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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New Lynda.com Course: Foundations of Photography – Specialty Lenses

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Mostly, good photography is about the skill of the photographer. That said, a lot of photographs are only possible with the right type of lens, and there are a lot of lenses out there tailored to very specific types of shooting. In this new course, I go into detail on how to shoot with ultra-wide-angle lenses, super telephotos, fisheyes, Tilt/Shift, and more. If you’ve been wondering if any of these types of lenses are right for you, or you’ve already got one and want to know more about what it can do, then you’ll want to check out my Lynda.com course Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses.

Shooting on the Road, from Gear to Workflow

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Better gear won’t necessarily make you a better photographer, but having the wrong gear can certainly make it more difficult to get the shots you want. In this 3-hour Lynda.com course you’ll see my entire thought process as I equip and prepare for three different kinds of shoots. Through examples of heavyweight, mid weight, and lightweight shoots, you’ll see how I tackle the problems of choosing shooting gear, power, storage, and post-production equipment. You’ll also see how I strategize methods for carrying all this stuff. Discussing everything from tripods to bags and batteries, this course is ideal for anyone who shoots while traveling, and wants a better plan for selecting the right gear. Click here to get started watching now.

The iPad, the HyperDrive, and the Traveling Photographer

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Like a lot of photographers, I like gear. Lots of gear. Sometimes I think that I like gear because buying new gear is easier than trying to take a good picture. But still, I buy more. But when it comes time to actually travel somewhere, all that gear presents a bit of a quandary. The sad fact is: while I like gear, I don’t like carrying it. When traveling, I used to carry a rather full kit – lots of lenses, flashes, anything I might possibly need. But these days, even for extended travel, I tend to go pretty stripped down. Usually just two lenses, no flash, possibly a lightweight tripod. On a recent 3-week trip to Turkey, I decided to go even more bare, and travelled with only a small backpack as my only luggage – both for clothes, and camera gear. Needless to say, this presented a bit of an issue in terms of gear choice.

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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.

Is the 13″ Macbook Air A Good Laptop for the Digital Photographer?

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I travel a lot, and when on the road I typically carry several cameras, a computer, my Kindle, all the associated chargers, cords, extra hard drives and other accoutrements necessary to move my digital world with me. If there’s any room left over, I also consider taking clothes and those other secondary items. Needless to say, my bag’s heavy, so I’m constantly looking for ways to lighten it. For the past couple of years I’ve been carrying a 13" Macbook, which has been a great computer, and fully capable of everything I need for months-long excursions. But it was very difficult not to note the new 13" Macbook Air upon its release. More specifically, to note that it weighs 1.5 pounds less than my 13" Macbook. What wasn’t obvious was whether it was enough computer to handle a digital photo workflow. So I bought one. Here’s how it stacks up.

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What Will You Shoot On Your Summer Vacation

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We’re well into summer now, and as you head out on vacation, you’re probably packing your camera. Or, if you’re like me, you’re packing four or five camera. Whether you’re just getting started in photography, or you’ve been shooting for a long time and have a closet full of gear, planning what to take, and what to plan for can be complicated. In this article, I offer some tips and advice on how to plan your summer vacation shooting.

Wacom Cintiq 21ux

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As I’ve said before, anyone who performs a lot of image editing needs a pressure-sensitive tablet, and no one makes better tablets than Wacom. A lot of people, though, don’t like the coordination of drawing in one place while looking at another. For these people, Wacom has long sold the Cintiq line of screen/tablet combos. These are LCD screens that have a built in pressure sensitive tablet.

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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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Why You Need a Pressure-Sensitive Tablet

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Over the years, I’ve found that photographers tend to fall into two categories: those that edit heavily, and those that rarely edit at all. Of course, this is a generalization, and most users do some kind of editing. But in general, it seems like photographers either edit heavily, or they simply try to work with what comes out of the camera. If you’re the type who edits heavily, then you should seriously consider getting a pressure-sensitive tablet. For re-touching, cutting masks, or performing any painting-based edits, a tablet can make your editing process much easier, and even enable some edits that are impossible, or extremely difficult, with a mouse. If you’re not clear why you might want a tablet, here’s a detailed discussion of the advantages, and a look (with video) at the new Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless tablet..