My Fav Settings for Fujifilm XT2

I love my Fujifilm XT2 and these are the settings I tend to use most

I Shoot RAW + Fine JPG - set to M (12Mp) size so I get a full 24Mp RAW plus a super clean super sharp 12Mp JPG which is good enough a lot of the time for event work

To avoid Haloing in the JPGs I have sharpness to Minus 2 .... Noise reduction to Minus 3 seems to be a good balance between detail and leathery low NR artifacts - using the 12Mp size on these settings is superb and reminds me of the old Bayer 12Mp X100 and its almost Perfect ultrasharp JPG engine , if I need to crop or more rez, I`ve got the RAW..

I set boost to ON

Smallest single AF point with the full number of points available set in the menus

Choose Film sim depending on shoot / subject ..

For portraits I love the look of Astia with DR200 and +1EV.  It brings up the mid tones and preserves the highlights.

This is some text! Hi everyone, and welcome to this blog post on the camera settings I use with the Fuji X System. This is a question I have received several times and it often comes up during workshops where I see so many folks struggling with their cameras and settings. Now, while the focus of this post is centered around my Fuji cameras, I will say that the best set-up is the one that works for you and makes you feel confident as you operate your camera. And in order to do that you need to learn the operations of your camera system forwards and backwards, develop an understanding of how you want to approach your photography, and then practice until it becomes automatic. The last thing you need to be doing during the moment of capture is to fumble with your camera or the settings. I set up my X-T2 and my X-Pro 2 in exactly the same way. The reason for this is simple; no matter which camera I grab out of the bag, I know what the settings are and that the two camera bodies will function in the same way. With only some subtle variations, I use the same settings and set up for all of my various photographic endeavors - landscape, street, architecture, and portraits. It is all about simplicity my friends. I can take any of my camera bodies out of the bag, and with confidence, know that I can be shooting within seconds of turning the camera on. Fuji X cameras have a lot of technology under the hood but once you have settings established you rarely have to go back to the menus for anything. The three main things you really need - aperture, ISO, and shutter speed - are right on top of the camera. So let's take a look at the settings I use. Basic Settings, Set-up, and Functions File Type: For landscape work I shoot in RAW Mode only. All files will be processed from RAW using Lightroom, ACR, or Iridient Developer, and then finished in Photoshop. RAW Recording is set to Uncompressed. For street work, or people, I will use RAW + JPEG Fine and I will employ the Fuji Film Emulations. White Balance: Auto. I hardly ever vary this as it can be manipulated in post processing. Noise Reduction: I have this set to 0 as my default. Long Exposure Noise Reduction: Off. I never have this on unless I am shooting a very long exposure such as a star trail. Dynamic Range: I leave this set to DR100 as my default. Brackets: I will occasionally shoot a defined bracket set of images. More often than not I don't do this as I am always making my brackets while looking at the histogram. But if I need a quick bracket set I can switch to this in the Drive Mode. I have my Exposure Brackets set to 1-Stop apart. So this will be one shot at my defined exposure, then at shot 1-Stop Under, and a shot that is 1-Stop over. I do wish Fuji would change the Firmware to allow 5 to 7 stop differences. Brackets in the X-T2 can be set in the Shooting Menu > Drive Setting > Bracket Setting. Brackets in the X-Pro 2 can be set through the Drive Button on the top D-Pad of the camera. Color Space: Adobe RGB Card Slots: Both my X-T2 and the X-Pro 2 have dual card slots, one of the endearing features I love about these cameras. My Card slots are set to Sequential, which means, that when one card fills up, the camera switches to the other card. You can set it to BackUp and RAW/JPEG as well but I never use these. On occasion I used the BackUp Mode but I usually do not sweat card failure. Image Size: I typically leave this at the default range of L3:2. Any relevant cropping I will perform in post-processing Film Emulations: I love the Fuji Film Emulations and use them often when shooting in the RAW + JPEG Mode. But I use them even in shooting RAW as a Live View Screen setting to get a sense of what a final image might look like. The Velvia and Astia Emulations give the LV Screen image a color boost and the ACROS Emulation lets me view the potential of a B+W image. Function Buttons: The Function Buttons are a way for you to customize the settings you want close at hand. For my camera's I have made sure that the button assignments I use are the same on each camera body. There is a slight difference in what you can assign on the X-Pro 2 versus the X-T2, relative to the Front FN Button and the top of the D-Pad. But the other buttons set up the same for each camera. You can assign the various FN Buttons by going to the Set Up Menu > Button/Dial Setting > FN/AE-L/AF-L Button Setting, and work through the diagrams. The following list is how I assign my buttons: Front FN Button On my X-T2 it is set for Face and Eye Detection. On the X-Pro 2 it is set for Bright Frame Simulator and indicates image framing when using the OVF; FN Button > Wireless Communication; Left D-Pad > Film Emulation Mode; Right D-Pad > Timer Setting; Having this handy is very useful when I am shooting a longer exposure without or without my electronic shutter release. Bottom D-Pad > AF Mode; This is Single Point, Zone, or Wide Tracking Top of the D-Pad > AF Custom Settings on X-T2, (This is similar to the Drive Mode on the X-Pro 2). The Drive Mode on the X-T2 is just under the ISO Dial. AE-L Button: This is set to AE-L Only AF-L Button: This is set to AF-L Only Having these set in a similar fashion for both cameras just keeps the mental gyrations while shooting to a minimum. I think setting Function Buttons comes down to your personal way of shooting and camera operations you want at your fingertips. Focusing: I switch between S, C, and Manual focus depending largely on what I am shooting. In operation the S Focus Mode puts the focus at a single point or zone. The C Focus Mode continually seeks focus and is good for moving objects. For my landscape work I shoot in entirely in Manual Mode - manual focus and manual settings - and at the native camera ISO of 200. (more on some of this below). For street work I typically use AF and utilize the Joystick to move the focus point. I will often switch to C Focus Mode and select Continuous Low CL, or Continuous High CH Modes which fires the shutter in high speed bursts when shooting sporting events. CL will shoot from 3 to 5 burst frames and CH will fire from 8 to 14 burst frames. In addition you can couple this with one of the five Custom AF Settings in the X-T2. I am not afraid to work the ISO when shooting on the street and invariably go over 800 to 1000. For Manual Focus I use Focus Peaking. This coupled with the Focus Distance Scale is a great way to dial in your focus and know you have the shot. To set Focus Peaking go to AM/FM Setting > MF Assist > Focus Peak Highlight > Then select your Peaking Option. I use the Red (High). The portrait/street images below were all captured using the concepts I am discussing in this post. All were shot in either AF, S Mode, or Manual Mode using Back Button Focusing, and I used the Joystick to place the Focus Point exactly where I wanted it to be. I love having this kind of control that allows me to craft the image I want. You will notice that I have pushed the ISO around quite a bit and especially so in the lead image of the Lincoln Memorial. While I could set the camera to Auto ISO and set ISO parameters, I tend not to do this and simply select the ISO I feel is right for the scene I am photographing, or to react to my sense of the light, and perhaps what shutter speed I might need for a clean and sharp capture. Jason Masi • Breaux Vineyards, West Virginia. Fuji X-Pro 2 and a Fujinon XF34mm f1.4 R. Image exposed at ISO 200 at f 3.5 for 1/800 of a second. Karolin • Bradenton, Florida. Fuji X-T1 and a Fujinon 55-200mm f2.5 at 120mm. Image exposed at ISO 200 at f4.5 for 1/500 of a second. Nathan • Downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Fuji X-Pro 2 and a Fujinon XF16mm f1.4 R. Image exposed at Iso 400 at f4 for 1/250 of a second. Skyline • Downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Fuji