Tips and Tricks

Studio Lighting: Scaramouche Ice cream | George Greenlee

A friend of mine recently launched an Artisan Ice Cream company and it is really taking off for him at the moment. No doubt the hot weather helps, but the real attractions are the way the ice cream is made, from scratch with full cream jersey milk and 100% natural ingredients, and the flavours: Thyme and Honey, Ras Al Hanout, Vervain to mention just three. I then there are the chocolate and ginger ice cream cakes, man they are to die for. He is putting together his website and advertising and asked me to take product shots. We planned out two mornings for shooting at the Scaramouche parlour as it was not practical to shoot in my small studio. Ice cream has two problems. The first is from a photographic perspective it is not visually exciting. To avoid bland images you need to use lighting that emphasises shape and texture while adding some styling that does not detract from the core product. The second is that it melts, and in 30+ degrees it melts fast. So you don’t have much time to mess about with lighting. I decided on a simple one light set up as shown below. The soft box creates a large light source relative to the size of the product and so minimises specular highlights. By putting it slightly behind and above the product I can get enough direction on the light to pick out  the texture of the ice cream. The reflectors allow me fill in shadows as required……

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The Fuji, The Filters and the Tripod | Dave Kai Piper

This is a short blog about Lee Filters, 3 Legged Thing and Fuji, and how these companies changed the way I shoot. I run a company called Ideas & Images. We provide both images and ideas to who ever wishes or wants them. Mostly we work within the Fashion world, the slow world of the landscape photographer seemed so far away…….

A while ago, I had a lovely e-mail from a lovely company who make Filters.

Lee Filters popped down to see me and left me with a set of filters specifically designed for CSC cameras.  The Seven5 System filters are smaller than the normal 100mm system. The  Filter Holder is designed for the compact system cameras and can hold the Lee Seven5 75x90mm filters. Lee also have a range of adapters for all the Fuji & Zeiss lenses. (The Zeiss pictured below is 52mm where as the 18 -55 lens is 58mm. Most of the lenses have different filter sizes).  Being a more from the fashion world, I had NEVER used a filter in my life that was a not a screw on style ND, a Polariser or generic camera filter. Seeing how they worked and how they could be used to shoot fashion would be fun (more on that here). Aside from filters and fashion for a moment though. I wanted to explain how 3 Legged thing and Lee Filters changed the way I use the Fuji. I have documented already how the Fuji changed what I shoot. This is the Landscape version of that story……

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VSCO Film vs Fujifilm Digital | Stephen Ip

I’ve been using VSCO Film 02 for a week now and so far I like the results of the images I processed using the presets. Only time will tell whether or not I grow tired of the look the presets produce. The nice thing about the film pack and accompanying toolkits, however, is that they make it easy to dial back on „the look“. The adjustments bundled into the film pack and two toolkits for Lightroom each have various versions which let me fine tune my edits quickly and easily. After a week, one of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed is that the presets speed up the editing process while allowing me to maintain a high level of consistency from image to image. True, I could have saved my money and created presets myself that gave me the look I was after. But sometimes, it’s worth the investment to let someone else do part of the work for you, especially when they do it as well as VSCO has done here. Here’s a set of images I shot yesterday and edited using the Fuji Superia 100 preset. For comparison, I also included the JPEGs processed by the Fujifilm X-Pro1 using the built in Astia film simulation mode. (For each set of images, the RAW files edited using VSCO Film are on top while the out of camera JPEGs are on the bottom.) ….

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Fuji x100s Follow Up Review :: Life Without DSLRs | Zack Arias

I have been DSLR free for about two months and all is well. During the past two months I’ve been to Cuba, New York (x2), and Arizona. I feel I have hit just about every type, and kind, of job I do and my little Fujis have performed flawlessly. I really relied on them in Arizona where I was shooting for Land Rover. I shot that job with a mix of Fujis and the Phase One. Everything else has been Fuji only. I have no clue how many miles I have put on my Think Tank Airport Security roller bag. I love that bag and it has been everywhere with me for four or five years as my main camera bag. For the past two months I’ve mainly been living out of the Think Tank Airport Essentials backpack. Here’s a fully packed bag that fits under the seat in coach. I never have to worry about it getting gate checked. Packed in there is a Fuji X-Pro1, X-E1, x100s (x2), a Fuji 60, 35, 14, and the new 55-200, Kung Pao (Yongnuo) 560, an external battery pack for the Kung Pao (JJC), Fuji EF-X20 flash, Wein Safe Sync IR transmitter, an OCF Gear 5 meter Canon cord, a Rainbow Imaging intervalometer and remote release controller (for the X-E1), a Fuji M mount adapter, Macbook Air, external drive, and misc other bits and bobs. Strapped to the side is a Phottix 36″ double fold umbrella, and a one foot length of 1/2″ copper pipe with a small swivel adapter. That’s A LOT of gear in a small bag……

