Summerlee Heritage Museum (Scotland) Filmed With The DJI Spark

An early flight with the DJI Spark on a sunny morning at Summerlee Heritage Museum. Summerlee is a free industrial museum in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire (Central Scotland). It features a working tram, a mine, trains, a canal (with boat) and houses from past decades (1960's 1970's...).

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Fujifilm New Product Releases (7th Sept 2017)

It’s a big day for Fujifilm today with the release of several new products and some significant announcements. You'll find full details on Fujifilm's own site, but I wanted to do a brief roundup for those of you who are as lazy as I am when going through the news.

1. The new Fujinon XF80mm f2.8 R LM WR Macro will be another stunning lens and I have it on good authority that it might even top the 90mm f2. I've seen some great sample pictures from this lens and they were absolutely stunning.
Take a look at the latest X-Series lens roadmap HERE.

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3. The long awaited X-E3 camera body is finally here. Like the X-E2 and X-E2s that came before it, the X-E3 is amazing value for the money (£849 in the U.K.) when you consider how close the specs are to the flagship X-Pro2. If you can live without an optical viewfinder, this might be an option for you. It would also make a great second camera or backup to the X-Pro2. Here's a list of some features

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 21.20.51.png
  • First X-Series camera to feature Bluetooth for transferring photos to smartphones and tablets.
  • Touch screen (not tilting) with smartphone usability.
  • 24.3 megapixel sensor with latest X-Processor Pro.
  • 4K Video.
  • Brand new auto focus algorithm that is 50% faster at tracking than the current models.
  • Focus joystick as found on the X-Pro2 and X-T2.
  • Extreamly handy auto switch from the X-70.

2. The Fujinon GF45mm f2.8 R WR is the 6th lens in the GF System. If you are interested in the medium format Fujifilm GFX, then this new 45mm f2.8 will be a beast of a lens. What a system the GFX is turning into!
Take a look at the latest GFX lens roadmap HERE.

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4. New Firmware for the X-Pro2, X-T2, X-T20 and X100F is also announced today, but won't be available until November and December this year.

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X-T2 Firmware v3.00

1. New AF tracking algorithm for moving subject

Thanks to the newly developed image recognition algorithm, the update enhances AF-C to track moving subjects twice as fast as previous firmware. In addition, the update also enhances tracking to be able to capture up to 50% smaller moving subjects than before.

2. Support “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO”

Once connecting a camera to a computer via USB cable, the “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO” enables users to convert RAW files with X Processor Pro. The fast batch processing will also be available. The “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO” can be downloaded from the FUJIFILM website for free.

3. Improve radio flash controller usability

The upgrade allows users to shoot with compatible third party studio flash in high speed sync. or TTL mode via their radio controllers.

4. Support for backup/restore of camera settings via FUJIFILM X Acquire

Once connecting a camera to a computer via USB cable, the “FUJIFILM X Acquire” allows users to backup/restore camera settings to/from a file. Copying all camera settings from one camera to another is available.


X100F Firmware v.2.00

1. Support for backup/restore of camera settings via FUJIFILM X Acquire

Once connecting a camera to a computer via USB cable, the “FUJIFILM X Acquire” allows users to backup/restore camera settings to/from a file. Copying all camera settings from one camera to another is available.

2. Supports “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO”

Once connecting a camera to a computer via USB cable, the “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO” enables users to convert RAW files with X Processor Pro. The first batch processing is also available. The “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO” can be downloaded from the FUJIFILM website for free.

3. Improve radio flash controller usability

The upgrade allows users to shoot with compatible third party studio flash in high speed sync. or TTL mode via their radio controllers.


5. A Fujifilm/Magnum Photo Collaboration

15 Magnum Photographers will explore the theme of “HOME” for the project. Known for their wide range of approaches, Magnum Photos members produce documentary photography that encompasses art and photojournalism. Sharing the agency’s legacy for humanistic photography, associated with its founding in 1947, Magnum’s contemporary practitioners are united by a curiosity about the world. This project invites them to explore a universal subject familiar to us all

“Home” is not only defined as a space for physical living. It holds various other associations that are emotional, biological, cultural and societal. These 15 photographers have been given an open brief to explore the subject through their own individual practices, the resulting work reflecting their personal take on a subject that we all record photographically.

