11.17.2019

Just fooling around downtown. It was nice.

Walked with a Pentax K-1 and the 100mm Macro.
Shot raw and used the +2 clarity control. Nice. Pretty.

Cruised into the Royal Blue Grocery for a hot Cuban sandwich and a coffee. It was luxuriously good.

My hat reminded me to relax. I almost left it on the chair next to mine. But I remembered.

I've just packed up my Lumix gear and I'm headed to Zach Theatre to shoot the Tech Rehearsal for
Christmas Carol. I can hardly wait to slip into the wonderfully immersive magic of live theater.

This musical/play is like a booster shot of joy that gets me through the holiday season. It's funny, poignant, musical and hopeful. It's also really well done. I hope all of you have something like this in the fourth quarter that brings a big ass smile to your face and even makes you more tolerant of everyone else.

That's all I've got for today. Hope you're having maximum fun and minimum resistance. KT

(fun bumper sticker I saw today): "Do No Harm. Take No Shit." 

Complete with a drawing of Buddha meditating.

My DE-ACQUISITION review of the Fujinon 8-16mm f2.8 lens. Why I used to think it was "great" but now think it's good "trade-in" material.


The Fujinon 8-16mm f2.8. Big, sharp, and to me....useless. 

I've written lots of reviews about cameras and lenses before, and recently I wrote a satire about all the lead up reviews that are written about new products. You know, first impressions reviews, unboxing reviews, not-yet-in-my-hands-but-still-click-bait-able reviews. Mine was called a PRE-ACQUISITION REVIEW. That spoof-y blog post was about a product I had ordered but had never seen nor touched. I thought it was funny and, gauging from the comments here, so did at least 18 other people. One person (who did like the original piece) suggested that a novel, new and untried approach might be to write a de-acquisition review so I'm going to give it a shot. Here goes: 

I don't know why I bought the 8-16mm Fuji lens in the first place. I recently looked at the metadata of all the 460,000+ images I have in my Lightroom catalogs and out of all these images about 90% are shot with focal lengths of between 35mm and 135mm. If there is a winner in the focal length usage race it definitely belongs to the ever present 50mm. But even focal lengths around 200-300mm far, far outstrip anything under 24mm. In fact, there are so few ultra-wide focal length lenses represented that it shocked even me. 

The thinking at the time of acquisition (at the beginning of 2019) was that I was flushed with cash, wracked with anxiety about my family obligations, and as a result had entered into a sort of tunnel vision that convinced me of the need to plan for every photographic contingency, and to do so within the Fuji system. When the 8-16mm and the 100-400mm lens went on a rare sale I snagged them both, remembering the good old days of annual report photography when we might actually problem solve with our lenses and get dramatic photos from either end of the spectrum. I think now that must be a memory without actual substance.

I used the 8-16mm lens this year for exactly three commercial images. If you were to divide the retail price of the lens by the three shots you'd get a cost per shot of about $660 per image. If each image were, by itself, the final choice for a national ad I'd have no hesitation about the expense but as soon as the novelty of being able to get everything (including my feet) in the frame wore off the lens started to remind me of the fisheye fad of the 1970's. To me, all ultra-wide angle shots look the same; way too much foreground, extremely forced perspective and, generally an insult to human portrait subjects. 

To be honest, the fault is with me; I just don't see well in the wide angle space no matter how often or how hard I try. Maybe it's my long held prejudice that people who shoot long know exactly what they want in the frame while people who shoot short can't make up their damn minds about what to put in the frame. And people who profess to love the 35mm focal length above all others just can't make up there mind which way to go.....

The lens itself is/was pretty much perfect. It was obviously optically gifted even when used wide open. 8mm (12mm FF eq.)  was sharp and, when used with the automatic in-camera corrections, not subject to excessive vignetting or rectilinear distortion. 16mm was equally good. Were I the kind of photographer for whom life only starts under 24mm I think I would be overjoyed with such a solid and ultimately flexible lens. But since I tried to crop out about 85% of each frame I shot with the lens I think I assured myself that I'm not even remotely in the target market for such a great lens with those particular wide angle advantages...

My advice, if you think you may be in the market for a lens like this but you don't shoot for the bulk of your income? Spend a lot more time playing around with a 50mm until the thoughts of wide-angle-ality exit your brain and you forget the lure of being able to almost see around corners (even if what's in the corners is rendered tiny). 

To the folks who think this lens will magically transform them into world class architecture photographers? My personal experience is that the magic didn't work for me. Seems it actually takes skill and taste to make good architecture photos, not just super wide lenses. Crazy, huh?

After months of packing and unpacking for assignments I got tired of seeing $1895 languishing in the lens drawer, almost completely unused. I put the lens in my big, black camera bag and toted it over to Precision Camera where it offset the price of a second Panasonic Lumix S1 camera body. I noticed the lens sold quickly. No doubt to yet another photographer who currently believes the mythology of having to have all the bases covered, all the focal lengths represented. A fool's errand. At least for me. 



Whatever will I do now that I am bereft of the world's best 8-16mm lens for APS-C? I think I'll be just fine with Fuji's elegant, little 14mm f2.8. In fact, I've already used that one ten times as often as the 8-16mm and even if it is seldom used it's not a burden to bring along in a camera bag. Just in case. 

MMMV. 

Just a financial note: If I'd taken the (roughly) $4,000 I spent on the two outlier zoom lenses from Fuji (8/18 and 100/400) and put the money into Apple stock instead I would now have $6,720. Just a thought... that's the amount of appreciation in Apple stock just in the past 10 months. That would beat investing in gear and having to find jobs on which to use the gear. My financial guru has already chided me. Maybe next time.