Godox V850 Ving Flash / Godox XT16 Remote Transmitter & XTR16(s) Receiver Review

I’m not going to spend too much time on describing things like functions and build quality. Instead I want to give an overview of my impressions and stress one point in particular.

The manual version V850 and V850II do all the standard manual speedlite things. The Canon, Nikon and Sony dedicated V860 units do Canon, Nikon and Sony specific fancy stuff that I don’t care about. You might though, so head here to Flash Havoc to get the lowdown.

These units seem to be built with about the same degree of robustness as other brands I’m familiar with or have handled. They feel maybe not quite as solid or tough as the similar products from Lumopro, but that may just be the impression that the more militaristic / ballistic / full of little angels Lumopro design elements give. Admittedly I tend to be quite careful with my gear, but I have had no trouble nor any concerns with these flash units in terms of their durability. Godox V850_XT16_XTR16s 1b

It is sometimes held that cheaper and / or smaller lighting units, such as speedlite / hotshot flashes in general, are not quite as colour consistent or output consistent on a per unit basis as more sophisticated and more expensive lighting solutions.* Sometimes, it is claimed, they can vary quite a lot during a session or even from one firing to the next. I lack both the equipment and the inclination to test such things, but Flash Havoc and others have noted that the V850 / V860 series speedlites are comparable to similar products from other top end manufacturers. The same also seems to hold true for other parameters, such as evenness of spread and falloff, etc. The original Flash Havoc review deals with these points quite thoroughly and reports very favourably here.

All of the above is just a long winded way of saying I’m totally happy with performance, have had no issues with performance in any way at all and I’m not aware of any major current issues either. Some reviews and commentators note that as Godox rolls things out quite quickly in an ever evolving kind of manner, there are occasionally a few glitches with early production units for new lines of products, etc. They also note these problems are usually resolved fairly quickly. There have been hardware issues in the past, for example, with batteries, but as far as I know, everything is fine as of right now. Mac users do have to jump through a few hoops for software updates however.

Currently, Godox version II models, including the V850II / V860II, have built in 2.4 GHz radio receivers. For older V850 / V860 series speedlites, you can add the plug-in XTR16s 2.4 GHz receiver** and use a corresponding transmitter – XT16 / XT32 / X1T.*** I have the plain Jane manual XT16 to fire my XTR16s equipped V850 flashes. Um, works fine.

It’s essentially intuitive. You just make sure the little channel slider switches on each XTR16(s) and the XT16 transmitter are all set to the same pattern and are thus all on the same frequency (doesn’t really matter which channel you use, but if you are at an event with other photographers or picking up interference for some other reason, then you can move to a different channel). Then, each flash’s XTR16(s) gets set to a letter or number on its dial. If two or more flashes are set to the same letter/number they from a group and will be adjusted together. As the name implies, you can have up to 16 groups. Then on the XT16 transmitter, you select the number on its dial that corresponds with the flash or group you want to control, and use the + / – arrow buttons to change the power settings in ⅓ steps for that flash or group of flashes. Looks confusing, but really it is easy. For the version II speedlites and the XT32 / X1T LCD screen equipped transmitters, you essentially do the same (& a lot more for the TTL versions) on screen.

So, that brings me to the important bit, or at least, the bit I feel is important: the battery.

Currently and as far as I’m aware, the latest and the legacy models of the V850 / V860 range are the only speedlites / hotshot flashes to use propriety single unit rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries. As Flash Havoc notes, the VB18 battery provides “a massive 650 full power pops!” The full power recycle time is impressive too, at 1.5 seconds.

Most speedlites / hotshot flashes are powered by 4 AA sized batteries. The single 2000mAh, 11.1V battery gives the equivalent of 12 AA batteries. Again as Flash Havoc notes, not only is this like having an external power pack actually built in to the flash, it is also a huge cost saving, as you get a charger and the equivalent of 12 AA rechargeable batteries included in the already low cost.

