Dylan Seeger

Hello! I'm Dylan Seeger. I started a design studio called Lovably Grey. I also made a record called CLAYE, and another called Readers & Reporters. I write an online magazine called Turtle Pie. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Fujifilm X100T (Part 03)

 

This is Part 03 of my Fujifilm X100T series, in which I share a bunch of photos that I've taken with the camera so far and talk about how I ended up deciding to buy it.

If you haven't been following along, here is Part 01, and here is Part 02.

In Part 01, while discussing my experience trying out the Sony RX1 and A7R, I concluded that I wasn't very impressed with the camera. Some people might be surprised to know that conclusion actually had much less to do with technology and image quality than it did with how these objects are physically designed and engineered.

I mentioned that the RX1 felt very much like a camera designed by a software engineer, and I stand by this. Knobs and buttons weren't where I wanted them to be, build quality felt distinctly electronics-y (I'm making up words now), and everything on a whole was rather uncomfortable. It just didn't feel natural in my hands.

Around the same time that I was interested in the Sony offerings, a hyped up little camera, crafted from a single block of hand-polished-by-a-German aluminum, called the Leica T was just making its way into the hands of reviewers. Luckily for me, being in New York, I was able to get my own hands on a Leica T at the Leica Store in SoHo. They went on to be sold out for months, though I wonder how many were actually made and sold. My guess is very few.

Now, this was also around this same time that I was finishing up Claye, and just barely starting Lovably Grey, so I didn't actually buy one. The T is over $3,000 for the body and lens, and I had quite a few expenses from getting these projects off the ground. On top of that, I didn't even have any real income until September. In fact, when Lovably Grey's site went live for the first time a year ago, I had all of $6 in my personal bank account, so I clearly had no intentions of buying a high-end $3,500+ camera at the time.

But I really enjoyed learning about photography and shopping for the right camera, even if I couldn't buy one.

Visiting the Leica Store to see the T was a lot of fun, though I ended up liking the very expensive and limiting Leica M more than the less expensive and trendier T. I tried so hard to convince myself that the T was great, but I don't think I was right about that.

The almost exclusively touch-screen interface worked far better than previous touchscreen cameras, but it still sucked. That was a deal-breaker. Even the Leica Store employee was consistently confused. He tried telling me on multiple occasions that I needed to 'press really hard and slide down' to see my previous shots.

'You're not pressing hard enough, I think!'

Definitely not something you believe if you know how modern capacitive touch screens without pressure sensitivity work. The dude just didn't know how to use it.

More on this story in Part 04.

As with the previous two parts, all images were taken by me through the lens of a Fujifilm X100T (affiliate link). If you have any questions about the camera or my setup, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.

 
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Fujifilm X100T (Part 02)

 

This is Part 02 of my Fujifilm X100T series, in which I showcase a bunch of photos I've taken with the camera so far, as well as talk a bit about the experience I had looking for the right camera for me. If you haven't already seen it, Part 01 can be found here.

I was planning to continue the story of how I ended up buying the X100T, in fact I already have it written, but after looking through the album I compiled for this post, I decided to delay the contination of that story for Part 03.

This is a bit of a darker set of photos than last time. Nothing terribly graphic or anything, just darker. I simply didn't feel like it would be right to go into detail about my purchasing of a $1,300 camera with the last photo being of somebody who can't even afford food and shelter for himself.

 

Fujifilm X100T (Part 01)

 

Last summer, I became pretty obsessed with cameras. After hearing countless good things from respected camera geeks about recent Sony releases, I took a trip to the Sony store at a nearby mall to play with the A7R and, more importantly, the RX1. And by 'a trip', I of course mean twenty trips.

I was never impressed. Every time I used the Sony cameras, I struggled. Autofocus wouldn't focus. Switching between modes was complicated. Shooting in manual made the camera feel like it was designed by a software engineer. I always assumed that it wasn't the camera's fault that I struggled with it, and that it all came down to my own suckiness. After all, I had never really spent much time with cameras that weren't iPhones. So I think it's still safe to say that my struggles with the Sony hardware were at the very least partially my fault. Either way, I decided not to buy.

More on that story in Part 02.

Long story short, in November I bought a Fujifilm X100T (affiliate link), and I haven't looked back. I decided that there are more than enough good reviews of the camera by people way more qualified than I am, so instead of reviewing it, I thought that it might be more interesting to give a little bit of background on my purchase decisions, and then let the camera speak for itself.

Every image you're about to see was taken by me with the X100T. Almost all are completely untouched—straight from the SD card—though a few have some exposure and/or hue tweaks. If you have any questions about the camera or my setup, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.

 

The New Blog

 

Turtle Pie, my main blog since April 2013, is moving. If you're subscribed, you'll need to resubscribe to this new blog feed. Click here to resubscribe.

So here's a bit of background on why I've decided to make some changes around here. In an effort to clean things up and make stuff simpler for everybody, I started to think about the sites that I currently run, and in particular began questioning why it is that I have three personal blogs. These blogs are:

  1. Turtle Pie: My main blog since April 2013.
  2. Ego Hole: An insanity journal where I post absurd things and scraps from projects that I'm working on.
  3. News: This is where I used to post announcements about big new projects, like Claye.

I really started to wonder why I ever thought that it was a good idea to separate myself out so much under all of these names and... 'Brands'.

I mean, here I am with a domain for my name, and it's just been sitting there to rot as I've gone off buying a bunch of other domains to do my actual work on.

