I read in the week that some people do not trust the reviews by the Fujifilm Ambassadors.
I started to question my own thoughts. I decided however that I have always given an open and honest view of the Fujifilm X series. I am not one for long reviews anyway so most of my thoughts and feelings about the X Series are from hands on demonstrations and talking to people out and about on the streets on workshop days and events.
I have also never been the pessimistic type and always see the good in all the gear I use and only use very limited functions on the camera so it’s not easy for me to start pulling something apart I am passionate about.
I was asked by Fujifilm UK to be an Ambassador because of my work and because I had already adopted the Fuji X Series in to my workflow and was enjoying the refreshing change from DSLR to mirrorless. So I was already a fan you could say, but if you know me you will know I am quite blunt and honest about most things and if I did not like the X Series I would have moved to a different brand by now.
My blogs are few and far between and as you all probably know by now I am dyslexic and find sitting down to write a blog as about as exciting as sticking pins in my eyes.
Kevin Mullins has by far the best blog on the Fuji X system that I have seen as a Fujifilm Ambassador and he gives a real honest review. Although Kevin and myself both love the X Series, we have both pointed out issues and faults in some of the past X Series cameras and lenses and say so in public.
When I moved over from the Nikon system to X100, XPro1 the 18mm and 35mm lens after using a Nikon D3s, I was under no illusion the Xpro1 was better I just wanted a change and I was making a leap of faith that Fujifilm would catch up with the mirrorless system and make an amazing camera one day to match their sensors and lenses.
Well I am so glad I took the leap of faith, I have been using the X-T2 now for a couple of months and can honestly say it’s a game changer. If this is what they can come up with in 5 years, I can’t wait for the next 5 !!!
I am not going to go into all the technical mumbo jumbo as most of you know I just use the exposure triangle and go out and shoot. So I will leave you to read Kevin’s review or even better take a look at and independent review like Cameralabs Gordon always gives a fair and honest review on most camera systems and lenses.
For me though the proof of the pudding is in the images and the X-T2 is stunning not just the images but in its handling and focus speed. I still prefer the XPro2 for Street photography but that’s just because I love the rangefinder style of camera for shooting people in my candid style. But the X-T2 is a killer camera for my Gig and Event work as well as my Landscape work. They are diferent animals as far as I am concerned.
Today I went out for a quick meeting in town, I decided to take the X-T2 and one of my favorite lenses the 90mm f/2 and see if I could grab a couple of Street shots on my route.
I remember shooting this image below a couple of weeks back with the same set up and wanted to see if I could shoot a moving target with me moving and the focus keep up.
I walk at quite a pace when I am out and about, even though you can learn to compensate for slow autofocus by standing still zone focusing if you need to. You don’t need to do this with the X-T2 this thing nails the shots, that some of the previous X Series bodies might have missed. The XPro2 I would say is just as good but the the X-T2 gives you a little more confidence. It just has that positive feel about it.
The next two shots with me walking towards the two subjects at quite a pace and just lifting the camera up to shoot as they walked towards me.
I was blown over when I reviewed these images over a coffee before my meeting. BOOM was the word that came in my head. I thought wow Fuji you have done it you have made the camera for all the people that doubted the Mirrorless System. I am quite sure this camera is going to sell like hot cakes. I will just say that this 90mm lens is amazing on this camera. I love to shoot wide and long when I am out on my own and this lens has just the right reach to compliment the 16mm f/1.4 out and about.
Someone commented the other day that I used to sing the praises of the 27mm and the X-T10 and thats very true and I still have the 27mm on my X-T10 and there it stays.
I have to spend some time getting used to the new Cameras Fuji asks us to Test and the X-T10 still has a big place in my heart and a small space in my camera bag.
It all comes down to the right tool for the job and I am lucky enough to have a large toolbox to select my tools from.
At the moment as I write this the X-T2 and the 90mm f/2 are a perfect match for Street style candid portraits…
I have been using the X Series now for over five years. I teach Street photography and shoot events with the cameras regularly and the biggest gripe I hear from most people is their batteries don’t last five minutes ! I went out with one guy a few weeks back and he used six in the morning session of my Street Photography workshop.
I asked him what make the batteries were and found out three were Fuji and three were another brand. I then asked him when he charged them last and he could not answer !
I shoot every day with my XPro2 and most weeks with my X-T1 and I shoot events 10.00hrs-11.00 hours and only use one possibly two in a 7-8 hour day if I shoot up to 11 hours or more I might end up on my third. I do shoot with two bodies but this is per camera and at times one is enough for the Xpro2 and two for the X-T1.
