Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 227.
So, as you all know already if you’ve been listening to the show the last couple weeks I recently switched from Canon RF to Fujifilm X Series camera systems. I acquired two X-T4’s and an X-E4 as well and I have a few lenses now. My X-T4’s came as kits so I got the XF16-80mm with one and the XF18-55mm with the other. I also went online and bought the Rokinon Manual 12mm F/2.8 and I also decided to try a couple of lenses from Meike, such as their 28mm F/2.8 and their 35mm F/1.7.
The Rokinon and the XF lenses are superb of course as both Fujifilm and Rokinon/Samyang have been making lenses for some time. The Meike lenses are interesting as they are not only very wide aperture at F/2.8 and F/1.7, but they are also super inexpensive at $69 a piece. In this episode I am going to post some of my recent images with the X Series using these various lenses so check that out in the show notes.
I have all three of my new bodies set up the way I like to shoot and I have been trying to get out on my days off and shoot some local stuff. As you know, my wife Tina and I moved to Roxboro, NC last April and I am trying to find cool places to shoot here. I knew Atlanta pretty well and some of it’s best photo spots and now I have to learn here all over again. I think some of my shooting will require some significant driving, but I am also going to look into places across the border into Southern VA as we are close to that are as well.
So I was doing some online research into various lenses for the X Series recently and was surprised and delighted to find out that Viltrox is now making lenses for the X mount and they have four models currently on the market with full AF. The offer a 23mm F/1.4, which is 35mm in full frame, which I need for Street Photography. They also have a 33mm F/1.4, which is 50mm in full frame, which I GOT to have that lens as well. In addition, they offer a 56mm F/14 which is 85mm in full frame and they have an 85mm which is close to 135mm in full frame. I have watched quit a few reviews online about these various lenses and I think I am going to buy all four of them eventually. The beauty part is all of these lenses are under $400, with the 33mm being the least expensive so I am ordering that one this week when I get paid.
Now, I also need to get battery grips for the two X-T4s as I have that large international project I am shooting for a client and need the extended battery life when out shooting all day long. From researching online I saw that the battery grip for the older X-T2 allowed you to use three batteries at once and offer a boost mode for higher frame rates when shooting Continuous. The one for the X-T4 doesn’t offer boost as the X-T4 is already fast at FPS with 30 when using the electronic shutter. The interesting thing as it turns out is Fujifilm’s grips don’t install into the battery bay like they do on the Canons, instead the upright part of the grip slides up in front of the camera on the outside giving you a beefier grip and you keep the single battery in the body, attach the grip and you have three batteries!
This of course will be a game changer for me as it means I can shoot even longer when I am out shooting for myself or when doing that studio project. Being that each battery on the X-T4 is supposed to be good for up to 600 shots on a charge, with three batteries I can get up to 1,800 shots per charge!
Another thing that I came upon when doing research on Fujifilm and best setup options I came across this X Series forum https://www.fujix-forum.com and on a banner ad on there I also found out about an eBook about X Series by a photographer named Dan Bailey called X Series Unlimited and since he’s been shooting with Fujifilm since the beginning of the X Series, his book is 400 pages of fantastic information on what an X Series camera can do and how to set various options. He covers EVERY X Series camera from the X100 line to the X-10, X-T10 and up and the X-T series. I can highly recommend his eBook for ANYONE that wants to learn all they can about their X Series camera and how to best use it. You can find Dan’s book at https://danbaileyphoto.com/blog/product/x-series-unlimited/ and at only $27 it is WELL worth the money to know all you can possibly know about X Series cameras. Dan is also nice enough to update it each time a new X Series body comes out so the current edition covers the new X-E4, X-S10 and the X-T4 as well!
I know I haven’t had much luck getting anyone to come on and talk about the X Series system yet and being I just switched, I don’t want to try and talk about it myself as I don’t feel I could do it justice. I was able to get in touch with Dan and he is willing to come on the show and talk about Fujifilm X Series in detail and that will be happening the second or third week in March so stay tuned, One thing I can speak to is that I really love shooting with my new X Series cameras. The film simulations are fantastic and I see now why so many X Series shooters say they shoot JPG only as you can “bake” the film simulations right in and save yourself any post processing as well as saving memory card and hard drive space. I still prefer to shoot RAW and add the film simulations in post using Capture One Pro 22 as the software is optimized for the Fujifilm X-Trans sensors, way more so than Lightroom is. I haven’t shot a ton with the cameras yet so I have not run into the “worm” artifact issues as of yet but from what I have read they are caused by using too much sharpening and I sharpen my images very little if at all in post.
