Inspired Coastlines with X Series

X-Photographer strip BLACKBy Bryan Minear

At the beginning of December, I was on my way to California for a part-work, part-fun gig in SoCal.  Being that this was only my 2nd trip to California and my first to the coast, I wanted to take everything that I thought I might need. One of the perks of the FUJIFILM X Series system is that I’m able to bring a lot of gear without having to worry about my bag being too heavy, on account of everything being so small and light compared to a DSLR system.ona_bryanminearblog_4Gear List:

  • FUJIFILM X-T2
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2
  • FUJIFILM XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
  • FUJIFILM XF16mmF1.4 R WR
  • FUJIFILM XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
  • FUJIFILM XF35mmF1.4 R
  • FUJIFILM XF56mmF1.2 R
  • FUJIFILM XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
  • FUJIFILM XF1.4x TC & XF2.0x TC
  • Formatt-HItech Firecrest Holder
  • Formatt-HItech Firecrest 10-stop ND & 3-stop ND Grad
  • 13” Macbook Pro
  • 1TB SSD Hard Drive
  • Anker PowerCore 20000
  • The Camps Bay ONA Camera Bag in Smoke

ONA_BryanMinearBlog_6.jpgI’ve always had a love/hate relationship with shooting out of airplane windows. I’ve taken some beautiful shots, and some terrible ones, but regardless I always give it a shot and hope for the right combination of clouds and terrain to come away with something cool. For the first time in the sky I gave the X-T2 with XF50-140mm and XF1.4X Teleconverter a shot and it ended up being really awesome. Typically I have always tried shooting wide and always seemed to get the wing of the plane, reflections, or window scratches that made my shots unusable. But zooming in that far, and having the crazy good image stabilization of the 50-140 gave me some spectacular results.ONA_BryanMinearBlog_8.jpgWhen I finally landed in San Diego, I only had a few hours to get checked into my hotel and find a good spot to shoot the sunset before I had to shoot the event I was in town for. I grabbed my ONA bag and ran out the door to see what I could find. I just made my way toward the west-facing beach of Coronado.  This was my first “true” California coastal sunset, and it was a colorful cloudless sky. I took a few shots but mostly just took it in and enjoyed the moment.dscf5272Day 2 started when a friend picked me up and we drove out to Anza Borrego. It was an unbelievable experience for this midwestern boy; in just 2 hours, we went from beautiful rolling hills and coastline to mountainous desert. We spent some time shooting from Font’s Point which gave a breathtaking view of the terrain spread out in front of us. This was everything I always expected from California: palm trees and vast expansive desert spread out in front of me. We spent a few hours shooting the beautiful textures and colors of the desert before moving on.fxp23658Heading back towards the coast, we decided that the next stop would be the rocks of Corona Del Mar. Despite slipping multiple times and having extremely soggy shoes, I was thankful to have experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire life. Having 2 camera bodies is absolutely essential for the kind of work that I like to do. I split my time between my X-Pro2 with XF10-24mm set up on a tripod shooting long exposures, and my X-T2 with XF50-140mm combo in hand snapping away at boats, water and really fine-tuning my compositions with the compressed field of view. Having the 50-140 lens has turned me from a 100% wide shooter to a 60/40 tele/wide shooter and it has made such a huge impact on the work that I create.dscf5758The next day was spent shooting around the picturesque Laguna beach area. It was a semi-low tide so we climbed to an area along the coast that has a sinkhole with beautiful swirling water, and set up our gear. After a bit of droning and waiting to see what we would get in terms of a sunset burn, we all got a bit ambitious and ventured further out on the rocks that were exposed by the low tide. While setting up on a tripod to get some water movement shots, a rogue wave came out of nowhere and completely soaked me and my camera. There has never been a time that I was more thankful to have weather-resistant gear. I spent the rest of the night soaking wet from head to toe, but was able to continue to shoot the rest of the sunset.dscf5947After drying off at my hotel and grabbing a couple hours of sleep, I decided that my final morning before flying home was going spent in Long Beach shooting the sun coming up behind The Queen Mary. I arrived to a beautiful star-filled sky, giving me enough time to nitpick and get the composition that I really wanted. As I sat there on the rocks with my X-T2 on-tripod in front of me just waiting for the perfect moment, I thought about all I was able to experience on such a short trip, and how there is so much more of the world to see and explore. I couldn’t ask for anything better than being constantly inspired to create by my surroundings, and the gear that helps me capture it all. ona_bryanminearblog_12

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.

Danny Fernandez Idi Probak13

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.

 

 

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.

