X-Pro2 Portraits with The Woz, Apple’s Co-Founder

Guest Blogger strip BLACK

By Dan Taylor

It’s not every day that you get the chance to photograph a person who is directly involved in creating a product that has changed the world. And it’s even rarer to have this person’s undivided attention for a few minutes just before getting mic’d up to take the stage.Dan Taylor photographing Steve Wozniak for Fujifilm - Image by Dan Taylor - dan@heisenbergmedia.com-1So, when I first got word that I’d have exactly this opportunity to photograph Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Manchester, England, at Business Rocks, I knew I had to be prepared and have everything ready to go the minute he came out of the green room. Striving for absolute image perfection, my choice of gear was clear: The Fujifilm X-Pro2 and XF56mmF1.2 R.

While I’m generally a fan of the SLR body format, e.g. my X-T1, utilizing the new technology and features in the rangefinder format X-Pro2 was too good to pass up. And when combined with the XF56mmF1.2 R (in this case at F8) the results are razor sharp, crystal clear, and absolutely stunning. I’d even venture to say that the XF56mm is the best headshot lens I’ve ever used.

Knowing that I had very little time with Steve, I had prepared my lighting setup in advance, and fired off a few quick test images with a colleague. Given that our time together was to be quite short, I knew that simplicity would be key. Building on this simplicity, I found a plain white wall between the green room and stage and used a slow(er) shutter speed to capture the ambient lighting to help illuminate the background.

Initially, I had a black background setup, but decided at the last minute to go with white. With the black background I could use a fast shutter speed, as ambient light wasn’t needed or wanted. However, with the introduction of the white background, I did want to capture the ambient light generated by the speedlights. At f/8, a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second was just right.

For my headshot with The Woz, I used 1 key and 1 fill triggered via a wireless transceiver in an off axis clamshell lighting setup. The key light is diffused inside a Lastolite Umbrella Box, and the fill light diffused via a standard umbrella.

Depending on the look you’re trying to create, the fill light might not even be necessary. In this case, I’ve used it to fill and soften the shadows the key light would be casting.Dan Taylor and Steve Wozniak headshot  for Fujifilm - Image by Dan Taylor - dan@heisenbergmedia.com-1When shooting with speedlights and any FUJIFILM X Series camera, one crucial menu option you want to turn off is the Preview Exp./WB in Manual Mode. If this option is on, you’ll be presented with things exactly the way the sensor sees things, normally a good thing, but here, without compensating for the light the speedlights are going to generate.

Right. Settings set, lights lit, The Woz ready to go. Let’s make some magic!

I generally turn to humor to get the ball rolling, and always have a joke or two ready. I’ve got a few really, really bad one liners that are just so horrible, there’s really no choice but not to laugh at them, and so far, they haven’t let me down. With The Woz, I actually had to resort to joke number two, as he gave me the punch line to joke number one before I could even finish the sentence. Ever the prankster.  Steve Wozniak for Fujifilm - Image by Dan Taylor - dan@heisenbergmedia.com-1All in all, I’d estimate that Steve and I did 4 shots together in a time period totaling less than a minute. And even though our time together was short, The Woz has been one of my favorite sessions yet. Not only is he an iconic figure, but a true gentleman, as for when I sent him the images we did together, he replied within minutes, stating, “It was great to watch you work. I love seeing great technical skills of all kinds.”

Thank YOU Steve for a great collaboration!

For me, when it comes to quality, portability, and forward thinking, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the camera that always makes it in my bag.

Adventures in Nepal and the Unintentional Beginning of a Long-Term Project

Guest blogger

By U.S. Photographer Rebecca Gaal

Day 1: Hey! You remember as a child when your parents explicitly told you not to pet stray dogs? All the CDC warning about rabies? If your first reaction after breaking these basic rules is to sacrifice your trigger finger over your X-T1… there might be a greater issue then the inability to follow directions. The X-T1 was my camera of choice because I needed something as reliable as Imodium, yet flexible enough to condone creativity – all while still resembling the look of film. I mean, come on! When you’re worried about the possibilities of your body failing, health, or basic safety, you don’t have time to second-guess about gear.DSCF9419I’ll spare you the details about the sobering reality of needing to trade my personal snacks for battery space. If you’ve ever encountered the luggage scale of doom in an airport, then you understand the seriousness of airline weight restrictions. Now, imagine restrictions for a 4 or 6 seater plane and the tired muscles of the sweet mules that will inevitably carry the still-too-heavy load.IMG_0245Let me back up a second. Journaling is my way of processing overwhelming amounts of information. Figuring out what works and what does not work, and why. Last September I was lucky enough to join an incredible group of individuals from around the globe to set off on a month-long expedition in the lesser-known mountains of Dolpo, Nepal. The group, called the Nomads Clinic, was created by Joan Halifax and serves some of heartiest, most salt-of-the-earth humans who live in some of the most remote places in the world and are in need of medical aid. There was no set storyline or plan for photographs except to document the journey. It can be challenging to narrow down your focus when everything and everyone is interesting. It’s also tricky to think at high altitude (10-18,000ft) so doing a solid amount of planning and research ahead of time is an integral part of my process. There is a lot to be said about visiting a place and meeting the people before deciding what your story is truly about.