X-Pro2 Firmware v4.00

1. Addition of 4k video mode

The update adds 4k video using the X Series famous Film Simulation modes.  You can input audio from an external microphone (Excluding HDMI output for recording).

2. Support for tether shooting via USB or Wi-Fi

After connecting a camera to a computer, the compatible software (*1) will enable users to transfer images taken with the camera to the computer and save them in a specified folder, or to control the camera from the computer. 

3. New AF tracking algorithm for moving subject

 Thanks to the newly developed image recognition algorithm, the update enhances AF-C to track moving subjects twice as fast as previous firmware(*2). In addition, the update also enhances tracking to be able to capture up to 50% smaller moving subjects than before.

4. Support “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO”

Once connecting a camera to a computer via USB cable, the “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO” enables users to convert RAW files with X Processor Pro. The first batch processing will also be available. The “FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO” can be downloaded from the FUJIFILM website for free.

5. Improve radio flash controller usability

The upgrade allows users to shoot with compatible third party studio flash in high speed sync. or TTL mode via their radio controllers.

6. Support for backup/restore of camera settings via FUJIFILM X Acquire

Once connecting a camera to a computer via USB cable, the “FUJIFILM X Acquire” allows users to backup/restore camera settings to/from a file. Copying all camera settings from one camera to another is available.


X-T20 Firmware v.1.10

1. Touch panel operation when using the EVF

The firmware update will make it possible to use the touch panel while looking into the viewfinder. According to the operation method, it's possible to set the effective range of the touch panel to the full screen, right half, left half, or OFF.


Participating Magnum photographers

  •  Antoine d’Agata (France)
  •  Jonas Bendiksen (Norway)
  •  Chien-Chi Chang (USA)
  •  Thomas Dworzak (Georgia/Iran/Germany)
  •  Elliot Erwitt (USA)
  •  David Alan Harvey (USA)
  •  Hiroji Kubota (Japan)
  •  Alex Majoli (Italy)
  •  Trent Parke (Australia)
  •  Gueorgui Phikhassov (Russia)
  •  Mark Power (UK)
  •  Moises Saman (Spain/Peru)
  •  Alessandra Sanguinetti (USA)
  •  Alec Soth (USA)
  •  Alex Webb (USA)
  •  

Photo Exhibition

  •  New York
  •  London
  •  Paris

6. Fujifilm X Raw Studio

FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO enables users to quickly and easily convert RAW files with outstanding image quality, once a camera is connected to a Mac or PC via USB cable.   

Exceptional image quality is retained, as the X RAW STUDIO system utilizes the X Processor Pro in the camera instead of the CPU in the computer, 

Due to the increasing size of RAW files, users have found batch conversion to be an issue, as it takes more and more time as a result. However, using the high performance “X Processor Pro” processor, this batch conversion is handled far more efficiently as a result.

This new software is due to be available from late November 2017.

Key Features:

  • -    Convert RAW images on the computer (Single / Batch Process)
  • -    Preview converting images
  • -    Save, load, or copy conversion profiles
  •  
  • *Specifications, window images subject to change without notice.
  • *RAW conversion is compatible with a RAW file taken by the same model as the connected camera.  

 

  • Availability:

 

  • Application Software FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO will be available:
  • for Mac:    Late November 2017 
  • for Windows: Late January 2018 
  • FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO system compatible camera firmware will be available:

 

  • FUJIFILM GFX 50S:    Late November 2017 (Ver.2.00)
  • FUJIFILM X-T2:    Late November 2017 (Ver.3.00)
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2:    Late December 2017 (Ver.4.00)
  • FUJIFILM X100F:    Late December 2017 (Ver.2.00)

X-T2 Firmware Update Needed For Shooting Video

I love the X-T2, it's such a great all round camera and very capable of handling pretty much anything you through at it. Video wasn't really something I expected to be doing with it, but it happens now and again. I had a video shoot at the weekend with the X-T2 and I ran into a potentially disastrous problem. Thankfully it's something that could be easily fixed in the next firmware update.