Inside Bryan Minear’s Camera Bag

X-Photographer strip BLACK

By Bryan Minear

As a landscape photographer, I venture out to shoot – a lot. Much of my work is reliant on timing and interesting light. I’m based in Michigan, which isn’t conventionally known as a photo wonderland, so I am constantly exploring, scouting locations, and biding my time for that special segment of time where the light is just right and I can realize my vision. Most of the time, this involves me running out the door and into my car at the start of golden hour, and my Fujifilm bag (a unique co-branded creation) is perfect for those spontaneous moments.

FXT10347

Admittedly, I’m a bag snob, and I struggled with settling with any camera bag for my minimal kit until now. I could never find one that was just right for what I needed. When I heard that Fujifilm and Domke were partnering to create a never-before-seen version of several Domke classics, I was definitely interested. If the same attention to detail and capability that Fujifilm puts into their products went into the bags, I was going to be in for a treat. Long story short, the camera bag does not disappoint. The FUJIFILM X Series Domke F-803 has just the right amount of storage for me to take my X-Pro2, XF10-24mmF4 R OIS, XF56mmF1.2 R, and X100T – my perfect minimal setup. Even with the kit, the bag still has plenty of room left over for the accessories and extras, like my 10-stop ND filter, polarizers, solar-powered battery backup, and even my lightweight Vanguard VEO 235AB tripod, rendering me completely handsfree.

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One problem that I usually have with messenger bags is that they end up being too bulky and uncomfortable, which is not the case with the FUJIFILM X Series F-803.  It has a very low profile and feels perfect when it is slung across your body, all while looking super sexy (yep, I said it). The combination of sand canvas and brown leather make for a really classic look. It pairs so well with the aesthetic of the X Series cameras – you know, for people who care about that sort of thing. On the run and chasing light, I’ll be suited up with my new favorite premium X accessory.

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Learn more about X Series Domke co-branded bags here!

Currently only available in the United States.

Backyard Bokeh: Find Everyday Inspiration!

By Seth K. Hughes

As someone who has traveled 50,000 miles in the past couple of years, I’ve come to realize you don’t have to go far to have fun and make great photos. Truth is, no matter where you live, all you have to do is step outside your back door. I guarantee that if you slow down and look closely at what’s around you, you’ll find many interesting subjects. Whether it’s literally in your backyard, in the nearest park, or an adorable pet —these things are right there under your nose just waiting to be noticed.New Orleans, LouisianaWhile visiting Louisiana, I headed out with my weather-resistant FUJIFILM X-Pro2. Within just a few yards I found leaves, flowers, insects, frogs, and my beloved pooch Emma. Admittedly, I wasn’t feeling very inspired in the beginning. At first glance, there was nothing particularly interesting about my environment. I walked out my door, down a paved road and stumbled upon a nondescript nature path. I had to force myself to slow down and peer into places I would otherwise have overlooked. By the end of the shoot, I was having a blast.Mckinney State Park, Austin, TXI recommend keeping it simple and just grabbing your camera and one or two lenses (tripod optional).xIMG_3399I chose my FUJINON XF56mmF1.2 R APD prime lens known for its sharpness, clarity and beautiful bokeh effects. The FUJINON lens lineup pairs perfectly with – and optimizes – the X Series camera system. This APD prime is the only lens I’ve ever used that ships with its own apodization filter (think ND filter) which creates smooth bokeh outlines and enhances the three dimensional feel of an image. To maximize the bokeh capabilities and create a macro-lens aesthetic, I opened the lens up all the way to f/1.2 and manually set the focus to its closest distance. Then I just explored and moved the camera in and out on various objects. When I found something I liked, I framed up an interesting composition and further refined the focal point.

**Lighting tip: look for subjects in the open shade or go out on an overcast day. This will ensure your light is soft, your colors are enhanced and your exposure values are under control.New Orleans, LouisianaThe other lens was the venerable XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR which is one of the best lenses available today for image quality and stabilization. I find this lens to be excellent all around and I’ve always enjoyed shooting portraits in this focal range. Enter my beloved brindle boxer — Emma. She emerged in a bed of flowers and I instantly had a muse!New Orleans, LouisianaI found close to a dozen pictures in under an hour while I was just meandering around. It really pays to take your time (and your camera) and absorb whichever features happen to be around you. You will see the beauty and details in everyday life. I guarantee you’ll find something interesting.

Live tutorial: Portrait photography with Bert Stephani

X-Photographer Bert Stephani shares his own hints and tips to shooting Portrait photography in this live talk from ‘The Photography Show‘ UK.

Want more?..

