The soundimageplus blog has been going since 2007 and to date has over 12 million page views. Written by David Taylor-Hughes, a professional stock photographer, it includes photographic articles dealing with a wide range of themes including film and digital photography.



Fuji X-E2 - Review and User Experience - Part 9 - Series E 50mm f/1.8 - Cut Price Df?

All images - Fuji X-E2 - Nikon Series E 50mm f/1.8 - Metabones Speed Booster - Processed
using Photo Ninja

It's hard to put into words just how much I enjoyed using the combination of the Fuji X-E2 fitted with my Nikon Series E 50mm f/1.8. Old school? - Yes, Retro? - Yes, Fun, Satisfaction and Inspiration? - Yes, Yes, Yes. I was walking around with it in beautiful Autumn light and despite my fingers turning white from the wind chill, I still enjoyed every moment. I thought to myself, this is great and with a lens that cost me £35 on ebay. However I did then acknowledge that the adapter that made it work cost almost 12X as much! However bearing that in mind, it did occur to me that this was probably what the Nikon Df is trying to achieve. The pleasure of using beautifully crafted, optically superb metal lenses combined with experience and years of picture taking. No need for autofocus, zooms, image stabilisation, big red press here if you are a moron buttons and those ludicrous scene modes. A camera and lens, not a gadget. Just a picture taking machine creating photographs that I took pride and pleasure in creating. 

The Nikon Df has 16MP. So has the Fuji.
The Nikon Df has a sensor that's great in low light. So has the Fuji.
The Nikon Df has a 50mm f/1.8 kit lens. That's what I was using on the Fuji (apart from 3mm) but I was getting a stop more light on my 50mm, via the speed booster plus the choice of using focus peaking or a split screen rangefinder system.
The Nikon Df has LOTS of knobs and dials. The Fuji doesn't.
The Nikon Df + lens costs £2,750. My Fuji outfit cost me £1,235.

As far as the shooting experience goes, it was pretty much perfect. Focusing was easy, with the speed booster I got high shutter speeds and narrow apertures. My feet seem to know instinctively where to stop so I could frame a picture with my 'standard' lens. Us old-schoolers who grew up on film used these 50mm's to learn our skills and train our eyes, so they are part of our DNA. 

And then of course I got to take the pictures home and look at them. Using what might be described as an 'old-school' raw processing programme, Photo Ninja. A piece of software that prides itself on getting as much as possible out of a raw file. That doesn't impose it's idea of how much noise to 'reduce' on me, but lets me decide. It goes without saying that my pictures were sharp, had lots of dynamic range, great colour and contrast and were noise free. 

Sometimes to get the most satisfaction from my photography, less rather than more is the way to go. Simplify, don't complicate, trust in my skills rather than some 'idiot-proof' computer predicted option. Because I'm not an idiot. I know what I'm doing, and I'll back my expertise over some programme mode any day. And that's why I like using a camera and lens that lets me exercise those skills. That lets ME decide what shutter speed I'm going to use, what aperture I'm going to select and what ISO is best for the light and what I'm photographing. Is it just my imagination or does the more technology and automation take over photography the less it becomes worth and the less skilled its practitioners? If this is old-school then let me at it. I'm not ashamed of having learnt a craft and knowing how to set up my camera and lens, focus it, hold it steady and press the shutter when I think it's right. Auto-everything? Auto-Nothing.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus
Join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group at Google+

For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+