Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Camera Gear’ category

Fuji X70, Fujifilm X70, Fujifilm, X70, Peak Design

My Fuji X70: from Austria to US Southwest

Instead of merely talking or whining about a desire to carry something lighter for day-to-day photography situations, I decided to do something about it a couple of weeks before my month-long visit to Austria in May 2018.

I looked online for a mirrorless compact camera, but I didn’t need the latest or a top-line model. I preferred an older model with a lot of online reviews and user comments, and I decided on a compromise among three criteria: cost, weight and size, and image quality.

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Zugspitze: can I see Italy from here?

“If I’m at the highest point in Germany, can I see Italy?”

Over the years, I’ve seen at various times the claim made about seeing Italy from the tallest mountain in Germany.

I’m startled by morning sun, streaming through the window into my hotel room in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I rise slowly from the bed, barely able to keep my eyes open. I shuffle across the room, and pull the small linen drapes aside. It’s blue everywhere, and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. My eyes are now wide open, heart pumping with excitement, because I know skies are gonna be clear up top. Later I learn forecast conditions for the Zugspitze summit are excellent: mostly sunny, visibility out to 160 kilometres (100 miles) with a high temperature of -8C/+18F. It’s why I have with me 70-300 glass to find out for myself how true the claim really is.

Below I show photographs with sightlines and their corresponding average azimuths*: east-southeast (107 degrees), southeast (138 degrees), south (175 degrees), southwest (210 degrees), west-southwest (250 degrees). I label specific mountain peaks of interest in addition to the flag of the country where the mountain is located. In a few cases, mountains lie along the border between two nations in which case I provide two country flags. For the labeled peaks, I’ve also provided further information about mountain heights and sightline distances in the map below.


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On the camera full-frame, another ten-thousand framed

24 October 2014.

With nine months (Jan-Oct 2014) under the belt, I’ve set a new mark with my tech-friend. I’ve made good progress to “flip” (or reset) the four-digit image-number counter for the first time: I’ve clicked away on the 10000th frame on the Canon 6D.

10-K on the 6-D

It’s a bright fall afternoon in the greater Vancouver area. Conditions are breezy and overcast; the cloud ceiling is high but not very thick. With excellent transparency in the air, the light is diffuse, providing softer contrasts between highlights and shadows.

I’m in New Westminster for the opening night of my neighbour’s art exhibition. Before the doors open to the exhibition, I have some time to hang out along the Fraser River at Westminster Pier Park.

Windsocks appear like fingers against the cable-stays of the Translink SkyBridge over the Fraser River, as a scheduled automated train crosses over from New Westminster (left) to Surrey (right). The train is at right angles with the tall north tower of the Skybridge, and the Skybridge deck is just tangent with the yellow curved arch of the Pattullo Bridge behind.

Looking through the camera viewfinder, I shuffle back and forth, getting ready for the shot I want. I wait for the right moment. When I see all of the details come together, I press the shutter button.

Over time, I’ve developed a sense for simply more than documenting the moment. I’m folding in a sense of place, a sense of the situation, that the stream of time can be held (frozen) for a tiny moment in a remarkable confluence of disparate elements.

Skybridge, Pattullo Bridge, Westminster Pier Park, New Westminster, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

“Breezy autumn pluck at the right angle”

I made the photo above on 24 October 2014 with the Canon 6D camera and EF 24-105 L-lens with the following settings: 1/160s, f/10, ISO500, 105mm focal length. I clicked away over 75000 exposures with my previous Canon 450D camera over a period of five years. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-613.

My progress with Canon, from 450D to 6D

I seemed to have skipped a step, as I’ve moved from a triple-digit camera model to a single-digit model.

For over five years, I owned an entry-level Canon DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. Carrying the EOS 450D (XSi) along for the ride, I traveled over one million miles in the air and I made over 75000 exposures.

Canon EOS450D (XSi), by Dr.K on Wikimedia

Canon EOS450D (XSi), by Dr.K on Wikimedia

The shutter failed to close properly in early-August 2013, as I stood in front of the television tower in Prague’s Zizkov. I made do with an aging iPod Touch for another five months. When the calendar flipped over to 2014, I’d been missing photography with a camera by a very large mile.

Judging by the Canon EOS 450D shutter-life histogram, my old 450D came through pretty well on above-average shutter-life performance.

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450D: the 75000 most important clicks with my camera

The setup

For the seventh time, I’ve “flipped” or “rolled over” the four-digit image-counter on my camera. I’ve made over 70-thousand exposures, which is a great accomplishment for both camera and me. Unfortunately, exposure number 75000 will prove to be a bad omen.

I own a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi), an entry-level digital crop-sensor camera which was introduced to the consumer market in the first-quarter of 2008.

The camera has no weather-proofing, poor to average low-light capability, and a small burst-rate, but the camera is affordable, portable, and easy to use. The kit-lens doesn’t have great build-quality, but the lens is lightweight with a decent range in focal lengths for my kind of photography.

The camera is dead! Long live the camera!

It’s early August 2013, and I’m in the Czech capital city of Prague. I’m standing in front of the Television Tower in the Zizkov neighbourhood.

I’m wearing a confused frown, because the photos are coming out vignetted. I realize quickly the metal leaves which make up the shutter have gone loose, and aren’t opening and closing properly: something like this.

The dreaded error message “Err 99” pops up on the camera display. I turn the power off and on, and press the shutter button. “Err 99” persists, and there’s a new grinding “whirring” noise inside the camera.

Just a couple of days ago, I’ve reached the milestone of exposure number 75000. But apparently, I’ve now reached the end: after 5 years and 2 months, my camera has stopped working.

Why so many clicks? What’s the point?

Some have asked: “Why did you take so many exposures? If you took fewer photos, your camera could’ve lasted longer!”

These questions miss the point of owning a camera.

Making so many exposures is how I got used to the camera. I wouldn’t have to think about what to do, or to figure out what button was where. After frequent use and learning the “manual” functions of my camera, shooting became almost “automatic.” When the moment came, it took a few quick movements to fiddle with the camera settings with “finger-memory” to make the shot.

How does one become good with their camera?

Go out and make lots of photos. Learn, use, and memorize the camera functions. Work on small projects to photograph to get better: explore, screw up and fail spectacularly. Learn, improve, repeat.

Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more, so that getting the shot is first nature, and making the shot is second nature.

That’s also what David duChemin describes in “Towards Mastery. Again”, about becoming proficient with your own camera gear, whatever gear you might have.

Exit stage right

The broken shutter assembly needs replacing, and judging by what I’ve read online, the cost of parts and labour is equivalent to a significant fraction of the price for a new camera or a new piece of glass. The shutter isn’t worth replacing.

So, what’s next? I have no intention on going back to a crop-sensor, so future conversations will involve the phrases “full-frame” and “better low-light performance.”

Goodbye, 450D: you’ve been a trusty servant and guide on my photographic journey.

To celebrate and mourn its passing, here are the first and last photos I made with the 450D.

Waikoloa Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

One of the first photos: Waikoloa Beach, Big Island – Hawaii, 19 May 2008.

Zizkov TV Tower, Prague, Czech Republic

One of the last: Žižkov TV Tower with “Miminka” (“Babies”, by David Černý) – Prague, 4 Aug 2013.

PostScript: The autofocus ring on the “original” EF-S 18-55mm IS kit-lens failed while I was about to visit New Zealand’s Milford Sound. I purchased a replacement EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens weeks later in Sydney, Australia. This type of lens cannot be used on a full-frame camera. Fortunately, that latter lens now has a warm and loving home with fellow Canadian and traveler Kate Clarke.

This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-3Hp.

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