Photography

Switching to fuji – one year later

In this video, I summarise the most important benefits to myself since I changed to fuji. In Photography it is very easy to spend a lot of money on equipment that you don’t need or won’t really use. If money were no object, many of us might rush out and buy a Nikon D850, or Hasselblad along with some of the best lenses, but is that what you really need? If you are working in a studio, producing high end images that are priced accordingly, but that is not most photographers, that is not even most professional photographers.

If you are a dedicated sports or nature photographer, once again, you may actually need a Nikon D500/D5 with a 600mm f/4, but once again, that is a fraction of photographers.

As for me, I have been a Nikon fan since I was at school, apart from my first camera which was a Zenit e, I have been Nikon all the way, but at one point, I began to tire of the size and weight, perhaps I got carried away and had too much equipment with me, but I knew that I wanted a more enjoyable option.

I tried switching to Sony first, but it was not for me, image quality is great, but I did not like the way they feel in your hand, I do not like the menu system and I found them too fiddly. I then decided to try fuji and I have never looked back. As soon as I got hold of the Fuji x-t1, I loved it, I love the way it feels in the hand, it feels like a pro-build camera, I opted for the Chrome version, which I love. suddenly, I feel that I am using one of my old Nikon cameras but digital.

My favourite lens on this camera is the Smayang 12mm f/2, I absolutely love it. Fuji do not make an equivalent lens, although they do make the 8-16 f/2.8 which is around £2k, much heavier and actually defeats the object of having lighter gear. I don’t often feel that I need a wider lens, although I will add the Samyang 8mm f/2.8 fisheye, which once again, is small and very high quality.

As I’ve mentioned before in my lens buying strategy video, it is very wise to actually have a lens strategy, it is actually worth buying lenses in focal lengths that double, otherwise you easily end up with redundant lenses. in my case, I have opted for 12mm, 23mm and 56mm plus a fisheye and the 18-55mm as my travel or video lens.

The greatest benefit of all for me personally, that the fuji system offers is the film effects. When I was shooting Nikon, I always shot RAW, this meant that every time I went out on a photo walkabout, I would have to come home and sift through hundreds of images in Lightroom. Now that is all well and good if it is something important, a Wedding, a specific image that I want to create, a Panorama, etc, but for everyday photography it became tedious. since I switched to fuji, I have the benefit of the wonderful film effects, which means that I can switch from Velvia to Astia, or Provia plus many more while I’m out shooting, meaning that I can get the effect I want in camera, saving me a lot of time. Not to mention the fact that I can see exactly what an image will look like through the viewfinder, before I shoot, then I have a completed images that I can sned to my phone or tablet and upload as I go, which makes  the whole experience a pleasure.

Photography Basics – Filters

Filters can make a massive difference to your photography, be it still or Video. In this video I look at a Variable Neutral Density Filter, which is like Sunglasses for your lens, but steplessly adjustable to get the exposure you need.

This is not only suitable for cutting down light in still photography where you would like to use a wide lens aperture on a bright day, but it is also really necessary for video, where your shutter speed may be confined to 1/50 or 1/60.

The second filter is a ND100 which cuts out 10 stops of light, allowing you to turn an exposure of 1/125 in to 1 or 2 minutes to get blurred moving objects or movement in clouds, adding a lot of creativity to your images.

The next one I will look at is the Polarizing filter, which I will talk about in another video.

As I stated in the video, I recommend buying filters to fit your largest lens and then buying step-up rings to fit them to your other lenses, saving the need for lots of different filters.

Photography Basics Depth of Field

 

Depth of field is the area of an image that is in focus, for example, if you focus on something 6 feet away, you may find that everything 1 foot beyond that and 2 feet before is in focus, but everything else is blurred. However the depth of this area that is in focus, can be adjusted by the aperture of the lens as well as the focal length of a lens.

Wide angle lenses give far deeper Depth of Field and telephoto lenses give far shallower Depth of Field. That is why Landscape photographers frequently use wide angle lenses closed down as much as possible to get everything in focus, yet portrait photographers use telephoto lenses open as much as possible to get a shallow Depth of Field, to blur the background making the subject stand out (called subject separation)

Understanding how Depth of Field works will improve your photography dramatically, so it is definitely worth experimenting to learn and understand.

Cheap Camera Stabiliser

 

I tried this cheap camera stabiliser from Ebay. Although it can take a DSLR, trying to balance the weight of a heavy camera on one of these is so fiddly and takes so long, it's not worth it. I found it to be ok for use with a small mirrorless (depending where the tripod thread is for balance) but for me, it is more suitable for use with a GoPro or a mobile, but I found that the weights that came with it were too heavy, so I bought a pack of penny washers that enabled me to fine tune the balance, making it quite a useful accessory.

One thing I did find when taking it out is that it is a very awkward shape to pack away, I eventually managed to hang it on my bag but that was not ideal.

Obviously, this is not a gimbal, but then this and similar stabilisers sell for around £15/£25 pounds. If you have the time and patience to get it correctly balanced, it will make a massive difference to your motion video footage, but there is a learning curve that involves working out how to walk like a Ninja!

Worth the money, but not worth much more.

3 Essential Photo Accesories

Sometimes, we can pay so much attention to the camera and the lens, that we forget the simplest of accessories that may have more effect on our photography than the more expensive equipment. In this video I look at 3 accessories, firstly a small, inexpensive but very capable mini tripod that you can take with you any where you go, so it can help you to get sharp images, or images with movement in situations where you would not normally have a tripod with you.

Secondly, I look at a variable ND filter, these things are amazing, they are almost infinitely variable sunglasses for your camera. They can give control in situations when you want a wide aperture in bright light, but also, they can be essential for video, especially if shooting at 24/25 fps where your shutter would (or should) be about 1/50, because once again, unless you really stop down your lens (and sometimes even that is not enough) you can simply reduce the light hitting the sensor to suit your situation.

Lastly, I look at a 10 stop ND filter, when you first look at this, it appears to be completely black, but in fact, it reduces the light hitting your sensor by 10 stops, therefore you can get exposures of 30 seconds to 1 or 2 minutes in broad daylight, but why would you want to do this?

If your camera is on a sturdy tripod and the shutter is open for 30 seconds or more, that means that subject matter such as buildings, bridges etc will remain sharp, but the clouds will have moved, grass will have moved, creating stunning surreal effects that you could not really create in camera, with any camera, without this simple accessory.

Give them a try, happy shooting!

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