I’m connected to a lot of photographers on Facebook from all over the world. And as much as I like these virtual interactions, I like it even more when I get the chance to meet one of these Facebook friends in real life. This happened last week with David. David’s a Belgian photographer who lives in Thailand most of the year. He’s an amazing travel photographer and he popped over to Belgium for a couple of weeks. So we decided to go on a shoot together. I like doing these kinds of spontaneous, last-minute freestyle shoots with other photographers because I think we can all learn from each other.
Steampunk @ the factory
I love shooting in abandoned factories and lately, I’ve been into photographing steampunkers, too. These two subjects are a match made in heaven. So I called up Major TC Theodoricus, one of Belgium’s most passionate steampunkers and we all met up in an old paper factory about an hour’s drive from where I live. Another friend, Frank, came along to make some BTS shots.
Gear-wise, I brought the Fujifilm GFX 50S, the GF 110 mm, GF 32-64 mm and the GF 23 mm. As for lights, I packed my three trusted Godox AD600B flashes, my SMDV Alpha 110 gridded softbox and my two Nicefoto strip lights, which have become an essential part of my lighting kit. Last noteworthy item was my Scotty II portable smoke machine. No steampunk shoot should happen without a smoke machine :-)
I was immediately struck by the vast hall with the cast iron pillars and thought they’d make great compositional elements in the frame. Now I’m a slow shooter and I prefer to get a couple of images that I’m really happy with.
In total, I got seven images I like in about five hours of shooting.
That’s actually a nice harvest for me. Here’s the first two in this blog post. With a dramatic subject and a dramatic backdrop like this, I think the lighting and the postprocessing needs to be dramatic, too. So I used a cross lighting setup and I positioned my main light in a way that The Major would be short-lit. I also wanted a moody, atmosphere so although I could have made the entire scene a lot brighter (I was only at 1/32nd power on the flashes), I went for a low-key look.
As you can see from this setup shot, there are two more lights in this shot: one strip light to the left of The Major, just out of frame and a second one behind him, pointed at the steel pillar. I did that to make the lighting more coherent. Apart from editing out the softbox on the right and adding the flame coming out of the gun in Photoshop, the complete styling and color-grading was done in Lightroom, using the profiles in my Creative Profiles Starter Pack.
The Fujifilm GFX, the ideal camera for this sort of work
Two things I love most about the GFX are the incredible dynamic range, which lets me do quite nice things in postproduction as you can see from the before & after above, and the resolution. In fact, this is a 16:9 crop from the 4:3 original and it is still over 36 megapixel! Having more flexibility in choosing your aspect after the fact is also one of the reasons I’m secretly already lusting for the GFX 100S…
Here’s a 1:1 crop in Lightroom. The detail of the GFX is simply amazing. I just love that camera.
I personally like the version with the understated gunfire best, but I also played around with a more extreme version, as you can see below. Adding fire like that is simpler than you might think. I used an image from Adobe Stock. If the fire’s been photographed on a black background, in Photoshop, just change the blending mode of the layer to Screen, and you’re good. If you still see some artefacts around the fire, that’s a telltale sign that the background isn’t pure black. Just add a Levels adjustment and click with the black eyedropper on the black of the flame’s background to turn it completely black and in the Screen blending mode, the black will magically vanish!
The image above was shot with the 23 mm, which corresponds to an 18 mm on a fullframe camera. That’s a super wide lens so it takes in a lot of the environment. However, because of it being so wide, and having a relatively slow maximum aperture of f/4, it’s difficult to use shallow depth of field to separate your subject from the background. That’s why I also brought the 110, the bokeh monster of the GF lens lineup.
In the image below, I stitched a couple of vertical shots I took with the GF 110 wide open at f/2 into a panorama using Photoshop. I then colorgraded the image in Lightroom. If you’re on a fullframe camera system, try using an 85 mm 1.4 or 1.8. If you’re on a crop camera, try something like a 50 mm 1.4 or, in the case of Fujifilm, the 56 1.2.
The result is an image with a wide angle of view but at the same time the super shallow depth of field of a portrait lens. And as a bonus, you get an even crazier resolution. The image below is a whopping 10.860 x 8.145 pixels! That’s almost the resolution of the upcoming GFX 100S!
Again, other than the merging of the panorama which I had to do in Photoshop because it offers more control, the entire look of the image was created in Lightroom. Below is a 1:1 screenshot.
The controlled lighting and the super shallow depth of field really make the subject stand out from the background.
That’s it for this blog post. If you live in or near Belgium, speak Dutch and you’d like to photograph The Major yourself, you might be interested in the next edition of the Epic Steampunk Workshop, which is held on March 8, 2019. More information here (in Dutch). Ticket sales start January 31, 8 PM Brussels time. Below’s a 90 second impression of that workshop.
Also, don’t forget that until the end of January, you can save 25% on my brand new ‘Learn Lightroom Classic in 2.5 hours’ video course. Check it out here.
Save 25% on my new Lightroom Classic Tutorial:
left to save 25% on my new ‘Learn Lightroom Classic in 2.5 hours’ course AND score a bonus set of 10 Creative Profiles
From now until October 18th, noon PDT, it's 5 Day Deal time again! The 5 Day Deal is a unique bundle of photographic training content. If you were to buy every item separately, you'd be looking at a total bill of over $2.750. Now, you're only paying $117 (+ European VAT unless you have a VAT ID), a savings of more than 95 percent! The total bundle contains over 75 hours of video training, several eBooks and over 1400 Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions and other digital tools. In total several gigabytes worth of training goodness.
Yes, but what's in it for me?
Of course, the real question is: 'What is this bundle worth to you?' Unless you're really into all genres of photography, probably not the full $2.500. But I can guarantee you that even if you're only remotely interested in photography, the 5 Day Deal bundle is certainly worth more than the measly $117 it's selling for. In fact, this bundle will do more for your photography than the umpteenth camera bag or a shiny new UV filter.
To help you determine if it's worth your dollar, I've broken the bundle down into three typical areas of interest: general postprocessing, landscape photography and portrait photography. You'll see that even if you're only really into one of those three areas, the bundle is a steal. Heck, if you're into two or more, you should already be ordering!
1. You're into Lightroom, Photoshop and Postprocessing
Postprocessing seems to be the main theme of this year's bundle, so if image editing is your thing, you're in for a treat. The bundle is ideal to hone your editing skills over these cold winter months and get you ready for a great start in 2018. There's hundreds of Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions, overlays like smoke and sun flares and loads of training videos. As you can see, I'm very honoured that my own Black & White Lightroom Preset pack is included in the bundle. But even if you already have that, there's still $2.767 of other stuff :-) The total value of the highlighted items alone is over $1.500. The 5 Day Deal price is less than ten percent of that. If you're a Lightroom or Photoshop user, this bundle really is a no-brainer.
2. You're mainly interested in nature photography, landscapes, cityscapes and how to postprocess these
The total value of the highlighted items is about $700. From previous 5 Day Deals, I remember the excellent quality of the stuff that people like Jimmy McIntyre and Christopher O'Donnell put out, so I'm looking forward to discovering their new courses. Also, note that I've only counted items that have a direct relationship to landscape photography. There are lots of resources, like the many preset packs, that will without a doubt also be useful when you're editing your landscape images.
3. You're mainly interested in portrait photography and portrait retouching
The total value of the highlighted items is almost $800. Again, there are some hidden gems in this line-up. For example, I really enjoyed Jeff Rojas' no-nonsense approach on how to interact with, light and photograph 'normal people'. After all, we not always get to choose who winds up in front of our lens!
Still in doubt?
Here's 5 final reasons why you should really consider this bundle:
- This way of learning is one of the cheapest to improve your photography skills, at your own pace, when and where you want it. Furthermore, there's always a couple of hidden gems in bundles like this. For example, I really enjoyed Andrew S. Gibson's Black & White Presets and Jeff Rojas' posing and lighting video.
- A lot of this bundle's resources are new and if they aren't new, at least they've never been in any other 5 Day Deal bundle, so there's no overlap with previous 5 Day Deal purchases.
- The bundle is gone forever on October 18th, noon PDT.
- 10 percent of the entire turnover (not the profits, but the turnover, so almost $10 on every sale) goes to charity. Since the start of the 5 Day Deal in 2013, over $1.000.000 was donated to good causes. To that effect, upon checkout, you can opt for the 'Charity Match bundle'. This is an extra, separate bundle, worth over $900 which costs an extra $24,97, half of which goes to charity. Some 50% of people who bought the bundle so far have chosen this option. If you want to maximise your savings and in the mean time maximise your charity donation, look for the 'Charity Match' section, you'll see it on the 5 Day Deal page.
- But wait, there's more :-) Another extra option is the 'Pro Bundle Addon'. That's almost $500 worth of content for an add-on of only $12,47.
