Some of my dearest childhood memories refer to a store room my father transformed into a dark room. I grew up surrounded by the smell of the chemical substances, the red light, the timer, and the miracle of seeing blank rectangular paper turning into pictures.
Although magic to me at those times (I was about 10), I never imagined I would make a living as a photographer. After years of radio shows and sales, I made the final carrier change to photography about 9 years ago.
I had a short passion for Olympus, but sold the kit after a few months, due to the incredible noise above ISO 800. Made the switch to Nikon, which served me very well for 6 years. But then Fuji X100 appeared, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. After reading many reviews and articles, I decided to wait: the camera was gorgeous, but lacked a lot of technical qualities the DSLRs had.
A year later Fuji incredibly improved it, and I found myself with a brand new X100S in my hands. I loved and still love its design and image quality, and for the first time I was considering switching completely. X-PRO1 was praised, but not enough to make me change the equipment, so I waited for almost 6 months: I wanted to be sure that selling all my Nikon gear and buying the X-T1 was a wise thing to do.
After reading countless articles and reviews, watching days of video on YouTube, I made the change: the autumn of 2015 found me as a Fuji photographer.
After a rather short learning curve, I intended to go slowly towards architecture and real estate photography, but these types of images seem to be less appreciated in my home town. At the beginning of 2016 I was asked to create the menu images of a local restaurant, and so it started: I had the technical knowledge, but no experience at all in this field. I created 3 shots, the client was very satisfied with the result, and that’s my main expertise since then.
After working with a borrowed Nikon 50mm (used with an adaptor), I felt the need for my own 50mm macro lens. I read all I could find about the Fuji 60mm, but many reviews said that the Zeiss Touit would be a better option. And a more expensive one, indeed, but I had the luck of a 30% off campaign. I bought the lens in January 2016 and 16 months later I’m still overwhelmed by its image quality, contrast, sharpness and colors.
I can easily say it’s the best lens in my bag. It’s not built like a tank, but it’s very easy to feel the quality once you grab it. I wished the auto focus was a bit faster, but as I use it 99% of the time in manual mode, I don’t find this a flaw. The focus ring is incredibly smooth and the Focus Peak function of the X System makes it very easy to get sharp images. The German company is so appreciated in Romania that the people came up with a saying: “Merge Zeiss (It works as a Zeiss)”.
I didn’t sell everything I had from Nikon. I kept my 3 flashes (two SB700s and one SB800), and together with the Phottix triggers and two Yongnuo lamps I can create the light I need. There are many accessories I use (filters, gobos, cardboards, stands, etc.), as well as props: cups, plates, old spoons, various fabrics, old books, and generally everything I consider I might use with food photography. I enjoy creating the visual story and I often find myself using items most people would not consider useful for this type of photography.
Post processing often implies working with masks and fine retouching. I prefer shooting and saving a lot of time by getting as much as possible straight in camera.
Most of the time I shoot food photography using the Zeiss Touit 50mm. After more than 5,000 frames with this lens, I am sure that I’ll get the best result every time. It may not be the best macro lens around, or the fastest, but it’s definitely worth using when shooting food. I fully recommend it, especially if you are into this focal distance.
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