Fuji X-T2

Moving to Fuji

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My latest project is investigating if any of the various manufacturers have a mirrorless system which will be able to give me the same quality of image and speed of autofocus as my Canon gear, in particular Sony Alpha 7R II which looks interesting but we will see. There aren’t many longer lenses available yet so I am investigating using Canon glass with Sony cameras with the Metabones adaptor. My conclusion as far as Sony is concerned is that Sony lenses are expensive, there are not many options especially for wildlife photographers and the Canon lenses don’t consistently perform as you would like. There seem to be quite a few other photographers out there looking to do a similar thing. Now with the Canon 1DX II released it may be time to change from my 1D MKIV to the 1D X MKI!!

However with the imminent release of the Fuji XT-2 I may have to rethink this – the Fuji range of lenses is second to none and superb glass as well.I am currently waiting for my XT-2 with 18-55mm lens and battery grip – will report back when I have had chance to use it.

First Impressions – have now had the Fuji X-T2 for a few weeks and I have to say that after a few initial misgivings I have got more used to it and have discovered that the image quality from the 24 mega pixel sensor is superb, the camera handles brilliantly and although a steep learning curve most of the controls seem to be very intuitive.

It came with the 18-55mm lens (although a kit lens it is superb) and I have now also purchased the 100-400mm with extender and also the 10-24mm zoom.

There is a lot of information on the web regarding processing of the X trans sensor files (and I have looked at Iridient Developer) but my Lightroom seems to be fine although the jpg files the camera produces are so good that I am thinking of not using the raw files at all!

Why I moved from Canon to Fuji

Why I moved from Canon to Fuji

I had already written a post regarding my purchase of the Fuji X-T2 camera (bought last October with the 18-55mm lens and vertical power booster grip) bought from Jessops in Derby who very kindly price matched for me (great shop and staff by the way!)

Well 9 months on here is an update on my experience so far and why I will not return to Canon for the foreseeable future. A shame as the kit I had was virtually perfect – it just became too much of a chore to lug around a heavy camera and lens combo.

My reasons are simple – bear in mind my aim is always to attain the highest image quality I can:

  • Lighter gear, more transportable especially with more overseas trips planned by plane (or train for that matter)
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Great lens choice (more of this later as there are still gaps to be filled.
  • Continual updates by manufacturer instead of having to buy newer cameras.
  • Lower cost (potentially!)

After buying my X-T2 and getting used to the differences between Canon and Fuji the first lens I bought was the Fujinon XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 LM OIS WR with 1.4 extender – this would theoretically give me 150-600mm equivalent (Fuji has a 1.5 crop factor) and with the extender a 225-840mm lens with image stabilisation). Thus replacing my Canon 500mm lens which even on my Canon 1D Mark IV and 1.4 extender only gave me 910mm so I wasn’t giving up very much length.

I will review this lens in another post but just let me say it has exceeded all my expectations and allowed me to get clear shots where I would have struggled before. Just bear in mind a Canon 1D MkIV with 500mm lens weighs over 5kg (11.5 lbs) while the Fuji and lens weighs less than 2kg (4.3 lbs) so over 2 and a half times lighter! The review will also include some shots.

My lenses now consist of the original 18-55mm zoom (which is a remarkable kit lens), the 100-400 zoom, 55-200mm zoom, 10-24mm zoom (awesome for landscapes), 16mm and 56mm prime. I have really replaced all my Canon lenses (17-40mm, 24-105mm ,70-300mm ,300mm and 500mm) with the exception of the 100mm canon macro for which there is no equivalent in the Fuji line up yet although an 80mm (120mm equivalent) is rumoured to be coming this autumn.

I have retained my 300mm Canon with a Canon 1DX (which replaced my Canon 1DS mkIII and canon 1D MKIV) and both extenders just so I have the capacity for birds in flight shots and quicker focus attainment – although having said that my Fuji is pretty quick with the booster and the changes to auto focus which the last firmware upgrade gave me. I just need time to adapt to it – don’t forget I had 6 years learning the Canon system and only 9 months so far with Fuji!

I sold all my Canon gear with the exception of the above mentioned as I found whenever I went out I always picked up the Fuji as it was so easy.

There are two areas lacking for Fuji at the moment – flash and macro. I will buy the 80mm macro when available (and possibly the long zoom which is rumoured for next year 2018) and have just got a bargain from Wex for the EF500 flash which I will be using shortly.

