Thoughts On Samsung’s 108 Megapixel Sensor + How It Relates To Fujifilm

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We Will Deliver – Rosamond, CA – Nokia Lumia 1020

Samsung announced (in conjunction with Xiaomi) that they have made an 108-megapixel 1/1.33-inch camera sensor that will soon be found inside of cellphones. At first glance it sounds absurd. What kind of image quality could it possibly have? How ugly will it be above base ISO? How much resolution do you really need for social media posts? But there are some interesting innovations that might someday be applied to Fujifilm cameras, so let’s take a closer look.

How this new sensor directly relates to Fujifilm is that it’s an ISOCELL Plus sensor, which requires a materiel developed by Fujifilm, and only Fujifilm has this material. What Samsung did with it is develop a sensor that has less “cross talk” between pixels, which improves color accuracy, dynamic range, high-ISO capabilities and fine-detail rendering. Essentially, it allows smaller pixels to perform similar to larger pixels. You can put 108 million teeny-tiny light sensitive sensor elements on a small sensor with ISOCELL Plus, and it will perform similar to 108 million larger-but-still-quite-small light sensitive sensor elements on a little bit larger sensor without this technology. Whether the lens will be able to resolve that much detail, as it will need to be a heck-of-a-sharp lens, remains to be seen, but if it can, that would be quite the leap in cellphone camera technology.

I used to have a Nokia Lumia 1020 cellphone, and the phone itself wasn’t especially great, but the camera, with a 41-megapixel 1/1.5-inch sensor and Zeiss lens, was surprisingly good. Well, sort of. It had a very narrow margin, as you needed to stay close to base ISO, and the dynamic range was small, but in the right situations it delivered stunning pictures that you’d never guess came from a cellphone. I have no idea if Xiaomi’s phone with the new 108-megapixel sensor will be similar or not, but it might be, and it might even be better.

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Energy – Tehachapi, CA – Nokia Lumia 1020

Aside from ISOCELL Plus, the other interesting innovation from Samsung with this sensor is quad-Bayer array. Instead of the typical two green, one red and one blue Bayer square arrangement, this has a four green times two, four red and four blue square arrangement, with the four pixels of the same color next to each other in a square. The idea is that the four same-color pixels can be merged through software into one pixel, turning the camera into a 27-megapixel traditional Bayer array. Why wouldn’t Samsung use larger light sensitive sensor elements and set the megapixel count at 27? Why do this weird tiny-pixel quad-Bayer pixel-merge thing? Well, it allows software to do some interesting tricks. For example, it can capture up to four independent 27-megapixel exposures simultaneously and blend them together, extending dynamic range, reducing noise, and/or increasing high-ISO capabilities. Or, if the dynamic range doesn’t need extended, and the noise doesn’t need to be reduced, and the ISO doesn’t need to be increased, it can produce a very large fine-detailed full-resolution picture.

Slowly the technological advancements of the small sensor world trickle up to larger sensors, and someday a version of ISOCELL Plus and pixel-merge could very well be found in Fujifilm cameras. What might this look like? If you were to take this same Samsung chip and increase it to APS-C size, it would have roughly 216-megapixels, and would deliver a pixel-merged 54-megapixel image. I’m sure, however, that there would be a reduction in noise performance, dynamic range and high-ISO over current X-Trans sensors, and, even with the excellent Fujinon lenses available, the question of whether that much detail can be resolved would still need to be answered. What I see more likely to happen is sensor elements being used that are twice as large as those on the tiny Samsung chip, and an APS-C sensor with 108-megapixels produced, which could be pixel-merged to 27-megapixels. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe a quad-X-Trans array is possible. Essentially, it might be feasible to have nearly identical resolution as X-Trans IV, but with improved dynamic range and high-ISO capabilities, and the option for full-resolution 108-megapixel pictures when the ISO is under a certain amount (say, ISO 640). It’s still questionable whether or not Fujinon lenses can take advantage of that much resolution, but even if it is “only” able to produce resolution equivalent to 50-megapixels, that’s still double what it is now. If ISOCELL Plus and pixel-merge ever do come to Fujifilm X, it could very well be a game-changer type of thing. Or perhaps the required processing power and heat dispersion are too difficult to overcome, and it never makes its way to larger sensor cameras. Time will tell.

