As you know, Singapore is in a midst of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak with over 70 people infected as of today. While the spread of the virus is not as severe or far reaching as that of China, Singapore has imposed travel limitations to anyone coming to Singapore from China. This has terrible consequences to the tourism industry in Singapore.
I was at the Merlion Park one weekend to gauge for myself how severely impacted Singapore is to the effects of the Coronavirus, especially the number of tourists visiting Singapore this part month or so. Because of the travel limitations imposed, there is definitely a significant decrease in tourism arrivals, especially when Chinese tourists make up the bulk of visits to Singapore as a holiday destination.
I took pictures of the Merlion Park with my new X-Pro 3 and noted the drop in the number of visitors in the areas. It was a blessing for me, as I was able to take pictures of the Merlion without much interference. It was overall, a pleasant picture-taking experience. Although I must add, that the Merlion, if it was a real creature, would have been sad to see so few visitors coming to Singapore to take pictures with him in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak.
I saw a pretty good deal on a second-hand lens on Carousell. someone was selling their year-old prime lens, the 35mm f2.0 lens for S$350. It was a good deal. I was in the market for a second prime lens to be part of my budding Fujifilm line of lenses and to pair it with my X-Pro 3 every now and then. However, I wasn’t too keen in shelling out top dollar for a brand new one. I was mulling over the idea that since I prefer sticking to just one lens for most of my photography, having a second lens would add versatility to my shots. I decided on getting the 35mm lens just in case I need it for portrait shoots, or if I am taking portraits of people more often than my usual street shoots. So while I may not use the 35mm extensively, having one just in case would be a good idea. So what better way to just get a second-hand lens, since I will not be using all the time.
And it just so happens that someone was selling their Fujifilm lens, the 35mm f2.0 lens. From the pictures posted by the seller, it still looked pristine. The only major flaw was that the lens hood has significant signifying heavy usage of the lens at one point. It was a cosmetic flaw, but a significant one, as it was very noticeable. I was very hesitant in getting the lens at first (it sells at S$700 retail for a brand new lens), but I rationalized my decision, thinking this is an offer that doesn’t come very often. Apparently the owner is selling his Fujifilm lens because he has become invested Sony’s camera ecosystem. So it makes sense for him to offload and sell whatever Fujifilm gear he might still have. And one of them was the 35mm f2.0 lens which I have been eyeing for quite a while.
I am collecting the lens from him sometime this week. I don’t think testing the lens is necessary. For some reason I trust him that the lens will work as intended. From then on I will have two prime lenses for my X-Pro 3. The 35mm lens will be used primarily for portrait shots. S$350 for used prime lens is great deal, especially when you know you aren’t going to use it extensively, but would like to have it just in case.
Chingay is an annual street parade that is celebrated in Singapore and Malaysia. It is in celebration of the various birthdays of the Chinese deities or the procession of the Goddess of Mercy. In recent times, the annual street parade consists of floats and processions from various communities in Singapore and abroad. This year is my first time that I actually attended the parade with a ticket. Previous years, I would usually watch the performance on TV, which is broadcast live.
The Chingay performance was a dazzle of lights, colour and music, with numerous floats representing the various Chinese deities, social groups in Singapore, associations and even foreign delegates from various countries around the world. The performance took place at the F1 pit and I was lucky to be seated relatively close to the action. I brought my camera along to capture some of the action. Despite only owning a 23mm f2.0 lens on my newly acquired Fujifilm X-Pro 3 camera, I still managed to get some great shots of the various floats and performances during the parade.
The parade was better than expected, partly due to the sound and lights that nicely complemented with the performance. Aside from that, there were the occasional fireworks, laser light shows and drone performances. Everything was tightly coordinated. The highlight of the entire parade was the 100 meter long dragon that floated and drifted along the length of the F1 pit. It was truly impressive to see it in person.
I meant to post this weeks ago, but it was only recently that I managed to find time and get around to doing it.
I went to Changi Jewel for a mini photoshoot with a couple of my friends. They have not been to Changi Jewel and they wanted to take some photos of the place. Armed with my new Fujifilm X-Pro 3, I took some photos of this beautiful place, sticking to Classic Negative Film Simulation. Just like with previous photo session with my family and relatives during the Christmas gathering, I stuck with one film simulation and just shoot.
Classic Negative is really beautiful. I can understand why this particular film simulation is great for street photography. It has a certain look to your shots that captures the essence of the scene, without saturating any colours that might potentially pop out in the picture. Although I find that this particular film simulation is weak against greenery and natural foliage (other film simulations can capture green really vividly), Classic Negative is still able to provide a unique look to my photos. Although I have been to Jewel before to take some photos, previously with my Olympus camera, but coming here again and sticking to just Classic Negative provides a totally different look to the shots I took. Here are some samples below.
