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Mike Baker
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Mike Baker

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We've had a welcome break for a week, and visited friends in Tasmania. We did some touring of the national parks around Cradle Mountain, and made our way to Liffey Falls, where we went for a hike through the rain forest. It's a beautiful place, with lots of shade beneath the trees, and the ground is easy going.

The Liffey Falls themselves are a series of falls, and the track takes you down them, with great lookouts along the way. At the bottom the trees overhang the edges, creating patterns of light that dance on the water.

I took this with my Fuji Film X-E1 and 14mm lens, along with a B+W 10 stop filter, on a tripod, to get the long exposure. The light weight of the Fuji Film gear, along with a carbon fibre tripod makes a big difference in the "carryability" of my setup - especially welcome on the upward climb!
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A photo from my post http://photomojomike.com/2013/06/26/magic-in-the-mountains/ which has 40 photos of the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival 2013.
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The Sydney Opera House remains one of my favourite buildings - there's always a new angle to find.
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Grime Bats
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The Edifice
Apple store on George Street, Sydney, Australia.
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The small size and weight of the FujiFilm X-system continues to change the nature of my photography. My XE-1 is always in my work bag now, affording me previously missed opportunities.

The Jacaranda tree stands out with its beautiful pastel purple flowers. I’d never seen one before I came to Australia, but they have become my favourite, and I pass many on my morning walk to the railway station.

There was a storm last night, and the wind shook the boughs, causing showers of the flowers to land on the ground underneath the trees. They form a purple carpet, and I am the first to walk through them.

#photography   #fujifilmxe1  
+FUJIFILM Australia 
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Now there's a boost to my weekend :)
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Stone garden, Maison Européenne de la Photography, Paris.
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Time Passes
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Time Passes
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Fujifilm X-E1 first impressions

Although I have had a variety of cameras over the last 30 years, the SLR, then DSLR had become my mainstay. A long time Canon SLR user, I moved to their digital line, acquired a few decent lenses, and expected to continue along that path. However, about a year ago, I started re-thinking my photography for a variety of reasons.

As a young man, I had lots of time and no aches and pains, so hiking across the North Yorkshire Moors with a rucksack full of camera gear was an enjoyable weekend. As I got older I got busier (children grow up so fast) and managed to throw my back out several times, photographic opportunities became rarer, and the thought of lugging my gear any distance was enough to have me reaching for the pain killers. I realised something else – something I had once loved had become close to a chore.

Enter Fujifilm’s fantastic X100. A knockout little camera with a fixed 35mm equivalent lens, great image quality and a retro feel (in handling, as well as looks) that brought back a real joy to making photos. It had a few quirks, but Fujifilm released a number of firmware upgrades that improved things even further. They won over my heart and my head.

It certainly got me thinking – what if someone could make an interchangeable lens camera with great image quality to rival a DSLR, but all the attributes I loved about the X100? Clearly thinking along the same lines, Fujifilm went on to make the X-Pro1. The only problem was that it was pretty expensive, and although I had loved the hybrid OVF (Optical View Finder)/EVF (Electronic View Finder) of the X100, I wasn’t sure it made as much sense on a camera with interchangeable lenses. I continued to enjoy the X100, and my DSLR fell into disuse, but I couldn’t sell it – the X100 wasn’t really right for several things I still wanted to do, from fast autofocus for photos of my son growing up, to higher resolution and wide-angle lenses for landscapes.

Then, clearly reading my thoughts yet again, along came the X-E1. The same image quality as the X-Pro1, but without the OVF, in a smaller body and for a lower price – I had to get one!

My two favourite cameras – the Olympus OM-2n and Fujifilm X-E1
All my Canon gear went on ebay, and I ordered a black X-E1 with the 35mm f1.4 (53mm equivalent) and 60mm f2.4 macro (90mm equivalent). While an 18mm (27mm equivalent) lens was also available, there is a 14mm (21mm equivalent) lens due out soon, along with a promise by Zeiss to make several lenses, including a 12mm (18mm equivalent), so I decided to wait a while to make a decision on these.

So what is it like? The build quality is fantastic – it feels even nicer than my X100 – and the dials have a more positive feel i.e. I don’t expect to be able to knock the exposure compensation dial by accident. It certainly feels much nicer in the hand than my Canon 40D. The weight and size are ‘just right’ – much less than my DSLR and lens.

The lenses come with metal hoods! This adds to the feel-good factor, as I found it annoying when paying even more for a Canon lenses, that I was then expected to pay out a crazy amount of money for a plastic hood. However, the design of the lens cap on the 35mm hood is poor – it will fall off with the slightest knock. Because of the shape of the end of the hood, I can’t conveniently use the push on inner lens cap with it. The 60mm, however, has a hood design that allows the cap to be pushed on and off while the hood is on.

The EVF is superb, and my worries over no OVF are unnecessary. There is no pixelation, and it is bright and contrasty with natural colours. The only criticism I would make is that the refresh rate lags very slightly when panning fast. However, this is not a sports camera, so that isn’t really an issue for me. Even in bright Australian sunshine at midday, the EVF is very usable, although not as bright as an OVF. One of the nice things is that in dark conditions, you can see much better than an OVF, as the EVF has automatic gain control. Couple this with fantastic high ISO performance, and this is a great street shooter (see my earlier post – Available Light with the FujiFilm X-E1). ISO goes up to 25,600, with 6,400 available in auto-ISO. The photos are very good, even at 6,400 ISO, with little noise.
Autofocus is absolutely fine for me, but I don’t shoot sports. It is quick enough in decent light, but can hunt a little in poor light. It isn’t as fast as my Canon L lenses, but it is highly accurate. I have an energetic 4-year-old, and I would struggle to keep up with his antics, so I will get the 18-55 zoom for those situations, as the autofocus is supposed to be a lot faster, as well as having OIS (image stabilisation).