Weekly Photo Project – Conclusion

With my 365 photo-a-day project complete, I wanted to share some thoughts about it. Was it worth it? What did I learn? Would I do it again? I’m sure there are a number of you who have considered doing your own, so perhaps answering these questions will be useful insight to you.

One reason why I wanted to do this project in the first place was for practice. In the very first post I said, “Athletes practice daily. Musicians practice daily. If you want to be great at something and stay great at it, you need to regularly challenge yourself. This is just as true with your camera as it is with everything else.” A 365 project is one way to photographically exercise. It keeps you in camera shape and hopefully builds camera muscle. With each exposure there is an opportunity to learn. I do believe that I did improve my photography skills over the last year, at least a little.

If you do something everyday for long enough it will become habit. Picking up my camera and having it with me is now habit. Thinking photographically while I have my camera nearby is a habit. Capturing daily pictures is a habit. More importantly than all of that, taking note of the exposures I made and whether or not they’re good enough, and, if not, trying again a little harder to capture something better is now a habit. Those are good habits that I can thank this project for.

Something else that I gained from doing this photo-a-day project is I captured some pictures that I would not have otherwise captured. I forced myself to make some exposures “because I had to” and some of those pictures I quite like. I wouldn’t have made them if I wasn’t forcing myself to do so. This project increased my productivity.

My advice for someone who wants to do a project like this is, first of all, to do it. Actually decide to start and follow through. I took things one week at a time (which is why I called it “Weekly Photo Project”), so if I happened to fail at one week I wouldn’t feel like I failed the whole project. It’s easier to say, “I have just three days left” than “I have 147 days to go!” Taking things in small chunks was mentally very helpful. My advice would be to schedule breaks, perhaps once a quarter or maybe at the mid-point, to allow yourself the opportunity to guilt-free miss a day or week. I found that the winter, with its cold and short days, was the hardest. The second half of the project was much easier than the first because habits were setting in.

I’m not continuing this project because I have other things that I want to devote my time and energy towards. I will still be photographically exercising because I want to continue to build my camera skills, but it will be different exercises, such as the Film Simulation Challenge. It was great to do, and I’m very happy that I completed this project, as it was very beneficial to me, but I’m glad that it’s now over.

I’ve selected one picture to represent each week for the second half of this project. I did this already for Weeks 1-26. Some weeks I had several good pictures to choose from, and some weeks I had seven mediocre ones. That’s just the way it goes. I hope you’ve enjoyed following this project, and I hope that it has been an inspiration to you.

Week 27

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Snow Falling On The Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Week 28

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Brush Strokes Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Week 29

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Wide Load Chairs Out In The Cold – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Week 30

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Shopping Cart Return – Roy, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Week 31

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Silver Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Week 32

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Lifting Morning Mountain Mist – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Week 33

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Hat – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Week 34

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Fresh Neighborhood Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 35

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It’s Lit – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 36

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Neon Reflection – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 37

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Frozen Reservoir – Causey Reservoir, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 38

Processed with RNI Films. Preset 'Ilford Delta 100'

Oquirhh Rain – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 39

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Vibrant Flowerbed – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 40

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Colorful Cactus Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 41

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Yellow Palo Verde – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 42

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Treeline Impressions – Eagle Island SP, ID – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 43

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Dark Cloud Over The Dark Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 44

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Red Tricycle – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 45

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The Corporate Ladder – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 46

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Morning Mountain Rain – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 47

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Blue Sunset – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 48

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Waterfall Into The Ogden River – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 49

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Wearing Grandpa’s Hat – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 50

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Monochrome Sunset – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 51

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Traffic Lamp – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Week 52

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Onaqui Wild Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

 

Current Fujifilm Deals

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There aren’t a whole lot of headline deals on Fujifilm currently, but if you’ve been eyeing the X-E3, it’s nicely discounted and right now stands as the best bargain among Fujifilm X cameras. GFX still has the discounted bodies, and if you’ve wanted to get into medium-format, $4,000 will get you a camera, which was unfathomable just last year.

