Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Should You Upgrade To Fuji X-Pro2 or X-T2?

I've been asked a few times now, "Should I upgrade to the X-Pro2 or X-T2?" I'm not sure how qualified I am to answer this because I've never used either. But I will try to give what I hope is a helpful response.

The big headline with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T2 is the 24-megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor. Prior to this, Fuji's X-series cameras had a 16-megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensors (there are a few non-X-Trans sensor models, too). The jump from 16-megapixels to 24-megapixels seems large, and is that extra resolution worth handing over large sums of cash to get?

The "old" X-Trans sensor has "only" a third less resolution than the new sensor, which isn't necessarily huge. And the gap might not be as big as you think because not all lenses can resolve that amount of detail anyway (although the Fujinon lineup is pretty fantastic and many of the lenses can). Basically, the extra resolution will allow you to enlarge a little more or crop a little deeper, but it's not going to be a night-and-day difference.

With the 16-megapixel X-Trans, if you have clean, sharp, uncropped exposures, you can make nice-looking 20" x 30" prints. If you used high-ISO or cropped a little, you'd max out at 16" x 24" prints. Not all that many people print larger than that, and so the 16-megapixel resolution is sufficient for most people.
Mirrored Mountain - Mirror Lake, Utah
Captured with a Fujifilm X-E1.
There are different software options (some are better than others) to upscale your images, which allows you to print larger than what the resolution would indicate. When I mentioned print sizes in the last paragraph, I wasn't taking into account the use of upscaling software. It's possible to make larger prints even with the 16-megapixel X-Trans.

I also didn't factor in viewing distance. When people view large prints, they instinctively move back to a normal viewing distance. The larger the print the further back people will naturally move to view it. "Pixel-peepers" will want to examine your images from an inch away, but normal people don't and won't. Just as long as there is space available for viewers to stand a normal distance away, they will.

This is important to understand because you can print as large as you want, just as long as you don't force viewers to see your images too closely. Billboards look great at a distance and terrible up close, but nobody is looking at them up close. Keep all of this in mind when you are considering print size and resolution.

With all of that out of the way, my recommendation is that if you routinely print at sizes of 20" x 30" or larger, you may find the additional resolution of the 24-megapixel X-Trans useful. Otherwise, you really aren't gaining anything.
Our Galaxy - Mirror Lake, Utah
Captured with a Fijifilm X-E1.
The negative side-effects of additional resolution are that it takes more memory space and it makes photo editing programs run a little slower. Not really huge deals, but worth noting that more resolution isn't always better. Street photographer Eric Kim put it this way: "More megapixels, more problems."

I haven't found very many high-ISO and dynamic range comparisons of the "old" and "new" X-Trans sensors. Sometimes squeezing more resolution onto a sensor has a negative impact on those two things. What I discovered (from the little that I found) is that the 24-megapixel sensor seems to be at least as good as the 16-megapixel sensor, and perhaps might offer a very small improvement in both high-ISO and dynamic range (key words being "very small").

The new Fujifilm cameras, the X-Pro2 and the X-T2, are very fine cameras. They won't disappoint. But if you are happy with the Fuji camera that you already own, I don't see the need to spend bunches of money for the trivial upgrade. Unless you routinely print very large, it makes more sense to stick with what you've got.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Inspiration & Photography & Blogs

Photography Is A Drug - Tehachapi, California
A triple exposure photograph.
You've probably noticed that I've published very little on the Roesch Photography Blog over the last month. I've been feeling uninspired lately, going through a bit of a funk.

I've been doing this blog for almost six years now. I've covered a ton of topics. I've said so much. I've repeated myself a number of times. It's not always easy to come up with original content.

Besides that, I'm compensated very, very little for the time and effort I put into this. Nobody pays me for what I write. You may have noticed a few small advertisements on this page--if you click on those and spend money I get a tiny cut. It doesn't even average a dollar an hour.
I Am Nature - Ogden Canyon, Utah
A double exposure photograph.
The purpose of this blog is not money, but sometimes I do wish that I was compensated more for what I do here. Because I could be doing other things. It was kind of nice doing other things instead of blogging during the last several weeks.

