So i decided i needed to review this camera at this point in time.
I have now owned it for about a year and have really been testing it in a lot of different environments and situations and feel it is indeed worthy of a review now.
First of all let me tell you a little bit about my decision making for buying this camera to begin with. After all the price puts most people off and so it also did for me at first.
At the time hearing about the Leica Q i owned Nikon cameras( the D4, the D700 and the Nikon Df) but was also heavily invested into the Fuji system. The Nikon gear i had, filled the need for any professional work i had to do or any more demanding projects i had or wanted to do. And the Fuji gear (the X-T2 and the X100F) i bought mostly because i wanted a dependable travel camera and a day to day compact camera that still could produce beautiful pictures as well as being portable. It did all that for me and more. I really liked my Fuji cameras. And the excellent lenses that i used for my X-T2.
I heard from a friend that owned the Leica Q that it was a wonderful camera and he loved shooting with it. I started reading about it and found it to be a really good camera from what i could see. At the time( just before getting the X100F actually) i was on the fence of either getting my X100F or maybe some other great compact camera for street photography. They both got rave reviews and so the choice was a tough one even then. The decision in the end became the X100F for a few reasons i will detail now. First it was the price , which i had a hard time justifying because i also saw the opportunity to buy a lens for my Nikon cameras but also get the X100F and still have money left to get something else in comparison to if i had got the Q.
Also another reason was the risqué of getting robbed. yes using a Leica as a street shooting camera in my mind was going to be tougher for me since i felt that i would be conscious of the price all the time picking it up in less populated or rough areas.
Those two reasons alone made me crossing the Q off my list at that point in time..
Time went by and i used the X100F happily and took many great pictures with it. It complimented my X-T2 superbly using the same batteries and other accessories made it a great duo to depend on for different situations.
However, overtime having two systems with all those lenses( yes i know…a pretty good ”problem” to have by most peoples estimations) became something of a hassle for me every time i was going out somewhere to shoot. Do i pick the Nikon cameras with lenses or the Fuji cameras. Then what lenses should i bring for the X-T2? It actually became something of a hinderance for me and took away some of the fun and simplicity of taking pictures. It sort of killed the desire and creativity in me for a period of time even though i really enjoyed the gear itself.
So i started toying with the idea of selling my whole Fuji System that i was so heavily invested into, and then buy a Leica Q. I spoke to my friend that i knew shot with it on a regular basis, and he still used it as his go to camera and was still in love with it. Of course he really tried to convince me into getting it, but i also felt that he was very sincere in his feelings towards the Leica Q. I started warming up to the idea of making a switch and sat down to really think it through before i would take the plunge.
I also had to take into consideration that it was an ”older” camera by now by today standards and how much value it would hold if i after buying it for some reason decided i did not like it. When you buy something that expensive you really have to think it through properly and take everything into consideration in my opinion. After all we loose so much money all the time in this hobby or line or work that just going on a hunch or feeling is a bit reckless in my opinion.
I was not too scared of that though after reading how happy people had been with this camera but also that it stood the test of time really well even today. People still sold it for a good amount and it still rivaled or competed with the other top of the line compact cameras that were sold today.
Browsing around on different sites selling the camera i quickly found out not many here in Sweden actually had it in stock. I found a few though and one of them were selling the Q with as the Platinum addition.
I decided i would take the plunge and started selling off my Fuji gear one piece at a time but not loose too much money at the same time made it a slower process than what i had hoped for. After about a month i had sold most of it and ordered the Q.
The package it came with was beautiful, and right from the start you get the feeling of something very special.
And the camera itself was also one of the best looking cameras i have ever seen or held to be honest.
Right away i could feel the sturdiness of the camera body, it felt like a german tank in a small package! Felt really great to hold and maneuver. The simplicity of the menus and where they had chosen to put the buttons were really intuitive and well made as well. Wheels and buttons also felt sturdy when pressing them, like something that would not break after many years of usage, really a reliable feeling all around.
And like i have seen in many other reviews it right away felt like a camera you want to pick up and shoot with, and i hoped that it would inspire me to do just that in the future and i will tell you a little about that further down and also if it held up to my pretty big expectations.
The following weeks i started to get acquainted with my new friend, fidgeting with controls and menus and trying to customise it in the way i liked it. Coming from Fuji cameras with so many options and buttons just playing with the Leica Q made it feel so simple in comparison. I wont lie though, a part of me those first weeks really missed some aspects of my X-T2 and the lenses as well. I realise that the Q will not fill the big shoes of all the gear i used to have entirely.
But most importantly it will fill that need of a smaller camera being able to take great photos and being versatile wherever i take it and doing it in a simple way making me less stressed over the technical side of things.
So i already knew that the first month or so would be a learning curve and being able to cope with that ”loss” of what i was used to and the doubt nagging in my mind sometimes if i had made the right choice.
I brought the Q pretty much everywhere, to the children birthday parties, hiking, photowalks in town shooting street, and most other day to day activities.
So how doest it hold up during those activities and where does it shine and where does it show any shortcomings in my opinion?
Well i would say its strongest point would be as a day to day documentary camera. To be able to document pretty much everything around you from nature, portraits of kids and adults or animals in their environment and street scenes when thing are happening in the moment. Because of its pretty fast and accurate Af you rarely miss any shots with the Leica Q. Also the lens itself renders beautifully and give you very sharp images when you nail the focus. I know it has OIS but i read in a few places it degraded the IQ a tad (not that i really have seen any difference comparing) so i used it a few times in the beginning but rarely felt i had any need for that. I used it up to over 6000 in ISO very comfortably without ruining the shot.
So you are really able to shoot in most lighting conditions which is also incredible for such a small camera and also makes it a companion you know you will always be able to get some usable and most of the time beautiful photos out of if you know how to use it.