I am not talking about the NP95 batteries they do not last as long, but with good battery managment I only used to use about three of those a day in about 8 hours of shooting.
I have spoken to quite a few Pros who shoot every day and have great battery management and quite a few amateurs who have poor battery management and the conclusion is most of the people that moan about battery life have poor battery management. There are also the semi pros that came out as a mixture of good and bad but this was all down to battery management and battery choice ! So why do the pro’s get better battery life ? Mainly because they use the cameras more regularly and charge the batteries every time before they go out.
I am not going to give you all the technical mumbo jumbo or battery tests I am just going to share with you what batteries to buy what chargers as well as good battery management.
I am fully aware a Fuji NP-W126 is not as good as a Nikon D3s battery but it’s not as big and does not cost £150 so this is not about better heavier more expensive battery it’s about good battery management.
I have quite a few batteries most now are Fuji NP-W126 batteries these might be more expensive but in my experience they do last longer between charges and the life is longer than most aftermarket versions. The best aftermarket version I have found are the eXpro and this is my prefered aftermarket purchase.
Good battery management is key to long life and also the right charger and the rule of thumb is Fujifilm Chargers for Fujifilm batteries and eXpro changers for eXpro batteries.
I have put eXpro batteries in Fuji chargers and they don’t last as long as when they are charged in their dedicated chargers, in fact they can last half as long they also appear to discharge more quickly, if not used quite soon after the charge.
So if you go down the route of an aftermarket battery get the eXpro battery and eXpro charger, I would get the double charger for around £12 great value for money. The eXpro batteries are around £9 with a two year warranty.
Good battery management is very easy but can become more and more complicated the more batteries you have to deal with. I use the ThinkTank battery storage pouch and put the batteries in terminals facing down and when I swap them out I leave the terminals facing up. But any good case that covers the terminals is great the worst way to carry the batteries is loose, as you just don’t know if they come into contact with metal objects in your bag and discharge.
If you have one battery it’s quite simple, you charge your battery pop it in your camera go out and shoot when it’s discharged you recharge it and off you go. Sounds simple but this is where it can go wrong. If you now leave that battery in your camera for a few days a week a month it will slowly discharge. So when you go out to shoot and you think it’s fully charged it’s not. Most people I ask who’s batteries run out very quickly on a workshop can’t remember when they charged them or say a few days ago, I then say when did you use your camera last and most say a week or so !
You need to charge the battery in your camera up before you go out and that is a refresh charge. If you pop it in the charger and it comes up charged straight away you are good to go if not you might only have to wait 10-20 min but its worth it.
Now what about a pouch of four or more !
After a gig I come home and charge the batteries with the terminals facing up straight away and then pop them back in the pouch.
Before every event I charge the lot or refresh charge the lot most of the time they don’t take long but if I have been away on holiday they take a little longer sometimes you just can’t remember when you last charged them. I also carry the pouch in my coat pocket in the winter to keep them warm to stop them from premature discharge never a good thing !
You would be surprised how long batteries get left in your camera without getting charged and you just sticking them in your bag or pockets. Not charging before use you are setting yourself up for failure.
Fuji have given some tips on longer life in your camera and you can find that Battery life management.
There is a really good double charger by eXpro and it’s this one eXpro LCD
So don’t stay in the dark with battery poor management,charge before you go.
With Africa Oye only a few days away I decided to take a quick look back at Africa Oye 2015, the first year I shot Oye 100% Fuji. Shooting in RAW as a black and white shooter has its advantages. I can look back and my work and see just how amazing colour really is with Fujifilm straight out of camera. Shooting black and white all my life has left me void of colour and now I am starting to crave colour ! So much so I now have my project pinned down for 2017.
I always like to look back at the images I shot the previous year at a festival so that I can look for new ideas and new angles to shoot at the next festival.
This time the look back made me crave colour ! I also have a few new ideas I can throw at Oye 2016.
I was never a fan of Colour when I used to shoot on Nikon it always took me such a long time to try and process the images the way I wanted them to look never finding just quite the right texture or tonal range I could be happy with. But since I have been shooting Fuji I have been getting more and more excited about colour.
There is just something very special about the RAW files and I need to investigate this further.
It very hard to leave black and white behind for me it’s the ultimate storytelling medium but I feel I need to start to explore colour as I have spend over 45 years exploring black and white.
I guess colour can be hard and distracting when it comes to people but I feel it’s time to give it good go, so watch out for some more colour as we move in to 2017. One thing is for sure I will be trying out the XPro2 and the 16mm f/1.4 this year at Oye and can wait to see the results.
