Fujifilm Lenses Have Quality Control Issues: Reports
Fujifilm may have a quality control issue on their hands. Two reports have emerged this month of new Fujifilm lenses arriving with sizable dust specks, cracks, and excessive variations between copies.
Photography Life reported on January 3rd that they discovered “multiple samples of a number of lenses” having debris between lens elements that is impossible for the photographer to remove without having the lens serviced at a repair center.
“While I am generally happy about lens variation of GF lenses and I am especially happy with their excellent performance, I am not a big fan of Fujifilm’s QA processes,” writes Nasim Mansurov. “It seems to me that Fuji is almost rushing with the medium format GF lenses, trying to deliver as many units as possible to try to match the demand, while paying less attention to its manufacturing processes.”
Mansurov says he has found that this issue is particularly rampant in Fuji GF lenses. For one lens, the GF 110mm f/2, Mansurov had to return two different copies in search of one that was dust-free.
What’s more, Mansurov has found that cheaper Fujifilm lenses have too much quality variation between copies of the same lens.
“[C]heaper lenses like the GF 45mm f/2.8 and GF 63mm f/2.8 have shown more variation than I would like to see,” he says. “The lens to watch out is the GF 32-64mm f/4. While it is a pretty solid performer overall, the samples I have tested so far had uneven corner to corner performance, indicating poor assembly / decentering issues.”
“I know there have been some reports of a speck here or there, but I have never seen a lens this bad from Fujifilm, nor have I ever purchased a lens that came in this shape,” Ferreira writes. “There was no damage to the shipping container or box and these lenses come very well packaged, so I have to presume this damage occurred entirely at Fujifilm.
“The lint coating had to have happened at the factory because the lens comes tightly wrapped in plastic and the plastic and inside of the box were clean. The cracked hood also likely occurred at the factory before packaging and went unnoticed while packaging.”
We’ve reached out to Fujifilm for comment and will update this post if/when we hear back.
Over the last few months, I have been in contact with Phase One to test their latest medium format camera, the IQ3 100MP Trichromatic. The standard 100MP backs from both Hasselblad and Phase One, already have incredible colors, due to being able to produce 16-bit raw files. Phase One, however, decided this wasn’t enough and their latest sensor is a genuinely brilliant update.
I have been rather tough on medium format in the past, however, this new camera is a significant step in the right direction. I will confidently call this the best sensor currently on the market.
The best, unfortunately, comes with a price, and the Trichromatic isn’t cheap (to say the least). Spending around $40,000 on a camera isn’t feasible for many of us, however, it may not be necessary.
In my latest video I demonstrate how you can achieve colors up to and possibly even beyond the capabilities of the Trichromatic with your full frame camera. Using a few techniques, I compare colors from the Canon 5DS R and the Phase One Trichromatic.
First thing is to ensure that your monitor has been correctly calibrated and to do this I use the i1 Studio from X-rite. I find this to be the best and most accurate. I’ve used a number of different calibrators and settled with the i1 due to the results and the ease of use. It may be advisable to have a number of custom ICC profiles that you can use depending on the project.
Ensuring that’s already been done, to get the desired colors from your full frame camera, I use a color checker passport. You may have already seen a number of videos about how the passport works, but, chances are you’ve probably never seen it compared to medium format and you’ve definitively never seen it compared to the Trichromatic. It’s incredible how much of an impact this small, relatively cheap device can have on your images. For less than $100.00 you’re able to create images with colors, that compete with and to some extent beat one of the most expensive cameras currently available.
As you can see from the images above, difficult colors like purples, reds and greens are more accurate and vibrant on the Canon image. There are certain areas like the CIF bottle on the far left and the highlighter on the bottom right of the image that really display differences. Of course, this is not to say that the Canon 5DSR with a profile is going to be “better” than the Phase One because it is still limited to 14-bit. The Phase One with its 16-bit files is going to have a much wider gamut and have far more flexibility.
Having said that, it’s still incredible what the color checker can do for your images and for that reason, I strongly recommend that every photographer have something like this in their workflow. Colors are extremely important.
Check out the full video for a more detailed comparison.
About the author: Usman Dawood is the lead photographer of Sonder Creative, an architectural and interior photography company. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and Twitter.
How My Photo Ended Up in the New York Times Without Credit
The Internet is becoming a hectic and volatile place for photographers to share their work. Social media enables photos to be put in the hands of tens, thousands, and even millions in a matter of minutes. However, one small break in this sharing frenzy can lead to massive loss and frustration for the creators that dedicate themselves to doing their passion well.
