From a trip to the Everglades, Florida: Stare in the Wild

My parents and I spent about four days in Florida, and we were delighted to visit Everglades National Park. After our 4 pm airboat ride, we decided to finish our journey by driving on Loop Drive Scenic Drive (mostly a dirt road) that travels through dwarf cypress forest, pine forests and deep strands. At one point, my dad spotted an alligator in a pond. We stopped the car, and the alligator moved forwards, and stopped at about three meters from us (we were on an elevated road). Then the animal patiently waited, and stared at us, and this is how I was able to capture “Stare in the Wild”.

The Third Planet: an Instagram story...

My instagram story of the day “The Third Planet”. While I was listening to the following track The Third Planet composed by Biosphere (if you want to listen to it, it is available here: link), I made the little story that includes the short conversation heard at the beginning of track, the famous photo “Pale Blue Dot” in which you can see Earth (the dot), and finally the silhouette of a (presumably male) humanoid.

The Little Race | 2019

Not much to say today, but I am always eager to share photos so here is one called “The Little Race”, which was taken at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. It is always fun to look at kids playing, they seem so “worriless”. I wish we had the luxury to live our adult lives without worries.

The Little Race | 2019

Everything in Existence by fuse*

Here is a series of three photographs taken at the installation “Everything in Existence” by the artist fuse*. The exhibit will run till March 10th, 2019 at ARTECHOUSE in Washington DC.

More info about Everything in Existence: link

About the artist: link

Opening | 2019

Zebra | 2019

Vortex | 2019

DUALITY / Bain de Soleil (under warm light)

A quick update as I am in the process of reorganizing the website in the next few week before heading to Florida (I can’t wait for the warm weather). The site will be mostly focused on DUALITY, which I hope will provide more cohesiveness. From now on, the main driving force of my work will be based on the three following themes, namely:

• Chasing Light & Shadows
• People & Societies: Youth vs. Grown-Up
• Modern Urban Life vs. the Escape

Bain de Soleil (warm light) was added to the Light & Shadow collection.

Bain de Soleil (under warm light), 2019

Blue (2019): a visual story captured with Fujifilm GFX50R with plenty of details

I took last Tuesday (February 5th) off, and it was a great day wandering around a relatively empty Washington DC. It was in the mid sixties*, beautiful sunny day filled with love and emotions.

* Almost 20 deg C, sorry to say it, but as a scientist, the Fahrenheit temperature scale should be banished ;-)

I always tried to wander around the White House area as it is mostly always a little paradise for street photography. That day, there was a small East Turkestan protest that was happening, and I took a series of photos with the GFX and mostly the GF63. For street photography, the GFX is more than adequate, it does the job, and pretty darn well, even though this requires some adjustments coming from smaller formats. Autofocus is snappy but no speed demon compared to my Canon 5DIV, and please make sure to get enough shutter speed (at least 1/125 s with the GF63 to maximize the IQ), on a good sunny day, it should be relatively problem free.

The photography below is entitled Blue, and it is one of the photos that I like from the series. The image was processed via C1 using mostly defaults values with some addtinional tweaks of my own. It took quite a bit of attempts to get that shot right, the flag flapping while capturing the protest was a bit of a challenge, and it required patience.

If you want to get a 100% crop (not the whole photograph tough), you can find it here: link

Blue (2019) - GFX50R, GF63, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 100

100% crop, enjoy all those little details

Meshed (2019)

Finally, I am back to (photo) shooting after a long month at writing a grant proposal. The good news is that it has been submitted. Now back to business again, and herein is one I took while I was walking through Fishtown (Philadelphia) last Saturday. The car is most likely a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon 260 (many thanks to Michael Moretti from dpreview for providing the car model), which was partly hidden behind a meshed fence. In this specific case, I was interested in the general car outline against the 2-D pattern. The photo is part of the Urban Culture collection.

GFX50R, 45 mm, f/16, 1/100 s, ISO 250

GFX50R + GF63: First portrait, and it is all good...

Although I have not had much time to play thoroughly with the Fujifilm GFX50R yet, I was able to take a few decent snapshots this past weekend. Overall, the IQ is quite superb, color tonality is no less from what I expected (i.e., excellent overall), and the handling is becoming more and more familiar as time goes. It requires more steady hands, but it is relatively easy to get a sharp shot handheld with the camera (as long as you are being careful with the minimum shutter speed, I would personally not go slower than 1/(2-times-the-focal-lenght)).

Here is one of my first portrait taken with GFX50R with the GF63 lens under some bright light conditions and warm tones. For this shot, the face/eye detection was turned on, and it worked well (check the 100% crop below).

