Since mirrorless digital cameras entered the photography scene in the late 2000s, the question has been whether they could be a better option than DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex). Since that time, the mirrorless system has grown in popularity, so it is clear photographers are increasingly making it their preference.
What’s a DSLR?
DSLR cameras (or digital single-lens reflex) use the design of old-school 35mm bodies, with light taking a path from the lens to the prism and then to the viewfinder, where you can see the preview of your image. As you hit the shutter button, the mirror flips up, a shutter opens and light reaches the image sensor, which retains the picture.
What’s a mirrorless camera?
The big difference with the mirrorless camera is that it has no mirror that flips when you open the shutter. Instead, light moves directly from the lens to the image sensor and the shot displays on your screen.
Which style is lighter?
Because mirrorless cameras do not need to store a mirror and a prism, they do not need to be as heavy or as large. If you like to travel with your camera or just enjoy a lightweight rig, then you may prefer the mirrorless system.
Which body has better focus?
Many years ago, DSLRs had the reputation of being the better – or at least faster – model for autofocus shooting. This is because DSLRs used phase detection, a quicker method that relies more on the camera’s electronic sensor, rather than contrast detection, the slower but more accurate system utilised in most mirrorless bodies. However, mirrorless cameras have since improved in this area. Now, many mirrorless bodies, including Fujifilm’s newer models, employ a contrast-phase hybrid autofocus system.
Which style is suited for continuous shooting?
If you want to capture fast-moving action, you may want a camera with the capacity for continuous shooting. Mirrorless cameras, with their simplified path for obtaining images, excel here. For instance, the Fujifilm X-T2, when photographing from its continuous shooting boost mode, shoots about 11 frames per second, well ahead of most other cameras on the market.
Which one shows an accurate shot in its viewfinder?
Mirrorless cameras also have viewfinders that display truer to what your photograph will become. Their electronic viewfinders allow you to see, in real time, adjustments to aperture and ISO, whereas the optical viewfinder found in DSLRs displays those changes only after you shoot the image. The mirrorless style has a big advantage here, as it saves you time from going back and forth between shooting and adjusting.
As with many debates over photography equipment, the choice comes down to your personal preference. If you find a camera that you handle comfortably and shoot naturally, then proudly make it yours and enjoy creating great shots with it!
There are many times that using a wide angle or telephoto lens just won’t get the results you want. They’re either too wide or too tight but you know in your heart that your viewpoint is correct.
It’s frustrating and causes many photographers to give up and go home without a shot they’re happy with. However you should persevere and with the introduction of photo-stitching software built into Lightroom and Photoshop you should try the third option which is to shoot a stitched panorama.
By stitching together individual images you can render your scene in greater detail and make extremely large prints without the image breaking up.
For those who want a bit of background early examples of a panorama include the Bayeux Tapestry, at nearly 70 meters in length it’ll take some stitching to get a photograph that will rival that!
I’ve shot panoramas for a number of years and find the discipline fascinating. The normal guidelines of composition do apply, but they also don’t – you have much more area for the viewer to explore, more details being captured and there can be cameo roles for people in the different areas of the image. These all come together to create a story or feeling that literally absorbs the viewer – well that’s the idea anyway!
To shoot your very own panoramic image:
Firstly, if you can – use a tripod
It’ll make stitching the images together far more straightforward. Make sure your tripod is level too – most come with a spirit level but luckily most of the Fuji X series have horizon levels built in. If you press the display/back button on the back of the camera a few times this normally brings it up on screen if it has one. To check that the camera and tripod are level, gently pan the camera from left to right and check the display to see if the level line is straight throughout the motion. When attaching the camera to the tripod – set it so that you are shooting a series of upright images (portrait orientation). You’d be forgiven for thinking that you should shoot three or four landscape images – although you can if you wish, but you will end up with a very strip like image. I have found the upright method to be far more rewarding.
Your focal length is generally a little longer than when shooting conventional landscape images.
For example, I recently shot a panorama in Paris using the XF50-140mm, to get the same result normally I’d have needed to use a XF10-24, but the detail in the bridge and the compression of perspective would have been lost.
In a perfect world you would use a panoramic tripod head and set the nodal point of the lens.
Basically this means the middle of the lens sits over the middle of the tripod – but with good stitching software you can get away without it being set, if you’re careful. The reason for this is that if you have the nodal point set correctly the perspective doesn’t alter as you rotate the camera, but when the lens is off-centre perspective from the lens to the subject distorts ever-so slightly.
Once you have chosen your composition and have panned the camera backwards and forwards a few times to check your image works, you must set your focus and exposure. Once set, do not alter them, otherwise you get very awkward tonal changes between the different images. The same applies to graduated filters – although you can adjust them slightly.
Finally you are ready to shoot!