How long does the battery power the flash for in the real world? Bloody forever, that’s how long. The last portrait session I did at my home studio, I was running a butterflied soft box setup with one powered by a V850 and the other by a Lumopro LP180. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the exact details now, but both flashes were set the same, at around ½ power. By the time I went through two sets of good quality and freshly charged Eneloop batteries in the Lumopro (i.e. 8 batteries worth), the battery level indicator was still showing two out of three bars on the V850!

The batteries also seem to hold their charge really well. At one stage I pulled a V850 that I hadn’t used for around a month out from the bottom of my bag and it was still showing a full change and preformed just as long as a recently charged one.

When I got my first V850 I was just testing the waters, so didn’t get a spare battery at the time. Glad I didn’t, as I’ve never ever run out of juice, and for my typical needs, I doubt I ever will. Maybe for others who cover long time periods, like wedding or event photographers, spare sets might be advisable. My typical portrait sessions run from around two to four hours, and the only time I’ve ended up working in the last bar of the indicator is when I’ve done two sessions with no recharge in between.

So, there we have it. Compatible output (as in, can be paired at same settings with other high quality brands). Comparable general performance and reliability with other similar class but much more expensive products. Outstanding, basically entry level price. Truly phenomenal battery performance. Built in radio control functionality. Expanding integration with other Godox products. Works.

Hope this was of some help.

* different people claim different things and the two common but contrasting views I’ve come across are a) that colour output is often or usually inconsistent in both cheap lighting solutions and speedlites / hotshot flashes in general, and b) that with lower power units like speedlites / hotshot flashes, this isn’t usually a problem. Me, I don’t actually know.

** for the earlier versions of the Wistro bare bulb flash units that lack the built in receiver, you use the plug-in XTR16 receiver (i.e. the model with no “s” in its name)

*** all the different options and possibilities are a bit of a mine field, and I’m trying to be brief here. The XT16 provides only manual power control, the XT32 provides only manual power control and additionally HSS for Canon / Nikon / Sony V860 units. For TTL with the V860 units you need the appropriate X1T versions and, if using a first generation V860, an X1R – i.e. receiver unit.


Godox Ving V850 / XT16 / XTR16(s) Review Preamble

Recently I added a Godox XT16 transmitter and some XTR16s receivers to my Godox  V850 Ving hotshot / speedlite manual flashes. Basically, I replaced my PocketWizard Plus Xs. Thought I’d write a little review.

I’m splitting this review into two, more manageable chunks, since I seem to be failing at brevity. _DSF7600-Edit-Edit

Godox, who may or may not also be Neewer and whose products are rebranded by Adorama (as Flashpoint) and others, is a Chinese manufacturer of relatively cheap but quite modern and fairly good quality lighting equipment.

Godox now have a really nice range of equipment, and some seem to feel this is where they are edging ahead of their competitors. In terms of light sources, as well as several series that meet the needs of mains powered high power studio photography and their portable, on site equivalents, and several series of lower / standard power speedlite  or hotshot flashes (i.e. basically what most other manufacturers offer), Godox also has the interesting Wistro series of medium powered flash units – basically, bare bulb hotshot flashes powered by battery packs.

Along with light units, Godox offers an extensive range of fairly cheap light modifiers. Keeping track of what is on offer and how various models differ is a bit of a headache however. Their website is not so logically laid out in terms of product listings and often items seem to be missing from these listings. Added to this, Goddox / Neewer light modifying products (and the sellers themselves) seem to come and go quite frequently on places like Amazon. I suspect that the modifier arm of the business might more closely reflect what we might term as the more flexible nature of supply / demand / manufacture that for many stereotypes modern Chinese production. I am a really big fan of the Cheetah QBox24 I should add, which seems to have been designed in conjunction with and to be manufactured by Godox, at least as far as I can tell.

