Fujifilm X-T2

London baby!

I've been really bad at updating my blog as usual.

Today is my ninth day in London, since arriving late on last Saturday afternoon. On the last Sunday morning I had a walk along Grosvenor Road, grabbing a few long exposure shots of the iconic Battersea Power Station from across the river Thames.

Later in the afternoon I had a walk from Embankment to South Bank and towards Westminster. Met Peter and Steve, two really nice Fujifilm enthusiasts and had a chat with them. Afterwards I grabbed a few long exposure shots of the Palace of Westminster and afterwards when I walked over Westminster Bridge I couldn't help to look over my shoulder a few extra times, while reminded of the meaningless attack on the bridge two months earlier.

On last Monday I had two great shoots with Tann and Roswell, two awesome models at a really cool studio (more like a 5 story Victorian era house). These photos will end up in my portraits and nudes sections in a few weeks when I've had the time to edit them. 

On Tuesday you could feel the tension in London, after yet another meaningless terrorist attack, this time in Manchester on Monday evening. It's always weird at least for me to see the police armed with automatic weapons, patrolling places like Oxford Circus.  

On Wednesday I had great shoot with the lovely Beth (my third shoot with her) at Epping Forest. And on the Thursday I had another awesome shoot, this time with Ayla, another amazing model, in her own home. On this Saturday I had a really cool shoot with Lauren, again in Epping Forest. Yesterday I had a great shoot with Anna. We had a full day pretty much and shot for a couple of hours on the back streets of Shoreditch, before going back to the same studio I used last Monday. 

All these shots will end up in my portraits and nudes sections in a few weeks when I've had the time to post process everything. 

And I've still got three more shoots booked for this week. Pretty cool.

Trying out the new 3LT Winston and Lee Filters Seven5

I just tried out my new tripod and my Lee Filters Seven5 filters a little this morning. The weather was not that awesome (just as usual) and not very inspiring. I don't mind grey skies that much, but it was a pretty uninteresting grey sky, with not much definition. 

So yeah, not exactly my best shots ever, and not the most interesting location either and I've shot similar shots before, but whatever. Most of them with the Seven5 filters. 

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4, Lee Filters Seven5 Big Stopper

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4, Lee Filters Seven5 Big Stopper

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4, no filter

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4, Lee Filters Seven5 Little Stopper

3 Legged Thing Equinox Winston

So I received this tripod the other day through a 20% off drive at one of Sweden's best known camera stores, so I got it at very nice price even if it's still not exactly a cheap tripod. I just did a quick test today to check it out, so this is not a review, just a few thoughts. 

This tripod is extremely sturdy. It's made of 8 layer 100% pure carbon fibre and magnesium alloy. It is the biggest tripod that 3LT have in their current line-up of awesomeness. It's also the third 3LT tripod I have in my possession now. It's not a travel tripod, since it's too big and heavy, though it's still not heavy and ways in at 1.75kg without the head. The head that comes with it is the Airhed 360 which weighs 408g and the combination seems extremely sturdy. The tripod and the head both have a maximum load capacity of 40kg, which is quite a lot. I also added the Equinox Switch Clamp which is a quick release clamp instead of the "screw in and tighten" clamp that is original (which is a 360 pano clamp on this one, but I don't shoot panoramas anyways) and it works very smoothly and clamps on with a very firm grip on my RSS L-plate (all 3LT heads and clamps are Arca Swiss compatible). 

The locking system is second to none and since the tubes on this tripod are pretty fat, the locks are big, chunky and awesome to use (made of rubberised magnesium alloy). And while the locks are good on my 3LT Brian, these are even better. 

And like all other 3LT tripods, one leg is removable and can be used as a monopod. 

At the bottom of the center column, there is an attachment ring to hang some type of ballast from, to weigh the tripod down even more during extremely windy conditions. The tripod comes in a nice carrying bag (with shoulder strap) made of military grade canvas, which can be used as a ballast as well. It also comes with a multi tool/carabiner/bottle opener.

So yes, this is not the smallest or lightest tripod, but compared to my old Manfrotto 055 Nat3 tripod it's not even half its weight. And even though my 3LT Brian is awesome and sturdy for nearly everything, when it comes to several minute long exposures at the beach, something even sturdier is needed since even the slightest movement will end in a blurry photo, that's why I got this tripod, even if it won't come with me when I travel abroad. 

