image

Liverpool is steeped in history, which isn’t surprising given that it celebrated its 800th anniversary back in 2007. Tourism now forms a significant part of the city’s economy and I for one never miss an opportunity to go back and photograph it whenever I can. The photo walk started at 11am from Pier Head, the area of Liverpool, which includes the trio of harbor buildings known as the Three Graces: the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building (named after Canadian Samuel Cunard, owner of the first shipping line from Liverpool-Halifax-Boston), and the Royal Liver Building.

image

The 1.5 mile route followed the River Mersey East, past the new Museum of Liverpool, the Albert Dock, the Beatles Museum before finishing the walk at the Echo Wheel. Our final meeting place was back at the Waterfront Cafe at 3pm for a coffee and a chat. Despite being windy, we had lovely blue skies and sunshine all day long – brilliant!

image

Having made a move (not a complete switch) to shooting with a pair of FujiFilm X-Pro 1 bodies before Christmas, I’ve now added an X-T1 to my arsenal too. Photographing Liverpool again gave me the prefect opportunity to test the X-T1 along with the two zooms I purchased with it, these being the highly regarded XF18-55 and 55-200mm. As I’m sure you will agree, Fuji have yet to produce a bad lens, zooms included. Because of the SLR type styling of the X-T1 the zooms, particularly the XF55-200mm, doesn’t look too much out of place on it – not so sure I would use either of them on my X-Pro 1 bodies though, as I really love my original trio of primes (18/35/60mm).

image

As expected, neither zoom disappointed me on the day. However, of the two lenses I did prefer the 18-55, as this is more suited to the type of photography I do. I’m not sure how much use the 55-200 will get, maybe I should have gone for the XF14mm f2.8R instead?

Because of its history Liverpool has a considerable amount of variety when it comes to architectural styles , ranging from 16th century Tudor buildings to modern-day contemporary architecture, like the ships funnels; pictured below.

image

It’s an interesting fact that there are over 2,500 listed buildings in Liverpool, of which 27 are Grade I listed and 85 Grade II listed. Liverpool also has a greater number of public sculptures than any other location in the United Kingdom aside from Westminster.

This richness of architecture has subsequently seen Liverpool described by English Heritage, as England’s finest Victorian city.

image

Another lens I decided to take with me on Sunday was the XF27mm f2.8 (see above) this is a surprisingly very small lens and one that, more often than not, gets massively over looked. There have been moments when I’ve thought about getting an X100t, purely for its size but I just don’t see the point. Besides, I like the extra bit of reach the 27mm gives me over the 23mm fixed lens of the X100t. I can definitely see me using the 27mm more, particularly for street photography.

image

One of the very latest landmarks to grace the Liverpool skyline is the Echo Wheel. An awe-inspiring 196ft “Big Wheel” with 42 capsules including a luxury VIP capsule with glass floor, leather interior and DVD player. This attraction offers breathtaking views over the city for anyone with the stomach endure it. Being the coward that I am I decided to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground and offer a worms eye view, or should that be, “Fisheye” view, seeing that I used my 8mm (180 degree field of view) Samyang Fisheye lens.

image

This is the only non-branded X-mount lens I own, but believe me, it’s a great lens!

If I’m honest, I was a little sceptical at first about owning 3rd party lenses, particularly a manual focusing one. But right from the off, this is one truly fantastic lens, I can’t praise it enough. Let me just say, I’ve owned two Nikon Fisheye lenses, the 16mm f2.8 (FX) and the 10.5 (DX) and neither of them come close to the Samyang offering – regarding image quality.

image

Shooting with the Samyang 8mm, on either the X-Pro1 or the X-T1 is a doddle! Choose an aperture of f8 or f11 and set a distance of around 6ft and everything will be in sharp focus – and that means edge to edge sharpness too (something both my Nikon lenses struggled with).