You see, I'm shutting up already. Yes. I'm that easy :-)
I've been shooting for almost one year with the Fujifilm GFX now and it has become my favourite camera of all times. Especially now that more and more lighting manufacturers are already offering full High-Speed Sync flash support (e.g. Godox) or have announced that they will (e.g. Profoto). If you've been on the fence about buying one, now might very well be the time because Fujifilm Europe has launched what is probably the best cashback deal on the GFX and the GF lens lineup so far. Even the just-released GF45 and the also fairly recent GF23 are included. The cashback started yesterday and lasts until January 15th, 2018. It's a direct cashback at the store, so no need to fill out any annoying online forms and wait for your money back. It's deducted right at the counter. The cashback varies from 300 € to 1300 €. Hey, that money buys you some nice lights to go with your GFX :-)
Here are the numbers (all including 21 % Belgian VAT, Recommended Retail Prices)
- GFX + 63 mm: 1300 € cashback. Price after cashback: 7298 €
- GFX + 32-64 mm: 1300 € cashback. Price after cashback: 8198 €
- GFX + 120 mm: 1300 € cashback. Price after cashback: 8598 €
- GFX + 110 mm: 1300 € cashback. Price after cashback: 8698 €
- GFX + 23 mm: 1300 € cashback. Price after cashback: 8498 €
- GFX + 45 mm: 1300 € cashback. Price after cashback: 7498 €
- 63 mm lens only: 350 € cashback. Price after cashback: 1249 €
- 32-64 mm lens only: 550 € cashback. Price after cashback: 1949 €
- 120 mm lens only: 640 € cashback. Price after cashback: 2259 €
- 110 mm lens only: 660 € cashback. Price after cashback: 2339 €
- 23 mm lens only: 620 € cashback. Price after cashback: 2179 €
- 45 mm only: 300 € cashback. Price after cashback: 1499 €
Still in doubt? Here's two videos of the GFX in action. One by me, using a prototype back in November 2016 in Varanasi and one by Tom Museeuw, in which he uses a confetti blaster to cover his model with cocoa powder. I've chosen these two because they show just what a versatile camera the GFX is: from the alleyways of Varanasi to a studio environment: it captures life in all it's fine colours and details. You might also want to check out my Fujifilm GFX review and the blog post called 'No Flash? No Problem' in which I show you what you can do with a 5 stop underexposed image.
Finally, Fujifilm have also announced a 24 month lease plan for the GFX camera at 0% interest. Check with your Fujifilm GFX dealer for more info.
I am honored to be featured in the 20th issue of the official Fujifilm X Magazine in an article about travel photography. I not only talk about classical travel photography, but also urbex photography, which I consider to be traveling back in time! You can download this and the previous editions of the magazine here for free.
The cover image was shot mixing flash and available light during my 5 day GFX Challenge shoot in India, the video of which you can see below. If you're interested to know more about flash photography, check out my latest book Light It Up! Techniques for Dramatic Off-Camera Lighting (in English) or Flash! Flitsfotografie op locatie (in Dutch).
Matt Brandon and I are pleased to announce the third edition of the Location Portraiture and Lighting Masterclass. This workshop will be held from November 26th to December 3rd, 2017, in two of India's most photogenic cities: Kolkata and Varanasi. We will shoot both classical portraits as environmental ones, and use available light as well as artificial (flash) light. Below are some examples of the types of photos you can expect to go home with at the end of the workshop.
Interested? You can find more info and a link to the registration form here.
A video interview with about the GFX and the accessories I used in India
As you could read in part 1, I have been using the brand new Fujifilm GFX in India and Belgium for a couple of weeks. I also made a 3 minute video about it for Fujifilm. Well actually, I did not make that video: fellow X-Photographers Matt Brandon (www.thedigitaltrekker.com) and Serge Van Cauwenbergh (www.fotografieblog.be) filmed it - entirely with X-T2 cameras by the way - and Matt also edited it. In case you haven't seen it yet, here's that video:
On the way back from Varanasi to Delhi, Matt interviewed me about the GFX, but also about some of the other accessories we have been using, like the SMDV BRiHT 360 and the SMDV Speedbox 85 that you can see me use extensively in the video. We also talk about using monopods and tripods and how to back up images like this while traveling. You can check out the video interview on Matt's site. There's some cool 100 percent close-ups of shots!
More GFX Challenge videos
If you haven't overdosed on GFX news by now, here are the latest GFX Challenge videos that Fujifilm have released:
Ollvier Wehrli - Switzerland
Watching Oliver's beautifully filmed video gave me vertigo. I guess I'm not cut out to be a landscape photographer!
Joshua Loh - Singapore
Joshua Loh appreciates the small form factor and fast focusing capabilities of the GFX. I also take away from the video that I really need a Mercedes SLS to complement the GFX... That car features in no less than three GFX Challenge videos :-)
Supalerk Narubetkraisee (Thailand)
Supalerk also lauds the universal nature of the GFX and has a couple of really nice star trail photos in his video.
Shiro Hagihara (Japan)
Shiro - like me - appreciates the EVF which lets him decide on exposure and color without having to take his eye off the viewfinder. He loves the Velvia simulation for his landscape work. He says the GFX lets him capture details that even his eyes could not see.
Saiichi's work involves still life photography with water. The video offers an interesting view into his studio set-up. He praises the quality of the CMOS sensor and the standard 4:3 aspect ratio which he finds better suited for commercial use.
Jonas Rask and Palle Schultz (Denmark)
The detail and sharpness of Jonas' lifestyle shoot images with a biker almost bite you from across the screen. A must-see if you're into motorcycles or good-looking guys :-)
Sangsun Ogh (Korea)
Sangsun takes us to a shoot of a model wearing traditional Korean attire. Needless to say, the resolution of the GFX helps to bring out every little bit of texture.
Knut Koivisto (Sweden)
Knut appreciates the fact that the camera works as well in the studio as it does outside of it, in the streets. He uses the X-T2 and the GFX intermittently. For him, DSLRs have been sidestepped now.
Today Fujfilm have officially announced their Medium Format Mirrorless camera, the GFX 50S. The camera had already been pre-announced at Photokina, but now we have the full specs and, not unimportant for a camera of this calibre, the price!
I won't bore you to death with all the tech specs (they can be found on Fujifilm's own website) but here's the most important ones:
- All new G Mount with 12 pins to ensure a maximum of information can be exchanged between camera and lenses. Diameter of 65 mm and a flange back of 26.7 mm.
- 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS sensor, rumoured to be the same as in the Pentax 645Z but with Fujifilm tweaks added to it (and of course Fujifilm's own processing which is done by the X-Processor Pro). This means the sensor is 1.7 times as big as a fullframe sensor and almost 4 times the size of a regular X system sensor.
- The crop factor is 0.79. To know what a G-mount lens is like in fullframe terms, multiply the focal length by 0.79.
- The sensor array is Bayer, not X-Trans. Personally, I think that's a good fact. As it's still unclear as to whether Capture One will support the GFX, Lightroom currently seems to be the only mature raw converter that will support it and it does a great job with Bayer sensor patterns.
- 51.4 megapixel sensor with 8256 x 6192 files (4:3 native aspect ratio). Other aspect ratios can be set in the camera and, contrary to medium format cameras with an optical viewfinder, the GFX can show you an exact preview of what your crop is going to look like in its EVF.
- Base ISO of 100. ISO up to 12.800 and extended ISO modes up to 102.400.
- Mirrorless design
- Focal plane shutter to 1/4.000th of a second, electronic shutter up to 1/16.000 of a second
- Weather sealed
- Dual SD Card slots
- Contrast-detection AF with joystick for quick focus selection (just like X-T2 and X-Pro 2)
- 117 focus points all around the frame, pretty unique in the medium format world!
- Tethered shooting support (Lightroom)
- HDMI, PC Sync Port, USB3 and Remote Control connectors
- Flash Sync Speed of 1/125th - HSS should be available through Fujifilm's own EF-X500
- Detachable viewfinder with a 3.69 M-dot viewfinder
- Two-way 2.36 M-dot tiltable screen (like the X-T2) with touch capability
- New, more powerful battery
- E-ink display that shows essential shooting data even when the camera is turned off
- Full HD Video @ 30 FPS. Although, if you want a video camera, get the X-T2: it's four times cheaper :-) Matt Brandon from www.thedigitaltrekker.com and Serge Van Cauwenbergh from www.fotografieblog.be used the X-T2 to film my GFX challenges video and we were all amazed by its video capabilities!
- Weight: 825 grams including battery and card for the body-only. That's less than typical pro-level DSLRs. 1230 grams with the 63 mm attached. Or in other words: medium format quality for fullframe weight!
Of course, no system is complete without lenses. Just like the X-Pro 1 some five years ago, the GFX is available with a choice of three lenses, and a promise of more to come. Of the three lenses that are currently available, the 32-64 is the one I used the most. In fact, Lightroom tells me I shot 87% of my images with this very versatile lens. In order to know what these lenses are like in fullframe terms, you have to multiply their focal length by 0.79. This means this lens translates into about 25 to 50 mm. My second-most used lens (ten percent of all shots I made) was the 120 mm f/4.
I really appreciate the fact that it's stabilised and while waiting for the announced 110 mm f/2, it makes for a nice portrait lens which has the advantage of having macro capability and being stabilised. Finally, the lens I used the least (only 3 percent) was the 63 mm f/2.8. Not that it's not a nice lens, in fact, with it's relatively light weight and relatively fast aperture (in medium format terms), it's got a lot going for it. It's just that 50 mm fullframe equivalent is not my favourite focal length to shoot at.
At Photokina, Fujifilm had already hinted at a price 'Well below $10,000' and it looks like they have kept their word. Body-only price in the US is $6.499. In Europe, it's $6.999, including VAT. So, for you professionals out there who can reclaim VAT, that's under €6.000! This makes the camera not only a serious contender for other suppliers of digital medium format cameras like Pentax, Hasselblad or Phase One, but this aggressive pricing strategy is clearly also aimed at winning over people who now shoot high-end fullframe DSLR cameras.
So what about the lenses? In Europe (Belgium) the price is as follows:
- Camera: 6.999 € including VAT
- 63 mm: 1.599 € including VAT
- 32-64 mm: 2.499 € including VAT
- 120 mm: 2.899 € including VAT
In the US, the prices are (excluding sales tax):
- Camera: $6.499
- 63 mm: $1.499
- 32-64 mm: $2.299
- 120 mm: $2.699
So, the camera is indeed 'well under $10.000', even including the standard lens. Although still a considerable investment, as far as I know, this is not only the latest, but also the most affordable medium format camera you can buy new, today.
