Press photographer & Canon user David Hedges shoots Glastonbury with the Fujifilm X-T1

By David Hedges

Revelers watch the sun rise from the Stone Circle as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.
Revelers watch the sun rise from the Stone Circle as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.

FUJI_HEADSHOTLike the cliche of many photographers, I got into taking pictures by means of my dad letting me have a go on his camera, which he then struggled to get back. I ended up taking photography all the way to University, doing a degree course at The University of Plymouth and graduating with a first in 2011. I was lucky enough (and through spending my summers doing work experience at local papers) to be offered a job coming out of university for South West News Service (SWNS), one of the largest agencies in the UK, and for the last four years that’s where I’ve been, covering news and features for the national papers.


One of the highlights of being a press photographer in the South West of England is having the opportunity to shoot Glastonbury Festival each year. If ever there was an event that you could fill your entire photography portfolio within a matter of days, this would be it. Everything from portraits, to music, to all the quirky stuff that happens there, it’s a photographers dream. The last few years I had been shooting on my Canon gear, and believe me, after 5 days of lugging it around a mud strewn festival site that spans the size of a small City, you start to feel it. So this year I planned something different, I thought I would try using the Fujifilm X-T1 system to cover the festival. Armed with the X-T1, 16-55mm 2.8, 56mm 1.2, 50-140mm 2.8 and the 23mm 1.4, I took to the, for the most part, sunny fields of Glastonbury for one of the biggest festivals of the year.

Revelers enjoy the Friday night atmosphere at Glastonbury Festival on Worthy Farm, Somerset. After a deluge of rain, the sun broke through for the headliners. June 26 2015.
Arcadia bursts into life as revelers enjoy the Friday night atmosphere at Glastonbury Festival on Worthy Farm, Somerset. After a deluge of rain, the sun broke through for the headliners. June 26 2015.
Arcadia bursts into life as revelers enjoy the Friday night atmosphere at Glastonbury Festival on Worthy Farm, Somerset. After a deluge of rain, the sun broke through for the headliners. June 26 2015.
A dressed up woman poses for a photograph as revelers start to make their way home as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.
A dressed up woman poses for a photograph as revelers start to make their way home as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.

The first obvious thing I noticed was just how light the little X-T1 was, even when paired with a long, fast zoom. It made light work of the arrival shots, which was of course the somewhat predictable shots of guys and girls arriving with too many bags and crates of booze.

Revelers arrive at Glastonbury Festival 2015. June 24 2015.
Revelers arrive at Glastonbury Festival 2015. June 24 2015.

That evening, it was a trip up to the stone circle as thousands of people watched the sun set over the massive site by the Glastonbury sign. I tried out a few panoramas here using the built-in mode on the X-T1, which worked perfectly and really gave a good sense of scale to the site, which is the size of a town!

The sun sets over the festival site on the first evening of Glastonbury 2015. June 24 2015.
The sun sets over the festival site on the first evening of Glastonbury 2015. June 24 2015.
The sun sets over the festival site on the first evening of Glastonbury 2015. June 24 2015.
The sun sets over the festival site on the first evening of Glastonbury 2015. June 24 2015.

Throughout the rest of the festival, it was a classic mix of music and colour shots. Come rain, shine, night or day I was out and about with the camera. And, the size & weight of the camera really meant I didn’t feel like crawling into my tent for a rest. Well, at least not until the wee hours of the morning. I was also blown away by the quality of the images produced as well. For a non full frame camera it was fantastic in low light with very usable high ISOs, and when it came to editing some of the built in film emulation presets made it easy to give a stylised look to the images.