My story begins with a simple tweet. On the night of Sunday January 7th, 2018, a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida’s Space Coast, and the rocket’s first stage landed back on Cape Canaveral shortly after. I took a long exposure image of the launch and landing, and I posted my creation to my usual social media following.
A day after the launch, I began to recieve word that my image was shared via a personal Twitter account along with a breaking news headline about the rocket’s status.
The tweet lacked any form of credit for my image and was being shared among the space news community. Whether the image was taken purposefully or accidentally is unknown, but the person responsible for the tweet offered an apology after being informed that the image was stolen.
While the tweet was frustrating at most, seeing my image in the New York Times pushed me over the edge to take more action. I asked my social media friends and those on Reddit for advice.
The general consensus was that I needed to contact the New York Times and have the article altered to provide proper credit to all parties involved. The email response from the New York Times stated the following: “The newsroom has edited that Tweet so that the picture no longer appears within the NYT story. Thank you for alerting us.”
While this is not quite the fix I was hoping for, I am unsure about pursuing the issue any further. I would rather focus my time and energy into creating new images.
As I was writing my story, I received another email from the NY Times. The email contained a much deeper apology and explained that the image was never handled and uploaded by their photo department. They also apologized for the image being seen by a lot of eyes before being removed.
So, what are the lessons that can be taken away from this story? Always watermark your images if they relate to breaking news or high-profile topics. I have never been a fan of using watermarks for social media, but this scenario has taught me to see otherwise. A small watermark with my name, social media handle, or website would have allowed the image to be tracked along this whole headache of a process.
The second lesson is for those thinking of sharing images taken by others. Asking the photographer for permission is the polite, proper, and legal way to handle sharing. At the very least, always share the image by including the photographer’s name and/or contact information. The consequence of failing to do so can quickly cause a hardworking content creator to lose critical and deserved recognition for their work.
About the author: Marcus Cote is a 19-year-old photographer and college student on Florida’s Space coast. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. He captures photos of rockets, space, surfing, and other interesting aspects of Florida from the land, air, and sea. Ypu can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr.
I Built the First Natural Light Wet Plate Studio in the US in Over a Century
There are fewer than 1,000 wet plate collodion artists practicing around the world, and as far as I know, I am the only one in the state of North Dakota. 5 years ago, I didn’t own a camera and knew nothing about photography. I saw a wet plate online and I was immediately drawn to it, and thus my journey began.
I was told early on that there was no way a non-photographer who has never owned a camera can figure out this archaic process from 1848. 45 days after that conversation, I had made my very first wet plate photo.
Fast forward 5 years, and I recently just completed construction of a natural light wet plate studio, built from the ground up.
My new studio is surely the only one in this state. I also believe that it’s the first natural light wet plate studio constructed in the entire country in over 100 years. The name of my studio is Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio and it is located in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The new studio is 1,800 square feet in size and features a huge wall of glass and skylight, just as they used in the Victorian Era. In fact, I could not source proper glass for the studio and it took me 6 months to sort this one problem out.
All modern glass has either a film inside of it to block out U.V. or is two panes of glass with gas inside that also block out U.V. People don’t want the items in their houses and buildings to be damaged and faded by the sun, so you cannot usually find glass these days without this protection.
Wet plate collodion photography requires natural ultraviolet light in order to create an exposure. In fact, it requires a lot of natural light. If I did not solve this issue with the glass, I might as well have put up a brick wall instead of a window.
So I asked myself: what industry wants as much natural UV light as possible to be transmitted through glass into a space. I finally found my answer to that question: a greenhouse!
The windows’ dimensions and pitch were taken from a book written by Dr. Felix Raymer titled “Photo Lighting: A Treatise on Light and Its Effect Under the Skylight, Including Chapters on Skylight and Skylight Construction, Window Lighting and Dark Room Work.” It was published back in 1904.
I initially designed the building on a napkin and then we were off and running. The entire build took 2 years of planning and 8 months of building. Instead of using artificial electric bulbs in the studio, I was going to harken back to the early days of photography, when the only light source ever used was the sun.
In the 19th century, there was no making of pictures at night — if it was overcast or in the dead of winter and the sun was not available, photographs were generally just not taken.
I built this new studio out of the love of history. I knew all those studio photographs that I adored from the 19th century were taken using a natural light studio and I was determined to bring this craft to my home state of North Dakota.
I’ve made over 2,500 wet plates in the past 5 years, have had numerous exhibitions, and have had my plates are curated by numerous museums in different parts of the world. My wet plate of Evander Holyfield is currently at the Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian. I am presently working with the Heard Museum in Arizona, which is going to acquire 3 of my Native American plates.
