Sunday, 21 December 2014

Season's Greetings!

2014 has been a year filled with terrific photo activities. I had an opportunity to use a variety of new cameras, lenses, post processing tools but most of all I enjoyed taking pictures. Here is my quick roundup.

Digital Gear. Back in January Fuji released XT-1, a great addition to their line-up. But after using the camera for couple weeks I decided to keep XPro-1, still love this camera for its original x-trans sensor. Same goes for new Sigma DP2 Quattro, decided to stay with DP2 Merrill. I bought and sold Nikon 800E. Don’t get me wrong, the camera and the image quality are fantastic, just not my type of a camera. I also had an opportunity to try 800E with Zeiss 85/1.4 Otus APO Planar and results were mind blowing.
Digital Post Processing. Iridient Developer remains my # 1 raw converter. Now I am using it not only to process x-trans files but other raw formats as well. I just tried 3.0 beta 4 and was very much impressed with new features and especially with new sharpening algorithm Iridient Reveal. Wow. I think ID3 is also faster now. BTW, Iridient Developer is on sale until December 31st. Other raw converters worth to mention were RawTherapee and LightZone.
Film gear. In 2014 I had two new additions to my camera collection, Yashica Electro 35 GTN and Hasselblad 500 C/M. Both are great. And the only one addition to my legacy lens collection was MD Zoom35~70 1/3.5. This lens is absolutely fantastic.
Film Post Processing. Not too many changes here, Agfa Rodinal 1:50 is my #1 developer. If you don’t want to bother with DIY development, then IlfordLab is highly recommended for B&W, excellent service.

Plans for 2015? My film journey continues. Film still has a lot to offer, especially with the prices of great cameras and lenses so low and because I simply love artistic qualities of the media. But I didn't abandon digital of course, and planning to try new Sony A7 II soon. Considering my extensive collection of legacy glass this full frame camera with IBIS looks very attractive. I am waiting for new Fuji 140-400mm f4 / 5.6 (?) Super Telephoto and possible XPro1 replacement.

2015 is quickly approaching and I wish you a relaxing holiday season and photographically exciting New Year.

All the best,


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Useful iPhone apps for analogue film photography

Lately I am shooting analogue almost exclusively, trying to get unplugged. But since my old trusty iPhone 4s (IOS 8.1) is always with me I decided to try several apps to see if they can be useful for a film photography.

I completely dismissed image manipulating / organizing apps and focused only on those that, supposedly, can help with shooting film. After spending $ and time I have to say that majority of apps are just waste. But not all.
So here is my pick listed in order of typical photo workflow.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tree studies in mono

Late autumn and winter are my favourite seasons to take tree pictures. I am partial to abstract patterns created by leafless branches and trunks. And great object to exercise my skills in square composition. Dark grey overcast skies didn’t stop me from getting out for a ramble.

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* CF F/4 50 mm

All images below were taken with Hasselblad 500C/M, Ilford Delta 100, developed in Rodinal 1:50

Friday, 31 October 2014

A stroll with the Hasselblad

When I tested my new-old Hasselblad 500CM about a month ago I found random light streaks across the film, a sign that light trap on A12 film back needs a replacement. I ordered foam pad and foil from eBay for $16 and installed it myself following provided instructions, it was pretty easy and straight forward. Now it was time to take the camera out for a spin.
Despite nice foliage colours I decided to use B&W film. I took only one roll of 120 film with me, 12 exposures. Actually 11 because I quickly wasted the first frame by checking the shutter without the dark slide.

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* CF F/4 50 mm

Since colours were no longer in play I focused on light, shapes, textures and lines. All pictures below were taken with Ilford Delta 100 and developed in Rodinal 1:50 for 14 min @ 20 C˚

Saturday, 25 October 2014


Here goes: my full frame camera, new ipad and memory cards...

Back to basics :)


Friday, 10 October 2014

New filters - quick overview

I am not a big fan of digital effects and in most cases all my image enhancements are done during the raw conversion. But I do appreciate creative capabilities that new applications can bring.

The number of image transforming apps is endless, new effects pop up every day. Most of them look very similar,  but two caught my attention, Topaz Impression and Macphun Tonality Pro.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Why Film?

Folks, let me state from the very beginning, I don’t want to start any debates film vs digital, everything below is just my opinion. 

