Tag Archives: canon

Tenba DNA 15 Messenger Bag

What’s this? Another new camera bag? Well, yes. You know how it is with bags, you get one that holds what you need, then you change some of your kit, and that perfect bag no longer quite does it…

Now for general days out, I still like my Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag – it’s big enough to carry my X-T2 and an extra lens or two, but not so big as to get in the way. But for going away, when I need to carry a laptop, cables, chargers, penguins and probably an extra lens, it’s not quite up to the job, so I was in need of something better.

I do have a larger bag, which I got when I was using Canon, but it has the problem of being too big to walk around with, and is a bit awkward to actually use. I even have a Billingham bag, which is nice, but I got that when I had an 11″ MacBook Air, and it won’t take the 13″ one I have now.

So, after much reading of reviews, watching of videos and muttering to myself, I picked this nicely versatile bag, one of a range in various sizes and colours. Mine’s the Graphite (grey to most of us) large model.

Here’s a promo video which shows off the range:

It’s big enough for a 15″ laptop, so even if I get a bigger one at some point, it should still be fine. The camera section contains the usual selection of movable dividers with lots of padding, and is deep enough to swallow my actually quite large 100-400mm lens in a compartment, with the X-T2 and battery grip with a lens attached easily fitting in the centre section. And that still leaves plenty of space for more camera gear. There are loads of pockets for accessories, chargers, cables, batteries, penguins and whatever else you need to have with you.

The laptop section is well-padded and includes a smaller section suitable for a tablet, which is neat. There’s a rain cover included – this comes in a pouch you can keep in the bag, which makes it a bit more flexible than the integrated one my huuuuge bag has. If you like to wear your bag messenger style, there’s a side strap to secure it,  but it’s easily removable it you don’t need it (which I don’t), so it doesn’t get in the way.

There are some external pockets – the usual wide document holder type at the back, and two smaller ones on the front flap, which could hold things you want to have to hand. There are nice big stretch pouches on both sides – ideal for water bottles or similar.

Access to your gear is either by opening the flap, which thanks to its nicely designed flaps, which when the bag is closed provide some weather proofing, folds back out of the way very neatly, or via the top zip opening, which opens widely enough to make removing the X-T2 and battery grip very easy.

Despite its quite impressive capacity, it doesn’t feel like a big bag – it’s quite deep, but the height and width look more like the kind of bag you might carry around all the time. It seems to be well-made and certainly looks good. First impressions are very good. We’ll see how it works out.

Weight and Stuff Report – 12 September 2016

Down again today, how exciting. Or not.

After all that packing up of cameras last week, today the box was collected by a courier. It will reach its destination tomorrow, which means I should have some money in the bank by the end of the week. Of course, that’s already allocated to pay for something which may arrive before too long. Well, it is too long, really. It’s the first time since I got my Canon 30D that I’ve been without an interchangeable lens camera. And my fragile little brain just boggled when it realised that was ten years ago. Still, the Fuji X70 is a nice little substitute, that lets me take photos like this:

The Tyne at Prudhoe

The Tyne at Prudhoe

Camera: X70
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 18.5mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 11 September, 2016
Location: 54° 57.998′ 0″ N 1° 51.9859′ 0″ W

Time for that long lens test…

I’ve now had a chance for a better attempt at the shot I tried a few days ago.

And here’s one I’ve done today with the X-T1:

Taking the long view

Taking the long view

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 694mm
ISO: 1250
Taken: 3 July, 2016

The shop near the centre of the image is just under 1.5 miles away…

As a reminder, here’s the one I did mumble years ago with a Canon camera and Sigma lens:

Telephoto Test (old)

Telephoto Test (old)

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Aperture: ƒ/6.3
Shutter speed: 1/400s
Focal length: 500mm
ISO: 125
Taken: 13 August, 2009

Fujifilm XF2X TC WR Teleconverter

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I did the photography happy dance about the Fujifilm 1.4x teleconverter, but it’s near enough six months. And would you believe it, they’ve gone a wee bit better, and produced a 2x converter as well?  Well, I couldn’t resist that, and ordered it from the ubiquitous Wex Photographic at the weekend. It arrived today, and this is what it looks like[1]

Makes things twice the size

Makes things twice the size

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/80s
Focal length: 38.8mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 28 June, 2016

Now normally when I get a new toy like this, I’d be giving it a proper test, but it’s a wee bit damp this evening, so not really the best conditions for getting pictures of distant objects. However, I have done a very quick and very rough test to get an idea of the range of the thing. Readers with better memories than me might recall me getting a 150-500mm lens in my Canon days, and getting this shot from my back window:

Telephoto Test (old)

Telephoto Test (old)

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Aperture: ƒ/6.3
Shutter speed: 1/400s
Focal length: 500mm
ISO: 125
Taken: 13 August, 2009

Well, here’s a rough version of that with the 140-400mm lens and the 2x converter. Unlike the previous one, taken through an open window with some actual sunlight, this was taken through glass, rain and general haze, and not even all that close to the window. Some aggressive treatment in Lightroom shows a similar scene:

Rough Test (Very)

Rough Test (Very)

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/680s
Focal length: 800mm
ISO: 12800
Taken: 28 June, 2016

(And if you think that looks bad, you should have seen it before editing)

Proper tests will follow when the weather permits….