Anyone who moans about APS-C sensors not being able to achieve shallow DOF needs to look at the X-E1 + 35/1.4. Not only does it have shallow DOF, but nicely rendered out of focus areas. I need to get more experience with it, but so far I am really, really impressed with what can be achieved.
The X-E1 has a pop-up flash that is great for fill on a bright day, and is of a design that lets you tilt it with your finger to bounce it off a ceiling. Unfortunately, the the flash is deployed by pressing a button on the rear of the camera, and I wonder if this will get released while in a camera bag if pressed up against something. It might have been better as a slide switch. There is a hot shoe which can take more powerful flash units.
I love the look that the whole combination of the lens, sensor and film emulations gives. I just want to go out and shoot with this thing all day.

The X-E1 does have a few niggles, though. The first (which I would hope is easily fixed with a firmware update), is that when using auto ISO, it’s impossible to set a minimum shutter speed. Fujifilm seem to have programmed in a fixed 1.5 * focal length, which is not fast enough for me.
The main issue though, is RAW conversion. The X-E1 uses an image sensor that is radically different than in most cameras, and the algorithms to produce photos from it are hugely complex – Fujifilm have said they have been working on the technology for years. This means that you really need to use the supplied SilkyPix software, or produce JPEGs in the camera to get the best results. Adobe Camera Raw does a so-so conversion, and my favourite, Apple’s Aperture, can’t interpret the RAW files at all. One alternative would be to produce TIFFs in SilkyPix, then import into your normal software, but you do lose some of the flexibility of RAW processing, and it is a pain to re-work your workflow. Fujifilm have said that they are working closely with Adobe, Apple and Phase One to fix this, but things seem to be a long time coming.

This is, to some extent, countered by the camera-produced JPEGs. They are, without a doubt, the best I have seen out of any camera. Coupled with some beautiful emulations of classic Fuji films, this will probably be enough for many photographers. You can even re-process images on the camera with different emulations and settings after you have taken them.

More to come later…

#fujifilmxe1 #photography  +FUJIFILM Australia 
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Mike Baker

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Upcoming photographers - check out this circle.
 
The UPCOMING STARS Circle (LESS Than 7500 Followers) –– Circle Post | READ ALL Before You Ask For Inclusion

#CircleSharingForThePeopleUSCN1

As you all know I emptied all shared circles in order to bring some more freshness and interestingness into them again. So this validated edition of the USC is all new and fresh and you will have an excellent feed of brilliant photos in your feed when you add this very popular circle. I am proud to promote each and every artist in it.

Want in? READ the WHOLE post BEFORE you ask for inclusion.

What is the USC?
It is a circle for people that have great photography in their streams but also have LESS than 7500 followers here on Google+.

Who can join?
Everybody. You don't need to be particularly good or bad –– as long as you have a profound interest in photography and MAINLY share your own work in your feed.

What must you do?

As with all my circles, there are no free rides. Here are the rules (steps you must take) to get accepted:

1) –– Plus AND reshare this post. Why? It's very simple: if you want to get promoted in the USC, you must be prepared to promote your fellow photographer as well. Do NOT remove the reshared circle post from your feed immediately after I have added you to the circle. Doing so will get you banned from all my future circle shares.

2) –– Make sure that you do NOT post a lot of YouTube clips, animated GIF's, blog post teasers etc. in your feed. I don't mind a few reshares of other people's work but you must mainly share your own original work on your page. I want ths circle to be as clean as possible and focus on quality photography –– not other bling-bling. 

3) –– Ask for inclusion in the comments and please state HOW MANY followers you have AND that you HAVE completed all steps. I will check every feed but I won't check twice.

Have something to say about my circles? Wanna know what others gained from being in the circles? Then go here: https://plus.google.com/116219534929662479848/posts/7Evg2rSE2Hv 

NOTE! If you see that I have plussed your comment, then you know that I have added you to the circle. I didn't PLUS your comment? Make sure that you have reshared this announcement post and let me know that you did so.

*This announcement post is hash-tagged with #CircleSharingForThePeopleUSCN1 so that you may mute the reshares this post will generate. That way you will avoid seeing multiple copies of this post in your feed and your adrenaline level will stay normal. I will add a new hash-tag for every announcement and circle post in the future. That way you won't miss out on any of the action but still can mute all the duplicate reshares.* 

Here is an excellent add-on that will help you to mute the reshares: http://code.google.com/p/nonplus/

Tip: You might want to check out +Charles Lupica's Hidden Treasures Circle as well. It's also for photographers with less than 7500 followers. Also my friend +Rinus Bakker shares great circles for amateur photographers. Check him out.

Cheers!
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Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Pixor
Story
Tagline
Photographer, father, husband, cat servant.
Introduction
I am currently enjoying the sunshine (but not the bush fires) in Australia.
Bragging rights
I've seen the Pixies live four times!