Kaizen Is Expensive

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I have to admit, we have all been spoiled by Fuji and their wonderful firmware updates.  We have all enjoyed them and to a certain extent, have turned our old cameras into “new” cameras with those updates.

Well, i hope you enjoyed it, because it seems that it’s coming to an end now.

There are differing views on the firmware updates that Fuji has so graciously supplied to us over the last 3 years.  On one side, you have the people who say that the updates were well deserved since the cameras were somewhat half-baked when they were released.

On the other hand, you have people saying that the updates were an indication of Fuji listening to it’s customers and implementing much needed features.

Personally, i think it was a mix of both.  Though, i am more on the side of Fuji was listening to it’s customers.

Either way, we have been greatly spoiled by Fuji and all the firmware updates that they have provided for their X series cameras.  Keep in mind, these firmware updates come at a price.

Some observations:

Going back to the statement, “Fuji was listening to it’s customers”, were they really?  After all, the X-Pro1 still does not have color focus peaking and this feature has been asked for time and time again.  At this point in time, i don’t think we will ever get it.

Secondly, it seems that when a new camera comes out with all sorts of new features (for example, the X30), people scramble to ask if those same features will come packed in the next firmware update for their current X camera.

This is what happened with the X-E2.  Fuji released a firmware update for the X-E2 and essentially turned the camera into an X-T1.  Albeit not physically the same cameras, they pretty much have the same features now.

Fuji is not doing itself any favors by releasing a camera with new features and in the same breath, giving an “older” camera the same feature set by way of a firmware upgrade.  They are just shooting themselves in the foot.

The other shoe drops:

I think it was only inevitable that Fuji would finally adjust their Kaizen philosophy.  It’s all well and good to hand out free firmware updates to bring cameras up to snuff, but the realization that it costs quite a bit of money to do so, was bound to finally set in.

Say what you want, but it is what it is.  Maybe the cameras should have been what they are now, right from the get go.  Perhaps Fuji should keep being generous and keep supplying us with “free” firmware updates.  Perhaps i should quit my job and become a sausage maker and drive a Ferrari.  Perhaps…..

The reality is, Fuji can no longer afford to give out “free” firmware updates and i know nothing about making sausages.

Fuji just may be on the verge of starting to charge for firmware updates and concentrate more on current cameras, while leaving be cameras like the X-E2 & X100s.

In my opinion, leaving behind the older cameras is a good idea.  If you are in the business of making money from selling cameras, why on earth would you enable someone to make their old camera just as capable as the new camera that you just released??  It just does not make sense to me.  Therefore, stop the nonsense of updating previous generation cameras and concentrate solely on the current generation camera.

Would i buy a firmware update to obtain the latest and greatest features??  I might if it were worthwhile, though i highly doubt that any of the new features that Fuji has come out with recently, would even function on my X-Pro1.  I don’t know.

Kaizen is a wonderful philosophy concentrating on continuous improvements.  However, there comes a time when the philosophy itself needs a bit of improvement/change.

Thanks for looking.

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St. Hilaire Parish, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QC

We went to do a little apple picking today and along our way to the orchard, we stopped by St. Hilaire Parish, in Mont-Saint-Hilaire.

It’s a beautiful little town, with narrow streets that keep you hoping that no one comes in the opposite direction.

We arrived at the church just as the Sunday morning service was ending.

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It’s a beautiful church inside.  As big as it seems to be inside, i had a tough time with the 35mm inside this church.

The church itself is not very “deep”; meaning, from front to back, it’s not very long.  I found myself almost underneath the balcony that holds the organ in order to take the above photo.

If i went any further back, i would have had the underside of the balcony in the photo.  The 27mm would have definitely come in handy today.

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I shot all of these in RAW and converted them in-camera.  The staff working at the church were ever so patient with me, they actually waited for me to finish taking photos before closing the front doors.

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You can tell that this is a very small town where everyone knows each other.  We had to use the washroom and were able to just walk into the back of the church from the outside in order to do so.  A number of people walked by us and you did not feel that they were questioning your presence there.  Everything was open and accessible, not something we experience here in the big city.

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The trees around the church had not completely turned, but i can just imagine what it must look like in the middle of fall.  Adding to the beauty of this church, is the Richelieu River that runs in front of it.

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It was a great Sunday drive, with great scenery, beautiful weather, my beautiful family and to top it all off, some delicious apples.

Thanks for looking.

A Touch Of Greyscale

As i mentioned in my last post, i shot some photos in RAW today.  I don’t do it very often because i really don’t like sitting down in front of the computer for that long.

However, with the X-Pro1, you don’t have to sit in front of the computer.  You can convert your RAW files in-camera.

As a matter of fact, many people have said that nothing beats the RAW converter that is inside the Fuji X cameras.

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Obviously, you would not want to convert hundreds of files in-camera.  But, if you only have a handful of files to work on, it is very convenient to convert them in-camera.

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With the in-camera RAW converter, you are able to adjust pretty much everything in the file: sharpness, color, film simulation, exposure, color space, noise, you can push/pull, dynamic range, white balance, white balance shift, highlight tone and shadow tone.

