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That’s the question I’m most often asked. I wish the most popular question was “Why do you like to shoot portraits with hard light?” I’ll answer that one in a future blog post. Let me start by explaining the process I went through to get my current line up of gear together with reasonings for each step of the journey.

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1. Fuji X-T1 with 56mm lens. 1/1000th second at f/5 using ISO 200. Motion photography needs at least 1/500th second shutter speed to get sharp pictures. Vicky Bond at the Olympic Park in London. (Sunlight)

Warning: GAS inducing blog post (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) Reading this blog post might melt your credit card.

A bit of fun history: (Skip this bit if you want to and head straight to my recommendations below)
My first Fuji camera was branded as a Hasselblad X-Pan but it was in fact identical to the Fuji TX-1 (European and USA models were sold with the Hasselblad name). I won the camera in the photographer of the year competition run by Guild of Photographers way back in 1998.

Here is a picture to show where the X-Pro1 DNA and styling originated and the name for the X-T1.

2. The first Fujifilm X camera from 1998 showing where the X-Pro1 DNA originated. Fuji didn’t look far for the name of the X-T1 either. The X-Pro 1 inherited a lot of features including the optical viewfinder,  a selection of interchangeable lenses with an aperture dial on the lens, a stepped top plate with shutter speed and exposure compensation dials, a bolt on grip and the central placement of the hot shoe.

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3. Amber Tutton – Fuji X-T1 with the 56mm lens. 1/160th Second at f/4 using ISO 800 ( 2x 650 Lupolux LED spotlights)

My digital era camera and lens combinations: (Skip this bit too if you want to)

In 2001 we went fully digital with a pair of Fujifilm S1 cameras equipped with the best Nikon f/2.8 zooms
Then a year later came Fujifilm S2 cameras with the same Nikon f/2.8 zooms
Then a Hasselblad H1 camera with Phase One P25 back with 4 prime lenses (made by Fujifilm)
Upgraded to a Hasselblad H2 camera with Phase One P25 back with 5 prime lenses (made by Fujifilm)
I sold the Hassy on Ebay and bought a Canon 5D with Canon f/2.8 zooms plus a Nikon D200 to use with the Nikon f/2.8 zooms
Then I bought a Canon 5Dmk2 with Canon f/2.8 zooms Plus replaced the awful D200 with a fabulous Nikon D700 with a new set of Nikon f/2.8 zooms
(I sold the Canon zooms when we stopped shooting weddings)
My prime set up then looked like this: Canon 5Dmk2 with Zeiss 21mm, Canon 35mm L, Canon 50mm L, Canon 100mm L
I added a Fuji X100 camera on the day of it’s release and it was so good that I sold my Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens one month later.
I then added the X-Pro1 with 18mm, 35mm and 60mm lenses. It’s first proper outing was my road trip covering the full length of Route 66. My finance director (Julie) wouldn’t let me put the X-Pro1 camera purchase through the business as it was not an absolutely necessary expense saying “You have a perfectly good Canon camera kit already” so I paid for the Fuji X-Pro1 kit out of my own savings. It felt even more special for that.
The Fuji X-Pro1 was a joy to use and the images it gave me matched my Canon 5Dmk2 for quality. I never picked up the Canon again and I eventually sold it once I had bought the 14mm f/2.8 prime from WEX to replace my Zeiss 21mm on the Canon system. The big problem with the Canon was focussing, especially with the 50mm L lens. The camera often claimed a shot was in focus when in fact it had lied to me. I faffed with AF micro adjustment and a good setting for f/4 at 2 metres was a bad setting for f/1.2 at 1 metre. I became a bit paranoid and wanted to check each frame for sharpness. Incidentally, if I had bought a 5Dmk3 camera I might have delayed my switch to the Fuji system until the X-T1 was released earlier this year. I would have definitely switched systems though because the Fuji lenses are far superior and worth the switch alone. Then there is the fun and invigoration that comes from using fabulous tools. The X series is fun to use.
Next came the X-E2 as I needed a second body. It was such an improvement on the X-Pro1 that the X-Pro1 soon became my second body.
Luckily for me a Fuji X-T1 arrived from the team at Fuji UK for me to use when making my Illumination 1 and 2 videos earlier this year and that camera body remains my No1 camera choice to this day.

