The Best Photography Kit

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Is there such a thing as the best camera or perfect lens?

Maybe for some, but for most you will find that no camera and lens will provide you with what you want. Many professional or enthusiast photographers and videographers would have experienced the question that always seems to be unanswerable when asked by a friend or family member.

The question that typically gets asked is…

What is the best camera or lens to get?

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You have to admit it is a valid question, but really it is a hard one to answer. In order to attempt at answering the ‘how long is a piece of string’ question, you have to ask a question rather than an answer. Here’s a good example:

What are you intending to take photos of and what would you like to do with the photos after you have captured them?

It is the final response that will determine what the best camera for them will be.

Technology does play a part in the solution, though, and it is one of those things that will always develop over time. A good example of this is when you look back 10 years, when the Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro was released on September 25th, 2006. Back then 6 megapixels was amazing and a frame rate of 1.6 frames per second seemed incredible. This to many at the time was a leap in the right direction. The specifications and skin tones produced by the camera seemed very adequate for most portrait and wedding photographers, but for those who required a fast frame rate, like sports photographers it just wasn’t enough.

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Fast forward to Fujifilm’s recent X-T2 release and the image quality jumped four times to 24 megapixels while the frame rate increased to 14 frames with the electronic shutter. Now, clearly, with the increased frame rate and megapixels this should be enough to cater for the portrait, wedding and sports photographers out there.

Some will agree with this and others might not. That’s the thing when making a camera – you can never cater for every user out there. Instead, Fujifilm goes the step further to try and provide cameras based on user feedback in response to the questions above. It’s certainly not everyone but it’s the vast majority.

Part of what being a photographer and videographer is all about is learning how to use the equipment to get the best results – despite the specifications.

So, if someone were to ask you – what is the best camera or lens to get – the first reply should always be what are you intending to photograph and use it for?

Based on this information you will be able to guide them with the correct camera and lens combination that will suit their needs. This is why we recommend you visit a camera store, because unlike online where the prices may seem better – you can never put a price on the excellent knowledge and service provided by an expert.

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To help you with your decisions while you read this, a free PDF buying guide has been provided in case you have any questions about the current range of Fujifilm cameras (a lens guide is also in the making). In the guide, we take you through each available model, including the new Fujifilm X-T2 and attempt to best describe whom the camera would be good for in a real world situation.

Once you have read through the magazine styled pages, we encourage you to visit our store locator (if you are in Australia) to find the nearest Fujifilm X Stockist where you can ask questions and get a direct response from an expert. On top of this if you are unable to visit a store we encourage you to call us directly on 1800 226 355 and choose option 4, where an expert from our Fujifilm X Series digital help desk will be able to assist.

Lastly, if you own a Fujifilm X Series camera, tell us why you choose your camera and how it best suits your needs. We would love the feedback!

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X-Thusiast Featured Photographer William Solis: Familiar Can be New

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In continuation from last month, we are happy to announce William Solis as our new X-Thusiasts Featured Photographer for September 2016. In his recent interview, Solis relays his thrill for cinematography and travel through Fujifilm photography.

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“Starry Night”, Fujifilm X-T1 + Samyang 12mm F2 @ F2, 30 sec, ISO16000

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

Home is Newport in the Northern Beaches NSW. It’s a beautiful place, and I simply enjoy watching the ocean in my spare time. My hobbies other than photography are fitness, cinema and technology. Each hobby has some carryover to the other and ultimately gives me some variety.

My biggest daily inspiration is seeing the incredible shots in places that I’ve been to many times. There have been times where I haven’t gone out shooting because I felt I’ve covered every inch of that location, only to see someone else’s photograph from there; I’ve gained a perspective I had never considered as if I had never seen that place before. It’s really opened my eyes to continually try different shots, so I carry my camera with me everywhere. As I look for those shots, sometimes a great scene shows up, and I’m only able to capture it because I have my camera on me.

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

Cinema has always been a big part of my life—even now it is a gigantic inspiration for my photography. I grew up watching movies and the cinematography was a very important aspect to me. The way the scenes were filmed, it was a perspective I had never seen in my day-to-day life. I wanted to capture my life like that. I also really appreciated my childhood photographs and they help me remember moments in my life that would otherwise be a fragment. I also felt they showed the moment better than I could explain it.

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“Fireworks in Darling Harbour”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

My parents got me a compact camera when I was about 15. From there, I took photos of anything and everything—at first, I emulated the compositions I liked in the movies without really understanding what made them look so good. Over time, I researched composition guidelines, photography FAQs, beginner guides, etc. I joined photography websites and spent a lot of time analysing shots I liked, matching them up with the composition and post-processing posts I was reading. I would get some constructive criticism from other photographers, but most times I would come back to my earlier shots and see what didn’t work based on the experience I had gained since then. My goal was to understand the thought process and develop my eye in order to take better shots.

Over the years, I have met other photographers who have taught me a lot and I have attended workshops that have taught me things that would have otherwise taken me way longer to learn. I am still developing my vision through experimenting, mixing it up or looking at shots from people who have different viewpoints.

