How to use these folder graphics with Apple OS X... to change icon graphics, open the graphic in "Preview", select all (cmd A) and copy (cmd C), next, the folder graphic you want to replaced simply use the "Get Info" (cmd I), then single click on the current icon image top left which then gets highlighted, then just select paste (cmd V).
This is a first part article to a photography workflow article coming soon. Organization and folder structure features very importantly in the article so I've designed 3 different themes anyone can download to use in there own workflow, each theme set consists of 15 folder designs @ 512x512 pixels in .png format.
I recently purchased a HOYA PRO1 ND6 (64) filter but needed a chart to give me a guide to the difference in exposure I would need to dial in manually. Didn't find much online so decided to create my own, a mobile version being handy and a tablet full size guide. The mobile versions come in 5 guides, 2 ND filters per guide covering 10 stops. It's FREE to download... Enjoy!
My DSLR is carried around in a Lowpro Trekker rucksack which is not the kind of thing I wanted for my X-Series camera. When I got my X-E1 I temporally used a small Lowpro shoulder bag, although functional with plenty of pockets I really had my heart set on the classic looking shoulder bags from Billingham to carry on the retro look with its leather and brass fittings.
Unfortunately I found Billingham's website a bit lacking in the visual department, more images displaying color options and scale would haven been very helpful (a picture of someone wearing the bag for scale) but I had to research outside their own website to make a my final decision. It was between the Hadley Pro or Hadley Small, both have great styling but the size was hard to judge... Too large and it becomes a hindrance to carry around while walking, too small that I can't get the necessary equipment inside comfortably and easy to remove quickly.
In the end I decided the Hadley Pro was just a bit too large, the Hadley Small looked like enough room to take the X-E1 with 18-55mm attached and room for two extra lenses. I can fit my iPad inside between the sleeve and the back, it's not designed for that so its not padded on the outside. Two front expandable pockets take all the little extras you'll likely to need, push studs make them quick to access.
Bags are very much a personal choice, and these bags are not cheap but I have read they will last a life time and the styling of the Hadley range is very old school photographer, just what I was looking for and the perfect partner to any X-Series camera.
Colors, again the Billingham website failed to show all the color choices on screen except Khaki/Tan, only descriptions for the rest... very weird, "come on Billingham I want to see beautiful photos of all your bags in all the color choices". However, I always hovered towards the original color combination of Khaki/Tan, so now I was set to order.
Billingham Hadley Small - Khaki/Tan - UK retails at £140 - I was extremely lucky as I was about to order I made an unusual decision for me to go check eBay, I found a seller with these statistics - Positive Feedback: 99.9% & Feedback score: 4888 selling the Hadley Small Khaki/Tan combination, brand new with all tags in original packaging for a starting bid of £89 and with only 2 hours remaining on this auction. Needless to say I won with the minimum bid and received the bag 2 days later, I saved £50. It came in a cream colored draw string presentation bag with a 5 year guarantee from Billingham.
It's everything I hoped for, material and construction are all top grade, you can see it's built by craftsman. Design is retro like I said before so doesn't shout I'm a camera bag. Take out the removable sleeve and you have yourself a beautiful everyday bag, plus the canvas has been treated to be waterproof which is good to know your gear is well protected. inside the removable sleeve you get two large and two small dividers which is ample for this size bag. No noisy velcro to bring attention to yourself when opening the main flap, instead the beautiful quick release leather straps make it a much more stealthy affair on the streets.
Billingham Hadley Range.
Billingham camera bags may seem expensive but you get what you pay for... it's made to last a lifetime and it's going to protect my gear, I can rely on its build quality not to fail.
N.B. All photos taken with Fujifilm X-E1 + XF18-55mm : Files OOC JPG's
A Pro's & Con's article but without using the word "Con", that's because I see them more as minor niggles that one can work around or change your own habits to accommodate... The X-E1 is too good a camera to start finding faults that may stop you buying or using it - let me explain.
This seems to be one big debate, lag & high noise in low light, however in reality when you need to use a EVF it's either too bright to view the rear screen, so then in bright conditions the OLED is perfect and wonderfully sharp. The rear screen may only be a 460k res, but it's very clear and live view looks great indoors, take this view (no pun intended) it's a tool to compose & review your shots, it's enough to know if you got the shot right and move on.
