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Zeiss Ikon

Zeiss Ikon, HP5, Xtol 1+1, Zeiss ZM 28mm f/2.8

Zeiss Ikon, HP5, Xtol 1+1, Zeiss ZM 28mm f/2.8

I love this camera. That’s all I have to say. I posted this image simply because I walked around Dublin today shooting with the Zeiss Ikon and was reminded about how much I like this camera.

First off, I love using a rangefinder. I’ve waxed at length about this topic here before. But, I guess, today I needed reminding.

Second, the action of the film advance and shutter is just solid, solid, solid. The shutter fires WHEN you want it to, not after the camera focuses. Sorry, X-Pro 1, but this is STILL an issue, but mainly an issue when in comparison to this beauty.

Third, the frame lines move to adjust for parallax. Did you hear that, Leica? When you focus on something closer, the frame slides to one side so that you know where the frame ACTUALLY is. The X-Pro 1 does this, so good for Fuji.

Fourth, a little thing. When you rotate the camera to portrait mode, the meter adjusts, assuming that the sky might be at the top of the frame. In other words (LISTEN TO THIS) when in landscape, the meter is center weighted, like you’d expect.

When it is in portrait, it is weighted towards the lower part of the frame, assuming that the top is probably lighter. Not much, maybe a half-stop, but the meter is helping you out.

And, of course, Zeiss lenses just rock the house. I’m lucky to have two.


I’ve posted a frame from this roll before, and people complained about grain in the sky. Well, I had a look at the negs under the loupe… while this IS HP5 and while HP5 is NOT grain free, the grain you see in the sky is a scanning artifact multiplied (heightened) by the JPEG compression. I just looked at the TIFF file and while it is worse than the neg, it is not as bad as the JPEG. I coulda de-Clarified it, by why bother…

21 Apr 2014

Tree in Contemplation

X-Pro 1, 35mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4, Color Efex 4

X-Pro 1, 35mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4, Color Efex 4, Malahide, Ireland

Walked to Malahide castle today, surrounded by lovely grounds and trees such as this guy.

21 Apr 2014

How many cameras?…

Are three cameras too many?

Are three cameras too many?

I know I have too many cameras. If you would say that I have too many lenses, I’d fight you, buddy, because you can never have too much good glass, but I do know I have to many cameras. Why, right here in this image there are three cameras, all the cameras I have with me in Dublin. Soon there will be four…

So much for trimming down so I could travel ‘light’ on my way across the ocean.


20 Apr 2014

Foggy Style

Fuji X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4

Fuji X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4, Silver Efex Pro

I have noticed that many times when I process a certain type of B&W image (I say certain because I don’t do it to every B&W image, only certain kinds) I intentionally underexpose the image during processing by 1 stop. I like moody, I guess. But I think there is more to it than that.

Using Silver Efex Pro (still my favorite member of the Nik family) makes this easy to do. And I find that, when I load an image into SFX, the ‘underepose 1 stop’ preset — which doesn’t just lower the exposure but also affects contrast and structure (it is trying to mimic the effect underexposing a frame of film one stop would create) — is where I go first.

Lord, I *think* I might be headed towards a ‘style.’

19 Apr 2014


Fujinon 27mm f/2.8

Fujinon 27mm f/2.8

Even though Monte chided me about having two Fuji lenses close to each other in focal length, I don’t think I would have gotten this shot with the 23mm lens, too big and obvious… the pancake lens was perfect.

And, yes, that’s my shadow on the gent’s coat.

The image processing is a little modern for me, I know.

18 Apr 2014

Tears of Rust

F100, Delta 100, Xtol 1+1

Nikon F100, Delta 100, Xtol 1+1, ZF.2 50mm f/1.4

I do have a backlog of scanned b&w images which I am slowly working my way through and will be posting. This is a huge water tower by my house in Gibsonia…

16 Apr 2014

Foggy Morning

Fuji X-Pro 1, Fujinon 23mm f/1.4

Fuji X-Pro 1, Fujinon 23mm f/1.4

Yesterday it was very very cold after Friday when it was warm, and there was a morning filled with beautiful fog.

Out with my X-Pro 1 and the 23mm f/1.4.

Manually focussed, of course. Oh, and BTW, this image was processed on Lightroom mobile using my iPad. Really, really nice to be away from the desk. If the cost of being able to do this is the CC structure, I’m ok with it.

13 Apr 2014

Adobe and Fuji start to play nice together!

Fuji X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4

Fuji X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4, Lightroom 5.4

As you may remember, I shoot the X-Pro 1 for its JPEGs about as often as for the RAW files. Fuji does a great job of processing the JPEGs, and unless I REALLY need to process the RAW file, the JPEGs (color and b&w) are just great-looking to me.

