Fuji Announcements

Fuji Announcements
'The Fuji faithful are suitably impressed and Fuji will probably hold on to their 3% market share. But this is a very competitive area and most of the X-Pro 2's competitors now have 4K video, which the X-Pro 2 doesn't. I'm sure that when a proper grip is added it will handle well but this, together with the somewhat pointless X-70 and the even more pointless X-E2 'upgrade' are hardly going to set the photographic internet alight.'
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Modern Retro

Because of their similarity in terms of sensor size and pixel count, a lot of smartphone pictures look very similar to the early days of digital cameras. I always had a sneaking suspicion that look would resurface and the great thing with current photo fashion is that there is no obligation to try and make these images look like they were shot on something more expensive and with better quality. In fact I'm 'cheapening' the shots in many ways. And of course using all sorts of presentation techniques that have been around almost as long as photography.

And lets not forget that it's only recently that (certain) photographers have become overly obsessed with clean, noise free, faultless images. From Julia Margaret Cameron through Man Ray to Robert Mapplethorpe, the (sometimes extreme) manipulation of images has always been central to the photographers 'art' and for a while there it seemed to disappear. Now I've been as guilty as most in trying to get super clean, super glossy, blemish free images, but like a lot of photographers I was always a closet 'filter head.' So that's why I'm somewhat enthusiastic for these new (old?) ways of image alteration.

The whole world, photographers and myself may well get tired of it in time, but my feeling is it's going to be around for a while yet. It's already creeping into the somewhat conservative British print media and I suspect we are only at the beginning of this. I fully expect the 'instagram' look to start spreading across all forms of visual communication. Simply because it's different, it gets peoples attention and it's currently fashionable. 

Above are some pictures from a while ago taken with a Minolta 5MP 7i. And the old becomes the new.

  • All original material on this blog is © Please Respect That
  • N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post. 

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The "Digital Revival of film"

In the latest edition of Digital Photographer Magazine there is a article entitled "The Digital revival of film" 

"A rise in vintage and retro trends across all industries, particularly within fashion, has seen a new emerging demand from photographic generations both young and old. What used to be avoided by camera designers is now being embraced, as 'old-fashioned' just got fashionable. The retro cameras and film style photos from the past are back, aesthetically at least." 

They cite as an example the Chanel No.5 ad at the top of the page with the cameo appearance of a Leica M8.

The article goes on to talk about, retro designs in cameras such as the Olympus Pens and Fuji X100, the resurgence of Leica and the increasingly popular editions of vintage/retro and nostalgic processing now available in cameras. 

Thus proving that those of us who go weak at the knees at the sight of some chrome and leather are not alone!!

None of this implies that those who use digital cameras are about to go back to using film, but there is some evidence that images that look like they might have shot on film are becoming more popular.

As an early adopter of digital, when I started putting those images onto picture library websites they were very much in the minority. They did look different, cleaner, less contrast etc. and proved very popular. After a few years virtually everything looked like that and I suddenly found that my film scans became my best sellers. By then I'd worked out how to make my digital shots look like they might have been taken on film. I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked "Do you still shoot film?" and I get comments all the time saying, "Thats a film look." 

So is there a difference between a "film look" and a "digital look" ?


Pentax *ist D 77mm f1.8 limited lens. Multi Image Panoramic Stitch

lake district


Here are three versions of a recent picture I took.

Far left is the raw file "developed" in Rawker. This is the closest to what the original file would be with no processing whatsoever. The middle version is with auto processing in Photoshop ACR and with auto contrast applied in Photoshop. Its also very similar to the out of camera jpg. The version on the right is after I've done some work in Photoshop and is closest to what it looked like in reality.

I know which one I prefer.

Words - David
Images - David and Ann

Retro = Modern??

Some interesting stuff floating around photographic cyberspace lately.
Is the DSLR dead?
Rumours that the next Panasonic m4/3 camera will be a L1 Rangefinder lookalike.
People talking about selling off entire Nikon & Canon DSLR systems to buy a GF1 + 20mm lens.

leica m8 voigtlander 75mm f2.5 heliar

There does seem to be an increasing antipathy to the black plastic identikit DSLR. (Did you think this was going to be objective?) There also seems to be a return to the photographic values of previous decades. Retro design, small light cameras, fast large aperture primes, are all marketed as cutting edge. I suppose there is a limit to the amount of increasingly similar APS-C sensor DSLR's with slow cheap kit zooms that you can offer for sale. Though this doesn't seem to have put Sony off! The "hottest" new cameras of recent times, in terms of media attention and discussion as opposed to sales, have been the Panasonic GF1, Olympus E-P1 and the Leica M9. Not exactly what you might have expected for the start of 2010.

Having said all that, what camera comes out top for sales, worldwide? Well its the Canon 500D. This is not to say that its not a decent camera, it is. I bought one and it takes really good pictures. However it is one of the nastiest and cheapest feeling picture taking machines you could ever pick up. For what it does - 14MP, HD video etc. its incredibly good value - and its sales reflect that, but it seems that many other people don't actually want that anymore.

panasonic gh1 45-200 zoom

Our technology, toys, gadgets, whatever we choose to call them, are important to us. They are important to us in the way that they can define who we are, or at least who we think we are, or even who we want to be. Some of us have to have the latest mobile phone, an iPod, an iPhone, a netbook etc. etc. New phones don't make better phone calls or texts than the old ones or an iPhone, other MP3 players are just as good as an iPod and netbooks are just small, low spec laptops. I found myself looking at a red netbook in a computer store, thinking that looks cool, it would match my G-series cameras! I very nearly bought one for that very (stupid) reason.

In terms of cameras we seem to have reached some sort of megapixel ceiling. People are gradually realising that 12-14MP is probably enough. Theres not a lot of benefit to be gained from adding more. Canon to their credit have actually reduced the no. of pixels in their latest super-compact the G11, citing improved picture quality as the reason. I'm sure that some other manufacturer will attempt to cram 18-20MP onto one of those tiny sensors, but the trend does seem to be away from the MP numbers game.

Its now more about features, funtionality and style. HD video and Live view are a must. Though once again Sony don't seem to have got the message yet! There's also a realisation that people are actually concerned about ease of use and quality. There's an awful lot of patronising, derogatory nonsense written about the "point and shoot snapper" which usually consists of something like - "Oh they don't want anything complicated - they just want to press the shutter" Yes simple, like mobile phone menus, uploading tracks to your iPod, assembling Ikea furniture - the first and last of which are complete mysteries to me! So for everything else we do complicated but for cameras we want something a deaf, dumb and blind gerbil could operate. Its nonsense. For starters have you ever looked at the range of compact cameras? Its huge and unbelievably complicated. People often ask me for a camera recommendation & if its a compact they want, I usually refer them to the dPreview site. But even they can't cope with the ever increasing profliferation of these things, which seem to getting smaller and smaller. So just choosing one involves major research.

pentax k7 21mm f3.2 pancake lens

I believe that everyone who owns a camera wants to take good pictures. Why wouldn't they? I also believe they are looking for the best that they can afford and are also looking for something that looks and feels good. If a combination of retro styling and space age technology fills these needs then so much the better. If that retro look brings with it an appreciation of photography and its possibilities then thats a good thing. It won't take long for people to realise what they can do with a 20mm f.1.7 lens as opposed to an 18-55 F3.5-5.6. Given enough converts the tyranny of the black plastic identikit DSLR may be nearing an end.


panasonic gf1 45mm leica elmarit  f2.8 macro

leica m8 zeiss biogon 28mm f2.8