Someone asked me the other day if a lens really made a difference. It does and it doesn’t. Let me explain.
Photography is the art of capturing light to create images, either on film or digitally. Now, the most important part of any camera rig is the person using it. That’s why a lens can make zero difference. It is all about who is using said lens.
That being said, when taking photographs we are capturing light. How do we get the light from the world around us to the camera’s sensor or film? Why the lens of course. The more expensive the lens, generally, the better it is. The better it is at auto-focusing, it’s sharper, works better in low light conditions, etc.
As with anything, exceptions exist. Take the Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens for example. It’s cheap by any standards, and feels like it when you pick it up (hello plastic lens). However, if you’re shooting any of the Nikon DX (crop sensor) cameras I believe it’s worth having in your arsenal. Why? Well, it’s tack sharp, renders creamy bokeh, and it’s lightweight make it a breeze to carry around all day on your camera. When I was at the Grand Canyon last year I spent the entire second day shooting exclusively with it, and I came away with far better shots that day than the day before when I used a variety of lenses that cost more than that little lens.
Lately, I’ve been picking up old manual focus lenses and shooting with them. Some of these lenses can be quite expensive, but I’ve stayed on the cheap side. Cheap as in about $25 or less. Not to discount any of them mind you. Some of them were produced in such vast quantities that the supply far outweighs the demand. Most people don’t want to shoot with an old lens, and have to focus manually and work out of full manual mode or deal with having to use adapters to fit the lens to whatever camera they’re using. To shoot with an old lens on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you have to want it, because you will fail often.
The thing about old lenses is they’re often built to last. They’re heavy and tough, and there’s something uniquely satisfying in holding one. The lens might be 40 years old, but it’s as rock solid as the day it was produced. You can find prime lenses (fixed focal length) that will take as good as, if not far better shots than anything you might have lying around. You can find lenses that produce beautiful soap bubble bokeh, like the Meyer-Optik Trioplans lenses, and not to be forgotten the Helios lenses that have a “flaw” that creates a swirly bokeh effect, but you have to work for it, it’s not an automatic occurrence.
Of course, I’m no expert. Just a guy that loves photography and has an addiction to old lenses.
Will sits in his bedroom staring at the wall, unmoving. Trying to conserve heat.
Sometimes he stares out the window, trying to will the snow to melt. Sometimes he thinks it’s working. That worries him more than anything else.
The temperature outside hovers just below freezing. The temperature inside is a little warmer — the thermometer stuck to the wall in the laundry room says thirty-eight, though Will’s pretty sure it’s colder upstairs. At least he can be by himself up here. He’d thought he was going stir-crazy back when he could at least go out into the yard. He’d had no idea how bad it could get.
He’s wearing two pairs of socks under his snow boots. A pair of long underwear that doesn’t really fit him, from a winter camping trip he went on in middle school; an undershirt and a sweater and a fleece and a coat. That’s the other reason he’s not moving: he can barely walk in all the layers. And he’s still cold.
He wouldn’t be so cold, he thinks, if he weren’t also so hungry.
The end of the world sucks, basically.
The adults in the house are all on edge, and the things they’re thinking are strange and uncomfortable. Will’s dad, in particular, keeps looking at him like he’s an especially challenging math problem. Like he’ll get a prize for solving it.
Will takes his mittens off and pries a thumbtack out of the wall. It had been holding up a calendar — from 2014, the last time Will bothered to put up a calendar in his bedroom — which falls to the floor.
Experimentally he pokes at his thumb. It’s callused and the tack isn’t all that sharp, and he has to push hard to break the skin.
When he succeeds, he yelps and quickly pulls it out again. He stares transfixed at the red bubbling up around the pinprick. He dabs at it with a tissue and watches the stain, spreading. It looks just like everyone else’s.
He knows that’s a stupid thing to think, knows that the important things aren’t what you see on the surface. Everyone bleeds red. But the things that matter aren’t visible. Say, the fact his father’s blood is Type A, and Will’s is Type O. That matters. He could give blood to his father, but not the other way around. His father’s blood would kill him. Will’s cells would tear themselves apart. He thinks about that, sometimes.