Here are a few facts you may not have known about Liverpool:

Liverpool was the first city in the United Kingdom to have a School for the blind, High School for girls, Free school milk and free school dinners for children. It was the first city to bring about Slum clearance, provide Council housing – (social housing). A Juvenile court, a Lifeboat station and a Mosque!

image

Liverpool is the 4th largest city in Britain and was once one of the world’s largest ports. Liverpool is home to more top selling musicians and rock groups than any other, including the Beatles. The Beatles played at the city’s famous Cavern Club almost 300 times before being discovered.

image

Liverpool welcomes approximately 58 million visitors per year, which in turn supports a tourist industry of around 48,000 jobs. It’s popularity is thought to be due to The Beatles, its extensive maritime history and its flourishing art scene.

image

At last, I finally got my hands on a boxed and mint MB-23 battery pack for my F4. Finding anything for the F4 in mint condition these days takes time, but if you wait long enough you’ll find it.

The Nikon F4 was a 35mm autofocus (AF) single lens reflex (SLR) film camera, first introduced in 1988 as the next generation in Nikon’s line of F series professional cameras. With industrial design by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the F4 was the first professional Nikon to offer autofocus and is able to accept any of Nikon’s manual focus (MF) or AF lenses from 1959 to the present day, including the two F3AF lenses (in Autofocus mode). The F4 replaced the F3, which was a manual focus camera produced from 1980 to 2001. Nikon introduced its next flagship model, the F5, in 1996. All F4 models were discontinued soon after in May 1997.

Nikon F4e, with 16mm f2.8 Full Frame Fisheye

The F4 introduced many Nikon owners to autofocus (as well as focus tracking), and was the first professional Nikon to utilize a vertical-travel metal-blade shutter (with shutter balancer to minimize noise and camera bounce). As a fully electronic camera with motorized film transport (up to 5.7 frames per second), it required one of three available bottom-mounted battery packs to operate, using standard AA or rechargeable cells. For the first time on a Nikon SLR, two of those battery packs also offered an additional vertical shutter release button and grip for using the camera vertically.

Its controls were transitional between those of mechanical SLRs and future professional film and digital SLRs: the F4’s electronics, LCD viewfinder display, autofocus, programmed auto-exposure, and matrix meter looked to the future, but it also retained classic dedicated analog dials for shutter speed, lens aperture, metering pattern, and exposure compensation.

The F4 was the first Nikon F-series camera to lack a manual film-advance lever, though it offered both motor-driven and manual film rewinding. Like previous F-series cameras, the F4 featured a high degree of customization to specific tasks, with various remote controls, film backs, and viewfinders available. While it was a complex camera with over 1700 parts, the F4’s high-quality mechanical and electronic components, as well as weather sealing and tough construction, made for a reliable and long-lived professional SLR.

Nikon MF-23 Multi Control Back/ F4

The F4 will accept all autofocus lenses made for the F mount, as well as almost all manual focus F mount lenses excluding some very early fisheye lenses. The meter coupling cam can be moved out of the way for use with lenses manufactured prior to 1977 (non-AI lenses). The F4 is one of the few Nikon cameras offering full Matrix metering with AI manual focus lenses.

Nikon F4 Control Dials

Its lack of electronic aperture control limits the F4’s functionality with G type lenses, which do not have an aperture ring. With these lenses, exposure control is limited to program and shutter-priority modes. In addition, DX lenses are not designed to cover the full 35mm frame and will vignette when used with the F4 (or any other 35mm camera). The F4 also provides no support for Nikon’s later VR (Vibration Reduction) system; VR-equipped lenses will mount and function, but without image stabilization.

Nikon F4e

Eventually Nikon had three F4 models that were distinguished by which integrated battery pack was attached. All F4 bodies are interchangeable with all battery packs. Therefore none of the cameras includes a label for its particular model name—all use a simple “F4″ nameplate:

Text From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Having had time to get more acquainted with Nikon FC-E8 Fisheye lens I purchased for my infrared converted Coolpix 995 I’ve made a couple of interesting discoveries.

