Monthly Archives: January 2013

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Fujifilm X10

This camera was bought as a replacement for a previous advanced point and shoot model from Samsung, the WB650, which unfortunately did not live up to expectations, especially low light performance, a lot of noise on anything above ISO200. I did quite a lot of research before buying but in the end it was a recommendation from a professional photographer that clinched it. I have now had it almost two months and find myself using it on a regular basis, I was really impressed by the low light capability in EXR mode, (a few examples are posted on my Flickr photostream) I tend to use EXR and A modes most of the time , EXR auto gets it right most of the time, depending on the type of image but I will occasionally change to another EXR mode. I really like the build quality and feel of this camera, it fits really nicely in the hand and is easily maneuvered especially after updating the firmware to version 2.00 which has reassigned the RAW button on the back to a “Q” button (Quick menu), no major loss for me as I do not shoot in RAW format.

It’s nice to have an OVF, I know that many feel that this is a little too simple on this model because it does not show any exposure information, a “problem” that the new X20 addresses I believe, but I like it uncluttered, and have now used the camera long enough to know more or less what kind of image it will produce, images so far have been well exposed, although there is a direct exposure compensation dial on the top of the camera I have yet to use it, even when shooting directly towards a low winter sun! but it is early days, I am sure that this dial will come in very useful later on (otherwise I tend to use exposure compensation almost all the time on my DSLR),  another viewfinder “problem” for some is that it only shows 85% but with the great image quality produced a 15% or more crop of a larger image is no problem, obviously parallax is a slight problem but most of my images taken with the camera while using the viewfinder are not of the kind where this is critical, I tend to just trust the camera, and it continues to surprise me!

One thing that is a little disappointing is the original Fujifilm lens hood, expensive and necessary if you want to use filters, yes you can screw them directly onto the lens but 39.5mm (40mm, 40.5mm?) filters are not easy to get hold of, much easier with the 52mm adapter built into the lens hood, but I don’t use filters so what’s the problem? the lens hood obstructs the viewfinder is the problem! it was more difficult than expected to take an image of the obstruction through the viewfinder but because I haven’t seen this done before I had a go! I took the image below with my smartphone, the smartphone camera was the only one that I could get close enough to the viewfinder with, lens on the smartphone was pressed against rubber surround of the viewfinder on the X10, image quality is not good, exposure almost impossible to control, (I tried!) but it does show what is visible and obstructing your view, the lens was at minimum extension (28mm), it gets better when the lens is extended and is not visible at 112mm.  I use a lens hood for what it was designed for, protecting from lens flare, and on this camera that has the lens almost flush with its housing this a very important, the hood also adds a degree of physical protection, but why this round slotted design! OK it looks good but why not a square/rectangular shaped model instead? the filter threads do not rotate when focusing so this could be done, correctly designed it would minimize viewfinder obstruction, perhaps a reader of this blog as used another lens hood that obstructs less?

Lens hood obstructing viewfinder

Lens hood obstructing viewfinder

 

 

 

Tripod

Well it’s been said before but when it comes to tripods, you almost always get what you pay for, previously I had paid almost nothing! the tripod I have used until recently was a Hama Star 61, which was very cheap and rather unstable! it has worked OK for a lightweight point and shoot camera (if the central column was not raised) but it just didn’t cut it with a heavy bridge camera or DSLR mounted let alone one with a long telephoto lens! So I recently shopped around for a suitable replacement, so what was I looking for? well stability of course but there were a couple of other criteria that had to be met, I wanted a model that had a central column that could be easily inverted and also legs with maximum angle adjustment, the models I checked out that were within my budget (1500 > 2000 SEK, about £135 > £180 ) were from Velbon, Cullmann, Manfrotto and Slik, it was not so easy to check them out against each other because one shop would have one or two different models on offer from a couple of manufacturers but none had them all!  but after a lot of fiddling around with the different models on offer I chose a Manfrotto model MK294A3-A0RC2,  which is a kit tripod complete with a ball head, this ticked all the boxes, the legs can be splayed from the standard maximum angle by turning a locking lever at the top of each leg, the central column is easily inverted and stability is really good, there is a down side though, it is an all metal construction (aluminium) with minimal use of plastic so the construction is quite heavy 2.3kg, but for the use I put it to this is not a problem, otherwise I am pleased with the construction it has a nice “feel”, the camera mounting plate locks into place using a safety mechanism so you can’t release the camera from the tripod by mistake! the ball head is very smooth and they have even thought about including a tool which is clipped onto one of the legs for adjusting the leg lock tension, if this should start slipping after a lot of use. The final price was 1490 SEK  about £135, it can be bought cheaper on-line but I try (as long as the price difference isn’t ridiculous) to support the camera shops, (while they are still around!), as you can understand from the above I have no problem recommending this tripod.

Legs splayed, column inverted all set for macro work

Legs splayed, column inverted all set for macro work

Repair project

The next project to be added to PHOTO DIY PROJECTS will most probably be the repair of a classic camera , the Olympus XA , the repair will be to the light traps on the camera back, the old ones have more or less crumbled away or become very sticky, I have now sourced some suitable foam, but I need to buy a couple of LR44 batteries to see if the shutter mechanism is still working, fortunately I removed the old batteries when I “went digital” so there is no corrosion and therefore it should work, if it does then I will document the repair.

Update: 05/02.  Bought the batteries and tested the camera’s electronic shutter, it worked fine! so the project is now underway, have started removing the old light trap material, documenting as I go, full report in PHOTO DIY PROJECTS when finished and tested.

Update: 19/02. The light traps have now been exchanged, everything seemed to work well, there is now a film in the camera and I have taken a few shots but unfortunately due to a recent knee injury  I have difficulty getting out and about, as soon as the film is finished and processed I will post the “how to” on this project (that is if the result was good and the camera is light tight!).

Update: 02/03 Film now finished, all I have to do now is find somewhere to get it developed!

Update: 12/03 Film now developed, good results, no light leakage, project description to follow in due course, should have time within next few days, latest at weekend.

Update: 17/03 Project finished and posting made under PHOTO DIY PROJECTS Olympus XA light-trap repair