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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.
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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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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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Have him in circles
12,501 people
Work
Occupation
Web App Development and Photography
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Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
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
Good hefty mission-style burritos. They do a good job with the grilled chicken. There's a small salsa bar with a decent variety of salsas to spice things up. This is in a less-hectic part of Alameda with easy parking and various shops and ice cream places within a block or two. Prices are pretty low but there's a lot of nickle-and-diming here with signs everywhere ($1 soda refills, charge for credit card, extra charge for spinach tortilla, etc.) Also, check your order--we were shorted a taco on our last visit.
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Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
There's a front room and a back room, with the better views in the back room. We have another Goat Hill closer to home, but we seem to come here more often--maybe it's the view and the relaxed pace of Potrero Hill. While waiting for your pizza, enjoy a pint of cold Anchor Steam draft, brewed right down the street. The salads are not fancy, but are hearty-sized and good. The soups are rather plain with various pizza toppings added in. The staff is always nice. A pianist usually comes in in the early evening for some live music at the piano by the front door. Goat Hill pizzas are delicious. They are a bit different because they use sourdough bread which sends it to the crunchy side of the doughiness spectrum. As I recommend with any pizza place, harness the power of pi and always order the largest size pizza on the menu to get the best value. You'll reap the rewards of your mathematical savviness while enjoying leftover pizza the next day.
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Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
The first time we stumbled across Bullshead, we were sitting in the waiting area for a few minutes awaiting our name to be called when I decided to whip out my phone and check the health score. The less-than-favorable score popped up on my screen, and I suggested we bolt out of there just as the hostess yelled "Shawn, 2? Shawn, 2???" We took our chances. I was actually happy to find this place because I love buffalo burgers, and buffalo burgers seems to be their specialty. And they cook them just right. There's a small, but adequate salad bar that's often out of an item or two, but it does the job. We've been back a few more times and seem to gravitate into Bullshead whenever we're in the West Portal area. The health score seems to be heading up a bit, so let's hope they can get a bit closer to the 100 side of the scale.
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Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
My review of Hot Italian was censored by Google Local but I posted it on that other review site where you can read it in full.
Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago
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I practically grew up in the Exploratorium. I didn’t realize it when I was 7 years old, but I was already grasping the fundamentals of physics, biology, geology, thermodynamics, and botany. I could solve binary arithmetic problems and explain to my friends why a bicycle stands up. Things like computer programming and physics were a breeze later on in high school. Although it’s no longer donation-only, today’s Exploratorium is better than ever. I’ve had a family membership for years and bring the family in often. This is one of the best places around to bring kids--they will have fun and can’t help but learn along the way. When the new location first opened, I missed the old dark, dank, cavernous feel of the original location, but the location, capacity, and overall atmosphere of the new location seems natural now. The food and waterfront view aren’t bad either. I’ve been to hands-on science museums around the world that have followed the Exploratorium’s model, but the Exploratorium is the original and still the best.
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Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
I usually get dragged in here, but I have to say I do like all the little bags and cases that can be used for my gadgets, phones, tablets, laptops, etc. I bought about 30 mesh zippered thingies to organize all my assorted wires and cables in my cabinet of tech supplies. They have padded sleeves that perfectly fit a Macbook Pro 13" and smaller padded cases that hold mobile phones like a glove. Best of all, this stuff is about 1/10th the price of what you'd pay at somewhere like the Container Store. So stock up and happy organizing.
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Public - 3 weeks ago
reviewed 3 weeks ago
My review of Papalote was censored by Google Local but I posted it on that other review site where you can read it in full.
Public - 4 months ago
reviewed 4 months ago