Be Inspired

Interview with Dave Jackson – a recent convert to the Fujifilm X-T1 for professional wedding work

Dave JacksonDave started as a full time professional photographer in 1993 using a medium format Bronica. He made the switch to digital in 2005 using Fujifilm S2 and S3 cameras. From 2008 he’s been using Nikon D300’s and D700’s.

Dave and his wife Janice now specialise in weddings (40-50 per year), with a blend of classic, traditional, contemporary and reportage. They are pretty obsessed with lighting and locations. and use Graphistudio exclusively for their albums.

Recently they made the switch over to Fujifilm and offered to write about their reasons for doing so.

“My love affair with Fuji X cameras started like many professionals with the X100 which I’ve had now for a couple of years. I had yearned after an X-Pro1 for a while and took advantage of the great deal at The Photography Show in Birmingham this year which included the grip, 18mm F2, an extra battery and the chance to claim a free lens from Fuji I chose the 60mm F2.4 macro and also purchased a 35mm F1.4 shortly after.

“I really don’t know why but I didn’t take a lot of notice of the X-T1 on it’s launch but after another trade show and attending Damien Lovegrove’s Concept to Print tour I was hooked.

“I began to consider how the X-T1 could fit into our current range of Nikon D700’s and pro lenses and even on a longer term could it become our main camera(s)?

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XF18-55mm – ISO 640 – 1/160 – f/8

“We are a 2 shooter husband and wife team currently covering between 40 – 50 weddings per year. For some time, we have been concerned about the weight of our equipment and camera bags, today’s weddings are non-stop, very demanding assignments, often with several locations and very little time for actual shooting. I can’t begin to tell you how many camera bags / waist belt combinations we’ve tried (“oh no! Not another camera bag”, sighs Janice!) but nothing can change the actual weight of a D700 with battery grip, 2 batteries and a 70-200 F2.8!

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XF35mm – ISO 1250 – 1/160 – f/1.4

“I was taken aback at the weight of the X-T1 with vertical grip and 18-55. Other features that attracted me were the large dials for exposure compensation, ISO selection and shutter speeds, the tilt screen, virtually silent operation (the D700’s are noisy in a quiet church) and of course the best electronic viewfinder available so far. Fuji’s ‘roadmap’ of lens releases was also beginning to make everything look so promising.

“So I went ahead and purchased an X-T1 with 18-55 F2.8 -4. Already owning an x100 and X-Pro1 meant many of the menu settings were familiar and of course the 3 prime lenses I already owned could be put to immediate use if necessary. I already had 2 batteries but purchased another 2 as well as I knew they would be needed for the number of shots we take at an all day wedding. The camera felt so right in my hands and in no time at all I set everything up ready for wedding photography (settings shown in the image captions).

“We had a wedding just 5 days after purchasing the camera. I decided to jump straight in at the deep end and shoot as much of the wedding as possible with it.

“The X-T1 behaved impeccably! It took a while to get used to the EVF, I found a sort of 3 stage evaluation of the images whilst shooting-
1. Assess image with live view (aperture priority with exp compensation). The image can look a little contrasty with dark shadows and / or bright highlights.
2. Check the 0.5 sec preview. This looks better and less contrasty than the live view.
3. Chimp the image on the rear screen if in doubt. The image on the rear screen was confirming all was fine and I found myself ‘chimping’ less and less, knowing if the EVF preview looked ok that was enough.

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XF35mm – ISO 400 – 1/3000 – f/1.4

“Use of the EVF provided another advantage that I hadn’t really thought about. When ‘chimping’ with the Nikons the rear screen can be difficult to view. We often find ourselves taking a shot and turning our backs to couples to shade the screen to try and check exposures / blinks etc. The XT-1 solved this immediately with the preview in the viewfinder perfectly viewable regardless of light levels.

“A lot has been said about battery life. I added the vertical grip after the first 2 weddings and purchased another 2 spares. If a battery dies then the one in the body is immediately deployed so no chance of missing any shots and I can change the grip battery at a convenient moment. I am using 8GB Sandisk Extreme cards getting about 200 shots and the batteries are lasting for about 2 cards (400 shots).

“My next task is to sort using flash. Conditions were such that I didn’t need to use fill flash for these weddings. I used a Nikon SB22 and Nikon SB900 on Auto Aperture for a couple of in car shots and one cake cutting shot and used the D700 for first dance.
At the time of writing we have now shot 4 weddings with the XT-1 and I am completely convinced we have made the right decision.

“So, another XT-1 for Janice with 55-200 F3.5 (until the 50-140mm F2.8 arrives!) and probably an X-E2 each as well + 56mm F1.2, 10-24mm F4 lenses, – Oh dear the bank balance is going to take a hit!”

Check out more shots in the slideshow below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To see even more of David’s work, click on the following links:
http://www.davejackson-photography.co.uk
https://www.flickr.com/photos/djp_lighterside/

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