Why i moved to the Fujifilm X system

Ok, i can hear you all moaning already “not another i’ve moved to Fuji blog” well yes, sorry, but it is.  It’s a poignant post for me as i’ve been integrating Fuji x cameras into my workflow for some time and now the move is now complete.  Yes, i’ve sold all my DSLR gear and am now a ‘fully Fuji’ X system photographer.  So, this is a little blog of why ‘I’ personally have made the move.

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The Fujifilm x100

Some years ago, and a year or so after its initial launch, i purchased the original Fuji x100 which I was drawn to after seeing a full page add on the back of a camera mag.  I though “WOW that looks awesome” the design was amazing, it had so much character and it just called out to me – I wanted one so much!!  Yes, i can be a bit of an impulsive buyer but I mused over the idea for sometime on whether to purchase one.  Anyway i did and made my purchase almost a year after it’s initial launch.  Sods law though, not long after my purchase, Fuji released the X100s with many improvements – lesson learned do some more thorough research.  But not perturbed i persevered with the x100 and I remember being in awe of the first few initial test images.  Below is my first portrait of my daughter with the x100, about the 5th frame i made since taking it out of the box.  Simple window light on a dull day with a not so willing model.  Her expression was ‘hurry up, i want to go out’ – she didn’t share my excitement over my new toy.

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First image out of the x100 – 

My kids had been my test subject on many occasions and somehow this little camera made grabbing images of them somewhat easier.  It was far less intimidating than my big DSLR with equally big lens, easier to grab and pop it my my pocket at a moments notice and it quickly became my ‘go to’ camera for family outings etc but thats as far as it went.  For some bizarre reason i never considered it a tool for my professional work.

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X100 | f/4 | 1/250 |iso200

For my professional photography i stuck with the DSLR gear and continued to do so for a couple more years but as a Wedding and Commercial Photographer, along with some other random assignments & commissions, 2 full frame DSLR’s and an accompaniment of lens’ was quickly taking it’s toll, and my back was beginning to groan.  I’m a small chap at 5′ 5″ and i felt like the weight was compressing my spine reducing those valuable inches even further.

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Street photography with the x100

 

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Street Photography with the X-T1 | 1/4sec Handheld

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X-T1 | Ramada Hotel, Leicester

In a bid to ease my back woes i researched and tried many options for carrying the DSLR’s, waist holsters, double harnesses, roller bags, the lot, and none seemed to suit me.  I’d used the ThinkTank belt pouch system for a number of years but sold my set during my quest to find a suitable alternative but i ended up buying another as it proved to be the best of what i’d tried.  But, at the end of a busy wedding at the end of the 2014 season, i could take no more and i decided to look at alternative camera systems.

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/125th | iso200

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/4.5 | 1/30th | iso400

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/420th | iso200

Over the Christmas break of 2014/15 i looked around at the alternatives.  I loved my X100 and the X100T, a successor to the x100s, had just been released but i wanted a system that offered interchangeable lens’ and being left eye dominant i wanted a central viewfinder DSLR style design.  I was drawn by the Fuji lure to the X-T1.  I can’t remember where i first saw this camera but i had heard wonderful things about it.  It had been on the market for almost a year and a few other photographers that i know were already using it in a professional capacity and raving about it.  So, my Christmas holidays were spent between my family and frenzied research for more info about this camera in eager anticipation of an early new year purchase.

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Fujifilm X-T1

I purchased my first Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Silver edition with a couple of lens’ and, just like the impact the X100 had one me, i was blown away with the image quality.  It was on par, if not surpassing, what i was getting from my Canon DSLR.  The instant image preview with live exposure simulation in the large EVF was a dream to use and the camera instantly felt much more comfortable in my smallish hands compared to my DSLR.  The tactile controls, reminiscent of a bygone age, were very different to my DSLR but took me back to my days with the Canon AE1, oh the irony!!

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X-T1 | xf35mm | f/1.4 | 1/4000th | iso200

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X-T1 | xf35.. | f/1.4 | 1/2300th | iso200

From the outset of 2015 it worked amazingly alongside my Canon gear, using it to shoot weddings and commercial commissions, but it lacked a vital element that was crucial to a particular genre of photography that i also undertook, corporate events with onsite sales, which required me to shoot tethered.  At The Photography Show last year i spoke to the Fuji team who said the software was coming and had already been given out to a select few for testing.  In fact, i recalled Bert Stephani seamlessly shooting tethered during his presentation at the show,  it gave me hope that it wasn’t far away. By the way, i’ve followed Bert’s work for a few years with his early YouTube ‘Confessions of a Photographer‘ and ‘Motivational Light’ video series and it’s well worth checking out.  Here’s a few commercial jobs undertaken with the X-T1.