I had another great year at The Photography Show and this year was just the same as last year as far as questions were concerned, but this time about the Xpro2 and not the X-T2 so I have decided to answer a few questions in this blog. If you came to the show and listened to my talk for Fujifilm UK, you will know how much I hate writing and why. I also only tend to write my blog when I have something to say, the rest is just noise.
One of the great things about TPS is the fact that so many photographers get together in one place and get to inspire each other. I always come away from the show buzzing with ideas. This year the biggest buz and the coolest places to be where the SmugMug Stand and the Fujifilm Stand, this is in part to the huge community of like minded photographers that love to be part of what is becoming the coolest collaboration in photography ever.
To many people get bogged down in the TEC, at the end of the day you only need a box with a lens and a way of controlling Aperture, Exposure and ISO the rest is all personal taste.
We all choose cameras we like the look and feel off and we listen to the people around us for feedback and read reviews etc, that is the same for a sofa or pair of shoes or a toaster.
People are free to choose what ever camera they like so there is no real need to moan about one you don’t like go buy one that fits your personal requirements.
All you really need is the exposure triangle the rest is just semantics! I was asked over and over again at the show to pick all the fault’s in the XPro2 and when I said it does not have any, one person was pushing me for a fault he even said “so what would other people say was wrong with it” I don’t know what other people would say I have never been one to wish a camera had this or what or needed x or y I just buy a camera that I feel an emotional connection to and that has the exposure triangle close to hand, after all that is all I NEED ! I don’t need much more in my line of work, I am a Photographer and just need to take pictures. I do like a great lens to give me a sharp image if I want a sharp images and Fuji lenses give me that in droves.
I have an XT10 for Street and to stick in my pocket and that has a 27mm lens on it, I have another XT10 with a 90mm lens on it. My XPro2 has a 35mm f/2 lens on it and my X-T1 has a battery pack and 50-140mm on it most of the time. These are all for different jobs like a mechanic with a socket set! The Cameras are the ratchets and the lenses the sockets so picking fault in ratchet or socket for one job is pointless when you have a great set of tools ! I get asked about 4k video etc and I roll my eyes ! I have two GoPro cameras for video if I want to shoot 4K but in all honesty the Video in my XPro2 or X-T1 is great for blogging etc If I wanted amazing stunning video I would buy a new tool for my tool box not moan about the ones I have.
So why do I buy new cameras if I am not chasing the tec ? I chase the warranty that’s why, you see so many people blaming the manufactures and moaning about faults 5 months or 8 months out of warranty. I thinks it’s mad! Social media has become a media hub for moaning about out of warranty issues with all brands. As a professional even before I used Fuji X Series camera I used to buy a new Nikon body every time the warranty ran out that way if I ever had an issue I could return it and get it repaired without any hassle. To be honest in all the time I have owned the Fujifilm X System and I don’t look after my tools as much as I should, I have never had to have them repaired. The only camera I sent back was one of my X-T1’s for the light leak issue and that was turned around in 7 days.
Quite a few people think we get our kit for free but this is just not true, I paid for all my Fuji X Cameras and lenses before I was a Fujifilm Ambassador and still do to this day. We do get to hire new gear when it’s available and free of charge but it has to be given back. The only camera I have been given was the Fuji XPro2 and this also had my name on the serial number. This was a gift for all my hard work in the XPro2 launch and my ongoing work for Fujifilm. But when I say given, if I had invoiced Fujifilm for my time this it would far outweigh the cost of the camera.
Mirrorless cameras make great tools and don’t take up any room so you can in fact have quite a few in your toolbox, I also do like a spare body for back up.
I was asked at the show if I could choose one X Series camera what one would it be ! That is like saying what is your favourite Socket or wrench! Well the answer if it was a toolbox would be SnapOn and what ever socket I needed for the job.
So why Fuji, well I started buying the X Series cameras and the found this great community around the world that all had this passion for the brand, they would share there passion and I soon found myself starting Fujiholics to put on events to get everyone together to share the passion and take photos, mostly of coffee and cake and each others cameras it appears !
As far as a camera is concerned, I only need an exposure triangle and I am happy, but the X Series have given me so much more I have never had so many collaboration talks with so many photographers. The Fujifilm teams all over the world are all great people and are all part of the community in one way or another.
If you pushed me to say what is the best all round Street Combo I would have to say the XPro2 and 35mm f/2 lens at the moment but that’s because I LOVE shooting Acros Film Simulation with Green filter Jpegs are my thing at the moment as I hate processing with a vengeance. The 35mm f/2 is just sexy that is all !
I try to have an emotional attachment to my work and I need the same feeling with my camera system. Perfect tool for that is right for the job.
They X Series do look good next to a coffee and cake to !
