Camera Talk: Fuji X100s

This week on Camera Talk we will continue to praise Mirrorless cameras for offering form and function in equal proportion.  Mirrorless Cameras have the best of both worlds: a smaller size closer to that of a point-and-shoot, with the large sensor of a DSLR.  

The Fuji X100s is this weeks camera of choice because it delivers excellent image quality with a self contained unit plus it is light and compact with a fixed lens and built in flash.  This is a camera that you can take with you pretty much everywhere without being overwhelmed by its presence while being able to create quality images.  The lens is a fixed Fujinon f2, 23 mm lens, which is the equivalent of a 35 mm lens on a full frame 35 mm camera. The lens is fast enough to allow shooting in low light conditions which is ideal for events or concerts.  The controls on the camera are really easy to reach and it has an excellent auto white balance.  The X100s offers a high ISO setting of 25600 with far less noise than other cameras and is surprisingly usable for such a high ISO setting.  The X100s has interesting creative options such as recreating the look of different types of Fuji Films: Provia, Velvia, Astia and several Fuji color negative films.  It also includes black and white, sepia and color toning options.

You can find a Fuji X100s for $950 and up which is a great price for all it has to offer.  Check out this review from Bangalore-based photographer Nishant Ratnakar after he left behind his Canon 5D for the Fuji X100s and stay tuned for more camera talk next week...
 

Photos: Analog Film Lab

Had a great day shooting, processing film and making prints during our all-day Analog Film Lab (@ the Bushwick Community Darkroom) this Wednesday.  After a 45 minute shoot in the neighborhood, we learned to load film onto reels, something that requires a bit of practice because you have to perform this maneuver in total darkness.

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Throughout the 8 hour class, we go through the whole darkroom process step-by-step, taking our time to make old school silver print enlargements and getting a feel for the hands-on process.  Some stuff is pretty toxic, like these C-41 processing chemicals which must be handled with gloves in a well-ventilated space.  Luckily we used black and white film, so the chemistry is a lot easier to deal with.

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Darkrooms are evocative places.  The constant sound of running water, and the dim lights and memorable smells are actually pretty hypnotic when you spend a long period of time there.  It's a pretty decent alternative to binge-watching on Netflix, so you've also got that going for you.

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Justin and Kelsey did a bang-up job at the manual 35mm capture stage... nailing the exposure on almost every frame (without the help of a LCD screen) which provided a lot of options for printing.  The 45 minute challenge really forces you to focus on specific ideas or elements, and the simplified film bodies encourage a slower, more measured approach.  They nailed it, making it much easier for them at the printing stage.  Some pretty spot-on work... see for yourself!

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Also, the vertical print washer has the best bubble patterns...

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Prints on the dryer -- shot, processed and enlarged in a single day.

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This is Kelsey, a nurse from Texas, with her favorite print of from today's class. 

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And this is Justin, a cinematographer also from Texas, with his.

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You can become a member at the Bushwick Community Darkroom or rent darkroom time at only $12.00 per hour.   They can do your film processing and contact printing for you too, but maybe you rather learn to do your own.   Sign up for the next Analog Film Lab by clicking here.

Photos: The November Student Show

One of the best things about photography is it gets you out of the house.  Students, teachers and friends come out to show their support and a share a celebratory drink at these end-of-class photo receptions.   For us, It's pretty special to see people make such huge leaps, often from little to no practical experience with photography or cameras.  We live in a time when many of our images arrive electronically, and so it's becoming unusual to see photographs printed and hung on a wall, especially our own.  So we get a lot out of these student shows, and it's awesome to see all the friendly faces and great work!

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Student Show Tonight! Nov 4, 2014

Come join us tonight for the final exhibition of student work for those completing the Digital Photo I and II courses with Kathy Rugh.  Featuring projects by Samantha Niedospial, Laura Varoscak, Nancy La Lanne, Les Vital, Elianna Lippold-Johnson, Boris Artemyeu, Josh Morey, Dana, Wilson, Debbie Vazquez, Lee Press, Maura Doyle, Ignacio Sarasola and Zhenya Bernadskaya.  Refreshments as always will be served.

Halloween Photo Tips

It's that time of year when creativity is celebrated, which makes Halloween our favorite holiday.   Plus we can't resist dogs in costumes.  When it comes to photographing costumes at that party you're going to, we know it can be a struggle when it's so dark out.  So we've assembled a few key tips for getting better low-light results:

Tip #1: Open your aperture to maximum.  This may seem obvious to experienced shooters, but it's a big part the equation towards shooting faster and avoiding blurry-motion shots. 

Tip #2: Try a prime lens.  Most zoom lenses only open to f/3.5 but some of you with prime lenses (like a 50mm) can reach apertures of f/1.8 or brighter.  That's about 2 stops of extra light-gathering capability, which will really help freeze motion. 

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Tip #3: Night Portrait Mode.  If you're in a situation where you need some flash, but want to preserve, say, the city lights in the distance, switch to Night Portrait Mode, which usually has an icon like this:

This mode turns your flash on, but uses a slow shutter to help burn in the background lights.  You can even use this mode to create light trails!

Tip #4: Diffuse, Control, Color.  Try putting objects in front of the flash, like colored glass/plastic, cellophane wrap, paper towel cores, balloons, or anything else you can think of that you can tape to or fit over the flash.  These are called "flash modifiers" and you can make a ton of great DIY devices for little to no money.  Combine that with Tip #3 for amazing results!

We hope wherever you're headed this weekend, you and your loved ones stay safe and take loads of pictures!