Photography Show 2017 at the NEC

This weekend myself and Chris Bennett visited the Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC.

When we arrived there was a number of shows on including ComicCon which proved a hit with photographers.

On arrival we visited the Starbucks franchise and paid over the odds for an average coffee, but captive market, so slightly understandable.

Chris collected the guide book, and once clock hit 10:00 am the doors opened.  We headed straight for the Fuji stand, I had to interests here, the Fuji X100F and the Fuji medium format camera.

The original Fuji X100 impressed me but I have now been shooting with Leica too long and have found the optical viewfinder somewhat lacking in the Fuji.  After playing with it for a while I confirmed what I had thought when I played with the Fuji X100T, its not for me.

I got my hands on the Fuji Medium format camera and was quite impressed.  I heard a few complaints about the size and its weight, but compared to my Hasselblad 503CW with PhaseOne digital back it felt a little lighter and easier to use.  It was slow and heavy to use but for a medium format camera its fast and easy to handle.  If your after easy to use, easy to handle medium format then the new mirrorless Fuji, Hasselblad and the SLR Leica S are definitely ones to look at.  The Fuji seems a well put together model and certainly with just the few minutes I had to use it a relatively (for medium format) responsive camera.

The Olympus stand was our other major stop.  Chris who is currently a Olympus user, treated himself to the new 300mm prime, at f/4 and an effective field of view of 600mm for MicroFourThirds.

For wildlife photographers MicroFourThirds makes a compelling choice.

I took the opportunity to have a good look at the current Olympus models. I like the top model OM-D E-M 1 and the bottom model OM-D E-M 10, the M 5 is large enough to make you think you might as well carry the M 1.

I also had a play with the Pen-F.  This is my favourite small camera currently, and I love its features and handling.  Unfortunately it is way too expensive.

As well as Olympus I also tried out some of the Panasonic models.  I liked the GH5 but not much else, though the new Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.2 is a thing of beauty.

As well as the hardware we also watched a few seminars.  I particularly enjoyed the one on wildlife photography by Tesni Ward, her pictures of mountain hares were amusing, fun and showed real character.

We also caught one from Gavin Hoey.  He gave a talk about a commissioned shoot for Olympus.  On the wall were some very large blowups of the final images, taken in a dark environment at high ISO, using Olympus MicroFourThird’s equipment.  A few years ago you would have been convinced that you needed either medium format equipment to take such large prints or at least full frame 35mm.

Drones were a big element of the show and there were also a few surprising stalls, such as IT backup solutions, dresses and fabric and even holiday companies.

Over all it was a good day.  Chris got a very good deal on his lens and I managed to get some good deals on paper.  I now know the Fuji X100 is not for me but I am tempted by Olympus.

Photography Show 2017 – Coming soon

Fuji X-Pro2

This weekend the Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC starts. I’ll be looking forward to trying out the Olympus Pen F, the old Panasonic GH4 and to compare it with the GH5. From the Fuji stand I want to try the latest X100, the X100F and lastly the new Fuji medium format camera.

I would have loved to try a Leica M10 and the Leica Q together with the new Hasselblad mirrorless design but neither of them are there this year.

Hopefully there will be a few show offers on and like last time I look forward to getting hold of some cheap paper.

Portrait and Neutral Backgrounds

Leica M8 with Summilux-M 50mm

As you might have guessed from my last few posts, I have been experimenting in the studio recently with different backgrounds.  The one above is a paper called platinum.  Its nearly perfect for taking a white balance reading and one can also easily use photoshop to remove the model and place her on other backgrounds.

On line verses brick and mortar shops

I have been on the lookout for a new fountain pen.  My current pen is a little too valuable for everyday use in the office so I wanted something else.

It was announced on the news this week that Ruddock’s of Lincoln is to close.  A small family stationary business its been finding it difficult to cope recently with the cheaper on line stores.  I bought my last fountain pen from them so as I needed another one I wanted to give the small family company some final business.

I bought myself a basic steel nib Waterman which will be fine for use everyday.

Its sad to see so many small shops closing, but they have taxes to pay as well as rates and its difficult to compete against a large warehouse especially when the company puts its profits through other countries to make a technical lose and not pay any profit in the country they are based.

How many Megapixels?

Nikon D200 10 MP DSLR

The history of digital photography is of ever better sensors, more dynamic range, less noise and more megapixels.

Generally manufacturers like to be top of the tree in the megapixel race. It’s easy for customers to understand. The bigger the number the better right?

Well actually more megapixels generally come at a cost, and that is increased risk of camera shake, showing up imperfections in your shooting style, in your equipment but also less of the useful parts, i.e. generally less dynamic range and more noise.

It’s only because of the very fast evolution of digital sensors that we are still seeing improvements in all areas.

Many people are surprised that you only 6 MP (megapixels) to print a good quality A4 print.

The shock to people is that it general takes a fourfold increase in megapixels to be easily visible to the human eye.

Thus when considering a jump in resolution if you currently have a 6 MP camera then you need to jump to 24 MP to see a noticeable improvement in resolution. That is not to say a camera upgrade is not worth it, as you will gain in other areas, but as digital sensors reach maturity it’s going to difficult to justify an upgrade.

While waiting for my Leica M10 I have been watching the forums, especially the Leica medium format section.

Current medium format cameras go from 36 MP to 100 MP and it’s interesting looking at the reasons for people’s choices. A number of portrait photographers who shoot large numbers of people tend to want less megapixels to speed up editing and work flow, while product photographers who only shoot a few frames want as many megapixels as possible.

Thus a portrait photographer is probably quite happy with a 36 – 50 MP camera while a product photographer maybe investing in a 100 MP back with pixel shift giving an effective resolution of 200 MP.

Spring Time

If you listen to the met office then its now spring, but I always count spring as starting at the equinox.

Its certainly starting to look like spring with the daffodils now starting to appear.  The last couple of weekends I have been hoping to get out and shoot a few flowers and landscape shots but as usual when you try and plan something the rain always seems to stop play.  Still there is always next weekend.