Climbing China’s Yellow Mountains with the FUJIFILM X-Pro2

It’s not often you get to visit a country like China that is full of wonders, but as most of you may know when an opportunity like this comes your way it’s best to capture it in full.

Recently, my overseas trip involved trekking through the Yellow Mountains located in the Huangshan National Park, located about an hours flight from Shanghai, China. Although this majestic place was close to Shanghai, I travelled from the busy tech hub of Shenzhen (around a 5 hours flight), and the limited air conditioning outside the terminal didn’t seem to compete with the hot and sticky weather.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF16mmF1.4 – ISO 500 – F5.6 – 1/1400 second

Our driver who didn’t seem to care much for his life, raced around blind corners in his F1 fighter jet or otherwise known to the people-who-want-to-live as a car. I must say, the door handles of the vehicle certainly became weakened by the end of the trip due to the constant strain from clenched grips. We survived, though and desperately scrambled into our accommodation after an hour in our driving simulator before we explored the town located a few kilometres from the base of the majestic Yellow Mountains. Upon taking a few steps outside of the car park I was reminded no matter where you are in the world, even in a small Chinese country town in the middle of nowhere you can’t escape technology!

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF16mmF1.4 – ISO 1250 – F1.4 – 1/7 second

The evening consisted of strolling the streets with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 to find a well-known market street which catered an array of local fresh and exotic produce. The mystery world of new dialects, interesting smells and many chance photo opportunities had me meandering through the rough cobbled streets as my attention was drawn in every direction. The X-Pro2 was discreet and simple to use. It felt natural and more importantly it didn’t obstruct my experience. Changing the ISO, aperture or shutter speed was simple, making it the perfect camera for my trip.

The hustle and bustle of the street died as the remaining colourful lanterns flickered in the moist late night air. The doors began to shut and my time among the people had come to an end.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF16mm R WR – ISO 1250 – F1.4 – 1/640 second

The following day brought the same heavy humid weather. After a quick breakfast, I was driven to a cramped bus that would eventually follow the winding route to the majestic Yellow Mountains in Huangshan. The iconic mountain range was best known for its eerie pine trees atop of stunning granite landscapes that often ‘floated’ amongst the heavy mist. Sunsets at this time of year were rare, but one could only hope there would be an occasional break in the clouds to expose the panoramic beauty beneath.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 – ISO 200 – F7.1 – 1/160 second

In preparation for the trip, I debated what lenses I would take to accompany the Fujifilm X-Pro2. I decided on a wide-angle, prime, an all round lens and telephoto as they seemed to be the best option to cover landscapes and any wildlife I might encounter when climbing the 1850+ metres. It was a hard choice, but considering the time of year and weather sealing on some of the lenses, I felt this was the best setup for my photography style.

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For the three days of climbing the weight of the Fujinon XF16mmF1.4, XF56mmF1.2 APD, XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 and XF50-140mmF2.8 plus two Fujifilm X-Pro2 bodies seemed a bit over the top. I quickly regretted carrying so much!

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My daily hand carry favoured the XF16mmF1.4 and X-Pro2 while the rest of the gear stayed in a small backpack, along with a few changes of clothes, extra socks, plenty of water and of course some spare batteries and a handful of large memory cards.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF50-140mmF2.8 – ISO 200 – F5 – 1/800 second

The history of the Yellow Mountains was learned with each step. The large carved stone had masterfully been moulded into the side of the mountain, quietly telling its story to the ascending travellers. The pea thick mist hid most of the peak’s grandeur for the first day but presented a rare opportunity to create silhouettes from the languishing pines, stagnate in time and nature.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 – ISO 800 – F5.6 – 1/2400 second

Day two tackled the steepest climb I had ever attempted. My neck arched every couple of minutes to calculate the vertical steps that disappeared into the heavens. A slow pace and solid grip on the mountain and the other on the X-Pro2 was the best means to overcome being pushed backwards down the mountain by the howling wind. The thoughts of ‘are we there yet’ constantly reverberated in my head, but I pushed on, knowing the images at the peak would be worthwhile from the extensive Google searches I had researched.