For more of Bert’s work, please see the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bertstephani?_rdr

Twitter: @bertstephani

Website: http://bertstephani.com

 

Sun, sights & sunburn with the X-E2

I know what you’re thinking, sun on a bank holiday?…. Never.

It sure took me by surprise, so much so, that I didn’t want to waste one drop of it. It was time for my X-E2 to come on a sun-filled adventure to a local Cavalcade. 

I had the chance to borrow the XF56mm lens over the bank holiday weekend and I really wanted to give it a good go. I decided the best way to do that was to only take the XF56mm thus eliminating any other lens choices. I like doing this from time to time as it forces me to think harder about my composition and gets me moving in and out of the action far more regularly.

After battling through the traditional English queuing system for the car park and entrance, I saw a small tent with various furry animals with a few scary ones thrown in for good measure. I snapped this cute little Hedgehog relaxing in a lady’s hat. I can also confirm that he was actually surprisingly soft!

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I also caught this seemingly unimpressed Owl, but I loved the colours in the background that I had to share it with you.

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After moving from the animal kingdom, I took to an area filled with small miniature ‘lands’ and fairgrounds, most of which were handmade by the stall owners. Some were really quite impressive. I knew I could get some serious bokeh effects here using the f/1.2 aperture. Here are some of the results I got.

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After having a go on some remote controlled boats, having a race with my fiancée, and ‘letting’ her win, we stepped outside the modelers tent and saw this clown doing his thing. I love this next shot because of the people in the background watching him go by. 

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One thing you’ve just got to love about days out like this, there are simply SO many subjects to take pictures of. As we strolled across the fiery grass I came across lots of random but interesting scenes. Here are a few of my favourites.

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Find the best expression & give it attention in the composition
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Look to fill the frame for maximum colour impact
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Shoot candid shots whenever you get a chance

A little later in the afternoon after grabbing an ice-cream and putting on some much needed (yet too late) suncream. We could hear the in-house speakers beckoning us to a central location where cars of all shapes and sizes were going to present. This was probably the trickiest part of the day (photography-wise) as the sun was very high, beating down and creating a very bright, high-contrast scene. I wanted to slow the shutter speed down to capture some movement here but had to stray away from the idea due to this brightness. What I needed to have brought with me was an ND (Neutral density) filter. This is best described as ‘sunglasses’ for the lens. Here are some of the shots that came out pretty well.

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All in all, this was the perfect day for photography, great light, great subjects and a cracking good lens! The XF56mm never failed to focus once and is sharp as a button. I hope that you all have as good an experience as I did. We would love to see your bank holiday images popping up on our Facebook page and Twitter accounts!

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X-T1 – Shoot anywhere – The DIY store with Dale

Not sure what to shoot? Neither was I yesterday, so I took to the ‘streets’ of Bedford with an X-T1 and a XF56mm lens. 

I decided my aim was to try and get some ‘shoot from the hip’ style shots. A little blend of people and interesting objects with a snap of the shutter, so where better to start than a DIY store?

We set off on our ‘adventure’ just as the rain started to fall, this was perfect for a little weather testing. I caught these images of a gentleman leaving the DIY store preparing for his departure into the ‘monsoon’. I tried to keep the shutter fast to capture his movements, on reflection I might have stopped the aperture down a touch to get a little more in focus.

X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/800 - f/2 - ISO200
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/800 – f/2 – ISO200
X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/600 - f/2 - ISO200
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/600 – f/2 – ISO200

Once inside, I was instantly drawn to the lighting department, after all, photography is all about light and so where better place to start. The XF56mm lens really gave me that perfect focal length to get in close enough to capture the mood of the lights and keep out the exterior of the store itself. I also really wanted to try out the bokeh of this cracking lens, so I shot the second one at F/1.2.

X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/420 - f/2 - ISO200
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/420 – f/2 – ISO200
X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/800 - f/1.2 - ISO200
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/800 – f/1.2 – ISO200

After we left the lighting department we had a good wander around as Marc actually needed something from the store after all! I managed to grab a few shots as we went and found the autofocus to be working very well shooting from the hip. I didn’t quite get the compositions I wanted shooting this way but, it was nothing a little cropping couldn’t solve.

X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/100 - f/2 - ISO400
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/100 – f/2 – ISO400
X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/100 - f/2 - ISO320
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/100 – f/2 – ISO320

I love looking about, trying to ‘see’ a potential photograph from an otherwise bland object, and being in a DIY store there were certainly lots of random bits and pieces to shoot. I’ve found that the XF56mm lens is a superb focal length in general but also for these close up ‘artistic angular’ shots. Here is an example of a BBQ I saw while we were there. It was the way the light fell around the chrome effect metal that drew me to take the shot.

