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Category Archives: Fujifilm X100
To stay somewhat in shape, I usually take a walk at lunchtime. My walk isn’t a leisurely, stroll around the block. I normally will change and wear a pair of running shoes with a shower after I’m all done. But guess what, I still take my camera with me!
My problem is that I like the familiarity of the same route every day. I like to know where I’m going and like the idea that I’ll be out for a set time and distance. I also need the predictability of knowing when I can make it back to the office for the inevitable early afternoon meetings. That familiarity becomes a challenge with the camera in hand. I’ve pretty much exhausted all the easy to find subjects on the paths I normally take. In the early days of this particular route, I found it all fresh and relatively easy to find a subject to shoot. Now, not so much. Now I need something that’s different and new. It’s a continual and growing challenge.
But, here’s the rub. That increasingly difficult challenge exercises creative thought. Now I can’t be content with the routine shot. I’ve found that I’m doing one of two or three things. Either I’m dismissing subjects with a “been there, done that” kind of attitude or I’m looking for new, interesting subjects that just happen to pop up because they’re dynamic subjects. By dynamic, I mean things like people or other things on the streets that are relatively temporary or in the moment. But I’m also looking for different and new perspectives on the common things I’ve already shot or seeing things that I’ve previously missed altogether.
Yes, but what’s your point Bill? Well, my point is that no matter how often you’ve passed by an area you normally frequent, there are always new opportunities to shoot subjects that you might have previously missed and there are always new ways of looking at subjects you’ve already shot.
So, keep shooting. Look at your familiar environment more closely.
Break the paradigms of your normal shooting experience. Exercise your imagination and stretch your creative thinking. Actually staying with what you know in your environment can be a strong stimulus to think in new ways. It’s the left brain stimulating the right. Staying with a rigid routine might have some unexpected consequences to your right side talents. You might even turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
For those of you who might have picked up an X100 recently, I thought I’d share my settings. I’ve had my X100 for about 10 months and feel fairly comfortable with how I’m using it and the results I’m getting from it.
Before I get into my settings, you should know that I’ve also had first hand experience with the sticking aperture blade issue. Just for the record, the repair team in New Jersey was great to work with. They replaced the lens assembly and since then I’ve had no issues with out of limit exposures since. I think it’s safe to say, they’ve fixed it for me.
Back to my X100 settings.
First, I shoot aperture priority almost all the time. I also like to stay wide open at f2.0 when I can. The only caution shooting wide open is to make sure you can quickly access the neutral density setting which stops down enough to make it possible to shoot at this aperture in bright sun. To do that, I set my function button on the top of the camera to allow me to do that quickly and easily. To set it, go to to menu/set/Fn button and assign ND to it. While you’re there assign the RAW button too. I use my RAW button for quick access to my ISO setting. I’ve tried most of the options but find that assigning ND and ISO to these handy buttons gives me the best bang for the buck.
For ISO, I try to limit myself to ISO 200 for outside work and I’ll go to ISO 800 for interiors. I try to limit myself to these two ISO settings because I’ve learned to anticipate the results I can get from each of them. You can set ISO auto control to allow automatic settings from a high to a low with a minimum shutter speed but I find I give up too much control to the camera making it harder to know what I might get in a final image.
I shoot RAW + JPEG fine. I want both files. The RAW gives me the digital negative with all the image info for archiving. It renders a color image which I can use for post processing in color or use to export to Silver Efex Pro2 for black and white images. I also use Lightroom but as of now, it doesn’t support auto settings for Fuji X100 RAW files. But the JPEG file in the camera is imported to my Lightroom library and almost all the time is close enough to what I need. What I need most of the time is black & white JPEGs so I set my X100 to render monochrome in the film simulation setting. The best of both worlds.
I want a color file in RAW and very nice black & white images from the JPEG file. I can also do some limited post processing of the JPEG file in Lightroom if I need to. Note that there’s also some other black & white film simulation options if you’d prefer. Monochrome with either a yellow, red, green or sepia filters. Great options, pick one to suit your taste. If you’re not into black & white, you can also pick color film simulations. Most of the folks I know with an X10o who shoot in color prefer the standard setting but you can get some classic Fuji color with Velvia or Astia.
One of the more useful buttons for me is the AFL/AEL button on the back of the camera. As you’ll see from my settings menu below, I use this to lock an exposure while I’m holding it down on a select area of the image I’m shooting independent of the shutter button. I like this control. I set exposure on the part of the image I want to use. I can control and get some nice exposures by taking this control away from the shutter button when I need to. I also make liberal use of the AE button on the left back side of the camera to go between spot and average metering. I use these two options more often than the multi setting.
I also shoot through the electronic view finder much more often than the optical view finder. I don’t know why, I just prefer the EVF and the information I get using it.
