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Shawn Clover
Lives in San Francisco, CA
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Shawn Clover

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My mini review of the Sony a7R + Metabones adapter + Canon Lenses.
Review of the Sony a7R full frame digital camera with Canon lenses attached with a Metabones adapter.
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Shawn Clover

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Goodbye SLR, Hello Little Rangefinder: The Fujifilm X100s

Well I’m not exactly getting rid of my SLRs and my army of lenses, but all that gear has been locked away for the past week. A little rangefinder camera has hit the market that scratches me right where I itch. Since the advent of digital cameras, I’ve been waiting and waiting for the killer small camera to hit the scene and that day has finally arrived. While the original Fujifilm X100 was off to a good start, it was plagued with a long list of shortcomings, and these weaknesses have been addressed in the new X100s. This baby is hands-down the best camera around for its size. I’m talking to you, Leica.

Design

The X100s is modeled after the beautiful classic 1954 Leica M3 and does a great job recreating the retro look. She’s packed with many of the same classic dials and switches of yesteryear, but upon closer inspection, not everything what it appears. For one, the timer lever is really just a toggle to switch between optical and digital viewfinder while the timer functions are handled via digital display. But other controls like the shutter and aperture dials remain true to their functional origins, completing that nice analog feel.

This is little camera just begs to be slung over the shoulder on the way out the door. No choosing lenses or strapping on a backpack full of gear. Since there are no changeable lenses, you’re locked in with the built-in (and very capable) 23mm lens. This gives you a 35mm full-frame SLR equivalent focal length. No zooming in and out, just shoot things the way you see them. A refreshing benefit to having a fixed lens is you can kiss sensor dust spots goodbye–the camera’s innards stay nice and clean. Of course, not being able to zoom is a limitation in itself, but this focal length is really photography in its purest form.

The Controls

All the switches, dials, and menus take some getting used to. You have an option of composing photos using the electronic viewfinder, the lcd back display, or the optical viewfinder. I prefer the latter because it just feels more natural (not to mention kinder to the battery life). I found using the optical viewfinder in combination with the informational display on the lcd back worked best for me.

I love the old-fashioned hardware ring dials for aperture and shutter speed, but that also adds to one of my biggest frustrations: it really limits what you can store in the custom functions presets. In fact I have not found a single use for the three custom presets. They can’t store shutter speed, aperture, drive mode, or focus mode. The only useful thing you can store is your ISO setting. If you’re using all the photo effects features (like toy camera, etc.), then maybe you’ll have a use for it, but I haven’t played around with all those things. I just shoot RAW and add effects later in Lightroom. Since there’s no sense in making custom presets with just ISO presents, I reprogrammed the Fn button to simply pull up the ISO menu so I can just dial in any ISO I want. My three presets remain empty.

Unless I’m shooting from the hip, I stay locked in with the manual focus mode. In the X100s’s case, manual focus is a misnomer because manual focus really means autofocus, it just gives you the ability to lock in your focus point before you hit the shutter. I like having the AFL/AEL button where your thumb sits do the focusing, just like on my trusty Canon.

One nice little touch is the 3-stop ND filter that mechanically pops between the lens and the sensor when you want it. I tried some test shots of water flowing through fountains in bright light, but even at f/16 and the minimum ISO 200, I wasn’t able to get much of that nice blurred water effect. I would have rather had something closer to a 5-stop filter. It would also be really nice to go down to ISO 100, but Fuji inexplicably decided to make ISO 200 the minimum ISO when you shoot RAW, while you can go down to 100 if you shoot JPG. That one still has me scratching my head. It would also be nice to be able to get to the ND filter faster than digging through the full menu to toggle it into place.

Accessorizing

It seems that every new Canon SLR I buy means automatically dropping another grand on accessories. I couldn’t believe how kind to my wallet the X100s was: a nice leather case, leather strap, UV filter, filter adapter, lens hood, and two spare batteries totaled less than $100.