Flash Havoc hints that Godox might be a good place to start for those first getting into lighting, as their various systems are largely cross compatible and play nicely together if / when you might want to expand – something that not all (any?) other reasonably priced manufacturers can claim.

Anyway, the somewhat oddly named Ving series is a range of speedlite / hotshot flash units that come in plain old manual (Ving 850 aka V850*), or as Canon, Nikon or Sony compatible Ving 860 units (aka V860) with all the associated TTL bits and bobs. The two links immediately above are for the original Flash Havoc reviews (which still apply for everything apart from remote functions). Newer, version II units have radio receivers built in (as do newer versions of many of the other Godox ranges of lighting units). Older versions, like mine, take a clip-on receiver unit. For the nitty gritty on the new V850II Ving, go here.

The Godox page for the V850II Ving is here.

Anyway, it is these V850 series speedlite flashes and remotely adjusting / triggering them that I will address in the next post.

Part two coming soon.

* technically, I think it might be “Godox V850 Ving,” etc. However, depending on whether you are looking at the website or an actual unit, it could also be “Godox Ving V850” etc.

Buying a Late 2015 iMac 27-inch 5K Retina for Photogrpahy – the Choices

There is bucket loads out there in Internet Land on what one should buy and how one should configure a new iMac for photography. I’m going to (try to) briefly list my purchase choices, just in case it helps anyone else in their thought process.

Cos that is the thing at the moment, the choices are odd, close together and confusing.

First, the model tier. I bought as much computer as I could afford, on the theory that this, to some degree, future proofs you. My Mac Mini just could not cope with what I was asking of it. It is a 2009 model – under powered at its time of conception, let alone now. Yet it still does remarkably well, considering its age and poor specs. For normal, non photographic use, it is still totally fine. Expanding on this, I figure a muscly, top of the line model computer from Apple should freaking well last for year and years. And then years and years more. So, this means I got the the 3.3GHz model. The big(ish) advantages this gives over the middle tier model are (slightly) faster processing (important for photo apps, which depend, for most tasks, on processor speed rather than multi core processing), and a better graphics card (see below). Also, some upgrades work out cheaper when done on the top tier model. The i7 core CPU would have been nice, but only for the faster clock speed. In the end it came down to budget constraints and the realisation that second from the absolute top is still great. More under the photo.

_DSF4501Digital vs. analogue: iMac, instant film, money and hand forged paper weight.

Second, internal storage. Many debate whether pure SSD is ‘user noticeable’ faster than Apple’s Fusion Drive in real world situations. This debate doesn’t seem to apply to photography though. Ctein, a word class printer and general all round clever guy, opines in The Online Photographer that for reasons related to scratch disk use Fusion Drives might not be best for Photoshop use, basically on the grounds that in this case they may end up operating essentially the same as a conventional internal drive and thus it is not so much that you gain no advantage, but you actually could lose out big time. Whereas with pure SSD you do gain advantages. Also, the top option of Fusion Drive is 3TB. I already have more than that in photo files, so I would still need my current external drives. Thus, I went with SSD internal storage. I got the 512GB option. I just couldn’t afford the 1TB option, and working out my app, Capture One and Lightroom catalogues and document needs, I dont even come near half the 512GB yet. So, should be fine.

Third, RAM. The smart choice is to always get the base amount. Apple just charges too much for memory upgrades [NOTE: you must check to make sure this is / remains a user upgrade before making a choice – some models are not user upgradable now and things may change in the future]. Like many, I got mine from Other World Computing, aka OWC. Not only cheap, but high end matched and tested pairs. I went with their 32GB set. Combined with the standard 8GB, this gives me a total of 40GB of RAM. That is more than heaps enough for now. In fact, it is insanely huge – the Activity Monitor shows basically a tiny green strip at the very bottom of the scale now. When it was just 8GB, it would often peak into the red zone. There may well come a day, many years hence, when 64GB will be needed. If so I’ll get it then, when it will be cheaper. Incidentally, this extra memory seems to have had a noticeable difference. Things are, I feel, faster now. I think (but I’m not totally sure) with the extra memory, Photoshop (which I have set to use 75% of RAM) doesn’t need to use scratch memory and also the CPU seems to be getting fuller use now, being free to use all it’s potential.