Model: K., GFX50R - 63 mm - f/4.5 - 1/2000s - ISO 100 (click to enlarge)

100% crop (click to enlarge)

Fujifilm GFX50R + GF63: Morning in the Avenue (2018)

This was taken this morning while I was on a 2-hour stroll with the GFX50R. The city was pretty much dead, but the light was surprisingly good (circa 11:00 am), and looking at the empty avenue with proper lighting condition was rather compelling. Notice the little guy near the center of the frame. That particular photo was taken with the GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR lens at 1/160s, ISO 100, and f/13. More importantly it was handheld, for which the GFX50R was designed for.

This photo has been added to the Urban Culture collection.

Morning in the Avenue | 2018 (click to enlarge)

The Valley (2015)

This photo has now been inserted within the Escape collection. Sometimes it is good to get back to the archive directory, and see what remains in stock.

The Valley | 2015 (click to enlarge) - taken with the oldie but goodie Canon 6D

Enjoy your Holidays! GFX50R + GF45 at ISO 4000

First of all, I wish you the best for the Holidays, plenty of good food, happiness, and some photo shooting.

Here is quick post that includes a full resolution sample that was taken with the GFX50R + GF45 at f/2.8 and at ISO 4000. The photo was processed via C1, v11.3.1 with default noise reduction.

For the full resolution file, here is the link (I still need to figure out how to insert full resolution files within the website. Always a work in progress they say)

Snowman, GFX50R - 45 mm - f/2.8 - 1/100s - ISO 4000 (click to enlarge)

A few points I want to make:

(i) The GF45 has little distortion to begin with, but for this shot, I had to do some tweaks via C1 as I was not perfectly aligned with the window frame. Obviously, some resolution was a bit lost in the process but really not by much, the image still holds a 8220 x 6165 px resolution. It is important to point out that there is virtually no chromatic aberration, and also little vignetting. Fuji has not been fracking around with their GF lens lineup. I found the Canon 35 mm f/1.4 ii (one of my favorite lens, if not my favorite) to be a superb lens, but the Fujifilm GF 45mm R RW is in every aspects superior to anything I have shot with thus far.

(ii) The noise is extremely well controlled. Top class I would say. (I encourage you to download the full resolution file here)

(iii) At ISO 4000, the amount of details remains impressive. Just check the snowman at 100% view. You can even see it was MADE IN CHINA!

Snowman’s face - 100% crop (click to enlarge)

You can still read the following: 60% plastic, 40% polyester MADE IN CHINA

You can still read the following: 60% plastic, 40% polyester MADE IN CHINA

The Fujifilm GF50R is probably one of the best cameras (for still photography) available in the market. More importantly, it is now affordable (no need to spend 20-30k USD).

Cheers,

Max

Old Fashioned: GFX50R + Fujifilm GF 45mm f2.8 R WR

Last night, I shot this photo with the GFX50R + GF 45 mm at f/2.8 (wide open) rather quickly while trying to learn more about how to use the camera.*  This time, the camera was standing on the countertops of the bar. The light conditions were poor, but to be expected in a cocktail bar. I decided keeping the ISO at its minimum native sensitivity (i.e., ISO 100), and used the timer function (+2 s). Nothing to worry with mirror slap (just joking a bit, I still like my Canon 5Div) a lot ;-)

* and yes I am still reading the manual.

The full resolution .jpg file (17.3 MB) is also available, so feel free to download it, here is the link

A few things that strike me:

(i) The 45 mm is tack sharp wide open, no figures needed, just look at the 100% crop hereafter. It is actually quite superb as every small details speak for themselves. Lovely, isn’t it?

(ii) The transition between the in-focus and out-of-focus areas is smooth, but that’s somewhat expected while shooting with larger formats (in this case, the sensor size is roughly 44 x 33 mm)

(iii) The bokeh is decently smooth. The cat eye effect is a bit noticeable, but nothing too disturbing.   

(iv) The .raf files open easily with C1 (v11.3.1). My starting point was to use the Fujifilm GFX 50R Generic ICC profile and Film Extra Shadow as the curve.  For GFX users (50S and 50R), I am not sure it is necessary to spend extra $$$ for v12.0

I will be writing a follow up article to “GFX50R: Very First Impressions and Initial Settings”. More about settings soon.

Cheers,

Max

Old Fashioned, GFX50R - 45 mm - f/2.8 - 10/13s - ISO 100

Glass / Ice - 100% crop (click to enlarge)

GFX50R: Very First Impressions and Initial Settings

Here is my first post, and let’s get straight to the point. I am a very recent “lucky” owner of the Fujifilm GFX50R + GF 45 mm f/2.8 + GF 63 mm f/2.8 (thanks to the very special bundle “deal of the decade” that was offered by B&H Photo Video early this October), and I am here to post my very first impressions about the camera, as well as some details about the settings I am/will be using with this camera.

