A Cheap way to improve your photography.

I have been wanting to post about this for some time now and I'm finally getting around to it.  The house is quite and a good time to put some thoughts on the website.  From time to time I'll get asked whats the best camera I can get for this or that?  Or, Im just starting off what should I buy?  How can I achieve better photos?

These are all hard questions and there is not a definitive answer for any of them.  What I can say for certain is one of the cheapest and best ways to improve your photography is........... (Get close and Ill tell you a secret) Buy a 50mm Prime lens.

A 50mm Prime can tell your story!!!  Canada / 58mm Nikkor Prime

Lets look into the benefits of a Prime lens and for the interest of this post, the 50mm prime specifically. 

1. 50mm Primes are among the cheapest prime lenses to purchase.  Even some of the top of the line designs are cheaper compared to other focal lengths.  This is where the term "Nifty Fifty" came from.

2. Primes allow you to achieve a narrow DOF ( Depth of Field ) which will enhance subject isolation and bring the viewers eye towards whats important in your photograph. 

3. Wider F-stops like f/1.4 through f/2 allow for two advantages in addition to subject isolation.  You will achieve faster shutter speeds to ensure crisp sharp images in failing light as well as lower ISO numbers which offer better noise control.

4. They are usually lighter and smaller which offer obvious benefits.

5. A 50mm focal length or focal lengths within that range offer a great combination of compression for portraits yet wide enough to go walking about and tell your story.  If you look at the image above of my daughter holding onto the telescope viewer at Niagara Falls you can see the surrounding elements that are important in telling this story.  You can see the binoculars, you can see the mist from the falls.  The buildings and people around her.  You can even see her clothing which tell you it was a nice sunny day.  Had this shot been taken with an 85mm or even a higher telephoto focal length these important factors would of been left out of the image.  It would be a tight portrait of a child and thats all.

6.  BOKEH !!!!  We all love it even if some of us have no idea what it is.  We know it when we see it.  Bokeh can be explained in THIS article.  

This is bokeh.  Nikon 58mm.

The good news is pretty much every major camera manufacturer offers more then one 50mm prime.  In fact most offer their high end Prime 50mm right along with a budget conscious 50mm and the results are usually close to the same.  In most cases 50mm primes will offer an F/1.4 as well as an F/1.8 or F/2.  Some of these prime lenses are legendary to say the least.  Im not going to list them all but a few like the Leica 50mm Summicon, Minolta 58mm 1.2, Canon 50mm 1.2, Nikon's 58mm 1.4 and a few Russian Vintage lenses like the Halios offer distinctive looks that are bound to make your photography stand out.

A 50mm prime lens will teach you to frame your photographs with your feet not a zoom lens.  You will probably start to even learn where you need to plant yourself for the right distance before you even take the picture.  Prime lenses can teach you how to look for potential imagery.

My advice to you if your a beginning photographer and looking into making your first camera purchase.  Buy a 50mm prime right away and start benefiting from these wonderful lenses.  If your shooting an APS-C body be mindful that the crop factor must be taken into account so a 35mm lens on a crop body will give you your 50mm focal length.

If you happen to shoot mirrorless, well then.....as they say the worlds your oyster!!!  You can pretty much adapt any 50mm lens to your camera so things just got a lot cheaper for you.  Or expensive depending on if you want the really high end stuff. 

Its works both ways.  The Mamiya 110mm f/2.8 Medium Format 6X7 equals a 55mm f/1.4 focal length on a standard 35mm frame.

Its works both ways.  The Mamiya 110mm f/2.8 Medium Format 6X7 equals a 55mm f/1.4 focal length on a standard 35mm frame.

Worried about your wide angle shots.....don't be.  Just learn how to stitch in post.

Below I'm going to bombard you with a ton of imagery all taken using 50mm equivalent lenses.  I was using everything from Fujifilm Crop sensor bodies all the way to Medium Format cameras.  Some shots are even on film.  Thanks for checking out the post and as always come visit my youtube channel as well as my instagram page for more blogs and images.  As always I welcome questions and comments so please feel free to reach out.  Im always happy to help.