Antibodies are invisible too, but the word is a constant presence, echoing in the darkened kitchen when they think Will is asleep under his stacks of blankets. His parents and Skinner are constantly muttering about tests and treatments and vaccines and he hears his own name spoken low, and every time he hears it all he can think is, I never asked for any of this.
Later his mom will notice the blood-stained tissues in his garbage can and he’ll tell her it was an accident, that he stepped on a tack, but he disinfected it and it’s all better now, don’t worry.
She’ll worry anyway, that crease forming between her brows. He’ll wonder if she’s worried because he hurt himself, or because he wasted a hundredth of a milliliter of his special, special blood.
He is still trying to will the snow to melt. He is sure, now, that it is working.
love characterization where black women get to be spoiled sweet. Their
aesthetic gets to be soft, gentle, and sweet. They have these big full smiles and dark
eyes giving off a warm glimmer in the sunshine. They paint their nails green with little white dots
because they think it’s cute. Their phone case is pink and has little rhinestones on the back: they won’t settle for something that instead seems sturdy and durable because it doesn’t come with a cute design. They’re twenty-one but their bedroom looks
unchanged from when they were teenagers: it looks like this could be their teenage bedroom. They’re
full of boundless love and fun because they’re young and they love to be
love characterization where black women get to be poison. They have a swish in their hips, heels click on the floor and it sounds like power to her. They wear the
finest clothes: fur-coats, designer dresses, necklaces and earrings of all varieties and lengths. Moving red lips match the color of the nail tracing against your skin as they talk about sweet nothings. And maybe they do love you, but their own agenda
comes first and foremost. This sort of woman has characteristics that goes beyond her beauty. Her sex. They’re
sharp as tacks and always ahead in their game. They’re leading the game.
I love characterization where black girls aren’t either of
these things. They’re so awkward that they practice
what they say in the mirror because they can’t think or get nervous otherwise. They’re off in their own little world – wishing they were somewhere else, anywhere else but here. They work
better in small groups than large ones. They have passion for particular things they’re, unfortunately, under-represented in and can even be fun among
the small group they love to call their friends. They’re nerdy and geeky as
fuck. The wallflower - the tongue-tied black girl is super important.
headcanons for various ships meeting the parents/family (and/or kids)?
oh my god lol i just wrote this for luztoye this is perfect
nixon sr is almost a carbon copy of nixon jr, except with a little less chill and a little more infidelity.
nixon and his dad are both sharp as tacks, bitingly intelligent, incredibly charming, kind of unstable, and raging alcoholics.
at first nix is a little freaked out. like??? “is this what i’m in for ten years down the line? is nix going to grow a handlebar moustache, play with guns, and chug vodka like it’s water?”
(at least he doesn’t have to worry about nix screwing the secretary)
nixon, however, has a strained relationship with his father (dick thinks its because theyre too alike) and is very adamant that he is never going to be the type of man he is. dick believes him – nix’s heart is too good for him to end up like stanhope nixon.
nix’s dad, as it turns out, likes dick a lot. so does nix’s sister blanche, who is just as charming as her father and brother, though a bit more grounded. she couldn’t approve of dick more, and she tells her brother that straight out.
nix’s mother left his father awhile back, but nix says she was distant even before that. she never meets dick; dick hopes she would have liked him, but hearing about how she ignored nix as a kid, he doubts he’d have liked her back.
he, nix, and blanche wind up becoming good friends, however! (because blanche is wonderful and i love her)
nix is VERY WORRIED that dick’s parents wont like him
he seems like everything good mennonite parents wouldn’t want their kid getting involved with. he’s certain they’re going to take one look at him and hate him.
dick’s mother possesses the same warmth as him, except she doesn’t bother to keep it hidden. she has one conversation with nix, somehow deduces everything about him in five minutes, and declares she likes him immediately.