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HDR – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 – ISO 200 – F5.6 – 1/350 second

Eventually after a number of hours of climbing we reached the top. Dumping the backpack felt like a sheep losing its fleece, an abundance of energy surged as I photographed the misty lone pine dangling precariously on the edge. The cloud lingered and wouldn’t depart to showcase one of the highest points in China. It didn’t matter, though, I had the Fujifilm X-Pro2, plenty of storage space and an idea. I planned to photograph the mystic pine tree from a new perspective to what I had previously seen. Edging to the drop-off and the side of the barrier like a caterpillar I extended my torso beyond the cliff edge to begin a series of handheld vertical images that would later become a panoramic view.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 8 image stitch using the XF16mmF1.4

I finished the trip a week later and upon reflection, I was happy I utilised all three lenses while in the mountains. I wouldn’t have taken any other Fujinon lenses on the trip, as each focal length complemented one another. The durable X-Pro2 was exceptional, both in weight and operability, which is why I will continue to use this camera whenever I go travelling. Being able to travel to the Yellow Mountains is something I recommend you add to your bucket list. The trip for me was truly spectacular, and something I highly recommend photographers pursue, the memories and photographs will be with you forever.

Portrait Photography – Take Your Photography to the Next Level

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Taking portraits?
Need some advice?

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One of the reasons why people choose to buy a camera is for portraiture, or more specifically, so one can take photos of friends and family. This may be the reason why you purchased an X Series camera or even why you might be considering one.

Let’s assume you have an X Series camera in your hand for the first time and wanted to capture a portrait. Looking down at the dials on top of the camera may leave you feeling quite lost about the settings you should use to capture the perfect portrait. It is a common ‘freak out’ moment among many first time users, so don’t worry.

In this article we will explain how to capture a portrait if you are just starting out using automatic mode and if you wish to grow in your photography level 2 explains a more professional approach to portraiture using aperture priority.

Level 1 – Beginner: Automatic Mode

Fujifilm X Series cameras are built from the ground up to enable anyone to capture a perfect photo no matter what their experience. The balance of intelligent design, research and development combined with incredible image quality boasts itself in all modes of the camera, including the automatic mode.

Sometimes just picking up a camera and turning it on to capture the moment is all you need to do. It can be a great starting place to invigorate your creative spark and really get you into photography.

To start operating your X Series in Automatic mode change the following settings pictured below to the red ‘A’.

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Depending on the Fujinon lens, you may also find the ‘A’ setting on the aperture ring.

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The settings we will explore in this article (and pictured above) include shutter speed, aperture and ISO. These three corner store settings will form the base of your photography skill over the years and understanding them will take time so don’t worry if it doesn’t all sink in to begin with.

Basically, by setting the camera to auto you tell it to automatically calculate how much light should be let into the camera, how much of the subject should be in focus and how light sensitive you want the camera to be. These three settings are shutter speed, aperture and ISO respectively.

The second step when photographing in automatic mode is to ensure you select automatic focus or ‘S’ on your camera. Selecting this mode will ensure whenever you half-press the shutter button to take a photo of a stationary object (in this case a person) the camera will autofocus on the subject automatically.

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Tip: If you are photographing children, turning the focus mode to ‘C’ for Continuous as this is the best option for moving subjects.

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So you see, this mode isn’t all that hard to use. You will be surprised what success you can generate when photographing in automatic mode.

Tip: Did you know the Fujifilm X-T10 has an automatic switch that overrides all of the cameras settings? This feature makes the Fujifilm X-T10 a perfect choice for entry level photographers.

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If you want to take your photography to the next level it’s important to learn a few things about aperture priority and F-stops.

Level 2 – Professional: Changing your aperture (F-stop)

Changing the what?

F-stop is a term that refers to the amount or value of light coming in through the lens and it’s commonly referred to as aperture, something we briefly talked about when describing automatic mode.

Aperture, put simply is an adjustable sized hole in the lens you can change. The aperture is measured by numbers (F-stop), and selecting one of these numbers will determine how much of the subject is in focus. We will explain the numbers that appear on the lenses further through images for a clearer comparison, but first, do you remember when we talked about the corner stone settings that will form a basis of your photography?

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Aperture is one of those corner stone settings, so this means whenever you manually choose a priority setting, like shutter speed; aperture; or ISO, the camera will automatically take care of the remaining two modes. In this case, we would be changing the aperture by manually selecting the F-stop found on the lens, the shutter speed and ISO would then be set to automatic ‘A’. The jargon for this would be to say we are shooting in ‘Aperture Priority mode’.

