There are functions of your camera that sometimes get forgotten in the push to get the perfect image in your camera. I was doing some hand held macro work outside in the back yard. There was a slight breeze so I switched the Fujifilm X-T2 to continuous low to spray a few images in the hopes of getting the one where the wind wasn’t shaking the leaves I was shooting.
I took a couple of shots then switched back to single shot, or so I thought. On the X-T2 the multi exposure function is right next to single shot and I accidentally moved the drive lever to multi-exposure. Not being a proponent of multiple exposures (i have enough trouble getting one image right) I switched back to single shot when I saw the prompts for next image.
Having never explored the in camera multiple exposure feature I thought I’d give it a try. I had nothing to lose as the Sun was a bit to high and harsh and was giving too much dynamic range. I shot of an image and used that image to align a second image just slightly off from the first. I really had no expectations but was pleasantly surprised by the result.
The two images together combined to keep the highlights and shadows within a range. The light of the two images together returned the perfectly lit image I was looking for but not finding in my single shot images. I really like the outcome.
Not that I will now go on a multi-exposure tangent but it is nice to remember there are other things to explore when you start working with your cameras features.
I must have been one of the first to pre-order the new Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens when it was first announced. I got mine today, a couple of days before the lens was to be released. I’m not sorry that I got it before most anyone else. From what I have read this macro is supposed to be special. First impression is that it is special.
I took some fading flowers out back to shoot in the late afternoon sun. I was shooting hand held at between F2,8 and F9 depending. The images I’m seeing are stunning. I was looking through the exposures I took this afternoon and this one stopped me in my tracks.
This image is pretty much straight out of the camera with the Fujifilm Provia/Standard film simulation applied and I opened the image up about 3/4 of a stop as I had the exposure compensation set to a -2/3 of a stop.
I’m seeing wonderful color, rich creamy backgrounds, and really sharp detail. I think I’m going to love this camera.
I’ve waited quite a while for this lens. Well waiting may not be the right word but drooling doesn’t sound as good, It was worth the wait.
I think it was Joe Glyda that instilled in me the fact (which should have been obvious) that there is only one Sun. Trying to make you lighting too complicated can leave you with images that visually don’t make a lot of sense. Things like shadows going in two directions just isn’t natural. I’ve been paring back my lighting to just a basic one light setup. Recently I saw a video by Daniel Norton that made lighting as simple as it can get. One strobe light and one small reflector that came with the light, one sun.
I placed the light on camera left and high flr about a 45 degree angle down to the flowers. Then it was just a matter of getting the lights power and the aperature correct. Not a lot of post processing needed to get the affect of sunlight on the flowers. I used a small black v flat at an angle behind. Simple lighting is the best.
And then there are some images that just surprise you with the detail you can get by having the Fujifilm X-T2 24mp sensor. I shot this image with available light out on the patio yesterday. First glance was not exciting. I then converted to black and white by applying the ACROS+G Filter in Lightroom Camera Profile. I used a bit of Nik by Google Color Effect Pro 4 (it still works for me and so I will still use it). There is detail in them there megapixels! Click for a full sized jpeg at 4.3mp.
We’ve been having some intense afternoon and evening cloud buildups. Something to do with living in Florida and it being summer I think. So I shot this as a pano of 5 frames that were overlapped quite a bit and ended up with a 47mb raw (really an Adobe dng file). Problem is why go to all that trouble for display on screens with a low resolution. I did an export to jpeg at 2400 pixels wide and it is reduced to 1mp. The image on this page is only 960 pixels wide so it just only 11% the size of the original image. Not sure if I this image would be a candidate for a large print so I wonder why we get so impressed with large pixel counts. You can see this image in its full size by clicking on the image.
With Google abandoning it’s Nik Software Collection by Google, there are a lot of people trying to duplicate the things they did in Nik in other plugins suites. On1 and MacPhun are two plugin developers that have the ability to do the same image manipulation that the Nik does with varying success.
I’ve purchased and used both suites but have not found that there was much added value to what Nik and especially Color Effects Pro 4.0 did. And if Nik were to continue to be supported (apparently it is already breaking on some hardware and software platforms) I would probably not be looking for a replacement.
As a long time KelbyOne member I just watched a 2 hour class on a new MacPhun product called Luminar Neptune which seems to do some things like the Nik software. This may be because the MacPhun people were involved with developing the original Nik Collection.
I’ve always had a hard time understanding why Nik, MacPhun and ON1 all had separate plugins for different jobs. It gets really confusing when the current products all had different version numbers like Color Effects Pro 4 and Define 2 etc.
Luminar Neptune is a single plugin that combines features of multiple plugins in previous suites. Luminar Neptune can also be run as a stand alone application for developing raw or jpeg images without having to go near Lightroom or Photoshop.
So armed with the recent KelbyOne class and a credit card I purchased Luminar Neptune 1.2.0. If you are a KelbyOne member or a previous owner of other MacPhun software you may be able to get a discount over the current $69 (US) price.
I bought it because it seems like the right time to transition off of the Nik Suite and because the tie in between MacPhun and the Nik Suite before Google. I was hoping that I might be easy to flip over. And it was. Except I went about it in the wrong way.
What I was hoping to do was set up some presets that basically did the same things I was doing on an ongoing basis with Nik. So I started out with a cloud image that I had processed very normally in Lightroom applying the Camera ACROS+R filter for conversion to black and white.
