Fuji X100S

Picture of Timm Sonnenschein

Timm Sonnenschein shot with the X100S


After reading all the reviews and talking to others who raved abut the little Fuji X100S  I finally took the plunge and got one. The price dipped from very expensive to a rather more reasonable “pricey but why not.”

And it is a revelation – the first digital camera to make me feel like its a real camera. Sure it is retro but in a good way with beautifully engineered and simple main analogue controls that allow some major settings to be done without diving into menus. The way you can set full auto – both aperture and speed dials to A or to choose aperture or speed priority by just setting the appropriate dial is brilliant and much better than Nikon or Canon can manage. The viewfinder is very clever with optical and electronic options. Optical is fine but I haven’t got to grips with the way the camera reframes to allow for parallax so I’m mainly using the very good EVF which is effectively “through the lens.”

Quality is excellent with a sharp little fixed 35mm equivalent lens and 16 megapixels in a cleverly designed sensor that is the same size as a Nikon DX (half frame) camera. I’ve really come to love the 35mm lens view from using the iPhone and also a prime 35mm lens on the Nikon D600.

But enough technical fluff, the real test is what is it like to shoot with? Absolutely brilliant is the answer. The closest experience to the way working with the old Nikon FMs in fact. It’s still early daysbut I like the feel of the images it produces and  given it handles low light very well it is ok to set auto ISO within reason and just fire away.

I’ll post more images when I’ve had a chance to really push it but the moment here’s a couple of portraits.

Picture of Ming De Nasty

Ming De Nasty shot with the X100S






Trevor Appleson at St Paul's Square

Trevor Appleson at St Paul’s Square





Posted in Uncategorized

iPhone 5

Blurred photograph of Apple iMac

Every time a new Apple product comes out those of us who are Apple users usually get that frisson “do I want one or do I need one?” It’s the same with the iPhone 5 that has just been announced.

There is usually something about new Apple kit that makes you want it but you don’t always need it straight away. And that’s the way I feel about the iPhone 5. I upgraded to an iPhone 4s as soon as it came out because it offered significant benefits and because I was at the end of a contract.

The 4s had a better camera and a better screen handy for taking and showing images. It was also faster. So I got one and it was a good decision. Recently I’ve had great success using it to take street photographs so will I be getting an iPhone 5?

I will in time but I’m not going to rush. It is faster again and a bit thinner and lighter and also taller to get a bigger screen for 16 to 9 movies. There is no real change with the main camera. Overall it’s a better device but I don’t watch movies on my ‘phone so the larger screen is pretty irrelevant (an extra 4 apps to view is neither here not there), and faster is good but for most things the 4s is already fast enough.

Then you have to factor in the extra cost which is not just about the handset which is already expensive. The connector is new so adapters will be needed plus I bought a £110 adapter to allow charging and aerial connection in the car not that long ago.

For owners of earlier models the balance will be different but for me I won’t be rushing to order or queuing up. I’ll happily carry on with the 4s at least until upgrade time.

Anyways that’s what I’m telling myself for the moment…

Brian Homer 14.9.2012

Posted in iPhone

Street Photography

In June I went to New York for only the second time – the first was 37 years ago. It was a great place then but this time I had chance to appreciate it at greater length.

New York, like Birmingham, is being continuously renewed with new people moving in from all around the States and the rest of the world. And, while you had to explain to Americans where Birmingham UK was 37 years ago, now many more know about our city.

It was the restless feel that got me taking pictures. I had a Nikon with me but I wanted to capture some street photographs in the style of the great shooters like Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander and Gary Winogrand.

And it turned out I had the perfect camera in my pocket – the iPhone 4S. Trust me this is now a very usable photographic tool – particularly in the good light you get in New York. And New York is quintessentially the place to do street photography.

As well as everybody being on the move they are also mostly in their own space and of course these days most are on their ‘phones talking to their invisible friends. So having a ‘phone in your hand is pretty inconspicuous. And now the iPhone camera can be triggered by the volume plus button it’s pretty easy to hold it in one hand using your thumb to fire it down at waist level. You have to get a feel for holding it level but with street shots it really doesn’t matter if they are not level and the randomness of what is in or out of the frame adds to the effect. Even the odd intrusion of your finger into the shot seems OK.

I use CameraBag a lot – as an iPhone or iPad app or the desktop version. And rather than the one size fits all effect from Hipstamatic I find that I can see photographs that will fit and work well with the processing effects from the app. Far from being a cheat shooting on the iPhone and processing in the app feels similar to shooting film, imagining the image and then processing and printing in the darkroom. The filter I use most is Lolo as it enhances colours and turns pictures into almost abstract art. There are some examples of using this effect at: www.brianhomer.com/galleries/iphone-squares/

But for the street shots it immediately felt right to convert to black and white. At first I used the 1962 filter which apes old black and white contrasty images. On the ‘phone these looked fine but on closer examination back in the UK they looked far to contrasty and I disliked the crop the filter had used.

So I re-edited and re-processed the original images using CameraBag 2 on the Mac. It produces exactly the same results but means you are not cluttering up the ‘phone with multiple versions. This time I used the straight Mono filter with no cropping. I could have used Photoshop but I like the effect and it seems to suit the images well. Examples here: http://www.brianhomer.com/galleries/new-york-intersections/

As well as grabbed from the hip street shots, some are more conventionally shot using the screen but I think they hang together as a set.

Back here in Birmingham I’ve started taking street pictures again with the iPhone. There’s a sample from the Jewellery Quarter below. Since I took it I have discovered another cool iPhone feature – you can trigger the shutter using the volume control on the headphones and I’m eager to try that out.


This is an updated version of a blog at Homer Creative view

More Birmingham shots here

Posted in iPhone