Popcorn + Cotton Candy, Rodeo Austin – Austin, Texas

I wanted to make sure I was ready for peak blue hour at this popcorn and cotton candy stand, creating the kind of picture I was hoping to. If this seems odd, let me explain.

A decade ago, I was testing the then newly acquired Fujifilm X100S vs. the Olympus OM-D E-M10 at Rodeo Austin. I shot this stand and featured it for my first picture of that post. I have always liked the bright blue and gold design. A decade later, I wanted to see the technical advances in image quality.

Objectively, the picture from a decade ago looks low-res and modest. Plus, it’s so character-filled that it seems like it was shot on film. However, there are redeeming qualities of that picture. The 35mm equivalent better framed the single stand, and there were no close-by stands to distract. In addition, I like the simplicity of the couple ordering with no other people around.

This 2024 version, while sharper and more colorful, is cluttered with extra people. The 28mm is also wider, pulling in more of the surrounding details. However, I wasn’t going for framing perfection; I was more curious about the differences in image quality. Being a Friday night, getting fewer people in the frame would’ve taken extra effort.

Other factors also account for the differences in image quality. I shot the 2014 picture at ISO 800, but I could’ve lowered the sensitivity by using a larger aperture. I was still green when using the new Fujifilm X100S. I also shot JPEG back then because there weren’t any suitable RAW converters for Fujifilm. Finally, as I indicated in the last few posts, the upgraded LED lighting made everything brighter now, making it easier to capture higher-quality images.

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Last Update: 07/07/2024