X-Pro 2 and a Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8 R at 16mm. Image exposed at ISO 200 at f11 for 1/250 of a second. Abby and Maise • Montgomery County, Maryland. Fuji X-Pro 2 and a Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8 R WR at 23mm. Image exposed at ISO 200 at f4 for 1/500 of a second. Free to Move About the City • Downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Fuji X-Pro 2 and a Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8 at 23mm. Image exposed at ISO 200 at F5.6 for 1/500 of a second. Kevin • Denver, Colorado. Fuji X-Pro 2 and a Fujinon XF23mm f1.4 R. Image exposed at ISO 800 at f2.8 for 1/100 of a second. The Power of "T", Back Button Focus, and the Distance Focus Scale Now, let's take a look at some other incredible components built into the Fuji X cameras. But, before we go there, I want to talk about the Screen and Viewfinder set-up. The screen set-up is entirely customizable on the Fuji's and can be accessed in the Toolbox Menu. Aside from the usual things you might want such as AF Mode, Film Emulation, and File Type, the four items that are set on each of my cameras, both in the Viewfinder and on the Live View Screen, is the Electronic Level; the Exposure Compensation, set to Scale; the Histogram; and the Manual Focus Scale, set to Feet. Everything else notwithstanding these four singular settings are the most important to my shooting. I almost always shoot in Manual Mode, and to be clear I set the Aperture, the ISO, and the Shutter Speed. I work quicker this way and it is the way that my mind thinks while in the process of making an image. My Exposure Mode is set to Evaluative Metering and I take my light readings using the Exposure Compensation Scale and the Histogram, and more so than not I base my exposure judgements on the Histogram. For street work I will periodically check the meter readings using the Exposure Compensation Scale and set it to 0. This usually gets me to within a stop or so of the right reading when I take a shot. Despite what camera you shoot with I believe having the Histogram viewable while you are making exposure adjustments is a must. With aperture and ISO set then it is a simple matter of just turning the Shutter Speed Dial to manipulate the exposure while looking at the effect in real time using the Histogram. After choosing a shutter speed you can use the front Command Dial to adjust the exposure, up 1-stop and down 1-stop, in 1/3-stop increments. This is quite handy for micro manipulation of the Histogram. But, here is where the Power of the "T" can simplify this even more. The "T" is located on the Shutter Speed Dial, and when set it allows you to use the Front Command Dial (or rear if you set it that way), to manipulate the shutter speed ranging from 30 seconds all the way to 32,000. So, with my aperture and ISO set, and the Shutter Dial set to "T", (see the image to the left), the only thing I have to manipulate is the Command Dial. It could not be more simple and I can quickly change aperture to suit conditions, and manipulate the exposure quickly while using the Histogram. Because the Command Dial moves in 1/3-stop increments as well, I can make micro adjustments to the exposure too. I have both of my cameras set this way and with the turn of the on-button, and a quick read of the light, I am shooting instantaneously. I think at the heart of this set-up is simplification - to simplify the mechanical process and make it automatic - so that I can concentrate on making images. Back Button Focus Now a small word about Back Button Focusing. If you are in Manual Focus Mode and you have the AF-L Button set to AF-L Lock you can use the Button to Back Button Focus. This is a great help for street photography or even for shooting portraits. When in Manual Mode you can use the Joystick to move your focus point, and once you have it where you want it, hit the AF-L Button. The camera will lock focus at that point and you can then press the shutter button as many times as you wish without the camera changing focus. Additionally, if you go to the Set-Up Menu > Button/Dial Setting > AE/AF Lock Mode, and set it to AE&AF On/Off Switch, this will decouple the buttons and allow you to lock focus and exposure when the camera is set to C or S, AF Mode, and you are in Aperture or Shutter Priority. So, much like the Back Button Method, once you have achieved focus, you can select the AF-L Button and it will lock focus until you press the button again. This is the same for the AE-L Button. You will know you are locked in when you see the AF-L and the AE-L indicator in the lower left corner. In the image below I had already locked focus in the zone around the grill using the Back Button Focus, and when Chef Chris hit his Usain Bolt pose, which caught me completely by surprise, I was ready to make a capture without worrying about the autofocus kicking in and perhaps missing the moment. Striking the Pose • Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Fuji X-T2 and a Fujinon XF35mm f2 R WR. Image exposed at ISO 200 at f4 for 1/400 of a second. Fuji's Distance Scale is nothing short of brilliant. Shown below on my Live View Screen, it is the linear graph at the bottom of the screen, just above the shooting data. The White Tick Mark on the graph is the point where I have focused the lens, in this example at 2 feet. The blue line indicates the hyper focus zone of the lens, in this case from just inside of a foot to 5 feet. Since Fujinon lenses are all chipped this information is conveyed to the camera for each focal length. I use this information in concert with Focus Peaking for all of my landscape work and it is extremely accurate. Much like the other settings described in this post this is another technical innovation from Fuji that allows me to focus on image making and not wondering if I am in focus or actually where my hyperfocus zone is located. The Depth of Field Scale has two options - Pixel Basis, and Film Format Basis. Pixel Basis is for images that will be viewed on screens and Film Basis is for images that will be printed. For my work I use the Film Format Basis. To set this go to the AF/MF Setting Menu > Depth of Field Scale > Film Format Basis. The Distance Scale can be set in feet or meters based on your preference, and to set this go to the Set Up Menu > Screen Set Up > Focus Scale Units > Feet. The image below illustrates the base set-up for my Live View Screen which is also mirrored in my Viewfinder. To the left is the Exposure Compensation Scale; to the lower right, the Histogram; and the Focus Distance Scale along the bottom. The Green Line is my Horizon Level Line. Additionally I have the Composition Grid set in thirds. To set up your screen go to the Set Up Menu > Screen Set Up > Disp. Custom Settings and place a check in the box for the items you wish to display. The landscape images below were all shot using the various tools and settings I have outlined. The only real difference comes from my all-manual process when shooting landscapes. This is largely centered around crafting an image with good foreground to back ground sharpness. Utilizing the information in the Focus Distance Scale and Focus Peaking you can achieve some amazing depth of field images, such as the Datura and Cabin image below. I think the creation of the image, and in fact the best images, come when you are free to experience and react to the situation. This can only happen when you are engaged with the scene before you and not buried deep in your menus. In photographic terms, almost nothing is worse than missing the key moment because you were not able to respond to the changing conditions or were buried within the camera settings. In my honest opinion, and largely one of the reasons I made the switch to Fuji, the beauty of the X System is that they have engineered cameras for photographers, that once set-up properly, magically get out of the way of making images. Hopefully the information contained in this post will give you some insights in to how I set up my cameras and help you see the possibilities for customization. The best camera is the one you have in your hands but it is even better when it gets out of the way of making images. It can be a painful process to go through your camera manual, and honestly, I would rather do anything else but wade through them. But if you tackle it in chunks it is not too bad and it will help you gain control over your camera. And when you have control of the camera , it does not have control over you. If you have any questions please drop me a comment. As always thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your support.

