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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Idi Probak – A traditional Basque rural sport

Danny Fernandez Idi Probak1

Guest Blogger strip BLACK

By Danny Fernandez

The Basque Country is an area spanning both Spain and France on the Atlantic coast.

In the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to visit this unique Spanish region (what most people are referring to when they talk about the Basque Country) several times and have been able to learn a little about the culture, traditions and food; all of which are extremely rich.

On my last visit, I was able to join in the yearly celebration of ‘San Pedro’ (or ‘San Pedroko Jaiak’ in Basque). This is celebrated all over Spain, but this festival is especially important to the village of Boroa. Boroa is made up of 15th Century farmhouses, rolling hills of farmland and dense forests, but also has a pioneering industrial centre. Interestingly, Boroa has it’s own Michelin starred restaurant.


The Basque Country is a place with many rich, rural traditions (many dating back centuries), and they celebrate their heritage by keeping these traditions alive during special events throughout the year.

The climax of the Boroa’s San Pedroko Jaiak celebration is a traditional rural sport named ‘Idi Probak’ (which can be loosely translated to ‘Oxen Tests’) and takes place in Boroa’s village centre.

There are a few variations of this game (depending on the region in which it is held) but I will briefly describe the one which I saw.

The game involves two oxen dragging a rock (in this case, a 1800kg concrete slab) along the length of a cobbled track (named ‘proba toki’ – the length of this is typically from 22m – 28m). The oxen are guided by an ox-herder and a goader, whose job it is to steer both the oxen, and the rock along the track. They have 30 minutes to do as many lengths as possible, dragging the 1800 kgs behind them. The spectators bet on how many lengths the Oxen can carry the weight in 30 mins.

I heard that in the past, it wasn’t uncommon for the competitors to bet their harvest, their houses and even their land during this event!

The oxen are trained throughout the year in preparation of this competition, and are regularly taken for long walks in the hills and mountains as well as trained by dragging rocks.

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During the evening of the event, the locals (and also those from neighbouring villages) come to watch the spectacle, socialise and end the night with traditional music and dancing.

The Basque country is a very unique place, full of natural and untamed beauty. The people are proud, the food is incredible and the landscapes are stunning.

‘The moment this man won a bet, correctly guessing how many lengths the oxen could drag the weight in 30 minutes’.
‘The moment this man won a bet, correctly guessing how many lengths the oxen could drag the weight in 30 minutes’.

 

All photos taken on a Fujifilm X-T10 using XF16 / XF23 / XF56 lenses.


To see more of Danny’s work, click here.

 

 

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:

How a frying pan can help with your picture taking

After my last blog encouraged you to make a tripod using a piece of string, I’m going to go a little more surreal this time by explaining how an old frying pan can be used to get dramatic low angle images. The standard route to getting a low viewpoint is either to lie on the floor, use a camera with a tilting screen or mount the camera on a tripod that can be dropped to ground level. The first two options can involve you getting wet and don’t work if you want to use a longer exposure as you’re hand-holding. The latter can be a real fiddle. My frying pan groundpod, however, overcomes all of those issues.


So here’s what you need. An old frying pan, a tripod ball & socket head, a nut & bolt and tools including a drill with a 10mm bit that is suitable for going through metal.

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First up, you need to check what size screw thread the ball & socket head has. The standard size is ⅜” but you can also get little inserts – as I have here – that converts the thread to a ¼”. In either case, these imperial sizes are not readily available in DIY stores as the world has gone metric, but they can be found online. You’ll need both nut and bolt.

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Raise the frying pan off the ground and drill a hole in the centre. It doesn’t have to be absolutely central. Take care if you’re drilling through a Teflon-coated non-stick frying pan like me and, as you’ll discover, this can take some time as frying pans are pretty tough. Once you’re through, tap any sharp edges of metal down with a hammer.

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Now take your tripod head, pass the bolt through the hole and screw it into the base of the head. If you have a long bolt like me, cut the excess length off with a hacksaw and then secure it all with the bolt. Your frying pan pod is now ready for action. Obviously, with a bolt in the base, this can’t be used on a solid surface, but it’s perfect for grass, soil, pebbles, mud and sand. I headed to the beach to try mine out.

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With an X-T10 attached to the tripod head and its LCD screen flipped out it was easy to frame up my shots exactly as I wanted them at the water’s edge. The sides of the frying pan kept both sand and sea away from the camera so I was able to try a variety of images.

