Welcome to “Fujikina” – Fujifilm X Series’ 5th Anniversary celebration

What better way to celebrate 5 years of Fujifilm X series than by hosting our own event at our head office in Tokyo?! I was lucky enough to be here so I’m sharing the experience with you.


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Counting down to the start of the event

The event started at 13:30 local time, while most (but not all) of you were probably tucked up fast asleep. We had a countdown that had been running on our X-Pro1 website for the last ten days.

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Mr Nakajima explaining our company’s strategy since the decline of film sales

At 13:30 sharp [3m 9s], Fujifilm President Shigehiro Nakajima gave an introduction speech about how our company has evolved in recent years. Film sales peaked in the year 2000 and since then has quickly declined. We took our core competencies and technologies and the diversified our business to ensure survival of the company. At the heart of our company is, and always will be, photography. This is why the X series is so important to us.

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Mr Takahashi makes a great case for using a smaller, lighter system

Afterwards, the top man in the whole Optical Division, Mr Takahashi, [13m 21s] took to the stage to explain in more detail about the last 5 years of X series. He explained the key benefits of using our APS-C system, including image quality, operability, and portability. He thanked all of the Fujifilm X users across the world, with a special nod to the Official X-Photographers, for not only using our products, but for helping us design future products. It has been the constant feedback that has enabled us to make these products we all love so much.

Next up, Toshi Iida, General Manager for our Electronic Imaging Division [40m 19s] (that’s Digital Cameras and CSC Lenses to you or I), took to the stage to talk about 5 exciting new products coming in 2016.

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And the new 2016 products are….

The products are the X-Pro2, the X-E2S, the X70, the XF100-400 and the EF-X500 flash. Click any of those links for more information about them.

X-Pro2 – Hybrid Viewfinder [41m 53s]

Toshi explained and demonstrated the advantages of the Hybrid Viewfinder. We all know that an EVF is great because it shows you the image you are going to get, including your exposure settings and any other Film Simulation or White Balance options you have changed. But in a world where EVF refresh rates and LCD resolution seem to make Optical Viewfinders redundant, why on earth would an OVF be required anymore? Toshi explained how having a Rangefinder style OVF allows you to see what is going on outside the frame. This is something that cannot be done on a D-SLR, nor by using an EVF.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 – the first and only Interchangeable Cameras with both OVF and EVF

Also, two ‘problems’ still exist with using an OVF: “Parallax”, where the angle of the Viewfinder is slightly different from that of the lens making it hard to know precisely where the edge of the frame will be, and Manual Focus is virtually impossible because changing the focus ring doesn’t affect the OVF on a rangefinder. The X-Pro2 has overcome both of these problems by displaying a small LCD panel in the bottom of the frame. This can be used to either show the entire frame in a miniature form, or it can be used to zoom in to the focus point to allow manual focus while in OVF mode.

"Mr Iida talks up X-Pro2's advanced hybrid multi viewfinder. The only one of its kind in the world" - Wex Photographic
Using the ERF to manual focus while using the OVF to frame the shot (image by Wex Photographic)

X-Pro2 Image Quality [45m 53s]

The X-Pro2 contains the new X-Trans CMOS III – the third generation sensor, which at 24-megapixels, has 50% more resolution that our current. It contains technology that allows faster transfer allowing lower noise at higher ISO.

Fujifilm Colour [50m 50s]

80 years of film development gives us the expertise to recreate skin tones and other colours with exceptional realism. Toshi also talked about the new Acros film simulation monochrome mode that features smoother gradation, deep blacks and beautiful textures

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Acros tone curve, as demonstrated by X-Photographer Patrick La Roque’s son

X-Pro2 Magnum Photographer David Alan Harvey [57m 12s]

Next up, Toshi invited Magnum and National Geographic photographer David Alan Harvey onto the stage to talk about how he has found the X-Pro2 since using a prototype for the last few months. Here is the short movie that was played just before he joined Toshi on stage

David’s approach to photography is nothing short of inspiring. David likes simplicity. He wants his camera to be as simple to use as possible, while achieving the quality he needs to do his work. He used the camera in full-auto mode most of the time, wanting to spend more time worrying about the content of the image than what shutter speed to use. This attitude towards photography is exactly what we are trying to get to when we made this camera. We want people to enjoy photography and in order to do this you need to not think about the camera, and instead think about your art.

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Toshi held up a print of one of David’s photographs to demonstrate the quality [1h 8m 41s]. As many of us at the back couldn’t see it very well, he unveiled an enormous print. This photo below really doesn’t do it justice. To me, the photo looked like it was layered or something. It looked 3D, especially when compared to the screens either side of it.

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Now THAT is a print!
Photo by @zarias
Photo by @zarias

X-E2S [1h 10m 43s]

Next up, Toshi introduced the new X-E2S camera. It’s basically a rangefinder brother for the X-T10. All of the technical features that made the DSLR-style X-T10 a more attractive camera have been matched, leaving the user to choose between the style of camera rather than the specifications.

If you want to be able to shoot with your right eye leaving your face fully exposed to engage with your subject, or you want the classic retro look of a rangefinder of days passed, the X-E2S will be for you. If you prefer the more modern look of a D-SLR, plus the advantage of having a tilting screen for shooting high or low angles more comfortably, the X-T10 will probably be your preference.