 

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

Travel photography would be the best way I could describe it. I try to see the places I go to as if I was seeing it through the eyes of someone who’s been there for the first time and I like to think if after looking at their shots, how would they have photographed it differently? From the beginning, my goal has always been to photograph to remember the life I have lived.

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“Sunset at Barrenjoey Headland”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF35mmF1.4, shutter 1/5000

What’s your favourite location to shoot in Australia?

Barrenjoey headland at Palm Beach; not only is it beautiful but there are so many ways that it can be photographed. I find it’s a playground, an open-air studio that I am free to enjoy.

 

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

That is not easy to answer! Most memorable for me would be a rain cloud I photographed from Newport beach in the morning. I went down to the beach despite it being a cloudy morning. I did not think I was going to get anything special but I went anyway. I just wanted to photograph.

I reached the beach and saw this wonderful view of a rain cloud over the ocean and the sun behind it. I wanted to give some context and sand wasn’t working so I walked past the ocean pool and onto the rocks. There was a rock that the waves kept crashing against and I saw a shot in my head. I squatted down, tilted the screen up on my X-T1 and composed the rock in the foreground and the rain cloud in the background. I simply waited for it to appear in front of my camera. I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel during the shoot and I know that influenced my shot.

The shot represents a couple of things to me: To go out even if it doesn’t look ideal and that you don’t always know what you’re going to get, so put yourself out there.

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“Good morning, Newport”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

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

X-T1 without a doubt. Specifically the EVF, flip-up screen and design. I’ve used a variety of cameras in my life but there has always been something that has hindered me or been not as enjoyable to use. The X-T1 is easily the most enjoyable—it is just right in the places that I need and almost feels tailored to me. It’s like the makers had a wishlist for a camera that they would use themselves and made it. I’m just glad that it exists! I refer to my X-T1 as my electronic eye because it feels like an extension of me and the closest I can get to saving the moments I see with my own eyes.

 

Which Fujinon lens(es) do you prefer?

The 23mm F1.4 is my main lens. It enables me to get the shots I am after. I do not feel hindered by it, especially in low light. There are many shots I would not have been able to get if I did not have that lens. I also use the 35mm F1.4 for subjects farther away and the Samyang 12mm F2 if I want to go wider.

 

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?

My in-camera settings are Pro Neg Std and Colour +2. I shoot in RAW but the look of that film simulation works for me as a base idea. I use Lightroom predominantly and Nik Collection for sharpening as I find it does a better job. I import my photos with VSCO 06 400H+1 + because it gives me a feel of what I’m after and starts the process of connecting the photograph I have in my head to the final image. Usually, I get the colours first then highlights/shadows/curves and then finish off with colour afterwards. Sometimes the missing piece is changing the colour hue, usually blue and yellow. Sometimes I edit a bunch of images and by the last one, I have found the look I am after and apply it to the previous shots.

I upload to Flickr and share it to Instagram. I also back up my exported images to an external hard drive. Sometimes I feel I don’t need to go to Lightroom and instead convert in-camera to the look I’m after and send it to my phone. I then edit in Snapseed and upload from there.

 

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

Firstly, I am very interested in the X-T2—especially for the video and AF—so I will be checking that out when I can. I highly appreciate the firmware updates and Fujifilm listening to feedback (any video-centric firmware updates for the X-T1 would be greatly appreciated).

I often get asked what camera I recommend and I would love for Fujifilm to make a 1″ sensor successor to the X30. I have a feeling that it will fill a gap for many people and would be an excellent introduction to Fujifilm. On a similar note, I would really like Fujifilm to host more events because it would allow people to try out the gear in real-life scenarios. I would definitely like to be involved or attend such events.

My advice for photographers would be to never stop learning and be open to new ideas, different compositions and styles because it may open you up to take photographs that you would have never considered.

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“Sunset on St. Leonards, NSW”, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

To see more of Will’s work, you can follow him on Instagram at @willsolis1.

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

Panoramas and Life: X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Ian Burrows

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We at Fujifilm Australia are excited to introduce Mr. Ian Burrows as our next X-Thusiast Featured Photographer for July 2016. When he’s not busy with his family, Mr. Burrows enjoys capturing the dark, unnoticed corners of Sydney metro and stitching together engaging, multi-photo panoramas with is Fujifilm X-T1 and X-E2.

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“Big Bend” by Ian Burrows, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF35mmF1.4 R, Auto bracket exposure, Manual, 3.2 sec, F8, ISO 200 (42 pictures)

Introductions first: Who are you and where are you from? Can you tell us about your hobbies? What inspires you from day to day?

My name is Ian Burrows and I am from Sydney, NSW. I’ve lived in the west, north and south of Sydney, but I’ve also spent brief stints on the NSW Central Coast and in the UK. Along with photography, I love riding my pushbike, shooting hoops and spending time with my kids. There are so many beautiful places in this world, but I find day-to-day life more relevant. It is what I do in my life, my life experiences, that inspires me and my photography preferences.

