It’s the end of my second GFX50s hire today and it’s left me with lots of ideas spinning round in my head. The good news for me is that I now have my own! If you follow my blog you will know that I bit the bullet and purchased this stunning camera.
It was the hardest decision I have had to make for quite a few reasons and one was size!
The whole reason I moved over to Fujifilm was camera size. After working with a pair of Nikon D3s Full frame bodies I needed to downsize for the sake of my back and neck. Back then my work was varied but I shot a lot of gigs etc where I carried lots of heavy gear around all day and it was taking its toll.
I changed to the Fujifilm X System on a wing and a prayer and the amazing thing is the X System has developed in to a range of great cameras and lenses with such a massive choice for all the tastes out there. The X System cameras are stunning and offer choice between Rangefinder and more conventional style bodies. My favorite X series cameras for Street Photography are the XPro2, X70 and X100F. These cameras are perfect for my Street style small, compact and light. I have also recently bought an X-T20 for travel and occasionally Street mainly because I love that touch screen. I do prefer the Rangefinder style for Street photography as I find they handle better for the way I shoot and I hate having my nose squashed on the rear screen of a camera. The X-T20 works really well with the tilt out screen and the X70 is just so stunning I cant even put it into words. I really do hope that one day Fujifilm do make an X80 ! We can only hope.
I have been fighting with myself over the GFX50s for a while now and I even said at the start it has no place in my workflow it’s just too big. I was lucky enough to see the GFX long before it was put into production and thought at the time this is very big but the version I held had the grip on it.
So along came a few changes in direction for me as far as my business is concerned and then the big V small argument in my head started. I had quite a few Fujifilm bodies and lenses at the time and decided what ever happens I need to sell some of my kit off and make way for new. Yes of course I had the GFX stuck in my head but I also had the BIG camera issue stuck in my head.
As I started to sell off my gear I had to decide what to keep and what to sell and as I picked up the X-T2 I realised I only really used this camera for Landscape work and with any Landscape work always came a bag full of gear to put in the van for all those occasions ! So that is when I realised that some photography does require quite a bit of kit that weighs more than you would like. I also had quite a few lenses I used for landscape and none of them gave me what I wanted ! I wanted massive field of view.
So I started to sell off my spares bodies and all the lenses I did not use ! I will not even tell you the amount of times I put lenses in boxes to sell then changed my mind. In the end I got there though.
I am lucky because I plan to semi retire this month so want to get back to shooting what I love and want to start using the best camera for the job so this process was very therapeutic bit like a spring clean in my head and it’s not even spring.
So what lenses did I keep in the X series range ! The 16mm 1.4 was the first one to stay it’s just the best lens that Fujifilm make for the X Series. I also kept the 23mm 35mm 50mm and 90mm F/2 lenses because they are small light and sharp I also kept the 18-55mm Zoom it’s just such an amazing travel lens. I would not part with it and also if I had an accident on a trip with any of my other primes this lens would get me out of trouble. I nearly sold the 50-140mm f/2.8 about 5 times but in the end could not part with it or the 1.4 teleconverter. The 50-140mm is so good, so much better than my old Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII so it had to stay. I also kept the wide conversion lens for my X100F. The rest I sold and I had all the lenses Fujifilm make and most of the bodies. My shelf looked bare but I was happy with my decision.
Then the real argument started in my head, how can you buy a GFX when you want to only use small cameras ! How will this work !
To solve the argument in my head I had to pretend I was not an X Photographer and that I could buy any camera on the market ! So if this was the case what would I buy myself.
Well it would not be a DSLR because I have grown to hate mirrors ! So what could it be ! The answer I came up with every time was Leica or Phase ! Because of the sensors and image quality mainly but I still wanted quality glass. I sat down with a calculator and worked out the cost of a new system and then added the GFX50s in to the pot. In the end after a few days the answer was the GFX and so I hired it to find out.
I was blown away by not just the image quality but also the fact the camera was not as big as I thought it was ! I documented the hire on here and then I hired it again. This time with the 23mm lens and I was lucky enough to have the new 45mm pre production on loan from Fujifilm. The 45mm is a very nice lite lens and makes the camera so much more usable with a light fast light lens it really is not much bigger than a D800.
So that was it I was sold, I bought the GFX with a 23mm 110mm and 32-64mm for a retirement present for myself with no real business plan ! I do however have some ideas for future projects and exhibitions.
