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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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X-Pro Processing
Old 07-28-2012   #1
Bill Pierce
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X-Pro Processing

A lot of us elderly rangefinder photographers are interested in the X-Pro. We all got into photojournalism at a time when rangefinders dominated photojournalism and much of 35mm film photography. The X-Pro provides the bright-line finder, the smaller than a DSLR boy, mechanical controls and a few other features that we are used to. But Fuji has not been super cooperative with the folks that create the independent image processing programs that support a great variety of programs and are used by the majority of digital photographers. In a sense Fuji has kayoed their own camera. Web publication and conventional prints are fine. But in a day when exhibition prints can get pretty big, the available image processing software can and does have problems.

Check out

http://chromasoft.blogspot.com/2012/...-silkypix.html

for some pretty intelligent thoughts on this. Note that the first line of the article has links to 4 previous articles on the same subject. These are the articles are the “required reading.”

At my end, in the great majority of cases I’ve been getting the best overall results with prints of pictures that benefited from being technically excellent with Raw Photo Processor 64 as have some other X-Pro users. I’m still learning the program. its interface is far different from most image processing programs, and there is a learning curve. Most often Adobe (in my case, Lightroom) comes in number 2 and the Adobe programs do a good job. Fuji furnished SilkyPix come in last, not awful, but last. In many cases, this is pointless hair splitting. But not for those beautiful exhibition prints. And not for a camera that has eliminated the anti-aliasing filter, come up with a unique sensor pattern and made claims that it’s APS-C sensor equals or exceeds the quality of some full frame sensors.

Maybe it’s time for us X-Pro’s (sounds like a retirement club) to pool our information. Any thoughts on image processing from other X-Pro users out there?
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Old 07-28-2012   #2
Eric T
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I just shoot jpg only with the XPro-1. The jpg converter in the XPro-1 is the best that I am aware of. I happily shoot jpg with this camera which is something I don't do with my Canon 5D Mark II or Leica M8 or Panasonic G3.
I hope that a RAW converter becomes available for Aperture but, in the meantime, jpg is fine.
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Old 07-28-2012   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric T View Post
I just shoot jpg only with the XPro-1. The jpg converter in the XPro-1 is the best that I am aware of. I happily shoot jpg with this camera which is something I don't do with my Canon 5D Mark II or Leica M8 or Panasonic G3.
I hope that a RAW converter becomes available for Aperture but, in the meantime, jpg is fine.
Is the JPEG file good enough to use in large-size exhibition prints too?
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Old 07-28-2012   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
Is the JPEG file good enough to use in large-size exhibition prints too?
Johan, I've read somewhere on the web of happiness printing from xpro1 jpegs. Let's try it and see what we get!

Bill, I'm waiting for Apple to update Aperture as that's the software I'm happy with. Until then (and I realize I may have to wait forever), I'm happy with xpro1 jpegs.
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Old 07-28-2012   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
Is the JPEG file good enough to use in large-size exhibition prints too?
The jpeg is very good, but a properly processed raw file from X Pro can be better, not just in terms of the ability to alter the tonality and color of the image, but also in big print "sharpness." That said, sharpening the X Pro file, overall and locally, is one of the tricky areas. To me this is where RPP shines. I've also had good luck with Photokit Sharpener.
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Old 07-28-2012   #6
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I've been contemplating going from Aperture to LR4 due to the RAW issue. Some folks are getting really good results from ACR and some are seeing issues. I'd like to see what the difference in workflow is between them.
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Old 07-28-2012   #7
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I just use LR4. There is evidence that ACR is slightly inferior for some images. At the same time I really haven't noticed obvious problems. Eventually Adobe will improve their treatment of the XP1 raw data. Until then, If I notice a problem and need to make a large print, then there's always RPP 64.
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Old 07-28-2012   #8
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I'm using RPP 64 for "real" work with X-Pro files, along with a custom ICC profile that was posted to the X-Forum. TIFF files generated in RPP 64 are then archived and edited in LR4. I shoot RAW+JPEG (Med size, highest quality) and use those images for review in LR, posting to the web, etc.
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Old 07-30-2012   #9
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jpg exclusively. Good enough for stock. And good enough for prints, by my own uncritical standards, of course.
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