This is a camera I’m really waiting for!


Finally a mirrorless camera that will do everything from sports to portraiture and video just as well as a dslr?

Guess we’ll find out january 28th.


David vs Goliath (Iridient Digital vs Lazy Adobe)

I’ve been using Lightroom since version 1.0 and been very satisfied with it. It’s not perfect, but nothing was so compellingly off or bad about the software that would’ve made me consider switching to something else (Apple Aperture, Capture One etc.) …until now…

I bought my Fuji X-E1 mirrorless camera with a 18-55 kit lens around a year ago while traveling abroad. It was an immediate love affair that came from the great ergonomics (I had no prior vintage manual slr experience that it now reminds me of), great image quality (at least in theory, more on that later) and being compact and light weight.

The thing that bothered me though was the rendering that Adobe Lightroom 4 (at the time, now version 5) gave me with it’s raw-files (or RAF in the case of Fuji). I’ve always shot raw when possible and been adamant about having always the uncompressed digital “negative”, so this was an important issue for me.

Now this is not an article or a review of sorts on technical differences between the programs and the unique “X-Trans” sensor of Fuji without it’s AA-filter and Bayer-less filter array (there’s a lot of articles and reviews about these already on the web) but here’s a couple examples of the difference in detail between LR 5 and Iridient Developer from the Fuji X-Trans sensor just for arguments sake (which we’ll come to later).

Example 1 zoomed out.

Zoomed in 100% LR conversion on the left, Iridient on the right. Click to see it in full detail.

Now although the images are not uploaded with 100 percent quality, you should still see a striking difference in detail between the two examples. Both of them are treated with light amount of sharpening. The big problem with Lightroom actually is that the more you sharpen, even if you just go to around the value 50 on the sharpening amount slider, it really introduces a lot of false detail and makes the details very “oil painting”-like.

Iridient developer on the other hand has no problems extracting razor sharp detail from the image that competes with much higher megapixel cameras in detail.

Another example:

Example 2 zoomed out 100%.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 19.15.05 (2)

Zoomed in 100% Lightroom conversion on the left, Iridient on the right. Click to see it in full detail.

Again with medium-low amount of sharpening to both images the Lightroom conversion makes the trees look very unsharp and without much detail. Now again if you try to push the sharpening more it just makes it look worse. The difference is huge between the two programs.

Now I know there’s the argument that no one in reality pixel peeps/looks images at 100% and/or pushes their nose into a huge print while admiring it. But IF you print large/do commercial work especially with landscapes and/or product photography this stuff matters.

You might say: “Ok Mr.Nitpicker, I shoot and post images to the web, don’t print large, and otherwise LR does the job just fine.” Great, I’m totally fine with that. More power to you my friend! But still… my beef with this is more in principle:

Yes the X-Trans technology (detailed here ) is unique only to Fujifilm cameras and is a bit unorthodox… but how on earth can a one man operated company (Iridient Digital) make a much better RAW conversion algorithm than a multibillion valued company being synonymous with image editing for over 20 years? And it’s not only Iridient besting Adobe on this, apparently many Fuji users have gotten better results from Capture One (tried it, didn’t see as big a difference to LR compared to Iridient. Better nonetheless.), Apple Aperture, Silkypix and now also a program called Photo Ninja.

Adobe has really suffered from the lack of real competition for years and because of that grown lazy in many aspects of improvements and innovation (don’t get me started on Adobe CC), but I hope this will change soon…

If you are a Fuji X-series user with a Mac, I highly recommend checking out  Iridient Developer -demo and try it if you haven’t already: .

For windows users check out Photo Ninja (cross platform) .

I wanted to keep this short because there’s so much talk around the web among Fuji users about this issue soo that’s my rant in short. And as always the most important thing in the end is to: enjoy taking pictures and not become a grumpy pixel peeper like me  😉

Until next time,


(Any comments are most welcome!)

Back from the dead

I’ve been on a deep slumber blogging wise… -part of it has been because of lack of time and part because I really haven’t had anything truly meaningful stuff to write about regarding photography.

I spent 2 months in San Francisco (+roadtrip to LA,Vegas,Utah etc), photographing the latter month with a photographer friend from Nice, France. It was all well and good, but frankly I felt bored and uninspired for over half the time I spent with my cameras. I felt like being on a work assignment that I wasn’t very inspired to do…

Picture from my unreleased blog post that featured my three most passion inducing cameras.

In some ways I guess I need a break from photography in most every way. I’m trying to focus on video for a change and other ventures as well… That doesn’t mean that I lost my love for it or that I won’t pick up the camera and shoot if I feel like it (not like being on a rehab for drug addiction 😉 )

Anyways I still have a lot to say regarding photography and the industry. And my next blog post will actually contain some substance! Coming up shortly!