I know many say its designed as somewhat of a perfect street photography camera and i heard the designers had that in mind reading on some forums. And yes with the fast Af, very simple menu and simple button layout it makes for a very fast and simple camera to capture the moment. But for me it has two ”shortcomings” for being the perfect street camera. And the first being its size, sure for giving you the superb IQ its a small camera, but its not at all pocketable. And in my opinion to be a perfect street camera its supposed to be pocketable just so you don’t have to go down into your bag every time you want to capture a moment. Then why don’t you just have it on a wristband so its out at all times and ready to shoot with you ask.
Well then we arrive at ”shortcoming” nr two for being the perfect street camera. The allure for thieves to grab it when you have it out and about all the time. With the X100F i never really had that feeling, sure that camera was also not cheap, but it was still not in the same league and wont set you back as much as the Q.
But that is also something that might be true for just myself, i know many people shooting with Leica cameras and that are not worried at all bringing it pretty much everywhere. I must say that after using it for a while now, that sense of awareness when i shoot with it has become less of a problem and i find myself using it more freely than i did in the beginning. Still, it is something to be aware of if you are scared of using expensive equipment around cities and other populated areas.
Its still a terrific street camera for its usability though and i have been shooting street with it a lot. Its just that it would be an even more perfect camera if not for those two things. But for shooting day to day events and day to day life its perfect. Its small enough to not be intimidating, and it also makes people interested( not a good thing in rough areas!, speaking of thieves) and i had quite a few people coming up to me wanting to discuss Leica cameras or wondering what kind of camera it is.
Its also very silent so just walking around with it photographing family or people in general most wont even notice you or hear you taking their photos. So i would say its superb for that kind of photography in mind.
Another great style of shooting with the Q would be nature and travel photography in general. Its not a heavy camera and traveling with it( except maybe for the theft part again) would be great. You just need a small camera bag and its not heavy to carry with you in most places. The colors and rendering of the lens are beautiful, and you can take very nice detailed images of landscapes and use your macro( which i will adress later on) for bugs and flowers etc on your travels.
Its also a lot of fun having that versatility and being able to capture most things on your hike or trip. Also being able to get that shallow depth of field with the excellent 1,7 aperture Summilux is great. Makes for some really creative and nice shots of those kinds of subjects.
How does it fare in portraiture? Well actually i have used it a lot for that. And although the 28 mm FOV is not the most common perspective for a portrait, the colors and shallow depth of field makes for some interesting and beautiful portraits. Especially shooting kids in my opinion. But i have also shot some nice photos of people in their environment, and there again comes in my mind one of the pros of the camera, the ability to take good documentary styled portraits like on a wedding for example.
I am actually going to test it on a wedding this summer, so i will know for sure if its a great wedding camera overall after that( i hope i don’t have to eat my own words after this summer…), but in my mind using it now for a while it should be great for that as a backup camera, documenting the bride and groom getting ready before the ceremony. And shooting the dinner and dance afterwards as well.
Now im not the most ”technical” person when it comes to cameras, and i rarely dive into manuals etc, but rather have a user friendly approach to using them and rather learn by testing things out. But the Q is quite simple to learn ans setup in my opinion and some features worth mentioning are:
The Macro function. With a little flick on the lens itself you turn the lens into a macro lens and while im not into Macro that much myself, its a pretty cool function to have when you do want it. I heard it was a pretty decent macro at that.
Touch Screen, which is kind of nice to have.I use it to scroll through my pictures in playmode from time to time.
Also it has a Touch AF function which is great for street photography when you don’t want anyone to notice you taking their picture. Something they adressed in their newest firmware was the ability to make user profiles, and that makes it able to now program a user profile with touch AF and one without the touch af so you don’t have to dive into the menu to switch between regular Af and the touch Af function. That was something that i felt was quite annoying at first getting the camera, because in the earlier FW that was not an option. So i am very happy Leica adressed that after a while.
Its also very good for manual focus, and while i don’t use it THAT often i know people using other Leica cameras are very happy with that on the Q. It has a great focus peaking option where you can set a certain color to help you nail the focus and that work great. The manual focusing is also very smooth on the lens and feels great to use.
Another not that uncommon feature is using it in monochrome to see in black or white when you shoot. I have not used that very much but its a nice function to have for street photography when you want to capture in only monochrome and makes its easier to compose your shots in my opinion. The images still comes out in color when you download them in RAW though but its nice if you want to download them to your smartphone for example.
That is another feature that of course exist in most cameras nowadays. The wifi function and being able to downloading your images using the Leica app.
The app and function is not the easiest one around and not the most intuitive, but after getting it to work and learning how to download them its a great thing to be able to do. A must for a camera you want to use on a day to day basis in my opinion.
Whats more to say about the Leica Q. Well for me hearing about the Leica ”experience” and the Leica look i was quite interested and keen on seeing what that was all about. I can say using it those first few weeks i did not see anything pop out of the screen screaming Leica.
However using it now for quite some time i can attest to that at least the leica Q has SOMETHING..not sure what that really is or if its something that you in your subconscious have been looking for and therefor makes you read into it too much, but there is something very unique that i like, in the rendering of the lens and the colors straight from the camera. The image quality is great, and you rarely have to tweak your images much after downloading them. In monochrome there is also something special using the Leica Q, i cannot say why, but they just look very nice the way i want them to look. And the 28 FOV was something i at least had no problem getting used to. I like using 24mm a lot for documentary style photography and the 28 is just slightly more narrow than that. So its even more suited for portraiture in the environment than the 24 for example.