Just as an illustrator uses multiple pens or a chef has his favorite knives, cameras bodies and lenses are no different. Prior to this endeavor I made a list of criteria my gear must meet in order to have the best chance of success. The gear would need to be: lightweight, quiet, have a high ISO range, be durable and weather resistant, have external controls easy to change and most importantly all of these functions needed to come in something small and compact. The camera is a tool, a tool to think with, understand with, initiate conversation with, but it works against you if it’s intimidating or hinders maneuverability. The rotating LCD was also pivotal. Really. Just as the ability to shoot from the hip without it looking like your hip took the shot- fantastic! The X-T1 not only met my basic criteria, but also went beyond and far exceeded expectations.

Gear List

  • 2 Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless Bodies
  • 1 Fujifilm XF10-24mmF4 R OIS WR Lens
  • 1 Fujifilm XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens
  • 1 Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens
  • 12x Extra Batteries for X-T1
  • 1 X-T1 Vertical Battery Grip
  • 1 GoPro4, 8 batteries for GoPro
  • Started with 10, 34GB SD cards and bought more out of anxiety at every airport
  • Gorilla pod
  • iPhone6
  • Lens Cleaners
  • Two battery chargers with extra cords for both Fujifilm and GoPro.
  • Goal Zero Sherpa 100 solar charger w AC converter
  • Circular Polarizers and UV haze filters
  • Peak design backpack clip
  • LowPro pouches
  • 1 XS pelican case

Things Left at Hotel

  • 2 G tech portable HD’s
  • Card reader
  • MacBook pro

DSCF5942Day 17: The clinic is roaring! Mothers carrying infants and men of all ages waiting to be treated. Waiting to be seen. Be heard. Their bodies aged by years of physical labor, scorched, wind-whipped faces with lines as sharp and jagged as the mountains they live in. A baby calf is wailing for it’s mother, the air is starting to smell like rain and dark clouds make the dust start to churn. I tell you this to paint a picture, one that requires all of your senses and mental faculties to pay attention to the life, the art that is happening before your eyes and not a giant pelican case full of electronics.

Day 18: Dolpo, like many other places people explore with cameras is a microcosm of issues and stories waiting to be told. There’s not only climate change but people change. Change in cultural practices, identity, wants and needs. Not everyone believes in climate change and that’s okay; maybe the climate isn’t changing, maybe it’s purely evolving as it has been shifting and morphing for centuries, since the beginning of time. This land is akin to the first camera and now I’m standing in a home with no electricity, no running water or toilet but the father of the dwelling has a smartphone and the children a TV to watch. What allows technology to grow here but not food?Nomads Clinic Dolpo Nepal 2015Day 19: Development is moving faster then the land can handle. There is no fossil fuel, no waste disposal methods; the first signs of growth came in the form of a handful of motorbikes, cup o noodles, soft drinks, beer and a various assortment of cell phones. There are a few crude health clinics, rarely staffed and stocked with outdated medications. Migration is increasing and thus the population is growing. Traditional annual migrations are being challenged due to severe weather and lack of food. No food for humans, no food for animals. Animals cannot transport goods and become ill. People lose money. People live in close proximity with animals and animals eat trash left by humans. Humans eat the animals. Imported and exported goods are slowed or stopped. Imported foods are primarily packaged increasing waste. New illnesses like typhoid and chicken pox are being introduced because of changes in the climate and migration, which has increased: AIDS, Hepatitis and STD rates. Increased births demand more food and water then the land can yield. Water is not sanitary because that is where waste is thrown and animals bath.  Children suffer from blistering lesions caused by lack of hygiene and the spreading of endemic skin diseases. Water scarcity, deforestation, below average snowfall, rainfall, drought, and bad soil, the burning of dried dung, smoke inhalation. A strong alcohol is made locally from barley. Everyone drinks. Muscular skeletal pain is common from hard labor started at a young age and injury, alcohol decreases their pain. Women drink during birth to ease the pain. Women drink during pregnancy causing birth defects. Diets are high in oils and spices and rock salt from Tibet. Stomach issues are common and everyone is dehydrated or has gastritis, hypertension and goiters. They seldom care about their health until it hinders their ability to perform daily functions. Or if they care, is there anything that they can do about it? Anyone to help them? All of these thoughts dance in my head as I try to sleep. 5 am comes all too quickly though and I’m soon reminded of the immense beauty here. The moment you realize you’re finally hydrated can actually have unexpected photographic advantages.Nomads Clinic Dolpo Nepal 2015Day 20: After a number of intense yak run-ins, I was ready for a little down time. I felt the need to make sure I’d backed up all of my images. Just in case. My incredibly patient and understanding tent mate made the remark that at dusk when batteries are charging and cards are downloading our tent resembled that of a rocket launching station. The launch pad was rarely needed however. Not dust, nor rain, freezing temperatures or scalding heat could interfere with the life of my batteries. They traveled between thick socks, down jacket pockets and sleeping bags. Just as I need my morning coffee to wake up, they would occasionally need a few minutes as well. Then we were off!DSCF8011Day 21: There are people on your right and people on your left, donkeys behind and cliffs in front, you can’t move yet everyone is standing in place photographing, you get this funny sensation… is everyone shooting the same thing? Or, is my gear properly attached? Did I drop something into the dusty abyss? A Peak Design backpack clip was the perfect solution. The X-T1 with my heaviest lens was light enough to attach to my backpack strap without hindering my questionable balancing abilities. In a pinch it could hang from my neck, be carried by hand or clipped to my hip without the feeling of being instantly obese on those skinny cliffs.Nomads Clinic Dolpo Nepal 2015Before I knew it: I was on a flight back home furiously downloading cards on my computer, backing them up and backing them up a second time, praying they were all there, feeling for my rescue recovery disk in my backpack just in case. Feeling the swelling in my knee caps and how difficult to impossible it would be to ‘re-shoot’ anything and how the moments never exactly happen the same way twice anyway. Dreaming about how the life of my cards would have been so much better if I only had a second card slot. And BOOM, the X-Pro 2 specs! DSCF8666Back at home: When a project starts to take on a life of it’s own… You’re driving to the market, driving to yoga, driving to work, sitting at the doctor’s office, sitting in bed, laying down in savashsna, and you can’t stop thinking about the place, the people, the culture, their needs, their dreams, and you’re mentally exploring various angles that would have better served your subject visually, how to show others everything you felt, everything you heard, how to more eloquently express the issues, tell the stories of the humans behind the faces, the smells of spices cooking. If I did this again would I change my gear setup? Telephoto? Prime? Zoom? One of each? Two of each? Same body? Different bodies? You get where I’m going with this. A project has begun. During the first two weeks I shot 2576 photos. I figure if I edit 5 or so a day you could potentially view them on my website in 2030. Right. Thank you Fujifilm for allowing this journey to begin.Nomads Clinic Dolpo Nepal 2015P.S. High performance mode makes a wonderful difference. Turn it on.