dick’s sister ann is a rambunctious sweetheart who is genial to nix at first. when they discover they share a sense of humor, however, she decides she adores him, and he adores her back. they have a blast teasing dick together.
his father is the hardest to win over. at first, dick’s father doesn’t seem to like him at all, and nix is nervous around the man because he doesn’t know how to act around fathers. should he be polite? should he declare how much he loves his son? what should he do dick hELP –
after a while, however, dick’s father takes him aside for a long talk. they discuss where they both stand personally and nix discovers dick’s father is a very down-to-earth, sober man, with the same level head and wry humor as dick. he realizes he likes him, and is glad when dick’s father gives his approval of him too.
So, many have been asking me for advice on who to follow and I thought I would write some down. I’ll do my best to include some information about them, some you may know and some not. If anyone on this list would like to be taken off please let me know.
Kat is a black, straight trans woman who destroys anyone who comes up against her. It’s brutal and entertaining, she’s like The Gladiator only pretty and better dressed. Also has a kick-ass youtube channel that I love and everyone should watch.
Cis, white, don’t let the pretty photography pictures she posts fool you, if you piss her off and she’s in the mood she will drag you down into the depths of hell and use perfect citations. She blogs with a critical eye, talks about ED recovery and anti-ableism.
Bisexual, biracial, cis. She has a great youtube channel as well and sings like an angel, which fits since she always manages to remain serene even when surrounded by hate. She’s very outspoken and honest about her own mental health journey and promoting conversations about mental health. Has very strong feelings for the Maximoff twins.
Latina, pan, cis and badass. She has a youtube channel where she rants unashamedly about things that matter to her and a lot matters to her. Very determined ally to causes she supports and it not afraid to call anyone out.
Black, straight, cis and hilarious. Her commentary is insightful and her allyship to other causes seems genuine and considerate. Her own channel is full of brilliant and cutting insights into many social issues and her work on MTV’s Decoded is so worth making the time to watch
I don’t think her name is hyperbolic, I think she is capable of rending heads. Sex worker and activist. She has amazing resources and information regarding sex work and her blog is full of information for sex workers and allies.
Ethnically Jewish/Latina intersex trans woman. She doesn’t write a lot of her own content but when she does she is incredibly insightful and well worded, I find following her and seeing her responses to be very educational and she lets me know when things are cissexist because I don’t always notice.
Sex worker and woman of colour, she posts about a lot of different things, sometimes cute anime she likes, signal boosting other people and then other times she’ll write a long and incredibly well sourced polotical rebuttal. She talks a lot about racism, body positivity and abuse. She also makes art and I can’t prove that she is the queen of the fairies, but I’m pretty sure she is.
White, bi/pan and great value. Her blog covers a number of different areas of feminism but her views are insightful and she seems really open to hearing people and understanding issues. I think her blog is fairly recent but she already has a lot of hate, which is a sign she is doing something right.
This blog is dedicated to, as the name says, video games and diversity. Or as the blog points out, the lack of diversity. Gender, race and sexuality are huge talking points within video games but if it’s ever going to change we need passionate people like those on INDG.
Arcana. A little illustration to go along with the comic I kind of maybe started dabbling with. A few people guessed it was Astrid - much to my surprise! I haven’t painted her for a couple of years now. You sharp tacks ;)
An Eagle hates little more than misconception; perhaps their greatest curse, as the rest of the Wixen World murmurs of nothing but their intellect. The bird truly beckons to few, its call flitting and shifting for any who hear it: a musical chirp, the splatter of paint, or the den of debate in the dark of Ravenclaw Tower.
Aria wasn’t even meant to be here; her first year was spent in the cold, ducking dark hair against biting wind in Koldovstoretz. She could never quite color within the strict lines they gave her, so by the end of summer, she was off to Hogwarts, shrinking beneath the weathered hat - a Second Year at the tail end of the opening ceremony. The w h i s p e r s died down shortly after, and it didn’t take long before she was nudged off to blue and bronze. It was only the beginning of the stares, though; pink streaks and utensil earrings are rare, even in the magical community.
