The Fujifilm First Timer

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guest-blogger-strip-blackBy Naomi Butters

Being married to a photographer has its ups and downs. On the plus side, you never have to worry about a bad photo being taken and your life is filled with (sometimes too many) images and memories! However, it does have its downsides too – mostly that it led to me becoming lazy when it comes to recording my own memories. While I take the odd snap with my phone (which rarely does justice to what I’m seeing), up until recently I’d not picked up a camera myself for around 11 years!

Determined to do something about this I decided that this year I was going to embrace the passion my husband enjoys so much and I would learn to take better photos. But first, I needed to find myself a new camera…


One of the things that frustrate me about DSLRs are their size. They’re big, even the entry-level models. You can’t take a photo discreetly when you’ve got a massive camera in front of your face! They’re also heavy and when you’re a girl who likes to carry a handbag, carrying a weighty camera as well… Well it doesn’t happen! And, don’t get me started on lenses! You basically leave the house with more equipment and luggage than a mother with a newborn.

So when Jordan suggested the Fujifilm X-Series I was intrigued. He loves his X100S and it’s usually his go-to camera for our city break adventures. It’s the perfect size to carry around when he’s having a break from his ‘work’ cameras.

I’ve used the X100S before, but I wanted something that I could zoom with, in order to shoot a variety of subjects – from days out with friends to landscapes and portraits. Jordan suggested either the X-E2S or the X-T10 and, after looking at them online, I opted for the X-E2S – there wasn’t much between the two and I simply preferred the viewfinder location and layout of the X-E2S.

When the camera arrived I spent an evening getting used to the camera – I must have taken around 100 photos of our dog, Archie! Fuji sent me two lenses to try: the XF35mmF2 R WR and the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. I have to admit – I had no idea what the differences were between them did or how to best use them! I’m not sure Archie enjoyed sitting for photos for hours either, although he’s used to it!

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FUJIFILM X-E2S – Silver

In July, we travelled to Italy for our summer holiday, making stops in Venice and Florence. These locations offered the perfect opportunity for me to get comfortable taking photos, improve my skills and, for once, prove that I don’t just go on holiday by myself by getting some shots of Jordan too!

I’ll admit, at first I was nervous. I know that sounds silly but when you’re married to a photographer, you’re aware that your images will come under scrutiny! But with a bit of guidance I quickly started to enjoy taking photos with the X-E2S.

If you’ve ever been to Venice you’ll know it’s full of beautiful scenery around every corner and crossing every bridge, there’s a stunning view or timely gondola approaching ready for you to take that perfect shot. Jordan suggested I use the 18-135mm lens as it has a good zoom and would be versatile when walking around the city. Although the lens was long, it didn’t add much weight to the camera and I could fit it in my small hand bag. Bonus!

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Usually when Jordan and I go away, I take in a landmark, maybe take a photo on my phone and then move on to the next point of interest. However, Jordan can take at least ten minutes at a landmark, capturing shots from various angles. I once lost him in New York because he’d stopped to wait for that decisive moment and I’d walked several blocks before I noticed he wasn’t with me!

However, with a camera in front of my face and the view of the grand canal in front of me, we both spent several minutes trying out different angles and compositions. At first, Jordan had to tell me how to set the camera up – adjusting the aperture and ISO were things I’d never done with my phone! However I quickly got the hang of it and started to feel comfortable in using the camera on my own.

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Although the larger lens was great for wide angles or zooming in on a distant subject, I did find the smaller 35mm f/2 a lot lighter and easier to use. I liked that the aperture was marked on the lens so I could quickly check what I’d selected without looking at the screen. I left the camera in aperture-priority mode and, with some go-to apertures explained (f/2 for portraits, f/8 to f/11 for landscapes, etc), I really enjoyed taking close up shots and wider views of the city.

The exposure adjustment dial made it straightforward to adjust the exposure without messing around with the settings directly too; simply + for brighter, or – for darker, easy! Before long I was showing Jordan what I’d captured on the back of the camera with confidence. The X-E2S captures bright colours and details beautifully.

I also made good use of the built-in Wi-Fi feature. After downloading the Fujifilm app to my phone it was simple to ping images across and upload them to Facebook or Instagram really quickly. #nofilter!

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By the end of our holiday in Italy, I was mirroring Jordan’s photography poses, delving deeper into apertures and lighting and thoroughly enjoying my new camera.