Before shooting there are some simple checks I always try to remember. First, check with aperture setting I’m on. Second, make sure I’m on aperture priority and third, make sure the exposure compensation dial is where I want it. In addition, I make sure I’m at the ISO setting I need for the environment I’m shooting in. I also carry a Whibal card with me all the time and use it often if the light is challenging in any way. Using this handy little card which I keep in my wallet gives me consistently accurate color settings for my images.
Here are some of my other settings:
- Self Timer: Off but I use the self timer for shots from my tripod. Much easier than using the optional cable release which is also in my bag.
- ISO: Generally at ISO 200 outside and ISO 800 inside but I will push ISO higher if needed, generally not higher than 3200.
- Dynamic Range: Auto
- WB Shift: neutral
- Color: Mid
- Sharpness: Standard
- Highlight Tone: Standard
- Shadow Tone: Standard
- Noise Reduction: Standard
- AF Mode: Area
- Silent Mode: On
- Image Display: 1.5 second (for you chimpers–only if you really need to, otherwise off)
- Frame No.: Continuous
- Auto Power Off: 2 minutes
- OVF Power Save Mode: Off
- Quick Start Mode: On
- Red Eye Removal: Off
- AF Illuminator: Off
- AE/AF Lock Mode: P
- AE/AF Lock Button: AE-L
- Focus Check: On
- Color Space: sRGB
- Long Exposure Noise Reduction: On
I hope you find this useful. Enjoy your X100, it’s a great little camera. The more you get to know it the more control you’ll have and the images will astound you.
Thanks for reading!
I know that gear doesn’t make one a good photographer, I get that. But I also understand that good equipment can help improve image quality in a technical sense. But right off I want to acknowledge that anyone can have first rate gear and still take bad photographs. Getting that out as a preamble, I’m going to pronounce that I LOVE THIS CAMERA, my new Leica M9-P. Okay, I got that off my chest. My M9 has opened an inspiring new world taking me to a completely different place in my photography quest. Let me explain how I got to where I am now.
Coming from Nikon, I know shooting with a rangefinder might appear to be a step backwards. No autofocus and a completely different exposure paradigm. But you know what; the M9 has instead driven me to a new photographic process entirely. I’m forced to slow down and think about what I’m doing trying to anticipate the results I should expect. The Leica has caused me to be much more deliberate with my shooting. It also matches up with where I’d like to go with my photographic style, more lifestyle type shooting; not necessarily going to say only street photography although that’s in the domain I’m enjoying.
Personal growth with my old equipment was instrumental to getting me where I am today, both in skill level and with gear. Learning basic and simple things on my DSLR transformed me. Habits like learning to use the back button on my now sold DSLR. I liked that back button too. It took me a while to get used to back button focus but once I did I could rattle off shots that were sharp and generally well exposed. I later made good use of my AE button too to lock exposure from a target area within the frame that gave me a look to my images that wasn’t just thrown at me by processing in the camera.
Without really knowing at the time, I learned to like the control I began to glean from my Nikon as I used it over a long period of time. I eventually began to move away from assuming the camera could get the shot I was looking for to a place where I could start to envision what the camera could render if I used it in certain ways. It caused me to think harder about what I assumed a camera could deliver and more importantly what it should do to give me the images I wanted. But you know what? Being more comfortable with my gear and experimenting also opened my eyes to new perspectives of what might be personally possible in photography, at least for me. I began to explore more creative possibilities. But there was one other important step on my quest that took me to where I am today.
I also bought a Fuji X100 last year. I bought it mindful of the issues others were having with some of its quirky details. I bought it for several reasons in spite of its spotty reputation at the time. For the record, Fuji has now issued several updates that have significantly improved its performance. I really liked the idea of an APS-C sensor and the quality of images I was seeing from other users. The X100 is also so easy to carry around as an every day camera. While not small enough to carry in a pocket, it is small enough to carry in my hand or in a small bag. The ability to carry around a camera that offered the options, capability and results I wanted meant that I used it all the time. It was always with me. Eventually it became part of me and I used my Fuji all the time to the near exclusion of my DSLR. Even more telling, I wasn’t missing my DSLR at all. Everything I needed was in this small Fuji package and I was happy with it…to a degree. My Fuji X100 moved me to a Leica M9.
I eventually wanted it all. I wanted the small packaging of the Fuji, the full frame capabilities of the Nikon and the option to add superior glass whenever I needed it. That’s when I discovered Leica and their M9. About four months of research and hand wringing led me to sell all of my front line Nikon gear and switch to Leica. Let me tell you, that change is not one to make without a ton of soul searching and second guessing. I did all of that in spades. But now, having done it and knowing the commitment that goes with a personal move like this, I’m good with the decision. I fully recognize the limitations of shooting with a Leica. I’m okay with the lack of things like autofocus and the ton of other options and settings that a full size DSLR offers. But there are so many advantages to my Leica. I’m getting high IQ in a much smaller package. I no longer have to lug around pounds of gear. More importantly, this camera forces me to focus on the fundamentals of photography. Although the stacks of menu settings in my Nikon are gone, the Leica requires me to accommodate the environment I’m shooting fully considering the basics of composition, shutter speed, aperture and ISO. And it’s going to leave me to the challenge at hand without a lot of other considerations…complete freedom to create my own photograph. So I’ve gratefully settled into a state where one Leica M9-P and three prime lenses (28mm, 50mm and 90mm) satisfy all my gear needs and with that out of the way, I’m enjoying what I have and looking forward to growing with it.
