Fuji X70 & X100F...best vacation cameras?

Back from Walt Disney World and I’m exhausted.  Every day we clocked in over 10 miles of walking...no..... running from attraction to attraction.  I wouldn’t change it for the world.   I have been visiting Disney since I was three years old and have so many fond memories of my family all together enjoying the parks and hotels.  I have returned almost every year with the exception of a few.  We loved Disney so much that back in 1995 we invested into a DVC membership and have been using the time share options since then.  Back in the early days of my Disney experience I can recall my father with his Canon AE-1 and various gear trekking through the Florida heat snapping photos and changing roll after roll of Kodak film.  Back then you could have your film developed right on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom.  Along with all the stories we also had film slides to help give a visual representation of our memories when we came back home.

* FULL WARNING*  If your not a fan of Disney then I apologize as obviously the images to follow will all be from there.  I’m a self confessed Disney Freak.

Fast forward to today at the age of 41 and I still fell like a kid when I enter Disney World.  Only it’s better.  I get to experience the laughter and joy on my daughter’s face along with my nieces which instantly brings me back to my own childhood.  Staying up late and eating ice cream for dinner.  Running from ride to ride.  What better way to capture these precious family moments then with a camera.   What better camera to bring then a Fuji?   What’s better then a Fuji Camera?     

Two Fuji cameras!!!!!!!!! 

 

One my vacation I brought the Fuji X100F & Fuji X70.  I could of brought just one but that wouldn’t of been much fun.   I started the first leg of the trip with the small X70.  My thinking was to utilize the X70 during the day for a few reasons.  First, being a smaller camera it would be easier to pocket or pack especially during the 90deg humid Florida heat.  Secondly with the sensor being older I didn’t need to worry about pushing ISO ceiling so much in the daylight where I knew the X100F sensor would exceed the X70’s capabilities.  The big con I assumed I would be dealing with would be the flip out screen offering a difficult view in daylight but I must confess that wasn’t a problem for me.  In fact I rather enjoyed using the flip out screen to employ the ever so popular “Im looking down at my cell phone and walking stance” everybody is already doing anyway.  I found it less distracting and easier to move and shoot then having one eye and half my face obstructed while walking like I would do while using the X100F.  If that style is not for you then you could always slip the Fujifilm 21/28 Optical Viewfinder into the hot shoe (Part#VF-X21).  This won't give you any real time info but it will give you old school rangefinder style frames lines.  I was not happy to learn that there is no definitive lock on the hot shoe foot and it seems that it could easily be knocked off.  That would be an expensive mistake.


A few from the Fujifilm X70 with the 18.5mm f/2.8 Lens.  What sharpness in such a compact package.

Shooting the X70 throughout the day I hovered between my three ISO settings.   200-6400 1/60th for indoors.  200-1600 1/250th for out door shooting and 200-6400 and 1/400th for anything with some movement to it.  This seemed to work well with my f/8 setting.  Obviously I would open the lens up indoors or to get creative but f/8 - f/11 was my starting point.  Mostly utilizing the Classic Chrome setting however I was still shooting RAW so my film simulation was a moot point.  The 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) was extremely sharp and even offers a nice close focus.  What I found extremely helpful was the X70’s quick auto switch function which basically set my camera up as a point and shoot when handing it off to a stranger for a family group shot.   I wasn’t too worried about anyone running off with the little X70 as I just purchased some new running shoes prior to the vacation and they really make me go fast.   The one caveat to the Auto Function is you only get a JPEG image.  This is not too much of an issue as most of us are beyond pleased with fujifilm’s JPEG processing but it still needs to be mentioned.  I found the older X-Trans CMOS II 16.3mpix to be excellent all around offer both image quality and color representation.

Slightly adjusted JPEG taken by unknown tourist while in AUTO MODE.

Slightly adjusted JPEG taken by unknown tourist while in AUTO MODE.