Still, I have my reasons for keeping this blog going, and much of that is you, the readers. Some of you have been following the Roesch Photography Blog for years. Thank you so much!

I've also felt uninspired in my photography. I think that a lot of my "typical" photographs aren't good enough. I want to capture better images, not ordinary pictures. I haven't picked up my camera much in the last month (yes, a little here and there, but not nearly as much as usual). I'm tired of making a bunch of mediocre photographs with the occasional good one. I want to create things that I'm more proud of.

It's easy to say that, but much harder to do. Especially when you are not feeling inspired. This is a make or break moment! I could easily quit altogether. But I choose instead to move forward. To try harder. To be more creative.
Dormant Trees In A Jar - South Weber, Utah
A double exposure photograph.
I'm starting a new photography project. I captured one "test" image (Dormant Trees In A Jar) to make sure that I could do it. Now I'm waiting for something to arrive in the mail so that I can actually begin. It has to do with double-exposure photography (which I love but have had trouble coming up with interesting ways to execute it without being cliche).

I'm actually stealing the idea from photographer Christoffer Relander. My intentions are not to copy his work, but to add my own twist to create something similar to what he's doing, yet different and unique to me.

So stay tuned! Once I get the things I need, I plan to concentrate on this project and spend the next several months making the images that I see in my mind.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Daylight Savings Ends - Don't Forget To Change The Clock On Your Cameras

Clock - South Weber, Utah
Daylight Savings Time ends tonight at 2 AM, which means that you "fall back" one hour. Most of your clocks are smart enough to automatically adjust themselves, but you still probably have a few that need to be manually changed.

Digital cameras have built-in clocks, and many of these will not automatically account for Daylight Savings. If you don't remember to change them now, three months from now you'll be looking at the EXIF data and realize that your images are time-stamped an hour off. That's really annoying, so just take a moment today or tomorrow to change the time on your camera's clock.

I've been saying twice a year for several years now that Daylight Savings Time is nothing short of insanity. It's not about the farmers (they really don't care), the environmentalists are convinced it's about them (but it's not)--we do this stupid song and dance for tourism, specifically because when the sun is out later tourists are more likely to part with their money. I've spelled all this out in the past several times and so I won't discuss it further today.
Butterfly Tourists - Pismo Beach, California
These people are why we change our clocks--specifically, so they'll spend more of their money.
But I will talk further about the craziness of pretending that the time is different than it actually is.

Every year we make-believe that the time jumps forward an hour in the spring and jumps backwards in the fall. Of course time doesn't actually do this. Time doesn't jump around. Time is constant. We all just follow along with the crowd pretending that reality is something other than what it is. This is literal insanity.

Why don't we all just pretend that the sun is cold for half of the year? Why don't we all just pretend that the sky is green for half of the year? Why don't we all just pretend that gravity doesn't exist for half of the year? Why don't we just pretend that politicians are honest? That taxes don't exist? That gas is a solid? That rocks are food? That asbestos is good for you? Pretending that the time is different than what it actually is isn't any different.

Some say that time only exists because we make it exist in our minds, but otherwise there is no such thing. However, the universe seems to run on a very predictable and precise rhythm, and the measurement of this is time. Time is a form of measurement.
Forgotten Road Markers - Mojave, California
Imagine if you were driving down a highway and you passed a sign that said "Now Entering Mileage Savings Zone" and the mileage marker jumped from 50 to 52, skipping right past 51. Then sometime many miles later you passed a similar sign that said "Now Leaving Mileage Savings Zone" and then you had to pass two different mileage markers with the number 200. You traveled the same number of miles, but the mileage markers were off by one mile from mileage marker 52 until you reached the second mileage marker 200.

Now imagine people praising this and proclaiming the necessity of it because it saves you a mile. But it didn't save anything because it was an illusion. It was a lie. Our fictitious Mileage Savings Zone and our (unfortunately) very real Daylight Savings Time are no different from each other, and they are both equally absurd.

The good news is that we will be on the correct time tomorrow, as Daylight Savings will end for 2016 in the dark of night. But come next spring the insanity begins all over again.