Tag Archives: Fuji Street Photography

Shibuya, Shibuya

I read once, that those you see in your dreams are those you have seen in real life. Those passersby whose faces may never have registered with you, but somehow make their way in and resurface in dreams. Makes some sense, doesn’t it? The shutter of the eye snapping relentlessly and searing them to memory and they seeping into dreams.

Tokyo

Tokyo

How many people have I passed in my life, I wonder? How many faces? Millions perhaps. Sufficient stock for endless dreams, no doubt.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Tokyo is a bit like that with the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. In any given time up to two thousand people cross. Two thousand faces. There is about a four to five minute interval between the red man and the green man at the crossing. With the green man, there are two minutes for those two thousand people to hurry across. The waiting crowd swells and surges as soon as the green man signals. It is an electrifying feeling to be amongst it.

Shibuya

Shibuya

It is endlessly engaging in Shibuya.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

So many faces.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

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Shooting with Fuji X100T

I’ve had the Fuji X100t for a number of months now and have shot several hundred images with the camera. The reasons I bought the camera were because I wanted to work with a fixed focal length and I wanted to have a light and compact camera. I know I could have put a prime lens on the Nikon D7000, but I really wanted to get something more street friendly.

Cork: February, 2015

Cork: February, 2015

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about my initial reaction to using the X100T and it received a lot of attention, much to my surprise. I even got abuse from some people for finding fault with the camera and writing about it. (Another person objected to my use of the word fuck, and accused me of trying to be cool by using it.) In writing this follow up piece, I read back over that review to see if my first reaction to this camera had changed over time.

Here is what I wrote about what I liked about the camera in February:

It is light! It looks cool. It fits in my pocket, a little uncomfortably, but it fits. I like that I can use the LCD screen to view an image as I am taking it (but that eats up the battery). If you want you can switch between the OVF and EVF, and there is even this little box that can appear on the bottom right hand corner which allows you see a zoomed-in-close detail of the image. The customisable function buttons are cool. You can operate the camera on silent mode which allows for better candid shots. The image quality straight out of the camera is impressive. Images are crisp and sharp. I like the fact it has a fixed lens and that there is no zoom. This forces me to compose with greater care and to zoom with my feet. This will make me a better photographer. The WiFi allows for remote control access, but I cannot, as yet, imagine a scenario to use that. Apparently, it is great in low light, but I have only been out twice with the camera, both in daylight, and I haven’t had the chance to check it out at night yet.

So, of the above what has changed?

Well, the camera has not gained weight. It is still light and does not attract much attention on the street in comparison to the bulky D7000. I no longer use the LCD to compose and shoot. The customisable function buttons are good, but nothing special, to be honest. Operating on silent mode is a nice feature and does lend itself to getting discreet candid moments on the street. The image quality is top class – no doubt about that. The fact it has no zoom is probably the thing I like most about it. It results me being much more deliberate about composition and framing. Has it made me a better photographer? Not for me to answer. The Wifi? Have never used it either to transfer images or for remote control access. Night shooting – ya, I did manage to get some good shots at night in places like Tokyo, but have not done much shooting in low light conditions as of yet.

Tokyo: April, 2015

Tokyo: April, 2015

Six months down the line and what would I add to the list of things I like about the Fuji X100T? You know nothing new immediately comes to mind: no unique or previously-unknown feature of the camera have I discovered. I still love the camera’s size and weight and that it can be used on silent, but the thing I have grown to love more than anything about the camera is that it has changed how I approach street photography. With the Nikon, I compensated a lot. Too far away, zoom in. The Fuji is like a little child whose hand you have to hold to ensure it moves with you. I would like to think I am composing with more care now; seeing the scene with a more sensitive eye. The funny thing is that from a shoot I seem to be achieving fewer keepers from the photos shot, but the ones I do keep I am happier with. Maybe, I am just becoming more selective.