Using the GFX in the field
The internet will probably explode with opinions about this camera, lots of which will be based only on the spec sheet. After all, few people have had a chance to really use the camera for a prolonged period of time. As you probably know by now (see this blog post), I was one of those lucky guys who had the opportunity to test a prototype for a couple of weeks, back in November. Below is the video I made for Fujifilm about it. Special thanks to Serge, Matt, Matt's wife Alou and fixer Manoj for their help!
The actual camera felt very finished, but the firmware was still very beta and buggy. However, this still gave me a very good idea of what it should be like to use the finished product. In summary, the GFX gives you the quality of medium format while combining the best in handling from the mirrorless and the DSLR world. If you're used to a traditional DSLR or - even better - any Fujifilm camera and especially the X-T2, you'll feel right at home. If you're used to using other medium format cameras, you'll probably appreciate the ergonomics and all the little extras that aren't necessarily present on the camera you're currently working with.
My Top-10 features
This brings us to my favourite features of the camera.
1. Image Quality
When I saw the first shots in the viewfinder and later on my monitor, I was simply stunned, and I still am. And mind you, this is even without having worked with the RAW files as there currently isn't any support for them, yet. I did capture uncompressed RAF files along with Super Fine JPEGs (a new setting, delivering JPEGs of up to 20 Megabyte in size).
2. 24 megapixels is plenty, 51.4 is plenty more!
I was (and still am) happy with the 24 megapixels of my X-Pro2 and X-T2 bodies and especially for the APS-C sensor size, I think that is a nice sweetspot. However, with the GFX's sensor being almost four times as big, there was obviously room for more megapixels. The GFX 50S should actually be called the GFX 51.4S, as this is the actual pixel count. It's funny, really, that the number just gets rounded off. 15 years ago, the first affordable digital cameras were about 1.4 megapixel. Now, that is considered pocket change! The GFX has a 4:3 aspect ratio, which takes some getting used to. However, I have started to appreciate this aspect ratio, especially with regards to printing. The images are 8256 by 6192 pixels tall.
The first advantage of having this many megapixels is obviously the resolution if you want to print really big. At 300 dpi, without any upsampling in Photoshop, you can print images that are 28 inches or 70 cm on the long side. Now, if you're printing on inkjet printers, 200 to 150 dpi is actually a much more common resolution. This means that you can print up to almost 60 inches on the long side, without needing to upsample in Photoshop. With some upsampling, even larger, sharp prints are absolutely possible. Simply amazing.
The second advantage is cropping. Although I try to get my crops right in camera, there will always be situations where you could not get the crop you wanted, or a layouter wants to use a crop from a shot because it better matches the layout. In the example below, I was actually shooting vertically. It was a staged, lit shot which I wanted to be quite dramatic. However, suddenly, the dogs - a quintessential part of Indian daily life - came walking through the frame and I wanted to capture that, too. I had no time to change the camera's orientation. The horizontal crop puts the focus more on the street scene. And it's still some 25 megapixels, so even more than an uncropped shot of my X-T2.
3. Dynamic Range
Another reason many photographers invest in Medium Format, is to have more dynamic range and much more postprocessing leeway with the raw files. As I mentioned, there still is no raw support so it's hard to fully appreciate this already. I will report back on this as soon as I can but from tests I did with the camera's built-in converter, I'm very optimistic!
4. Autofocus system
Traditionally, with medium format cameras, autofocus is the achilles heel of the system, requiring you to either use the LCD in Live View mode or the central AF point and then focus and recompose. This makes these cameras rather slow to use. The GFX is different. Although not as fast as its smaller, recent X-siblings (because it's contrast-detection only) it was surprisingly fast to focus (in medium format terms) and, more importantly, the 117 focus points cover the entire frame, so no need to focus and recompose. The latter technique could really cause you to lose your critical focus if you're working with shallow depth of field (like the upcoming 100 mm f/2 lens offers). To change your focus point, you can use the 'joystick' which most of us know (and love) from the X-Pro 2 and the X-T2. And of course, in those cases where the autofocus does not work, it's an easy switch to manual mode, where the manual focus aids (like 3 or 10 times magnification in the EVF) can help you focus manually. Try that with an OVF!
5. It's mirrorless!
Analog viewfinders are so 20th century... I really like the EVF on my other Fujifilm cameras and it's no different on the GFX. I like that I can see what I'm going to get even before taking the shot, the live histogram and the fact that I can set the camera up to show me a preview of my ambient exposure in manual mode. This is super handy when working with flash. Set the ambient, dial in the flash and review the picture immediately in the EVF. No need for chimping! I have done a full blog post covering the advantages of an Electronic Viewfinder in more detail. Check it out here.
6. Dual SD card slots
I love the fact that Fujifilm sticks to SD cards. They're readily available and so are card readers for them, unless you happen to own the new MacBook Pro, of course.
7. A lens roadmap
Remember when Fujifilm only had three lenses available at the launch of the X-Pro 1? Some people were hesitant to buy into the system but Fujifilm was smart: they released a lens roadmap that shared all the lenses they were considering making for the X-system. That not only showed that they were committed to the system, but it also made it easier for people buying into the system. If your favourite lens wasn't among the three initially available, you at least had an idea if it was coming. Fujifilm are repeating this launch strategy with the GFX. Already we know that 3 more lenses are scheduled for this year: a 23 mm f/4 super wide, a 45 mm f/2.8 and a 110 mm f/2. I love super wide angle shots. So, the fact that I know that the 23 mm wide angle is under development is important to me. The same goes for the 110 mm f/2.
These 3 extra lenses have been announced for 2017. As mentioned, I am really looking forward to the 110 mm f/2 and the 23 mm f/4. Together with the 32-64, they would be my personal 'holy trinity' of GFX lenses.
8. Size and weight of the system
Although the lenses are what you'd expect from medium format lenses that have to cover a sensor this large, the actual body is surprisingly small and lightweight. It's about 1.2 kg with the 63 mm lens. Size-wise it's more compact than most other digital medium format cameras, except maybe for the Hasselblad X1D. However, with that camera, goodlooking as it is, I cannot help but feel that the design process has emphasized form over function. And although the GFX (or the X-T2, for that matter) don't look as retro-sexy-good as the X-Pro 2 and definitely not as the X100 series in my opinion, in the end, it's the handling that matters most.
9. Love those old view cameras?
The GFX has got you covered! One of the things I love about the old view cameras is that you can hold them at waist level and then look down in the viewfinder. The GFX lets you simulate that with the two way tilt screen. You can tilt it both horizontally and vertically. If you're more into EVFs, then you will be able to purchase an accessory for the EVF that lets you rotate and tilt it. But back to the LCD: it also features a touch screen, which wasn't working yet on my prototype. So I can say nothing about it but from what I saw it will definitely be useful, if only when reviewing images.
10. Other odds and ends
There's really so much more to like about the camera: the fact that it will have tethering support (for Lightroom; apparently Phase One are still on the fence if they will open up their Capture One for the GFX) or the fact that it has built-in WIFI and that you can print to an Instax printer. That might seem like a gimmick, but I can assure you that for travel photography, the Instax really is a door-opener. Or how 'bout the C-position on the lenses. They have aperture rings (like in the good old days) but for those of you who have forgotten how these work, Fujifilm have added a C-position on each lens. Put your lens on the C-position and you can control the aperture with the command dial, pretty much like you can with a DSLR. Finally, another nice feature are the crops you can set in the camera. If you shoot RAW, you still record all the image data, but seeing only the crop in the EVF or the LCD really helps you with composition, especially with the new panoramic 65:24 format, which I really like and which I plan to do more with. It's just another one of those EVF advantages, I guess.
What could be improved?
Well, nothing is perfect. Not even the GFX :-) For example, the position of the Play button takes some getting used to. The eye cup is a little too easy to lose (at least it was on my unit), but those are all minor things. Probably the biggest drawback is the 1/125th sync speed. I use a lot of flash outdoors, and the faster your sync speed, the more you can overpower the sun with a flash of a given power. I was a bit worried that this would prove to be a problem in India but it actually wasn't. I used a lightweight yet powerful 360 Ws portable battery-powered flash (the SMDV BRiHT 360) and most of the time, that was powerful enough, even when used with a softbox. I'm also happy to hear that HSS support is available with the EF-X500 flashes and the next time I have a GFX at hand, I will try if the Cactus V6 Mark II, which offers HSS with other brands' speedlights and even studio flashes on the other X-series cameras (see this blog post), will also perform that same magic with the GFX.
The GFX is a mighty fine camera. Or, as Jonas Rask calls it in his review, a 'portable beast'. All 825 grams and 51.4 megapixels of it. I am not a pixel peeper by nature but it's kind of addictive to scroll through those files in 1:1 view in Lightroom or Photoshop, hitting Page Down and being amazed by the level of detail that unfolds in front of your eyes. As is also indicated by the videos of the other photographers who used the GFX, this is a camera that can please a very diverse audience, Except maybe for sports shooters, everyone from the studio photographer over the landscape photographer all the way to the portrait and travel guys like myself should all seriously consider this camera. And you know, although I wouldn't take it to the Olympics, in a pinch, thanks to its 4 frames per second, it can even shoot sports, too :-) As I did in this wrestling school in Varanasi.
That's it for now. If you want to hear more about the GFX and the other gear I used on this trip in conjunction with it, check out the video-interview that fellow X-shooter Matt Brandon, who also edited and partly filmed my GFX Challenges video, did with me while we were waiting for our plane from Varanasi back to Delhi. There's some great gear tips in there!