 

Product photography with the X-A2

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By LAURA HARVEY

Photos are super-important for anyone selling online – our customers aren’t able to pick up our products. They can’t get a feel for our cards, prints or mugs as they would in a traditional bricks and mortar shop.


Although we have stockists in the real world, we also sell our products online via our own website, as well as on marketplaces such as notonthehighstreet.com and etsy. These are ultra-competitive marketplaces, with a lot of products all shouting for attention. Type ‘birthday cards’ into etsy and you get 184,757 (and counting) results.

Having an eye-catching design and an appealing price can only take you so far. You need strong SEO and, just as importantly, professional-looking product shots.

This isn’t only important for catching a customer’s eye, but also for getting the attention of the people running these sites, who will promote products with superior photography.

That’s why we love using the X-A2.

I had been using an old DSLR, which did a job for us, but was a bit of a pain for my partner Jack, who has very little camera experience (he claims to have taken GCSE Photography many years ago, but you’d never know) to use on a day-to-day basis.

The X-A2 is far more intuitive, operating more like the compacts he’s used to from family holidays and so on.

Having a camera we can both use makes taking product shots – and promotional photos for our social media posts – a breeze.

We work from home, in a spare room converted into a store room for all our cards, packaging material, mug press, printers, blank mugs… you get the picture. Oh and this room also doubles as our photo studio. This means that when we need to photograph our products, we have to do a quick transformation of our designated packing area into a mini photo studio. The quicker we can do this, the better. So being able to stick the X-A2 on to our tripod and shoot away is a real bonus.

Of course, we’re not just limited to the studio and with the X-A2 being so lightweight and compact, it has joined us on our travels this summer, including a long-awaited visit to Wimbledon (on the hottest day of the year, no less) which meant I was able to get some great photos that I will treasure forever.


In a nutshell, here are our 10 favourite things about the X-A2

Image quality.

What can we say? When we want a bright, sharp image to show off our colourful designs the X-A2 does not let us down. This gives our customers the closest experience possible to actually picking up the products in their own hands.

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Reduced noise at a low ISO.

I knew that the photos I had taken with my DSLR had more noise on them than I’d like, even at ISO 100, but it wasn’t until I blew up an old image and one taken on the X-A2 side by side that I noticed just how grainy the old photos were in comparison. When your main selling tool is a product shot, quality is everything and could make a huge difference to the overall appearance of our online shop.

Selfies.

You can flip the screen over the top of the camera body and take a mean selfie (Jack particularly likes this feature. Boys…)

Exposure preview.

Being able to preview the exposure before shooting is really time-saving. Our studio doesn’t always have the best light, it’s natural and changes in seconds. With the X-A2 I can keep adjusting and previewing the exposure quickly and easily, which saves heaps of time.

Liveview.

The liveview screen is ultra clear, exceptionally responsive and tiltable. I hadn’t really fully appreciated the point of an tiltable liveview screen until I started using the X-A2. Our studio space-cum-photography studio is pretty pokey, with stacks of cards, boxes of envelopes and postage tubes all coming in and out all the time. Being able to tilt the screen rather than stand back and crouch down makes photography a pleasure rather than a chore.

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It ain’t heavy.

How can a camera packed with so much clever stuff be so lightweight? It must have come from the future. Going back to the DSLR after using this is like trying to pick up a Rottweiler when you’re used to a Pomeranian.

Hip to be square.

The square format mode is a big bonus for us. The standard photo format on our website and notonthehighstreet.com is square, so this not only saves us time in cropping, but also helps us to shoot specifically with these websites in mind. Seeing the crop in camera first, rather than having to imagine a square crop from a landscape or portrait image is a huge benefit for us.

Battery life.

We kicked the heck out of the battery, really going to town on what we thought would be real energy-sapping sessions of lengthy liveview use, but the X-A2 just kept on keeping on.

Wireless transfer.

Being able to zap the files straight over from the X-A2 to our computer, tablet or phone not only makes us feel a bit like Tom Cruise in Minority Report, but saves time and, teamed up with the square format, makes Instagram a doddle.

It looks cool.

Well, it does, doesn’t it?


