My wife and I recently celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary together. I took this photo to celebrate the occasion. Do you have an upcoming anniversary or other important life event of your own to commemorate? Use the Contact link above to schedule your photo session today!
When I bought my Fujifilm X-E2 about four years ago, I took a big gamble. I didn't just dip my toes in the mirrorless waters; I plunged in head first. I'd never even picked up a mirrorless camera, much less tried out any of the Fujifilm offerings, but I'd heard plenty of good things about them from trusted podcasts and multiple product reviews. After lengthy research, I felt confident that I was buying into a system that fit my style of shooting - so confident, in fact, that I sold all of my Nikon gear beforehand in order to subsidize the switch.
As it turned out, my gamble paid off. While I initially missed some of my old lenses (especially my Tokina 11-16mm super-wide), I quickly fell in love with the whole Fujifilm environment. The physical dials, the look and feel of the gear, the beautiful film simulations, the generous firmware updates that expanded the functionality of my existing camera, and the distinctive Fujifilm photo "look."
One notable area where Fujifilm lagged behind the leading industry giants at the time was in their limited line of "XF" lenses. In 2017, there are now plenty of high quality primes and zooms available. Fujifilm even provides an updated road map of lenses yet to be released. When I was first introduced to Fujifilm, the only lens I had was the 18-55 kit lens. This wasn't a bad thing, to be honest; their kit lens is solidly built from metal and glass, and is faster than most kit lenses from the big names. On the APS-C sensor, that lens gave me an effective zoom range of about 28-80mm, which adequately covers most typical scenarios photographers encounter.
Since I already owned a number of vintage camera lenses, I was able to extend my optical reach by purchasing an inexpensive adapter that lets you attach a Konica Hexanon lens mount to the Fujifilm body. (You can purchase similar adapters for Minolta and other vintage lens mounts.) So when I took a trip to California in January 2014, I brought along the adapter and my trusty old Hexanon 135mm f/3.2 telephoto. With the APS-C sensor, this effectively gave me a reach of 216mm. The lens and adapter worked beautifully, giving me the reach I didn't have with my kit lens. When I wanted to capture a beautiful moonrise the next summer, I grabbed a Konica 200mm telephoto lens, which on my Fujifilm body became a 320mm monster.
There are some drawbacks to using old lenses on digital cameras, particularly for those accustomed to digital gear. For starters, there's no electronic communication between the lens and camera, which means there's no EXIF lens data recorded in the file. On Fujifilm cameras, you have to specifically enable using the camera without a lens attached, since that's exactly what the camera thinks is going on.
It should go without saying that these vintage manual focus lenses remain manual focus when attached to a modern camera body. The same goes for setting the aperture - you must use the physical ring on the lens. While we've all gotten spoiled with the amazing image stabilization in modern lenses (and some camera bodies), these lenses have no such safety net, so keeping very still when taking the shot is critical to taking sharp photos. For the same reason, you also need to mind your shutter speed.
The upside to all this is that because of the way shooting modes work on Fujifilm cameras, you can let the camera make all of the remaining exposure decisions for you, or you can choose to adjust those manually as well. Even better, if you have an X-T2, when you switch the camera to manual focus, there are some digital tools that will enable you to nail the focus with greater precision than would have been possible when these lenses were new! Even if you have less than perfect eyesight, these tools should help considerably.
Two features that are particularly helpful are focus peaking (also available on the earlier X-E2), and a new "Dual" feature that shows two frames in the viewfinder: a larger one at full-size, and a smaller frame that displays a loupe view of the area around the focus point. Using focus peaking, you simply turn the lens until the edges "sparkle" in the loupe, and you've got tack sharp focus! I only learned about this feature in the past week, and it's going to be a game-changer in my macro work, where manual focus is the norm even for modern lenses that have autofocus.
Four years after making the switch, I'm still a Fujifilm fanboy. I've purchased a number of Fujinon (Fujifilm's lens mount) lenses, as well as a couple of inexpensive Rokinon lenses. I don't have any pressing need to "slum" around (as Ken Rockwell puts it), with lens adapters and vintage glass. Sometimes it's just fun to see what you can create with old gear.
Occasionally I'll pick up an old lens that I primarily intend to use on old cameras (as nature intended), and I'm curious to see how it works on a modern digital sensor. Such was the case when I bought my latest find: a Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 - a fast and sharp prime released around 35-40 years ago.
The following comments and sample photos reflect my totally unscientific methodology: namely, attach lens to camera and go shoot stuff around the neighborhood. There are no control images for comparison, no detailed technical data, and I didn't even record what f-stop I used. All shots were handheld, so any softness in the photos is probably an artifact of my unsteady hand. Please keep in mind that this is more of cursory look at the kinds of results you might get than a proper review.
That being said, I was impressed with the overall performance of the 50mm on my Fujifilm X-T2 (which effectively covers the same field of view as an 80mm lens on a full-frame digital or 35mm camera). The colors looked good, sharpness was excellent. While I'm eager to try this lens for portraits, taking advantage of that wide aperture to make the subject pop, I haven't had a chance to try it with a human subject yet. I have no reason to think it won't work well for that purpose.