Forth, the graphics card. Many people, probably quite rightly, point out driving a 27 inch 5K screen takes a bucket load of graphics power. Many reviewers seem to feel Apple has sold these iMacs short on the graphics cards. So, the logical choice seems to be to get the R9 M395X 4GB memory upgrade. However, on closer research, it seems that most people who are complaining are doing so either based on ‘theory,’ or about rendering video files and playing demanding top tier games. So, I went with the standard R9 M395 with 2GB memory. I figure, it is already better than the lower two tiers (which probably do fine anyway), and, like the i5 vs i7 core debate, second best is still pretty freaking good.

Fifth, the Magic Trackpad 2. Didn’t bother. The price of this is quite substantial and not worth it since I already have the original Magic Trackpad (which is great & I use constantly). On the other hand, if you don’t already have one, I would recommend the purchase, when funds permit.

Last, Apple Care. Got this. Idiot if you don’t. There is a huge difference between one year and three. Also, unless you really are totally ham-stringed by your immediate budget, don’t put it of thinking you will get it before the first year is out. I did this once with an iPod, only to forget and then have the Home Button go out around 14 months after purchase. Grrr at myself.

End thoughts, what would I do different? Probably not much. I think if I had a little extra money I might have gone with the better graphics card, or with the i7 CPU (just for the extra speed). I confess to still being slightly worried about the GPU. For example, in Lightroom, disabling graphics processor acceleration seems to help speed things up. With it turned on, brushes would sometimes hang and things would sometimes freeze. However, this may be more of a problem with Lightroom than the graphics card, as some mention it as a ‘known Lightroom issue.’ With Photoshop for example, I have the GPU turned on (defaulting to “Basic” I note) and everything seems fine. I don’t really know. It would be interesting to know what happens in iMacs with the better graphics card – do they also need graphics acceleration turned off in Lightroom? You would need to know this before making a budget based decision between adding the top CPU or the top GPU.

So, that’s it, my reasoning. Hopefully some may find it of help.

5 Day Deal – The Complete Photography Bundle III

Warning: slight rant coming.*

I see that 5 Day Deal thing for photography is on again. For anyone interested here’s the link: https://5daydeal.com/

US$3,300 worth of photography stuff for only US$127. 96% off – woot woot!!

From around 26 different photography experts, talents, self-promotion gurus and people you’ve never heard of before (read into that clause what you will**), you can get over 70 hours of video tutorials, more than 600 actions and plugins, more than ten e-books and over 90 textures and overlays.

Sounds too good to be true? Down in the 5 Day Deal FAQ they say it isn’t. They say it’s all real. And a percentage of the sales goes to charity.

What’s not to love? Well…

“Worth” is a slippery term though, and my take is that what’s on offer is mostly just fill. The further you scroll down, the more like fill it seems. For example, who really needs a bundle that includes things like a preset to add a vignette? If you do, my advice would be to learn about your software a bit more.

Or a bundle containing 15 textures? I mean really, people give these things away free on the internet. Or, just be like me and go out and take some photographs of various walls and things to make your own textures – much more satisfying. Not to mention they will perfectly match your camera’s resolution / pixel count.

On the other hand, if you are currently (read: actually, really, truly, honestly) in the market for some of the stuff listed near the top, then it would represent good value. Not as much as last year I feel, but still good value. If you actually, really, truly, honestly need those specific things.

My advice would be, if you really only need one or two (or whatever) of these things, see how much they cost on their own first. And then, check out the alternatives / competition. After all, you still have 4 days and 20 hours to do so as I write this.

And finally, as I have unfortunately learnt to my cost when it comes to buying things on the internet that promise so much, let the buyer be aware of information asymmetry, and all that.

