When Fujifilm announced the X100s I have to admit I was excited. I had grown to love the X100, I had grown used to the quirks and foibles of the original incarnation and learned to focus on the positives, as they were plenty. The X100s may look almost identical to the original X100 but in short it is a completely different animal (photographically speaking). The X100s is a phenomenal leap in performance and image quality to the original X100, the new X-Trans sensor is brilliant and especially shines in low light environments and as a result I am using it for literally everything. Although the X100s is only out a few months I have already taken it to most of the counties in Northern Ireland (and also Donegal). I’ve used in every weather condition Ireland can throw at it in this very long Winter of Spring. I have used it up mountains on the Northern Ireland coast, in City Hall and the dark Belfast pubs and the X100s has yet to let me down……
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Although I love my Fujinon 18mm pancake lens I still couldn’t wait to get out with the new Fujinon 14mm (21mm full frame Equivalent) lens. There has been quite a buzz about this ultra-wide lens and I couldn’t want to get out to see how it compared to my other wide angled glass. Please note this is not a definitive review but simply the documentation of my first hour with the lens. At f/2.8 I wanted to play with the depth of field / capturing action as well as using it for long exposure photography. The output really is ultra sharp so I was able to snap away and then crop in Lightroom if I wanted to add focus on one particular aspect of the image. I know a number of people have asked if the 14mm is really worth the investment over the 18mm. I personally think it is, 21mm (full frame equiv.) offers a fair bit more image than the 28mm. I’ve marked the approximate scale factors between the 14mm,18mm and 35mm lenses. In addition, even after an hour I can see that the 14mm offers remarkable optical output and the only trade off appears to be physical size. The 14mm is obviously larger and and heavier than the 18mm pancake and although normally in photography terms a larger size and weight is normally a negative I really like the balance the lens has with the X-Pro1. An ultra wide at f/2.8 offers a fantastic level of flexibility. I couldn’t wait to explore a few long exposure photographs at this wider ratio. On a positive note the filter size for the 14mm lens is the same as the 18-55mm Fujinon zoom lens which is great news for long exposure photography as the same ND filters fit both lens systems.he eBook covers everything from the equipment you will need right through to post-production processing in Adobe’s brilliant Lightroom 4. This guide has been written with the beginner to the long exposure process in mind; however, the enthusiast and professional alike may find something of relevance also. The Book comes with 6 dedicated Lightroom Presets. I headed out to a local jetty and took four quick images from four different angles. The first long exposure at f/11 / ISO 200 was for 20 seconds. I’ve shot long exposure images with the 35mm Fujinon lens and although I don’t believe you need to go ultra-wide for landscapes if you really want to capture the silence of space it is a massive help. This next image is at slightly different angle and a full 90 second exposure at f/22 / ISO 200 which then brings out the shadows on the water. For the final image of the visit I want to maximise on the 14mm / 21mm view. The image is a 30 second exposure at f/10 / ISO 200. I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this lens is capable of. There is a massive versatility of speed + ultra wide + stunning output and I can’t wait to get it know it better. The Fujinon 14mm lens looks like the perfect companion for both landscape photography as well as general street / documentary work….
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There is a growing trend amongst digital photographers to use their digital SLR cameras to capture stunning high definition time-lapse films. I thought I would start to explore the process using my X-E1 camera but I would stress this post is not a presentation of work, the film at the top of the post is merely my first and very rough experiment. This post documents my first attempt to capture a time-lapse video and process the images in Lightroom 4 to create a high definition time-lapse film.
If you want to explore this technique then in addition to a camera and tripod you are going to need an intervalometer. An intervalometer is a piece of hardware that all trigger your camera at a preset time interval. These range in price from around £15 through to over £100 if you opt for a wireless system. I have purchases the cheapest intervalometers I could find.
Intervalometer – X-E1
The X-E1 features a mic/release connector. I tested a canon remote release cable with the X-E1 and it triggered so I took a risk and purchased an intervalometer with the same Canon interface. This unit cost £19 and works perfectly.
Shooting the time-lapse….