I have been working on a series called “Northern Plains Native Americans: A Modern Wet Plate Perspective”, and have over 200 plates permanently curated by the Historical Society of North Dakota.
I have only been using the new space since November 1st, but the light and magic that is being brought by that natural light is incredible. It is amazing to be able to create and compose images.
When you abandon the quick digital and film technology, something rather remarkable happens. It can take up to an hour to compose, expose, develop and fix a wet plate. We are not taking hundreds of images and picking the what we like the best. In one of my Friday afternoon sessions, I make about 5 plates over 4 hours. When you slow down, when you utilize a 160-year-old technology to makes works of art — things are just different.
By being slower and having to follow a very strict set of rules to make an image, you find a way to work around the limitations of the process and the process pays you back, tenfold.
Here are some of my recent works that have been created in this new studio space:
The new studio is allowing me to light and shape the light like never before. The possibilities are endless and I look forward to spending the rest of my days creating in my little piece of heaven on Earth.
Life was simpler during the wet plate era, they were more difficult and tough, but they were simpler and when I create in my new space, I feel that I am transported back to another time. A time before the digital camera movement gave us information glut and excess, when images had to be made by hand and you got what you put into the image.
When I make a black glass positive ambrotype, that is the only one in the world. It is a one-of-a-kind and it cannot be duplicated. There is something special about that, but then again, I am a hopeless romantic who feels the world is a better place when the wet plate collodion process is still practiced by people like myself that really want to create something from nothing.
There is no finer photographic process in the world than the one that I hold so dear to my heart.
About the author: Shane Balkowitsch is a wet plate collodion photographer based in North Dakota. He is the owner of Nostalgic Glass Wet Plate Studio. You can also connect with Balkowitsch through Facebook.
Image credits: Black and white photographs by Tom Wirtz
H&M Slammed for Photo of Black Boy in ‘Monkey’ Hoodie, Mom Hits Back
The clothing giant H&M sparked controversy this week after people noticed a photo in its online store that showed a black child model wearing a hoodie sweatshirt with the words: “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Now the boy’s mom is speaking out and criticizing the critics.
In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness. If look at other sweaters in same category they have white kids. We have to do better. pic.twitter.com/Av4bS4t6yn
The New York Times reports that H&M publicly apologized for the photo on Monday and promised to pull the shirt from all stores worldwide.
“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” H&M wrote in its statement. “Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.
“It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”
But at least one person involved in the controversy is now speaking out in defense of the photo. Terry Mango, the mother of the child model in the image, took to social media to criticize the controversy.
“[I] am the mum, and this is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modeled,” Mango writes. “Stop crying wolf all the time, [it’s] an unnecessary issue here. Get over it.. That’s my son, [I’ve] been to all photoshoots and this was not an exception. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about this… I really don’t understand but not [because I’m] choosing not to, but because it’s not my way of thinking. Sorry.”
Kodak has announced a new budget film scanner called the Scanza. Designed for consumers, the scanner can digitize a number of different film formats, from 35mm still photos to 8mm motion picture film.
The Kodak Scanza comes with three different adapter trays for working with different film sizes (35mm, 126, 110, Super 8, and 8mm). The film is scanned into 14-megapixel JPEG files. If you need higher resolution, the scanner can interpolate the images up to 22MP for you.
Digitized photos can be stored on an SD card using the built-in card slot, saved to a computer, or played back via HDMI.
On the front of the device is a 3.5-inch tilting LCD screen that gives you a preview of your photos before you scan. Based on the preview, you can adjust things like color and exposure.
Drunk Droning May Become a Prison-Worthy Crime in New Jersey
You’ve heard of drunk driving, but what about drunk droning? That’s what’s on track to become a new crime in the state of New Jersey after lawmakers voted to approve the new bill.
Reuters reported last week that this proposed law, Senate Bill S-3370, is part of a movement among US states to bring the relatively unregulated (and exploding) drone market “back to earth.”
Here’s some of the key text of the bill, which lawmakers just passed with a 65-0 vote in the State Assembly this week after a 39-0 vote in the State Senate last month:
Under the bill, it is a disorderly persons offense to operate a drone: 1) knowingly or intentionally in a manner that endangers the life or property of another; 2) to take or assist in the taking of wildlife; and 3) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol. Disorderly persons offenses are punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
The bill also bans other activities with a drone, including endangering “the safety or security of a correctional facility,” interfering with first responders, spy on a correctional facility, preventing or hindering the lawful taking of wildlife, violating a restraining order, and harassing/stalking/invading privacy.
The bill now moves to the desk of Governor Chris Christie, who must sign it before his second term ends on January 16, 2018, if the bill is to become law.
