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Zone focus mode still too slow


ergoforce

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Obviously, I wan't making A0 gallery prints - though I did have ISO800 printed up to about A3 on occasion and it looked pretty good.

How high quality was printing back then though? It seems to me now that the resolution of large scale printing these days is so high that it is prone to show up the slightest amount of grain. Whereas, back in the day, poster printing was at a lower quality and often if grain was visible, it could be attributed to the printing process.

I'm talking about no more than 5-6 years ago. Peak Imaging in the UK are a pro-am printers with the very latest Fuji Frontier digital printing systems, which use laser to expose photographic paper (negatives are scanned and optimised for printing). They can print this way up to quite large sizes (36" x 24"). The prints were "hand finished" for saturation, density etc. They always looked great at "normal" viewing distances.

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I'm talking about no more than 5-6 years ago. Peak Imaging in the UK are a pro-am printers with the very latest Fuji Frontier digital printing systems, which use laser to expose photographic paper (negatives are scanned and optimised for printing). They can print this way up to quite large sizes (36" x 24"). The prints were "hand finished" for saturation, density etc. They always looked great at "normal" viewing distances.

I've used Peak imaging for digital prints, but never for film. Are you saying they accept film negatives for printing, or do they assume the photographer will scan film on a flat bed and send in a jpeg?

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They still have extensive film processing capability. You don't have to do anything other than send the film in. The quality of their prints far exceeds anything I've seen people do at home on inkjet printers.

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They still have extensive film processing capability. You don't have to do anything other than send the film in. The quality of their prints far exceeds anything I've seen people do at home on inkjet printers.

Thanks for that. I've thought of sending Peak some shots a few times, but the laser exposed paper and scanned negatives didn't sound like any optical process I'd come across, so I assumed they only took digital files..

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They still have extensive film processing capability. You don't have to do anything other than send the film in. The quality of their prints far exceeds anything I've seen people do at home on inkjet printers.

Thanks for that. I've thought of sending Peak some shots a few times, but the laser exposed paper and scanned negatives didn't sound like any optical process I'd come across, so I assumed they only took digital files..

Oh no, all Fuji Frontier printing systems (very common) are all digital. One machine processes the film, then its automatically drum scanned, and sent digitally to the printing machine. I'm not aware that any modern lab machines still print optically from the negatives. The benefit of a digital process is it makes it very easy to optimise. Fuji machines even auto correct images from disposable Fuji cameras as they identify the known issues with the lenses!

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Really? I regularly used to shoot film up to ISO800, where modern films showed very fine grain and good contrast/dynamic range. ISO1600 was always a bit of an ask, but Fuji Natura 1600 was surprisingly. Obviously, I wan't making A0 gallery prints - though I did have ISO800 printed up to about A3 on occasion and it looked pretty good.

Agree with your comments about digital though - last night I was working on some raw files from APS-C taken at ISO3200, and at sensible sizes (e.g. A4 rather than 100% on screen), they were pretty good.

Hey artuk;

Other than finally getting back to a film camera this past summer, I haven't used film for over five years, and even by then (2009 or so) it had diminished to a few hobby rolls a year, sadly. So most of my experience is sadly outdated!

I stopped using film professionally back in 1994, as I was part of the group of pro's in Canada that adapted to very early digital systems (Leaf triple pass digital back on a 4x5 camera for agency work, and a very, very early, triple chip RGB Fuji or Sony commercial digital camera for retail flyer work). So most of work experience using B&W films in a large amount, and for paid work, go back before '94, 22 years or further.

Back in the early '90's with Tri-X, I would usually expose at 200 or 320 ISO, to retain good shadow detail. At those speeds, it had a noticeable but tight grain pattern that was quite pleasant to view.

The T-Max 3200 of that time was already grainy at 1600, but at least I would have the speed when I needed it!

If I find some of the photojournalism work I did from that era, I'll scan the prints and post it on Flickr, if you want to take a peek. Might take me a while to dig up, it's going back over 20 years :) But that was what we had to work with then, so we found a way to fulfill our assignments.

Regarding raw files from APS-C: three weeks ago, I ended up in a circumstance for an assignment where I needed to shoot 3200. I usually like to shoot raw on the Fuji X-Pro1 no higher than 800, but it couldn't be helped.

Same thing as you found: I looked at the raw files on Capture One with the client right at the beginning of the shooting session, and they were pretty good, as long as I wasn't trying to view them at 300% or something crazy. The client was more than happy with them, especially as the primary usage was for a corporate website, so ultimately, the files would be downsized in the end.