One of the biggest factors forcing my move was weight and during my weddings of 2015 i found i was using the X-T1 more and more.  The X-T1 and a selection of lens’ was a massive weight saving.  I felt a sense of liberation from the heavy ‘bricks’ that were weighing me down during long wedding shoots, sometimes in excess of ten hours.  The image preview in the EVF allowed me to see what i was getting before the shot was taken so i was shooting less but ending up with many more ‘keepers’, thus speeding up my post processing workflow.  Here’s a bunch of wedding related images shot on my X-T1’s, nothing overly fancy, im still building on my X-T1 wedding portfolio but you can find more of my wedding photography here.

Very soon the DSLR never made it out of the bag and after just a few months with my initial X-T1 i purchased another, this time a black model, and further lens’ to compliment what i already had.  Additionally, i found that i was favouring prime lens’ having always used zoom’s on my DSLR and the quality of the Fuji glass is equally as good and my Canon L series lens’.  Once the tethering issue was sorted with the software patch for Adobe Lightroom being made available it was full steam ahead with my complete move to the Fuji platform.

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Derwent Reservoir | X-T1 | xf14mm | f/11 | 1/30th |iso200

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Saltburn Pier | X-T1 | xf18-55 @20mm | f/14 | 14secs | iso200 | Lee Filters

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Ladybower Reservoir | X-T1 | xf14mm | f/11 | 1/30th | iso200 | Lee Filters

I’ve used the Fuji X-T1’s extensively now across my compliment of services covering weddings, landscapes, commercial & charity events and also a little travel photography where i took them to Morocco, North Africa.  Shooting from the city to the edge of the Sahara where the temperatures often exceeded 45 degrees celsius and the camera never faltered.  Moreover, the massive weight reduction compared to my much heavier DSLR gear made working thought the day in the blistering heat bearable.  Below are a few images from that trip but you can find my blog post with more images from that trip here and a clip on YouTube here.

This by no means a technical evaluation or reasoning for my move, i’ve purposefully avoided going down that route on this blog post for the sake of simplicity, many of the factors are just personal preference for me.  The system has proven to be a worthy workhorse across all the genres that i cover and not once have i regretted my decision to move away from DSLR’s.   I’m not saying its a camera system that will suit everyone and i’m not ruling out a further change somewhere down the line myself, the recently released X-Pro-2 looks sublime and is receiving much hype on social media and i’m eagerly awaiting to hear more of the much anticipated X-T2, but for now its a tool that i am more than happy with and would happily recommend to others.  The journey, and the story continues………

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x100 | Oban, Argyll

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x100 | St Pancras, London

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x100 | St Pancras, London

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X-T1 | St Pancras, London

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X-T1 | London

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Photography Training days at Hodsock priory

It has to be said that continuing professional development is a must for anyone whatever your profession and one way to gain a little of that CPD is to attend training days or workshops.  It’s an opportunity to develop or hone your skills a little further, and maybe a platform to develop different way of thinking allowing time to experiment and try techniques or ideas you are unfamiliar with the benefit of being away from the pressures of a paid shoot or assignment.

My good friend and fellow photographer James Davies has embarked on what are becoming increasingly popular portrait & flash photography workshops.  With tuition also being provided by the renowned photographic tutor and writer Doug Chinnery and myself as their assistant there is a wealth of knowledge & expertise on hand for all the attendees to hone their portraiture and wedding photography skills.

For the last few courses James has chosen the beautiful setting of Hodsock priory, which, with it’s 15th Century Tudor gatehouse and it’s beautifully maintained grounds, in an 800 acre estate there is a bounty of photographic opportunities to fuel your photographic creativity.

The day starts with coffee & pastries and after brief group introductions James gives a short introduction to the way he works with natural light and then a little on how he introduces flash into his creative workflow, all backed up with examples of his work and how each of them were created.  An important part of the day with plenty of engaging questions and group discussion.