Join Matt Brandon and me in Varanasi in 2018
Each year, Matt Brandon and yours truly do a photo workshop in Varanasi, India and we also have a workshop in Ladakh in the works. If you are interested in these, fill out the form below and you'll be the first to hear. We love our newsletter subscribers so they always get the scoop. The 2017 edition sold out in one hour after sending out our newsletter. Although we are both Fujifilm shooters, this workshop is open to all camera beliefs. But you might go home converted :-)
In an upcoming blog post, I will show you some still unreleased images of that I shot back home, during a couple of urban exploring photo sessions I did with dancers in order to get to know the camera a little better, before embarking on a plane to India with it.
Looking to add that extra 'oomph' to your images?
Fujifilm today have released no less than 7 new GFX Challenge videos. For the GFX Challenge, some 20 photographers worldwide got to work with a prototype of the upcoming GFX medium format camera and the three lenses that are going to ship with it when the camera is released: the 63 mm f/2.8, the 32-64 f/4 zoom and the 120 f/4 stabilised macro.
The photographers were free to do what they wanted. The only thing is they had to make a three minute video of using the camera. It's really refreshing to see what people do with the camera. Not only the photography is truly breathtaking, but some of the videos are also beautifully made and most of them were filmed in 4K with Fujifilm X-T2 cameras.
Gary Heery (Australia)
Australian photographer Gary Heery uses the GFX and the macro lens to create some really beautiful still lifes (litterally) of objects frozen in time. I cannot wait to see these printed large. And neither can he, apparently!
Roméo Balancourt (France)
French portrait, architecture and food photographer Roméo Balancourt uses the GFX on location to shoot upscale restaurants and their crew. It's interesting to see him set up an entire lighting studio on location. He mixes available (tungsten) lights with flash and fresnel spots. He appreciates the Q menu and the Electronic Viewfinder that shows him exactly what he's going to get. I blogged about the advantages of an EVF a while back in this post. Roméo admits that before using the GFX, he always had to add extra sharpening to his images before delivering them to his clients. With the GFX, he no longer has to, he says. I also loved how the images he made during the video come together in a final composite, at around the 4 minute 5 seconds mark.
Luciano Romano (Italy)
For his GFX Challenge, Italian photographer Luciano Romano wanted to combine his three favorite elements of photography: art, architecture, and theater. He loves the excellent ergonomics of the camera (something I can confirm: if you're used to working with a DSLR or Fujifilm's X-T2, you'll feel right at home).
Victor Liu (Canada)
Perhaps it's slightly over-the-top, but I just love this Canadian landscape's photographer's video. I love the low angles, the fades from the video to shots of the GFX and back. It's like a trailer for a blockbuster movie. Or should I say, a blockbuster camera? Victor shows that the GFX absolutely feels at home in very rugged conditions. Now I want to go to the Rocky Mountains, too...
Ivan Joshua Loh (Singapore)
Medium format and cars. It's a marriage made in heaven. As such, the Mercedes SLS appears to be a hot ticket amongst car photographers: Ivan Joshua Loh from Singapore is the second GFX Challenger to photograph this gull-winged beauty of a car, yet he does so in a completely different way than Satoshi Minakawa.
Per-Anders Jörgensen (Sweden)
Swedish photographer Per-Anders Jörgensen describes his own work as "faked documentary" (a term I have to remember as it kind of reflects some of the stuff I do). Just like Roméo Balancourt, he takes the GFX to a restaurant but he uses it to photograph the preparation of food. It's interesting to see hem use a curtain as a diffuser tent and get under it to get the softest light possible. That's the nice thing about these GFX videos: you always pick up a thing or two that you can insert in your own workflow...
Minoru Kobayashi (Japan)
Japanese Minoru Kobayashi takes the GFX outside to photograph a sports car. I'm no petrolhead, but I think its a Honda NSX. Its 573 bhp sure goes well with the GFX's 51+ megapixel. He loves what he calls the "resolution with density" that only medium format can provide. His favourite film simulation is Velvia back from in the days where he shot Velvia on film, at ASA 50 or 100. He really loves the fact that he can now shoot Velvia digitally, with a previously unthought of ISO of 1600 and above!
With a price point of "well under $10,000" including the standard 63 mm lens, the GFX might very well wind up to be not only a "medium-format-killer" but also a "high-end-dslr-killer". And we've still got a couple of more GFX Challenge videos to come! In the mean time, if you want to see how the GFX behaves on the busy streets of India, have a look at (shameless plug, I I know), my own GFX video:
And in case you still need some more convincing, here's the other GFX videos that have been released thus far:
Testing the GFX was a lot of fun. Actually, it only had one drawback. I want one, now...
About a year ago, I published a blog post called 'Honoured, humbled, frightened and excited'. These words best described my feelings when I was invited by Fujifilm to test a pre-production sample of the X-Pro 2.
Fast forward to November 2016. I got a call from the Belgian Fujifilm office, inviting me to participate in the GFX Challenge: a limited number of photographers worldwide would get the opportunity to test drive a preproduction sample of the long-awaited and even longer-rumoured Fujifilm Mirrorless Medium Format camera, the 50 megapixel GFX 50 S.
So I was feeling humbled, honoured, frightened and excited all over again. Well, maybe even a little more humbled and honoured and definitely a lot more frightened, as the group consisted of only 20 photographers. Compared to last year, we not only were supposed to make images with the camera, but we were also asked to produce a short video clip. Other than that, we were free to do choose how, where and what we wanted to photograph.
I thought it would be cool to see how a camera that is thought of by most people as a typical studio camera, would behave outside of its natural habitat. So I rustled up fellow Fujifilm photographers Matt Brandon and Serge Van Cauwenbergh as cameramen and within days of being asked, we were on a plane to one of my favourite places to shoot: Varanasi, India.
Below is the clip on the official Fujifilm Youtube channel (with Japanese subtitles). It was filmed entirely in 4K with X-T2 cameras, by the way. For now, that is all I can share. More pictures and a more detailed account of my experience with the GFX will follow when Fujifilm releases the embargo.
In case your Japanese or your English are a little rusty, below is the clip on my Vimeo account. It's the same, but it gives you a choice of Dutch and English subtitles.
A huge thanks to Serge, Matt, Matt's wife Alou (who acted as my voice activated light stand) and our guide/fixer/translator Manoj. This would not have been possible without you, guys (and gal)! Further thanks are obviously due to Fujifilm Japan and Fujifilm Belgium and finally also a big thank you to Ruth and Noah for letting me embark on this unexpected journey on such short notice.
Join Matt Brandon and me in Varanasi in 2018.
If seeing this video got you excited about Fujifilm and/or photographing in India, know that Matt and I will be leading another Location Portraiture and Lighting Masterclass there in 2018. The 2017 edition of this workshop sold out in just one hour. We'll be releasing details about the 2018 one within the coming weeks. If you want to be notified as soon as dates and details are available, you can sign up for information via the form below. Please make sure to click on the link in the confirmationi email you receive.
From now until Wednesday, October 19th, noon PST, it's 5 Day Deal time again! The 5 Day Deal is a unique bundle of photographic training content. If you were to buy every item separately, you'd be looking at a total bill of over $2.500. Now, you're only paying $97, a savings of more than 95 percent! The bundle contains over 60 hours of video training, 15 eBooks and almost 500 Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions. In total over 25 gigabyte of training goodness.
Of course, the real question is: 'What is this bundle worth to you?' Unless you're really into all genres of photography, probably not the full $2.500. But I can guarantee you that even if you're only remotely interested in photography, the 5 Day Deal bundle is certainly worth more than the measly $97 it's selling for. In fact, this bundle will do more for your photography than the umpteenth camera bag or a shiny new UV filter.
To help you determine if it's worth your dollar (well, 97 of them), I've broken the bundle down into three typical areas of interest: general postprocessing, landscape photography and portrait photography. You'll see that even if you're only really into one of those three areas, the bundle is a steal. Heck, if you're into two or more, you should already be ordering!
1. You're into Lightroom and Photoshop
Postprocessing seems to be the main theme of this year's bundle, so if image editing is your thing, you're in for a treat. The bundle is ideal to hone your editing skills over these cold winter months and get you ready for a great start in 2017. There's hundreds of Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions, textures and loads of training videos. There's also a lot of HDR training, and I mean photographically interesting HDR, not the headache-inducing variety! The total value of the highlighted items alone is over $1.600. The 5 Day Deal price is less than ten percent of that. If you're a Lightroom or Photoshop user, this bundle really is a no-brainer.
2. You're mainly interested in nature photography, landscapes, cityscapes and how to postprocess these
The total value of the highlighted items is about $700. From previous 5 Day Deals, I remember the excellent quality of the stuff that people like Jimmy McIntyre, Klaus Herrmann and James Brandon put out, so I'm looking forward to discovering their new courses. Also, note that I've only counted items that have a direct relationship to landscape photography. There are lots of resources, like the many preset packs, that will without a doubt also be useful when you're editing your landscape images.
3. You're mainly interested in portrait photography and portrait retouching
The total value of the highlighted items is also some $700. Again, there are some hidden gems in this line-up. For example, I really enjoyed Serge Ramelli's no-nonsense approach to compositing: he photographs a model and then puts her in front of a different background. This course alone by itself normally costs double the entire 5 Day Deal bundle price.
Other areas of interest
But that's not all. There's also more general, introductory courses such as David duChemin's 26 part email course on the one hand but also some highly specialized ones on the other: how 'bout an in-depth course on Photo Mechanic (I know I can use one since I'm using this app more and more as a front-end to Lightroom). Or what about a course on how to photograph wine? It's all there.
If you're still in doubt, here's 5 final reasons why you should really consider this bundle:
- This way of learning is one of the cheapest to improve your photography skills, at your own pace, when and where you want it. Furthermore, there's always a couple of hidden gems in bundles like this. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Zack Arias' 'Get To Work - Business Primer' eBook. It's not something I'd probably buy (in fact, I didn't know it existed), but it was included in the bundle anyway!