X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/100 - f/2.8 - ISO200
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/100 – f/2.8 – ISO200

After finishing our tour of the store we actually re-visited the lighting department for one last photo…

Which you can see Marc was thrilled to be part of!

X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/100 - f/2.8 - ISO320
X-T1 – XF56mm lens – 1/100 – f/2.8 – ISO320

 

I personally think it is always a good idea to experiment with your camera angles, sometimes it’s all that’s needed to turn a shot from bland to grand! This doesn’t mean you have to stand on your head mind you! Just ‘play’, enjoy the fact you can shoot as many pictures as you like and simply delete the ones that were not good enough. No one ever has to know!

Here was the last shot I managed to grab whilst Marc was driving us back to the office, not perfectly in focus but I did shoot through the car window and edited out Marc’s head from the equation! I also desaturated the colour a little as I wanted to capture that dull, moody weather we were so very much enjoying.

X-T1 - XF56mm lens 1/500 - f/8 - ISO200
X-T1 – XF56mm lens
1/500 – f/8 – ISO200

All in all, I would say it was nearly a success, after all, I did take some pictures and Marc found what he was looking for in the store. I think the aspect I could’ve improved on was being more confident shooting the subjects on-the-fly from an eye level perspective, rather than shooting from the hip. You may have found yourself in the same situation if you have ever tried ‘street’ photography, certainly it is a blast though and definitely worth trying out if you haven’t already. Maybe in a future blog I’ll try again and see if I can improve on my skills, until then, happy snapping!

Written by Dale Young

Interview with Kevin Mullins: first impressions of the XF10-24 and XF56 lenses and the X-T1 camera

We invited professional wedding photographer Kevin Mullins to come to Yokohama in Japan to speak on the Fujifilm stand at CP+ about how he started using Fujifilm products and how they help him create his distinctive documentary style approach to wedding photography.

We planned the whole thing out, even to the details of where he is to stand on the stage, however there was one slight issue that we were unable to plan for – the snow.

Heavy snowfall throughout Friday has meant that the CP+ show was cancelled today, but don’t think that means Kevin was given a day off. Instead we went out for a little walk around Yokohama and he was able to try out the new XF10-24mm and XF56mm lenses and also the new Fujifilm X-T1 compact system camera.

Here’s a quick selection of unedited jpeg shots Kevin has taken, plus a few of his initial thoughts on how each lens performed.

The FUJINON XF56mmF1.2 R lens

X-E2 with XF56mm - 1/200 sec;   f/1.2;   ISO 1000
X-E2 with XF56mm – 1/200 sec; f/1.2; ISO 1000
X-E2 with XF56mm - 1/200 sec;   f/1.2;   ISO 800
X-E2 with XF56mm – 1/200 sec; f/1.2; ISO 800
X-T1 with XF56mm - 1/4000 sec;   f/1.8;   ISO 200
X-T1 with XF56mm – 1/4000 sec; f/1.8; ISO 200

“I’m really impressed with the handling of the lens, especially the speed of focus. The depth of field at f/1.2 is remarkable for an APS-C sized sensor CSC. I’m really looking forward to using it at a wedding where I’m sure it will become a permanent fixture in my camera bag”

The FUJINON XF10-24mmF4 R OIS lens

X-T1 with XF10-24 - 1/1105 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200
X-T1 with XF10-24 – 1/1105 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200
X-T1 with XF10-24 - 1/320 sec;   f/5.6;   ISO 200
X-T1 with XF10-24 – 1/320 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200

“Not being a regular user of a zoom lens, I was really keen to get my hands on the 10-24 and the ability to shoot as a the wide end of the zoom really introduces a new dynamic into the way we can use the X series cameras. The lens handles really well at both ends of the zoom, is very fast and the weight of it doesn’t unbalance the camera”

The X-T1 Compact System Camera

When asked about the X-T1 camera specifically, this is what Kevin had to say about it:

“I’ve been waiting to get my hands on the X-T1 for a while and I’m certainly not disappointed. Although I’ve only used it for a few hours, the viewfinder is simply amazing and the manual controls are well positioned – the camera feels really good in my hands. Well thought out features like the tilting screen, the side loading card and the vertical battery grip really make this a camera that’s going to enhance my everyday shooting”

About Kevin

Kevin Mullins is an award winning UK Wedding Photographer specialising in the documentary style of wedding photography. To see more of his work you can follow him on Facebook or follow his blog.