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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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New Cameras
Old 02-18-2018   #1
Bill Pierce
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New Cameras

Several folks, knowing that among the cameras I use are Fujis, asked what I thought of the new Fuji X H-1. My first thought was “Do you really need a new camera?” My second thought was I’ve never used one, but that doesn’t seem to stop dozens and dozens of people from writing “reviews” of the camera; so, why not?

The new features, and there are quite a few, are directed towards moving images, movies. IBIS, a higher fps and faster response in the viewfinder, cinema 4K/24fps and 4K/30fps, F-Log recorded directly at 4K to an SD card in the camera, video bit rate up to 200 and an improved built in microphone.

What about IBIS? Shouldn’t still photographers love a 5 axis, 5 stop shake correction? A few of the long or relatively slow Fuji lenses that would benefit from a shake control in stills have built in stabilization features already. Beyond that, we get into opinion. Mine is that IBIS doesn’t slow down moving subjects at slow shutter speeds, it can slightly lower edge resolution and (I’m told) it can mess up if you use it with a camera on a tripod. I don’t miss it on the current Fujis, and as someone who took pictures in the pre IBIS world, I own a table top tripod for my 1/2 second exposures.

Am I against IBIS? Absolutely not. There was a time early in my film days when I shot as much motion picture film as still film and would have loved to have something like IBIS. I think when they can, most cinematographers prefer the steadiness and smooth movement they get with a tripod mounted camera, but that’s not always possible. IBIS is a godsend for the cinematographer. It’s also the foremost reason the H-1 is bigger. Wiggling sensors take up more space.

In addition to the more established venues, the web has added to the outlets for moving images for everybody from journalists and commercial shooters to the family snap shooter. There are a lot of photographers that are neither still or motion photographers; they’re just photographers or both or whatever you want to call it. And in the case of professional photographers that’s keeping a lot of them alive (and killing off quit a few who say, “I only do stills.”). So, if you are a Fuji user interested in motion, the H-1 is an important and useful addition to the line. If you’re working for yourself, amateur or artist, and want to concentrate on stills, I don’t think the H-1 offers any advantages to someone who is already using Fuji’s X T-2.

Your thoughts? And that includes thoughts about new cameras in general which may be even more important.
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Old 02-18-2018   #2
Jamie Pillers
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For my photography, the one place I'd find IBIS useful is being able to use older adapted slow (i.e.: cheaper) lenses for low light street photography. Otherwise, I wonder about the durability of what I suspect is a somewhat fragile feature.
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Old 02-18-2018   #3
Archlich
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Ironically Panasonic removed IBIS from the GH5S as they assume the pros would use their own rig for stabilization.

It's already been made very clear via the months of "rumors" that the video-oriented, heavy and expensive X-H1 won't be of much difference for still photography to the X-T2. Don't need it, don't buy it, little point in doubting that. I believe most of the X-T2 shooters with common sense won't be "upgrading" for the IBIS alone as well.

But it's safe to assume that the feature would be coming down the line in the future. Everyone else have it and Fuji does need to catch up with the competition in this regard.
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Old 02-18-2018   #4
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I haven't handled the new XH1, but I am not tempted. Aside from IBIS, most of the features seem aimed at video. I don't shoot video, or much low light either. I would rather bump up ISO than trust IBIS to dampen camera shake. Fuji OIS is largely ineffective. IBIS is a check the box feature. In addition, they removed the exposure compensation dial in favor of a top plate digital readout. Why? You can see shutter speed, aperture and ISO from the top already by looking at the dials and the aperture ring. And the new camera is larger and heavier. The same 24MP sensor as the XT2. But I don't begrudge it; everyone has different priorities.
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Old 02-18-2018   #5
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X100. First and last time fujiNofilm was with new camera. And this is good achievement for these days.
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Old 02-19-2018   #6
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IBIS is a Good Thing. I've owned several Olympus cameras that used IBIS and it works well. Otherwise, the new Fuji doesn't offer anything I'm interested in. But I'm far from today's typical photographer--the guy/gal for whom camera manufacturers build cameras. I'm not into action or sports photography (or living in the fantasyland of ever being one). I'm not into video (I think video is already a feature of most of my current cameras but I've never even checked them to see for sure). I'm not awed by technology, I just use it. Most of the time I only tolerate the techie features on my cameras or just try to ignore them. The new Fuji X-whatever is just another geeky camera to my mind, sorta lost in the flood of new look-alike consumer electronic gadgets. But that makes it a Good Thing to most of today's camera buying public because it gives them discussion points for forums and fuel for superficial camera reviews.

Okay. That all sounds harsh. I'm being my most curmudgeonly today. And I shouldn't be frivolous about other photographers and their needs, desires and aspirations since I'm just a fat old guy living in his own fantasyland of taking pictures as good as my photographer-heros, most of them long dead at this point. Given my anachronistic bent, I guess I really should buy an old Leica, load up with Tri-X and set up a new darkroom in my bathroom. I'm just too lazy to go through all that again. Time marches on and it has passed me by.

The new Fuji actually seems like a great camera for the type of photography most people are interested in doing these days.
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Old 02-19-2018   #7
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My short summary: Fujis lacked from two things until now.
Sensor stabilisation and 24x36 sensors.
First is fixed now with the new X-H1.
Second will come one day.
Until then I won´t spend so much money to get a bit more than my and most other Fujis offer actually.

If my need of a top display one day would drive me crazy I´ll take one of my old EOS instead of spending
money for just another camera update.
Nevertheless the X-H1 is a nice one!

