Monday, December 06, 2010

Help – Portrait Update; Fuji HS10 Hands On; Eye-Fi Card Woes; and Photo To Painting Webcast Tomorrow

Good Morning Everybody,

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We're having a great time in San Jose del Cabo soaking up the blue skies, ocean surf, and great weather. How can you not enjoy it? Down here it's in the mid eighties with a slight breeze blowing while back home in Cincy the temperature is hanging out in the low 20's - brrrrr! I hope it warms a bit before we return on Saturday.

Location 1And speaking of this weekend, one of the high points for all of us down here in Cabo was our participation in the Help - Portrait project this past Saturday. Help Portrait is a movement that asks photographers to reach out to those individuals and families that would never have an opportunity to have a portrait made. That usually means those folks living in poverty in the US and around the world.

Help PortraitI did some research on the Help - Portrait Project over the weekend, watched several of the Help - Portrait videos [link], and was amazed at what this program achieves. Instead of going into it today, I'm going to make it the topic of tomorrow's “Technique Tuesday". We photographed 7 families and many breakout combinations in the most humbling of conditions and captured some great images. I can't wait to show you.

Hey gang, this is my first day back on our regular DPT posting schedule so let's get right to it. Here we go....

Fuji HS 10 Camera - Not Ready For Prime Time

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I recently picked up The new Fuji HS 10. After seeing it in a Shutterbug ad I was really intrigued by it's phenomenally long 30x zoom range. Wow, I thought. It was getting great reviews on Amazon and B&H so I thought, "Well, why not," and ordered it. This should be cool - a 750mm optic for only $359. I ordered it from B&H and couldn't wait to give it a try this week in Cabo.

Fuji HS10aHere is how Fuji's press release opened:

"February 2, 2010: Serious photographers wanting the versatility and performance of an SLR system without the bulk or expense now have the perfect solution in the shape of the new Fujifilm FinePix HS10. The latest addition to Fujifilms award-winning range of big zoom bridge cameras offers an unprecedented feature set that combines a powerful 24-720mm (30x) zoom lens with sophisticated photographic controls, advanced functionality and SLR-like handling in a single compact, affordable unit."

Well, I been giving it a try for about a week. There are a few things I love about this camera, but alas, far more things that make the camera fall WAY short for me. This is not meant to be a camera review, but a listing of my quick insights about how the camera worked for me. Here goes:

First What I Love About The Fuji HS 10:

Fuji shot1- I love the 750mm focal length at full zoom. It is truly a kick to easily have that crazy long focal length.

2- I like the video too - it's just fun knowing that it's there to use.

3- I like the image quality I was getting in my images. The lens is definitely sharp, even at maximum zoom. Like I said, that was my main draw to the camera.

4- I like the short end of the range too. Its wide enough for some interesting wide angle shots. The 35mm equivalent zoom range of the Fuji is 24-720mm - like I said, really enticing.

5- Uhhhhh..... That's about all I can come up with.

So what didn't I like about the camera?

1- From the time I turn on the camera, it takes about 2 seconds to boot up to be ready to take a photo. Yes, two full seconds. Wait there's more.

2- I prefer to use the viewfinder to frame up my photographs and the Fuji has one built in. But, putting the camera to your eye activates sensors that tell the camera you want "viewfinder mode" at which point it takes another 2 full seconds to switch modes and turn on the viewfinder for viewing. The humming bird I wanted to zoom in on was long gone by then.

Waiting WaitingIn fact the time delay in activating the camera and shooting was torturously slow. I thought it was just me so I continued to "live" with the camera for a few more days. I felt the frustration of missing too many shots because of lengthy shot delay eventually raised to the next level where I was using a "bowling word" or two every time I missed the shot. Trying to time a shot was nearly impossible.

Remember Fuji's press release, "...advanced functionality and SLR-like handling in a single compact, affordable unit." - NOT!!!! That's exactly what the camera DOES NOT DO. It exhibits very little SLR-Like handling. After a few tries herself, LaDawn finally refused to pick up the camera anymore due to the frustration at just trying to capture an image.

3- I never founds the controls very intuitive either. I've been through the manual a few times and I'm still looking for some of the touted features of the camera.

Lots of Batteries4- Battery life is laughably short! The camera runs on 4 AA batteries. I was through the first set in just a few days of light shooting with minimal viewing of the images after I shot them.

I reloaded the camera with a set of Eneloop re-chargeable AA batteries. They lasted me about a day - quite a surprise since I had taken barely any photos at all. I just purchased 4 more batteries - let's see how long they last. I'm not encouraged. Total images shot – about 300 and some short videos.

Let’s see, we shoot about 2,000 images on a trip.  That means using the Fuji only, I’d go through about 28 batteries or 7 packs of 4 at $6.00 each – a total of $42 – YIKES!!!