The other thing which has changed in my shooting is my preference now to go fully manual. With the Nikon, I was aperture priority most of the time. A little lazy, I know, but the Nikon was good at making those pesky calculations that I avoided. Now, I am more considered and leave neither shutter or aperture to the camera. Shooting like this does make me think why I ever bothered to shoot any other way.

Another thing I have come to notice is that I am making fewer and fewer blur images. For some reason with the Fuji, I find it hard to defocus to any degree of pleasing aesthetics. The Nikon is still the camera for that. I just do not enjoy out of focus photography on the X100T. I love it on the Nikon and some of my ongoing projects can only be done on this camera.

18359061264_aea02bb406_k (1)

Porto: June, 2015

Looking back at the article, I see the things I initially did not like: battery life, the wifi, purple haze when shooting into direct sunlight, image review and the focus being slow. Well, the battery life is still awful. I got around this by buying three extra batteries, which allows me not to worry about the camera dying while out on the street. The only thing is that to charge the battery takes a few hours. Surely, the battery life and the time needed to charge it can be improved. I don’t use the Wifi and feel this is a gimmick I can do without possibly because I shoot much more with my iPhone than any other camera and I like keeping all my work separate. The purple haze have not noticed that so much. Not so pressed about instant image review. But the thing that still gets me about this camera more than anything else is that it is too slow. I have missed shots because of it. I don’t power the camera off between shots. I want it to be ready to respond quickly, but there have been so many times that I see something I want to shoot and the time taken to frame, focus and shoot means the moment is lost. The camera is too slow. Talking to one or two otherX100T users, I am glad to learn I am not the only one experiencing this. The Nikon is much faster and coming from that, from a situation where I would not miss shots to this is frustrating.

 

The reason I came to write this post this morning is that I was looking at a series of images I shot last week in Dublin and realised that these were shots I would probably not have gotten before when I was using the Nikon D7000. The reason probably being the ability to zoom. I was walking along a busy Dublin street with the sun to my back, meaning the light was on the people in front of me. Just how I like it. I was attracted to this gentleman standing on the steps of a bank waiting for his bus to come. His beard, clothes and stance all caught my eye. I pulled up as close as I could get and began to frame. Before I would have been distracted by those passing in front of me and probably would have waited to get a clean shot of him. Not now. Now I want that activity in my photos and not having a zoom meant that I could not avoid it either.

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Dublin: August, 2015

I got a few frames and then braved it out and got in front of the character and shot two more shots. One with eye contact and another, a split second later, without.

Dublin: August, 2015

Dublin: August, 2015

Dublin: August, 2015

Dublin: August, 2015

So, six months in with a new camera where do I stand on it now? I like what I wrote back in February:

Overall, I do not like the camera. It is very different to the Nikon and I am a creature of habit. I want my old camera back! But, and this is the thing, all of this is good, it will make me learn. It will make me see the world in a different way when I am out shooting. It will push me along in my evolution as a photographer and that is why I wanted it. Comfort zones are all fine and dandy, but I need to be challenged. I want to experience the frustration of not getting the camera to do what I want; it will make it all the sweeter when I get it right. This camera will drive me crazy, I know that. But I also know I will grow to love it and that it will be with me on many great adventures to come.

It is true. I bought the Fuji to learn and to improve as a photographer and I believe I am on the way and you know what – I am enjoying it. It is challenging and frustrating – just like I wanted it to be. When I am heading off for a few days somewhere or out on a photo walk the camera I leave at home is the Nikon. The Fuji X100T comes with me. It can, and does, drive me crazy, but slowly but surely I am growing to love it.

Kiss the (Fuji) future!

Tokyo: April, 2015

Tokyo: April, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

April 15 2015

Things on my mind today:

1. Fuzziness – after a marathon journey  26-hour home from Tokyo, I am super jet-lagged.

2. I am behind in the work I need to do.

3. I have so many images to work through and so far it looks like I will be doing a lot of deleting.

4. That is normal.

5. First impressions in photography, should not be taken too seriously .

6. To be confirmed….

Here is an iPhone photograph of my photo on a billboard in Harajuku, Tokyo. It was a beautiful experience to see my image in different locations around Tokyo. Unbelievable to actually believe I have a photograph on display in Tokyo.