How did you develop an interest in photography? How did you start out? How would you describe the development of your photographic style, if you have one?

I think I have always enjoyed photography. The act of making an image stimulates the brain.

When I first started shooting, I was travelling a bit for work, mostly coastal towns in NSW. I was naturally drawn to the beaches, so I started out shooting seascapes and landscapes wanting to emulate the big names in Australian landscape photography. As life got busier and I spent less time near the ocean, I experimented more with night photography and urban shooting. It immediately appealed to me. Dark, desolate, urban scenes make me smile.The other influence on my style has been my obsession with panoramic images. Shooting wide and extreme views has driven many of my favourite images.

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“Belly of the Beast” by Ian Burrows, Fujifilm X-T1 + XF10-24mm, auto bracket exposure, Manual, 1/4 sec, F8, ISO 400 (24 pictures)

What’s your favourite location to shoot in Australia? What are your favourite subjects to shoot?

Shooting around the streets of Sydney is enough for me. I have a young family and so reality dictates that I stay local and shoot when I can, which is usually at night. I would love to head farther west, but that can wait.

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

The X-T1 has grown to be my favourite. The viewfinder and general speed are a winning combination for me.

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer?

The XF10-24mm for wide and XF56mmF1.2 R for long; wide for urban and long for portraits of my kids. The 10-24mm is so flexible and the 56mm just produces beautiful images under most circumstances.

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“Jaca Warra” by Ian Burrows, Fujifilm X-E2 + XF35mmF1.4 R, Manual exposure, 1/256 sec, F8, ISO 400 (49 pictures)

Could you describe your photographic workflow? Do you prefer any third-party camera accessories or post-production software?

My workflow is fairly set. l usually shoot multi-shot panoramas. I open the RAW files in Capture One, make adjustments to exposure and colour and then sync those across the Pano frames. I export to the individual frames for the panorama to TIFF format and stitch in auto-pano. I finish in Photoshop usually using colour and silver EFEX. I often apply a film simulation to alter the overall colour balance and feel to give a slightly unreal look something subtle but enough to register in the brain.

My favourite effect is a slight green toning similar to what you often see in movies shot at night on film.

What are some of your favourite features or aspects of the Fujifilm X-T1?

The big EVF, rotating EVF view and WiFi for on-the-go edits.

Do you have any advice to new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

Start with a middle-of-the-road camera, maybe a kit zoom and one prime. Keep it simple. Do not get caught up in the gear lust. Work smart. Hang out with good shooters. Observe them, and above all—observe life.

Any final thoughts, tips or advice you’d like to share?

It’s all about the light. And, lest we forget, a good picture tells a thousand words.

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“Fairground” by Ian Burrows, Fujifilm XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, Auto bracket exposure, Manual, 4 sec, F8, ISO 200, Compensation: +1, (3 pictures)

Interested in joining the X-Thusiast community and sharing your own story?

See the full X-Thusiast Gallery and Submission details here.

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The Number One Focus Tip When Using a Rangefinder in Low Light

Creating beautiful scenes at night can be difficult and sometimes frustrating if you don’t have the experience needed to master your camera settings.

Knowing the correct focus settings, shutter speed, aperture and ISO does take the time to master, so hopefully this article provides you some clear insight into photographing at night or in low light.

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To start with you need to understand what type of camera you are using because all cameras perform differently when capturing the same scene. For instance, is the camera a heavy digital SLR, premium compact camera or lightweight rangefinder?

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Based on what type of camera you are using many of the same settings apply, however, there will be variances in shooting technique due to the way the camera performs. An example of this can be found between a digital SLR and a rangefinder like the new Fujifilm X-Pro2.

Vivid Sydney 004Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – ISO 3200 – 1/210 second at F4

At the Vivid Festival in Sydney, Australia the light instalments attract large crowds and there are plenty of opportunities to photograph in low light. The problem is when there is little light falling on a subject, focusing can become a struggle. This wasn’t the case for the new X-Pro2 rangefinder though. Using one of the advanced features on the X-Pro2 it was easy to overcome the out of focus hurdles that many Digital SLR might have struggled with.

Vivid Sydney 009Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF56mmF1.2 R APD – ISO 320 – 1/250 second at F1.2

The Challenge

Photograph a low light scene from the festival with a shallow depth of field.

To achieve the shallow depth of field in low light shown in this photo above there were a few settings that needed to be set on the camera. The first was changing the camera to aperture priority and selecting F1.2 as the aperture. This would give a shallow depth of field. The second step was to select manual focus on the front of the X-Pro2.

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Now that manual focus was selected the attention turned to the rear of the camera to change the manual focus mode. To select the correct mode simply hold down the rear dial and ensure ‘Focus Peak Highlight’ is selected. If you don’t see this mode when you first hold down the rear dial, continue the process to cycle through the other modes until Focus Peak Highlight appears.

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Next, select your desired ISO setting based on the amount of light in the scene. Don’t be afraid to use high ISO likes ISO 2000 through to ISO 5000 or even higher as Fujifilm cameras are famous for their low noise at high ISO’s when photographing in low light scenes.

