Photo Bits I

  • We added a new Links section to our blog where we feature websites worth visiting, as well a list of photographers we follow and admire. For example you will find a link to Thomas Menk’s Fuji X-series Scoop It website. We will be adding more links, so check the page occasionally.
  • After years of working with the Fuji X100, Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji X-E1 and Fuji X100s, we experienced a problem with the camera that has been my constant companion, the Fuji X100s. As a result, I tried out the Fuji X-series professional service for the first time. I got a nice surprise! After calling the number provided, a real person picked up the phone. Then, the next day I received a shipping label and a week later I received my camera back. Not bad. Unfortunately, I then had some issues with the charger so I contacted Fuji again. Got the return call the same day and I was told my new charger is on the way. I would like to thank Rachel and Rob, from the Toronto office, for their professional and courteous service!
  • We had a very interesting episode with the Fuji X100s in Macro mode. With a genuine Fuji protective filter attached, we got the following message: “Turn off the camera and turn on again.” Screwing the filter backwards solved the problem! Apparently the filter being too close to the lens caused the issue. Have any of you experienced the same problem?
  • A new crop of cameras has popped up (Christmas must be coming) with varying degrees of success. First, Sony came out with the FF A7/R. Then Nikon teased us with a new DF camera. Finally after years of adding features and unnecessary modes, some companies noticed the need for simpler cameras with an increasingly popular retro style. The problem is Nikon totally blew it. They took the SLR and incorporated it in an old Nikon FA style body. They added nearly 50 controls, a plethora of shiny dials (on top of each other) and delivered, for lack of a better term, a Frankenstein camera. This could have been a game changer for Nikon. First, they should have taken a look at Leica design (simplicity and minimalist approach), then taken some modern things from Fuji (electronic, optical viewfinder, mirrorless), added to it smaller, high quality primes and priced it around $2000. The outcome would have been very different.
  • Back in the film days, we needed four major controls: shutter speed, aperture (ideally on the lens), exposure compensation and ISO. Add to it white balance and that’s all you need to do great photography. If companies want my money, they need to rethink their cameras. The war for features has ended. It is time to simplify.
  • Sorry Nikon, the Fuji X100s still remains my companion camera. I believe it offers the best experience (design), small package, great image quality (lens + sensor) and value for the money (superb camera + high quality lens). It is highly recommended for students of photography. Aperture, exposure compensation, shutter speed and ISO dials along with the electronic viewfinder allows you to see the effects of your changes before you take a photograph. You can read our full review here.
  • Patrick, from Fujirumors, dug out info for us saying that next year we may get a full-frame Fuji X100s-like camera. Priced right, around $2000 it would certainly cause a stir. Let’s wait and see.
  • Over the weekend I looked at a very popular 500px website and I have two observations. First, it appears that heavily processed images are the most popular. Ironically, very often “perfectly processed” images seem generic and artificial – having exactly the opposite effect on me that they intended. Second, the formula for a popular photo is quite simple: colourful, sunrise/sunset landscapes (very often the same shot from the same location), flowers or a beautiful but heavily photoshopped woman, uploaded at the right time and supported by secret votes for a start. There are many great fine-art photographers whose photos are never going to get to the top for a simple reason – they go beyond formulas and they don’t care much about ratings! Instead of going for popular, they create true and lasting art. Don’t focus on popular photos, go deeper and you may find some great photography.
  • We have been shooting more often in JPEG mode, lately, cutting hours of post-processing. Fuji JPEGs are one of the best in the industry, especially when shooting people. This approach lets us focus on the photographic experience – being careful while framing, getting creative with the camera and making the best of the available light.
  • We are working on a number of projects all shot with the Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji X100s. Stay tuned for more info.

In the meantime, here are a few recent images, all JPEGs (Velvia) straight from the Fuji X100s. Minor WB adjustments in Lightroom 5.





A van with “We Love Van” caught my attention. 


Any Jimi Hendrix fans out there?


 © Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved. 

2 thoughts on “Photo Bits I

  1. Hi Olaf,

    I’ve been following your blog for 6 months and I find your attitude to photography and your observations very inspiring and accurate.

    When I studied photography the main emphasis was to make all the photographic decisions b e f o r e
    pressing the shutter.

    Digital technology definitely makes shortcuts a lot easier, and if you look at imagery in the media it’s all clean synthesized images (or generic stock image of smiling people). No surprise these are the popular photos at 500px.

    Gear wise the quest for simplicity is one that is won for now by Fuji.
    At least for those of us who studied photography in the analogue world (late 90’s early 2000’s for me…).

    The Nikon beasts is a time tunnel back to the early 2000’s when DSLR where simply SLR’s with sensors.

    I thought this started to change with the rise of the mirrorless camera, I assume that the Nikon beast will end like the Leica MM a special tool for the wealthy photographer and much less a wide used tool for the masses.

    I wonder if 30 years from now, people would remember film days and camera companies will benefit for going retro…

    I still use my EOS 10D from 10 years ago, and though this is an old tool, it does serve me (until I can retire her for a Fuji X camer). No need for all the extra features iso 25000000 and 35 FPS.

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