Wednesday, June 19, 2013

First shots with the Fujifilm X100S

First shots, Fuji X100S

Try to get close! That's what I thought when I left home yesterday evening for the last 5 minutes of daylight. I already had a look for possible nearby photo locations to take a few test-shots with this gorgeous camera a few hours earlier but I didn't want to take a shot in bright sunlight, instead I had the plan to wait until sunset to catch this dreamy, creamy and warm light right before the sun disappears behind the French mountains.

I almost forgot to get up and leave home for a couple of minutes but a tweet of a friend reminded me of testing the camera for the first time, the first couple of shots.

So my initial experience? The menu is huge with lots of settings but after owning a Fuji X10 two times before, I felt quite familiar. To start with I've set the imagequality to the highest level as JPG and storing the RAW-Files simultaneously, that I'm able to keep the negatives if I don't like the jpeg processing.

Shooting with a 35mm equivalent is different to my beloved 50mm but you need to decide to either include more of the environment into your shot or walk a step more into your frame for physical cropping using your feet and the ability to walk.

Focus speed is pretty good, I have to check out what metering method I prefer but thanks to the exposure compensation-wheel it wasn't that difficult to react very fast to underexposed metering, as I was facing the camera into the sunlight. I've set the aperture to F2.0 to test out depth of field and out of focus rendering and I'm impressed by these creamy backgrounds. Wonderful!

Using the makro-mode, which I'm quite used to having a Canon G1X with its strange minimal focus distance in standard mode, it's incredibly easy to get extremely close and come on, look at the sharpness. Amazing!

Overall, for the first test I think I've made the right decision to buy this wonderful machine to support my photographic goals with always having a small but powerful camera with me. Looking at the image of the dusty road and the clump of grass only one thing comes to my mind: I think, I'm on the right way!

First shots, Fuji X100S

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Real Leica Mini M('s) - Fujifilm X100S and Leica M8

Fuji X100S and Friends

I've included some crazy size comparison photos for this post for those of you maybe thinking that this Fuji is too big or too small.

For many of us, Leica's newest release has been a real disappointment because with their marketing strategy of leaking only parts of their new product and naming it in a very delicate way made us expect something really special like an affordable M-Mount camera. It's pretty understandable that they won't destroy their number one product, now called M (240) and M-E with a cheaper entry-level fullframe camera, but another APS-C or even APS-H camera with EVF and M-Mount would have been a nice move, too.

I had the opportunity to test out the final product now called Leica X-Vario or I should better call it play around a few minutes, because my interest in image quality was not that big. I made a few observations as built quality and design are superb, the LCD Screen is very good and the zoom-range of the lens is very nice, too. But there are a few things I don't like. First of all, I want my zoom lens to be totally collapsed when storing it inside my bag. At 28mm and 70mm the lens is not collapsed, instead you have to set it to 50mm in the middle to get the shortest length of the lens and the lens-cap not being exposed for getting knocked down the front element, because it's slightly larger in diameter.

The second and most important thing for me is the feel and balance of the camera. On DSLR's we are quite used to having lenses that put a lot of weight to the front of the camera but with cameras at around 1KG most of the most commonly used lenses are lighter. For a camera with a fixed lens, which is pretty small with almost no available grip built in as part of its minimalistic design, the lens is too heavy for me. It feels like there are 70-80% of the weight at the front of the camera so it usually points down to the ground when carrying it one-hand. You can counter that the X-Vario has no motorized zoom so you always need your left hand to turn the zoom and the stabilize the camera, but this weight on the front remains and leaves the camera feeling like a rather cheap and light product with a very solid lens-construction.

I only want to mention its price-tag of about 2500€ and dealers are saying that they are selling them pretty good as there seems to be not a very big availability problem compared to the real Leica M. Focusing speed isn't bad either but I can't see the real benefit for such an amount of money with a not so nicely balanced construction and a rather slow lens. Again it's not that ugly like a Lunar-called camera by a swedish manufacturer that almost nobody understands.

So now do you ask: What is the real Mini M?