[1] Not currently listed on Amazon, so I can’t use their image linky thing

Weight and Stuff Report – 19 May 2016

What’s this? Quite shockingly down today! Who’d have thought it?

Today’s photo is another demonstration of my lovely long lens on the X-T1. Taken from Cullercoats, looking over the Tyne piers, you can clearly see Souter Lighthouse:

Distant Light

Distant Light

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/1600s
Focal length: 400mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 14 May, 2016

Oh, and just to make me happy, and my credit card sad, Fujifilm have announced a new x2 teleconverter for my 100-400mm and 50-140mm lenses. This will make the big beastie the approximate equivalent of a 1200mm lens on a full frame camera. A while back, I was thinking that the one thing I missed from my old Canon kit was a seriously long lens (you might recall I had a 150-500mm Sigma monster), but with this latest development, Fujifilm have strolled right past that while sticking their collective tongue out and waving a sign reading “call that long?”. Or something like that. And yes, I’ll be getting the x2 to go with my x1.4.

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 LM OIS WR Lens

If you’re reading this on Facebook, be sure to click through to see the photos!

I’ve been waiting for this beast to appear for a long time now. Pretty much since I got the X-E1 two and a half years ago. At the time, the one thing I really wanted was a longer telephoto, and soon enough one appeared on the Fuji roadmap. At first it was vaguely described as a “super telephoto”, but eventually it was announced that it would have a very useful 100-400mm range. Now you might recall that I had a rather large and heavy 150-500mm lens when I had the Canon 5D Mk III, which was quite nice, but really a bit too heavy to carry around much. But on the Fujifilm system, things are a wee bit smaller. And because of the crop factor[1], 400mm on my X-T1 gives a field of view equivalent to around 600mm on the full-frame 5D, so this was looking like it would be seriously useful. Add in compatibility with the 1.4x teleconverter, and we have the potential to get up close and very personal. So, when it was finally announced as being available for order, I didn’t hesitate for more than a microsecond or two. I pre-ordered from Wex Photographic (as you do – and I should point out that their price is a lot better than Amazon’s). I then took the semi-drastic step of selling the lenses I don’t use to MPB, which raised most of the substantial cost of the new lens).

Anyway, as I might have mentioned, it arrived yesterday. It is indeed quite large, though it’s actually about 400g lighter than the 70-200mm lens I had on the Canon, and I had no trouble carrying that around. Unlike the 50-140mm lens, this one doesn’t have a fixed maximum aperture through the zoom range – that would have made it a lot bigger, heavier and even more expensive. It also gets longer when you zoom in. It comes with a tripod foot which I’ve left on for now. There’s a lens hood which I haven’t looked at so far. Other than that, the box contains the usual pouch and manual.

Today was my first proper chance to take it out. I’ve got a sort of tradition[2] when it comes to long lenses. I like to see just how close a view I can get of Grey’s Monument. So for this first impressions review, let’s start with a view from the 100mm end, taken from a moderate distance along Grey Street:

Grey's Monument

Grey’s Monument

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/10
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 100mm
ISO: 500
Taken: 24 February, 2016

As it happened, today must have been an open day, or something, because some people had climbed the steps, which is handy, as it gives a nice idea of the scale of the monument:

Earl Grey and Friends

Earl Grey and Friends

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/10
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 400mm
ISO: 500
Taken: 24 February, 2016

As you can see, that’s quite a large statue.

So, I walked around the corner, added the teleconverter, zoomed right in and….

Earl Grey in detail

Earl Grey in detail

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 540.4mm
ISO: 640
Taken: 24 February, 2016

It’s worth clicking to see the bigger version of that – there’s a load of texture in the stone.

And just for extreme detail, this is a tight crop of the above image, just showing the Earl’s head:

Earl Grey 100% crop

Earl Grey 100% crop

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 540.4mm
ISO: 640
Taken: 24 February, 2016

I’ll need to go some more places with this one….

[1] Not explaining that. Anyone who cares knows already
[2] Or an old charter, or something

 

Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens

I seem to have neglected to mention this lens previously. It must have been that I bought it when I was in low posting mode, or something like that.

To begin with, while I’d seen the specification and reviews, I’d pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to buy this lens any time soon. For a start, it was quite expensive, and while that f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range was tempting, it was a significantly smaller range than that of the 18-135mm that had been sitting on the X-T1 most of the time.

