Downtown Photowalk with the Mitakon 35mm f/0.95

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a very inexpensive second-hand copy of the 7 Artisans 25mm f1.8. It’s a pretty interesting little lens with a ton of character and personality. I will probably do a review of it soon. I am not super in love with it, but shooting with it kind of opened my eyes to the possibility of shooting with manual lenses. After trying the 7 Artisans I started looking around and found a great deal on a used Mitakon 35mm f/0.95. What a lens! This isn’t a review, I may do one soon, but more just some thoughts on why I love shooting with it and manual lenses in general:

  • I shoot less. I am not exactly positive why this is, but I think because of the fact that it takes extra work to get the image in focus before clicking the shutter, I tend to only hit that shutter button once or twice. I work hard to get the shot, I grab it, and then move on to the next one. I like that. It feels more like film.

  • I am more proud of the pictures I get. I am not sure if the pictures are actually better, or if it is just because they are harder to get giving me a better sense of accomplishment, but I feel like I have more keepers. I am more proud of the images on my card, even though there is less of them.

  • The process is more fun and engaging. For me at least, the added step of having to focus the lens makes the entire process of making images more fun and engaging. It definitely takes more mental effort and can be a bit tiring after a while, but it is much more challenging and rewarding to me. Since I switched to the Mitakon on my X-Pro2 I have somewhat converted my X-E2 into basically a point-n-shoot. I set everything to auto and it serves as a nice break sometimes to give me a reset. I also have a copy of the 27mm pancake on the way just to live on my X-E2 for this purpose.

  • The Image Quality is Unique and Fantastic. Let’s face it, for the $500 or so that you can pick up this lens for, you are getting a look that no other lens can provide. The Fuji 35mm f/1.4 is amazing and will always live in my kit, but f/0.95 is something else entirely. I am seriously tempted to see how long I can keep this lens on my X-Pro2 without switching it out. I really don’t need anything else.

Following is a few photos from a photowalk with my new lens a few days ago. These are some of my favorite street photos I have every taken and definitely the direction I would like to go with this kind of photography.

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X-Pro2 | Mitakon 35mm f0.95 | Mastin Labs Tri-X400

Testing the Fuji 16mm f2.8 in Downtown Denver

First off, this is not a review. I may do a full review eventually, but this is just a test and some observations. The other day I finally got the chance to take the new Fuji 16mm f2.8 WR out for a spin, and I will say right off the bat, I really like this lens. It took me a minute to get used to the wider field of view, but not as long as I thought. At least in a scenery like wondering around a city, it is perfect for capturing the whole experience. There is some distortion as to be expected, and it isn’t the sharpest lens at f2.8, but it is small, light, and a ton of fun.

I think the 16mm combined with the 35mm f2 would make a killer everyday and travel setup. I definitely plan on selling my 23mm f2 as I never really loved it and the 16mm replaces it for me. I am going to hold on to the 50mm f2 for now because it makes a KILLER portrait lens and I am not quite ready to let that go yet.

Anyways, its a fun lens, I am sure I will post more pictures from it soon…also I need to wander around downtown a little more than I currently do.

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A Week of Black and White

Last week my brother and I decided to challenge ourselves and shoot only black and white for an entire week. It was a very interesting challenge for me. Going into it I knew it would be difficult, but I didn't anticipate how much I would fall in love with it. About halfway through the week things just "clicked" and I really started to love it. 

All photography is an abstraction of reality, but monochrome gives images an added layer of abstraction that allows express feelings in a way that the more literal color photography does not. I still really love color, but I have fallen in love with what black and white allows me to do. 

After this week I have decided to mostly dedicate my X100f to black and white. It is my little rangefinder "loaded with Tri-X" that I can grab and shoot at any moment. I think you will see a lot more black and white in my portfolio moving forward.