Julie now uses the Fuji X-E2 on her assignments in Africa choosing to take that camera rather than lugging the Nikon SLR kit. She shoots with the 10-24mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms. She will add the Fuji 120-400mm Super Telephoto zoom to her kit when it becomes available in 2015. I will keep the fabulous 50-140mm zoom in my camera bag for portrait work.

Our current camera and lens kit now comprises:
Fuji X-Pro1, X-E2, X-T1 and X100t cameras (plus a Nikon D700 and a Fuji X100 gathering dust). Fuji 14mm, 23mm, 35mm, 56mm, 60mm primes and 10-24mm, 18-55mm, 55-200mm and 50-140mm zooms. (plus a Nikon 14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 2x converter gathering dust)

In summary:

  • For interior portraits I use the 14mm, 23mm, 35mm and 56mm lenses.
  • For exterior portraits where I can get back a bit further and I’m dealing with greater distances beyond my subject, I use the 14mm, 23mm, 35mm and 50-140mm zoom lenses.
  • For events/ weddings and some urban portraits I use and love the X100t
  • Julie shoots her wildlife and travel photography on the X-E2 with the 10-24mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms

Might this line up change? Yes, as new kit becomes available, combinations might change and other kit will be sold on. I sold my 18mm lens when I acquired the 14mm and 23mm lenses.

As you can see from my journey above, the route to my current working kit was not straightforward. In my case the order that lenses and cameras became available from Fuji affected my working kit at that time and then the lenses I owned often dictated what ones I bought next. The list below ignores the ‘journey’ and assumes a complete system swap or starting from scratch.

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4. Rosalinde in Hamburg shot using my Fuji X-T1, 56mm lens 1/250th second at f/1.2 with ISO 200 (Sunlight)

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5. Rosalinde in Den Haag shot using my Fuji X-T1, 23mm lens 1/180th second at f/8 with ISO 200 (Speedlight in the foreground and sunlight in the background)

Here are my recommendations for those photographers starting out with the Fuji X system from scratch or doing a system swap. Genre followed by recommendation:

Landscapes and architecture: Fuji X-Pro1, 12mm Zeiss, 16mm, 23mm, 35mm Fuji primes and the 55-200mm Fuji zoom

Landscapes with minimal kit: Fuji X-E2, 10-24mm zoom, 35mm prime and the 55-200mm zoom (The X-E2 is smaller, lighter and faster than the X-Pro1. The X-Pro1 is cheaper than the X-E2 and has an optical finder as well as EVF).

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6. The view from Bokor mountain in Cambodia. Fuji X-T1 with 55-200mm lens at 200mm setting 1/500th second at f/5.6 with ISO 200.

Travel: Fuji X-E2, 18mm, 35mm and 60mm primes or Fuji X-E2, 18mm, 35mm and 55-200 zoom

Travel with minimal kit: Fuji X-E2 with 18-55mm zoom (The 18-55mm zoom is a stellar optic and has image stabilisation built in too)

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7. Children of Cambodia playing in the street shot with the Fuji X-T1 and 55-200mm lens at 85mm setting 1/180th second at f/3.9 with ISO 200.

Interior portraits: Fuji X-T1, 14mm, 23mm, 35mm, and 56mm. (I shoot wide interior portraits so the 14mm is my wide lens of choice, others may choose the 16mm)

Interior portraits with minimal kit: Fuji X100t ( I could shoot all day with the X100t and not miss interchangeable lenses, it’s that fabulous to use)

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8. Victoria in the Bristol Museum shot using the Fuji X-T1 and 14mm lens 1/15th second (using a tripod) at f/3.6 with ISO 400  (3x Lupolux 1000 LED spotlights)

Exterior portraits: Fuji X-T1, 14mm, 23mm, 35mm, and 50-140mm zoom (The big zoom is the way to go for the tight end of the range. At f/2.8 it is spectacularly sharp and you can have both eyes in focus with a wonderful bokeh too)

Exterior portraits with minimal kit: Fuji X-E2, 23mm, 35mm and 56mm (The X-E2 is smaller and lighter than the X-T1 and has the same image quality too)

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9. Rosalinde in Hamburg shot with the Fuji X-T1 and 14mm lens 1/180th second at f/4 using ISO 800 (Daylight)