I never bothered getting any special accessories for the Q. You get a strap which is really nice in the box, and since it was the platinum edition you get an upgraded steel grey rope styled one which is even cooler than the one you get in the black edition. Other than that i got a really good ”stealth” cover from Teciac (shout out to them, 3d printing at its best!) which besides covering the red dot for shooting in those rough areas also give you a lovely extra grip so you feel even safer handholding it without the strap when you do your photowalks.
So what is my overall opinion and experience of the Leica Q. It certainly tick most of my boxes for what a camera should have. It is fun to use, it takes beautiful crisp colorful images. It is easy to use and very very intuitive. Its lovely to hold and the thumb grip that is on the back of the camera give you a pretty decent comfortable grip despite the camera itself being a little slick.
The ergonomics are great with the button layout and the feel of using the camera and overall the experience holding and using it is a magnificent experience in my opinion.
The only things i think could be better in my mind would be maybe adding a few more Fn buttons to be able to customize it even more. But at least Leica listened to their customers and added some more usability in their latest FW and you now have the user profiles which you can program into several different profiles for shooting in different types of situations and environments.
And other than the size and maybe the price this camera is probably one of the most fun and better cameras i have shot with in my life. The only other camera that gives me the same feeling and as much fun to use would be maybe my Nikon Df, and after that maybe my Fuji X-T2 which was also a fun and great camera to use. But the Leica Q will definitely have a special place in my photography heart.
I hope this in some way help you and others out there maybe being in my shoes at that time, not sure what camera to get and maybe have the same style of shooting as me and being stuck in a dry spot of creativity. the Leica Q would definitely help you get out of that and be inspired again. Trust me.
/over and out.
Hello! So it has been a while since i have written anything in the blog, but i think it is time now. One reason being that the new year is here and also because a lot have happened in my life when it comes to photography.
Some new projects has been done and some new gear has been tested in different environments.
Last year was quite chaotic to sa the least on a personal level, even so i managed to do a lot of photography in my spare time, i find taking photos to be both therapeutic but also so much fun so i could not be without it no matter what life is like.
I made a big decision about some of my gear, and after thinking it through long while i finally took the plunge and sold my whole Fuji setup. The great X-T2, the X100F and my precious lenses. Why? Because i bought a Leica Q. It might seem like a weird choice since the Q has only a fixed lens, but my fuji gear was for me a great choice for traveling light but i also liked the retro look and simple controls on it. And i feel that the Leica Q does all that but gets down even more to basic with the 28mm lens and great ergonomics.
I had been pondering this purchase for almost a year even before i started buying some of my Fuji gear. But at that point found it a little bit too expensive( i still do to some degree!) and also a little bit too big since it was not pocketable anyhow and also i found the Leica look was a bit too tasty for thieves to resist stealing it if i wanted to travel with it or use it for street photography.
The year went by and i used my Fuji gear a lot and i loved using it. So again why did i decide to trade it for the Q in the end.
Well, besides the points i listed earlier i always had a regret of never been able to try a Leica out, and after looking at the Q earlier a Q was still high on my list of cameras id love to at least try at some point. Reading so much great things about it, and talking to a friend from Denmark that praised it saying it was THE camera for him and that if h could choose 1 camera that would be it. Also during the year i found myself having a hard time sometimes choosing between all the gear i had. Besides the Fuji gear i use Nikon and have 2 cameras i use in that system with some great lenses for them. So every time i went somewhere and wanted to bring a camera i felt it took too much time trying to choose what would fit the occasion best. Especially the random spontaneous trips i made into town or just with the family when we took a trip somewhere. It took a lot of fun out of the creative parts of photography in my case and i felt a camera like the Leica Q would be a great remedy for that. And i would still keep my Nikon gear with the heavier but capable DSLR bodies if i needed a more demanding camera body for payed work.
So i took the plunge and ordered the Q, the Titanium grey that i got good price for to be precise.
It arrived at some point in late autumn and i have to say its one of the most beautiful camera bodies i have ever used to be honest. Among other favorites like the Nikon DF and Fuji X-T2, its up there with the DF at least. It just appeals to the eye in a way not many other cameras do.
It really feels like you get something special just unpacking it! With the small Leica branded bags and the small ”drawers” that they put the accessories in.
I know its not considered manly to go on about that sort of thing, but the box it came in would put a LV bag to shame!
So enough ranting about the looks of the camera, also when it came to the feel of the camera body itself the quality and design and ergonomics is all i hoped for. It is just so simple to use and it really makes you want to pick it up all the time to play with it and take photos. It is a lot of fun to use. I won’t go into technical specifications or go into it in depths at this time since i might make a review later on at some point.
So i started using it over the next few weeks nearing X-mas and at first i was still in regret selling my Fuji gear to be honest. I missed the lenses and sometimes felt a bit limited when i brought only the Q to some of the trips. But i decided really spending time with it, learning it as much as i possibly could making using it second nature to me after a while.
It gave fruit and i started to see why it was held in such high regard by people using it.
And i felt what i also had hoped for when i was thinking about buying it earlier, that it helped me focus more on the photography itself rather than the gear and having to choose to much. It was forcing me to use the one lens stuck on it and made me much more creative. And faster. Its a great camera for street photography. Its fast, its simple, and the 28mm in my mind is also perfect. I know a lot of other people like the 35 field of view or the 50 a lot more. But i always felt a wider angle helped me tell my store better and also gave the pictures a lot more personal style and feel to them. I find the 35 a bit more boring and too narrow for many of the shots i want to make. Sure its not the best FOV for a portrait in the classical sens. But for portraits in the documentary setting its perfect. And it has great Bokeh when you use the 1,7 aperture .
I used it almost every time i went to town or just going to places in general. And i really love using this camera.I its the one i use now mainly if i am not doing something bigger.
I would say its the perfect camera to document your day to day life as well as your perfect street camera. It makes you have to go a little close to get the shot you want, which in my case is very good. because i have always had a little of a tough time when it comes to getting too close to people. Feeling i get in their personal space too much. But this really trains you in that regard. And the pictures get so much more interesting in my opinion.
