The Amateur Professional Lens

DSCF3490Can we just stop using the terms ” Amateur ” and ” Professional ” when it comes to equipment?  I’d like to retire them as adjectives for people too, but I suspect that there are too many photographers trying to obtain money for images to let it happen soon. Cynical me tells gullible me that there are also too many people who wish to obtain prestige and praise to stop using those words. Gullible me believes it…

Well, the reason for this thought was the chance to use an ” Amateur ” lens and camera to shoot pictures at a plastic model show. No, I don’t mean the fashion girls who never smile – real plastic models. Scale models. Remember, I run The Little Studio and if it is miniature I want to see it.

DSCF3533The camera and lens are the Fujifilm X-T10 and Fujinon 27mm f:2.8. Bought ’em from a store that was doing massive discount at a time when the Fujifilm company was also giving cash backs so the final price was really quite economical. I’ve made sure the firmware is up to date and I’ve deliberately kept the rig looking like something a tourist would carry…because I carry it when I am a tourist. The only pro concession this last weekend was to clap a Mag Mod mushroom-shaped diffuser on a Fujifilm EF-42 flash and dangle it on the end of  TTL cord.

The results are the best yet for this sort of event. Granted I knew that the models would be close enough to the edges of the tables that the 27mm would reach, and the basic light balance of the hall is close to 5000º K, but the rest of the operation is as simple as you could ask for; you decide which direction you want the light to fall from, frame it up in the tilting LCD screen, wait for the green signal, and fire. Most of the files were taken through RAW in ACR but there was no fiddling after that. If it was just reportage, I would not even have kept the RAW – just used the JPEG straight from the camera.

DSCF3478The film simulation selected is the PRO Neg Hi. It really does seem to be the way I see the world, which is a surprise because when I used to use Fujifilm sheet film in the Linhof I wasn’t all that impressed with the emulsion version of it. I suspect it will become the setting of choice for most colour work in the future, whether I dial it into camera JPEGs or command it further down the like in ACR or Lightroom.

I can thoroughly recommend going amateur – light, portable, cheap.

DSCF3543Note that people tend not to see a mirror-less camera as threatening any more. A small chrome one is even less so, and if to looks retro like the X-T10 no-one bats an eyelid. I hope to get the new 23mm f:2 lens by next eastern-states trip and will try for it in chrome. I want the whole lot to look like something Uncle Bert bought from Sears in 1963…I am hoping to find a scruffy brown leather case to pop it into as well.

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