Author Archives: photography

Condensing Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida

Roland Barthes, a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, et al. wrote a small book, Camera Lucida, on the nature and essence of photography. Although the book focuses on the lasting emotional impact of the medium, there are intensely personal passages in the book. It is, therefore, sometimes difficult to separate the discussion of photography from the personal. Even so, if you are studying photography, this book will likely be on the top of your curriculum. What is significant about the book is the taxonomy that is laid out.

The taxonomy is wrapped around several keywords: operator, spectator, stadium, spectrum and punctum. If you read through his book you will find them defined in the following list. Where possible I have tried to let the author speak through quotes from the book.

  • Operator: the photographer whose emotional reaction to the frame limits and perspectivizes the surprise he is creating. In viewing the image, he is linked to the framing process.
  • Spectator: those who look through photographs but are not linked directly to the emotional framing of the operator.
  • Studium: “it is this element which arises from the scene and  shoots like an arrow, and pierces me.” “It is about liking not loving, it is vague, slippery, irresponsible interest one takes in the people, the entertainments, the books, the clothes one finds ‘all right.'” “To recognize the stadium is inevitably to encounter the photographer’s intentions to enter into harmony with them, to approve or disapprove of them, but always to understand them, to argue them within me, for culture (from which stadium derives) is a contract arrived at between creators and consumers.” In other words the stadium speaks to the politician, linguist or cultural interpretation of the photograph.
  • Punctum: “The second element that will disturb the studium… punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole… that accident that pricks me.” a marked break – often a detail of higher value – Power of expansion or metonymic isolated by the photographer. In other words, the punctum of a photograph is the personal detail that establishes a relationship with the object or person within it.
  • Spectrum of the Photograph: the eidolon (a spectre or phantom) emitted from object, or spirit, Cultural Knowledge. “…the person or thing photographed is the target, the referent, a kind of little simulacrum, any eidolon emitted by the object, which I should like to call the spectrum of the photograph, because this word retains, through its root, a relations to “spectical” and adds to it that rather terrible thing which is there in every photograph: the return of the dead.”

One could say a good photograph, according to his taxonomy, should have a “punctum” that disturbs the “spectrum” and, as a result, creates a “studium” that arrests the spectator suddenly or unexpectedly.


Fujifilm X100 VI!

Fujifilm’s most celebrated camera was upgraded on February 19th, 2024, called the X100 VI. It has a new 40mp sensor with built-in 6-stop IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization). This unique range finder camera with a hybrid optical/digital EVF, a large APS-C sensor and a leaf shutter is small and perfect for an avid street photographer with its F2 lens.

This image from Photo Resources gives you some idea of the camera’s compact size. The review from this link gives you details on the X100V. The previous model.

The X100 series is also unique in other ways, with its range finder retro design. In the street, it looks like an old-fashioned film camera with its ISO, Speed dials and aperture on the lens. It is not the kind of camera people get worried about, and its size is easy to carry and conceal.

The new camera has the same form and size as the previous X100v model, but the dimensions have shifted slightly to accommodate the IBIS system. As you may know, IBIS requires a greater battery demand, but the camera’s new processor ensures the battery life is the same as the previous model. The camera also has the fifth generation “X-Tran Processor-5” and an upgraded AI focusing system. The hybrid viewfinder allows you to switch between Electronic View Finder, Optical Viewfinder or Electronic Range Finder.

For more information on this and the camera, click here go to the Photo Rumours site.

Three models are available

Three models are available: a black and silver version or a commemorative limited edition version in silver.

The Limited edition includes a special box with a unique strap, soft release button and history cards. The body is engraved with the original 1934 corporate logo and a unique serial number.

Summary of Key Specifications.

  • 40.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 5 HR Sensor
  • X-Processor 5 Image Processor
  • 11 frames per second
  • LCD is a touchscreen
  • One UHS-II SD card slot
  • HDMI, USB C and Audio ports
  • AI focus assistance, including face detection
  • Fujinon 23mm f/2 Lens (35mm Full-Frame Equivalent)
  • GPS information can be placed into EXIF data using their iPhone app.
  • 6-Stop In-Body Image Stabilization
  • 425-Point Intelligent Hybrid AF System
  • Hybrid 0.66x OVF with 3.69m-Dot OLED EVF
  • 3.0″ 1.62m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • 20 Film Simulation Modes with their new REALA ACE film simulation

About its Sensor

Like all X-Tran cameras, it does not have a Bayer filter. Unlike a Bayer filter, the X-Trans array sensors have a unique six-by-six pattern of photosites. This layout can minimize moiré effects and, in turn, increase resolution over cameras that use a low-pass filter to reduce moiré.

