X100T

X100F

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Well it’s here !  The X100F is finally announced and that means I can talk about it at last. One of the downsides to camera testing is shooting lots of images over a few months with a pre production X100F but not being able to share the image with the world. It’s like being tied up and gagged but not quite as dramatic.

The X100 was the Fujifilm X Series camera that started me off on this amazing Fujifilm journey and the X100T has been in my pocket ever since it came out. Now we have the X100F and this camera has earned itself a place in my pocket too,  I might need to get bigger pockets. Fujifilm launched the first X100 in 2011 with the APSC sensor and Hybrid Viewfinder that could be switched between optical and electronic. In February 2013 the second-generation model the X100S was released with the newly-developed Sensor and image processing engine. Then in September 2014 the Fujifilm X100T was launched with the world’s first electronic rangefinder function.

The fourth-generation X100F features the latest image sensor and high-speed image processing engine to deliver the highest level of image quality. The X100F features the 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor with no low-pass filter. This sensor and processor are designed to deliver outstanding colour reproduction and graduation of tones, high ISO sensitivity and low noise.

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X100T V X100F
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X100T V X100F
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X100T V X100F
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X100T V X100F
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X100T V X100F
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X100T V X100F

I am not going to tire you with the technical side of the new X100F, I am just going to share a few images I have made with this stunning little camera over the last few months and share one of the new features I like and have been asking for for a while. For a more technical review you can check out my good friend Kevin Mullins Review.

The images should speak for themselves and over the last three months this camera has been through some serious weather extremes and not missed a beat however, it is not weather sealed. This little camera was in Glencoe with me on the last Fujiholics trip and was in my hands at -16.  I got the X100F back in November just as the winter light was at its gloomiest so most of these images are shot at quite high ISO and I love the way this camera has performed for me. Here is a short video. The joystick is a welcome extra and so easy to flick the focus point to where you want it without looking. I find setting to the 91 focus points makes this process so much quicker as it adds less and you move across the screen so much faster. I just count to 3, to move the focus point to the left or right and press the joystick in to re centre and that way I can compose really quickly.

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X100F 1/35 SEC at f/2.2 ISO6400

This camera is not much bigger than the X100T but it feels better in the hand and some of the buttons and dials are a much better design for my fat sausage fingers! The addition of the NPW126 battery gives you the extra power you need and gives the finger grip a more positive feel on the outside of the body.

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X100F 1/250 sec at f/2.8 ISO12800
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X100F 1/500 sec at f/2.8 ISO 200
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1/300 sec at f/2.8 ISO 200

All the images in this post were shot on Jpeg standard setting and processed in Lightroom, the black and white images in Silver Efex Pro2 and the Colour images in Viveza 2. There was no RAW file converter available for Lightroom at the time so instead of using the well known workaround I just decided to have a go with the Jpegs and have been really impressed. I thought I would have a play around due to the fact I do like a change and because I will be shooting my year of colour this year, so need to explore all the processing options.

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1/250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 800

One of the new sections in the menu is in Spanner Menu under Save Date Set-up. You not only have the option to Edit File Name like before but you now have Copyright Info. I used to shoot lots of stock and always found this option on my previous cameras very helpful as it saved me lots of time in key wording. The copyright section is great even though I shoot less stock these days I still have clients request copyright info to be added and file info to be changed to my name or initials. Even if you dont need this commercially it’s a great way to personalise and copyright your work.

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Go into Save Data Set-up
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Select Disp Copyright Info to get below screen
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Author and Copyright Info Screen
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Enter Authors Info
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Enter Copyright Info
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X100F 1/250 SEC F/2.8 ISO 500

2017 is going to be my year of colour and the X100F has inspired me to get my head down and start exploring colour like never before. Fujifilm have a beautiful RAF file and with this 24.3 MP sensor is in the X100F I can use the Xpro2 and the X-T2 with the X100F and keep some consistency in my year of colour. I have not really had any decent light when I have been out testing the X100F so can’t wait for the Spring to see how amazing this little camera will be. I love the simplicity of a fixed lens camera and all the X100 series cameras give you that amazing feeling of freedom.