Harajuku, Japan

Harajuku, Japan

I got my Fuji X100t back from the repair shop. Well, actually a new one to replace the old one. I used it a lot in Tokyo and had fun. I should update my review some time soon. This one had me in a dilemma – black and white or colour. My jet-lagged head says colour. Might change to black and white upon readjustment.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

News: I won the Mira Mobile Photography Prize. Super happy, as you can imagine. Thanks to all for the kind words and congratulations!

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

March 26 2015

What I like about the Fuji x100t is that what you get straight out of the camera is a top class image quality. The few shots I have posted to Flickr with it have all had minimal post processing, which is a good thing. Looking back at older photos, I do see when I over-processed images, and you know it makes me cringe. But that is the journey. It is all about learning and evolving.

This x100T image was created in the Duomo in Milan. The world-famous cathedral. Like many cathedrals and churches they have become tourist sites, but still are places of worship. I was struck by this man’s composure and demeanour. I studied him for a while as he sat in front of the altar deep in prayer. I envy people who have faith, because the feeling of being loved is the most special feeling of all, and I can only imagine what the sensation must be to feel the love of a god, a creator. When I was a child, I felt God’s presence and never doubted it. When I entered adolescence, that feeling left and it has never returned.

I got a few shots of this man in prayer, both with the Fuji and the iPhone. Then I lit a candle for my friend Liam who had recently passed away, said my own little prayer. Thanked God for the many blessings I have and continued on with being a tourist in a church.

Being Heard

Being Heard

The iPhone image was also taken in the same cathedral. It shows more tourists.

God's Tourists

God’s Tourists

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

March 1 2015

I began this post by writing February, then realized we have stumbled into March. The year is almost gone! Well, the winter is. And how I hate the winter. The dark, the cold, the wet, the short, short days and those trees. Those trees that need to cheer the fuck up!

I am still struggling to get the hang of the new Fuji X100T (read my review here). Its slow responsiveness is the main thing for me. Often on the street I will have the camera set to take multiple images. It is especially helpful as it is a split-second scene you are dealing with and getting four or five frames can be great. The Fuji, when it is set to take a few frames per second, also seems to take a few seconds to store these frames and you get this damn annoying storing message while it does so. Why? Just do it! Let me get on with shooting.

And if I want to manually focus, don’t think that I cannot be trusted with this and refocus for me. Please!

I know I just need to readjust the settings somehow and all will be resolved. I hope. Solutions in the comments box. Thanks.

Anyway, rant suspended. (It is folly to end rants, just suspend them. Leave them, marinating. You can add to them later. You know it makes sense.)

Today’s photos were taken on a photo walk in Cork last Friday evening. It was a wet, miserable evening. We get this deceptive, misty rain that seems so light and harmless, but it falls in sheets and soaks you. I started off the walk down by South Gate Bridge and while I was waiting to cross the road I saw this character appear. Not having much time to get the settings right for the shot (note to self: get this done at home before you head out), I got the Fuji out and having no zoom I tried to get as close as I could to him. The result is below.

Cork

Cork

The iPhone image is a similar shot in many ways. This was taken in Dublin the previous weekend. The iPhone really is a wonderful camera. For me, it is the best there is for street work. I weave with this camera in my hand. Weave and swerve in the crowds getting those shots. I like this character.

The slowing tick tock

The slowing tick tock

 

 

Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Fuji X100T

Buy books not gear. That’s what those with all the best gear tell us. People owning Leicas costing thousands and thousands of Euro and they tell us not to have G.A.S – gear acquisition syndrome. So often these are the very same people who get gifted new cameras by the manufacturers. Buy books not gear, they tell us, but imagine all the books they could buy if they sold their Leicas.