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Fuji X100S

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X-Pro1 Using Custom Settings | For RAW Shooters and Film Fanatics |
Adam J Piper


Custom settings can be an extension of the film simulations, adding another layer to your jpgs, or they can be set up to give you the best preview of your RAW files, enabling you to make better exposure decisions. I show you how to set them up, use them effectively and some of my favourite settings for your Fuji X cameras….

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The X100s and the Lee Seven5 System | David Cleland

I am a massive fan of long exposure photography and the only issue I have ever faced with my X100/X100s was the challenge of capturing long exposure photographs during the day light hours. I tried a few 49mm variable filters with little or no success and because the X100s system is all about simplicity the idea of struggling with step-up or step-down adaptors to attach an ND filter just didn’t make sense. To this end I found the X100s was my main everyday camera but I had to pack another system if I was planning long exposure captures. Welcome the Lee Seven5 Micro System. When it comes to filters Lee are the gold standard and their recently released Seven5 micro filter system now includes an option for Fujifilm’s X100 and X100s cameras. I should also make it clear at this point the Lee Seven5 micro system isn’t just for the X100s and I plan to employ it with the X-Pro1 with various lenses……
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A walk on the wide side…or how I use ultra wides like the Fujinon 14mm |
George Greenlee

Ultra wides are fun to use however the all encompassing field of view can make good compositions difficult to achieve, while being even slightly off true level in any plane can introduce unnatural distortions. Ok the latter can be used to good effect creating dramatic perspectives, but it can also look gimmicky if not done well. The obvious impulse is to go large and look for grand vistas. I find this is invariably a mistake. With a field of view of 21mm on the X-Pro1, the Fujinon 14mm is still a 14mm lens and its perspective reduces even the mightiest of mountains to hillocks in your images if you are not close enough. My wife took me up a mountain recently to show me the perilous route she took across the mountain on horseback. The image below was shot for fun with the X-Pro1 panorama feature and the 14mm lens. The mountains in the background are not that far away and they are over 1200m high. Where I am standing is at around 600m. The image is….well…rubbish really and gives no sense of the dramatic route that she took. A better way to take this shot would be to stitch multiple shots using a lens that is closer to the perspective of the human eye, say 50mm or so. The second impulse, at least for landscapes, is to use F11 or higher and use the hyper-focal technique. This works well in most cases, particularly if the intended display medium is the web, but my personal preference is to use an aperture of around F8 and to manually focus on the subject. Ultra wides like the 14mm at F8 have buckets of DOF without having to worry about diffraction. Manually focusing on the X-Pro1 is very straight forward. With longer lenses the 10x magnification on the view finder is a challenge, but I find it ok on this lens. If you find it tough, drop to 3x. The real bonus of this method is that if you do decide to print large you will have a better quality image in the sense that the key subject is on the plane of sharpest focus. The Fujinon XF 14mm is remarkably devoid of distortion which makes it an interesting lens to use for architecture. I tend to travel a lot on business and I always carry a camera with me. Recently I was near Tower Bridge in London heading to the Regus offices there for a meeting. It was all foggy an atmospheric first thing in the morning. The City Hall  building caught my eye but I was late for the meeting so  I took a  a quick snap to remind me to go back after work, or later in the week to take some photos……

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A hack/tip for Fuji X100(s) users who zone focus | NoSugar on
Digital Photography Review

I’ve owned a Fuji X100 and now a X100s. I shoot street and usually shoot very close to my subjects , So F8 (sunny), Shutter at 500, ISO Auto (6400), manual focus at 7 feet and I am ready for some street photography. So out I go to the streets and I see an interesting subject, whip out my x100s , frame > shoot (sometimes from the hip) in a matter of seconds ! Sometime later, I retire to a nice cafe, order a ice mocha … and settle down to browse thru my shots. Arrrrggh !!!  Fully half of my shots are not in focus. Only now I’ve noticed that my manual focus distance has shifted from 7 feet to 15feet instead !!!