Now to pack my bags for another trip to Glencoe where I hope to take a few more shots this time without the worry of getting caught with the secret X100F  in my hands.

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X100F 1/250 sec at f/4.5 ISO 320
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X100F 1/250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 4000
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X100F 1/150 sec at f/2.8 ISO 6400

York Street Workshop

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I have had another great weekend teaching Street Photography in the amazing City of York.

York is a great place for Street photography due to the amazing characters and the great atmosphere within the City Walls.

The group got talking at the weekend about attention span these days and the above image is a good example, not a single mobile device in sight ! Nice to see people just taking the world in for a change and not just looking at not so Social Media !

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Social Media has also become a ‘like’ culture on posts and images as well as with Street Photography. So many images getting lots of ‘likes’ but I wonder if you asked someone that had just ‘liked’ an image to give you four sentences on the image whether they could ! The same for the over posting of millions of images without any thought, if you cant think of four sentences about your work then why post it ? If it means something to you and you love it then that’s a great start, but look at it again and really ask yourself what do I love about this image ? With Social Media you want your work to stand out from the crowd so post your best work.

I very rarely post more than a few images, I cant stand some of them after a few weeks, but the ones that mean something to me personally and the ones I connect with the most, grow on me more and more as time goes by.

Street Photographers put a lot of time and thought in to some of their images as do lots of other photographers. I wonder how many people take time to have a good look at the image.

We are all guilty of too many ‘likes’, the worst part about friends ‘likes’ and random ‘likes’ is just like a really bad singer on X Factor !  People think they are taking great images when they are not !

I guess that’s why I  love the social side of my workshops. The conversations about Street Photography and all other aspects of photography are so much better in real life than a 50/50 debate on Social Media. Its great to just stop and debate an image or subject in the real world with like minded people who give a real subjective view on the world. The trouble with Social Media is friends of friends joining in discussions they know very little about !

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I was listening to a chef talking about having a great palate and how his palate had served him well in his career, he was talking about how so many people have tried his food and did not have a clue what they were eating and did not know if it was good or bad as most did not have a palate like his !   I guess  that’s a little like photography, so many people on Social Media claim to know what a good image is but so many don’t have a clue and just click ‘like’ ! Millions of people cook every day on this planet but how many great chefs are there or how many great photographers ? Makes you think…

I think its a good idea to buy books and invest in some really good coffee table books and have a real good look at some of the amazing images from the Masters, not just a quick peek and then back on Facebook but a real good look. There is so much to learn its unbelievable.

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I think the art of studying and learning is a dying art and people should buy more books and do lots more workshops and courses to help them understand their journey.

I am lucky, I run the workshops so every week get to meet more and more people on my courses who share all their thoughts and feelings with me about Photography and ask me lots and lots of questions. This gives me the opportunity to think more deeply about my own images and the images my workshop attendees produce on my workshops.

I look forward to every workshop session because it really does put the social back in to photography.

I always reinforce the point that on a workshop the chance of getting one great image is very slim, the chance of getting three images is also a very tall ask. The day is more about teaching people to hold and use their camera equipment in a more intuitive way and to learn to see the streets around through different eyes. The so called decisive moment might only happen once a month once a year or if you don’t go out every week it might never happen. The more time you spend out there shooting the more chance the magic will happen, as long as you are looking in the right direction and know what to look for.

How many people have wonky horizons for years and then when they get told about it they start to straighten the image ? Lots and lots, but the point is what else cant they see ?

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If you want to join me on one of my many workshops in 2015/2016 here is a full list.

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/matthew-hart-photography-ltd-6442621859

Candid Street Photography

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I am a candid Street photographer, there I said it and have been saying it for two years, but how did that happen? I am not even sure myself to be honest. It’s just how people started referring to my work, it’s not a name I gave to myself its just happened over night I can’t even remember how it started.