The hidden issue that I may have discussed is that Adobe, for reasons only known within those halls, has refused to play nice with Fuji. At least that is my assumption. This takes the form of the de-convolution code for the X-Trans sensor that lies within Lightoom (or, more precisely,  within Camera RAW, being ‘less than optimal.’

Now, truth be told, I don’t really know whether this is Fuji not being willing to share the secrets of the demosaic math of their special sensor or whether Adobe was just not  willing to put the time in to get their code base changed, but up until the latest release of Lightroom, the images produced by Lightroom of the X-Trans RAW files were, by general consensus, not as good as those produced by Capture One or Irridient Developer or even Aperture. All of which obviously cause an additional step in image processing flow. I use Capture One, in fact, but recently had a major hiccup with that processor. Ironically, this happened just last week with the image I have displayed at the top of this post. Below I’m showing a blow up of NOT this image above BUT this image as processed in Capture One.


Processed with Capture One

Processed with Capture One

You’ll notice that harsh green line of chromatic aberration on the sunlit side of the tree. That’s coming from the lens, and Capture One doesn’t deal with it. When I discovered this, late last week, I was dismayed. The X-Trans sensor caused Lightroom issues, and my go-to substitute had issues dealing with CA.

In the forums that I troll, one of the leading bashes against the Fuji line of X-Trans cameras in general is the lack of good RAW processing. The cameras come with Silky Pix developer, which, being kind, sucketh.

So, like me , many of the X-Trans shooters use the JPEGs OR avoid the camera all together. But, honestly, you really do want a robust RAW development platform, and the Fujis lacked one.

Lightroom 5.4 Arrives

Now, whether the sheer volume of X-Trans cameras has now reached a point where Adobe could no longer ignore the X-Trans or once the X-T1 arrived Fuji wanted to play better with Adobe, I don’t know. But with the release of Lightroom 5.4, not only are the files from the X-T1 able to be processed, but the general rendering of X-Trans files seems better. In addition, Fuji has clearly supplied Adobe with the recipes for taking X-Trans RAW files and converting them to the color space and style of their JPEG files, so even if all you have is the RAW X-Trans file, you can convert it to the look of a Fuji JPEG.

A big day for us X-Trans shooters.

And, oh, the CA issue with the image is fixed in the Lightroom conversion.

12 Apr 2014

Light and Shadow, Line and Form

X-Pro 1, 27mm f/2.8 Fujinon Pancake

X-Pro 1, 27mm f/2.8 Fujinon Pancake, Pasadena, March 2014

For street shooting, I like to be as inconspicuous as possible. It’s the wallflower in me coming out. One of my favorite things to do is to wander streets and ‘fish’ for images (as my friend Jonathan Bunney describes me).

While fishing for people is my favorite pasttime, fishing for interesting combinations of line, light, shadow and form is #2 on the list.

So, this image fits the bill in many respects. It was captured with a new pancake lens, the 40-mm equivalent Fujinon. I bought this while I was in Dublin, and it’s VERY small, and perfect for walk-around and remaining inconspicuous. The only weird thing for me is no aperture ring, you set the aperture from a wheel on the back of the camera. But since when I’m fishing I tend to set my f-stop and just try to forget the camera and just look at things and ‘hook’ them, this fits my style perfectly.

10 Apr 2014

New Lens, New Life

X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4 lens

X-Pro 1, 23mm f/1.4 lens

Back in Pittsburgh for a bit… Peg bought me a new lens for my X-Pro 1… a 23mm f/1.4 prime. This is just a quick shot as I walked around with our chocolate lab yesterday morning. The 35mm-equivalent focal length is my favorite length, for sure, and I’m very happy to have that length on my X-Pro 1.

I’ve been spending a great deal of time on the Get DPI forums of late. It’s a mix of pros and passionate amateurs, and there are some really great photographers there. It’s kind of a high-end site, meaning that the people who post aren’t afraid of spending a nice pile of money for their camera equipment. Many members will not hesitate to try every new camera on the marketplace.

It’s a great place to learn quite a bit about options. It’s a lousy place from the point of view of getting distracted from the real issue which is the taking of pictures.

So, in the spirit of learning new things, I suggest you give this article a read. It’s a great analysis of this problem of multiple cameras, written by a brilliant photographer.

As for the new life thing… I confess that I’m not completely adjusting to being in multiple places nor am I adjusting to being away from Peg so much. We’ll see how this works out.

8 Apr 2014