- A lot of this bundle's resources are new and if they aren't new, at least they've never been in any other 5 Day Deal bundle, so there's no overlap with previous 5 Day Deal purchases.
- If you're more interested in the business side of photography, there's a couple of interesting items as well, like the afore-mentioned guide by Zack Arias. Zack's studio is doing great now, but he once was nearly bankrupt. So, he knows what he's talking about.
- The bundle is gone forever on October 19th, noon PST (that's 9 PM Brussels time).
- 10 percent of the entire turnover (not the profits, but the turnover, so almost $10 on every sale) goes to charity. Since the start of the 5 Day Deal in 2013, over $650.000 was donated to good causes. For this year, the 5 Day Deal team is hoping to achieve $250.000 of charity donations and they even silently hope to reach $350.000, which would bring their total over one million since 2013. To that effect, upon checkout, you can choose to pay an extra 10% ($9.7) which goes entirely to charity. And, as a token of good karma, you get an extra bonus-download worth $250. Some 50% of people who bought the bundle so far have chosen this option. It's called 'Charity Match', you'll see it on the 5 Day Deal page.
You see, I'm shutting up already. Yes. I'm that easy :-)
Met alle hype rond Fuji's nieuwe digitale middenformaatcamera GFX zou je bijna de 'gewone' X-camera's gaan vergeten. Recent nog lanceerde Fujifilm de X-T2, de opvolger van de immens populaire X-T1. Die laatste is overigens nog altijd te koop. De X-T2 (winkelprijs ca 1.700 euro body-only) kost sowieso ongeveer 500 euro meer dan zijn voorganger (1.200 euro body-only). Voor dat geld krijg je de helft meer megapixels, een beter kantelscherm, een handige joystick-controller, een gevoelig verbeterde autofocus en natuurlijk nog een resem kleinere verbeteringen.
Rock the Cashback!
Alsof dat het kiezen tussen beide toestellen nog niet moeilijk genoeg maakt, loopt er tot 31 januari 2017 nog een cashback-actie op de X-T1 waarbij zowel de zwarte als de graphite editie en zowel de body-only als de kit met de 18-55 en de 18-135 in aanmerking komen. Je kan maar liefst 300 euro terug claimen na aankoop. Dat brengt het effectieve prijsverschil op ongeveer 800 euro of anders uitgedrukt: de X-T1 kost momenteel ongeveer slechts de helft van de X-T2!
Is de X-T1 plots een slechtere camera geworden nu de X-T2 uitgekomen is? Natuurlijk niet! En met die 800 prijsverschil euro koop je al bijna een top prime objectief zoals de 56 mm f/1.2, de 16 mm f/1.4 of de 23 mm f/1.4 of... een vliegtuigticket naar een fotogenieke bestemming!
X-T1 of X-T2?
Fotografeer je graag snel bewegende onderwerpen, druk je graag op (echt) groot formaat af of wil je gewoon altijd het beste van het beste, dan zou ik eventjes door de appel bijten en toch maar onmiddellijk voor de X-T2 gaan. Je koopt dan een van de beste spiegelloze systeemcamera's die er momenteel op de markt is. Dat zeg ik trouwens niet, maar de EISA (de Europese foto-vakpers) die onlangs de X-Pro 2, het broertje van de X-T2, tot European Professional Compact System Camera van het jaar verkoos.
Indien je echter meer statische onderwerpen fotografeert en niet onmiddellijk op groot formaat afdrukt, dan is de X-T1 vandaag de dag nog altijd diezelfde goede camera als hij was bij zijn introductie. Eigenlijk is hij zelfs nog beter geworden, want hij heeft nog een aantal firmware updates gekregen. Ik heb fotoboeken gemaakt van 30 x 30 cm. Ik houd er daarbij van om één foto op een dubbele pagina te zetten zodat hij 60 x 30 cm afgedrukt wordt. Die afdrukken zien er fantastisch uit. Niemand die merkt de foto uit 'slechts' 16 megapixels bestond, waarvan ik er door de 2:1 uitsnede dan nog maar 12 gebruikte!
De huidige cashback maakt de X-T1 ook een interessante keuze voor wie in het X-systeem wil stappen op een budgetvriendelijke manier en nog wat geld wil overhouden voor de lenzen.
Hieronder vind je een selectie van tien van mijn favoriete foto's die allemaal met de X-T1 gemaakt zijn. Als je er reiskriebels van krijgt: met het bedrag van de cashback raak je al tot in India! *
Meer info over deze actie (en hoe je de cashback kan claimen) vind je bij je Fujifilm-dealer.
* Een ticket naar India kost ca 600 €, met de cashback geraak je dus al op je bestemming! En er valt zoveel te fotograferen dat je toch niet onmiddellijk terug wilt... Of je moet twee X-T1's in met cashback kopen :-)
I have just returned from a bustling two days at Photokina, the biannual photographic gear lovefest that is held in Cologne, Germany. I was travelling in the exquisite company of fellow Belgian X-photographers Isabel Corthier and Ioannis Tsouloulis. I want to thank the people from Fujifilm Japan and Belgium for inviting us over. Trade shows like Photokina are as much about people as they are about products. So, it was great to reconnect with longtime friends such as Tom, Bert (who used Tom’s bald head as a reflector during his 'Small lights, big results’ demo on the Fujifilm stand), Rob, Damien (energetic as ever), the German ‘rock star’ trio Dieter, Jens & Peter and Marco, Julia, Shusuke and Kunio. I also had the privilige of being introduced to new people such as Patrick La Roque, Jens Krauer, Martin Hülle and their impressive work. Finally, I am happy I got to meet Rico Pfirstinger. He’s the author of the unofficial Fujifilm manuals. If you are struggling to get the most out of your camera, his books and workshops are among the best resources to turn to.
Now of course, apart from the social aspect, Photokina is obviously also about gear. Lots of gear! In fact, it's probably the most GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)-inducing show on the planet. Even during those two days, I was unable to visit each hall, let alone each booth. Yet, there were a couple of products that caught my eye. Because the Internet loves lists, here's five of them, in no particular order. Well, except maybe for the first!
1. Fujifilm GFX
Call me biased (I'm an X-photographer after all) but the Fujifilm GFX was the star of the Fujifilm booth and probably even of the entire Photokina. In case you've just returned from another planet, the GFX 50s is Fujifilm's first digital medium format camera. It has a sensor size roughly 4 times that of the other X series cameras and a pixel count of 51.4 megapixel. The GFX 50s will be available with three lenses at launch, which you should be ‘early 2017’. By end of 2017, another tree lenses should be available.
Literally everybody wanted to get their hands on the camera of which only a couple of prototypes exist. I was lucky enough to get to hold it in my hands for a couple of minutes. I was surprised at how well it focused even in the dark venue where I was and also at how lightweight it was: this beast of a camera weighs less than many a professional DSLR! If you want to read more about the specs (even more than is available on Fujifilm's own website) read this excellent article by Rico Pfirstinger.
The price of the GFX hasn't been set yet, but Fujifilm management did promise it would be 'well under $10.000' with the standard lens. We have yet to see into how many Euro that will translate...
Official press release here.
2. Phottix Spartan beauty dish
As you know, I use a lot of artificial (flash) lighting in my images, so I'm always eager to learn about cool new lighting accessories. One interesting modifier I came across was at the stand of Phottix. The Spartan beauty dish (full specs here) is a modifier that seems to come straight out of a Transformers movie: it's easy to set up and you can remove the disc in the center to turn it into an octabox. I also like the fact that it comes with a grid. More and more, I seem to be using grids in my own lighting. The Spartan comes in two sizes: 50 cm and 70 cm. Price for the latter is about $145. That is very affordable, considering that some companies charge about that much for just a grid!
3. SMDV BRiHT-360
Just as I thought I could finally finish the manuscript of the second edition of my Making Light e-book, I came across the SMDV stand... I could not help but notice their BRiHT-360 portable barebulb flashes (there were about 10 of them placed along the counter). As you may know from previous blog posts, I am a fan of their easy to set up (and even easier to break down) Speedbox series of softboxes. At Photokina, it was the BRiHT-360 that stole the show, though. As its name implies, this is a 360 Ws barebulb flash. What I like about it is that it's super lightweight at only 1.25 kg including the battery. The latter lasts about 300 full power pops. Basically, this thing produces the same amount of light as four Speedlights at the weight and price of only two. What I also like, is that it works well with SMDV's Speedboxes, who happen to be also very lightweight: the combination of the BRiHT and an 85 cm Speedbox only puts 2 kgs on the scale!
The BRiHT does TTL and HSS with Canon and Nikon cameras (using a compatible SMDV Flashwave 5 trigger) but luckily enough it also works in manual mode on my Fujifilm cameras. I am looking forward to testing this unit more in-depth and to see whether I might even be able to get some sort of HSS with my Fuji cameras by using the Cactus V6 Mark II triggers, which I reviewed here.
In the mean time, you can read the full specs of the BRiHT 360 here. In Europe, the BRiHT will be available through www.foto-morgen.de. Price should be somewhere around €700 / $750.
Godox, whose Lithium battery-powered Ving V850 speedlight I’ve reviewed here, also had a stand at Photokina. Their AD600B battery powered studio flash has recently been reviewed in Shoot, the Belgian photography magazine I write for (Dutch link here). This unit packs 600 Ws of power in an affordable package with TTL and HSS support for Nikon, Canon and Sony. By default, it comes as an all-in one light with a battery that attaches directly to the body of the flash. The advantage is that you don’t need cables and you don’t have a separate power pack to worry about (or carry around).