Its quite funny though because the day after I bought the camera I picked up work with it and then picked up a bit more and so far I now have £3500 in outstanding invoices from buying it so I guess at this rate it will pay for itself in six months !
I always say over and over again to people it’s got nothing to do with the camera it’s the final image that counts and I still believe this is true. I have been excited by very few cameras in my life the first was the Nikon Fm2 then the Nikon D3s then the Fujifilm X100 in fact the X100 changed the way I thought about my work and the way I shoot. I have also loved most of the X Series line up and I am sure a few will end up classics one day.
I did not think the GFX would do this to me and in all honesty I did not realise it was getting to me that way, it was Jane who woke me up. She was sitting with me in the office the other night and she said “it does matter though !” I said “what does ?” She said “I have not seen you this excited looking at images since you had your X100” ! She is right I am blown away by this camera and Fujifilm are right to call it a game changer.
I guess it’s come at the perfect time in my life and I hope to produce some new and interesting work with it over the next few years.
I think what will make a difference to quite a lot of people thinking about this camera is the new Smart Adaptors that are now appearing on the market. Now all you guys that don’t want to part with all your Canon glass can get an adaptor and use it with the GFX.
I have not tried any of the Adapters yet I was going to but so far Fujifilm have all the lenses I need.
I still love my Little X Series cameras for Street and travel and they will stay my default cameras for that style of work, but I really want to find a place for the GFX in my street work too. I might just have to adapt the way I work to suit the camera. Where have I heard that before ? Yes it was what I said that day I got the X100 !
As quite a few people know I am changing the format of my workshops in 2018 so if anyone wants to take part in the present format, please choose one of my Street Photography Workshops from the list below.
This is the format for 2017.
The workshops will encourage debate about Street Photography and help the participants to be more critical about their work.
The workshops are suitable for professional and amateur photographers of all levels. We ask you to familiarise yourself with using your camera and learn how to change settings quickly before attending the day, this will enable you to enjoy the experience fully.
The day will start at 10.30am and conclude at 16.30pm with a break for lunch and plenty of comfort breaks throughout the day, most of the day will be out on the streets. There is a lot of walking during the day and the event may take place in inclement weather so come prepared.
You will spend the day with myself exploring the streets picking up tricks and tips on my style of Street Photography throughout the day. My Street photography workshops and courses are fun, informative and relaxed. They are both challenging and highly enjoyable and designed to stretch your imagination.
I uses the Fuji X100F and XPro2 with a 35mm or 16mm Prime lens.
You can bring any DSLR or mirrorless camera on this course; fixed lens compacts are also welcome. If you are wondering what lenses to bring 50mm is ideal for full frame and 35mm film uses. APSC size sensors 35mm is ideal or lenses around the normal focal length.
The day normally starts at 10.30am with a coffee introductions and a discussion about the day. We will touch on the ethics and law and how to deal with challenges in this area.
Next we will discuss camera set up for the day and the best set up for street photography with a practical demonstration of street camera technique.
Matt will cover what Street Photography is, and show you some of his favourite Street Photographers images. He will also show you the best way to approach his style of Street photography.
We normally spend around two hours covering these subjects then around 12.30am we head straight out on to the streets where you can watch the way Matt works and try out some of the tips and tricks that he shares with you.
We break for lunch around 1.30pm where we can find a quiet place for a snack to discuss the mornings work and share our experiences.
We then go back out on the streets to practice your new street techniques and try and find your street rhythm and look for some interesting characters or great light!
We stay out shooting until about 4pm, we then find a quiet place to sit as a group to discuss the day and this will include lessons learnt. Matt will share his processing techniques and preferred software. Matt will give you his views on Critique and show you how to review your own work.
I know the majority of you guys that read my blogs and attend my workshops are Fujifilm users but for all you that have other brands of camera please feel free to book on any of these workshops as all camera brands are more than welcome.
Here are the available dates left this year, please click on the dates for availability:
These will be the last Street Photography Workshops in this format at this price.
I have some interesting ideas for Locations and Styles of Workshops for next year, these workshops will be a little more complex so require a lot more planning.
I will advertise the 2018 Workshops around about October time.
I will be leading the Fujiholics Photowalks in London, Edinburgh and Bristol this year so make sure you sign up before all the places are gone. We have over 350 people signed up for London already.
