Despite using, writing about and loving the XF90/F2 lens over 2 years ago in Cannes (and borrowing one since), I had not purchased one until a few weeks ago, when I took advantage of the (recently expired) cash back offer to pick a shiny new XF90 up from my preferred dealer Fixation.
It’s with this new purchase, a pair of X-T2’s plus a XF14/2.8 and XF56/1.2 that I rode down to cover WOMAD this weekend. Travelling by motorbike means I like to travel as light as possible. I had guessed that the XF90 (equivalent of approx a 135mm) would be ideal for half length images on the main stage, with the XF56 for full length. I guessed right.
The 2 most effective ways of using a wide such as the XF14 is either to get in close to exaggerate the perspective or to take a step back for the wide general view.
On the smaller, less bright stages, the speed (wide aperture) of the XF56 enabled a lower ISO and higher shutter speed than the slower F2.8 lenses. Gigs (should) feature bright lights, strong colours and high contrasts which can make them tricky. Shooting with the Astia simulation dialled in, I set a fixed white balance (depends on the venue) and the dial down the hilights in camera whilst increasing the shadow contrast. The resultant jpgs require minimal work. (If it is a tricky venue, I do switch to RAW).
The XF90 allows me to stay further back and produce an image with a lovely soft out of focus background. To enable a wide aperture on bright days I sometimes resorted to the Mechanical + Electronic shutter option. As long as there are no artificial lights or fast moving subject the ES is fine.
I must admit i got a bit carried away with the bright reds of the robes against the dark greens of the arboretum and did not really shoot enough wide images to put the brigade into a wider context. I did love the images i got though..
So that was WOMAD, shot on 3 fixed length lenses. Zoom lenses are very handy but they are not the only tool!
Next up, probably Brighton Pride next week…..