I have been a bit slow on my blog this year because I have been focusing on YouTube but I thought I would answer my most asked question.
What are your top three Cameras ?
I always get asked what cameras I use and prefer or recommend and its always difficult to answer that question without knowing what someone will use a camera for, after all they are just tools to do a job and all tools have a different purpose.
But my top two for Street Photography are the Fujifilm X100F and the Fujifilm XPRo2 and that will depend on weather you want a fixed 23mm lens like on the X100F of want to be able to change lenses like on the XPro2. These are my hands down best best two Street Cameras.
My other camera choice is the amazing little Canon G7X Mark II as this is an all round amazing little camera for carrying everywhere I go and is not just a great back up stills camera but an amazing vlogging camera. It’s become my pocket camera next to my iphone7plus for 2018 and I hear a rumor there is a G7X Mark III I really hope there is and can’t wait to try one out when Canon release it.
I aim to shoot my 2019 project on the amazing Fujifilm X100F and cant wait to get stuck in to in in January and will be sure to blog about it and Vlogg about it as soon as I get started.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all.
I get asked quite a lot “what is best the X100F or the Xpro2 ?” I always find this an interesting question because I don’t quite know why I am being asked the question !
I dont think people want to know what camera I prefer, I think they want to know what one I would recommend they buy ! To find out what would be the best camera for the other person I would need to know so much more about them and their photography. So I will answer this question as if it was directed to me.
I am not that worried about the bells and whistles that are thrown at modern cameras I just want the exposure triangle on the outside of the camera and I want to be able to use it quickly without putting too much thought in to it or digging into the menus.
I do love the rangefinder style because I am a right eye shooter, so with the rangefinder my nose is not squashed on the back of the camera and 9 times out of 10 no one knows where you are pointing a rangefinder !
I am also not that worried about the viewfinder or the rear screen as I need glasses these days for close up work so don’t spend a lot of time using either. If I do use the viewfinder or rear screen it’s just to compose the image so it can be all blurry as long as I can see the composition.
The main difference between the X100F and the XPro2 is the fact it has interchangeable lenses and in all honesty this is the one deciding factor the rest is almost irrelevant.
But I am lucky as I have both cameras.
One thing I must point out is that for Event work I also use the Fujifilm X-T2 and the main reason is for balance the Fujifilm 50-140mm f/2.8 and battery grip with extra battery capacity for a long day shooting is just perfect. I will still use the X100F and XPro2 on the day just to have a variety of lenses with me at all times within easy reach.
At the moment when I am teaching Street photography I just use the X100F.
When I am out shooting in the UK on my own at the moment I use two X100F bodies, one with the fixed 23mm and one with the Fujifilm WCL-X100 Wide conversion lens.
The XPro2 stays at home, so in a way I have answered the question.
I moved away from Nikon to be able to lighten my load and enjoy my day out shooting and over the last 6 years I have only used the Fujifilm system and got to know it very well. In that time the X100 has come a long way and the X100F is now everything I need in an everyday camera for shooting Street, its got a great sensor and exposure triangle on top and the autofocus is now as fast as I need it to be. I used to Zone focus the X100 and X100s and even the X100T to get the results I needed but the X100F has such a great AF system I dont need to use Zone focus for anything anymore. I guess the only time would be in low light or awkward situations and in that case I would just switch to M and back button focus.
When out shooting Street my only consideration now is, is it moving if so switch to C (continuous AF) is is stationary switch to S (single AF)
I like the camera to do all the work for me so I set the camera in to Auto ISO with the following settings – Default Sensitivity 200, Max.Sensitivity 6400, Min. Shutter Speed 1/250 sec.
This set up is basically the same for the X100F and the XPro2 except I alter the Min Shutter speed to suit the lens I have on the camera for the XPro2.
For me the X100F is my Desert Island camera, and this camera now goes with me everywhere I go its the first camera I pack for any trip. One great thing about a fixed lens camera is the fact there is no sensor cleaning so that is a big bonus.
I have adapted the way I shoot to suit the X100F and I think this is important, I see so many people moaning online about the fact a camera has not go this or it has not got that and the biggest moan about the X100F is the fact it does not have a tilting screen ! When it first came out I even thought thats a shame, after using the X70 and all the others with tilting screens I did wonder but now I get it. Why do we keep wanting more and more and more this is why the DSLR’s got so big ! besides the XPro2 does not have a tilting screen.
I love the freedom of the X100F and if I have to pick one camera from the Fujifilm range this would be it.
So what about the Xpro2 ? Its water resistant and it is slightly faster on AF and it has interchangeable lenses, so it’s far better than the X100F and if I travel anywhere out of the UK it comes with me, also for assignments I use the X100F and the XPro2 with a longer lens on to give me something wide and something long to be able to capture the moment no matter where it happens.
I love my XPro2 and in the Fujifilm range it comes up as my favorite camera but it also annoys me because it gives me lens choice ! The Fujifilm lenses are all so good you then end up taking the XPro2 and 3 or 4 lenses with you and you only ever use one ! So it puts more weight in your bag is counter productive.
