Sian and David’s Wedding

I had the huge privilege of photographing a friends wedding last week.  Sian and David had  their wedding on a farm and it had a very relaxed feel to it, which is just what they wanted.  I was covering the wedding with my Fuji kit ( X-T1, XE-2, 35mm, 56mm, 23mm,55-200mm), along with my brother, who now also shoots with Fuji gear.  Here are some of the images, the ones with the TV in are from a lovely moment after the ceremony where David’s brother surprised him with a video showing moments from his very eventful life.  Sian looked amazing and the weather was beautiful, all in all it was one of the most fun weddings I’ve shot.

As for the Fuji system…this is my third wedding with these cameras and it keeps getting better.  There were some very harsh lighting conditions, especially at the ceremony but the Fujis did really well.  I shot half the wedding on jpeg ( burst mode to try and capture some candids ), and just used RAW for the ceremony where I knew the light was very harsh and I might need the ability to pull back the highlights.  This really cut down on my post production and the jpegs were just fine, needing nothing more than a quick crop..they came out looking sharp and vibrant. My most used lens by far was the 56mm 1.2, I did end up using the 55-200 a lot too, I don’t normally use it much outside the studio but whenever I do I’m reminded how good it is.  It is not super fast, but it is very sharp and produces really lovely images.

DSCF6186 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF6144 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF6043 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF5898 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF5218 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF4961 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF3488 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF3431 Sian and Davids Wedding DSCF3325 Sian and Davids Wedding



Fashion shoot with Artemis

I had the good fortune to work with an incredible model a few weeks back, someone who brings a whole heap of creativity to a shoot.  She also brought an enormous bag of fabric and we found a forest to use it in.  Here are some of the images.

All of these were shot on the X-T1, mostly with the 56 mm 1.2, but also the 23mm 1.4 and 35mm 1.4 all got a lot of use.

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Shoot with Darren

I don’t get to shoot male models all that much, so I was really pleased to be able to shoot with Darren.  We covered a wide variety of styles and shot both studio and location.  I don’t really think “oh I’m using a mirrorless camera” any more, its just a tool and I don’t notice any difference to when I was shooting with my 5d3 or D800, especially in the studio.  On location I notice, as the awesome EVF gives me a much clearer picture of how the image will turn out.  The only thing missing is a higher shutter speed and the ability to use high speed synch with a flash.  Once I get some high quality ND filters for the 56 1.2 and 35mm 1.4 I will not even miss that so much.

DSCF4740 Shoot with Darren DSCF4738 v1 Shoot with Darren DSCF4672 Shoot with Darren DSCF4662 Shoot with Darren


Summer Fair with the X-T1 and 23mm 1.4.

Every year the primary school where my children go has a fund raising summer fair. It’s usually good fun but hard work as a parent as you’re having to keep track of the kids. So I took just the one camera and lens this year. I would normally have gone for the 35mm 1.4, but I’ve not had much practice with the 23mm so I wanted to see how it did. It’s very sharp and very fast, I was hugely impressed with it. A few photos of my kids below from our family weekend.

10462562 620422941389031 6808767470429588299 n Summer Fair with the X T1 and 23mm 1.4.

10420189 620422928055699 1732527722607904218 n Summer Fair with the X T1 and 23mm 1.4.

10526160 620422921389033 3321868943335926194 n Summer Fair with the X T1 and 23mm 1.4.

10437466 620422948055697 7039882253966934362 n Summer Fair with the X T1 and 23mm 1.4.

Waddesdon Manor on the X100s

Went to this fantastic old house near Oxford at the weekend.  Well, I say house, its quite a large house, with incredible grounds and very intricate interiors.  I took the x100s with me and took a few snaps.  Processed most of these in PhotoNinja, which really pulled out the details.

DSCF0064 v1 Waddesdon Manor on the X100s

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Is the Fuji X-T1 as good as my 5d3 / D800?

I see this question alot on the facebook groups in particular.  And there is always a lively response.  There seem to be a small crowd of people in these groups whose lives have no meaning unless they are bashing the fuji cameras and comparing them to their high end DSLRs.  Then there are the fuji fans who take the opposite tack of course.  It’s very tiresome so I thought I’d post my thoughts here on the subject.  The fuji X-T1 is not as powerful a tool as the 5d3 or D800.  There is no doubt about that.  However, most of us do not need all the power these cameras bring, and the tradeoff in weight and expense may mean the X-T1 is a better camera for you ( or it may not ).

The fuji haters tend to bang on about certain things in these comparisons so I will deal with my take on them here..

Autofocus…I’ve seen some pretty outrageous claims from the pro DSLR crowd about how bad the Fuji autofocus is.  One guy claimed he could only shoot still life with the fuji, for everything else he needed his DSLR.  Well I’m sorry, but that guy just fails at using the X-T1.  Of course its not as fast as a pro DSLR..people expecting it to be are, frankly, deluded.  But unless you are a professional sports or wildlife photographer, or just suck at taking photos without machine gun speed autofocus, its fast are some of the shots involving movement that I’ve taken.