The potential disadvantage is that if you put your light on a boom stand, especially with a heavy modifier, the setup can get a bit top-heavy. Also, if you’re using an assistant instead of a light stand, it’s quite a workout to hold a setup like this in the air for any prolonged period of time.
So I was happy to see the 600 Ws Extension Head. This accessory allows you to separate the pack from the head. Just unplug the flash tube from the AD600, plug it in the Extension Head, connect the power cable to where the flash tube used to be and boom, you've transformed your all-in-one into a pack-and-head system.
Godox also had a 1200 Ws Extension Head on display: this accessory has a special, more powerful flash tube which effectively allows you to turn 2 AD600s into one 1200 Ws pack-and-head system. With so much power, you can overpower the sun even when using larger modifiers. Or, you can benefit from faster recycle times.
Finally, Godox also had an AC adaper on display which allows you to turn the AD600 into a mains-powered flash. The adapter includes a fan as well.
If you live in the US, note that the AD600 is sold by Adorama under the Flashpoint XPLOR 600 brand name.
5. 3 Legged Thing Albert Tripod
I have been using the Three Legged Thing Brian tripod during my travels for the last couple of years. The main reason is that it is a lightweight travel tripod that still can be extended really high. For me, it serves a dual purpose: I can use it as a traditional tripod for long exposure photography (in which case I obviously don't extend it all the way up) but I actually use it a lot more as an impromptu light stand. Having this versatility (transformability really seems to be a theme in the products I selected in this blog post) allows me to travel with less weight without compromising on photographic opportunities. Alas, the Brian is no longer available. At Photokina, I was introduced to his successor: Albert. The Albert was improved on a number of points but still shares the Brian’s adventurous and multi-purpose DNA. Price of this carbon-fibre travel tripod system is about GBP 400 (including a ballhead).
Full specs here.
So there you have it, a quick round-up of some of some of the products that caught my attention at Photokina. If you were there, I’d love to hear what caught yours!
I have been using the X-Pro 2 for half a year now and that calls for a celebration. Because I could not find half-year birthday candles, I decided to print a book with some of my favorite images. And then I thought, why not create a small slideshow, while I'm at it?
Ever since I received a pre-production sample in november 2015, the X-Pro 2 has become my go-to camera. I use it for portraits and landscapes, for urban exploration and cityscapes.
I have taken the camera with me through hot and dusty India and through cold and rainy Belgium. I have shot it in the glaring sun and in near darkness. Long exposures and short ones. Natural light and flash.
I love the unobtrusive look that lets me focus on my subjects instead of having them focus on my camera. I love the retro dials on the body and the aperture rings on the lenses. I love the instant feedback of the Electronic Viewfinder and the fact that I can easily switch to an optical one in those instances where I prefer it, like when I’m shooting street photography.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I love the quality of the raw files that let me do almost anything I want in postproduction. Yet, I am perhaps even more impressed by the out-of-camera jpegs and the beautiful film simulations like Classic Chrome, Pro Neg and the new Acros.
I have included the EXIF info under each image, so you can have an idea as to what lenses I use and what they’re capable of. My personal favorites are the XF 10-24 and the XF 56 1.2 but I also find myself increasingly using the XF 16-55 and the XF 50-140. Almost all of the lenses in the Fujifilm line-up are sharp, but these two really knock it out of the park. Especially with the new X-Pro 2 sensor.
Even if you enjoy these images only half as much as I have enjoyed creating them, you should be in for a great visual journey, from Brussels to Benares.
(Read about features 1 to 5 in this post)
In a month, I’ll be off to India again to teach a travel photography workshop together with fellow X-Photographer Matt Brandon and I hope to take the X-Pro 2 with me. I’m really looking forward to the trip. When I’m traveling, I always hope that nothing bad will happen to my gear because it’s often difficult to replace or repair. That’s why I’m extremely happy with the next item in my top-10 of new features:
6) Weather Sealing
Contrary to the X-Pro 1, the X-Pro 2 is now weather sealed. Now, truth be told I’ve never had any issues with my non-weather sealed Fujifilm cameras and they’ve eaten quite a lot of dust, too, but it’s still a reassuring feature to have.
Of course, ideally, you then have to pair the camera with a weather proofed lens as well, such as the beautiful XF-16 mm 1.4. I love that lens because, thanks to its wide aperture, it still allows me to play with shallow depth of field although it’s relatively wide-angle.
7) Flash improvements
This one is pretty big, at least for me: the sync speed has been increased to 1/250th of a second. That means that when you’re working at the sync speed of your camera, your flashes effectively become one third of a stop more powerful than they were on an X-Pro 1 or an X-T1.
But even better, you can now also use a flash when the camera is set to continuous shooting. To be fair, it’s something almost every other camera has but it’s great to see that my X-Pro 2 now does it, too. Especially with more powerful flashes like this Jinbei, this means that you can keep on shooting with flash at lower power settings for quite a while until the flash has to recharge. This is the same feature by the way that got introduced for the X-T1 in the latest firmware update that subsequently got pulled because of a bug. So X-T1 users, this one is coming your way, too!
Finally, Fujifilm have announced a new speedlight, the EF-X500, that is capable of doing High Speed Sync. I can't wait to get my hands on that one!
8) Improved Bracketing
I’ve never understood why the bracketing functionality of all Fujifilm cameras was limited to 3 shots with +/- 1 EV. If you want to create HDR images, that range is often too limited.
Maybe it has something to do with the new maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, but you can now bracket 3 shots with +/- 2 EV. I would still love some more options, like shooting 5 or 7 frames but it's already a big step up. If you want to go beyond what's currently possible, I recommend you do as I do: put the camera on a tripod and use the Exposure Compensation function on the Camera Remote App: this lets you make up to 7 bracketed shots, 1 stop apart, without touching the camera.
9) An improved menu
I already like Fujifilm’s menus more than most of the other brands out there, but they have made the menu even better: it’s more legible and there’s also a MyMenu, which lets you assign up to 16 items for quick acess. So between this MyMenu, the (customizable) Quick Menu and the function buttons, there really is no shortage of options of having this camera do what you want it to do, as fast as possible. On thing that did not improve is formatting the card. It takes way too many button presses. Luckily, there appears to be a shortcut which I learned about over at Kevin Mullins' excellent review. If you're thinking about using the X-Pro 2 as a wedding camera, read his review (and then start saving). Oh, the shortcut you ask? Press the delete key for a couple of seconds and then click on the back command dial.
10) 3 Power Management Modes
Let’s be honest. Battery life isn’t the best feature of the Fujifilm cameras. But let’s also be honest in that the batteries (the X-Pro 2 uses the same as the X-T1, X-Pro 1 and X-T10) are very lightweight and compact so adding a couple to your bag won’t break your back. I think Fuji did well in maintaining the same battery. However, what they did is offer three power management modes: Economy, Standard and High Performance. As you might guess, autofocus speed and EVF refresh rates increase as you switch from the first to the latter, but battery life decreases, from 330 shots over 250 to 220. I just use High Performance and I pack a couple of spare batteries. I guess I’ll only use Economy when I see I’m popping in my last spare! Oh, and even in Economy the camera is still a Ferrari compared to the original X-Pro 1. So, as greater minds have already said: ‘Everyting is relative’.
So, that’s it for this highly subjective top 10. As some of these are firmware-related, there's some hope that they might trickle down to other cameras too.
There are other features, such as the new black and white ACROS film simulation and the new grain engine, which look nice. But as I explained in this blog post, as long as there is no Raw conversion software that can actually read the raw files of this camera, I set my film simulation to something very neutral as the JPEGs are currently the only thing I can work with. Setting a black and white film simulation would mean I currently cannot work on the image in colour and I want to keep my options open.
If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to try and address them in the comments.
What about the Tilt Screen?
Yeah, what about it? There isn't one, as you probably know by now. For me, it's not a deal breaker. Sure enough, if the X-Pro 2 had one, I would welcome it, but not if it came at the expense of a bigger, bulkier body. Between the dual card slot and a tilt screen, I'll take the dual card slot any time. Also, don't forget that you'll be able to wirelessly control the camera with the smartphone App. That's even better than a tilt screen, in some cases!
What could be improved?
Some testers have reported the Exposure Compensation wheel is too loose. It did not feel loose on my sample. What I would like is that Fujifilm offer the option of saving 16 bit TIFF files to card. I feel that Lightroom still isn't squeezing everything out of the RAW files and this would be a nice addition, especially for people who shoot rather slow and deliberate, like me. Alternatively, I wish that Fujifilm would release a simple RAW to 16 bit TIFF conversion software. Basically, a desktop-version of the in-camera RAW converter that would allow batch-processing. And no, I don't mean Silkypix, that awfully complex raw converter that ships with the camera.
Another thing I would like is to see on the accessory list is a 'Long Eyecup' like the X-T1. This helps to block the sunlight and gives more contrast in the viewfinder which is especially helpful on sunny days.
Finally, I would really love to have some more highlight clipping information in the EVF and OVF: we can already program a gazillion warnings in the viewfinder, but the one I would like to see is a Lightroom-style highlight / shadow clipping warning, showing the actual areas that are clipped. Sure, there's the live histogram but that only says there's clipping. It does not say where that clipping occurs.
As you can see, minor quibbles that are mostly software- or firmware related. Other than that, I really can't think of much. So now, I'm off to shoot some more! Where did I put my spare batteries?
So, I’ve had the privilige of using a pre-production sample of one of this year’s most eagerly anticipated cameras for a couple of weeks. You could already read about that in this blog post. By now, your RSS feed and Facebook status page is probably overloaded with features, comparisons, opinions and what not. The following thoughts are not solely based on specs, but on actual usage of the camera. Given the four year gap between the X-Pro 2 and its predecessor, there’s bound to be a lot of change. In this and the following blog post, I’ll try to outline my personal top-10 improvements of this camera, taking into account the way I use it: as my everday camera, with a focus on travel- and flash photography.