Landscape photography

I started out as a landscape photographer, and I enjoyed it for years, but then got a bit fed up with it, since I'm not living in a super exciting part of the world and kind of got bored with the possibilities in my area. Possibilities which actually are pretty much endless, but still. I got bored.

If I could travel on and on to exciting and beautiful places, I really would, but because of my regular job with on call duty and the limited days of vacation every year, it's not possible. It's not a matter of money, not that I am rich in any way, but it's free time that is my limitation. I enjoy shooting portraits and models a lot at the moment and I have to travel for that as well, since the amount of models are quite limited around where I live. 

But still, I have found inspiration again to take up landscape photography. I've invested in the most over priced piece of aluminium one can buy (I think), the $190 (plus taxes and shipping) Really Right Stuff BXT2 L-bracket for Fujifilm X-T2 w/ battery grip. It looks nice and I'm sure it'll work perfectly fine for a long time, and it's more or less a must while shooting a lot on a tripod. But damn, it's ridiculously over priced. Not to talk about how much it costs in Sweden. I paid around 2600 SEK for it when I ordered it directly from RRS (including shipping and taxes) and if I'd like to buy it in Sweden, I'd have to pay nearly 4000 SEK. And it probably costs 50 SEK to make. So it's ridiculously overpriced. 

I've also just received a pretty full set of Lee Filters Seven5 series of filters for my Fujifilm cameras and I tested it out a bit this weekend. 
Weather here where I live is usually different kind of white/grey skies, with different amount of rain and wind. If it stops raining and the sun comes out, usually all the clouds disappear as well. So it's either all white, no texture shitty skies, or blue with no clouds shitty skies. The weekend when I had set off to try this new stuff had first the blue skies with no clouds and then it completely turned to white and rain. So it kinda sucked. I tried the Really Right Stuff L-bracket, which worked fine and I tried the Little, Big and Super Stopper (6, 10 and 15 step ND filters), but the outcome wasn't spectacular since there was no interest in the skies. But it'll be fine. The Super Stopper renders crazy long exposures, but where I tried it, the ground wasn't stable enough for that type of exposures, so they didn't turn out sharp, but it doesn't really matter since the sky was so boring. 

I will try them out more when the weather is more suitable and I will post some photos of the gear and the outcome and write more about using them.


Real testing of the X-T2, model shoots and boring life

Haven't updated much here and I see it has passed nearly a month since my last update. 

But the thing is that autumn has hit the south of Sweden where I live, and weather usually turns to shit and unshootable (probably not a real word) conditions. Especially for model and portrait stuff, the things I do mostly these days. 

The weird thing is that I have a new camera and I haven't used it that much, but the reason is pretty much the above. And the lack of models. And my regular job that includes on call duty which I hate to such a degree...

BUT this weekend I've been shooting in Copenhagen with the amazing Diviana. Both on Friday night and on Saturday. I got off work earlier on Friday and travelled to Copenhagen, met up with Diviana and took her to Tivoli in the heart of Copenhagen. What I haven't mentioned yet is that the weather obviously turned out to be the worst so far this autumn. I mean why the fuck wouldn't it?... 

It rained all Friday, with a few minutes here and there in the evening when it actually didn't. I had this idea of shooting inside of Tivoli, when they have fixed it up for Halloween. That would have been pretty cool if not the rain had ruined most of the mood. Where there should have been smoke and stuff, there were none since the rain killed it. And it was too dark and even if it was shit weather, too crowded with people. Sure, I brought one of my Rotolight NEO's with me to lit Diviana with, but it was still hard to get anything decent. But we tried for a couple of hours before  I gave up and let my poor model who was all damp and cold, go home and I went to my hotel. 

And then yesterday morning when I had the first look outside from the 15th floor, it was the greyest sky I've seen for ages and of course it was raining, and the wind was more present. Awesome...

I checked out from my hotel after a few hours and met up with Diviana again, this time we went for Botanisk Have (the Botanical Gardens) and it was much colder outside than on the night before, but we shot some in the gardens and then we went inside the big glass house where it's a bit more tropical feel than outside, to both get away from the rain and for Diviana to get a chance to warm up a bit. After that Diviana went for a change of outfit and we went for Christiansborg Palace to shoot some more. 

