Photographer Craig Whitehead has been using FUJIFILM X Series for his street photography for many years, most recently having purchased the X100F. In this interview he talks about his experience with the X Series and shares some of his images from the X-T1, X-Pro2 and X100F. Continue reading Street Smart: Photographer Craig Whitehead hits the streets with the X100F
You may notice camera lenses are described by one or two numbers, most often in millimetres, like 14mm or 18-55mm. As a new photographer, you may have no idea what these figures mean because photo websites and product descriptions often list them without explanation. These numbers are essential to know. Once you understand what they are and what they mean for your shots, you can better choose the right lens for the variety of scenes you tend to shoot.
These numbers you see on every lens represent that lens’ focal length. It is the measurement between your lens and your camera’s image sensor. If your lens is fixed-length, or prime, then it always rests at the same distance from your sensor, so its length is just one number. If your lens has the capacity to zoom, then it has two stats for both the minimum and maximum distance it sits from your camera’s sensor.
This distance tells you not only about the physical attributes of the lens but also the type of shots it creates. A lower focal length means a wider field of view, or a greater angle of what the lens can perceive in focus. The Fujifilm XF14mmF2.8, for example, is a prime lens that shoots at an 89-degree angle, with high resolution from the centre to the periphery of the frame. Compare that with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6, a super telephoto lens that ranges from 16 to 4 degrees in its field of view. With that latter type of lens, you abandon the wide angle to highlight a closer, more specific segment of what the unaided eye can see.
If you are a new photographer, then you are likely shooting with just one or two lenses. There are great mid-range lenses that work for several situations, including personal use moments, like candid shots of family or friends. The XF18-55mmF2.8-4 is one such option with a broad focal range that spans 79 to 28 degrees, depending on the zoom. That type of mid-length lens with zoom is a great choice for starting your creative endeavour and for shooting as you travel with light cargo.
As you develop your craft, you may wish to utilise lenses designed for specific photo opportunities. If you shoot landscape and architecture photos, then you want a lens with a low focal length, between 14 and 18mm, for its wide angle. For your full-body portraits, you should look at a lens with a mid-range focal length between 23mm and 50mm. When dealing with moving or distant photo subjects, you should choose a zoom lens with a focal length of 200mm or more.
By knowing the difference between lens focal lengths, you can experiment with more lenses and be confident that you know which lens to grab in every situation.
I was always one of those people who would count down the minutes until it turned 5:30pm, but now I watch the clock counting down the minutes until my next photography assignment.
I enjoy the uncertainty of the job, as it could be anywhere in the world, photographing any subject and may have some unusual requirements thrown in for good measure. What is certain however, is that I will get to meet and create art with some interesting characters. Continue reading Take A Different View: Fashion Photography Re-imagined
Some photographers decry use of the zoom lens and insist that you work with a prime whenever possible. There is no replacement for getting close to your subject for a sharper angle and a frame-filling view, this contingent will argue, and they are partly right. Yet there are many instances when it is appropriate, and even ideal, to shoot with a zoom.
Here are just seven of the photography moments that will give you reason to turn to your zoom lens.
Fill the frame from far away.
The first and most obvious use for your zoom is to fill your frame in moments when you do not have access to physically approach your subject. If you are attending an arts performance or sporting event and lack access to the stage or field, your zoom helps you obtain a shot focused on your person of interest.
Image by Pete Bridgwood
Pack light, especially on the road, with your zoom.
If you are traveling, then you cannot be bogged down with all of the prime lenses needed for various shots. Carry a zoom instead of multiple primes and enjoy the ease of flying and touring with your lightweight kit.
Image by Patricia Davidson
Capture the quick-moving subject.
Do you want to take action shots of sprinting athletes or charging animals? These subjects are usually distant from you and are moving fast through your frame. Your zoom lens lets you set up a shot from several metres away and establish your composition by anticipating when the subject will jolt through the frame.
Get raw, candid shots.
Sometimes the best shots are those you get when your subject is unaware of the camera and you can capture them in their natural, unposed state. Your zoom lens can help you achieve this raw, candid photo by taking them from farther away.