Fuji X100S and Friends

Well, there are two possibilities. If a real Mini M should come from a german company there are a whole bunch of Leica M8's out there searching for a new home with their ultra-sharp and infrared-sensitive APS-H type Sensor which is the sharpest I've seen so far. They are priced pretty nice at around 1300-1800€ or if you like saphire glass on your LCD and a new and much quieter shutter which only has a maximum speed of 1/4000s instead of the 1/8000s of the first M, you can get an M8.2 at around 2000€ with even better frameline accuracy. It remains the same sensor but for some of you the shutter noise of the M8 might be a little too much for a discrete camera. With this option you can get a real rangefinder camera and are able to use the very good Leica lenses and even very good glass from the Zeiss ZM range or Voigtlaender M-Mount lenses. At about 2000 to 3000€ you are ready to go!

Fuji X100S and Friends

The second option is Fujifilm. They have a couple of great cameras like the X20, the X-E1, the X-Pro 1 and the recently updated X100, now called X100S. While having already an M8 with some wonderful Zeiss glass, today I pulled the trigger and bought the new Fuji X100S. I always liked the X100 but I was always sceptical about its fixed focal lenght. I first had to learn to live with only one focal length, so the best way to do this I can really recommend to buy a cheap but fast 50mm lens for your DSLR. Some of them are available at around 100-300€ and you can have a lot of fun with it. They make almost every camera pretty light and a lot smaller than a heavy zoom lens. There are some fast 35mm lenses if you like too shoot a bit wider but with small depth of field. Fixed focal lengths are pretty good for getting new inspiration and a new challenge!

Fuji X100S and Friends

After almost two years of living with fixed focal lengths and zooms I have to say that some of my best photos were shot with fixed focal length lenses at 35mm or 50mm. Those two lenses are pretty versatile for landscape and portraits.

I visited my local dealer today to see what he had to offer and while there are no X100S's at the Amazon-Store available as it's the same with other stores, he had a new one and another one bought only one month ago and then sold again because of financial reasons. I pulled the trigger on the second one as I'm quite used to buy second-hand gear and I don't want to throw out money for paying the list price. As a student you need to take care having always some money for bad-times without the need to sell my beloved gear.

Fuji X100S and Friends
Two Fuji's ;-)

My first thoughts on it: I love this little camera and I absolutely like the hybrid-viewfinder. What a gorgeous concept and a nice move from Fujifilm to listen to their customers and improving the important elements of the X100. More images and thoughts to come...

Fuji X100S and Friends

Hello Argentina, Good Morning Buenos Aires

Ezeiza Jorge Newbery Airport Buenos Aires

That's probably the first view a visitor sees after leaving the international Airport of Buenos Aires. Depending on what part of the year you are visiting it's hot and sunny with an always present breeze. It's pretty easy to get sunburned because this breeze doesn't make you feel the power of the always present and strong sun.
There's lots of noise and voices of a whole bunch of men and women from all over the world searching for their friends, family or clients with tons of luggage, there are the busdrivers and taxidrivers waiting for new clients because there is still no train connection to the airport and carrying visitors to the city centre is a really good business. It's about a 30-50 Minutes drive by car but make sure that you try to get catched up by your hotel or by calling a "Remis" (sort of your own driver) to the city centre inside the airport with fixed prices, otherwise your first invesment into the local workforce might come out pretty expensive.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My blogging history...

Downtown Buenos Aires
Downtown Buenos Aires
...isn't a very long story. In fact I had several attempts to start setting up a home for my thoughts and photographs but never really could keep up my personal interest level after I had it all set up. In fact I think that I'm not alone in this position.

There are so many interesting and inspiring blogs out there featuring a huge variety of genres like food, travel, lifestyle, design, clothes, music and so on. As a reader it sometimes feels to be very hard to follow every singe post of your favorite blogs as their number is growing constantly.

An important role of increasing the number of your personal blog favorites plays the presentation of other bloggers inside your favorite ones. The blogger you are following likes another blog or portfolio and shares it with his audience (you) and often this other artist will catch your interest too and there we have another new followed blog inside your bookmarks or reader.

One day maybe there appears an idea in your mind that you might want to set up your own home for thoughts and any other audio/visual stuff you are creating. Your own website? Good homes for personal websites aren't cheap like Virb or Squarespace although they offer a great variety of designs and functionality.
You then realize that the most economical way for setting up your personal presence in the world-wide-web might be a blogging platform. Wordpress, Blogger and Tumblr to mention only my favorites do offer a great variety of designs that should please almost every user and with Blogger and Tumblr you even have the possibility to create your own design and use your coding skills to adjust every single piece of your blog layout. So from highly visual up to 100% text-blogging everything is possible and if you like to get something special, there are a lot of premium themes with very good support that implement even new stuff like HTML5 and jQuery into your blog design of moving objects and very professional layout and design.