In all, yeah, the weather fucking sucked, but Diviana is really nice, a great model and was a champ even if the weather was bad and I still think that we got some pretty nice shots (that I'm currently working on) in the end. And we have ideas for more shoots, so we'll work together again in a few months. And until I'm done with these new photos, have a look at my other portraits of her here, or nudes of her here

So, real testing of the X-T2 right? Still, this is not a review, more thoughts on actually using it.

I guess I've done some testing of it now, this was the third time I used it to shoot a model and it's working pretty good I'd say. The autofocus is faster and a bit more exact, but it still struggled pretty bad when it was dark, but that was together with the XF 35mm f/1.4 R, which is a great lens optically, but focus motor not so much. 
And I've shot with high ISO on Friday night at Tivoli. Is it better than the X-T1? Well, I haven't compared but maybe, I still think it looks like shit though. ISO can go up to 12800 while shooting in RAW (obviously, since who shoots JPG?) but it's really noisy and it lacks so much detail it's not even funny. And while the X-T2 is really awesome, ISO still sucks. And I'm not talking about shooting at ISO 12800, I'm talking 6400, and it's not usable. But otherwise, it is pretty great. It's been raining on it, not too much since I've mostly been using the mentioned XF 35mm f/1.4 R and the XF 56mm f/1.2 R and they're not weather resistant, but worked perfectly. I only used my favourite lens, the XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR for a few shots. Weather resistance or not is not so vital, since you can't really shoot when it gets too bad anyways. It's another thing while shooting seascapes or something like that.
I've only used the X-T2 together with the battery grip, but maybe I shot around 750 shots yesterday, and only one bar dropped on the internal battery on the screen and none on the two in the grip. If that is true or not, I don't know, but seems unlikely. But I've shot 1500 with the X-T1 with battery grip, and only one bar went down on that one as well, so I don't think it's reliable on either of them. But as long as you have spare batteries it's okay. 

I might sound critical, and I am since it's not a cheap camera. But it's still a great camera and it's better than the X-T1. But I don't love it, and I don't love any of my cameras, since they're cameras which are tools to capture images with. Some people want to give them "souls" but that's stupid. First, souls does not exist, and second, they're dead things. But what they are, is cameras for photographers. There are many great cameras and I don't want to bash any, but what I've read and seen (and tried) about SONY cameras, well it's miles between them when it comes to being "real" cameras. Don't get me wrong, SONY make awesome sensors (it's a SONY sensor in the X-T2 as far as I know) and you can capture amazing photos with them, but the handling of them, well it's not the best. I haven't tried them all, but for the A7RII for example, it feels so backwards and non user friendly and those menus are ridiculous. With the Fuji's like the X-T2 you've got a camera, that feels like a camera, with the SONY's you've got electronic gadgets that you can capture images with. Great ones though, but I will never want to own one.

Anyhow, I will get back with more thoughts about the real use of the X-T2 along the way.

Not a review of the Fujifilm X-T2

No, this is not a review of it. I've had it for a week and it's much too soon to write a review on it, but I can tell you this, it seems promising. 

I've only shot a couple of test shots nearby and I've shot some model shots with it and some family shots for a work colleague, so it's way too soon to actually review it. So far I can say that it feels quicker than the X-T1, the autofocus feels faster and a bit more precise and the joystick for focus point is a nice addition, though I'll need some time to get used to it. The camera feels a little bit bigger, but since it is a little bit bigger, that's pretty natural. The camera feels solid and with the battery grip, it definitely is beefier than the X-T1 with battery grip, but it just makes the handling of the camera actually a bit easier. It's not a tiny camera with the battery grip attached, but still not big as in "Canon-5D-MkIII-w/-battery-grip" big. And definitely not as heavy either.

What else... The locking mechanism of the shutter speed and ISO dials, I don't know if I like it better or not than the one on the X-T1. I actually didn't mind how they worked. The third "axis" of tilting the screen is pretty nice though. 11 frames/second with the mechanical shutter is pretty fast, but I don't know why you would need 14 frames/second with the electronic shutter, since the problem with rolling shutter effect. But maybe they've done something about that? I don't know otherwise it's a pretty useless feature. And someone said it can shoot 4k video? That's nonsense, who shoots video with a still camera? 