Improve your long exposure with photo stacking

Are you planning on shooting soft, silky waves? Do you wish to create dreamy, daytime landscapes with smooth, stretched clouds?

This post will help you improve your long-exposure skills and overcome the most common challenges that occur in daytime long-exposure photography.

Photo Stacking for Daytime Long-Exposures

When doing long-exposure photography–photography that requires light to hit your camera sensor for more than 2 minutes a lot of problems can arise and those can easily ruin your shot: false light, camera shake, accidentally tripping over your tripod, etc. 

With exposure time around 4 minutes, you can easily waste a lot of time trying to capture the perfect shot of soft clouds or silky waves.

But by dividing the shot into several shorter exposures of the same subject and stacking them together in Photoshop, you can overcome most of the issues, spend less time on wasted shots, and come away with better images.

Photo stacking is not a technique for every situation, but sometimes stacking your long-exposures is the only way to get a good shot. However, it is important to recognise when you need it during shooting.

When to Use Photo Stacking

False Light

During the day, you’ll often have too much light available for long-exposure photography. Long-exposure photography in daytime light using a 10 stop ND-filter might still result in an overexposed shot. 

At night or during the blue hour, when the light is limited, you can adjust your camera settings to give you a 2 or 4 minutes exposure even without using neutral density filters.

This long-exposure image consists of 4 shots of 40 seconds each. I was standing on a metal bridge and there is often passage of heavy trolleys and people

This long-exposure image consists of 4 shots of 40 seconds each. I was standing on a metal bridge and there is often passage of heavy trolleys and people

 

Photo stacking your daytime long-exposure photos will ensure that you get correctly exposed shots. Furthermore, if you don’t own a 10 stop neutral density filter, using a less strong ND-filter and taking multiple images to combine later will give you similar results.

Camera Shake

Next to false light, shaking is the most common reason for failed shots in long-exposure photography.

At night, factors that can cause your tripod and camera to shake are usually lessened: lighter wind, fewer waves, and less traffic, for example.

But during the day, these factors are stronger, heavier, and more problematic for daytime long-exposure photography; strong wind or heavy traffic can make your tripod shake or vibrate, resulting in blurred or unsharp shots. 

While we’re at it, remember to take the camera strap off your camera while shooting long-exposure. It acts as a sail in the wind and causes shaking to the tripod and camera.

And make sure the ground is sturdy enough to support your tripod and keep the camera steady for a long-exposure shot.

 

User Error

And then there are those unforeseen hiccups that can ruin a great long-exposure shot.

Regardless of whether its daytime or night, another common mistake is simply forgetting your remote. Without a remote, you are stuck with the longest exposure time your camera allows excluding bulb mode.

Bulb-mode without a remote requires that you press the shutter all the time, which is a no-go to avoid camera shake. My camera, like most, has a max of 30 seconds exposure.

How to Photo Stack Long-Exposure Photos

Factors like too much light, too much wind, or the risk of camera shake make it worthwhile to use photo stacking for your daytime long-exposure photos instead of doing a 2- or 4-minute exposure.

You now know when to use photo stacking; below you will learn how to use photo stacking–how to do it in the field and how to blend the exposures afterwards in Photoshop.

