Old fire truck

I am posting this shot because it showed me once again the power of shooting in RAW. This capture was shot with Nikon 1 V1 equipped with Nikkor 1 18.5mm/1.8 prime lens (50mm equiv.). The truck was situated in a quite dark place which had brightly lid windows behind the truck. I was shooting from outside of that building standing in a bright sunshine using evaluative matrix metering. So quite tricky exposure conditions. The RAW result what I got was bright lid windows and a very dark truck. But because I shot in RAW I was able to open up the shadow area where the truck was located and got the result below. I know there is some grain but otherwise it is a nice capture after some quite easy post-processing in LR. Colors are very nice and the exposure just great, especially at those windows.

This kind of situations prove the power of RAW and may help you to get a decent shot even if the situation seems to be hopeless in the beginning.

Old fire truck at Outokumpu mine

RAW business with Leica Digilux 2

I have been lately testing RAW shooting with my Leica Digilux 2. Earlier I was not so interested in capturing RAW files with Digilux 2 because of the long writing times needed. It takes 6-7 seconds to write a single RAW file into an SD card! I thought in the first place that the slow operation would hinder me too much to shoot RAW but I found it to be different. Actually the slow pace makes me think about the shooting situation more and the slowness somehow suits so well for this dinosaur camera.

But what is actually the best thing in RAW shooting is the fact that I will get better shots in that way. When shooting JPEGs with Digilux 2 I had many times problems with the white balance. With RAW those problems are gone. Another big thing is that I seem to get more details in my captures using RAW. It is actually quite amazing how much details this 5 MPix camera is able to deliver. I like the CCD sensor rendering – it gives almost magical old-school feeling into the shots. This is quite difficult to explain but it is there.

Below are few shots captured in RAW with Digilux 2. First two of them have been developed in LR and the two last ones in Aperture which I am testing again and actually enjoying it. I am not sure yet if I am going to use solely Aperture but it is nice to have options in this respect too.

My Nikon 1 V1 Decorative stuff Downhillers Ski parking

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.

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.

I’ll forget X-Pro1 RAWs – for now

I have tried to process X-Pro1 RAW files with Lightroom and have not been very happy with the results. This is especially true with high ISO shots. ISO 1600 is totally okay but I will need ISO 3200 and even 6400 often. With that high values I am getting quite mediocre results.

When shooting JPEGs even ISO 6400 is quite clean of noise. Below is a shot taken with ISO 6400 and I even added some grain by using a VSCO Film preset. And I feel very comfortable with that shot and result. You can see evolution in that shot. I really hope Lightroom’s RAW converter will have same kind of a evolution – from dinosaurs to elephants.

And some X100 RAWs

Just some Fuji X100 shots converted from RAWs. I somehow feel that it is easier to me to work with X100 RAWs than with X-Pro1 RAWs. There may be quite much difference between LR's RAW conversion because of different sensors these cameras have. Hopefully Adobe (or Apple) will cooperate with Fuji to solve out X-Trans sensor secrets soon.


Just few X-Pro1 RAWs

I haven't had much time for photography lately, so here are just few photos processed from X-Pro1 RAW files. I am quite pleased but I have to learn more about the balance of sharpening and noise removal when processing with Lightroom.

Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4 R, 1/125, F1.4, ISO 500. I like the result here.

Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4 R, 1/125, F4, ISO 1600. This is also quite good. So, no big problems through ISO 1600.

Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4 R, 1/250, F1.6, ISO 6400. Here you can see quite much noise on his face. This is ISO 6400 which would be nice to use in indoor shooting. That's why I have to learn more about sharpening vs. noise reduction. I will post some ISO 3200 examples later on.

How to proceed with X-Pro1?

Earlier I stated that X-Pro1 is a great B&W camera. And that is fully true. I have decided now that I will shoot in color with it though. Then I will have the possibility to choose between different post-processing options including the fantastic B&W presets by VSCO Film. But many times I want to have color shots too. Sometimes vibrant ones and sometimes with muted colors.

Another important thing to test more is X-Pro1's RAW files. Especially now that I have faster computer (see the post below) I feel that I should give a possibility for RAWs too. Earlier I have tested them only quite occasionally. I am actually quite exited about RAW shooting now. I have looked through many great shots processed from RAW files in Flickr and those were not having that “smearing” problem.

A photo of my sons at the end of this post because they just had their birthdays and it was Father's Day yesterday: