Fuji X-T1 + Fuji 56mm lens + WIN a Lance Camera Strap

Below are a few images from some of my recent shoots which were all shot with the Fuji X-T1 and Fuji 1,2/56mm lens.

The lighting set-ups were obviously different for each of the shoots but were all shot with my new Godox lighting equipment.

You can also WIN a Lance Camera Strap simply by describing the correct lighting setup used for any of the images below.

Here is a list of equipment used:

Fuji X-T1

Fuji 1,2/56mm

Godox ES600P & RS600P Strobes

Godox V850 Speedlights

Godox Wistro AD360/Flashpoint Streaklight 360

Elinchrom Rotalux 70cm Deep Octa

Elinchrom Rotalux 100cm Deep Octa

Elinchrom Rotalux 50x120cm Strip Box

Elinchrom High Performance 26cm Reflector

Elinchrom Maxi Spot 40cm Reflector

Lastolite Skylite Rapid 1.1 x 2m

To WIN a Lance Camera Strap all you have to do is describe the correct lighting setup for any of the above images. You can either post your answer as a comment on this blog, email me, or post a comment on my Facebook Page. It’s your choice which image you choose, and the first person to guess correctly wins!!!

Good Luck and enjoy the images.

Esther

Esther

Esther

Esther

Rafa

Rafa

Kitt

Bodyscapes

Bodyscapes

Why I switched to Godox Lighting

 I recently changed both the type of lighting equipment I have as well as the brand of the equipment.

Almost all of my shoots are now location based so it made sense to me to sell all of my Elinchrom Monobloc Studio Strobes and invest in a more portable and appropriate solution. This search began some months ago and although I already had an arsenal of speed lights at my disposal the thought of dealing with AA batteries didn’t excite me. That being said speedlights are still extremely versatile, lightweight, portable and compact, and extremely useful in many situations.

About 8 months ago I started using a Godox ES600P portable strobe. Basically it’s a 600ws strobe with a lithium-ion battery pack. It fast became my go-to light for location shoots and has been used relentlessly over the past 8 months. Up until now when I have needed multiple lights it was either speedlights or the Elinchrom Monoblocs with battery inverter packs (or both) that were called into service, but I felt it was time to look for a better solution.

If you have very deep pockets there is no shortage of options. The big brands all offer battery powered strobes. My first choice would have been Broncolor’s Move Pack, but it was way beyond what the budget allowed. Being an Elinchrom user I looked closely at the Ranger Quadra system and the Ranger RX system but both were a compromise given what the financial outlay was going to be. The Quadra’s are lightweight and are rated at 400ws, while the RX’s are much heavier (both the Battery Pack and the Head) but is rated at 1100ws. Entry Price for the Quadra is about $2000 and the RX is about $2500.

I had pretty much decided on the Elinchrom Quadra Ranger system when Godox announced the RS600P. This was an updated version of the ES600P I had been using for months. Same power pack, same power output but with a newly designed head which is much more rugged and built to take much heavier modifiers, plus it also has an LED modelling light. (The modelling light on the ES600P is pretty much useless). At around $600 it was an easy decision.

Godox RS600P

The Godox Battery gives around 500 full power pops and as I rarely shoot at full power one battery usually gets me through a day of shooting. As with the ES600P, the RS600P head conveniently takes standard Bowens s-mount modifiers, so I simply changed the speed rings on my Elinchrom Rotalux softboxes and Deep Octa’s and they now fit the Godox lights and work perfectly. However, to use my Elinchrom reflectors I have to use and adapter, which is no big deal.

I was so impressed with Godox’s products I looked into what else they had to offer…

The Godox V850 is a speedlight with its own lithium-ion battery (no AA’s) which give about twice the capacity of the Eneloop AA’s I had been using. These speedlights also used the same Godox trigger system as the ES600P and RS600P strobes, allowing for full control of all the lights from the one on camera transmitter. At around $150 each, I bought 4 V850′s (to add to my collection of 8 Yong Nuo YN560II’s). According to specs they put out about the same power as the top end units offered by Canon and Nikon (although I haven’t tested this yet)

Godox v850
A quick side note… for those on a budget and looking for affordable lighting it is worth considering the Yong Nuo speedlights. I have been using these for a number of years now and can’t really fault them. They are super cheap at around $80 and get the job done. Maybe I have been lucky, but I have never had one fail on me.

Now for my favourite Godox product of all… The Godox Wistro AD360/Flashpoint Streaklight 360

Godox Wistro AD360

The Godox Wistro AD360 is a 360ws bare bulb flash that kind of looks like a large Speedlight (it is also available as a 180ws version). It produces amazing light quality, fills all my softboxes and umbrellas evenly and with ease (and without hotspots), is relatively lightweight and very portable… and to make it even better, it uses the same trigger system as the rest of my Godox lights.

Sure it is a little on the expensive side, but when you consider that a similarly powered Elinchrom Quadra, which is much larger, costs around $2000, the $750 price tag doesn’t seem too bad. More importantly, there is nothing else on the market (that I know of) that comes close to the light quality produced by the Wistro.

It is powered by an external lithium-ion battery pack (Godox PB960) which gives about 500 full power pops. Godox also sell Canon, Nikon and Sony cables for the PB960 so you can also power your speedlights. I have run two Yong Nuo YN560II’s off the one PB960 battery pack and I estimate I got around 1000 full power pops with recycle times of around 1 second.

Godox PB960 Battery Pack
The Godox trigger system is able to control pretty much an unlimited number of lights in up to 16 groups. You can control the power of the lights in each of the group’s and switch the lights off and on (and for those with modelling lights also turn it off and on). The on camera transmitter may not win any beauty contests but is functional and so far has performed flawlessly. The only batteries required are two AA’s for the on camera transmitter. The receivers are powered by the lights they are attached to.
Godox Trigger

Another Godox product that I have found to be extremely useful is their S-type speedlight bracket. These funky looking clamps turn any speedlight including the Wistro into a Bowens mount light.

Godox S Mount

So, if you are on a budget or just want some great lighting gear, its definitely worth having a look at what Godox has on offer. They also have a large range of studio lighting and modifiers. I have recommended these to a number of photogs and all of them have been blown away by both the value for money and performance. Unless you have very specific requirements, such as ultra short flash durations, or are shooting moving objects and require a high “frame rate”, I believe the Godox lights offer more bang for buck than anything else currently on the market.

A Quick Update

The last month has been extremely busy and unfortunately I haven’t really had time to post to my blog. Here is a quick update on what’s been happening as well as a preview of the posts I am currently  working on that should be live over the next few weeks.

I have some new additions to my kit, so expect to see a few gear reviews:

Olympus 1,8/75mm Lens. I used to own this lens but regrettably sold it. I missed it so much I decided buy it again (I thought I might).

Carl Zeiss Touit Planar T* 1,8/32 Lens (Fuji X-mount). I have always been a fan of Zeiss glass and it is one of the few things I miss about my DSLR kit. Until now I have managed to talk myself out of this lens as I think Fuji 1,4/35mm Lens is brilliant. It will be interesting to see if the Zeiss lens is worth the extra money.

Fuji 55-200mm Lens. I sold my  last one of these after only 3 days of owning it because I was disappointed with its performance, but after seeing many more images taken by other photographers and reading more reviews I have decided to give it a second chance.

Olympus 2,8/12-40mm Pro Zoom Lens. As most of you know I am not a fan of zooms but I wanted a lens that is ideal for travel and one that is also weathersealed.

Godox RS600P Portable Strobe. I have been using the older ES600P version for a while now and I absolutely love it. This new version is even better!!!

Godox Wistro AD360/Flashpoint Streaklight 360 Flash. An amazing bare bulb flash… there is simply nothing else like it!!!

Godox v850 Speedlight. If you a sick an tired of stuffing around with AA batteries(I know I am) this speedlight is the answer.

Do keep an eye out as I am also working on a number of other Blog posts which some of you may find interesting:

Why I decided to switch from Elinchrom to Godox lighting.

A long term review of the Fuji X-T1.

Images and commentary from a number of my recent shoots

What I think makes a great image. It very much follows on from my post about “Sensor Size and Megapixels” and is in response to the increasing number of people asking me to critique their images. Sorry guys, but at the moment I simply don’t have the time to get back to everyone (although I do try to). This should, at the very least, give you an idea of what I look for in an image.

I am also working on a number of larger projects and commissions, which I will post more information about over the next couple of weeks.

There is a lot in the pipeline, so stay tuned, and as always any feedback or suggestions are very welcome.

Sensor Size and Megapixels

The topic of Sensor Size and Megapixels is a much debated one and I receive lots and lots of messages/questions/statements about this. Some simply relate to how I find using a crop sensor camera as a commercial photographer and others simply with to argue the point that bigger is better, so I thought I would post my opinions in relation to this controversial topic.

For those who have followed my Blog for a while I have used everything from a Point and Shoot cameras through to an 80MP Medium Format Cameras. The vast majority of my work at the moment is being shot with a couple of Fuji X-Series cameras (APS-C 16 MP sensor) and an Olympus OM-D EM-1 (Micro 4/3 16MP sensor).

Those (and you know who you are) who wish to debate the numbers usually insist that as a professional photographer you need a Camera with Full Frame sensor, and the more megapixels the better. They can’t actually provide a logical reason as to why but have somehow been convinced that this is what is required. Perhaps they are simply attempting to justify spending thousands of dollars on gear and much of what I hear sounds a lot like the marketing brochures of the major camera brands.

Don’t get me wrong, I am of the opinion that bigger sensors are better (all other things being equal), but it generally means a bigger body and bigger glass, so more weight and bulk. More megapixels also requires better lenses, more accurate focusing, more storage space, more computing power and all of these things mean increase costs.

The reason I choose to shoot with the equipment I do is very simple. I like the size and weight and for most of my work the Image Quality from the Fuji and Olympus cameras is more than sufficient. I stopped shooting with a Full Frame DLSR about 6 months ago and haven’t looked back. Any concerns I had about shooting with smaller sensor cameras, and I did have some, were unfounded and I have actually found my shooting has improved. It’s so much easier shooting on location for hours on end with equipment that weighs less than half of the equivalent DSLR setup. I can shoot comfortably at ISO 6400 with my Fuji cameras, which puts a lot of DLSR’s to shame, and the lens choices available for both the Fuji system and Micro Four-Thirds system is nothing short of spectacular, and getting better everyday.

What is probably not understood by most photographer is what is actually required in real terms for a commercial photographer. Forget what the marketing departments of the camera manufacturers are telling you, here are the real numbers:

  1. Instagram – 0.3MP
  2. Facebook & Twitter – 0.64MP
  3. Flickr & other photo sites – 3MP
  4. 6×4″ lab print – 0.5MP
  5. Single page newsprint – 1.5MP
  6. HDTV playback – 2MP
  7. 18×12″ print – 12MP
  8. Double page A4 magazine spread – 11MP

So as you can see 12MP is more than enough for just about every use and for most photographers. Even if you are required to shoot for a large billboard, do remember that due to the viewing distance, resolution really isn’t that important.

People also talk about colour, dynamic range, tonal response, and low light capabilities. Sensor technology is getting so good these days that we are already hitting the limits of the output media. Furthermore with something like colour, it is somewhat irrelevant because no matter how good the colour reproduction is I can guarantee that what I am looking at on my display or printer looks different to yours.

What I have forgotten to mention is probably more important than all of the above… and that is the person behind the camera. In my opinion composition and lighting always takes precendence over image quality. A strong emotive photo which is technically poor will ALWAYS make a better image than an technically perfect but boring one!

More on that soon.

Pre-Order the Fujifilm XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (Weather Resistant) Lens

Fujifilm Corporation has just announced the release of its XF18-135mm high magnification zoom lens. The XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR will be available from July 2014 and is available for Pre-Order at Adorama

ifj18135_2

This latest addition to the company’s line up of professional-grade lenses for X-series interchangeable-lens cameras covers a wide shooting range of 27mm wide-angle to 206mm telephoto equivalent. According to Fuji it has the world’s most advanced 5.0-stop image stabilization technology and features a dust-proof and waterproof structure with weather resistant sealing applied to more than 20 different areas of the lens.

ifj18135_3

I can’t wait to get my hands on one and try it with the Fuji X-T1. I think it just might be the perfect travel lens!!!

For those of you who are interested you can read the official Fuji Press Release.