So in the near future i will most likely make some sort of review for it and post more pictures. But so far i am very happy with my Q.
Happy new year and happy shooting.
So, Autumn is here. Less light and more rain, a fact that makes for a worse platform for photography in general.
Here in Sweden less light is an understatement as the hours you can actually shoot in daylight disappears quite quickly and gets worse by every day closer to winter.
I love this first part of the season though, there is still some sunny days and the leaves are just starting to fall off or get that beautiful golden color. Also the air changes and just being out on those days that are still nice are just a treat. Beautiful.
I just wanted to start that off somehow and get into it right away before the moment is lost.
So i took the Nikon df and only the 105 f1,4 with me to town and brought my daughter to get some portraits on her but also get some feeling of that Autumn is here. I also included some shots i took from last week when she also accompanied me into town and i had the same setup ( Df, 105mm ).
We were quite lucky to get beautiful light and decent weather all day up until the last but where it actually started to rain a bit near the evening.
I quite recently bought the Nikon 105mm and must say its becoming my most used lens for serious portraits.
Just renders beautifully. Also being f1,4 you do not need much light to shoot and the 105mm focal length makes for some very creative shots in my opinion.
I will continue and post more on the blogg during Autumn for sure, so will be back with some more colorful images using different gear in the near future.
/Over and out..
Hi, this is my Fujifilm X100F review. I thought this would be a good time to share some thoughts about this little camera after spending some serious time with it.
As before i will not go into great technical detail about the camera, i merely like to share some of my enthusiasm but at the same time also be honest about what i consider its shortcomings and what not.
First of all i never had the chance to try the earlier cameras in this series out as i always felt the 23mm lens was too limited for me at that time.
At this stage though , using other cameras like Nikon D4, D700, Df and also the Fuji X-T2, i felt that adding a smaller camera to actually simplify things and get back to basics with something that would be able to travel with me a little easier than those other camera bodies.
Also i was at a stage where i wanted something to inspire me and i did not have to drag all those extra lenses with me, something to spark my creativity again, and i feel that the X100F really managed to do just that.
It is a fun camera to use, and that was the most important thing for me after spending a lot of time reading through reviews and pondering over if i should take the plunge and buy it. It is not a cheap camera at all, so i had to take that into consideration as well. A part of me had a hard time justifying buying such a small camera for that amount, having all those other bodies and lenses as well.
One other big reason was the ability to get very good Jpegs straight from the camera, something adding to the quick and fun way of using such a camera. Just the thought of going into town one day, bring the X100F take some street shots and upload them to social media and not having to edit them at all was a huge plus for me.
I shoot a lot of street photography, and have used my Nikon Df or my X-T1 or X-T2 for that task earlier. But the X100F is much more unobtrusive and stealthy than those other cameras even if those are great cameras for their own use and area as well. But the X100F is so silent, that shutter is SO quiet. Also the size of the camera itself as i mentioned is so small and the retro look somehow makes people more at ease when you are around them and shoot. Something so important when you are shooting street.
So lets begin with what i like the most about the camera.
First the size and look, it really speaks to me in a good way, i always liked that retro look and the X100F just looks so simple and clean.
I went with a silver one as i already have the X-T2 and the Nikon Df in black. Looks amazing.
The Film Simulations are very nice. I had read a lot about them before buying it, and that part did not disappoint at all. I use the Acros Filmsim the most, but also the Velvia and Classic Chrome from time to time.
Making some small adjustments like adding some plus in shadows or some minus in Highlights to protect those and you get exactly what you like straight from the camera after using it for a while. I am still playing around with different settings to get it to my taste but i am very happy with what i get right now.
The lens itself is both the Pro and the Con of the X100F for me. I like that it is one fixed lens, it makes it easier and makes you just go out and shoot and use it, sometimes all that gear and lenses makes you hesitate, and that is what i wanted to avoid with this camera.
I read beforehand about the 23mm lens being ”soft” and not that sharp in some reviews. For me it is perfect for what i use it for. Shooting street , both environmental portraits and regular street shots of people. But i also find it very nice for candid portraits and such. I like the tones and colors as well when i shoot people with it. Its not the sharpest lens i have wide open sure, but its very good for what i intended it for.
The built in ND filter is very very nice. It has saved me many times on those sunny days when its just too light to shoot like i want.
The layout of buttons and ergonomics are fine in my opinion. They are similar to my Fuji X-T2 which is a bonus, and uses the same batteries which is awesome. Sometimes using both cameras when i travel they compliment each other very well. So if you already use another Fuji camera that is a plus. It also uses the same Joystick, and that is a great thing to, makes it so much easier moving around the focus point if you need to. I usually just use the focus/recompose method with the X100F though for faster shooting. I programmed the Af to the back of the commando wheel. So i use that to focus, then recompose and take the picture. That works alright , but the buttons are a little small and maybe a better dedicated button like a AF-ON button you get on some Nikons would be handy instead. But the way it is setup now is fine.
What i do not like or would have wanted:
I would have loved weather sealing! Taking it with me everywhere the weather sealing would have been a very nice thing. Being hesitant to bring it out in wet weather or environments kind of limit you, especially if you live in Sweden, not a very dry environment most of the time.
Sure, faster AF if i shoot pictures of my kids would sometimes be nice, but mostly as i said its sufficient for the street photography i do.
The size, while a Pro comparing it to the bigger bodies i own, is still a little on the big side if you want it to fit in your pocket. Its small enough to throw it into your Man-purse( yes i am guilty of using one from time to time! ) though which i do most of the time.