I will review separately each of my pieces of Fuji kit over the coming weeks (real life opinions and not just MTF charts as I find they don’t really mean that much in reality.

Links

Links for photographers

Useful and interesting links covering photography, techniques, wildlife sites, breeding butterflies and moths as well as other photographers.

Places to Visit

Shipley Country Park
A lovely country park made from the site of the old Woodside and Coppice pits which closed in the 1960s. The park was opened after landscaping in 1976. This is where I do my butterfly transect during the summer.
Potteric Carr Nature Reserve
The jewel in Yorkshires nature reserve crown. Loads of hides and miles of footpaths to walk. Great cafe too!!
Attenborough Nature Reserve
Great place for birds – bitterns seen here in the winter. River Trent runs alongside it and plenty of lakes and woodland to explore. A couple of hides too. Watch out for the bikes though!!
Bird Trips to Farne Islands
Brilliant review of a trip to the Farne Islands with plenty of advice – like take a hat!!!!
British Wildlife Centre
The British Wildlife Centre was started in 1997 by David Mills. Before then, David had a successful herd of pedigree Jersey cows on the site of what is now the wildlife centre. Since 1971 the rich milk and cream of the Venn herd of Jerseys was supplied to local homes and businesses.In 1994 David ceased farming in order to realise a second dream of setting up a centre to educate people about our native wildlife. At first we were only open to pre-booked groups, but in 2000 we were able to open to the public.We have been growing slowly but steadily since, enhancing the Centre to give visitors more to see and more to learn about Britain’s fascinating wildlife. Our objective remains the same – to help people learn more about our native wildlife in the hope that they too will want to protect it for future generations to enjoy.
North Somerset Butterfly House
Spent a wonderful half day here in September – lovely butterfly house and Pete (Dawson) is very enthusiastic about what he does. He also does a lot for children – great to get them interested from an early age.

Organisations

RSPB
Full of information about birds and their conservation.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
All you need to know about Derbyshire wildlife including a map of their reserves
Domain hosting
Domain hosting and internet services. Great company!http://affiliate.daily.co.uk/idevaffiliate.php?id=1447

Equipment

Gimbals – Jobu
Great place to buy tripods and gimbals. Quick delivery, great prices and great advice from Tony
Crooked Imaging
Crooked Imaging are a UK based Company and have been established since 2006. All products are genuine UK sourced stock, despatched from the UK with a full UK warranty. Not sure what you need? They are experienced photographers and can help and advise on all the products stocked.
Wildlife Watching Supplies
All you need to get closer to the wildlife.
Designed and developed by wildlife photographer Kevin Keatley.
Lens Locker
Lens Hire from LensLockerNeed specialist photographic equipment for a one-off job? Looking to try out a new digital camera before deciding whether to buy it? LensLocker is the smart way to evaluate the latest and best photography equipment on the market. Photography magazines and review sites can only tell you so much – to determine if a DSLR lens is right for you, you need to test it yourself, over an extended period of time and that’s where LensLocker Camera and Lens Hire comes in. Our customer service is second to none and we’ll provide email notifications each step of the way. We’re also on hand to help with any queries that you may have, even if you have last minute requirements, we can even get equipment into London same day! please call us on 020 8891 1613

Photographers

Photographers who have influenced me and whose work I admire
Loch Visions
Multi award winning Scottish wildlife photography and tour business
A range of freelance photography services are available from Philip Price, award winning professional wildlife photographer and founder of Loch Visions.
Mendip Wildlife Photography
Great site from a photographer based in the Mendips. Well worth a look!
Ron Martinsen’s Photography Blog
Great site for articles and reviews
The Reikan MA System Review
A great review of a fantastic piece of software.
Brilliant Isle of Skye photography
A quite brilliant site for photographs of the Isle of Skye. Take a look at his work!
Located near the pier in Armadale
Photo4me
Photo4me is a unique canvas printing service and online gallery that brings together buyers of canvas prints and our passionate community of photographers and digital artists. You can upload your own photographs and then have them printed on canvas or acrylic sheet or select from our range of members images and then order them as ready to hang pieces of canvas wall art or giclee canvas prints. Canvas print art is an excellent way to showcase your own photographs or to create mood in a room. All our canvas prints are printed using the finest materials.
Fantastic bird photography site with lots of information on technique – as it says – great site for technique
Based in Hebden Bridge in the heart of the Pennines . Ann has been taking photographs for over 20 years
Just switched from Canon to Sony – fascinating post about her experiences with the new equipment
Lincs Birder
brilliant web site of Roger Melross from Lincolnshire
Mark Medcalf
Fantastic wildlife photographer from Scotland
Will Burrard-Lucas
I am Will Burrard-Lucas, a professional wildlife photographer from the UK. I am known for using technology and innovation to photograph wildlife in new ways
Exmoor Photography
We met Jack & Alison on our recent holiday in Somerset when we ventured a little further afield to Porlock. Lovely people and if we had had more time we would have done a photography day with them. Maybe next time?
Natures Photos
Bob is an experienced photographer and naturalist passionate about his work and sharing his observations of wildlife with others.He has been a keen naturalist from a very young age and a photographer from late teens. He is first and foremost a naturalist who photographs what he observes rather than a photographer specialising in wildlife.