Either way, you now get to choose your camera based on who you are, rather than which one was better on paper. Current X-E2 users can also rejoice in the fact that the software enhancements in the X-E2S will be coming to the X-E2 via a FREE firmware update in the very near future.

XF100-400 [1h 12m 17s]

"This new 100-400mm lens looks like it was worth waiting for" - DPReview
“This new 100-400mm lens looks like it was worth waiting for” – DPReview

Toshi showed a series of images [1h 13m 20s] that were all shot on the same camera + tripod. They were of a lighthouse and the showed the view at 10mm, and varying focal lengths right up to the final one showing the XF100-400 lens at its maximum zoom, with the XF1.4X converter on it. This did a great job of demonstrating just house varied our lens line up has become in the 4 years since the introduction of the X-Pro1. He then explained which of Fujifilm’s core technologies [1h 14m 0s] went into the creation of our new “Super Telephoto” lens, the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR.

Toshi then demonstrated the OIS [1h 15m 36s] by comparing a video shot at 400mm with no OIS to a video shot at 400mm with OIS on.

After that he invited the photographer that took the shots, UK X-Photographer Jeff Carter, to join him on stage [1h 17m 28s] to talk about how he uses the extremely versatile Fujifilm X system..

Jeff Carter, talking about his switch from D-SLR to Fujifilm X
Jeff Carter, talking about his switch from D-SLR to Fujifilm X

Jeff has been a professional photographer for many years and he switched to Fujifilm on a recommendation of a peer. His chosen subjects to shoot vary massively from shooting at The 24 Hours of Le Mans race, to shooting landscapes near his home in Scotland. He’s been fully converted to the X system since 2014 and has most of the lenses in our lineup and finds a use for all of them. They went through a number of Jeff’s shots and discussed the lens lineup and direction and also his reasons for making his final switch and going full-Fujifilm X.

Once again, Toshi proved the power of the camera[1h 24m 18s] by unveiling another print the size of the one by David Alan Harvey. The crowd was suitably impressed.

Toshi ended his interview with Jeff by talking about a product meeting Jeff had attended a few months ago. (You may or may not know that Fujifilm REALLY listen to their users for product feedback). He asked him if he remembered a particular request that Jeff had. This particular request was for a flashgun that could fire continuously and would also be weatherproof to suit his X-T1. Jeff confirmed that he remembered the request, to which Toshi then presented the next product…

Photo by @zarias
Photo by @zarias

EF-X500 [1h 25m 00s]

The only product not due to be released in February is the EF-X500 flash. Similar to our lens roadmap updates, we wanted our users to know that we listen to their feedback and we are working on a hotshoe mount flashgun to compliment the X series.

It’ll have a low-profile design that is perfectly suited to X-Series cameras, and will support high-speed sync up to 1/8000 sec. (the same speed as the shutter in the new X-Pro2). It will also be weather and dust resistant, just like the X-T1 and X-Pro2 cameras.

X70 [1h 26m 28s]

The final product that was presented was the X70,. This camera is essentially an X100T + WCL-X100, in a tiny body. It doesn’t have a viewfinder, which is the reason it can afford to be so small, but it does have a tilting LCD screen to compose your shot with.

"Awesome little compact camera" - Fujifilm UK's Theo Georghiades
“Awesome little compact camera” – Fujifilm UK’s Theo Georghiades

The same sensor as the X100T, the same processor as the X100T and an amazingly high-quality lens made by Fujinon (like the X100T). Now you can have a camera in your pocket at all times that won’t sacrifice image quality at all. Coupled with a 180° tilting LCD that’s pretty handy for selfies, the X70 really is the ultimate travel camera for someone that really needs to travel light but wants great results still.

Thanks

On behalf of all of Fujifilm, I would like to extend a huge thanks to David Alan Harvey and Jeff Carter for their contribution to our #5YearsofXSeries event.

Tutorial: Street photography

w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerToday I’m going to take you through some of the advice given to me by UK wedding photographer Kevin Mullins. Kevin’s approach to candid wedding photography translates precisely into his street photography style. 

What makes a good “street” shot?

The three key factors that make a good street image are;

  • good light
  • good composition
  • interesting subject

Get all three and you have a great shot. Two of them can result in a good shot. If you can only have one, make sure it’s the interesting subject

Assignment 1 – Shoot with a theme

Start by simply shooting how you want, but with a theme. Try the theme “angles”. When I took this shot below, it was a nice sunny-but-cool day in Cambridge so there were plenty of things to choose from. Look for good light, some sort of interesting subject, and carefully consider the complete composition.

The bright sun meant that to me, the ‘angles’ would need to come from shadows. This guy caught my eye because he was using his phone before getting on his bike. I wondered who he was contacting, or whether he was just checking a map. About 20 mins later we saw a cyclist nearly get taken out by a car so I wonder now if he was sending a ritual “goodbye, just in case” message. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 35; 1/640 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200
The bright sun meant that to me, the ‘angles’ would need to come from shadows. This guy caught my eye because he was using his phone one last time before getting on his bike. I wondered who he was contacting, or whether he was just checking a map. About 20 mins later we saw a cyclist nearly get taken out by a car so I wonder now if he was sending a ritual “goodbye, just in case” message. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 35; 1/640 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200

Assignment 2 – Frame your subject

Try to use people to frame shots of other people. Pair up with another photographer and go hunting interesting shots together. Use your partner to help provide a frame for the shot. The theme of “angles” was dropped but otherwise everything applied; light, composition, something of interest that tells a story.