Many portrait photographers photograph in Aperture Priority to ensure they utilise the best depth of field their lens can offer. The resulting picture is a subject in focus separated from the background by blur. If you are to take one thing away from this article, remember the following as it will make a huge difference to your portrait photography:

 

To obtain a shallow depth of field change the aperture to the smallest number (ie F2.8)
Think small F-stop = small amount in focus
Image result: The person will be in focus and the background will be very blurred.

 

To obtain a large depth of field change the aperture to the largest number (ie F22)
Think large F-stop = lots in focus.
Image result: The person will be in focus and the background will also be in focus.

 

Another important thing to keep in mind when manually photographing in Aperture Priority is to ensure you have a knowledge of the numbers on the front of your lens. Let’s use the popular kit lens, the Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 lens as an example.

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Breaking down the numbers the 18-55mm describes the focal length of the lens. 18mm describes the widest angle of the lens, whereas if you were to zoom in the maximum focal length it would be 55mm. This makes sense when written, but what about the accompanying numbers, the F-stop values?

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The listed F-stops of F2.8-4 describes the limits of the aperture (remember that hole in the lens). It is also true to say that the F-stop values on the front of the lens correspond to the focal length of the lens.

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For instance, if you zoom out to the widest point of the lens you will be able to select F2.8 as the maximum aperture ensuring you get the maximum depth of field the lens can offer.

However, if you zoom in to 55mm (to get closer) the maximum aperture decreases to F4, or in real world terms the hole in the lens gets smaller, therefore letting in less light.

Understanding these numbers will provide a greater insight into lens pricing and the amount of depth of field the lens offers. The easiest way to remember this is if the lens has a fixed aperture, for example the XF50-140mmF2.8 then no matter if you zoom in or out the size of the aperture is the same value – F2.8. In other words there will be no light loss. Whereas in our example of the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 there will be some light loss at the longer focal length.

So what does this mean? Can you still take great portraits at a focal length of 55mm at F4 using the standard kit lens found on most X Series cameras?

Yes, of course, you can! The only difference is the amount of subject matter that will be out of focus when compared to a photograph at F2.8. Remember when we said, “To obtain a shallow depth of field change the aperture to the smallest number (ie F2.8)”.

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Tip: To take the best photo using the XF18-55mm at 55mm we would encourage you to increase your distance away from your subject and zoom in while photographing in aperture priority at F4.

The other alternative, if depth of field is important to you, is to consider a specific portrait lens that has a small aperture. This may help explain why there are so many lenses available for X Series cameras. For instance, did you know there is an excellent portrait lens available in the form of the XF56mmF1.2 lens?

Can you guess what the photo will look like if you were to photograph in aperture priority at F1.2? We leave you to answer that in the comments below…

Hopefully, by reading this article and coming back to every now and again, these explanations may help you in the future. Remember, it’s not important to remember everything noted here when you start out, that’s not the point, rather what we want you to learn is just one thing at a time.

Learn ‘that’ one thing so it becomes second nature, and over time you can increase your learning. Other ways you can learn photography may include joining a photography club, attending a photography meetup, workshop or photowalk and lastly, when it comes time to purchasing a lens, we encourage you to visit an expert at a retail store – their knowledge on specific lenses could save you all the Googling!

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Josh Delany: Melbourne Views

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 ‘Moody Icebergs’ Fujifilm X-T1 ISO 200, 31.5mm, f/22, 5.3 seconds

Fujifilm Australia are happy to announce Josh Delany as our X-Thusiast Featured Photographer for November 2016. In our Q&A, Josh relays his interest in photography and how his Fujifilm X Series kit enables him to capture the natural beauty of the world around him.

 

Tell us about yourself. Where is home? What inspires you from day to day?

Home at the moment is Maribyrnong, in the northwest of the greatest city in the world, Melbourne. Hobbies include kayaking, cycling and of course photography. I’ve found photography my main focus lately as I can get a bit of exercise done whilst out exploring for a great photo opportunity. Daily inspiration is trying to make each day better than the last. In terms of photography, my inspiration mainly comes from the beauty of nature. It continues to amaze me. There is so much beauty in this world, I like to try and capture it from its best angle.

