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

"What I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house."
― Edward Hopper

…And Both X-Pro 1 Cameras are Back – Untouched, Sunshined

Mechanics or at least Service Managers have a name for it – the sunshine treatment. Take the car and sit it out on the lot in the sun and then tell the customer it’s all set…

I picked up two Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras from Fed Ex today – both of them Fuji X-Pro 1 cameras, both brand new out of the box and both with significant sensor spots – dust or specs behind the sensor glass. I had sent the cameras to Fujifilm Camera Repair in Edison, NJ, with the required invoice/proof-of-purchase, warranty card, Fujifilm Service form filled out to indicate what the problem was, and images with frickin’ circles around the frickin’ spots that appear on the sensor, and actual images of my studio showing how the spots show up in actual photographs as well.

None of that made any difference.

Neither camera was fixed.

Both had white printouts indicating the customer said dust on sensor, with no service indicator at all – my Fuji X-T1 which went in for exactly the same issue, came back with a yellow service ticket carbon showing what was done. Basically someone just shoved them back in the box and sent them back and counted it as work done.

Steve – every time I call Edison NJ, Steve answers, apparently there are only two, but it just seems like more – Steve, who is becoming my fellow sufferer in all this, says any notes would be on the service ticket, and that someone took the problem ticket and worked on it.

Not that I can see. Looking at images from the sensors before sending them and then once they are returned – there’s no difference. Even the smudges which would have been changed if the sensor had been cleaned even lightly, are still there. Both cameras. No change.

(Cough…)

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I believe Steve will find the return shipment when it comes in, I do, and I believe a supervisor will ensure it is made right. I believe that because sending these cameras back again pretty much guarantees I’ll be outside the 30-day return window for just sending them back to the merchant by the time they come back to me. So, I believe that can happen.

What’s bullshit is that no one actually cared enough to look at the cameras. At all. Because the flaws are obvious, resolvable and they were not even touched.

—spence

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