Tag: fujifilm cameras

X-Photographer Chris Upton talks X-E2S

BY CHRIS UPTON

Amid all the deserved hype around the launch of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 it was easy to miss the upgrade to the Fuji X-E2, in the form of the X-E2S. In truth this is really an evolution rather than a revolution but, true to form, Fuji have integrated some very welcome features into this incarnation.

Before I run through these it might be worth explaining Fujifilm’s strategy around their, interchangeable lens, CSC (compact system camera) line up. Fujifilm’s launch into the CSC market came with the introduction of the X-Pro1 4 years ago. This model was styled around the retro rangefinder type cameras. It was an instant success due to the beautiful design and stunning image quality. The X-E1 and X-E2 followed in the same vein but in a smaller form factor. Whilst there are benefits of using a rangefinder for certain types of shooting, especially street, there are many photographers who prefer the typical DSLR style body with a central viewfinder. Enter the Fujifilm X-T1 and subsequently X-T10.

xe2sSo the thinking is that Fuji can now offer Pro / semi-pro and enthusiast cameras in both rangefinder and DSLR styled bodies. So in essence the X-E2S lines up alongside the X-T10 with a 16.3mp sensor.

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My “affair” with Fuji started in 2013 when I bought the X-E1. I had always wanted a small, light rangefinder style camera to use as a carry round camera to be used alongside my Canon DSLR system. I loved that camera and I still do, but whilst the X-T1 with its fantastic features and design is now my favoured body, the X-E1 is always in my bag.

So when Fuji asked me to test the X-E2S I was intrigued to see how it would compare to my own two models. My thoughts here are not meant to be a definitive technical review, there are plenty of other sites that offer that, but more around the user experience which will hopefully help you decide whether this body might be the one for you.

The X-E2S inherits the rangefinder style design and functionality with a series of new or improved features. The X-E2S is the same small size as the X-E1 / X-E2 and weighs in at a meagre 350g (body only) great for discreet, unobtrusive shooting.

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The X-E2S boasts improved viewfinder, autofocus system, handling and a more intuitive interface so let’s have a look at these in a little more detail.

One of the key benefits of the recent Fuji viewfinders is the ability to see in real time the exposure that you’re getting. Adjust the exposure or exposure compensation dial and see the screen go brighter or darker and confirm highlight and shadow control with the live histogram. The display is large with a 0.62x magnification and very bright and Fujifilm claim the EVF features the world’s shortest display time lag. The user can tailor the information appearing to their specific needs and this auto rotates when the camera is turned vertically, a really useful feature.

The X-E2S incorporates the superb new Auto Focus system that was introduced to the X-T1 and incorporated in the X-T10 and the new X-Pro2. This adds Zone and Wide Tracking to Single Point for easy capture of moving subjects. The standard single point mode offers 49 points for fast, precise focusing whilst the Zone mode allows users to select from three different sized zones from the 77 point focus area. The wide tracking feature excels at capturing moving subjects whether they are moving up and down, left and right or towards or away from the camera. This combined with Face and Eye detection options makes this a significant improvement over the old system and offers users one of the best and fastest AF systems available.

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The addition of a new, silent, electronic shutter is perfect for candid captures or shooting in quiet places and a top speed of 1/32,000 second means that the fast Fujinon lenses can be used wide open outdoors on a sunny day without the need for an ND filter. The interval timer enables shooting up to 999 frames with intervals from one second to 24 hours.
The camera features Fujifilm’s APS-C 16.3 megapixel X trans-CMOS II sensor. This is unique to Fujifilm and the random colour array and lack of low pass filter helps deliver outstanding image quality and low noise.

For those who like to shoot in low light there is an amazing new top ISO of 51200 though I rarely shoot above 3200 ISO where I have no problem with the quality of the files. If you like to shoot video the X-E2S can capture 1080/60p video and offers the latest set of Film Simulation Modes, including the gorgeous Classic Chrome which gives a slightly muted retro feel. In order to make selecting your most used functions quick and simple you can customize the function buttons on the body. My selections are ISO, self timer (usually set to 2 sec for tripod shooting), focus point, AF mode and metering mode. Of course you can also configure the Quick “Q” menu to your own specification. The new model also features an enhanced grip and a new user friendly interface for the menu system.