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

With the latest firmware update (v2.10) for the X-T2, we got the ability to set one of the front or rear command dials to control ISO. Fantastic! Here's how to:

Go to Setup Menu (the spanner) - Button/Dial Settings - ISO Dial Setting (A) The options are Auto and Command. Choose Command. Set the top plate ISO dial on the X-T2 to A. Now ISO can be adjusted by either the front or rear command dials. The Command Dial Settings Function in the same menu allows you to choose front of rear dial.

Shutter Speed (front) F. (rear)

With this configuration, the back command dial does nothing (unless you have a lens attached that doesn't have an aperture ring, like the 27mm). Both ISO and Shutter Speed are assigned to the front command dial and you toggle between which one is active by pressing the dial. The problem is that one of them is always live and can be knocked off easily.

F. (front) Shutter Speed (rear)

With this configuration, shutter speed is changed by the rear command dial and ISO by the front. The upside is that the ISO can be changed using the front dial  and then locked by pressing the command dial. Unfortunately the shutter speed is always live and so easily knocked by a third stop or two, causing rolling vertical lines that cannot be fixed in post. Video footage is useless if this happens. I must have knocked my shutter speed of at least 6 times at the weekend and will be taping the rear dial down from now on.

THE FIX

F. (front) Shutter Speed (rear) is the ideal choice in my opinion. When shooting video, I like to chose my aperture on the lens and select my shutter speed on the top plate SS dial, then make minor adjustments using the rear command dial (for instance: Set the top plate SS dial to 1/60th and then adjusting the SS to 1/50th using the rear command dial when shooting at 25 fps).

update the firmware to allow the rear command dial to be locked by pressing it (just like the front dial for ISO), we could lock both ISO (front dial) and shutter speed (rear dial).

No more moving dials by mistake!

 

Kage Collective : The Wind Of Change

After an unintentional break this year, we have returned to the monthly magazine format at Kage Collective. I think by the end of last year and having produced each month to a deadline, we just wanted to go at it differently. But the last few months of not producing much has proved to us that deadlines work, like or loath them.

We've also had a change in lineup to. Flemming and Charlene have both moved on to do other things and we wish them both well on their global travels. But we are super happy to introduce our new member Ronas Rask. Jonas is not only an official Fujifilm X-Photographer, but he actually does all those amazing product shots for the brand. Kage will be an ideal place to show of his documentary side. So now we are 7. Patrick La Roque (Canada), Robert Catto (Australia), Bert Stephani (Belgium), Vincent Baldensberger (France), Kevin Mullins (UK), Jonas Rask (Denmark) and myself have new essays on our latest issue (13).

It took me a while to get back into that deadline mentality, but I finally decided to shoot the second part of my elements with a Lensbaby series. I shot this essay on the X-Pro2 with the Lensbaby Composer Pro and Edge 80 optic. The pictures and the text took a darker turn though when the news of the Manchester terrorist attack surfaced the morning of the shoot, which game me the title of The Gentle Breeze Of The Blast .

As it's the centennial of JFK's birth, I decided to write a review of My Kennedy Years - A Memoir by JFK's photographer Jacques Lowe. A terrific book if you're a fan of the long term documentary project, which this was the mother of them all.

Great New Firmware From Fujifilm, But The X-Pro2 Ain't Feelin' The Love

Fujifilm has released new firmware for the X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX and even (unexpectedly) the X100F. Unfortunately the X-Pro2 got a little short changed this time around and it ain't feeling the love! But hopefully the great peeps at Fuji will put this right soon. You can find the latest firmware and a full list of what's new from HERE. But here are a few of my favourites.