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In July 2011 I purchased the Fujifilm X100camera. I was struck by the liberty offered by such a small yet powerful camera. Coming from a full frame DSLR setup I have to confess the initial months were a love hate relationship. I loved the stunning image quality while hating the focus accuracy of the initial release. Fujifilm quickly addressed the frustrations with a series of firmware updates that catapulted the X100 camera to the fore of my photography habit. Like many I found the X100 offer a photographic experience that developed my skills as a photographer, rather than rattling off a series a shot I learned to be more thoughtful and controlled making each shot matter. The X100 taught me that you can be creative in the camera without having to rely on post production processing. In short the X100 became my every day camera. 2012 brought the mighty X-Trans sensor in the X-Pro1 and more recently X-E1. Both cameras have the same sensor and are capable of producing breathtaking images, ultra-sharp with simply beautiful colour rendition. Fujifilm are certainly leading the way in the mirrorless camera market and we all knew it was only a matter of time before we saw an upgrade to the X100. Despite expecting to see the Fuji X200 the announcement of the X100s came with a very large wave of excitement. I was lucky enough to have the X100s for a week in December and I used it to capture some images around Northern Ireland. Like the X20I decided to visit Belfast, County Down and my favourite location ‘The Dark Hedges’. Physically the camera is almost identical to the X100, there is the addition of the ‘S’ to the logo and the all important Q button but also the focus options are now M-C-S rather than M-S-C as they were on the X100. The big changes come on the inside, a 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II a a Lens Modulation Optimiser and the new EXR processor are just a few of the highlights. Anyway, I was already a massive fan of the X100 and was the X-Trans sensor going to make that much of a difference? In short, in complete certainty and after just a few hours I was able to conclude the answer is a definitely YES. The image output is breathtaking and I can’t wait to use the X100s to capture long exposure photos. If I was asked to describe the X100s in two words they would have be “Super Sharp”. I was restricted to shooting JPG but I was blown away at just how sharp the photographs are and how quick the camera is to focus and capture……
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I recently acquired two little, vintage dinky mini cars and normally would have reached for a 50mm lens and a sub f/2.0 aperture to create a miniature world effect. The Fujinon 35mm lens at f/1.4 is equivalent to a 53mm lens at f/2.0 on a full frame camera so I began to wonder if I need to turn to 50mm to achieve the depth of field I was looking for. Starting of with the Fujifilm X-E1 & 18-55mm XF Lens”>18-55mm zoom lens I shot a number of photos of the car (setting the X-E1 on macro mode). You can see from the following two images to get the scale right meant framing at 35mm-55mm….
You can see that moving between the 18-55 zoom and 35mm prime offered different focal lengths and I could adjust the scale of the car. I think both the 18-55mm zoom and 35mm prime worked well to achieve a ‘slight’ sense of reality. I am genuinely beginning to wonder if I really need to retain a full frame camera given the quality of photographs I can achieve with the fujinon lenses. I know there is an even finer DoF offered with f/1.4 on full frame but I am just not sure how often I actually need it.
Note: All photos were captured on the Fujifilm X-E1 and either the 18-55mm zoom lens or 35mm prime lens.
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I was asked my opinion on how the Fujinon 18-55mm zoom lens would fare in Long Exposure Photography setting. Equipped with my trusty tripod I thought I would capture a few very quick test shots using the Fuji XE-1 and 18-55mm lens. I headed to the my favourite location and the one I used for the cover of The Long Exposure eBook. Without any ND filters I shot a series of long exposure images between F/18 and F/22 shooting at up to 3 seconds with an ISO of 200. This image is straight out the camera with no post processing.I am shooting RAW with the X-E1 and have noticed that Lightroom 4 crops the X-E1 RAW files on import. It is easily fixed by clicking the “Crop Overlay” tool in the Develop module and setting the size to be “Original”. I did put the 18mm (prime) lens on the camera with ND10 filter attached but I actually found I missed the OVF of the X-Pro1 for final framing. It is probably something I will get used to but the real joy has to be just how light the X-E1 is to carry around, it is definitely noticeably lighter than my X-Pro1 (which isn’t exactly heavy!). It was liberating to be able to use the zoom lens to frame the shot. With a prime lens the photographer has to zoom with their feet which has obvious limitations at the base of a fast flowing waterfall. With the zoom lens I was able to get tighter (towards the 55mm end of the lens) and retain the f/22 aperture using the manual aperture mode (switch on side of lens).
Using the Zoom. You can view larger version of the photos featured in this post over in the flickr set. I was really impressed at the quality of the images even if they are only 2 second exposure captures at f/22.