My 3 day affair with the Fuji XF 55-200mm lens

I have been wanting a telephoto or telephoto zoom lens for my Fuji X-T1 for some time now. The longest focal length I had for the Fuji X-System is the amazing Fuji 1,2/56mm lens (85mm equivalent), and since selling my DSLR gear I really miss some of the longer focal lengths. The lens I miss the most is the Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 1,8/135mm so when I heard the rumor that Fuji is considering releasing a 2/90mm lens I got excited. The other lens that kind of interests me is the hopefully soon to be released 2,8/50-140mm lens.

When I am wanting to shoot with longer focal lengths I have been using my Olympus OM-D EM-1 with a Sigma 2,8/60mm lens (120mm equivalent), which incidentally is probably one of the best value lenses on the market today (Click here to see my review of the Sigma 2,8/60mm).

So what was I to do in the interim? I could have bought another Olympus 1,8/75mm lens (I really regret selling mine a few months back) or look at something like a Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1,4/85mm lens (Nikon mount) and adapt it to the Fuji. As awesome as the Zeiss lens is I am really after an auto-focus lens. This didn’t really leave me with too many other options so I thought I would try the Fuji XF 55-200 Lens. Sure it’s not the fastest lens around, with a maximum aperture of 3.5 to 4.8, and anyone who has been following my Blog knows that I much prefer fast primes to zooms, but based on a number of good reviews, and sample images I found on-line, I decided to take the plunge.

It felt well built, was reasonably light given its build quality and focal length, and I was really hoping it would fill the void until something better came along. Three days later and I no longer own it… I returned it to the store for a full refund.

There was nothing wrong with the image quality. The lens was reasonably sharp wide open and even more so stopped down. So what was my issue with this lens? For my style of shooting I found the speed of the auto-focus inadequate… in fact it was terrible. It wasn’t only slow to lock focus but it also had a tendency to hunt in anything other than perfect conditions. The problem with being accustomed to shooting with fast primes is that when you then try to shoot with a slow zoom, that also hunts for focus, it’s extremely frustrating and not something I was prepared to live with. I know people complain about some of the Fuji lenses being slow to focus but I have never really experienced this, until now.

Although I don’t do it very often, one of the reasons I wanted a telephoto lens was to photograph wildlife and birds (the feathered type) and in my opinion this lens just isn’t up to the task. Maybe with time I would learn how to get the most out of this lens but I am simply not that patient. I have see other phototgraphers create some amazing images with this lens so I have not doubt it is definitely capable… as I said earlier, IQ and and sharpness were what I have come to expect from Fuji glass.

Bring on the Fuji 2/90mm lens and the Fuji 2,8/50-140mm lens (I am also looking forward to Olympus’ new PRO lens line up).

Life is just too short to eat bad food, drink bad wine, and shoot with slow glass!!!

Here are some of the photos I shot with the lens during my 3 day affair…

Fuji X-T1 & 55-200

Fuji X-T1 & 55-200

Fuji X-T1 & 55-200

Fuji X-T1 & 55-200

Lift-Off

Fuji X-T1 & 55-200

Fuji X-T1 & 55-200

Schanae and the Fuji X-T1

I am starting to lose count of the number of times I have shot with the amazing Schanae Jellick. This time, however, was the first time we have done a location shoot. As per usual, I left the wardrobe, hair and make-up up to Shay.

The location was Bradley’s Head in Sydney Harbour National Park. I kept the lighting setup very simple as I wanted to get the shoot done as quickly as possible before hoards of tourists arrived to admire the fabulous view.

Here is a list of the gear used:

Fuji X-T1 (plus grip)

Fuji 1,2/56mm lens

Godox ES600P Portable Strobe

Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa

Diffusion Panel

2 Assistants (so I didn’t have to use lightstands)

Yet again, the Fuji X-T1 and Fuji 1,2/56mm lens performed flawlessly…. The more time I spend shooting with this camera the more I like it. I have only 2 minor dislikes… the flash sync speed is too slow and the maximum shutter speed is too slow. This is where my Olympus OM-D EM-1 wins out (and part of the reason I have kept it)

As we were shooting in full sun most of the time the diffusion panel came in handy. Some of the shots were with flash and others were shot with rather wide apertures using only available light. If you click on the images you will be able to see the full EXIF data.

Enjoy the images….

Schanae

Schanae

Schanae

Schanae

Schanae

Schanae