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At this stage make sure you are using the electronic viewfinder on the X-Pro2 as this will provide the huge advantage of being able to see in low light. If you are looking through the viewfinder found on a larger Digital SLR you won’t be able to see in the same lighting conditions because the optical viewfinder will not be able to gather enough light. This is one of the biggest advantages of low light photography on a mirrorless camera like the X-Pro2 over a Digital SLR.

The only way around this on a Digital SLR is to utilise the rear LCD screen as the ‘viewscreen’. This shooting setup almost always leads to a higher chance of capturing an out of focus image or a blurry photo due to the camera missing focus and not being as supported next to the photographer’s’ eye like a rangefinder camera would. Plus, you are bound to get a sore back from holding a heavy camera away from your body all the time!

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Finally, while looking through the electronic viewfinder adjust the smooth focus ring on the lens and you will be able to see areas within your frame ‘peaking’ (you can’t do this on a Digital SLR). What is peaking?

It means the camera will automatically add a thin white and black line around every object, and at the sharpest point-of-focus, these lines will suddenly ‘peak’. This peaking area equates to the area of sharpest focus in the frame. Therefore, if you nail the peaking on your subject, you will nail your focus every time!

As shown in the video below, you can also change the colour and contrast of the focus peaking lines to see them more clearly. The viewfinder shown in the video is from the Fujifilm X-T1.

Remember, photographing in low light can be a challenge and we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try a new setting. Practice the new setting when there is plenty of light and then master it before you attempt a low light scene. You should know where all your settings are without having to look at your camera. Master this and you will go far.

Introducing The New Fujifilm X-T2

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Imagine a camera that takes the best features of the Fujifilm X-T1 and X-Pro2 and combines them together to create the ultimate photographers and videographers tool.

Well, today we are excited to announce the combination of these cameras in the new Fujifilm X-T2!

The Fujifilm X-T2 is one of the most anticipated cameras in Fujifilm’s history. Not only will the impressive 24.3MP APS-C X Trans CMOS III sensor capture the joy of photographers around the world, but now with the addition of 4K and 2K video formats you will be able to film the emotion too!

Adding to this is a bundle of features that includes an electronic shutter with a limit of 1/32,000 second, an Intelligent Hybrid Phase detection AF, a robust weather resistant body, an impressive 3-way tilting 3.0” LCD and a 2.36 Million dots Electronic Viewfinder and dual SD UHS-II memory card slots that will capture up to 14 frames per second with the Performance Boost Mode turned on.

All of these features sound impressive (and they are), but the list of specs doesn’t stop there. As mentioned earlier the 4K video quality this camera now records is on par with some of the other professional cameras out there. When filming video you can expect excellent sharpness and low noise when recording up to a maximum of ISO 12800.

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Another important feature unique to videographers is the ability to choose a video frame rate. Fujifilm has liaised with various professionals and industry leaders to determine what settings best suit. Within the new Fujifilm X-T2 videographers will be able to select 29.97P, 25P, 24P and 23.98P when filming in 4K and if Full HD is selected; 59.94P, 50P, 29.97P, 25P, 24P and 23.98P at a 100Mbps Video Bit rate.

There are also a lot of settings that can be changed once you press the record button. You will be able to change exposure in ⅓ stop increments, correct the colour and the angle of view. Added to this is the option to change the exposure via the external HDMI port, which is well suited for videographers using external monitors.

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When you first handle the Fujifilm X-T2 you will immediately feel the magnesium alloy chassis that has been redesigned based on photographers feedback. With weather resistant sealing to suit rugged outdoor conditions, this professional body is slightly larger than the Fujifilm X-T1 due to improved control dials that turn easily with or without gloves. The new lock buttons located on the shutter and ISO dials are easily pressed to turn on or off the action of selecting a new setting. Also the enlarged drive mode and photometry selection dials can easily be accessed due to this new ergonomic design.

As shown in the video (above) the 1.62 million-dot 3-inch LCD screen has been redesigned to suit photographers. Now with a 3-way tilting screen, the photographer can turn and rotate the screen to a visible position when holding the camera above their head in a portrait orientation. Previously on the Fujifilm X-T1 the screen was only visible in a horizontal orientation.

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The launch of the Fujifilm X-T1 saw photographers from many different genres switch over to Fujifilm due to the large range of Fujinon lenses available. Sports and wildlife photographers were among the newly acquainted, but this was not only due to the lens selection, but also the features on the Fujifilm
X-T1 like autofocus and UHS-II memory card compatibility. Learning from this the new Fujifilm X-T2 takes autofocus speed and memory card storage to the next level.

The Fujifilm X-T2 is slightly different in the way the camera focuses when compared to the Fujifilm X-T1. This is because of the new Intelligent Hybrid Phase detection autofocus. The new X-T2 will allow you to select up to 325 autofocus points allowing for precise focus. What this means is no matter whether the subject is within the frame, the camera will autofocus very quickly to pick up the subject.