The Silver coating is really nice, but i got it scratched very fast having some keys in the camera bag i had that day, i was actually on my way getting the dedicated Fuji leather case that very day, a case that afterwards have saved me from more blemishes on the camera. Not sure the black version would have made any difference, but make sure to protect it with a case or be very careful putting it near anything in your bag that could potentially scratch it.
In the best of worlds i would have liked a inbuilt lens cap as well, but i have owned several other models ( like the Panasonic Lx3 and lx5) that used the added lens cap instead. Just would make for an even easier and faster shooting experience.
Overall i really like this camera, it gave me a lot of inspiration and when i doubt of what camera to bring the X100F makes the pick more times than any other camera now. Its simple to use, and the quality is great. I think for such a small camera it feels like a big camera if you know what i mean, it gave me the same confidence as when i at one point bought the LX3 all those years ago. That the images coming out of it felt usable, and gave you some creative choices, something other smaller point and shoot cameras do not in my opinion.
/Over and out..
So it has been a while since i wrote anything for my blogg,
so i thought this would be a good time since i did something i do not normally do when it comes to photography a few days ago.
I had read in a newspaper a year ago, about this deserted ”Ghost town” not too long from where i live. And i decided i would make it a trip during my vacation.
So this week i had some time over and packed my chosen gear in a small bag that would fit on my back since i was going there with bicycle. I choose my Fuji X-T2 for the job and i snuck in two lenses, the 16mm 1,4 and the 56mm 1,2. I thought both of them would serve most of my needs since the 16 would be the main lens taking most pictures i needed and the 56 as the backup if i needed to shoot any details or animals in the forest around the Town.
So off i went on my bike. The ride there was around 25 minutes, i had only the street named in the article as a starting point and knew i probably had some scouting to do before i found the buildings in the forest. In one picture in the paper i had seen that a house had been closer to a newer building in the background. So that made it a little easier since i started out from the street with those newer houses around.
The weather was great, it was a sunny day and my spirits were quite high setting out. Only thing i had my doubts about was if the weather really suited the mood i thought i wanted to create in the pictures.
This was as much a fun side project as anything serious so in my mind that was not anything to worry about when it came down to it. Whatever i got it would be a great experience and a good way of testing my equipment out which is always a good thing. Anything that inspires you to take your camera out is a good thing in my opinion.
I wandered around in the forest nearby the street i set out from and ended up going back and forth between the smaller paths in the forest, finding nothing.
I soon after found a couple of bikes that were left by the street and the edge of the forest. I followed the path from those bikes and soon found the kids with their mother. They were out picking blueberries and probably thought me an odd figure coming out from the same path as them and with my camera ready to shoot.
It was goo intuition following them though as i right after saw the roof of a structure in the woods just north of the kids and their mother. The first structure and ease around it was kind of a disappointment. A small partly destroyed yellow cabin with some old things randomly thrown around the cabin on the ground around it.
A foundation nearby told me that another building had been close to the cabin but was torched and not much was left to take any kind of pictures of.
I did not give up though but on intuition again started out from the cabin in another direction. That proved to be a success as i quite fast found yet another small but more intact cabin in yellow. An eerie feeling started creeping up inside me exploring the vicinity of that cabin. I started to see some more personal items like old shoes, stroller that was rusty and some other pieces of clothing.
I started to get images of the people living there, why they had left their things and the house and who they were. Questions that lead to more questions i did not have any answers to.
I also started to recall why i was there and got the X-T2 out and the 16mm lens. It was perfect for this kind of photography in my opinion. Small and light but still a very capable tool for pictures from outside but also for pictures inside the small and dark moody rooms in the cabins.
I shot a few frames then ended up going further along the forest paths deeper into the forest. I suddenly felt happy it was a bright sunny day, partly because i felt uneasy being there now in the first place but also because of how the pictures would have turned out. Some of the pictures inside the cabins would have been too dark and might not even have been possible without an external flash which i never brought one.
I found a few more houses strewn along the path. Different colors shapes and conditions . They became more intact though and had more interesting things to shoot so i was excited for that.
I found that the path was now also taken over totally by something living ( which was comforting in a weird way) even though the animals now living there were not the favorite of mine. Ants, bigger and and army of them. They seem to follow the path all the way now towards the small hill i ascended to get a better view of the area. I passed a small read house on that hill with a little mailbox outside. It must have been quite charming in its prime , but now it looked as somewhat of a mockery at the top of the hill, posing there with nothing but trash strewn around the building.
I had a look inside and passed it going towards the next hill that was even further up and a bit steeper.
The ants also followed that same path and i could never stop for long as the ants started crawling over my shoes at first sign of me stopping there to catch my breath and try to get a good look at the forest around me.
I found an old torn fence leading to a new area up on top of the hill. I went under and started walking into a new part of the forest up there where i had a good look to see if i could spot any more houses or anything else that was worth my interest.
I saw some trees nearby that really suited the rest of this scenery and that also gave me the ”creeps”. They were contorted and felt like some old vile spirit had taken control over them and now tried to guard the forest and the area around them from trespassers as myself.
From up there i suddenly saw something that piqued my interest.
It was a arg building down in a valley not too far down but in another direction than the rest of the houses i had seen. Was this part of the Ghost Town?
Only one way to find out. I started going downhill towards the larger structure. It was a red building with a few smaller buildings on the same property. I came closer and closer and could now see the yard around the structure clearly. It was eerily quiet. Here it was also much harder finding a clear path down to the buildings themselves as it was largely overgrown with weeds and smaller trees and high grass.
I tried going up on a few stones to get a better look inside the windows. It was indeed deserted houses, but much more intact and not as easy to see what was inside them. If something….or someone was still here these would be the houses they would be in. And i would have a harder time getting from here to civilisation if something happened.
Needless to say i was not too keen on jumping into that yard without having a better look from afar .