Thanks for reading!
I was exiled from the house tonight, my wife was hosting scrapping sessions all day and into the evening. She gave me permission to go out and shoot!
So after work, I trotted down to Balboa Park in San Diego just to walk around with my X100. I’ve been reading Thorsten Overgaard’s great website covering shooting with a Leica. Don’t beat me up, I know my Fuji X100 isn’t a Leica but the concepts of good fundamental photography translate to any camera. I absolutely admire the quality of the photographs on Thorsten’s site and he has truly inspired me to push myself to get as much from my gear as I can. So a walk around Balboa Park gave me some opportunities.
One of the key tips in Thorsten’s blog is to carry and use a white balance card and use it to set a manual white balance on your camera. I always knew white balance was important but really never took the time to set white balance. I figured auto white balance would be fine. As good as today’s cameras are with auto white balance, I can see the true colors in challenging lighting scenarios. It has made a difference in my photographs so I’ll make it a habit. In fact a fellow photographer with a spanking new Nikon D5100 asked me what I was doing when they happened to see me taking a shot of the card to set white balance. I was glad to explain it and he said he’d try it, he had a white card at home.
Hope you like these and thanks for reading!
Click on any image for a larger version.
Like many others, I’ve become consumed with the X100. I’ve had it now for almost six months and every week my connection and admiration for this camera has grown exponentially. In recent weeks, I’ve really come to appreciate how I can personally grow and meld with its capabilities. Just this week, I started using my Whitebal card and am manually setting white balance almost all the time. Now my colors are much truer and reflect what I’m seeing as I take the shots.
Setting a custom white balance in the X100 is so easy and quick. Just click the white balance option on the back menu wheel and select custom. Point the camera at the card and press the shutter. If it sees it successfully the X100 will give you a message then just click ok to set the new temperature setting. Now it has become a habit and has made a big difference for me.
Having said that I’m loving the black & white images out of the camera. I’m shooting raw and jpeg with a color setting for black & white. Importing into Lightroom is a breeze and I set my preferences to import both images. I then view them side by side and if I like the black and white, I select it.
I’m thinking that life could be quite good with just this size camera but I have to confess I’m tempted to add the Fuji X-Pro1 with two or three lenses to go with it. Then I wonder if I need to keep all my big boy gear with all the associated bulk and weight if these two cameras could do it all for me. But the X-Pro1 is a camera with an APS-C sensor, the same as the X100. Dare I say it…I’m also thinking about a Leica M9 to go with my X100 and then ditching all my Nikon gear. There will be no quick decisions here I assure you as this move would be a one way street.. Lord help me!
Thanks for reading!
I’ve always considered my serious photography is really only with my Nikon DSLR and the big lenses. In reality, I spend more time with my Fuji X100 than with my big daddy gear. In fact, my X100 is with me more than my wife is! Just for the record, I don’t love my X100 more than my wife though
But I’ve come to realize that if I spend more time with my walk around camera, it goes without saying that my photography has to center on my Fuji X100, just makes sense. And if my photography is focused on my smaller camera, it will probably produce most of my images and if all goes well, define my photography. It becomes a serious thought for those of us aspiring to improve and move to higher photographic standards.
The Fuji X100 is a perfect camera to spend the majority of my photography time with. It has its quirks (slower focus, fixed 23mm lens, etc.) but in almost all respects meets my needs for great results. I’ve also come to see that I need to play to this camera’s strengths complementing the places I’m around in the limited time I have for daily projects.
I saw a tweet today on my timeline (@billmccarroll) that basically said to stop taking shots of only the beautiful stuff. Take advantage of the real world around you. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist. So now I’m molding my style to my environment. Where are the opportunities? Am I taking advantage of the spaces around me? Can I successfully interpret every day life and subjects in new ways that speak to my skills? Obviously, its a work in progress but I’d challenge you to think about your personal focus and play to the directions your environment pulls you.
Thanks for reading!
I went to a baseball game for the first time this season thanks to free field level seat tickets courtesy of the San Diego Padres. Today was military appreciation day.
I took along my Fuji X100 expecting some nice opportunities for people shots, some street photography. I have to admit that taking photographs of strangers and crowds isn’t in my comfort zone. I need to get uncomfortable. Today’s shooting environment was perfectly aligned to the Fujifilm X100′s strengths. Hope you like these.
Thanks for reading!