Adding to the list of new features is also a dual memory card slot that is now capable of recording to two UHS-II compatible cards. What this means for photographers is they can record photos up to 14 frames per second (when Performance Boost mode and Electronic Shutter is selected), which will result in a total of 42 Jpeg frames or 28 RAW frames stored at Lossless compression. This option is only available when the VPB-XT2 grip is on the camera.

Not only does the optional VPB-XT2 (Vertical Power Booster Grip) increase frame rate, but it also will accommodate two additional batteries (NP-W126S) at the same time to boost in shooting interval, shutter release time lag and blackout time while extending 4K video recording to a maximum of 30 minutes.

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As mentioned, when you use the optional VPB-XT2 battery grip you can select different frame rates like 14 frames per second, however, if this is too fast 11 frames per second can also be selected.

When 11 frames per second is enabled 75 Jpeg frames or 30 RAW frames stored at Lossless compression can be captured. However, if you require more frames to be recorded before the cameras buffer fills, the frame rate can be dropped to 8 frames per second enabling 83 Jpeg frames or 33 RAW frames to be stored at Lossless compression. Finally, if you need to record an endless amount of Jpeg frames, 5 frames per second can also be selected.

The X-T2’s ISO range of 200 – 12800 (RAW shooting) is exactly the same as the Fujifilm X-Pro2. When recording at high ISO like 3200 or 6400 photographers will find images and video to be very clear resulting in smooth graduation and deeper blacks.

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Studio and wedding photographers will enjoy using the Fujifilm X-T2 as the camera can now act as a commander when firing off multiple flash units when using the newly announced Fujifilm EF-EX500 flash. Found within the camera’s menu is the ability to select ‘COMMANDER’ mode, which enables full manual control of up to three supported Fujifilm flash units. Each supported flash can be manual adjusted to ensure you get the best possible picture.

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It is Fujifilm’s hope to design a camera that will suit a photographer’s requirements and it is refreshing to see that the X-T2 does this. Something many were not predicting though was the ability to film in 4K. Having mentioned this, it is worth thinking about to expand upon your skills to embrace this chance. Not all photographers will embrace this addition and that is okay, but to those who wish to expand on their skills the feature is there for you to explore and the same can be said to videographers when it comes to taking photos.

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This article hasn’t covered all of the specifications nor the implementations of the Fujifilm X-T2, so we would encourage you to follow this global Fujifilm blog which is now supported by Fujifilm Australia, Fujifilm UK, Fujifilm USA and Fujifilm Canada. We also ask you subscribe to the global Fujiguys YouTube channel to learn more about the Fujifilm X-T2 from contributions around the world. Together we are one and together we are here to listen to you the photographer – and now the videographer too.

Interview: The Most Comprehensive Guide on the X-Pro2

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Tony Phillips is an author, photographer, pilot, teacher, and lecturer, and has a long-standing passion for photography. To date he has 8 published books on photography. Four on Fujifilm X cameras and lighting. All are available on the following website.

He is recommended by MirrorLessons as one of 6 Authors of Mirrorless Camera Manuals Whose Books You’ll Actually Enjoy Reading. He conducts photographic seminars on the fundamentals of digital photography through to advanced lighting.

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I reached out to Tony with some questions to learn more about his latest book – “The Complete Guide to Fujifilm’s X-Pro2“, in which he examines the highly anticipated camera to form a detailed 545-page guide.

Can you tell us about yourself and how long you have you been using Fujifilm X-Series cameras for?

Over the years I’ve been a teacher, businessman and entrepreneur. I started shooting film in high-school, using an SLR as a school photographer. This ongoing passion has led me to writing books to help people understand photography and their equipment – so they shoot the kinds of pictures they are interested in.

I dipped my toe in the water with the Fujifilm X-E1. The first Fujifilm X camera I really fell in love with was the X100S. It’s difficult for people who have never shot Real High Speed sync with a leaf-shutter lens to understand why X100 cameras are so magical.

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A preview of what’s covered in the X-Pro2 Guide

When you write a detailed guide that covers a camera what are the steps you like to take to ensure all content is accurate?

Accuracy is essential in a book like this, and is a significant part of the undertaking. I handle a camera quite a bit over many months during the writing process. So it’s safe to say I become quite familiar with it. I read available Fujifilm information – including the manual and test everything I say. I sometimes ask questions of Fujifilm to seek clarification of technical details, and I have proof-readers who are Fujifilm (X-Pro2) photographers. In this book, for instance, I requested information from Fujifilm to cross-check my explanation of the new Depth-Of-Field Scale setting.

When the entire work is completed, I read, edit and test everything – every setting, suggestion and idea – to ensure nothing is missed and my explanation is complete and clear. I usually write the opening introductory chapters last.

What is the biggest stand out feature (or your favorite feature) of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 that you have been able to uncover?

I’ve shot with many cameras, so this is actually a tough question.

