Aug 31, 2011

100X100 – episode 12

The Fuji X100 comes with a number of ‘digital compact’ features that seem rather out of place on such a straightforward camera. I guess Fuji’s marketing staff wanted to avoid ‘missing’ marks in comparison tables for (supposedly) hot capabilities… The X100 thus offers settings and tricks I do not much care about.

That doesn’t mean of course I may not get curious and wanting to find out what these features are all about. So let’s try…


…the ‘sweep panorama’ capability? A very attractive proposition on paper: easy to use, with flexible options, and
promising great results with little or no pain. Ah, you’ve guessed it too!


Of course I have only my poor technique to blame, but I found it very difficult to get panorama shots without disturbing stitching artifacts. You sometimes must look carefully on the back display in full-size ‘play’ to notice, but those d**n jumps surely will pop up on the computer monitor later. My results did improve with exercise and my success rate on 120° panos got reasonable by now, but it remains a tricky and frustrating experience. Needless to say: all my trials were done handheld, no tripods around while vacationing…



What did I learn? First, make sure to use a fast shutter speed, to avoid motion blur while sweeping. Next, select a scene where most points of interest lie at about the same distance, and pick an aperture giving sufficient depth-of-field (combined with rule #1, up go the ISOs!). Focus and lock exposure at an ‘average’ part before you start your sweep. And last but not least: try (again and again) to pan smoothly at the right speed, keeping the camera moving horizontally across a straight line.


Easier said than done, but with a little luck you will get results that are ‘acceptable’ for the family album. Don’t push beyond that, though!

Gear notes: Fujifilm X100

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Aug 25, 2011

100X100 – episode 11

One of the greatest advantages of cameras like the X100 is that they’re so easy to take along – anywhere. And, because of features and image quality, you hardly ever feel restricted creatively when a picture idea pops up in your mind.

Just a few days ago I was contributing to a day-long training session, held in an inspiring industrial location where refurbishing and upgrading accommodations is still ongoing. Not hard at all to find a few moments to explore the site and grab a couple of quick shots. Nothing fancy, all handheld at higher ISO settings, some even borderline (un)sharp as I was pushing my skills with long exposure times.






Gear notes: Fujifilm X100

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Aug 14, 2011

Living the dream

During a recent spring summer cleaning stint, this picture from my olde days gone came out of a dusty storage box.


The funny thing is: I can exactly remember when it was taken, and I have vivid and detailed memories of that day!

The date was December 15, 1960, a Thursday. That makes me just over 7 years young. It was the day of the marriage of Baudouin I, then King of Belgium, with Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón. A public event that was extensively covered by the media, and one of the first major live events on Belgian TV.

We did not have a TV set at home yet (our first one appeared in 1962) so I followed the proceedings via radio. Already fascinated by technology, I had ‘invented’ and constructed this TV camera using my would-be meccano system (made out of wooden parts and plastic screws and bolts, manufactured by a Dutch company named Sio – I still have some pieces!). The contraption was complete with antenna, rotating lens turret and a shaky tripod.

And there I was, glued to the radio commentary for hours, playing my little role in capturing the wedding ceremony for posterity. A dream that – for me – had become reality, and that today is still engrained in my memory.

Gear notes: no idea

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Aug 10, 2011

Don’t forget the little ones…

Whenever you have the chance to photograph a richly decorated environment, make sure to leave some time to take another walk through the premises, this time focusing on interesting details and remarkable ornaments. These pictures will complete the ‘overall’ shots and will add to the appreciation of art and architecture.







Gear notes: D700, 24-70/2.8

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Aug 6, 2011

100X100 – episode 10

On-line reviews of the Fujifilm X100 are often critical of its image quality with close-up shots. Some reviewers don’t seem willing to accept that the optical viewfinder (OVF) is not suited for nearby framing, to start because of the unavoidable parallax. Switching to the electronic viewfinder (EVF) let’s you focus a lot closer, and the (somewhat overstated) macro mode takes you even further.

True, the 23mm f/2.0 lens does not show all of its otherwise excellent optical performance shooting at wide apertures and at close distances. Fuji themselves recommend stopping down to at least f/4.0 in macro mode. So how good or bad is it then?

DSCF0211wf/2.0, 1/750sec, ISO800

DSCF0181wf/8.0, 1/220sec, ISO400

I find the smooth softness at f/2.0 and f/2.8 quite appealing for creating interesting pictures with a special mood. So I do not hesitate to move in close with these apertures at all. And there’s always the built-in 3-stop ND filter to get rid off excess light when needed.

DSCF0205-Editwf/2.0, 1/170sec, ISO800

DSCF0576wf/2.0, 1/640sec, ISO800

DSCF0547wf/2.0, 1/280sec, ISO400

All shots were made handheld, hence the higher ISO settings: another thing I do not shy away from!

Gear notes: Fujifilm X100

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Aug 3, 2011

Castle +1

Time to go up the majestic marble stairway at the Val-Duchesse castle, and explore the first floor.


From the landing, a small salon leads on to a large and bright hall in Louis XVI style – the Baron room – complete with mirrors and chandeliers.




At the other side, the apartment of former owner Charles Dietrich now has become the ‘Presidential suite’.



Gear notes: D700, 16/2.8, 17-35/2.8

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