Although personally I find the arm in the foreground a bit distracting, it does give a bit more depth to the image and the bright blue of this guy’s jacket and the sign pull your attention away from the frame  . X-T1; XF18-55 @ 35; 1/200 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200
Although personally I find the arm in the foreground a bit distracting, it does give a bit more depth to the image and the bright blue of this guy’s jacket and the sign pull your attention away from the frame . X-T1; XF18-55 @ 35; 1/200 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200
I like this one because the conversation is framed by the arm on the left, and also the stranger on the right. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 55; 1/200 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200
I like this one because the conversation is framed by the arm on the left, and also the stranger on the right. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 55; 1/200 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200
This last one failed the assignment in that it wasn’t framed by a person in the foreground. However, I like it because of the way the light fell on the faces of the people having the conversation. Nice light and begins to tell a story about a meeting in public. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 35; 1/200 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200
This last one failed the assignment in that it wasn’t framed by a person in the foreground. However, I like it because of the way the light fell on the faces of the people having the conversation. Nice light and begins to tell a story about a meeting in public. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 35; 1/200 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200

Assignment 3 – Spot Metering

The next thing to try is pre-focusing and spot metering. Put your cameras into spot metering and manual focus mode and stand facing a place where people would “break the light”. In other words, pedestrians and cyclists would travel from the bright sunshine, into the shade, or vice-versa. Use the “AF-L” button to pre-focus on the ground where we wanted them to be when we shot and then simply time them right to shoot them just as they cross from the light into the shadow. The camera will adjust for the exposure according to light on the subject, rather than the total light in the scene.

On the X100T, X-T1, X-T10 and X-Pro2 there is a setting that allows you to link the spot metering with the AF box. Activating this allows you to choose the point in your composition to expose for. On cameras without this function the spot metering will only occur in the middle of the frame so you may be slightly limited in your composition.

This shot was actually taken by Kevin himself using his X100T; 1/320 sec; f/16; ISO 640
This shot was actually taken by Kevin himself using his X100T; 1/320 sec; f/16; ISO 640

Assignment 4 – Zone focusing

Get close to your ‘subjects’. Getting close obviously means more chance of affecting the resulting image so it’s key to try to appear like you are not taking photographs. The main reason people need to really see what they are shooting is to make sure you are focusing on the right thing.

Guy working on a market stall. Bikes were everywhere in Cambridge. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 55; 1/90 sec; f/11; ISO 400
Guy working on a market stall. Bikes were everywhere in Cambridge. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 55; 1/90 sec; f/11; ISO 400

Keep your camera in Manual Focus mode, select a nice small (big number) aperture value and then used the focus distance indicator on the screen of the camera to understand where the range of acceptable focus would be.

Focus on the ground a few metres in front of you. Your next challenge is to get in close to people and inconspicuously shoot them getting on with their life. Continuous shooting is also very handy here as it allows you to shoot a few frames, especially good if your subject is moving through your zone focus area.

Assignment 5 – Turn invisible

There is now no need to hold the camera up to your eye so all of your shooting can be at waist level, looking down onto the tilting LCD screen (if your camera has one) to check the overall composition. After a while you will be able to simply look around and be confident that you’re going to capture the interesting subject without them knowing, therefore not influencing or changing the subject, but merely documenting what is going on around you.

Not many people "at work" seemed to really be working.  Zone focussed and shot from the hip with X-T1; XF18-55mm @ 35mm; 1/64 sec;   f/13;   ISO 1000
Not many people “at work” seemed to really be working. Zone focused and shot from the hip with X-T1; XF18-55mm @ 35mm; 1/64 sec; f/13; ISO 1000
One of my last images as we were about to lose the sun completely. This is the only guy who looked like he was working, although I question his choice of office. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 55; 1/125 sec; f/16; ISO 1250
One of my last images as we were about to lose the sun completely. This is one of the few guys who looked like they were actually working, although I question his choice of office. X-T1; XF18-55 @ 55; 1/125 sec; f/16; ISO 1250

Summary

  • The three keys to a good street image are; good light, good composition, interesting subject. All three of these results in a great shot. Two of them can result in a good shot. If you can only have one, it has to be the interesting subject
  • Shoot with a theme. This will make you consider your shot more carefully and not just fill your card.
  • Try to frame your subjects with parts of the background, or even make your own frame by using other photographers
  • Setting your camera on full auto with Spot metering allows you to ignore the exposure settings and let you worry about looking for a good shot
  • Zone focusing allows you to not worry about accurate focus, but rather understand that if a subject is within a certain “zone” in front of your lens, it’ll be sharp and in focus
  • Tiltable LCD screens allow you to shoot at waist level and still see the frame. The camera remote app takes this one step further and you look like you are just using your phone while actually shooting people with the camera hanging around your neck.

Keep practicing, hope for something interesting to unfold in front of your eyes and be ready with your camera when it does. Hopefully these techniques will help you get a great shot without anyone even knowing you were there!

