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Day out with two X-T10s in Liverpool

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Today I decided to have a few hours in Liverpool out on the streets to see what I could find.

I went out with a pair of Fujifilm X-T10s, is the first time I have been out with a pair of matching cameras for quite a while.  I had to decide on what lenses to take as I have had the 35mm f/1.4 bolted to my X-T1 for ages but I wanted to go wider. I did put the 16mm f/1.4 on to start with but I decided I wanted something smaller and lighter on the X-T10 so went for the 18mm f/2  for one body and the 60mm F/2.4 for the other body.  I don’t think the 60mm has as much reach as I need so can’t wait to get my hands on the new 90mm f/2.

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The weather forecast was for an over cast day with sunny intervals, so quite promising.

I jumped on the train and arrived in to Liverpool a little earlier than normal, it’s great to try different times of day but Liverpool does take its time to wake up. There were not too many people about and the light was flat never a great start.

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The good news was the weight of two X-T1s around my neck was nothing compared to the days I used to shoot with a DSLR with the same quality glass.

I used to shoot with a pair of Nikon Fm2’s and this brought back memories, one of the street performers even shouted out “hay mate, shooting film” Just goes to show it was not just me thinking how small they were.

Some days I like to cover a lot of ground when shooting Street others I like to find great spot or road and stick to one area, today I decided to cover lots of ground and see what I can see.

The flat light was very uninspiring today so covering lots of ground I could look out for something interesting, but as with quite a few Street days I was not having much luck.  I guess Street photography is quite like fishing; you wait and wait just for that one moment. Not that I was waiting today I was on a mission.

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Street Photography can be hard work on some days and this was one of those days, School holidays are always quite difficult times in Liverpool not many great characters about because the Uni’s are shut and lots of people shopping.  I suppose when nothing is working, it’s looking for that one great image a year that keeps me going! Some Street Photographers shoot prolifically and then look for something special in the edit. I have lots of ideas in my head but also look for those special one in a million moments that happen in a fraction of a second. Some amazing things happen out on the street in  the space of a few seconds and in an almost set sequence that will probably never happen in the same place ever again , it’s being there to capture that moment that is exciting. You can go for day’s, months or years and nothing great ever happens, I guess that’s why most of the great Street Photographers have had a lifetime of shooting.

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One thing is for sure it clocks up your daily step count. I hit 10,000 steps in no time, three miles come and go and you forget to eat and drink, I might have to market this as the Street Diet.

I clocked up about 27,000 steps today and covered quite a bit of ground, but there was not a lot going on and the light was flat as a pancake. So I called it a day and got the train home.

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Shooting with the 60mm and 18mm on a pair of X-T10s was a breeze, once I had them set up to my preferred settings, I could just concentrate on shooting without thinking. This did take a while as I was trying out the new Focus settings and in the end decided to set both cameras to Zone Focus large Square, I set them to Aperture Priority for the day with Auto ISO and moved the Aperture for my desired depth of field depending on my subject.  Auto ISO settings I used Default Sensitivity 200 Max. Sensitivity 6400 and Min. Shutter Speed I set to 1/125 sec on the 18mm and 1/250 sec on the 60mm.

I am quite a calculated person when shooting and will let lots and lots of shots go if they have no set place in my workflow. I try to shoot to get in a rhythm so shoot more than I did with film but I still don’t shoot a lot of images when out. I guess one reason is I just don’t like to spend so much time looking through them all at the edit stage.

I think I am very calculated and have systems and processes in my head but I can also step out of the box if I need to. All of my images follow quite a strict process that starts in my head, I know at the time of capture if I have got the makings of a reasonable image. When I sit down to review my day’s work I can almost go straight to the keepers. Once I do sit down I then start to make more decisions about the keepers and also decide where I might use the images. It’s always funny when I post to social media and someone makes a comment like “I would have cropped that like this” or “I would have shot that person from that angle” well good for them! I did not crop it like that because I like it the way I posted it! I like the angel I shot the image or there was no other option to get the shot, like a wall or bin in the way. This sounds harsh but I don’t care what people think, I have never had a Professional Photographer give unwanted Critique and even wrote a blog post on Critique a while back.     I don’t shoot to please people as such and besides half of what I shoot now won’t be relevant until 10 -20 years’ time!  I share my work because images should never stay hidden under the bed for no one to see, what people think is irrelevant.

Some days I get home and delete all the images that I have shot, today feels like one of those days but I am going to share a few images. Normally these would have all been deleted, but I set out today to write my blog so will make an exception. Today was one of those days where the light was not working and you watch lots of situations build but they just come to nothing. I work the scene with my camera but when it’s not coming together I walk away, its great practice for when it does all drop in to place. Lucky for me today I needed to find create two more selfie’s for my project or I would have come away with nothing!

I just love to be out on the streets, not every day will bring me an image that I can use or even like and it might take me all my life to make a book of 20 great images, but that for me is the whole point.

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I did go for a coffee with my good friend Steve from Street Frame and even though I don’t normally shoot portraits, I had to try out the X-T10 and the 60mm lens.

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Why Fuji ?

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I have been trying to write a blog post on the Fuji X-T1 and the 10-24mm f/4 lens for quite a while now, but every time I sit down to write it, I just think about all the other blog posts out there that are so much better than mine! I am not a technical photographer my interest in photography is for business and pleasure. I don’t spend a great amount of time looking in the menus. I read the manual and then just pick up the camera and go out and use it. I then find out how it works on a daily basis by just using it. I only use the functions I need and forget the rest, therefore I am not the best person for a technical blog. Gordon Lang is probably your man for a technical insight into the Fuji cameras and the X-T1  he will give a balanced view.

I get asked all the time why I changed from Nikon to Fuji every time I do a talk or workshop, it’s my most asked question. So I am going to try and answer that question today. First my thoughts on the X-T1 and the 10-24mm f4.

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I was so in love with the XPro1, I was not going to buy the X-T1, when the X-T1 was launched it had a tilting screen and I have always wanted a camera with a tilting screen. It has so many great uses for events and street photography. I then found out it would have a battery grip this was another great add on the XPro1 did not have and for my event work this was going to be a great help. The focus speed was also a lot quicker and the frame rate with a fast SD card was also going to help me at the events I am booked to cover for 2014.

So, to be honest, that is why I bought the X-T1 ! Now having the camera for a few months I know it was a great decision. I don’t use half of what the camera has to offer me as I have said, I am not that technical. I do love the fact all the functions I need I can get to from the outside of the camera very quickly and very easily.  This was one of the reasons I changed to Fuji in the first place. I do also love the fact I can control the camera from my i Pad and i Phone. I love this app and it’s not just a button pressing app. I have full control of focus point, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, film simulation etc all from an App ! I hear this app will be further developed in the future, I do hope they add long exposure capabilities then it will be awesome!

I have used the X-T1 for street photography and its great. I do prefer the XPro1 most of the time and the XPro1 with the 35mm or 18mm lens is my default street camera. For something a bit different the X-T1 is great fun. The i phone app makes it very interesting for those candid shots!  For events the X-T1 is my go to camera. Fuji do not make a fast event lens so I have had to adapt my style to suit the camera until the 50-140 f/2.8 is released later this year. I love the fact I can shoot all day without arm ache and I love the flexibility of the rear screen. I also love the fact I can put the camera anywhere on stage and just use the Wifi app to shoot away with full control. I can safely say I love the Fuji X-T1 for events.  Yes, I could do with a fast long prime. My event lenses in the past with Nikon were the 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and the Sigma 300mm f/2.8, I do miss both those lenses but the Fuji 60mm and 55-200mm are both great, I find myself shooting with the 35mm most of the time with an adapted style !

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The X-T1 is my D3s replacement and apart from the high ISO capability of the D3s and the battery life I have no real issues. There has been talk about the D Pad issue! I have great big fat sausage fingers and it’s not a problem for me! But I don’t spend a lot of time in the menus. I set up the camera and then go out and shoot, most of what I need when I am out and about in the way of camera functions, I can access from the camera.

I have been using the 10-24mm f/4 lens now for quite a while. It’s not a lightweight lens, it’s a great big chunk of glass and  just the best great big chunk of glass I have had in my hands for ages ! I am a prime lover first and I also love a great zoom. In the past using Nikon for over 30 years, I have always been impressed by Nikon Primes but their Zooms have been hit and miss for me. One of my favorite wide zooms when I had a crop sensor Nikon was the 10-20mm Sigma lens, this was stunning , some people said it was soft but most of the people that thought that had a filter to protect the front element and this was the problem. Once the filter was removed the Sigma 10-20mm was awesome. When I changed to full frame Nikon I had to sell my Sigma 10-24mm and buy the Nikon 14-24mm,  this lens was stunning but it had its faults. You could not use filters with it and it would flair like mad in the sun or with any direct light ! There are filter kits now available for the 14-24mm but very expensive. Well let me tell you this Fuji 10-24mm kills the Sigma 10-20mm and the Nikon 14-24mm stone dead, I am in love with this lens. I have just spent a couple of weeks in Scotland and the 10-24mm f/4 has not left my X-T1 ! Its sharp and it takes filters, what more could you ask for. There is more, it had IOS so it’s a very special lens. I am so impressed by the 10-24mm. I am very excited to see the 50-140mm f/2.8 and the 16-55mm f/2.8 due out later this year.

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So why Fuji ? Well its natural progression in a way but a massive choice. I could have gone with Sony, Olympus or even stayed with Nikon or Canon. I was looking for an alternative camera to the great big pro body D3s I was carrying around for quite a while. I had tried the D7000, I had a D200 and a D300 but they were all too big and so were the lenses. I had been looking at the Mirrorless options for a while. The cameras were all good and getting great reviews but the lenses and future lenses were not that great. Then the X100 came out ! What can I say, no sensor cleaning and the lens was awesome. The camera was quirky and at first the reviews were not great. Most people said it’s just an X10  but the X10 had a Zoom. I bought an X10 from e bay and used it for a while then sold it. I did not process many of the images for a while. I kept looking at X100 reports and they were getting better and better. So I processed the X10 iamges and made a discovery, they were very nice and great in black and white. So I got a X100 from e bay with a few batteries and a few extras and that was it, I was hooked!

