What lens? Which lens? Testing a couple of lenses in anticipation of tomorrow. The first shoot of the year.

35mm f1.2? 55mm f1.4? 60mm Macro?

I love to act all spur-of -the-moment-y about life but I still believe in testing the tools before you start a project. To that end I set up a 4x6 foot diffusion scrim in the studio, set two Lightstorm LS-1/2 LED lights on one side and Ben on the other. I asked him to take sit for ten minutes while I banged off some frames with three different lenses that are relatively new to me. I wanted to see if all of them or any of them were up to the task of shooting some fast moving, available light, behind the scenes, still photographs at a commercial video shoot tomorrow. The lenses in question were the two 7Artisan lenses I've been playing with and the brand spanking new, just out of the sealed box, Fuji 60mm f2.4 Macro.

I used the Fuji X-H1 as the taking camera and tried focusing the manual focus lenses with both focus peaking and then focus magnification. I used the Acros color/B&W profile and dialed in the green filtration. I'm not totally thrilled with the tonality imparted by the green filter setting in conjunction with my LED lights but I was looking, in the moment, for sharpness and physical usability more than perfect black and white flesh tone. Give me time. I'll get the B&W stuff dialed in. I shot in Jpeg Fine so most everything about the files is baked in.

I'm not always happy with the way Blogger compresses my images, and I upload them only at 2200 pixel on the long side, so I would take any rigorous assessment of lens quality based on web analysis with a grain of salt.

I tested the 55mm and 35mm at f2.0, 2.8 and f4.0 and found them to be as sharp as I would need them to be. I looked at the full frames in Photoshop and zoomed into 100% to make my judgements. I think the 55mm is great. The 35mm is good. And the 60 Macro is optically excellent (but the AF could, as everyone has said, been improved --- something as simple as a range limiter would be useful on that lens) and gives the smoothest skin tone with the most natural resolution. 

I'm packing some stuff for tomorrow's shoot. Mostly the two "big" Fujis; the X-H1 and the X-T3. But I'm also taking a bunch of different lenses ranging from the "Fujicrons" to the manual focus lenses to the kit zoom. I'll round the kit out with a monopod and a couple of small flashes; just in case available light is impossible (from time to time). 

I'm excited to get the new year started. I've spent the holidays doing accounting and that's not my forté. 

Today starts with physical visits to three banks (no drama, just deposits, etc.) and the post office. There's heavy rain and the temperatures are hovering around the 39 degree mark (f) and it finally feels like Winter. We'll see at noon how many swimmers and which coach will brave the elements in order to let the swimmers get some yards in and stay wet. 

Tomorrow we begin to make photographs in earnest. 

Ben and Belinda are off to their respective P.R. and advertising agencies. I'm trying to convince Studio Dog to head out into the wind driven rain and pee. It's a tough sell. 

Hope your year is off to a good start. I'm starting in on my 31st year as a self-employed, freelance photographer. Always scary. Always interesting. Sometimes quite fun. Oh, yeah. In my free time I also write and illustrate a blog....

Happy New Year, 2019. Help each other stay connected!

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Test shots from the 7Artisans 35mm f1.2 lens. All handheld with the Fuji X-T3. Most shot between f2.0 and f4.0. Jury is still out.....