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8 months, 1 week ago 12

Testing the X-T1 for image quality reveals no surprises.  It is the same sensor as in the X-E2 which is superlative, and so is the X-T1.  the image above of bird eggs in a nest (not real), bellow the same shot at a different ISO.  Above 6400, below 1600!



Below is a shot of my house key, and then at 100% magnification booth at ISO  6400!  The noise is there, but it is very tight and no color noise to speak of.  It looks more like film grain.  Hand held by the way!



The X-T1 give images that look little different from ISO 200 to 16oo!  All these below are shot at ISO 1600.



Now let’s step up to ISO 6400 for a few shots.



The X-T1 follows the pattern of the other new Fuji X System cameras with the new X-Trans Sensor II, extremely low noise even at super high ISOs, and very vivid color reproduction.  After a few hours working these subjects at the local curiosity shop, I am liking the camera more and more.  It is not as machine gun camera, though it can rip off 8 frames per second, it is a wonderful tool for slow, studied work, with lots of great features to make that kind of shooting even more rewarding.  I really enjoyed the fold out LCD when shooting in the tight quarters of the shop.



All these images were made with the 60mm Micro!  Got to go finish packing for St. Croix,  I will continue this test shooting, and dialogue Satuday and Sunday in the U.S. Virgin Islands!  Wish you were going with Sherelene and I!




the pilgrim

8 months, 1 week ago 14



The X-T1 just arrived an hour ago.  It’s unboxed, the battery is on the charger, and I’ve installed a strap, ( I use the Wapiti Spike straps madewith Elk hide from:  I’ve gone through

the menus and set it up for my initial tests, which will start later, but for now I want to just talk about ergonomics.


First Impressions:    The X-T1 feels solid in your hands, it has the impression of quality construction.  It feels substantial, but not heavy or large, in fact it is a little smaller than I expected, very much like the X-E2, which I love so no points lost there!  I think it’s a perfect balance between not being too heavy,  yet feeling the heft you would expect with an all magnesium, all inclusive, sub frame. The camera body is covered with a rubber textured material that aids your grip and makes the camera feel comfortable in your hands.  The hand grip on the front and the thumb pad on the back are just perfect to make the camera feel secure in your hands, something I’m sure will be welcome when you add a bigger lens like the 55-200!  The large control dials; shutter speed knob, exposure compensation dial, and ISO dial all have a great solid feel, (real metal), and are finished out in a first class manner. That they lock in place, (all except the exposure comp dial), is a big plus.  When you do turn them they have satisfying click stops that are sure!  The feel is very reminiscent of the first Nikon F,  though much smaller, and lighter, but still there is that feeling, this thing is a mini hockey puck!


The fold out LCD is very bright, sharp, and the brackets feel solid, no wiggle here!  While a swing out would be more versatile, it would not have felt as sold as a tank like this one, I’m old school, so I’ll take the safety of a two way slide out unit, having worked in the industry I’ve seen a bunch of the other kind snapped off!!!   The door that opens so you can insert a SD card is not as substantial, but it is not flimsy either, if you don’t leave it open, and slam it against something it should be no problem.  Five extra function buttons that can be assigned in hundreds of ways are going to be much appreciated!  I’ve already assigned the front one that falls right under the shutter release to activate the focus point so you can move them around, and it works fantastic.  I can’t wait for Really Right Stuff to make an L Bracket for this thing, and I think it won’t need a hand grip like the X100s. X-Pro-1, and X-E2 have, but I’ll see what they come up with, one never knows!




Now to the “Wow factor”, the gorgeous, voluptuous, bright, sharp, astounding view finder!!!  This is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to an optical viewfinder and it still has all the advantages of a  mirror-less camera!  The information is crystal clear, and you can pick and choose how much info you want displayed, or leave it all off!!!!  When shooting in dim settings, it does not have the grainy, video camera, appearance you are used to seeing, there’s some gain noise, but it is minimal, and at the image is just clean, crisp detail.  There are several options for how to set up the viewfinders so it is also as versatile as it is beautiful!  To be honest, from time to time I’ve missed the DSLR view of the world, this pretty much will solve those longings, great job Fuji!!


