Tag Archives: tokyo street photography

granny

Fuji X100 video. Wow! Just…wow.

This is one of the Japanese videos released by Fujifilm for the X100.

Words fail me.

Really?

Fujifilm, you have got some balls.

Japancamerahunter

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To Flickr or not to Flickr

Social networking and sharing websites: Which ones do you use? Now that we have Face book, Twitter and all that runs in between there has never been a better way to share you work and your visions. For the photographers among us we have Flickr, Smugmug, 500PX and many many more in between. But in reality, which ones of these are actually a good platform to share your work? Especially for anyone who is more interested in real photography rather the HDR or ‘super Bokeh’ bullshit.

Since the beginning I have been with Flickr, and at first I was happy with it, in a sense. I mean, I hated the silly comments and the way that you would have to manipulate the groups in order to get an image to be popular, it seemed far more about networking than actual photography. But I have met some truly great photographers on the site, some of them in person, and I have learn’t a lot about how to sell oneself.


Something to break the rant

But I have begun to notice that there seems to be a code on Flickr, which is not about how good you are but rather what you have in your pictures. I feel that over the last few months my style has developed quite significantly and that I am now taking some of the best pictures that I have ever taken. But you wouldn’t think it from Flickr….basically everyone has become far more interested in the camera porn. I mean, I love taking pictures of cameras, but I don’t want it to define me. So I am now being more and more selective about what I actually put on the site. Which actually disappoints me.


I love this, but nobody on Flickr would

I will still keep on putting stuff up there, but I am not sure for how long. Hopefully as this site develops I shall be able to share more of my work on it with you all. But I shall also be using Tumblr more, as I have found this site to be far more simple and effective, and without all of the silly popularity contests.


My toilet, yesterday

So, enjoy these photos, tell me what you think of them, don’t steal them, and if you have any suggestions for an online sharing site that isn’t total bollocks then I would be really interested to hear them.
Cheers
Japancamerahunter

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A legend amongst camera lenses

There are camera lenses, and then there is the NOCTYes, that is right, the Nikon Noct. The daddy of fixed SLR camera lenses.

This is the ultra pretty, ultra heavy and ultra fast Nikon Noct 58mm f/1.2 Ais camera lens. This is what could be called a Bokeh master in the truest sense, having a hand ground aspherical lens that is perfect for low light photography.

The difference between this and the 50mm f/1.2 is staggering. The 50mm has a great deal of softness around the edges, especially when wide open, but this lens is sharp and consistent. The softness and aberrations have all but been eliminated. But then, I guess they would be when the Noct costs 5 times the price of the 50mm!

This lens is impossibly pretty, and a dream to use….unless you have a digital camera, in which case you will need to get a different focussing screen to deal with the shallow depth of field. It works with most of the Nikon digital range, though it would look a bit silly on some of the smaller cameras, as it is HUGE!

This particular Noct went off to a very discerning customer almost as soon as I got it. If you are interested in getting your hands on one of these special lenses, drop me a line and I can source one for you. The Noct will set you back a very pretty penny, but it is something that you will not regret, that is for sure.
Cheers
Japancamerahunter

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Tokyo Visual Arts college

The beard gives me strength, like Samson! Visiting Tokyo Visual Arts College: Well, I have had a pretty eventful week so far. Aside from camera hunting, taking an insane amount of pictures and meeting some really interesting people. On Tuesday I was asked to be a guest lecturer at Tokyo Visual Arts College, by photographer and good friend Haruo Matsuya. Haruo is a visiting lecturer there for the photography course and he asked me to come and talk to the students about developing confidence and ability.

I felt really privileged to be asked to talk to the students, especially when I was talking at the same time as people like fashion photographer Sasu Tei. Sasu runs the cool website www.darizine.com which is a collection of fashion photography and video from international photographers. His talk was inspiring and he has a real ‘world’ view, which is important for young photographers to understand. It was a lot of fun to listen to photographers who work commercially, as their style is so different from mine. I learned a lot from what the other guys had to say about their work, hopefully I will be able to apply it to mine.

building a strong personal image

This was really the main part of my lecture to the students, how to build a strong personal and professional image by utilizing the internet and social networking sites. A lot of the students had not got a twitter account, had never heard of Flickr and barely used facebook. I explained that although they are Japanese students, they need to look to the world to show their work and their skills. By using international sites they can extend their reach and learn something new at the same time.

I also showed the students a selection of my personal work, including my most recent projects, and explained to them that it is important to keep on challenging themselves and trying to do things that leave their comfort zone. If you are too comfortable then you will stagnate and never develop. I showed them the work of a photographer who really inspires me at the moment, Keisuke Nagoshi, and explained to them that they must always be checking the work of other photographers so that they can also develop.

