Motorsport Photographer Jeff Carter has his say about the NEW X-T2

jeff carterAbout Jeff Carter

Jeff Carter founded MacLean Photographic after leaving the Royal Air Force in 1996.  The company name is from Jeff Carter’s full name – Jeffrey Stuart MacLean Carter.

With over 20 years’ experience in several fields, including sport, landscape, wildlife and travel, Jeff is based in Dunbar, near Edinburgh in Scotland. However he travels the world with his work in the motorsport and automotive industry and is constantly on the lookout for that next great image to capture.

As well as providing photographic services to editorial and commercial clients, MacLean Photographic runs a number of Photographic Workshops and Tours for individual or small groups of photographers of all abilities in and around the South East of Scotland.

Landscape photography with the X-T2 in East Lothian
Landscape photography with the X-T2 in East Lothian

Belhaven Bay in East Lothian
Belhaven Bay in East Lothian

Why did you choose Fujifilm?

A camera is the tool of my trade and the best tool is one that becomes an extension of my creativity, something that I can use without thinking about how to capture an image. I have used all different types of cameras over the last 20+ years but, for me, the three X Series cameras I use are like an extension of my eye and brain.

The first X Series camera I bought was an X100 black limited edition for a business trip to Shanghai. The X100 was like a mini version of the Fujifilm GA645 medium format camera that I had used in the early 1990s and the fixed focal length camera put a spark back into my photography, it was a joy to use. The ability to travel light and still get ‘the shot’ really opened up my mind to the possibilities of the compact system camera. This led to an X-Pro1 a year later, then the X-T1, an X-Pro2 in 2016 and now the X-T2, with a good selection of XF lenses to match.

The X-T2, X-Pro2, X-T1 and X100 I currently use, along with the range of quality XF lenses, are tools that allow me the freedom to be creative but they have also put the joy back into the image making process.

 


How have you found the new Fujifilm X-T2 camera?

This is the camera I have been waiting for ever since I moved from Nikon to Fujifilm in 2014.  Each step that Fujifilm has made in the past four years have culminated into this camera.  It is like an extension of my arm and eye when working trackside or in the pitlane.  The X-Pro2 is a great camera and pointed the way to the next step. And the X-T2 doesn’t disappoint.

On track battles during the TCR International Series at Spa-Francorchamps
On track battles during the TCR International Series at Spa-Francorchamps

I can follow focus a car moving at 200mph and I can follow focus a bird in flight.  I can also switch focus from one subject to another quickly and seamlessly.  The Electronic View Finder is beautiful, a joy to use, and doesn’t black out when shooting long bursts.  The 11 frames per seconds on boost mode adds to the flexibility of the camera, as does the ability to shoot 4K video.

The 24MP sensor produces the same stunning image quality as the X-Pro2 and 6000 x 4000 pixel images gives greater flexibility to crop the image in post production.  The film simulations are to the same high standard as always with Fujifilm and gives me the option to take the images straight off the camera if speed is of the essence, which in sports photography is usually the case.

The quality of the images when shooting at high ISO settings is really outstanding and I have no hesitation in pushing the dial to 6400 or even 12800 when needed.

The ergonomics of the X-T2 have taken the best that the X-T1 had to offer and improved the overall operation of the camera.  The new dials and locking mechanism are really good to use and the joystick on the back of the camera also speeds up the operation in the field.  Finally the new tilting screen which means I can shoot in a landscape or portrait format from down low or above my head is a big plus point and something I was using all of the time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The weather proofing got a thorough test at Le Mans too as it rained for most of the week leading up to the race and the X-T2 never missed a beat, which is more than I can say for the photographer!

For me this is the ultimate X Series camera!

Heavy Rain during qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans caused the session to be stopped fo r20 minutes due to deep water on the circuit
Heavy Rain during qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans caused the session to be stopped fo r20 minutes due to deep water on the circuit

What’s your most loved image taken on the X-T2 so far and can you tell us little bit about it?

Capturing the moment at a top international sporting event like the 24 Hours of Le Mans is hugely important for any photographer working in editorial photography, especially sport.  The new X-T2 allows me to react to a situation quickly and this was essential in capturing my favourite image so far.

The image is of the podium celebrations following the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Porsche had a dramatic win in the final five minutes of the 24 hour race when the leading Toyota stopped on the final lap, allowing the Porsche to take the chequered flag.  The emotions on the podium were there for all to see.

The winning Porsche drivers Marc Lieb, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas were celebrating in true motorsport style and afterwards Romain Dumas was speaking to the circuit commentator on the podium after his second overall win at Le Mans.  While he was speaking he was ambushed by four of the other drivers and they tipped champagne all over his head.

I was able to react quickly and capture a whole sequence of images with the X-T2 and the XF50-140mm f2.8 + 2x converter.  This image sums up the relief and elation of winning the most famous motorsport event in the world and this is why this is my favourite image from my time with the X-T2 – so far!

Romain Dumas (FRA) celebrates winning the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans for Porsche.
Romain Dumas (FRA) celebrates winning the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans for Porsche.

What lens do you think best pairs up with this camera for your shooting style?

For sport most people would probably think I would say the XF100-400mm f4.5/5.6 but for me, the best all round lens is the XF50-140mm f2.8.  This lens gives me the greatest flexibility and produces images that can match anything produced on the XF56mm f1.2 or XF90mm f2 (which I own and use as well).