 

How did you develop an interest in photography? How did you learn and develop your craft?

While I was studying to be a building designer, I remember going to an architecture exhibition and being amazed by the architectural photography on display.

 

I’ve always appreciated photography and honestly, it was through getting Instagram a few years ago that I started taking photos on my phone and playing around with editing. It wasn’t until about 18 months ago I decided to take it more seriously and purchase a camera. The research I did was thorough and I eventually decided on the Fujifilm X-T1.

 

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“Porsche Exposure” – Fujifilm X-T10, ISO 100, 18mm, F9.0, 30 seconds

 

Do you have a particular photographic style? If so, what would you consider that to be? We noticed you like landscape photography; can you tell us what you look for in an ideal landscape shot?

I am still very much a novice, so I am still trying to develop a style and intend to spread my wings a little and try my hand at portrait and architectural photography. For the moment, I really enjoy landscape photography. There’s a great feeling of adventure going away for a weekend, exploring, not knowing what exactly you’ll see but knowing it will be beautiful along the way.

 

I love water and sunsets. Long-exposure photos of running water is a particular favourite, so waterfalls are very appealing. I also love when the sky turns pink during a sunset and the hues bounce off everything around. An amazing landscape shot would be a combination of a waterfall and a beautiful pink sun setting sky.

 

What’s your favourite location to shoot in Australia? What’s your favourite subject to shoot in general?

Living in Melbourne, I’m often out and about so I regularly shoot in St. Kilda and Williamstown. They are on opposite sides of Port Phillip Bay and have great views of the city. I plan to do a lot more exploring of Australia with my camera in the future, so would love to be asked that question again in a few years. I like shooting nature in general, sunsets, water of any kind—including bays, oceans, rivers and waterfalls. I also like to include some man-made subjects in my photos like buildings, cars, boats—you name it.

 

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“Never Say Never” – Fujifilm X-T10, ISO 100, 18mm, F2.8, 2.3 seconds

 

What’s your favourite (or recommended) X Series camera? Why do you prefer that particular model?

The first serious camera I purchased was the Fujifilm X-T1, around 18 months ago. I loved the style, size and functionality of it. I picked up the basic skills quite easily on that body with the external dials and loved the feel. Unfortunately, on one of my adventures road tripping back to Melbourne from Sydney, I tried to get a sunrise photo of Horse Head Rock in Bermagui, NSW at high tide and was knocked over by a wave as I was climbing around the rocks into the water. The camera was damaged beyond repair with the salt water. I decided not to buy another X-T1 as I wanted to wait for the X-T2. So in the interim, I purchased the smaller Fujifilm X-T10. I find that it has all the features I require and has been just as good as the X-T1. When I do pull the trigger on purchasing the X-T2, I’ll keep the smaller, lighter X-T10 for the more adventurous shots where there is a risk of the camera being damaged.

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer or recommend?

I’ve only ever used the Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 on both Fujifilm camera bodies I’ve owned and subsequently all of my photos. I’ve found the lens to be very sharp with no issues at all. This has been a great lens for my learning over the last 18 months. I intend to purchase the XF10-24mmF4 when I upgrade camera bodies, from what I have seen it is an amazing lens for landscapes and suits my current needs.

 

Do you have a particularly favourite image in mind that you feel strongly about? Can you share the story behind this image?

All of the images I share publicly I appreciate. They were often enjoyed with amazing people who were with me exploring with many laughs along the way. One particular photo that stands out for me is of a beautiful sunset at Pennington Bay on Kangaroo Island, which is off mainland Australia. The water was an amazingly clear aqua colour, the sky was a mix of purples and pinks, and the rocky landscape was still being lit up by the sun. It was an amazing moment with great company and I was really happy I captured a photo to remember it by.

 

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“Stunning Pennington” – Fujifilm X-T10, ISO 100, 19.6mm, F11, 14 seconds

 

Could you describe your photographic workflow? How do you share your images with your audience (Facebook/Instagram?)