Hope to see some of you on a Free Walk or Workshop and if you are a Fujifilm shooter then our new Facebook group might be for you here.
Here we go again, another year of Photo Walks. This year I will be leading four Fujiholics Photowalks. The Liverpool walk has already taken place but Bristol, Edinburgh and London are still up for grabs.
I would like everyone to know that you can bring any make of camera with you and that includes smart phones. You can also come without a camera just for a day out. It’s all about like minded people getting together to have a great day out and to share ideas and meet new people.
The walks are free to sign up to, I only ask that if you sign up then change your mind, please follow the link from your Eventbrite confirmation email to remove yourself so other people can sign up as numbers are limited.
So far this year London is in the lead with 280 people signed up.
We would like to see more families and children on the walks and would like you all to know that kids are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Why not bring them to London and make a weekend of it. They can use their phones or even buy them a throw away camera.
Photowalks are great, I have met friends for life on the walks and also made some amazing business contacts. They are a great way to explore our cities on foot with a great bunch of people.
A route and map is emailed out to everyone that signs up approx 1 week before the event to download to your smartphone or gps device or you can print out the map. You don’t have to keep up with the guys at the front as we tweet our location throughout the day and use a unique hashtag for the day. You can stop for refreshments along the way or even a cold beer and then catch up a bit later by taking a shortcut using the tube.
In London this year we have the Fujiholics Team and a few other Pro Photographers as well as some retailers so hope to bring you a few offers for the day. There will be quite a few Fujifilm X Photographers and Ambassadors about as well. The Fujiholics Team really do make you all feel welcome.
I would love to see as many of you guys on one of the walks this year, the last three walks are spread out all over the UK so feel free to come and join us.
Here are the links to the walks..
If you want to buy cheap train tickets then here is a link to sign up to The Train Line ticket alert.
If you need to know any more details then feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Hope to see you sometime in 2017…
I was last in Venice with the Fujifilm XPro1 back in 2013 and have been missing it like crazy for the last four years. I have just got back from Venice with Paul to run a Fujiholics workshop. The weather was a mixed bag but Venice gets so busy it is always at its best out of season. My favorite times of the year are October, late February or early March.
I took with me the X100F, XPro2, XT2 and will write about the others when I get time after TPS and probably next month.
I decided to just use the X100F with Jpegs only as part of my 2017 Year of Colour, forcing myself to just use Jpegs with no RAW backup was the name of the game. So I set the camera to Image Quality Fine, Film Simulation Velvia, Dynamic Range 200, White Balance Auto, Highlight Tone -1 and Shadow Tone +1 to start off with.
I was editing the images out in Venice on the Ipad Pro with Snapseed and as part of this process in the end decided to set the Highlight and Shadow tones back to 0 for now and just make the changes in Snapseed. I have always wanted to be able to process very quickly so making changes in camera confuses me at times because I find myself undoing the changes I made in camera at the processing stage.
I must point out all the images in this blog are shot on a preproduction X100F.
Even though I am a Candid Street Photographer I have included a few other images here from my trip. Venice is an amazing place for photography. I have never seen so many cameras in all my life as I did on this trip but that was probably down to the fact the carnival was just finishing as the workshop started. There are some seriously big back packs around in those small alleys thats for sure !
The only downside to this time of year is the ever changing light, even though the colours don’t have quite the same depth and beauty in the shade or shadow, I do like the way the X100F handles the fast changes with the Auto ISO, I know most people are scared to ramp up the ISO but I haven’t ever worried about this and set mine to Auto with the base at 200 ISO and the Max at 6400 ISO. I know you can ramp it up to 12800 but there was no need during the day. I do prefer what you see is what you get and if it’s dull its dull, you can’t have great weather and images all the time. This is the down side to colour photography and this is a great learning curve for me on my Year of Colour.
I used to shoot manual all the time but for Street I prefer aperture priority. That way I can just get on and shoot and not have to worry too much about the camera settings. I do switch back to manual when I have more time on my hands to think and compose.
I do quite like breaking the rules and playing around with camera settings when I get a new camera. It is always interesting to see how the combinations of ISO and shutter speed affect the tones in the images. I have to know what I can get away with in what light and at what speed.