I have been shooting Street photography in one way or another for all of my life and started about 8 years old with a camera given to me by my parents. I was born Dyslexic and photography was my welcome release from life, school and my own head as I tried to grow up with learning difficulties.

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I was not great at photography so had to teach myself and made lots of mistakes along the way.  I did all the normal things you do as a kid, shoot long exposures and light trails from cars on roads as well as smoke and water drops, all the photography related things we shoot as we try to learn then people became more interesting.

I started shooting weddings and events at an early age and then glamour. In my spare time my hobby as such was always shooting people, due to the fact I shot people at weddings and people at events and spent my time posing them or talking to them I preferred to shoot my street in a candid way.

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I did not read many  books as reading was such a slow process for me in my early years so I just found out the more time I spent with a camera and the more time I spent in the dark room, the more I found out about photography. I did get a few photography books but they were all about the images and not the text.

I learnt very early on how to critique my own work, I am my worst critic. I shot the odd landscape and had wonky horizons for years until I started to look at my work in a more critical way. The funny thing is finding out for yourself,  can’t even get an horizon straight, now that makes you look more deeply at your work. If you can’t notice something as simple as that what else was I missing.

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I had a house fire many years ago and lost everything in my house from my vinyl collection to all my photos and negatives! Quite a few survived but mostly family images, it stopped me in my tracks for years and I also lost my cameras and the insurance was out of date by a few weeks. Shame we did not have email reminders in those days.

So I have only recently started to show my Street work again but to this day I still shoot film but keep that to myself and don’t post my film images on social media that often.

I have to admit to not knowing anything about Street photography and not looking at any of the masters of Street or even reading up on Street until about eighteen months ago when I met Steve Coleman. Street Frame Steve and I became friends through our love of Photography and Street. I also had not read a book on Street until this year as I just don’t have time to read and very rarely buy books. A friend of mine Elaine was given some books for Christmas 2014 and two were the same. As a coincidence I was given two copies of Martin Parr’s book so we did a swap. Elaine said I would love the book by David Gibson  (The Street Photographer Manual) as it’s exactly the way I teach and shoot street. As soon as she said that I was interested and decided to read it and managed to read it in a week, the speed I read that was fast!

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I was so shocked to read that after all these years I was shooting Street almost exactly the way the manual says it should be done. Not that I am one for too many rules in photography but Street to me is my passion.

I have seen so many YouTube videos of people arguing with people in the street about their rights to shoot on public property after upsetting someone with their camera it was quite refreshing to read a book that was telling it how it is!

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My philosophy on Street is so simple. I want to be able to go out and shoot Street in a candid way so as not interrupt any ones day. I want to keep it real and not ask for a portrait or change the dynamic of the scene. I want  to capture life as it happens and not pose one single element. I have been shooting this way for over 40 years and no one has ever stopped me let alone had an argument with me. The people I have spoken to on the street have all been very nice and it’s amazing what a smile can do.

I always said I would not teach Photography and never Street but now find myself doing it. Part of that was an age thing, I reached 50 and decided to just go for it and teach, do talks and workshops. In all honesty I did not think I was that interesting.

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Some of the main reasons for teaching were that people were asking me to teach them and show them not just Street but black and white editing and all other types of photography.

I was getting asked so many questions that were so hard to answer online; I can’t type that fast and being Dyslexic all my work has to be checked by my girlfriend Jane so writing is a nightmare for me. Workshops were the only answer and I quickly found that I loved the workshops and learnt so much from them myself. So many of the people that have been on my workshops have been Teachers and that has opened my eyes to some of my early failures. I used to say to everyone what is the point in a workshop, you won’t learn much and some of the teachers are not great. I was wrong and I admit it. I wish I had taken a few workshops in my younger years that way I would have not had wonky horizons for 8 years!  I now say workshops are good, go find a workshop with a photographer at the top of his or her game or even someone whose work you admire that way your photography will progress so much more quickly.

