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My First Time

Dot against dot, then turn - and the union is complete. My camera has got a new lense.

Next, all you have to do is telling the camera that it has no lense and then set it to manual. Now it is ready to rock, the manual way.

Learning how to focus manually is more difficult than one thinks. But practice makes somewhat perfect, and all that.

Among the couple of hundred first snapshots, a handfull has been satisfactory. Actually not a too bad beginning.

Most of them naturally in poor light, which does not make it any easier. As I get home rather late in the afternoon and the winter light can't ser it into its heart to wait for me to get home, before turning of the old sun.

What is missing, is a couple of fast SD-cards. For instance some San Disc Extreme Pro, with a read transfer rate on the funny side of 90MB/s and decent minimum writing speed of 30MB/s.

Luckily the prices of these have plummeted a bit these last few years.


Our Housing

Pixels are not everything, but the official resolution of 4K (Blu-ray and UHD discs) is 3840×2160, which gives 8.3 megapixels.

With a safe distance to these 8.3 megapixels and without any facts to back my decision up. I decided that 12 megapixel would be sufficient.

This would enable me to purchase some quite cheap used housings.

Naturally a 24 megapixel X-Trans III sensor would be preferalable, but lesser and older (and cheaper) would be no problem at all.

As I see it, there are two styles of mirrorless cameras. The rangefinder style. Wit somewhat the same layout as the olde rangefindercameras, with the viewfinder located on the left side of the camera and the DSLR style with an EVF located somewhat in the middle of the camera.

I always like the rangefinder style, the best. Therefore I went after the X-Pro 1 or the X-E1/X-E2 cameras.

Unfortunately I'm not the only one, on the prowl for these cameras. And even if I have already decided to bid on one of these cameras, I often hesisate a bit to much. Three cheap X-Pro 1s, one of which looked like a completely new one - slipped through my hands. The same happend with a couple of X-E2s and even en X-E2S.

Now I was stupid enough to watch a Youtube tutorial video of the Fujifilm X-T1, by Tony Northrup. Then I found a couple of Youtube videos actually telling that even today the X-T1 was a good choice.

I know you should nevet-ever base any purchase on a couple of Youtube videos, and I really haven't before - but this felt right.

I quickly found a cheap used X-T1. The housing came with a couple of extra batteries, a grip and even a 16Gb SD-Card.

Four days later I was able to take my first pictures with my new toy.

It does have one flaw. The connection cover seems to have grown a few millimeters in size. This means that the seal in that side is faulty. But I quickly found out that this actually is a known fault on the X-T1. I have found a few solutions, but haven't implemented them yet.

Fujifilm X-T1 specifications:
  • - 16MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor
  • - EXR Processor II
  • - WR body, sort of
  • - ISO 200-6400 (100 - 51200 expanded for JPEG only)
  • - 1.27cm, approx. 2.360K-dot OLED color viewfinder
  • - 'Dual view' in EVF shows regular view and focus peaking/digital split image at the same time
  • - Top-plate ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, drive mode and metering controls
  • - 6 programmable function buttons
  • - 7.62cm 1.04M dot 3:2 tilting LCD
  • - 8 fps continuous shooting with continuous AF (3 fps with live view)
  • - Built-in Wi-Fi, remote control from Android or iOS unit.
  • - Full HD 1080/60p, 36Mbps bitrate
  • - Clip-on external flash (included)


3 - Glass Jaw

When you have set your heart on a specific system, you have to check out your options within that system.

The value of even a small collection of glass or lenses quickly exceeds the value of the housing.

I tried to find some cheap second hand X-Mount zoom lenses. But I seem to have missed the mark timewise. There where tons of lenses for Canon, Nikon, M4/3 and the likes. But no cheap X-Mount zoom lenses in good condition. I saw a prime that needed some real tender loving care, but that one was gone in matter of hours.

I concluded that a nice Chinese manual prime was the way to go. I quickly reduced the selection to Neewer and ofcause 7Artisans.

I ended up putting my eggs in the 7Artisans basket. But which prime to choose ?

If I had to choose between the Fujinon primes, I would have gone for the 35mm without hesitation. But the 35mm 7Artisans prime has been critised to be difficult to focus, because of a very cramped focus scale.

The 55mm F1.4 on the other hand is easier to handle for a beginner. Primarily a portrait lens, but with pleny of other tricks in the bag.

I have no idea how to review a lens and I have nothing to compaire it to. But I do know that using manual focus is a bit more difficult that first anticipated. But I still think I will get the hang of it. Even though the percentage of acceptable, in focus shots is miserable low.

As long as you keep well away from the edge of its abilities, it is a good lense.

7Artisans 55mm F1.4 - specifications :

  • - Lens type:Prime lens
  • - Focal length:55 mm
  • - Image stabilization:No
  • - Lens mount:Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X, M4/3, Sony E
  • - Aperture:F1.4-F16
  • - Number of diaphragm blades:14
  • - Optics elements:6 in 5 groups
  • - Closest focus:0.35m
  • - Angle of view:28 degrees
  • - Distance scale:Yes
  • - DoF scale:Yes
  • - Weight:272g
  • - Diameter:54mm
  • - Weight:272g
  • - Length:61mm
  • - Materials:Aluminum
  • - Filter thread:49 mm



2 - X-Mount for the win

There are myriads of possibilities and combinations, when you are on the prawl for a camera, for the first time. Which solutions and manufacturers to choose - the choice is not that easy.

I started out, on the lookout for a dirt cheap camera, an one in all solution. But quickly found out, that was the wrong way to go, if you want to build a longterm relationship with your camera-system. After a decade with a somewhat cheap Cybershot, that was exactly what I wanted to do.

After having watched tons of Youtube reviews and read internet reviews. I have decided to go with the X-Mount. Fujifilm makes real good houses, but their lenses are totally excellent - and with an attitude. Sort of - like a poor mans Leica.

I want to be able to upgrade my firmware on both housing and lenses, without having to run a trial version of Microsoft Windowz in a virtual machine, in order to do it.

This eliminates manufacturers like Sony, Nikon, Canon and Olympus. I haven't checked Leica for this, as they financially are totally out of my league.

Panasonic might be the sensible compromise, and I actually like the somewhat independence of the M4/3 system. But it seems like Panasonic are leaving. The M4/3 will really have a tough time surviving, I'm not quite sure Olympus is up to the task.

Now we are left with the X-Mount, which is growing like mad. The Fujinon and Zeiss lenses are brilliant, but also very pricy. But there are akternatives, if you really want to make an extra effort.

The Meiko and especially 7Artisans lenses are cheap but allegedly well build chinese manual lenses. As long as you keep a distance to their limits, they bring you quite good pictures. They are without any technical mumbo-jumbo. For focusing, you are left to your own inadequacy. It is a steep learning curve, for my tired old eyes - i reluctantly admit.

Later the Fujinon and Zeiss lenses could be added to the family.


1 - Early Teens

My first camera was a analog Fujifilm camera - I got for my birthday, somewhere in the early teens.

Today I really cannot remember the model, but I really never got it working satisfactory and actually I was put off fotography.

Years later I got a clip-on camera module for my Ericsson mobile phone and from there I spent my heard earn money on a Sony Cybershot -P72, with a wooping 3.2 megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom, which I used for about ten years until the zoom mechanism went haywire and I returned to using smartphones, as I already owned that one.

I will upload new/old photos at no fixed schedule. As my camera is broken and I only got my smartphone for the job, the shooting of new photos seldom occur. But at the moment I'm cleaning up my existing collection of photos, removing duplettes and unusables. In this connection old photos emerges from the deep, which is a great opportunity to learn to know some open source post processing software.