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For those that are new to Fuji or thinking about making the move across there are a few other key points I should highlight.

As with the X-E2 the X-E2S offers the user the opportunity to manage the “exposure triangle” of aperture, shutter speed and ISO together with exposure compensation easily on the camera without the need to dive into endless menu’s. Manual focusing is a breeze when using the focusing aids of digital split image and focus peaking. I find that setting my focus peaking to flash the highlights in red works best. If you shoot JPEGS rather than RAW, or want a very pleasant surprise, the Fuji cameras deliver stunning JPEGS straight from camera. There is a lovely, almost film like feel to them and you can fine tune them in camera to suit your style, they really do have to be seen to be believed.

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A final point is that Fujifilm have earned deserved praise for their commitment to users buying into their system to ensure that they are not disadvantaged by the steady stream of technological improvements. In this case existing X-E2 users can update their camera’s firmware at no cost delivering the new AF system updates, performance improvements and the new graphical interface introduced in the X-E2S.

X-E2 firmware can be downloaded for FREE here.

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So in summary whilst the X-E2S does not incorporate all the latest technology from Fujifilm it does offer a lightweight, compact rangefinder style body, awesome autofocus system with a proven 16.3mp sensor delivering stunning image quality at a very keen price making this a very attractive proposition indeed.

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All images were shot using the Fuji X-E2S

 

Interview with famous Japanese photographer and original “X-Photographer” Yukio Uchida

Over the last few years, Fujifilm has invited professional photographers from around the world to meet with the product planning and R&D teams to discuss current and future products. Names you may or may not have heard of such as Zack Arias, David Hobby, Bert Stephani, Kevin Mullins, Gianluca Colla, Tomasz Lazar, Damien Lovegrove, Knut Koivisto, Chris Weston and more have all given their feedback and input into the “kai-zen” development mentality of the Fujifilm X system.

However, this process has actually been going on for longer than that.

Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to meet with Yukio Uchida, a famous professional photographer from Japan who had been speaking about Fujifilm cameras at the CP+ show in Yokohama. Yukio was one of the world’s first “X-Photographers”; his feedback has been instrumental in the development of the Fujifilm X system. I was able to get 10 minutes of his time to ask him a few questions about his involvement with Fujifilm R&D, and also his own photographic style.

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Japanese professional photographer Yukio Uchida

MH: Thank you for taking some time meet me and talk about you and your photography.
Is this your first time presenting at CP+?

YU: No, this is my fourth year. Every year it gets better than previous. Four years ago very few people used X series but over time the amount of users has increased, and also the amount of people that come to watch me speak has increased.

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Yukio Uchida draws one of the biggest crowds at CP+

MH: Could you tell me a little bit about your photography style and philosophy?

YU: I want to take a picture that expresses what I feel. If the audience see my picture and they like it, this is OK. But if they see it and think “I want to feel like that”, this is more important to me. I want to inspire.

MH: How did you get into photography?

YU: Before becoming a professional photographer, I worked for the city government. At the time I spent a lot of time on the street taking photos. Photography should be about good moments and beautiful scenery.

MH: When did you start using Fujifilm cameras?

YU: I started with the original X100 back in early 2011 when it was first released.

MH: What do you love about Fujifilm X cameras?

YU: Firstly, and very importantly is colour reproduction and lens resolution. But also, the R&D team in Japan have included me a lot during the development phases of all of the products.
I was invited to the original meeting for X100 before the X series was born. I told them right away that they were dealing with someone with high standards who was not going to be easy to win over. I told them that if they couldn’t convince me to buy these cameras and lenses, they should not be sold in the marketplace. For this reason I feel strongly attached to the whole system.
I love the fashionable and stylish design of the product. Many people can appreciate the X series without needing to be professional photographers.

MH: You’re also stylish, charismatic and unique, and you stand out in a good way. You sum up that aspect of the cameras.

YU: Thank you. I feel that creative people prefer the look and feel of X series. Certainly in Japan, big DSLR cameras have appeal to working professionals, but to normal people that just want to create some art, this sort of camera should be the “mainstream”.