Once the photo is taken, I try to edit the photo that day as soon as I’m home, so the excitement and environment is still fresh in the mind. I simply remove the memory card and insert it into my MacBook Pro. I upload the photos directly to Lightroom. From there, I like to enhance the presence of the photo by adjusting the clarity, vibrance and saturation. This is a delicate task as it is easy to overedit. I’ll then make minor adjustments to the tone of the image with exposure, contrast, blacks, whites and shadows. Lastly, I might make some changes to colours, only if I think it is required. I mainly use Instagram (@josh_delany) to share my images, as that is where my main interest in photography started. I do have a Facebook page (Josh Delany Photography) but I’m not as active on that platform.

Do you prefer any third-party, post-processing software, camera accessories to further develop your work?

As mentioned in the previous question, the only post-processing I use at the moment is Adobe Lightroom. I’m still learning my way through the program but feel I know the basics. Next step for me is to learn how to use Photoshop effectively.

 

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“Lucy Liu Bar & Restaurant, Melbourne” – Fujifilm X-T1 + XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS

 

Do you have any final thoughts regarding Fujifilm X Series? Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share for other photographers out there pursuing their craft?

I feel the Fujifilm X Series is the leader in the mirrorless range of cameras. I really love the style and practicality of the models they produce. As for tips and advice, I’m still a novice myself, constantly learning new things, with much more to learn. I’ve found the more you know about your camera, the better prepared you’ll be when on-site trying to shoot your subject. So study the camera, research any difficulties you may have found today, so you’re more prepared tomorrow. Get out and practice, practice, practice. The main thing is to have fun! Get out and explore, get creative, take chances. Enjoy the moment while it’s in front of you as well as taking a photo that will last forever.

 

If you, or someone you know in Australia, is interested in joining our X-Thusiast community, check out the full X-Thusiast Gallery and Submission details.

5 Tips for Low Light Photography

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As the sunsets and the moonrises, the approach for a good photo shifts. Low light photography requires you to think differently to compensate for the lack of available light and colour. But when you know how to use low light as an advantage, it opens up a new style, and a new time of day, for you to explore with your art.

Try the following five tips for low light photography.

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“Mel burns at night” taken by Kristoferus Andriono (@kristoferus) – Fujifilm X100S

Make use of your tripod.

 

With such little light available, you most often need to work with slow shutter speeds. The long lapse in the open shutter means you almost always need your tripod to stabilise your equipment, especially for exposures longer than a second. Tripods are especially useful when capturing star stacks or light trails from automotive traffic. Even when you use your tripod, you may decide to use an external remote release or the camera’s timer to begin your shot and limit detectable shake.

 

Explore your camera’s aperture priority mode.

 

Photographing in Aperture Priority (A) when the light is low will allow you to manually control the cameras aperture settings ensuring you get the best shot when photographing handheld. To obtain this result all you need to do is select Aperture Priority and change the lenses aperture to the largest F Stop – ie F1.2. The result of this will be a faster shutter speed that’s automatically selected, and in most cases, will leads to a shutter speed faster than 1/60 second allowing you to capture the photo without a tripod, handheld.

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“Sydney Celebrates” taken by Daniel Karjadi (dkarjadi) – Fujifilm X-E2 + 35mmF1.4

 

Play with light trails.

 

Rather than lament the lack of light, use what little luminosity you have and give it time to tell a story. Capture light trails, whether the course of stars over several hours using multiple shots or the path of car headlights over several seconds. You want to control your camera’s aperture and shutter speed for this type of shot.

 

Find stark skies with little light pollution.

 

Much of night time photography includes the outdoor sky in its grandeur. If it is a starlit sky you want, make sure you shoot from a rural area. An urban setting emanates too much light pollution because of skyscrapers, streetlights and other signs that remain bright through the night. Make the drive to shoot stars from a setting that shows their beauty.

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The Milky Way taken by Michael Davison (@michaeldavidsonphotography) – Fujifilm X-T1 + XF18-55mm

 

Climb high, explore your city and your ISO.

 

Not every night shot relies on a rural setting, though. You can take incredible shots of the city skyline or alleyways in the late-night hours. Most photographers rely on ground-level shots of city’s buildings and monuments, but you can think differently. Get up high and explore areas assessable to the public. See how the city appears from a balcony or rooftop and play with your ISO to obtain a suitable shutter speed for the lighting conditions.

 

With the right use of your photography equipment and a creative approach to limited light, you can take excellent photos no matter what the conditions.

 

Do you have any low light photographs captured using your X Series camera? Post a URL link of your online photo in the comments below and tell us a bit about the image – we would love to see them!