Just my 5ct
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Old 02-19-2018   #8
Brian Atherton
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I was wondering the same thing when I saw the X-H1: how many would actually purchase the camera for the IBIS? Certainly it’s not something I have ever used, although I did own a Nikon 18-200mm zoom that had lens sabilisation; frankly, I didn’t find it that useful for my type of photography.

As you say, Bill, the X-H1 is aimed squarely at the videographer, so perhaps the IBIS comes into its own with video.

Looking at the comparisons, the new Fuji X-H1 is a fair bit larger than the X-T2, and the body LCD panel looks, well, clunky and pretty ugly.

Fuji need to be applauded for their continuing development of new models, but It’s not a camera for me. Nevertheless, I’d be interested to handle one when they emerge on dealer’s shelves in London. So until then, I’ll reserve judgement.
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Old 02-19-2018   #9
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My thoughts are - the X H-1 offers videographers access to FUJIFILM's excellent cine lens technology. The first two are the MKX18-55mmT2.9 and MKX50-135mmT2.9 professional cinema lenses.

I really don't see the attraction for still photographers.

FUJIFILM only offers IS in their zoom-lens product line. Lens-IS is not a solution for video. So IBIS offers significant advantages for still FUJIFILM photographers who use prime lenses and and work with static subjects when a tripod is impractical or inconvenient.

I use FUJIFILM X-Series cameras because I can use them as I used my Zeiss Ikon M and Canonent QL-17 III film cameras.

If I am seriously interested in still subjects I use a tripod.

SONY and Olypums (I'm sure there's others) imliment IBIS in a more compact package. Perhaps FUJIFILM is working right now to miniaturize their current IBIS technology. But I'm not willing to use a larger heavier camera for the sake of IBIS.
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Old 02-19-2018   #10
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But what if you'd like to buy a Fuji camera and would have to choose between the X-T2 and the X-H1. The price difference between the two is 'only' 300 US Dollars...
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Old 02-19-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
X100. First and last time fujiNofilm was with new camera. And this is good achievement for these days.
Huh? ... ...
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Old 02-19-2018   #12
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Looks like a great camera, but I find it frustrating that, even though they made the body much bigger and heavier, they failed to put in a higher-capacity battery. It weighs almost exactly what D7200 weighs - and it's getting quite close to D750. By the time you add the battery grip so you can shoot like a D7500 or D750 - it will weigh considerably more.
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Old 02-19-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
But what if you'd like to buy a Fuji camera and would have to choose between the X-T2 and the X-H1. The price difference between the two is 'only' 300 US Dollars...
Well, it depends on the features you want. I'll take an exposure compensation dial over a digital readout any day. And the XT2 is small and lighter.
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Old 02-19-2018   #14
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I've been told the exposure compensation dial is now the dial around the shutter release button. I don't know that for a fact--that was the response I got when I complained about the absence on another website.
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Old 02-23-2018   #15
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If Fuji had built the IBIS two years ago, I might still be using Fuji's. I left for the Sony A7RII for exactly this feature. For adapted lenses, it's a godsend. And after buying a lot of Fuji glass, I came to the conclusion I just didn't like the ergonomics and switched to Zeiss for that reason. But there's a part of me that still liked the Fuji's as the first digital cameras that really "clicked" for me. Truth be told, it took Sony a bit to debug the sensor that moves, too... and I literally had to have a Sony A7 sensor repaired twice for getting off-center. So I'd counsel waiting until version 2 in this case.
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Old 02-23-2018   #16
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I rather like the idea of IBIS. Just wish it had been available long ago before investing in lenses with built-in stabilization. Which means I would have to dump one platform for another to gain the feature. That's not economically feasible for a shallow pocketed enthusiast like myself.

It also brings up the subject of over complicating the hardware, resulting in just one more thing that can go wrong, causing loss of use of the camera while it is being repaired. So you really need to buy two bodies just in case.

I'd rather have stabilization in the lens so at least I can always switch to one that still works if I can't afford that second camera body.

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Old 02-23-2018   #17
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IBIS is not actually very useful for shooting movie work.
It keeps trying to lock the image when there is movement in a shot.
So unless there is nothing moving in the shot it is counterproductive

These days there are so many available rigs for stabilising cameras, even
for keen amateurs that IBIS is not such s big deal for video shooting.
Most low budget DOPs using this type of camera would use a gimble rig
for steady handheld, and sliders, dolleys etc for smooth movement.

I think the IBIS part of the camera is aimed st the silver top generation
of nature long lens photography, of which in Japan there are many.

-TC
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Old 02-23-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyc View Post
...
I think the IBIS part of the camera is aimed st the silver top generation
of nature long lens photography, of which in Japan there are many.

-TC
I think there are some silver tops in Europe also that shoot stills and are happy not to carry a gimbal at all..
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Old 02-23-2018   #19
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I think there are some silver tops in Europe also that shoot stills and are happy not to carry a gimbal at all..
Speaking as a silver topped cracker.......we are everywhere!

And Damn happy that all of my hair hasn't migrated to my ears, nose and back........

B2 (;->
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Old 02-23-2018   #20
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Trying to get back on topic......

With the rush to IBIS and other fixes I wonder if we are going to get image manipulation like Electronic Shutters do.

After years of silliness (taking all sort of pictures for fun) I just naturally pan with the subject. I'm wondering what will happen with the image?

What about In-Lens-Image-Stabilization, will that do anything?

On the positive side I bet I can turn it off and just use it when I'm shooting in existing darkness.

While the X-H1 is BIGGER than it's siblings, I'm pretty sure Fuji will address it next generation or two. They know size matters.

B2 (;->
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