Hyde Park in Classic Chrome

Since upgrading to the X-T2’s my X-T1 has become my standard “walk around” or “sanity” camera with the 35/1.4 fitted (as I also sold on my X100).

Most of the time my walk-around’s are set to Monochrome as I still really love the way it cuts straight through to the essence of a scene, letting the light and composition “speak”. I feel you really have to nail these two aspects to make a Black and White image really work but it’s clear from comments that quite a few [fellow press photographers] feel that its an “easy way out” or a way to disguise shortcomings in a colour image. So recently I have switched my walk-around to colour, well I say colour, sort of colour – the Fuji Classic Chrome film simulation. When this film simulation was first added to the cameras a few years back it was really overused but now the Acros simulation has been added and Chrome being a few years old, it’s over use has diminished.

As always my “walk-arounds” are set up to shoot JPG Fine only and I have also set both the Hi-lights and Shadows to +2 for a really contrasty look. Set this way the shadows do really block up a lot but I kind of like the look.

One of the places I shoot often is Hyde Park as I walk through. Today the mixture of clouds and strong light pushed the contrast further. The images were downloaded through ShutterSnitch over WiFi and edited on the iPADPro in Lightroom Mobile where I mainly pushed the curves further, added clarity and a vignette.

 

The formation of the blue boats in relation to the tower block, along with the dark trees and contrasty sky took my eye here.

 

Here I pushed the sky a little further with a graduated filter in LR but again I really like the layers and mood of this with the boat contrasting against the cafe which contrasts against the trees and sky.

 

Diagonals and Contrast. Its like a Monochrome image – but its not!

 

This tunnel always reminds me of the “Death Wish” series of films with Charles Bronson (filmed in Central Park, NYC).

 

Running in and out of the shadows.

Having an X-T1 as a walk around is kind of nice – now all of my cameras are basically the same format with mostly the same controls and handling, but being able to change what comes out of them in terms of images is really powerful aspect of the Fuji system. Why not give it a go next time you go for a wander?

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

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.

Why??

Not another site or blog on Fuji X-Cameras? Surely the world has enough of them?

Maybe yes, maybe not.

Many of the existing blogs that feature how-to’s of these cameras are by Wedding Photographers or “Street” shooters. I’m neither of these, I’m a press photographer; a genre where we are often led to believe only DSLR’s can do the job, well to be honest, I’m fed up with carrying two (very) heavy SLR’s along with the associated big “glass”. I’m also fed up with paying the  prices dictated by Nikon & Canon for there designated “Pro” cameras.

My main business website contains a blog of my work but I wanted to keep this separate. That site is really for my clients and prospective clients to learn about me, how and why I shoot and what I produce. This is purely a technical blog for photographers and I do not think the 2 can be mixed.

Arcadia at Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm on 27/06/2015 at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury. A couple stand back, arm in arm and watch Arcadia at dusk.

I’ve owned Fuji’s for a few years now, starting with the original X100 (which I still carry around in jpg only, mono mode) but it’s only with the latest firmware (Version 4.0) for the X-T1 that I have decided these cameras are (almost) up to the job and I am going to switch. I say “almost” because there will be problems and issues; The focusing may be sorted but the flash system certainly isn’t and so this blog will detail my findings, musings and settings.

What is without doubt though it the image quality these cameras offer. If that had ever been in doubt there is no way I would have come to the decision I have. Image quality has always and will always be paramount. By designing a new system from the ground up Fuji have managed to get phenomenal image quality out of these smaller bodies, lenses and sensors, something that the other manufacturers have not been able to do, mainly because they were not willing to walk away from their old lens mounts and systems (and existing customers would not let them).

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm on 28/06/2015

I’ll try to keep this a place of serenity but I’m sure there will be times that it is not.

In my next entry I will try to explain why these units produce images comparable to the Full Frame DSLR’s I am leaving behind.