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Here’s one of my favourites, I think the sail on the horizon makes it.

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Finally, just a couple of notes. While the groundpod can help you get some great low angle images, I can’t be held responsible for any funny looks you might get while using it – it does look as though you’re frying your camera! Also, if you are taking pictures at the sea be aware that cameras and saltwater are uneasy bedfellows.


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For more information on the Fujifilm X-T10 click here.

 

Banish camera shake with a stringpod

Tripods. They’re very useful when it comes to avoiding camera shake, but they can be quite bulky things to lug around – even the lighter carbon-fibre versions. But while Fujifilm have created impressive Optical Image Stabilisation systems in their lenses, there is a way of beating the shakes using nothing more than a piece of string and a tripod quick release plate. Better still, you can fit this set up in your pocket so you’ll never have an excuse for leaving it at home.

These are the constituent parts needed to create your stringpod. String (funnily enough), a tripod plate and a pair of scissors (unless you’ve got very strong teeth). I’ve used green garden twine largely because it’s easier to see in these pictures. Normal string does the job just fine.

DSCF0084Start by passing the string through the oval handle on the bottom of the quick release plate.

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Now, pull a double length of string out and place it under your foot. Don’t cut the string just yet, you’re just sizing up at this stage.

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With the string under your foot, hold the plate so the string is taut and make sure it’s at eye level. It’s worth screwing your camera on to the plate and repeating this process, varying the length of string as required until you get the height perfect for you. Only when you’re happy, cut the string.

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Being a failed boy scout, I only know one type of knot, so I tied it here once I had the height right for me. My stringpod was now ready for use.

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If you want to use the stringpod standing up and have a Fujifilm camera with a tilting rear LCD, you have two options. First, just place it under one foot, pull the string tight and use the camera’s viewfinder. Alternatively, to shoot at waist level, flip the screen out, stand with your feet around shoulder width apart, pass the string under both feet and, again, pull it tight to create a triangle.

Finally, if you want a lower angle, wrap the string around one wrist, pass it under both knees and pull the whole set up tight. The key to reducing camera shake, is keeping that string tight.

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So, how well does it work? Due to a motorbike accident some few years ago, I have the weakest wrists known to man so I don’t really like to stray below 1/60sec when I’m hand-holding. This shot was taken at 1/20sec at f/22 and, as you can see, it’s all over the shop.

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Using my stringpod, however, I was able to get a shake free result using the same exposure combination. I’m not saying it’s going to work with ten second exposures at night, but it could well get you out of a tight spot when you’ve left the tripod at home.

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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


 

Pet Photography

JRXT7877By John Rourke

w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerNot many people realise it, but before I started travelling and shooting Motorsport, photographing pets was a major part of my business. I would shoot a lot of equine and dog portraits with the odd cat, snake or rat thrown in now and then. I still run Pawfolio, but it’s now more a project of love, or reserved for when people who know me as ‘the pet photographer’ really want me to shoot their most beloved….. not the kids, yep it’s always the dog!

I see a lot of people posting photos of their pets on instagram lately, with some pets even having their own pages. So I thought I would put a few tips together that might be fun to try out if you want to get a great shot of your own pooch…. some of the tips might even work on pictures of the kids too!

For my doggy model, I’m going to use Bria aka ‘The Beast’, my beautiful Sprocker Spaniel. These shots all involve natural light as I wanted this article to be of use to everyone. As long as you have a camera and a lens you can get stunning shots of your beast without expensive lighting.

Preparation

In my ‘Pawfolio’ bag. Don’t panic! You don’t need all of this! this is just some of the equipment I use on various shoots… If you have only one lens and a camera you’ll be fine 🙂

Camera: XPro1, XT1, XT10
Lenses: 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 10-24 F4, 90mm F2, 50-140mm F2.8
Lighting: Ambient/Natural Light
Extras: Dog, lead, willing assistant (wife, kid, person you met on a dog walk?), dog treats / squeaky toy / bouncy ball / whistle, silly voice, insurance (if you want to shoot other peoples dogs!), mobile phone

Top Tip! Things become massively easy in life once a dog knows how to sit, stay, and look at food!! this is where all that training pays off! You will need a few basics such as;
Sit, Paw, Down/Sleep, Stay, Come…
(We had to learn some of these commands in polish once for a clients dog we photographed.)

A food-orientated dog is perfect, if this isn’t working then it’s down to the favourite toy, bouncy ball or failing that, making stupid noises…..dogs love this! The right noise will get a dog to tilt it’s head in a way that looks cute but whilst saying ‘what are you doing, human?’