Street shooting: Fuji X100t plus WCL and TCL (If you like optical viewfinders this is the way to go. If we ever see an X-Pro2 it is likely to be made with street shooters in mind. Until then the X100t is the way to go)

Street shooting with minimal kit: Fuji X100t or Fuji X-E2 with 27mm (The X100t and the X-E2 are the same size. The 27mm pancake lens for the X-E2 is lovely and compact and offers a slightly tighter field of view, it’s your choice)

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10. Rosalinde in Hamburg shot with the Fuji X-T1 and 56mm lens at f/1.2 1/1000th second with ISO 200. (Daylight)

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11. ‘Tutu In Doorway’ taken in Cambodia using the Fuji X-T1 with 14mm lens 1/180th second at f/3.6 and ISO 1600 (Fading daylight)

Weddings with zooms: Fuji X-T1, 10-24mm, 16-55mm, and 50-140mm Fuji zooms Plus X100T in the bag for guests milling and candid shots. (I’d also have the 60mm macro lens to shoot the rings but I’d leave it in the car after that. The 16-55mm lens is due with us before next season gets underway)

Weddings with primes: Fuji X-T1, 14mm, 16mm, 35mm and 56mm primes plus Fuji X100t (never underestimate how unobtrusive and silent the X100t is. You can shoot the guests at a wedding without them getting agitated or turning their backs. No more having to be sneaky with a long lens)

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12. Rosalinde in Den Haag shot with the Fuji X-T1 and 56mm lens 1/2000th second at f/2.2 ISO 200 (Daylight)

Studio portraits with flash: Fuji X-T1, 35mm and 60mm primes (The 60mm is far better at f/11 and f/16 than the 56mm lens so is perfect for strobe shooting)

Studio portraits with continuous light: Fuji X-T1, 35mm and 56mm primes (At f/1.2 the 56mm prime is perfect for that Hollywood portrait look of the good old days)

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13. Leela T shot with the Fuji X-T1 and 60mm lens 1/180th second f/11 ISO 200 (1x Elinchrom 600RX Studio Flash)

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14. Leela T shot with the Fuji X100T 1/105th second f/2.8 ISO 200 (1x Lupolux 650 LED spotlight)

Motion photography including sport, action and wildlife: Stick with an SLR for now. (2015 might be the year that Fujifilm give us the focus tracking speed gains required for motion photography plus the long awaited organic sensor)

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15. Cambodian kick boxers shot with the Fuji X-Pro1 and 23mm lens 1/500th second at f/2.5 ISO 6400 (pre focussed and pre set exposure. available light)

Why I find the Fuji X system is faster to use than an SLR: With an SLR I used to either use aperture priority AV, A or manual M mode depending upon what I was shooting. Either way required me to take a test picture, assess exposure then adjust the settings or exposure compensation as required. I could then start shooting. If I missed out the review and adjustment stage I’d come back from a wedding with some strings of shots that were too dark or light. With the Fuji X system I shoot in M manual mode and it shows me the exact exposure and white balance I’m going to get before I press the shutter. I can tweak it as required and voila I get perfect exposures every time. No more exposure variations or test shots when I get back to the studio. The time saved at the shooting stage more than makes up for any difference in focussing speed.

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16. Leela T shot with the Fuji X-T1 and 56mm lens 1/180th second at f/8 with ISO 200 (1x Elinchrom 600RX flash head)

It’s easy to forget that the Fuji X system is only about three years old and in that time Fuji have come from nowhere to produce 4 professional grade cameras and 14 top flight lenses. In the next year I fully expect them to become world beating by developing at least two more top spec camera bodies and designing a further three or four lenses. So for some photographers the question is not why change from SLR to Fuji X but when is the right time to change.

Please make comments or suggestions below so we can keep all useful and relevant additions in one place. I may well be adjusting my recommendations as good advice comes in. Damien.

Ask a question or leave a comment. All comments get a reply.

58 Responses

  1. Mark Adell

    I too did the same switch Damien as you may remember.
    I too suffer GAS but I do love what the Fuji system gives me, I haven’t really ever missed my Canon equipment and love the anonymous feeling the system gives – no more big white honking great lens look at me look at me!
    Great post

    Reply
  2. Michael

    Hola Damien,
    As usual your posts are always very interesting.
    I am eagerly waiting to buy into the Fuji system, as you say its a question of when!
    I think the organic sensor and the 120-400 if they arrive, will be the retirement of my Nikon
    gear to the cupboard.