What people mostly ask me is what “hidden” features I discovered. And after handling the camera so much, I usually feel it is all pretty straight forward. Handle it for a while, and the X-Pro2 is an easy camera to use.

Since I am a photographer, I value image quality, then camera handling. The notable features for me are IQ, speed, and the hybrid viewfinder. I also like the new menu structure and customisations which help streamline shooting workflow.

Technically I’m impressed the bump to 24MP comes without added noise. It might not be obvious to people, but that is quite a feat!

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A preview of what is covered in the X-Pro2 Guide

In what formats can people view the X-Pro2 guide and is the guide interactive?

The X-Pro2 book is available in PDF, .MOBI, and .EPUB electronic formats and print on demand B&W and Colour printed books. Whichever format a customer buys entitles them to the electronic formats if they send their receipt (as proof of purchase) to the publisher. Instructions are in the book.

The electronic formats are all internally hyperlinked, and the PDF has an extended index and hyperlinked table of contents.

Based on your own experience, is there a particular piece of content that Fujifilm instruction manuals may lack?

The manual does a reasonable job outlining camera settings. It’s tough to cover everything in detail without writing a huge book.

Can you make any suggestions about how Fujifilm could improve their instruction manuals for X Series cameras?

I’ll be cheeky here, and say give everyone my book

But seriously, the manual has a logical structure. Hyperlinked PDF versions are always welcome.

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A preview of what is covered in the X-Pro2 Guide

When you talk to other Fujifilm users who have purchased your guides, what has been the best feedback you have received?

I receive lots of great feedback ranging from suggestions, questions, and occasionally a typo. What I mostly get is people telling me how much the book has helped improve their understanding and use of the camera in the pursuit of their photography. People often comment on the accessible style – which is something I aim for.

Here’s just a few from X-Pro2 owners since the launch:

“The book is really (can’t put it down) really great … such a relief to find a friendly conversational style of writing. I have used the X-Pro2 professionally and for recreation… I’m still fine-tuning how I use it, and I find it most informative to cross check how I use the Camera with the recommendations in the book.” – Roland Herrera

“Just want to let you know that I’m finding your new X-Pro2 ebook extremely helpful, and this after using my X-Pro2 camera for 3 1/2 weeks in Europe. Finding all kinds of helpful info on settings, etc. Thanks for writing it.” – Chris Morrow

“Thanks for the dedicated book. It’s really enjoyable and helpful.” – Hidenori Yamada

“This is a very well put together guide book, and I’ve read a ton of them in my time! Excellent!” – Steve MacDonald

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A preview of what is covered in the X-Pro2 Guide

 

Typically, how long does it take you to create a detailed guide, and did you face any challenges when creating the X-Pro2 guide?

This varies. This is my fourth Fujifilm-specific book. The first took 7 months. This last one came in at just over four.

The typical challenge is the long developmental lead time, and of course it’s a solo effort. That’s a long time to spend without an income.

If you are interested in obtaining Tony’s X-Pro2 guide then you can pick up your own copy for $26.45 USD. Over the coming weeks it will also be listed on Amazon, iTunes and other eBook outlets so stay tuned.

Understanding the Advanced Multi-Hybrid Viewfinder on the X-Pro2

When photographing different events under extreme lighting conditions it is good practice to understand how your camera works before the start date. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is new on the market and therefore learning the advantages of the Advanced Multi-Hybrid Viewfinder is essential to great imaging success. Many new photographers starting out would bypass the viewfinder altogether and stick with the clear bright LCD, but there are many advantages to the different screen modes the camera offers.

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For starters, take this example at Sydney’s light festival – VIVID (below). When trying to photograph bright bursts of flames at 1/8000 second using the XF100-400mm at full extension – handheld, looking on the back of the LCD screen becomes almost impossible. This is because holding the camera away from your face will present some unwanted movement causing blur plus achieving focus in the pitch black becomes almost impossible, as the fireballs only appear for less than a second in different positions.

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To overcome this situation the X-Pro2 has a handy trick. Positioning your eye up to the viewfinder presents a welcome opportunity to either select the Optical Viewfinder (OVF) or the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). Both modes have advantages, but there are a few default settings that are worth changing to obtain the best results.

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The image above was captured while looking through the OVF with an electronic overlay over the optical image. What this means is when you look through the viewfinder you can see the focus point, but the rangefinder view (framing) doesn’t change – it stays at the widest point. The advantage of this is you can see what’s happening outside of the frame you will end up recording. The disadvantage is you won’t be able to see all of the frame due to the long XF100-400mm lens protruding into your optical view.

Using the X-Pro2’s amazing single point autofocus in this mode you can easily half-press the shutter button to obtain correct focus, all while seeing the subject in low light conditions. Of course with all things digital there are many ways to operate the camera to obtain the same result. The second way of going about taking the same photo is the far better option, however as mentioned previously, you will have to change a few default settings in the menu.

When you put your eye up to the viewfinder and turn the viewfinder selector clockwise (located on the front of the X-Pro2) you will notice that the screen changes from OVF to EVF. Now you can see what the final image will be. This is a fantastic mode to photograph in if you are in excellent lighting conditions.