FRONT COMMAND DIAL ISO:

One great feature that's been added to the X-T2 is the ability to control ISO from the front dial. This one appeared first on the X100F and is really handy when you want to lock in aperture and shutter speed and use the ISO to make adjustments to exposure. I do a lot of jazz concert photography and I tend to have to shoot wide open and with the shutter speed at 1/125th (my preferred minimum SS). The ISO dial on the top of the X-T2 is great, but it means taking my left hand of the camera to make adjustments. The front command dial is easy to access and let's me keep both hands on the camera. This feature was not added to the X-Pro2.

REAR COMMAND DIAL BACK BUTTON FOCUS:

Another great one from the X100F that's been added to the X-T2 is the ability to press the rear command dial for back button focus. You can actually assign a variety of functions to the rear command dial switch. I find the AF/L button on the X-T2 a bit too far to the right, but I can't switch it with the AE/L button because I poke my thumb into my eye with that one (I'm a left eye shooter). So pressing the rear command dial to back button focus is a great option. Sadly though, this feature was not added to the X-Pro2.

OPTION OF 'ALL' ADDED TO AF MODE

This one was unexpected and a really welcome feature. By selecting 'All' in the AF Mode you can use any of the command dials to choose any of the AF Modes. We do this in the exact same way as we change the size of the focus point. Press the Focus Selector Lever (the joystick) to turn the focus point green. Now rotate either the front or rear command dial to increase the size of the focus point, which cycles like this:

  • 6 different sizes of single point
  • 3 different sizes of Zone
  • Wide Tracking (it then loops back to the smallest single point)

I have my AF Mode assigned to the bottom button of the D-Pad, but by using this new method, I could leave it AF Mode set to 'All' and free up that Fn button for something else. It's unexpected gems like this that make Fujifil so great, but guess what - this feature is not on the latest firmware for the X-Pro2.

CONCLUSION 

As far as I know, no other camera manufactures virtually give away new cameras through frequent firmware updates. That might seem like an exaggeration, but quite often it really does feel like a new camera. I'm looking forward to the X-Pro2 firmware engineer getting back from his holiday at Skegness and bringing all the latest features to the other flagship X-Series camera - the X-Pro2. 

One firmware request I do have for another camera in the lineup (even though it might be discontinued), is to fix a bug in the X70 firmware. When using the WCL, the manual focus scale disappears from the LCD, which is a problem when zone focusing.

Fujifilm X100F Review : Beauty And A Beast

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Based On A Pre-Production FUJI X100F

This review is based on a pre-production camera after two months of using it, but the production model probably won't be much different. I'm an official Fujifilm X-Photographer and I have owned each version of the X100, plus almost all of the other X-Series cameras. I shoot exclusively with the X-Series cameras and haven't used a DSLR is years. This review is based on that. The pictures of the camera on this post were shot by me (they are not the official promo shots). I used my X-Pro2 with the brilliant 35mm f2 lens and a single overhead umbrella. For the close shots, I used the smallest of the Fuji Macro Tubes (11).

DESIGN AND LAYOUT

Your opinion may differ from mine, but I think the X100F is the most beautiful camera I have seen in my entire life! It keeps the look of the original X100, but the lines are cleaner, sharper and the top plate now slopes from the upper to the lower level. This, more than any other camera, has that thing where you just want to pick it up and hold it in your hands.

The X100F now has a front command dial, A front fn button (on the OVF/EVF selector lever) and the focus assist light has been moved up to sit alongside the flash on the front of the top plate. My first thought when I unboxed it back in November was that it felt a little chunkier in my hands than my X100T, which is a good thing in my book.