Announcement: Fujifilm X Series Cash Back (Australian Residents Only)

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We are excited to announce our latest X Series Cash Back.

Featuring one of Fujifilm’s flagship cameras, the X-Pro2 at $300 cash back, with up to $300 cash back on selected XF lenses, there is plenty on offer.

Could you see yourself selling your current Digital SLR kit and joining the Fujifilm community? Many photographers have before, and now is the perfect opportunity.

Or are you an existing X Series user after a specific lens, then we encourage you to take up this offer? Let’s explore a few scenarios…

You might have been photographing with a Digital SLR for many years and recently you have heard a lot of talk about the Fujifilm X Series image quality and colour reproduction. You may even know a photography friend who keeps raving about the size and weight of their X Series camera when compared to their previous camera? Does this sound familiar?

We hear this scenario all the time online, across stores and when we are out and about meeting people it is not uncommon to hear how many photographers love their X Series cameras and lenses and how it has reignited their passion for photography. It makes us proud to do what we do, so today we are hoping to ignite the passion for many more by offering this fantastic cash back promotion.

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Let’s explore a classic example of what we hear about:

A photographer switches from a Digital SLR Kit to a Fujifilm X Series Kit.

Typically, enthusiasts or professionals may have approximately 2 to 3 lenses. These lenses normally consist of a wide angle, prime and telephoto, and ‘changing over’ can be an expensive exercise. Taking the current Fujifilm Cash Back offer into account might make this exercise the perfect time right now.

Replacing your existing Digital SLR kit and purchasing a Fujifilm X-Pro2, XF16-55mm (wide), XF56mmF1.2 (prime) and XF50-140mm (telephoto), you could save over a thousand dollars. $1100 cash back to be exact – that’s not too bad at all!

Whatever you decide, whether it’s a single lens or full Fujifilm kit, this promotion is sure to be a winner amongst many Australian photographers, so we encourage you to get in early.

For a full list of Cash Back terms and conditions visit our website here, and remember if you end up purchasing some gear at an authorised local X Series stockist then we would love to hear about it and see it!

Be sure to tag #fujifilmcashback across social media with a photo of your new purchase.

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Laurie Davison: Chasing Waterfalls in Tasmania

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Remote Area, NE Tasmania” by Laurie Davison, taken with Fujifilm X-T1 + XF10-24mmF4

We are excited to introduce Laurie Davison as the next X-Thusiast featured photographer for October 2016.

Hailing from North West Tasmania, Laurie enjoys capturing the hidden depths of nature along the Western Tiers and Tarkine wilderness with his Fujifilm X-T1 and, more recently, X-T2.

 

Let’s start with the basics: Where is home? What are your hobbies? What inspires you from day to day?

My home is the North West of Tasmania. There, my hobbies include amateur radio, bushwalking and of course, photography. My inspiration mainly comes from the beauty of nature and adventurous bushwalks, especially rainforests, mountain streams and waterfalls.

 

How did you develop an interest in photography? How did you learn and develop your craft?

I have always had an interest in photography but it never really took off until after the workload eased off, so I honestly consider myself a novice, having only started with enthusiasm around four years ago.

My interest developed from the wish to record all the waterfalls my wife and I would visit on our bush walks. The learning basically came from experience, experimentation and the desire to improve the quality of shots. I would see photographs I liked taken by others (not necessarily well-known photographers), and I would try and emulate what I had seen. It was pretty rough for a while (still is at times), but over time, things improved and I’m still learning today without winging it quite so much.

 

Do you have a particular photographic style? If so, what would you consider that to be?

I wouldn’t call it a particular style, but I try and present my own interpretation of what I see. Although, over time, I have tried to emulate other styles and incorporate some of that into my photos. I still try and produce an end result that I am pleased with—one that is not necessarily tagged with fads of time. I like to try and keep it reasonably natural except where flowing water is involved … I prefer a longer exposure on waterfall shots.

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“Liffey Falls section” by Laurie Davison, taken with Fujifilm XT-1 + XF10-24mmF4

 

What’s your favourite location to shoot in Australia? What’s your favourite subject to shoot in general?

I really do have a mad affair with the Western Tiers and the Tarkine in Tasmania. In saying that, I also really appreciate anything along the eastern escarpment of the Great Dividing Range. My favourite subjects are without a doubt waterfalls of any size, shape and form.

