Happy accident with the 100-400

With a few “long distance” jobs coming up in the next few weeks I thought it was time to purchase the XF100-400, I added the 1.4TC as the saving is reasonable and you never know when it might come in handy (as it works well with the 50-140 as my previous post proved).

As when I last used the 100-400 I did not have the converter I thought, despite the poor weather and light I would take the pair down to the beach and see what they made of the wind-farm that is sprouting off of the Sussex coast.

I took this image at the full 840mm 35mm Equivalent reach (ISO 800, 1/450th and F8 on an X-T2) because I liked the contrast between the old torn stark fisherman’s marker flags and the modern windmills softened by the atmosphere and weather. As I processed the from RAW (pushing the Velvia simulation to extreme) I noticed a dark patch in front of the windfarm.

Zooming in at 1:1 I saw this..

Im not sure how far out the Dolphin was (please don’t correct me on type / species etc, I understand I am probably wrong) but I was unable to see it by eye and although not a very technical test, given the conditions (it was blowing a gale, I was hand holding etc ) I am pretty impressed.

Ill follow up with more considered thoughts later.

X-T2 : Finally!

I sort of stopped writing this blog a while back, the X-T2 was released and I was in a “no kit investment year” (I run my kit spending cyclicly where I have a year of investment, then a year where it all has to pay for itself before I invest again). Once the X-T2 was out I kind of realised that nobody really wanted to read about my using the older cameras so I put the blog on hold. (If thats not the case, let me know!).

Now we are into a new year, an investment year, and the first of those investments has just arrived following a good deal from Calumet‘s Jamie (and the help of a friend – Mike). I have added an X-T2 plus grip and a lovely Millican bag (that I will use for wandering with a single camera).

This morning I went for a wander, adding a 16-55/2.8 and the old 55-200/4.8. This was not really a test, more a “lets get to find out a little bit about you”. I’m a sucker for monochrome as you probably know so I set it to JPG and ACROS simulation. Heres a cross-section of images – mostly straight out of the camera, just cropped (unless I specify otherwise in the caption).

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017. 16-55, blacks pulled down slightly. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017. 16-55 , shadow and hi-light pushed in camera, SOOC. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017.16-55 clarity +4. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017. 55-200, Shadows lifted and whites pulled up. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017.01/04/2017. 55-200, Whites pulled up. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017.01/04/2017. 55-200, Shadows lifted and whites pulled up. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017.01/04/2017. 55-200, Levels adjusted, slight clarity. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017.01/04/2017. 55-200, Levels adjusted, slight clarity. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017. 55-200, Levels adjusted, slight clarity. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017. 55-200, Levels adjusted, slight clarity, curve adjustment. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017. 55-200, Hi-lights and exposure recovery. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017.55-200, Levels adjusted, medium clarity. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017.55-200, Levels adjusted, slight clarity. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

X-T2 Walk around test at Worthing, UK, 01/04/2017. Picture by Julie Edwards

 

There is nothing groundbreaking in these shots but they were all testing aspects of the kit and helping me get used to the new controls layout. I used the 55-200 because I wanted to see if the new AF made this lens more useful – it does, it kept up with the birds better than my pre-coffee panning technique. I am pleased with the ACROS simulation and how it handles edits (to the hi-lights and shadows). This afternoon I will use it on a proper job but for now I can sum up my likes and dislikes:

Likes:

  • Focusing – the tracking is far better.
  • Joystick – moving the focus points is a breeze
  • Landscape / Portrait AF pattern – having different points selected in the 2 camera orientations is brilliant (Firmware 2.0)
  • Speed – A far more responsive camera
  • ISO adjustment on the front command dial
  • ACROS

Dislikes:

  • Back button focussing – my Tracking / Single shot trick (see this article) no longer works, BBF is less useful

So thats overwhelmingly positive then!

Now I have current kit, I will be writing a lot more again so make sure you head back. More thoughts to follow (and you can expect posts on the 150-400 soon also). Thank you for visiting.

BAFTA’s 2017 – A monochrome slide show

Last Sunday (the 12th) was my annual trip to photograph the stars arriving for the British Academy Film Awards which, this year, took place at The Royal Albert Hall. As usual I was shooting on on Fujifilm X-Series, mostly the X-T1 and 50-140 with some on the 56mm mounted on a second X-t1. The wide images are using the 14mm mounted on an X-Pro1.

One interesting fact is that despite shooting over 1700 images on the 2 X-T1’s, I only changed the battery once in each camera (and the 50-140 body shot way more than the 56 body). In very cold weather, thats not too bad

Normally I would post a series of images here but I think its just easier to pass you over to my main side and a slideshow.

Back on the Red Carpet

Last night I was back on the red carpet for the Fifty Shades Darker UK Premiere at ODEON Leicester Square.

Julie Edwards Photography: Fifty Shades Darker UK Premiere at ODEON Leicester Square on 09/02/2017 &emdash; Jamie Dornan

All shot with Fuji X-T1 mostly with the 50-140/2.8 but the wides were with the 16-55/2.8

 

Here is a  small showcase  of images:  http://www.julieedwardsphotography.co.uk/fiftyshadesdarkeruk

Working: Gig Photography

I’m still working on the White Balance post; so much I want to cover in it, I will probably have to split it into two.