 

I had the X70 around a cheap wrist sling which started to fray the first day out so I found myself basically palming the camera throughout the day and to be honest it was hardly a chore.  It’s just so damn small.  Handing my camera off to one of my family members gave them instant familiarity as it was basically like shooting a cell phone due to the X70’s touch screen feature.  One of the best “Fun” features of the X70 is the 180 degree flip screen that allows a selfie mode.  One thing to mention is facial recognition is automatically activated during this mode and since your only about an arms length away I would lean towards stoping the lens down if your going to take a photo with more then one person in the frame or you run the risk of one face being out of focus.  

Thankfully my beautiful wife is in this pic or this would be a scary picture....lol. Fuji X70 in Selfie Mode.

Thankfully my beautiful wife is in this pic or this would be a scary picture....lol. Fuji X70 in Selfie Mode.

So was this the better family vacation camera choice?


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Onto the mighty Fujifilm X100F.  A powerhouse not to be reckoned with.  I’ve talked about this camera so much I’m surprised Fuji hasn’t called me up to offer me a rep job yet....if your reading this Fujifilm give me a call, I’m ready when you are.

I’m totally in love with the Fuji X100F.  It just can’t do anything wrong.  Are there things I would like to see different...of course.  However what it does right it does perfectly.

The Fujifim X100 line is a gorgeous work of art.  In fact while on vacation in the hotel lobby I had my silver X100F slung around my side with my trusty Hyperion Camera Strap and out of nowhere a gentleman approaches and says "thats a beautiful camera, Is it a film camera"?  I say no it isn't and show him the rear LCD screen and Fuji Top Plate markings.  He was astonished.  His wife even chimed in, "I thought that was an old film camera,  thats cool".  I quickly do my part and give him a quick look/overview and go on my way.  Like a door to door bible salesman, maybe I possibly converted yet another poor DSLR soul.  It happened a second time while eating in Epcot in the world showcase in Mexico.  I see the waitress glaring at my midsection.  I immediately become self conscious as I'm full aware of my food intake on this vacation having abused the Disney Dining Plan.  Then as soon as I remember that the X100f is sitting on my lap the remark about how beautiful this camera is made from her standing tableside.   

The Fuji X100F is definitely a larger camera compared to the X70 but is still not a very large camera.  Adding a lens hood does increase the size but it also offers you an alternative when it comes to lens protection instead of using the metal lens cap the X100F is supplied with.  I tend to leave my lens cap off and add the B+W UV Filter along with a lens hood by JJC.  I carried the camera in this configuration all week without any issues.  The one issue I did have with the X100F was my pinky finger constantly hits the battery door latch when raising it to my eye.  The next thing I realize is the battery door is wide open.  Please Fujifilm, address this issue.  The joystick is a welcomed addition on the X100F and it’s placement is perfect for me.  I didn’t mind the lack of a joystick on the X70 due to the fact that the camera employees at touch screen which works just fine.  Capturing action shots with the X100F was a breeze due to the fast 8fps and wonderful focusing.

Fuji x100F 1/800th f/8 ISO 200

Fuji x100F 1/800th f/8 ISO 200

Another useful feature you have with the X100F that you don't have on the X70 is the 3 Stop internal ND Filter.  This is helpful when you want to cut down the light but maintain a shallow DOF.  Also this allows you some room with the mechanical shutter before you reach the electronic shutter.  For anyone that has tried capturing moving subjects with an electronic shutter.....well you know the results.  Also when using the ND filter make sure you switch off your Auto ISO and manually adjust your shutter values or you will basically cancel out the benefit because your camera will adjust its values to match the loss of light.  When using the ND Filter correctly you can achieve some great effects even in the bright Florida sunshine.  Below are two images using the X100F's three stop ND filter in broad daylight.