Any modern digital camera can easily out resolve the film, and a full frame (135mm) camera, like Nikon D810 paired with superb  Zeiss Otus, will beat the cr* out of any medium format or even large format film cameras. Obviously a great shooting discipline and post processing skills are required to pull out the best from the modern sensors. Digital cameras are also fast, provide instant feedback and the number of photos one can take is only limited by the size of storage, and storage is reusable. With many filters available (DxO, Nik, Topaz, etc etc etc) you can simulate the film “look” with few extra clicks. Why bother with real film?

Hasselblad 500 C/M, CF Distagon 50/4 T*, Kodak 400TX
Long time ago I realized that my pursuit for more details, more accurate colours, low noise or better dynamic range is pointless because it is not what always makes a great photo.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ontario Fall Colours

Just came back from a 3-day trip in beautiful Haliburton countryside and report - we have another great foliage season!

Unusually warm calm weather, blue skies and foliage in full bloom make absolutely perfect conditions to enjoy colour photography. But hurry up, it won't last long.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The foliage season has arrived!

My favourite season. Most of the trees are still green here in Toronto, but I prefer to start early, you never know how long the full bloom will last. All my weekends are pretty booked for the next three-four weeks.

Both pictures were taken with X-Pro1 and Nikkor 180/2.8 ED AI-S. Another very busy season for my Fuji :)


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Happy 40th Anniversary!

The camera serial number starts with UI, which stands for 1974, it means that my new-used Hasselblad 500 C/M is forty years young!

 and the picture taken today:

Carl Zeiss Planar T* C F/2.8 80mm, Agfa APX 25, post processed in Rodinal


Thursday, 28 August 2014

The monopod

Modern digital sensors are very demanding. If you want to get the most out of your fine sensor you need good glass, excellent post processing techniques and shooting discipline. And shooting discipline (holding the camera steady) is my main problem. I missed so many shots just because I didn't hold the camera steady enough. When I am using the old legacy or even modern lenses (with no IS/IBIS) the Golden Reciprocal Rule just doesn’t work for me anymore. May be it's just my hands.
I know that any decent tripod can resolve the problem by improving stability, but they are bulky and take time to set up. Monopods are much easier to manage. After a quick search I ordered one from eBay, $80 delivered to Canada.

In the bag:

Sunday, 3 August 2014

X-PRO1 vs. D800E vs. DP2M

Finally I got time to compare raw output from Fujifilm X-PRO 1, Sigma DP2M and Nikon D800E.

The test below is very much unscientific, it was conducted just out of my own curiosity. All three cameras are totally different beasts and putting them side by side might be not fair, but I as many others was wondering how uncommon CFA (X-Trans and Foveon, APC-S) sensors stack up against leading 24x36 Bayer.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Minolta MD ZOOM 35-70 mm f / 3.5 - more pictures

During my recent trip to cottage I used Minolta a lot and really enjoyed the lens. Surprisingly the range ( ~ 53-105 on Fuji X-Pro 1) was very useful and it was my main "walk around" lens during the whole trip.

I did some close ups,  shot hand-held fast moving objects - no problem.  The focus was really easy to attain.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

In the cottage country with Fuji X-Pro 1

I just came back from a short trip to my friends in Haliburton (Ontario). Summer is not my favourite season for photography in the country, but I managed to snap a few.

I  mostly used XF 55-200 with X-Pro 1, but also tried my new-used Minolta 35-70 f/3.5 Zoom. I will post results in the next few days.
All raw files were post processed in Iridient Developer with a little help of Nik filters.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Minolta MD ZOOM 35-70 mm f / 3.5

I have never been a big fan of legacy zoom lenses. But after reading some raving reviews about  Minolta MD zoom 35-70 f/3.5 I took the plunge and got a very good copy (macro, 7 blades version) from eBay.

The lens was designed in collaboration with Leitz (Leica Vario-Elmar-R 35-70 mm f / 3.5) and is highly regarded for its optical qualities.
Here is my first impression.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

MC TELE ROKKOR-PF 135 mm 1:2.8 revisited

I bought the lens about two years ago and was happy with the results but didn't use it too often since I acquired XF 55-200.

After reading some less than stellar reviews about this particular version (6 elements in 5 groups ) I decided to revisit the lens.

Below is the result of shooting exclusively with this lens during the Canada Day weekend. All photos were taken with X-Pro1, most of the time the lens was set to its max aperture, files were post processed in Iridient Developer.

Golden Light

Re-processing some old Canon raw files in Iridient Developer.

On the Straggle Lake. 