Venice is an amazing place and feels so safe to wonder about day or night, so it’s a great place to walk around with your camera. I caught the last few days of the carnival so managed to capture a few of the interesting characters. I have to say I love the X100F, it’s a great upgrade from the X100T and the sensor is stunning. The lens is a little soft at f/2 as it was on the X100T but I shoot most of my work around f/4 anyway these days so its not a big issue for me. Its great to now have a battery that lasts most of the day, but that was also not much of an issue for me on the X100t once you realise your camera’s limits you can compensate yourself. I used to carry 3 batteries for my X100T and for the X100F I carry two.
I do like the way all Fujifilm cameras handle colour and black and white. I used to shoot Nikon and it was a real pain in the bum trying to get Nikon RAW files to look the way I wanted in colour and the Jpegs were worse. The images in this blog are all Jpegs and only had Lightroom cc edits and most of them have had only slight changes with a crop or minor contrast of clarity changes. I can’t bring myself yet to just use out of camera jpegs due to the fact I need a colour style and that is what 2017 is all about. I do however think if you just take images for you and you dont need a style then you could just set the camera up to shoot Jpeg and with a few changes in the settings you would not need to process the images and you could just use the Jpegs with no editing and this is amazing ! In the days of social media you can just wifi the Jpegs from camera on the fly and you are done. The X100F is just perfect to carry in your pocket everywhere you go and makes a great street travel camera.
With its fixed lens you have no worries about sensor cleaning and if you wanted to, you could add the conversion lenses to your collection and still not have sensor dust issues.
With the addition of the Digital Zoom this is a serious amount of reach for a pocket camera, the TCL-X100 Converter will give you 50mm, 72mm, and 100mm reach.
All my Street Photography workshops apart from Liverpool are with Calumet Photographic this year.
I have already been to Birmingham and London and this weekend I will be back in Edinburgh on Friday and Glasgow on Saturday. If you are starting to get into Street Photography or have been doing it for a while and have lost your way or your mojo then this workshop with give you all you need to take your Candid Street Photography to the next level. The workshops are tailored to enable you to think out of the box and show you all the skills you need to handle your camera in a discreet way so as not to upset your subjects.
The images in this blog where all shot in Glasgow or Edinburgh on Fujifilm cameras, but even though I am a Fujifilm Ambassador you do not need to bring a Fujifilm camera on these workshops. Any make of camera will be good and that includes a smart phone if that is all you have.
I am still running my own Liverpool workshops and these can be found on my Eventbrite page HERE. In 2018, I hope to be running some joint Street workshops with some of the great Street Photographers though Fujiholics and you can find all the future dates for the Fujiholics Workshops HERE.
The workshops in Edinburgh and Glasgow this weekend will start with a brief on What is Street Photography? which will last 2 hours. We will also look at some of the great Street Photographers past and present images.
I will be offering a practical approach to candid street photography with camera handling techniques.
I only shoot Candid street photography but we will have an open discussion on other styles, with the way other people view this approach.
I will give you an insight into the importance of projects and themes in Street photography to help you grow and develop.
My workshops are for anyone interested in Street Photography to bring like minded people together so you not only learn from my style but you can also learn from each other. It always amazes me when you bring like minded people together how much you can learn and be inspired by each other ! I love to share my passion of Photography and Street with you all and I get a great deal of pleasure in watching you learn and grow following a workshop.
A large percentage of Street Photography is learning to see and studying the masters, and my workshops give you all the tools you need to follow the path. Many of the people who have been on my workshops have developed their Street Photography and taken it to new levels. I have seen some amazing images in Black and White Street and Streets in Colour on FaceBook, shot by some of my workshop attendees, and this always brings a big smile to my face. Its always great to see their work getting selected for the main gallery.
I look forward to seeing you guys on one of my workshops in the future and if you need any advice on other Street Workshops in the UK worth attending then please let me know.
I would also recommend a great book by David Gibson The Street Photographer’s Manual
Wow what a great six days ! 124,000 steps around some amazing cities with the amazing Fujifilm X100F.
We Started in Leeds and ended in Liverpool. We went to Dale Photographic, Calumet, Wilkinsons,Cambrian and LCE. We carried 8 X100F bodies and a small team from Fujifilm UK Richard, Pete and the amazing John Dallas.
We ran three walks a day with three groups of up to 8 people on each session over six days and covered some serious miles.
The feedback on the X100F has been very positive and that has reflected in the amazing amount of Pre Orders.
