Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The wedding of Karolin and Till and more thoughts on the Fuji X system

I recently photographed the wedding of my very good friends Karolin and Till in Hamburg. Here are a few shots from that wonderful day.
It is now also been almost one year that I made the switch from my Nikon D3 equipment to the Fuji X system. For one year I only shot with those wonderful little gems and it is time for quick résumé.
My setup consists of one X100 and two XPro 1 bodies along with the 18mm, 35mm and 60 mm prime. And a little EFX20 flash ( which I love!)

First of all I am very much looking forward to the upcoming Firmware update in supposedly two days. Getting faster Af is always good and the idea of focus peaking is also quite interesting. Although I must say that I enjoy the cameras most in OVF mode and only occasionally make use of the EVF.
After one year I have really grown into the system and I like it more and more every day. Unfortunately my biggest priority on my firmware update wish list will most likely not be implemented: the ability to lock focus with a half pressed shutter button and being able to continue shooting while it is half pressed. This is standard for all SLRs since the mass introduction of autofocus and I can't understand why most mirrorless and the Fuji X cameras don't allow this. Because of lacking that feature you have to always engage autofocus again even when the distance to the object does not change or you have to lock focus with a second button. Either way it is not very convenient and time consuming and a little bit annoying.
Other than that I can hardly think of anything that I miss. Image and jpeg quality still astounds me every time I upload my pictures, white balance is very accurate and the lenses are a joy to use. I also find the cameras very reliable. In this year I never had any problem with the bodies. They seem very sturdy yet light and even occasional rain doesn't stop them, although full weather sealing would be nice.

My personal wish list for the next Xpro would be as followed:

- ability to lock af with a half pressed shutter button while continue to take pictures.

- full weather sealed body

- stronger battery

- a more resistant on off switch (it to easily turns on while being placed in the bag etc)

- a second SD card slot. And both slots placed somewhere in the side of the body.

- and of course always faster Af

Enjoy the pics...


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Full wedding documentary shot with Fuji X-Pro 1 and X-100

Final thoughts on the Fuji X-Pro 1 and X-100 for wedding documentaries.
Yesterday I photographed a whole wedding documentary only using the two Fuji cameras. I only used the X100 (35mm), the 18mm(27mm) and 35mm(50mm) on the X-Pro1.  For backup, I had a second shooter on my side with Nikon gear, so I knew I would be covered or could easily switch system if things don't work out well.
But it did work out very well, so I wanted to share some of my experiences:
One of the best things about the X-Pro 1 to me is the combined use of OVF, EVF and Liveview which just works seamlessly together. The camera is set with the eye sensor turned on, hanging around my neck. This way, the screen is off when hanging down at my body. As soon as I raise the cam I can either take it to my eye and work with the OVF or EVF or use the back screen. This is super convienient and allows me to use the camera any way I want to instantly.
I love using the back screen for taking quick snapshots from angles were it is inconvinient to look through the finder. It also gives me a more casual street shooter style of working. Almost like using my GRD for street work. The OVF is my favorite because I can compose and frame pictures that way best. The clear view and abstraction from the actual photograph gives me more creative power. The downside of it is, that for example with a fast lens like the 35mm f1,4 stopped down open wide it can be crucial to get accurate focus on something like the eye when doing a portrait. That's when I change to the EVF and I can precisely see how the picture will turn out and if focus is where I want it to be.
So all three modes have advantages and disadvanteges but I really like to make use of all of them. In a way it enhances my creative workflow while shooting.
Battery life. That is a big thing because obviously you don't want to run out of juice during a long shooting day. I came with three full batteries but only used one and a half, which surprised me. i thought they would drain faster. I shot exactly 745 frames on the X-Pro 1 and that is not too bad at all. Of course I wish it would have a battery like the Nikon D3 where you don't really worry about changing batteries too much. On assignment the power off function is turned off so I won't miss any shots by waiting for the camera to wake up. In between use I just switch it off and I make use of the fast power on feature even if it consumes more battery power that way. And yes, start up time is another thing that could be improved.
Image quality. Like I said in earlier posts, I really love the way the X-Pro 1 renders photos. I use it only in Jpeg mode and love the outcome. I have played around with a few of the color settings but for this shoot I went back to the Standard setting. Skin tones look great, color and contrast is perfect for my use. I only use auto white balance and I am very happy with the results. It seems the most accurate camera I have ever used regarding WB. I still process my color photos with Color Efex though to get the specific look that I want for my wedding jobs.
For a few shots yesterday I also used standard black and white mode. The outcome is pretty good for a digital file. Great tonality, rich blacks and well controlled highlights. And after using the BW jpeg with NIK Silver Efex Pro they got the right look, less digital and more film like. I also noticed that Silver Efex Pro works great with monochrom files. Sometimes better than with color files. Yes, you lose the ability to apply color filters in post production but grain, contrast and brightness look perfect. So the combination of the in camera bw jpeg engine and later developement in Silver Efex seems to deliver great results. Maybe Leica had a point when bundling the Monochrom M9 together with Silver Efex.
 So all in all I am more than happy with my X-Pro 1 and X100 setup for professional wedding assignments. Next week I will have another gig and use this combo again. Will I ditch my Nikons? By no means. They are powerful tools I know i can always rely on. But I try to leave them in the bag as much as possible.
Enjoy the pictures and thanks for looking, Thomas



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More thoughts on the Fuji X-Pro 1: Roadtrip to the Herräng Dance Camp, Sweden

