I always try to attend Fujifilm’s annual People with Cameras in Sydney each year and was able to be there for much of this year’s event held at Doltone House on Darling Island Wharf in Pyrmont on Saturday the 7th September 2019.
More female photographers seem to attend each year, a welcome trend given the low numbers of female photographers and moviemakers who manage to make it professionally in Australia in particular and globally in general.
Those low numbers are not from want of talent but from systemic issues favouring male practitioners and thus the peculiarities of the male gaze and the male power structure, but I am hopeful that female representation in all aspects of photography and moviemaking will continue increasing to the point of parity, rapidly rather than slowly.
I carried a Think Tank Photo MindShift Gear BackLight 26L backpack containing my Fujifilm X-Pro2, a borrowed Fujifilm X-H1, a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens both of which were also borrowed, and my own Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lenses.
I managed to very briefly borrow a Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR and a pre-production model of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens which is due for release later this year.
I ended up swapping between my 56mm lens and the borrowed 18mm lens for this event but wondered if I might have been better served by the 50-140mm zoom lens or the 50mm f/2.0 prime in conjunction with the 16mm lens or the reportedly excellent Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR.
“Remain inconspicuous while shooting with Think Tank’s new Spectral Shoulder Bag. A magnetic Fidlock clasp enables quiet, one-handed access your gear — then locks automatically when closing the flap. An additional zippered closure gives you piece of mind while traveling and can be tucked away when you’re actively shooting. Constructed with durable yet stylish materials, the Spectral Shoulder Bag offers Think Tank quality and ingenuity at a reasonable price.”
Think Tank Photo’s new 3-strong leather-free Spectral line of shoulder bags is a refreshing change from the leather-trimmed product revisions it has released in recent years.
Based on Think Tank Photo’s information about the Spectral 8, it may prove to be a useful one-camera, several-lenses option for slow and steady documentary photography or cinematography with, say, a Røde VideoMic Pro+ in place of the 50-140mm zoom lens.
Think Tank Photo Spectral 8 shoulder bag with Fujifilm camera and lenses.
Think Tank Photo Spectral 8 shoulder bag with Fujifilm camera and lenses.
Think Tank Photo Spectral 8 shoulder bag with 3 Legged Thing Albert travel tripod.
An Evolving Focus
The company’s marketing email and website product shots are increasingly featuring mirrorless cameras and lenses in addition to its tradition emphasis on DSLRs, with focus on Fujifilm APS-C and Sony digital 35mm mirrorless camera though Panasonic’s increasingly popular Lumix M43/Super 16 hybrid stills/video cameras have yet to make an appearance so far as I can tell.
Both moves are welcome and I would love to see Think Tank Photo add Panasonic’s GH5 and professional lenses for video and stills, for example, to its product shot scheduling.
I note that 3 Legged Thing’s also increasingly popular tripods are also starting to feature in TTP marketing material.
Seeing gear that one actually uses being featured in emails and web pages helps make better-informed purchasing decisions given many of us often do not live near a good bricks-and-mortar stockist where one can try-before-buy and so must rely on sight-unseen purchases at online retailers in other countries.
Not all mirrorless cameras and lenses have the same dimensions nor do they fit in the same bags, I have often discovered, so photographic evidence of good fit is incredibly useful and helps avoid purchases one soon comes to regret.
The Ever-growing Scourge of Mould
Leather, and certain plastics, are susceptible to the growing epidemics of mould infection popping up in places like Sydney with the onset of major climate change.
Although it has proven possible to chemically remove mould from the surface of leather and some synthetic materials, mould spores remain beneath the surface ready to spring into action should the weather change yet again.
As a result, we have had to throw out many leather and leather-trimmed products including camera bags to avoid the risk of mould and mould spores spreading to our photographic equipment.
We have been shocked to discover expensive bags made of synthetic fabrics infected with mould and mould spores too, though not all woven plastics are susceptible.
There are two other considerations in the use of leather in constructing and decoratively trimming camera bags, cruelty and environmental responsibility.
My Plea for Leather-Free
Industrial agriculture’s animal husbandry practices are inherently cruel, and contribute huge amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, apparently to a greater extent than emission from motor cars.
I wish to see camera bag and accessories makers take up the challenge to go 100% leather-free and pro-vegan from now onwards.
“For the past few years, I’ve been using Fujifilm cameras for the majority of my portrait and travel work. I’ve grown to love these cameras. They are compact for travel, they have fantastic lenses, and they record photos with impressive quality….
… I have very few complaints, but there are some challenges. One issue in using the Fuji lineup is that some software programs don’t offer the same support for Fujifilm cameras as they do Canon or Nikon. This applies in particular to lens correction….
… One of the other reasons I really dig Exposure is the huge selection of film emulations and presets. I have a handful of looks that are my go-to choices. For instance, if I want to convert an image to black and white, ninety percent of the time I start with B&W Films – Fuji Neopan 100 Acros….”
