The Fuji X-E1 – Some thoughts and impressions

Last year, not long after it came out, I bought a Fuji X100 because I was intrigued by the promise of a small, rangefinder-like camera with a fixed 35mm lens. I liked the idea of being forced to shoot with a specific field of view; I loved the look and feel of the camera; and it’s hard to beat Fuji’s lens and image quality. What was easy to beat, at the time, was the X100’s autofocus and clumsy menu system. These issues were so frustrating that I sold the camera not long after I bought it. I came to mildly regret this decision as Fuji released firmware updates that addressed many of the issues that had bothered me, but didn’t think seriously about returning to the camera. But with the release of the Fuji X-E1, I couldn’t resist giving Fuji another chance. Here are some of my impressions and thoughts about Fuji’s latest mirrorless camera.

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New Course: Foundations of Photography – Specialty Lenses

Mostly, good photography is about the skill of the photographer. That said, a lot of photographs are only possible with the right type of lens, and there are a lot of lenses out there tailored to very specific types of shooting. In this new course, I go into detail on how to shoot with ultra-wide-angle lenses, super telephotos, fisheyes, Tilt/Shift, and more. If you’ve been wondering if any of these types of lenses are right for you, or you’ve already got one and want to know more about what it can do, then you’ll want to check out my course Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses.

Foundations of Photography: Lenses

Many of the creative options available to a photographer hinge on an in-depth understanding of lenses. Foundations of Photography: Lenses, will give you that in-depth understanding, as you learn how to choose lenses and take full advantage of their creative options. This 2.5 hour course covers fundamental concepts that apply to any camera, such as focal length and camera position, and shows how to evaluate and shop for DSLR lenses. The second half of the course focuses on shooting techniques: controlling autofocus, working with different focal lengths, and managing distortion and flare. You’ll also learn about filters, cleaning, maintenance, and more. You can find it all right here on the web site.

Capture NX and the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye Lens

Nikon Capture NX provides an excellent auto correction edit for removing distortion from images shot with the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens. Though I mention this feature in Real World Capture NX, I didn’t have enough room in the book to include examples, so we’re going to look at the specifics of this feature here. With the Fisheye Lens edit, you can create cropped, rectilinear images with a single click.

Capture NX automatically recognizes images shot with the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye. It does this, of course, by reading the lens information stored in the image’s EXIF data. When it sees that an image was shot with the 10.5mm fisheye, it adds an extra option to the Base Adjustments entry in the Edit List. If you look under Base Adjustments > Lens Adjustments, you’ll see an entry for Fisheye Lens. Normally, this option is grayed out. Open the Fisheye Lens edit and you’ll see the following.

Fisheye Lens

If you click OK, the adjustment will be activated and applied to your image.

Capture NX Fisheye Lens Correction

The most immediately noticeable difference in these two images is the change in the shape of the dog’s face. But take note of the buildings in the background, and the edge of the wall. Both have been straightened quite efffectively.

By default, Capture NX crops your images to a rectangle. If you’d prefer to maintain the entire image, complete with its correction, check the “Include areas where there is no image data” checkbox. You’ll see something like this:

Uncropped fisheye lens correction

The Fill Color pop-up menu lets you specify what color to use for the empty image space.

I love the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye. I think it’s an extremely fun lens to use that yields excellent quality. One of the nicest things about it is that it’s not a terribly extreme fisheye. If you choose, you can actually shoot straight, level horizons with it by carefully levelling your camera. What’s more, with the addition of Capture NX, you can opt to use the lens as a normal, extremely wide angle rectilinear lens.

If you already own this lens and haven’t looked at Capture NX, you’ll want to give the free demo a try. If you haven’t shot with this lens, consider renting one and giving it a try.