Fuji X-E1 - An Elegant Non Klunker's ShortcomingsSaturday, July 26, 2014
Many years ago in the dawn of electronic cameras I used to have students who were extremely proud of their A-1 Canons. These were a marvel of the age.
In a fairly quiet tone I voice I would instruct these proud owners to remove the single, fairly large battery. Some of them did not know how to do this. Once this was done I would declare, to their shock, “You now have in possession a very expensive door stop.”
In my last years of teaching at Focal Point I used to ask my students, “Is there some way that you can take pictures with your digital cameras in this studio and then go home and have nothing?” The answer was, "Yes," and the most often one was, “Sometimes the storage cards become corrupted.”
I found out that if the scary mantra of the turn of the last century into this one was, “The computers are down.” (and this century, too if you think Translink). This was and is not as scary as, “Your storage card is corrupted.” “Your hard drive is corrupted.”
Before we photographers depended on those electronic door stops we would go with two cameras if we needed one. We had four rolls if we though we would shoot one. We'd have several flash chords, and two light/flashmeters. When my prime Mamiya portrait lens, a 140mm floating element macro lens failed, on a job (Raymond Burr) because the shutter main spring gave out I never ever went to another job without two 140 lenses.
So we photographers have always been paranoid about photographic failure and we respected Patterson’s Law which stipulated the Murphy (of Murphy’s Law) was an out-and-out optimist.
And when we have been faced with failure in a job we have found roundabout methods of overcoming it. Once when I was sent to Calgary to photograph a CBC announcer my Mamiya RB suffered a broken mirror (it would not go down. My solution was to find a used Mamiya at a pawnshop (I gave him a credit card number) and have it delivered to the CBC by taxi. The chap of the pawnshop was happy to get money and still keep the camera!
At the persistent urging of my wife Rosemary I finally purchased a digital camera last year. I did not want to buy those expensive clunker Canons or Nikons. I chose a rather sophisticated mirrorless Fuji X-E1. I bought it at Leo’s Camera knowing that Jeff Gin would help me every step of the way into the 21st century kind of camera. And so he has.
Meanwhile I have been overtly making fun of
my friend Paul Leisz’s Canon klunker. He has been fairly subdued in countering
my rude aggression. I believe he might have, in the end had the last laugh.
|Jeff Gin at Leo's Cameras|
You see this Fuji X-E1 can do just about everything. It will shoot panoramics (left to right, right to left, up to down, down to up, long or extra long) without need of Photoshop stitching (like Leisz’s Canon). The X-E1 is light and compact. It is elegant and the zoom lens that I purchased with it (my first ever zoom lens) gives me just about every focal length I want. And if that was not enough with an adaptor (which I have) I can use every old manual Nikon lens I own.
While teaching at Focal Point I used to tell my students that digital cameras like the ones they had were much better than film cameras in rendering the true colour of human flesh. Even some of the cheaper DSLRs could do this very nicely.
My Fuji X-E1 has one design flaw that most people would not note. You see few photographers these days that fire studio flashes with their cameras. I do.
I have been unable to get a correct flesh tone when mating my Fuji to my studio flash. In fact the pictures are incredibly tinted red/yellow. I have to work extra time to get my colour pictures of people taken in my small home studio to almost (never quite) accurate.
Leisz’s Canon has like most decent DSLRs something called Custom White Balance.
My Fuji has Custom White Balance but unlike Leisz’s klunker it does not allow for balancing flash (intermittent light) but only continuous light sources.
So I went to Leo’s with my camera, a portable studio flash and a small softbox and went at it with Jeff Gin as my subject.
This was our conclusion.
1. The camera does not have a separate flash setting. It has a flash setting for the little on-camera retractable flash.
2. The camera will give an almost correct flesh tone with a studio flash if the camera is set for the sun symbol (sunlight).
3. At 5800 degrees Kelvin (a Kodak definition of daylight and a well corrected studio flash) the Fuji will give you very warm pictures as the camera simply adjusts to the light in a studio, and ignores that it is tethered to a studio flash.
4. Going against the grain of logic (it does make sense but it is much too complicated for me to explain here) if we set the camera to a warmer 4800 degrees Kelvin the camera will attempt to correct and with a studio flash you will get similar results at with the daylight symbol.
In short we photographers have always found a way of circumventing those systems designed to thwart us!
The device you see sitting on the camera is a safe sync. It is the only way I can connect the camera to my studio flash.