Attempting Old Style Technical Perfection

Blue Hour, 2nd Street Bridge - Austin, Texas

Blue Hour, 2nd Street Bridge – Austin, Texas

Each camera system has its advantages and weaknesses. After years of shooting with the Olympus, I’ve grown both depended on its features and it has helped define my style of photography. Class-leading in-body image stabilization allowed me to flexibly shoot in low light without a tripod, easily creating motion blurs in the middle of the city, for example. The high contrast monochrome of the PEN-F moved me to embrace gritty black and whites, striving for mood rather than technical acuity.

Using the Fujifilm X-T10 severely disrupted my photography. While the Olympus and Fuji cameras don’t look very different on paper, they work very differently in reality. Simply using my Olympus techniques doesn’t work on the Fuji.

This was quite evident when I tested the Fuji 10-24mm f4 lens for urban landscapes. The lens’s paltry 2 stop stabilization doesn’t do much at night. I had to change my technique and go back to the old ways of doing things. Two weeks ago, I started posting urban landscapes created with this lens. The night shots were decent but not technically strong. I had to bust out the tripod and dust off the old techniques for optimal images. Olympus’ in-body image stabilization made me weak on the technical front.

So, I position myself at my favorite bridge during the peak blue hour. I waited for the bridge color to cycle to red for maximum impact. I set the aperture to f8 and shot a 5-second exposure at ISO 200 on a tripod. This was the old way I did things back when I used the Canon DSLRs. It’s slower and less free-flowing. But, it has its own slow-paced charm. And, when done correctly, the image quality is absolutely fantastic.

Yes, the image quality from this Fuji is better than the Olympus, when all the techniques are executed properly. The colors are great and the sharpness is superior. Does this make the Fuji a better camera? Not necessarily. I find the speed and flexibility with the Olympus better, especially for both low-light portraits and street photography.

I admit to being a bit bi-polar photographically. Recently, I’ve shown casual snapshots created with an eight-year-old camera as well as film-like black and white portraits. Neither types of images are particularly outstanding technically. Those images are an exploration of subjects and mood. On the other hand, with the Fuji and its super-sharp lenses, I’m more inclined to create and appreciate technically strong images.

You might find it unexpected that I shoot differently on various cameras. But, that’s what makes it more challenging and fun. You can also see why both the Olympus and Fujifilm cameras can co-exist. The camera I use on a particular day will depend on my mood, subject, and determination.

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7 thoughts on “Attempting Old Style Technical Perfection

  1. Thanks for your comments about different shooting styles and processes, with different cameras and their inherent strengths. It made me think about how my camera has influenced my shooting. No conclusions yet but useful reflection. Thanks for posting a great image too.

    1. JustinPhotoArtist, I’m glad you enjoyed my post and thanks for your kind words. I also appreciate that you took the time to comment. It’s nice to know which posts resonates with my audience.

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