Compress your foreground and background.
Bring your foreground and background together. Not every shot benefits from visible depth of field between the objects nearest and farthest from your camera. With your zoom, you can establish a telephoto effect, making all objects in your frame appear flatter in their depth.
Image by Jamison Ford
Bring the crowd together, and feature a favourite.
Street photography of crowds is an especially good time for you to create the telephoto effect with your zoom. The many people in your shot will appear even more huddled because of flattened depth. Experiment with compositions that focus on the entire group and others that highlight one face.
Image by Brian Li
Flatter your profile subjects.
Portrait photography may not seem like the most obvious use for a zoom. But with your zoom you have the option to distance yourself from your subject, giving him or her comfortable space, and get a close shot. It also prevents unfavourable angles, like enlarged noses and chins, from being created when you shoot too close with a prime lens.
Of course your zoom is never an excuse for laziness, as some of the prime lens purists fear. Whenever possible, be an agile artist who crouches, slides and approaches to get the perfect angle for the moment.
Are you looking for a Fujifilm camera but aren’t sure which one to purchase? Our buying guide helps you determine which one will work best for your photography needs.
Take a Different View
I spend most of my days teaching people how to see the streets with fresh eyes. Helping photographers to see the world around them through a lens in a more unique way. I spend my free time exploring the streets of our cities looking for a different view of the world around us and trying to find something unique or different.
Street photography is not just taking photos of people in the street. There is so much more to it than that, and the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 helps me to carry out my work in a much more unobtrusive way.
The trinity of a great street shot is Light, Composition and Moment, but add to that emotional impact and a great subject and you have a killer shot.
Creating an image without the use of Photoshop, just looking to find something different and exciting is very addictive. You don’t find it every day but when you do it’s just a magical moment you want to share.
I am constantly on the lookout for great light. We know photography is all about great light so I tend to spend my time hunting down locations with the perfect light quality and shape. Some areas and cities are laid out to allow light to hit the streets and create great shapes but some hide the light most of the day with narrow streets all facing the wrong direction.
With street photography, it’s hard to compose an image immediately but you can look for an amazing street or area with good lighting and wait for an interesting subject to come in to the frame. You should never get caught up with the look or style of a subject. It’s better to look for right light and scene and start the composition process, keeping an eye out for how people look in the light and shadows as they come in to the frame. With practice, you know what shapes and styles to look for in the subjects around you.
The decisive moment is a rare thing, but you can improve your chances by looking for the obvious. If you stand next to great light someone will walk in to it, if you stand next to a puddle someone will walk in it or jump over it. Just make sure a car does not drive through it and soak you!
A great subject, as I have said, is not always what you think. It’s all about the shape, the context and the look. After all photography is all about communication so you need to be able to find a subject that communicates to your or your viewer.
We would all love to be able to get emotional impact in to our images and this is the hardest part of all. People do not display emotion in public as much as they used to, so looking for a kiss or a smile is quite a rare thing in some cities or towns. It does not have to be a happy emotion, it could be fear, horror or fright. Anything that creates some form of emotion in the viewer. Remember, though, everyone is different so try and treat people how you would like to be treated yourselves.
I am a candid street photographer and like to shoot the scene when the subject is unaware. The rangefinder style of the X-Pro2 helps me enormously with this task. I am a right eye shooter so it’s great to be able to shoot with both eyes open. With the camera only covering a small portion of my face, it means not having my nose squashed in to the rear screen!
Quite a few people prefer the Optical Viewfinder in the X-Pro2 but I really prefer to use the Electronic Viewfinder with the histogram and the level switched on in the menu. I prefer to keep both eyes on what is going on around me and shoot from the hip most of the time. When I do use the viewfinder, I want very fast feedback of the scene. I want to know the camera is focused level and the exposure is correct. The X-Pro2 is a nice oblong shape which means that, at a glance, you can check the camera is straight without having to hold it to the eye. I do this by just looking along its edges and lining it up with straight edges on buildings. If you can’t find a straight edge turn on the electronic level and use the rear screen to level the shot.
