Fujifilm X-T2 - Hands on Impressions with Sample Images

I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with the guys from Fujifilm UK and the wonderful Chris Upton Fuji X photographer test driving the soon to be released Fuji X-T2. Here's how I got on:

The day began with a great introduction to Fuji and the X-T2 by Dale of Fujifilm UK. Needless to say he's pretty much got the best job in the world! Gets to play with all the latest kit and runs all the Fujifilm UK social media output. It's a hard life...

Next was a fascinating talk by Fuji X photographer Chris Upton. He took us through his photographic career and his transition from Canon Full Frame to Fuji. Needless to say his images are absolutely stunning (particularly his Thoresby Colliery set). I highly recommend you check out his work if you haven't already done so:

http://www.chrisuptonphotography.com/

I particularly liked his A2 prints that he had on display. They looked absolutely stunning and served as confirmation to me that my decision to get into home printing was the right one. (There's nothing like seeing your image in printed form)

We were then given an X-T2 with battery boost grip each and told to 'pick a lens'. This really was kid in a sweetshop time! So many lenses - which to pick?! I went for the XF23mm  f1.4 R to start with, as my favourite lens on my D610 is the Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART and I wanted to see how this measured up. We then set out for The Embankment of the River Great Ouse in Bedford where we would spend the next 3 hours playing around with our X-T2s. We also had the luxury of being able to choose any lens at any time. It really was a fantastic opportunity! 

The first thing I wanted to test was the AF, as this was the area that I had most concerns around coming from a DSLR. From the first shot I could tell that the X-T2 was at least as good as my D610 in the AF department! Mirrorless has finally arrived. For my use cases I can see no down sides at all. Focus speed for quick 'grab shots', focus tracking of moving subjects, AF in tricky low light / low contrast situations - every time the X-T2 shrugged off the challenge with disdain. It can clearly take a lot more than I have to throw at it! Before I gave the AF a clean sheet, I wanted to confirm that the improved AF I was seeing was down to the newer generation lenses, or the X-T2 itself. So I stuck a first generation XF35/1.4 on. The results confirmed that the AF improvement was down to the X-T2 itself. The AF speed was much quicker with this lens than I am used to seeing on my X-T1. This alone convinced me to place a pre-order. 

The rest of the day just got better and better. I got spoilt using some very, very nice lenses and shooting a wide variety of different subjects. We finished the day by going through and printing a selection of our images. We even got to keep the memory cards so we could take the images home to have a play.

The following images are a small selection of what I shot on the day. Obviously, the location wasn't 'exotic' and the conditions were overcast / grey, but having said that, the pictures should still give an idea of image quality.

Hope this helps and that people found it interesting :-)

Bluebells - Ashridge Estate

Apologies - I have been neglecting my blog of late. I do have a good excuse: I've been out taking LOTs of photos! I will post these up over the coming days along with the stories that go with them.

Let me start with my most recent outing to Ashridge Estate. It all began on Saturday with a visit to my cousin's house. He is a keen cyclist and knowing that I am a photographer, he was excited to show me some of the places he has visited whilst out and about. As soon as I saw his pictures from Ashridge Estate I knew I had to go there. I told him to get his coat and get in the car!

When we arrived I felt like a kid in a sweet shop. It was perfect. An absolutely gorgeous place. I highly recommend a visit, especially when the bluebells are in bloom. The weather was very changeable on the day, so we waited until the light got interesting before snapping away. This was my first time photographing bluebells on such a scale. I will definitely be going back next year. In the meantime, here are some shots from the day.

Stowe Landscape Gardens

I decided to take today off to travel to Stowe Landscape gardens to experiment with long exposures. I recently acquired a Tiffen aXent ND 3.0 filter and this was my first time using it. I am very happy with the results - this is a great bit of kit! 

I had to screw the ND filter off every time I wanted to compose the shot which was a bit of a faff! I also had to ensure I focussed with the ND filter off and then remembered to switch to manual focus to before I took the shot, to make sure the camera didn't lose focus by trying (and failing) to acquire focus through the ND filter. There was also lots of duck poo to cope with!! I love these sorts of challenges (apart from the poo!) so had a great time. It started raining not long after I took this shot which brought the outing to a close.

Back to Basics

Most of my recent blog posts have been about experimental types of photography: long exposures, Lego macros etc. I love getting outside my comfort zone. It forces my to constantly re-evaluate my photography and push my boundaries. However, sometimes it's nice to go back to what you know. For me 'what I know' is portraiture. 

This week I had the opportunity to do a Mother's Day family portrait shoot. I had a fantastic time and am extremely pleased with the results. I was going for a natural, low key look to the shots which I think worked well. 

Long Exposure

I've recently been experimenting with long exposures. It's something I've always wanted to get into. It's possible to get some really interesting effects using this technique. For example, it's possible to make a crowded street appear complete empty and devoid of people. 

I've only just started using the technique but am already pleased with the shots that are being produced. Below is an image from earlier today.


Stunning Sunsets!

This last week has given us some stunning sunsets - I just couldn't resist capturing them with my camera. However, this wasn't as straight forward as I had hoped! 

It all began on Tuesday evening as I drove past Stewartby Lake. The sky was a gorgeous red / orange but I didn't have my camera with me. So I did what most people would do - I reached for my phone! I didn't have high hopes for the result as it's unfair to shoot a phone camera straight into the sun. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the result:

Sure the dynamic range isn't great, but I'm happy with the overall mood / feeling in the shot. I promised myself that I would bring my camera on Wednesday. I kept my promise but forgot my memory card! Arghhhh - so frustrating! I resolved to try again on Thursday.

Thursday morning and I looked out the window to see clouds... lots of clouds! The British weather was determined to foil my plans. However, I didn't lose faith. I took my camera (and memory card!) in hope that the skies would clear. Luckily for me, that's exactly what happened. Everything lined up and these are the resultant photos:


Mountain Biking in the Woods!

I recently spent an enjoyable morning photographing mountain bikers / free riders in the woods. This is quite something, considering I had no idea what free riding was! They were a great bunch who were really friendly and were happy to have their photos taken. I got really close to the action and there were a couple of 'close shaves', but that added to the excitement. It was a real adrenaline rush!

This was my first time shooting sports... and I liked it! I will definitely be returning when I get the opportunity. Until then, here are some shots from the day. Enjoy :-) 

Fun Family Photoshoot

I recently spent a very enjoyable day doing a family photo shoot for one of the most warm and welcoming families I have ever met! The atmosphere was one of fun / goofing around, which meant some great shots were captured 'in between' formal shooting. I love it when this happens as this allows me to portray the true character of the people I am photographing. I had a great day and both I and the family were very pleased with the results.


Spring is in the air!

Despite the recent cold weather, Spring is most definitely on the way! The sunny (but cold) weather yesterday provided the perfect conditions for a spot of macro photography.

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

The branches were swaying in the wind which meant that I had to be patient in order to grab the shot! However, I think the results were worth it :-)

image.jpg

Looking forward to documenting the arrival of Spring as the weather continues to improve.