On Christmas week, my extended family had a gathering in one of my cousin’s place and I had the opportunity to put my new Fujifilm camera through its paces. Specifically, I wanted to shoot and take pictures of my family members at the gathering using only one particular film simulation.
As you know, the new X-Pro 3 has a range of film simulations that Fujifilm developed to mimic the look and feel of their traditional film counterparts. However, as a photographer using Fujifilm camera systems for the first time, I am still largely unfamiliar with the different film simulations and how they are best applied. So rather than worrying about what film simulation I should use for the Christmas gathering, I randomly chose one and stuck with it throughout my shoot. Overall, at the end of the day after reviewing those photos and tweaking them a little in Lightroom, it turned out really great.
I used the Eterna film simulation and surprisingly it worked well for portraits. Skin tones are beautiful and while the colours are more subdued, it has that movie film quality to the pictures I took. The pictures are less punchy, but portraits stood out really well. Just look at some of the samples below.
I must have been really lucky to have chosen a suitable film simulation for these kinds of shots. I am extremely excited to try out the other film simulation modes Fujifilm has to offer built into my camera.
On the 28th of November, during lunchtime, I received a call from my local camera store. He was calling to inform me that the Fujifilm’s latest camera, the X-Pro 3 has finally arrived.
I was super excited. I headed down to the store after work, and collected my camera.
I brought it out for a spin today, walking around Fusionopolis, close to where I work. It’s a complex of buildings with ultramodern architecture, housing various engineering institutes under the A*STAR umbrella. It is a place I am very familiar with and because the place becomes relatively quiet during the weekend. It was a suitable place to experiment using the new camera and to get a feel on how the camera handles in my hands without too much distraction along the way.
I also brought it to Orchard Road on Friday evening, to soak up the festive cheer and also to revel in the Black Friday sales that every mall was promoting to test out the camera is low light conditions.
So what were me initial impressions after using this camera for about 24 hours?
Right off the bat (and also during the demo sessions I had with the camera before it was launched), holding the camera is really comfortable. The grip is not too big and bulky, yet not too small to be insignificant. It felt just right. The body isn’t heavy. Paired with a light lens like the 23mm f2.0, the weight feels perfect. The camera grip, paired with a suitable wrist strap, like the one I got from Deadcameras, makes carrying the camera around a joy.
I am a wrist strap kinda guy when it comes to lugging my camera around. I don’t really like to carry my camera around my neck. Instead, I prefer the wrist strap. And paired with X-Pro 3, its a match made in heaven.
The dials are solid and have a solid click whenever it is rotated. It is made of metal and the inscriptions and markings on the dials are meticulously painted. It is just oozing with quality. The placement of the dials are well placed, allowing easy access to all the dials without over stretching any of your fingers or contorting your fingers unnaturally or uncomfortably.
I have primarily used only the EVF so far, or the electronic viewfinder. It is nice to have the option of the OVF, or the optical viewfinder. I will definitely attempt to take pictures using just the OVF. It will definitely be a fun and interesting experience to see the world through the OVF and take creative pictures with it.
And the film simulations. There are so many options to choose from. All of them look gorgeous and some of them are better suited for certain kinds of photography. I have yet to familiarise myself with the different film simulations. But with time, hopefully I will master them and apply them in the correct conditions to achieve specific photography styles.
There are more features that I have barely scratched the surface and it will be an interesting journey for me to experiment and try all of them. The X-Pro 3 is a really fun camera to use, one that I am sure will enjoy using it for many years to come.
To view the album of the shots I have taken with the X-Pro 3 on the first day, please visit the this link.
Two weeks ago, I made the plunge. I paid the deposit and pre-ordered the X-Pro 3. Such a big purchase was not done lightly. As always, I imposed a two-week cooling off period, where I will not think, read or watch anything related to the X-Pro 3 and only revisit that thought after the cooling off period is over. When the cooling off period was over, I still had the strong desire to purchase the camera and had this strong feeling that this is the camera for me. In other words, this was not an impulse buy. I am in the market for a new mirrorless and the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 fits the bill.
I believe the camera will launch on the 28th of November, sometime next week. I should be expecting a call from my local camera shop, informing me that the camera has arrived and is available for collection. I have decided to pair the body with the 23mm f2.0 prime lens, which based on what I have read, is a good prime lens for street photography, my main focus in using the X-Pro 3.
I am very excited to use it once it arrives. I guess getting used to the menu system will take some time. As to what I am going to do with my Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II camera, I have decided to keep the body and the pancake lens after all. I will be selling the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens to partially fund the new camera. The Olympus camera, paired with the pancake lens, is still a fun camera to use and I see myself using it from time to time just for the sake of fun.