All in all I had a good time and I hope to go back again soon. It really helped me to figure out the sort of direction that I want to go with my work as well. I feel like I am really forming a personal style that I can be happy with right now.

Well, thanks for reading, drop me a line if you have any comments or questions, and check out the links below.
Japancamerahunter

Tokyo Visual Arts Blog
Tokyo Visual Arts College

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Finally. I got it! I got MY camera!

Yeah, lick the screen, you know you want to: I finally got it!

Hello again, how are you all? I am particularly fine today, as I now have MY camera! You see, I show you a lot of cameras on this blog, and most of them are not mine, they are for sale or belong to friends or people I meet. But this camera that I am showing you now is MINE! Yes, I finally managed to get my hands on the camera that I have been pining for since I smashed up my F3/T.
So, here it is….my new baby….

So, for all of you serious nerds out there, this is the Leica M6 0.72, and it is sporting the Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH lens in chrome. I am not going to write a huge synopsis on this camera, it has been done to death and there are loads of resources out there for that sort of thing. What I will say is that I managed to pick one up that had just been completely overhauled and is not running like a dream. The action is smooth, there is no flare in the viewfinder patch and the meter is spot on. I managed to burn through a roll of Neopan in about 45 minutes with this thing, it is that easy to use.

But it is not just easy to use, it is gorgeous too. I just love looking at the thing, and so do other people apparently…I have been stopped a couple of times on the street already.

But, when something looks this bloody pretty,can you really blame them? Added to fact that I am holding it, and then you have double trouble!

I am lucky to be in the position that I can have the camera that I want and change it as I see fit. This will be going to the custom shop soon for an M3 film advance and an incognito top plate, and then I will be so happy I could die.

If you are interested in getting one of these then drop me a line, I specialize in finding these cameras and would be happy to make your dreams come true.
Cheers
Japancamerahunter

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The faces of Japan continued…

Well, the faces thing is back, with a few more for you. I have been pushing myself pretty hard lately….

It is all about getting the pictures of the people that I meet and interact with now. I still love to take pictures of still life and that sort of thing, but I am really starting to feel that I can get so much more from my work by going out and taking pictures of people, face to face. I have a couple of new projects that I would like to work on as well, but for now my focus is going to be trying to get peoples faces. I am not really going to specify a type of camera, or a film, just whatever I have to hand.

To be honest I am excited and nervous about this all at the same time. It is a pretty tough thing to do and will certainly put me out of my comfort zone, but what the hell, I am sure that it will be a lot of fun.

So, here are a few more of my pictures of people in Japan, I hope that you like them. Please don’t steal them or anything. Contact me if you wish to use them for something. You can see some of these on Flickr as well.
Thanks
Japancamerahunter

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Fuji

This is why I do what I do…

Because I get to see stuff like this beauty, every single day. I love cameras, sometimes I think a little bit too much…

It has to be said that there is a very fine line between a passion and an obsession, and to be honest with you, sometimes I am not really sure which one is which. I love cameras, I love what they do and what they are made for. But not just that, I love they way they look, the way they feel in your hands and they way they can make you feel. Some cameras make you feel very very conspicuous, whilst with others you can feel almost invisible. They have a power over the person who holds them to change they way that they act and the way that they interact with people.

And whilst I really love cameras, I always try to keep in mind that they are a tool, a means to producing something better or greater than myself. It is all very well to be wrapped up in cameras, but you must remember to use them.

Still, it is tough when they look so damned good.

I am very lucky to live in Tokyo, there can be no place on earth that is greater for cameras and camera shops, but also it is a place that is great for taking pictures, really a win win situation. Whilst I am not a film vs digital nazi, I am afforded the opportunity to use film on a daily basis because of how cheap it is here. Don’t get me wrong, I have owned and used digital cameras for a while and have used the very best of them, but I simply prefer to use film cameras now. I am not going to get mired in a pointless debate about which is better, they both have their merits and their flaws. But, as Japancamerahunter, I am primarily searching for film cameras, or very very special modern classics, so that you lucky people can have them for yourselves.


A fridge recently, notice the absence of food

I am also lucky in that I am basically surrounded by people who share very similar ideas to me, people who are passionate about photography, or cameras, or both. This gives me a wealth of resources to fall back on, and helps me to locate the things that you cannot find everyday. And this is why I do what I do, because I love finding that next thing, that new shop or that great camera, but I also love interacting with the people that I meet everyday. The shop owners, the photographers, and the general public. I really am living what I could call my dream, and I know how lucky I am to be doing it. It may not be much, but it makes me happy.

