Looking Thru The Fujinon XF 60mmF2.4 R

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.

XF60mmF2.4R Macro Fujifilm X-T2 – XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
XF60mmF2.4R Macro Fujifilm X-T2 – XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

So I did a bit of shooting around the yard as well as with my friend Spot.

New Growth Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

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.

Fern Details Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

Wide open the fall off is quite pleasing.

Apparition Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

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.

Dragon Fly Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

I was even able to capture the dragon fly in the foreground in this image. Probably have to click on it to see it.

Spot Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

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.

Spot Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

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.

Spot Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

And you can get pretty close.

Spot Fujifilm X-T2 XF60mmF2.4R Macro

Another shot without flash at F11 for 10 seconds ISO 200. This time the color rendition is better too.

Spot Fujifilm X-T2 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

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

It’s Full of Stars – Night Shots With The Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Earlier this month the Moon and Jupiter were having a chariot race across the night sky. I got out my Fujifilm X-T2 and the XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR to see if I could capture both the Moon and Jupiter in the same image. I added the XF 1.4x TC WR teleconverter with the idea of capturing just the moon as large as I could. And then backed off a bit to see if I could get both objects into the same frame.

Moon Fujifilm X-T2 X-T2 XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR XF 1.4x TC WR F8 1/125sec ISO 400 560mm.

To shoot a full or nearly full moon you need to use manual mode as any exposure meter will more than likely try to over expose all that black space surrounding the Moon.  Getting the exposure right for the Moon, in this case F8 1/125sec ISO 400, means that any other objects are just too dim to be picked up.

Moon and Jupiter Fujifilm X-T2 X-T2 XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR XF 1.4x TC WR F8 1/125sec ISO 400 173.3mm.

Luckily for me Jupiter was bright enough to just be seen in the image if I backed off from full zoom. The distance between the Moon and Jupiter looked very close but as you zoom in the gap got pretty big. You may need to click on the image to make it larger enough to see Jupiter but it is there.

I was pretty happy that I was able to get both objects into the view but the image held a surprise.

Full of Stars Fujifilm X-T2 X-T2 XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR XF 1.4x TC WR F8 1/125sec ISO 400 173.3mm.

If you look at this image you will see that there are a lot of stars (and maybe a little noise) in the image. I moved the exposure up by 3.5 stops in lightroom and discovered that the image was full of stars. I did have to do an adjustment brush on the moon to bring down the exposure by the 3.5 stops so it wasn’t completely blown out.  The XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens picked up a lot of starlight!

Pushing my luck I took a shot just of Jupiter then with a crop to 1600×1600 and another overexposure by 3.5 stops brought in not only starlight but the light of three of Jupiter’s moons.

Jupiter (Last Night)

While most suggest using a wide angled lens at F2.8 with an 1600 ISO and a 30 second exposure for night photography, you sure can pick up a lot of stars with a telephoto lens and a short exposure time. Note: all images were shot hand held which is pretty impressive but with the 1/125 exposure with the VR turned on the images were sharp. The XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is a spectacular lens.

Images shot with Fujifilm X-T2 and the Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Full Is Not The Only Time To Shoot The Moon

Shooting the big full moon is a common pastime for some photographers. Easy enough to do. Set you ISO to native (100 or 200 depending), F8 to F11 on aperture and start at 125th second. Helps to have have a relatively long focal length at least 200mm on an APS-C or 300mm on a full frame. Nothing to it. The issue I find (although I do have a lot of full moon pictures) is that the full moon tends to be a little flat. It’s kind of like taking a picture with the flash on the camera. No definition.

Last night just after sunset we has a Waxing Crescent moon that was only 7% illuminated.

Moon Waxing Crescent ISO 800 F6.4 1/125 Second. 335mm.

I did have to adjust up the exposure as there just isn’t as much light reflecting off a moon at 7% compared to a full moon at 100% With the sun glancing off the edge of the moon you can get definition in the craters on the edge. And with less light overall you can also pick up a star or too. BTW what white balance do you use for your moon shots? Daylight of course. The light is coming from the biggest daylight source that we know.

Shot with the Fujifilm X-T2 and the Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

ACROS To The Rescue

Light is everything and some times it is just too much. This statue in the China Store at Epcot presented some real color balance challenges. There was enough light it just was of several different color temperatures.

Calm Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mmf2.8 R LM WR f8 1/125 seconds ISO 3200 31.5mm

The original capture was quite warm with the statue being almost orange. After sampling several different areas this was about the best I could do.  I think there was incandescent lights, probably some hot halogen spots and from behind me an open doorway bringing in daylight. As you can see there a a blue cast to most of the statue while the midsection is orange. And then there is the magenta cast on the shoulders. There wasn’t one color temperature that covered all the lights.  But is this a throw away image? Nope, time for black and white.