Behind (2018) - GFX 50R - 63 mm - f/2.8 - 1/125s - ISO 6400 - this image has been processed - One of my first capture taken with the GFX (click to enlarge)

Center - 100% crop (click to enlarge)

bottom left corner - 100% Crop (click to enlarge)

Let’s start with the pluses (+) and minuses (-) of the GFX50R, aka the brick:


(+)
The ergonomics seem to be a good fit for my hands. The camera is wide (wider than my Canon 5Div), and the extensive size allows to hold the camera with two hands comfortably. The left side of the camera allows the thumb to slide comfortably, and can be easily used to change the aperture of the lens via the aperture ring. The camera is relatively heavy (775g including battery and SD cards) but it is all relative as it is as heavy as a pro Full Frame dSLR, but significantly lighter comparatively to many other Medium Format cameras. Some people have criticized the lack of grip on the front right side of the camera, but I have not experienced any issues. Personally, I have found the hump to be prominent enough to hold the camera well without any sort of fatigue.

(+) Paired with either the GF 45 mm f/2.8 or the GF 63 mm f/2.8, the weight distribution appears to be well balanced (not leaning too forward). However, it might be a bit more tricky with another heavier/longer lens (e.g., GF 110, 200 or 250 mm). Sadly I cannot comment on the latter.

(+) The EVF (0.77x 3.69M-dot organic EL electronic viewfinder, 100% view) is a joy to use, it is bright, large and for the most part very responsive (the eye sensor is very fast). The degree of customization allows you to design your EVF settings in accordance to your preferences. The Large Indicator Mode is very useful, highly recommended! Under normal light conditions, it operates smoothly and flawlessly. Under poor light conditions, the EVF starts to be a bit more sluggish (slower refreshing rate), but that’s not unexpected and you can still see better than a regular optical viewfinder.

(+) Let’s face it I do not like menus (no matter which brand it is), they seem to be always sluggish, and remains a slow approach to photography. The GFX50R offers a high degree of customization due to the abundance of customizable Fn buttons. The easy-access Q menu is also helpful to recall quickly the customs settings Cn (n = 1, 2, 3, etc.). I will provide a detailed list of what I have assigned for the Fn functions on my initial settings hereafter.

(-) I was hesitant to list the relatively slow autofocus (AF) system in the minus as it may not be necessarily fair considering the larger format of the sensor. But yes, the GFX50R is clearly no speed demon compared to my Canon 5Div. If you are shooting a lot with moving subjects, you might easily get frustrated as this is not the right tool for the job. However, as long as you are aware of its limitations, then you should be fine. I do not think the AF is slow per se, but expect the contrast detect AF to hunt slightly before acquisition/confirmation (it does it with both my GF 45 and 63mm, though the AF is faster with the former lens). On the plus side, the AF is always dead on regardless of the chosen aperture.

(-) The LCD screen (3.2’) could and should have been bigger. Considering the size of the camera, I feel there was room (specially on the left side) to place the screen more efficiently and make it larger. It is by no means a bad LCD screen but a 3.5-3.7’ LCD screen would have probably been a decent step up. Yes I know, that means faster battery drain.

(-) The size of the joystick (upper right corner of the LCD screen) is too small. Again, there was plenty of space available to to make it bigger. For comparisons, check the joystick on the Canon 5Div, it is perfect!

My Initial Settings (from the IQ Shooting Menus):

Image Size: L 4:3, this is the maximum resolution and uses 51 effective MP (8256 x 6192 pixels). Why would anyone bother using smaller resolution with the GFX, I do not know ;-).

Image Quality: S + Raw, S stands for Super Fine for the jpg. I do not care much for the jpg except for viewing the files quickly on the computer.

Raw Recording: Lossless Compresssed, the files remain large (ranging from 40 to 65 MB depending on the ISO settings).

Film Simulation: Classic Chrome (applied to jpg, but information can be preserved with the raw as long as the raw converter supports it), one reason to move to Fuji in my opinion as Fuji color science is top notch (along with Canon). The classic chrome does not necessarily reproduce the most realistic colors (soft and slightly saturated with decent amount of contrast), but it has style and is pleasing to my eyes.

Grain Effect: OFF, if necessary it could be added during post-processing.

Color Chrome effect: OFF, by default it is off, but I chose to assign the Color Chrome effect to one of the Fn buttons to activate the effect if necessary.

Dynamic Range: DR100, this is the default value. The sensor of the GFX50R has one of the best dynamic range at low ISO. I see no need to mess around with this value.