Equipment

This is the equipment I tend to use for Long Exposure shots

 

Setting Up Your Camera

At the location, set up your gear as normal, but make sure your camera settings and ND-filters gives a good exposure with a histogram peaking just over the middle to the right when using an exposure time of 30 seconds. To get the effect of a 4-minute shot, aim for 8 good shots, each at 30 seconds (8 x 30 seconds = 4 minutes).

Get some extra exposures just in case some of them get blurred due to camera shake from a sudden wind gust or bypassing bus. You can leave out a particular shot from your sequence in the photo stacking process.

Processing in Photoshop

In  Photoshop, go to File → Scripts → Load Files into Stack. In the appearing dialogue, choose Add Open Files to make the set of images appear under files to use for stacking.

Remember to check the boxes Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images and Create Smart Object after Loading Layers.

Click OK to begin the blending process. It usually takes some time for Photoshop to create a single Smart Object from all of the exposures.

Next, go to the menu Layer → Smart Objects → Stack Mode → Mean. This makes Photoshop automatically blend the images in the stack into a smooth long-exposure, to look like it was a single very long exposure.

At this point, you don’t need the layer to be a Smart Object anymore, and keeping it this way would prevent you from using a brush tool, for example, so you should convert it by right-clicking on the layer and choose to Rasterize Layer.

After this, you need to process the image as you would for a normal daytime long-exposure or any other image. To get the best results when you process your daytime long-exposure photos, be sure to only use selective sharpening of the areas in your photo that are not moving.

Long-exposures taken during daytime often have a lot of large white areas with clouds or silky soft water. If you apply sharpening to the areas that are supposed to be soft, you’ll cause an unwanted grainy look to your photo.

 

Leica CL

Here's a new Leica camera!! 

 Leica has now revived the old "CL" that use to stand for Compact Leica and was in my view an amazing camera.

I miraculously managed to try one for less than an hour, while a colleague passed in Venice... and no thanks to Laica Italy or UK that despite my vast collection of Leica never, even by mistake invites me for a try. I am now more than used and it gives me freedom of opinion. I decided not to publish any images because will be unfair. 20min are not enough to properly try a camera. Mine are simple considerations and feelings.

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I have quite a few Leica (see mygear) and love them to bits, I used them every day and I am really passionate. I do Leica workshops so I do tend to usually like them...but I have one tiny problem with the CL. And that is: why in the world would anyone ever buy one?

It makes no rational sense at all if you compare it, for instance, the CL with the Sony A6000 or Fuji X70 or XE3. The CL is a  pretty, small and handy little digital camera with a 24-MP sensor. The Sony A6000 is a perfectly small and handy little digital camera with a 24-MP sensor too  and IS MADE by the company that makes the sensor as well. The tiny difference is that the Sony is currently on sale for EUR 434 on Amazon (without a lens, but a lens will add just a bit more ) and the Leica CL with 18mm is going to sell for...EURO 3,600. We are talking about EIGHT Sony!!!

The 18 f/2.8 does not in any way feel, look, or perform like Leica glass that I have come to love. It’s a few ounces in weight, feels empty.

Using M lenses on the CL comes at a price! The “Adapter” is mega expensive. and I really mean Expensive aprox Euro 450

The CL camera in my quick test does not offer the richness of a full frame file like the M10

I wish Leica would just give us what many of us want…a full frame M type body with a built-in EVF.

Like the Leica TL2, the CL is not technically weather or dust sealed ( My Fuji are! )

The reconfigurable top dials look and feel cheap.

So who is going to buy this camera?

  • You do not mind about the cost of the camera. You have so much money in your bank that it makes no difference to you.
  • You are mainly  after the status and the exclusivity, not to mention the  prestige
  • You WANT IT and in less than 30 days is Christmas

 

 

Fujifilm X70

UPDATE MAY 2016 After two months I decided to sell the camera, it is too flimsy and too slow and in my humble view there are much better point and shoot for that amount of money. I got a Leica Q much more expensive but a real super camera!

The new Fujifilm X70 camera has a spectacular design and a magnificent look as well with the retro aesthetics just like the some of the other Fujifilm X series cameras which make it unique and special.

The camera is easily portable and fits in a jacket/coat pocket and weighs only 340g with in-fitted memory card and NP-95 battery which makes it a perfect for an adventurous trip and street photographers since it's highly inconspicuous. The lens is 28mm f2.8 and a 16MP APS-C sensor that provides an exquisite and high-quality image. The diaphragm has nine rounded blades and a close-focusing limit of only 10cm.

I was not in need of a new camera and just wanted to try one for a review.

 

It is super small but I really mean small but at the same time it is very nice to hold it with a rubberized front and rear grips which are well-sculpted, and the camera feels comfortable in one hand.   At the beginning was not easy for me to use the LCD and was always looking for the viewfinder but I got used quite quickly and was fun the possibility to shot or focus touching directly on the LCD screen.

It has the same functionality of my XT-1 and XE-2 (with the new firmware ver. 4 ) and I tend to use my Fuji in AF-S and focusing is very fast and precise. It seemed to me very good for street photography and I did not miss any frame even with people and boats moving.

Fujifilm X70 has an admirable feature which is the 1.04 million tilting dot LCD touch panel that is 3.0 inch and which is also capable of rotating at 180-degree angle.

The touch panel has the following functionality which includes in preview mode:

  • Image enlargement capability: this is achieved by double-tapping on the touch screen which also centers on the active focus. 
  • Image moving capability: just like the phone, one can move the image by dragging it with the finger on the touch screen.
  • Image zooming capability: one can enlarge the image by widening it by the use of the two fingers just like in a touchscreen phone. 
  • Image scrolling: one can scroll the image upwards or downwards by swiping either way by the use of a finger. 

In shooting mode you will have access to:

  • Focus Area Selection: Move the focus area before taking the image: one can achieve this by tapping on the touch screen.
  • Touch Shot: Touch to focus and shoot on a specific point.

There is a small icon in the mid right side of the screen where you can switch between the two modes as well as turn the touch function off.

Adjustments in exposure compensation can easily been achieved by the dial.

Additionally, the lens control ring can also be used to adjust continuous shooting, film simulation, ISO speed, and white balance.