* maybe that should have been snide rant?

** hint: not necessarily listed in order of photographic ability

Review – Phlearn Beginners Guide to Compositing

I wouldn’t normally review something until I’ve finished it. However, I’ve completed two of the three distinct parts (the pen tool tutorial and the first composite tutorial called Floating Books), and as I’m going to be really busy in the upcoming weeks, I’m doing my review now. I know in a month or so this would slip away onto the far distant back-burner.

Scroll to the bottom to see my composite using this tutorial.

What is it? A video tutorial from Phlearn called The Beginners Guide To Compositing. This is only available by download and it is only for Photoshop. I can’t find the info now, but I think it is for CC versions, and maybe CS6. If you have doubts here, you should contact the Phlearn folks. Also, it is only available in English.

What does it contain?

  1. support documentation (one video and two PDFs)
  2. a pen tool video tutorial
  3. an introduction to compositing video tutorial
  4. a 3D lighting video
  5. two compositing video tutorial sets (one for each of two images, the first called Floating Books and the second, Going Home) – it’s important to note too, that the tutorial for each image actually consists of several individual videos
  6. source image files for the two compositing tutorials
  7. a brush to add to Photoshop

How long is it? In total, around 4 hours and 30 minutes of instruction. But, if you are following along properly, doing the same things on your images, pausing and taking notes and the like, and really treating it as a learning experience, it amounts to several days worth of instruction and practise (well, it has for me anyway).

Who is presenting it? Aaron Nace, the chatty and personable president and co-founder of Phlearn who also happens to be a world class / major league / high end / (insert superlative here) user of Photoshop.

What does it cost? Currently on special at US$34.99. However, if you sign up for the Phlearn newsletter (bottom of their home page, and other places) and download the Sample 5 Pack you will revive some discount codes. Apply the best one to get a reduction. Also, signing up for the newsletter will get you a free Pro tutorial.

Who it is for? It is rated as beginner and I feel this is accurate in the sense of beginner compositors, as in, people with little or no compositing experience. However, if you have little or no experience with Photoshop, you will still be fine. You just might have to pause at times and replay things to catch what Aaron is doing.

Value for money? Pretty darn tooting good. I’m not a fan of people / companies wanting hundreds of dollars for video tutorials – no matter how famous in New York they are. I much prefer the high quality, moderately priced, easily accessible products. Zack Arias’ OneLight series comes to mind here. I think the Phlearn products fall into this category too, perhaps even more so, considering their length and how much information is packed in.

How good is it? Pretty darn tooting, once again. I went into this knowing very little about compositing – it’s  not what I do normally and, after all, that’s why I bought this tutorial. I find myself quite surprised by the amount I have picked up so far, having only done the pen tool tutorial and the frame compositing section (the Floating Books image). In quite a short amount of time I have been able to learn everything I originally wanted to (I went into this looking for a quiet specific and limited knowledge set to aid me in a quite specific way with my portraiture work) and also a whole lot more. Considering I still have the final stage to work through, I find this quite startling.

Any other points people need to know? Yes. The pen tool tutorial is very close to being worth the price alone. If, like me, you have always struggled with this tool, then I highly recommend this tutorial. In a very short time I went from a confused user to being quite capable with the pen tool. Also, both image tutorials contain retouching sections, which was an unexpected surprise. I‘ve only seen and followed along with the info relating to the Floating Books image, but it was very useful and I’m impressed by it’s inclusion here. This is a compositing tutorial and the folks at Phlearn didn’t need to add this information, and the fact that they did shows both how complete and how generous their approach is.