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After a few weeks of launching new products – and mainly studio-based work, we’re keen to get the X-A2 out on the road to get some great new content for our blog. Watch this space…


Laura Harvey is the founder and designer at Paper Plane

Paperplanedesigns.co.uk | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Learn more and buy now

X-A2_Front_Right_Silver16-50mm_FlashClick here to find retailers selling the Fujifilm X-A2

The Ugandan gorillas and chimpanzees

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by Peter Delaney

Bio

11830097_1148874931796385_1664940048_nIn 2001, I made a decision to quit a career in finance to pursue my dream of travelling Africa in a 4×4 Landcruiser. The sheer size and magnitude of this continent was overwhelming. I travelled the forests of Bwindi to the peaks of Kilimanjaro, to the shores of Lake Malawi and the red dunes of the Kalahari. I have spent many months in the African wilderness looking for that unique photograph to showcase the rich variety of wildlife and beautiful landscape that Africa has to offer.

Africa has become the new chapter in my life and I have dedicated the last 15 years photographing this diverse continent.

My dedication to the craft has been rewarded with publications in the National Geographic, Deutsche Geo and many others. My photographs have won numerous awards including the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of The Year in 2011 & 2013.

Photography has become my life, it maybe a cliché, but it’s true. I live and breathe photography. No matter where I am, “my minds eye” is making photographs. It has taught me to see the world in a different light, and for that, I am so grateful.

Recent assignment and what I was hoping to capture

In June, I spent a week on assignment for a client who asked me to photograph Ugandas Gorillas and Chimpanzees. The brief was to photograph the impact of conservation tourism on local communities and the Wildlife. It was a fantastic opportunity to photograph Mountain Gorillas, whose numbers are less than 1000 worldwide, and Chimpanzees whose numbers are under increasing threat from habitat lost due to logging and oil drilling.

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When I photograph my subjects there are few things on my mind. First and foremost is the well being of my subjects, I never want them to feel threatened that they may enter a “fight or flight” scenario. The other is that I photograph my subjects aesthetically, so that my photographs resonate with the viewer.

fishing-boat-lake-victoria-3On assignments there are always opportunities to photograph different subjects, on my photography wish list I have always wanted to photograph Fishermen casting nets from old wooden boats.
On this trip I had an hour waiting for our transport to a nearby island. It was a surreal morning with huge storm clouds approaching over calm waters. Local fishermen were fishing close by. I had one chance to get the photograph that I always wanted. I am glad to say I succeeded.

What kit did I take why?

Since 2007, up until last year, all my work was photographed with pro DSLR body.

To be honest, I was never truly happy with this bulky equipment, I would often come back from trips and be dissatisfied with the lack of sharpness and detail. This was mainly due to vibrations from the mirror and shutter.

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I have been monitoring the mirrorless platform intensely over the last few years. When Fujifilm brought out the X-T1 and a lens roadmap, I got in contact with Fujifilm South Africa. I had a wonderful meeting with their team and I was convinced by their passion, commitment and dedication not just to the products, but to the Fujifilm community too. The support I have received from Fujifim has been amazing and I’m so excited about the release of the upcoming “big lens” from Fujifilm. I am sure it will live up to my expectations.

On this trip I packed the following gear:

  • 2 x Fujifilm X-T1’s
  • XF18-55mm
  • XF50-140mm
  • Laptop
  • Hard drives
  • SD cards
  • Spare batteries & chargers

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I knew photographing the Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees was not just going to be a challenge physically for me, but also to push my Fujifilm equipment to the limits.
I have to admit, I was a little bit apprehensive but I needn’t have been. I cannot emphasise enough how well the X-T1 and the 50-140mm coped with low light, high contrast and wet, humid conditions. It performed beautifully.

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Carrying these cameras and lenses around for hours while trekking the Chimpanzees and Gorillas I never once felt tired, or that my equipment was too heavy and cumbersome as it use to be in the past with my old DSLR.

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Since I was working for a client, knowing whether the trip was a success or not was down to their reaction. I found my client to be ecstatic with the results, and so was I.

This trip put to bed any lingering thoughts I had about making the switch to Fujifilm “exclusively”. I love my Fujifilm equipment and I love being part of the Fujifilm family as Fujifilm’s X-shooter in South Africa.

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General tips

First and foremost, enjoy your Photography.

Secondly, no matter how good you think you are as a photographer, you can always be better, never stop learning.

Thirdly, respect your subject, be ethical in your approach and remember your reputation is everything.

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What’s next for me ?

I’m just back from a self imposed year off as I became a father for the first time. And I am now slowly weening myself off fatherhood and getting back out into the field.

Because I love to travel and explore, I am planning trips to Asia, Europe and of course my beloved Africa. I have further work booked with clients who love giving me challenging briefs. I am hoping to work with Fujifilm South Africa next year coinciding with the release of their “big lens”. I love sharing my stories and passion for my photography so I will be giving short presentations both locally and internationally.

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Email – delaneypeter@icloud.com

A journey to Marrakesh

9. DSCF5376 mercato medina - sitoby Jesper Storgaard Jensen

About me

Jesper Storgaard Jensen bwI’m Danish, born in 1964, and have been living in Rome since 1997. I have always loved writing and at a certain point, after my arrival in Rome, I started to collaborate with magazines producing travel articles. It was from this that the Danish Daily wanted to publish a travel article of mine from an Italian island. Unfortunately the PR-photos were of a too poor quality. In other words, I had to do the photos myself. This is when I purchased my first ever 5-mega-pixel camera. That was back in 2003, and since then, my interest in photography has been steadily increasing. I had been working for the Danish Embassy in Rome for ten years, but in 2009 I took the jump to become a full time freelance journalist and photographer shooting travel, culture, food & wine and interviews. Everything with my own imagery.

