Yet More Fuji Lens Issues

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Fuji XT2 + 16-55 lens. Trpiod mounted. 0.3ND grad + Polarising filters.
Fuji XT2 + 16-55 lens. Trpiod mounted. 0.3ND grad + Polarising filters.

Some of you may recall the problems I experienced when I bought my Fuji XT1 together with a couple of lenses. Th Fuji 10-24 was excellent but the 18-135 was quite poor. In the end, I returned the 18-135 exchanging it for a 16-55 new and a 55-200 used lens. The 16-55 is amazing but the 55-200 was a little odd.

At first the lens seemed sharp enough but I never really had the chance to try it out properly. Once I did try it out, I didn’t pay too much attention to the images but I did notice my hit rate was poor, many seeming to display camera shake. Ultimately, I contacted Wex where I had purchased the lens and arranged with them for the lens to go back for repair by Fuji (I was a good month out of the 28-day refund period).

The performance of the lens looks to have deteriorated over time even though I have hardly used it. It doesn’t matter if it’s hand held or tripod mounted and the shutter speed doesn’t have much effect on the results. It appears to overexpose a lot, lack contrast and it has soft spots, the location of which change. As you zoom to the longer focal lengths the focus issues seem to get worse but the severity varies.

To give you an example of one of the more severe cases, look at the following.

Example Image with the 55-200 Lens on a Fuji XT2.
Example Image with the 55-200 Lens on a Fuji XT2.

This is image was captured at f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/10”. The camera was tripod mounted and a shutter release used. It was part of a panoramic sequence and the entire sequence has the same strange focus issue where only the top left of the frame is in focus. In some later images, the entire frame is in focus except to the top left.

Image section magnified. Click to view at 100%. Only the top left of the frame is in focus.
Image section magnified. Click to view at 100%. Only the top left of the frame is in focus.

My friend Steve has a theory about lenses such as these. He thinks that most people keep the good ones and trade the poor ones. I think he could be right. Whatever the reason, I hope Fuji can repair this.

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Friday Image No.116

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Olympus EM5, ISO200, 12-40mm lens, 1/250" at f/8.0
Olympus EM5, ISO200, 12-40mm lens, 1/250″ at f/8.0

I can hardly believe it. This time last week I was in the Lake District, sat in a pub enjoying a nice meal. The weather was turning very cold and the next day I was greeted by a very thick frost. I was staying near to the iconic hill known as Catbells with the intention of walking the Newlands Horseshoe. This image was shot near to the summit of Catbells and is a three-image stich using the Olympus EM5.

In the end, we didn’t make it around the horseshoe. We reached High Spy which is a little short of half way when we turned back. It looked like we would run short of daylight and the conditions underfoot were poor. The big mistake was forgetting my crampons. There was a lot of ice and snow about so walking in just boots was slow going and a little tricky at times. I didn’t mind turning back though as the walk (which I have done several times) gave great views in the first half.

Have a great weekend.

Shooting Autumn in the Lakes Part 2

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Clappersgate Bridge, The Lake District. Fuji XT2 + 10-24mm lens.
Clappersgate Bridge, The Lake District. Fuji XT2 + 10-24mm lens.

I have posted a follow up on You Tube to my “In the field” video. This time I’m shooting Clappersgate Bridge in the Lake District. This is a classic view and especially so in the Autumn when the trees are golden as you can see above. I then go on to show the processing you can use to enhance similar autumnal scenes.

I hope you enjoy the video and find it helpful.

[If you are reading this in an email you won’t be able to see the video. Click the following link to watch the video on You Tube]

Photographic Approach

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View from Place Fell, The Lake District. Fuji X-T2.
View from Place Fell, The Lake District. Fuji X-T2.

Recently I have been talking a lot about camera so I want to redress the balance a little. I have been having a couple of email exchanges recently with people who don’t like my photography. I have no issue with this, I just can’t understand why they feel the need to tell me. What I do think is important though is that I’m expected to conform to another person’s view of how an image should look.

The issue in question appears to be that my images are “over processed” because the scenes can’t possibly be captured in camera, the way they appear. The fact that I don’t add or remove items and generally only process my work from a single RAW file is irrelevant. If it can’t be captured with a single shot and without processing, then it’s wrong in their eyes.

I am a landscape photographer. I view the landscape as a thing of beauty and I want my images to reflect the beauty I see. I love to be in the landscape and if ever I could, I would want others to share this experience through my work. If this means I that I need to modify the tones in my image to make it appear as I see with my eyes and mind, then this is acceptable; painters have been doing it for years.

This brings me to the age-old question of should we process our images. My view is that if we shoot Digital and capture in RAW, we must process them. A RAW file without any processing is flat and unappealing. It doesn’t do justice to the subject. If you shoot JPEG then your images will probably look much better initially than the RAW file equivalent. But all you have done in choosing to shoot JPEG is abdicate responsibility for the processing and turned it over to the camera.

As for the “purist” who thinks everything should be done in camera, consider this. If you shoot colour negative film, then the processing of the image and its look has been engineered into the film emulsion. If you shoot colour slide film, again the same is true but you must also modify exposure with graduated filters (in the case of landscapes) due to the limited dynamic range. Is this acceptable as its not in camera? If you shoot black and white negative, then exposure, tone and contrast are controlled not just in camera and when shooting with filters, but also during the developing and printing process. For some reason the same people who criticise image editing see the manipulation of traditional black and white print film as acceptable.

I’m not going to ramble on for much longer other than to make two points:

  1. As photographers, we should strive to develop our own vision of how the images we shoot should look. We also have a responsibility to develop our editing skills to be able to deliver this vision or we are doing our subject a disservice.
  2. We must also learn to appreciate the work of others, even if it differs substantially from our own style and preference. Don’t seek to change others to conform to your vision but ask what can I learn from this other person’s view of the world.

Friday Image No.115

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Silver Birch on Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 converted to shoot Infrared. Olympus 12-40mm lens, ISO 200, 1/320" at f/7.1.
Silver Birch on Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 converted to shoot Infrared. Olympus 12-40mm lens, ISO 200, 1/320″ at f/7.1.

It’s another tree in Infrared. Sometimes, when the light is right, shooting infrared becomes addictive. It’s hard, actually very hard to put the camera down. And so, it was when I visited the Lake District at the start of November. As a result, you will need to suffer more infrared images.

I do hope you like this one and have a great weekend.

Shooting Autumn in the Lakes

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Captured using a Fuji X-T2. Processing using Lightroom and Viveza. Watch the whole thing on You Tube.
Captured using a Fuji X-T2. Processing using Lightroom and Viveza. Watch the whole thing on You Tube.

In case you haven’t yet seen, I have uploaded my latest video to You Tube. This shows an element of the location where I was shooting, including the location details (I am listening). This is then followed by how I processed the image using Lightroom and Viveza.

The feedback on You Tube seems quite positive so far. Do let me know if you like this style as I will create a few more.

If you are reading this as an email, the video won’t display. Please visit the blog post or my You Tube channel to view the video.

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Friday Image No.114

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Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 Infrared + Olympus 12-40 lens. ISO100, 1/80" at f/7.1
Place Fell, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 Infrared + Olympus 12-40 lens. ISO100, 1/80″ at f/7.1

This week I would like to share another infrared image. This was captured using an Olympus EM5 which I had converted to shoot Infrared. It was shot in the Lake District at a location called Place Fell and it’s the first time I have been thee. I intend to return in the future as I think there is a lot of material in the right conditions.

I’m not sure why but the day was far better than expected for Infrared. Everything just seemed to be glowing. The EM5 also makes a superb Infrared conversion. The image was then converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.