Sunday, 30 March 2014

Who would buy a camera that doesn't zoom?

Virtually every single time I pick up my three year old Fuji X100 people comment and ask me:

'Do you like the camera?'
'But it doesn't zoom, does it? 
'Its so small'
'Its so quiet'
Can you still get film for that camera?'

Yes its small, whisper quiet and it doesn't zoom. And it doesn't need film! It ranks as one of the ten best cameras I've ever owned and used in fifty years of photography. Its size, capacity and performance make it the 'Kylie Minogue' of cameras.

The one factor that makes onlookers screw up their noses is the fact that the Fuji X100 does not have a zoom lens. More than that, the lens is fixed to the body. You CANNOT change lenses. You CANNOT zoom. 'Oh, what a disadvantage' you say. In fact, just the opposite. The fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) wide-angle lens is as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel and gives the red dot camera a run for its money. By having a fixed lens rather than a zoom teaches a photographer to think. Yes, think. A practice that is rapidly vanishing from the modern photographer's skill regime.

Fujifilm X100. (Now superseded by the Fujifilm X100S)

The responsibility for framing is clearly thrown back on the photographer. Image size is now controlled by your distance to the subject. You may actually get a little exercise in moving closer to your subject. You may even get to talk to your subject.

1/2200 sec @ f8. 1250 ISO. Near Dresden Germany. 8 Oct 2011. 6.42pm
The one thing the Fuji X100 will never do is intimidate the person you are photographing. In fact, just the opposite. Men and women are intrigued by the styling and are attracted to being photographed by a camera so quiet and unobtrusive.

Last week I upgraded the firmware on my three year old X100 and its now running faster than ever. And its still as quiet as a Rolls Royce.

Check out Dale Neill's photography workshops at UWA Extension by clicking HERE.

Monday, 24 March 2014

How to select a Genuine Photography Competition

There are some well organised, genuine and ethical photography competitions in the world setting the highest artistic and technical standards with handsome prizes.

Unfortunately, there are some competitions that are poorly organised, motivated by self-interests or simply a 'front' for the collection of cheap stock photography.

How to select a genuine photography competition:

  1. The deadline for entries is NEVER extended.
  2. The judge(s) are completely impartial and INDEPENDENT  of the organising body.
  3. The names and contact details of the organisers are published
  4. Entrants retain copyright of the images.
  5. The competition is not for personal profit or gain. 
  6. The actual judging process is tested and statistically/mathematically VALID.
  7. The judging process is tested and statistically/mathematically RELIABLE.
  8. The entry system is relatively simple
  9. Winners entries are checked for authenticity
  10. Prizes are awarded within four weeks
Here's a simple check you can do. Next time you spot a competition you are interested in write an email and ask you retain copyright of your image. If you get a reply, check the name at the foot of the email. If it says 'Team', 'Organiser', 'Strawberry Milkshake' or 'Head-Ache' ......... be cautious.

Check out my 2017 Photography Workshops here.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Five Worst Digital Cameras to Own

  1. The camera with a  flat battery
  2. The camera with a full memory card
  3. The camera with no memory card
  4. The camera with dust on the sensor
  5. The camera with a screen you can't see in the sun
You could always switch to FILM photography

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sunday Morning Sidewalk Photography

101 Tips for Better Digital Photography
50 HOT Ideas for Better Photographs
25 NEWS ideas for improved photographs
How to get perfect portraits

Standing where no other photographer has stood - farmer's shed Geraldton


1.     Get help from the government – use Western Power to charge your batteries
2.     Use a clean memory card (and save and back-up all the old pics)
3.     Buy a prime lens – start with 50mm f1.4
4.     Set a single focus point – focus between the colour and white of eyes
5.     Quality settings – use largest size, highest quality or RAW
6.     Shoot between first light and sunrise (get out of bed first)
7.     Shoot between sunset and last light
8.     Use a tripod and remote release (especially if you shake)
9.     Stand where no other photographer has ever stood
10.  Learn how to use Aperture priority
11.  Make friends, learn their names and get their stories
12.  Be unafraid
13.  Use a ‘Kylie’ camera – small, cute, dynamic - like X100S

* Especially prepared for the Town of Mosman Photo Workshop 9-3-14.

Pic: My cousin Russel Lewis from Chapman Valley, Geraldton. Farmer, accountant and award winning grower of olive oil, Russ still enjoys his shed and a beer.

Copyright © Dale Neill 2014.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Hot light - just $25

'You have to own really expensive lights, don't you?'

Really common question.

'And they're complex and difficult to use, aren't they?'

The double-headed light in this post comes from Bunnings Hardware and costs about $25. That even included the tripod! (But there's no steak knives) It pumps out about 500watts which is more than enough. I can't remember but its probably made in China in the same factory that built my electric toothbrush. This hot baby is for the home handyman and stored in the shed.

This light is HOT. And I mean HOT. It pumps out as much or more heat as it does light. You could fry a couple of eggs on the casing. There's enough room on the second head for the bacon.

If you're a bit of a  photography purist, its probably best not to read any further.

'A light is  a light is a light'

It matters not if its the sun, moon, candle, studio flash, Speedlight, wood fire, LCD.  Relax, they are all just light sources.  Any photographer worth their salt recognises the qualities and adapts technique to use the source.

Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.George Eastman (founder of Kodak)

Note: These shots taken during my Fine Art Photography course. Model: Phynia Bellydancer.