Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fuji 16-55mm f2.8 On The Street

Finally a reasonably warm day to get out and shoot with the new Fuji lens. I took a walk around midtown Manhattan to get an idea of how the lens would perform on the street. I love this lens. The balance with the X-T1 and small handgrip is very comfortable, at least compared to how the D700 with the 24-70mm felt, and focal range suits me very well. The focus speed is very zippy and quiet, and the rotation of the zoom ring to rack out from 16 to 55mm is very compact.

Best of all, with the light today I was able to shoot everything at ISO 200. The crispness and tonal range produced by the lens make processing the images really simple. Here's what I got:

Oh the indignity!

Outside the Apple Store:


Something I can do for you?

Who me?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fuji 16-55mm f2.8

I had the good fortune to attend a dinner this past week in Lakewood, NJ celebrating the bar mitzvah of a friend's son. It was the same day that I received my much awaited Fuji 16-55mm zoom lens, so throwing all caution to the wind and without any practical experience using the lens I decided to do the bulk of my shooting at the event with this new lens. I also brought along my Fuji 14mm f2.8 lens for very wide angle shots. But as it turned out, that was not at all needed.

There are and will be numerous reviews of the new zoom lens, so I leave that task to more experienced testers than I am. In practical terms, I found the lens to be very pleasing to use. The extra mass (as in weight and size) was no hinderance to my comfort, the focus speed was absolutely zippy and silent, and the image quality was (and hopefully will continue to be) extraordinary.  I processed some of the shots, as I usually do, into b/w (see below).

I can say with confidence, even though I have yet to hit the streets of NYC with this lens (hopefully the temps will warm a bit), that between the 14mm and this zoom I have 95% of my area of interest covered. When I travel to the Middle East later this spring with these two and the 50-140mm lenses, all my bases will be covered. I'll be selling off my 10-24mm, 18-55mm, and 55-200mm zooms.

Here's the shots, the proud papa:

The bar mitzvah bocher:

The ladies sizing up the future husband(s):

Next in line:

The critics:


Monday, February 16, 2015


Sometimes the moment is too good and I just have to take a chance on getting a shot. I didn't get whacked.

Friday, February 13, 2015

To Zoom Or Prime?

Zooms or Primes. I waver back and forth about which type of lens I like best. I guess it's a mood thing. I know photographers that swear by one or the other. I like to consider the advantages of both. The Fuji prime focal length lenses definitely exhibit cleaner acuity and better defined tonal separation. But zooms are so much more flexible in tight situations where mobility can be restricted.

I try to have some parameters by which to gauge situations so I can decide which set of lenses to schlep along with me. If I'm out on the street, primes are ideal as I have plenty of room to move around. They're fast, small, and unobtrusive. My favorites are the 14mm f2.8, 23mm f1.4, and the 35mm f1.4. Great for dim light or strong shadows. I don't shoot much at the longer focal lengths, so the 56mm, 60mm, and soon to be available 90mm don't do anything for me. But the newly announced 16mm will be a welcome addition to my lens kit.

If I'm shooting a particular location for a project, such as the work I've been doing on the Lower East Side, Crown Heights, and such, I'm usually in a very small space, so the 10-24mm f4 wide angle zoom is my workhorse. But I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the new 16-55 f2.8 zoom.
These two scenarios are the easy part.

The problem I have now (and it is admittedly a 'first world' kind of problem) is when I travel, as I'm planning to do this spring, what do I take? Of course I want to travel light, but I have no idea what situations I'll find myself in. I'll be doing a lot of street type work, but I'll also be in some very tight spaces. I'm leaning towards packing everything and deciding day to day what I may need depending on the locale. I'm sure the equipment I leave behind will be safe.

I've become lazy of late when I shoot street, sticking mostly with the 10-24mm zoom, and carrying the 18-55mm in my bag, just in case. But there is a clear difference in the crispness of the images between the wide zoom and the fixed 14mm and 23mm lenses. (the 18mm is no slouch either, just not my favorite focal length). And oh yeah, I have a lot of lenses. But I live in jeans - no Armani suits for me, drive a Hyundai - no Merc or BMW, do most of my own cooking, and have no wife or kids (that I know of). So I have one major indulgence. Shoot me. I'm planning to stick with the primes for the near future to get comfortable with them again.

Here's some pics I shot this past week, out in the bitter cold to keep from going stir crazy:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stir Crazy

This winter has been tough. Hard to get out to shoot. And when I do make it onto the street, it's been tough to concentrate. Which reminds me, President's day is coming.

A young lad mentioned President's day to his dad who was surprised that the tot even knew the day existed. So the dad asked, 'Do you know what President's day is?'

To which the young lad answered, 'Sure I do. It's when the President comes out of his hole, sees his shadow, and runs back inside. And we have six more weeks of bullshit.'

Here's a shot I took on Monday, Seventh Ave in the 50's:

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Wry Smile

Nasty and cold this weekend and early week. Tough to get out and shoot, but have to fight that cabin fever. I took a walk through Union Square. There's always lots of interesting faces passing through.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy NYC

Going back through my catalog to find shots I may have overlooked, I found this group of New Yorkers who were very happy to have their photos taken on the street.