But they are not all brains and books. Some are sharp as tacks with furrowed brows, others muddy in cobalt and indigo and sapphire: magicked jewelry professed as “art” under pastel hair that changes with the wind. Never has a house been so a l o n e and so together, huddled into identical, separate corners or splayed across charmed chalk that follows the planets and reminds them how infinitely s m a l l they can be.
No person is an island, but oh, they could become a TOWER.
The soft click of the door shutting was the first thing that alerted Roxanne to something not being right. Her instinct were sharp as tacks and ever since the trial had started, it was like everything made her jump. At first, she was going to attribute the noise to her own mind wandering in places she couldn’t let go. Roxanne hadn’t slept in about a week, she wouldn’t until this trial was over. But this was what she had been waiting for. For someone to defile their home in attempt to silence her do-gooder. Over Roxanne’s dead body would that happen.She heard the soft pads of the intruders feet moving through the apartment, before settling outside their kitchen enterance. Roxanne had taken close to the wall the door laid, awaiting her perfect moment. The gun was the first thing she saw peer through the door, then the arms attached to an unfamiliar face. The kitchen knife was tucked into the waist belt of her jeans, thanking whatever forces out there that Nate had yet to return and would not have to witness this. He would be safe and so would her secret. It all happened in the blink of an eye, each movement occurring between a each heartbeat. She brought the knife to the crook of the man’s elbow. The gun toppled to the ground and soon the man followed in suite with Roxanne on top of him. Each drive of her fist into his face was like a sigh of relief to her, like the anger could finally come pouring out over everything. What it did was distract her from the sound of foot prints coming through the door.
While most phones come equipped to take photos, they don’t come close to the same experience of using a dedicated camera. The distinct feel and added control are just some reasons to keep a compact camera in your carry. Fujifilm has been a huge player in the mirrorless camera game over the past few years, and they’ve sent us their X30 to review, confident that it can fill that need for a small, capable on-the-go camera. In this review, we’ll put that to the test — but we won’t be doing any extreme pixel peeping. Instead, we’ll explore how the X30 measures up as an everyday carry camera.
12MP 2/3” XTRANS CMOS Sensor
4x Optical Zoom Lens with f2.0-2.8 aperture, 28-112mm equivalent
Macro, Super Macro, Scene shooting modes
Full Manual Controls
3” Tilt LCD
Built in Wifi for easy sharing
Design, Fit, and Finish
The Fuji X30 is a compelling blend of retro design and modern technology. Magnesium alloy construction of the body leads to an incredibly sturdy camera that feels great in the hand. The dials and control rings are all crafted of metal with precision ridges for tactile control. Nothing on the camera wobbles — the dials and buttons feel deliberate and solid, as they should be. Every press on the customizable buttons are affirmed with a satisfying “click,” nothing mushy here.
The electronic viewfinder is the largest in its class, providing an excellent field of view and accurate color representation. Settings, a shooting grid, and focus confirmation are all easy to read on the display. Flipping the orientation of the camera changes the viewfinder as well, making it even easier to see what’s going on. The large viewfinder made it easy to frame out shots and it is hugely helpful to know exactly what the exposure settings are going to look like before pressing the shutter.
The camera is fitted with a comfortable, ergonomic molded rubber grip section. Throughout the course of using the camera, I never felt as if it were going to slip out of my grasp. I brought the camera with me to New York City and the grip was easy to maintain with one hand. Overall, the design, fit and finish of the X30 are superb. It feels like a solid camera that will have no problem bouncing around in a bag or being worn around your wrist for countless days of shooting.
Operation and Performance
I really like how the X30 can be as easy or as complex to use as you want it to be. The camera can be set to fully automatic to capture fleeting moments, but has full manual controls to get a shot exactly the way you planned it. The menu system is easy to pick up on and the quick menu (with a dedicated “Q” button) is fully customizable to suit your shooting style. Through most of the testing, I shot on aperture priority mode. This leaves the shutter speed up to the camera and the aperture setting up to me. Most photos were properly metered and exposed, leaving me happy with the results.