I was just about to leave and find abetter path when i disturbed something huge in the trees inside the garden. My heart raced and i had a hard time not just running in panic from the place.
I tried to stay calm though and stay still to see if i could get a look on what it was that had moved. I saw some kind of big animal, maybe a deer or an elk. I was hoping for the former as the bigger Elks are not something to mess about with.
Especially not if they had kids with them…
I went back the way i came, went all the way down the hill and past the other houses and tried to find a path from the other side that would lead me closer to the bigger red house i almost had got closer to.
I did. It was a bigger path and looked like something humans had made and it lead me to a gate that marked the outside of the house i had seen from the other side..
I stopped just outside, looking into the house and the yard, i saw the grass was trampled byt either something big or several larger animals…or humans. That uneasiness came back and i had a hard time deciding if it was really worth going inside the yard and the house..
I decided to go closer, first of all to see if that big animal was still here. I appeared it had got scared of me as well and left for now. That was a relief!
So i dared into the yard…got closer to the house. I saw a stump from a tree and slowly climbed up upon it.
” BAAAAAAAMM!” Something crashed inside the house with a large noise. My heart almost stopped, something was in there, and appeared moving now that i was close. i got chills and my heart was beating wildly now. I started down from the stump and moved fast backwards towards the gates to the yard.
I went outside, half running and half walking and then started running towards the bigger road outside in an as ”controlled” manner as i could without completely loosing face if i met someone from the houses that i now closed in on. I started to calm myself down and realized nothing followed me or was going to be able to catch up anyhow and started walking again.
I passed the neighborhoods i went past earlier and realized i was near my bike again. A feeling of calm and excitement came over me at the same time, and i was happy i went out today after all. Eager to get home and see what my camera held in store for me and for the excitement this day had given me. Sometimes venturing out can really be great, you never know what you will find or what opportunities you get to take some great photos. This si nothing i normally shoot or do, But it gave me an opportunity to tell a story with some of the pictures i got. Here are some of them, so enjoy. Both the photos but also the laugh at my expense, maybe after getting an image of me running in panic from that ”deserted” house. or was it deserted? Guess you will have to go there by yourselves to really know what was in there….;)
Over and out..
So, what was the fascination with the X100 series and a fixed lens i asked myself when i first saw the camera back when it was introduced. I would feel so limited i thought.
That was before i had the X-T1 and the X-T2. I had used the Fuji X20 and really liked the look of that camera but it still had the problem of ”watery” green areas and always felt it lacked too much to be a reliable travel camera for me.
I have used my Nikon gear for such a long time now and love the quality and the reliability of the system for most of my work, but sometimes using it feel more like work and a chore when you lugg that heavy camera and the heavy lenses around town or up hills in the countryside. Also it screams ”steal me” wherever you take it, always makes you be on your guard when you walk around the city.
When i got the X-T1 though and took it with me to Paris it felt perfect. The first camera i could bring with me without breaking my back and that gave me somewhat of a similar quality to my Nikon gear.
Then i started to buy more lenses and get a pretty decent backup for my Nikon system that i felt i could actually use in case of my Nikon gear failing me in the future. Also it was a lot of fun shooting with Fuji and gave me a lot of motivation again which was equally important.
At the same time the lenses grew bigger again and when the X-T2 came a long i got that and its grip and suddenly the Fuji was not as spontaneous to bring a long as it once was and not as small or light as i considered it fro the beginning. It was still an awesome camera and something i love shooting with but not the little fun companion that you just enjoy taking wherever you go any longer.
So i felt i missed something and a feeling i had when i shot with my film cameras.
Something about just having a point and shoot and the joy of just being able to bring it everywhere you go and not having to think about post production or tweaking it for hours afterwards or having to switch lenses all the time.
So getting the X100F felt like coming full circle again. Never imagined it could be so much fun again!
Its easy to take with you, the film simulations are a lot of fun and the quality of the pictures even the Jpegs are fantastic. Add the easiness of ”Zapping” the Jpegs over to your phone through the Fuji app and you have a very cool travel camera that you can use for just fun documenting your time traveling or any social occasion.
This is not a review by any means and i wont go into any specifications or details but just trying to express the joy i feel using this camera and how much i like using it thus far.
Having that fixed lens now actually feels liberating and adds to the fun.
Look forward to sharing more pictures and thoughts on the Fuji X100F in the near future. I suspect it will be my most used camera the months to come 🙂
So i got the question about helping out for my wife´s friends wedding, and bride to be party. I rarely do weddings and when i do it i often find i like to help out on a smaller scale and then surprise them with some great pictures they were not expecting afterwards, instead of being the one booked photographer for that wedding. So this one was my present for them since we had a connection to them.
Also, that makes me able to do it totally the way i want, and that creative freedom is what makes it fun for me.
I began with the first task which was the bride to be party. So i joined the gang at a hotell in Stockholm to get some pictures inside the hotell but also go with the gang around town to get some fun casual pictures of the group that they could share after the wedding. I brought a light kit due to the distance i had to walk from where i had my car parked. My D4 and the 70-200 and a few primes.
I got 2 speed lights and a diffuser and a reflector for some extra kick light.
The environment at the Hotell was very nice to shoot in. I feared the place would be crowded, but it turned out to be almost empty except for the staff, so i could be relaxed trying to pick my spots for the group shots and the singles with Nok ( the bride).
To fit the group in a good place where the light would be sufficient proved the most difficult task, but I’m happy i brought the 70-200 as i could actually stand across from one of the balconies and shoot from the opposite side. The lighting actually reached them from all across from the windows behind me, and with some post processing it turned out quite nice with the beautiful bigger double door as a backdrop to the group.
After that i wanted to get a bit creative and played some with the depth of field to isolate Nok from the other group members.