But then Fujifilm had one of their nice cashback offers – the offer of £75 back in my hand made it look a bit more attractive, but still a wee bit expensive. But then those nice Wex Photographic people made me an offer I found hard to refuse. For one day only, they were giving 10% off Fujifilm lenses. Ooooh. Well, at the time, the lens was selling for £749, which meant that combined with the cashback, I’d be getting near enough £150 off, which was enough to persuade me.

This is another of Fujifilm’s “red badge” lenses, like the 50-140mm. As far as I understand it, that means it’s a higher class of kit than their normal zooms, and given that those are rather good, that’s nice to know.

It’s got the usual Fujifilm quality about it – solid build, smooth focus and zoom rings and a nicely clicky aperture dial[1]. Unlike the 50-140mm, this one does extend when it’s zoomed, and it lacks the legendary Fujifilm optical image stabilisation, presumably on the grounds that this would have made an already large lens even bigger and heavier. But given the aperture and the ability to use high ISO and maintain image quality, it’s not as significant a loss as it might have been. Not so sure I’d want to use a longer lens without it, but at this range, it’s not so much of a problem.

Autofocus is generally nice and quick, and I’ve been happy with the relatively few images I’ve taken with it so far – here’s one I did earlier:

Crystal Tigger

Crystal Tigger

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed: 1/110s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 6 February, 2016

It’s become my standard walk-around lens, replacing the 18-135mm, and while I miss the longer zoom range, I enjoy being able to have a bit more control over depth of field at any zoom level.

Of course, the price has come down a bit since I bought it, but I still got a good deal.

[1] A thing I’ve come to love on Fujifilm lenses. It was quite a shock when I had to take a photo with a friend’s Canon to find it didn’t have one!

 

Fujifilm VG-XT1 Vertical Battery Grip for the X-T1

What’s this? Has Les had a funny turn and decided to make his relatively small and svelte[1] Fujifilm X-T1 bigger? Well, yes. Let me explain…

When I was using Canon DSLRs, I always shunned the idea of adding a vertical grip. I knew the reasons why you might want one – extra battery life and easier use of the camera in portrait orientation, but neither of those seemed particularly important to me. And when I switched to Fujifilm – first the X-E1, then the X-E2 and later the X-T1, I still didn’t really feel the need, despite the relatively poor battery life of my newer cameras.[2]

But having mangled my shoulder lately, I’ve been looking for ways to reduce any kind of strain at all – I’ve switched from the wrist straps I’ve been using for years to a more conventional neck strap, and after a bit of reading concluded that not twisting my hand around when shooting vertically might be a good idea. So I ordered one of these.

Fitting it is a simple operation – you remove a cover from the base of the camera to expose the contacts, and place it in the provided compartment on the top of the grip (nice touch, that – prevents losing it), remove a cover from the pins on top of the grip (nowhere to put that, though…) then line up the grip and screw it into the camera’s tripod socket.

While you don’t have to do this, it’s a good idea to insert one of your spare batteries in the compartment in the grip. The camera will then recognise that it has two batteries, and will display separate power levels for each of them. And it will use the battery in the grip before the internal one, so if you’re going to be out for a while and likely to get through several batteries, you can just keep changing the one in the grip rather than having to remove it to change the internal one. Nice.

Once it’s on, you’ve got a slightly larger camera, which actually feels more balanced when one of the heavier lenses is attached[3]. There’s a bar for attaching one end of your strap, which avoids it getting in the way in portrait mode.

The important bit is the replication of controls – there’s a shutter release, plus focus assist, AE-L and AF-L buttons, not to mention front and rear control dials. To avoid these getting pressed when you’re in landscape mode, there’s a lock switch around the shutter release (which caught me out the other day, when I was wondering why the buttons weren’t working  :duh: ).

In use, it feels a lot more comfortable in portrait mode, and I think it’ll be a permanent fixture on my X-T1.

[1] First use of that word on Losing it. Also probably the last, so make the most of it
[2] This is a general issue with compact system cameras, where around 300 shots it about all you can expect compared with 700 or more with most DSLRs
[3] Another reason for getting it!

Lensbaby Circular Fisheye Lens

If you’re reading this on Facebook, make sure to click the link, or you’ll miss some photos, not to mention the whole point of the post.

If there’s one thing I missed following my switch from the big Canon 5D Mk III to the Fujifilm cameras, it’s this:

Tyne Bridges - Fisheye

Tyne Bridges – Fisheye

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Aperture: ƒ/4.5
Shutter speed: 1/320s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 100
Taken: 28 January, 2010

Yes, that ultrawide fisheye lens that captured those lovely circular images. It was a moderately expensive thing which I used only occasionally, but I enjoyed it, and loved those insanely distorted images, and the challenge of keeping myself out of the frame. But it had to go when the 5D went, and so I moved on.