The default setting for this mode is to show you exactly what the end result will be. If you are photographing a bright blue sky at 1/250 second then you won’t have any troubles, but if you are photographing at a high shutter speed like 1/8000 of a second the image you will see through the viewfinder will become dark, making it impossible to see anything and obtain focus on whatever you might be looking at.

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The camera will still work automatically of course and pick up focus (but the obvious thing is you can’t see anything). To obtain the same image you will need to change the default setting in the ‘SET UP’ menu.

Navigate to the following and turn each setting to ‘OFF’

SET UP > SCREEN SET-UP > PREVIEW PIC. EFFECT
SET UP > SCREEN SET-UP > PREVIEW EXP./WB IN MANUAL MODE

Turning off these settings will now reward you with the ability to see at a high shutter speed while using the EVF.

From what we hear, this seems to be one of the main frustrations many photographers face when trying to photograph using the EVF on the X-Pro2. Now that you know what to do to overcome the frustration, we encourage you to share this with your friends.

This camera just might be brilliant

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Being a small camera, the Fujifilm X70 has been designed to be the everyday carry around for photographers who enjoy quality without the need for carrying heavy equipment. The general design of the camera follows X Series heritage, but with a few added bonuses that are sure to please the eager fans and it is these features that just might make this camera brilliant.

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Featuring a new touch screen users can now select whatever shooting mode suits them. Selecting from either touch ‘Shot’ or ‘Focus’ photographers can now engage directly with the back of the screen, bypassing the shutter button to either focus on a subject or to touch to take the shot. While this is a welcome option, if you prefer to be ‘touch free’ then turning off one of these functions is simple. All you have to do is touch the screen on the back until you see the ‘Off’ function.

The footprint of the X70 compared with the X100 series is somewhat smaller. With that said, the X70 still incorporates a generous grip for larger hands, while one hand operation is enhanced due to the ergonomic button layout of the back of the camera. Accessing the shutter speed dial is a breeze and if you find 1/4000 second isn’t going to be fast enough we would recommend you turn on the ‘MS+ES’ (Mechanical Shutter + Electronic Shutter) setting that will enable up to 1/32,000 second – perfect for shooting those direct sunlight shots at F2.8!

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Something many Fujifilm photographers rave about is the Fujifilm X Series Film Simulations that really provide a unique shooting experience. Selecting RAW+Jpeg will provide the best advantage when photographing in a film simulation. The film simulation can only be applied to a jpeg in camera, however when you shoot in RAW you can apply the film simulation when processing the photo in Adobe Lightroom. All you will need to do is navigate to the develop module and scroll down to find the ‘Camera Calibration’ and then ‘Profile’. It’s here that you would select the desired film simulation. You can see in the images below the difference it makes to a photo without having to compromise on quality.

It’s here that you would select the desired film simulation. You can see in the images below the difference it makes to a photo without having to compromise on quality.

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How to apply a Film Simulation in Adobe Lightroom

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In this example notice the colour difference when we applied the Velvia Film Simulation

The other setting that’s worth trying out on the X70 is the film simulation bracketing mode. Located within the DRIVE button this mode will capture three different images using a selection of three film simulations. You can program in whatever film simulation you want by accessing the menu – MENU/OK > FILM SIMULATION BKT. This setting is a great way to capture black and white images and colour at the same time – just note that this mode doesn’t support RAW capture. You should think about using this mode to give you an idea of what film simulation will look the best for the scene you want to photograph.

MENU/OK > FILM SIMULATION BKT.

This setting is a great way to capture black and white images and colour at the same time – just note that this mode doesn’t support RAW capture. You should think about using this mode to give you an idea of what film simulation will look the best for the scene you want to photograph.

So, if you are looking for a new premium camera or one that will become your everyday shooter, then the Fujifilm X70 is most likely it. Don’t feel you have to compensate by downgrading in quality or even features for that matter, because the X70 is unlike most mirrorless cameras around this price point. You still get a hot shoe for on-camera flash, an electronic shutter, excellent battery life and even an aperture ring around the lens for ultimate control. The only thing that’s missing is the viewfinder, but Fujifilm have you covered on that – there’s an optional VF-X21 external optical viewfinder that provides a bright frame for the 28mm and 21mm angles of view (35mm equivalent).

All that’s left is to get the camera in your hands to test out the full range of features for yourself, and if you’re not impressed, just turn the screen around and take a selfie!

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer of the Month: Michael DeBeen

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Fujifilm Australia is thrilled to introduce our June 2016 X-Thusiast Featured Photographer: Michael DeBeen. Hailing from Geelong, Victoria, Michael is a horologist, calligrapher and gifted photographer with a penchant for exploring the great outdoors. In this month’s Q&A, Michael shares how he uses the science of photography to capture striking shots in vivid detail with his Fujifilm X-T1.

LittleGepetto“Little Gepetto,” Fujifilm X-T1 + XF56mmF1.2 @ F2.5

How did you develop an interest in Fujifilm photography, and how would you describe your photographic style?