Then i shot some singles of some of the people from the group and some couples shots as well for those being close friends etc.
I found a great mirror to use as a ”voyeur” shot of Nok sitting alone in the bar that i liked.
After that we went outside and just casually walked around town and had lots of fun posing them against different backdrops all around the harbor and streets in Stockholm. The weather was great, and the setting sun gave beautiful light.
I wish all shoots were that relaxed and fun!
Noks friends were happy to get some single shots they could share with friends on Facebook and send to friends afterwards.
A few weeks later it was time for the actually wedding night and party. I was not able to attend the ceremony as they kept that private, but i joined their lovely party that evening together with my own family. So i took my DF together with a few primes to take some pictures from the evening , lots of candids but also posed pictures with the guests together. I saw quite quickly that i was not the only photographer there . I counted 3 other hired guns to help the wedding couple. That did not bother me as i did this as a favor and also if they had one extra angle and my personal style adding to what they got from those other photographer, that only meant they had some more great memories from their special night.
It was a beautiful evening, and the food was great as i love Thaifood i was happy to take a break at times enjoying the greta food they had cooked. There were also some great performances from people that wanted to celebrate the couple, and i had some great laughs and some tears when the speeches were done.
It kept going into the night, and i had brought a speed light for that occasion too, so i got some fun pictures from the dance that evening but also from the fun and games. I guess i wish most wedding shoots were like this too! So relaxed and no pressure.
I know after this i already have some standing offers from other friends, so hopefully they will turn out just as fun and relaxed.
I know it has been a while since i updated the blog. But life has been busy. I have been shooting a lot though and testing new lenses as well as making some new projects.
This entry will be a quick one about a day out on an island some distance away from where we live here in Sweden.
A friend of mine that works with Lifestyle typ activities for people of all ages gave me a recommendation about this day that would be perfect to bring the kids to. A day full of activities and an opportunity to test them out in a great environment, this island called ”Värmdö”
As far as equipment goes i brought my D810 together with my 70-200 Vr2 lens and my 24 1,4 G lens to get the wide angled covered as well.
It turned out the 70-200 covered most of what i wanted to shoot but i was happy i brought the 24 as well to get those environmental shots with the kids where they were trying things but i still wanted some more of the background as well.
The weather turned out to be pretty bad, with the temperature dropping as well as light rain, but nothing i would be scared to bring the D810 with those lenses out into.
After a long ride with car and a few stretches with boat to get to the last island, we were finally there.
The place was buzzing with energetic people wanting to try every activity out in the area.
I met my friend shortly and he pointed us to the more ”important” activities to try out before more people arrived or the weather would turn for the worse.
So without further ado here are some pictures to illustrate what we did that day.
The kids really loved the setup at the place, where they mostly never had to wait in line but just run around like they wanted, trying things out.
The people arranging the whole day( a school with courses dealing with Activities and Lifestyle and health) also had a little kitchen set up with a BBQ making Hotdogs and Hamburgers .
The hot coffee and grilled apples with vanilla cause tasted extra good after some shooting i the cold weather and it was a well deserved rest for all of us.
This month i wanted to do something for my hero and lifetime idol( yes I’m old, but i am trying to keep young so i have idols! ) David Bowie.
My first Vinyl was Ziggy Stardust, so incorporating the ”Flash” from those years and those characters seemed like something i would want in a tribute photo.
My wife also wanted a few new pictures for her websites so we played with a few ideas and locations before and what equipment to use.
I wanted 2 indoors locations and one outdoor location and decided on shooting the first pictures in our bedroom where we have a big window to let some background light inside.
I wanted all shots to look classic in style and the first one was going to have a blowup background and use one or two light modifiers from the front to light the face up so as not to get just a darker siluette of my wife.
This was one of the shots i was most pleased with, but my wife kept the ones where you could see more of her.
In the beginning i shot with my DF using the Noct to get a really shallow depth of field. Those shots became really light and beautiful and the blur started almost after her temples. The only light modifier i used in the ”airy” light shots here are a Rapidbox Octa from Westcott with a speed light and the natural light from the back, and in some shots i used a reflector from my right to get some extra catchlights in her eyes.
Since i do not have a proper studio i usually use the bedroom or my hallway which are the bigger rooms and space to put up the light stands and backgrounds if needed.
Also it tends to get very messy and chaotic with our kids running around at the same time, and sometimes we get them in for a quick picture as well since we got all that equipment set up which is a pain to take down again, so might as well be effective and take some pictures of them while it is up.
Here is a quick picture of my daughter who liked playing with one of my wife hats:
After that it was time for the Tribute picture which i wanted against a dark background. I also incorporated a Hat i liked for the shot.
It was quite hard to create a dark atmosphere in the room though as a lot of spill light was coming in through the windows, i tried shutting it out using the curtains and use the bigger background to block it while shooting.
After i had done the shoot and looked through the pictures i actually took the actual Ziggy flash and worked it into the picture( yes i cheated!) to get the feel i wanted, i realized we would not have time to take the makeup off to continue with the rest of the shoot, so that worked out better for us.
For this shot i also added another flash from the back as a hair light and gelled it with a darker blur gel which in the end added another level to the picture in my opinion and a little more drama.
All in all i was very happy with the pictures from the bedroom.
After that it was time to go outside. I had chosen a location not far from our house in a forest where i had shot my wife earlier a few times. It is a little secluded so you get the privacy you would like when shooting and putting up your gear.
It turned out to be a pretty difficult shoot outdoors though due to the cold damp weather and the race against the sun going down!
Also i wanted to try out a few new triggers from Phottix i had bought since the SU-800 was difficult to use outside as a transmitter due to the infrared getting blocked easier there.