Play with your beast first;

  1. this builds a little trust between the dog and yourself.
  2. It’s fun for both of you,
  3. it burns off the dog’s energy reserve

A few minutes playing around the kit isn’t a bad thing either, it lets the dog know that the camera is nothing to be worried about and not something strange and dangerous…

Around the house – Your own dog

Ideal for practice and often the easiest of images to shoot are where the dog is relaxed in their own surroundings or favourite spot. I normally wait for ‘Beast’ to find somewhere nice to settle or I encourage her to sit roughly in the right place. Quite often I’ll pap her as she drifts off to sleep. These are candid based shots but can turn into gorgeous intimate photos.
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I use any of the following 18mm f2, 35mm f1.4 and the 90mm F2 mostly to achieve the shallow depth of field for this type of shot. The XF35mm f2, XF16, XF23 and XF56mm would be amazing also. Any lens at  F1.2 – F2 will make a stunning image. I often use the X-Pro1 and X-T1. The OVF on the X-Pro1 can be really useful in hybrid mode during low light if the EVF wont preview the shot.

#Tip – You can put the Fuji camera to silent mode if the dog is too distracted by the shutter sound. Beast used to hear the shutter then pounce on me because she thought the sound meant that the shoot was over.

The candid shots I usually try to get for every dog shoot are:

Nose

That big snuffler is amazing. Shot at 1.2 or on a Macro it makes a stunning detailed image.
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Paws

The texture of the pads or the hairy paw is beautiful. If it’s your dog, hold the paw and capture a paw & hand selfie #TooCute

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Face

Poor beast with the collar of shame
Poor beast with the collar of shame
"What's going on down there?"
“What’s going on down there?”

Like any face or portrait I shoot, I always focus on the eye closest to me. If you shoot the furthest one and the closer one is blurred, the image just looks wrong – please don’t do it!!

#Tip – Try shooting the dog from ‘a dogs view’ or from below the dog looking up. Crawling around in the dirt is just an everyday thing for me, but I think it’s really worth getting the unusual perspective. This is also now where the flip out screen is genius and the X-T1 or X-T10 becomes king.

That said, don’t rule out the standing up traditional viewpoint. Sometimes if you stand right over the dog looking down, you get that ‘puppy face’ beaming back up at you, and there is nothing cuter.
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Outdoors

For outdoor shots, choose a nice spot your dog is going to love and that has some features or atmosphere about it. The beach is an awesome place for dogs, and one of our favourites, with lots of space, great light, and lots of zooming. For this a 90mm, 50-140 or the new 100-400 is ideal because the animal can move around freely but you can still fill the frame. This situation is ideal for the X-T1 or X-T10 because of their high frame rate. I would probably go for the X-T1 more to help keep the sand, salt and spray out of the camera. I would also recommend the weather resistant lenses for this type of shoot. A rogue wave splash or a shake down from the Beast can spray your gear from a surprising distance.

You won't believe the range on this thing!
You won’t believe the range on this thing!

Rivers are great too, but always check the current is safe. Look for a spot on the bank with space and great moody lighting, perhaps between some trees. You should make sure your beast can get in and out easily, and I always have someone with me to throw a ball or something safe for the dog to chase, or I sometimes just sit and watch the animal play and have fun on their own.

My favourite lens for outdoor dog shoots has to be the 50-140 F2.8. With good flexibility and a shallow depth of field at F2.8 there’s always gorgeous bokeh in the background. I try to keep the shutter up between 2000th and 4000th of a second to keep the motion frozen. If the light is changing or the dog is running through light and dark patches, try ‘auto ISO’.

Set the the auto ISO range function to work between ISO 200 and 6400. To control the aperture, try to stay in the range of F2.8 – F4/5.6 or if you want some amazing textural shots and there is loads of light, dial in F8 – F11. Again get low… I have the tilt screen for this, or just get in the dirt and sand and the shots will be amazing.

You could also try the 16-55 F2.8 if you want the shot to be a little more environmental, shoot wide and get more of the landscape in your photos. When you print this type of shot they look great printed large.