The journey to Marrakesh

We – a total of eight persons – were doing a 7 day on-the-road-trip round Morocco, two days of which were spent in Marrakesh. As I needed to travel light, I packed only my Fuji gear – Fuji X-E2, the 18-55mm kit lens and the 35 mm lens for portraits & food. I must say that I find this a excellent combination and the overall weight is significantly reduced compared to DSLR gear.

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Travelling in a country with a completely different culture to my own I wanted to play it safe. So I asked most people if I could take their photo, especially regarding portraits, which I guess is quite obvious. There were occasions where some scenes were too good to miss, and in these circumstances I fired from the hip, looking elsewhere.

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Generally speaking, Marrakesh is a very photogenic location. There are so many varied situations, so wonderfully exotic, with such incredible faces, emotions, the colours, the textures. Everything seems to be calling you to be immortalized.

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Future projects

Aside from my daily work, I like to have detailed, lengthy photographic projects and I’ll soon be leaving Rome for my summer holidays. I’ll be driving through the south of Italy to the island of Pantelleria, south of Sicily. During that month of holiday I’m planning on doing a project called “People I met”, taking portraits of people I’d casually meet during that month. On a long term basis, I’m working on a project where I’ll be photographing different kinds of Roman artisans in their working environments. This project will be continuing into 2016.

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My 10 favourite accessories for Fujifilm X-cameras – Part 2

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By Piet Van den Eynde,

For my travel photography, I now work entirely with the X-system. I like the fact that it’s lighter, smaller and manages to look great yet unobtrusive and produce great looking images at the same time. I love the direct feedback of the manual controls, dials and aperture rings. I use two X-T1’s, a X100s and a slew of Fujifilm lenses. One of the advantages of using a smaller and lighter system is that it frees up some space (and weight) in your camera bag for other accessories that can help you create better shots. In this two-part series, I’ll have a look at my top-ten favorite accessories for Fujifilm cameras – from a travelling point of view. You can read Part 1 by clicking here. Here are my final 6 – 10 accessories.

6 – Lightroom

Much has been written about how good or bad Lightroom is for Developing Fujifilm .RAF files. I have to admit that at first, it was really bad but in my opinion, although probably not the best, Lightroom is good enough for my needs. Whatever 10 percent that Lightoom might lack in terms of pure image quality, it makes up for by its workflow advantages and the fact that I can go from capture to export and even publish websites and create printed photo books all from within the same application.

Lightroom is more than a raw converter: it’s an image database and it even allows you to quickly publish your images, be it to a printer, the internet or in a photo book.

On top of that, I don’t want to change my workflow every time a new, supposedly even better raw converter is the ‘buzz du jour’ on the internet. I do find that I have to use higher than default capture sharpening but that’s easily fixed by setting a new camera raw default. I teach you how to do that (and much much more) in my 300+ page Lightroom 5 Unmasked eBook.

Another thing I love about Lightroom is that it has simulations (found in the Camera Calibration Panel) for the Fujifilm film styles like Provia or Astia. That way, you can closely match the look of the raw file to the jpg and still benefit from the larger postprocessing leeway that raw files offer.
Another thing I love about Lightroom is that it has simulations (found in the Camera Calibration Panel) for the Fujifilm film styles like Provia or Astia. That way, you can closely match the look of the raw file to the jpg and still benefit from the larger post-processing leeway that raw files offer.
Use code FUJISAVINGS to shave 30% off the $20 cover price of my 300+ page PDF eBook Lightroom 5 Unmasked until the Feb 28th, 2015.
Use code FUJISAVINGS to shave 30% off the $20 cover price of my 300+ page PDF eBook Lightroom 5 Unmasked until the Feb 28th, 2015.

7 – Eyefi Card for tethered shooting

With the Eyefi Mobi card you can wirelessly transfer images to a computer or tablet, even if you have an X-Pro 1, X-E1 or X-100(s) that doesn’t have WIFI.
With the Eyefi Mobi card you can wirelessly transfer images to a computer or tablet, even if you have an X-Pro 1, X-E1 or X-100(s) that doesn’t have WIFI.

On some occasions like studio shoots or when I’m doing demos, I would like to have the images show up on my monitor or projector. However, up until now, my X-T1 does not allow me to shoot tethered into Lightroom, nor to any other app, for that matter. I could use the Camera Remote software but that would be cumbersome because I would have to transfer each photo individually from my camera to my phone or tablet and then on to my computer. There’s a great workaround, though and it involves using an Eyefi Mobi card. That’s an SD card that has a built-in WIFI transmitter. It saves the images to the card but also – by means of the Eyefi Mobi desktop App that you install on your Mac or Windows machine, to a folder of your choosing on your computer. You can then set up that folder as a so-called Watched Folder in Lightroom and have the images that the Eyefi card wirelessly pushes to your computer, show up there (the full lowdown is also discussed in Lightroom 5 Unmasked). The only limitation is that, at least for the European Eyefi cards, you can only transfer JPG files. So, does this mean that if you start editing those JPGs and then at the end of the day you import your raws from the SD card itself, you have to start all over again?