I think the battery pack will actually make this camera even better to hand hold, especially if you have larger hands. I wear a X-large glove, and I’m really thinking the battery pack will be a welcome addition! It feels fine without it, but the extra mass will give your fingers a place to stretch out, and add more shots before battery changes!  Right now a battery is good for 300 to 350 shots.


The shutter release, the first from Fuji to not be threaded for an old plunger style cable release, is still very sweet, predictable, and it’s easy to squeeze off images without shaking the camera!  For me that is one of the most important attributes of any camera.  The D800 has a great release, and this one has the same predictable, yet soft feel!


The outside surfaces not covered by the good rubber grip have that professional, but satin finished,  crinkle appearance, very nicely done!  All in all a very satisfying feel and appearance.  The design team has gone out of their way to make this camera appear as solid as it feels, it speaks volumes about their pride in what they design and build!


Gripes?  Not many.  A touch screen LCD, might have made some settings easier, but then they aren’t hard to set now.  If you are a video buff, you’e not going to have the options available from a number of other companies products, but I’m not all that interested in video, so it is not an issue for me.  Frankly one of the things that hastened my decision to retire from Nikon was the serious push in the video area by many of the major manufacturers.  I’m a still shooter, and there are plenty of immensely talented young guys and gals that are excelling at that, I’ll just stay in my comfort zone, and let them enjoy themselves!!  If I really get into video some day, I‘ll pick up something well suited for that!


My overall impression from the first couple of hours is this is one sweet camera, and I’m already thinking if it shoots as I expect it to, ( and I know it will, after all it’s a X100s / X-E2 X Trans Sensor), how long will it be before I buy a second one as my two main bodies!!!   Which brings up an interesting point, did Fuji shoot themselves in the foot by releasing such a dynamic new product?  Will it kill sales of their other models?  I don’t think so, I still have a very special love for the optical viewfinders on the X-Pro-1 (can’t wait for the X-Pro-2!!!) and the X100s, I still will favor those cameras for certain kinds of shooting!  No, I can easily see my future system having what I own now plus another  X-T1, of course,that is until they announce the next great thing!!!!  I will say that the greatest thing for me has been the superior glass Fuji has made for the X System.  I can honestly say that every single Fujinon lens I’ve brought has been beyond spectacular, when my images are not sharp, it’s not the lenses!!


Final Thoughts:  Fuji, please, please, please don’t get sucked into the full frame/high mega pixel race.  No other camera on the market can beat you on low noise at high ISO now, and the 16 mega pixels out of this outstanding sensor is plenty of resolution for 98% of us!  Let someone else meet the needs of that 2%!  O.K. I know that a lot more than 2% will buy high mega pixel cameras, but they would’t if they’d ever shot a X-Trans sensored Fuji camera, first…….


If you shoot Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Leica or any other brand, I know your cameras can make great images, and if you are happy, don’t pay any attention to me!  Be Happy, Don’t Worry, Be Happy…….  Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men!!!


So  ”…..and I heard him exclaim as rode out of sight, great light to you all, and have a wonderful night…..”




the pilgrim


Friday:  the first images from the X-T1

8 months, 1 week ago 10



As I write this blog entry the UPS truck is on it’s way through out Corbin dropping off packages, and one will arrive on my doorstep later today.  It will contain the new Fuji X-T1!  I’m very excited about this camera as it is the evolution of what I fell in love with over a year and half ago.  If you are one of those folks that are sick of haring about my love for the X System, why don’t you take a week off,  Sherlene and I are flying to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands Saturday morning and I will be testing the new camera all next week in what I hope will be a warmer environment that Kentucky!!!


