Music

My First Camera

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Fujifilm X-T1

One of the biggest questions most professional photographers get asked this time of year is “what camera should I buy my son or daughter for christmas”  we also get given a budget, some far too low but for the majority the figure is £500-£800. Below that figure there are some great little cameras about but they will not last long and the sensors are not up to helping your kids to progress, so in my view it’s a waste of money.

These days everyone thinks in terms of the DSLR is the camera to aim for but this is not the case. People ask me do I get a bridge camera then get a DSLR in a few years time?

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Fujifilm X-T1

People don’t understand how Mirrorless cameras have taken over from the DSLR in the last few years and just how great they are. I myself only use the Fujifilm X Series Mirrorless cameras for my professional work and most of my professional friends also use the Fujifilm X Series, not many people I know are using DSLRS.

Most parents go in to a shop and say “I am looking for a DSLR” but in fact they are looking for a camera and they just call it a DSLR. The sales assistant then goes in to overdrive to sell a DSLR, the parents can’t afford it and they go home to buy something from Amazon.

My advice this year has been to look out for great offers on the mirrorless cameras as this is a great starting point. You can pick up older models of the Fujifilm X Series like the X-T10 and the X-T1 at amazing prices and these camera bodies will be perfect for School, University and for any workshops or courses. The exposure triangle is on the outside of the camera and the sensors are a 1.5 crop the same as most of the DSLRs in there price range. This way instead of buying a compact or bridge camera that you throw away in  six months you have started to invest in a system. You can then go on to investing in lenses for birthdays and Christmas and eventually upgrade the body in a few years time.

There have been some amazing deals on the X-T10 and X-T1 over the last few months in UK retailers and this is where people should look for a bargain. I was talking to a guy last week who did a trade in and got double cash back and got an X-T10 for £290 ! All he had to do was buy a lens of his choice, he got a 18-55mm with cash back and is now wrapping it up for his son for Christmas.

I have used both of these cameras professionally and all the images on this blog were taken with these bodies and a variety of lenses. I mainly shoot Street Photography in black and white but in this post I have included a few colour images and some other genres of photography.

So my advice for Christmas or birthdays is look for bargains in Mirrorless Cameras even if it’s last year’s model your kids will thank you in the long run and you wont have wasted money on a camera you will throw away.

I bought both my Sons Fujifilm X-T10 kits with 18-55mm lenses last christmas and they both love the cameras.

My first camera was given to me by my parents and it was a 35mm Film Camera that was the camera that made me fall in love with photography. I then saved up for two years to buy my first Nikon FM2, I used that camera for over 20 years. So I think it’s important to choose very carefully for your kids. If my parents had got me the wrong camera at the start I might not have fallen in love with photography the way I did.

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Fujifilm X-T1
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Fujifilm X-T10

First Event DSLR Free

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Africa Oye 2013          Nikon D3s  Sigma 300mm f/2.8

I did it ! I made the jump and I am OK !

Last year at Africa Oye I was shooting with a Nikon D3s and a variety of Nikon Pro glass, as well as my favourite Sigma 300mm lens. I also had a Fuji X100 with me.  I was thinking about trying out Mirrorless but had not made up my mind. I managed to get a few shots with the X100 and one got published.

I was worn out after two days shooting at Africa Oye 2013! If you have never shot an event believe me two or three days shooting all day with a heavy DSLR body takes its toll on your back and shoulders. I had been exploring the Fuji option for a while but felt I could not give up my D3s and 300mm f/2.8 !

But as most of you know from my previous posts I did give up my D3s last year at the end of the festival season. I went over to Fuji from Nikon and then spent the rest of the year shooting Fuji but in the back of my mind I was worried about the festival season.

My first event in the 2014 calendar was Africa Oye, this will be followed by Brazilica, the Giants and LIMF.  Even after spending quite a while shooting with the XPro1 and the X-T1 I would not have a fast enough lens for the job in low light. The 55-200mm is fine but it’s not a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 so would struggle in low light and is a little slow at times. The Fuji bodies only go up to 6400 ISO so my fear was as the light dropped I would run out of light and not be able to shoot!

