The Fuji X-E1 – Some thoughts and impressions

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Last year, not long after it came out, I bought a Fuji X100 because I was intrigued by the promise of a small, rangefinder-like camera with a fixed 35mm lens. I liked the idea of being forced to shoot with a specific field of view; I loved the look and feel of the camera; and it’s hard to beat Fuji’s lens and image quality. What was easy to beat, at the time, was the X100’s autofocus and clumsy menu system. These issues were so frustrating that I sold the camera not long after I bought it. I came to mildly regret this decision as Fuji released firmware updates that addressed many of the issues that had bothered me, but didn’t think seriously about returning to the camera. But with the release of the Fuji X-E1, I couldn’t resist giving Fuji another chance. Here are some of my impressions and thoughts about Fuji’s latest mirrorless camera.

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Now Available: Lynda training for the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D Mark III

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If you’re the lucky own of a Nikon D800 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and you’d like to know more about how to use either camera, then you’ll want to check out my two latest Lynda.com courses. Both classes walk you through all the critical features and operations of each camera, and are designed to work in concert with my Foundations of Photography series. Note that the 5D Mark III class is also ideally suited for users of the 5D Mark II. Click here if you’re a 5D user or click here if you’re a D800 user.

Now Shipping: Complete Digital Photography, 7th Edition

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The seventh, and latest, edition of this site’s namesake book is now available. The newest version of Complete Digital Photography features full updating for Photoshop CS6, the latest version of Camera Raw, and new sections on composition, low light shooting, printing, and workflow. For the most part, the book maintains the organization of the last edition, with a few new sections and a few others eliminated. In addition to the included step-by-step post-production tutorials included in the book, many additional tutorials are included on the companion web pages. Order your copy now!

Camera-Specific Training at Lynda.com

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There’s a lot to know to be a capable photographer. Exposure theory, lighting, composition. On top of all that, there are all those buttons and dials on your camera. To help you understand exactly how your camera works, you might want to check out one of my camera-specific courses at Lynda.com. These courses will work you through all of the features of their respective cameras, and help you understand those features in the context of larger photographic theories. Courses are now available for the Canon EOS60D, the Nikon D7000, the Canon Rebel T3i, and the Nikon D5100.

An Easy Way to Try Out Micro Four Thirds

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If you’re not already familiar with Micro Four Thirds, you should be. A standard camera spec that offers a nearly perfect compromise between the size of a high-end point-and-shoot, and the image quality and shooting flexibility of an SLR, Micro Four Thirds might be the perfect companion for your SLR, or high-end point-and-shoot. (You can learn all about Micro Four Thirds – what it is and why you should care – here. The best way to find out if Micro Four Thirds is right for you is to try it, and that’s now easier than ever thanks to Borrowlenses.com, which now rents Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses. Check out their offerings, rent a camera, and see if Micro Four Thirds is right for you.

Revisited: Do you need a full-frame sensor?

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Five years ago, I wrote this piece on whether you should buy a full-frame or cropped sensor digital camera. At the time, cameras with a full-frame sensor were substantially more expensive than cropped-sensor cameras, and a lot of people believed that, eventually, cropped-sensor cameras would be phased out and replaced by more affordable full-frame cameras. Five years later, we’ve seen that that’s not going to happen, but the question remains: do you need full-frame or is a cropped sensor camera okay?

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Panasonic Electronic Viewfinder for the GF1

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While the Panasonic GF-1 Micro Four Thirds camera is a great option for SLR or point-and-shoot users, photographers who are used to an optical viewfinder – especially those shooters coming from an SLR – might find themselves frustrated by the camera’s LCD-only viewfinder. For these users, Panasonic has created a clip-on electronic viewfinder that serves as a credible replacement for a quality optical viewfinder, though with a few caveats.

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Panasonic DMC-GF1

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Panasonic’s DMC-GF1 marks the company’s first release of a compact Micro Four Thirds camera, and a direct competitor to Olympus’ E-P1. Offering SLR quality and power in a package that’s close to point-and-shoot size, the GF1 (and Olympus’ E-P1) defines an entirely new class of camera. Bridging the market between high-end point-and-shoots, and SLRs, the camera will appeal to beginning shooters who want to expand their capabilities, and high-end shooters who want a second camera that’s easy to carry. Read my Panasonic GF1 Review.

Should You Buy an Olympus E-P1 or Panasonic GF1?

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It’s been a while since an entirely new niche of digital camera has come along, but with the release of the Olympus E-P1 and the Panasonic DMC-GF1, that’s what we have. These "Micro Four Thirds" cameras represent the first significantly new class of camera since, possibly, Canon’s D30 SLR in 2000. With their small size, interchangeable lenses, and sensors that are larger than what you’ll find in a point-and-shoot, they offer a new option for SLR shooters who want a smaller second camera, but don’t want to give up too much image quality. Conversely, for point-and-shooters who are ready to move on, but don’t want to hassle with the weight of an SLR, a Micro Four Thirds camera might be just the ticket. But which of these two cameras is right for you?

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Choosing A Starter Camera

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Canon PowerShot SX120 IS

If you’re looking to buy a starter digital camera – either for yourself or as a gift – then you might be surprised to find that your options are fairly limited. Now, I know what you’re thinking: "Are you crazy?! Every time I go into Best Buy there’re huge piles of little point-and-shoot digital cameras!" While this is true, there are very few of those that I would consider a "starter" camera. "Starter" implies that this first camera will be a start – that you’re looking for a camera that will be a jumping off point, and that you (or your gift-ee) might want to learn from this camera, and one day move on to something more advanced. Here’s what you should buy, and why.

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