Fujifilm X Cameras:

Fujifilm X100F Silver $1,170
Fujifilm X-T20 (Body Only) $700
Fujifilm X-T20 w/16-50mm lens $800
Fujifilm X-T20 w/18-55mm lens $1,000
Fujifilm X-E3 (Body Only) $600
Fujifilm X-E3 w/23mm f/2 lens $850
Fujifilm X-E3 w/18-55mm lens $900
Fujifilm X-H1 (Body Only) w/power grip $1,300
Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Body Only) $1,500
Fujifilm X-Pro2 Graphite w/23mm f/2 lens $1,950
Fujifilm X-T100 (Body Only) Dark Silver $400
Fujifilm XF10 $450

Fujifilm X Lenses:

Rokinon 12mm f/2 $275
Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye $270
Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 $400

Fujifilm GFX Cameras:

Fujifilm GFX 50R (Body Only) $4,000
Fujifilm GFX 50S (Body Only) $5,500

As always, nobody pays me to write the articles that you find on Fuji X Weekly, so using my Amazon affiliate links is the only way to financially support this website. I would never ask you to buy something that you didn’t want, but if you were already planning to purchase something, it’s greatly appreciated if you did so using my links. It definitely helps! I want to give a special thank you to those who have done this already.

My Fujifilm X-T30 Eterna Low-Contrast Film Simulation Recipe

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Gap of Light – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Eterna Low-Contrast”

After choosing my Eterna film simulation recipe for the Film Simulation Challenge, I thought it might be interesting to attempt a low-contrast Eterna recipe. I wanted to replicating the look of low-cost color negative film, but I didn’t have any specific film in mind, and didn’t do any of my typical film research. What I did do was play with the settings until I found something that I thought might look good. Even though Eterna is supposed to look cinematic, I’ve found it to be a great starting point for color negative aesthetics, and in the case of this recipe, it sometimes roughly resembles Fujifilm C200 and it sometimes (oftentimes?) doesn’t.

I almost didn’t share this recipe. I do sometimes create film simulation recipes that I don’t share, usually because I’m not happy with the results. There’s something not right about it, so I keep it to myself, and either shelve it or attempt to improve it. I was really on the fence with this one. On one hand it can sometimes produce really lovely results, and on the other hand it can be too flat and boring. It seems to require strong light and bright colors, and it makes something beautiful and soft out of it. Even outside of those parameters it can occasionally render a picture quite nice, but often it just delivers a boring rendition. It’s for those times where it might be the just-right recipe that I decided to share it, and hopefully it will be useful to some of you.

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Stock Photography – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Eterna Low-Contrast”

Eterna
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: -2
Shadow: -1
Color: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -4
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
White Balance: 5900K, -3 Red & +3 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400

Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using my Eterna Low-Contrast film simulation recipe on a Fujifilm X-T30:

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Red – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sunset In The City – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Vintage & Antique – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Been Better – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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No Trespassing – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Everyone Has A Cross To Bear – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Joe Shortino – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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The Good Stuff – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Shopping Cart Line – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Cart – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Fishing For A Laugh – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sitting In The Evening Light – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Jo Cool – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Kitchen Towel Roll – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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R Is For Roesch – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Too Many Coffee Beans – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Third Wheel – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Backyard Shed – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Green Tree Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Cottonwood Tree Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Film Simulation Challenge – Roll 3: Eterna

