Paintings from Sunset Series by Spence Munsinger, Color Field + Blank White Canvas + Realism + Contemporary Abstract Art, original paintings for sale

"You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea..."
― Pablo Picasso

A CD Project – Ruby Rose Fox

rubyrosefox

I saw Ruby Rose Fox at the Cabot in Beverly, Massachusetts several weeks ago – and despite the sound system not doing her and the band any favors, the show was amazing, Ruby Rose Fox has stage presence. She is part of the song she is singing and she rocks. Brilliant band making it possible. Ruby Rose apologized as she was under the weather and struggling to make it through the songs – even so, she just captured the song and lost the pain, there was no sign of it in her voice. She and her band work very hard, and they are worth hearing if you can make it to a show.

I found one semi-CD of music on Amazon in Prime Music – and four more songs to purchase. Not a CD in sight – I really prefer CD rather than 256K files, and Amazon still doesn’t offer a lossless format – just mp3. I searched further, found her website at RubyRoseFox.com, and on the first page a link Click to Pledge”. She is making a full length CD! I hope she meets her goal on this.

—spence

USPS accidentally delivers cameras…

…sort of. They did manage to deliver the package correctly to the Fuji Repair Center, but they didn’t inform themselves of that, and when I inquired it took them three days to discover the package was delivered correctly and on time.

Fuji Repair did receive the cameras but misfiled two out of three under a misspelled name – thus they couldn’t officially find the cameras until that was sorted out. Once they did, the two Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras were (hopefully) repaired. They were “IN PROCESS” for four days and then shipped yesterday for arrival Friday.

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The X-T1 is still “IN PROCESS”.

USPS loses track of cameras…

…and Fujifilm Repair Center already has the package and has the cameras started in the system for evaluation and repair.

All day yesterday the tracking (2 Day Priority) for USPS showed “Out for Delivery”. But it never turned over to “Delivered.” It just sat there. Then late last night it was updated with “Delivery Status not Updated…”

I’m trying to work through this camera crap before photographing in Yosemite this fall. If Fuji can resolve the sensor dust issues on the X-Pro 1 cameras and properly test and fix the Fuji X-T1 flagship camera, that would be excellent. Having the post office lose the package for a week or so would be unhelpful.

I talked with the USPS customer service first, and it looked to them like the package was routed to the wrong sorting post office and just not able to be delivered, and had to be returned to the proper sorting center, then sent on and eventually, delivered. No idea how long that could take…

The guy at the Fuji Customer Center could pull up one of the cameras as registered into the repair system as of today, probably the others would be sorted out tomorrow. So… actually delivered and not delayed.

I’ve mostly had good luck with the Post Office – but this seriously makes me want to NOT send items through the USPS. The lack of information in a digital age, with the micro-tracking and transparency available, is just not workable.

Amazon by default sets a hugely high standard of expected behavior.  It’s hard to accept less than that.

I’m hoping to work through making 110 megapixel 8 -piece digital captures of paintings this weekend.  If those come out as well as the test shots did, I’m trying to imagine what I would do without my Canon 5D MkIII – I was keeping it for digital painting captures.   If the 8 section captures stitch together seamlessly (they do in testing so far), then maybe a test print…  The captures are not trivial – manual focus, manual exposure, polarized light, custom consistent white balance, and the handling in Lightroom and then photoshop needs to be very consistent – but the results are better than medium format film captures.  At least they look to be so far.

I’ve been reading about the possible Fuji X-Pro 2 (in fact the Fuji Service guy said about half the calls he gets that aren’t about specific repairs are asking about that camera).  Maybe get rid of the Canon and pick up an X-Pro 2 in the middle of next year?

I’ve also been reading about the X-Pro 1 and how it has aged in the three to four years since its introduction.   I’ve owned this camera once before, and at $1700 I found it unacceptable.  But…  But I almost kept it despite those many annoying limitations (all of which have been a bit reduced by firmware upgrades since, though not eliminated).   It had a quality in handling light that, with the 35mm f1.4 lens, just worked and works for me.  If I were to create photographs with one set of tools, that would be it.

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Even if much of the (digital) photographic world a three-year-old camera is a primitive artifact…

—spence

X-T1 comes back, and U-Turns right back to Factory Service… (And a couple of X-Pro 1’s go in as well)

I went down to the Fed Ex Shipping Station today to pick up my Fuji X-T1 camera, back from repair. The package was shipped “requires signature”, and the fastest way to get it once I missed signing for it was to go get it.

I got it back home and opened it up and tested the sensor – very good. Really, really clear. They replaced the glass in front or the sensor, major work. Outstanding.

I took it out to shoot at sunset. Someone had messed with the menus on the camera, probably while repairing it. I wasn’t getting the information panel on the back LCD of the camera, and then the Electronic View Finder (EVF) should be lighting up when I brought the camera up to my eye. I could get the LCD to work, or the EVF – but the eye sensor that should switch automatically was not turned on or something, probably a setting. I set it on EVF only and shot a few pictures. Once I got back, I worked through getting the eye sensor to work – and nothing. It’s completely broken. So… The camera goes back to Fuji. Tomorrow. That’s four weeks of repair time. I purchased it in March 2015. Five months old and 20% of that time in repair service.