Photographing the Gannets of Bass Rock in flight. A good test of the AF capabilities of the X-T2 and 50-140mm lens
Photographing the Gannets of Bass Rock in flight. A good test of the AF capabilities of the X-T2 and 50-140mm lens

The XF50-140mm f2.8 coupled to the X-T2 is a powerful combination, especially with the improvements made to the continuous Auto Focus function on the new camera.  The ability to follow focus a fast moving subject, such as a race car, or a randomly moving subject such as a Gannet diving into the sea for fish, is a huge plus point for my work.

Another advantage of the XF50-140mm is the ability to fit the 1.4x and 2x converters, meaning I have a focal range of 50mm to 280mm available to me in a relatively small package.


To see more of Jeff’s work please visit his website and social sites:

Website:             www.macleanphotographic.co.uk

Twitter:               @macleancomms

Facebook:          www.facebook.com/macleanphotographic

Flickr:                 www.flickr.com/macleancomms/

Instagram:         www.instagram.com/maclean_photo/

The X-T2 gets a test drive with X-Photographer Damien Lovegrove

damien-lovegrove-profile-200x200Damien Lovegrove is considered by many to be one of the worlds most influential contemporary photographers. He is best known for creating portraits that make women look fabulous. He is a confident director and great fun to shoot with too. Damien’s lighting style is distinctive and his picture composition unique.

Damien is an official Fujifilm UK ambassador and a renowned Fuji X-Photographer.


It was in May 2012 that I ditched my SLRs for a Fuji X-Pro1 and the three prime lenses it launched with. From day one I utilised the mirrorless advantage to leap ahead of my competition. I had been using a Fuji X100 fixed lens camera for a year integrating it into my workflow alongside my SLRs and I loved the pictures I captured with it so the leap to mirrorless was a gentle one for me.

X-T2_BrochureImage_TopThe Fujifilm X-T2 is the camera I’ve been waiting for. It’s no surprise it’s here but what I love most is that the consultation period with X-Photographers has delivered a camera that is spot on mechanically. Everything that could have been improved on the X-T1 from the dial locks to the tilting screen has been perfected on the X-T2.

The Fuji X-Pro1 gave me mirrorless shooting and it rekindled my passion for photography. The X-T1 gave me the extra usability I craved, The X-Pro2 took the image file to the next level and brought the technical specification of the X system bang up to date. Now the the Fujifilm X-T2 has brought it all together and raised the bar again. The sum of all the tweaks and changes in this new camera make a huge difference and leave me not wanting more.

 

The Fuji X-T2 features that I love the most:

•    The locking buttons on the ISO and Shutter speed dials combined with the higher profile work perfectly. Being able to lock the dials in any position is genius.

•    The bi-directional tilting screen is wonderful. It’s a must for a portrait photographer.

•    The camera size and weight are spot on. The ultra reliable and compact W126 battery has been retained. The weight of the camera in the hand is really important to me. I never want my photography to feel like a chore again.

•    The media door has a newly designed latch that is really secure.

•    The joystick to move the focus position makes the shooting process faster.

•    The 1/250th second flash sync is welcome and is the new setting for all my studio flash working.

I team the Fuji X-T2 with the fast primes because I love a shallow depth of field combined with absolute resolution. A prime lens is lighter on the camera than the equivalent zoom and this suits my way of shooting well. I have the XF16mm f/1.4, XF23mm f/1.4, XF35mm f/1.4, XF56mm f/1.2, and the XF90mm f/2 lenses. There are times when a telephoto zoom is the perfect lens for a shoot and I use the XF50-140mm or the XF100-400mm lenses depending upon the assignment. The zooms offer optical image stabilisation and this really comes into its own at longer focal lengths.


And the results?

I had planned this first sequence of shots about a year ahead of the shoot. I bought the dresses from an Asian manufacturer via the internet and I transported them to the USA in my luggage. The location is in the high deserts of Arizona, USA. I used the XF100-400mm and XF50-140mm lenses to compress the perspective. These frames were all lit with natural sunlight.

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I spent 12 days touring the USA and in that time I shot about 5000 frames on the Fuji X-T2.

Arielle down on a farm in Utah. There were snakes keeping us company as we shot a wonderful sequence of images. XF50-140mm f/2.8 at f/4
Arielle down on a farm in Utah. There were snakes keeping us company as we shot a wonderful sequence of images. XF50-140mm f/2.8 at f/4
Arielle sits by a cattle coral in Arizona. The dust on the wind has turned the sky a shade of pink. This figure in the landscape style is one I want to further develop in the coming months and the extra resolution of the Fuji X-T2 really comes in handy when making big exhibition prints. XF50-140mm f/2.8 at f/5.6
Arielle sits by a cattle coral in Arizona. The dust on the wind has turned the sky a shade of pink. This figure in the landscape style is one I want to further develop in the coming months and the extra resolution of the Fuji X-T2 really comes in handy when making big exhibition prints. XF50-140mm f/2.8 at f/5.6

Since then I’ve added another 4000 frames in Europe to my camera testing routine. The camera feels just right in the hand and there is nothing I would change about the mechanics of the build.

 

Discover creative resources for photographers written by Damien Lovegrove at Prophotonut and Lovegrove Photography