Setting up a blog and designing the user interface is one side of the story, the other is that you need to handle the fact that it's great to create a new design and website but after you have everything set up, you need to work constantly on new content for your blog. The hardest part of it seems to be in my eyes, that as a newbie you face the fact that you don't have a large audience and getting new readers is not that easy as you think. You need to interact with other blogs, even those new-ones like you and show your interest. Share your thoughts and refer to your own work or present the work of others between your own work. But don't forget your own stuff. Your blog lives from your personal work and thoughts not only from those you feature, because they are maybe well known, but it remains their work and not yours. It might be the worst situation if others would like your blog only because of the art others create. It's not impossible to set something up like this, too. For example a blog that only shares the work of other important bloggers because you are only addicted to read other blogs but don't want to create something of your own.

For those of you who are at the same position as I am, good luck! It's hard work at the beginning because there is so many great stuff out there but I will try to keep this updated frequently for giving you something to look at, read and maybe inspire you for walking a step further and set up your own blog to present your work and not let it die unseen on your harddrives or inside of your brain.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Getting started

Frankfurt Airport

I've been working hard over the last few weeks to find a pleasing way for connecting my tumblr with this blog for being able to let tumblr be a photo-only publishing website with links to this blog for those who want to read a few insights, too. Here are the stories, my thoughts and many more to come. Some insights for equipment, stories, photo-editing and I'm planing to present a few of my most inspirational photographers at the moment as well as some very interesting blogs and websites I have inside my bookmarks.

To start with here is the first shot of a large series of travel-photography I did this year. It's probably the first real travel shot of any photostory as you are finally sitting inside the plane, waiting for take-off and thinking about the wonderful things you are going to discover within the time of your journey or travel adventure.

I will be mixing this up with some photos I took recently while carrying my camera with me. If you have any questions regarding editing, gear or getting featured, feel free to contact me by writing either a comment or sending me a short message via twitter. Make sure you're using one of the few following options below or via tumblr and twitter to get the latest updates as soon as they arrive here.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I'm featured at Rebecca Lily Presets

Preset Feature Rebecca Lily

I'm featured at Rebecca Lily Presets! Rebecca and her husband Johnny Patience are both very inspiring photographers. Their blogsposts feature some wonderful pictures from beautiful Ireland and very interesting thoughts on how to imitate the film-look for digital photography.

I was using her presets out of the Rebecca Lily Pro Set for Lightroom to work on a couple of photos from my last trip and I liked them very much. They offer some different looks compared to the VSCO Film Presets which I like, too. I see them as a great addition to those classical film looks.

Check out the feature: http://www.rebeccalily.com/project/martin-lux/  and their blogs, too!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany

Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8

Over the last two or three days one half of the country was faced with an incredible amount of water coming from above and filling the rivers throughout the region. At the moment there are still a few places where the situation is under high-alert, because the large amount of water still fills up the bigger rivers like the Rhine or Donau. Yesterday I had a meeting around noon and left together with my camera. On my way back I stopped next to the road at a place where there's usually no water on the fields. This day there was a wonderful sea with some very cool reflections. Working with one lens and focal-length only was a very inspiring feeling and I'm finally pretty happy with the results for a little unexpected photo experience. Enjoy!

PS: There is a second announcement today. I redesigned and renamed my blog and my tumblr-page together with a new and fresh logodesign. Together with the recent changes on the new flickr I'm finally able to use it as a storage base for the blog content uploading the same data that I'm using on tumblr. This makes me really happy, because I wanted something where I can write a bit more as well as a photo-only tumblelog. So from today on, there won't be any larger texts on tumblr, but only a link below every photo or photostory that can me visited here on blogger.

Welcome to Inside the Framelines! Don't forget that the website URL has changed, too! It's now http://insidetheframelines.blogspot.com/. You can still use the general http://www.pholux.com/.
If you are on tumblr you can follow here: http://martinlux.tumblr.com/

Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8
Heavy Rainfall in South of Germany, Leica M8