Problems? Not really, but at times I suspect most beginners and some intermediate Photoshop users could get a little lost. It’s not really a problem and so far I’ve done just fine when Aaron uses a tool / technique I’m not familiar with, as I’ve been able to pause and replay to figure it out. Perhaps in the future though, a few more moments could be spent making sure each new tool or technique selected is clearly indicated. Again though, not really a problem. Also, I see that a user on the Phlearn site left a review claiming that there is a useless 45 minute section where Aaron supposedly repeats the same information over and over about getting it as right as possible in camera. That’s simply not true, and that review should be disregarded. He did spend a good amount of time talking about the importance of the initial image captures, but this is definitely not wasted time and hopefully it drives home one of the most important things about compositing.

Recommended? Yes

The image below is my version from the Floating Books composite tutorial. I did not take the photos that make up this image and (presumably) all rights remain with Phlearn. I’m using it here purely for editorial purposes.

Floating Books Edit 2 Copy

Manfrotto 1051BAC Mini Air Cushioned Light Stand Review – Over Engineered and Under Developed

[Edit: See Pedro Rendas’ comment below for the solution for the tippy over problem]


At myself, but also at the idiots who review things. Mostly at myself though.

I was going to call this post ‘Don’t Believe The Hype 2: aka Don’t Assume.’ It’s also a fairly comprehensive review, cos that’s what I needed. What I didn’t need was idiots going “Great stand”. Lot’s of photos below too, cos I reckon it helps.

Anyway, I just bought two of these. Online, so that makes returning them a hassle. Also, I’m going overseas soon, and I need two more light stands. So I don’t have much free time and this also makes returning them a hassle.

Earlier in the year I bought a Manfrotto 1052, on account I had read the foot print was quite large, and that’s what I was looking for. Unfortunately, it was’t really what I needed, and I ended up with something too big. I never thought about it’s compacted height, and ended up with something I have to strap on the outside of my bag, rather than put inside.* This also means I can’t pack it for international travel unless I make up another box to put it in – pain! Also, while the large footprint is great outdoors, it’s a little too big indoors.** Still, I figured, I’ll use it. And I do.

So, when I needed two new stands, I decided on the smaller 1051 model. I checked the compacted height this time – great, basically the same as an 8 ft LumoPro air cushioned stand, so will fit in the bag I check in for flights. Also, they have that space saving stackable goodness. Great, right?

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

I didn’t check the actual size of the footprint.* Turns out it’s so tiny it actually looks wrong. These things tip over so fecking easily, it is ridiculous.

Solution – sandbags? Nope. First, you need to constantly move light stands a few centimetres this way or that, to get the perfect fall of light, so sandbags are a pain. Second, my presumably standard sized sandbags don’t work, cos the stands’ legs are too short / steep. In one direction, the stand falls half way over before it catches, not really a solution. In the other direction, is slips out completely and falls all the way over, not a solution at all. See the photos below.

Part of the problem here is that Manfrotto uses really large clamps to secure the extended tubes. These take up a huge amount of space, and mean the legs are forced to be relatively short. You can see this in the photos below.

Stackable goodness? Well yes, the system works really well. It’s clearly a carefully designed well engineered effortless marvel. Great. Except, while the design does mean they fold down space savingly thin, it also means they fold down space consumingly wide. Also, as you can see below, they’re not all that thin anyway.

There’s a whole bunch of photos below, where you can see the problems. The first softbox shown is a relatively small 60x60cm / 24 inch one, and the second is slightly larger at 80x80cm / 32 inches. In other words, neither is very big.

The other stand is an 8ft LumoPro air cushioned stand, which I think is really great. Works a treat, and has a decent footprint. It’s actually more stable in the worst set up position than the Manfrotto in its most stable set up position (weight hanging between legs vs. over leading leg).

In the photos – standing, the LumoPro is always to the right of the 1051, while lying down, it’s to the left. The last photo of them standing also has the 1052 on the right. Also, in the standing & comparing shots, while it’s not obvious, the centre tubes are all over the same line on the floor & thus the footprints can be compared with confidence. Bear in mind too, the 1051 and the LumoPro are essentially the same length when collapsed (the 1051 is 2 cm longer with the ‘Baby 5/8″ top’ fitted or 3mm shorter without), yet the LumoPro has a max. height of advantage of 13 inches / 34cm (8ft / 2.44m vs. 6.9 ft / 2.1m).