Sunday, 22 June 2014

XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR - first impression

XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is Fuji's first weather-resistant lens, a perfect companion for X-T1.

Today I had an opportunity to test the pre production version and here is my impression.

Walk in the Park with the Fuji Guys

This time Fujifilm Canada organized event at the Evergreen Brick Works. Great opportunity to meet other fellow photographers, take pictures and to try out Fuji cameras and lenses. I also took this opportunity to talk directly to Fuji reps about potential improvements, what can be done better.  And we all know - Fuji are listening!

I knew that Fuji cameras are quite popular but I didn't expect to see such a large crowd of photo enthusiasts on Sunday morning. What a great turnout of people.

Some pictures from the event.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Green snaps from the garden

Green is my new favourite colour. The summer has finally arrived and new life is flourishing after the long winter. What a great time for my Fuji X-Pro1 and XF 55-200!

All photos were post processed in Iridient Developer.

Friday, 23 May 2014

DCRAW 9.21 for OS X Mavericks: using LightZone

The list of applications that are using dcraw is impressive, you have plenty of choices anywhere from  free basic programs to pretty costly well-known commercial products. As a Fuji x-trans user my favourite free product is LightZone (you need to register to access the download area). The latest version 4.1.0~beta9 now includes dcraw 9.21 and improved tone curve for XT-1 raw files.

What is LightZone? Obviously it is more than just a graphical front-end to dcraw. The quote from LZ website: "LightZone is professional-level digital darkroom software for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, that includes RAW processing and editing. Rather than using layers in the way that other photo editors do, LightZone lets the user build up a stack of tools which can be rearranged, readjusted, turned off and on, and removed  from the stack.  It's a completely non-destructive editor, where any of the tools can be re-adjusted or modified later — even in a different editing session. A tool stack can even be copied to a batch of photos at one time. LightZone always operates in a 16-bit linear colour space with the wide gamut of ProPhoto RGB"

I tested LightZone using very basic editing technique.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Analog Efex Pro 2

Google/Nik has just announced "Analog Efex Pro 2, available as a free upgrade for all existing Nik Collection users. (The entire collection is still only $149.) Analog Efex Pro pays homage to the classical, vintage, and alternative processing techniques that photographers used many years ago, allowing you to faithfully recreate them with your own images."

super cool "multi lens" filter (using image from above)

To get your free update, go to and download the Free Trial.


DCRAW 9.21 for OS X Mavericks: using the command line

In my previous article I gave simple instructions how to compile your own dcraw executable. But if you don't want to mess with C compiler feel free to download my executable from here (but you still need to put it into bin folder). Now let's have some fun and test the program.

Fuji x-trans raw file post-processed in dcraw 9.21

Here is my basic workflow and couple recommendations.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

DCRAW 9.21 for OS X Mavericks: compiling the program

dcraw is a command line program that can read various proprietary raw files (the list is endless) and convert them into a standard image format (TIFF or PPM). Once I came across this description of the dcraw project: "Dave's mission is to write and maintain an ANSI C program that decodes any raw image from any digital camera on any computer running any operating system”. Very well said.
The program is small, portable and used in many well-known free and commercial products including Adobe Photoshop. Did I say that it's free? Development work was started in 1997 followed by the first release three years later. In 2012 dcraw was the first program that processed Fujifilm x-trans raw files without smearing of fine details ("water colour effect"), here is my short review.  dcraw is also one of the few raw converters that can read and decode Sigma Foveon raw files.

The genius behind dcraw is David Coffin who just released version 9.21 and, as always, the source code is readily available for download. But David provides only the source code, which means for the folks like me "computer mumbo-jumbo that no one can use in real life".  In order to use the program you need an executable file,  the file that is compiled from the source code. Just google and you will easily find the latest dcraw executables for win32/64 systems but not so many (if any) for Mac OS X. Here is what you can do.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

In anticipation of spring (with Fujinon XF 35mm)

Unusually cold, windy and rainy spring delayed our planting season. But there are signs that better days are coming...

The set was taken with Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon XF 35 @ 1.4 post processed in Iridient Developer.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Snowdrops in Ontario

The spring is just around the corner!

X-Pro1 + XF 55-200 (@f/4.8) + Iridient Developer


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Hot Pepper

Crazy hot Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper



B&W still life with bottle

One more from the "Simple objects in my kitchen".


