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My amateur history of photography :-)

Discussion in 'General Photography Discussion' started by Mike7, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Mike7

    Mike7 Premium Member

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    Prologue -the analog beginning:
    I am new in this forum, therefore I thought that I start with a couple of words about me. Long time ago, when I was still a boy, I have received from my Godfather small, Russian camera – Smena 8M. Back then, shops were completely empty, so even this simple camera was not easy to get. I’ve started taking first pictures (monochrome negative). Later on, I have managed to buy Zenith 11 with camera lens 44M-4 (50mm/f2). Slowly, I’ve managed to acquire all the equipment for the amateurous photo lab, such as enlarger, chemicals, developing tank etc. I was using this dark-room for around 10 years.

    Falling in love – my first digital camera
    Later on, after a long break, another revelation: very technically advanced at that time Olympus Camedia C-765 Ultra Zoom. The optical zoom 10x, f2.8-3.7, 38-380mm, manual modes, 11 elements in 7 groups, including two aspherical lenses and one ED glass – for an amateur it was real digital power! Even though I got it over a dozen years ago, this camera still works just fine. However, certain features of this one, typical for compact cameras, such as long delay after pressing the shutter button, became annoying after some time.

    Reveal – Canon era
    My third milestone was my first Canon DSLR – 40d model. For a very long time I liked the style of Canon’s pictures, Nikon’s one was never that appealing. Other systems also weren’t what I was looking for. Canon was making true photos, with real colours. I felt that it was my style. Canon 40d used with a lot of cheap camera lenses (sometimes really good ones) gave me a lot of happiness and in the same time, really good photos. It cooperated with lenses Helios, Zeiss Flektogon, Sonnar, Planar, medium format Biometar, EBC Fujinon, SMC Takumar, HFT Rollei, and even amazing Minolta Rokkor PF 1.4/58mm. Afterwards, I have replaced Canon 40d for Canon 5d Mark II, which was giving even better results. The culmination point was replacement of Canon 5d Mark II with Canon 1Ds Mark II – my best ever Canon’s camera and best in general. I love it’s solid construction, long lasting battery life, amazing “analog” style and distinctive, quick service. Although, the camera was old, it had a number of professional functions and the resulting photos were best so far. Thanks to Canon I have started respecting the manual work and the usage of short focal lengths: 35, 28 and 22mm. Those are wonderful optical perspectives. In this chapter of my life I have learnt, that the best camera lenses (for me) are Zeiss Planar 1.7/50 C/Y, Minolta Rokkor PF 1.4/58 and… Canon EF1.8/50STM (excellent micro contrast, extraordinary in B&W).

    Consciousness – Fuji era
    The fourth chapter of my story is the beginning of my adventure with Fujifilm. The only problem I have encountered with Canon 1Ds Mark II was its weight. Often I was wondering, if I should pack it into my backpack or leave at home. I thought, that I should go back to the roots and change the camera to something small, which I can always have with me. I have started looking at other systems: Olympus, Pentax, Sony, Fuji. The Olympus’ pictures I enjoyed only for a short while. Pentax, despite its beautiful technology, had slightly too sugary colour style. Sony, despite the best matrix, gave picture so sharp, that felt “plastic”. Those are obviously my own, amateurous conclusions. I have started wondering about Fuji photo style. It was interesting, however different than my favourite Canon’s. Fuji gives picture involved in the situation, often slightly dramatic, exaggerated, a bit deceitful, however… that was interesting and addictive… And yet it happened, I have replaced Canon with X-T1 with Zoom 18-55 (that is also a revolution for me, up until now in 95% of time I have been working with camera lenses with fixed focal lengths). The precision of X-T1 is a strong argument, even after using 1Ds Mark II I don’t have a feeling that the camera has a bad construction. Obviously a lot of work is needed on my side to change my usage philosophy, however most of the things is in the right place. Even the different RAF format is not an issue, my Darktable handles it without a problem. An additional upside is the possibility of using old, analog camera lenses, that weren’t available for Canon EF (Minolta Rokkor, Canon FD, etc). My habits are going to lead me to fixed focal lengths camera lenses, probably manual ones first.