Another example of APS-C quality: at a lower ISO I shot a B&W street scene I posted on another thread here, last week I think. I believe the ISO was 640 or 400. Without doing any extensive sharpening or anything unusual in Capture One, I sent the processed file as a TIFF to a local canvas photo printer, who created a giant print measuring 3 feet by 2 feet.

I don't know what sharpening or interpolation protocols he might've been using, but the results were spectacularly smooth and noise free. That's my first large print from a Fuji X camera, and I'm very pleased.

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In my experience of "modern" printing from film, I strongly suspect NR is applied as part of the optimisation process, since the machines have profiles for most modern films.

I always used colour print film, and found films like Kodak 400UC and Portra 800 to be excellent. Fuji NPH and NPZ were also favoruites, although NPZ (800) had less dynamic range than Kodaks newer Portra emulsion, and more grain.

I suspect your professional use of films far exceeds my experience as an amateur, though I got through about 40-50 rolls some years, and there were few colour print films I didn't try.

If you look at files at the size you will print them and post process carefully, I have printed Iso 3200 X100 images at A4, and higher resolution Sony files can male decent A3 prints at ISO 1600 easily, and A4 at ISO 3200. It really depends on the scene (well lit high ISO vs. Dark scene with shadows, for example), the lighting and the exposure. I have been getting great results from Sony's newer 24mp aps-c sensor, and some so-so ones, depending on the issues above.

Files that at 100% look rough on screen, or have "too much" noise reduction, will often look pretty good at realistic print sizes. Recently I took portraits in available light which ended up being at around iso 1000-1600, and they really clean up pretty well. My friend wants to print some at poster size, and I'm sure if he uses a decent photo finisher they will be fine.

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I think it may depend on your uses. The zero-noise digital seems a bit of a digital fetish to me. Some noise is pretty nice and softens the image, also digital noise is a different beast to film grain - especially black and white where film grain can be pretty lovely.

Also my first roll back from my Yashica 124G TLR was expired Fuji Neopan 100 (B&W) and that had as far as I could see effectivly zero grain. Even the Ilford ISO400 I've just got back is not majorly grainy.

My point being that film and digital are often for different use cases and a bit of grain genearlly doesnt seem to be a bad thing in film. If it is then you probably should switch to digital.

I would agree that it's best to use both film and digital, and that way one can choose between the two, based upon the aesthetic look the photographer or client is going for.

I re-tested three commonly available B&W films when I got a Leica M3 again, this past summer. Tri-X and HP5 had a tight but noticeable grain pattern. XP2 (the C-41 processed B&W film) had virtually no grain when over-exposed at 200 ISO, but it didn't look like my Fuji RAF files converted to B&W in Capture One ,either. Each film really does have a unique look.

With that said: part of why I love the grain-free, noise-free (at 800 ISO or lower) of the Fuji X files, is that they really describe a space and moment, without the medium getting in the way.

Don't get me wrong - as I discussed with boulevardier, I love that early HCB and Koudelka work, with either early 35mm stock or heavily pushed development. The severe grain has a beauty all its own.

I believe, however, that because I worked with 4x5 and 8x10 for the first two years in photography as an assistant, plus seeing Meyerowitz's street photography work done with the massive 8x10 Deardorff, I developed an appreciation for grain-free images. When an image is that clean and has such a long, tonal range, the resulting print can give the illusion of looking at the scene through a window. Almost as if the viewer was there, at the scene. It can be quite compelling.

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I always used colour print film, and found films like Kodak 400UC and Portra 800 to be excellent. Fuji NPH and NPZ were also favoruites, although NPZ (800) had less dynamic range than Kodaks newer Portra emulsion, and more grain.

I suspect your professional use of films far exceeds my experience as an amateur, though I got through about 40-50 rolls some years, and there were few colour print films I didn't try.

If you look at files at the size you will print them and post process carefully, I have printed Iso 3200 X100 images at A4, and higher resolution Sony files can male decent A3 prints at ISO 1600 easily, and A4 at ISO 3200. It really depends on the scene (well lit high ISO vs. Dark scene with shadows, for example), the lighting and the exposure. I have been getting great results from Sony's newer 24mp aps-c sensor, and some so-so ones, depending on the issues above.

Files that at 100% look rough on screen, or have "too much" noise reduction, will often look pretty good at realistic print sizes. Recently I took portraits in available light which ended up being at around iso 1000-1600, and they really clean up pretty well. My friend wants to print some at poster size, and I'm sure if he uses a decent photo finisher they will be fine.

I have no experience with modern colour print films (only B&W, since I got a film camera again), so thanks for bringing that up - I'll put a few rolls through the film camera this holiday season, for fun.