Handevision Iberit Lens FIRST LOOK

I wanted to post a short video here about my initial impressions on the HandeVision Iberit Lens line up.....WOW!!!  Impressive to say the least.  As always check out and like my instagram page (link at the bottom) and follow me to see more examples.  Subscribe to my youtube channel as well because I will be kicking out more content in the future.  Thanks all and enjoy.

Published........

I'm very happy to have my review and work published at Fuji X Passion magazine.  Maurício & Hugo reached out to me the other day and asked to post my review of the FujiFilm X100F.  Yes was the obvious answer.  I'm looking forward to the interview we have scheduled for May as well.

The Review can be read here on my blog as well as at Fuji X Passion.  Check it out as well as all the other amazing photographers and information on this great website.

https://www.fujixpassion.com/2018/03/20/fujifilm-x100f-review/

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Fujifilm X100F

I’ve only had this camera for a short amount of time and I debated whether or not to post a blog entry about it.  Did I shoot enough with it?  Did I put it through its paces?  Did I feel informed enough?  Did I return it like I did my X100T in less then two weeks?

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The Fujifilm X100F or Fourth (IV) is Fuji’s 4th edition of this popular system.  Having owned the X100T I knew what to expect.  Or did I?

I had purchased the X100T and owned it for about 2 weeks and to be honest it never really impressed me much.  I don’t know what about it really didn’t do it for me.  I quickly sold it.

 

After that I gave up on the X100 series and gravitated all my cash and efforts towards the Fujifilm GFX Medium Format Monster.

See more on that rig here https://www.josephdagostinophotography.com/blog/

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My passion for shooting everyday overpowered my will to stream line my gear and I soon found myself purchasing and XT2 then an XPro1.  This led the way to an XPro2 which in turn brought me full circle back to.....you guessed it the X100F.  I was a bit hesitant at first.  Loving my XPro series cameras I was skeptical about having a fixed lens limiting my options.   I only own 3 zoom lenses and they are all from Nikon so I’m primarily a prime shooter.  The more I shot everyday with the XPro cameras the more I noticed the Fujinon 23mm 1.4 mounted to the front of my cameras.  The 35mm effective view due to the APS-C sensor has been the perfect focal length for my taste.

A perfect story telling lens.  Wide enough for landscapes and perfect for tighter areas as well.

 

So......my argument for having a 23mm fixed lens was all but diminishing.  Then I remembered the softness of the 23mm at f/2 in the X100T when using close focus.   Well that’s all my fault.   I’ve learned from my mistakes and f/4 for close ups reveals tack sharp images on the X100F.   The other wonderful specification the X100F has adopted was the newer 24mpix X-Trans CMOS III sensors found in the XPro2 and XT2.  If you haven’t had the change to shoot with this sensor you owe it to yourself to take one for a spin.  Gorgeous colors and amazing dynamic range.  Beautiful high ISO.

F/2

F/2

This sensor impressed me every time I start messing around with my RAW files.  If you don’t like RAW files not to worry because Fuji has some of the best JPEG color profiles in the business.  Plus just like the XPro2 the X100F has the RAW converter and WiFi implementation so you can send your baked files straight to your phone for posting on social media.  This way you can become a famous photographer and have Fujifilm invite you to become their newest celebrated X Ambassador.....well it’s probably a lot harder then that.  I’ve been trying for sometime now.....haha.

 

If you haven’t guessed by now then I’ll fill you in. NO I WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT BE SELLING OR RETURNING THE X100F......I LOVE IT.

 

Man what a beautiful and refined camera Fuji has delivered to us.  I don’t care who is offended by this next statement but I need to go out and say it.  The X100F is as gorgeous as the Leica M series....GASP.  How dare you sir!!!!

The X100F looking well suited in the company of nice things.

The X100F looking well suited in the company of nice things.

I opted for the silver version myself and couldn’t be happier.  The black rubberized leatherette sings in your hand and the newest X100 has a real solid heft to it.  There is nothing that says plastic fantastic here.  It’s made in Japan, cause it even says so on the back.  The camera body is cold to the touch letting you know it’s made from  Magnesium.  The graceful lines and knurled shutter speed, EV comp and focus ring are such a sweet sight and add to the richness of this new 100.  Speaking of knurled knobs the shutter speed knob now encompasses the ISO as well just like the larger XPro2 and gives a real throw back to the days of film.  You either love it or hate it but you still have the option of using a command dial to ride your ISO should you choose to.