Unlike the X70 the Fuji X100F sports a faster lens.  We have a 23mm that opens up to f/2 (35mm equivalent due to the crop sensor) and the amazing X-Trans CMOS III 24mpix Sensor.  If your new to the X100F I can tell you this is the same sensor found in their flagship XPro2/XT2 bodies.  I love the 23mm lens on this camera but you must know how to use it correctly especially at closer distances to get the most out of it.  More on that topic can be found on my other blog post all about the Fuji X100F HERE 

You also get the new Acros Black & White Film Simulation which has become even more popular since Fuji has discontinued making the real 35mm film version......For now ( I've been hearing rumors ) SHHHH!!!!

If you enjoy the FULL AUTO option on the X70 I wouldn't worry too much as you can pretty much set the X100F up the same way it just takes a few more steps.  Set your Auto ISO limits to your liking and place your lens aperture on A just past f/16.  Place your shutter dial on A as well and let your camera do the work.

The X100F delivers images that consistently blow me away with the amount of quality the X-Trans III sensor can render.

Both cameras during the trip were carried in a small Swiss Army pouch I had from years ago.   I basically stored extra batteries and a small Manfrotto tripod.  The X100F did a lot better with battery life then the X70 thats for sure.  I basically would run through one maybe two batteries on the X100f and almost three on the X70.  Neither camera is weather resistant and even though that was the case I still was subjected to tropical down pours everyday.  I did my best to protect the cameras while the rain was coming down and I can confident report I never had an issue with either camera.

So I know we started this blog post with a question and sadly I'm not sure I can answer that for you.  For me however I would be happy to have either one on my next family vacation.   To be honest they are both small enough to pack even if one is just a back up shooter.  

What I liked about the Fuji X70 was its small pocketable size and flip out screen.  I also enjoyed the selfie mode not that I'm a fan of myself in photographs but for family shots its fun.  The touch screen was also extremely fast and easy to use.

My favorite aspects of the X100F are the robust gorgeous build and that 23mm f/2 lens.  I love the images from the newly improved sensor and at times the viewfinder comes in handy.  Even for reviewing images taken earlier in the day.

The X100F definitely has the edge in the High ISO department.  Both the images below are at 6400.  The Girls were with the X100F and the Castle was taken with the X70.  In the end this post was not meant to be a head to head shoot out between these two as I feel they are completely different cameras.  It was basically my take on traveling with them during a high paced family vacation and they both passed with flying colors.

Well, time to close out this blog as I've gone on long enough.  Look for a blog post soon on the Fuji X70 by itself.  It really is an amazing little camera that packs a big APSC sensor punch.  Who knows when Fujifilm will make a successor.

Also, I plan on following up this article with a video on my youtube page so if you haven't checked that out please stop by and give it a look.  As always be sure to check in regularly and visit my instagram page for daily snaps with all the gear I use and please feel free to comment on this blog.  I respond to everyone and let me know what cameras you travel with.

In closing, thank you for reading and I'll leave you with a few more images taken from my trip with both the Fujifilm X70 & X100F.

YouTube Video of my editing with my Preset Packs

Hello everyone.  I put up a youtube video explaining my new Film preset packs which are available.  I go into detail on how they can be used to enhance your photos and workflow.  Please check it out.

You can see more about the preset pack on the Lightroom Preset Collection page of this site.

You will get 5 presets.  Kodak Portra400, Fuji400H, Light & Airy, Clean Black, Faded Black.  Some examples below using the presets.  Thanks again!!!!

Hyperion Camera Straps

I wanted to take some time today to discuss a question I am always asked on my instagram feed.  That question is....What strap is that?  Well to put the subject to rest the answer is Hyperion

Hyperion's braided leather.

Hyperion's braided leather.

A while back I was looking into straps for my Fuji X Series cameras.  I didn't want anything pretentious or with complicated hooks and sliders.  I really didn't even want a quick release system.  All I was looking for was a utilitarian style simple strap that could be worn cross carry or around the neck.  Easy on easy off.  Something that wouldn't get in the way when I shoot.  A strap that if I so wished I could wrap a few times around my wrist while raising the camera to my face for some added security.