Needless to say, you have a lot of options at your disposal to adjust the photo to your personal taste.

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With these photos, i changed the film simulation to black & white (red filter) and added some sharpness before converting them to JPEGs.

I will never use Photoshop again to convert to greyscale.  It left some really weird “artifacts” in the final JPEG.

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I do prefer to have the aircraft in the air for greyscale.  Having the sky as a background, especially with some clouds, gives the photograph a dramatic backdrop.  Today i was out of luck because everyone was taking off from 24R, not 24L where i was.

Thanks for looking.

Early Fall Plane Spotting

Is it really fall??  It certainly does not feel like it.  Twenty six degrees Celsius and not a cloud in the sky.  The only indication that it is fall, is the fact that the leafs have started to turn.

Seeing that it was such beautiful weather outside today, i decided to take advantage of this last taste of summer and go do some plane spotting.

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It was very warm under the sun.  It was above and behind my left shoulder for the whole time i was out shooting.

I thought i was going to have a quiet afternoon by myself, but i think someone put out a bulletin that i was at the plane spotting park and people started to come in twos & threes.  Even the wasps did not take the afternoon off.

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I used my 50-230mm for these photos.  I set it at f/8 and i was able to obtain a consistent shutter speed of 1/1000 and over.

I shot most of my photos in JPEG, but i decided to take a few in RAW and convert them in-camera.

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Westjet

A couple of people at the park decided to go right up to the fence, which is a no no.  Airport security likes you to stay back at least 4-6 feet.

I was going to say something as a friendly bit of advice, but they did not seem to pose any threat.  I do have Airport Security on speed dial in my phone just in case i do see something out of the ordinary.

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Air Canada Express

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I am not sure what this Air France Boeing 777 was doing here, but it seems he was going to be parked there for a while.

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Porter Airlines

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Here is a Boeing 767-300 from Air Canada (C-FXCA).  It has been a busy day for this aircraft today.  It took off from Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU), landed at Pearson (YYZ), came to Montreal (YUL) and then went back to Pearson (YYZ).

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Westjet

This Air France Boeing 747-400 did not have a gate to go to.  Therefore, they got the “people movers” out to get the passengers and brought them to the terminal.

If you ever took a flight from Mirabel, you will recognize the “people movers” as the vehicles that took you out to your flight from the terminal.  I can’t believe they are still being used till this day.

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Here is the Boeing 767-300 that is pictured above, with it’s thrust reverser’s engaged.

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Air Canada Jazz

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It was a great afternoon with plenty of sunshine.  Fall really is my favorite season and i look forward to a bit of a drop in the temperature and for the colors to come out.

Thanks for looking.

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Island Line Trail, Burlington, VT

When in Burlington, VT, we made our way down to the Island Line Trail.  Actually, it is more of a paved path then a “trail”.

The “trail” runs alongside Burlington Bay, which goes out into Lake Champlain.  It gives you a great vantage point over the bay and the lake.  However, I think it’s about time the city trims the tops of trees a bit.

This is looking down the Island Line Trail from a lookout point.

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Here is a view of Lake Champlain.  The land mass way off in the distance, is New York State.

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It was a pretty hazy day, so the NY is a bit obscured off in the distance.  You can see the break water just above the top of the trees.

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It’s a very peaceful walk along the “trail”.  There a benches along the way as well, so you can give you feet a rest once in a while.

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Another view of Lake Champlain.  The water in the forefront would be considered Burlington Bay.  Again, you can see the break water.

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If you follow the Island Line Trail further south, you will end up on the Boardwalk, which will lead you to the Burlington Boathouse, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and the Rubenstein Ecosystem Sci Center.

Thanks for looking.

One Year Later With The X-Pro1

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Happy one year anniversary to my Fuji X-Pro1.

Give or take a couple of days (September 24th, 2013 to be exact), it has been a year since I have had my Fuji X-Pro1.  Yes, it would be best if i wrote this post on September 24th, but i have more time on the weekends to do this sort of thing.

As an aside, it has actually been over a year since i started this blog.  More then a year ago, I broke away from internet forums and went off on my own to show my photos and tell some stories.

But i digress, this post is not about my blog being over a year old.

It was a big leap of faith when I dumped my Nikon gear to go all Fuji.  The transition started out with my D80, twenty three dollars and a bit of haggling in order to obtain my first Fuji X camera, the X10.  That trade was like getting Wayne Gretzky for a bunch of guys who should have never made it past double A hockey.  I have not looked back since.

From that point, I delved into the X series even more and learnt about the X-E1 and the X-Pro1.

At the time, I read just about every review article, watched every YouTube video and looked at as many comparative charts as I could.  While doing this, I was the proud owner of a D7100, a fantastic DX camera from Nikon.  Along with the camera, I was one lens away from completing a wonderful line-up of glass.

However, Fuji and their offerings were starting to become more and more intriguing.  The more i read about them, the more it left me wanting.