The only con I could see with this specific lens is that the lens coatings seem to be deficient from a modern standpoint. As you can see in these samples, the lens experienced some flares and streaks more typical of today's toy cameras. This might well have been mitigated by using a lens hood, however, and being the experimental type I found this technical shortcoming to be rather charming. Before the digital era, and the rise of the lomography movement, these flaws were to be avoided. For many shooters today, they merely add character.
I've applied my standard edits on these photos: camera profile, sharpening, straightening, exposure adjustments, and some cropping. All of the photos were shot in RAW.
Additional, Non-Sequential Notes:
(1) The X-T2 lets you specify a focal length for your "no-lens" lens. I didn't remember to set it, so it defaulted to 21mm. That may or may not have affected the images seen here.
(2) The 50mm lens came with a Skylight (1A) filter, which I chose to leave attached, and I've not tried shooting without it. It's possible the filter may have contributed to the light flare.
(3) While I have no experience using them, there are more sophisticated lens adapters that support autofocus and electronic communication on lenses that have those features. Expect to pay a lot more for that functionality.
(4) I don't mean to create the impression that lens adapters are a better choice, or even equal to, lenses made by your camera manufacturer. Especially with Fujifilm cameras, there's a lot of lens correcting and digital wizardry that happens inside the brains of the camera. Using adapters with old lenses is the sort of thing you do for creative enjoyment, and because it's an easy way to re-purpose old gear, not because you don't want to invest in the right glass for the job.
One of my photographic specialties is working with models to help them build a portfolio of work. If you're looking to collaborate on creating fun and creative photos, I can help you with almost any kind of session: from head shots to full-length fashion, dance, and lifestyle photography.
Why choose me?
I have a solid reputation in the area as a photographer who is always respectful and professional in all of my dealings with people from all walks of life. I am not what has unfortunately come to be known in the industry as a "guy with a camera." I'm a real photographer with a range of proven photographic accomplishments and a varied skill set. My reputation is important to me, and it should be to you, also.
Supportive escorts are strongly recommended, especially for a first time session with a new client. (A parent or legal guardian is required for any photography involving minors.) I want you to be comfortable working with me; having someone you already know and trust along for the adventure can go a long ways towards your peace of mind.
My rates are affordable*, and I take pride in my work. You will receive professionally edited, high-resolution, digital images with no unsightly watermarks. The actual number of photos you'll receive varies according to the type of shoot; head shots, for example, are similar enough that anything more than a dozen is usually overkill. For everday shoots, I provide a minimum of 15 images, although I frequently go well over that figure. If we make a killer photo, I won't hold it back from you because of some arbitrary photo cap.
The photos are yours to use however you see fit. I grant each model a non-exclusive, perpetual license to publish and distribute their photos, with no other restrictions on their use. Credit, where appropriate, is always appreciated. Aside from necessary cropping, I do ask that you not further edit the photos since that reflects on my work. (Wonky filters make me jittery.)
You will be thrilled with the results of our session! Contact me today, and let's talk about what I can do to help advance your personal goals.
*Of course there's an asterisk here. My listed prices are strictly for my photographic services. If significant travel is involved, or other expenses are necessarily incurred, my actual costs will be added to your bill. Also, my fees do not include the services of a hair or makeup artist. If you need assistance in that regard, I will happily work with you to find an independent contractor, or you can hire someone on your own.
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, I'm now making this photo available as an 8x10" print. The cost is $35, plus shipping. Get yours today!
Candidly, I'd not planned to take any photos of today's big solar eclipse. Everyone and their brother with a long lens was gearing up, and I knew NASA would wow us all with photos taken from a jet. As things turned out, I was able to snag a pair of eclipse safety glasses from my friends at The Knoxville Community Darkroom last night. One thing led to another, and I found myself standing in our driveway as the moon (almost) totally eclipsed the sun.
In Oak Ridge, we had less than a minute before the moon continued on its merry way and daylight was restored. I had to work quickly, and adjusted my camera manually to get the best exposure I could. I did fire off several decent eclipse photos that look pretty much like everyone else's eclipse photos. As the moon began to edge away, something flew by out of the corner of my eye. I quickly snagged a couple more shots before it became dangerous to continue doing so without any sort of filter on my lens.
When I loaded the photos on my computer, I was surprised and delighted to find this photo among them. Aside from a few Lightroom adjustments (including cropping), this is the once-in-a-lifetime photo exactly as captured by my camera! I'd like to tell you I planned this out carefully, but the truth is I was just in the right place, at the right time, with a camera ready to take a photograph.
Effective September 1, 2017, we will be raising our hourly portrait session rate from the current $150 to $200. This change is necessary in order to absorb business costs relating to upgraded gear and overhead expenses. Please note that our new price schedule remains highly competitive for this type of work.
From now until August 31st, you can take advantage of the existing rate of $150 for any portrait session: seniors, engagement, family or individual head shots. As always, you will receive high-resolution, edited photos with no restrictions on usage, delivered digitally for your convenience.
Don't delay - book your portrait session today using the Contact link at the top of the page!