Evolution on the outside...
When I got the camera, it felt like reconnecting with an old friend: it looks almost identical to the X-Pro 1 (which I consider a good thing), especially from the front. In fact, I could probably have taken this camera to a Fuji workshop and people would have thought I was shooting my old trusted X-Pro 1. Outside, there are only a couple of changes, and they're all for the better.
... revolution within
But on closer inspection, a lot has actually changed for the better. Which brings me to the first point.
1) Improved ergonomics
This one’s so important that I’ve actually put it before the ‘obvious’ advantage (the higher megapixel count, more about that later). The first thing you’ll notice is the joystick on the camera’s back: it has a number of uses but its main use is changing the AF point. The advantage is that this frees up the four buttons surrounding the Menu/OK button. You can now actually program three of them to a custom function. If you like to change your focus points as I do, the joystick works really well, it just takes some getting used to and retraining your muscle memory not to go to the old position. On top of that, there’s 2 more function buttons, bringing the total to 5. There is no dedicated WIFI function button, but WIFI is obviously included, and another big difference with the original X-Pro 1.
- One thing I did not like about the X-Pro 1 was that there were some buttons on the left of the LCD. All buttons are now at the right, meaning you can control this camera with just one hand. For you, it might be sipping cocktails, but in my case it leaves the other hand free to hold a flash and an umbrella, for example.
- The grip is slightly bigger and more pronounced. As a result, the camera feels better in your hand. And as mentioned, this is now a camera that you can completely control with one hand! Great news for photographers who like to smoke on a shoot. No more cigarette breaks needed: smoke and shoot as you go!
- There’s also a new Front Command Dial which in playback mode lets you browse flick back and forth through your images (the rear one zooms in and out). While shooting, the FCD lets you adjust the shutter speed to the intermediary settings between the full stops that are marked on the dial. It probably does some other things too, but I haven’t discovered those yet. The manual was even more preproduction than the camera (in other words, non-existent!)
- Speaking of dials. Probably the coolest feature is how Fujifilm managed to integrate the ISO dial on the top of the camera. It’s literally on the shutter speed dial: you have to pull the outer ring of the shutter speed dial up and then rotate it to set the ISO. The first couple of times, you’ll probably inadvertently change the shutter speed itself, too, but once you get used to it, it works very well. While turning the wheel, you can see the value adjust in the viewfinder. So no need to take your eye off the viewfinder. Now, in honesty, I liked the old system with the top function button, too but this system has the advantage that you can also see at a glance what ISO the camera is set to. And I do like this implementation more than that of the X-T1. While we’re still talking about dials: the Exposure Compensation dial now has a -3 to +3 range and even a Custom setting that allows you to go from -5 to +5, another use for the new Front Command Dial.
- And finally, another big one in the ergonomics department: a built-in diopter adjustment with the same range as the X-T1. That’s right, no more messing around with little screw-in adjustment lenses that you’re bound to loose sooner or later.
2) 24 Megapixel X-Trans CMOS III Sensor
Although I’ve printed images from my 16 MP X-T1 as large as 30 x 60 cm (12 x 24 inch) and I could easily print even larger, I welcome more pixels any time, provided they offer me the same or even higher image quality. The X-Pro 2 has got 50 percent more of them. So, you can either print prints that are 50 percent larger (in terms of surface, i.e. 22 percent longer and 22 percent taller) or you can crop 1/3 of your image away and still keep the same amount of pixels as the X-Pro 1 or the X-T1. Another nice advantage is that you can experiment some more with alternative crops, like 16:9, or square, while still retaining enough pixels to print relatively big. Especially with the best quality lenses like the 16-55 and the 50-140, the increased resolution actually shows in the image. Those two lenses really are perfect companions for the new sensor.
3) Faster AF, more focus points and more phase detection pixels
As you might know, cameras use two techniques to achieve autofocus: phase detection and contrast detection. The first is faster, the latter is more accurate. As of the X-T1, Fujifilm has started to combine these two techniques by incorporating phase detection pixels in the sensor. The X-Pro 2 increases both the total number of focus points available and the number of phase detection pixels. By default, there’s 77 points including 49 phase detection pixels, but you can increase this to a whopping 273 points, including 169 phase detection pixels. Just be prepared to use that new joystick controller a lot. Regardless of the number of focus points, what I really appreciate on mirrorless cameras in general and those by Fuji in particular, is that you have focus points all over the frame. If you like to frame your subject off-center, that’s a very handy feature to have. With a DSLR, you’ll be forced to focus and recompose, but if you’re shooting with a shallow depth of field, that can lead to images that are out of focus.
I really cannot count the times I have sworn at my DSLR for not giving me a focus point where I needed it. With 273 points to choose from, that’s no longer necessary! Of course, the same AF enhancements that were introduced with the X-T1’s 4.0 firmware upgrade, such as wide tracking AF and zone AF are also present. I just haven’t used them much as most of my subjects are pretty stationary and if they aren’t, like the dancers I shoot, I prefer to pre-focus manually. It’s a matter of habit and preference.
4) Improved viewfinder
Take the hybrid viewfinder of the X-100T, add the resolution of the viewfinder of the X-T1, and turbocharge the framerate to 85 frames per second and you have the recipe for the X-Pro 2’s viewfinder. It’s really as state of the art as it gets. The front lever lets you switch between EVF and OVF and also between OVF modes themselves: simple OVF or OVF with the little EVF screen in the bottom right corner that was introduced with the X100T. This little screen-in-the-screen can be set to three possible zoom levels when you’re in manual focus.
The first is 100 percent view (which basically gives you a mini view of the entire scene in your OVF, ideal for combining the precision of the EVF with the bright viewfinder of the OVF. The second is 2.5 times enlarged and the third is 6 times enlarged. Pressing the rear command dial (you knew that the rear command dial can be depressed, also on the X-T1, didn’t you?) cycles through these magnification levels. Combine those features with manual focus aids such as digital split-level or – what I prefer to use – focus peaking and you have noone to blame but yourself if your pictures aren’t sharp using manual focus on the X-Pro 2!
5) Dual Card Slot
I haven’t verified this, but according to Fujifilm, this is a first on a mirrorless camera. I know a lot of wedding photographers and generally everyone that shoots unique events that will utter sighs of relief. The card slot can be set to any of the following three options: sequential (when the first card is full, the camera starts writing to the second), backup (anything written to the first card is also written to the second) and RAW/JPEG, where RAW files are written to one card and JPEG files are written to the other.
Needless to say, the write speed to card has also dramatically improved. I remember that on the X-Pro 1, when I accidentally shot a bracketed series of photos, I swore because the camera would freeze up, literally for seconds. None of that on the X-Pro 2. I do recommend that you use fast cards. My sample unit had two Toshiba 16 GB Exceria Pro SD cards installed (the ones with the double row of contacts) and that worked perfectly.
That's it for the first 5 features. In this blog post, I'll cover 6 to 10. But let me leave you with one last image of Stéphanie. After all, it's all about the image, not about the camera, isn't it?
When a while back, Fujifilm offered me the opportunity to test a pre-production sample of the upcoming X-Pro 2, I felt honoured, humbled, frightened and excited all at the same time.
Honoured, because I was one of a limited number of photographers worldwide to receive an early sample. Humbled, because the list of the others included big name photographers that I regard very highly, such as Damien Lovegrove, David Hobby and Zack Arias, to name but a few. Compared to these guys, I'm just a grown-up kid with too many cameras, too many lenses and waaaay to many flashes. I felt like taking a shower with the highschool football team. When I had just been out in the freezing cold...
Frightened because I had a tight deadline to give Fujifilm four images, preferably from different shoots. Four images that would be looked at, pixel-peeped, scrutinized by the whole world. Four images of which Fujifilm would choose one to display during the Fujifilm X Series Five Year Anniversary Exhibition in Tokyo. You know how photographers can be ruthless for each other’s work. I couldn’t help but think of the old joke: "How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb?" The answer is: "Eleven: one to actually fix the bulb and ten to comment afterwards about how that one guy could have done it better."
But I also felt excited: I had been slaving away at my new Lightroom book for months (the Dutch version is available now and the English version is in layout) and I hadn’t really been photographing a lot. This opportunity and the deadline it included gave me a much needed kick in the butt. So I rustled up some models, fired up Google Maps and Google Street View to scout some cool locations, charged the battery of my Jinbei flash, dusted off my Formatt Hitech ND’s and my B+W Vari ND's (Dutch link, English link) and planned a couple of shoots.
Shooting JPEG (and actually liking it)
The camera being a pre-production sample, the camera’s firmware was also still beta, so there were a couple of limitations. First of all, the ‘Preview Exposure and White Balance in Manual Mode’ feature was not working on my sample. It’s a feature I rely on heavily when using flash, because it lets me easily set the desired ambient exposure. However, my model will generally be too dark in this mode, so once I’ve determined how dark or bright I want the background to be, I will switch this mode off.
I’ve even dedicated one of the function buttons to it. To assign a function to a function button, press and hold it for a couple of seconds and then choose the desired function from the list that appears. When off, the EVF goes to a normal brightness level so you can choose your composition and your focus point more easily. Being able to switch between both views and having a live histogram is one of the key advantages of mirrorless cameras. Needless to say, the feature will work as expected on shipping X-Pro 2’s.