Ego Hole will live on as is, because it's so wildly different, but I've decided to kill off the Turtle Pie name, and move everything old over to something new: dylanseeger.com/blog.

All of the old posts have been moved over, and after a couple days of cleaning things up, Turtle Pie will now redirect to the new blog. If you have any bookmarks saved of old posts, don't worry, those will all redirect to the same posts at the new blog.

I've also taken this oppurtunity to make some great enhancements to the design of the blog. Photos, in particular, really shine with the new layout. So much better than on Turtle Pie. You should check it out when you get a chance.

I really want to get into doing some more photo-heavy posts, along-side the text heavy ones, and this is a great motivation to do so.

If you've been following me, you may know that I've wanted to get back into blogging for a little while now. The last year has definitely been rather slow for Turtle Pie, and I'd be a fool to say that simply changing the name and layout would fix that.

I do, however, really enjoy what I've done with Turtle Pie. While I look back and hate so much of the 41,000 words that I've written in the past two years, I'm glad to have done it.

If you've been following Turtle Pie and have enjoyed it so far, I would really appreciate it if you could take a second to resubscribe to the new blog. If you're brand new and like what you see, I'd love it if you could subscribe, too. It's gonna be a fun ride.

Thank you so much for reading,
Dylan

 

Here's to Texture

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Texture is all over the place. We walk on it, we pay for things with it, and we drink from it. We eat it, we sleep with it, and we wear it to work.

We live in a world that's covered in texture, and most people don't even think about it.

 
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And why should they? It's not like the woven texture of canvas is a luxury, at least not anymore. The cheapest pair of shoes you can find in a Walmart will probably have a texture that looks pretty much the same as a pair you'd pay $50 or even $100 for elsewhere.

Of course, people who are invested in this stuff, like designers or tailors, will surely be able to pick out the differences, but in general it's hard not to make the assumption that the average American consumer cares more about getting a bargain than paying for craftsmanship or thoughtfulness, and I believe that assumption is especially true when it comes to everyday objects.

 
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That's arguably why good design in everyday objects is so important.

People use crap all the time because it's cheap. And it's usually cheap because a large corporation saw demand, forced a committee of employees to rush the design process and focus on cost-effectiveness rather than quality.

You can make something of quality without it being a luxury, it's just that a lot of businesses in this category aren't structured in a way that promotes that.

Maybe if we could make the operation smaller and therefore have an order of magnitude fewer employees to pay, we would be able to allow for more time to be thoughtful with the process while keeping the end product affordable and accessible?

Or maybe if we could further spread design as a core value across bigger corporations like Walmart, we wouldn't end up with so much sucky, poorly designed, and wasteful stuff?

Just a thought.

 
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Clothing and personal accessories are something I've been especially interested in lately. It's amazing how many different textures can be used in just a single shoe.

 
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The laces have a texture, the sole has a texture, the body has a texture.

There is so much going on that tells a story about how this object has been designed and created, but it's all so incredibly subtle that it doesn't feel overpowering.

In fact, you can hardly even see any of it until you stick your face right up against it. Some people might question why it's even there to begin with.

 
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I like to think that it's there because the people who designed the object knew that this kind of trivial detail, on some level, adds to the customer's love of the object. It makes it human.

These things may be partially built by machines now—these are Vans after all, not handmade luxury boat shoes or whatever shit people pay a lot of money for—but they are designed by humans.

Humans who probably want to make something they would be proud to wear themselves.

 
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One of my favourite things about clothing design is that there is a real sense of history and understanding with so much of it. There's a level of thoughtfulness and appreciation for the materials, as well as how and where they are used. While experimental designers may always try to disrespect common sense, I'm happy to say that most clothing is still designed with respect for how and why it exists.

For example, a sweatshirt is made of cotton and polyester because the cotton is warming and not quite as itchy as wool, and the polyester stretches enough to allow a snug fit.

There are endless examples of why certain items of clothing are made the way they are. Making a sweatshirt out of latex may appeal to some middle-aged white men with a way-too-good connection to the Internet, but for most people it would simply be impractical and uncomfortable.

It's funny though, I didn't always care or notice texture and material usage in the way that I do now.

I really come from a digital background, and it was just a couple years ago that something pushed me into caring.

 
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One may say that iOS 7 was the latex sweatshirt of software design.

All kidding aside, I wasn't a huge fan of the textures that devoured Apple's software design before late 2013. Linen was used underneath lines and lines of heavy text, leather is a sin both digitally and in the physical world, and green felt just doesn't have the same quirkiness when it's encased in a shiny piece of glass and aluminum.

But this big shift in software design did cause some conflict for me. While I may not have loved the application of texture in iOS 6, I missed it when it was gone, and I wanted to find it elsewhere.

Losing all of this noise in software ended up inspiring me to realize the beauty of complex textures like linen in the physical world. And, unsurprisingly, it turns out that linen in a dropdown notification panel of a mobile operating system really isn't the right place for it.

You just can't do the material justice when it's underneath a piece of oleophobic glass.

 
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Texture is something that begs to be touched. It's something that's beauty and meaning is as much about the way that it feels on your fingertips as it is the way it looks from your eyeballs.

And even though I do miss texture in software design, and hope that we see a more conservative return in the near future, I'm really glad that I've been pushed to see its wonder outside of the screen.

Because texture really is everywhere.

 
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We make music with it.

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We wear it out on a rainy day.

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We cook amazing meals with it.

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We fall in love with it.

 

© 2008 - 2015 Dylan Seeger