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If you want to get really creative try ‘panning’ the dog. This is a technique we use on the track to shoot cars at the races. Select a shutter speed between 1/8th (very creative) up to 1/200th (suggest you start there and work your way down to 1/8th), and rotate your body at the hips following and tracking your dog as it runs past. You want to work your shots at slower and slower shutter speeds to create a wonderful action arty shot…

Dog pan
Doggy pan

More about the author

John + Beast
John + Beast

John Rourke has been shooting professionally for 15 years and is the owner of Adrenal Media, the Official Photography Agency for the FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship), and the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) including the world famous ‘Le Mans 24hr’. He shoots all of his professional and personal work on Fujifilm X series cameras.

Links
Adrenal Media on instagram
John Rourke website
Adrenal Media website
Pawfolio Facebook

 

How to use the Interval Timer function

w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerThe Interval Timer feature built into some of our X series* cameras can be an excellent tool to express your creativity.

It can be used to capture multiple images one after the other with the knowledge that you will simply pick your favourite image later on. Or the most likely the reason you would use this feature is to create a time-lapse movie like this little Lego guy doing a dance (rather badly I might add!), or perhaps a flower bud opening up, or even the sun setting behind the horizon – the possibilities are truly endless.

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Example of time-lapse movie – The Robot Dance

In this tutorial I want to give you a basic idea of how to use the Interval Timer function to create timelapse movies. For in-depth advice on timelapse movie creation and some of the more detailed do’s and don’t’s I would strongly recommend searching ‘How do I get great timelapse results from my camera?‘ as there are so many good tutorials already out there.

The option for timelapse is found in the main menu of the X series cameras under the title ‘INTERVAL TIMER SHOOTING‘, choose this option with the menu/ok button.

From this, select the interval (the time between each shot) using the navigation buttons (up, down, left and right). Once you are happy with the intervals, you will need to choose how many shots you want in total – this is found under the title ‘NUMBER OF TIMES‘. To help with how many shots you want see the tip below:

TIP! In Europe and Canada we normally use 25fps (frames per second) also known as PAL for our movies. Below you can see examples of how many photographs you would need to take to achieve the required length of movie.

Examples for 25fps:

1 second of footage = 25 photographs
2 seconds of footage = 50 photographs
10 seconds of footage =  250 photographs
1 minute of footage = 1500 photographs

Another way to think of this is Video length = Number of pictures ÷ Frame rate

The last step is to choose when the camera actually starts taking pictures, this could be immediately, in which case you would select 0h 00m or for example 20 minutes time (0h 20m). When you are ready to shoot simply press the menu/ok button and this will start the timer.

At the end of the sequence of shots you will then need to put them into a movie making program such as Adobe Premiere Pro or similar to create the timelapse itself – for that part I’d recommend looking up a software specific tutorial, so if you use Premiere Pro try a search like ‘Create a timelapse video in Premiere Pro‘ in your favourite search engine.

TIP! I normally use YouTube for this part to see exactly what buttons the teacher is clicking / using to create the timelapse video – that should stop you getting lost along the way!


TIPS, TIPS, TIPS!

Use a tripod for best results
Use a tripod for best results

Here are some bonus tips to think about when creating a timelapse video:

  • Use a tripod  Otherwise your timelapse video will look like an earthquake is taking place!
  • Set the camera to 16:9 ratio – This will be the correct image ratio for a 1080p Full HD movie file, so you will not need to crop hundreds of images!
  • Plan ahead – If you are shooting a sunrise or sunset, know exactly where the sun is going to end up. Apps like The Photographer’s Ephemeris can really help you achieve this.
  • Think very carefully about composition – This kind of goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway.. 😉 Take your time framing the shot, after all you are going to take hundreds of pictures of your landscape and it would be a real shame to get 300 images of the horizon all wonky!
  • Shoot Raw & Jpeg – Although Jpegs are preferable for many users, if the lighting changes dramatically whilst shooting you will find editing & correcting a RAW file much more flexible as it retains all the detail from an image rather than a compressed version.
  • Shoot manually – To ensure consistently good results always shoot fully manual – set the shutter speed, the aperture, ISO and focus yourself rather than allowing the camera to do this for you.

Below is an example of a timelapse movie shot on the X-T1 and played back at 25FPS. The movie consists of 150 shots.

I hope this has inspired you to go out and give it a go! It can be truly rewarding and really fun too!

Happy Snapping! 🙂

*The Interval Timer feature is available for the FUJIFILM X-T1, X-T10, X100T and X30.

 

Which focus mode should I use with my X-series camera?

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w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerMost people know what it means to focus with your camera lens. To do this, you adjust the distance of the lens (or an element inside the lens) from the sensor. There are two ways you can focus your camera – automatically (Autofocus or AF) or manually (MF).