Another thing that slightly worried me was the fact that there was no RAW support yet. In fact, there still isn’t (as is always the case with new cameras). As a Lightroom user, author and trainer, I eat RAW files for breakfast. Although I love the quality of Fuji’s out-of-camera JPEG files (they’re probably the best in the whole camera industry), I prefer to shoot at least RAW + JPEG for the added postprocessing leeway that RAW files give me. Partly, that’s for creative reasons, as I like to edit my images quite elaborately but partly it’s also to cover up for the underexposure mistakes I sometimes make while shooting. When you know your way around Lightroom, you run the risk of becoming a sloppy photographer because you know the tricks to cover your ass after the shoot.
For that reason, I chose to shoot with the Standard Profile, rather than with Classic Chrome which I normally prefer: that film simulation blocks the shadows and without the fallback option of a raw file, I preferred to keep my options open. The X-Pro 2 also has a new Black & White film simulation and a new grain feature, but I did not test that for the same reason.
In this blog post, I will list my top 10 favourite features of this incredible new camera. To conclude this post, I was amazed with the quality of the JPEG files and the flexibility they still offered in terms of further processing. It almost made me wish Fuji would offer an option to save images as 16 bit TIFFs: you would get the benefit of near-raw like editing options along with the beautiful out-of-camera film simulations.
So, these were the four images I submitted to Fujifilm. I’m as curious as you to know which one they picked for the 5 Year X anniversary exhibition. I hope they picked at least one. And even if they haven't, I still had a hell of a time shooting! For me, the X-Pro 2 is already a fantastic camera: it made me get up from my couch and go shoot. Isn't that what all good cameras should do?
Chances are that by the end of this week, your inbox will be overflowing with emails about the 5 Day Deal. Even more, I'll put in my own two cents through my mailing list, Facebook and Twitter. The reason is that if you're reading this blog, you're interested in photography education in general and in postprocessing in particular. And that's what the 5 Day Deal has to offer. In spades. It's an unmissable opportunity to learn a lot about photography and image editing for relatively little money. Oh, and in the mean time, you get to do some charity as well. Where's the catch? There isn't. Other than you'll be needing a good internet connection to download all the stuff!
What is the 5 Day Deal?
The 5 Day Deal is a bundle of photography-related training videos, eBooks, Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions and the like. These are offered at a bundle-price of $127 (+ VAT for Europeans, if you have a valid VAT-number, you can order VAT-free). So far the 'Deal'-part. The '5 Day' part means the Deal is only valid for five days: from now until September 15th.
All the instructors are big names in their field so this bundle really is 'All Killer, No Filler'. To name but a few of the 20 photographers and retouchers: Lindsay Adler and Jeremy Cowart (portrait photography), Zack Arias (flash photography) and Serge Ramelli (French Lightroom-instructor, who's worth checking out if only for his super-enthusiast French accent. It's like being taught Lightroom by 'Inspector Clouseau'!) And let's not forget Joel Grimes (flash photography and compositing in Photoshop). Even yours truly is featured in the list!
When purchased separately, the total bill of these resources would amount to over $3300. Now, they can be yours for less than 5 percent of that price. Or a discount of over 95 percent! Even if you're only interested in half of this bundle's content, the 5 Day Deal is a great deal to fill your iPad with training and reading material for the coming winter. Some of the over 40 training titles separately cost more than the entire bundle.
And, as the proverbial cherry on the pie, a part of the sale goes to charity! More on that later.
Yes but is there also something interesting for me?
Of course, I cannot decide for you, but I've already had a sneek peak and below is my personal, highly subjective top-10.
- Zack Arias - On Assignment - The Art of the Editorial
Flash expert, Fujifilm user and all-round nice guy Zack Arias takes you behind the scenes of a couple of commercial editorial shoots. You can see how Zack tackles challenges and makes the best of a situation and an environment and turns these into really nice portraits. On top of that, this tutorial is brand new! What can I say? I love Zack!
- Joel Grimes - Start To Finish Tutorials
Joel Grimes is a US commercial photographer with a signature (and oft-copied) style. He's also known for his compositing work. The 5 Day Deal brings you two of his training videos.
- Jimmy McIntyre - Art of Digital Blending
This Photoshop training teaches you all about advanced Photoshop selections and masks and introduces you to the concept of Luminosity Masking. Recommended!
- Lindsay Adler - 5 Creative Studio Lighting Setups
Famous New York portrait photographer Lindsay Adler shows us 5 easy yet powerful lighting setups.
- Klaus Hermann Lightroom Preset Power Pack
The previous 5 Day Deal had Klaus Hermann's Mask it like a Pro video training which I really liked. Now, Klaus is back with a Lightroom preset pack and a 100+ page eBook that covers all you could possibly want to know about Lightroom presets. He not only covers Develop presets (the most popular category) but also metadata presets, tool presets and so on. German thoroughness or 'Deutsche Gründlichkeit', as they say in Germany.
- Lightroom for Landscapes
We stay in Lightroom-territory (litterally) with this Lightroom training designed specifically for landscape photographers. It covers everything from import over editing to exporting your images. Another training that by itself costs more than the entire bundle.
- James Brandon: POST Video Tutorial
Photoshop wizard and acclaimed landscape photographer James Brandon shows us how he processes his images with Photoshop and he throws in a bunch of Lightroom presets just for fun!
- The Art of Sculpting Splashes by Alex Koloskov
This is the beauty of the 5 Day Deal: the subject of this video training interests me, but I would have a hard time paying the normal $250 price tag. Now, I don't have to: I can get this training for almost half of its suggested retail price and get dozens of other books, presets and training videos in the process!
- Serge Ramelli - Lightroom CC Complete Training
If you think I'm sometimes overdoing it in my Lightroom edits, wait until you see what 'PhotoSerge' does with his raw files! Personally, I find his training to be very entertaining, if only for the funny Franglais.
- The Created Image Series Volume 2
Last but not least this one: the video recording of last year's Created Image Seminar in Vancouver, Canada. Great motivational keynotes by David duChemin and three super-interesting lectures by Steve Simon, known for his 'The Passionate Photographer' book.
The total value of this top-ten alone is over $1.100. And there's more, depending on your interests: a newborn photography video tutorial, Photoshop skin softening actions, a Wedding Photography Planner Guide, it just goes on and on. In fact, you can find the full list of all included resources here.
Oh, and lest I forget, you also get Clarity by Topaz Labs, a fully functional Lightroom and Photoshop plugin that is like Lightroom's Clarity slider on steroids.
The funny thing is that even yours truly is - indirectly - represented in the 5 Day Deal: in the Created Image Video Tutorial I mentioned earlier, you'll find three sessions in which I talk about Lightroom efficiency, Black and White and Dodging & Burning.
Did you mention something about charity?
If you need an extra push, you can always ease your conscience (or your partner) with the knowledge that 10 percent (i.e. almost $13) of every bundle sold goes to the four charities the 5 Day Deal team picked. Even more, you can opt to double that amount upon checkout and you get to choose the charity of your liking, too.
Last year's 5 Day Deal gathered a whopping $200.000+ for these charities and this time they're aiming at breaking the $300.000 mark.
All 4 charities look great, but I have a soft spot for the BOMA project, if only because my good friend David duChemin already did some pro bono work for them: if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me! Boma helps very poor women in rural African areas to the financial means to start small projects.
I rest my case!
Disclaimer: if you purchase the 5 Day Deal bundle through the links on this page, MoreThanWords receives an affiliate commission (which cost you nothing extra, by the way). However, this does not influence my opinion about this bundle: on my blog, I only recommend things I find worthwhile. For instance, a while back, there was another bundle which I decided not to recommend because I knew this one was coming and I liked it better.
As you probably know, I have a passion for India, for photography and... for Fujifilm gear. I'm proud to be a Fujifilm X-Photographer for Fujifilm Worldwide and a Fujifilm Ambassador for Fujifilm Belgium. You might also know that I share these passions with another X-Photographer, Matt Brandon from www.thedigitaltrekker.com.
This shared interest has resulted in Matt and I organizing a number of photo workshops in India. Most of the images you can see in the galleries on this website were shot during those workshops. At the end of each workshop, it has become a tradition of ours to do an audio podcast about the Fujifilm gear that was released over the past year. Last year's podcast even included Matt and I ducking under a blanket to kill the noise of the AC in our Delhi hotel room. We'll do anything for quality!
This year we didn't have the time to do record the podcast in India, but thanks to the miracle of Skype, it's now here. So, if you have some time to spare, you can not only hear what we think about the new 90 or 16 mm but you'll also hear some inside tips and techniques, for example on how to use the X system for flash photography.
We have also just opened registrations for our new workshop: from February 14 to 24, 2016, our North India workshop will bring its participants from Delhi over Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, to Varanasi, one of India's holiest (and most photogenic) cities. This intimate ten-day workshop is limited to a maximum of nine participants.
Matt and I will teach you how to get the most out of this beautiful environment, how to make striking portraits and how to tell visual stories. Finally, for those interested, there will also be ample time to talk about postprocessing: being an Adobe Certified Lightroom expert, I eat Fuji .raf files for breakfast!
The workshop's official language is English, but if English isn't your first language (in fact, it often isn't for most of the participants), I'll be happy to assist you in Dutch or French, too! If you have any questions about this workshop, feel free to contact Matt or me.
In the podcast, Matt and I refer to a couple of our earlier blog posts. For your convenience, you can find those here:
- Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 LM OIS WR: Review
- First Look: Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 R LM WR
- Views of Kenya with the Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 WR
- Fujifilm’s 90mm Makes a Colorful Splash on the Set of Indian Summers 2
- My 10 favourite accessories for Fujifilm X-cameras – Part 1
- My 10 favourite accessories for Fujifilm X-cameras – Part 2
- 10 reasons why I love my Fujifilm X100T
- Review: The Jinbei HD 600 II: Portable Flash Power for my Fuji X cameras
- Review: Godox V850 manual Li-ion flash: a perfect manual flash for my Fujifilm X-cameras