Friday, August 4, 2017

Fate, Luck & Happenstance

Maybe half of the four of you who read this blog remember I had a Fujifilm XT-1 two years back, and quickly sold it after I realized that the EVF sucked, the B&W was less than what I had imagined, and that it would not, in fact, be my do everything, be everything camera of the future (yeah, you'd think I'd know better)... 

So why, oh why, did I go out and buy another? Well, I'm actually quite glad I sold the first- it allowed me to go hog wild and experiment with a Ricoh GR a year later, which opened an entirely new window of opportunities in: what I shoot, how I shoot, even when I shoot. Now, I don't mind EVF's or LCD's or whatever manner of shitty, digital viewing device- long as the end results are sound. I've learned to sacrifice process for result. And I'm no longer thinking strictly B&W, which when lovingly and properly accounted for takes hours days in post. I now have more years behind me than ahead, already have more than enough B&W files yet to edit, and color post can be done in less than an hour. The latter is freaking... amazing! I haven't given up on B&W (analog, or digital, for that matter), but so far, color's been a kick- a nice change of pace I can live with after 40yrs of strict monochrome. 

Photo: © S. Banos

So when the XT-1 went on sale for $800- I was lucky to have the funds to grab one. Still the best looking digital camera ever made! Anywho, was putting it through the paces at the first of San Francisco's two annual Leather Fairs. And while it still delivers solid results, there were two other things I noticed straight off. The cute as hell 28mm(e) lens is like a freakin' wet fish, in that it has nothing solid and static to grab on to when placing or removing it on the camera body- a true major pain in the ass when in the field covering a fast moving event. I longed for the solid, knurled metal ring on manual Nikkors- instead, I was reminded of the frustration of handling screw mount lenses when they would fail to catch and endlessly go round and round and...

Photo: © S. Banos

The second thing was the ease in which the shooting mode dial could be accidentally moved- that desperately needs to be locked in, just like the ISO dial! It is that major bit of a nuisance that led to a most interesting bit of a lark... Twice, the dial moved to Advanced Setting which (I later discovered) was factory set to the Toy Filter, which basically consists of a very warm filter in conjunction with some very serious vignetting. Yeah, it's a pretty severe look- not one you would involuntarily volunteer for. Now, the chance of it accidentally happening for the one shot it would be most suited for is crazy enough... the chance of it happening twice, on two separate occasions, for the exact two shots it was most suited for is... absolutely insane! But that's exactly what happened- and I've now used up whatever negligible amount of luck I may have had for the rest of my life. Case closed.

I did ease up on said Toy Filter effect in post for the final product, but you can still see the effect to considerable extent- and I must say it does lend a nice feel to these two particular images, serving to soften and isolate the main subjects from the environment at hand. Weird... just plain, all out, freakin' Weird!

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