The shoot with Jimmy White came about through a long running association I have with a media company in Liverpool that specialises in sport personalities biographies – basically I shoot the book covers for them. It’s a collaborative thing on some of the shoots we both think of ideas/concepts etc ideas for the shoot and book cover and how it should look.
Kit used and settings?
This shoot was slightly different as I was out on tour with The 1975 at the time, so my car was packed full of equipment. My Fuji bag was packed full as I took everything with me on tour! But the main lenses I used on the shoot with Jimmy were my trusted 23mm & 56mm lenses, combined with my XT1 bodies. I love both of these prime lenses.
How much time did you have?
For this shoot, I had a couple of hours. Unfortunately things never go to plan and although I left Glasgow at 5:45am to drive to Liverpool for 9:00am, I hit major road works just outside Liverpool town centre, which made me half an hour late.
Luckily for me, Jimmy was late too.
The worse thing I can find as a photographer is rushing to set up while the client is waiting for me to start shooting. It’s my pet hate if I’m honest. I like to be ready and waiting as the subject walks in, with all my lighting tests done.
How accommodating was he?
Jimmy was fantastic. A really nice guy, he went along with all the ideas that we asked him to do.
Did you use any additional lighting?
I have to set up my portable studio whenever I shoot a book cover like this, so I carry everything with me. Backdrop stands, backdrops (white and black) light modifiers and finally my lights, which I carry up to 4 Bowens heads with me.
I’m like a pack horse!!!
How much interaction do you have in a situation like this with the subject?
There was a lot of interaction with Jimmy on the day. He was totally up for the ideas that I asked him to pose for. He was truly a great guy!
Would you do anything different next time?
Yes, I’d make sure to get there earlier and set up before the subject arrives haha. Even look at the traffic reports!
Any tips for amateurs trying to get this style of shot?
Make sure your lighting ideas work! It’s no good changing your mind on the day when your subject arrives. Also, do your research; try replicating lighting techniques that you have seen on other models shoots online or in magazines.
Tony has shot some of the biggest rock bands on the planet today – Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The 1975, with over 20 years photographic experience.
In February 2014, during my first ever trip to Japan to attend the CP+ Show in Yokohama, I was also lucky enough to be present at one of the early planning meetings for the X100T, along with a few carefully selected professional photographers – Yukio Uchida (Japan), Bert Stephani (Belgium), Gianluca Colla (Italy) and Kevin Mullins (UK). Each one of the photographers used Fujifilm CSCs for their work, but also an X100S for personal work, and some professional work where it suited. After spending a few days talking about how our equipment affects their working lives in a positive light, they were given very specific instructions to tell us exactly what they didn’t like about them.
Less than seven months on and I’m holding in my hands a pre-production version of a camera that was based on many of the subjects discussed in this meeting.
How do you make something “more perfect” ?
There were two sides to the meeting. First up, the Japanese developers worked through a list of their ideas to understand what the photographers thought of them.
I paraphrase of course but here’s kind of how the conversation went:
Developers: Do you want a full-frame sensor? Photographers: No because the camera would need to be bigger and that would degrade the purpose of the camera
Developers: Would you like an f/1.8 or larger aperture lens? Photographers: As above. No because the camera would need to be bigger.
Developers: Would you like a tilting screen? Photographers: As above again.
At this point you could see that the Japanese product developers are getting a bit nervous. How can you further evolve and develop a product if the users of the product are already perfectly happy with the existing one?
Developers: Does it need an Electronic Shutter? Photographers: Not sure… what would be the benefits? Developers: Shooting much faster shutter speeds, even with the aperture wide open – no need for the ND filter
OK finally we have our first TICK!
Developers: Would you like better movie functions? More frame rate options, manual exposure control? Photographers: Yes, as long as it doesn’t have any effect on the camera’s ability to shoot stills
And another TICK. We’re really cooking now.
Developers: What about Wifi? Photographers: Would be useful, as long as the camera doesn’t get any bigger
Developers: How would you like to be able to use manual focus while shooting OVF? Photographers: We’re listening…
The developers pulled out a concept modified X100S with a special LCD panel installed outside the Optical Viewfinder. They went on to explain how this LCD display would actually be inside the camera and the user can switch on or off the ability to fine-tune the focus without switching from OVF.
I’ve had a go with this on the pre-production version and I can really see the value. I’m a big fan of coloured focus peaking so to be able to have it while looking through an OVF is really nice. It’s quick to toggle on or off, much faster than switching between OVF and EVF, so you can pay attention to the frame and just check the focus when you need it.
They then went through a pretty long list of changes / enhancements etc… of which a lot made it into the X100T I’ve got in my hand.
“We will consider”
In my experience, one thing that Japanese people hate to do is to outright say the word “no”. Every suggestion for a change to any of our cameras always gets one of these two responses:
“We will do this” – this actually means “We have already done this”
“We will consider” – And they do!
Next up in the meeting it was the photographer’s turn to suggest changes, all of which met one the answers above. Here are a few things I remember our guests asking for. This is not to say that these were not already in consideration by the development team.
Ability for the user to customise the Q menu – check
Standardise the main layout of the camera controls – time will tell on this but the X100T button layout is more like the X-T1 than the X100S, particularly on the user’s right thumb.
Various different film types to be considered to be added to the list of Film Simulation modes – Classic Chrome making it into the range
More Function (Fn) buttons – check
Black version available at launch – check
Everything above, but retain the same size, shape and pretty much weight as the X100S and X100 – check
It’s not to say that the entire product was built from that one single meeting. Of course not. The team in Japan do an amazing job considering requests from Fujifilm staff and professional photographers all over the world. It is this constant ability to listen to feedback and then build on it that makes this an incredibly exciting and rewarding place to work.
On top of these changes, here are a few others that I’ve heard customers ask for that have made it in:
Allow users to select the AF area with the 4-way controller, without pressing the Fn Key.
AUTO ISO “profiles”
Ability for Exposure compensation to still work when the camera is in M mode, as long as the ISO is set to AUTO
Aperture ring moves in ⅓ increments.
Increase the grip on the manual focus ring
And finally some nice changes that made it over from the X-T1:
Coloured Focus Peaking
Remote shooting / wireless image transfer
Awesome updated GUI that rotates based on camera orientation
3 stops Exposure Compensation
The whole experience opened my eyes to what an amazing company it is that I work for. Staff and customers alike have a voice that is constantly helping to shape future development to produce the perfect products.
Many of these changes have been added to already-released cameras via free firmware updates. In my opinion this is a great move by Fujifilm as we are relatively new (this time round) to the professional end of the market and building trust is very important to help us gain a good reputation.
But whether we’re able to update existing models, or evolve the models with newer, improved versions, the reason it is working well is because everything is being carefully developed based on what actual users want. I’ve now seen this with my own eyes, and hold the proof in my hands.
改善 (kaizen) – Good change.
Come and see the X100T
The Fujifilm X100T will be available to get your hands on in the Touch & Try section of the Fujifilm stand at Photokina 2014 – Tuesday 16th September to Sunday 21st September at the koelnmesse Trade Fair and Exhibition Centre in Cologne, Germany.
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.