To keep the blog rolling though, here is a quick look at my work last night. I was at the Brighton Dome to cover City and Colour with Lucy Rose as the support.

Browsing around the inter-web as we do I come across lots of discussions about “Can’t use this camera for so-and-so”, “thats the wrong lens for that”, quite often with no follow up argument (yes trolls). Quite often the discussions are about using Fujis in low light or in Gig situations.

Last night I started with the 16-55/2.8 & 50-140/2.8 “Red Label” lenses getting the basic shots, for the 3rd song I switched to the 56/1.2 basically because I had not used it in a darkish gig and wanted to see what I could get…

Lucy Rose plays Brighton Dome on 18/02/2016. Picture by Julie Edwards.  X-T1, ISO800, 1/180th @ F1.2, Astia Simulation

Lucy Rose plays Brighton Dome on 18/02/2016. Picture by Julie Edwards.
X-T1, ISO800, 1/180th @ F1.2, Astia Simulation

X-T1: Firmware 4.3 Update

Amidst the fuss over the launch of the X-Pro2, the latest firmware update to the X-T1 has come and gone almost unnoticed.

Yes, this was just a re-issued of the ill-fated 4.20 release (which had a slight bug in it) but try to find a review or thoughts on release 4.20 or 4.30 and you will struggle.

There are a few tweaks to the MF/AF workings in this release (which to be honest, I have not got my head around) but there are also 2 major updates that will really help me.

  • The flash now works in the continuous drive modes. I.e. I can use my flash at 3 and 8 frames per second. That is a huge thing in press work (just picture all the news clips featuring press photographers working, you will understand). I can now remove this item from my wishlist.
  • The record/video button on the top face can now be assigned a function. Ok, I know there are lots that can be assigned already and, if I don’t have it on a button then I can put it in the Q menu. I change the white balance (WB) a lot, preferably shooting a custom white balance (yes, this is still a planned post) and the white balance option in the Q menu does not offer the option to shot a new WB; only the option to select existing. However setting the “Video Button”, now known as FN7, to WB displays a small menu and allows me to shoot a new custom WB. Not having to dig in the main menu for this is a another step forward (and to be honest, a little similar to the way my old Nikons worked).

My Fn buttons are now set as follows:

FN Button Settings

FN Button Settings: Film Simulation. Direct Focus Point Control and WB.

With small steps we can travel a great distance and this new firmware is another small step. Not updated your camera yet? Head over to the X-T1 firmware page to download the latest.

I’ll sign off with an image from last night’s job..

Cally Jane Beech arrives on the pink carpet for the European Premiere of “How To Be Single”. Shot with a custom white balance 😉

The Names BOND.

Just a quick post of some of the work I shot last night at the World Premiere of the latest Bond film SPECTRE. Really just to give an idea of typical work and results. Not really a blog post, just a “did this with these cameras”

Apart from one shot, they were all shot on the X-T1’s  into JPG in Astia film simulation then slight edit in Lightroom. Further details under each shot.

Daniel Craig: X-T1/50-140@F2.8

 

Monica Bellucci : X-T1/50-140@F2.8

 

Lea Seydoux: X-T1/50-140@F2.8

 

Lea Seydoux & Monica Bellucci: X-T1/50-140@F2.8

Ben Whishaw: X-T1/50-140@F2.8

 

Dame Shirley Bassey: X-T1/50-140@F2.8

 

Sam Smith: X-T1/55-200@F4.8

 

Joan Collins: X-T1/50-140@F2.8

 

Lea Seydoux & Monica Bellucci: Wide on X-Pro-1/14mm@F4

The Long Problem: Part 2

Footnote: Just as I was publishing this the Metabones adaptor was delivered. If the packaging is anything to go by, this is going to be a very good investment. Thats how I finished off The Long Problem: Part 1.

The adaptor in its (superb) packaging next the the Nikon 300/F4

I have now had this adaptor for just over a month and have used it on a number of jobs. Cutting to the chase, it lives up to it’s supurb packaging giving a secure reliable mounting for (in my case) the Nikon 300mm/F4.

Corporate Golf Day. X-T1/Nikon 300/F4/ISO1000

In addition to providing a more secure and reliable mount, the adaptor differs from the lower cost items by its graduated and ‘geared’ aperture control. All of these adaptors ‘adjust’ the aperture using the  ‘blade’ that potrudes from the older F-Type nikon lenses (and not the newer electronic control of the newer lenses and hence unable to control the aperture on the newer G-Type lenses). The lower cost products link to this blade directly meaning real control is almost impossible with the lever having such a short throw. The metabones product seems to be ‘geared’ having the minimum to maximum about of almost 1/4 turn with a numeric scale marked, (I assume) to correspond with full F stops, meaning full control is possible (if not very precise).