“In my last video I went through my bag of lights. For this video I walk you through my bag of cameras and lenses. I’ve spent a lot of time streamlining my gear to the essentials and it has really helped clear my head and make life easier for me. I was constantly moving from bag to bag and one set up to another depending on the job at hand. I wanted to simplify my photographic life to a bag of cameras and a bag of lights.
While I feel my bag of lights is complete, I’m not so sure yet about my bag of cameras. I’d really like to add the Fuji GFX to this kit to be a back up to the Phase One and to be my run-n-gun camera. I’m still trying to decide if that will be the best option for me and the work I do….”
“… 3. To be eligible to claim the applicable cash back amount, an eligible individual must purchase one (1) of the selected FUJIFILM X series cameras AND one (1) of the selected lenses listed in section 9 of these Terms and Conditions in a single transaction (an “Eligible Purchase”) from an authorised Australian participating dealer/retailer during the period commencing 1 st June 2017 and ending 31st July 2017 (“Promotion Period”). For the avoidance of doubt, this promotion does not apply to any of FUJIFILM’s X series cameras or lenses that are not listed in section 9….”
Fujifilm has added the third lens to its rangefinder-style lens set with the announcement of its Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR, adding the equivalent of the 75mm focal length to the XF 23mm f/2 and XF 35mm f/2 lenses equivalent focal lengths of 35mm and 50mm.
So now Fujifilm camera users can own a matched set of three lenses that have blazingly fast autofocus, are weather resistant, have small front ends for attaching 46mm diameter protection filters, and that have equivalent focal lengths of 35mm, 50mm and 75mm.
When trying out the XF 23mm f/2 and XF 50mm f/2 on my X-Pro2 last year, I found their small size and tiny front elements perfectly complemented the camera’s discrete look, with and without lens hoods attached.
The X-Pro2 is, for me, a cross between the Leica rangefinder cameras I built my style on throughout my analog photographic career and the 120-format film rangefinder cameras I came to love just as much after discovering them later during that time.
Although I appreciate the bokeh contrasting with the sharpness of my Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R lenses, they can feel a little oversized and somewhat slower to focus when away from available darkness and out in the street compared to the 23mm and 35mm f/2 primes.
There is also the question of the wide front elements of the faster lenses intruding into the X-Pro2 OVF (optical viewfinder) window, something my Leica lenses were prone to as well but to a lesser degree.
I learned to account for that occlusion by training myself to see through both eyes while shooting, right eye through the OVF and left eye seeing the wider scene and especially lower left of frame.
The benefit of using lenses which don’t occlude the OVF window as much, as this trio is designed to do, is you can concentrate more on what you are seeing through the OVF while directing your left eye to see the broader scene, alert for the marvellous serendipities that make rangefinder photography so unique and so unlike shooting with DSLR and EVF-only cameras.
I throughly enjoyed photographing with the XF 23mm f/2 and 35mm f/2 lenses last year and may well add one or both to my kit in future. I am very much looking forward to trying out the XF 50mm f/2 R WR this year.
An obvious comparison
So many X-Pro2 users familiar with Leica M-System rangefinder cameras and lenses have compared Fujifilm’s f/2 trio with Leica’s Summicron f/2 lenses.
There is some relevance in that comparison given the Summicrons I owned and used (I borrowed the 75mm for magazine assignments when I could as I did not own one) were pleasurable and fast to use, and were as adept in available darkness as under bright sunlight.
Leica’s current Summicron lens set is five-strong, comprising 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm lenses. My personal pick of those five focal lengths would be the 28mm, the 35mm and the 75mm. In Fujinon APS-C terms that is 18mm, 23mm and 50mm.
If Fujifilm could now turn its attention to radically revamping its current 28mm lens equivalent, the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R, in the style of its f/2 trio then I would be enormously grateful.
Each year, Ku-ring-gai Historical Society (KHS) members celebrate this event at Wahroonga outside the home where a memorial was erected in Fisk’s honour. The weather was not kind today hence the limited photos available. But why mention a moment in history that many have forgotten?…
“Save our Sirius,” said the man sitting on the pavement not more than three metres away from Sirius, the social housing icon of Brutalist architecture in Sydney’s historic The Rocks. “Why do they want to save a pub?”
The Sirius building is anything but a pub, as my first story about it illustrates, a fact that can be easily determined by those who care to glance upwards from their comfy perches.
More than a thousand citizens of all ages, who clearly do know what Sirius is and stands for, took part in a rally on September 17 to protest the imminent eviction of the last remaining longterm residents of Sirius and the planned sale and destruction of their homes.
People from all walks of life took part, including present and past residents of Sirius, Dawes Point and Millers Point, architect Tao Gofers who designed Sirius in the 1970s, local and state politicians, as well as architecture enthusiast and radio personality Tim Ross….