To apply any filters I always import the image into Photoshop as a Smart Object so I can re-manipulate whichever plugins I use if I feel the need (and I usually do). So first I used a action I created to launch Color Effects Pro 4.0 and apply a preset I created based on settings to Pro Contrast and Tonal Contrast that I picked up from a class by Moose Peterson which is also on KelbyOne.
I then made a virtual copy of the image and again passed to Photoshop as a smart object and this time launched the Luminar Neptune plugin. Now it would just be easy if MacPhun had created a filter called Pro Contrast and one called Tonal Contrast so I could just mimic the settings but 1) That might get a negative reaction out of Google. 2) been no fun at all. So the first thing I tried was to see if I could get Luminar to duplicate what I was doing in Nik. And that, in my opinion, is the wrong thing to do. Instead I went my own way using some suggested filters (thanks to Scott Kelby). I used the filters to make the image look like I wanted it to instead of making the image look like the Nik image. There is a lot more crunch in the image with the Luminar plugin than in the Nik one. In fact I was surprised at how soft the Nik processed image was. Look on the right side of the image at the small dark clouds about 1/3 of the way down. I really like what happens to them with the extra crunch.
The Nik software needs to be replaced, it’s not going anywhere and will soon be no more than a boat anchor. If you are using image enhancing software you need to try the different Suites and settle on one that makes sense for you. And don’t just try to duplicate things from the old dead plugin, experiment and see what you can do with the latest and greatest. Both MacPhun and ON1 have trial periods so you can test both of them. I liked the Nik plugins and because of the link to MacPhun1 thru common developers I went that path. Your path may be different and don’t get bogged down in how to exactly duplicate old tech, it’s time to experiment and maybe get something a bit more you.
1I still have an issue with company names that are misspellings but that is again a personal issue.
The Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera is an amazing image making machine in a small package. Adding the VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip makes it a not as small a package. The question, is it worth the extra weight.
The VPB-XT2 has several advantages over the equivalent VG-XT1 X-T1 vertical grip. Allowing for two batteries gives you a whole lot of exposures and the boost mode that lets your X-T2 shoot 11 frames per second (without the extra batteries you get 5 to 8 fps).
Having the extra hardware and batteries does make for a substantially heavier kit.
There is also a larger hand grip for the right side of the camera which gives you a deeper grip for holding on to camera. The left side also has the secondary shutter and wheels and buttons to match the regular buttons on the back of the camera for when you are shooting in vertical mode. It even has a joystick for adjusting the focus point.
The right side has the lever for opening the battery compartment.
Also on the right side is a pin for plugging in included AC power supply which will charger your batteries (takes about 2 hours they say) and a jack for plugging in head phones for when you are creating movies. The green lights signify that the batteries are charging.
While the additional weight can be felt as the unit is well made and the addition of the additional metal in the extended grip is rugged (thus adding more weight) it does not move the unit into the realm of impossible to lift. It still is a fairly compact package and still comes in under the weight of a DLSR with a vertical grip attached.
I had the VPB-XT2 on the X-T2 with my Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR and a teleconverter while out trying to capture the Roseate Spoonbills behind my house yesterday. I was carrying it in one hand on grip without much problem. It felt well balanced. I might suggest you looking into getting a wrist strap (there is a convenient bar on the bottom for attaching same).
If you are shooting sports or wildlife, the 11 fps will help. If you are doing portrait work and prefer having the shutter button on the top in portrait mode you will like this unit. It does take some getting used to. In vertical mode the EVF seems to me to be a bit lower than I would like but that is a personal problem.
This is a good time to buy a VPB-XT2 as Fujifilm has then on sales (until the middle of July 2017) .
Roseate Spoonbill taken with the X-T2 and the XF100-400mm.
I’ve been wondering lately if the XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro is as good on the Fujifilm X-T2 as it was on the X-T1. The XF 60mm was one of the first lens released for the X-Trans series and there has been quite a bit of good glass released since the XF 60mm.
So I did a bit of shooting around the yard as well as with my friend Spot.
I really didn’t get that close with the lens to try it’s true macro close focus and I didn’t attempt to add any extension rings. Just shot some pictures.And in small images it seems sharp enough. But if you zoom in I’m not finding the absolute sharp spot that I was hoping for.
Wide open the fall off is quite pleasing.
One thing I was pleasantly surprised about was it lens focus ability. If you want to find out your camera and lens work well together see if it can focus on wispy clouds in the sky. I had no problem with this lens on the X-T2.
I was even able to capture the dragon fly in the foreground in this image. Probably have to click on it to see it.
Working with flash with Spot as the model. The color rendition seems to be a bit off. The spot on Spot’s hand is supposedly the same color as his body but seems washed out. Possibly because its nearer the flash.
Opening up the aperture to F2.4 shows how the lens handles the fall off. It was pretty good but the the clothes pin isn’t as sharp as I wanted it. Probably the fault of the photographer.
And you can get pretty close.
Another shot without flash at F11 for 10 seconds ISO 200. This time the color rendition is better too.
For comparison this was shot with the XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lens. Both were shot raw and had the Provia/Standard profile applied in Lightroom.
There have been some really phenomenal lens coming from Fujifilm recently like the XF16-55mm and the XF50-140mm. I’m really waiting for the promised XF80mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens coming the year. While it will probably be more money I expect it to be a much better lens than the XF60mmF2.4 R