Party Time       Fuji XPro1 35mm

I decided to shoot the crowd up close and personal with the Fuji XPro1 and 35mm lens and use the X-T1 with the 55-200mm for when the crowds were too tight for me to walk through or reach the subject.  I should explain, Africa Oye is family friendly and everyone is there with tents and blankets having a very nice family day out with BBQ’s etc so it’s not always that easy to get close to your subject as the day moves on.

I decided to shoot the stage with the 55-200mm on the X-T1 on the day and also get a few crowd shots with the 10-24mm from the pit. I also took the 60mm f/2.4 with me for when the light dropped off. I would have taken the 56mm but I have been holding off buying the 56mm due to the fact the 50-140mm f/2.8 will be out this year. To be honest the 60mm worked out fine but the 56mm would have been better.

Smokin..        Fuji XT-1 55-200mm

I have to say my plan worked like a dream, getting in amongst the crowd paid off with the XPro1, it was so nice getting close to all the people I have shot at previous events with a 70-200mm I was asked for business cards and where the images could be found. It was so nice to talk to people I see year after year at the events. So, not only had the change from Nikon to Fuji made me rethink the way I shoot, it put me right back in the crowd where I should be ! It was like going back to my Nikon Fm2 and 50mm lens in the film days. Yes the change from Nikon to Fuji has made me more social! How mad is that …

I was standing in the crowd halfway through the first day thinking how great the day was, how amazing the crowd was and how great the music and atmosphere was. I was not thinking about the weight of the camera around my neck for a change. I was worried about battery life as the Nikon D3s battery would last all day on most shoots.  I had a few back up Fuji batteries with me but was not sure if I had enough. I had three for the X-T1 and two for the XPro1 and went home on day one with one full battery and plenty of life in the two of the others. On day two I went home with a full battery and very little left in any of the others. I am not one to hammer the shutter to be honest and prefer to pick my shots. One of the reasons I love the XPro1.

Indians           Fuji X-T1 60mm

The whole weekend went to plan as the light dropped the 55-200mm was no good to me as I was at the ISO limit, so changed over to the 60mm f/2.4, those few extra stops allowed the ISO to drop to a more useable level. I shoot Auto ISO at events, it gives me the flexibility and speed I need to concentrate on the subject and composition. When the lights come up I instantly get 200 ISO. I shoot both camera bodies on Auto ISO setting the base speed to 1/125sec and ISO 6400.  If I want to play around with effects I will switch back to manual or Aperture priority.

Dance          Fuji X-T1 55-200mm

In the end I am not sure why I even questioned myself. Africa Oye was a great way for me to test the Fuji system at an event and it went very well. I can’t wait for the new 50-140mm f/2.8 to come out later in the year and I might have to invest in the 56mm as the 60mm does hunt a lot more in low light that the 56mm from the reports I have had. I managed to eliminate a lot of the 60mm hunting issues by just pre focusing using the back button focus in manual mode method.

Bobble Hat             Fuji X-T1 55-200mm

 

Africa Oye was an amazing weekend with record crowds but the best bit of all I went home without shoulder ache.  Did I miss my Nikon D3s and Pro glass? No way, I am more than happy with the Fuji X-T1 and the XPro1 and the stunning Fuji glass.  I had a friend ( Rich ) shooting with his X-T1 at the same event and he was using an adaptor with his Canon glass. This is an option I did think about a while back but decided for me it defeats the object of downsizing.  When I shoot street with the Fuji XPro1 and 35mm I love the fact it gets me up close to my subject because I have had to change the way I shoot at events by changing to Fuji it’s opened my eyes to a whole new style and I love it. I still had to shoot with the 55-200mm to pick out a few subjects from the crowd and the stage but hopefully in the future Fuji will bring out a 300mm Prime and a few more primes that will be useful at events.  I can’t wait to see what Fuji bring out in the future in the way of Bodies and Lenses.

I will leave you with a couple of  shots of Finley Quaye the headline act at Africa Oye 2014.

Finley Quaye        Fuji X-T1 60mm
Finley Quaye                Fuji X-T1 60mm