I set the X-Pro2 up to make my life easy out on the streets and use the Auto ISO setting and, in Auto ISO 1, I set my camera to Default Sensitivity 200 max and 6400 min sensitivity. I set the Shutter Speed to 1/320 secs or above most of the year. This gives me the exposure I need for a sharp image without having to mess about with the camera all the time.
If I do need to make any changes with the exposure triangle on the outside of the camera I can just up the shutter speed using the exposure dials on the top of the camera, or close or open the aperture at will with the aperture ring around the lens (available on most XF lenses). I normally shoot between f4-f8 in the summer and f1.4-f4 in the winter in the UK.
I use single servo centre point focusing to shoot anything standing still and continues focus to shoot anything moving mostly with evaluative metering. Sometimes, in awkward light, I will switch to spot metering and just adjust with exposure compensation dial.
I shoot mainly with the wonderful set of Fujifilm F2 lenses; the XF23mmF2, XF35mmF2 and XF50mmF2 all fit nicely in a little pouch in my bag. I still love the XF90mmF2 and the XF16mmF1.4 but over the last few weeks I have just wanted to carry less in my bag.
I have shot most cities in the UK now so I know what lenses work for each city so tend to pack what I need.
I only shoot street with prime lenses and tend to go out with two camera bodies – a wide lens on one body and a telephoto lens on the other. This enables me to capture something right under my nose or on the other side of the street without having to run around like a mad thing. Once you get used to a prime you can move and shoot so much faster and capture the shot you were after, instead of wasting time trying to frame your subject by zooming.
Sometimes we see the same things repeatedly but it’s how we shoot it that makes the difference. When the everyday becomes the norm, we need to break out of the crowd and start to look at things in a different way. You can walk the same street for 10 years and the next time you turn the corner there it is a great big puddle!
Sometimes you have to wait a long time to get an image that is different and sometimes it happens 10 times in a day. I walked up and down my local railway station bridge looking at the nice yellow handrails for over 10 years before the light and subject position was good enough to lift my camera to my eye to take the shot.
Keeping your eyes open and looking all around you at all times if key. As long as your camera is set up and ready, you should be able to capture most moments.
It’s all about learning to see and taking your time; being in the right place at the right time.
There is nothing more relaxing than a day out with your camera in one of our great cities. Spending an afternoon looking for something different among the chaos, the hustle and bustle, whilst enjoying good coffee with your friends as you try to capture a different view.
More from Matt Hart
More about FUJIFILM X-Pro2
Taking performance to new heights, the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 offers the world’s only Hybrid Multi Viewfinder and features a brand new 24MP X-Trans III sensor.
The FUJIFILM X-Pro2 boasts a Hybrid Viewfinder capable of instantly switching between optical and electronic finders, plus an updated image sensor and processor, which dramatically improve image quality. By combining these features with the ultra-high image quality of FUJINON X-Mount lenses and the color reproduction technology accumulated through more than 80 years as a photographic film manufacturer, the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 delivers the best ever results from an X-series camera.
The ‘Great British Summer’… We all remember it, don’t we?
As a photographer, who makes a living from shooting music events, the summer time means swapping my cameras and lenses, from my rolling camera case, to a heavy rucksack that I carry on my back. ‘Why?’ you may ask. I think you’ll understand as you read on.
From June until mid September I’m often asked to shoot at different festivals up and down the UK. A dream job in most peoples’ eyes and, yes, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had amazing times and memories at festivals all over the world.
I must admit though, over the past few years the thought of shooting a festival for 3-4 days, as Y Not Festival is, does bring me out in a cold sweat. The great British summer time, we all know, is very unpredictable to the extreme, and I usually end up photographing these events in bad weather. Take this year’s Nottingham Splendour festival for example, an outdoor one day event where the weather was fine until 4pm, when the Buzzcocks came on, and the heavens opened up. The rain did not stop pouring all evening and in to the night it became torrential – even as I drove along the A52 home.