The new Fuji lenses put to the test at the Fuji Speedway in the foothills of Mount Fuji

I was recently in Japan to take part in a marketing meeting, which in itself was nice, but by coincidence, the weekend I was there was also the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Fuji race at the Fuji Speedway and I had tickets!

It seemed as good a place as any to try out the new XF1.4X TC Teleconverter for Fujifilm X Mount lenses, and also the cheeky little XF35mmF2 WR compact lens.

We were there on the Saturday filming some Fuji Guys content (to be released soon) but on the Sunday, the actual race day, I was given the freedom to simply enjoy the race and do some shooting for myself.

The XF1.4X TC

This obviously got the most use since I was at a motorsport event. Here’s a selection of OOC JPGs. I’ve not uploaded the full res versions because they were taken on a pre-production version of the lens and I wouldn’t want to do it an injustice, but it’s clear even from these “resized by WordPress” images that the quality is there.

I spent most of my time shooting with the “Zone Mode” Autofocus. I’ve used it before with mixed results but I found that here it was working amazingly, despite the spray from the wet roads.

Sometimes I was tempted to shoot Manual Focus and know that I’ll be getting the cars as they come through, but I stuck with Zone and the hit rate was amazing – especially since I’m not a professional myself.

Here’s a sequence of OOC JPGs that demonstrate the Zone AF working under some pretty touch conditions. This Ferrari was really moving!

The adaptor itself makes little to no difference to the size and weight of the camera, and I can’t notice any noticeable difference in image quality compared to using the lens without it.

The XF35mmF2

I took both of these shots from trackside within a hairpin. When I switched from the XF50-140mm + TC to the XF35mmF2 I felt like I was about to throw the camera because it was so light. I know the same can be said for most of our lenses compared to what I had previously, but this lens really is small and light. Both using “Zone Mode” Autofocus.

There was a bit of light rain when I took these shots so the Weather Resistance was a nice addition.

Conclusion

All in all I’m really impressed with the new additions to the lens lineup and I’m certainly glad that I got the opportunity to test them out in this amazing location.

I’ll sign off with a couple of “Lightroomed” versions of my creations, including a few from the pit walk before the race started. I hope you enjoy and you can see more on my instagram.

Click here to learn more about the XF1.4X TC WR
Click here to learn more about the XF35mmF2 R WR

POP BOOK – the cutest photobook ever?

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My fellow Fuji Guy Dale recently got married. I went to the wedding and took my trusty “pocket-rocket” X30 and took some shots from the pews where I was sat. I was hardly shooting the wedding, but it still made for a fairly interesting series of shots as the story of the traditional British Christian wedding ceremony unfolded in front of me.

Like most of the images I take for personal use, they ended up in a gallery on my Facebook wall for friends to see. But I wanted to do something a little bit more. This is where Pop Book came in…

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Now I know this sounds like your usual sales pitch but it really isn’t. I heard about Pop Books from my colleagues in our printing team. For the small fee of £4.99, I was able to take 21 of my favourite images and compile them into this little cute photobook to give to Dale and his new wife as a little gift and token of my gratitude for being invited to share their day.

How does it work?

I’m pretty sure that Pop Books are mostly aimed at smartphone photographers (nothing wrong with that!) because you can only create a Pop Book by using an App for Android or Apple devices.

Once you’ve installed the App you get started by tapping “Create your POP BOOK”. You then need to choose where to get your images from. You can either browse your device, or choose either Facebook or Instagram.

I chose Facebook, logged in as me, and then selected the images from my Facebook gallery. Once you have selected 21 images you can click “Create your POP BOOK” button again and this takes you to the final stage.

You can now double tap on any picture to Edit it. You can Crop, add an instagram-style filter and add text. You can also select either a white border of black border for each of your images

Finally you can change the order that the images will appear in.

And that’s it. Just create an account and go through the basket process, and “between 10-14 days” your Pop Book should be with you. In my case it was actually 4 days.

You even get a pretty cool viewer that allows you to see the book how it will appear. You can see my book for Dale here.

And here’s the final result

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…and with a shiny English pound for scale:

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Tips

If you know you’re shooting for a Pop Book, set your camera to 1 : 1 ratio to help compose your shots and save any post process cropping.

You need exactly 21 images to make a Pop Book. No more. No less. Make sure you have your 21 images ready to go before you start the process as it makes it smoother. In my case, it turned out that I didn’t actually take 21 different images that I was happy with so I had to get creative with the crops to make a few very similar shots have very different final looks. It really helps to go into this thing knowing you need 21 images to start with!

Learn more about POP BOOK

Click here to visit the official POP BOOK website

Interview with famous Japanese photographer and original “X-Photographer” Yukio Uchida

Over the last few years, Fujifilm has invited professional photographers from around the world to meet with the product planning and R&D teams to discuss current and future products. Names you may or may not have heard of such as Zack Arias, David Hobby, Bert Stephani, Kevin Mullins, Gianluca Colla, Tomasz Lazar, Damien Lovegrove, Knut Koivisto, Chris Weston and more have all given their feedback and input into the “kai-zen” development mentality of the Fujifilm X system.

However, this process has actually been going on for longer than that.

Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to meet with Yukio Uchida, a famous professional photographer from Japan who had been speaking about Fujifilm cameras at the CP+ show in Yokohama. Yukio was one of the world’s first “X-Photographers”; his feedback has been instrumental in the development of the Fujifilm X system. I was able to get 10 minutes of his time to ask him a few questions about his involvement with Fujifilm R&D, and also his own photographic style.

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Japanese professional photographer Yukio Uchida

MH: Thank you for taking some time meet me and talk about you and your photography.
Is this your first time presenting at CP+?

YU: No, this is my fourth year. Every year it gets better than previous. Four years ago very few people used X series but over time the amount of users has increased, and also the amount of people that come to watch me speak has increased.

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Yukio Uchida draws one of the biggest crowds at CP+

MH: Could you tell me a little bit about your photography style and philosophy?

YU: I want to take a picture that expresses what I feel. If the audience see my picture and they like it, this is OK. But if they see it and think “I want to feel like that”, this is more important to me. I want to inspire.

MH: How did you get into photography?

YU: Before becoming a professional photographer, I worked for the city government. At the time I spent a lot of time on the street taking photos. Photography should be about good moments and beautiful scenery.

MH: When did you start using Fujifilm cameras?

YU: I started with the original X100 back in early 2011 when it was first released.

MH: What do you love about Fujifilm X cameras?

YU: Firstly, and very importantly is colour reproduction and lens resolution. But also, the R&D team in Japan have included me a lot during the development phases of all of the products.
I was invited to the original meeting for X100 before the X series was born. I told them right away that they were dealing with someone with high standards who was not going to be easy to win over. I told them that if they couldn’t convince me to buy these cameras and lenses, they should not be sold in the marketplace. For this reason I feel strongly attached to the whole system.
I love the fashionable and stylish design of the product. Many people can appreciate the X series without needing to be professional photographers.

MH: You’re also stylish, charismatic and unique, and you stand out in a good way. You sum up that aspect of the cameras.

YU: Thank you. I feel that creative people prefer the look and feel of X series. Certainly in Japan, big DSLR cameras have appeal to working professionals, but to normal people that just want to create some art, this sort of camera should be the “mainstream”.

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Yukio Uchida has a very distinct look himself

MH: So you would say that a DSLR might be someone’s tool, but a Fujifilm X camera is their camera for them to express and “be themselves” with.

YU: Completely agree. The photographic industry was moving towards “bigger must be better” but mobility was being sacrificed. DSLR users forgot photography.
Digital technology has been progressing, and cameras with cutting edge technology will continue to come out. But to me it’s not the essence of photography. I think photography should be the tool to express my feelings towards the “beauty of the world”.
A camera that gives me the joy of ownership and the joy of shooting is much more important than one with the highest number of megapixels or highest ISO performance.

MH: I see you have a Fujifilm camera with you now. How many shots do you take every day for your own use?

YU: Maybe one hundred per day, although I’d like to take more. I see beautiful things everywhere and want to capture them. Everything I do, everything I see, I think about how it could be framed. I look at light and shadow and it helps distract my mind from other negative things such as being nervous because I am being interviewed by an English guy!
When I shot with a DSLR, everything was more technical. I was only interested in what was visible in the frame and the depth of field. Now with X series I think about sounds, smell, temperature. Everything can be part of the photo.

MH: Finally, if you could only have one body and one lens, which would you choose?

YU: The X-Pro1 and XF56mm. I can be on equal footing with the X-Pro1. I don’t have to rely on the camera too much, nor deprive the joy of photography from me. I feel a kind of closeness with X-Pro1 and that’s why I love it the best.

See more of Yukio’s work

Check out some of Yukio Uchida’s work on the official Fujifilm X-Photographers website
Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3

X-T1 or X-T10 ?

I’ve been using an X-T1 for the best part of a year now after finally admitting to myself that my X100S didn’t quite stand up to the variety of different photography subjects I had started to shoot. Don’t get me wrong, the X100S has a permanent slot in my camera bag, and will always be my travel-light camera, but apparently there’s more focal lengths out there than 35mm equiv!

The X-T1 has served me extremely well and as an amateur photographer with no real need for a second body, I wasn’t massively excited about the X-T10 for my personal use.

Then I actually used one…

Firstly: What I love about the X-T1

Image quality
I love the image quality of the X-T1. Pretty simple really. The RAW files are great for what you can do in Lightroom. So much data is captured that can be brought in. And the JPEGs are just beautiful, with plenty of in-built features and film simulation modes to give your images that final touch.

X-T10, XF35mm, 1/950th, f/8.0, ISO200
X-T10, XF35mm, 1/950th, f/8.0, ISO200

Live view
I shoot everything as close to what I want my final image to look like and I like to be able to see it before I shoot. For example, I’ll shoot street in black and white (JPG+RAW) and under exposed by 1/3 or 2/3 stop. For landscape photography (my biggest vice) I can see where my Grad filters are on the screen as I move them around. Same goes for the Polarising filter. (In case you’re interested, I use the Seven5 system from LEE. Great quality. Very small. Very Fuji!)

X-T1 with XF35mm 1/250 f/8 ISO200
X-T10 with XF35mm
1/250 f/8 ISO200

 

Amazing quality EVF
I do not use my screen for anything other than composition (see below). For exposure checking and for quick previews of shots I just took, it’s all about the EVF. So clear. So high resolution. I cannot stress enough how useful this thing is for me.