Most of the guys that came on the walks loved the X100F and think its a good move to sell their X100 X100S of X100T’s to move up to the Fourth Generation camera. Just incase you did not know the F in X100F stands for Fourth. A few of the guys were undecided about the X100F but were very interested in the X-T20 or the X-T2 one of the guys was desperate for the GFX50S.
There were a quite a few of the guys that did not like the placing of the Q button and the fact you could knock the joystick. This was mentioned by quite a few of the Fujifilm X Photographers when the camera was out on evaluation. We will feed back the Q button issue to Fujifilm and hope they can make the change on the next version. The Q button can be locked by pressing and holding the Menu OK button but this will lock all the function buttons. Some of the guys did not like the fact the joystick would rub against their clothing and get moved, however the Joystick can be turned off by pressing and holding it down for more than 3 sec.
Its been a long six days and I am worn out now and need a nice break so will be hiding out in my camper van this weekend somewhere quiet. One thing that always amazes me about the Fujifilm family is what an amazing group of people you Fujifilm users are, so friendly and positive about the brand.
Thanks for the great company over the last week all you lucky winners and I hope you enjoy your x100F when it is released on the 23rd of February. Thanks for traveling from as far as Oban and Birmingham to spend a couple of hours with the X100F in the North West and North Wales and making the last six days so much fun. You know who you are and thanks…..
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How did you get into Street Photography ? ”
I guess the simple answer is by accident, I didn’t even know I was shooting Street until about eight years ago.
I was given my first camera about the age of eight and living in a big city I guess I have always taken pictures of people on the street. I have also photographed just about every genre of Photography there is. At one time I was known as the photographer that could shoot anything. I guess this label was true and I could shoot just about anything. It’s part of being a professional photographer you soon learn to shoot what will pay the bills and you get better and better as a photographer the more strange situations you find yourself in.
I have always tried to separate my passion from my work and with some of the jobs I have had outside of photography industry this was easy. The trouble with being a professional photographer is how do you separate your passion from your day to day photography. This was a struggle at first especially as I am so busy with work but now I have found the simple answer. Only talk about and shoot what I am passionate about and turn the rest down !!
So why Street Photography ? I guess it’s all about people watching. I have always been a people watcher, every occupation I have ever had, I would spend my lunch breaks and spare time watching people in towns and cities. This then turned into trying to capture those special little moments as with the right light. I shot a lot of people in the street and most of what the images were bland and boring and did not tell much of a story although I found it relaxing and great fun. I did get through a lot of rolls of film and did not have a lot to show for it, but it got me out in the fresh air.
I have spent quite a bit of time shooting portraits and headshots and spent some time shooting glamour in a studio and found that type of work where you set up the shot with perfect light and perfect people to be too contrived. I wanted more excitement. Instead of using the holy trinity of photography Light, Composition and Moment in the Studio I wanted to go out and look for it on the Streets. Quite mad you might think and yes at times I get very frustrated by the simple fact there is no light, I cant get the composition right and the moment never comes. This was compounded by the fact I am a Candid Street Photographer so will never compromise and set up a shot. I can’t change the dynamic in the scene it just doesn’t sit right with me. I have thought about it many times when working on project for big companies but just can’t do it.
I have shot Candid Street for years without knowing that it was Street Photography, the image below was part of my early windows project back in 2009 in Tunbridge Wells. It was a couple of years before this image was taken that some of my friends started calling me a Street Tog and I did not take any notice. I just thought they were naming me for what I liked to shoot. But the name started to stick and make me wonder so I started looking in to Street a properly around 2012-2013 but after looking at some of the amazing work of the masters felt my work was just ordinary.
However I decided to read up on Street Photography and check out the masters of Street and other modern Street Photographers. It’s about then I worked out I was probably a Candid Street Photographer. In 2013 I did a ‘Year of Black and White’ project and off the back of the project I was asked to do some talks about photography and from there the workshops came and I started teaching Street Photography and Black & White editing.
The funny thing is at the time I was still not sure what I was doing was right !! Then a friend of mine gave me a book by David Gibson The Street Photographer’s Manual This was a breakthrough moment as I agreed with 95% of the book and then realised this was how I was teaching so thought to myself I must be doing something right ! Thanks David for writing a great book and Elaine for giving me the book.
I still don’t see myself as a Street Photographer yet, I feel I have a long way to go and one day hope to finish a project that I am really happy with and take one amazing Street image. I guess some of my work won’t be relevant for 50-100 years but I love what I do and can’t wait to get stuck in to my next project..