Buttons5- The deal breaker for me - the labeling on two of the buttons on the right side of the camera is completely wiped away!!! Yes, wiped away? What's that about. I was trying to determine how it could have happened.

Then I realized what caused it. Since I prefer using the viewfinder to the LCD screen to frame up my shots, the camera, when pressed to my eye means that my nose rubs against the buttons on the right side the camera. Yes, you guessed it, the "super powerful" chemical composition of my "nose grease" dissolved the letters away.

I know it sounds gross, but that's exactly what happened after only using the camera 7 days. What kind of product quality is that. I’m sure Fuji thinks that most amateurs use the LCD screen for shooting. But who cares, using cheap paint on the buttons that is EASILY rubbed of is inexcusable for a $400 camera.

Fuji Buttons goneAnyway, that's the bottom line - it's camera I would love to love, but with 7 days "behind the wheel" of the Fuji HS10, and with the buttons easily wiped clean of their labeling, the verdict is a definite "thumbs down" for me.

Oh, BTW, I'm also giving my new Canon G12 a workout too. The super quick first impression - I'm loving it!!! More later.

Life With My New Eye-FI Pro Card

Eye-Fi ProLike I said, this is a week of "geeking" around with some of the new toys I've picked up over the last few weeks. Being away from the studio gives me time to roll up my shirt sleeves and really spend time on these kind of projects.

I've been really excited to give the new Eye-FI Pro card a try. The directions that come with the card are so simple, it's silly. "1. Put card in computer, 2. Click here." Well, that's exactly what I did. The program loaded quickly, found it needed to be updated and that procedure went without a hitch.

Then the Eye-FI software determined that the card needed a firmware upgrade. I thought let's go for it. The firmware seemed to download without a hitch and verified that all was ready to go. I fired up the Eye-Fi viewer, clicked on the icon to update the firmware, and was presented the INSTALL button to press.

Eye Fi Not WorkingOnly one problem, the INSTALL button was grayed out and would not press. That was two days ago.

I've tried to install the firmware several more times yesterday but still to no avail, the INSTALL button is still grayed out. I can pull out the Eye-Fi card and then place it back in the card reader, and for a second the INSTALL button is active. I have quickly pressed it a few times now, but that hasn't worked either.

I thought maybe I didn't need the new firmware update to enjoy the functionality of my newly acquired Eye-Fi card, so I loaded it into the Canon G12, set up a "Hot Folder" in Lightroom 3 just as the instructions indicated, and shot away. I'm still waiting for the images to transmit to the computer, and waiting, and waiting..... Looks like we'll spend some more time on the Eye-Fi Pro card dilemma over these next few days.

Did I say I was really loving my new Canon G12 camera - at least something is working as expected.

Blogging Voices From The Past

Jim Talkington PicThat right folks, two really good bloggers are back on line after their sabbaticals of several months. Jim Talkington, fellow Cincinnati blogger, and the force behind the then very popular blog, is back. Jim and I have got together a few times over the last several months and have always enjoyed our visits. Its good to have him back.

Give his latest post a read right here. It's entitled the evolution of a pro photographer and I think you may find it a very interesting read.

Also back on the radar is blogging buddy, Syl Arena, of and Syl has taken a long 7 month sabbatical in order to finish his tome on shoe mount flashes. I can't believe it's finished and on the way to the printers.

Here are the quick stats on the book:

Slys Book> 376 pages of content, plus the front and back papers for a total of 408 pages

> 812 individual photos

> 26 chapters

> 39 shoots detailed as two-page spreads

> 104 diagrams, charts, and tables

I always love checking in with Syl to see he was up too. His posts were always insightful and entertaining - welcome back Syl!!! Can't wait to get the book.

Transforming A Photograph Into An Oil Painting

I recently got a note from Melissa Gallo, a former student from my Digital Master Class. Melissa is not only a great photographer but a wonderful photographic artist as well. Just check out some of her beautiful images right here.

Gallo Painting

Here is the good news, if you like what you see, you can check out Melissa's upcoming webcast right here. It happens tomorrow, December 7, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. EST at Marathon Press and you still have plenty of time to register right here.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. The waves, sea breezes, and sun is calling and I don't want to be late ;~). How about I see everyone tomorrow with a brand new Technique Tuesday: Shooting Beautiful Portraits In The Most Humbling Of Locations.

I sure hope you will join me.

See ya' then, David


  1. You should not have posted about your "nose grease." Now TSA will start screening for the stuff and prohibit it from going on board!

  2. Quick issue.

    The link to prophotolife is wrong, you put prophotPlife.

    Anyway another great post for another great photo day.