The zoom lens is equivalent to 28-112mm on the full frame scale. The low aperture lens shoots effectively in low light and can produce some nice bokeh (background blur with your subject in focus). At the wide end, it’s great for landscapes, architecture, and getting pictures of large groups. The middle range is ideal for portraits, and the long range end of the zoom can get up close to something that you might not be physically able to. The unique image stabilization mechanism ensures that most shots are in focus and tack sharp. I found this particularly useful in low light settings. When taking pictures at night, the darker conditions usually resulted in a lower shutter speed. The image stabilization allowed for lower shutter speeds when hand holding the camera, eliminating the need for a tripod.
Fuji’s mirrorless cameras have earned so many accolades for their straight-out-of-camera JPEG image quality. This is due in part to the on-board film simulation that emulates Fuji’s film stock. There are several modes and all of them have their place (Provia is standard, Velvia is vidid, Astia is soft, etc.). I personally prefer the muted tones of the Classic Chrome setting. The in-camera processing ability lessens the need for extensive post-processing and makes for a quicker, easier to share, and more fun photography experience. Post processing at a computer is not my favorite part about taking pictures. The X30’s straight out of camera JPEGs cut down on the need to spend extra time in front of a screen, leaving you with more time for shooting. To see some samples of the X30’s image quality and in-camera processing at work, check out the photos I shot with the X30 in my review of the Spyderco Dice.
The tilting screen is useful in a variety of shooting situations. No more laying on the ground to frame out a shot or standing awkwardly on a chair to get that perfect pocket dump photo. The hinge mechanism is robust and the screen locks back into the body with ease. Once you’ve taken a photo, it’s easy to share straight to your smart phone or computer. Simply press the dedicated wifi button on the camera, connect to the created network from your device, and beam the photos over.
Sometimes it’s just as fun to share the photos as they are to take, and the built-in wifi is a welcomed and useful feature. This was especially useful on my trip to the city. I was able to shoot during the day, go through the photos on the train, and the share the images I liked by the time I got home.
Fuji’s X30 is much easier to carry around than even the smallest digital SLR. The camera is compact, ergonomic, and easy to use. The X30 can fit in a jacket or cargo pocket, but don’t expect it to slip comfortably into your jeans. I’ve been carrying the camera in both my bag and jacket and haven’t found it to be a burden. The lens does stick out from the camera a bit, so be careful of snagging it when placing the camera in a pocket or bag.
While not the best option for a truly pocketable camera, the X30 is excellent to keep in your EDC bag. It’s light enough to not weigh you down, and the performance and versatility of the zoom lens will come in handy in lots of shooting scenarios. The X30 has a ring on either side of the body for strap attachment, either a neck or wrist strap can easily be used. Due to the smaller size of the camera, I prefer a simple wrist strap. Holding and using the camera is easy with one hand. The thumb and finger grips are comfortably shaped and encourage a firm grip.
Pros & Cons
Great image quality straight out of camera
Wifi for easy sharing
Tilting screen makes composing easy
Not truly pocketable
No dedicated charger, must charge battery in camera
I can honestly say I’m a big fan of the X30. It’s been fun to shoot with for the month. The X Series by Fuji is an optimal blend of retro styling and cutting edge camera technology that results in a well-built, fun to use camera. Fuji has managed to retain the spirit of shooting with a dedicated camera in the X30. The electronic viewfinder is crystal clear, the build quality is top-notch, and the price is right.
For $599, you get a lot of camera. I personally EDC the X100T, the X30’s bigger (and more expensive) brother, and both cameras are equally fun and easy to use. It’s been hard to pick out anything truly negative about the X30, and I’ve been trying. For a point and shoot camera, the X30 delivers on ease of use, image quality, and speed of sharing images. With street prices dipping as low as $500 for this dedicated EDC point and shoot, the X30 delivers a lot of camera for the money.