Very Quick History Lesson (for those that may not have read this in the past):  In 2011 I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder.  It turned out to be complicated surgery, with lots of after surgery trauma, and a long healing process.  During the recovery I had to use less gear, as carrying my former system was just not possible.  During the recovery time, I started looking for a small, mirror less camera of good enough quality to use until I could get back to using my large, heavy,  Nikon full frame cameras and lenses.  I tried a number of different cameras, but each and every one fell short in some area or another, and then Fuji came out with the X-10.  I picked one up and fell in love with it.  It was made really well, felt substantial without being a burdensome to carry. It was
“Old School” like me and it was a pleasure to use! The zoom lens was a good range and tack sharp, and surprisingly fast compared to the other cameras in it’s price range, (it was actually a hundred dollars higher than competitive cameras but well worth it.)  Long story short, I love with it and made images that shocked even me with such an inexpensive camera!


Later I returned to the Doctor to have my shoulder checked,  he said my left shoulder was suffering over use because of the issues with my right shoulder.  He said unless you want to have another repair, I had to stop carrying a 25 pound camera bag!!  What to do?  Since I loved everything about the little Fuji X-10 I decided to try the new Fuji X-E1 and I loved it even more than the X-10.  So now I still own all my classic Nikon gear, but it is just to heavy to deal with and my new Fuji cameras, now up to 4 bodies and 8 lenses, are serving me, and my shoulder extremely well!



Since the new X-T1 has the same sensor as the X-E2 I don’t expect the images to appear much different, but the viewfinder and body build are very different, and I can’t wait to way in on how they work in the field!


So stay tuned, if this interests you, and over the next week I hope to post a lot of images from the X-T1!!




the pilgrim







8 months, 1 week ago 22


His name was Samson, but I affectionately called him “Big Brown Dog.”  Even from the time he was a puppy he was a big, awkward, lumbering, ball of  brown fur.  They say that a dog is man’s best friend, and in some ways that is true.   I never remember him being ashamed of me, mad at me, or unwilling to come over and let me love on him.  In fact, every time I visited Catherine’s and Clint’s house, which is often, he would rush over and lay his head in my lap as if to say, your late, get to work rubbing my ears!  Big Brown Dog was a faithful friend, never wavering in his devotion to his family.  When they adopted a small hyper-active Boston Bull Terrier named Charlie, Samson took it in stride, and shared his home with the the new comer, even though one of her favorite games was pestering him in every conceivable manner, he stayed the calm loving old boy he had always been!  He knew no other way.


You can know everything there is to know about someone when you look into their eyes, and if they look back,  you can sense their soul.  Big Brown Dog was and open book to read and you knew he loved you, when you looked into those big brown eyes!  Samson would love to get up on the couch and lay his head in your lap, and would never move as long as you would hold him there.  If he got to warm he would get up and move to the floor, but never go very far from your feet.


Several years ago, Samson ran off and got lost, he was gone for days and we frantically searched for him, it seemed he was gone and we were all torn up, but then he reappeared, thinner, and oh so very glad to see his family!


After that he rarely went very far from home, I think in fear he would be lost again.  Yesterday he took his last trip.  At almost 11 he succumbed to what we believe was a heart attack in the kitchen floor next to his beloved family, as they had lunch.  I joined them in the kitchen and after consoling my grandchildren, and Catherine, and Clint I ran into town to run errands.  As I drove alone my mind was filled with all those wonderful moments loving on my Big Brown Dog.  He wasn’t really my dog, of course he belonged to the Catherine, Clint, Cassidy and Cade,  but then again he was my dog too, in fact anyone’s he allowed into his big warm heart, was truly his friend.


I’ll miss you my friend,  it was great to have you to love, and to be loved by you, I’ll see you before too long, on the other side.   Be at peace Samson, and don’t worry, I’ll watch over your family until we meet again.




the pilgrim


I allowed myself to really let loose and cry after writing this dedication to Big Brown Dog this morning, it feels good to let it go……  It would be an honor and a privilege to be remembered as warmly as he will.