    Does the 23mm fixed lens on the Fuji 100t, display the same sharpness as the XT version? and do you find the face detection gets sharp eyes on the 23 and 56 lenses?

    Once again, many thanks. If you ever do a shoot in Seville, Spain, do let me know. I am sure it would suit your style of photography.

    Regards
    Michael

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Michael,

      First of all I want to say thank you. Secondly Seville is a must for 2015. Can you help me find locations and put together a series of workshops? If you can help email me.

      The 23mm of the X100 series cameras is excellent. It has a unique characteristic common with other pancake designs. It is a far simpler design with less correction elements doing their stuff. It is pin sharp in the middle area wide open and very sharp all over by f/2.8. I love the look of this lens wide open too. It is very flattering for portraits with a calm beautiful bokeh. The 23mm XF lens shares the same angle of view but apart from that is quite different in it’s rendering. The complex nature of the XF gives it super control of CA, sharpness and distortion. Sometimes this can result in pictures having a more 2D quality. I’ve not shot the same subject side by side with the lenses but maybe that’s a good idea for a blog post too.

      I’ve not used the face detection feature on my cameras yet so I can’t comment on that one. Some say that Face Detection is the best way of tracking focus with someone coming towards you (bride and groom coming down the isle etc).

      Get in touch about Spain :)

      Kind regards, Damien.

      Reply
  3. John Prinsloo

    So why do you shoot portraits with hard light? I love your DVDs/downloads, but my hard light always feels too hard, is it the placement of the shadows?

    Regards
    John

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi John,

      Thanks for asking :) That’s a great subject for a blog post. Yes, the direction of light is the most important aspect then the dept of shadows or contrast. Hard light used well makes faces look thinner. Soft light reduces the effects of spots and blemishes but makes faces look wider. There are many aspects and subtleties to using hard light well. I’ll get writing :)

      Kind regards, Damien.

      Reply
  4. Alex

    Great post, Damien. I’ve been eyeing up the X -T1 for far too long, the one and only thing holding me back is whether it works for sport. I also shoot mountain biking and my DSLR fits the bill perfectly, of course. Do you think the Fuji’s improved focussing speed is finally good enough?

    Cheers, Alex

    Reply
  5. Damien

    Hi Alex, To quote from the article ” For motion photography including sport, action and wildlife: Stick with an SLR for now. (2015 might be the year that Fujifilm give us the focus tracking speed gains required for motion photography)” So stick with an SLR as you say, it does the job :)

    Reply
  6. Whitminster

    Damien – Thanks for the overview. One question though, Is the Fuji system an acceptable alternative to DSLR for tabletop photography – If so which Camera / lens option? Cheers and Merry Christmas, Ian

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Whitminster, I would go with the Fuji X-E2 and the 60mm macro lens for table top shots up to dinner plate size then I’d go for the 35mm lens for larger objects. The change of focal length is a result of needing a change of field of view to keep a pleasing perspective. The 60mm can focus down to matchbox size. Smaller stuff requires extension tubes. A decent tripod is recommended too. I hope this helps :) Kind regards, Damien.

      Reply
  7. Den

    Okay Damien, you’ve dropped enough hints that an X-Pro 2 is coming in 2015 :) I recently purchased an XT-1 to compliment my 5DMKIII – it’s not ready to replace it yet (not until the focus stops hunting and keeps up with me in low light – and the screen black-out between shots is unfortunately long enough to miss expressions) – but overall, yes, the operational potential is all there in waiting – image quality is already there, and I prefer the high ISO noise grain to my 5DIII.
    The X-Pro 2 will not doubt bring the resolution jump, dual card slots, better battery life, genuine high-end shutter speeds and a dedicated new TTL flash system that makes the full switch less of a practical compromise for serious wedding photographers. If you mostly just shoot portrait/still life, go ahead and dive in.
    I love working with both cameras, Fuji for primes, full frame SLR for zooms currently.