My film experience as a young assistant and then photojournalist (from '88 to '93) had a lot of shooting, but was actually quite limited in film range.

For that miserable job of hauling around 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras (late '88 to early '91), the architectural photographer I assisted for used only Ektachrome 64 Daylight for day scenes, and Ektrachrome 64T (Tungsten) for interiors and twilight outdoor scenes. 64T had great reciprocity (long exposures, of 1 minute to almost half an hour!!!) characteristics, and was optimized for long expsoures rather than short ones.

For photojournalism from '91 to '93, it was always Ektachrome 64 or 400 for colour, and Tri-X or TMZ (T-Max 3200) for B&W.

I never used colour print (negatives) film, professionally.

By '94, my daily usage of film was already over! Switched to an early Leaf digital back.

Good to hear that 3200 ISO from an X camera still looks good at A4 print sizes!

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Yes, writing only JPEG cuts down the saving time a lot. Just writing RAW, not that much.

But it won't change the speed of the shutter response - which has nothing to do with card speeds and write times.

I still wonder if this is aperture dance, or simply because the aperture blades take a longer time to close (for whatever weird reason).

Yes, the write times shouldn't affect the shutter response. At least as long the write buffer is not filled up. I just answered a question regardless relevant to the topic or not.

It is not the aperture dance as it closes only once. But there is a delay before the aperture blades tart closing, before the aperture blades are closed down and when the leaf shutter is activated. As I wrote before, for f/8 or higher, I find the lag from pressing the shutter button to X100/X100S/X100T actually capturing the picture too big, which sometimes lead to missing moments in street shooting.

Expecting too much from mirrorless cameras some say. Why I ask then. Analog cameras are faster, DSLR are faster (and constant regardless aperture). As far as I see it, the mirrorless cameras with leaf shutter have preconditions to be even faster.

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Have you compared to other cameras such as the Ricoh GR, Nikon Coolpix A, Panasonic LX100, or Sony RX series?

I'm just wondering if its an endemic problem with mirrorless, or something unique to Fuji?

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Have you compared to other cameras such as the Ricoh GR, Nikon Coolpix A, Panasonic LX100, or Sony RX series?

I'm just wondering if its an endemic problem with mirrorless, or something unique to Fuji?

I don't know as I have not tried, but if I did I'd try the Olympus OM-D E-M1. I would also need to find out the optimal settings for zone focus before I can make comparisons. However, none of the other cameras captured my interest as X100 with it's combination of OVF, leaf shutter, image quality, physical size and "analog" feel to the controls. I like X-Pro1 as well for similar properties, but the colors are not as pleasing due to the x-trans sensor and watercolor effects in foliage are disturbing in landscape attempts. There's only speed in zone focus left for Fuji mirrorless OVF cameras, before I stop missing my Leica M3 or 5DIII in street shooting. I am still hoping.

And 16 Megapixel Bayer sensor on X200 & X-Pro2.

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Have you compared to other cameras such as the Ricoh GR, Nikon Coolpix A, Panasonic LX100, or Sony RX series?

I'm just wondering if its an endemic problem with mirrorless, or something unique to Fuji?

And 16 Megapixel Bayer sensor on X200 & X-Pro2.

Apart from the X-A1, I think Fuji right now are completely adamant about the X Trans concept, so I think your hope/dream is highly unlikely. However, the next generation sensors from Sony with full colour filtering on every pixel, or Panasonics venture with Fuji into "organic" receptors, may offer a change (and quite possibly a host of new issues - look at how brilliant and flawed Foveon is!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, Koudelka is totally committed to his art. He seems to have lead a peripatetic lifestyle since the 1960s chasing the next great image. Which reminds me, I must buy the new edition of Koudelka's Exiles.

Edit: ordered!

Hey boulevardier;

A friend just sent me a fantastic Christmas present: Koudelka's Invasion 68: Prague.

It contains his 3 or 4 famous images of the '68 Soviet invasion (the watch over the empty square, the crew member emerging from the tank, etc), but it has hundreds of other images I've never seen before.

What's amazing to me is how good Koudelka's other photographs are. They are consistently high quality. Consider how chaotic and stressful the situation obviously was, and this was also still relatively early in his experience/career as a photographer as well. But the images are still excellent, overall, not just the famous ones we've been seeing repeatedly for nearly half a century. Recommended.

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  • 2 months later...

Just to mention - make sure you have a superfast SD card.

I find the x100s fast enough alright in manual, but I do wish fuji have proper distance controls on the focus ring or a snap mode (ideally matching the hyperfocal distances) - the darn thing can get moved very easily from it's setting accidentally as is.

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