ISO 8000

If you haven't guessed by now the Black & White files coming from the X100F are simply amazing.

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This X100F was a camera that I wanted for a specific reason.  To allow me to have a camera on me at all times and it has filled that role wonderfully and then some.  For me to capture everyday moments there isn’t a better tool for me to use.  Fast, accurate, small but solid.  The X100F is a pure winner.  Plus it looks like a million bucks but unassuming at the same time.  This camera has so many features but at the same time can be so grounded and simple.  It’s really up to you and how you wish to create imagery. 

I’m not going to bore you with specs.  They can be seen right here.  

http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x100f/ 

 

The specification that isn’t listed on any site but I’m sure that every X100F user by now already knows is the feeling that this camera will give you when you have it in your hand.  It is begging for your creative input.  It’s offering you photographic brilliance at the most basic level.  It is just so damn intuitive and fun to use with its quite Leaf shutter f/2 lens.  The addition of an internal 3-Stop ND filter and electric shutters speeds up to 1/32000th.  All in the size of something a little shorter then an Apple iPhone 6plus.  This is a street photography dream but more then that this Fujifilm X100F is a camera to capture life.  Add your favorite accessories like a thumb grip, B&W F-Pro UV Filter to protect that lens, the JJC Lens hood and a nice simplistic strap from Hyperion and your off.

Fog over the road way. Fuji X100f @ f/8

Fog over the road way. Fuji X100f @ f/8

Well suited for product shots at f/4

The 23mm lens works for selfies too!!!

The in camera panorama works great.

Thank you for taking the time to check out

my work and please check out some of my other postings.  Also please stop by my instagram page to see more or my work with other set ups.

www.instagram.com/josephdagostinophoto

Fujifilm GFX and Pentax 105mm 2.4

I’ve been holding off on writing this blog post for quite some time now but I feel confident that now is the time.  I’ve had some considerable time with the Fuji GFX50s as well as the Pentax67 105mm 2.4 having used it religiously on almost every job I’ve had.  I’ve chosen the Kipon Baveyes 0.7 focal reducer adapter to mount the massive Pentax67 glass onto the GFX.  This combination feels as substantial as a full frame DSLR with a 70-200mm lens attached however the results are unlike anything else out there.

If your reading this blog post then I’m pretty confident that you know about the Fujifilm GFX50S Digital Medium Format Mirrorless camera.  You are probably also aware of the many benefits of using adapted lenses on mirrorless systems.  What your probably wondering is how well the Pentax67 105mm 2.4 lens works on the GFX.  I like most of us out here are constantly trying to navigate through the vast world of modern and vintage glass to adapt to this amazing system.   I’ve definitely tried a few and while some are certainly better then others it also comes down to what look your after in the first place.   Figuring out the focal lengths can be confusing but you have to understand the size of the sensor in order to figure out what each focal length will yield in 35mm terms.  In order to do that the formula is FOCAL LENGTH X .79 = Percieved Focal Length on GFX.  

So 105mm x .79 = 82.95mm.

However when adding a focal reducer like the Kipon Baveyes 0.7 you have to adjust this formula.  This would new formula would be FOCAL LENGTH X 0.7 X .79 = Focal Length.

So 105mm x 0.7 x .79 = 58mm.

Which means the Pentax67 105mm 2.4 with Baveyes focal reducer gives you a normal prime lens for the GFX.  This was great for me because I’m in love with my Nikon 58mm 1.4G.  In fact my go to camera configurations have been a Nikon D5 on one side usually with the 58mm and the GFX on the other with the 105mm attached to a Moneymaker Strap.   Below are two images one from the Nikon 58mm 1.4g on a Nikon D5 (Left) and the second the Pentax 105mm on the Fujifilm GFX50s (Right).

Again, here is another set below.  58mm Nikon on left and 105mm Pentax on the right.