Last week my girlfriend and I  took a road trip to the Herräng Dance Camp, Sweden where I am teaching the tap dance classes this year. For the trip I brought the Fuji X100 and my new X-Pro 1 along with the 35mm f1,4 and the 18mm f2,0.
Here are a few pictures taken while being on the road. I must say I really like the 18mm f2,0 as well. I have always liked the field of view from a 28mm lens. The autofocus seems a bit faster than on the longer lenses which does not surprise me. But like I said before I think the speed of the autofocus is not a big concern for me and once you understand how it works, you get very accurate results.
I also played around with the jpeg settings a bit and so far NEG Std is probably my favorite. The colors are subtle and skin tones very good. I also really like how the camera handles highlights. The dynamic range is fantastic. Being a wedding photographer this is very important to me because it can sometimes be tough to not wash out the highlights on a wedding dress.
So far I don't miss RAW support for Aperture which I use for editing my photos. And even if they come out with it I will probably stick with the jpegs. They are still robust enough to post edit them a bit. Auto white balance is working great and I almost never have to adjust it manually. I can't say that for the Nikon D3 or D700. On those cams it is almost a must to shoot raw to get most out of them.
Right now I can only think of two features I miss on the X-Pro 1:
The first one is weather sealing. I wish the body and lenses would be a bit better protected. On my last wedding gig it started to rain heavily right before we entered the church and I had to switch to the D3. I use my cameras under a lot of different weather conditions and rather not worry too much about my equipment getting ruined by rain etc.
Secondly I really wish for a second SD Card slot. I am always very paranoid about losing pictures due to a faulty card. It has never happened to me before but I would still prefer a backup solution while documenting important shoots like weddings. This is not a deal breaker for me and i will use the camera on professional gigs but the possibility of loosing data because of a damaged card is always in the back of my mind.
So here are a few pictures from the trip….. More to come soon, Thomas

UPDATE! I just published a new blog post regarding shooting a wedding with the Fuji X100 and X-Pro 1


Monday, July 16, 2012

A Fuji X-Pro 1 review from a documentary wedding photographer | Part 1

Last weekend I had the pleasure to shoot the wedding of Svenja and Tommy in Hamburg. It was a great day and for the first time I was able to use my new Fuji X1 Pro in a real world shooting experience. I was already quite familiar with how it works because I used a X100 for the last couple of month.
What I like most about the new Fuji cams is the fact that they are small, silent and yet offer amazing image quality. What makes the XPro 1 so interesting for me is the fact that you can now change lenses.
For this shooting I only used the 35mm 1,4 though. So here are my thoughts:

- The jpeg files ooc are just superb. Nice colors and even more important pretty accurate white balance. In fact the X1Pro and X100 are the only cameras I only shot in jpeg mode. Just because they are so good.

- AF performance is good if you are able to anticipate the shot and don't chase the subjects. But coming from old school manual focusing in the film days I don't worry too much about that. I feel that the AF is still fast enough for almost anything I shoot.
The AF is also very accurate BUT you need to know about parallax correction with the optical viewfinder otherwise you might end up with the AF on the wrong spot. This is especially important when shooting the 35mm wide open at f1,4 where depths of field is very little.
- One thing I really love with the optical viewfinder is the ability to see outside the frame. This really helps me composing better pictures and I don't have to wave the camera around to see what is outside the "tunnel".

- I love the handling of this camera. Everything you need is at the right place: aperture ring, exposure comp., shutter speed. Just perfect. I love this "old school" layout better than the new cameras.

- The 35mm lens is simply amazing! It is super sharp and great colors. I love how it renders the picture.

- High iso is great. I feel I can use this camera under any lighting conditions.

Well, so far I am super happy with the camera. This week I will travel to Sweden to teach tap dance at the famous Herräng Dance Camp. There I will get a chance to test the camera a bit more. I will update this review as I gain more experience with it.

 So here are a few shots take with the XPro 1. Enjoy....

UPDATE! I just published a new blog post regarding shooting a wedding with the Fuji X100 and X-Pro 1

Monday, April 23, 2012

a personal fuji x100 review/opinion

back in the film days one of my favorite cameras was the konica hexar. it was an autofocus rangefinder style camera with an excellent viewfinder and 35mm f2 lens build in. for me,  it was the perfect travel and documentary camera.
since i went digital with my photography i was always looking for a camera like that. great viewfinder, compact, fixed fast lens. and i bought a lot of cameras that could possible fill that gap. i used the grd1 and 3 (which i still love), the gxr, some canon gs, a nikon p7...., the leica x1 but nothing really got close to the hexar experience.
so now after some hesitating i got myself the x100 and i must say that it is quite perfect to me. it has a great viewfinder, a sharp lens and it produces amazing files. it is the closest it could be to a hexar.
some people say that the fuji copies the leica m but i don't think so.  to me it is much closer to the hexar or the legendary contax g series. that is were it is coming from not the leica.
the autofocus is fairly fast, maybe not the fastest when compared to other state of the art cameras, but fast enough for anything i shoot. and that is mostly street photography and people.
the menu and software setup is a mess and it has some quirks, mostly relating to firmware. but overall the tactile feel of it and the simple straight forward control layout is a joy to use. set the aperture (on the lens), focus, frame and shoot. perfect. that's how a camera should feel and i guess that why the fuji x series gets so much recognition among photographers.

it is my only camera that i shoot in jpeg mode. simply because i get better and faster results from it then adjusting the raws. the jpeg engine is really great. the only other camera i trusted with jpegs was the olympus e-1.

i am looking very much forward using it at my next wedding assignments and i believe that it could replace my nikon d3 (which i also mostly use with primes) for most of the time. if that turns out to be true i will consider getting the x1 pro with the 3 primes and make it my main wedding setup.

here are a few examples from shooting the x100. all shot as jpegs and then converted with silver efex pro and color efex pro.