Here’s what I added to protect the body and lens while staying true to the retro styling of the X100s. You can see all this stuff in my cover photo of the X100s dangling over the old pay phone above.

Shooting

Here are a few test photos I took over the past few days in San Francisco. I am blown away by this baby’s high ISO performance. It shoots cleaner at ISO 3200 or 6400 than the Canon 5d Mark III. And the true f/2 lens shoots nice razor-thin depth of field wide open with some not-too-shabby bokeh. Not Canon f/1.2L-caliber bokeh, but very nice and buttery nonetheless.

I’ve found the camera tends to overexpose things. Maybe it’s just what I shoot, who knows. But I usually keep the exposure compensation (again a nice analog dial) set down to -1/3 or sometimes even -2/3.

And its tripod mount is still virgin–this is my new handheld camera and I have no intention of dragging around a tripod to pair it with.

ON THE STREET

I love shooting from the hip, and with a little experimenting over a day or two, I’m happy with what you can do with this little marvel. With my Canon SLR, I have a custom program that I can quickly get to for this purpose, but as I mentioned above, there’s a lot of dialing and button-pushing involved to get the camera set up for quick incognito street photos. What works well for me is setting ISO 1600, dialing in f/4, setting continuous drive 3fps burst, and AF-C focus mode. Each one of these needs to be dialed in separately because the custom functions cannot store anything but ISO.

Here are a few shots. No one ever even noticed I was shooting except the guy in the Busted photo below:

the rest at
http://shawnclover.com/2013/07/11/goodbye-slr-hello-little-rangefinder-the-fujifilm-x100s/
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You Can't Run
California Highway Patrol Porsche 997 Turbo

The Automobile: A Photo Gallery http://shawnclover.com/galleries/the-automobile/
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That's my #GooglePinball  tournament competitor Brian tearing up the Medieval Madness machine at tonight's Google Local Power Users party in the Haight.

Thank you +Shannon Sweetser and Free Gold Watch for the good times!

Didn't bring my SLR... my photos are  #throughglass  
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In the O
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Google Glass got an update today that shoots all photos HDR. It's a nice improvement. Planning to get more glasswalking in over the next few days to really test it out.

Ok Glass, take a picture...   #throughglass  
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Enjoying the live stream of the Google+ photowalk tonight from the Chieftain a block up the street from all the action. (We just couldn't pass up beer + food + Giants + Warriors.)
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Shawn Clover

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Why are dozens of my #googlelocal  reviews removed because they don't "adhere to our content policies"? I read the policy and I don't see the problem.

For example, here's a review I wrote on my favorite French restaurant in SF. Why was this censored?
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+Shawn Clover: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Our CM +Shannon Sweetser is going to look into it , file an appeal and get back to you.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Also: We'd recommend signing up for #GoogleCityExperts  as well since you have quite a few local reviews and already qualify (g.co/cityexpert) We have a private Google+ community exclusive to these top contributors where they can can share product feedback and raise issues like you've done so helpfully here. 
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I Thought I Knew You, What Did I Know?
A simple-looking photo, but one of the most difficult I've ever taken, just because of the set up. It all started with finding an old 1950s British record player abandoned in a San Francisco alley. After coming back to retrieve it with the car, I took it home, rewired it, repaired the gears, and got it working again. After a few test records, I trusted it enough to throw on Rubber Soul and set up the tripod and lights.
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All These Scattered Dreams

