JPEG

Shine of aluminium

I tested the in-camera high-contrast B&W last evening with my Ricoh GRD IV and there were few good shots but mainly the shots were too dark and contrasty to my liking. In other hand, the normal in-camera B&W is too boring having no punch. I really like the idea that GRD IV would be my JPEG B&W camera but I am not sure yet.

The shot below is SOOC. I adjusted the contrast to -1 (there are Max, -1, and -2 to select with), and sharpness to 7 (max is 9) in-camera. Also the square format is done in-camera. The center weighted exposure was used here.

Shine of aluminium
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Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, Croatia, what a beautiful place to visit. I was there only four days with my wife to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary but both of us fell in love for this place almost immediately. Old culture, old buildings, beautiful Adriatic Sea, and very friendly people. What more can you wish.

Greetings from Dubrovnik, Croatia! 10-year Anniversary Old Town posters "Large" cup of coffee in Old Town Large Onofrio Fountain Old Town roofs I Old Town roofs II Candles in a church

What comes to camera gear I had only my Fuji X100 with me (plus iPhone) and it served me wonderfully throughout the trip. No hassling with lens changes or zooming – just shooting. Very liberating. Its 35mm equivalent lens is really a gem for general shooting. And JPEGs all the way; with Fuji cameras (X100 and X-Pro1 which I own) I do not shoot RAWs anymore. Really no need for that. I used OVF 99% of the time and really enjoyed that too.

I am not good enough for JPEGs

In an earlier post I stated that I will go all-JPEGs. And I did. For a very brief moment. I did find that short journey very teaching one, however.

What I realized was that JPEGs are for better photographers than I am. Definitely so. I need my leeway.

I need my leeway in highlights and shadows. Light and shadow make a photograph, don’t they? When shooting JPEGs the highlights were blown out like s@&% so often. Then I exposed differently and the shadows were dark as h&#%. So I decided to stop the cursing and went back to RAW. And I seem to be happier that way. Just go and buy new hard drives… 🙂

P.S. With my Leica Digilux 2 I still shoot JPEGs because the camera is soooo slooow with RAWs.

Testing, testing…

Yep, more testing to come. This time it will be JPEGs, JPEGs, JPEGs. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?!

Three times JPEGs. Leica Digilux 2 (already shooting only JPEGs), Fuji X-Pro1, Ricoh GR. I’ll put all in JPEG mode.

I actually have many fantastic JPEGs from all of these cameras. And I have the experience that also JPEGs allow quite much tweaking in LR if needed. And if there are some blown out areas – who cares?! Let’s call it an artistic impression then. 🙂

I’ll test this triple-JPEG approach for some time from now on. I can’t really specify the duration because I am so impulsive person. But if I am pleased to this test those cameras may well stay in JPEG mode. Or not. Let’s see.

With the GR and X-Pro1 I have very nice in-camera filters/effects to play with. B&W, high-contrast B&W, bleach bypass, positive film, Astia, Provia, Velvia, Pro Neg. Just to mention some of them. I really want to test those famous in-camera Fuji colors more.

Let’s be part of Joint Photographic Expert Group!

Shooting monochrome with Leica Digilux 2

I have been now regularly testing my Leica Digilux 2 and I have not been very convinced with its color output (yet). Of course there are some shots in each shooting session which please me but unfortunately most shots are quite mediocre. For color work I prefer this camera to shoot close-ups (see my earlier post on this) and this area it handles just wonderfully.

I have been after a camera which I could use solely as a monochrome camera (something like a poor-mans Leica Monochrom). I have tested my Fuji X-Pro1 and Ricoh GR for this purpose. Both of those cameras produce fantastic in-camera B&Ws but I prefer to use these modern cameras more freely, i.e. for both color and monochrome. And I like to shoot RAW with those two and make B&W conversions in post-processing.

I tested today my Digilux 2 to shoot in-camera B&Ws. I just put camera’s white balance adjustment to B&W and went to shoot some pics. When I opened the shots in Lightroom I was surprised very positively. In-camera B&Ws were very pleasing with nice gradations and good dynamic range. They needed very little tweaking in LR. I think the WB adjustment of my Leica Digilux 2 will be fixed to B&W from now on. Monochrome shooting suits this classic so well and I think the results are spectacular (at least by my standards) for a 10 year old 5 MP camera used by a hobbyist shooter.

Here are just few examples of the results I got:

Close-ups with Leica Digilux 2

I have been testing my Digilux 2 and today I shot especially close-ups with it. It is certainly not any macro-capable camera but it delivers nice close-ups. If you want blurred background and some bokeh with this camera it is best to use 90mm focal length and the widest aperture (f/2.4). I'm quite pleased and actually surprised how nice background blur I got (remember that this camera has a 2/3″ sensor).

All shots below are not cropped at all and present about the maximum close-up magnification you can get from it. I've noticed that it is better to put camera's sharpness adjustment to “low” to prevent over-sharpening (I've kept contrast and saturation adjustments in “standard”). The key is to use mild selective sharpening in post-processing (I used adjustment brush in LR). Another important and handy feature is camera's ability to shoot three-shot series (3 shots in about 1.5 seconds). This is very useful especially if you shoot handheld as I've done here. Shooting series minimizes the motion blur in handheld shots and usually at least one of the three will be reasonably sharp. Series shooting is very nice feature also for shooting indoor portraits without a flash. Blur is minimized and there is also an additional bonus – you'll get different facial expressions to choose from during that 1.5 second period. I used mainly “AF-Macro” but tested also manual focusing which was actually nice and I will test it more later on.

All in all I can say that Leica Digilux 2 surprised me very positively by its close-up properties.

 

Three recent shots and why I like them

Decided to pick three shots I photographed lately and tell few words about them. There will be some emotional and technical aspects included.

This is a shot of our oldest dog, border terrier Herkko. He is the best dog in the world and that's why the perfect subject for photography. Nowadays he is sleeping on the couch quite a much like in this shot. I tested here my new Ricoh GR camera and its fantastic high contrast in-camera B&W preset. I tweaked the preset little bit and I find this tweaking possibility very nice feature to have. Sharpness of the paw area is fantastic as is the bokeh even if his head is next to the paw (this was shot at f/2.8). I really love the subtle grain which ISO 1600 offers here. The overall looks is quite rough but I really like it.

The above shot was taken in a cloudy day and I was really surprised how nicely Ricoh GR managed the exposure. The colors are spot on here. It is just a rusty grain mill but somehow it got new life in this shot. For this I mean that I have passed it many times but now it has a different meaning to me. Quite difficult to explain actually but I know many of you readers may know what I mean. The GR is a compact camera with a big heart and soul. That I can say.

Third shot is about APS (Advanced Photo System) film cartridge I found from a box when I was going through my things. Then I realized that my Fuji X-Pro1 (well, the GR too) has an APS-C sized sensor. So, I saw a duel here. Film-age APS vs. digital-age APS. It was a concept to me which I wanted to shoot. For this shot I used a 50 year old lens, Asahi Pentax Super-Takumar 55mm F 1.8 wide open. I just love how it renders and how beautiful bokeh it produces. And it is so fantastic to focus manually, so smooth. The above shot is a JPEG B&W from the camera. Have to say that the X-Trans sensor makes some beautiful JPEGs.

I love this hobby.

In-camera stuff again

Tested High Contrast Monochrome in-camera JPEG preset with Sony RX100. I really like the results. Very contrasty and quite coarse looking images but suits well for certain situations. I think this monochrome setting may give new life to my RX100 which has been largely neglected lately. Below is a self-portrait (well, sort of) which I really liked.