    Reply
    • Damien

      I think you are spot on Den, and that’s why the 5D mk3 is a £2000 camera and the X-T1 is a £830 camera. The 5D3 spec is obviously a lucrative target for Fuji in order to get into the big money but they will only command it when the technology warrants it. I’m not sure that the X-Pro2 will be a resolution jump if indeed it happens at all. ‘The Fuji Guys’ seem to think “It will be worth the wait” implying it’s on it’s way. If I were Fuji I’d keep the X-Pro2 at 16mp to keep the street shooters happy but with improved sensitivity and faster AF then launch the X-T2 as a studio ready camera at 22mp and aim to match the 5D3 for operational speed and low light performance. Anyway it’s all speculation on my behalf. I’m happy with the X-T1 and my current crop of lenses. Anything else that comes along is a bonus :) Kindest regards, Damien.

      Reply
  8. Den

    Thanks for the thoughts Damien. Additionally, for the 60mm lens preference in the studio with strobes, don’t you prefer the XF 50-140mm instead? (pricing aside).

    Reply
  9. Damien

    The 60mm is really light and a joy to use in the studio. The 50-140 is big and maybe 5x the weight of the 60mm. The 60mm has no minimum focus either so you can just keep going in without hitting focus issues. Hence me recommending it :) PS: I used the 50-140 on a monopod in the studio because the monopod can carry the weight. Out and about it will be perfect because it will only be used for s few minutes at s time :)

    Reply
  10. Rob

    Hi Damien, if you are using the X100T to shoot unobtrusively at an event such as a wedding reception, are you still using on-camera flash (rather than the built in flash) if it’s anything other than well-lit by daylight? Obviously, this would make it less unobtrusive, but would presumably be worth it to get more flattering light on your subjects? Merry Christmas, Rob

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Rob I don’t use on camera flash at weddings. I rarely use it ever. I do use flash at weddings occasionally but always off camera. When a shot needs flash I use it, when it needs the Lowel iD light I use it. Milling outside the church or on the lawns at a reception is easy to shoot without flash. Winter weddings nearly always need a splash of light but then it’s hard to be discrete. In dimly lit interiors I prefer to use the Lowel light because it’s warm colour temperature is far more flattering and pleasant than flash. The decision to light or not is the same whatever the camera. Kind regards, Damien

      Reply
  11. gunston

    not really GAS attach too much.
    i am still in love with my Xpro1 while waiting for the Xpro2 in 2015 soon

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Gunston, I can fully understand your affection and the wait to replace. I think 3 to 4 years is a good length of time for Fuji to create an upgrade for the X-Pro1. It was the time interval between the Canon 5D and the mk2. Significant developments have happened in the meantime and that makes the upgrade process more valuable. Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  12. Rick Lewis

    Without sounding too much like a Lovegrove fanboy, I agree with everything you have said. Especially keeping the X-Pro at 16MP. I would much rather see a better processor that will give that 16MP better dynamic range and better control over noise. That would be awesome. This race to the top for high MP sensors is getting a little ridiculous. Just take a look at Ebay and the number of listings for the Sony A7r up for sale. Way too many people rushed to buy that MP monster then realized the special techniques required to optimize that sensor were beyond their grasp.

    I like my X-T1 but I am really looking forward to the new X-Pro. Now, if we could convince Adobe or Fuji (or both), to work together, to produce software that will deliver on the X-trans sensor, we’ll be set.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Rick, Thanks for your kind words. I’m one of those X shooters that loves the look I’m getting from my RAF files in Lightroom 5.7 I hear all sorts of noise about Capture One etc but I have yet to see a complete picture processed in C1 that looks as good as the same image expertly processed in LR. I’m not interested in the pixel peeping bit it’s the whole image that does it for me. I’ll be posting a RAF file up on my Dropbox and ask folk to process it to show the best image that can be achieved in the software programme they use. I’ll then publish the findings here. These are exciting times to be into photography. Options and choices galore :) Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  13. Carole

    Great advices, Damien… very useful. I really love your work and your blog.
    I was thinking of using the new 50-140mm Fuji zoom in studio work (portrait). Maybe a strange idea as I am a “prime lens” photographer. Have you already tried it?
    (I often use ND filter on my lenses when working in studio with Elinchrom flashes, it allows me to work “wide open”).
    95% of my work is produced in studio so full frame seems to remain the standard but I am charmed by Fuji-x’s performances. Maybe it could help me to reach a next level and make me leave the secure studio ;)

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Carole,

      I’m beginning to love the 50-140 lens out on location but I must say it’s never going to be my first choice for the studio. It is really heavy (by Fuji X standards) and not conducive to hand held shooting in the studio for any length of time. I love the 60mm lens in the studio as I can shoot right in close or step back for full length work. Kind regards, Damien.