The files then? Well, the dynamic range is supposed to be a little bit better than the X-T1, don't know if I can really tell yet though, I probably will when I've shot more with it. ISO is supposed to be better, don't know that either, it still doesn't look that nice on ISO 6400 I think. Haven't shot a person on that high ISO yet. 6400 on the X-T1 was useless, hopefully this will be better.

I don't know, can't be bothered writing more about it right now. Gonna take it more for a spin this weekend with two different model shoots in Copenhagen on Saturday, and see how it behaves. 

Like most people on social media do, here's shots OF the X-T2, not photos taken with it...

The whole family. Shot with iPhone 6.

Yeah, I took the plunge...

...and pre-ordered the Fujifilm X-T2. 

And used a 50% off for the battery grip, since I shoot a lot of portraits these days. Based on what I've been reading about people's experiences with the camera, it seems like it is undoubtedly better than the X-T1 which still is in most cases a great camera that I use for nearly everything these days. And the X-T1 won't get retired either, it'll be with me either as simply a backup or as a second body with another lens mounted for quick changes (probably the last).

Sure, it's not gonna be perfect, there are still flaws on it. I'm still annoyed about the 4K video for example. Just made it unnecessarily expensive. And just take a look at it. It's obviously a still camera for photographers, not a video camera for videographers. And there are other things as well that I'm not content with, but it's still gonna be better in several ways.

I have no idea of when it'll be arriving, officially in September, but who knows when it'll be here in Sweden. But it would be cool if it came in the beginning of September since I have a shoot with Sara Scarlet in September. Oh well, we'll see. I will get back on it when I've tried it out for a while.

Thoughts about the new Fujifilm X-T2

So the successor to Fujifilm's X-T1 was officially announced on the 7th of July, and here are some thoughts about some of the specs.

Again, these are thoughts about what I’ve read about the X-T2. I'm not an official X-photographer so I haven't been able to test it. In a way this camera is a bit exciting, in another it’s kinda meh, but still it’s the most exciting news this year from Fujifilm, since the X-PRO2 was and still is a totally uninteresting camera for me. 

So, let's go. 

  • 24,3 MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor. This is good and no surprise. It's supposed to be quite a bit improved, not only does it have 50% more pixels, but dynamic range is supposed to be even better.

  • X Processor Pro which handles operation, that will fasten things up and make it feel quicker. And with a new autofocus system with up to 325 autofocus points and about 40% of the imaging area has phase detection points. This leads to 8 fps with mechanical and 14 fps with electronic shutter in normal mode and 11 fps with mechanical shutter in boost mode with the new battery grip. Also pretty good news, but I’ll see if it’s actually any good when the camera actually is on the market. Don't know how useful that 14 fps with an electronic shutter, since I guess it's meant for moving targets and I don't know if they have worked around the rolling shutter problem with moving targets. I guess it'll get noticed when people are able to buy it.

  • They put that little joystick the came on the X-PRO2 on it as well. Not a surprise either, but it's good and will probably make moving and selecting autofocus point easier and faster. Something that I've been missing from my Canon DSLRs

  • New EVF, 2.36 million dot OLED, with a refresh rate of 60 fps in normal mode and 100 fps in boost mode. This is also really nice and will make the already excellent EVF even better. 

  • ISO, well I have to see it for myself. It’s supposed to be improved since the ISO capabilities of the X-T1 left a lot to wish for, but maybe it’s better now. 

  • Flash capabilities is supposed to have been improved and that’s good. Not sure how much though. High Speed Sync for example? Don't think it has it.

  • It’s a little bit bigger than the X-T1. Is that good or bad? Both I guess. It depends. Since I’m currently shooting mostly portraits I’ll buy the battery grip as well because of the extra shutter button and other controls. The availability to use more than onebattery (3 at the same time) is also good, though it’ll make it heavier. 

So, that's mostly pretty good things, and there are more specs, but read about them somewhere else, these were things that I felt like commenting on and these are positive things. Now to one major disappointment. 

