lens that lens is, so I'm leaning more towards getting the X-T1 with the kit lens.

I liked how dpreview ended their first impressions report on this camera: they said something to the effect that this camera was not built to compete with other mirrorless cameras... But it was made to compete with enthusiast DSLRs such as the Canon 70D, Nikon D7100, or even their DSLR for 2013, the Pentax K-3.

So far, I have to agree. It looks like it'll be more than capable to take the shots (and probably even the videos) I'll need in studios, landscapes, and events. 

My Father will provide for all of my needs according to the riches of His grace in Christ Jesus. 


Monday, January 27, 2014

The Wait Is Almost Over...

This is the very first picture I took with my first DSLR, the Nikon D40.

"Is this new camera the next one I'm definitely going to get? We'll know on the 28th, when it's rumored to be announced." - JB, 'My Next Step In The Light?'

Well, there have been a lot of rumors popping up since that last post till today... We are less than 24 hours away from knowing the truth about the X-T1. What we're led to believe so far regarding this Fujica-ST form X-Series camera is that it has a 16Mp APS-C X-Trans sensor, Dials for Shutter Speed, Exposure Compensation, and ISO, Built-In Wifi, a Time-Lapse Option, 8 frames per second... and an estimated SRP of $1300, Body only. 

We hear that it's to be announced tomorrow, and it'll ship out this February. I figure it'll make its way to Philippine shores (and delivered to my doorstep, God providing) March, at the earliest. 

Right now, I'm excited. I'm thinking, 'shouldn't I be scared that I would be disappointed?' but I'm believing, one way or the other, this year, I'm getting a camera. There's a great chance it'll be this camera, and when I get it, I'm confident that it will cover most, if not all of what I intend to shoot - from impromptu events to landscapes for worship. It'll be with me most, if not all of the time - on planned shoots or just to take a shot or two while working. 

It seems to be THE choice - a mirrorless, portable, capable APS-C ILC - based on what the rumors state, it is the most ideal tool. I said tool and I meant it. If I wanted a toy, it would be a medium format film rangefinder camera... but I suppose that's too much for me to handle right now, considering I know close to nothing about film, much less medium format, and even much less, rangefinders. 

Yes, I am excited to see what's going down tomorrow. 

Again, for now.. I'm looking out, and praying. God is good. 

God bless you. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Next Step In The Light?

This was the final picture I took with my Nikon D80, before I lost track of it. Long story short - it was borrowed, and as of today has yet to be returned. 

This has been a hindrance in a sense, but now that I think of it, God has been faithful to cause it to happen for my good. I learned a lot. I have learned to be more discerning when it comes to giving and helping people out - some people don't necessarily need what they ask from you. Sometimes they don't know this, and sometimes we need to express greater grace by saying 'No'. 

Furthermore, I have learned that I need to rethink my idea of what an 'upgrade' is. I had that D80 for near 4 years, and I've used it in events, for landscapes, for portraiture, and just random shooting. I obviously shot with it, but I taught with it as well. It was used indoors and outdoors, from the golden hours to noon and midnight. It's been splashed with sea water and stung by snow, sleet and rain. 

Through all that, I've learned what I needed in the next camera I planned on purchasing. Cleaner shots from High-ISOs. Less hunting in autofocus. More focus points would have been nice. 

As I was hoping to get my camera back, part of me was also looking for the next camera I wanted to have. Based on the things I realized I wanted, full frame was the first option I looked at. I looked at the D600, and even the Canon 6D. I looked at options for 2nd hand D700s, and went as far as looking for its Canon equivalent (but apparently I didn't look too far because I couldn't remember). Now that I think about it, these cameras were great in their own way (and I didn't even care about that whole oil issue the D600 was plagued with), but turns me off about them as I think of it now is their size and the cost of full-frame lenses.

That's one thing I realized I wanted as well. Call me a hipster, but I do like a nice retro-looking camera - not just because they look nice, but they seem to come smaller, and their designs are less intimidating. I mean, I may have not had a D4 with a 70-200mm, but even my D80 got some looks I didn't want.  