      Reply
  14. Jerry

    Damien, I apologize if you’ve addressed this before and I’ve missed it, but do you have any special focus techniques you employ when shooting a wedding, especially in low light? I love using my pair of x pro1’s but am struggling with AF during low light at weddings. Any tips are appreciated!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Jerry,

      I must admit I’d struggle with the AF on X-Pro1s at weddings. The X-T1 is way faster and better in low light hence it’s price tag of nearly £800 more. I often use manual focus with a momentary press of the AF button on the rear of the camera. This saves me having to refocus every time I want to take a shot. So during the speeches for instance the speaker is standing still, im standing still and I can set the focus and then concentrate on capturing the moment. If I have the X-Pro1 set to AFS then it has to lock focus on each shot before I can take the picture and I end up missing moments. I have other techniques too for capturing the coming down the isle shots etc too that I’ve described many many times on here somewhere. I hope this helps, Damien.

      Reply
  15. Rick Lewis

    Hi Damien, regarding the post processing issue with LR, I think the major problem is with how LR processes green and sometimes brown foliage in out of focus areas. It tends to produce a “watercolor” effect that looks a little mushy. I have seen this in some of my images. It’s not pretty.

    I doubt you would ever have issues with the subject matter you shoot. The testing I have done with Capture One Pro 8 shows it does not produce the “watercoloring” effect near to the extent LR does.

    I use LR a lot but if the image has out of focus green foliage in it, I tend to use Capture One Pro 8. I’m pretty sure LR 6, when introduced, will be much better with RAF files when it comes to this issue.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Rick,

      I’ve seen other peoples pictures with the watercolour effect especially from earlier versions of LR when the default setting for noise reduction was 10? Now that the default for noise reduction is 0 that has sorted it out. I have quite a few portraits taken with out of focus foliage in the background but I’ve not suffered the issue. Fuji and Adobe have partnered up with X trans so I expect wonderful things. Classic Chrome is just one look that appeals to many there will be more no doubt. I’ll download a trial of C1 pro 8 and take a look. Have a fabulous 2015, Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  16. Rick Lewis

    Damien, I think you are right on track with your assessment of LR 5.6. Although, fairly recently with one of my stock images I did have to go to Capture One Pro 8 due to the watercoloring in some foliage. But, I use LR most of the time now because of the addition of the Classic Chrome film simulation. Classic Chrome is my favorite film simulation. It reminds me of the days I shot a lot of Ektachrome.

    I learned from another pro’s blog post that the X-Trans sensor seems to react a little differently to sharpening which may also be causing a little trouble. He suggested using the setting of 100 on the Detail slider, 25 Sharpening, 10 Masking, as a pre-sharpening starting point. His thoughts were the X-Trans reacts better to the higher micro contrast adjustment with the Detail slider. I’ve tried it and do see good results.

    Have a great year Damien. Love your Blog and your insights.

    Reply
  17. Tony Dale

    Hi Damien, I would really like to move away from the canon system (weight, Dynamic range etc). At the moment I use 5d3 + sigma 35 Art, 24-70L, 85 1.2, 135 L, 600 flash, elinchrom Studio set up (just got a x100S which I really like). My question is using the Mirror-less camera on manual in the studio with flash, obviously the electronic finder is useless and the view from the optical finder seems a step backward. Is this something that takes time to get used to?
    My work mainly involves Events (dance competitions). Conferences, and the occasional wedding.
    Thanks Tony

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Tony,

      First of all let me say that the electronic finder and the LCD screen are perfect in the studio. The X-T1 has two EVF/LCD modes when the camera is in manual mode. You can have the viewfinder auto adjust brightness to always show you a bright image or you can have it track the manual exposure settings (by selecting ‘preview exposure in manual mode’ in the screen set up sub menu within the set up menu). Obviously you need the first mode when using flash with modelling lights and the second mode when using continuous lighting. I’d suggest the Fuji X-T1 is the right camera to use. (don’t go for X-Pro1 for the studio) The lens choice is up to you but my latest blog post on Fuji lenses is worth a read ;)

      Kind regards, Damien.

