Harald Schmitt


Trained as a photographer in Trier, Germany, photographing wedding pictures, pass photos and advertisment. This soon became dull. To improve my career, I looked for new challenges in a bigger city... Munich was the town to be, at that time. Therefore I started as a sports photographer at the 1972 olympic games.

Later on I joined the picture agency Sven Simon in Bonn (former capital of Western Germany) and concentrated on political and economical topics. This meant travelling the world with politicians. Then I spent a year abroad in Paris and Nice, France: I worked at movie sets and covered home stories of different actors. Then I returned for two years to Sven Simon picture agency.

From then on I chose my own stories. Election campains in the U.S.A., earthquakes, strikes in England, begin of Socialist International in Spain, Italy and Portugal. Wars in Vietnam, Combodia, Rhodesia, Namibia and Ireland. Since 1977 I am a staff photographer of "stern" magazine - the first five years as a correspondent in East Berlin. There I took pictures of the early peace movement and travelled with Erich Honecker, former leader of East Germany, to Japan and Zambia. I produced reportages from the socialist neighbouring states. I took pictures of the strikes in the shipyard of Gdansk, the founding of the Solidarnosc in Poland and the break down of Czechoslovakia.

Since 1986 I am based at the head editorial office of "stern" in Hamburg. I am currently taking pictures around the world and prefer to travel in a small team. In all those years I travelled to over 120 different countries. The journeys for the "stern" were the most intensive and I always had enough time to prepare for the present task. I worked for all departments and chose to concentrate on certain topics.

In my free time I love to spend time on my sailing boat, a Hanseat 70 Mk III, model of 1975.


Spoiler alert: The Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is a truly great camera. It comes with sharp to extremely sharp interchangeable lenses. The current general trend: taking pictures without a flash and open aperture. The three lenses that are available on the market to date accommodate this photographic technique thanks to their high luminous intensity.

The operation of the camera is intuitive, as is the programming to one's own needs. Pick it up and you are ready to go. Depending on your preferences, set it to automatic or, if you like to turn wheels, go for the manual setting. Just like in the old days, you preset the desired aperture on the lens and the camera will do the rest. I've enjoyed excellent results with the automatic setting. The quietness of the shutter release is very pleasant. No one will feel threatened by its noise.

Instead of tempting you to take hectic snapshots, this camera compels you to photograph mindfully. One does concentrate more when photographing and moves around more instead of conveniently zooming in on the frame to fake it. In my early days of taking photographs, zoom lenses were not even available. After all these years I had completely forgotten that.

Walking around with the camera all day, its weight, even with three lenses, is hardly bothersome. Photographers who work with SLR cameras will definitely appreciate that. The lenses as such appear to be sturdy and look heavier than they are.

Obviously, the high luminosity of the lenses is one of the strengths of the camera, especially when paired with the option to take no grain or low grain photographs even in the high ASA range. I did try the feature in the dark Alter Hamburger Elbtunnel (a tunnel). It was possible to take a picture of a car moving slowly or of a jogger with an aperture setting of 2 and 3,200 ASA with automatic exposure without any problems.

The viewfinder is outstanding. It gives photographers three options: Use the large display in the rear, which I would only recommend in the close-up range for macro photography. Or you look through the viewfinder and see the image frame edges in the reflection. The third and most precise variant is to peer through the viewfinder where you will see the same image that you would see on the large display in the back, which does of course remain shut off. This option conserves energy and you will always have an overview of what you and the camera are doing right now. You can see reflections of everything. The distance, the artificial horizon, white balance, photographic effects―all of this can be assessed before you release the shutter. This setting will become a favorite.

I am usually fine getting a quick look at the frame edges. If you switch to the macro settings, the electronic viewfinder is activated automatically. As a result, you will not have any problems with the parallax. An ingenious solution.

What else is there to say? The X-Pro1 is a very well rounded solid camera with high luminosity lenses that produces no or low noise images in the high ISO range offered at an affordable price point.

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