Well enter Hyperion Camera Straps handmade and owned by a wonderful gentleman named Pavlos.  Pavlos makes these straps in an assortment of sizes, designs and materials.  They are amazingly comfortable and completely customizable.  Delivery is quick and I almost forgot the best part.  They hardly break the bank at 15/23 Euros (Thats $17 - 26 USD).

 Needless to say Im obsessed.

Relax people, I don't take myself that serious.  All the straps you see are Hyperion's 135 length.

Relax people, I don't take myself that serious.  All the straps you see are Hyperion's 135 length.

Not only do they check all the marks I've stated above they also look amazing on your new as well as old Vintage cameras.

As you can see below I have an assortment of Hyperion Straps, and why not at the the price they sell for.  I choose the 135 length.  I'm 6ft and 245lbs and this is a great cross body carry length for me.

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If I got my Hyperion I'm ready for my day of shooting.

The "Beast" Pentax 67

            I started this blog a while back and have slowly added more and more ideas and thoughts as the days and weeks have gone on.  I keep harvesting more and more scans back from my most recent lab of choice, Richard Photo Lab. They do an outstanding job and have some of the best turnaround times I've experienced thus far.

The Pentax 6x7 or 67 or.......67II if your have cash in your pocket to spend, are all variations of the same camera.  Subtle changes were made between the first versions until we arrived at the Pentax 67II.  I've owned three Pentax 67 cameras and currently still have two.  I have an original version the 6x7 non-mirror lockup and a Pentax67 MLUP.  Going forward on this post all images were created with the Pentax 67 Mirror Lock Up version with the TTL Metering viewfinder.

The Mighty Pentax67 & 105mm f/2.4 Super Takumar

The Mighty Pentax67 & 105mm f/2.4 Super Takumar

Now I am far from an expert on the Pentax 67.  I am also far from an expert on shooting film however put the two together with my enthusiasm and something decent is bound to happen.  The Pentax 67 is a medium format film camera which accepts 120 or 220 roll film.  I shoot with 120 so I get ten exposures per roll.  The camera, although for me is not excessively heavy is large and does have a thunderous shutter/mirror clap.  Thats to be expected because remember your shooting a 6x7 negative here.  Loads of detail and beautiful fall off.

When I purchased my first Pentax 67 it was to use with the assortment of 67 Lenses I was already adapting with my Fujifilm GFX.  Coincidently the Pentax 67 glass work phenomenally on the GFX due to the sensor being quite a bit smaller then the image circle needed to cover a 6x7 negative.  The other great advantage is that 67 glass is CHEAP.  Not cheap in quality but cheap in price.  Currently I only own the 105mm and the 55mm f/4 and they are both razors.  Another great thing about the Pentax 67 is the high shutter speed of 1/1000th and an ISO capability of metering for 3200.  A huge bright viewfinder which can also accept a waist level finder should you choose to use one.


What do I love about the big 67?  PORTRAITS. All day long. The Pentax67 with a 105mm mounted is a portrait monster.  I love getting this lens down to its minimum focus distance which is right around 3ft and focusing on the eyes.  When you get your negatives scanned you will be blown away by the crisp details and beautiful depth of field which melts all the other details away.  It produces an almost surreal three dimensional effect.

KODAK TRI-X 400 PUSHED TO 1600 METERED FOR THE HIGHLIGHTS.


Again, I'm not an expert film shooter but I know what looks good and pushed Tri-x is it.  When shooting black and white I meter for the highlights.  Film has great latitude but with black & white I want to retain as much detail in the highlights as possible.  I really don't need to worry about muddled shadow coloring that much because, well....its black & white.  I love the look of a well detailed highlights exploding from the black shadows.  A strong contrast that slices like a knife from the darkness.