I always enjoyed capturing moments with my phone, but was left wanting by the image quality, let alone if I wanted any printing – forget it! The X-E2S made it simple for me to enjoy taking high quality photos without the bulk and attention garnered by using a DSLR.

I’ve had more photos printed in the couple of months since getting the X-E2S than I have in total up until this point!

If you like the idea of taking better photos but don’t want to get weighed down with kit, or bogged down with the technical side of things then I thoroughly recommend the X-E2S. It has the ability to create some amazing images – I look back at some of the scenes I captured and can’t believe they’re my photos!

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Which camera is right for me – X-T10 or X-E2S?

Same 16mp sensor, same auto focus, and roughly the same weight and size…
So what is different between the X-E2s and the X-T10?

Well as it turns out quite a lot! In this video blog we’ll take a look at the key differences between these two cameras and determine which is better for certain styles and situations.


Both cameras are available in silver or black variants and the retro, functional designs are indicative of the Fujifilm X-Series, but there are clear differences between them. The X-T10 is an SLR-style deign with the viewfinder in the centre of the camera, while the X-E2s has a rangefinder-style design with the viewfinder on the far left of the camera. This doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, but this difference is the main reason why I use these two very capable cameras for different situations.


Which eye to use

That sounds like a bizarre subtitle, maybe Ben has had a long night…? No this is actually a really important thing to consider. I am left-eye dominant, so when using the SLR variant my face is mostly obscured by the camera, but this would pretty much be the same if I used my right eye. But with the rangefinder-style cameras (X-E2S) I deliberately use my right eye (yes it was a bit weird at first but I quickly got used to it). The reason for this is if you use your left eye with one of these camera then the camera sits completely across your face, whereas with your right eye, the camera is off to your right, leaving your face mostly unobscured. This can be a really big factor if you are going to be photographing people regularly as it makes it so much easier to interact with your subject. Particularly if you don’t know each other or have limited common language to otherwise engage, simply being able to smile while taking a photo makes all the difference.

X-E2S – Rangefinder-style images

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X-T10 – SLR-style images

The little brother of the X-T1 and X-T2, this dynamic camera is great for those looking to cover a wide variety of photographic genres, whether that is through travelling or simply experimentation. Combining this compact but powerful camera with the likes of the XF18-55mm F2.8-4 OIS and the XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 OIS makes for a brilliant, lightweight travel set up. Maybe add a low-light prime in there like the XF35mm F1.4 or F2 and then you have most bases covered in a very compact system. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the launch of this camera while working in Borneo. Here are a selection of images from that trip with the X-T10. As well as that, here is a link to my brief review of the camera – http://www.bencherryphotos.com/Blog/OMG-is-that-the-XT10 

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Benefits of each camera

X-T10

  • 8 frames per second
  • Articulating LCD screen
  • SLR-style design
  • Great general travel option

X-E2S

  • Discreet, slim design
  • Rangefinder-style design
  • Slows you down
  • Best for people interaction
  • Fantastic with XF prime lenses
  • Different to most other cameras on the market

Which would I choose?

Both are superb cameras with clear benefits over each other. Choosing between them very much depends on where you want your photography to develop. For me, I would opt for the X-E2s with a handful of lightweight prime lenses like the XF18mm F2, XF35mm F2 and maybe the XF56mm F1.2. This creativity inspiring set up would encourage me to think more about my photography, slow me down and encourage better interaction between me and my subjects (with beautiful results wide open using the prime lenses). What set up would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Click the camera title to find out more:

FUJIFILM X-E2s or FUJIFILM X-T10


Ben CherryA little about Ben

Ben is an environmental photojournalist, zoologist and Fujifilm X-Photographer. His passion is showing the beauty and fragility of the natural world. Find more of his work at:

What To Expect with Fujifilm’s Latest Firmware Updates

By now its common knowledge that Fujifilm are famous for bringing the best functionality to X Series equipment through firmware updates.

Today is a day you most likely have been waiting for – a huge release of updates to a range of X Series cameras and lenses. Online right now, you will find a total of 18 different updates, which have been released for a line up of current and older camera bodies and lenses. These products range from the older X-Pro1 to the newly released XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens.

In order to get the most from your Fujifilm X Series camera body or lens it is recommend you update the firmware as soon as possible. Below you will find a short summary of what you can expect when you perform the firmware update on the relevant piece of gear. If you are unsure on how to perform a firmware upgrade read this article here.