Sadiq Khan at the Labour v Lobby XI Football Match on 27/09/2015 at Brighton and Hove Albion FC’s American Express Elite Football Performance Centre. X-T1/Nikon300/F4/ISO1250

This results in the lens  being far more usable (either in aperture prority or full manual modes). In either of these modes the EVF (on the X-T1) gives the correct exposure feedback (as you would expect) meaning the less precise aperture control is manageable.

Showing the aperture scale

Focusing the Nikon 300 in this setup is tricky and definatly requires the 2x zoom in the EVF offered by the F.A. Focus Assist button. I also (still) find it far more sensitive to “camera shake” than using the lens on a Full Frame DSLR, I could try and compare this with using the lens on a Nikon D200  (cropped sensor Nikon) but it’s probably not worth the effort.

Corporate Golf Day. X-T1/Nikon300/F4/ISO1000

The colours are definatly slightly different through this lens compared to the Fuji products but it is possible to get perfectly good, sharp images.

Party Leader Tim Farron MP takes questions from the delegates at the Liberal Democrat Autumn 2015 Federal Conference. X-T1/Nikon300F4/ISO4000

Overall it’s definatly a usable, although slightly slower to use, solution until the Fuji long lens is released.

300/F4 mounted on the X-T1 via the adapter with the 50-140 shown alongside for size comparison.

16-55 / F2.8 : A true workhorse

If you have read earlier posts you will know they are not that long and when it comes to kit its more about “can I achieve what I need to achieve” rather than pixel-peeping sharpness reports. This will be the same…

Image: 16-55 Mounted on X-T1 with battery grip. 18-55 alongside for comparison

16-55 with 18-55 alongside for comparison

The “standard” zoom focal length is the staple of most press photographers work, particularly in the entertainment sphere (with media walls, parties, tight sets and spaces). Since having the Fujis I have been using the 18-55 / F2.2-4 . Its good, in fact as a kit lens its great but to be honest, I HATE variable aperture lenses – most of the time my flashes are on manual and so altering the exposure as I zoom is a real pain, outside this is less of an issue (but I still hate them on principle 😉 ).

Image: 16-55 Mounted on X-T1 with battery grip. 18-55 alongside for comparison

16-55 Mounted on X-T1 with battery grip. 18-55 alongside for comparison

I have had the 16-55/2.8 for 2 weeks and run 2 jobs through it, delivering 800 images to clients and press during that time (that does not include the deleted ones or the ones I don’t like), thats delivered images from this lens (its almost 2000 images counting all lenses). So although I have only had the lens for 2 weeks, I think I have a pretty good feel for it.

Image: 16-55 Mounted on X-T1 with battery grip. 18-55 alongside for comparison

16-55 Mounted on X-T1 with battery grip. 18-55 alongside for comparison

You can see from the images it is far bigger than the 18-55, its (obviously) heavier and feels really solid in the hand. Much like the 50-140/2.8, you feel this is a lens that will last a while, will take a few knocks and keep going (unlike some of the “plasticy” feeling lenses that a number of manufacturers are producing now to reduce costs).

Image: 16-55 Mounted on X-T1 with battery grip. 18-55 alongside for comparison

16-55 Mounted on X-T1 with battery grip. 18-55 alongside for comparison

Mounted on the front of the X-T1, the balance is a little front heavy but add the battery grip and everything feels right again, there is a certain weight in your hands and the the zoom ring feels lovely and fluid, not too lose, not too tight. With this setup, you loose a little of the weight advantage over DSLRs but its still lighter than my old Nikon/24-70 combination.

If you have used other Fuji lenses the performance is as you would expect (to my eyes) tack sharp with the colours & contrast being spot on.

Atmosphere at Festival No.6 on 05/09/2015 at Portmeirion, Gwynedd,

Atmosphere at Festival No.6 on 05/09/2015 at Portmeirion, Gwynedd

I spend a lot of time pointing cameras at light sources (you can’t beat a bit of back lighting) and I am pleased to say, it handles this really well. It does not flare nicely like the 56/1.2 it just produces little “rainbow” flares – this is the worst one I got.

Atmosphere at Festival No.6 on 04/09/2015 at Portmeirion, Gwynedd, North Wales. A musician waits in a food queue at night.

Atmosphere at Festival No.6 on 04/09/2015 at Portmeirion, Gwynedd, North Wales. A musician waits in a food queue at night.

Everything Everything plays at Festival No.6

Everything Everything plays at Festival No.6

So to sum up, I really like this lens, it feels right, it feels like it will last a long time producing the results I need. Basically its a real workhorse.

Just Working: Frightfest

This weekend I have been working at the 5 day Frightfest Horror film festival, an event for which I have been the official photographer for more years than I remember.

This year I have been using just the X-T1 along with the 56/1.2 and 16-55/2.8 (thoughts on this lens to come).

Ive been resisting doing monochrome conversations all weekend but then came a set of images of Diana Vickers.. I could not resist.

X-T1, 56mm, raw, Silver eFex Pro (my fav monochrome converter). I think this combination is my al time favourite kit for portrait work..

Diane Vickers attends Frightfest 2015 on 31/08/2015

Diane Vickers attends Frightfest 2015 on 31/08/2015