Consider your favourite or most memorable Fujifilm photograph. Where was it taken, how was it shot and what does this photo mean to you?

I really don’t have a favourite, but the shots that mean the most to me are probably the shots that have been the hardest to obtain, such as remote areas that take a real effort to reach.

To me, it’s about the whole trip from start to finish, and there is something about looking at a photograph and recalling the complete journey.

 

What’s your favourite X Series camera? Why do you prefer that particular model?

The X-T2. I have the X-T1 as well, and it has taught me a lot, but the new X-T2 is like the X-T1 on steroids.
For years I lugged about a DSLR full-frame kit and to be honest, it’s not getting any easier as I get older, so that is why I looked at the lighter mirrorless systems. I tried a few and eventually settled on the Fujifilm system as I found myself more at ease with it. It’s more or less not much different to operating the familiar DSLR—not having to dive into menus all the time to change settings for me is a real plus. Those dials at your fingertips is the way it should be.

 

Which Fujinon lens(es) do you prefer?

I prefer the XF10-24mmF4, as it suits the environment I am usually in. Quite often I’m not in a situation where I can back up with a prime to fit it all in, and when I do have the room I can be flexible. It really fits in well and is my go-to lens 95 percent of the time.

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Lavender fields, Northern Tasmania” by Laurie Davison, taken with Fujifilm XT-1 + XF10-24mmF4

Could you describe your photographic workflow? Do you prefer any third-party, post-processing software, camera accessories or community networks to develop and share your work?

I try and keep the bulk of my workflow simple, confining it to using Lightroom with the odd time utilising the use of Photoshop CC. To me, it’s another steep learning curve at the moment as I have only started using the latter in recent months. If I have something special as a one-off to work on, then I will use CaptureOne as I find it and the Fujifilm RAW files work well together.

 

Do you have any additional final thoughts regarding Fujifilm X Series? Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share for other photographers out there pursuing their craft?

I’m just glad that Fujifilm keeps updating our cameras with regular firmware improvements. Other cameras I have owned certainly didn’t see as regular updates and this possibly held them back a little. Now I know I have the latest in technology available.

As far as tips are concerned, the best I can offer is to learn as much about the camera you’re using as possible. Get to know it inside out. With the photography part itself, just do what you love and keep learning. Your passion will eventually show through in the results. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the people you admire and look up to because most are only too willing to lend a hand. Most of all, have fun doing it.

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“Cascades on the Western Tiers” by Laurie Davison, taken with Fujifilm XT-1 + XF10-24mmF4

To see more of Laurie’s work, you can follow him on Instagram at @ljdphotos.

If you, or someone you know in Australia, is interested in joining our X-Thusiast community, check out the full X-Thusiast Gallery and Submission details here.

Fuji Guys – Discussing Fujifilm’s X-T2 4K Video

Aussie Fuji Guys Warrewyk Williams and Will Anlezark test and talk about the 4K video capabilities of the Fujifilm X-T2.

Follow the Fuji Guys on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/fujiguys

For more information about this and other Fujifilm products, please visit these websites.

Fujifilm Australia
http://www.fujifilm.com.au/products/digital_cameras

Fujifilm U.S.A.
http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/digital_cameras/index.html

Fujifilm Canada
http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/index.html

Fujifilm UK
http://www.fujifilm.eu/uk/products/digital-cameras/

 

5 Tips for Sharper Images

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You set up your shot, with its lighting and composition just as you want. But when you see your image, you find it is ruined by blur or debris. The lack of clarity in your picture may be caused by many things, such as a moving camera, incorrect focal range or dirty lens. Though difficult to detect as you shoot, these complications diminish your picture clarity.

Do not settle for little mistakes that defile your shots. Follow these five tips to make your images sharper.

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(“It doesn’t get better than this” by @greyugly via tumblr, Fujifilm X-T1)

Get an extra leg (or three) of support.

Monopods and tripods are useful for all photographers, novice and expert alike. Invest in a sturdy tripod or monopod that you are comfortable maneuvering. In low-light situations especially, pull out your tripod. Its three legs are more solid than your two for steadiness when you’re also dealing with slow shutter speeds.