On the left hand side of the camera there is another function button. It sits quite well hidden. Very useful. I have decided to assign it to external ring control.

There is also a dedicated switch with an automatic mode, that I think may come handy to less photography savvy users. The camera also has a built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and an in-camera time-lapse.

The new 18.5mm f/2.8 lens in the X70 is a super performer. The quality of this pancake design lens is outstanding.
It’s an entirely new design by Fujifilm. It consists of 7 elements in 5 groups with 2 aspherical elements. It’s constructed in a  compact way,  and because there is no collapsing necessary when turning on/off the camera, this results in a much faster startup time when you switch your camera on.

The lens autofocus quickly thanks to the X70 hybrid autofocus system with both contrast detection and phase detect AF  which offers a 49-point Single Point AF mode and a Wide/Tracking mode that offers a 77-point autofocus area. Autofocus is fast, with reported autofocus acquisition said to be of as little as 0.06 seconds.

The X70 can start up in 0.5 seconds in High Performance mode, it is amazing and has a shutter lag time of just 0.05 seconds, can continuously shoot at up to 8 frames-per-second for around 12 frames and can use a completely silent electronic shutter with exposures at 1/32,000s.

Another feature that is is packed in the X70 is the digital crop feature or “digital tele converter” as Fujifilm calls it. When shooting jpeg mode you can chose to use either a 28mm, 35mm or 50mm crop mode.  The camera does some magic so you actually get a full 16mp file, obviously you can see some compression.

The  camera has additional accessories that include the LH-X70 Lens Hood, WCL-X70 wide conversion lens, VF-X21 optional viewfinder and BLC-X70 half leather case. The camera is available in two colors, silver or black. 

The X70 is in my view meant for people who needs a compact camera, and for street photographers who needs something  inconspicuous for getting candid moments of streetlife.

 

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Fujifilm XE-2 Firmware update ver. 4.0

Fuji had always promised they were going to issue a firmware update for the nearly 3 years X-E2, mid-range mirrorless camera, to bring it in line with the XT-1 but after the release of the new camera X-E2s many were dubious.

On February 4th Fujifilm has released the new firmware update which adds a host of feature and operational improvements, including the AF upgrades, also a revised user interface and multiple Auto ISO settings. The update brings the camera into line with most of the latest X-series models and continues Fujifilm's habit of supporting existing users.

This is one of the reasons why I moved from DSLR professional Nikon to Fujifilm. Just thinking at myXE-2 that I had since the very beginning in October 2013 I believe that thanks to the Fujifilm supportI have had a new camera probably 2/3 times with major updates in those 28 months and for sure it is is not something I was used to.
I am always surprised that not many camera brands release updates as phones, computers, tablets etc.   In my view extending the functionality with updates or fixes is always a good thing and would make for more the reason to purchase oftheir brand, especially as these cameras become more computer like and sophisticated.

 

Improvements and function enhancements with this firmware 4.0 update

New AF System
(1) New AF system with Zone and Wide/Tracking modes for effortless capture of moving subjects
(2) Improvement of AF accuracy
(3) Eye Detection AF
(4) Auto Macro mode
(5) AF improvement in the Movie mode
Function enhancements
(6) High-speed electronic shutter with a maximum speed of 1/32000sec.*
(7) White Balance Bracketing
(8) Enhanced ISO Auto Setting to AUTO1/AUTO2/AUTO3
(9) Exposure Compensation control in Manual.
(10) Natural Live View function is just like the naked eye.
(11) Finer lines on the framing grid enhances visibility
(12) New Video Frame rates (50P / 25P / 24P)
(13) Manual Shooting in Video mode
(14) Phase detection AF support for Instant AF
(15) Expansion of shutter speed in Program Shift mode
Operability improvements
(16) The new user interface
(17) Improved Shutter Speed Dial operation
(18) Name of Silent mode changed to avoid confusion
(19) Direct selection of AF area
(20) Unlocked AE-L / AF-L Buttons
(21) Variable Focus Area during MF
(22) Q. Menu customization
(23) Interlocking of Metering and Focus areas
(24) Movie Recording
Other changes with the update
(25) Supports focus limiter function for XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
(26) “BACKGROUND COLOR” menu
(27) The maximum number of images taken in the continuous shooting mode

After this update, I really feel my XE2 ismuch faster and it added many useful things that will help my workflow

What I was really hoping with this update was to get

-Autofocus brought inline with X-T1 speeds, especially continuous focus
-Electronic shutter option
-Auto Macro Mode

I got them all

PRO
Autofocus - Single, Fixed subject isfor sure an impressive upgrade. Works in a fantastic way and really seems a new camera.
Autofocus - Single, Moving subject a great improvement
Autofocus - Continuous + Tracking again asubstantial improvement on continuous focus and very happy with it
Auto Macro mode will save time and makes life easier
Electronic shutter for still subjects it's a dream, 1/32000th in the daylight wide open and completely silent is superb.

This new firmware is very very good, make sure you update your camera right now, these added functions bring the X-E2 in line with X-E2s and XT-1

New Firmware 4.0 can be found here

CONS
Grrrr....Why did the firmware not include 36 megapixel upgrade, tilt-able screen, IBIS, and the possibility to make an Espresso?? That was mean.
Just Joking of course.

Thanks Fujifilm! You've shown that the most important factor are (we) the end users.

 

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Fuji Xpro2 my take!

Fujifilm X-Pro2

The most awaited upgraded premium camera finally arrives!

During the last couple of months I was lucky enough to try the Fuji X Pro 2 thanks to Fujifilm Slovenia! I used to own the original Xpro1 and I shoot on a daily bases with 2 Leica and I use 2 XT1 and  1 XE2 with an array of fuji lenses so was really looking forward to try this new gem.

The Fujifilm has released the long-awaited modern, advanced model, the Fuji Xpro2 compact system camera. It is one of the coolest, hippest and most desirable APS-C cameras available in the market today.