San Francisco, CA.
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Wrapped Up In Confusion
A Muni L-Taravel arrives in the West Portal Station.
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Nice....nice...
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In his circles
1,723 people
Have him in circles
13,982 people
Gabriela H's profile photo
Tarique Mansuri's profile photo
Имоджен Путс's profile photo
Noam Ouaknine's profile photo
Alexander Leisser's profile photo
Rebecca Amanda Kufla's profile photo
Mauni Seraji's profile photo
Android Photographers's profile photo
Annamae A. Starkey's profile photo
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Web App Development and Photography
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I make pictures, trot globe, soar sky, explore abandonment, march mountains, and pedal two-wheelers.
Introduction

shawnclover.com/fadeto1906: my 1906 earthquake + today photoblend project

clockograph.com: my 1/2 built working photographic timepiece project

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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
San Francisco, CA
There are traces of 265 Nike Missile sites around the US, but SF-88 is the only restored site in the country. Every part of this complex, from the launch computers to the elevator ride down to the missile bunker is fascinating. The best time to go is on first Saturdays of the month when the Nike veterans volunteer to tell stories and explain how things work down to every detail. Every time I visit, I leave with the sobering reminder of our Cold War past.
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
Great for a Sunday drive, or better yet, a bike ride. Killer view when the fog isn't in. There's a long, dark, dank tunnel to go through (with some pretty awesome "cave drawings") and Nike Missile Site SF-87 up above to explore. I've come up here dozens of times with my telephoto lens and tripod to get one of those bridge-tower-popping-through-the-fog shots, but after years of trying, I've just come to the conclusion that it's not gonna happen for me. But who cares, plenty of other people have gotten the shot.
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Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
5 stars for the normal Roaring Camp Railroad that I've loved over the years. It is a spectacular railway with routes to the Boardwalk and, my favorite, the narrow gauge steam train trip up Bear Mountain. The routes are beautiful and the steam trains are the real deal. Then my entire lifetime of memories of this place came crashing down with our most recent trip…. The Thomas the Train event was one of the worst nightmares of my entire life. It was a complete cluster-f beyond description. Hoards of people overcrowding the place and traffic jamming the tiny road in for over an hour, all in honor of a phony Thomas car that is pulled along by a real locomotive on the other end of the train. We missed our train after the excruciating traffic jam and were forced on to a train three hours later. Much of our three hour wait was spent in line for a snow cone in a desperate attempt to quell the relentless, sweltering heat, followed by a visit to the packed store selling all the same Thomas crap you can buy on Amazon from the comfort of home sweet home (which sounded so good once we were in the midst of this train wreck). And then, after missing the opportunity for the Thomas photo due to the impossibly-long line, we rushed to cram aboard our assigned car. When the train finally started rolling, they queue up the ear bleeding-loud Thomas soundtrack that repeats over and over. Most of the kids looked miserable by this point. After the brief out-and-back journey, we missed the photo opportunity again afterward due to the understandably contemptuous Thomas crew kicking everyone out. And believe me, everyone wanted to get out of this miserable abyss by the end of the day. My recommendation: enjoy a "normal" day at Roaring Camp and avoid the Thomas weekend like the plague--words cannot describe how hellish an ordeal it was.
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Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
The Presidio is a big chunk of San Francisco and is oozing with history throughout. Every time I think I've explored every square foot of the Presidio, I end up finding even more. The Presidio's got forts, military batteries, and even a semi-hidden old Nike missile silo to explore. A day exploring the Presidio is one of my favorite staycation getaways right in the city.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
215 reviews
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I've lost count of how many concerts I've been to here but it's just one of those magical theaters where you always feel up close and intimate with the band even when up in the balcony. If you don't have your heart set on seeing a particular band, I've always had plenty of success just walking by 10 minutes before showtime and picking up a pair of tickets off the street at face value or better.
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
Come here on occasion, I must, to spend a moment of quiet reflection and unlearn what I have learned. Judge him by his size, I do not, for the great Jedi Master reminds me to "Do, or do not. There is no try."
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
The trail around Lake Merritt has a perfect circumference for a good run (5.5 km). For a bonus killer workout, hit the Cleveland Cascade stairs at the end of the run for a stair sprint. For non-running, the lake is great for a walk. I've been out rowing and sailing a few times which is always fun.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago