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 !
I have been busy the last three days with making a short film with two guys from London in Liverpool can’t go in to too much detail but the GFX was involved.
I cant share images from the film but did manage to grab a few shots during the filming over the last few days.
I decided to only use the 63mm f/2.8 over the last three days and make myself work for my shots. I am yet again blown away by this camera ! I might have to take back all I have said about being to big to shoot Street ! Its not the smallest camera in the world and even with the shutter sound turned off it sounds like and old fashioned film camera but no one seems to notice !
I did how ever get some looks from staff when I entered some of the buildings in Liverpool and I have never had that before ! One even said now Filming in here you know !! That was a first for me so I had to explain it was a stills camera !
As you have probably noticed this is no way a technical look at the GFX, I dont ever feel the need to give you all that information there are people far better than me to google to get tec reviews.
Shooting the Albert Dock at night at 12800 ISO (ISO set to Auto) was very interesting ! I still can’t believe I was walking around in the dark even after the blue hour shooting hand held in very dim light and still looking for shots.
This is one very versatile and incredible piece of kit.
I am just just about getting used to its size and weight now, and starting to work out how to handle the camera in the Streets. The menu is a breeze as it’s the same as the other X Series cameras.
I am hoping to get out tomorow in to town and give some street a go with the Zoom and the 63mm and see what I prefer ! I am not a Zoom kind of guy but on the GFX its growing on me.
Is it day 3 already !
I decided to take the GFX in to town (Liverpool) with me for a little walk around, again no tripod and the 32-64mm Zoom, just wanted another day with a camera over my shoulder and no bag.
I decided to shoot for Colour today following on from yesterdays black and white work, just to make a change and make me look for more interesting shots involving interesting colours.
I first went in to Bold Street Coffee my favorite coffee shop in Liverpool, I love this place the coffee is amazing and so is the fruit toast. Its not the largest place but you can always get a seat, I have never waited more than a few minutes. Great place to sit and think before you walk round the city. There is always an Exhibition on in the cafe this time it was painted skateboards.
I then walked down Bold St to Resurrection and noticed the have a new Cafe and Barbers upstairs. I took the shot more as a reference shot to remind me to come back when the upstairs window is more interesting. Whilst I waited for the foot fall to drop to get a decent balance I noticed the guys both in their phones at each end. I can’t get over the detail this camera shows even in web sized images. When zooming in on my Mac I am blown away. So much so that I am going to have to buy one !!! Yes its only day three and I am totally bitten by the GFX bug.
I did say there I can’t see a place in my workflow for this camera when it first came out because I have up my pair of Nikon D3s Bodies to go small ! I have decided I am going to keep my XPro2 and my X100F with the set of f/2 primes and sell the rest of my kit to fund the GFX ! This is not just a Game Changer it’s a Rule Breaker ! It should not be this easy to use a Medium Format camera in the Streets ! I have some new plans for the next few years I want to start shooting more Street for myself for personal projects and always want to Explore Cityscapes and Landscapes with simple editing in Lightroom with no PS work. This is the camera to give me my passion and creativity back in that direction due to the amazing detail.
I do love a good Pret ! I shot this image because of the poster and the guy’s arm pointing at the girl giving a lead into the shot. We get too close sometimes in Street photography and miss all the great Street Scenes. If you look at the crop below you will see what drew me in to the scene.
I finished my walk around the city just looking for interesting colours and scenes that interested me and started to shoot them. The GFX itself was not even a concern. But not having it in a bag in some areas I walked through did make me think this is 8K around my neck. Not a real problem and in Liverpool as it always been a very safe city. But there are some places in the UK I would feel uneasy. Will it stop me buying one no. It just means I will need a new bag !
I am off to Wales tomorow so days 4,5,6 will be online by Sunday night, and next week I am shooting a Video so my posts might be a bit slow. But I will aim to put a GFX post on every day until the Hire is over and I have send it back and start sulking.
In the images below the detail in the lady’s hair is stunning !
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…..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.