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Summary of updated change to X Series Cameras

If you own a X-E1, X-E2, X-E2S, X-Pro1, X-T10, X-T1 or X-Pro2 and you update the camera body firmware (see firmware link section below) to the newest version plus you update the firmware for the listed lens (see firmware link section below) you can expect the following changes…

For the:

  • XF35mmF2 R WR & XF90mmF2 R LM WR- The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.

For the:

  • XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
  • XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
  • XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
  • XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
  • XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS II
  • XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS II- The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.
    – Tracking performance of AF will be enhance when zooming
    – The accuracy of the image stabilization will be enhanced on various shooting scenes.

For the:

  • XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR- The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.

For the:

  • XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
  • XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR- The lenses will deliver superior performance in combination with FUJINON Tele Converter XF 2X TC WR.
    – The accuracy of the manual focus adjustment to be enhanced when photographing using manual focus.

Please note all improvements will only work if you update the camera body firmware as well as the lens firmware (see firmware links below).

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FIRMWARE LINKS

 

X Series camera body firmware updates

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Fujifilm X-E1

Current Update:        Ver.2.60

New Update:             Ver.2.61

 

Fujifilm X-E2

Current Update:        Ver.4.00

New Update:             Ver.4.01

 

Fujifilm X-E2S

Current Update:        Ver.1.01

New Update:             Ver.1.02

 

Fujifilm X-Pro1

Current Update:        Ver.3.60

New Update:             Ver.3.61

 

Fujifilm X-T10

Current Update:        Ver.1.20

New Update:             Ver.1.21

 

Fujifilm X-T1

Current Update:        Ver.4.30

New Update:             Ver.4.31

 

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Current Update:        Ver.1.01

New Update:             Ver.1.02


XF & XC Lens firmware updates

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XF35mmF2 R WR

Current Update:        Ver.1.00

New Update:             Ver.1.01

 

XF90mmF2 R LM WR

Current Update:        Ver.1.00

New Update:             Ver.1.01

 

XF10-24mmF4 R OIS

Current Update:        Ver.1.01

New Update:             Ver.1.10

 

XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Current Update:        Ver.1.00

New Update:             Ver.1.10

 

XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS

Current Update:        Ver.3.12

New Update:             Ver.3.20

 

XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Current Update:        Ver.1.01

New Update:             Ver.1.10

 

XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

Current Update:        Ver.1.11

New Update:             Ver.1.21

 

XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

Current Update:        Ver.1.12

New Update:             Ver.1.20

 

XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Current Update:        Ver.1.01

New Update:             Ver.1.11

 

XC16-50mmF3.5-5.6 OIS II

Current Update:        Ver.1.00

New Update:             Ver.1.10

 

XC50-230mmF4.5-6.7 OIS II

Current Update:        Ver.1.00

New Update:             Ver.1.10


 

Enthusiast to Pro Photographer – My first steps

Guest Blogger strip BLACK

By Rachel Riley

12938283_10156677220760567_2341754691662753021_nSitting here, cup of tea in one hand, a sleepy puppy curled up by my side, I wonder I got to this point – writing a blog for the good people of Fuji about my journey in photography so far. After a good deal of umming and aahing, long, heart-searching conversations with those I love most, the decision has been made – leaving my 20-year career in education behind to take the first tentative steps into professional photography.

Like most folk of my age, I guess, photos played a huge part in my youth; from family snaps in albums to hilariously poor quality shots from primary school day trips, all blur and thumbs, either over the lens or enthusiastically held up by school friends. Growing up, through school and then into student years, photographs were a record – of parties, events, drama productions, collages of images of friends and family from home adorning the walls next to a dog-eared “Taxi Driver” poster. Photos always surrounded us, but as a way of recording our lives. My late Dad, as a gifted artist, used many media to great effect in his work, but never film – photography wasn’t really seen as an art form in our house.

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Despite this, one of the first images of which I was very proud was taken in 1992 on a school Classics trip to Greece. I had in mind a shot I really wanted to capture – that of the Parthenon against a clear blue sky. In the end, our visit coincided with snow in Athens – so my eventual photograph was the Erectheion dusted with snow against a moody grey sky. Not quite what I had intended but I was pleased nonetheless!