This is a tough question—I’m not sure what was the pivoting point that led me to photography. Throughout my life, I have been attracted to ideas and pursue them obsessively. It is simultaneously a gift and a fault of my personality, and photography is a product of this.

I consider myself technical-minded, and it may have been the science of photography that initially gained my attention. Things like lens and sensor design are fascinating to me. One of the reasons I became interested in Fujifilm was its unique X-Trans sensor array that negates the need for any anti-aliasing filter to minimise moiré.

My first exposure to photography was almost two years ago now, when, after much deliberation, I bought my first camera: the Fujifilm X-T1.

Before my interest in photography sparked, I never considered myself creative. I had a clear structure in my mind where science and arts were on opposite sides of a great divide. It wasn’t until recently when a friend commended my creativity that I realised there isn’t such a divide, and you can’t have one without the other.

While consistency is important to me, I don’t actively seek it in my photographs. I take each photograph as they come and try to find an ideal look for that particular image. It has a little to do with intuition and a lot to do with over-analysis and micro-adjustments. Perhaps some day someone wiser than I will help me understand and articulate my photographic style. Until then, I’ll continue being my usual oblivious self.

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“Cappuccino” Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 @ F1.2, 1/2000sec, ISO200.

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

So far, in Australia, my favourite location to shoot is the Great Otway National Park and the Great Ocean Road. It is wonderfully refreshing and calming, even from a non-photography perspective.

I look forward to exploring more of Australia in my future, and discovering more of its sights.
As for my favourite subject, that can change by the day. I appreciate minimalism—especially if I can find something striking without distractions.

Beach

“Beach” Fujifilm X-T1+ Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 @ F1.2, 1/4000, ISO200

Why did you choose the Fujifilm X-T1, and what is your favorite aspect?

Touching on what I mentioned before: The X-Trans sensor contributed to my choice, but it wasn’t the only deciding factor. My priorities for a camera system were quality (both image and physical), functionality, weight/size and support.

The Fujifilm X-T1 ticked all these boxes.

I was (and still am) impressed with the clarity and colour rendition of the X-Trans II sensor. Fujifilm’s choice to implement additional features such as an intervalometer, filmic profiles in-camera and their commitment to support even their dated cameras via software updates is a benefit some other manufacturers often overlook.

The X-T1 was Fujifilm’s current flagship interchangeable lens camera. I liked the X-Pro1 aesthetically, but couldn’t justify it over the technical improvements that the X-T1 offered. I love the idea of the X100 series, but I wasn’t in the market for a fixed lens system.

It is difficult for me to choose one feature over any other as a favourite, but the 0.005-second refresh rate of the electronic viewfinder is at the top of the list.

Which Fujinon lens(es) do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm X-T1 camera?

My favourite X-Mount lens is the Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 (~85mm full frame equivalent). It is such a flattering lens, it’s practically impossible to take a bad photo.

And while I was traveling through Europe, the Fujinon XF23mmF1.4 (~35mm equivalent) was invaluable. It is an incredibly versatile lens.

Could you describe your photographic workflow/process? Do you prefer any particular editing tools, social networks or camera accessories to enhance your work?

There is not much to say other than I still have a lot to learn. That is true of everything in life.

Although the X-T1 is very capable of producing brilliant results straight out of the camera—especially when you consider Fujifilm’s film simulations—I always finalise whatever I envisioned in post-production.

Beyond exposure, my most valued in-camera settings are the RAW file-type and the Adobe RGB colour space. I pay close attention to the histogram. The dynamic range of the X-T1 is admirable, so unless I am in an unusual situation, I will prioritise highlights and do my best to not clip them unless it is unavoidable.

Ideally I try to keep a rounded histogram so that when I get it to my computer I have as much data as possible.

My post-production workflow is probably best described as disorderly. I have not yet found a single software solution that can do everything I need in one neat package. I extensively use Adobe Photoshop CC as a tool to refine, polish and offer greater levels of photo manipulation. To complement Photoshop, I also use Adobe Lightroom and Phase One Capture One Pro 9 regularly.

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London Tourist, Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujinon XF23mmF1.4 @ F1.4, 1/2000, ISO800, polarising filter

Do you have any advice to new photographers?

Do not delete your photos! Once you become more confident in your abilities, you will return to them with a fresh perspective, and you will find hidden gems that you previously overlooked. If you are happy using your camera on auto, the best thing you can teach yourself is how spot, matrix and scene metering modes affect your exposure.

Any final thoughts, tips or advice?

A significant influence to my ideas and final results as a photographer is print and framing—how the image will appear on different paper stock, and how it can be complemented by a different frame.

Photography now being a predominantly digital format makes it easy to forget about your photos. Even if you are just starting out, don’t shy away from printing them. It’s important to have a tangible representation of your work.

MichaelDeBeen

You can find more of Michael’s compelling work on his Instagram account here.

Interested in joining the X-thusiast community and sharing your own story? See the full X-Thusiast Gallery and Submission details here.