    Epilogue – summary and questions
    I appreciate the size and weight of the new system, my backpack is now almost empty. Also the camera lens makes a good impression, both mechanically and optically. I have started to appreciate the high quality of JPG files generated in body (including emulation of analog Fuji films), although I save images in RAF+Fine, I start to think that a lot of private pictures, I can accept in the JPG format produced by body. When it comes to photo style: I enjoy the greater photos’ dramaturgy, which sort of leads to a reportage. Those pictures are not too sweet, there are rather very real, showing both pretty and ugly things. However, sometimes I would like to take neutral photos, gentle, as from my Canon and I still can’t do that. When I ask on a forum if Canon’s and Fuji’s styles are different, I get responses that files RAW(Canon) and RAF(Fuji) I can moderate in a way, that they would give the same style. This is one of the biggest questions that has been bothering me last couple of weeks, I would like to know that I can take dramatic and real photos, however when it is needed I can also take ones that are clear as those taken by Canon. Therefore, I would like to ask, if you can help me with this matter?

    Thank you very much for reading my long disquisition. Have a nice day!
     
  2. Mark Simmons

    Mark Simmons New Member

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    Thank you very much for sharing your history with photography.
    I started out in 1969 with a Kodak Instamatic and have explored everything up and including 4x5.
    Presently I shoot a X-T3 and have a GFX 50R on order.
    It is wonderful you have started your journey with Fujifilm with an X-T1.
    I'd suggest you find an X-Pro1 or an X-Pro2 if you can.
    The X-Pro format is another amazing leap in the Fiji experience and if your style is photo journalistic, you can't go wrong.

    Having come from Nikon, Canon, Olympus and Hasselblad, I can say forget the details of the file format and just shoot..
    In the end post production can deliver anything you want and what we want is an emotional experience, not just a technologically correct image, :)
    Good luck and we hope we see the results of your efforts soon!
    -Mark-

     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
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  3. JimFenner

    JimFenner Premium Member

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    Hi Mike,
    I also have the Canon 40D, what I see when I look at its pictures is the softness of the images due to a (damaged? optically inferior? ) Canon kit lens. Colours are very nice.
    My 550D with a quality L zoom gives very even-coloured landscape images so I think I sometimes need the polarising filter to get my shadows back in landscapes.
    I never did work out the numeric codes behind the Canon Landscape picture style to achieve deep blacks (is it possible?) I did find free profiles online that give eg deeper greens but none for deeper shadows, anyone know of any? Anyway I shoot RAW so I can do it in Lightroom if the shot was so important.

    My X100S gave me dramatic (to borrow your term) pictures with plunging blacks and vivid colours which I loved!
    After a year with my X-Pro2 I tired of Velvia and radioactive red soil (!) and went back to Provia-Std, also I dialed back the shadows for more natural landscapes.
    Exception, for portraits I use ProNegHi, but since I always have the RAF raw file I can attend to that in Fuji Raw File Converter V3.
    I am not artistic enough to make the most of the simulations as other posters to this forum so ably do.

    Take-away points if any:
    1 - the Fuji film simulations which really had me excited are now less important to me than they were, but they were fun while they lasted.
    2 -lenses matter, and I like all my XF lenses except for the 35mm f/2, the only Canon lens I love is the L lens and I despise a few of the non-L lenses.
    3 -I can take 4K videos with my XP2 and XT3 and the latter can autofocus in video. The 550D Canon only does 1080p video and it is not hard to get a whole video out of focus grrr!.
    4 - usage philosophy, you can say that again. Mine has changed over time, YMMV
    5 - The people who say you can achieve what you want in post from RAW are no doubt right - for their usage. The experts who can't are right too. I am neither pro nor expert.
     
  4. Tara Elizabeth

    Tara Elizabeth Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum!
    If you are wanting a more "neutral" look without the deep blacks, you may want to experiment with the Pro Neg Standard film simulation. I'm not sure it's exactly what you are looking for, but it may be a place to start.
     
    Mike7 likes this.
  5. Mike7

    Mike7 Premium Member

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    Thank you for the hint, I will check it for sure.
     

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