If you want to learn how to capture long exposure images with any camera system then check out The Long Exposure ebook http://www.flixelpix.com/featured/the-long-exposure-photography-ebook/
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I paid a visit to R-Space with the X-E1 and 18-55mm lens to experiment in a different type of photographic environment. The R-Space Gallery was home of the ‘Mak-9 Things that fall in between exhibition‘ and currently houses the work of brilliantly talented Rachel Gomme a solo performance artist who uses knitting as a metaphor. Rachel was knitting constantly from 11am to 4pm and presented a year long knitting experience, a visual timeline in yarn throughout 2010. Today was the opening performance that offered visitors a chance to learn and take part in the creation of ‘the memory of yarn’ with tutors on hand to teach a number of different techniques. It was great to revisit this brilliant, creative space and catch up with what Anthea and Robert have planned for the months ahead. As well as visual installation each exhibit in R-Space is accompanied by a series of workshops and artists talks. It is a gallery worth following on Facebook. There were still some remnants of the Mak9 exhibition left from last June, this really is a striking location. Lotus Dewit’s amazing insects still remain on the old toilet. Scarily real, this is a place where time has stood still. A house filled with history is a perfect location for a creative space focusing on craft and visual arts and the R-Space team really maximise its potential. All photos were taken with the Fujifilm X-E1 with 18-55mm zoom lens.
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When Fujifilm announced the new X-E1 camera I couldn’t help wonder where it sat in relation to the fantastic X-Pro1 that I had now grown to know and love. The X-E1 features all the power of the X-Pro1 but in a streamlined, reduced specification package and at its current price point is going to have a lot of photographers particularly excited. Both the X-E1 and X-Pro1 share the same software engine and stunning 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor. Both cameras offer the amazing low light quality we are used to and although they have remarkable similarities they also have some key differences that will attract different photographers depending on their specific needs and style.
Fujifilm have continued with the successful retro styling of the X range cameras it is as visually stunning as it is powerful. I will look at the differences between the cameras later. I opted for the silver option as I love the look of the X100 and view the X-E1 firmly as a replacement to the my first experience with the Fuji’s mirrorless camera range. The X-E1 is perfect for the shooter who doesn’t quite need all the features of the X-Pro1 and who wants to break into the interchangeable lens setup. Because the X-E1 uses the same sensor as the X-Pro1 the image quality is nothing short of amazing and it means the camera is already supported by Adobe Lightroom 4. I frequently receive emails asking how I find Lightroom for processing of X-Pro1 files and although I have read many photographers struggling with the format I still find shooting RAW and LR4 perfectly acceptable. To be honest if I had any major issue with the RAW files I would have moved back to shooting JPG. I have no doubt Adobe will improve their support for the X-Trans sensor in upcoming updates but at least there is support, Aperture users are still, sadly lagging well behind on support for the X-Pro1. Over the last year I have really got to the know the sensor and how Lightroom processes the files so much so I’ve created a number of Lightroom presets designed for using with the X-Trans sensor, see FlixelPix Grit and FlixelPix Mono……
Although I love shooting at a fixed focal length with the 35mm XF being my favourite lens I foresee the 18-55mm will see a large amount of use for general day to day shooting. The 18mm-55mm zoom lens offers my favourite 23mm and 35mm focal lengths at the twist of a lens barrel and with the added four stop Image Stablisation I am not sure you could ask for more. If you are currently an X-Pro1 owner and are looking at the X-E1 as a second body then the kit deal that includes 18-55mm lens might be worth considering. As for the X-E1 it is everything you would expect from Fujifilm, a variation on a theme it offers an affordable version on the brilliant X-Pro1 with a slightly different specification perfect. Photographers looking for a good value, high quality replacement to their DSLR should look no further. Did I mention the photo output is stunning? Check the flickr set for larger versions of the photos in this post.
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Poll : What is the perfect focal length?
Autumn is one of those few times of the year when I deliberately try and shoot into the sun. A a break from Long Exposure Photography I was playing with the X-Pro1 (35mm lens) and the Canon 5D (35mm lens), the Canon tends to be my video camera and the X-Pro1 for stills. Although both lenses were 35mm the X-Pro1 has a cropped sensor so the setup works more like a 50mm lens than a 35mm which is great. Over the past year I have really got to know the X-Pro1 I can control it more and I feel I get a better sense of what I have shot compared to my 5D. With the Canon I have to imagine the shot, the bokeh the detail whereas with the X-Pro1 I feel I can trust the EVF. I am constantly asked why I still use the Canon when I have the X-Pro1 but frankly there isn’t a camera around (in the same price bracket) that can beat the Canon 5D MKII or III for video quality and control. Even the onboard sound recording is quite remarkable. It is bulky, it is heavy but when it comes to video it is a price worth paying….
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