As it turned out the Odin trigger was a little bit too big to fit under the flash when it was mounted against the Rapid octa softbox…Now there is the problem you run into when you have not tried your new stuff out in beforehand. It is always a treat finding it out the hard way during a shoot with a cold wife and the patience running out fast..
I improvised and got the trigger working and used my Noct and my 70-200 VR 2 for these pictures since it was so dark.
Really, shooting in the dark like we did was not something i would recommend. I had to crank the ISO way up but with the cameras nowadays it is still possible to get decent results.
I wanted something a little more creative in these shots so i decided to play a bit with some gels and the white balance to create some different effects.
This is how it turned out…
The softbox was gelled with a full cut of orange so the contrast became quite big with the white balance put to fluorescent . I kind of liked the effect i got.
So this was my Tribute shot for David Bowie. Now i am looking forward to spring to be honest, but i might do another shoot or two before the winter is out here in Sweden.
/Over and out…
So i promised to continue with the blog about my Berlin trip. And this will be my last entry for that trip. I wanted to touch on a few things i left out in my last blog about Kreuzberg.
We covered a lot of things those 5 days we spent in Berlin and i felt we did almost all the things we set out to do. Even if 5 days is not enough to completely cover and larger city to be honest.
I already told you about the fantastic tour with Brian , and exciting and exotic Kreuzberg. So what more did we see, well i would not do Berlin justice if i left out our trip to Sanssouci i Potsdam.
That was something i decided upon after we realized trying to squeeze in a quick trip to Auschwitz would not come to fruition. It would have taken too much time from our schedule, so i thought Potsdam would at least be something where we have to leave Berlin and go outside but not be too far off.
Also from what i heard it was a magnificent place to visit. It took about an hour to go there by train, the day was very hot once again but this time i prepared with better sunscreen to save myself the horror from last day to Kreuzberg!
We arrived in Potsdam and had to take the bus the last bit and it was not a very pleasant experience to say the least. It was packed to its limit with people going to visit the castle and gardens.
The only positive thing i can take from it was a very very nice older couple from Usa that i had a chat about many things before finally arriving at our common destination.
Being somewhat late we almost did not get a ticket to the castle itself, and standing in line to buy it took about 40 minutes itself, and while waiting you could see the number of tickets available getting lower and lower making everyone in line anxious not to get one before it was too late. We were lucky though and got a family ticket which was pretty expensive!
Also after getting our tickets the waiting time to actually get into the gardens and see the castle was 1 hour. What to do? Well, we decided to get something to eat and had a look around. There was a cafe/lunch place linked to this interesting looking Windmill just across the ticket office. As with everything else around this area at this time it was crowded and we knew we had to fight to get somewhere to sit while eating.
The food was not horrible, but made without ANY love at all, and a lunch sallad consisted of a plate with some cucumber that was hacked and some weird ham sprinkled on the side. And for that we payed a horrific price. So stay away from that place, just have look at the Windmill afterwards instead. You can go inside and get some historic facts about the Windmill and surroundings.
So when the hour was up we started making our way around the gardens and Castle, which in the end made it all worth it. The surroundings are breathtaking to say the least. I just wish it would have been a little bit cooler and it would have been perfect. I was on the brink of dehydration but my wife and son was worse than me. Still we managed to find some shadow in between. It is actually a substantial walk, so be prepared and bring water and maybe something to eat.
We stopped at yet another cafe at the second castle which was the kings ”vacation” house( a pretty fabulous summer place !). The prices were not better there, so stay away from that place as well. I can see why people feel they have to go in there though as there is nothing else around to get something to eat or drink.
You can also get into the Vacation castle and look at the rooms where the prince spent his days. The rooms hav different themes and are spectacular. I remember 2 specific rooms where the themes were the sea and animal kingdom, and in the sea room the walls and ceiling was covered with seashells that made up everything. Statues, paintings, everything was made out of the shells almost. Amazing. The creativity was really cool to see. Unfortunately you could not use the camera inside.
After that we spent the rest of the time in the gardens before we went home. And as i said, almost the gardens by itself would have been enough for the trip there.
here are some shots from there and around the castle Sanssouci ( which means ”without troubles” basically ).
After we got back from Sanssoucie we had a few days left to go around and do some shopping and see the rest of the more well known places inside of Berlin.
And i made a mental note to spend a few hours at the Hauptbahnhof since i know it would be a great place to tak some pictures at. I heard many photographers went there just because of the architecture of the place but also a busy train station is a great place for watching meetings between people and seeing stories unfold while you document it with your camera.
We actually had out hotel just outside the Hauptbahnhof so i knew we would have some time just before leaving Berlin, so i saved that for the last day.
Other than that we just had a blast walking around Berlin with nothing really planned those last days.
Nang enjoyed shopping at Ka Da Wee which is one of the most famous shopping malls. Huge place, but nothing for me. I think nowadays those malls look the same wherever you go in Europe. Nothing special any longer.
Also we briefly saw the Bombed out church which stands in the middle of Berlin and the shopping streets, quite close to Ka Da Wee actually. It stands there as sort of the last monument to remind the Berliners of the horrors that comes with war, and they had decided to leave it as it is as that reminder forever. We also had time for a boat trip our last day which i felt was not really necessary since we already saw what we wanted to see. It was kind of fun seeing the places we walked by from another perspective though and also going by boat like that the city get compressed since you go around everything much faster. The service and prices on the smal sightseeing boat was pretty bad though.
So, last hours before leaving exciting Berlin i spent at the Hauptbahnhof shooting some, and i felt that was a great ending to this magnificent trip.
I am definitely going back there some day. And next time I’m planning to go by Poland and see one of the camps there. Its something i have to do.
But i will also go back to Berlin itself for its originality and people. Because i felt like it although not the most spectacular sights in the world, it had a pulse and diversity i really really liked.