Fuji 16mm 1.4 some more images..

I’ve had a bit more time with this fantastic lens, really liking it so far.  Great for people shots and for landscapes.  Love the depth of field you can get, and its just a great all round lens.  It rained a lot on my second day in Cornwall so tested the weather proofing and it did fine.   This lens gives a great sense of context, with the wide angle, but is also really sharp and gives great background separation with the 1.4 aperture, there are not many lenses that do this.  Here are some images…

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Fuji 50-140 2.8 revisited

A few weeks ago I returned my first copy of this lens.  There was nothing wrong with it, it was just too big.  I had only one X-T1 body at the time and lugging this thing around and swapping it with the 56 all the time was a real drag.  At the time my system consisted of..

X-T1, plus 56mm 1.2, 10-24mm

Nikon D750, plus 50mm 1.8 and Sigma 105 macro

Fuji X100s

It was a pretty good system but the D750 is still quite large and I just couldn’t fit the big Fuji zoom in the bag easily.  So it went back, even though I missed being able to shoot my son’s football matches, and I missed its super sharp images.  Then the job that I’d bought the D750 for finished and I realised something.  I was no longer using it.  It only ever got used for work purposes, not for fun.  I appreciated its power, speed and video capabilities, but I didn’t enjoy using it.  I also wasn’t using the macro lens as much as I thought I would, I just didn’t get the time.  So the D750 and Nikon gear is now sold, goodbye D750, you did a great job but I no longer need you.  I decided to get a second hand X-T1 body and have another go with the 50-140.  I figured for the weddings I’m about to do it would come in really useful, especially for the processional.   I also have a bunch of football tournaments over the summer where this thing will get heavy usage.  That started this weekend, where the lens did a fantastic job and I got some of my best football images yet ( soccer for any Americans reading this ).  Here are some shots from the football.

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About 2 days after I got my second copy of this lens, Fuji announced the firmware update coming to the X-T1.  That will make this lens even more useful, so I’m pretty happy I gave it a second go.  Here are some candids from the weekend and a couple of flower shots that illustrate the bokeh ( acceptable IMO ) and sharpness ( incredible ).

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These are all straight conversions..no sharpening other than the default you get when creating jpegs.  Someone on one of the forums said they noticed about 1mm of play where the lens meets the camera, I get this on my lens as well but it doesn’t seem to affect the lens in any way so I’m not bothered ( I’ve tested it in the rain and it was fine ).  I’ve also used the lens in the studio a bit and that is the other area I see myself using it a lot, as the 70-200 focal length is pretty important to me for studio work, especially things like full length fashion shots.  Here is a quick portrait from a tuition session I was running, its not perfect ( I don’t take many shots when I teach, I prefer to let the students do that ), but it hopefully gives a glimpse of how awesome this thing is in the studio.

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Fuji 16mm 1.4 first impressions

I’ve only had this lens for 3 days, so I’ve not really had a chance to test it in the type of shoots I bought it for ( weddings and models ).  However, I did go away to a football tournament this weekend with my son and tried to use it a few times ( mostly I was using the 50-140 but that is another story ).  It’s certainly sharp, way sharper than the 24mm 1.4 Sigma art I tested a few weeks ago.  A lot more accurate too.  I’ve had a few misses at mid range, I suspect that’s because I’m not used to the focal length.  I had this with the Sigma too, but alot more.  Anyhow, here are a few shots, so far I love the lens and this focal length and I know its a lens I will keep and use a lot.  It’s surprising to me how useful this focal length is.   I also squeezed in a shot of Ellie as when I got home it turned out she’d had some awesome face paint done!DSCF4697 DSCF4771 DSCF4828 DSCF4861

I’ve had a play with some close up shots, the minimum focus distance of this lens is crazy and lets you be quite creative with DOF.  The bokeh is really nice on this lens in my opinion.

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I’ll post more as and when I get time to take some shots.  I think this lens will be attached fairly permanently to the camera for the next few weeks, its very versatile.

The rise of mirrorless ( in the uk at least )

I do quite a lot of teaching, and have been for the past 18 months.  Mostly I teach studio photography to either groups of photographers or in one to one sessions.  It’s been quite interesting looking at the changing demographics of the cameras people have been bringing to the courses and sessions I run.  When I started out 18 months ago it was pretty much all Nikon and Canon gear and I got some strange looks with my Fuji stuff ( although I was mostly using a D800 in the studio back then).  And then gradually the mirrorless cameras started making an appearance, especially over the last 6 months.  On the last course I ran, there were 3 people with all Fuji gear ( one guy had ALL the lenses ).  One guy had a Sony ( we all teased him because it required a special trigger to fire the lights ).  Another had an Olympus and the last guy, well he had a DSLR.  The last one to one session was similar, the guy still had his Nikon gear but he left it in the car and just used a Fuji XE-2.  The model he had brought along was just getting into photography and she was in the process of buying..an X-T1.  Certainly in the small segment of photography I work in, where high speed performance is not an issue but lugging around a lot of gear all day is, mirrorless cameras are making real strides and becoming more and more common. I’ve lost count of the people who have looked at the super sharp images I’ve been getting with my X-T1 and 56mm 1.2 and then asked me how much the system costs.  Usually I get contacted a month later asking for advice on which lenses to get for their new system.  Exciting times, and the new autofocus improvements Fuji are bringing to the table, along with all the other manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, Olympus etc, who are all producing very cool products, will mean this trend continues and spreads.  Canon and Nikon need to up their mirrorless game fast.