Edvinas Meilutis performs various flips as revelers relax at the Stone Circle as the sun sets at Glastonbury Festival 2015, on Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 25 2015.
Edvinas Meilutis performs various flips as revelers relax at the Stone Circle as the sun sets at Glastonbury Festival 2015, on Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 25 2015.
Florence and the Machine performs on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival 2015, on Worthy Farm, Somerset. Florence was moved up the running order due to the Foo Fighters having to drop out. June 26 2015.
Florence and the Machine performs on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival 2015, on Worthy Farm, Somerset. Florence was moved up the running order due to the Foo Fighters having to drop out. June 26 2015.
The who perform on the Pyramid Stage to close the festival at Glastonbury Festival on Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 28 2015.
The who perform on the Pyramid Stage to close the festival at Glastonbury Festival on Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 28 2015.

After using the camera and lenses for the best part of a week, I found my favourite lens to be a fight between the 16-55mm and the 56mm. But the 16-55 might have just stolen the show with its weather sealing. It was much needed come the Friday when the heavens opened for the first of two deluges that weekend. I was confident enough that the camera and lens wouldn’t give up, even though the rain really was coming down and the mud started to build up in true Glastonbury style.

Two girls shelter under a shop sign as heavy rain descends at Glastonbury Festival 2015, on Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 26 2015.

I think the key to photographing Glastonbury is to approach it with an open mind. There are pictures everywhere you look. Interesting people, music, and just the vast site that the festival is based on. Having a camera with you at all times means you’ll never miss a shot and that’s what I really loved about the Fuji system. I could carry around a body and a couple of lenses and not feel like I needed a trip to the chiropractor afterwards. Oh, and of course the main thing to remember when covering Glastonbury…wellies. NEVER forget your wellies.

Revelers play in the mud as the sun comes out, following an hour of heavy rain at Glastonbury Festival 2015, on Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 26 2015.

If you would like to see more of my work, please visit:

Twitter: @dhphotography
Instagram: @pressphoto
Web: www.davidhedgesphotography.com

Revelers watch the sun rise from the Stone Circle as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.
Revelers watch the sun rise from the Stone Circle as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.
Revelers begin to head home through a sea of rubbish near the Pyramid Stage as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.
Revelers begin to head home through a sea of rubbish near the Pyramid Stage as Glastonbury Festival comes to an end at Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 29 2015.

The Fujifilm X-T1 – The wedding photographers preferred choice?

Fuji X-T1 | 16-55 f2.8 – 1/200th @ f8 ISO 200

By Scott Sharman

I’ve been a massive fan of Canon since becoming a professional photographer around ten years ago. Photography is in my blood, passing down through family generations, and I currently shoot around 60 to 70 weddings a year in Staffordshire, Cheshire and throughout the UK.

I had been reading some excellent reviews about the new Fuji X-T1 cameras and lenses.  Lightweight, portable, compact and an incredible (EVF) electronic viewfinder which enabled the user to see live changes including white balance, exposure and so on.

Fuji X-T1 | 23mm f1.4 – 1/640th @ f16 ISO 400


And yet, was I really ready to move from my trustworthy Canon 5D MKIII’s and 1DX to the lightweight Fuji X-T1?

I contacted Fuji regarding loan units but all the loan units were out with other photographers.  So here’s the brave bit.  I jumped straight in and traded-in my tried, tested and trustworthy Canon 1DX there and then for the new Fuji X-T1, together with the 56mm f1.2 and 23mm F1.4 lenses.

And the results?  Incredible. Fuji had since then gone on to loan me an XF16-55 F2.8 and XF50-140 F2.8 lenses to use with the X-T1. Although I was apprehensive at first to use this new Fuji equipment at weddings, I eventually found myself over the past month or so using it more and more.