A cool little store that I found last week, it is almost impossible to see from the street

As long as I can keep on doing this, I will, and I am always happy to hear from people who are interested in Japan or what I do. I you are in Japan or coming to Japan then drop me a line, it is always nice to meet people who share my passion. I really take pride in the idea that I may be able to find you something really special and I always love to hear when someone is happy with the camera that I have supplied for them.
Thanks
Japancamerahunter

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The camera Nikon shouldn’t have made

The slightly quirky and rather pretty Nikon 28Ti. I honestly think that Nikon had no business in making this camera…

But it did. At the time of the inception of this camera there was a bit of an arms race going on in the last days of the compact film camera market. Contax was making the T3, Minolta the TC-1 and Ricoh the GR1v, so Nikon felt they had the need to get in on the action in the high end compact market. But they basically came into the game too late and with a camera that was not as good as the rest. The Contax could boast a Zeiss lens, the Minolta had the legendary Rokkor, so this came as a runner up. But make no mistake, this is a very capable camera and has a great lens. But where this camera trumps the rest is the design.

Wow, that is on the top of the camera? Awesome!



Yes, this is the top plate of the camera, and isn’t it pretty? That gorgeous analog dial really sets this camera apart. Whoever came up with this was inspired and managed to put this camera into the history books as something that people wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

This is a really pretty camera, and it has a great lens, strong titanium body and sturdy build. If you are serious in any way about compact cameras, then you simply should have one of these in your collection.

Cheers
Japancamerahunter

The faces of Japan

There are millions of interesting faces, here are a few. We are surrounded by millions, but how often do we really look at their faces?

I have been taking photos for years, and for the most part they have been either crap or in no form of direction. I decided recently that I really needed to document the faces of the people around me, and specifically people that interest me. Japan is a fascinating place and it needs to be show, but not in that cliched way that most people show it. Yeah, basically we have all seen the geisha shots or the yamamba girls. How about some regular people?

After the earthquake I thought it would be nice to try and show people smiling, because to me that is what I want from my interactions with people, to evoke a smile. I am not a sensationalist or a paparazzi trying to grab a wild shot, I feel that it is important to interact with my subject so that I can really show them and see how their character comes through.

In this series of pictures I am trying to show just that, the real people of Tokyo. I hope that it will continue to be a large piece of my work. More will come soon.

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Is your glass half empty?

What you should be thinking when you buy a new lens . The question that everyone asks me when they have decided to buy a camera is usually “which camera should I buy, oh wise one?“ (Well, maybe no the wise one bit, but you know what I mean).

This is a bit a a loaded question really, as there is no right or wrong answer other than “whatever suits you best”. You could spend hours pouring over the net, reading magazines and reviews or listening to the bloke down the pub, but until you actually hold a camera you have no idea. What I usually tell people is this, find a camera that suits your needs and your style, and most of all, one that feels good in your hand and next to your eye. Because cameras come and go. This is certainly even more relevant now, in the digital age. The average digital camera has a ‘cycle’ of about 3 years, which means that just as you are getting comfortable with your camera, the next piece of eye candy is out there on the shelf flaunting its megapixels at you.

A nice shiny camera yesterday, she likes walks in the park and charming restaurants

From my experience, by far the most important thing that you can do is invest some money in good glass. Good lenses pay dividends, and will far outlast your camera. This is especially true with manual focus lenses, that seem to last forever. But you need to be careful, because there is glass, and then there is glass. One man’s dream lens, might be the horror of horrors for the next. But there is one thing that we can all agree on, that kit lenses are rubbish. If you are even slightly serious about photography, ditch the kit lens and spend a bit of cash on a reasonably fast zoom. You don’t have to spend mega bucks either, Japan has one of the best used camera markets in the world. There are shops all over Japan that sell top condition camera gear, and the average Japanese camera nut is extremely careful about the care of their gear, so you can get some real gems.

This 40 year old lens was recently spotted leaving the scene of an accident, do you have any information?

If you really want to test yourself, go out and get a prime (eg. 50mm) manual focus lens, or any other prime for that matter. This will teach you self discipline and control. If you are not ready for the plunge, you could always go for an AF, there is no shame in that. But don’t be tempted by the big shiny fancy gear with UltraSonic this and VR that, most of this stuff is completely unnecessary for the average photographer. Sure, if you have money to burn go for it, but as most of us don’t just buy what is within your limits and have fun with what you get.

One thing to bear in mind though is looking after your glass. In Japan the relative humidity is high, and it plays havoc with your gear. If you have a kit lens and you don’t really care, then skip the next bit, but if you have spent a bit of money then you should make sure that you get your gear out of the bag at least once a month (I get mine out almost every day). Get it out and let it breathe, check it, clean it, love it and care for it. If you have the space invest in a humidity cabinet that keeps your gear in a temperature controlled environment. If you don’t you could always use a couple of large plastic tubs with some silica gel sachets inside, this will do just as well. The summer heat can destroy your lenses, so make sure that you take care of them.

So, what is in a glass? An investment that pays dividends, as long as you look after it.