So the issue here to me is, the manual focus ring is so damn smooth that it is very easy for me to unintentionally touch it and shift focus distances. It is very irritating when you are zone focused and need too check the evf/lcd every now and then to make sure your distance scale is correct.
So I brainstormed a bit and came out with a small (maybe inelegant) solution. I dug out an old inner tube for my mountain bike, cut out a strip that is about the width of the focus rings and wrapped over it. The little bit of friction from the rubber prevents the focusing ring from moving from the lightest of touches but it does not affect anything else and I still can adjust aperture/manual focus (turning the ring or AEL/AFL method) as per normal.
I’ve attached a pic here …

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Fuji x100s Flash Sync Tests | Kevin Housen

The previous post looked at how the Fuji x100s shutter syncs with an external flash. The bottom line was that the shutter takes about 1/600 of a second to close. So any shutter speeds faster than that can’t have a fully open aperture, because the shutter is already partially closed when the exposure starts. This means some light can be lost while using a flash at high shutter speeds.

Here’s an example. Suppose you set the Fuji to a wide open aperture of f/2, and its max shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second. You have a flash connected, set to manual, at some power level. If the t.1 time of the flash is longer than 1/4000 of a second, you’re gonna lose light. A Canon 430EXII flash has a t.1 time of 1/4000 of a second when its set to 1/8 power. So as long as you’re set to 1/8 power of less, you shouldn’t lose too much light.

I decided to test this idea. At the same time, I was curious how well the Fuji would sync with the flash if I used my Pocket Wizard remotes, instead of a hard-wired connection between the camera and flash.

To test this, I put the Fuji on a tripod and pointed it at a couple of white doors. Boring, but it worked. The 430EXII flash was also on a stand, with no modifiers, other than the 1/4 cut of CTO gel I always have on this flash. The camera was set to 100 ISO. The room was dark enough that ambient light was insignificant.

The image below shows some results. The left most column of images were taken with the Pocket Wizards (Flex TT5 and Mini TT1). The flash was set to manual, 1/64 power. Going down in the column of images corresponds to increases in the shutter speed, from 1/125 up to 1/4000. By the way, the only way I could get the Pocket Wizards to work at all was to set them to basic trigger mode, which eliminates any possibility of adjusting the triggering time delays. It just a dumb, basic trigger. You can see that the camera was able to sync with the flash at shutter speeds of 1/500 and slower. Above that value, not so much….

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Fuji X100s: Synching, Shutter Speed, and the Like | Kevin Housen

After reading the great reviews of the Fuji x100s, I decided to take the leap and buy one. I’ve been getting more interested in street photography lately, and this camera seemed like a good fit. Plus, its supposed to sync at all shutter speeds, which is great for flash photography outside in bright sun. David Hobby and Zack Arias both have nice in-depth reviews.

But, things are rarely perfect. It turns out that the x100s can’t sync at f/2 unless you’re at around 1/1000 or slower on the shutter. Nice but, still, I was curious why that is. So I decided to run some tests to figure it out.

Phantom to the rescue

I used a high-speed video camera to watch the action of the shutter in relation to when the flash was fired. The setup is shown in the sketch below. The x100s sat on a table looking into the lens of a Phantom v1610 high-speed video camera, which was set to record at 40,000 frames/sec. A Cannon 430EXII flash was connected to the x100s via an OCF cord. The flash was set to manual, and aimed such that a little of its light could be seen in the video. The main purpose of the flash was just to add a timing mark to the video. Most of the light for the Phantom came from two LED flashlights (it has a really sensitive sensor). I know, a real strobist would have done a better job on the lighting, but I didn’t have a lot of time to play with it.

The video camera was set to trigger when the flash fired. So, when the shutter release was pressed on the Fuji, the flash fired, and the Phantom recorded the Fuji shutter motion. I made several recordings at various shutter speeds on the Fuji, all at f/2, no ND filter active. ……

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