2014 wasn't really a fruitful year for my "street" photography but the few chances I got to venture out I managed to get some interesting images - so I think! If you happen to like any of my "2014 Project" images please take the time to let me know.
EDIT 16/01/2015: New or changed content
Did you know that 30,000 RAF files can fill up a 1 TB disk? Those same files can be converted to lossy DNG without any noticeable loss in quality and only take up 1/10 of their original size! With lossy DNG, not only are storage concerns solved, but opening and processing files becomes much faster. I feel everyone should take a serious look into the lossy DNG option!
EDIT 25/02/2016: An updated version can be found here based on the firmware 4.30
So you have downloaded the new firmware, loaded it and have fiddled with it, but somehow feel lost or not sure how to best utilize some of the options available. You’re in luck, read on and I will take you through each setting and show you what I have chosen and for what reason. Maybe my settings will suit your style of photography maybe not, either way, I'm sure you will find at-least some of it helpful.
More like a free model upgrade!
Only a few days to go and we will be able to download the new update! Fujifilm have really outdone themselves once again with this free firmware update that really changes the capabilities of the X-T1 in a big way. Even non Fuji shooters are so impressed with this update that it has been cause for some extra attention towards Fuji.
The must have "one-does-all"
This new constant zoom from Nikon is now my favorite and most used lens. I love it so much that i replaced it with my previous love, the AFS 24-70mm f/2.8G. Read-on to find out why!
The legendary Tokina
So you finally decided to buy a full frame Nikon (D700 or D610), and are now wondering how good that cheap Tokina can really be. Well you are in luck since I have most of the info you will need so as to not pick the wrong version. You will be pleased to know that the fast Tokina mid range zoom is an excellent investment (considering its price on the used market) but you may want to read on and find out which incarnation is worth buying since there were a few updates to this design and unfortunately, the latest is not the greatest.
I've been waiting for such a lens from Nikon ever since the appearance of the high ISO champions D3 & D700. Like many other Nikonians, my wish was for a smaller and lighter telezoom to use for weddings without of-course compromising on optical and AF performance. The first copies of the new AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR arrived in Greek stores on the 14th December 2012 and I was probably one of the first owners of this lens in my country – so sorry for the late posting of this review (first published 25 February 2014 on Nikonglass).
Sharp, sharp, sharp! The XF 23mm f/1.4R on the X-T1 with Face Detection enabled nails focus on my never-standing-still sons eyes every-time. After 11 months I still cant believe the consistency of the nailed results that I'm getting with the this lens even wide open! That about covers it - if you want to know more then read on ...
Limnos, Greece - August 2003
It’s been three weeks since I’ve been observing and recording this striking bird. The sun is about to set as I scout the barn’s roof for any sign of the Little Owl. Uniformly placed on top of the roof-tiles are large stones, which have been placed there to keep the tiles in place when the northerlies are blowing strong. The Little Owl knows that the stones are similar to it, both in size and colour, explaining why it often sits still on the roof without drawing attention during the morning and evening hours when the sun is still low on the horizon.
After 10 months of shooting reportage, portraits, weddings, street, fashion, concerts, wildlife, lightning, landscapes, kids and other events I think it’s time that I passed on my experiences and feelings about the revolutionary Fujifilm X-T1.
Fujifilm X-T1 Review
NOTE 31/12/2014: This article has been updated here
My X-T1 combined with a smartphone or iPhone that has Fujifilm’s free app “Camera Remote” installed becomes lethal for some street photography scenarios as well as some wildlife situations. I can pretty much control most aspects of the camera except for exposures longer than 30sec. It took me a little while to figure out, but once you know the basics, it becomes real easy to use.
Can the Fujifilm X-T1 do weddings?
This blog post is for all my friend photographers who keep asking me the same question: Is a mirror-less Fuji kit capable of shooting a wedding? Yes, it can BUT before you go selling off your DSLR gear, please read my following comments carefully.
There was a time when i used to carry a 6kg tripod with a 1kg ballhead to ensure a good stable platform for my tele lens. Back in those days Fuji Velvia 50 and Provia 100 meant very slow shutter speeds. The digital revolution has changed everything, and the mirrorless systems that are already with us even more so!
Mirrorless is the future
I have noticed over the years that both Nikon and Canon produce camera bodies that are always lacking some key feature by design. If you demand the best that they can offer, then be ready to pay over 5000$ for a pro body. Anything other than their top of the line pro specked body will always be a “compromise by design”. Unfortunately this is how things are and have been for the last 14 years. And yet, it would so easy for Nikon and Canon to produce the perfect digital camera if they really wanted too.
Concert photography with the X-T1
I attended a live concert with the famous Greek reggae band Locomondo at the Technopolis complex in the heart of Athens on the 5th September 2014. Locomondo combine folklore and traditional Greek music with reggae rhythms. The band consists of Markos Koumaris, Giorgos Varnavas, Stamatis Goulas, Spyros Besdekis, Stratis Soundris, Michael Mourtzis, Thanasis Tambakis, Nikos Vlachos, Basilis Panagiotopoulos and Dimitris Gasias. A new comer was the band "Jaguar Bombs" who played first to get the crowd warmed up for Locomondo. Both Bands proved very photogenic and supplied me with some nice images.