Here’s why I was so blown away with the results:

• The lightweight and compact Fuji X-T1 camera has revolutionised my working day – more portable, increased maneuverability, and less back-ache!
beth shenton 190715 005
Fuji X-T1 | 56mm f1.2 – 1/4400th @f1.2 ISO200 (The first image out of the X-T1, natural light, no adjusts, image direct out of camera)

• The EVF is amazing – One massive advantage and top tip. When shooting manual focus or ‘back button focusing’ I get a split screen image in the EVF which contains a 100% preview of the focus point and a overall framed image. I am also able to adjust and see live results of exposure changes giving me a full knowledge of exactly what the finalised image will look like.  In fact, I’ve found myself shooting fully manual most of the day as opposed to 60-80% Aperture priority on the Canon’s.

lucy taylor 250715 321.tif edit
Fuji X-T1 | 23mm f1.4 – 1/80th @ f1.4 ISO 1600

• The nifty folding screen helps me to reach those awkward high-up shots and low-down shots much more easily, albeit reaching high above the bride during bridal preparation or shooting low, such as ground or water level.

samatha greenhaf 010815 087
Fuji X-T1 | 23mm f1.4 – 1/160th @ f1.4 ISO 800 (Read LCD screen used, camera raised into a light fitting)

• The 56mm F1.2 lens is amazing – it’s one of the sharpest lenses I have ever worked with.

laura williams 060815 059
Fuji X-T1 | 56mm f1.2 – 1/500th @ f1.2 ISO 400

• And the 50-140mm F2.8 lens is really good too, in fact, seriously good – the lens is pin sharp throughout the whole focal range.

Fuji X-T1 | 50-140mm f12.8 - 1/640th @ f2.8 ISO 400
Fuji X-T1 | 50-140mm f12.8 – 1/640th @ f2.8 ISO 400

• Amazing natural light images are captured, the colour warmth and depth to the images is stunning. If you process in Lightroom like myself I would strongly advise changing the ‘Camera Calibration Profile’ back to Fuji’s own profile as Lightroom as a tendency of applying ‘Adobe Standard’ to all imported images. The photographs seem to show a ‘film look’ using Fuji’s profile and can be a little bland when using Adobe Standard.

lucy taylor 250715 028
Fuji X-T1 | 23mm f1.4 – 1/30th @ f2.8 ISO 200

Any negatives?  Not many. I need three or four batteries to get me through the day (bit more than usual). And, with only one SD card, I miss that automatic back-up throughout the day.  Plus, the Fuji focus tracking falls a little short of Canon’s.  And I still prefer to work with raw images, despite Fuji’s track-record on JPG quality.

lucy taylor 250715 089
Fuji X-T1 | 23mm f1.4 – 1/2500th @ f1.4 ISO 400

And finally, the million-dollar question..

Would I recommend the Fujifilm X-T1 and the above mentioned lenses to other wedding photographers?

Most definitely, yes. The 16-55 f2.8 is a direct competitor for the Canon 24-70 f2.8 and the 50-140 f2.8 for the Canon 70-200, pretty bold statements I know as these lenses have such a proven track record and any wedding photographer will tell you these are the ‘must have’ lenses.

lucy taylor 250715 312
Fuji X-T1 | 56mm f1.2 – 1/950th @ f2.2 ISO 400

Could this Canon photographer make the switch?

By Brian Rolfe

Back in August the guys at Fuji were kind enough to give me some time with the new X-T1 and 56mm 1.2 lens, I’ve had an X-Pro1 since around April time and since getting that it has become my natural light camera of choice but I was looking forward to seeing what the XT had to offer as I was still using my Canon full frame for commercial work… could this be the camera that made me move away from Canon?

Gemita-beach-321-web

I had a location test lined up with model and stunt woman Gemita Samarra, we were off to a beach for the day about an hour from where I live, as I was packing my gear the new Fuji kit arrived, I had no intention of using a completely alien camera but thought I’d take it along with the X-Pro and at least give it a go while I had the opportunity.

We arrived at the beach on a beautiful warm sunny day, got the make up done and headed down onto the beach to set up camp, a good selection of clothes and a surfboard, it was sure to be a good day! I decided to try out the XT straight away and then I could switch to the X-Pro once we’d done warm up shots and got a feel for the natural light of the day, what actually happened was a pretty unconscious thing really, the XT controls didn’t feel alien at all and I only realised when we stopped for lunch that I’d shot our first half a dozen looks with just the XT, the X-Pro did not leave my bag the entire day, I was that at ease with the new camera, we were all chatting and enjoying the shoot so much that I just kept going with it and the results were just perfect!