Rare ‘Fake Leica’ Sculpture Shows Up on eBay for 0,000
A famous and rare stainless steel “fake Leica” camera sculpture has popped up on eBay. The asking price: $99,995 with $350 economy shipping.
We first reported on this sculpture back in 2011. It was created by Chinese artist Liao Yibai, who made three 772lb (350kg) sculptures that were subsequently displayed in Leica stores around the world.
One of the three sculptures was reportedly sold in December 2014 after it had been on display in Leica’s Los Angeles store with a $1 million price tag. It was also rumored that the buyer was Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson, who purchased a $70 million hilltop mansion nearby that was soon reported to have “a giant Leica camera” as decor.
In addition to these three giant Leica sculptures, Liao also made smaller versions of the sculpture that measure 17.625x30x19.25in (44.8×76.2×48.9cm) and weigh 88 pounds (40kg).
It’s one of these smaller sculptures, bearing the serial number 8/12, that is now being sold on eBay by the Dutch store Leica Store Lisse.
“It comes with the wooden crate included, which is especially designed for shipping this sculpture,” the store writes. “One similar ‘Fake Leica’ recently sold at Westlicht Auction (in November 2013, lot 332) for Euro 96.000!”
“So here is your last chance to obtain a very rare art-piece which you’ll not see offered on e-Bay anymore once it has been sold!”
Head on over to the eBay listing if you’re interesting in shelling out $100,000 or making a lower offer.
How to Do a Photo Shoot from Start to Finish, From Planning to Editing
Photographers Rachel and Daniel of Mango Street have released a 5-part video tutorial series that teaches how to plan a shoot, find a suitable location, secure the ideal model, conduct the shoot, and edit the results.
The shoot was conducted using a Canon 5D Mark IV and a Hasselblad x1D. Thoughts on the latter are found in the final video in this series.
Part 1. Conceptualizing a Shoot
In this video, learn how to create a mood-board that will guide you through the entire shoot process, keeping you on track. For example, with the shoot being inspired by the French vintage style in the movie Amelie, images from Google of these specific styles were used to inform the stylist via the mood board.
Part 2. Finding a Location
With a $300 budget for finding a location, adapting and compromising was definitely on the cards. The photographers look at both the color and texture of a shoot location, as well as the light and interactivity of the area.
“Your location can contribute immensely to the overall mood of your photos,” says Rachel. “It should be intentional when you choose it.”
The team recommend sometimes using websites Peerspace or AirBNB for finding and renting suitable locations.
Part 3. Finding a Model
“One of the best and easiest ways to get your team together is by asking professionals in your industry for recommendations,” says Rachel.
Using Instagram is also a good way to find models, but another app called Artstel can be good for finding the right person who fits the shoot. You can also look to use agencies and Facebook groups for those looking to get a break in the industry.
Part 4. Conducting the Photoshoot
In this episode, take a front seat during the shoot and see exactly how Daniel and Rachel conduct themselves and direct the models.
Part 5. Cinematic Photo Editing (and Gear Thoughts)
Using the Hasselblad X1D camera, which costs around $11,700 with the lens, the team were “not used to the medium-format workflow.” Despite that, the 16-bit color depth, 14 stops of dynamic range, and 50-megapixel sensor impressed the photographers.
Interestingly, Daniel spends some time in the Camera Calibration window of Lightroom, ensuring that the colors are exactly what he is looking for from the start. With some very fine-tuned adjustments to the Tone Curve, as well as other more “traditional” sliders in Lightroom, the shot is coming alive.
Don’t be afraid to try different crops, too. At first, Daniel tries out the 12:5 aspect ratio for a more cinematic look. However, he settles on 16:9 in the end.
Finally, check out some of the images produced during this shoot:
Blindly Taking Apart a ,000 Camera to See What’s Inside
While riding an ATV through snowy trails, photographer Peter McKinnon accidentally broke the mic input jack on his $6,000 Canon 1D X Mark II. Before sending the DSLR in to Canon for repairs, McKinnon decided to try his hand at blindly opening up the camera to see what’s inside.
As you’ll see in the 12-minute video above that documents the experience, McKinnon decided to try and figure out how to open it up himself simply by poking around. So, he went to the hardware store and purchased some tools he thought he might need:
The screws you’ll need to take out to open up the camera body aren’t ordinarily visible. McKinnon found them after taking the gutsy step of pulling off the rubber grips found all over the body. Once the screws were removed, he was able to pop off both the front and back of the camera.
“For me, it’s actually really interesting to see the inside of such a workhorse of a camera,” McKinnon says. “It really makes you appreciate any camera that you’re using for any job. They’re very delicate and extremely impressive devices. And we carry these with us every single day.”