      Reply
  18. Tony Dale

    Thanks for your response.
    It seems a big step out of my canon comfort zone to move the fuji system. But I just look at your wonderfull work and I’m so tempted – the lens quality and options would be fine! Think I’ll delay a move until I’ve had a good look at the photo show at the NEC in Birmingham!

    Reply
  19. kevinjcull

    Hi Damien, this is such a great blog, so excited for 2015 I now have an Xt-1 with 56mm 1.2 and XE-2 (See DM) and 18-55mm 2.8 and my trusty X100 In a retrospective 7….So Light! as you suggested waiting for the 16mm and saving for the 55-140mm My Nikon kit is officially semi-retired! If its not a trade secret do you have to change any of the in camera menu settings on these cameras to make them useable for you? I remember you did a blog post on the X100 settings after you had them a while, maybe a future blog post?

    Wishing 2015 is your best year yet!

    KjC

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Kevin,

      I’ll post my settings for the X-T1 and X100T once the season is underway. When I’m doing 4 or 5 days of shooting in a row I end up making the final tweaks to fine tune my shooting process. Firmware 3 is still ‘new’ to me. Suffice to say I use MS only, Ns film profile, H tone -1, S tone -1, NR -2, RAW +F, colour 0, Sharp -2. I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  20. Tony Dale

    Ekk… I’ve listed my Canon 85 1.2 L and My Sigma 35 1.4 Art lens. Hoping to get X-T1, 35x and 56 lenses.
    I hoping the decision is the right one. I started reading as much as could about each on the net… and for every positive there seems to be a negative view, regarding Full frame DSLR opposed to APS. It seems the Canon 5d3 is faster than Fuji, but the 85 is painfully slow… So it should balance out!! … Right.
    I’ve got the Fuji x100s so that’s the 35 covered!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Tony,

      Don’t panic. The X-T1 and 56mm lens combo will out perform your Canon with the 85 f/1.2 both in speed and sharpness. Let alone it not feeling like a brick. The 56mm wide open will have the apparent look of the 85 on your Canon at f/1.8 making wide open a useful working aperture. The in focus success rate will go up dramatically. Bear in mind you will need 1/250th second shutter speed with the 56mm when working hand held.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  21. Peter Dedina

    Most excellent and inspiring blog, thank you. I am interested to hear what do you think about the out of focus areas produced by 50-140. Some comments I’ve seen were critical of the harshness of the bokeh, which in turn held me back from acquiring this lens as of yet.

    Reply
  22. Tony Dale

    Loving the photos from the x-T1 and 45. Still kept part of my canon kit. I think I will have serious look at the new canon 5ds r for my commercial work, I will expanded the fuji kit for all Dance, conferences and weddings. Thanks Damien, you really are an inspiration.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Tony, Nope, I see no reason to make the camera heavier than it is. I just change battery at lunchtime and that’s it. No faff, no baggage and a lightweight camera to shoot with.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Jeff,

      I’ve not even seen the new Fuji 35mm lens so I can’t comment on that one. I suppose it was developed to taper a bit so as not to obstruct the optical viewfinder of the X-Pro2 to be announced soon if the rumours are true. I’m an EVF/ LCD guy so I’ll stick with my fab f/1.4 lens.

      Cheers,

      Damien.

      Reply
  23. metemutlu

    Thank you Damian for sharing your experience on Fuji lenses and presenting with great photos. I chose mirrorless systems due to their size and weight. What do you think about XC 16-50 and XC 50-230?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Metemutlu,

      I really don’t see the point of those lenses. I tried the XC 50-230 in Africa and the image quality is not good enough for Xtrans sensors. The 18-55 and 55-200 are much better and worth the extra money, even if you have to buy secondhand.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  24. Louis

    Hi Damien,
    What a great site and your photos are wonderful – makes me want to give up :-)

    I have been agonising about changing from my Nikon. Some time ago I sold my D700 as I’m past that middle age where I would lug all my stuff around. Of course I have the rest so it left me with the dilemma of the D810 or to take the big leap.

    The main thing that really bothers me about the Fuji is the difficult RAW processing which has driven me mad with my X10. I see many photos where the watercolour effect / noise and artifacts rear their ugly head and some less than inspiring examples. Although you don’t publish your pictures large enough I see little evidence of the problems and this is one site where the photos really do look stellar.