Monday, 31 March 2014

Red & Red

Very red still life with pomegranates :)

X-Pro1+ MC ROKKOR-PG 58mm 1:1.2


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Perfect Effects 8 Offer

Limited time offer: Get the New Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition for FREE:

Windows and OSX compatible

Works as plugin (CS, LR, Aperture) or as a standalone application

Very powerful tool (tons of adjustable filters, reads raw, works with layers, etc), but you need a powerful computer to run it :)

Quick example

*** I don't have any affiliation with ePhotozine or onOne Software***


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

First signs of spring in Ontario?

Look, the icicles are melting!!!

X-Pro1+XF 55-200

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Ontario apples

Traditional still life with colourful and delicious Ontario apples.

X-Pro1 + XF 35/1.4


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Fujifilm Canada: X-T1 in-store demos next week

Join representatives from Fujifilm Canada at Henry's , Downtown Camera and Aden Camera for in-store demos of the new Fujifilm X-T1!

Henry's Ottawa
Date: Friday, February 21st, 2014
Time: 2pm - 6pm
Location: Henry's Ottawa, 267 Bank St.

Henry's Queen and Church
Date: Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
Time: 11am - 3pm
Location: Henry's Queen and Church, 119 Church St.

Henry's Mississauga
Date: Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Time: 1pm - 6pm
Location: Henry's Mississauga, 5027 Hurontario St.

Downtown Camera
Date: Thursday February 20th, 2014
Time: 1pm - 6pm
Location: Toronto, 55 Queen St. East

Aden Camera
Date: Friday, February 21st, 2014
Time: 1pm - 6pm
Location: Toronto, 364 Yonge St


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Still Life with MC ROKKOR-PG 58/1.2

Finally I got time to put together a small set of B&W still life images inspired by a visit to friend's rustic cottage and taken with my favourite camera and legacy lens:


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Fuji X-T1 raw file support is now available

The camera was announced just couple days ago and there are two programs that already can support X-T1 raw file conversion:
Iridient Developer 2.3.3

and LightZone 4.1.0 beta 6 (free)

My 'quick'n'dirty' comparison.

Go Fuji Go!

Fujifilm Canada X-T1 Launch Event was great.

Taken with Fujifilm X-Pro1, XF 14/2.8

I had opportunity to talk to Fuji Global ( Mr. Makoto Ooishi), The Fuji Guys (Greg and Billy) and to test all new products (X-T1, XF 56/1.2, XF 10-24/4) with excellent support and help from Paulo and gentleman from BC ( I am extremely embarrassed for not taking his name. Sorry).  Thank  you All.

My first impressions report.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Fujifilm Canada X-T1 Launch Event

Fujifilm Canada loves their customers!

What a great opportunity to meet again with awesome Fujifilm Canada team, play with latest and greatest Fuji products and discuss future plans!
I will post my detail report tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Fujifilm Canada promotion: X-T1 + vertical grip for $1299.99, pre-orders only

Fujifilm Canada promotion:

According to various retailers this offer is valid from January 28, 2014 until March 31, 2014

I thought that my FAS (Fuji Acquisition Syndrome) is cured but apparently it is not :)


Friday, 24 January 2014

My Workflow for X-Trans RAW Processing

I was using Lightroom since its first iteration and it worked well with all my cameras and files. Until I acquired Fujifilm X-Pro1. I quickly realized that ACR demosaicing (Lightroom's raw de-coding engine, same as in CS/Photoshop) is not the best choice for x-trans raw files.
There are much better raw converters on the market, but Lightroom is still, arguably, the best digital asset management system. I was asking myself, how can I combine the power of LR asset management with the best demosaicing algorithms? After spending hours of testing of various configurations I finally came up with the workflow that works well for me and my x-trans raw files. I am using it for 4 months now and feel comfortable to share with you.

All logos are property of their respective owners.

I will illustrate my workflow using LR+Iridient Developer integration, albeit the same integration works well with Capture One Express,  Aperture or Photo Ninja. As the matter of fact I have all of them and they all are integrated into the same workflow.
Here is my setup and step by step instructions.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Yashica Electro 35 GTN

Couple days ago, just before the New Year eve, I was sitting home browsing photo galleries, reading gear reviews, checking sales sites and contemplating about my own photography. Do I need all these new digital toys or should I go back to basics and use good ol' film more often?  Digital vs. film is my typical year-end dilemma/question :) I was on the local Graigslist when spotted this beauty:

Well regarded Yashica Electro 35 GTN for $30. A perfect sign that I need to shoot film more often in 2014! Obviously I called the seller immediately and picked it up next morning.