Digital photography soon began to seep into our every day existence – although our wedding in 2003 was shot entirely on film – at about the same time as the birth of my daughter. Sharing photos suddenly became an instant activity – grainy snap shots from my Nokia 3650, or on our tiny 1MB digital camera were so easy to ping via email to family at a distance and, by the time my son arrived in 2007, social media provided the perfect forum for visual sharing.

For me, the turning point in photography from babies and holiday snaps came when our family relocated to Portugal in 2009. Leaving behind my teaching job to give my children the chance to experience another country and to support my husband in his own career, I was keen to grasp the opportunity to use this sabbatical wisely. The original plan had been to co-write a sitcom with a friend back in the UK, but once faced with the fresh light and unique environment of the Atlantic and the river Douro, the ranging, tightly-packed cobbled streets of Foz and the beautiful city of Porto, my heart was lost. Capturing the curious fog on the beach, the mussel beds and driftwood revealed at low tide, the endless beautiful tiles and ancient doors became a wonderful challenge.

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Lizzy1smallArmed with my little point & shoot and a woeful lack of technical knowledge or expertise, I wanted to learn more and, indeed, achieve more at such an opportune time. After a while, a DSLR seemed the logical next step. Slipping back into a little teaching at the local British School meant I could save up for a Nikon D5000 which, from the moment of purchase in April 2010, rarely left my side. My new hobby grew from that point on. A little win in a Facebook Photography competition led to joining a group of similarly minded keen amateur photographers around the UK and beyond. They were undertaking a 365 photo a day project which proved to be a fantastic experience – a daily image, shared with the other group members, learning from each other, through both successes and mistakes!

On our return to the UK, it was back to work. Although with a lot less time for photography, it continued to play a big part in my life. Through some work with Photobox, I met landscape photographer Paul Sanders and together we started Camera Kids, working with Fujifilm, to teach children photography in school-based workshops and after school clubs. We had some success with this, even working with Travel Photographer of the Year at their annual exhibition. I attended an Aspire training course in Cumbria – right out of my comfort zone – and fell in love with the intuitive design and ease of use of the Fuji X-series cameras, eventually choosing the X-E2. And so my photography took another huge step forward.

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Having taken another break from teaching as my husband was working in Kazakhstan for two years, I had a little time back to concentrate on photography again. Requests began to come in – from a local gardening business, to portraits of family and friends for gifts and special occasions, greetings cards featuring my Instagram images (shooting square is something I love), photographing plays and events at my children’s school, running a photo booth at the summer fair. Gradually, however, it became clear that my interest lay in children’s portraits – after years of working hard to get the best out of youngsters and being blessed with two very patient and photogenic kids myself, this was surely what I wanted to do.

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And so here I am. My husband is back in the UK and working reassuringly near by,  and the decision to become a photographer seems to have been the right one. I have a batch of pleasing square Moo business cards, a Facebook page and website up and running, and six jobs under my belt already – there are a myriad of other things that need to be done and carefully thought about! But, for now, with my cup of tea and sleepy puppy, the love, enthusiasm and endless support of some wonderful people, here’s hoping that I am finally on the right track and facing the challenging but exciting times that lie ahead.

Rachel Riley


To see more of Rachel’s work click here.

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X-Photographer Chris Upton talks X-E2S

BY CHRIS UPTON

Amid all the deserved hype around the launch of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 it was easy to miss the upgrade to the Fuji X-E2, in the form of the X-E2S. In truth this is really an evolution rather than a revolution but, true to form, Fuji have integrated some very welcome features into this incarnation.

Before I run through these it might be worth explaining Fujifilm’s strategy around their, interchangeable lens, CSC (compact system camera) line up. Fujifilm’s launch into the CSC market came with the introduction of the X-Pro1 4 years ago. This model was styled around the retro rangefinder type cameras. It was an instant success due to the beautiful design and stunning image quality. The X-E1 and X-E2 followed in the same vein but in a smaller form factor. Whilst there are benefits of using a rangefinder for certain types of shooting, especially street, there are many photographers who prefer the typical DSLR style body with a central viewfinder. Enter the Fujifilm X-T1 and subsequently X-T10.

xe2sSo the thinking is that Fuji can now offer Pro / semi-pro and enthusiast cameras in both rangefinder and DSLR styled bodies. So in essence the X-E2S lines up alongside the X-T10 with a 16.3mp sensor.