It took many months of research & contemplation to make my final decision, but I finally decided to dump my Nikon gear in favor of the Fuji X series.  Even though I knew that I was getting myself into a camera system that was in it’s infancy, I still went ahead with full commitment.

I settled on the Fuji X-E1.  I mainly did this because of cost.  I actually wanted to get the X-Pro1 initially, but the trade in price I got for my D7100 and lenses did not permit me to purchase the X-Pro1 at the time.  However, keep in mind that the X-E1 and the X-Pro1 are technically pretty much the same camera.  But, i really wanted that OVF and full metal body.  It would have to wait for a few months.

At the end of the summer last year, I was able to purchase the X-Pro1 with the assistance of a company bonus and by trading in my X-E1.  I enjoyed using the X-E1, but i really missed having an optical viewfinder.  Furthermore, I wanted to have that full metal body, just as my X10 has.  For me, I like to feel something solid in my hands.  Though, I do miss the 18-55, which I hope to re-purchase some day.

What made me make the change?  Well, there really is not only one reason that i can put my finger on.  Though, perhaps one of the reasons that tipped the balance, was the fact that my style of shooting really did not need a DSLR to accomplish.

One of the other main reasons, was because I was in search of a camera that would give outstanding JPEGs straight out of the camera.  The Fuji X system does that for me.

As I have said in the past, a camera is a personal choice, one that you yourself have to make based on what you want to accomplish with your photography.  It’s also about choosing the right tool for what you do.  When driving a nail into a piece of wood, you don’t really need a sledge hammer to do it.  A simple claw hammer will suffice.

After nearly a year with the Fuji X-Pro1, I feel that I chose the right tool for me.

Why it suits me:

– it’s a quality piece of equipment/very well made.

– it’s light, but durable (body is all mag alloy)

– i like the “retro” look.

– somewhat sophisticated, but not pretentious.

–  it’s “exact” in form & function.

At this point in time, my only “real” issue with the camera would be the AF.  There is still a bit of lag with the system, but certainly nothing that would truly handicap my photography.

I have taken photos of aircraft taking off & in flight and I have been able to capture people in action.  The AF is only a limitation if you let it be.  In the end, it’s up to you, the photographer, to learn and use the tool at hand.

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

– United States Marine Corps

There is no camera in the world that does everything perfectly or as everyone wants it to be done.

I suppose you can say that I joined the Fuji X world and survived.

Obviously, the most important aspect is what kind of “files” does the camera produce.  I probably should say “photos” instead of “files”, but it is not up to the camera to make good “photos”.  That is up to you.

The “files” that the X-Pro1 spits out are just wonderful.  Even at high ISO, the noise in the “files” is pleasant and somewhat film-like.  They are sharp and have great dynamic range.  The colors are great and you have the option of different film simulations.  For me, there really is nothing to complain about.

I mentioned before that I had a pretty decent line-up of lenses when I owned my Nikon.  It was somewhat hard to depart with those lenses, even more so then with the camera itself.  I had a 35mm prime, a 10-24 wide angle lens, a 70-300mm and a 400mm prime.  I was planning on getting a mid-range zoom to round things out.

With my X-Pro1, I spent the first 8-9 months with only one lens: the XF 35mm.  This may sound daunting to some, but it really taught me quite a bit about how to get the most out of the frame.

I certainly did not stick with one lens for nearly 9 months because I wanted to master the 35mm.  Not at all.  I was with only one lens for that long because the Fujinon lenses are not cheap.  When I was able to expand my lens line-up with two more lenses, I did so by waiting for one of Fuji’s lens sales.

However, when I consider these facts: all metal, made in Japan and a brand new lens format/mount, the price tag does not seem to exuberant after all.  Hey, at least I’m not faced with Leica prices.

As I sit back and watch Fuji announce new variants of already known cameras, I am in no way interested in “upgrading” to any of the new models/variants.  Even if the X-Pro2 does materialize some day,  Fuji can count me out.

I am nearly at 4,000 clicks on my X-Pro1 and have thousands, upon thousands more to go.  This is not a disposable camera where you throw it out after 36 exposures.  The whole business of needing to have the latest thing has long gone from my system.

I started out in digital photography with a Fuji camera.  I am now paving my photographic journey with a Fuji camera.

Thanks for looking.

© d7100shooter.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

Vespula Germanica (Wasp)

I found this wasp at the end of it’s life cycle.

When a wasp’s nest “matures”, it means the Queen has stopped laying eggs.  Without any grubs in the nest, the worker wasps end up without any food.  Therefore, they go off to find other sources of “sweet” liquids.

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Aside from what nature can provide in certain trees and plants, hungry wasps will also go after the sweet, sugary foods and drinks that us humans consume.  This is why they become such a nuisance when you are having a picnic late in the summer.

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This worker wasp has obviously not been able to find enough Coke cans to dive into.

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If you look closely to the wasp’s legs, you will see little hooks on them.

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With the cold weather as well as starvation, this wasp will most likely not make it through the evening.  Like most of the other workers and older queens, this wasp’s life cycle is over.

DSCF4752Thanks for looking.