 

The details and Capability

The Fuji Xpro2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a Hybrid Viewfinder system that incorporates both electrical and optical viewfinders. It has an ultra advance image sensor, X-Trans III technology, for a remarkable image quality and sharpness similar to full-frame DSLRs: brand new 24.3 megapixels. It features a Hybrid AF system with 273 points, of which 77 are phase-detection and cover about 40% of the frame, while the rest is covered by contrast-detection areas for accurate focusing from edge-to-edge.

When paired with the X-Processor Pro, the sensor is delivering clean image quality with minimized noise value, along with a sensitivity range of ISO 12800 that can be expanded to ISO 51200. Besides benefitting the low-light performance, the sensor contributes to faster overall performance, including shutter lag time of 0.05 seconds, AF speed of up to 0.06 seconds, start-up time of 0.4 seconds and shooting interval of 0.25 seconds. The mechanical shutter speed is up to 1/32,000 seconds, with an enhanced flash sync speed of about 1/250 seconds, and a new X-Processor Pro that brings extraordinary improved response time for superior performance. It simply delivers the best ever result from Fuji X-Series camera.

Body and Interface Design

Fuji Xpro2 has a robust, weather-resistant body to meet the unique needs of any professional photographer in a touch shooting area. Its chassis is made of four pieces of magnesium alloy, which are sealed with more than 60 points, making it a splash-proof, dust-proof and even capable of operating at low temperatures. Besides, it features two SD card slots for reliable video and image storage.

The exposure compensation dial, shutter speed dial and finder switching lever are milled from high quality aluminum for a comfortable feel and premium look. It also features water and dust resistance command dial on both the rear and front of the camera, plus a push function that are easy to use. Its design also includes various customizable function buttons together with a 3.0" 1.62m-dot rear LCD for live view shooting, image playback and menu navigation. The built-in Wi-Fi allows you to share images wirelessly to mobile devices, or remotely control the camera from your Smartphone.

What I think

The X-Pro2 is something special, the performance and capabilities of the X-Pro2 make it my instant go-to camera during my travels. The X-Pro2 excels everywhere, the camera is starting to focus before I even decide to take the shot and with the speed, accuracy and amazing colour rendition I found all I had to do was focus my attention on composition. I do not need to shoot anymore in Raw I can simply use jpg.  Put simply the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a joy to use, it is a phenomenal upgrade to an already superb camera.

The camera will officially be sold in the market in February 2016 for £1,349.00, so get ready for a new world of photography.

 

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This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.



Fuji X Custom Settings

Today arrived the new firmware for most of the Fuji X series cameras.  When you update all the custom settings are wiped out as well as cache memory and frame numberHere are more or less my latest  custom settings.

Name ISO Dynamic Range Film Simulation White Balance Colour Sharpness Highlight  Shadow  Noise 
Standard AUTO DR100 Provia (standard) Auto 0 0 0 0 0
Landscape Normal 200 DR100 Astia (soft) Auto -1 +1 -1 -2 0
Landscape  High Contrast 400 DR200 Astia (soft) Auto -1 +1 -1 -2 0
Portrait Neutral 200 DR100 Pro-Neg Standard Auto 0 0 0 0 0
Portrait Neutral Higher Contrast 400 DR200 Pro-Neg High Auto 0 +1 -1 -2 0
B&W Landscape 800 DR100 Mono+Red Auto 0 +1 0 0 0
B&W Portrait 800 DR100 Mono+Green Auto 0 +1 -1 -1 0

 

I have set them according to the subjects I tend to shot so I can change a whole group of settings with a push of the "Q" menu button and a quick turn of the dial.   Finer tweaks to color and highlight/shadow tone were done from experience of using the camera and the above are what I  eventually arrived at after some months of use.

I tend to play quite a bit with Highlight Tome, Sharpness and Shadow Tone so I change them often. For the ISO thee are times when I like to have in AUTO with Standard 200, Max 3200 and min shutter speed at Focal length I am using x1.8

While I like the more saturated colors and higher contrast in Astia (soft) for landscape generally, I found it tended to clip into the shadows too easily so I somewhat reduced the contrast there by making a -2 adjustment.

For portraits the Provia (standard) or Pro-Neg film simulations work well as they are rather neutral and subdued in colour, so render skin tones well.  The Pro-Neg Hi gives the same colours but more contrast.  I reduced the contrast at the shadow end as I found it was clipping to black too readily.

The dynamic range settings work really well and allow the camera to record more detail in highlights and shadows than in a normal exposure.  For the higher DR setting (DR200 is all I have needed) the camera needs to be set to ISO 400 but the sensor/processor is so effective that there is no discernible noise penalty.  It isn't an HDR feature....my understanding is that it works like many other similar features and the camera basically underexposes the image then processes in an exposure and tone curve that avoids clipping at each end.

The Jpeg output is so good on this camera that I shoot Jpeg almost all the time, whereas I only shoot RAW on my Nikon DSLRs.  Images from the X-E1 print superbly and have amazing pixel level sharpness.  The camera seems to resolve beyond what its 16MP sensor should, probably due to the absence of the anti aliasing filter.  Strangely, when 100% images are viewed on a computer monitor, detail can look somewhat mushy due to the unusual colour filter layout of the X-Trans sensor, but images view nicely at normal sizes and print in a very natural way, giving what I would describe as an organic look to textures that look real enough to touch and bitingly sharp.

 

Fuji X100s for street photography

I am often asked what settings I use for street photography. First, let’s make sure you have everything you will need, extra batteries and extra memory cards. A fast memory card is essential when shooting raw. ...do not forget your camera! (Marco Secchi)

Here are my settings for street shooting: Auto ISO: 200-3200 Min. Shutter speed limit: 1/125 Focus AF-C mode Drive Mode S or C: most of the time I am in s mode, c-mode if the situation really calls for it. While in AF-C mode , always awake/never sleep doesn’t work, keep half pressing the shutter from time to time, especially when you spot a potential shot, make sure the camera is not asleep Shutter priority at 1/250 or higher in regular light Optical Hybrid finder vs EVF: depending on the scene, if it is a context or overview shot, OHVF works, however, I found the EVF preferable for precise positioning of the af point since there is no time to reframe/refocus. Develop a solid grip on your camera, experiment, strap around the neck or wrist strap. Learn to change +- dial with out looking at your camera, the same goes for shutter speed, keep your eyes on the street.

