Jenny and Simon’s Dorset Wedding

I’ve already posted some of the images on my wedding website for this, but thought I’d do a post for the photographers going through the gear used etc.  I shot the bridal prep and my second shooter did the groom prep.  I’ll avoid posting any of Marks images, excellent as they are, as this article is focused on the Fuji system and he was shooting Nikon.  I will note however that after seeing me use the Fujis and the images I produced he was looking at the Fuji website the next day!  So..bridal prep..small room, lots of excited people, some small people.  The X100s with the TCLX100 converter was the camera I used most here.  Its completely silent, so I was able to grab lots of candid moments.  I like the 50mm point of view the converter gives, and the extra DOF.  Here are some of the images..

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Next, onto the ceremony.  I used the 50-140 for these next two, they are some of my favourites from the day.  I’d talked to Jenny before their big day and the moment I captured with Simon seeing her come up the aisle was one of the key moments she wanted captured from the day, so I was really please it worked out ok.  My second shooter was up at the front getting the walking up the aisle shots.  I opted to stay at the back as I figured the Fuji was more suited to capturing a static groom than a bride walking up the aisle in a VERY dark church.

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For the ceremony itself I was mostly back on the X100s.  I was in a little alcove at the front of the Church and I didn’t want to disturb the ceremony, so the totally silent X100s was the best choice.

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After the ceremony I dug out the 56mm 1.2 and one of the X-T1s and used the 16mm 1.4 on the other body.  Those were used for the reportage style shots and also the couple shots and I pretty much stuck with those two lenses for the rest of the day.  The 16mm 1.4 is awesome for group shots and for the dance shots.  I used a flash for the dance shots as it was getting pretty dark and there was a nice low white ceiling to bounce it off.  To fire it remotely I used a Cactus trigger ( the flash was a Cactus RF60 which has a built in receiver ).

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Shooting a band with the X100s and Fuji X-T1

I shot another gig recently at the Turks in Reading.  It was a band I’ve not shot before, and I was allowed to use flash!  So I stuck an SB700 on a rafter above the band, with a Cactus trigger, and used the X100s with it for a quite a few shots.  I shot at ISO 1000 to try and mix the ambient with the flash a bit.  Then I switched the X-T1 and used the 16mm 1.4 lens extensively.  It performed really well and I didn’t seem to have many problems focussing.  Here are some of my favourite images…

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Latest Fuji wedding analysis

I thought I’d put down my thoughts on the latest wedding I’ve shot with the Fuji system.  I don’t shoot weddings full time, so it’s a been a little while since the last one and a lot has changed.  I have a different lens line up for starters, plus there has been a major firmware update since the last wedding I shot ( sadly not the 4.0 one which I think will be a game changer for some wedding shooters ).

Here is a list of the gear I took..

Fuji X100s with TCLX100 mounted

Fuji X-T1 – one with the 56mm and a second one with the 16mm 1.4.

10-24 mm f4

50-140 mm 2.8

Cactus triggers and Nikon SB700 flash ( didn’t use it in the end ).

I’ll start with the bridal prep..I shot a lot more on the x100s than I did last year, using the TCLX100 to make it a 50mm equivalent lens.  I really appreciated the silent operation and discrete form factor, although I did miss a fair few shots so I need more practice with this camera.  Here are some of the shots I took with the x100 before the main ceremony.  I have to say, I love the TCLX100, it didn’t seem to slow the camera down at all and there is no loss of sharpness.    I shot in raw and then did most of the post work in lightroom ( there was almost no post work, but I did find a cool user preset that mimics Classic Chrome really well, so I used this to bring the colour shots in line with the ones from the X-T1s I was using).

 

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Next up..the 50-140mm 2.8.  I wasn’t sure how I would use this lens on the day but it turned out to be incredibly useful.  I used it for the processional ( although my second shooter was concentrating on the B&G as he had a better angle, I got the bridal party ).  I also used it to pick out members of the congregation doing funny stuff during the service, and to get some good shots of the B&G at the altar.

During the reception I used it to take shots of the speakers and also to capture members of the audience doing fun stuff ( especially when the bubbles made an appearance..see below!!).  I used this lens way more than I expected to and it performed amazingly.

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The 16mm 1.4.  I love the sense of context this lens gives.  Its very sharp and just a great all rounder.  For much of the wedding I had this lens on my backup X-T1 body and it proved very useful.  It really came into its own when shooting the dancing though, which is one of the main reasons I bought it.  I’m amazed how many keepers I got from the dancing shots, its a big improvement on last year when I was limited to the 56mm 1.2.  When the new autofocus firmware comes in this lens will be even more useful.  Here are some of the images from the 16mm.

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The 56mm 1.2..I don’t need to say much about this lens…it is still my go to lens for weddings and produces such beautiful, sharp images.  If I had to take just one lens to a wedding it would be this one, without a doubt.  For the sake of completeness, here are some 56 1.2 images.

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OK time for some stats!

My most used lens was the 16mm 1.4, at 837 shots, followed by the 56m 1.2 at 400 shots, then the x100s at 310, and the 50-140  at 120 shots.  The stats are skewed by the fact I shot the dancing with the 16mm 1.4 in burst mode, which I didn’t use for the other lenses.  Still, it shows how useful the 16 was, its just a great general purpose lens.  Overall I was happier with the results from this wedding than any of the ones from last year, I think the Fuji lenses we now have access to are really amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing the effect of the new firmware.

 

My Fuji Greek Wedding shoot

I had the privilege of shooting a great wedding in London last weekend.  Chris and Leasa are a lovely couple and their family and friends were very welcoming.  I’ll do a full blog post on the wedding with more details on the equipment used once I’ve finished the editing process.  For now, here is a quick video montage of some of the edits so far ( there is music, so turn it up if you like it, off if you don’t!).  Most of the shots are fuji, one or two are from the Nikon of my excellent second shooter, Andrew Green.

Fuji X100s and TCLX100 at a wedding

I used the X100s and the teleconverter at a wedding for the first time this weekend.   I had read that the AF was a bit slower with this converter on, but I didn’t notice any real difference.  I am no expert with the x100s, so it is not used for the majority of the shots, rather as my third camera I need to grab every now and then, and also when I really want to be inconspicuous ( bridal prep, reception ).  I really enjoyed using it think I’ll keep it on the camera for the next wedding.  I also found a great Lightroom preset for Classic Chrome on the internet, which seems to work great for the x100s ( its not an official preset, its a user preset made by someone else, I’ll try and find the link and update this article with it ).  It does occasionally over saturate the reds, but I still really like it, up until now I’ve been using black and white conversions a lot on the x100s but this little preset has driven me back towards colour.   Here are a few shots from the wedding…

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Fuji 16mm 1.4 at a wedding

I tried the new 16mm 1.4 from Fuji at a wedding I was shooting last weekend.  It performed really well and is a very useful focal length for a wide variety of subjects.  It has no OIS, so you do have to be a little careful taking your shots, if you want them to be sharp.  But when you get it right, this lens produces some lovely images, with great bokeh if you get reasonably close to your subject.  I’m intending on using it on one camera, with the 56mm 1.2 on the other one, for the next few weddings ( I also used the X100s with the TCLX100 but that is another story ).

Focussing was as fast as any other lens in the lineup ( i.e. I didn’t notice any particular issues ).  I particularly enjoyed using it for the dancing shots.

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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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