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Some of the guys that have been on my Street workshops have come more than once and come to different city’s all over the UK. There work is getting better and better. They ask me more and more questions gaining confidence all the time. Not only that but they can shoot around some of these cities in the safety of a group.  Some single people who are into photography and whose friends are not,  just love to be able to shoot Street with like minded people and its great fun.

One of the questions I have been asked most this year is, when is it Street and when is it a Portrait ? The answer is simple but there is a grey area. If you just shoot someone in the street without them knowing its Candid Street. If you ask for a portrait it’s a Street Portrait. If you look at them and point to your camera and gesture and they nod then because permission has been asked for and granted it is a portrait! So if you are shooting and waiting for eye contact it’s still Street as long as they don’t smile!! If they smile that is the grey area because the smile can be taken as an agreement to have a portrait taken! I try to capture all my Street subjects’ candid but if I push for eye contact I aim to press the shutter before they smile. I would never post a portrait or smile shot in a Street group, unless they allow Street portraits! So if you wonder why your images get removed from Street groups that could be a reason.

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There is also a lot of debate about shooting the homeless or disadvantaged people. This is a taboo subject in most Street groups and I don’t encourage it on my workshops. A good street image is telling a story and should say something to you as well as the viewer if you view it in a group. ‘Homeless person in a doorway’ or ‘on a bench’ is an easy target for people starting out into Street and they always try to justify their images with a verbal reason. If the images can’t talk for themselves they fail, so give it a lot of thought before you fall into that trap. I also understand that if we don’t shoot homeless and disadvantaged people there will be a big gap in future images so a good story needs to be told.

I was on a photo walk when a friend of mine Dave K Piper said to me “ I get it now “ I said “get what” he said “ I create my work in a studio and you go out and find yours.”  He was spot on and one of the lessons I try and teach is that you don’t always find it !

Too many people are going out and shooting Street like I did with Landscapes as a kid and not looking at their work. There are still wonky horizons in Street but so much Street now has no thought put in to it. I am in some great Street groups and even some of the groups are not helping. People have short attention spans on social media and click ‘like’ far too easily and that gives a Street photographer the wrong idea.

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Some of my images have quite a lot of thought put into them and there is a story there or emotion, but its missed by so many. Someone said the other week that window shots have been done to death and they are easy ! Far from it but so many window shots are just window shots !

Martin Parr and Bruce Guilden ( Thanks Steve ) have some great YouTube videos on Critique and they are well worth watching. I have only just started to look into the masters of Street and to be honest I don’t get some Street but fully get the style I find myself shooting.

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One very important thing for me is that everyone needs to treat people on the street as they would like to be treated themselves so that we can carry on shooting Street in the future and not have the general public turn on photographers for being rude and pushy!

I am a member of the f50 collective an international collective of Street photographers and we have some amazing debates on Street over a coffee in Liverpool but the one thing that is always apparent is our passion for Street.

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I teach Street workshops and I spend all day out on the street with my groups and only have groups of 6 people as that is just about the right amount to take around any city. Shooting candid is an art in its self so group size is very important to me. I also have FREE photowalks in the UK that are planned with Fujifilm UK or Fujiholics to get Photographers together for a great social event not just for Street but for networking or any other style of photography.

My workshops are designed for any level of photography, and I carry out one to one courses anywhere in the UK. I was not sure about starting the workshops as trying to teach people how to shoot Candid street in a group I thought was going to be an issue but its turning out to be a lot of fun.

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People come on my courses and have that light bulb moment and realize it’s not as hard as they thought. Once they have that light bulb moment and start shooting the way I teach, they go from strength to strength. One guy came on one of my very first workshops and said Street is not for him and he was not going to do it again. I was shooting in Liverpool a few weeks back and he was out on his own shooting Street and his work is getting better and better as he gets closer and closer. Not only that but he had confidence issues as well. He now finds a great release and calmness in shooting Street the same as I did when I was a young lad.