That's when I started to look at Micro Four Thirds. Somewhere along the way I saw a friend of mine in action with his Fujifilm X100, and for a moment I was interested in getting the X100S, or even the Olympus OM-D. Again, as I think of it now, they had deal-breakers - the X100S is a fixed-lens camera, and the OM-D... well... it may have won DPReview's Camera of the Year award for 2012, but a lot has happened since then...

...a lot has happened, and a lot has gotten my attention. Well, not a lot, but when I started getting into the hype that Nikon was building last October with the 'Pure Photography' teasers, I was on the nikonrumors site every day checking for any updates on Nikon's attempt at retro. I lost track of everything else as I wrapped my head around what I learned was to be called, the 'Df'. 

All that attention... only to be disappointed. To quote Thom Hogan, it's a D4 sensor in an FM body with D600 focusing (another thing that turned me off about the D600 - sure, it was 39 focus points, but they were all in the center) and a D3200 battery. No time-lapse, no video. I mean, come on... I'm led to think they took too much away in the name of 'purity'. 

Back to the drawing board. My way of thinking last December was to just set a budget and to buy the best I thought I could with what I had set aside. The D7100 + 18-140mm combo was alluring. So was the 70D + 18-135mm. Heck, I even looked at the Pentax K-3 and even the Special Edition K-5 (hey, it looked retro...). For a while I also looked for good 2nd Hand D7000 deals. 

For some reason I started looking at the OM-D at the start of 2014, only to be reminded that its potentials were only outweighed by what limitations I saw. I became a little more interested in other cameras that only had electronic viewfinders. That made me start looking at the Fujifilm X-E2. I saw how a photographer was able to get some good, not just decent shots with the X-E2 and its kit lens. After seeing how it had some significant improvements over the X-E1, I found myself looking online for good prices for this camera...

...but once again, the rumor mill has me excited. While Nikonians are waiting to see the D4S, and the men of Olympus are looking forward to what may be called the OM-D E-M10, I'm tuned in to Fujirumors now, for what's to be announced as a digital camera with a Fujica ST body - the X-T1. There are only rumors, no (sorry, Nikon) pretentious 'Pure Photography' teasers. In fact, I don't think there's a need for teasers - look at how Fuji did with the X100 and the X100S, look at how they kept on providing X100 users with significant software updates long after they moved on to make greater cameras - this track record has lots of enthusiasts (me, at least) excited for what this X-T1 is going to bring to the table. 

Is this new camera the next one I'm definitely going to get? We'll know on the 28th, when it's rumored to be announced.

Until then, I'm looking out, and I'm praying.

To God be all the glory. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sample 119 - A Panorama Of What I'm Assuming Is Mount Evans

A panorama that's been sitting on my hard drive. I'll never know if it's any good if I never share it. Hey, that's a good line. 

Raw files coming from cameras such as the D40 are still so very usable. 

"Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.” 
Psalm 66:1-4

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sample 118 - The Ascent (Mt. Evans, 2008)

As I was editing these shots, I saw that it was raining while I was shooting these. I remember that it was raining, but it wasn't too hard for me to leave the window down to shoot with the (non-weather sealed) Nikon D40.

I had to leave this off-angle. 
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

Sample 117 - A Red Rocks Panorama, More Than 5 Years In The Making.

There are times that we are led to just go through an image, letting the scene declare the glory of God more... 

...more than a quick adding of Scripture. Perhaps this is why I never pushed through with my plans of making a book out of the images of Colorado back in 2008. 
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sample 116 - In And Around The Red Rocks Amphitheatre

This shot was inspired by a postcard we saw in the Amphitheater's Souvenir Shop. That little blue dot in the distance - those are my parents. :D

A closer look at my parents... and the rocks. 

Denver (Or Aurora?) from where we were

For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
Proverbs 2:6

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sample 115 - Piercing The Clouds

"I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.

And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I'm covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand..."

Happy 2014! God bless you! 

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