My Fujifilm journey started back in 2011 but it was hit and miss. I was a Nikon shooter and had been for over 40 years. In 2011 I found myself looking for a camera system that was smaller and lighter than my Professional Nikon system. I looked at Sony and Panasonic but wanted great glass and realised that only the top players in the camera market could offer this. I picked up a Fuji X10 and had a love hate relationship with it so in the end sold it. I read all the reviews and was put off the X100 but in the end found one for a good price on ebay and purchased a really nice camera.
The image above was one of the first images I shot with the X100 and I was hooked. This amazing little camera was producing images far cleaner than my Nikon D3s and for a fraction of the cost. Yes focus was slow and it only had one lense but it was the way it made me feel that shocked me, this camera had set me free.
It was not long before I walked in to Cambrian Photography and took a massive leap of faith. I bought the Xpro1 along with the 18mm, 60mm and the 18-55mm Kit lens and decided to give it a go on my trip to Venice. I had made up my mind that if it worked for me I would come home and sell all my professional Nikon Gear.
Before I went I was almost convinced this would not happen, how could this Xpro1 replace my D3s and Pro glass as it was so slow to focus and so awkward to use !
I came back from Venice and the decision had been made this XPro1 was perfect for me. I was convinced that stepping away from mainstream DSLR’s and choosing a camera that slowed me down and made me think out of the box again was the way forward. So I took the leap and sold all my Nikon gear. I said to myself that if I needed a Pro DSLR for a job I would just hire one. That was four years ago and I have not needed to use a DSLR and will never look back.
It’s amazing how the reason you changed gets under your skin at times and the slow focus on the XPro1 drove me to buy the X-T1 and the X-T10. These cameras work perfectly for my event photography and due to the small size of the X-T10 I started to use two of these stunning little cameras back to back one with 27mm f/2 and one with 90mm f/2 lenses. It is quite amazing how small the X-T10 is with the 27mm lens it’s almost the same size as the X100T.
My plan was if I am totally honest was to wait for the X-T2 if there was one and use my X-T10s for Street and the X-T1 for Landscape and wet events and bring the X-T2 in to play.
But then BOOM Fuji asked me to test out the Xpro2 and it’s just changed my photography all over again. When I first picked it up my first thought was where is the tilting screen ? It’s hard to go out and test a camera that is not due out for three months when you are a Street photographer I can tell you.
I started using the Xpro2 and at first I was not blown away, but this was the same feeling I have had with all the Fuji X Cameras. They are like magic in your hands, the more you get to know the camera, the more they come alive in your hands. This camera is fast to focus, it surely has to be the fastest yet.
The shape of the camera is a vast improvement over the XPro1 and the inclusion of two fast card slots is going to make quite a few wedding shooters happy. The inclusion of the ISO dial in with the shutter speed dial, puts all the buttons and knobs back on the outside of the camera so you have the exposure triangle where you need it. There is a neat little joystick on the back of the camera and the buttons are all in the right place for me.
You all know I am not one for technical write ups as all the pixel stuff does not do anything for me and there are camera testers all over the UK that can test this camera to death for you all. But one word of caution, I was put off the X System for six months before I got the X100 because of all the reviews so be careful what you choose to read. This system is not all about pixels and super fast this and that, it is about changing your way of thinking.
So why do I love this camera ? It’s easy, I don’t have to edit any of my images any more. I have always been a RAW shooter converting in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2 until now. This camera is a game changer for me and the file size is just about right. The XPro2 is going to change my photography for the better.
The design of the XPro2 compared to the Xpro1 is completely different making the XPro2 sit so nicely in your hand.
I am going to be shooting Jpeg with the XPro2 for the next year with the 35mm f/2 lens for a Street Project I am doing with a few friends on Flickr. I love a good project and this project will help me to learn how to setup and use the Xpro2 for Jpeg and never have to edit again. The time this is going to save me is life changing. At the moment I have the camera set up to black and white with green filter. I have Dynamic Range set to 200%, Highlight Tone -1, Shadow Tone +3, Sharpness +1, Noise Reduction off. I will be playing around with these settings a lot more over the coming months.
It’s been a pleasure testing this new camera for Fujifilm and it was also an honour to have one of my images that I shot on the XPro2 selected for the Exhibition in Japan with 100 other X Photographers from around the world.
I think Fujifilm have made a stunning camera and I would like to thank them for for listening to all the X Photographers and Fujiholics around the world and adding most of the requests and ideas to this little camera.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds and I am so glad I made that leap of faith nearly 5 years ago. The Xpro2 is a huge step forward I am quite sure the Fuji roadmap is going to be very exciting…
Here is a video I shot about the my Fujifilm journey including some XPro 2 images.