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My “affair” with Fuji started in 2013 when I bought the X-E1. I had always wanted a small, light rangefinder style camera to use as a carry round camera to be used alongside my Canon DSLR system. I loved that camera and I still do, but whilst the X-T1 with its fantastic features and design is now my favoured body, the X-E1 is always in my bag.

So when Fuji asked me to test the X-E2S I was intrigued to see how it would compare to my own two models. My thoughts here are not meant to be a definitive technical review, there are plenty of other sites that offer that, but more around the user experience which will hopefully help you decide whether this body might be the one for you.

The X-E2S inherits the rangefinder style design and functionality with a series of new or improved features. The X-E2S is the same small size as the X-E1 / X-E2 and weighs in at a meagre 350g (body only) great for discreet, unobtrusive shooting.

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The X-E2S boasts improved viewfinder, autofocus system, handling and a more intuitive interface so let’s have a look at these in a little more detail.

One of the key benefits of the recent Fuji viewfinders is the ability to see in real time the exposure that you’re getting. Adjust the exposure or exposure compensation dial and see the screen go brighter or darker and confirm highlight and shadow control with the live histogram. The display is large with a 0.62x magnification and very bright and Fujifilm claim the EVF features the world’s shortest display time lag. The user can tailor the information appearing to their specific needs and this auto rotates when the camera is turned vertically, a really useful feature.

The X-E2S incorporates the superb new Auto Focus system that was introduced to the X-T1 and incorporated in the X-T10 and the new X-Pro2. This adds Zone and Wide Tracking to Single Point for easy capture of moving subjects. The standard single point mode offers 49 points for fast, precise focusing whilst the Zone mode allows users to select from three different sized zones from the 77 point focus area. The wide tracking feature excels at capturing moving subjects whether they are moving up and down, left and right or towards or away from the camera. This combined with Face and Eye detection options makes this a significant improvement over the old system and offers users one of the best and fastest AF systems available.

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The addition of a new, silent, electronic shutter is perfect for candid captures or shooting in quiet places and a top speed of 1/32,000 second means that the fast Fujinon lenses can be used wide open outdoors on a sunny day without the need for an ND filter. The interval timer enables shooting up to 999 frames with intervals from one second to 24 hours.
The camera features Fujifilm’s APS-C 16.3 megapixel X trans-CMOS II sensor. This is unique to Fujifilm and the random colour array and lack of low pass filter helps deliver outstanding image quality and low noise.

For those who like to shoot in low light there is an amazing new top ISO of 51200 though I rarely shoot above 3200 ISO where I have no problem with the quality of the files. If you like to shoot video the X-E2S can capture 1080/60p video and offers the latest set of Film Simulation Modes, including the gorgeous Classic Chrome which gives a slightly muted retro feel. In order to make selecting your most used functions quick and simple you can customize the function buttons on the body. My selections are ISO, self timer (usually set to 2 sec for tripod shooting), focus point, AF mode and metering mode. Of course you can also configure the Quick “Q” menu to your own specification. The new model also features an enhanced grip and a new user friendly interface for the menu system.

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For those that are new to Fuji or thinking about making the move across there are a few other key points I should highlight.

As with the X-E2 the X-E2S offers the user the opportunity to manage the “exposure triangle” of aperture, shutter speed and ISO together with exposure compensation easily on the camera without the need to dive into endless menu’s. Manual focusing is a breeze when using the focusing aids of digital split image and focus peaking. I find that setting my focus peaking to flash the highlights in red works best. If you shoot JPEGS rather than RAW, or want a very pleasant surprise, the Fuji cameras deliver stunning JPEGS straight from camera. There is a lovely, almost film like feel to them and you can fine tune them in camera to suit your style, they really do have to be seen to be believed.

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A final point is that Fujifilm have earned deserved praise for their commitment to users buying into their system to ensure that they are not disadvantaged by the steady stream of technological improvements. In this case existing X-E2 users can update their camera’s firmware at no cost delivering the new AF system updates, performance improvements and the new graphical interface introduced in the X-E2S.

X-E2 firmware can be downloaded for FREE here.

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So in summary whilst the X-E2S does not incorporate all the latest technology from Fujifilm it does offer a lightweight, compact rangefinder style body, awesome autofocus system with a proven 16.3mp sensor delivering stunning image quality at a very keen price making this a very attractive proposition indeed.

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All images were shot using the Fuji X-E2S