Anyway, for a quite a while I had been thinking of getting a more compact camera for street work. I was tired of lugging the heavy Nikon around with me and the idea of having a  little, discreet light camera appealed to me. I did my research and the camera that kept popping up as the best in the category was the Fuji X100T. The reviews all seemed to say the same thing: If you have the previous model – the S – then there is not much point in the upgrade, but if you do not have the S at all, then separate yourself from your cash (all €1,200 of it) and get yourself closer to that camera of your dreams. The reviewers raved about the X. Ken Rockwell calls it “The world’s best digital camera“. Eric Kim, who was gifted one, loved it. The Fro Knows Photo guy claims he “can’t say enough good stuff about this little camera”.

So, what do I say about it?

It is light! It looks cool. It fits in my pocket, a little uncomfortably, but it fits. I like that I can use the LCD screen to view an image as I am taking it (but that eats up the battery). If you want you can switch between the OVF and EVF, and there is even this little box that can appear on the bottom right hand corner which allows you see a zoomed-in-close detail of the image. The customisable function buttons are cool. You can operate the camera on silent mode which allows for better candid shots. The image quality straight out of the camera is impressive. Images are crisp and sharp. I like the fact it has a fixed lens and that there is no zoom. This forces me to compose with greater care and to zoom with my feet. This will make me a better photographer. The WiFi allows for remote control access, but I cannot, as yet, imagine a scenario to use that. Apparently, it is great in low light, but I have only been out twice with the camera, both in daylight, and I haven’t had the chance to check it out at night yet.

What I don’t like?

I find myself asking did I get a shot there. I like the silent mode, but it is a little unnerving. I think I need to get back to the clicks to signal a snap.

Image review – I like to see the shot I have just taken pop up on the LCD screen once I have seen it. This does not happen with the X100T. You have to press the play button and wait until a second or two for it to appear. Apparently, I can mess around with the power saving options and this will speed up the process.

The WiFi – it does not allow me to send a RAW file, and I like to only shoot in RAW, so I can’t see the advantage of this. I can put the settings to RAW + fine and the fine file is transferrable. But this would get very messy later on when uploading files to the Mac. I would have duplicate copies of images and need to manually sort the RAW files out. No. I think this is a gimmick which I will leave alone.

Battery – having being so used to the Nikon D7000 battery and hardly ever having to worry about it, I was pissed off to see how quickly the x100t’s battery quits. I have ordered two spare batteries, but why should I need to?

Purple haze – I love shooting into strong sunlight. I love high contrasts and shadows and again was annoyed to see that not unlike the iPhone 4 you get this awful purple haze when you shoot into strong sunlight. So, I have ordered a lens hood, but again why should I need to?

Can I blur the fuck out of things? Can I do it with the ease and grace of the Nikon? Not really. I am still learning with this camera and even though I had in on MF the other day, for some bizarre reason the camera swept back into auto focus and the blurred image I was trying to get disappeared, leaving me damn frustrated as I tried to fix the settings.

Overall, I do not like the camera. It is very different to the Nikon and I am a creature of habit. I want my old camera back! But, and this is the thing, all of this is good, it will make me learn. It will make me see the world in a different way when I am out shooting. It will push me along in my evolution as a photographer and that is why I wanted it. Comfort zones are all fine and dandy, but I need to be challenged. I want to experience the frustration of not getting the camera to do what I want; it will make it all the sweeter when I get it right. This camera will drive me crazy, I know that. But I also know I will grow to love it and that it will be with me on many great adventures to come.

Sure, it is a good thing to buy photo books and not spend all your money on gear, and I do see the point those with the already-acquired expensive cameras are trying to make, but at times it is nice to buy some new gear. Here’s to the new adventures! Here’s to the Fuji X100T.

This is one of the first images I took with the X100T.

16625643965_04a5bb2f9e_k (1)

Photographic Serendipity

 

And here’s an iPhone image taken in Dublin last weekend. A blurred one. Got to love the blur.

This future cannot wait

This future cannot wait

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