Calm Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mmf2.8 R LM WR f8 1/125 seconds ISO 3200 31.5mm

Because this raw file came from a Fujifilm X-T2 I had access to the all the Fujifilm ACROS2 Film Simulation profiles from within Lightroom.  For the conversion I used the Acros+G filter simulation.

I have to admit I love color images but sometimes I just have to surrender to the black and white muse. The Fujifilm ACROS simulations are just stunning. The tonal ranges are so mellow. Images you can eat off of.

I applied the ACROS+G simulation right over the above image.  I then moved the image into Photoshop as a smart object where I applied Google’s Nik Color Effects Pro 4 to the image for Pro and Tonal Contrast1. Just works.

Images shot with Fujifilm X-T2 and XF 16-55mm F/2.8 R LM WR


1 I got the Pro and Tonal Contrast Recipe from a KelbyOne class on processing aviation images by Moose Peterson. While Moose uses the recipe for bringing out detail on aircraft, it seems to work on just about any image.
2I couldn’t decide if ACROS was supposed to be all caps or not. In lightroom it is so I updated the post to ACROS.

That Rule Against Bald Skies

Lots of landscape photographers will tell you not to shoot when the sky is bare.  Cloudless skies make for boring images. Moose Peterson calls them bald skies.   And most of the time the rule holds up.  Still that rule like all the others are meant to be broken.  If I followed the rules I probably should have just left my camera at home last Saturday. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky ( Florida in February, 83 degrees and lots of sun ).

Still my eye caught the completely still water of the pond at Epcot. When you see something of interest you shoot now and ask questions later. Later like when you have the image open in Lightroom.

Still Life – Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm F/2.8 R LM WR

For me this image works because there are no clouds in the sky. Several reasons why. I think the dark blue at the top and bottom of the image holds the eye in the image where you then have time to see all the colorful things going on between the Monorail track and it’s reflection. Also Spaceship Earth, the big dome, might have gotten lost in the clouds had the been there.

Don’t try to stick to much to the rules. Shoot the shots.

Although I like the color image with no clouds, converting it to black and white does not work at all for me. Since the center section has no color the eye doesn’t go there. So the rule works, or it doesn’t.

Images shot with Fujifilm X-T2 and XF 16-55mm F/2.8 R LM WR


Transformations

The recent update of Lightroom CC includes a new development panel called Transform.  Among the options on this new panel is the Guided transform which lets you show Lightroom just how you want to straighten  your image.  It also includes an Auto transform which does a pretty good job on most images.

If a perfect world you might never need to align or crop any of your images. But in the real world there is times when having good tools to adjust your image makes life so much easier.  Take this image that I transformed using the Auto transform. The transformation is pretty spectacular in that not only gave me the image I saw in my head, it did it with out losing any resolution. The image is still a 24mp (6000×4000 pixel) file.

The original image needed some work. This was because it was taken at Epcot on a crowded day and anything close to a straight image would have showed a lot of the crowd. If i could have the place to myself with a tilt-shift lens for my Fujifilm X-T2 I might have been able to get it done in camera. But I am really happy with the way it came out and I have no bad feelings about how the image was made.

Images shot with Fujifilm X-T2 and XF 16-55mm F/2.8 R LM WR


Common Sense Approach To Learning Photography

There is a really big bunch of instructions out on the internet about learning photography. From free 2 minute videos to subscription education. In fact there is so much stuff if you watched it all you probably would not have time to actually take any photographs but boy would you know about photography. I catch myself every once a while thinking that with all the video’s I watch that anytime I put camera to eye I ought to come out with perfect images suitable for framing and have admiring throngs patting me on the back for a job well done.

Yeah, it just doesn’t roll like that. So I set about thinking how I could use my own equipment to learn photography. And I think this is one of the great things about digital photography, you can shoot and shoot without burning through expensive film and developing. I came up with several things that I could do to prove what others were trying to teach but in concrete ways.

First step was to allow myself to take images that weren’t just “art projects”, to make images that proved a point and also provided examples of how my equipment (in this case my Fujifilm cameras and Lenses) actually performed. So I have some suggestions for you on how to improve your skills, get a real feel for what your camera can do, and maybe even learn a little something.

To take the pressure off yourself I might suggest that your learning and testing be put in its own Lightroom catalog. Someplace where mistakes and experiments can live without the worry about being good.

So here is some tests that I recently did. First was a series of tests to evaluate how well I was getting the focus on my camera. I took a series of images where I marked down where the focal point of the image was and then verified that it was indeed the focus point. When doing testing you always want to make sure that there is only one thing being varied for each shot. So I locked down the Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR lens on the a tripod, set the ISO to 200, the aperture to f/8, and let the shutter speed go to 1/5th second1. I used the focus joystick to move around the image to put either Spot’s eyes (well sunglasses) his mouth or my friend the ducks eyes into focus.