  • 4K video? WTF Fujifilm!?! Why? If people wants to shoot video, buy a fucking video camera! This was rather disappointing, but still I’m not surprised. But it sucks. Fujifilm should have ditched video capabilities all together and just concentrated on making this an even better still camera, (since there are still things that needed to be improved on this release), not a fucking camcorder! A big minus in my book. 4K video just made it a lot more expensive. It's about 50% more expensive than the X-T1 was/is. That's a major raise in price. Yes, I can afford anyways, but still, others might be struggling. 

But still I'm gonna buy this camera. Of course I am. But I’m gonna try and keep it cool until the problems that all first batches of cameras have, are gone. I’m not even sure when it will be available in stores...

Thoughts about the successor to Fujifilm's X-T1


Since I see that this post is one of my most viewed (thanks guys for stopping by), I’ll update it a little bit.

So, what do I think about Fujifilm X-T1 and what do I hope they “correct” for its successor? 

Well, in general I think the X-T1 is an awesome and very capable little camera. There are a few things that Fujifilm needs to fix for this to be a serious camera for professionals and hardcore enthusiasts (like myself I guess). Here are some things that I can think of right now.

BTW, I will from now on just for simplicity, call the successor X-T2 (it might be called something completely different, but it seems logic).

  • Autofocus. Fujifilm is a great company in the way that they follow the Kaizen philosophy of continuos improvement and are releasing firmware upgrades every now and then. Autofocus is a major thing that has seen improvement with these firmware upgrades, though they still have quite a bit left until they are on par with let’s say something like a Canon 5D MkIII (just a comparison since I own that camera also) which has really good autofocus. I have read that there is some improvement on the newly released X-Pro2, so hopefully they improve that even a bit further before the release of an X-T2.
  • ISO. ISO needs to be improved. For a successor to the X-T1 to be a really good choice for landscape photographers, at least ISO should start at 100 if not on 50, definitely NOT on 200. For long exposures with for example Lee Filter’s Big Stopper or similar ND1000 filters, starting at ISO200 is a real drag. I use ISO 100 or 50 with my Canon 5D MkIII and ISO200 is simply not an option. High ISO needs to be improved as well. I’ve tried ISO6400 once on the X-T1 and never again, since the results were totally useless. And I’m obviously talking about shooting in RAF, shooting in JPG is never an option and I’ve never even tried it with the X-T1. Since no camera in the history of cameras have ever exposed 100% correctly, the need for lifting shadows or reducing highlights and the control that RAW (in this case mentioned RAF) gives is crucial to get the most out of your photos. That’s why shooting in JPG is never an option. For me that is, and it should be for you too.
  • Double SD cards. Though I think it probably will come to the successor since it’s been implemented on the X-Pro2, a feature like this might really attract “pro” users. 
  • Exposure bracketing. X-T1 has a really good dynamic range (that I hope will be improved further with a new sensor as swell) and I don’t really feel the need to shoot HDR to tackle tricky lighting situations since the RAF files can be pushed really good in both directions in Lightroom, but still for people who like to shoot HDR, 3 shots with 0, +1 and -1 exposure steps is not good enough. Sure, it can be done manually, but it must be very easy to fix this thing so at least 5 shots and (at least) +2 and -2 steps can be done automatically. And also, the speed while doing this needs to be higher both to reduce of movement in the scene and also while doing this hand held (you obviously should always use a tripod for best quality, but sometimes it’s not an option).
  • Flash sync. 1/180s is not good enough. At least 1/250s for it be considered a choice for many pros. This needs to be improved as well, but since I’ve read that the X-Pro2 feature this, I guess it probably will be the same on the X-T2. 
  • Since I’ve also read that the X-Pro2 now have a small “joystick” for changing focus points, I hope this will come to the X-T2. I’ve used this for 12 years on my Canon cameras and it’s awesome and would speed up the change of focus point significantly.
  • Video. Please just drop the whole thing. If you want to do video, get a Panasonic or something. 

These are some things that I think of just now and that needs to be “fixed” for a successor and I might come up with more stuff. I’d like to use my X-T1 for more than I do, and to let go of my Canon 5D MkIII, but not yet. I believe that mirrorless cameras are the future, but in some ways they are not “there” yet, maybe the X-T2 would close the gap further more between the DSLR’s advantages and the mirrorless’ shortcomings.

Also, this post might be updated again…