With the theory out of the way it was time to put things into practice and use the various locations around Hodsock priory, both inside and out.  Working with professional models Alison & Luke from Y2K promotions, along with beautiful wedding attire from Olivia Jane Jones, Make-up artist Melanie Lyndsay and a bridal bouquet from Flowers by Kay James creates an abundance of photographic opportunities.  Working first with natural light, showing how subtle changes in your position or that of your subject can dramatically change the quality of the light and increase the potential imaging opportunities.

After lunch the day moved on to creative off-camera flash photography demonstrating how to balance flash with ambient light and also how to create dramatic portraits even in the strongest of daylight situations.  James used the trusty Elinchrom Quadra & Rangers but also highlighted how the same images can be achieved from many other brands of lighting equipment available.

As the day drew to a close we ended with coffee & biscuits and another opportunity for a Q&A session before all heading home with memory cards full of images and heads full of knowledge and creative ideas.

If you are interested in attending one of James’ courses head on over to his training page for further details.

For further details of my photography please do get in touch or head on over to my website or follow me on my social media links below.  I’ll leave you with a selection of my images from the day all taken on my Fuji XT1.

Photography training at Hodsock Priory

James giving his introduction to the techniques he uses.

Simple model portraits with natural light

Simple positioning of the model to capture the natural light.

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Photographers using the techniques described by James.

Male & female models stood by a large window with natural light

Using a large window to create dramatic but natural light.

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More use of a large window

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Beautiful even natural light by careful positioning of the models in a large open doorway

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Beautiful soft natural light.

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Photographers making the most of the moment

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Dramatic off camera flash is demonstrated by James using a mix of lighting equipment.

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Attentive work by the MUA while shooting in the beautiful grounds of Hodsock Priory.

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A little fun to end the day making the most of the environment and the beautiful evening light.

 

 

 

Nottinghamshire Wedding Photography – Thoresby Courtyard – Joanne & Craig

Last weekend saw me photographing the wedding of Joanne & Craig with weather in complete contrast to their pre-wedding photoshoot.  If you missed that blog post you can find it here.  However, although challenging, the weather did not spoil the fun, emotion and love that these two quite clearly shared.

Their ceremony was held at St John’s Church in the small hamlet of Perlethorpe followed by an evening reception at the Thoresby Courtyard set in the grounds of Thoresby Hall, a grade 1 listed house on the edge of Sherwood forrest.  They were transported between the venues in a pristine  Austin Sixteen supplied by Wedding Classics

With beautiful twinkling fairy lights and amazing Christmas themed table dressings by Dan Ross at Individual by Design and sumptuous catering by Summersby Catering it truly was an evening of high spirits and happiness.

If you’d like to find out more about our wedding photography please do get in touch or drop by our website for more details.  Here’s a selection from Joanne & Craig’s big day.

Nottinghamshire wedding venues, Thoresby Hall and Perlethorpe ChurchHandmade wedding bouquetWedding day shoesThe bridal party dressesFinal bridal preparations with mother of the brideChief bridesmaid making final adjustments to the wedding dressBridal preparationsBridesmaids waiting at the churchGroom prep with best manGroom helping son get readyGroom getting ready for a weddingJo&Craig_Blog-26The bride arriving outside the church in classic carThe wedding ceremony at churchThe wedding ceremonyThe wedding kissClassic wedding car Austin sixteenBride & groom posing by a classic Austin sixteenWedding cakeJo&Craig_Blog-67The first wedding dance of the bride & groomThe bride & groom posing for stunning evening imagesBride & groom posing for photos

 

Guest Signature Frames

Guestbooks have been a feature of wedding receptions for many years and they personally record a short message from your guests for you to have as a lasting keepsake.  But where do most of these guestbooks end up?  on a bookshelf, out of view and probably not looked at until your anniversary.

Whilst its important to have this keepsake, why not compliment it with our guest signature frame? A beautiful bespoke keepsake that will always be on view.

With an image from your pre-wedding photoshoot (included FREE with our All-Day package) or one of your own, surrounded by your guests little messages, you will have a unique piece of wall art.

Our frames are hand crafted by our select local framer and supplied with soft lead pencils at your reception for your guests to sign.

Check out the few examples from past wedding below.  We even offer a range of frame options available too.  These frames can be added to your wedding package from as little as £140 but are a feature of our seasonal special offers.

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As  Nottingham Wedding Photographers we are ideally situated to serve the whole of the UK or even your Destination Wedding.

If you would like to find out more about our wedding photography please do check out our website or get in touch.  We would love to hear from you and talk about your special day.