3592460465_7f06ef0146_b

3592460465_7f06ef0146_b

3642545294_ff9fdeffc2_o

3642545294_ff9fdeffc2_o

3940902927_9d347d4235_b

3940902927_9d347d4235_b

3941686342_11c989fc1b_b

3941686342_11c989fc1b_b

3941688460_3feb45887e_b

3941688460_3feb45887e_b

3941692978_5b888b7e48_b

3941692978_5b888b7e48_b

3950401759_667f59a16b_b

3950401759_667f59a16b_b

4686119436_ea15b6ab05_b

4686119436_ea15b6ab05_b

4743382713_32dba7a060_b

4743382713_32dba7a060_b

angel

angel

boat-people

boat-people

cam

cam

church gates

church gates

curvesadjustment

curvesadjustment

DSCN2814a

DSCN2814a

DSCN2829a

DSCN2829a

DSCN2833a

DSCN2833a

DSCN2835a

DSCN2835a

DSCN2842a

DSCN2842a

DSCN2846b

DSCN2846b

DSCN2850a

DSCN2850a

DSCN2851a

DSCN2851a

esp

esp

exit

exit

Foot Loose

Foot Loose

IR-Building-web

IR-Building-web

no1bridge

no1bridge

pit-head

pit-head

sign

sign

statue

statue

steplights

steplights

StMichaels Tree

StMichaels Tree

The Lightening Tree

The Lightening Tree

the photographer

the photographer

three trees

three trees

Titford Canal

Titford Canal

waterfront#1

waterfront#1

waterfront#2

waterfront#2

waterfront#3

waterfront#3

Wychbury Heights

Wychbury Heights

All Images Copyright John Powell, 2011

My main concern was the fact that I wasn’t getting pin sharp images when I engaged the camera in the recommend Fish#1 setting. What the Fish#1 setting actually does is set the cameras zoom to its widest setting. With the FC-E8 attached you get a phenomenal 183 degree field of view. What the camera then proceeds to do is set the focus point to infinity, which is what you don’t want, not with a Fisheye Lens you don’t!

With all ultra-angle lenses you need to get close to your subject and fill the frame. But if the camera is set to focus at infinity you will never achieve sharp images.

To remedy this I have dispensed with the in-built menu settings and created my own, which I have saved and asigned to the FUNC1 button.

My settings now read as follows:
Coolpix is reset to Normal Lens Mode
Metering is set to Centre-Weighted
Focusing is set to:
Manual Area AF (you choose AF area)
Single Point AF (you choose AF point)
Focus Confirmation: On

As you can see from the images shown, focusing is no longer an issue, keeping one’s head, feet and shadow out of shot is!

Happy Fishing!

Update: Saturday 29th January, 2011 – Slide Show Feature Added

Useful Links:  Coolpix 995 | Nikon FC-E8 | Infrared Photography Guide |

It may be of very little interest to some, but for me and anyone else who happens to enjoy ultra wide-angle photography, owning a Fisheye lens must come pretty high up on their wish list.

I have to confess my, Fisheye lens isn’t a true lens as such, but Fisheye attachment, designed for the classic Nixon Coolpix 995.

Although the Nixon FC-E8 (official title) dates back to 2001 its still a very much a sort after accessory, so much so, its taken ages to track one down. I got mine from Cash Generators in Manchester for a ridiculous price of just £40!

The perspective you get from this type of lens is phenomenal. With the Coolpix 995 you have the choice of two settings, Fish#1 or Fish #2.

Fish#1 gives you a full 183 degree circular view, equal to a 8mm Fisheye lens.
Fish #2 gives you the equivalent of a 15mm full frame Fisheye.

In addition to my wide-angle obsession I also love to capture images in infrared. The combination of eerie monochrome images along with an exaggerated perspective creates some very interesting results.

The four sample images shown here were all taken with my infrared modified Nikon Coolpix 995 using the Nikon FC-E8 in Fish #2 mode @ 200 ISO.

More about the Nikon FC-E8 Fisheye Adapter
Originally developed for scientific or industrial applications, Fisheye lenses are now also widely used in advertising, commercial and general photography. Fisheye lenses create a dramatic effect, showing the viewer the world as a fish might see it. With coverage up to 220? – virtually seeing backwards – Nikkor Fisheye lenses can add a new dimension to your photography.For special effect photography, as well as a variety of scientific and industrial applications, the Fisheye lens FC-E8 for Nikon CoolPix digital cameras is ideal. All-encompassing 180? Fisheye coverage records everything in front of the camera, and produces a circular image on the film. Bright f / 2.8 aperture for dim light or fast shutter speeds. Close-focusing is now down to 33cm (1 foot), full-aperture viewing and metering. Easy filter interchange; 5 filters are built into a revolving turret inside the lens.