DSCF4738 Is the Fuji X T1 as good as my 5d3 / D800? DSCF9966 Is the Fuji X T1 as good as my 5d3 / D800? DSCF3754 Is the Fuji X T1 as good as my 5d3 / D800? DSCF4172 Is the Fuji X T1 as good as my 5d3 / D800?

The key points to watch when shooting movement..

- high performance mode must be enabled, its off by default.  I personally find it makes a huge difference to the camera.

- use the central nine AF points, those are the phase detect ones.

- I set the autofocus to release priority.  It sometimes is a little slow getting that initial lock on, but with 8 frames a second, you will get a few frames anyway in my experience.  Some people put this on focus priority but I find it slows me down too much.

- turn off the EVF image preview

- do not use the smallest AF focussing area.  The 2nd or 3rd smallest ones ( the mid range ones ) are best.

Overall I find the AF perfectly useable for all the tasks I need it for, but of course it won’t be as fast a pro DSLR, anyone who buys one expecting that has not done their research.

Next up..image quality.   How does this camera compare to a high end, full frame DSLR.  Well obviously there will be less detail..but…

- I find the jpegs better than either the out of camera jpegs on a D800 or Canon 5d3.

- I find the colours more pleasing as well, and it produces better results out of the camera in tricky lighting conditions.

- I rarely need to sharpen images, and in general do less post processing than I used to.

- the dynamic range in the RAW files is better than my 5d3 used to be, but not as good as the D800 ( not far off though ).

A lot of us shoot for web use, very few shoot for billboard size posters.  Even printing up to A1 the fuji holds it own.  Obsessing about pixel peeping seems very strange to me, but there are people who loathe the X-Trans sensor look.  These people are the minority, but its best to test the waters with the camera before ditching your DSLR, in case you are one of these people.  There is nothing wrong with being one of those people, they just don’t like the look the camera gives.  But there are some big things to watch out for if you are having issues…

- the jpeg processor in this camera applies very aggressive noise reduction, even when you switch NR to -2, in low light.  These can lead to really smeary skin textures.  If you are shooting in low light I would recommend shooting in RAW.

- different RAW converters give very different results.  A lot of landscape shooters in particular seem to have issues with the way Adobe process the RAW files, so its worth checking the other ones out if you don’t like the way Adobe does it.  Personally I find the latest version a lot better and fine for me, but it seems to leave some people incandescent with rage.  For greater detail I use Photoninja.

Here is a portrait that has had almost no editing, shot on the 56 1.2, which is the sharpest lens I’ve every used.

DSCF5208 Is the Fuji X T1 as good as my 5d3 / D800?


Full Frame vs APSC…well I’m not getting into that one too much.  Full frame gives you shallower depth of field and of course a wider field of view.  Personally I don’t need it, with lenses like the 56 1.2 and 35 1.4 I have no problem getting shallow depth of field when I want to.  But this leads nicely to..lenses…

Fuji of course does not have the same breadth of lenses that the big DSLRs do.  So you need to decide if the lenses they do have are enough for you.  The lineup is growing rapidly though and the ones so far have all been amazing in terms of image quality if not always in terms of speed.  The lenses I own are the 55-200, 35mm 1.4, 56mm 1.2 and 14mm 2.8.  They are all superb, equivalent in quality to Canons L lenses and much cheaper and lighter. I think the lens line up is a real strength of this system, and it will only get better.  But if you need a fast 70-200, or a super zoom, then hold on to your DSLR, because Fuji are not there yet.


Flash system…

Its quite possible to use flash wirelessly on manual mode, but if you need a ETTL wireless flash system ( I don’t ), hang on to your DSLR.  I hope this is an area Fuji addresses soon.


As an all round camera system the X-T1 is not as good as a pro full frame DSLR.  But that does not mean its not good enough for you, and there are huge benefits to the system that for many people will outweigh the gains of a big, heavy, pro DSLR.

- size and weight

- cost

- jpegs are beautiful

- much more fun to shoot with  ( in my opinon )

- amazing lenses at much lower cost than full frame

- looks way cooler!

I kept my DSLR until I was sure I could rely on the fuji for all my work, and I think if you can afford it, this is the way to go.  It’s not a complete system or a DSLR killer..yet.  But for me, and for a lot of people, its now good enough to use without having a DSLR there as a backup.









Reading Photographers and Models Social ( and MUAs )

This was the 4th of these socials.  The idea is to gather together photographers, models and mua’s of all levels for a drink and a bit of networking in Reading ( UK ).  We had about 20+ people this time, so it’s getting busier each time.  As always, I took along my camera, this time the XT-1 with 56mm 1.2 and the X100s.  All the colour shots were on the XT-1 shot at 1.2, between ISO 3200 and 6400.  The black and white ones were on the X100s.  Shot in RAW and converted in Adobe Lightroom 5.4.  Focussing was not an issue, even in a dimly lit pub environment.  I was much happier with these shots than the last time I tried this when I had to shoot in jpeg and the skin tones were mushed.

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