Well, not necessarily, because you could use John Beardsworth’s Syncomatic Lightroom plug-in: this cool plug-in allows you to automatically copy the edits you made to a JPG and then apply those edits to the raw files that have, bar the extension, the same name. Just make sure that you set the raw files up with the same Film Simulation (you can do that in the Camera Calibration menu) that you assigned to the JPGs in the camera.

8 – Remote control

This remote control was originally for Canon cameras, but it also works on the X-T1
This remote control was originally for Canon cameras, but it also works on the X-T1

Anytime you’re on a tripod and you’re using longer shutter speeds, it’s best not to physically depress the shutter button to make a photograph: doing so can introduce blur in your image. If your Fuji has WIFI, you can use the Camera Remote App. If it doesn’t, or if you want to work with exposures over 30 seconds (the limit for the Camera Remote App), a dedicated remote might be a good idea. On my X-T1, I use this model. It’s actually designed for Canon, but it also works with some Fujis like the X-T1. On top of enabling shutter speeds beyond 30 seconds, it allows you to program interval shooting and delays beyond the default choices of 2 or 10 seconds.

This exposure of 125 seconds was shot using the above-mentioned remote control.
This exposure of 125 seconds was shot using the above-mentioned remote control.

9 – Really Right Stuff L Bracket

This is an accessory which I haven’t used myself yet, but a couple of fellow Fuji shooters such as Matt Brandon use it to their satisfaction and therefore bumped it high on my wishlist: the Really Right Stuff L Bracket. This bracket allows you to quickly mount your camera either horizontally or vertically to your tripod. The L Bracket is designed in a way that it can stay on your camera and you still get to access the battery door and card slot. Some photographers like it just because it adds some extra bulk and grip to the camera. Although, if that’s all you want, you might just spring for Fujifilm’s own vertical grip for the X-T1, which has the added benefit of storing an extra battery.

10 – Fujifilm Instax Printer

I’ve saved the best for last. Really. I’ve started giving out instant prints to the people I photographed along my journeys as early as 2009. At the time, I used a Polaroid Pogo. Handing out prints allowed me to not only take a photo but give something back in return. And by doing it on the spot rather than on my return back home, it saved me the trouble of trying to decrypt hastily written addresses or trying to remember which photo I should send to which person. But what I hadn’t expected at first, was that handing out prints to people was also the perfect door-opener to photograph… even more people. More than once have I had the experience that someone did not want to have their photo taken, only to ask me to take their photo just minutes later after they had seen me give a print to someone else.

Matt Brandon, organizer of the 2015 Rajasthan Photo Workshop, with the Fujifilm Instax Printer. Read his review about the printer here.
Matt Brandon, organizer of the 2015 Rajasthan Photo Workshop, with the Fujifilm Instax Printer. Read his review about the printer here.

The Pogo did have its disadvantages, though: the battery lasted for only 10 shots and color fidelity was clearly not high on the specs list. So for a moment I dabbled with the idea of bringing a Fujifilm Instax camera, but then Fujifilm announced the Instax Share SP-1 Printer. If you get only one of the accessories that I have listed in this overview, make it that little printer. Especially in remote areas where people don’t have ready access to photography, you’ll spread joy with every Instax print you hand out. And, as a sign of good Karma, you’ll be rewarded with more great photo opportunities, too. And you don’t have to take my word for it: check out the praise of Matt Brandon or Zack Arias in their reviews of the SP-1.

The Instax Printer helps to break the ice and is a great way to give something back to the people you photograph.
The Instax Printer helps to break the ice and is a great way to give something back to the people you photograph.

 

Bonus accessory – kind of…

I’d like to wrap up this overview with the smallest, lightest and cheapest accessory of them all: a pack of Sugru. Sugru is self-setting rubber and if I’m not mistaking, it’s invented in the UK. You open a small sachet, tear of as much as you need (the rest will dry out, unfortunately), you model it into shape, affix it to wherever you need to and then let it dry for 24 hours and it adheses perfectly to the surface you stuck it on. Now what do Sugru and my X-T1 have in common… Well, as much as I love that camera, there’s one thing I like less than on my old X-E2: apparently because of weather sealing, the 4 way control buttons around the central Menu/OK button are too flush with the rest of the camera, at least to my taste.

Sugru allowed me to raise the profile of my X-T1 4 way controller buttons which makes it easier to find them with my thumb while keeping my eye at that gorgeous viewfinder.
Sugru allowed me to raise the profile of my X-T1 4 way controller buttons which makes it easier to find them with my thumb while keeping my eye at that gorgeous viewfinder.

Now I love the fact that there are 49 AF points on the Fuji cameras and that – contrary to DSLRs – they are literally everywhere across the image. Howver, my right thumb often has trouble finding the buttons without taking my eye of the EVF (tip-within-the-tip: all these buttons are programmable, so I’ve programmed them all to change the AF-field). I used Sugru to raise the profile of the buttons just enough so that I can find them, even in the dark. It’s a small mod but it makes a gigantic difference in my workflow.

About Piet Van den Eynde

Piet Van den Eynde is a Belgian freelance travel photographer, author and trainer. He’s a Fujifilm Ambassador and has published over 10 books and eBooks on digital photography and postprocessing with Adobe Lightroom. He also organizes two travel photo workshops each year in India with X-Photographer Matt Brandon from www.thedigitaltrekker.com. Next one up is the beautiful Indian state of Rajasthan and has only two spots left. His English eBooks such as his bestselling Lightroom 5 Unmasked are published by Craft & Vision. Discount code FUJISAVINGS will save you 30% on any of his Craft & Vision eBooks and his Photoshop for Photographers video training until end of February 2015. Piet’s own blog can be found here: http://www.morethanwords.be/blog

Guest post: My Wedding Photographer Mindset. Or: How I learned to stop worrying and Love Fujifilm.