    So the question is how / what are you processing your files with and did you find it harder to get the quality you want after switching from a DSLR FX ?

    I have come to accept and can live with the other differences one must accept by going to a smaller sensor but the processing does worry me.
    Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Louis,

      Thank you for the compliments. I use Lightroom CC and the results are perfect. No watercolour effect etc. By the way that effect is caused by noise reduction. I always leave mine switched off and the level of detail and clarity in the fuji files is amazing as a result. If the rumours are true the 24mp X-Pro2 will definitely be the camera to get.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  25. Gary Powell

    Hi Damien
    well, I have bought myself the XT-1 kit wth the 18 – 55 lens.
    Not getting rid of my DX1 though as I love the full size sensor and overall performance. It is a pity that I cannot use my Canon lenses with the XT-1 unless I am happy to sacrifice all of the electronic functionality.
    I am now deciding which X series lens I will buy next as I do wedding and portraiture. I was thinking the 56mm and the 70 – 150 just wondering if these are my best options.
    I still use my Canon for weddings as I have the selection of focal lengths i.e. 17-40, 24 – 105, 70 – 300.
    Still trying to navigate the XT-1 which is like learning Russian at the moment so not confident enough to shoot a wedding etc so will trawl the endless tutorials on you tube.
    Looking forward to gaining the confidence in the Fuji.

    Great blog keep it coming

    regards
    Gary

    Reply
  26. Ondrej

    Hi Damien,

    My wife and I are now splitting our commercial focus. I, focusing more on commercial architectural photography and landscape, leaving headshots and film noir style for my personal work. My wife focuses on maternity and newborns. We are now dealing with primes choice. For most of my architectural shots I use 18-55, and thinking to buy 14mm (unfortunately Fuji does not make Tilt-Shift). For my wife we are now thinking about 35/1.4 or 56/1.2.

    My question is which lenses to choose to cover our needs. I suggest 14mm, 18-55 for landscape and architecture. Lenses 35 and 56 for newborn and portraiture. What would be your recommendation?

    And specially, what lens to buy first for newborn photography.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Ondrej,

      Lots of questions. I don’t shoot newborns so I can’t advise there. I have all the lenses you mention and I might pick any of them for architecture or portraits. Lens choice is so personal. Start with picture style and work back from there choosing a lens to deliver the look.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  27. Andrew

    Hi Damien,

    First, thanks for all of the insight you provide on this site. I ended up switching from Canon to Fuji after looking through your posts a few years ago, and I couldn’t be happier.

    I currently have a V6mkII and four RF60 speedlites. I am trying to find a strobe that would compliment the Cactus speedlites to act as my key light to overpower the sun. (Ideally I would like to expose ambient 4 or more stops below the key light.) Do you have any recommendations for a strobe that could achieve this and works well with the cactus setup?

    Thanks for your time,

    Andrew

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for the compliments. As for your lighting question it all depends upon the size of area you are lighting. A Speedlight (60Ws) can deliver a decent burst of light for a tight head shot whereas you will need a 600Ws unit for a full length shot of someone. It is quite common for a pro to start at 1200Ws. Look at the Godox range of location flash packs. A couple of the AD600BM units coupled with the 1200 flash tube could be just what you want.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
      • Andrew

        Hi Damien,

        Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I’ve decided to go with the Flashpoint XPLOR 600 to start. It is a re-branded version of the AD600BM with some improved accessories. I’m looking forward to doing some HSS on sunny days now!

        Best regards,

        Andrew

      • Damien

        Hi Andrew,

        I hope it all goes well for you. I have the Godox AD600BM, a Godox AD360ii and I’ll be buying a two head kit of these Godox AD200 units. That will be nearly 1400Ws of oomph and we, my co adventurers and I, will be able to shoot with two ¾ backlights and a boomed key light out in the deserts of the USA on this trip in June. I’ve not managed to get HSS to work yet. I think we are still waiting for Fuji to settle down with a final HSS flash setup. There is talk of Godox making a dedicated X1 trigger for Fuji but no doubt they will want the Fuji system working and stable before they set the timings etc. The hardware already exists so it will be a straightforward process for them.

        Stay inspired and make fabulous pictures,

        Damien.