For this third installment of the Film Simulation Challenge, where I use the same settings for 24 or 36 exposures, similar to shooting a roll of film, I chose my Eterna film simulation recipe. This particular recipe isn’t meant to mimic the look of any real film, but nonetheless it has a color negative aesthetic. I “loaded” this “film” into my Fujifilm X-T30, and exposed 36 frames. Sometimes I had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to the front of the camera, and sometimes I had a Fujinon 90mm f/2. Both of these lenses are fantastic. I like the way this Eterna recipe looks, and I think Eterna in general is under appreciated. Only a few cameras have this film simulation, so perhaps that’s why it’s not discussed as much as it deserves, but I think it’s great, and I was glad to use it here.

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Frame 2: Can’t See The Forest #1 – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 4: Can’t See The Forest #2 – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 8: Trying To Understand – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 9: Unsure Smile – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 10: Peeking White Clouds – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 12: Cotton Cloud Above The Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 14: Summer’s Summit – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 15: Old Wheelbarrow Tire – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 16: Red Shed Roofline – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 17: Rose Remains – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 19: Purple Bloom Flower – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 22: Line of Clouds over the Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

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Frame 25: Junk Trailer – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 26: Eastern Sky – South Weber, Utah – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 27: Outdoor Toilet – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 28: Brothers – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 30: Summer Evening Light On The Wasatch – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 34: Quarrel – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 35: Superhero Juice – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Frame 36: Coffee Beans In A Jar – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Roll 1: Kodachrome 64   Roll 2: Kodacolor

Weekly Photo Project, Week 52

Here it is! These pictures are the final week of this photo-a-day project, taken one week at a time for 52 weeks. It’s very hard for me to believe that it’s over, but it is also a relief, and now I can tackle some other things that I’ve been putting off. There will be one more post, which will summarize the entire project. I hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing these articles and that this has been an inspiration to you in some way.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

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Hay Stack – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 – 1/1700, aperture unknown, ISO 640

Monday, July 29, 2019

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Onaqui Wild Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm f/2 – 1/1900, f/6.4, ISO 640

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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Shopping Cart Car – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/1700, f/5.6, ISO 640

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

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Pollen Collecting – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm f/2 – 1/240, f/5, ISO 640

Thursday, August 1, 2019

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Jar of Coffee Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm f/2 – 1/140, f/5.6, ISO 640

Friday, August 2, 2019

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Sun Bee – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/1300, f/7.1, ISO 640

Saturday, August 3, 2019

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Firesky Watchtower – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/110, f/5.6, ISO 640

Week 51  Conclusion

Film Simulation Challenge – Roll 2: Kodacolor

My first “roll of film” for the Film Simulation Challenge was Kodachrome 64. For my second “roll of film” I choose my Kodacolor film simulation recipe. I “loaded” the “Kodacolor film” into my Fujifilm X-T30 camera, which had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, and exposed 36 frames. The Film Simulation Challenge is where you capture 24 or 36 exposures using the same settings much like shooting a roll of film. It can be a fun (and educational) experiment to use your digital camera similarly to an analog camera.

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Frame 1: Taco – Layton, UT

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Frame 3: Sweet Job – South Weber, UT

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Frame 6: Smooths – South Weber, UT

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Frame 10: Big League – South Weber, UT

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Frame 11: Illuminated Top – South Weber, UT

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Frame 13: Setting Sun Over Suburban Street – South Weber, UT

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Frame 18: Users Own Risk – South Weber, UT

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Frame 23: Stop Voting Only One Way – South Weber, UT

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Frame 24: Red Stripe – South Weber, UT

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Frame 26: Hiding Behind The Tree Branches – Farmington, UT

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Frame 28: Colorful Urban Nature – Farmington, UT

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Frame 32: Not A Clock – Farmington, UT

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Frame 34: Moon Beyond The Maverik – South Weber, UT