By Mick Servodio

Ok. Let me start by saying: that this is not another fanboy drooling over his Fujifilm gear. I won’t be talking Tech in this Post. I will be talking from the heart. About me, my experiences. I know you know about the cameras (those Fujifilm cameras). So, no drooling here. This is a bit more than that (and hopefully not less than that!).

Let me start by telling you who I am. I’m a bit like you. I love photography. I love the arts. I sort of fell into it. You see, I’m a cook by trade, and have had photography as a hobby. But I do now consider myself a working, semi-professional, whose main focus is wedding photography. I lived in Brisbane, Australia, where I built up my business, but now I live in Perth (for about 18 months). I’m working under the name of Velvet Photography (Check out my website)

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In that short time in Perth, I have pretty much built up my business from scratch. It’s doing Ok. But luckily I know how to cook for a living while I continue to lock in those bookings (and I am).
I’ve come from Team Nikon. Starting with a d80, then a D700, and all that great glass that came with the cameras. It was my gear, and I was used to shooting with it.

So what happened?

I wanted a personal camera. Something for my own. Something that didn’t remind me of a workhorse. That’s when I found the Fujifilm X100. It was the camera that got me totally hooked. I loved everything about it. The retro Chic styling: the Hybrid viewfinder. Just everything. And once I got used to it, I even got used to its quirks. But you know, most of all, it got me loving my craft again: Photography felt passionate again to me. It was more than just work

Now I’ve read this a lot from other photographers. But why do we hear it over and over? We seem to hear this commonality because it’s a common truth for so many of us. I can say for certain that it was 110% true for me.

Initially this was just going to be a camera just for me. I needed something to be separate from the job. Something to take to all those family functions without cringing every time someone asked me to bring my camera with me.

The X100 was my loved personal camera right up until I sold it, and bought a 2nd hand X-E1. This camera made the addiction serious. When I brought it along to a wedding, I became surprised with how much it was getting used. The client ended up getting about 40% of their images with the X-E1, and the 35mm lens.

But the transition for me wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The real challenge was breaking away from the headspace of what it means to be a Professional Photographer, and how one should look. And in my mind, it had to be a guy with BIG cameras, and massive, long, heavy lenses. That was it. There was no other look. And all I could think for ages was what would people (that is: paying clients) think when I rocked up shoot their Lush wedding with some tiny cameras that were smaller than Uncle Bobs Gear. It was on my mind so much and often that I almost put it out of my mind. There was no way I could pull this off. How could I be taken seriously as a pro? It shouldn’t have mattered, but it did. I wanted to work through this. And this is how it did it:

X100S

I used my D700 as a security blanket of sorts. It was hung over my shoulder as I shot with the x-e1 at my next wedding. This was my way of working through this Image I was (self) programmed to project. For me, the Image of Velvet Photography (me) was everything. I had to look the part. But in the end, I worked through it. The new mindset was: “I’m making choices for both myself and my client. These cameras make me happy, and so, if I’m happy to shoot a wedding like this, then my clients will benefit”. Or something like that.

But like any addict, I wanted more. That’s when the X-T1 came in. And then that WAS it for me. This was the game changer for me, and I didn’t care about Nikon. Suddenly it was a paperweight. Suddenly I was drooling (but not like a fanboy). I was enamoured with the dials. OMG: the dials spoke to me. And suddenly I wished I had grown up shooting on Film. Because this was what it would have been like. All this control at one finger tips.

The images coming from the X-T1 were great, and best of all the response time from this camera was something that I could finally take more seriously than the previous two cameras I had owned.

There seems to be a consensus that the focusing of all the Fujifilm cameras just are not fast enough (well, this is what I keep reading on forums and blogs), but for me, and for what I’m doing, the X-T1 is fast enough for me. And this is what this line of cameras has taught me: to slow down as a photographer, and to think about everything I shoot a little more. There is no more “spray and pray” mentality here. This camera was all about increasing the percentage of keepers. And there were more keepers than ever before, even though I was shooting less than before (totals, I mean).

So what’s my new line-up now?

Well, there’s the X-T1, with the 18-55 the 35mm 1.4 (which gets a lot of use), and the 56mm 1.2 which is without a doubt the nicest lens I have even owned. I don’t have to worry about shooting wide open because I know the images will be tac sharp. TAC. SHARP.

X100S

Back by my side is the X100S with its fixed field of view (23mm). I had forgotten how much I loved shooting with this. After all, it was a little sentimental buying this camera that looked identical to the first camera that had started it all for me. And yes, I admit it, I LOVE the retro chic look of it.
At the time of writing, I’ve just ordered the 23mm Prime for my X-T1. I’ve only heard good things about it, and I can’t wait to add it to my bag.

Having this new line-up of gear means a little retraining for myself. You see, I was used to shooting with the Nikon 24-70 , and the 70-200. The longest lens in my bag now is the 56mm, but I have found this to be enough reach. It just means I have to think differently. Time to freshen up the approach to my business, and my craft as an artform.

And as far as what people think? Well, all I know is that the X100S was a great conversation starter at a couple of weddings. Stuff like: “How old is that camera?” and “Is that a leica?”