Thanks for reading! (anyone?)

Traveling light…


I’m leaving to San Francisco to attend my friends wedding in a couple of weeks, and planned to stay on the road for the next three months maybe visiting South America along the way.

Late last year I left for a around-the-world-trip for 6 months with a Nikon D7000 (with the MD-11 battery grip), 70-300 F4.5-5.6G VR Nikkor, 17-50mm F2.8 Sigma and the 85 F1.8G Nikkor packed into a Lowepro Pro Runner 350AW. Now at the time when I started my travels, I thought this was a “light” travel kit… until I saw the “light” when I bought the Fuji XE-1 while in Sydney. At the end of my trip I was really sick and tired of lugging the D7000 and co… so this time it was pretty clear that I’d only take the XE-1 with the Fujinon XF 18-55 F2.8-4 “kit” lens and 2 other Fuji XF-mount lenses that I’ll pick up while in the US. A Gopro Hero 3 and various accessories (not forgetting the laptop of course) will accompany the camera. This all packed into a Think Tank Airport Essentials backpack, which I’m going to pick up this week. Oh and there will be another mystery camera added to this travel kit, that I’ll unveil soon!

How (and with what) do you pack your photo gear when traveling? Do tell!!

The mysterious film slr part 2: “Noisy sensor!”

Check part 1 of this story:

So I finally shot my last frame of film that I bought for the test drive of my Praktica LTL3 and now it’s time to recap the results and the experiences.

First off on handling of the slr:

-The shutter is, in one word, brutal. My thin ladylike hands were suffering the whole time and I had to be, at minimum, at 125th of a second to minimize blur (with tripod it’s a different story of course). Ergonomically the shutter button is superbly placed. It takes some time to get used to though.

Ergonomically well placed shutter button. Right next to it is the not so ergonomically placed black metering lever.

-The viewfinder is dark, and makes the manual focusing more challenging. “Guessfinder” would be a more appropriate name for it. Especially indoors.

-The manual focus ring on the 50mm 1.8 Pentacon prime lens rotates almost 360° and is very stiff so going from infinity to short focus distances is not a fast feat to achieve.

-A black rectangle can be seen to the left of the viewfinder screen when the film hasn’t been loaded for a shot. Great, minimizes guessing and the wasting of film!

The only misfire. I had “primed” the camera earlier and carelessly pressed the shutter button while walking. The shot came out very artsy (fartsy).

-The metering seemed to work ok, although it was a bit on the overexposing side. (It might be because of the 1.5v battery that I used instead of the original 1.33v specced). How it works is like this: It has a small needle on the right side of the viewfinder that needs to be on the middle, or near, of a small circle left of it to achieve proper exposure. The metering is activated by pressing a physical lever next to the shutter button.

-The pocket light meter app for iOS (android nor windows phone doesn’t seem to be supported) is a great tool with the camera, I used it often to double check the metering. Go check it out at the app store, it’s free! I highly recommend the app and buying the developer a beer. 🙂

The Pocket Light Meter app.

-The 1000th of a sec maximum shutter speed is really limiting in bright light if you want to shoot with large apertures (wide open), especially with iso 200+ film (yeah ND filters, I know). This though was pretty common with many manual slrs at the time.

The shutter speed dial with integrated asa/iso film speed setting for the internal meter. Just pull the dial up and change the iso, works!

-The self timer seems to work fine. I’ve read about some people warning using the selftimer on old slr:s because of the risk of the timer jamming the shutter.

Ah the nostalgic “buzz”-sound of the mechanical timer!

Now some thoughts on the quality (or the lack of) of the pictures that came out:

September is here, that means ‘shrooms galore!

The exposures were mostly quite spot on. The cheap Fujicolor C200 (iso200) film that I used was pretty noisy even in film standards (in my limited experience).

The colors were also a bit washed out coming from the local small print lab I used. But mostly I think it’s just a feature of this specific film. (I touched the files in Lightroom lightly adding some contrast, vibrance and noise reduction.)

To achieve good sharpness in the corners with the 50mm Pentacon prime, you had to use a f5.6 or higher f-stop to achieve it. In closeup shots with the background blurred it really didn’t matter and when fully open at 1.8 the lens rendered fairly smooth (hexagonal) bokeh with acceptable sharpness in the center.


Some random results:

Long exposure (1sec) testing with a tripod.

Indoor shot of my friend with the self-timer. The focus was off by a mile (in a dimly lit space almost impossible to make sure) and I guess some camera shake’s involved too.

A lens hood would’ve come handy with shots like this to eliminate the flare.

The camera excels when shooting motionless subjects, and having plenty of time to compose and having enough light to see the focus circle perfectly.