The first thing I do before I go to ANY festival is to swap my Fujifilm kit over from a rolling case to a rucksack because, quite simply, you cannot roll through all the mud and rain where the grass used to be!
I have learned over the past few years, and this is a tip for those reading this, that if you shoot mirrorless Fujifilm cameras, chose what lenses you use the most at a festival, and only take those. To cut down the amount of time spent changing lenses, I now carry three Fujifilm camera bodies with me at festivals. I always take my two X-T1 bodies with my XF16-55mmF2.8 (which is my go to lens) and my XF50-140mmF2.8. On my FUJIFILM X-Pro2 camera I take an XF14mmF2.8 as this is a really wide lens, perfect for close ups and backstage pictures.
Due to the amount of dust, mud and rain at festivals, I never take these lenses off. This helps keep my sensors in top-notch condition against whatever the summer weather throws at them.
Y Not Festival 2017
This year’s Y Not festival opened on the Thursday night with Feeder playing in the evening summer sun. I managed to grab some portraits with Grant and the lads before they went on stage and played a great set to the early bird festival goers, who had arrived on the Thursday afternoon to set up camp.
Did I mention the summer sun on the Thursday evening? Well, that was the last we saw of it! Come midday on Friday, due to a few hours of a very heavy, torrential downpour, the whole festival site had changed completely.
What was green grass had now turned into a muddy swamp. Maybe these are the perils of holding a festival on the Derbyshire moorlands, but I think the conditions on the Friday took everyone by surprise. The main stage was particularly badly affected, driving rain had soaked the stage and there were fears of the bands getting electrocuted if they plugged in and played. A few acts were cancelled as the rain did not relent, until someone had the idea to put up four gazebo type marquees on the stage for the bands to try and play under.
This did help provide some shelter and two bands powered on through, performing in the height of the driving rain. I was at the festival to photograph one of these two bands; Nothing But Thieves. While the band had temporary cover, I, however was not so lucky. As a photographer, I, and my kit, needed to be at the front of the stage.
When I’m shooting at festivals, I’m always being asked about how weathered my Fujifilm X Series cameras are. I will admit that I’d never pushed my equipment as much as I had before experiencing the conditions at Y Not Festival. The rain was just horrendous. For the first three songs (around 17 to 20 minutes) I was photographing the band at the front of the stage. I was then side of stage to shot another two songs from there – once again I was exposed to the elements and continued to get soaked.
I can honestly say that my cameras passed their weathering ordeal with flying colours! I had no problem with the bodies and lenses in this heavy rain.
The rain continued throughout the evening and the main headline act, The Vaccines, was cancelled as the weather became so extreme. Therefore, it was time to go home and give my equipment a good clean up.
Although Saturday was blue sky, the night brought more torrential and a decision was made to call off the last day of the festival due to health and safety issues.
The ‘Great British Summer’, as I said, I get the cold sweats just thinking about it!
Please note: Not all of the X Series cameras feature Weather Resistance. Please check the specification of each model before purchase.
More from Tony Woolliscroft
Darren is a keen traveler and photography enthusiast from the town of Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland. For Darren, photography has always been a bit of a hobby and is closely intertwined with his passion for travel. As often as he can, Darren likes to get out and explore the world around him. Whether he is hiking the rural highlands of Scotland or roaming the sprawling cities of Asia, he will undoubtedly have his camera at his side. The goal of his photography has always been to visually document his adventures and to share them with others in attempt to inspire. Instagram is his preferred platform to share his work and to engage with fellow travelers from around the world, you can follow him at instagram.com/poetic_mouse.
He has been shooting with the Fujifilm X Series since late 2015.
In a series of articles X Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass. Continue reading Sports Photography as a Spectator – Autograss
I very rarely know what I am going to have presented to me when I go out to photograph a landscape. I know what I would like but we don’t always get what we want. Not only are we dealing with nature’s finest creations, we are trying to balance it with whatever the ‘greatest lighting man’ throws at us. This can often please or displease in equal measures. Continue reading Take A Different View: 14 Variations of the Same Location