I found a kit deal on Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras. The kit has the Fuji X-Pro 1 camera, and two lenses. I have both of the lenses already. I realized, though, that if I bought a couple of these kits and then sold the lenses I could acquire two Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras for about $310 each. Maybe $350 with eBay fees… Of course, I’d have to check the sensors and then figure out what to do about the cameras if they weren’t acceptable. But this is a camera that two years ago I bought for $1700 and then returned and even at that price I regretted it. It is an exceptional camera, I think actually the best I’ve ever used.

I did order the kits, I did check the sensors. Neither X-Pro 1 was in acceptable condition when they arrived. Both cameras had dirt specks that could not be removed on the sensor (yes, despite using different lenses to test, the spots remained). I decided to have them fixed under warranty – after all, the X-T1 sensor came back clean from a similar issue. And out of 6 Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras I’ve looked at, only one had a clean sensor. The Fuji X-Pro 1 has the same eye sensor as the X-T1… But you’d hope that knowing they disabled one sensor would put the service techs on alert and the next few repairs would have the eye sensor verified before it was sent back, right?

It’s worth it. I don’t know if I’ll keep the X-T1, I haven’t yet had the chance to use it enough. But I know that I want to work with the Fuji X-Pro 1. That camera plus the Fuji 35mm lens hit a sweet spot for me, a place where the camera does exactly the right things to stay out of the way and the lens just makes it magical.

Fuji X-Pro 1 and 35mm f1.4 lens:

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Tomorrow AM three cameras at once go to service.

—spence

4x’s the charm…

I ordered and returned four Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras. Actually, the last one I almost returned. I realized the sensor dirt I was seeing was changing with each cleaning iteration, moving location, adding new dust and subtracting old.

I persisted and the sensor came to clean.

Two of the Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras were truly unusable. The dust was hard black immovable spots, right across where the sky would be. Completely unacceptable in a new camera even if they were removable. They were not removable, at least not without a chisel.

One of the cameras, the first I received, was so close. There were three slightly fuzzy spots in the sky area, and I kept trying to squint and miss them. I took photographs of the test image from f22 to f7. I shot photos of the sky at various apertures. And… And the spots were truly visible in the photos, and too difficult to cleanly edit out. In some ways, the fuzzy spots were worse. I finally made the decision to send it back.

This last camera came in yesterday. I was rushed in the evening to test the sensor and make a decision. I was burnt out on looking at sensors in disappointment. On seeing dust yet again even after cleaning, I decided it wasn’t worth keeping this camera or buying any X-Pro 1 cameras to try and find a clean one and I determined to return it. I decided to wait until after the first camera went back on its way. This morning I tried cleaning the sensor and peering at the result, pixel by pixel again, a last try to see what could be done. The sensor was cleaner, but still a spot here and there. After 12 swabs or so it was truly clean and usable at any aperture. What’s frustrating about sensor specks is you can create them as you clean, fibers appear,

I will always, always check my new digital cameras on arrival for uncleanable dust. Dust is easy to clean off from changing lenses. Manufacturing dust or dust generated by internal mechanics (yes, cough, Nikon…) is much harder to remove. My Fuji X-T1 is only the second camera I’ve ever had to send for service (the other one was a film camera for clean|lube|adjust). If I had checked it immediately, it would have gone back.

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The Fuji X-T1 arrived at the service center last Wednesday. It is already on its way back. It too will get an immediate check – but I don’t hold high hope that it will be done right the first time – I just don’t think camera manufacturers get that this is an unacceptable product. Not yet.

—spence

embracing imperfection (within reason)

I sent my Fuji X-T1 off to be repaired (hopefully). Most of the reviews for Fuji service are laudatory. I’m looking for the same experience.

The Fuji X-E2. I tested it more extensively and I really don’t think it will ever affect the quality of an image. I’m keeping the dust photos as a map of where an issue would appear, but there are several things that indicate it won’t ever be a problem.

    Those are:

  • The spots are indistinct and are in the lower section of the sensor.
  • Even at f22, they are very hard to find. Once I drop to f11, they aren’t going to be visible except in this kind of testing.
  • I have the map of where these spots are – and can use that data to determine how to shoot something
  • Most of the images I’ve shot with Fuji cameras are f2.8, f4, f5.6 and occasionally f8. Very rarely do I go above that in Aperture Priority.
  • Aperture Priority is the most useful mode for Fuji cameras.

To check sensor dust, I create a blue field in Photoshop, big enough to fill my monitor screen. I set the camera on manual focus, focus on infinity. Aperture at smallest the lens has (f16 or f22, usually). Shutter I leave on automatic. I set the back screen to live mode and shoot through that rather than the viewfinder. I have been taking photographs at f22, f16 and f11 to discover how much of a real issue a particular dust mote might be. Load into Lightroom and blow up to 100% pixels and sweep across to check.

You can open Develop in Lightroom, click on the Spot Remover, select the Heal tab and then hit “A” on the keyboard. This brings any spots up as white on a dark background.

I think I’m going to check each camera I receive as a matter of course and then once I keep a camera, keep the sensor dust data for future reference.

Fuji makes an amazing camera, despite this. Sensor dust is one of the prices for instant digital capture and interchangeable lenses, you just have to learn to clean it and discriminate from acceptable imperfection and manufacturing flaw. There is Wabi Sabi – the idea that in flaw is an eternal beauty. I read that Japanese temples are constructed with one aesthetic intentional flaw. I think that makes perfect sense.

Some of the things that happen – like taking a picture with an iPhone 6 because it’s the only camera in hand – result in extraordinary, if flawed results…

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—spence