My wish list for 2014

Lots of blogs are writing about what are great gifts to buy this Christmas, but it’s getting a bit late in the day now for that so I thought I’d write a list of things that I would like in 2014 and why I would like them.

I never ask for anything for Christmas or birthdays because, to be quite honest, there is nothing I really need, and the items I would like cost far more than I’d ever want anyone to spend on me. I hate getting presents for the sake of presents, I’d rather not get them at all. Maybe this is why I get called the Grinch at Christmas.

Anyway, on with the list. So, in no particular order:

Fujifilm X-E2 digital camera with a selection of lenses.

Fujifilm_X-E2Ok, so you can probably get the reason I don’t ask for this sort of stuff for presents, it costs a lot!!

I’ve got the urge to inject a bit more motivation into my photography and recently I’ve had a chance to to use my Fuji x20 a bit more. The X-E2 is Fuji’s latest and greatest camera so naturally that’s the one I want. I like the compact size of it, the quality of the images that it can produce, the flexibility in varying light conditions and with the right lenses, it will suit my urge to do more portraits, candid and street photography.

fujifilm_x100sAlong with the X-E2, I really fancy getting my hands on the Fuji x100s for very similar reasons apart from the fact that it has a fixed lens with no zoom, but it would be a camera I’d have with me pretty much all the time.  Of course, both these cameras look pretty awesome with their retro styling too.

Apple Mac Book Pro 15″

apple_mac_book_proI currently own a white Mac Book and a Mac Mini. Both are a few years old now and it would be nice to upgrade them. I’d like to turn my Mac Mini into a media server as I’ve got a large collection of music and films and all I really use it for is photo editing. With digital images getting larger and the software more memory intensive, my Mac Mini does struggle occasionally when I start using Adobe Lightroom with plugins like the Nik Collection from google, which are excellent by the way.

So I need something a little more powerful, but I also want the portability of a laptop, so the white Mac Book will go, the Mac Mini will be my media server and my Mac Book Pro (if/when I get it) will be my main home computer with one of my current monitors available to connect to it to help with photo editing.

Subaru Outback 2.5 SE

subaru-outbackOk, so this list started off expensive and is just getting more so.

This is one of the items of the list that I’m more certain that I will get. The reason for that is that I need to get another car, and soon. I currently lease a car which ends soon and it’s a bit tiny and impractical so I won’t be renewing the lease. So the Subaru is what I’ve decided on. It’s has a great specification, is very reliable, it’s got a bit of guts to it when you need it, and the insurance costs isn’t too scary. They aren’t the most common second hand car in the UK, so I just need to find a decent one before parting with my cash. If I can find one with the built in sat nav, then even better.

There isn’t actually much else I’ve got my eye on to be honest. Travel would be on the list too but I just don’t know where yet. I don’t think I’ll actually be able to get all the things on this list unless I win the lottery, but it’s always nice to do a bit of window shopping.

Of course, if anyone is feeling generous, feel free to make me a very happy chappy and get them for me…. No? ….. Anyone?….. Didn’t think so.


My Fujifilm x20 Digital Camera

Ok, I’m going to start off by saying this is not a technical in depth review of my Fujifilm x20. While I’m very much into photography and have been doing it and teaching it for over a decade, I’m not one of those photographers who knows all the ins and outs of the technical aspects to every camera, I enjoy taking photos, I believe I can take a good photo and I like to think I can explain photography in a way that people can easily understand.

For several years I’ve used a Sony a700 DSLR and an assortment of lenses. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great and has allowed me to get some shots I’m very proud of but recently I’ve wanted something simpler, lighter and more accessible.  I read all the hype about the new range of fuji cameras, then I read lots about how they were actually pretty good and how  a lot of photographers were trying them out and loving them. Now I couldn’t afford one of the top end cameras and as I was about to head off on my honeymoon, I wanted a camera I could carry around easily but was still capable of producing some great shots. I settled on the x20. It had the latest version of the X-Trans sensor, which is excellent, a leaf shutter, which means is quiet and fast,  and some clever auto modes to make my life a bit easier.

Fujifilm x20

The obvious first impression is how it looks. I chose the silver and black option instead of the all black version purely because I thought it looked cooler. I love the retro look and a lot of people get mistaken into thinking it’s an old film camera. A bit of a talking point so far.

Get beyond the looks and you get a very capable camera. One with plenty of manual control if you want it, but as I mentioned, some great auto and semi auto modes that allow you not to get too caught up in the technical settings. Quite handy when you are on your honeymoon and aren’t meant to be spending all your time doing photography. I’m quite pleased with this one:

Croatia Cruise Ship

Now, I’ve never been very confident taking pictures of people and enjoyed taking wildlife shots with my DLSR and long lens. Cameras like the Fuji x20 are not cameras for shooting wildlife like I was used to. In fact, the longest lens you can get, at the moment, for some of the new Fuji cameras is 200mm. So the x20 is forcing me to think more about the shots I take and it’s also made me want to try a few portraits and possibly some street photography. As of today, I don’t have much to show for that side of things. I’m experimenting a little and trying to get used to the camera a bit more, but I have some personal projects lined up, some will push me right out of my comfort zone, but more on those another time.

One of the other features I wanted with the camera is the hot shoe and the ability to add radio triggers to use off camera flash. I’m a big fan of the Strobist style of photography. Small, portable strobes, radio triggers and the odd light modifier if you want it. Nice and simple, but very effective.  So I got a couple of the new Pocket Wizard Plus X triggers, their new budget friendly/friendlier triggers that just give the basics, but with the rock solid reliability Pocket Wizard is known for. Coupled to an old school Vivitar 285HV flash gun and I’m ready to go and I’m excited by the prospect of starting the projects I’ve got lined up. I think I’ve been a bit lazy lately when it comes to photography so it’s time for a bit of kick up the arse and to get on with it. Go Me!

Now, the Fuji x20 isn’t perfect. I get a little frustrated at the fairly small zoom range it has, but that’s just me still getting used to it. The battery life could be a bit better, but fortunately spare batteries are small and cheap, so carrying a spare or two isn’t a problem. The one thing that really frustrates me about it though is that it’s not the Fujifilm x100s or X-E2. They are the top end, they are what I really want but until funds allow, the x20 will do just fine.

I’ll be posting more about my photography adventures, successes and failures on here in the future. Hopefully not too many failures.