Tilting screen
I’ve already mentioned that I love landscape photography. For this I will almost always use a tripod and when the camera is on the tripod, I’ll use the screen for 99% of the time. I’m a big lad – 6 foot 4 / 193cm to be precise, and I tend to prefer to shoot with my camera far below my eye level. The tilting screen saves me a lot of backache. Even in the sunshine, I just crank it right up to +5 brightness and it works fine (just remember to turn it back down when you turn your camera on next in a dark environment!)

Q menu + custom settings
I set my camera up to have 3 different custom settings. I have a “ready to edit” colour profile, a “ready to go” colour profile and a black and white profile. If you’re interested, this is what I currently have:

C1. Ready to edit colour: Pro Neg Std, -2 NR, -1 sharp, -2 highlight, -2 shadow, -1 color.
C2. Ready to go colour: Classic Chrome, -2 NR,-1 sharp, 0 highlight, 0 shadow, 0 color.
C3. Black and white: Mono+G, -2 NR, +1 sharp, +1 highlight, +1 shadow.

I still change on the fly, and I use the Q menu to make tweaks with the above settings as my starting point. C2 and C3 JPEGs will frequently be used straight out of camera. C1 JPEGs will have a bit of contrast added back and then used.

Looks amazing, feels amazing*, is a pleasure to shoot with
Not sure I need to expand on this. I love the manual exposure settings – aperture, shutter speed, ISO all at your finger tips. I love the simplicity of using the camera and how few buttons you can really get away with using. I also love the look of the camera.

X-T1 with XF35mm 1/1000 f/7.1 ISO200
X-T10 with XF35mm
1/1000 f/7.1 ISO200

 

Wifi
I use this a lot in my work as “social media guy for Fujifilm UK” and also in my personal life as “proud dad, must update Facebook with pictures of kids / cats”. It’s one of those features that some people can live with out, but I’m not one of those people.

And finally…

My lenses
I have an XF14, XF18-55, XF35 and XF56. All four of them get used regularly and all four of them are simply amazing.

DSCF5109
X-T10 with XF35mm 1/4000 f/1.8 ISO200

 

 

So what about the X-T10?

Well look at the list above. The X-T10 has all of these.

What the X-T10 doesn’t have, when compared to the X-T1 is weather resistance. This doesn’t bother me personally. I’m so scared of catching a drop of water of the front lens element and ruining a shot that I’ll do my utmost to keep it dry at all times. It’s still an incredibly robust camera and I’m sure it’ll take a quick downpour and be fine (disclaimer: probably best to not try this at home).

Also, it doesn’t support UHS-II. This is only a problem if you are shooting continuous, which I rarely ever do. It can only shoot 8fps for a maximum of 8 frames. The X-T1 can shoot 8fps for 47 frames on a UHS-II card. This is obviously a massive difference and if you intend to shoot High-Speed Continuous, the X-T10 is severely lacking compared to its big brother.

The reason for the * next to “feels amazing” in my list above is that it comes with a caveat. It does feel great, but it doesn’t quite fit my hand “out of the box” and therefore is not as comfortable as the X-T1. It’s fine to shoot with while you support the lens with your left hand, but it doesn’t feel as comfortable in my hand in between shots. To me there’s not quite enough grip there. HOWEVER, there is an optional Hand Grip MHG-XT10 which resolves this. It doesn’t make the camera much heavier or bigger, but it adds a good bit of bulk to the hand grip which resolves this issue.

X-T10 with XF35mm 1/1000 f/8 ISO200
X-T10 with XF35mm
1/1000 f/8 ISO200

 

Now for the advantages of the X-T10 over the X-T1

The most important advantage is the size and weight. It’s a really tiny camera and (with the optional grip) is still comfortable to shoot with. It looks “even less pro” than the X-T1 to the uneducated, so if you’re shooting in places where security guards etc are not happy with professionals shooting, you are going to blend in as any other tourist. However the build quality is still top notch, check out this video below for a quick “factory tour”:

Another advantage is that it doesn’t have an ISO dial like the X-T1 has. I know what you’re thinking: “How can this be an advantage?” I’ll tell you why. After using the camera for a bit and spending some time talking to Damien Lovegrove who has been using one professional for a week now, I realised the benefit.

Damien shooting Amber Tutton during the recent Fujifilm Xperience day. X-T10 with XF35mm. 1/1000th, f/1.4, ISO800
Damien shooting Amber Tutton during the recent Fujifilm Xperience day.
X-T10 with XF35mm. 1/1000th, f/1.4, ISO800

On the X-T1, the ISO dial has a lock button that is a little clunky to use. On the X-T10, the front wheel is one of the function buttons which can be set to ISO. Once you do this, you can change the ISO value by pressing the wheel in, moving it left to right to change the setting, and then pressing it once more to save the value. You currently can’t do this on the X-T1 because ISO is controlled by a physical dial. Something I’ll ask Fujifilm Toyko to look at as it would be nice to be able to set the dial to A and then have a manual over-ride.

The last advantage is that it’s easier for a novice to use. I have very few images of me and the reason for this is my wife and kids don’t really use my cameras. The Auto switch on the top will definitely come in handy when I hand it over to one of them to use on family trips.