Use your x100s a lot, that’s it!

Fuji X Custom Settings

Today arrived the new firmware for most of the Fuji X series cameras.  When you update all the custom settings are wiped out as well as cache memory and frame numberHere are more or less my latest  custom settings.

Name ISO Dynamic Range Film Simulation White Balance Colour Sharpness Highlight  Shadow  Noise 
Standard AUTO DR100 Provia (standard) Auto 0 0 0 0 0
Landscape Normal 200 DR100 Astia (soft) Auto -1 +1 -1 -2 0
Landscape  High Contrast 400 DR200 Astia (soft) Auto -1 +1 -1 -2 0
Portrait Neutral 200 DR100 Pro-Neg Standard Auto 0 0 0 0 0
Portrait Neutral Higher Contrast 400 DR200 Pro-Neg High Auto 0 +1 -1 -2 0
B&W Landscape 800 DR100 Mono+Red Auto 0 +1 0 0 0
B&W Portrait 800 DR100 Mono+Green Auto 0 +1 -1 -1 0

 

I have set them according to the subjects I tend to shot so I can change a whole group of settings with a push of the "Q" menu button and a quick turn of the dial.   Finer tweaks to color and highlight/shadow tone were done from experience of using the camera and the above are what I  eventually arrived at after some months of use.

I tend to play quite a bit with Highlight Tome, Sharpness and Shadow Tone so I change them often. For the ISO thee are times when I like to have in AUTO with Standard 200, Max 3200 and min shutter speed at Focal length I am using x1.8

While I like the more saturated colors and higher contrast in Astia (soft) for landscape generally, I found it tended to clip into the shadows too easily so I somewhat reduced the contrast there by making a -2 adjustment.

For portraits the Provia (standard) or Pro-Neg film simulations work well as they are rather neutral and subdued in colour, so render skin tones well.  The Pro-Neg Hi gives the same colours but more contrast.  I reduced the contrast at the shadow end as I found it was clipping to black too readily.

The dynamic range settings work really well and allow the camera to record more detail in highlights and shadows than in a normal exposure.  For the higher DR setting (DR200 is all I have needed) the camera needs to be set to ISO 400 but the sensor/processor is so effective that there is no discernible noise penalty.  It isn't an HDR feature....my understanding is that it works like many other similar features and the camera basically underexposes the image then processes in an exposure and tone curve that avoids clipping at each end.

The Jpeg output is so good on this camera that I shoot Jpeg almost all the time, whereas I only shoot RAW on my Nikon DSLRs.  Images from the X-E1 print superbly and have amazing pixel level sharpness.  The camera seems to resolve beyond what its 16MP sensor should, probably due to the absence of the anti aliasing filter.  Strangely, when 100% images are viewed on a computer monitor, detail can look somewhat mushy due to the unusual colour filter layout of the X-Trans sensor, but images view nicely at normal sizes and print in a very natural way, giving what I would describe as an organic look to textures that look real enough to touch and bitingly sharp.

 

Weston Master III Lightmeter

Over many years, professional photographers the world over have user Weston exposure meters. Why? Because they fulfill the professional's needs. Extremely accurate in all lighting situations, rugged, generally no reliance on batteries. IMG_1650

The epitome of the selenium cell meter is the Weston Master, which has a long and complicated history, not least because there were both US-built and UK-built versions: the UK company started as a subsidiary of the US-based company (which was founded by an Englishman) and became 51% UK owned (as Sangamo Weston) in 1936.

The Weston Master Universal was introduced in 1939 and remained in production in the UK until about 1950, though the Weston Master II was introduced in the United States in 1945/6. The Weston Master III appeared in 1956; the Weston Master IV in 1965; the Weston Master V in 1967; and the Euro-Master in 1970. Even after Weston lost interest, the Euro-Master was manufactured by Kilbride Instruments in Scotland from 1980 to 84 and then as the Euro-Master II by Megatron in London from 1984 to 2010.

It works as follows: moving the small tab that sticks out from the silver dial adjusts the film speed setting which can be read though the small opening in the red dial. Then take a reading by aiming the meter cell on the bottom of the meter at the subject. If the light levels are high, leave the perforated cover over the selenium cell in place; if the the light is dim, then open the perforated cover. The meter needle will point to a number on the meter scale. The range of numbers for bright light is 25 to 1600 and for low light it goes from .2 to 50. Use the turned up tabs on the black wheel to aim the large silver arrow at the corresonding number on the outermost part of the dial. You can then read all the correct exposure combinations off the silver (shutter speeds) and black (f stops) dials. In other words, a shutter speed that lines up with an adjacent f stop should provide the right exposure.

Manual is here

Portrait Photography with Fuji XE-2

little fuji This is my standard portrait set up and I use aperture priority in conjunction with auto ISO.

Here are my settings:

ISO set to 200 Auto on ~ max 3200 with a minimum shutter speed set for each lens as follows: 14mm ~ 1/40th second, 23mm ~ 1/100th second, 35mm ~ 1/160th second Shutter speed dial set to A Aperture dial set to f/1.4 – f/4 as required Jpeg Fine + Raw Auto WB Ns film simulation, occasionally Astia Soft

AF set to S Activated on a half press of the shutter. I then move the focus zone around the frame as needed. I set the focus zone as the smallest square available as any background detail within the square during focusing might cause the lens to back focus.

With these settings dialed in I just pick up the camera, switch it on and start shooting. I adjust the shooting the exposure compensation as required via the very convenient dial, I change the focus zone to the best position for each shot and I reset the minimum shutter speed for Auto ISO in the ISO menu (Fn button) if I change my lens.

With the AF set to activate on a half shutter press I have to focus before every exposure. I rarely shoot multiple frames the same so I really don’t mind doing this.