X-T1 meets model Mikaela Fotiadi
This is my third and last posting on the subject of the X-T1 doing fashion. As previously mentioned, I had the chance to try out the X-T1 at a fashion shoot. A friend and well known fashion photographer George Dimopoulos was conducting his 8th professional weekend seminar for the third year in a row and had gathered some great models and some new designs from award winning fashion designer Konstantinos Mitrovgenis and had chosen a dozen or so excellent locations in the heart of Athens.
So for 2 days I followed them around and captured both backstage events and when given the chance I managed some shots of my own. It was an eyeopener event for me - never done fashion before - and I really was impressed by the overall teamwork and the professional standard by all involved including models, makeup artists and hair dressers.
Lightning with the Fujifilm X-T1
EDIT - 16/12/2014: Captions with exposure settings added to images plus a few remarks added as well
Hi everyone, sorry for not posting often, I'm too busy fishing! I'm having a great time on Lemnos Island so much that its affecting my photography. I must also apologize for my late email replies - Sorry folks!
X-T1 meets model Evi Lanou
As previously mentioned, a few weeks ago I had the chance to try out the X-T1 at a fashion shoot. A friend and well known fashion photographer George Dimopoulos was conducting his 8th professional weekend seminar for the third year in a row and had gathered some great models and some new designs from award winning fashion designer Konstantinos Mitrovgenis and had chosen a dozen or so excellent locations in the heart of Athens.
X-T1 meets male model Michalis Stratoudakis
A couple weeks ago I had the chance to try out the X-T1 under some “little” pressure. A friend, well known fashion photographer George Dimopoulos was conducting his 8th professional weekend seminar for the third year in a row and had gathered some great models and some new designs from award winning fashion designer Konstantinos Mitrovgenis and had chosen a dozen or so excellent locations in the heart of Athens.
The Good, the Bad and the unbelievable
The end of the DSLR is near. The X-T1 is the first mirror less camera that can compete with a DSLR in most but not all situations. It’s so close though that pros around the globe are switching like never before. I am not going to sit here and fill you with specs but instead get straight to the point of what this camera excels in and where it falls short, what impresses and what not:
NOTE: Updated 13/05/2014
The Fuji X-T1 is still young at a few months old, so the AF performance is obviously not as sophisticated or refined as those of DSLR’s, but none the less its performance is so impressive today, that one wonders about what the future holds for both the DSLR’s and the X-T1! What follows are my findings on the focusing performance for the X-T1, hope you find them interesting and useful.
When I first started shooting birds, I would often do the mistake of bypassing the common little birds of my area – a big mistake. No matter where you live in the world, its good practice to shoot anything that comes your way. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Sparrow or a Seagull, common birds can give you an award winning image if you give them the chance.
For Nikon FX users, the 16-35mm f/4 zoom lens is a great addition, especially if you do a lot of landscape photography. Now some of you are probably thinking, what about the 14-24mm, sure it may be a little sharper with a lot less distortion, but it is a lot more demanding and requires expensive and specialized filters. Plus the 14-24 offers less range.
Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)
I was driving through an olive grove looking for the famous Persian Squirrel of Lesvos Island with a Nikon D300 and a 300mm f/4 lens. I wasn’t having much luck and the weather really wasn’t on my side. Before I knew it, the sky darkened dangerously and it started to sprinkle. I knew I wasn’t going to get another chance at a squirrel and I was pretty much running out of time plus my wife would be expecting me home soon so I placed my camera on the passenger’s seat, swapped the 300mm for a wide angle zoom and started for the journey home hoping that by the time I would reach the town of Agra I may have a chance at a rainbow or a nice scape.
The Little Owl (Athene noctua)
Over the years, I have seen and photographed plenty of owls, but finding one in a hollow tree trunk is a rare thing. Most of my bird photography is (or should I say was) done on Limnos Island and there aren’t many trees on the island, so this may be the main reason for the rarity. The shot above was taken a few years back in February 2008 on Lesvos Island, which unlike Limnos, has plenty of trees.
Not so long ago (2002), when I was still using film and a Nikon F5, I was still carrying a heavy tripod around for nearly all my wildlife and nature work. This was very limiting since the low dynamic range of film (especially Velvia) forced me to restrict my shooting when the lighting was soft (early in the morning or late in the afternoon) resulting in very slow shutter speeds. Thankfully digital has liberated photographers by providing a wider dynamic range, higher base ISO’s and powerful post processing. Thanks to digital I can now shoot in stronger and harsher lighting conditions if I need to and my new base ISO has jumped to 400 ISO. Plus I can go all the way to 1600 ISO if needed without worrying about noise since prints at 1600 ISO look as it they have a touch of “grain”. So my average shutter speeds have skyrocketed, my trusty tripod see’s less use and my everyday walk-around wildlife lens, the old AF 80-400mm VR has now been replaced by the new super portable and more affordable AFS 70-300mm VR lens.