So what would I buy?

I work for Fujifilm and therefore inevitably get access to gear that would normally be way out of my budget in terms of how much I want to spend on my hobby.

I love my X-T1 and never thought I’d be looking at an alternative camera already. But the truth is, if I didn’t already have an X-T1, and if I was putting my own hand in my pocket to pay for the camera, I would definitely buy an X-T10.

I hope this post has helped to explain the reasons why and might come in handy if you are making a similar decision. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please leave a comment below.

Summary

Need weatherproof? Go X-T1
Need High Speed Continuous Shooting? Go X-T1
Want a bit more bulk in your hand? Go X-T1
Need an additional battery grip? Go X-T1

Not too concerned about any of those points above? Go X-T10!

What you’ve all been waiting for – X-T1 firmware version 4.00 is now available!

X-T1 Part IV – Rise of the tracking autofocus

Well it finally arrived. The firmware update we’ve all been looking forward to for the Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera.

So what does it actually change?

Glad you asked! Here’s a video by Billy from The Fuji Guys where he demonstrates all of the new improvements found in the update.

The new Firmware Update features an advanced autofocus system for incredible performance when shooting moving subjects and exciting action scenes. Users will also experience improved auto focus accuracy for still images and video, Eye Detection, enhanced shutter speed dial operation (1/3 stop increments!), Exposure Compensation control in Manual mode (using Auto-ISO), and finer framing grid lines for enhanced visibility and image composition.

But what does this mean in REAL terms?

Another great question. Thanks for keeping up. Well I’ve been using it myself for a while and really like it. I could chew your ear off about what I think about it but I’m not an actual working professional photographer, so I’m not going to see it in the same way as you might. Coupled with the fact that I work for Fujifilm, you’d expect me to simply tell you that it’s great.

So instead, here’s a selection of working professional photographers that have tried the Firmware in their own shooting environments and posted their respective findings.

Damien Lovegrove

damien2bDamien is a professional portrait photographer from the UK. He left his role as a cameraman and lighting director at the BBC back in 1998 after 14 successful years to create the renowned Lovegrove Weddings partnership with his wife Julie. Together they shot over 400 top weddings for discerning clients worldwide. In 2008 Damien turned his hand to shooting beauty and portraiture and has since amassed a dedicated following for his distinctive art. Damien now divides his time between teaching the next generation of photographers and photographing personal projects.

After a day shooting with with one X-T1 running 3.11, and one running 4.00, here are his findings and an extensive review of the new X-T1 firmware V4 including tips on some real gems of features that have not made the headlines.

© Damien Lovegrove
© Damien Lovegrove

quote-icon-e1433520302291

When I was asked for my opinions on version 4 of the X-T1 firmware I was a little scared and excited in equal measure. Excited because the opportunity to shoot in a more dynamic style is quite appealing. Scary because relearning shooting procedures is never easy. quote-icon2-e1433520259777I’ve never been one to shy away from innovation and I’m certainly not a luddite when it comes to tech so I jumped at the chance. Here are my findings.

Click here to read Damien’s review

———

Jeff Carter

JCarter_Portrait-200x300British motorsport photographer Jeff Carter has been using Fujifilm cameras for his work for over 20 years, going right back to the wonderfully lightweight and versatile GA645 medium format film cameras, but it was the X100 that he bought in 2012 that changed the way he worked. Here was a small, discreet camera that allowed him to take the images he needed for his work in and around the paddock.

He took an X-T1 with FW4 to the recent Le Mans 24 Hours event and here is his account.

2.Pic2_20150610LeMansFP_XT1F-1682
© Jeff Carter

quote-icon-e1433520302291

Firmware 4.0 has transformed the X-T1. I recently tested the new autofocus at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s greatest endurance race and the biggest challenge for man and machine. quote-icon2-e1433520259777This proved to be the perfect test ground for the X-T1’s new AF system and it wasn’t found wanting.

Click here to read Jeff’s review

———

Eivind Røhne

CNRDZYkw
Eivind is a professional photographer from Norway. He’s been a commercial and editorial photographer since the mid ninetees. He loves people so mostly shoots fashion, lifestyle, commercial and editorial portraits, people at work etc. and he also love lines, shapes and man-made structures, so he likes to shoot industrial subjects, architecture and interiors for commercial and editorial use.

quote-icon-e1433520302291

This time around the Fujifilm firmware buzz really hit the roof, with claims of an all new autofocus system that would practically give existing X-T1 owners a brand new camera. Bold claims indeed. quote-icon2-e1433520259777Claims not only made by those saying they had gotten hold of rogue and secret beta versions of the firmware, but also claims made by Fujifilm themselves in their marketing teasers.

© Eivind Røhne
© Eivind Røhne

Click here to read Eivind’s review

———

If you already own an X-T1, I’m sure by the time you get to this point your camera will already have version 4 installed and ready to go. Hopefully you will find it as good as these guys did.

If you don’t already own an X-T1, hopefully these photographer’s reviews will be that final push to persuade you to take the plunge and try it for yourself. Hoping to welcome you to the Fuji family soon!

Tutorial: Understanding Depth of Field

w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerWhat is “Depth of field”?