This gave me a good feeling that the camera and lens is capable of getting good focus if I let it do it job.

Another thing I decided to do for myself it to look at depth of field as related to aperture. Using the same setup I shot a number of images all with the same focus point on spots sunglasses and varied the F-stop from F/2.8 to F/16. This gives me a concrete example of how much is in focus in an image at different F-stops. Note: this is only for one lens (XF 16-55) set to 55mm but it gives you an idea of a starting point. Depth of field is not just affected by f-stop but is also affected by the width of your lens. You need to experiment more than I did here.

Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 at F2.8
Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 at F4.0
Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 at F5.6
Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 at F8
Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 at F11
Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 at F14
Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm f/2.8 at F16

The third experiment I did was testing how my image was affected by exposure compensation. The following images were taking with the exposure compensation set from minus 2 to + 2 stops. The middle image being the one with no compensation.

These are just a few examples of the kinds of testing you can do to get to know your camera and maybe just maybe learn a few things. There are many more experiments you can do when you take off the pressure to make every image count. I would also like to thank Spot and Duck for hanging with me even when they fell off the stage and on to the floor.

Images shot with Fujifilm X-T2
Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

1I used natural light for all the images as it was available and did not add to the complexity of the shots by trying to use flash.

When Things Go Wrong

Learned a valuable lesson yesterday.  I was shooting interiors the other day, experimenting with a single flash along with a slow shutter speed to pick up some ambient light. When I was done with the experiments I was able to put away all the gear I had out to take the shots.

Christmas Table

Because I was primarily using flash, I was in manual mode ISO 400 F10 1/60second. While I put away all the lighting gear I did not reset the camera to the standard aperture settings. So when I came across this unusual recreational vehicle in a parking lot I was so excited to capture images that I didn’t check my camera settings and ended up with way over exposed images. I have only the photographer to blame. I may have to fire him.

Vixen 21TD

By the way this is a 1986 (I think) Vixen 21TD camper. It is complete with bathroom, kitchen, and a BMW turbo diesel motor. It was from a small Michigan company that only lasted 3 years. Interesting vehicle, so blown out that the only way I could even try to save it was to turn it to black and white.

Still kicking myself over this one. Moral of story, reset your camera to your standard setting after every time you use something different in the settings. Don’t wait. Or alway shoot in manual mode so you know you need to set the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed with each image shot.

So if anyone has a Vixen they would like photographed please contact me. I can do the job right (I hope).

Images shot with Fujifilm X-T2
Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

1st rule of photography

The first rule to apply when shooting urban images is from the great Jay Maisel . Jay aways says don’t include signs in your images if you don’t want people to read them. The eye naturally goes to the words in an image and may detract from the image’s story. Which is not to say that you should never shoot an image with a sign in it.

Eat Here Fujifilm X-T2 XF50-140mm ISO 200 F2.8 1/850 second at 74.4mm

Just make sure that the sign is the story you are telling.

Shot with Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.i R LM OIS WR at Amazon

Manufactured Landscapes

There is more than one type of landscape photographer. Natural landscapes to me are when you have a scene where nature itself has built the stage and it is up to you to find the right view to present the emotion of the landscape. Another type is Urban landscape where there the scene is built for you with function as a more prominent part. Sometimes the urban setting is gritty and worn. Architectural landscapes work with the architects forms to present buildings as art.

Then there is Manufactured landscapes which I find fascinating. In a manufactured landscape the object is to replicate a natural, urban, or architectural landscape. The resulting objects purpose is to evoke the emotions of places and things is a way that is familiar.

I like taking images of these manufactured landscapes because someone has gone to a lot of trouble to take you visually to somewhere else. Be it urban or pastoral the object is to let you feel like you are in a place. Disney’s Imagineers are masters at this.

Jungle (Imagined) Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm ISO 200 F8 1/160second 37.6mm

The above image is just a look from one bridge that you can walk on to another that is just for show. But I love this image. The color, the forms and the patina of this location is just stunning. A manufactured landscape in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Entrance Fujifilm X-T2 XF 16-55mm ISO 200 F2.8 1/110 second at 35.3mm

This manufactured urban landscape is another example of the detail needed to pull off being some where you really are not. I haven’t a clue with the sign about the door says but looking at it I feel transported to a feudal Japan. Hint this in the Japan World Showcase at Epcot.

Manufactured Landscapes even work as a still life. While it is nice to be able to go to where the landscapes are sometimes you have to look at what is presented to you.

All images shot with Fujifilm X-T2 Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR