Getting a cover always feels great. So when the chance came to shoot Everything Shook for The Thin Air came up, I took it. The ladies were a joy to work with and everything was super chill. I took the bus up so travelled fairly light, especially as I was walking for a fair bit to get to them.
For the shot, I used a single Cactus Image RF60 with V6II trigger. The flash was set to full power, and zoomed to 105 to give a tight, but powerful beam of light. This was place to camera left. It was on a Manfrotto Nano 5001b, which as at full height to allow the shadows to drop behind the girls onto the corrugated fencing behind them. The angle was such to allow a loupe light on the faces. The great thing about the Cactus RF-60 is that you can control both the zoom and the power from the V6II trigger.
I shot with a Fujifilm X-T10 with the 18-55mm, lens set at 40.7mm. That does mean I could’ve potentially used the 35mm f1.4, but for ease for the whole shoot (there are other images in the magazine), I went with a zoom. The exposure setting chosen were based on a few things. Firstly I wanted to used the ambient light as fill. Secondly, I didn’t want it to be a super flashed looking shots. The base ISO on the X-T10 is ISO200, so I started with that. The Flash Sync Speed was 1/180, so I started with that. The aperture gave a slightly underexposed ambient. Finally I set the flash power-which happened to be full power in this instance. Had I needed more, I could’ve moved the flash in closer.
As the shot was for the cover, and the text is located in the same place with each issue, I knew to leave space at the top for the title. Thanks to Brian and Loreana at The Thin Air for giving me the job! The print version of the magazine will be out soon, and available for free in venues and music stores around Ireland.
The Fujifilm X-T10 was announced on the 18th June 2015. I rang Galway Camera Shop, got a price, had a think, then rang back and ordered one. That sounds a bit like a fanboy response, but it wasn’t. In fact, inside my head, I was done with Fuji at that point. The X-Pro1, much as I loved the image quality, was slow to focus.. and just slow in general. I had 2 lenses at the time too, an 18mm f2.0 and a 35mm f1.4. I shoot landscapes, interiors and portraits (of many kinds). The 18 mm wasn’t wide enough and 35 mm wasn’t long enough.
When the X-T1 was announced, it solved many of my issues, but based on my lack of faith and the expense, I just couldn’t take the risk. When the X-T10 came out with a great feature set and a better price, I decided to give Fuji one last chance. Boy, am I glad. I was far more pleased than I ever expected to be. The X-T10 made me fall in love with photography all over again.
The camera is really customisable, with plenty of features that made it an indispensable tool. Important things like being easily able to set up a button to turn the viewfinder Exposure preview off for my studio work- meaning it shows the scene in front of you, but not how it’s exposed. I could also turn the exposure preview back on to see how the photo are would look exactly when using natural light. I now find it hard to go back to digital SLRs, I have gotten so used to the electronic viewfinder on the X-T10. Why? Because with exposure preview on, what you see in the viewfinder is exactly what the photo looks like. And because I’ve the preview time set to 0.5 sec, I’m straight on to composing the next shot as my photo flashes by. (I’d even go shorter if it were possible).
For easy access I’ve set a single press of the shutter speed dial to change it to the control to ISO. The camera focuses directly from the sensor, so the focus point can be anywhere on the image. I’m not restricted to the centre of the image like most digital SLR’s. By adding more glass to the system I’ve gained a lot of options. I now run from 12mm to 140mm, which is 18mm to 210mm in full frame terms. I have that Samyang 12mm, the Fuji 18mm, 35mm, 60mm, 18-55mm, and 50-140mm. This covers what I need for work. Had the camera not worked out, I’d have sold the what I had and continued with Canon full time. But fortunately, the X-T10 just clicked with me.
I don’t believe the system is complete yet but there is bright news on the horizon. One thing I missed from Canon is high speed sync(HSS). Fuji do not have it implemented in their flash system, though the new flash the EF-X500, will have HSS and an optical trigger system. Chinese manufacturer Cactus have announced version two of their V6 trigger which is multisystem compatible and will work with Fuji (including HSS). That solves my main concern with the system and flash. The remaining concern is flash in low light. Digital SLRs can use a red focus assist being to create contrast, allowing the lens to focus. Because mirrorless cameras focus from the sensor they really need light to focus. Hopefully this can be resolved so I can use Fuji for nightclub work and sell my Canon gear.
I’d like to talk about my progression with the camera. Initially I only used the Fuji for personal work, but as time passed I started using it more and more for commercial work. There were a lot of benefits to the system. The Wi-Fi connectivity was helpful for remote photography allowing me to shoot rooms while not present for my interiors work. I could set up the shot, turn on the Wi-Fi, then leave the room. From on my phone or tablet (iOS or Android) I could see the shot and remotely change the settings on the camera. It also enabled me to put the camera up on a tall pole making use of height for elevation photography. I also love the tilt screen for interiors. I tend to shoot slight about mid room height, so being able to angle the screen is perfect.
For my people work I found the electronic viewfinder helped me nail more images. Because what you see is what you get you know before you shoot exactly what the shot is going to look like. For travel and speaking, the X-T10 with four prime lenses weighs less that my Canon Digital SLR. I’ve been able to fit the camera, the four prime lenses (12,18,35 & 60), a flash (Neewer TT850), triggers, spare batteries, memory cards and charger in a camera bag smaller than the Ryanair second carry on bag. Meaning my normal check-in bag is for my clothes again! Now if only there was room for a 7″ tablet in the small bag.
I am a member of the IPPA the Irish Professional Photographers Association. At one of the Association meetings I met Irish Fuji X photographer, Tom Doherty. Tom explained a little bit about the process of becoming Fuji X photographer so I made contact with Fuji Ireland. From that initial contact I was eventually made a Fuji X photographer myself. I was absolutely delighted when this happened. It’s amazing that a camera, especially one of the cheaper cameras, could have made such an impact on my photography and I’m delighted to be included with this group of ambassadors for Fujifilm.
Over the past few months I’ve been working with GalwayNOW doing some of their editorials and business sections. It’s been a joy to do this work, and the X-T10 has met no resistance with clients. Using either an Eye-Fi Card, or the Remote app, I show work as we go. Tether is definitely beneficial, so I really hope that we can get wifi tether added to the current wifi options.
I’m still speaking and teaching a lot. I did classes for The Societies Convention in January, and got to hang with Nathan Wake from Fuji UK-total gent. I’ve also taught at a residential week in Buxton in the UK, again using the Fuji. The most recent event was for the IPPA, where I did a half day class in flash, showing the X-T10 in operation. I did pull out the Canon for about 20 minutes to show HSS.
I see myself getting more lenses, the new flash, and the rumoured X-T2. Quite a turnaround from where I was just over a year ago! So after a year, is there anything I’d change? Well, I’m delighted with it, but yes there are things. One of them is huge. I’d lose the Drive dial. It’s worse than useless. It forever getting changed when I don’t want it too. Fortunately I know quickly now, but it had me confused. The times I need to change it are few and far between, and I’d rather have an ISO dial than a Drive dial. One thing I need for interiors is more accurate electronic levels. The current one has too wide a range to be useful and I use a hotshot bubble level instead. I also need an up down level so walls are straight. Canon do have one, and it’s great. Faster preview time too, like 0.3 or 0.2 sec. Um.. I’m sure there’s more, but honestly, the features are so good in general. Here’s to the next year with Fuji.
The GTI Fashion Fiesta show took place in the ‘g’ Hotel function room. The room itself is gorgeous, but underlit for catwalk shooting. The length of the catwalk rules out manual flash so I used remote TTL flash via RoboSHOOT triggers. Like I’ve mentioned in the RoboSHOOT review, TTL is typically hit and miss, and this was true for this show. Bigger shows are generally lit, so you just use that light too shoot with. Here’s a selection from the show.
For 8 years now, Galway Technical Institute’s fashion and beauty classes have put on a fashion as part of their coursework. This allows collaboration to exists between the level 5 & 6 FETAC classes, and allows designers, stylists, hair and makeup students to work as teams, the same as you get out in the real world. A lot of graduates are successful designers in their own right.
I try and get down when I can. This year I had a commercial job booked for the morning, so I didn’t do my usual lit setup. Instead I went down just before the ‘Model Walk’ and pulled out a few outfits to shoot in the crowded canteen. Using a 35mm prime (53mm equiv on full frame), I shot shallow with my ‘go to’ camera, the Fujifilm X-T10.
People are surprised to hear I use this despite having come from a Canon 5DIII. I just love it. The photos from the canteen have been posted to Instagram. The layouts were done automatically in Lightroom using my FREE Instagram Print Templates.
I’ve shot the production stills for TG4/Gael Media’s show ‘Glor Tire’ (it translates as Country Voice) for over 5 seasons now. This is the first one where I’ve gone all Fuji for the show. For the live performances, I used a dual strap system with a Fuji X-T10 with 50-140 f2.8 Pro lens, and a Fuji X-Pro1 with an 18mm lens. For the interviews, I used the X-T10 with 18 and 35mm lens. Finally for the studio style portrait shots, I used the X-T10 with a 35mm lens. As these were horizontal shots, the shooting distance required mean you weren’t getting the distortion you often get with close in vertical shots on 50mm equivalent lenses (the 35mm is about 53mm equivalent).
For years, I’ve been shooting this on Canon, with the 5DII, the 60D and the 5DIII. Lens included the 28mm f1.8, the 85mm f1.8, the 70-200 (both f4 and f2.8) and the 17-40mm. While I’ve had the X-Pro1 for a few years now, I didn’t feel it could compete in this area-much as I love it.
This year the arrival of the X-T10 has changed that. It’s such a capable camera that my 5DII sits mostly unused, bar nightclub and occasional video work. I use it for everything else. Houses, product, models, head shots. Personal and professional work. For Glor Tire, there were a number of features in the camera that I used to boost the number of keepers I got to choose from, as well as just make life easier in the process. Shooting 11 episodes of a show over 5 days is a stressful work environment and anything that can ease that is more than welcome.
In no particular order, the features that really helped were:
1. Face Recognition: With performance, there’s a certainly amount of swapping orientation, so often I’m using centre focus point to handle the change. With Face Recognition turned on, the camera selected the face over 90% of the time over the selected focus point, and with far less hunting. This meant that I got far more shots with the face completely in focus. Some of the previous failures are based on both the performer and I moving, but often it was just simply missed focus due to hitting the nose rather than eye with focus. This still isn’t perfect. For example with a female performer that had hair falling over her face when in profile, the camera want to select a band member instead-even though they were on the edge of the frame.
2. Continuous Focus: Mixed with Face Recognition, this meant that I was able to shoot as the performer moved about and still get the shot. Yes, Canon has this, but it just worked better for me with the X-T10-probably because of the Face Recognition. And of course, it’s a switch on the front of the camera, couldn’t be easier to change.
3. Continuous Shooting: The X-T10 has 2 continuous modes: CL and CH, low and high speed. These are changed from the Drive knob on the top. For the most part, I hate this knob. It often gets knocked into a toy camera mode by accident. However given that it’s so easy to change to continuous from it, I have to forgive this. A lot of them performers on the show, while excellent singers, are not necessarily trained in stage craft. This means they can sing with closed eyes for a lot of the song. You can get emotional shots in this case, but for promotional shots, they prefer eyes to be open. Continuous shooting means you get a chance to get those rare moments. Yes, the Canon can do this as well, but it’s the combination of these first 3 features together that make it killer for keepers.
4. Electronic Shutter: For the interviews, the recordings are made using flesh coloured DPA headset mics. These are particularly sensitive, and would pick up the sound of the camera firing. Normally you’d need a Blimp for this situation. In the past, I’d just shoot the rehearsals, but now, with the electronic shutter, (with the camera audio features turned off), the camera is silent in use. The camera itself is cheaper than a Blimp. Win win.
5. Flip out Screen: Having a flip out screen means that I can capture more angles easily. Rather than be restricted to head height, I can match the angles used by the crew, as well as shoot ones that they can’t do.
I could add more, but those are the 5 main things that made a huge difference to the work for Glor Tire. I will mention the 50-140mm lens though. It’s ridiculously sharp, even using Lightroom, which is a little mushy with Fuji files.
Working on the show is great fun, albeit rather intense. Not to mention the amount of work after the show in selections. As with anything live (while the show is recorded, the performance elements are live takes), you’re hoping to capture moments that can promote the show. That said the final 4 episodes are broadcast fully live, making it even more pressure! Episode 1 will air on TG4 Wed 13th Jan 2016.
I made the decision to get a Fuji X-T10 before it was officially launched on June. At the time it was a hesitant choice. I did love the files from my X-Pro1, but the feature set was truly lacking compared to even the E-M5 from Olympus that it replace. I didn’t know if I want to go down the Fuji route at that point. Having only 3 lenses up to then (I’d only just got the 12mm Samyang at that point), I couldn’t do all the jobs I wanted it for. I got a good price from Ray at the Galway Camera Shop, so I decided that if I bought it, at least it’s new enough to get a good price if I needed to sell it on. Reviews of the camera essentially said that it was 90% of Fuji’s flagship camera, at 60% of the price, so I felt it was great value.
So do I have a Fuji X-T10 for sale 2 months later? Not a chance in hell. While not the ultimate camera, I truly love it. I love the size, weight, files, the ergonomics. I love that I’ve been able to customize it, making it really responsive. I’ve used it for studio portraits, location fashion, press shots, food photos, astrophotography, etc etc.. the list goes on. It’s just a beautiful camera to use. I’m now trying to decide do I get another one, or go for an X-T1.
All of my interiors work since then has been shot on it. I worried if the files would be rejected from the Airbnb reviewers for their submissions, but everything has sailed through-bar one where I needed to lighten some of the images. Model clients, headshot clients and business clients have all been delighted with their images. The camera size has never been an issue.
Now that I’ve waxed lyrical, let me talk about one thing that I can’t do with the camera. It’s not really the fault of the camera though, but a decision made by Fuji in relation to their flashes. Most companies have a red beam that fires from the front of the flash when it’s dark to aid focus. Fuji’s own EF-42 (which I own) is actually based on a Sunpak flash that has such a beam. The 3rd party Nissan i40 also has this light. But. And it’s a big But, Fuji don’t make use of it. So for my nightclub work, it misses focus on way too many shots. Like 50% of them. And it’s simply because of the lack of the red focus beam. The camera does have a focus assist light, but it’s not good enough in the club situation. The flash system is the weakest part of the Fuji ecosystem and one I desperately hope they look into soon.
For off camera flash, studio work and ambient lighting, the photos this camera creates are just gorgeous. I really want to switch to it full time. And what’s more, the JPEGS from the camera are so good that I’d often consider using just them.
Other great features I use often: the wifi connection. It’s great being able to remotely control the camera via Wifi. The articulated screen. Great for mid room height shots! Shutter speed. I love having the quick dial for stop jumps, but set it to T and you get all shutter speeds. Electronic shutter. Some of the gigs I’ve shots have been in churches where you can hear a pin drop, so having a silent shooting mode has been great.
So would I recommend this camera? Yep, not even a hint of hesitation on that either. I’m still recommending I buy myself a second one. I went for the Silver/Black version (faff).. it’s just cooler than the black one, and I say that as someone with a black X-Pro1!
After doing the Photofocus Lightroom Hangout with Rob and Levi on Tueday, I took advantage of the sun actually being visible to go out and shoot some seascapes. It clouded over while there, but I still got a shot that could be processed. The rain started the second I got back to the car, so timing was good!
In the video I use a range of tools to process this including the Basic Panel, Adjustment Brush, Radial and Graduated filters, as well the Camera Profiles, Crop and Spot Removal tools.
I’ve been investing in my gear, and because I love the Fuji X-T10 so much, it was time for their pro tele zoom to make its way into my camera bag.. of course my Fuji bag was tiny, so I got a new bag as well.
I picked up the Lowe Pro Urban Reporter 250 in a half price sale at my local camera store, Galway Camera Shop. It’s also where I got my new lens, the Fujifilm X 50-140 F2.8 OIS. It’s a red badged pro lens and weighs only slightly more than the slower non IS Canon F4 L 70-200 (The Fuji is 75-210 equivalent). While I do love bargains, I have bought a lot of my gear locally when I can.
This lens is perfect for portraits, sports, and just for shooting things at a distance. At some stage I’ll get the other main Pro Zoom lens, the 16-55 f2.8 OIS. For now the 18-55 f2.8-4.0 OIS will handle that range-something it does admirably.
The lens is superb. I gave it a go first out at the summer fairground at Leisureland, using it for detail shots of the Big Wheel there. Not all the lights appear to be working on it, but I still got some great shots. As the lens has a collar, I put the tripod release plate onto it for better balance. The X-T10 is a small camera, so I’m not risking that weight on the camera mount unsupported. Obviously I remembered to turn off the OIS (image stabilizer) when using a tripod.
I’ve used the lens for a studio shoot this week for a client, but I did play with the lens using the wifi on the X-T10 to shoot some self portraits. They were mostly terrible. But I did get some I liked so I ran one through Snapped on my iPhone and then posted to Instagram. Can you tell I’m impressed with this lens?
I’m shooting a lot of my work on the Fuji now. All my Airbnb work is done on it now. The Wifi means I can remotely shoot when space is tight. I still use the Canon system for some work, especially low light work with flash like in nightclubs.