Gemita-beach-819-web

Gemita-beach-388-web

I’m not really into technical reviews, I’m not really qualified to give one anyway but I can give a user experience, which for me is far more valuable than graphs and pixel peeping! The first thing I noticed about the XT was it’s size, it’s smaller than the X-Pro which surprised me, with the 56mm attached though it felt solid and balanced in my hands. The addition of back button focussing was a big plus for me as that’s how I use my 5D Mk2 most of the time, there is a workaround way of doing it on the X-Pro but it’s not something that was built into it. Auto focus and responsiveness on the XT is a huge leap from the X-Pro, I’d shot on the beach a few weeks prior to this shoot with the X-Pro and I didn’t feel that confident in capturing the model moving around too much and getting focus every time but not so with the XT although I did miss focus on a number of shots that was me and not the camera.

Even as we were losing light and golden hour was fading away the focus didn’t let me down and although the ISO was going up and noise was becoming a factor it was still more than acceptable and because at this point I was shooting black and whites it worked in my favour anyway. The EVF is unbelievable on this camera, the vision through that viewfinder is a big plus, unusually for me though I did find myself using the screen to compose quite a bit as well, it’s so clear! I even found the new flip screen useful, that was unexpected, I just thought it was a nice gimmick but I do like to shoot at unusual angles and being able to do this without laying on the floor or pulling any muscles can only be a good thing, shooting from above would normally have meant a ladder but with the flip screen I can just hold the camera up, angle the screen and still compose well without just guessing.

Gemita-beach-176-web

Gemita-Studio-310-web

So those were the main things I noticed with the XT, I also like the fact that ISO control is now on a dial on the left side of the body. Obviously the camera is only as good as the glass attached to it and the 56mm is just amazing, I already loved the 35mm as being a 50mm equivalent it suits what I shoot but the 56mm just blew me away, come in close for a beauty shot and wow!! I’ve used the 85mm L series from Canon and this is equal if not better than that lens to my mind. For beauty and fashion work it’s on my wish list now, I’ve used it in the studio and out on location and it’s just an amazing, fast lens, focus is quick, the detail it produces is just beautiful. I compared my Canon beauty shots against ones from the Fuji and I actually think the Fuji edges it, every little facial hair, every pore and eyelash is in sharp focus. The lens itself you might expect to be ridiculously heavy and a bit clumsy feeling on the smaller bodied Fujis but it’s actually just right, I really liked the balance of it on both the XT and the X-Pro, honestly I really couldn’t fault this lens.

Having had the XT over the Summer I do regret not having used it more in the studio and worked out the white balance sweet spot under strobes but I love shooting with the Fujis in natural light so I took every opportunity to do so, whether it’s the XT or the X-Pro they both give me that filmic feel that I love and coupling that with natural light only accentuates that film like quality.

Gemita-Park-417-web

Will I switch to the X-T1? I haven’t yet, if funds allowed I would have one and a 56mm by now, I’m only really holding out because when (and I’m certain it’s when rather than if) I go 100% Fuji I have to tick all the boxes for my commercial work as well as my personal work, that includes tethering to Capture One which I’m sure will come, in the back of my mind is an X-Pro2 though and if that is as much of a leap forward as the XT & has tethering capabilities then I think that will be the moment I become a 100% Fuji shooter. For now, I’m happy with my X-Pro still, I am missing the XT mind you, but a 56mm is looking very likely and I have now added the X100T and teleconverter lens to the family. I’m just excited to see what Fuji comes up with in 2015, I have a feeling it’s going to be very interesting!


About Brian

me2Brian Rolfe is a professional photographer based just outside of London with a clean and classic style specialising in beauty, hair, fashion and portraiture.

“I always strive to create images of timeless beauty & ensure the subject is still the main focus. Lighting is important but I don’t like to let it take over an image and the same applies to retouching.” 

Blog 

Twitter

Website