Now I do have the lovely little Samyang fisheye, which creates images like this:

Fisheye Sage

Fisheye Sage

Camera: X-E1
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/800s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 26 June, 2013
Location: 54° 58.0836′ 0″ N 1° 36.1358′ 0″ W

and while that’s rather nice, and still offers the opportunity to include my feet and fingers in the image, it’s never been quite the same. So when I saw that Lensbaby, makers of popular “toy” lenses had produced a circular fisheye lens in the Fujifilm X mount, I was interested. I read up on it, saw some sample images, and was even more interested.

Now let’s get one thing clear – this is not the same kind of lens as those made by Fujifilm, which are things of such optical beauty that their eye-watering prices are easily forgiven. It’s not even the same kind of lens as the Samyang. For a start, it’s cheaper – typical UK price is £209 including the dreaded VAT. At that price, it’s obviously not of similar build quality to my old Sigma 8mm, having a plastic mount, and relatively crude focus and aperture dials. It also, quie deliberately, and in a typical Lensbaby move, has a reflective inner barrel, designed to pick up lens flare and reflect parts of the image in a ring around the circular image.

Like the Samyang, it’s strictly manual focus, though as it generally the case with really wide lenses, depth of field tends to be huge, so focus isn’t too much of an issue. I’ve just had a quick play, and I plan to take it to work with me tomorrow so I can take my traditional wide lens test shot.

But for now, here are a few samples of what it can do. Here’s a Dalek (photographer’s foot included at no extra charge):

Exterminate!

Exterminate!

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/25s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 30 June, 2015

And here’s a close view of a keyboard:

Fishy keys

Fishy keys

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 30 June, 2015

And, errr, I might use this as my profile picture. I think it’s really captured me nicely….

Selfie!

Selfie!

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/110s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 30 June, 2015

I haven’t included the Amazon link I generally use for product reviews as they don’t seem to have the Fujifilm version listed. If you’re in the UK and want to buy one, try Wex Photographic – they’re very good.

Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 WR OIS XF Lens

I’ve been dithering about getting this lens for a while. My addled little brain kept telling me that it wanted to upgrade my lovely Fujifilm X100S to the newer and generally nicer X100T, and even made me pick one up and play with it in Jessops a couple of times. But if I bought that, it would be quite a while before I could afford to buy any more lenses for my equally lovely but in a different way Fujifilm X-T1. And as Fuji have been releasing some serious lenses lately, that seemed like a Bad Idea. So, yesterday, as I hinted in yesterday’s exciting daily thingy, I finally stopped dithering and waved plastic in the general direction of Wex Photographic (my brain still wants to call them Warehouse Express, of course). And a typically well-wrapped parcel arrived at work today: big box with the contents generously wrapped in loads of bubble wrap.

So what have I got here? Well, it’s the biggest and most expensive lens I’ve bought for the Fuji system, for a start. And while it is quite big, it balances well enough on the X-T1 for comfortable hand-held use. But then, you might recall me having some rather large lenses on the Canon 5D MkIII. This is a lot smaller than those…

The 50-140mm range, thanks to the wonders of crop factors[1], this lens is almost exactly the equivalent of a 70-200mm lens on a full-frame camera like my old 5D. Almost the equivalent of the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens I had, in fact. Yes, that f/2.8 business accounts for the size and price – it takes some pretty big and heavy glass, not to mention serious engineering to make a zoom lens that has a moderately wide maximum aperture throughout its length. And it takes a bit more of the same for the lens to remain the same length while zooming – all the zoom is internal, so it doesn’t get longer when you take it to 140mm, which makes it easier to balance and generally better to work with. One big advantage this lens has over the Sigma is that it comes with Fuji’s image stabilisation technology, which is generally very good indeed – take a look at the exposure times on some of the low-light photos below – not bad at all for hand-holding a pretty big lens.

And if you’re not into hand-held photography, the lens does come with a tripod collar, which can be easily removed (which is what I’ve done with it).

So, what can it do? Well, here’s a view from the wider end:

Monument

Monument

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/40s
Focal length: 50mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 3 March, 2015

That one’s been straightened and tweaked a bit in Lightroom, but here’s the obligatory closer look at Earl Grey, taken from the same position. Just for laughs, this one is an unedited JPG SOOC (straight out of camera, as some people like to say):

Obligatory Earl Grey

Obligatory Earl Grey

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 140mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 3 March, 2015

Or a closer look at the Monument Mall[2] dome:

Lights

Lights

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/25s
Focal length: 115mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 3 March, 2015

And finally, this is one of the Central Arcade domes:

Top Knot (SOOC)

Top Knot (SOOC)

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/100s
Focal length: 140mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 3 March, 2015

That’s another unedited one.

More playing will follow, with more photos to come.

[1] Technical detail omitted to avoid boring those who know all about them and bewildering those who don’t