As you probably already know, autofocus is there to do the hard work for you, and in most shooting situations this is all you will need to take great in-focus photographs. What you might not know is that there are different types of autofocus for different situations; this is what we hope to give you a better understanding of here.


Focus modes

focus-mode-selectorThe focus modes are generally set using a dial on the front of your camera. On some cameras this control is a switch on the side of the camera.

Single Autofocus (AF-S)

With single autofocus, once you half press the shutter button, the camera will focus on the closest object within the focus area (which we come onto shortly) on the screen. You can then take a picture knowing that the subject is in focus. This can be a very useful setting for portraiture, still-life, macro work and landscape photography.

Continuous Autofocus (AF-C)

When using continuous autofocus, half pressing the shutter button will focus on the closest object in the focus area, and then while you hold the shutter half pressed, will continue to refocus on that point. This mode can be very useful for sports, action, children & pets who are moving and wildlife photography – a great choice for moving subjects.

Manual Focus (MF)

As useful as the autofocus modes are, there are many situations where using manual focus could be the better option. Don’t worry, we’ll go into the manual focus mode in a bit more detail later on.


AF modes

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49 focus points

The “Focus mode” lets you choose how often the lens will focus while the shutter button is held half-pressed, while the “AF mode” determines where in the frame the camera will focus.

Most of our Fujifilm X-series cameras offer 49 focus points. From this you can select a single AF point, a group of points, or even make all of them active. Let’s look at the different options available:

AF mode: Single Point

AF-S + Single PointWhen combined with the AF-S focus mode, this delivers highly accurate autofocus on a specific area. You can choose one of the 49 available focus points and also change the size of the focus point to suit your subject. This is your “go to” focus configuration.

When combined with AF-C focus mode, this tracks a subject with a fixed direction of movement, e.g. moving straight towards the camera. Again you can choose which of the 49-point focus areas to lock onto and also change the size, however this time when you half press & hold the shutter button you activate the continuous tracking on that area. Fully press the shutter button when you want to take the shot.

AF-S + Zone

AF mode: Zone

This setting is effective for a subject with moderate movement which the Single Point mode may have difficulty capturing. You start by choosing a 3×3, 5×3 or 5×5 block of AF area points and then position them where you want them in the frame. We recommend you choose the phase detection AF areas for faster autofocus speeds – these appear in a different colour and make up the middle 5 x 3 points.

When combined with AF-C mode, the camera will continue to refresh the autofocus while the shutter is half pressed and this is how we recommend you use this mode. This way you can “lock” onto your subject once it enters your chosen block size by half pressing and holding the shutter button, the camera will then continue to re-focus as you follow the subject with your camera.

If you use the Zone AF mode with AF-S, the camera will simply lock onto the closest object within your block of focus points once and then stay focused at the same point. If the object then moves it is possible your image will not be in focus.

AF-C + Wide tracking

AF mode: Wide/Tracking

This mode is perfect for capturing a subject that moves unpredictably up/down, left/right and closer/further from the camera, where you do not wish to move your camera around to “chase” the subject.

Decide the composition and layout of your shot first and then move the AF point to the point where you want to start tracking the object from. When combined with AF-C, half press the shutter button while your subject is within the AF point and the camera will lock onto the subject and follow it wherever it moves within the whole frame while the button remains held. Fully press the shutter button to take the shot.

Note: The Zone and Wide/Tracking modes are only available on the X-T10 and X-T1 (firmware 4 and above) cameras.


More about Manual Focus

Here are some examples of how and when MF might be used:

When the light is dim. The autofocus sensor in your digital camera needs light and contrast to perform properly. When you’re shooting in low-light, AF may not be able to see subtle, indistinct details, so it will have a hard time locking onto a specific area of your subject.

When you’re shooting fast action. With manual focus, you can set up your camera to capture a certain area. Then when your subject comes into the frame, you can shoot continuously to get the best exposure. This is ideal for shooting at races and can even be used for street photography.

When AF gets confused. Sometimes you are shooting something that has another object in front of it, like a fence or a branch. AF will try to focus on the closer object. This may also occur when another moving object moves into the frame. So, if you’re shooting animals in the wild or active children, manual focus often makes more sense.

For full maximum control. Some photographers actually prefer to use manual focus on a regular basis as it gives them more creative control. With advanced functions like focus peaking, techniques such as focus stacking and panning shots, MF allows the photographer complete control.

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