I can’t do an article without a picture..so here is a quick one from a recent shoot, taken on the X100s. I’m using this camera more and more for shots with speedlights, as the high speed sync capabilities make this little camera a real sunlight killer ( combined with the build in ND filter ).  Here it saved my backside again, I wanted quite a wide angle shot and didn’t have ND filters for my 10-24 on the X-T1, so whipped out the X100s and triggered the SB700 flash using the built in flash on the x100s ( my wireless triggers had run out of juice at this point ).

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Sigma 24mm 1.4 Nikon fit – initial thoughts.

This lens is driving me nuts.  When it works, its awesome.  This is a great focal length, you can get wide angle and bokeh, it’s great for a whole variety of purposes.  The lens is built like a tank.  Clearly, it is a quality product, and I’ve captured some images with it that I absolutely love.  I’ve been shooting both my family and also took it on a professional job, a bridal shoot.  I’ll post a few images and then talk about the problems.

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So these images of my daughter were taken after I micro adjusted the lens to +17 on my D750.  It was back focussing by a large margin.  I don’t have the sigma docking station so I did it manually, but I got it to a state where it was pretty sharp at close ranges.  I was thinking I’d nailed it, so I took the lens on my bridal shoot in the afternoon.  Now, I did get some nice images, but they all had to be sharpened, and I never felt I could trust the focus.  Here are a few of the successes…

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I’m not sure wether its my technique ( I mostly shoot on the Fujis, which are super accurate ), but a lot of the mid range shots were off, and this is shooting with a D750, which has a pretty decent autofocus system.  I was shooting at a very respectable shutter speed, but I was getting a lot of shots that were soft focussed. Close range shots were ok, mid range really bad..maybe I do need that Sigma docking station after all, but you can only set one micro adjustment value for a prime lens as far as I know.  I need this thing for weddings and events, I need it to nail focus 90% of the time, not 50%.  Here are two unedited shots from the bridge, taken a few seconds apart..I didn’t move..one is reasonably sharp, one is very soft.

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I really want to love this lens, its such a fun focal length and would be really useful for me, but at the moment I don’t feel I can trust the AF, and that is a deal breaker.  I’ll give it a little more time, but I suspect I’ll be returning it and waiting on the 16mm 1.4 from Fuji.  I ended up doing most of the bridal shoot on the Fuji X-T1.

The Fuji 50-140mm 2.8 and why I didn’t keep it

I picked up a copy of this fantastic lens a few weeks ago and have been putting it through it’s paces.  It does everything I expected it to.  The build quality is fantastic, easily a match for the Canon L 70-200 I used to own when I shot Canon.  Autofocus is a marked improvement over any of the other Fuji lenses I own, even when tracking.  Here are some of the shots I’ve taken with it…

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It is amazingly sharp, easily the sharpest zoom I have ever used.  However, I’ve now sent it back within its 28 day warranty period..why?

1.Weight..it’s like being back in the bad old days of lugging around big heavy camera gear.

2.It doesn’t fit my system.  I’ve gravitated over the last couple of years to a system mostly using primes.  My mainstay is the 56mm 1.2 fuji, but I also have the x100s with its fixed lens, and the D750 with the 50mm 1.8.  This pretty much covers everything I need for portraits and weddings.  I took this lens out on a shoot and found I was constantly changing between it and the 56, and for my purposes, mostly I ended up going back to the 56 as the bokeh is a little more pleasing.

I think this lens fits nicely into a system where you have two zooms and two bodies, say the 16-55 and the 50-140..but I used to have a system like that when I shot with Canon and I found it a bit dull and way too heavy.  Clearly there as a demand for this focal length and I think its great that Fuji have given X System users the option to have the 70-200 equivalent zoom.  If I were mostly shooting in the studio and weight was not an issue, I’d probably have kept the lens.  So, in conclusion..great lens but it just doesn’t fit my current system.  Still kind of sad to see it go..but I am looking forward to next year when Fuji release the 120mm f2, and the 16mm 1.4 is looking mighty tempting as well.

Berrington Hall – Fuji X-T1 and 10-24 mm lens

I love going to National Trust properties, especially now I have the amazing 10-24 mm lens to play around with.  These are just snapshots really, as I’m not a landscape/architecture photographer and I was running around after my kids doing the Easter trail.  Ideally I’d have had a tripod and used some long exposure shots to get rid of all the other tourists, but that was not really practical.  So here are a few snapshots.  At the long end ( 24mm ) you can get away with people shots, although its not as sharp as the 56mm 1.2 ( no surprise ) or the 50-140.  It really shines at the wide end for me though.

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Street fashion shoot with Anna Rose and the Fuji X-T1

I’ve been stuck shooting in studios since November, so when the chance came to do a location shoot I jumped at it.  I also wanted to break out the 10-24 lens again, which I’ve not used that much recently.  When shooting people on location most photographers go for the wide aperture & shallow depth of field approach to isolate their subject.  This works well and is something I do as well, but for this shoot I also wanted to mix in some wide angle shots.  Finally, I got to briefly try out the 50-140 and it was just as good as I expected it to be.  The 56 1.2 is still my go to outdoor lens, the 50-140 though has it’s uses and will be my main studio lens and I will break it out anytime I want to shoot movement ( more on that in a later post, we did do some jumping shots which I used it for but I’ve not edited them yet ).

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