Whenever my film cameras sit for a while I like to blow off a test roll just to make sure everything is working properly before I use it on a paid gig.  So below are a few shots of my daughter using the 105mm and a variable ND filter.  It was 3pm and sunny.  Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200 and metered for the SHADOWS.

           What a funny kid, one day you'll be reading her blogs.  Again I'm not concerned about the highlights when shooting film due to the latitude it offers.  Had I metered for the highlights I would of killed the shadows and and detail and color would of looked like a muddled mess.  The ND filter offered me a chance to shoot wide open at f/2.4 to get the look I wanted and being that the meter reads via TTL there are no issues or guess work involved.


So for my next big day of fun with the Pentax67 I took it out for an engagement session.  I knew we were going to have some amazing light once golden hour hit so I figured why not.  I also had my Nikon D5 with 58mm 1.4 and my Fuji GFX with the Zeiss 85mm 1.4.  I did a post on this combo the other week so definitely check that out HERE.  

Unfortunately during this session my Zeiss 85mm kissed the concrete pavement and I bent the lip so.......no more ND Filters for me right now until I can have it fixed up. Enough of my troubles...lets take a look at the photos.  Yes thats me below welding the Pentax67.

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Below are all Shots with the Pentax 67 105mm @ 2.4 Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200 ISO.  Metering for the shadows.  No ND Filter was needed.

Don't be afraid to experiment either.  Remember they are your images that you took.  Do what you want with them.  Some may look down on this but who cares.  What maters is you and your clients, if you have them, are happy.  Convert a few of them to black and white.  They look amazing.  I hear Kodak Ektar looks great converted in post.  I haven't tried it just yet!

Some of the above images converted to black & white using Lightroom and my Fuji Acros Simulation.

Now some will say film is a waste of money.  We're in a digital age now why not stick with the times and shoot digital.  Digital is easier and more cost effective.  Why are you still shooting film?

Well, I addressed a lot of these questions in a previous blog FILM PHOTOGRAPHY.  Im happy to answer it again here.  Film slows you down and captures the true essence of photography.  If you don't expose correctly you mess it up.  Try fixing a film scan in post and watch what happens.....good luck!  I'm not saying to solely rely on film.  I'm saying when your not rushed and have the time why not hybrid shoot.  Shoot film and digital.   Most people/clients are drawn towards film photography and have no idea what it even looks like.  Look at the success of VSCO, RNI or Mastin Labs.  Or any other popular photog pumping out his latest preset version of Portra 400 for $50 Bucks.  Film is popular and everyone is always trying to mimic film.  You can get close....really close but at the end of the day IT STILL AIN'T FILM BRO.  Yes it can be costly thats why I say shoot a roll or two along side of your digital images.  Now I know this isn't a big reason for most but for your pros out there especially the wedding photographer crowed.  Pull out a film camera on your next shoot and explain to the couple that you want to shoot some film frames and watch their eyes twinkle.  Most people, even ones that have no idea about photography know it takes some skill to shoot film and it will establish not only trust but confidence that they made the right choice.  Choice nowadays is a huge thing with everyone labeling themselves as a photographer because they have the latest iPhone or spent $350 on a DLSR package at their local electronics store.  Make yourself stand out from the crowed.  Your clients will feel special.

OK....end rant!!!  Now speaking of hybrid shooting lets do something fun.   A TEST.  I know whats fun about a test?  Well nothing but maybe this one will be different.   Lets see who can tell me whats film and what digital?

So, where you able to spot the film from the digital?  Like I said you can get very close using presets but you still need to make adjustments to get the tones and even then its difficult and not %100.

ANSWERS:  FILM on the left -------------- DIGITAL on the right.

All these images were with the 105mm 2.4 shooting the film shots and the Zeiss 85mm C/Y 1.4 @ f/2 shooting the digital shots.