The rear of the X100F has a similar button layout to the X-Pro2 so it's been so easy to shoot with both these cameras together without having to think too much. I do wish Fuji had put three buttons next to the viewfinder instead of two (the X-Pro2 has three). It would also be nice to use the Delete key as an Fn button while in playback mode (like on the X70) and even be able to use the Q button as an Fn button and have Q assignable to any of the Fn buttons. The best new feature on the back of the the F is the joystick. I'm so used to this now that I find it awkward when I use any of my older X-Series cameras. It's also great that this frees the D Pad up to be used as 4 fn buttons now (Drive + 3 more).

NEW FUNCTIONS

The X100F has been brought up to spec with the two flagship Fuji cameras, the X-Pro2 and the X-T2, which is pretty impressive in this much smaller camera. It has the same 24 megapixel sensor and processor, which seems to be the new standard in X-Series cameras and one I hope will find its way into the next version of the X70.

THE ISO DIAL

The ISO dial has been brough over from the X-Pro2, which some will like and some won't. I like it, but it could have benefited from having a shutter speed lock button (like on the X-Pro2) because it is easy to move the shutter speed dial by accident if you don't pull the dial up far enough. I didn't find this to be too much of a problem though. But thanks to the next feature, you don't even need to use the ISO Dial if you don't want to.

ISO COMMAND MODE

This is a big one that has been brought over from the X-T10. You can still use Auto ISO in the usual way, but if set to Command in the Buttons & Dials setup menu and the ISO Dial on the top plate is set to A, the front command dial becomes the ISO dial. This is ideal if you want to lock your aperture and shutter speed and have ISO as the only variable. We Need this feature in the X-Pro2 and X-T2. It would be nice to be able to lock this by pressing the front Command Dial switch.

C = 5 STOPS OF EV COMPENSATION

Like on the X-Pro2 and X-T2, the X100F has the letter C on the Exposure Compensation Dial which extends EV Comp to 5 stops. Simply select C and then use the front Command Dial to scroll through 5 stops in either direction.

So what happens if both ISO and EV Comp are set to be controlled by the front command dial? In this instance the front command dial switch is used to toggle between ISO and EV Comp.

DIGITAL ZOOM AND CONVERSION LENSES

Both of the currently available conversion lenses, the WCL-100 (28mm) and the TCL-X100 (50mm) work with the X100F, but at the time of writing this review there is a second version of both lenses on the horizon. I have no idea how they differ from the ones I have, because both of the original conversion lenses perform brilliantly.

These lenses have apertures of f2 wide open (just like the fixed lens) and there's no loss of light like you would get with a teleconverter. But if you don't want to carry extra lenses (having a single fixed lens is after all the beauty of this camera), the X100F inherits the Digital Zoom function from the X70. By twisting the focus ring (in auto focus mode) you have the option of 50mm, 70mm and the cameras standard 35mm field of view. This is not an optical zoom, but there is some sort of magical upscaling going on that keeps the quality high. I'd still rather use one of the conversion lenses, but the Digital Zoom can be really handy sometimes. The viewfinder displays either 50 or 70 in a small box at the upper side, which changes when you have the camera set to Tele Converter Lens (72mm & 100mm using the digital zoom) or Wide Converter Lens (41mm & 58mm).

It's worth mentioning here that the Digital Zoom feature won't work in RAW, so you have to set the camera to JPEG only or the focus ring does nothing. Another point would be that when the camera is set to Manual Focus Mode, the focus ring obviously won't be used for Digital Zoom. The feature will still work, but you will need to with to AF adjust Digital Zoom with the focus ring and then switch back to MF.

There are 4 Control Ring Settings (focus ring). STD or Standard (changes the default option according to the shooting mode), White Balance, Film Simulation and Digital Zoom. Standard and Digital Zoom pretty much do the latter, but it would be nice to have a fifth option of OFF. A workaround for this is obviously to shoot in RAW+JPEG so that the control ring does nothing.

BATTERY

The NP-95 battery from the previous three X100 models has been replaced by the same NP-W126 that the X-Pro, X-T and X-E series uses, which is a great thing if, like me, you tend to cary more than one X-Series camera with you. I haven't noticed much difference in the amount of shots I get out of a single battery, but I have been using the F on high performance. Check Fuji's specs for more info on battery life.