I set the aperture and let the camera adjust the ISO from 200 to 3200 to suit the light level. When it runs out of ISO range it alters the shutter speed. I came to the values of minimum shutter speed using my simple formula* (See the section on shutter speed below). Occasionally I’ll dial in a higher shutter speed, especially when using the 14mm lens if the subject movement demands it. I just set the shutter speed dial to the value I want and the auto ISO continues to perform just as before.

Fujifilm X100S settings for Black & White

With the X100S I shoot with ISO set to Auto, with a base ISO of 200 and a maximum of 3200. Digital noise really isn’t an issue even this high. Trust me. And the shutter speed limit is mostly set to 1/125 of a second, unless I shoot to get some deliberate motion blur, then I find 1/30 sec is perfect. That gives me some motion and energy that can lift a picture to even greater heights. Well enough about that. I promised you my settings, and these are the settings I have come to love by simply shooting, testing, looking, evaluating and readjusting, over and over again for a couple of months. These settings give me pictures with good contrasts and some punch. And I love punchy b&w!
DSCF9507 copy
So the settings for my custom setting C2 for capturing in both RAW and black & white JPGs are as follows:
Image size: L 3:2
Image quality: F+RAW
Dynamic range: DR100
Film simulation: BR (monochrome + R filter)
Sharpness: +1
Highlight tone: +2
Shadow tone: +2
Noise reduction: 0

My Recommended Menu Settings Fuji X pro 1

My Recommended Menu Settings

These are the camera settings I changed to made the Fuji X-Pro1 most suitable for my shooting needs. Your mileage may vary, but I found these tweaks to make the camera all the more usable than the stock camera settings:

Shooting Menu 1: Image Quality (RAW+FINE) – Always shoot in RAW. With RAW + FINE, you get the flexibility of RAW with the instant use of the X-Pro1?s excellent JPGs. Also a smart move until Adobe fixes issues with their demosaicing algorithm for the X-Pro1.

Shooting Menu 3: Fn Button (ISO) – Quick access to change the ISO from the Fn button. With this access, which I find faster than the Q button for dedicated ISO adjustment, you have all exposure settings at your fingertips.

Shooting Menu 4: AE/AF-Lock Mode (Switch) – Ability to switch AE-AF-Lock on by pressing button once instead of having to press and hold – a useful tweak if you focus and recompose often instead of changing the AF point.

Shooting Menu 4: AE/AF-Lock Button (AE+AF) – Locks both AE and AF.

Setup 1: Silent Mode (ON) – No AF confirmation noise or beeps from menu selections for quieter operation.

Setup 2: Quick Start Mode (ON) – Doesn’t completely power off camera to increase responsiveness.

Setup 2: Image Display (OFF) – Turns off default 1.5 second image review in EVF for smoother shooting experience. 

Setup 3: Color Space (sRGB) – My preferred color space.

“AF-ON” Button

With my DSLRs, I often have my cameras set up so that the shutter release only fires the shutter, while AF is controlled by the AF-ON button only. This way it’s so much faster shoot for my style of photography, and many other shooters prefer this set up as well.

While the Fuji X-Pro1 doesn’t really have a dedicated AF-ON button like most DSLRs, there is a work-around that you can use to achieve the exact same set up.

The small trick is to shoot in manual focus mode. The camera now defaults to allow the AE-L/AF-L button to activate focus as a kind of “AF override.” Now, the shutter release is entirely de-coupled from AF, but you can still activate AF through the AE-L/AF-L button, so in effect you’ve got your AF-ON button back.

AF Trick: Focus & Fire In One Action

One trick that many users seem to be finding out is to press the shutter release down fully to achieve focus and release the shutter in a single act. Most DSLR users are used to acquiring focus with a half-press and then firing the shutter after focus is locked. With the Fuji X-Pro1, the focusing lag experienced is partially due to the separation of these steps.

Many users are finding that by fully pressing the shutter release in one motion, the delay involving the contrast detection AF and shutter release seems to be lessened.

This trick is basically the opposite of the preceding trick to completely separate focus and shutter release, but if you’re a DSLR user who has been frustrated by the focus speed, it’s worth breaking your habits to see if this works for you. While this trick doesn’t work for all types of shooting, try it – you might just like it.

Never Shoot in 6FPS Bust Mode. Ever.

6FPS sounds great, until you realize that shooting in bursts will lock up your camera for what feels like 10x the time it took you to shoot your sequence. Just stick to single shot mode, your patience will thank you for it.

 

My Fuji Travel Kit

Over the last few weeks I have received a number of emails asking which camera bag I use with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and also what equipment I include in my travel photography kit bag. I thought I would create a simple list of what I include in my travel photography kit regardless of the size of the trip. (Marco Secchi)

 

Cameras

Obviously I travel with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera and I carry with me the Fujinon 35mm and Fujinon 18mm lenses. In addition I also bring along the trusty Fujifilm X100. Occasionally I have the X10 in my pockets as well

The X100 is slightly smaller so tends to be carried around literally everywhere and it is perfect for those times when you are not photography focused but want quality photos if the opportunity arises.

I use one of my own brand  strap and Italian leather half case on the X-Pro1 to protect my camera

On the X100 I use again one of my own straps. They can be on the right or left side of the camera depending on your preference. A  leather ring  reduce the strap opening. The strap comes with a 1/2? split ring to attach to the camera.

Camera Bag

I use either the Think Tank Retrospective 5 Pinestone Shoulder Bag  or one of my own leather bags. Both bags come  with 3 divided sections ideal for the X-Pro1, X100 and a 2nd lens.

There are a number of additional pockets for ipad, documents memory cards etc

Tripod

For traveling light I always take my brilliant little GorillaPod

Accessories

I do not carry many carry accessories with me. Just a  lens cleaning cloth  a Hamma cable release for long exposures over 30 seconds, couple of spare batteries, connections to my ipad, iphone

I also pack a couple of soft release buttons, many argue these are vanity decoration but I do think they make the button easier to use. I use mine either in glass or  wood

I carry most of the time  the Fuji flash EF x20.