Thanks again all and check out my other blogs, youtube page and instagram.  Links are at the bottom.

Joe

Fuji X Pro 1 Revisited

So I'm sitting here on a rainy morning looking over my Lightroom catalog and I click on my XPro1 files.  I often do this when organizing my everyday work.  I file the images in categories according to the camera or lens I shot with.  It makes it easier for me at least when I need to find images to use for the blog post I intend to write.  Thats exactly what happened here today.  I hit the XPro1 files and as usual I am extremely impressed with the outcome.  Now, Im not making any wild claims that my imagery is above and beyond.  I'm simply talking about the files.  

Fujifilm X Pro 1 / Fujinon35mm f/2 ISO 1600 1/30th handheld

Fujifilm X Pro 1 / Fujinon35mm f/2 ISO 1600 1/30th handheld

No, its not an Xpro 2, nor is it an XT2, XT20 or even an X100F.  It is an X Pro1 and it is different.  Very different, and quirky.  The XP1 has such an organic feel to its files due to the magic of the 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor.  This sensor is highly regarded and respected by those who know about it and shoot it.  The colors are amazing, skin tones have a beautiful feel to them.  Black & Whites ???? Forgettaboutit !!! As Donnie Brasco would say.  They are amazing especially at 1600 ISO.

Now there are some annoyances with the XP1 but that goes without saying.  You have to remember we are talking about a camera released in early 2012.  Thats 6 years ago and in the camera/tech world that might as well be the stone age.  Auto focus although not as slow as some would make it out to be can be cumbersome to move around due to the lack of a joystick.  You have to set it to the "D" Pad or hit the AF button on your opposite side.  AF Continuous is an absolute mystery to me on this camera as all you get is a cross hair type prompt so I'm left to guess where focus is in or out.  The buffer is less then stellar.  There is no control over shutter speeds using the command wheel.  I've found the best way to shoot this camera is in Aperture Priority setting an AUTO ISO and a desired shutter speed then rock the exposure comp dial.  This will allow you to latest move the shutter a few stops (2) up or down within range of your initial choice on the top dial by using the “D” pad.  Or you can set the shutter speed dial to A and set your AUTO ISO to your desired ceiling and base perimeters.  Off you go!!!!

BUT NONE OF THIS MATTERS BECAUSE THE FILES ARE AMAZING!!!!!!

Xpro 1 Fujinon 35mm f/2 ISO 2000 1/80th

Xpro 1 Fujinon 35mm f/2 ISO 2000 1/80th

Listen, It has to be an amazing camera.  We are still talking about it 6 years later.  Sure there is better tech right now, light years better but thats not the point.  Do you need all of it all the time?  This camera invokes a feeling of nostalgia and surprise.  You go out all day take your shoots.  Not overly overwhelmed ( if thats even an actual thing ) about menus and crazy technological options your camera has.  You set your perimeters and shoot.  Check the LCD screen if you like however its not mind blowing so your feedback is limited.  Might as well just focus on what you came out to do and that’s to create images. Forget about everything else of unimportance.  Did you see the shot? Did you get the shot?  Thats all that counts.  This camera will do that for you.

Now for the surprise factor.  Pop your SD Card out (you only have one single card slot) and load that sucker into your desired editing program.  Lean in and scan your files and shake your head at how much fun you can have with what you get.

Check out my original Blog post on the X Pro 1 HERE

 

Another thing I love to do with the X Pro 1 is shoot gear.  I love the crisp sharpness of this sensor combined with the Black & Whites.  I love film cameras and I think its great shooting some true classics with another camera that is destine to be labeled as one of the greats.

As always I hoped you enjoyed my little write up here.  I can't help but to be drawn in by this camera and I'm sure if you have had an experience with it you have been drawn in as well.  They can still be had for a good deal so why not grab yourself one.  Thanks again and be sure to check out my other postings, youtube page and Instagram account.  Links are at the bottom, you know what to do!