White Balance: AUTO, I shoot raw so the WB can be set at any time during post-processing.

Highlight Tone: -1, this value softens the amount of the highlights, so white is less white (slightly grey).

Shadow Tone: -2, this value lowers the contrast in the shadow areas, and thus preserves the details in the blacks. Overall setting negative values for both the highlights and shadows will allow a less contrasty (flat) image. This is what I prefer when I shoot raw.

Color: 0 (default value)

Sharpness: 0 (default value)

Noise Reduction: 0 (default value)
Color, Sharpness and Noise Reduction can be controlled during the post-processing stage.

Long Exposure NR: ON

Lens Modulation Optimizer: ON, it allows the camera to apply some corrections for diffraction and for the slight loss of details found near the edges of the frame.

Color Space: Adobe RGB, I typically do the Adobe RGB > sRGB conversion via Photoshop.

Pixel Mapping: I will refer to the GFX50R manual here: “Use this option if you notice bright spots in your pictures.” I have not used this feature yet.

Select Custom Setting: You can go there to change your custom setting (if you have any) but I would not bother to get into the menu to change those. Instead, use the Q button (Quick menu) to change the custom settings as it is much more efficient that way. This is useful for me as I created three different Custom Settings (C1, C2 and C3) depending on which lenses and which shooting conditions (handheld vs. tripod/rest) I am using. This is an important step as shooting with the larger sensor implies some careful considerations. See below for further details.

Edit/Save Custom Setting: There are up to seven available custom settings. Thus far I created three customs settings:

C1: CC45AISO stands for Color Chrome with GF 45mm and with Auto ISO. This is my routine setting when the GF 45 mm is mounted on the camera and for handheld shooting conditions. The custom settings are identical to what has been provided above but the following AutoISO setting: ISO range 100-12800 + minimum shutter speed of 1/100s. The latter is very important as I found the rule of thumb of shooting at a minimum shutter speed of 1/(2*focal length) quite accurate with the GFX. Probably shooting at 1/(2.5*focal length) is even safer.

C2: CC63AISO stands for Color Chrome with GF 63mm and with Auto ISO. This is my routine setting when the GF 63 mm is mounted on the camera and for handheld shooting conditions. The custom settings are identical to what has been provided above but the following AutoISO setting: ISO range 100-12800 + minimum shutter speed of 1/125s.

C3: CCBASE100 stands for Color Chrome with ISO set at its minimum native sensitivity. This is mostly for stationary subjects and/or for tripod usage (or at least with some sort of support to avoid camera shake).

Fn & other buttons/dials: My Assignments

The GFX50R features no less than five Fn buttons:

Fn1 is found on the top of the camera located between the shutter speed and the exposure compensation dials. I set mine for the Color Chrome Effect which is off by default, but if necessary I can change this pretty quickly using Fn1. Some additional information here: the shutter speed dial is locked all the time on the A position. However, the exposure compensation dial is used all the time (to favor Expose to the Right “EETR” whenever I can) when paired with the live histogram. What the camera sees is what you get is one major benefit of any mirrorless cameras. and the exposure compensation dial is one of the most important feature of the camera.

Fn2 is found on the front of the camera. I set mine to AE-L, allowing to lock the exposure setting using the middle finger of my right hand. Very easy and very useful. I prefer this setting as opposed to using my thumb with one of the other Fn buttons found on the camera back.

Fn3, Fn4 and Fn5 are located on the back of the camera. Fn3 is found between the focus mode selector and the rear command dial. For now, I set mine to AF-ON, allowing the camera to autofocus. Fn4 is found right below the exposure compensation dial, and I set mine to the Large Indicators Mode, which I found it to be very useful while using the EVF. The fonts, symbols and rulers are set larger, which makes it easier to check the current setting in the EVF. Finally, Fn5 is found right below Fn4, and I set mine for the Face / Eye Detection Setting.

The Drive Button (located above the shutter speed dial): This is another customizable button, and I set mine to Self-Timer, which should be very useful when using the camera on a tripod or at least on a steady area (vibration free).

The Q menu (located below Fn5): the Quick menu allows the user to get access to the current settings. This is the place to go to if I want to change my Custom Settings C1, C2, C3 pretty quickly. I do not touch the other settings though.

T-Fn1-4: There are four Touch Functions that can be assigned using flick gestures. I have not used them yet so I can’t comment.

Read Command Dial: I set mine with the Focus Check option. When pressing the read dial, I am able to quickly check the focus on playback mode or during live view.

Front Command Dial: For now, it is set to ISO setting, so spinning the dial will either decrease or increase the ISO settings.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I will post more about other settings soon.

Cheers,

Max