Get a Grip of yourself
The On/Off switch was annoying on my first shoot but I'm becoming more used to it now and being careful where I place my hands. I still seem to hit the macro option button but these are just niggles, the extra grip would improve handling with the added bonus of having a centre position screw thread inline with the mounted lens for tripod attaching. Some third party cases seem to offer up nice solutions but I still prefer the solid grip that sticks out a little more and the screw mount centered.
Q & Fn Button
I love the Q button, I shoot with a fixed ISO of 200 most of the time but my custom Q1 has the ISO set to Auto ISO800 when needed. It's the best of both worlds, so quick to change when needed. My Fn button is set to AF Mode, however, maybe Fuji could add some more options to the list (make it another AF Select button?).
Manual focus for my type of photography is not a problem, having the 3x & 10x magnification (or checking focus) is extremely useful but if I was using manual focus only lenses then I may wish for a focus peaking option and who knows where Fujifilm may go with this and future firmware updates, seems to be another hot topic. I do like seeing the focus distance and depth of field scale on screen, if you were shooting street photography and allowed a little bit of depth of field then you could quite easily preset focus and shoot immediately, I think it's very under looked.
Wait, I haven't got the focus point selected yet!
Changing the AF point when needed was a bit slow, not always getting it to the area I wanted and having to re-enable the AF select again and by that time you might miss the opportunity. Being able to use AF in MULTI with an area zone selection would be useful but these still aren't "CON'S", just something you'll need to practice. I do like the focus box area that can be shrunk or enlarged, useful if your not working too fast.
Feeding the X-E1
Battery life is reasonable, I got through about 33% in 30 minutes walking around with camera continuously set to the On position using both the EVF & rear screen for the whole time and it was a cold morning, don't forget it's also powering the OIS on the XF18-55 (not continuous). Easy message, get spare battery's. Downside, It just means if you are using the grip then you'll have to remove it before you can load in a new battery.
Pimp your settings
Set it up the way you work... Custom settings are many, 7 custom Q menus or just hit the Q button and quickly change an option - its genius. EVF & rear screen display options the way you want it, I keep mine uncluttered. It's great to have a custom Fn button but the list of options could be bigger. Even the manual focus ring can be set to rotate either direction for close to far or far to close. All your precious setting are remember after firmware updates.
RAW or JPEG?
I did try processing the RAW's in camera, the JPEG's looked GREAT but it was annoying that you don't get a preview until you've finished, if your not happy with the look and cancel you start back at the beginning. I would like a resume editing option at least. So far I've been processing my RAW's in Lightroom but I still feel I'm missing something without full support for the X-Trans sensor and have become reluctant to process all my images.
Good News coming... "Capture One" with X-Trans support (still only beta), but this could be really exciting for ever user, start saving.
Don't say KIT lens, Prime in a Zoom, the XF18-55
The XF18-55mm is superb, build quality is excellent, a good weight and smooth rings. Variable aperture ring... Well yeah you do have to read the screen to set aperture but it works well, let's say you are set to the widest aperture and change focal length from 18mm to 55mm then back to 18mm, it always remembers where aperture was set for these focal lengths, changing from f2.8 to f4 then back to f2.8, my Sigma EX DG lenses with variable aperture don't do that. Image detail is incredible at both ends, wide open it's still excellent and stopped down it's razor sharp, like having prime quality in a zoom. Lens hood is plastic and petal shaped but it adds to the protection and limits glare to the front element. This XF18-55mm makes the perfect travel and walkabout lens capturing beautiful images.
Who needs it?
The X-E1 is a perfect travel camera, it was a big factor for me, not having to compromising on image quality but something I could easily carry, for discreet street photography (if any camera can be discreet once you point it in someone's face), artistic and creative photography, photographers who are more deliberate with their style and don't rely on anything that moves too fast...
As I've said previously about this camera, it's a joy to use, even the shutter sounds gorgeous to my ears, respect the camera and adapt when needed but be thankful such a camera exists and enjoy the magic it creates.
I didn't mention video, honestly I haven't used it yet. I chose the X-E1 for its ability to take amazing stills only, video is just a bonus.
My first proper time out using this camera and lens was on the 10th December on a Christmas shopping trip to Chichester, my first stop was inside Chichester cathedral, I was looking for something to shoot at a shallow depth of field - picked of course, candels. All photos shot in RAW then converted in Lightroom 4.3, this artical is not about image processing, I use Lightroom because I'm very familiar and comfortable with it.