I hardly used my D3s for my private work and the X100 was my go to camera, it was quirky yes but it was great. Carry anywhere, sharp and no sensor cleaning, what an amazing piece of kit. I was so impressed with it but it could not help me with my work so after a chance trip to Cambrian Photography I purchased the XPro1 with a couple of lenses. I was due to go to Venice on a trip and this was going to be a big test. I left all my Nikon gear at home and just packed the Fuji Xpro1 and 18mm 35mm and 18-55mm. This was a journey of discovery, not only did I decide to sell all my pro Nikon gear I discovered the Fuji lenses were stunning ! The 18-55mm lens was one of the best Zoom lenses I have ever used. It was quite hard to decide what lens to use each day, but that’s the best bit, you can put them all in a bag and take the lot they just don’t weigh anything. I walked around Venice for miles and miles for a week and did not get back ache or shoulder ache, I was now addicted to Mirrorless.

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On my return to the UK I decided to sell all my Nikon gear. I invested in Fuji glass and cameras. When I say invest I mean buy the best tools for the Job.  So why Fuji over the others, it was not an easy choice, I wanted the best glass, I was always told to invest in glass as the bodies will need updating every year or so but the lenses will last 10-20years ! I had a look at what all the others had to offer and there was not much of a choice to be honest. Fuji had a lens road map that made sense. The lenses I had were very well made and looked solid and worth investing in.

Not only was Fuji investing time and money in lenses but Zeiss were making glass for Fuji. That opened my eyes to the future and I wanted to know more. After a few phone calls I found out that Fuji glass and Zeiss glass were so good people were not sure what was best.

I decided to invest in Fuji before the X-T1 came out. I have no doubt Fuji will bring out an XPro2 Next year and an X-T2 and who knows they might even surprise us with a Fuji XXL Medium Format in the future. There has been a lot of talk about full frame and quirky Fuji issues and the fact Fuji don’t have a menu to suit HDR shooters. Personally I don’t care, if I wanted to shoot HDR I would shoot it in manual and expose for the areas I wanted to blend and not have 9 shots when I only needed 3 !  I left full frame to move to this amazing Fuji sensor and don’t miss full frame one bit.   I did not invest in Fuji for what they have now as such. I did invest in Fuji for the lenses they have now and the lenses on the road map. I do love the XPro1 and will never sell this camera as it’s my go to street camera.   I have made the change because I love Fuji as a company. They are listening to the Pro’s and the consumers. They are making firmware updates for all their range and they are constantly making tweaks and changes based on consumer feedback. They might not add everything people want but that is a good thing. If they did we might have a camera the size of the D3s and I would be back to square one !

The rumor sites are busy in photoshop making new cameras for Fuji and coming out with all sorts of info. One thing I think is great is that there is a rumor site and page and so many Fuji related social media sites it hard to keep up ! I think that speaks volumes !

I love mirrorless and it’s a natural progression. Great big wooden plate camera and then 35mm film and 120mm film etc then the Digital DSLR and now the ever growing range of mirrorless bodies and lenses.

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I am quite sure there will be a battle of the mirrorless cameras over the next few years but the X100 was a game changer. Let’s face it Nikon brought out the Df to try and make a Retro camera because of the X100 and XPro1. They were trying to make a Nikon Fm2, I still have a Fm2 and shoot with it to this day. The closest camera I have to the Fm2 in modern times is the X-T1.

We all have choice and I decided Fuji was the way forward for me. Do they have the perfect camera for me for everything I shoot ? No, but they have 90% of the lenses I need and by the end of this year I hope to have the other 10%. They do have the XPro1 my go to street camera, they do have the X-T1 my all round amazing Fm2 replacement and in the future they will bring out even more stunning lenses and camera bodies and that excites me.

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It’s not the camera that takes the picture it’s the photographer. I have chosen a camera brand that excites me not just today but I am excited about the lens roadmap and the future bodies. I have been called a fanboy, it’s true in a way but after 30 plus years of Nikon I wanted a brand and camera that would inspire me to take photographs and not just inspire me but infuse me with passion. Fuji staff are passionate about their brand and passionate about the future of their lenses and cameras. I know for a fact some of the other brands are very jealous of Fuji and so they should be. I believe Fuji are shaking this industry up, they are making a camera for photographers to use and control, not just a camera that anyone can use. This statement might confuse some people, of course any one can pick up an XPro1 or any other Fuji and shoot with it, but by putting all the controls on the outside it  gives the Photographer back control of the camera. Allowing the Photographer to control the camera and not the camera control the Photographer!

One life, Capture it !