X100S

The transition wasn’t smooth sailing, but it’s been great. For me and the Photographic journey I’m on, it’s all been about getting out of a rut, getting into a new mindset, and believing in a new system. The system may not be right for everyone. Some may not even have an interest in what else is out there, but the Fujifilm range of Bodies and Lenses works for me. It really does. It’s not about Pepsi or Coke anymore, I keep saying to anyone who will listen. I needed to change the way I was working, because I’m not getting any younger, and the idea of carrying around gear that was optically on par with what I was using, not to mention lighter was more than appealing. But in reality it was a lot more than that. I needed to find that spark again. I didn’t have it (even though I was producing some very fine work with my Nikon line up). I’ve found it now, and I stand tall and proud with these cameras over my shoulders as I work. I thank Fujifilm. My back also thanks you.

Related links:

View Mick’s site here: http://www.velvetphotography.com.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/perthvelvetphotography
Instagram: http://instagram.com/velvetphotography_perth
Blogger: http://velvetphotography.blogspot.com.au/

X100S

X-E1

X-E1

X-E1

X-T1

All of the images in this blog post are © Velvet Photography.

Neil Torr shares his thoughts on the X-A1

“Would I recommend this as a good place to start for someone ready to move on from a bridge camera? Absolutely.”

I have been fortunate enough recently to have had a Fujifilm X-A1 on review, so now I come to share my thoughts, but first of all to put this in perspective here is a bit of history about my photographic background.

Before Jan 2012 as much as I enjoyed taking photos my cameras had consisted of film compacts, simple point and shoot jobs. I had access to some digital cameras belonging to my wife after that, but again they were point and shoot compacts.

Having been to RAF Waddington International Airshow in 2011 with a compact I soon decided I wanted something that allowed me to do more with photos. As much as I fancied the idea of a DSLR I couldn’t justify the cost with so little proper experience in photography so I opted for the HS20EXR bridge camera in December 2011.

Since then I have found myself enjoying photography more and more finding my favourites subjects to be airplanes, birds (particularly birds of prey) and architecture, as well as the obvious family photos. So when I was given the chance to try the X-A1 (together with the XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS lens) I jumped at the opportunity.

X-A1 072 copy1

X-A1 Oxburgh Hall 190

As an introductory level CSC it does not have all of the high tech wizardry of some of it fellow X-series siblings, but I soon found it was a great camera and performs significantly better than the HS20. So what were the key differences between the HS20 and X-A1?

Physically it is a much smaller camera in all respects and the build quality seems much better, though the HS20 is by no means of poor build quality. One thing in particular that was quite nice was the metal tripod screw – on the HS20 it is plastic and so can be a bit of a worry for damage.

One thing that I did miss on the X-A1 was the EVF. However, on using the camera it became apparent the LCD panel was of a good quality and although there are situations I would have preferred to have the EVF it was certainly not the end of the world. Most people coming from compact cameras would not notice the EVF missing as they tend not to be on compact cameras anymore.

Using the X-A1 felt like a very natural progression from the HS20, the menu layout was very similar but with some improvements made to navigation – the Q-button was a particularly handy addition for quick changes when needed.

Having a much larger sensor the X-A1 was able to utilise a much wider range of light levels and capture far more detail. In my time with it there were a number of occasions I would have had to resort to using the flash on the HS20 but the X-A1 took the low light in its stride and simply took great pictures at higher ISO values. For once I was using auto ISO usually with an upper limit of 3200, though 6400 was also still quite acceptable, a big improvement of the 400 which is the highest I would normally use on the HS20. This was particularly noticeable in trips to Oxburgh Hall (a National Trust property) and Peterborough Cathedral. The good low light performance, allowing pictures to be taken handheld that would have needed the tripod with the HS20. This allowed a far more productive time as I was not having to set up the tripod, adjust angles, settings, fiddle with a remote release, etc, etc. It even allowed for easier capture of sunsets whilst being driven around in a car.

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Visiting The Raptor Foundation, a near by raptor sanctuary, I needed a lens with a larger zoom to make the most of the visit but found in action, it performed well, being able use higher ISO settings for faster shutter speeds for the in flight shots. Even with the limited zoom of the XC16-50mm lens I was still able to get some great images of the birds. Even birds I couldn’t get very close to the images were high enough quality to be able to crop in.

As a simple amateur I have never done an official wedding shoot, and yet I found myself being asked to do just that for my brother-in-law. As I had the X-A1 this became a far less nerve racking thing for me to do than might have been the case. I was however worried about battery life as I had no spare. Even in this department thought the X-A1 performed beyond my expectations. I had expected no more than the 350 shots it is rated for so I had my HS20 on stand by for emergencies. However, almost 500 shots in and the single charge was only just beginning to show signs of running out.

X-A1 wedding 090

As well as all of this, with my two children – one of whom was only 2 weeks old at the time of receiving the X-A1 – there were a number of cheeky shots made easy simply by the quick start up and focus, catching moments that might otherwise have been missed.

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As you may have guessed I rather liked the X-A1. As much as I love my HS20 there really is no comparison. Despite being a different breed of camera, the X-A1 is no more difficult to operate than the HS20EXR, in fact if anything there are improvements of the controls with the X-A1.

I have now returned the X-A1 to the kind people of Fuji who allowed me to review it. Even at essentially the bottom of the X-series range it is an amazing camera to work with and a great introduction to CSCs.

Do I miss it? Yes, and it’s only been a few days.

Would I recommend this as a good place to start for someone ready to move on from a bridge camera? Absolutely.