The Popup Flash: A Pro Tool?

f/7.1, 1/8 sec, at 14mm, 1000 ISO, on a X-E2

f/7.1, 1/8 sec, at 14mm, 1000 ISO, on a X-E2 rear curtain sync

I came close to titling this post as “Pro Sho – Who says?” I have read so many Facebook posts, blog posts and Twitter tweets about what a “pro-camera” should have on it that I am ready to scream. At this point I could get all esoteric and say, any camera you make money with is a pro-camera. This is true, but that is not really what we are talking about. I think I want to be a little less obtuse and more to the point. When I say “pro” I am talking with the same mind set you might have when you go into a hardware store as ask for pro tools. These are tools that can be abused and often have more “horse power” or specialized features. The same goes with cameras. In my view a pro-camera needs to have very little for this classification. Just as the pro-drill needs to be able to take hours of constant use and abuse so must a pro-camera. It would need to be able to survive a high shutter count and would need some sort of metal alloy body construction to help it buffet physical abuse. That’s about all I would say that it would have to have. After that everything else is just rhetoric or personal opinion. Continue reading

A Podcast: A conversation on the Fujifilm X System with Piet Van den Eynde #02

Piet and I checking out the menus of the X-E2 and X-100s.

Piet and I checking out the menus of the X-E2 and X-100s. © René Delbar


Last year after the Rajasthan Photo Trek, Piet Van den Eynde and I decided to take a few minutes to talk about our experience with the X-series cameras in the field. Piet is a brand ambassador for Fujifilm Belgium, an Adobe Lightroom Guru and an e-book author with Craft & Vision. More importantly he is my co-leader of the Digital Trekker Photo Treks. Last year after our first Photo Trek together Piet and I thought it might be fun to do a podcast about the Fujifilm X-Series gear we used. You can listen to that conversation HERE. That podcast turned out to be one of my most listened to podcasts and quite a few people had asked for a sequel… So, always eager to provide the content that people want, we though it might be fun to do this again… sort of a part two. This year, after the Photo Trek was officially over Piet and I huddled under a blanket together – no really it was the only way to deaden the sound in our cheap concrete day-rooms – and recorded this podcast. We talk about the latest gear and how we have been using the X-system since our last podcast. I hope you enjoy this conversation. Continue reading

Review: Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer

fujifilm -instax

Probably one of the biggest surprises of this Fujifilm Rajasthan Photo Trek was my last minute purchase of the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphone Printer. This printer opened so many doors with people to photograph that it should be considered a must have for any photographer traveling to new places.

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Review: iBattz Mojo Refuel Battery Case (iPhone 5)

iBattz Mojo Refuel Battery Case

iBattz Mojo Refuel Battery Case

One of the great things about using an iPhone (or any smartphone, for that matter) is that you can do so much on the phone from email, photography, graphic rich games, navigation using your GPS and so much more. The problem is that all of these tasks create a huge drain on your battery. By the way, while Apple doesn’t publish their battery specifications, doing a quick Google search reveals that the iPhone 5 has a 1440 mAh battery, iPhone 5S a 1570 mAh battery, and the 5c 1507 mAh battery. These are not huge. Comparatively, the Galaxy S4 features a 2600 mAh battery. To combat this lack of power, many companies are offering power banks and cases. Continue reading

Fujifilm X – Switch or not To Switch

Shooting the X-Pro1 on Safari in Kenya. Anything is possible. Photo by Jon McCormack

Shooting the X-Pro1 on Safari in Kenya. Anything is possible. Photo by Jon McCormack

I‘ve had many emails and Facebook messages lately asking me if I have switched completely over to the Fujifilm X-series cameras. The Fujifilm X-series for those of you who have been living under a rock or are just not into camera gear, is the mirrorless, small somewhat compact camera system that has a retro rangefinder feel and look about it. They are an amazing group of cameras and are chock full of innovative technology to enhance both the user experience and the final image. The flagship camera for this new system is the X-Pro1 followed closely by the X-E1. Both cameras sport an APS–C size sensor thus giving an image quality of a DSLR. Continue reading

Review: Fujinon XF 23 f/1.4R



Last Friday I received a package from one of my friends at Fujifilm Malaysia. They were kind enough to send me a pre-production Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4R for a week to run it through its paces. I gotta tell you this is a great piece of glass. The XF 23mm on the Xpro-1‘s cropped sensor is the full frame equivalent of a 35mm lens. The most frustrating thing about this lens has nothing to do with its technical features. It is simply that I rarely use this focal length and so it became a stretch for me. I gravitate to much wider focal lengths in my work. As readers here will know, my go-to-lens is a 16-35mm. When I do shoot this lens it is almost always at the 16mm focal length. That’s not to say I can’t use and appreciate a 35 mm focal length lens.

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New York Institute of Photography: But it’s Just an iPhone!


A reflection in Singapore.

Note: These days I am writing for both my blog and the New York Institute of Photography. Here is the latest on iPhone photography. But sure to read the full article and view all the accompanying pictures by visiting the link below. ~ mb


But it’s Just an iPhone!

There has always been a snobbery associated with the Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera, and now it’s the same with the digital SLR (DSLR). It’s as if you are not a serious photographer unless you use one. This, of course, is complete rubbish. The DSLR is nothing more than a black box used to capture light. Granted, its sophistication paired with an appropriate lens allows you a lot more creative leeway than say, an iPhone. But let’s realize at the outset that the DSLR is nothing more than a tool. A person with a DSLR in their hand is no more a photographer than I am a painter just because I have paint and brushes in mine. It takes talent and an eye for both. Read more….

Life, Worship and Sitting around: Bhaktapur, Nepal

Playing the triangle for Puja.f/1.4, 1/80 sec, at 35mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

Playing the triangle for Puja.
f/1.4, 1/80 sec, at 35mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1


Bhaktapur was the capital of Nepal until late in the 15th century. As a result it has many amazing wood and stone temples and statues all around the city. Both days Jon McCormack (Check out Jon’s images here.) and I shot there it was rainy and overcast. Not the kind of rainy skies that give dramatic dark clouds, the other kind of sky, the white and boring washed out kind.  Luckily bland cloudy skies are good for shooting portraits and detail shots of life. This is precisely what we did. We roamed the city looking for culture unfolding before us. Life as it is lived in the 21st century Bhaktapur. The trick is get up early, really early, before the tourists rise. The locals are already up and about by 5:30am. We would arrived around 6. Just in time for morning puja and the vegetable markets. (Note: if you can’t see all of an image due to a small monitor just click on the image and it will popup and fit your screen.)

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