What can I say, I have owned or still own every X series camera that Fuji have made and so far the X-T10 is the star. I love my X-T1 and should prefer it to the X-T10, I actually do when I am shooting events in the rain and need a battery grip but the rest of the time the X-T10 is my go to camera.
I am never one for a technical review. I like to use a camera over a few months and see how it works for me in the real world.
I used to take the X100T everywhere I went but now its the X-T10. Its so small and with the 27mm pancake lens its just the best street camera in the range. I have also found myself using it for long exposure workshops instead of the X-T1.
I think the autofocus is just a little bit faster than the X-T1 and the images from RAW appear to be a little cleaner and sharper, so much so that I hardly spend any time processing them.
I have hardly picked up my X-T1 since the festival season finished and have had the X-T10 around my neck in all weathers (not that I recommend you do it) but I have found myself shooting in torrential rain and this little camera has not missed a beat. It’s no secret I use my cameras as a tool and not a prize possession. This little camera is just bullet proof.
It’s small enough to be invisible for Street but has a great viewfinder and perfect size rear screen for me to teach Landscape and Long Exposure classes.
I thought I would be running back to my X100T or my X-T1 in no time but I am still in love with this little thing.
It’s great with most of the smaller lenses but becomes unbalanced with the larger glass but this is to be expected.
I use this camera on Auto ISO for most of my Street work and shoot with the large green square on continuous focus for anything that is moving. It nails it 99% of the time, this is with me walking and my subject on the move. I hear lots of people talking about how the Fuji’s don’t compare to the DSLR they have and I find this strange as the people that come on my workshops with DSLRs can’t get a single in focus shot on the move. They can with the shutter speed cranked up to the max on a bright day but thats a different story.
I go out day after day with this little camera and come home very pleased with the keepers.
I have been using it with the 27mm as if it was bolted on but now I have the new 35mm f/2. I hope to give it a treat over the festive period with a change of glass.
I can’t fault this little camera and I love it so much I have two, one to shoot wide and one to shoot long!
So this is my go to Fuji X Series Camera until something more interesting comes along…
It’s taken me a long time to make this move. I have never seen the point in changing. What is the point in changing to a MAC when my PC set up is fine. Even though my laptop was driving me nuts I could see no advantage but with all the recent changes by Microsoft and Adobe causing me so many issues, I decided to look for a new laptop to help solve these problems in one go. There lays the rub! I was fully aware that if I went the MacBook Pro route my PC would have to change to a MAC and this was holding me back from the swap.
I purchased a Qnap TS453 Pro NAS a few months back as I wanted a decent back up solution that I could gain access to anywhere in the world through an internet connection. The trouble was, my lap top was so slow I could not edit on the move and the changes made by Adobe and Windows 10 prevented Lightroom from working with my graphics card.
After talking to a few friends they convinced me to get a MacBook Pro, thank you Tim, Linda and Rich Waine.
My mind was made up, I went out and got a MacBook Pro 15″ with Retina Display 2.8GHz Quad-core Intel i7,Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz with 1TB Flash Storage.
Whilst in the apple store I got talking to the guy and he said “not getting a MAC then” ! I said how do you mean ? He said “thats one hell of a bit of kit that and will run your monitors”. I had already been told by a few friends that the MAC 4k and 5k screens hurt their eyes when editing after a while so this was great news, I did not need a MAC.
I already had a very nice Acer 27″ Monitor and this would work very well for the internet with facebook etc so all I needed was a decent editing monitor. After a quick conversation with another few friends the toss up was NEC or Eizo and the Eizo won the day.
So thanks to Cambrian Photography for such great service I now have the amazing Eizo ColourEdge CG277 27″ Self Calibrating Monitor.
The changeover was pain free and due to the fact I have my Lightroom and Photoshop on the cloud it was all very simple.
The only way to explain the changeover is like this, when you are used to making tea in your own home it’s simple. If you have to make tea in your friends house it takes a while to work out where things are but once you find the tea bags, cups and milk it’s all very simple.
It’s quite simply the best move I have ever made! I can take my MacBook with me and edit on the road and not have spend hours at my desk on my return home.
I can use three screens and configure the screens how I wish or even shut the MacBook and just work on the two 27″ monitors.
I have to confess it’s not all about Apple and Apple fan boys like people say it is. For photo editing it honestly is a no brainer. It’s not cheap to change over but once you realise you just need a MacBook Pro and that’s it then it’s simple. This thing is so fast as my friends kept telling me and even better, all very portable.
I will let you know how I get on in a few months but so far, I wish I had made the change years a go !
Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year…