The XPro2 is perfect for travel and perfect for assignments and just about anything but when it comes down what one I prefer based on weight, size, portability etc the X100F wins hands down.
We all want diferent things from our cameras and Fujifilm have an amazing range of bodies and lenses now and I love to use them all but the X100F is still my desert Island Camera.
I had another great year at The Photography Show and this year was just the same as last year as far as questions were concerned, but this time about the Xpro2 and not the X-T2 so I have decided to answer a few questions in this blog. If you came to the show and listened to my talk for Fujifilm UK, you will know how much I hate writing and why. I also only tend to write my blog when I have something to say, the rest is just noise.
One of the great things about TPS is the fact that so many photographers get together in one place and get to inspire each other. I always come away from the show buzzing with ideas. This year the biggest buz and the coolest places to be where the SmugMug Stand and the Fujifilm Stand, this is in part to the huge community of like minded photographers that love to be part of what is becoming the coolest collaboration in photography ever.
To many people get bogged down in the TEC, at the end of the day you only need a box with a lens and a way of controlling Aperture, Exposure and ISO the rest is all personal taste.
We all choose cameras we like the look and feel off and we listen to the people around us for feedback and read reviews etc, that is the same for a sofa or pair of shoes or a toaster.
People are free to choose what ever camera they like so there is no real need to moan about one you don’t like go buy one that fits your personal requirements.
All you really need is the exposure triangle the rest is just semantics! I was asked over and over again at the show to pick all the fault’s in the XPro2 and when I said it does not have any, one person was pushing me for a fault he even said “so what would other people say was wrong with it” I don’t know what other people would say I have never been one to wish a camera had this or what or needed x or y I just buy a camera that I feel an emotional connection to and that has the exposure triangle close to hand, after all that is all I NEED ! I don’t need much more in my line of work, I am a Photographer and just need to take pictures. I do like a great lens to give me a sharp image if I want a sharp images and Fuji lenses give me that in droves.
I have an XT10 for Street and to stick in my pocket and that has a 27mm lens on it, I have another XT10 with a 90mm lens on it. My XPro2 has a 35mm f/2 lens on it and my X-T1 has a battery pack and 50-140mm on it most of the time. These are all for different jobs like a mechanic with a socket set! The Cameras are the ratchets and the lenses the sockets so picking fault in ratchet or socket for one job is pointless when you have a great set of tools ! I get asked about 4k video etc and I roll my eyes ! I have two GoPro cameras for video if I want to shoot 4K but in all honesty the Video in my XPro2 or X-T1 is great for blogging etc If I wanted amazing stunning video I would buy a new tool for my tool box not moan about the ones I have.
So why do I buy new cameras if I am not chasing the tec ? I chase the warranty that’s why, you see so many people blaming the manufactures and moaning about faults 5 months or 8 months out of warranty. I thinks it’s mad! Social media has become a media hub for moaning about out of warranty issues with all brands. As a professional even before I used Fuji X Series camera I used to buy a new Nikon body every time the warranty ran out that way if I ever had an issue I could return it and get it repaired without any hassle. To be honest in all the time I have owned the Fujifilm X System and I don’t look after my tools as much as I should, I have never had to have them repaired. The only camera I sent back was one of my X-T1’s for the light leak issue and that was turned around in 7 days.
Quite a few people think we get our kit for free but this is just not true, I paid for all my Fuji X Cameras and lenses before I was a Fujifilm Ambassador and still do to this day. We do get to hire new gear when it’s available and free of charge but it has to be given back. The only camera I have been given was the Fuji XPro2 and this also had my name on the serial number. This was a gift for all my hard work in the XPro2 launch and my ongoing work for Fujifilm. But when I say given, if I had invoiced Fujifilm for my time this it would far outweigh the cost of the camera.
Mirrorless cameras make great tools and don’t take up any room so you can in fact have quite a few in your toolbox, I also do like a spare body for back up.
I was asked at the show if I could choose one X Series camera what one would it be ! That is like saying what is your favourite Socket or wrench! Well the answer if it was a toolbox would be SnapOn and what ever socket I needed for the job.
So why Fuji, well I started buying the X Series cameras and the found this great community around the world that all had this passion for the brand, they would share there passion and I soon found myself starting Fujiholics to put on events to get everyone together to share the passion and take photos, mostly of coffee and cake and each others cameras it appears !
As far as a camera is concerned, I only need an exposure triangle and I am happy, but the X Series have given me so much more I have never had so many collaboration talks with so many photographers. The Fujifilm teams all over the world are all great people and are all part of the community in one way or another.
If you pushed me to say what is the best all round Street Combo I would have to say the XPro2 and 35mm f/2 lens at the moment but that’s because I LOVE shooting Acros Film Simulation with Green filter Jpegs are my thing at the moment as I hate processing with a vengeance. The 35mm f/2 is just sexy that is all !
I try to have an emotional attachment to my work and I need the same feeling with my camera system. Perfect tool for that is right for the job.
They X Series do look good next to a coffee and cake to !
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.