CONCLUSION

I hate to state the obvious, but the X100F is the best X100 camera so far. The X100F,  X-Pro2 and X-T2 have jumped so far ahead of all the other X-Series cameras that I'm now in the process of selling both my X-T1's and probably my X-E2, in favour of the X100F, X-Pro2 and X-T2. I'm not sure what the fate of my X100T will be yet.

If you own any of the X100 cameras, from the original to the S and the T, it is a no brainier. Buy the X100F (if you can afford to) and you will not be disappointed. F is for Fourth, but it could just as well be for Fast or even another F word :o)

I think the X100F is of close to perfection. Obviously we all have our own preferences to how we setup our cameras and Fuji have made their cameras super customisable, from the Q Menu to My Menu and lots of Fn Buttons. But if Fuji are reading this post, I would be doing them a miss service if I didn't mention a few firmware updates for the future that would make this camera out of this world.

MY WISH LIST FOR FUTURE FIRMWARE

  • Q Button as an assignable Fn button.
  • Delete button as an Fn button in shooting mode (like the X70).
  • Pressing the front command dial to lock ISO in Command Mode.
  • Ability to toggle ISO Auto & Command Mode on any of the Fn buttons (not just in the menu).
  • Ability to put ISO Auto & Command Mode in My Menu
  • The ability to disengage the Control Ring function.
  • Be able t use the front Fn button to toggle between digital zoom settings with each press 50 -70 -35 -50...
  • More options for assigning things to the front command dial (on all Fuji cameras).
  • Swap the functions of pressing the rear command dial and the joystick (i.e. put Focus Check on the joystick).

LAST WORD FROM ME

The X-Pro2 and the X-T2 are the dual flagship models, but I personally see the X100F as a 3rd flagship. The flagship of the compacts.

LINKS TO OTHER X100F POSTS

 

Fujifilm X100F As A Studio Portrait Camera

All pictures taken with a pre-production Fuji X100F

Most people might not think of the X100 series cameras as portrait or studio tools. For a start, the 35mm field of view is not the best focal length for portraits (unless you're aiming for environmental portraits of course). The small size of the camera can also be deceiving and not something that would come to mind for studio work. But as you will see in this post, the X100F is very capable in a variety of styles in photography. 

For this shoot with my daughter Janel, I used the TCL-X100 teleconverter lens to switch the X100F from 35mm to 50mm, which takes it into a more suitable focal length for portraits. Don't forget to set the camera to TCL mode in the menu. I have assigned it to an Fn button, but My Menu is a good place for it too. It's worth pointing out that at the time of writing this post, there are version 2 of the conversion lenses on the horizon. I don't know yet what the differences are from the original ones, but it might be something to keep in mind if you're thinking of buying the TCL (50mm) or the WCL (28mm).

I used a single Bowens Streamlite 530 daylight balanced fluorescent light with the diffuser sock attached and a Lastolight background. Hair and makeup was handled by my wife Fe and after shooting the first few pictures, Janel grabbed Fe's hat and started to pose with it. We then took a peace of black velvet from my lighting bag and wrapped it around her for a darker look. Janel has been my model all her life, so she just moves and poses without having to think about it. She's a natural!

I also used a Color Checker Passport to set a custom white ballance, but I still felt it was a little too warm. I shot RAW + JPEG, but everything you see here are the JPEG's. I used Single Point Auto Focus for the full shoot, but aperture, shutter speed and ISO were all set manually. 

When the original X100 was released with the fixed 23mm lens (35mm FF), some people complained that it was a disadvantage. I never subscribed to this point of view and felt that it was an advantage in some situations and that shooting with a single focal length can make you a better photographer. But there's no denying the two conversion lenses (28mm and 50mm) opened the X100 series up into a system and three times more capable.