I know it may seem odd to shoot two cameras with a similar perceived focal length but I feel the two rendered are much different.  The GFX Medium Format image give you a different compression as you can see in the side by side images above.  Now this is in no way meant to be a side by side comparison between two cameras or even two camera lenses for that matter.  I’m simply using a 35mm equivalent focal length that is similar to the combination I’m using in the GFX. For close up head shots the two are very different.  Besides the obvious crop difference between both formats I can also see a huge different in the depth of the image.  This is not a very easy thing to describe but you know it when you see it.  Whatever you focus on will definitely stand out in the image and everything else simply melts away with a sense of depth and three dimensional look only a larger format can provide.  When capturing a full body portrait image your rewarded with the same depth and fullness as before.  Again critical areas are sharp and the transition in the foreground and background are rendered in such a perfectly even flow.  The Pentax 105mm seems to be especially good for this large format look due to the normal focal length but extremely shallow depth of field for a larger sensor.  On a Pentax 67 Camera body the 105mm lens has a 35mm equivalent of a 52.5mm f/1.15.  That’s some serious DOF.

  You can also visit https://mmcalc.com for focal distance calculations.

Above left is my Daughter taken with the GFX and Pentax 67 105mm and on the right the same location a few months apart with the Pentax67 Film Camera using the 105mm lens.

 A lot of Medium Format shooters are big fans of the Contax 80mm f/2 and for good reason.  I was a huge fan of this lens on my Phase One.  The problem with using this lens on the Fuji is:

A.  The focal reducer for this lens actually reduces the focal length too much and you end up getting a very distracting Bokeh/Swirl effect on the edges and you end up with an image that looks like you’ve captured it inside a bubble.

B. The lens will cost you upwards of $1500 or more. 

C. You can use and AF Adapter which is a positive however again your not getting the true focal length and not using the entirety of the lens. 

D.  The 80mm f/2 uses a very delicate focusing motor and from my understanding can be knocked loose easily causing focusing problems. 

 

With the Pentax67 105mm 2.4 you can find great examples from $400 upwards.  I would stick with either the Super Takumar Multi-coated version or the newest Pentax SMC version.  These example will undoubtedly give you a better lens coating to handle flare and contrast.  Focus is extremely smooth and you can still find the square style lens hoods but they can be costly.

 

For me the 105mm is perfect for my wedding work.  I’m able to tell a story with this lens because it allows for so much of the surroundings to play a part.  It renders an image that can be similar to a Large Format look whereas it’s just wide enough but the shallow DOF really allows your subject to pop and have considerable isolation.   Single person portraiture is a must with this lens.  The ability to capture razor sharp eyes and the rest of the subject features melt away are incredible.  Again, a real large format look that is very difficult to achieve with full frame 35mm cameras and even some medium format lenses.  The Pentax67 105mm makes easy work of this task.  I’ve also noticed that the 105mm has a minimum focus distance of about 2 1/2 feet. 

At the end of the day this fantastic lens has earned a premium spot on my Fuji.  This set up will make you work a little bit to nail focus but the results are truly rewarding.  Just punch in like I do to confirm focus or like others prefer and use the focus peaking feature and your sure to learn where the sweet spot is in no time.  Portrait work is amazing with this lens.

Just a few more examples below with the 105mm 2.4 Pentax 67 lens.

At the end of the day its about what works for you.  I love the fact that the Fujifilm GFX allows for so much exploration in this area.  It is so much fun to look for interesting glass both modern and vintage and find different results.  Im a huge fan of this combo and the 105mm probably lives on my GFX 90% of the time.  I've tried a lot of other lenses with great success and I will be coving those as well in the future.  Thanks for stopping by and hopefully some of the information I gave you helped you out.  To see more of my everyday work please visit my Instagram page JosephDagostinophoto or you can find the link on this website.  Subscribe or check in regularly to see more of my blog postings.  

X Pro2 High ISO

WOW....Impressive to say the least.  All these shots were at 10,000 ISO on the Fujifilm XPRO2 with the Fuji 35mm f/2.  I only had a second to grab the camera as Santa was already down one side of our street and I didn't want to miss him.  I will be going in to depth later on but I wanted to post these for anyone looking for examples.