Bayer sensors can produce false colour as they do not have R and B photosites in some horizontal and vertical lines; the X-tran sensors, on the other hand, have an improved colour reproduction due to all horizontal and vertical lines containing at least one R, G and B pixel.

Film Simulations

Fujifilm cameras all come with film simulations; with each new camera, more and more film simulations are added. This means when you are setting your camera to “Fine plus RAW,” the jpg that accompanies the RAW file will simulate any of the film looks you have selected. The X100VI will come with another new film setting, “Reala Ace,” along with the following: Provia, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/Soft, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg. Standard and Hi, Classic Negative, Nostalgic Negative, Eterna, Eterna Bleach Bypass, Acros, Monochrome, and Sepia.

In addition, the X100IV, like all X series cameras, allows you to save customized film simulations. One can save up to seven that can be recalled quickly from the “Q” menu. An excellent resource for creating film simulations can be found on the Fuji X Weekly website. He has formulas for a wide variety of film stock recreations.

Fujifilm Accessories

There are two conversation lens that can be used with this fixed lens camera a 50mm and 28mm equivalent.

The TCL-X100 II on the left is a tele-conversion lens for narrowing the field of view to 50mm (35mm equivalent). It focuses as closely as 14 inches, and the camera immediately recognizes it when attached.

The Wide Conversion Lens WCL-X100 II  is a dedicated wide conversion lens converting it to 28mm (35mm format equivalent).

In addition, Fujifilm has a filter, lens hood and an adapter for this camera.

They also provide various flash options and a leather case:

Third-Party Accessories

Match Technical EP-2V Thumbs Up Grip (Black) slides into the camera’s hot shoe and provides a 22° bevelled grip in the ideal place for resting your thumb. This setup provides you with a more secure grip on your camera.

49mm Lens Kit

Our UV Filter Plus+ cuts ultraviolet light, sharpens your photos, and protects your lens against scratches, water, dirt, and fingerprints. Our CPL Polarizing Filter Plus+ cuts reflected (polarized) light, increasing contrast and boosting colour saturation and vibrancy.

NiSi Filter System for Fujifilm X100 The kit features four filters: the NiSi Medium GND8 (0.9) 3 Stop Graduated Filter and a NiSi HD Polarizer.  The filters are made from optical-quality glass and offer superb image quality.

H&Y Filters Magnetic Filter Kit The Magnetic Filter Kit is made up of: UV, Circular Polarizer, and Neutral Density. It has a magnetic adapter ring, lens cap, and filter wallet. The glass has Nano-coating finish, combining the glare-resistant capability of multi-coating with protective resistance coating to protect against dust, grime, oil, and water.


Masks in Lightroom and Capture One

For some time, Capture One has had very subtle and comprehensive masking and a style system that allows you to memorize various adjustments that can be compounded. To catch up, Adobe has rushed to update Lightroom with more masking options and the introduction of intersecting masks. Although accessing this feature is somewhat convoluted, the power of intersecting masks is a significant upgrade. The following collection of videos outlines how these work and why you might be using this feature on every photograph you process.

Nigel Danson illustrates how intersecting masks can solve processing issues that previously were very complex to achieve.

Third-party Lens for X and G mount

Fujifilm lenses, both for the X and G series, are stunning and often the best possible option for their cameras. However, with the imperfections they bring, third-party lenses can create some interesting effects. So, for those of you who like to experiment with Lensbaby lenses, heritage lenses, etc., some of the following lenses may provide some options for creativity. This is just a sampling of lenses. The X-series options focused on higher f-stop versions; of particular interest was the TTArtisan 35mm f.095. The selection of G mounts sampled the telephoto range, which had a smaller form than those manufactured by Fujifilm.