Simply put, Depth of Field refers to the area in front of your camera that is in focus.

If your camera is set to focus one metre from the lens, Depth of Field refers to the area in front of, and behind one metre from the camera where subjects are still sharp enough to be considered in focus.

Along with Exposure and Composition, Depth of Field is one of the most important aspects of photography.

How do you control it?

Less is more

The main way to affect the Depth of Field is by adjusting the value of the Aperture

The bigger you set the aperture size (smaller number), the smaller your depth of field will be. The smaller you set the aperture size (bigger number), the bigger the depth of field will be. I know that sounds confusing but hopefully this diagram will help to explain it.

The yellow area shows the area in front of and behind the focal plane (the point when the camera is focused) that is in focus. It’s just a guide with no actual scale.

dof

The Depth of Field is actually also affected by the focal length of the lens, and also the distance of the subject from the camera (which is why there is more in-focus area behind the subject than in front of it), however for the benefit of just getting you started, in this post I’ll only talk about the aperture value.

Aperture Priority mode

X30 (top) and X100S (bottom) set to Aperture Priority mode
X30 (top) and my well-lived X100S (bottom) set to Aperture Priority mode

The best way to get started with adjusting the Aperture value is to set your camera to Aperture Priority mode. In this mode, you can control the Aperture value and the camera will still adjust the shutter speed and ISO value in order to correctly expose the image.

If you have a camera with a “M / A / S / P” dial on the top, switch it to “A” (for Aperture). If your camera doesn’t have this dial, just change the value on the Aperture ring to anything other than “A” (which in this case stands for Automatic) and set your shutter dial to “A” (Automatic). Your camera is now in Aperture Priority.

How does it affect my images?

Less is more

Using the largest aperture possible (smallest number) allows you to isolate your subject within a shallow depth of field and effectively make the foreground and background far less prominent. These example pictures were shot at f/1.4 using an X-T1 with XF35mm lens. They show foreground and background areas out of focus, allowing you, the viewer, to focus on the subjects.

More is more

Using a smaller aperture (larger number) increases the depth of field and allows you to include more, or all of your image, clear and in focus.

In this image, I wanted to get the tree in the foreground in focus, but still include the background as a prominent part of my image. Using a very wide lens with the Aperture set to f/8.0 allowed me to take this.

Aperture Priority at a glance

1. Activate Aperture-Priority
2. Generally shoot “wide open” – the lowest value Aperture your lens can shoot at. This means that your images will all draw the viewer into the part that you want them to look at – the part in focus.
3. “Stop down” your aperture (increase the value number) to get more of the shot in focus – great for group shots or landscapes / cityscapes

Conclusion

The amount of light captured in a shot is governed by three aspects – Shutter Speed, ISO value and Aperture value. You generally want as fast a shutter speed as possible (unless you are trying to capture motion within your image). You always want the ISO to be as low as possible to maximise the image quality and reduce noise.

However, there is no “you always” rule for Aperture as it is the one thing that affects your final image more than the others. Your decision to include all, or just a certain part of the image within the in-focus area is where you add your own creative touch to your image and direct the viewer’s eyes to the part of the image you want them to look at.

Tutorial: Using Film Simulation modes

w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerFujifilm knows film. The clue is in the name. And they’ve spent a lot of time and effort bringing classic film traits to life in the current range of digital cameras.
Each Film Simulation mode* has unique properties to help you express your creativity without the need for time-consuming post-production. Varying degrees of Saturation and Tonality are composed with just the right balance to bring each Film Simulation mode to life.

Film Simulation ModesThe camera’s Electronic Viewfinder can show the effects of the selected Film Simulation mode before the shot is taken, and if you shoot RAW, the in-camera RAW processing function allows any of the Film Simulations to be applied post-capture, broadening your shooting options.

Which Film Simulation mode is best for your shot?

I cannot tell you this, but I can recommend certain Film Simulation types that lend themselves to particular photography subjects. However, just treat this like an initial guide and explore for yourself to find your own style.


Portraits

I would recommend Astia or Pro Neg. Std. Astia’s soft tones are perfect for capturing beautiful skin tones. Pro Neg Std. takes the look slightly further by also lowering the colour saturation.

Click on any of the images for a larger view.


Street photography

I recommend Classic Chrome or Monochrome. Photography is often called the “Art of omission”. Classic Chrome and Monochrome settings omit the element of colour in order emphasise the story you want to tell.


Landscapes / Seascapes / Cityscapes

I recommend Velvia. At the opposite end of the scale from Classic Chrome, Velvia uses colour as the main element. It adds more depth and the colours become more vibrant. There are certain emotions that only image colour can deliver and this is where Velvia comes in.


Image comparison

The images below were all created using the X-T1’s in-built RAW file converter and are all JPGs straight out of the camera.

Colour

Mono


Conclusion

All of the Film Simulation profiles have been developed (pun intended) by people with years of experience working with film to allow you to really alter the feel of the image without the need for lots of time-consuming post processing. Try it yourself and let us know how you get on in the comments below.

Bonus Tip!

If you’ve got a big enough memory card, set your camera to save “RAW+JPG” and then use the in-camera RAW File Converter to convert the same image into different Film Simulation modes after the shot has been taken.

* The number of Film Simulation modes available on your camera will vary.