Even the best tripods aren’t perfect, though. Weigh down your tripod as needed and use your body to block any wind that might tip it.

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(“Belmore Falls” by Brian Mann (@bmannphoto), Fujifilm X-T1)

Hold your camera with a sturdy posture.

Most blur is caused by mid-shot camera movement, however slight. If you are not using a tripod or monopod, at least use the best posture possible. Keep your camera in both hands and close to your body, with your elbows locked. When possible, support your balance with an external surface, such as a wall or tree.

 

Use a mirrorless camera or a lock-up setting.

Even when you do your part to maintain steadiness, your camera’s mechanics can foil the shot. Many DSLRs rely on mirrors, which swing as they send visuals from the lens to the viewfinder. Movement from that swing, known as “mirror slap,” can lessen image sharpness.

To avoid mirror slap, work with a mirrorless camera, such as any in the Fujifilm X Series, or select your camera’s lock-up mode, which swings the mirror into place well before you activate the shutter.

 

Set your aperture and ISO right for the moment.

Most lenses have an aperture that produces the sharpest images. If you set your aperture to either extreme of your lens range, you may have softness because of light diffraction. Whatever your lens, test it at various apertures to gauge its top performance. For a traditional lens, the ideal setting is likely in the middle of its range. For a wide-angle angle lens, it may be a small aperture (or large f number), because the lens is designed to capture a big focal range.

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(It is definitely not an eyebrow-raising lens and will not attract a lot of attention, making it that much easier to grab a shot unnoticed.- Sven Schroeter (@bokehmonster)

Maintain a tidy camera lens.

Every so often, pause from shooting and clean your camera lens of dust and debris. Even material too small to detect with your plain eye can diminish a few pixels of your image. Clean the lens thoroughly, because smudges may warp the light in your shots.

With your camera steady and tidy, and with your lens working from its best range, you can take sharper images consistently.

5 Tips for Travelling Safely With Your X Series Camera

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As a photographer, your travel adventures would not be complete without your X Series camera along for the trip. Whether you use the photos for work or for personal use, you want to retain the best sights from your expeditions. But be savvy. Travel with your camera in a way that keeps your gear safe and lets you move freely.

To have a great travel experience with your digital camera, follow these five helpful tips.

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An inspirational perspective” by @kasiasykus, X-Pro1

Secure your camera for a safe ride

As you fly or drive with your X-Series camera, your top priority is to keep your gear intact. To avoid equipment damage, disassemble external flashes and lenses from your camera body. Turbulence during travel might jostle your lens cap from its lens and leave the lens susceptible to scratches, so adhere the cap with a small piece of tape. Store everything in a bag with adequate padding.

If you fly, keep your camera in a carry-on bag rather than with checked luggage. Cameras packed with checked bags are more easily smashed by other luggage or stolen from the baggage claim section of the airport.

 

Pack only what you truly need

If you own a lot of gear, you might feel tempted to lug it all on your trip. But stick with just necessary items when travelling. Pack one or two zoom lenses rather than several prime ones. Carry your memory cards and charger but not too many batteries. If you fly, the number of batteries you can carry may be limited, anyway. Batteries contain flammable lithium, so many airlines restrict the amount you can bring on a flight.

 

Keep your lens tidy and your camera dry

Along with those other necessary items, you should travel with lens wipes and a brush. As you encounter sand and other debris on your trip, especially when you shoot outdoors, you will need to regularly tidy your lens. You may even bring a protector filter to guard your equipment from outdoor elements.

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“Capturing the little moments” by Russell Chee (@lordbadwolf), X-T1

 

Guard your gear from theft

If you have great equipment, others around you may take notice. Consider your travel locale and use intuition to determine precautions needed to protect your camera. To avoid unwanted attention, remove your camera from its case only once you are ready to shoot and return it to its case as soon as you are done. If you lodge in a hostel or hotel that lacks privacy or security, ask if the site has a safe you can rent to store your gear between shoots.

 

Protect your camera investment with insurance

The above steps lessen the likelihood of theft or damage, but still it is good to financially safeguard yourself from worst-case scenarios. If you have valuable camera gear, get an insurance policy that compensates you in case of destruction, loss or theft. Many travel insurance policies cover digital camera equipment, but check with your provider.

With your photography luggage light and secure, you can enjoy your adventure and come back with splendid shots.