Start on the left-hand side of your shot and take your first picture. Then turn the camera using a panning motion through about 15 degrees, or using the framing grid on the screen – move it round by 1/3 of the frame – this will give you enough overlap to avoid the distortion caused by turning your camera. Repeat this shooting process until you have completed your full composition.
Once have finished your series – shoot a blank frame so you know where the start and finish is.
You may need to fine tune your shot so always check the image on the back of the camera to make sure you’ve got every aspect of the shot you need.
When you get home the process is very simple.
Load your images into Adobe Lightroom – highlight the pictures that make up your panorama – take your cursor across the top menu bar to the heading ‘Photo’ then scroll down to ‘Photomerge’ and select ‘Panorama’. Lightroom will show you a rough render of the image then simply press OK and a few seconds later you’ll get the stunning panorama you planned.
Occasionally Lightroom doesn’t quite do the job, so if that happens – open the images in Photoshop, use your cursor to navigate through File – Automate – Photomerge – Panorama – the same process will happen only this time you will have a layered Photoshop document to work with.
It will take a little practice to create the perfect image but it’s great fun to try. For more inspiration look at the work of Horst Hamann or Nick Meers
What better way to celebrate 5 years of Fujifilm X series than by hosting our own event at our head office in Tokyo?! I was lucky enough to be here so I’m sharing the experience with you.
The event started at 13:30 local time, while most (but not all) of you were probably tucked up fast asleep. We had a countdown that had been running on our X-Pro1 website for the last ten days.
At 13:30 sharp [3m 9s], Fujifilm President Shigehiro Nakajima gave an introduction speech about how our company has evolved in recent years. Film sales peaked in the year 2000 and since then has quickly declined. We took our core competencies and technologies and the diversified our business to ensure survival of the company. At the heart of our company is, and always will be, photography. This is why the X series is so important to us.
Afterwards, the top man in the whole Optical Division, Mr Takahashi, [13m 21s] took to the stage to explain in more detail about the last 5 years of X series. He explained the key benefits of using our APS-C system, including image quality, operability, and portability. He thanked all of the Fujifilm X users across the world, with a special nod to the Official X-Photographers, for not only using our products, but for helping us design future products. It has been the constant feedback that has enabled us to make these products we all love so much.
Toshi explained and demonstrated the advantages of the Hybrid Viewfinder. We all know that an EVF is great because it shows you the image you are going to get, including your exposure settings and any other Film Simulation or White Balance options you have changed. But in a world where EVF refresh rates and LCD resolution seem to make Optical Viewfinders redundant, why on earth would an OVF be required anymore? Toshi explained how having a Rangefinder style OVF allows you to see what is going on outside the frame. This is something that cannot be done on a D-SLR, nor by using an EVF.
Also, two ‘problems’ still exist with using an OVF: “Parallax”, where the angle of the Viewfinder is slightly different from that of the lens making it hard to know precisely where the edge of the frame will be, and Manual Focus is virtually impossible because changing the focus ring doesn’t affect the OVF on a rangefinder. The X-Pro2 has overcome both of these problems by displaying a small LCD panel in the bottom of the frame. This can be used to either show the entire frame in a miniature form, or it can be used to zoom in to the focus point to allow manual focus while in OVF mode.
The X-Pro2 contains the new X-Trans CMOS III – the third generation sensor, which at 24-megapixels, has 50% more resolution that our current. It contains technology that allows faster transfer allowing lower noise at higher ISO.
80 years of film development gives us the expertise to recreate skin tones and other colours with exceptional realism. Toshi also talked about the new Acros film simulation monochrome mode that features smoother gradation, deep blacks and beautiful textures
Next up, Toshi invited Magnum and National Geographic photographer David Alan Harvey onto the stage to talk about how he has found the X-Pro2 since using a prototype for the last few months. Here is the short movie that was played just before he joined Toshi on stage
David’s approach to photography is nothing short of inspiring. David likes simplicity. He wants his camera to be as simple to use as possible, while achieving the quality he needs to do his work. He used the camera in full-auto mode most of the time, wanting to spend more time worrying about the content of the image than what shutter speed to use. This attitude towards photography is exactly what we are trying to get to when we made this camera. We want people to enjoy photography and in order to do this you need to not think about the camera, and instead think about your art.
Next up, Toshi introduced the new X-E2S camera. It’s basically a rangefinder brother for the X-T10. All of the technical features that made the DSLR-style X-T10 a more attractive camera have been matched, leaving the user to choose between the style of camera rather than the specifications.
If you want to be able to shoot with your right eye leaving your face fully exposed to engage with your subject, or you want the classic retro look of a rangefinder of days passed, the X-E2S will be for you. If you prefer the more modern look of a D-SLR, plus the advantage of having a tilting screen for shooting high or low angles more comfortably, the X-T10 will probably be your preference.
Either way, you now get to choose your camera based on who you are, rather than which one was better on paper. Current X-E2 users can also rejoice in the fact that the software enhancements in the X-E2S will be coming to the X-E2 via a FREE firmware update in the very near future.
Jeff has been a professional photographer for many years and he switched to Fujifilm on a recommendation of a peer. His chosen subjects to shoot vary massively from shooting at The 24 Hours of Le Mans race, to shooting landscapes near his home in Scotland. He’s been fully converted to the X system since 2014 and has most of the lenses in our lineup and finds a use for all of them. They went through a number of Jeff’s shots and discussed the lens lineup and direction and also his reasons for making his final switch and going full-Fujifilm X.
Toshi ended his interview with Jeff by talking about a product meeting Jeff had attended a few months ago. (You may or may not know that Fujifilm REALLY listen to their users for product feedback). He asked him if he remembered a particular request that Jeff had. This particular request was for a flashgun that could fire continuously and would also be weatherproof to suit his X-T1. Jeff confirmed that he remembered the request, to which Toshi then presented the next product…
The only product not due to be released in February is the EF-X500 flash. Similar to our lens roadmap updates, we wanted our users to know that we listen to their feedback and we are working on a hotshoe mount flashgun to compliment the X series.
It’ll have a low-profile design that is perfectly suited to X-Series cameras, and will support high-speed sync up to 1/8000 sec. (the same speed as the shutter in the new X-Pro2). It will also be weather and dust resistant, just like the X-T1 and X-Pro2 cameras.
The final product that was presented was the X70,. This camera is essentially an X100T + WCL-X100, in a tiny body. It doesn’t have a viewfinder, which is the reason it can afford to be so small, but it does have a tilting LCD screen to compose your shot with.
The same sensor as the X100T, the same processor as the X100T and an amazingly high-quality lens made by Fujinon (like the X100T). Now you can have a camera in your pocket at all times that won’t sacrifice image quality at all. Coupled with a 180° tilting LCD that’s pretty handy for selfies, the X70 really is the ultimate travel camera for someone that really needs to travel light but wants great results still.
White Balance is a term that may seem foreign to most photographers. Especially as a setting that you could adjust that would make a drastic impact on your photos.
If you ever have taken a photo inside with fluorescent lights as your main source of lighting, you may notice a slight “bluish” look to your photos.
Why did this happen? All light sources have different colour tones based on a temperature reading scale ranging from red (warm) to blue (cold) known as Kelvin (K).
Your choice of lighting will impact the overall look of your image and the actual colours shown in your photo. A photo mainly lit with a candle will give off a slightly deep orange colour tone. Likewise a photo mainly lit by fluorescent lights will give off a light bluish colour tone. Usually undetectable by the naked eye, we only really notice the difference when we look and compare photos side by side.
The term ‘White balance’ (WB) is the process of removing unnatural colour tones in photos. All FUJIFILM Digital cameras have ‘White Balance’ controls to help change or correct these colour tones.
Why would a photographer need to change the camera’s white balance setting? Depending on the subject and lighting source used, a photographer can adjust the camera’s white balance setting to properly show colours as the naked eye sees them or to change the “mood” of a particular photo.
So why experiment with white balance?
You may find that the Auto White Balance setting corrects colour tones when you don’t want it to. This can happen with sunsets or landscapes, where the colour of the light is an integral part of the picture. By using one of the preset settings, you can better control the colour tone of your photos based on the light source used. In addition to one of these “preset” settings, most FUJIFILM cameras offer the ability to pick a custom white balance setting also known as colour temperature (measured in Kelvin).
Here are some of the most commonly found and used white balance settings in Fujifilm cameras:
Auto – this is where the camera takes continuous readings of the light sources and makes adjustments automatically to the colour tone of the photo.
Daylight/Sunny/Fine – not all cameras have this setting because it sets things as fairly ‘normal’ white balance settings.
Tungsten/Incandescent– this mode is usually symbolized with a little bulb and is for shooting indoors when traditional incandescent lighting is used. It generally cools down the colors in photos.
Fluorescent – this compensates for the ‘cool’ light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.
Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little.
Colour Temperature – This option allows you to select the colour temperature using the measurement known as Kelvin, this gives you even more creative control. And without getting too technical here’s our handy hint: If your photos are coming out yellow/orange turn the temperature down (lower number value, for example 2500K) and if they are a bluish colour tone, turn the temperature up (higher number value, for example 8300K). You will soon pick up what lighting environments are around which value of Kelvin.
The other option you have is to shoot in RAW, select Auto White Balance and adjust later in post processing. This does give you more flexibility after the shoot but will add more time to your processing, plus a bit more technical know-how to get best results.
Cold colour tone
Chosen colour tone
Warm colour tone
As you can see above the white balance chosen for a shot can make a huge difference to the feel of an image and in some cases what season the image was taken in.
We hope you have found this tutorial helpful and that it will get you out and about experimenting with white balance.
And as an added bonus, check out FujiGuy Billy as he shows you how to get your White Balance settings up and running in camera here.