X-Mount Lenses

Voigtlander Ultron 27mm f2.0 manual $800CDN

9.3″ Minimum Focus Distance, 40mm equivalent, 10 blade aperture, with 43mm front filter thread.

TTArtisan 35mm f/0.95 Manual $270CDN

52.5mm equivalent, minimum focus distance 14″, ten blades, diaphragm, creamy bokeh, Dustin Abbott Review

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.2 lens Manual $950 CDN

f1.2 to f16, 12 Blade diaphragm, screw lens hood, 75mm equivalent, minimum distance 1.3′,

Voigtlander Nokoton 35mm f0.9 Manual $1750CDN

One Ground Aspherical Lens Element, 62mm thread, 53mm equivalent, minimum focus. 1.15′ 12 blade diaphragm

TTArtisan 23mm f1.4, $135CDN

35mm equivalent, minimum focus, f1.4 – f16, 10 blade diaphraph, manual focus.

TTArtisan 17mm f1.4mm, $172 CDN

25.5 equivalent, 1.4-16f, minimum focus 7.9 inches, one aspherical element, manual focus nine elements eight groups, ten blade diaphragm, filter size 40.5

G-Mount Lenses

TTArtisan 90mm f1.25 Gmount, $700 CDN

f1.25-16, 11 elements in 7 groups, 4 sets of achromatic element doublets, manual focus, minimum distance 3.3′, 10 blade diaphragm, click aperture ring, front thread 77mm Review
Darren Miles Review

Mitakon Zhongi Creator 135 f2.5 lens, $400 CDN

f2.5 to f22, two extra-low dispersion elements, internal focusing, 106mm equivalent, manual focus, two ultra-high refraction index elements, round 9-blade diaphragm.

AstrHori 75mm f4, $450 CDN

f4-f16, 59mm equivalent, manual focus, eight elements in six groups, 67mm filter thread.

DJI Osmo Pocket 3

The new DJI Osmo Pocket 3 camera is built on a one-inch sensor; this is a significant upgrade and places this device with an IQ (image quality) significantly better than action cameras like the GoPro, designed to be used in extreme outdoor conditions. The design around the Pocket 3 is more appropriate for podcasting or filming in less harsh situations than those for the GoPro, so don’t use it in the rain.

The GoPro sensors fluctuated between 1/2.3 and 1/1.9, essentially cellphone sensors. One-inch and 4/3 sensors are typically found in smaller cameras and not cell phones; given that a one-inch sensor is four or more times larger than a cell phone sensor, it will provide better colour, dynamic range, and resolution. Remember that 20 megapixels of resolution from a cellphone sensor differ in quality from 20 megapixels from a larger camera sensor.

The Pocket 3 has the advantage of a gimbal rather than stabilization. This is better for capturing video than a stabilization system when the camera is handheld. On the other hand, the GoPro requires a higher speed to use the stabilization, compromising the image quality and increasing noise in the images. The Pocket 3’s gimble also allows for “subject-tracking,” whether on a tripod or handheld. So, if you are holding the camera and filming yourself, you do not need to check that you are in the image as you navigate uneven terrain; the camera does this automatically. If the camera is stationary, you can be moving about the scene, and the camera will keep you in the centre of the scene. The image display can be rotated to facilitate a quick change from landscape to portrait mode. So switching back and forth is very quick, whether using the video for YouTube’s landscape world or doing a quick TikTok in portrait mode.

I will leave the detailed technical information and the configuration of the two kits to the references found below, particularly the DPReview, which is very comprehensive, as is the video produced by Gordon Laing.

The final point is a one-inch sensor does take good stills, and the camera can be used in this mode, as you may have gathered. So, it is also a compact camera; the only limitation here might be the lens, which is equivalent to a 20mm lens on a full-frame camera. In other words, it is a wide-angle lens. If you use the iPhone 15, the 1x lens is equivalent to 24mm. So, the Pocket 3 is wider in its field of view than your standard cell phone camera. You can find a discussion on other one-inch cameras in my article A Niche Market for 1″ Sensor Cameras.

Two Kits

The Pocket 3 is sold for $719.99 Cdn, and there is also the option to buy the device in a Creator Kit for $929.99. The kit includes several additional accessories, including a wireless microphone, which I believe makes the kit a better buy.