Inside the cathedral gift shop, not much natural light here, the light is coming from a window behind the display, this light is the restaurant part of the same shop and not outside light...
Next shot was taken in the Christmas market, I'm not a street photographer (yet) so I'm a little uncomfortable pointing a camera at strangers, although walking around with the X-E1 & 18-55mm didn't seem to attract too much attention. Shot this guy because he looked cheerful and had an interesting face or maybe he thought I was going to buy something...
Back Street Cathedral, not a common touristy type photo, found this alternative perspective of the cathedral on a stroll through some of the back streets. Lens was set to around the 35mm mark, at f/8 this shows how sharp this lens can really be. 100% Crop below.
This was the next day when I was walking along the canal from Hunston to Chichester, this chap was rowing towards me from a fair distance so I stopped near an abandoned barge and waited for him to row into the scene. It was a bright early morning (chilly too with a slight frost) - I shot 3 photos but this was the best of the bunch.
First off the back I'll say it was a real joy to be finally out and about with my hands wrapped around the X-E1's gorgeous body, composing and reviewing from both the EFV & rear screen was encouraging to see such sharp and colorful results (after downloading I spotted a few missed focus shots that I didn't see on the camera, especially my shots from the low lit cathedral - next time I'll preview in zoom). I had a tweet from a follower after I posted my unboxing blog, he wrote that he tried the X-E1 in a shop and wasn't happy with the EVF low light performance, my answer is, in daylight it's awesome and clear, great for reviewing photos too, in poor light I have no problem using the rear screen, even though it's not a high res screen it's still a very good one.
One particular issue I had whilst using it in a walkabout situation was the On/Off switch which I kept turning on when putting it away in my bag, only to pull it out and find it was on... It's too easy to knock out of position (or is it just me?). I would rather it was somewhere else on the body and was more ridgeied. The exposure compensation dial being easily knocked out of position wasn't a problem as I've read from other users.
I don't have big chubby fingers but I did find myself activating options by mistake, hitting buttons then having to find a way out of something I accidentally hit (the Macro button was something I hit often). 30 minutes walking around the Christmas market made my right hand ache slightly (I'm using a hand strap) so I feel the extra grip (although expensive) could make the handling better for me.
The XF18-55mm 2.8-4 OIS was excellent to use, smooth rotating rings and solid feeling. I have a protector filter on the front and I kept the hood on at all times, even in my bag. The lens cap was sometimes a bit awkward to fit with cold hands. I must confess to mostly shooting with wide apertures and consequently some of the images I rejected later would have been better stopped down... My style of photography has always been shallow depth of field but for street photography a little more depth would probably help nail the focus more often - so again, my bad and I've learnt from my early mistake. When I did get it right the lens performs faultlessly and makes it a serious general/walkabout/travel lens. I found the Auto focus to be generally fine, finding focus in most of my low light situations, some low light shots missed but mostly due to using wide apertures and focus needing to be more critical, nothing that makes me feel concerned.
I didn't want to write this as a review, plenty of good articles scattered over the web that compare other cameras and such for you to find, this is intended to be my first time impression that I can write down my real life experience from using it. Some of the photos I rejected later were my own fault and some were my lack of camera time experience, it just takes a little time getting used to it not being a DSLR, it's a little like stepping back in time, only after using it can you properly appreciate how much bloody fun photography can be...
A camera for real photographers.
This is not a review of Fujifilm's X-E1 but how I decide to make this my next camera...
I've been a long time Canon user and in March 2012 I decided I needed to upgrade from my 6 year old EOS 30D. Image wise I've never had a problem and I always felt very comfortable with the operation and handling of this camera... I come from a long way back using Canon DSLR's & film SLR cameras. In the 80's my best film camera was the Canon A-1 which gave me a long and almost trouble free service, I still have it with a few FD lenses as a retired ornament and reminder of different and happy days.
I was pretty sure my next camera would be another Canon because a factor in changing to another manufacture are the collection of lenses you may have acquired and needing to start again becomes very expensive, fortunately I felt my Sigma EX DG collection although good was not so terrible for me to start again, so... should I look at changing manufactures or stick with Canon?
