After a short break in Amsterdam last week, I’m now getting back into the groove of doing some work.
This week’s Friday image is one I shot whilst I was in Amsterdam (what a great city and nice people by the way – I’m definitely going to return for another visit). This shot isn’t what first springs to mind when you think about Amsterdam, but the view really caught my attention.
These stairs were inside the maritime museum. As you walked out onto the landing there were stairs leading down both sides before meeting on the landing of the next floor. As I walked down the stairs I couldn’t help but feel I had stepped into the Relativity drawing by Escher.
Correcting the perspective on this image was a little tricky and I can’t quite get it perfect. I did the conversion to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro and tried hard to emphasise the lines of the stairs.
I hope you like the shot and have a great weekend.
It’s been some time since it’s rained here properly. The last time was back on the 25th May. I remember it well because it was the Saddleworth Band Contest and that was the first time it had rained in weeks.
Yesterday morning we had a brief shower and last night we had heavier rain. It will be a long time though before the reservoirs are back to regular levels. It’s brought back memories of the Summery of 1976.
But sat here today looking out on the rain, I thought I would share this summery scene to bring back the memories of summer. I do believe it’s forecast to improve again soon though.
After all my recent problems the Drobo is now back up and running. BUT, it only using three disks and not four.
In my previous post on the subject I mentioned that I had to return one of the replacement 3TB drives that had failed. To replace that drive, I ordered a new 4TB from Amazon. When this drive arrived, I tried to add it to the Drobo, but it didn’t seem to fit. It was actually loose in the drive bay.
After some head scratching as to the problem, I compared the drive to one of the old drives and realised it wasn’t as high. It wasn’t the standard size for a 3.5” disk drive. Checking Amazon there was nothing to indicate the unusual size but looking at the physical dimensions of the drive it listed the height as 2cm. Checking other 3.5” drives I realised they were all listed as 2.7cm.
So be warned, if you’re buying additional drives for your Drobo or NAS, check the height of the drive. There are now slimline disks on the market and they don’t fit standard drive bays.
I will pick up a fourth drive at some point, but I just wanted to get the Drobo up and running. I have now copied my backup onto the Drobo and recovered as many images as possible from my formatted memory cards. I’m missing a couple of hundred images but more annoyingly a lot of video I shot for a future YouTube posting. At least the bulk of my images are safe though and I hope you like this one.
If you know the Lake District, you will know there are a few amazing passes to drive:
Whilst these passes are spectacular, you might not realise the best view is often above you.
The image here is looking down onto Honister Pass from the summit of Dale Head (753m). It doesn’t sound much but it can be a bit of a slog when you have walked around the other hills in the Newlands Horseshoe. You can see the road and the river running in parallel along the valley and in the distance is Buttermere.
Despite having walked the rout several times, this is one of the best views I have experienced. In the past it’s often been foggy or raining hard with poor visibility.
Initially I thought this would be a colour shot but then I tried the black and white conversion and thought, that’s the one. In case you’re interested, here is the colour version.
I must admit that this isn’t the image I intended to share with you today. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to share the planned image. When I came to switch on my Drobo storage, my Mac won’t recognise it and the unit won’t mount as a drive. I also tried it on my PC, but it can’t be read. Running Windows chkdsk reports a corrupt File Master Table that it can’t fix. I’m sure the images are still on the drive but it’s looking like I need some serious data recovery software.
I will though share this image which I shot earlier in the week. This is the view from the summit of Dale Head in the Lake District. The lake in the distance is Buttermere and the river and road in the valley is Honister Pass. This was a great walk taking us from our accommodation, over Cat Bells followed by Maiden Moore, High Spy, Dale Head and then Hindscarth before descending to Little Town and back to the start (around 23Km).
This was also a memorable walk as I tore the tendon in my knee just as I came off the top of Hindscarth. It took around 3 hours of agony to get down and back to our accommodation. I’m now hobbling around and in the hands of my Physio who’s also treating me for a torn tendon in my shoulder. It’s not been a good week!
I hope you like the photo and have a great weekend.
For this week’s Friday image, I want to share possibly my favourite view in all Malham. Yes, Malham Cove is spectacular as is Grodale Scar. Janets Foss is tranquil and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. But for me, this dry prehistoric riverbed with its drystone wall is amazing. The first time I ever saw it I thought wow, and I still think wow each time I see it.
From where I shot this, there is a cliff immediately behind me. Sitting on top of that cliff with your feet dangling over, eating a sandwich is pure heaven.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
It’s been exactly 1 year today since I purchased and received this lens; I remember it well because of the terrible events of the Manchester Arena bomb.
