Category : Uncategorized

4 months, 3 weeks ago 1
Posted in: Uncategorized


I got an email yesterday that I decided to answer with this blog entry,  so, thank you Steve!  The question was; “How do I decide on whether to buy a new lens or not?  That’s a good question and one that deserves a thorough answer!


FIRST:  Lenses are not cheap!!!!  They can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, or more!  Depending on your financial situation, it’s a big decision.


SECOND: You can only carry so many, so it matters that what you buy, is something you will actually carry and use!    * Caveat: I’ve broken that rule many times myself!


THIRD Do you really need it?  This is a tough one becasue we often make “want” the equivalent of “need”!


So, let’s consider that you have already determined that you can Afford it, will Carry it, and really Need it!  On what basis do you know you are getting a good lens?  Here are a few tips:


A.  Listen to others that own the lens, or people that have tested it say.  I have a few sources that i trust to do real testing of lenses and I often consult them early in the hunt.  (DP Review,,  Lenses develop reputations and often your freinds who own a particualr lens will be a good judge of how good it is optically.


B. How well is it constructed?  After all, the lens is the most used part of your camera system and if you are a heavy user, mechancial quality will really matter down the road after years of use.  Grasp the mount end of the lens and the lens barrell and gently twsit it to see if their is much give or flex in the lens.  If there is now, new, it will likely be loosey goosey in a few months or years of hard use, avoid these lenses.  The lens body and barrell should be metal or a very high quality polycarbonite material.  The mount should always be of the best metal materials and afixed to the lens with several screws, I prefer 4 or 5 to give lateral strength.


How many aperture blades does it have and how rounded is the aperture pattern when stopped down?  This is very important to the avoiding of chances of defraction.


Does the lens have quality multi-coating on it’s elements?  Does it have a lens hood?


C. How to buy a lens.  This is my advice, take it for what it’s worth.  Find a dealer that allows returns so you cna buy the lens and carefully test it before you decide to keep it or not.  Treat the lens as if your best friend loaned it to you and you intend to return it like new!  This will allow you to know if the lens is going to fulfill your needs!


D. Once you buy your lens take good care of it.  Protect it in your camera bag or backpack.  Keep it clean, but don’t over clean it, optical glass will often be fine with just a blower to get the dust off.


Well that’s it, buy good lenses, use the ones that work for you and try to keep it down to a few, unlike me!!!




the pilgrim

4 months, 3 weeks ago 6
Posted in: Uncategorized



For some time we have known that Fujifilm was going to release this lens, and now we know the release date, September!  The real question is where does this lens fit into 0ur camera systems?  Based on the early reviews of the prototype, it looks like it will be a stunner!  If, in fact, it is, then it opens some very interesting doors!


Let’s talk focal lengths.  24mm to 122mm is a near perfect range for 90% of general photography.  I can imagine carrying this lens, a much wider lens, say the 14mm f 2.8, and then the 100-400 to cover all the longer focal lengths.   I can’t imagine traveling with out the Fujifilm 80mm Macro f 2.8, so when knowing close-up work in on the menu, that will have to come along.  It sounds like the 16mm to 80mm will focus very close all the way down to .25 of life-size, so that might solve that issue for all but extreme close work!


The bottom line is that this new lens will be wonderful for those of us that are trying to pair down their kit.  I can’t wait!




the pilgrim





5 months ago 2
Posted in: Uncategorized



Join Jack Graham and Bill Fortney and third, to be named, X-Photographer for this incredible summit in Moab Utah!!!!!   February 26th – March 1st, 2020


Also this fall a few spots are still available for these great Graham/Fortney Events:



Again to register for these great events contact:


Lastly the stars are really aligned this fall for the Great Smoky Mountain Nature Phototgraphy Sunmmit!  Please join us for this affordable and fantastic event!!!




Get out this fall or next spring and jon us for all the fun!!!!




the pilgrim


5 months, 3 weeks ago 5
Posted in: Uncategorized




From the beginning of the digital age we have been on a quest for more resolution!  Why?  In the early years it was simple, digital could not be taken seriously until it was as capable as film.  Some early predictions were that it would take 25 mega pixels to accomplish that.  By the time cameras reached 12 mega pixels it was clear that the dye was set.  At around 24 mega pixels we had almost more resolution than we could ever need.  So then it was 36 megapixels, then 42 mega pixels, then 50 mega pixels and now for the first time Fujifilm is offering a 100 + mega pixel camera for less than $10,000.


The question is;  if you are a self respecting, serious or even pro photographer, how far up the mega pixel scale do you need to go???  I am going to answer this question for myself and hopefully it will give you some ideas about your own choices.  I will say that this is just my thinking based on the way I work and what I do with my work.


I am a photo generalist; I shoot mostly for the sheer thrill of doing it.  I have been  professional photographer in the sports arena, medical, travel, newspaper and magazine photojournalist, landscape, nature and close-up photographer.  I teach workshops and have had over 7,000 students.  I wrote about photography and faith, and have published 5 coffee table books, and over a dozen eBooks.


I want explore this comparison in terms of three factors:  ADVANTAGE, COST, and UTILIZATION.


(1) Advantage:  The Fujifilm GFX 100 is clearly the most capable camera ever produced. (period)  Highest resolution, image stabilized, high frame rate and a world class viewfinder all in a body about the size of a Nikon D5!!!!  In second place is the GFX 50s and 50R, less resolution but still a ton.  Half the resolution but less than half the price.  The X-T3 is one of the finest 24/26 mega pixel cameras on the market, with world class video capability at a bargain price.


(2) Cost:  Simple; the GFX 100 is just a dollar or two shoot of ten grand.  The GFX 50S and 50R  are $5,500 and $4,00 respectively.  the X-T3 comes in at $1,500. You know how much you need and what you will be buying and what you can afford, it’s just that simple.


(3) Utilization:  If you need 100 mega pixel and it can work for you financially, then you know what you have to do.  If you need a larger amount of mega pixels but can’t afford a GFX 100 then the GFX 50S or 50R is your ticket to ride.  If something around 26 mega pixels is all you need and you enjoy lenses that cost half or less than the GFX lenses you’ve found your sweet spot in the X-T3.  I have made 4′ X 6′ (that’s feet)  prints from the X-T2 (24 mega pixels) !!! Do they look as good as they would from a GFX 100?  Of course not, but at reasonable viewing distances, they look very good indeed, no one ever complains!


Bottom Line:  Once again; While I find the Fujifilm 50 and 100 mega pixel cameras to be phenomenal, I don’t want to carry their weight, (both cameras and lenses), and I like the broader range of lenses available for the X-System cameras.  For the kind of work I do the X-System is my cup of tea.  If you need more, thank goodness Fujifilm has provided us great tools at very reasonable prices considering their capabilities!  The choice is yours and it is good to have options!!!


This is what I do and the X-System does not let me down in any way!



I rest my case!




the pilgrim