It’s “Would I recommend this product to a friend” time: Nope, nope and nope.

Over engineered and under developed.

If you live in the US, or somewhere else where the shipping makes no odds, get the 8 ft LumoPro Air Cushioned stand from Midwest Photo Exchange. It’s better, and around half the price.

_DSF5903  _DSF5904  _DSF5906 _DSF5907 _DSF5911 _DSF5913_DSF5915 _DSF5918 _DSF5919  _DSF5921 _DSF5924

* Grrr at myself

** see my previous post where I talk about the cramped conditions in Japan.

Why I’m Buying Neither A Fujifilm X-T1 Nor A 56mm f1.2: A Mini Review

Recently I had the use of an X-T1 and XF 56mm f1.2R lens for two days. I even shot a portrait session on the first day with it, in conjunction with my X100s. 

You shouldn’t really walk into a portrait session with a paying client and try to use a camera you’ve only had in your hands for 30 minutes or so. But I did. And it was fine.

Now, while I am a primate, I’m not the kind of monkey that spends all day picking nits, so I’m not going to go into those often very personal things that also often don’t really matter. The fundamental point I learnt is, you can pick this camera up and get on with it. End of story. So, now for the middle.

What I liked about the X-T1 – just about everything. I didn’t make use of any feature not also found on my X100s, so I can’t speak to those. It worked just fine for the most part. Kinda like a big brother of the X100s, so nothing much to say there really.

That big viewfinder screen is totally, absolutely, completely, utterly, freaking delicious. So much so that it deserves this paragraph all on its own.

The only thing that gave me pause was that old bug bear, focus. Occasionally it had a little trouble locking on. When it happened, it was mildly frustrating. It didn’t overly bother me, just as it doesn’t on the X100s, but if someone was coming from the blindingly fast responsiveness of a mid to upper end modern dSLR, then I can imagine it might be quite annoying. I do though, suspect that a lot of this hinges on the photographer’s personality.*

I also had some focus issues with the 56mm f1.2 lens, but simply because I was insisting on using it with as narrow a depth of field as possible. At times I was squeezing it down too far for the specifics of the situation. That really comes down to experience and practice – neither of which I had going in. Common sense too, which I also apparently lack.

However, as much as I like the stunning results, not to mention the ability to throw the background further out of focus, I’m not going to buy the lens. That negates the body too. Why though, since they would seem natural choices, given that I spend so much of my time doing portraiture? _DSF0055 1

Space. That’s the main reason. Japan doesn’t have a lot of it to spare and I found myself constantly bumping into things as I backed up to frame. It became both frustrating and annoying. Not really the lens’ fault, just the situation.

This happened in all the places I used for the portrait session; the hotel room, the hotel lobby, on the street and even, surprisingly, in the park. It also happened the next day at my home, where I also do a lot of portrait work. It really caught me out, as I didn’t anticipate this being an issue at all – it never even entered my wildest dreams that it might be.

That’s it really. Not much else to say. Being a rangefinder orientated kind of person, I’m expecting to get all excited and tempted by the X-Pro2, if and when it turns up. That will probably lead me to reconsider the 56mm again too, as it really does give sweet results.
We’ll see…


*It is easy to find comments of the likes of “I need a camera that responds super fast / I can’t deal with a camera this slow / for my work I need a camera that focuses faster than this / etc.” To which, I typically think ‘really?’ along with ‘get over yourself.’ It’s not the speed that bothers me – after all, when I came of photographic age, I had to manually focus and wind film on. It’s more that I expect something is about to happen and it doesn’t. It’s a subtle distinction, and I’m not sure I’m making it effectively. So, following Homer Simpson’s sage advice, I’ll just give up.