The X100F is a real joy to use for shooting portraits. The quality is on a par with the X-Pro2 and X-T2, which means it's as good as any DSLR. I'd like to end this post with a couple of screenshots from Lightroom. What you see below is every picture taken on this shoot. The 13 black and whites you see were shot in camera with the Acros film simulation. There were a couple of shots where Janel moved and I missed focus, but other than that, each shot was usable. I'm looking forward to a lot more portraiture with the X100F.

UPDATE 28th Nov 2017

Jeremy asked in the comments about using the TCL-X100 with the X100F's Digital Zoom feature, which would take the focal length up to 100mm and producing a more natural shape to the face. Thisis indeed true, but at the cost of losing shallow depth of field. This wouldn't matter when shooting against a plain background at f8, but it would if you were shooting at f2.8 to produce a nice bokeh. Here's an example.

I used my feed to make sure Janel's head was roughly the same size in the frame

I used my feed to make sure Janel's head was roughly the same size in the frame

Fujifilm X100F: Tommy Smith - Return To The Mausoleum

I was honoured when the good people of Fujifilm asked me to be part of the Pre-Production testing of the new X100F camera. As a documentary photographer, I've been working on a long term Jazz project for the past 3+ years which has gained a bit of attention recently. It also seemed like a good subject for this X100F assignment, which I had to produce still photographs and a short film.

STEVEN HAWKES

Rather than bring someone up from the south all the way up to Scotland, I suggested to Fuji that I would make the video in partnership with my good friend Steven Hawkes. An interesting fact is that I met Steven because of the original X100. I had reviewed the X100 on my blog and posted many pictures and articles. So when Steven searched the internet looking for information on the camera before he bought one, he found my website. But instead of using the comments section or emailing me, he decided to use the phone. It turned out we were only a few miles from each other, so I asked if he would like to see the camera in the flesh and we met for a coffee. He did buy the X100 after that and we stayed in touch and became really good friends, meeting for coffee often and even going out shooting now and then.

Steven also has a health obsession for video and shoots corporate promo films, so he was the obvious choice when it came to shooting the X100F film.

TOMMY SMITH

Tommy is a jazz saxophonist, composer, band leader and educator. He is Head of Jazz at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has a list of accomplishments that defy his age. Without Tommy, my jazz project would probably never got off the ground. I was honoured to have been part of his recent composing and recording project with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, producing pictures for the CD and even on the front cover of Jazzwise magazine.

When I told Tommy that I wanted to make a film based around jazz for a pre-production camera, he planted the seed in my brain to use The Hamilton Mausoleum as the location. I had been thinking more about one of Tommy's gigs, but the Mausoleum was a terrific idea. Tommy has a connection with this iconic building as he recorded an album called 'Into Silence' many years before. The building has one of the longest reverbs in Europe and that made it the perfect place for a solo saxophone piece.

HAMILTON MAUSOLEUM

I contacted the extremely helpful folks at The Hamilton Mausoleum the next day and got things rolling. I wasn't sure if I could hire an iconic building like this, but I did and it didn't break the bank either. Even before there day of the hire, Steven and I would meet outside the Mausoleum and shoot all the external scenes that feature in the film. It was winter and frosty outside. We froze our asses of during these shoots, but it was Tommy who suffered the most for our art.

On the day of the shoot, the interior of the Mausoleum was colder than it was outside. I was like being in a fridge and Tommy wore a suit and a pair of leather shoes. I also play saxophone, so I can testify that when it's cold, a sax is not an instrument you want to be holding! Tommy's feet and hands must have been extremely painful for the two hours we kept him there, but he's a pro and didn't complain once.

EDITING THE FILM

Editing proved to be a difficult job. Unlike a regular video edit where you cut to a piece of music used in the background, Tommy played live, so what you see and what you here are from the same shoot. Editing to live music is filled with many problems. But I think Steven and I pulled it off and we're both happy with the results. But the most important people I hope are pleased with the film are of course Fuji and Tommy. Steven and I set out to make something a little different from the average promo film. We think we have, but the viewers will decide.