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Frame 35: Gas At Night – South Weber, UT

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Frame 36: Night Pumps – South Weber, UT

Roll 3: Eterna

Weekly Photo Project, Week 51

I love using vintage lenses. They add character to the image. Modern lenses are great, but they are also precision engineered, which means that they lack flaws. It’s flaws that give these old lenses personality. Each picture this week was captured with an old, manual lens attached to the front of my Fujifilm X-T30.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Antique Tricycle – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 – 1/125, aperture unknown, ISO 3200

Monday, July 22, 2019

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Country Sunflower – Downey, ID – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 – 1/200, aperture unknown, ISO 5000

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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Waiving Flag – Draper, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 – 1/9000, aperture unknown, ISO 640

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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Morning Coffee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 – 1/200, aperture unknown, ISO 6400

Thursday, July 25, 2019

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Coffee Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Helios 103 – 1/200, aperture unknown, ISO 3200

Friday, July 26, 2019

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Summer Green Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 – 1/200, aperture unknown, ISO 5000

Saturday, July 27, 2019

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Traffic Lamp – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & & Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 – 1/2000, aperture unknown, ISO 640

Week 50   Week 52

Weekly Photo Project, Week 50

This week is represented by a hodgepodge of pictures. Overall these seven days were fairly productive, with the usual couple of barely-productive days thrown in. You might note that there are only two weeks left, which I’ve actually already completed, so in real time this project is finished, but I still have more to share on this blog. Expect those posts shortly, with a wrap-up article to nicely tie a bow around this whole thing.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

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Monochrome Sunset – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 640

Monday, July 15, 2019

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Faux Flowers Monochrome – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/125, f/2.8, ISO 4000

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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Kodak Flying Disc – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/640, f/9, ISO 640

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Cottonwood Sun – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/200, f/13, ISO 640

Thursday, July 18, 2019

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Unlocked Gate – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/3500, f/5.6, ISO 640

Friday, July 19, 2019

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Shelf Camera – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm f/2 – 1/120, f/2, ISO 6400

Saturday, July 20, 2019

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Gold Medal – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm f/2 – 1/680, f/5, ISO 640

Week 49   Week 51

Film Simulation Challenge – 1st Roll: Kodachrome 64

Last week I introduced the Film Simulation Challenge, which is where you pick one film simulation recipe and shoot either 24 or 36 frames before changing settings. It’s kind of like loading your camera with a roll of film, and you are stuck with whatever film you loaded until that roll is completely exposed. This challenge is the digital equivalent of that analog issue. I thought it would be a fun experiment to encourage photographic vision while sharing the joy of Fujifilm X cameras.

For my first attempt at the Film Simulation Challenge, I chose my Kodachrome 64 recipe. I “loaded a roll” of “Kodachrome” into my Fujifilm X-T30, which had a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, and shot 36 exposures at a park in Layton, Utah. I did this in the late morning, and unsurprisingly the light was quite harsh, which wasn’t the best match for this particular film simulation recipe. But I stuck with it, just like I would have done in the film days. I used quite a few of the middle frames attempting hand-held slow-shutter exposures to blur moving water, making a number of tries, and ending up with a few frames that were sharp and a bunch that weren’t. I didn’t capture any spectacular pictures, but sometimes that happens with a roll of film, too. I will try another day in a different light and hopefully get better results.

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Frame 1: Sprinkler Rainbow #1

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Frame 2: Sprinkler Rainbow #2

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Frame 5: Sun Tree

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Frame 6: Grasshopper

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Frame 8: Ducks Beyond The Fence

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Frame 12: Branch Over River

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Frame 25: Water Over Rocks #1

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Frame 31: Water Over Rocks #2

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Frame 34: Bright Yellow Blooms

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Frame 35: Lots of Yellow Blooms

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Frame 36: Bright Seagull

Roll 2: Kodacolor