Photoreport: Cats everywhere; International Cat Show

Photoreport: Cats everywhere; International Cat Show

It has come to my attention that the internet suffers from too few pictures of cats. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to somewhat alleviate this situation since last week I visited the 30th and 31th International Cat Show organized by the Feline Federation of Greece.

Seriously, cats are among the most photogenic of creatures you can find on this planet, and, I suspect, a number of other ones as well. This event was, as I mentioned already, an International show, so there were lots of entries as well as lots and lots of cat-loving visitors. From the very little I know about felines, my impression was that the level of “competition” was quite high. Extremely impressive specimens from a wide variety of cat breeds were present, a splendid spectacle for any cat enthusiast.

There is some understandable skepticism about animal contests in general, and I’m myself not immune to this. Seeing the animals had to spend some time in cages and probably mildly sedated, is not the best for any animal lover. On the other hand, when you get to meet their owners/breeders, you can easily understand how much every one of them loves and respects their cats. As with dog breeds, there have been several concerns during the years, with introducing breeding issues, leading to serious health problems with the animals. It is my understanding that, at this point, the concept is that of healthy cats of established breeds; i.e. trying to maintain breed purity doesn’t have to compromise the animals’ well being and long term general health.

It should be pointed out that there were also rescued cats for adoption, from a number of volunteer animal welfare clubs. This is very important, especially for the young kids visiting the show: breed is not that much of a deal when we are talking about a family pet and a lifelong partner.

Here is a collection of photos from the show, both from the display area as well as the contest/judging procedures.
 

The gear talk: All photos were shot with the X-Pro2 and the two Pro zoom lenses: 16-55mm and 50-140mm f/2.8. This was a perfect chance to evaluate this combo in what was, more or less, a photojournalistic environment.All photos are out of camera JPEGS, using the Classic Chrome film simulation.

I have been shooting with the 50-140mm for close to a year by now and I have been using the 16-55mm extensively for the last few months. Both are jewels in regards to the system, but also by any general objective standard one might have on lenses of this category. They are both as sharp as you’d expect from a good prime lens, even wide open, with the exception of the very limits of the focal range; which is commonly the weaker point for any zoom in existence. And of course, optics laws cannot be broken, if maximum light gathering capability, best DoF control and bokeh quality are a must, there is a host of top rated primes in the Fuji-X system. For practicality though, the two Pro zooms are very hard to beat.

Some people have –understandably so- some concerns about ease of operation of these lenses on the X-Pro2 body. First of all, I have to point out that I use a larger aftermarket grip on the X-Pro2. And yes, both lenses are substantial in both weight and bulk, but not by any stretch of the imagination as big as relevant DSLR lenses. Handling is quite comfortable even for a long time, with the provision that you have a good sized grip available. Of course the perfect camera for these lenses is the X-T2, especially with the add-on battery grip; in this case day long use becomes rather effortless, all things being equal.

On the other hand I have no nothing but praise for the image quality I get from both these lenses, used on the X-Pro2. In comparison with the “kit” zooms (18-55mm and 55-200mm) these lenses are in a quite different class in every single respect. And this is comparing them with two of the best affordable zooms ever made, regardless of system; in fact, especially the 18-55mm is a favorite of anyone owning a Fuji camera. That said, if the goal is the maximum in sharpness, contrast (and micro-contrast), build quality, focusing speed, weather resistance, and, in general, what we’d call “professional” features, the two Pro zooms are the way to go.

 


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