I’ve been promising to do a real-world review of the lens for some time, so I thought what better time than after a year’s use. I should also explain what I mean by real world review. I’m not going to base my comments on charts and reading other lab reports from the internet. If that floats your boat, just google Fuji 18-135 Lens Review and I’m sure you will get your fill. This review is based on my use of the lens, the images I have captured with it and what I think are the strong and weak points.
By way of background, this is the second Fuji 18-135 lens I have owned. The first I purchased second hand and after a lot of frustration, it was eventually traded for other equipment. The problem with the first lens was that it was soft and didn’t focus correctly across the frame. The performance was hit and miss, which also seemed to be exaggerated by Adobe Lightroom “smoothing” the finer details in the Fuji RAW files.
It was then only after another 6 months of experience with the Fuji X-T2 that I decided to try a new example of the lens. This was quite a decision for me given my previous experience, but the idea of the 18-135 focal range was so compelling I thought it was worth the risk. A single lens that covers this focal range and will produce a good image is very attractive. It makes the lens ideal for travelling as well as trekking, when you don’t want or don’t have time to mess about changing lenses.
Since buying this lens, my Sony RX10, which was my previous trekking camera, has only been out a handful of times. The focal range of the Sony RX10 is 24mm – 200mm in full frame terms. This compares with 27mm – 202mm for the Fuji 18-135. In terms of coverage, the Fuji lens is similar although I do sometimes miss that first 3mm of the RX10 at the wide end. Where the Fuji 18-135 makes up for this is in being weather resistant and the Fuji X-T2 producing wonderfully clean images.
In terms of weight and size, the Fuji 18-135 lens is what I would term a medium-sized lens but quite light for the size.
Here’s a quick comparison of the Fuji X-T2 against the weight and size of my Micro 43 outfit. This was the kit that I tended to use for travel photography because of its size and weight.
Olympus 12-40 lens 382g – This is my main lens and although doesn’t have the reach of the 18-135, tended to stay on the camera 80% of the time. If I want the additional reach on the Micro 43 kit I would need to use my Panasonic 45-150mm (a great little lens by the way).
Fuji 18-135 490g – About 100g heavier than the Olympus but with the benefit of additional reach.
Olympus EM5 425g – As well as being lighter, this is also smaller than the X-T2 by a couple of cm. The only downside is that I need to use the body with the additional Olympus grip as the body alone gives me cramp in my right hand after around an hour’s use. This takes the combined weight over that of the X-T2.
Fuji X-T2 507g – Slightly larger and heavier than the Micro 43 body but still sufficiently compact.
Both kits will fit into a single small shoulder bag.
The Fuji 18-135mm lens has a 67mm front elements which allows me to use the Lee Seven 5 filter system when I want to be compact, although there is a small amount of vignetting when the lens is wider than around 23mm. The lens works fine with the Kase K8 filter holder and system, although this is bulkier and heavier than the Lee Seven 5.
The bugbear in my mind with the Fuji 18-135 lens is image quality, but I believe this is largely psychological and based on my earlier problems. I think when you constantly look for problems with the images from a specific camera or lens you will find always find something. It also makes you much fussier about image quality. If I compare the quality of the Micro 43 kit (probably unfair as it’s a few years older than the Fuji X-T2) those images aren’t as sharp or detailed and they carry more noise. The images are also smaller at 16Mpixels compared to the Fuji’s 24.3Mpixels, which does come in handy for commercial work.
There are though a few weak spots in the Fuji 18-135mm lens:
In very bright conditions and with the lens at the wide-angle end of the focal range, I do notice some Chromatic Aberration or colour fringing in images. This though is easily removed during RAW conversion.
When processed using Adobe Lightroom, the RAW files captured with this lens seem to be more prone to their fine details being “smoothed out” by the conversion. I don’t know what causes this, but I notice it when I compare the images with other RAW converters.
When used at 18mm, the extreme edges of the lens sometimes go off a little in terms of sharpness. To illustrate this, I have included an example below with sections of an image magnified to 200% and only limited/default capture sharpening applied. You do seem to be able to improve this to some degree by stopping the lens down further. And if you can use a slightly longer focal length the lens starts to perform very well indeed.
Perhaps the biggest practical test of the Fuji 18-135 lens was my recent trip to Italy. After agonizing for some time over which lenses to take, I decided to travel lights and use only the 18-135. Reviewing the images now, I’m very happy with the quality and I was completely happy to work within the restrictions of the focal range. This is a very versatile lens and I’m happy to rely on it for future travel trips, especially when I want to travel with limited equipment.