ONA Bowery Bag In Dark Truffle Leather

I've had an ONA camera bag on my wish list for a while. It was originally the Street Prince in Dark Truffle Leather that I had in mind, but I couldn't get one in the UK at that time. I asked a friend to pick me one up in the US last year, but the dealer was too far from where she was staying. I ended up buying a Tenba Cooper 13 Slim instead, which I'm still using and love, especially for travelling as it has a sleeve to fit over the handle of rolling cases and it has a pocket at the front big enough for my Bose QC25 headphones.

So when a trip to London appeared on the horizon, I found out that The Classic Camera stocked a selection of ONA bags in various styles and finishes. I still liked the Street Prince and even considered the Berlin II, but I've been on the look out for something small that would force me to carry less gear on a day to day basis. I have a backpack for shoots where I need a lot of kit, but for street photography or just a go anywhere bag, I was in need of something smaller, but with enough space to hold a few accessories as well as two or three X-Series cameras with lenses attached.

I kept coming back to the Bowery and was drawn to the leather versions especially. The Antique Cognac looks good (it looks much better in the flesh than it does on the internet actually), but I loved the look of the Dark Truffle leather version. I liked the Tan canvas version when I was looking at them at Classic Camera, but I knew I wouldn't get it out of my system unless I bought the leather one.

I paid the £219 at The Classic Camera and resisted buying a Leica M6 (for now) while I was in the shop. I ended up carrying the Bowery around in it's box for six hours that day while I shot some London Street Photography with the X70 and X-Pro2.

BUILD QUALITY:

 The leather ONA bags are made to wear-in really quickly, so if you want one to stay looking as new as the day you bought it for many years, leather ONA bags are not for you. But if you want your bag to look as though you've been using it for years, even though it's fairly new, then look no further because ONA is definitely what you're after.

Build quality on ONA bags is fantastic, in fact I would say it's the best I have seen on any bag! The leather versions especially look as though they would last for many years, possibly out lasting me. The leather is thick and tough and the rivets and buckles are chunky and already look aged, which is in keeping with the rest of the bag.

WHAT FITS INSIDE THE BOWERY:

The Bowery can hold a lot of kit for such a small bag. The leather version is a good bit heavier than the canvas one and as I said earlier, the purpose of this bag for me is to travel lighter on a day to day basis when I don't have a shoot that requires larger lenses. But I can basically get all of the following into the Bowery. I don't always need this amount of gear, but it's good to have the option.

  • Fuji X-Pro2 with the 35mm f2 attached
  • Fuji X100T (with lens hood)
  • Fuji X70 (with lens hood)
  • GoPro (under the X70)
  • Moleskine (Evernote edition) Notebook
  • Parker pen
  • Apple Earbuds (headphones)
  • A couple of spare batteries
  • Short iPhone cable
  • 2 spare SD cards (in their cases)
  • Business cards and bank/credit cards
  • Lens cloth

Here's a short video showing how I fit all this inside the Bowery.

CONCLUSION:

This Bowery is a really cool bag. It feels great over my shoulder and has that rare quality of feeling lighter than it actually is. I was tempted to buy the wax version because it was a good bit lighter and felt and looked great, but I knew I would still have had gear lust over the leather version, so I'm glad I bought this one. The Dark Truffle is the one for me, even though ONA are now doing a black leather versions too.

These bags are not inexpensive by any means, but will last for years, and even though they will get scuffed and worn very quick, they will look as cool as an old Leica that's worn down to the brass. I would highly recommend paying a visit to The Classic Camera store if you happen to be in the London area, I know I'll be back there on my next visit to London. If you're on the fence about buying an ONA bag, just take the plunge. You won't be disappointed.

My Article In Professional Photo Magazine

I wrote an article for this months Professional Photo magazine about my website being hacked earlier this year. In the article I describe how the hackers trashed my site and how my host didn't handle it too well. It also resulted in me killing off my three Wordpress websites and merging them together into this one Squarespace site. The magazine is available now (in the UK) for £4.75.