The overall design of the X-T4 especially is really well thought out with the magnesium alloy construction and the textured coating that allows you to get a secure grip on the body without worry about it slipping out of your hand. The X-E4 has a more smooth finish but by adding an optional grip like I did, you can hold that body more securely as well. The weather sealing on the X-T4 is top notch as well. In one of his Youtube videos Dan talks about how on one of his shoots it was about 20 degrees colder than what Fujifilm says is the cold weather allowance and yet his X-T kept shooting with no issues, On one of his trips, his Nikon got wet because water got past one of the dials on top and his Nikon stopped working, but his Fujifilm kept chugging away in the same weather conditions.
Dan, like me, wasn’t originally a Fujfilm shooter, he shot Nikon for a long time and he wasn’t willing to totally commit until the X-T line came out as he needed a tough, durable body that could also handle high-speed continuous shooting so when the X-T line came out he finally parted with all of his Nikon gear and went all in with Fujifilm. Dan was lucky enough to have high level contacts at Fujifilm and was able to borrow several of their cameras and lenses over the years and try them out and he was their first X Series Ambassador as well. Fujifilm has used quite a few of Dan’s images for marketing material for their various camera bodies over the years. From watch his Four Part X Series videos I believe that he might have also licensed some of his images to Apple for macOS wallpapers as one of his aerial landscapes he uses as a background in his video is identical to a macOS wallpaper I have used before on my computers.
Something I learned from reading Dan’s eBook is that the Fujifilm cameras also have way more customization than Canon or anything else I have used in the past. I believe the X-T4 has fourteen function controls that can be customized to your liking. Additionally, they also allow you to save up to seven Custom settings presets in camera, but you have to switch between them using the menu or a pre-programmed button or dial on the camera, there are no dedicated “C” positions like on my old Canon gear that had C1, C2 and C3 right on the mode dial.
Fujifilm does allow you to add more to a Custom shooting preset as well because in addition to saving the ISO and Shutter speed and Aperture you can also save items such as a Film Simulation you want to use with this Custom set up. The entire range of items you can set in Custom settings are as follows:
So as you can see the Custom presets on the Fujifilm cameras are WAY more advanced than on any other brand and give you a ton more control of your images with a quick switch of Custom Slots 1-7. Once you save your Custom presets you can even give them custom names such as landscape, portrait, street, studio, etc. that way you don’t have to remember which one is which you can use meaningful names to refresh your memory!
One additional thing I wanted to mention is another reason Fujifilm cameras are so popular is many of the Fujifilm lenses have an Aperture ring to adjust the Aperture. This allows quick and easy manual control of your Aperture when shooting and they also include an “A” position on the ring to set the lens to electronic control of the Aperture using a designated Command dial on the camera itself. The Rokinon lens I have is all manual so of course it has the Aperture ring, but the AF model does not so it can only be controlled using the Command dial. Even some of the other third party makers are offering the Aperture ring on their lenses, three of the four Viltrox lenses have one, the 23mm, 33mm and the 56mm all do but for some reason they left it out on the 85mm lens, which I find odd. Sigma and Tamron are also starting to make lenses for the X Mount. The first Tamron lens the 18-300mm F/3.5 to 6.3 doesn’t have an Aperture ring at all. Sigma has just this week announced their entry into X Mount lenses and their first ones are the 16mm, 30mm, 56mm and an 18-50mm. The first three are all F/1.4 and the last one is an F/2.8 and none of them have Aperture rings.
As far as I am concerned I am fine with lenses no having an Aperture ring as most lenses haven’t had them for some time on any camera system, but many X Shooters feel that no Aperture ring is a deal breaker and they won’t buy any lens that doesn’t have one. Don’t get me wrong I do love the Aperture ring as well at times, but I find them an annoyance when removing a lens from a Fujifilm body. Fujifilm for whatever reason put the release button on the right side of the camera instead of the left like Canon does, which takes getting used to but I say an annoyance on the Aperture ring as generally when removing a lens you end up messing up whatever Aperture setting you have the lens on so you alway have to check it the next time you install the lens on a body. On the converse if your lens only had electronic Aperture control you don’t have to worry about that, you re-install the lens and the Aperture goes to whatever value you used last.
So, wrapping up this Episode, things are going very well with my move to Fujifilm X Series and I am really enjoying having cameras that have physical dials on the top deck and all the wonderful Film Simulations that allow me to capture as if I am shooting film again without the cost and hassle of film development. I am sure that my journey going forward will be creative and a lot of fun and I am looking forward to many years shooting with Fujifilm both their X and GFX systems.
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