I have taken my workshops on the road now and with the help of Fujifilm UK can also offer loan cameras and lenses for my workshops if notice is given. I have some exciting places for 2015 and they all give a different aspect to Street photography: Brighton for example has its relaxing vibrant culture, London for the fast paced action and chaotic city life, Edinburgh for the most relaxed people in the UK and just up the road Glasgow for some of the best characters, Liverpool and Manchester for the amazing styles of the men and women, Hull for the amazing people, Cardiff for the Christmas markets. and Chester for historic backgrounds and so many more that I have not had time to plan yet.

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So, why not join me in a city near you or have a weekend break in a city far away ? With my new early bird prices and advanced train fairs at an all time low it’s a great way to spend a weekend in an interesting city exploring it by day with like minded people and some candid Street.

Don’t confuse my Workshops with the Free photowalks I have this year as they are completely different. I can’t teach 200 people on a walk I can only talk to people on the route and hand out hints and tips. If you don’t make it to my workshops follow my facebook page or twitter feed to find the Free walks and competitions. Who knows, you might win a Fuji X100T or a trip to Paris to shoot Street with me !

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Desert Island Fuji

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I often get asked what would my desert Island camera be! This used to be a hard question in the days of the DSLRs but not anymore it’s very simple it’s the Fujifilm X100. It does not really matter what version of  X100 you have, they are all great. The X100 was a stunning camera and I am sure will go on to be a classic, the X100s was a big improvement and the X100T might not be a massive jump from the S but it’s worth every penny, after all the other two are so last year !

X100 Mersey Ferry
X100 Mersey Ferry

One of the main reasons for my desert island camera choice is the fixed lens, no dust or sand on the sensor is a big plus for me for a take anywhere camera. This camera fits in my pocket and can go anywhere I want all over the world and takes up no room. If you don’t add any of the great lenses and bolt on accessories this little camera even fits in your trouser pocket. I am not going to go in to the technical side of the X100T  you can find this information all over the internet. I am not going to tell you about all the great accessories or the two stunning add on lenses because I don’t use them, for one reason and one reason alone they make it bigger for my street work. However the Fujifilm Tele Conversion Lens TCL-X100 and the WCL-X100 Wide Angle Conversion Lens are on my must have list for my Travel Photography.

Fuji X100  Isle of Islay
Fuji X100 Isle of Islay

I am just going to share with you a few of my images I have shot with the X100 versions over the last couple of years. Besides I have to be 100% honest with you and say the last ever camera review I read was on the very first X100 and it sold it down the river! Yes I was late to the X100 because the reviews were not great. Some people still pick this camera up and don’t understand it. But to really appreciate this little camera you need to be stuck on a desert island with it. You will be calling it Wilson by the end of your stay ( for those that watched Cast Away )

X100 Ferry Isle of Mull
X100 Ferry Isle of Mull

I made a big mistake a couple of years back and sold my X100 ! I don’t even know why I did it but I missed it so much. Sounds crazy, when I first got my X100 it drove me nuts at times with its quirks and every time I looked at the image on the back of the screen I was convinced I had not nailed the focus, but I had. Once I had the images open in Lightroom I was happy and excited and wanted to get back out and shoot. It has its quirks but they are very easy to live with but the benefits outweigh any quirks tenfold. This little camera is a carry anywhere camera that packs a massive punch with its stunning sensor.

X100s Manchester
X100s Manchester     ISO 5000
X100S Manchester
X100S Manchester  ISO 5000

I have a few friends now that own the X100 the X100s and the X100T to be honest I know a large amount of people that are buying the X100 and they are shooting Fashion,Landscape,Street,Long Exposre and so much more.

X100 Applecross Bay
X100 Applecross Bay
X100 Isle of Islay
X100 Isle of Islay

For me the X100T is the go anywhere shoot anything camera and even better the X100T is so good looking you never put it away. Mine sits on my desk waiting to go out and shoot. I have a black one and this is my preferred colour for street photography, it suites my candid style.

X100T Liverpool
X100T Liverpool  ISO6400
X100 Whitby
X100 Whitby
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Lets face it, with the X100T, you can have your cake and eat it…

X100T
X100T