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Yukio Uchida has a very distinct look himself

MH: So you would say that a DSLR might be someone’s tool, but a Fujifilm X camera is their camera for them to express and “be themselves” with.

YU: Completely agree. The photographic industry was moving towards “bigger must be better” but mobility was being sacrificed. DSLR users forgot photography.
Digital technology has been progressing, and cameras with cutting edge technology will continue to come out. But to me it’s not the essence of photography. I think photography should be the tool to express my feelings towards the “beauty of the world”.
A camera that gives me the joy of ownership and the joy of shooting is much more important than one with the highest number of megapixels or highest ISO performance.

MH: I see you have a Fujifilm camera with you now. How many shots do you take every day for your own use?

YU: Maybe one hundred per day, although I’d like to take more. I see beautiful things everywhere and want to capture them. Everything I do, everything I see, I think about how it could be framed. I look at light and shadow and it helps distract my mind from other negative things such as being nervous because I am being interviewed by an English guy!
When I shot with a DSLR, everything was more technical. I was only interested in what was visible in the frame and the depth of field. Now with X series I think about sounds, smell, temperature. Everything can be part of the photo.

MH: Finally, if you could only have one body and one lens, which would you choose?

YU: The X-Pro1 and XF56mm. I can be on equal footing with the X-Pro1. I don’t have to rely on the camera too much, nor deprive the joy of photography from me. I feel a kind of closeness with X-Pro1 and that’s why I love it the best.

See more of Yukio’s work

Check out some of Yukio Uchida’s work on the official Fujifilm X-Photographers website
Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3

THE FUJIFILM X MAGAZINE IS HERE! – ISSUE 8

Issue 8 of the Fujifilm X Magazine is now available to view online, or download to your mobile or tablet via the Android or Apple app.

In this issue Swedish photographer Knut Koivisto shares his approach to people pictures, we give you seasonal portrait ideas, the X100T gets a test drive and to top it off, we showcase a superb set of desert landscapes taken in the Wild West!

 

 

 

Interview – Knut Koisvisto

Every photographer can learn from Knut Koivisto’s approach to portraiture. He explains how he works and why he uses Fujifilm X-series.

Click here to read the full interview »

 

X Marks the Spot

Monument Valley was on Gary Collyer’s photo bucket list for years. When he finally visited, it didn’t disappoint – and nor did his images.

Click here to read the full article »

 

What to shoot

Whether you want to work in the studio or outdoors, this is a great time to be shooting portraits. We’ve got all the advice you need.

Click here to read the full article »

 

Exhibition

Head to your local town or city and shoot urban images – that’s exactly what these X Magazine readers did and look at the results.

Click here to read the full article »

 

master the xMaster the X-series

How to take better portraits with off-camera flash, plus we get our hands on the third generation of the X100 models, the X100T.

Click here to read the full article »

 

Competition

If you’ve got a blog, we want to hear from you. X Magazine’s best blogger will win a fabulous new Fujifilm X-A2 outfit.

Click here to read more »

My love affair with EVFs

When I first started using the Fujifilm X-Series last summer I didn’t realise how helpful electronic viewfinders (EVFs) can be. Being able to see a live view of the exposure and then adjusting this via the exposure compensation dial means that I am more efficient. When using SLRs it is often difficult to get exposure compensation exactly right the first time around, this often means you take a photograph multiple times to get it just right. With X-Series cameras you are able to see how an exposure adjustment will effect the exposure of the image before you take the photo. This is especially helpful for fleeting moments, especially in quickly changing light.

The exposure compensation can be adjusted in post-production but I feel the live view produced by EVFs has helped me improve my photography. This makes my editing workflow shorter, which is always an advantage.

I found this feature particularly helpful when taking silhouettes, such as the images of Chesterton windmill in the gallery below.

EVFs are also very helpful with non-Fujifilm lenses or using Fujifilm lenses in manual mode as they can accurately show when the focus is correct. Even with the X100s and X-Pro1, which have hybrid viewfinders, I use them almost exclusively in EVF mode instead of OVF mode because, for me, it offers more benefits.