"FOCUSED ON CHANGE"
The reason I felt the need to upgrade/change in the first place came from two necessities, first a more compact system which would enable me to actually take a serious camera for travel yet not be compromised and second, an opportunity to manual focus with a live EFV/Screen view with a higher magnification on the subject area by which to focus... I personally find it very difficult to focus manually in the OVF of my 30D especially using a macro lens with shallow depth of field - many shots I've missed focus by a few millimeters only to notice after downloading, which then becomes very frustrating.
Putting aside my personal necessities... the most important considerations in choosing the next camera had to be - Image Quality, Quality Lenses and Sensor. Image quality has always been my No.1 priority over a speed camera. I really haven't had any problems with my old 30D's images until I compared them to the Fuji X-Pro1's high ISO samples I'd had a chance to view - it was a sit up and reconsider moment that could change my whole system for the image quality alone.
"LOVE HAS A PRICE TAG"
For a long time I had been falling in love with Fujifilm's X-Pro1, image quality to match full frame and probably beyond, it's retro styling and awesome current lens lineup, a lens road map of very desirable lenses to come in 2013... but alas I don't have bottomless pockets so it was a system that ticked nearly all the boxes except price...
"STILL WAITING & DISAPPOINTED"
So, 9 months on and I still hadn't parted with any money or any signs of a new camera, but seriously I was very disappointed with Canon's lack of new generation models... many of the current models in "MY" price range were looking like they maybe updated soon, so I kept waiting and anticipating something exciting - for months I read all the rumor sites, Photokina was coming up so I held off until I heard about all the latest models from the top players (Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm). Canon didn't deliver any new updated models, which was my main reason for hanging on so long. The EOS M was introduced but not enough to get excited about, still entry level and using old sensor technology with no view finder, the new 6D full frame looked interesting but this was going to be too expensive giving the fact I would have spend more on good glass to give it a chance of image quality edge to edge, this would mean dumping all my Sigma's (My Sigma's deliver good results from a crop sensor but maybe some don't score to well on full frame testing). If I had to dump all my Sigma's then why not look at something completely different...
"A NEW KICK'ASS CAMERA - THE X-E1"
OK, I heard about it weeks before the Photokina show but I was still only reading speculations regarding its abilities and specifications, nothing was finalized but it seemed to be an X-Pro1 in a slightly smaller body minus the hybrid viewfinder and a tiny built in flash and of course it's more affordable price tag... Thankfully this is how it turned out. So I kinda made my mind up at this point that this was the next camera & system for me. The Sony NEX 7 had been considered months before, after my own frustrations in waiting such a long time but SONY's lack of quality E-Mount lenses not to mention its not so serious styling and crazy menu system stopped me from ever taking it seriously. (Sorry NEX fans) I love the X-E1's retro styling and proper metal dials that allow you to see instantly your exposure setting even with camera turned off, simple and very old school but it just works. I like the fact it has no gimmicky menu options you'll never use and the way it presents itself as a serious photographers camera... So on the 20th November 2012 I placed an order with ParkCameras.com for the X-E1 (Black) + 18-55mm 2.8-4 kit (with a 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I as part of a promotion deal), it arrived 22 hours later all safely packaged up (See my unboxing blog). Originally I intended to purchase just prime lenses but after I had seen sample images from the 18-55mm and a brief video from the Fuji Guys using this lens I changed my mind, I decided it would be very useful to have a zoom lens in travel and general walk about situations, especially with its OIS and f2.8-4 fast(ish) apertures and the amazing image quality I was seeing.
To add, buying into a new system very early with a new model gives me an opportunity to have fun blogging and share my experiences & thoughts about the X-E1. With the birth of this website www.ComposingHands.com, I can further my photography fun. It all feels like a bit of a trip!
The Fujifilm X-E1 takes wonderful photos and is more fun to use than any of my previous DSLR cameras, it's a real joy to use and has recaptured my memories of the film day cameras that started my lifetime passion for photography.
It's not just about capturing the photo but enjoying the experience along the way...
Thanks for reading.
Proud to be an X-E1 user.
This blog entery may seem a bit unnecessary but before I purchased this X-E1 + Lens kit I did wonder how the packaging looked, how it all came together in the same box... The X-E1 body only was on sale a little before this kit and I had seen some unboxing videos before, so I was curious about the packaging. Instead of making a video I just took 9 photos of the complete unpacking process.
It's such a glorious camera, with it's retro look and metal tactile dials (none of your menu driven nonsense here) that rotate into position with a positive click and coolness to the touch, this camera always gives you a satisfying feeling ever time you pick it up...