Prefocus fail! I thought I had my friend focused correctly and then we timed him rolling by me as I took the shot. The focusing circle takes a lot of practice (and wasted film) to get it right.

Hard to get 100% blur free pics when hand holding at 60th of a second. The low light forced me though. Where was my tripod!?

Final thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I know this is fairly standard stuff to most, especially to people who photographed actively during the film era, but for someone like me who started out with digital, well…:))

Shooting film with a fully manual camera really makes you think before you shoot; no more spraying and praying, fixing it in post etc. Now, of course you should avoid these even when shooting digital, but we are human after all and sometimes the technology we have today makes it very alluring. Mastering a manual film camera makes you a master of correct exposure in camera (cause every bad shot is an automatic deduction from your wallet!).
Film forces you to slow down and THINK! And that’s something that has gone missing a bit from photography today imo… For me it made every single picture that I took that more special. Even if they really weren’t photographic masterpieces they had this aura of extra attention to every aspect of photographic principle. Also it really makes you humble thinking about photographers who had to shoot weddings/sports/wildlife/concerts not to mention journalists and street photographers trying to capture something spontaneous, having to wait to see the results “later”. Kudos!

One more beer please! This dark viewfinder makes me drown in sorrow!

One more beer please! This dark viewfinder makes me want to drown in sorrow!

Another amazing thing is the lack of any kind of sensor technology to “age”. The LTL3 can achieve a picture quality that is practically the same (with a similarly performing lens) then a modern state of the art film slr from 00s, when using the same film! The film is the sensor and it has progressed from early days of film so automatic “sensor” updates, yay!

Well is this it, the moment I become a film snob? Henry Cartier Bresson style street photographer aficionado? Traveling to Yosemite with backpacks full of 120 film, just like Ansel Adams? Yes? …Well… no. I think I’m going to treat the Praktica as a fascinating curiosity (it’s just a bit too “utilitarian” for my tastes) and put it on a permanent retirement or maybe donate it to someone who might have more use for it. I still want to dabble with film from time to time though (most definitely!) and I will be keeping my eye out for a smaller, lighter manual slr with a gentler shutter. The Nikon Fm / Fm2 seem the best candidates for my use right now, giving me the opportunity to use my Nikon af-d lenses (with aperture rings) with them.

All in all I really wished I had more time to take the camera to more varied settings, shoot different subjects and really put it through the paces, but alas time is something I don’t have right now. I’m embarking on a trip soon for 3 months and I can’t take the camera with me so this has to do… for now…

Thanks for reading, and a special thank you to the very first subscribers, I’m humbled. 🙂

Oh and if you have similar film experiences like I had (e.g learning to shoot digital first and experiencing with film later) I’d love to hear about them!



The mysterious film slr part 1

Ok so this is my first REAL blog post… here it goes (be gentle)…

I was looking for something photography related to wear on my neck for the profile picture on my new website in the “about” -page. Having a retro film slr on my neck felt like it would make me look cool and would ooze of street cred! The thing was of course that it would not be representing the truth about what kind of a photographer I really am. The last time I handled real film was in my dad’s “home made darkroom” when I was 5 years old and even then I was just tagging along in amazement.

But when I found my dad’s old exotic Praktica from his wares of old eastern/soviet -era cameras, I couldn’t resist the temptation! This camera had to hang from my neck on that profile picture!!


As I marveled this east german made hefty piece of metal that was built like a tank, and seemed to have everything functioning from the shutter to the self-timer, I had this urge to go get some film and try it out.

So that’s what I did, here’s the camera in it’s glory with some cheap Fuji color film (C200) to test out.


It’s a Praktica LTL 3, 35mm slr, made in GDR (german democratic republic) by the Dresden based manufacturer Pentacon, from the late 1970’s. It’s a solid metal body with manual ttl-metering that needs a small 1.33v or 1.5v LR9 battery to work (replaced the old dead battery with an LR9, the old 1.33v aren’t available anymore). Otherwise it’s fully mechanical so technically you don’t need any power to take pictures, you just can’t meter with it without the battery. These models should be very reliable with a “mechanically controlled vertical-moving metal-blade focal plane shutter” -per the website. The lens is a Pentacon-made 50mm 1.8 prime lens (manual focusing of course) that was pretty commonly sold with the body.

I’m actually pretty damn excited to test this old workhouse out. I’ll report back in more detail how my first roll of film with this east german beauty came out. Maybe I’ll really get into film, buy some Fuji Velvia and even a Nikon Fm and go crazy with nostalgia! Or maybe not.

Oh as I was googling and youtubing (does anyone use that word?) I bumped to some hilarious and freaky Praktica ads from the 80’s, check them out if you’re brave enough. PRAKTICAA!!