Places to Stay

Riverside Villa – a fantastic place to stay in the Peak District
Sadly now closed – all the best to Roger and Jane and hope you have a long and happy retirement!
Fingal Cottage, Isle of Mull
On our last visit to Mull we stayed here. All that the owners say is true about this cottage – very comfortable, everything you need had been thought of and provided, excellent base for discovering Mull and only 5 minutes from Craignure’s ferry terminal.Views down Loch Don were fantastic – all wildlife on Mull can be seen either here or within a 3 mile walk to Grasspoint, and if you are interested in butterflies there is a good colony of Green Hairstreak and Marsh fritillary at Grasspoint.
Airy, converted Victorian hayloft sleeps 4 Views of fell, woodland and hay meadows. All ensuite bedrooms, with bath and shower over. Woodburning stove. dishwasher, washing machine, TV, fridge, freezer, microwave. Biomass boiler for central heating and hot water.

Butterflies

Butterfly Conservation
If you are concerned about conservation you need to look at this site – even become a member!
UK Butterflies
Best site for butterfly related information
Blog about breeding puss moths

Dragonflies

Brill Dragonfly site
The images featured on this website were all taken in Hampshire & the Kennet Valley in Berkshire, which are blessed with some of the best dragonfly & damselfly habitat in the south of England.
British Dragonfly Society
Welcome to the new website of the British Dragonfly Society. The site has lots of new features including a completely new online recording system and online shop. If you want to join the BDS or make a donation you can do that here. There is a new section on the biology and ecology of dragonflies plus details of the best places to see them.

Photoshop

Sharpen Images in Photoshop
Photoshop CS’s high pass filter is very versatile, and in this tutorial by Lauren Scott we show you how it can be used for sharpening images
Background Blur
Follow this simple tutorial to blur an unattractive background

Wildlife Artists

Deborah Hook
Fantastic artist specialising in wildlife. See her paintings at Attenborough (July 2014)
Devons Art in Nature
Devon’s Nature In Art is a unique collection of artwork by the well known artist Eleanor Ludgate. It is a celebration to the nature of Devon.
Lorna Hamilton
Amazing wildlife artist, many awards and produces spectacular paintings.
Fungi of Allestree Park
Brilliant article on the fungi to be found in Allestree Park

Magazines

Digital Camera

Printers

Whitewall

Framers

Online picture framers

Tips

Tips

Exposure Triangle

The exposure triangle is a useful way of describing the relationship between the three aspects of exposure. Each corner of the triangle represents one of the three variables, aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Adjusting just one of these will make the photo darker or brighter and will change the appearance of the photo based on what you have changed. E.g. using a longer shutter speed will introduce motion blur to your photo but also make the photo brighter (increased exposure) due to more light hitting the sensor. The easiest way to understand it is to see the picture.

ISO – In film cameras, the ISO refers to how sensitive the film is to light. In a DSLR the same concept applies, but it refers to the sensor setting instead of film. Basically, the lower the ISO number, then the less sensitive it is to light. If you are out photographing things in the bright midday sun, then you will probably want to use the lowest setting available (probably ISO 100 or 200). Conversely if you are photographing poorly lit scenes then higher ISO settings are in order. Just remember than the higher ISO settings often bring the problem of digital noise (unwanted speckles and spots in your images). Usually the top end DSLRs are better at handling noise problems at higher ISO settings.

Shutter Speed – This one is fairly self-explanatory. Shutter speed simply refers to the amount of time that the shutter on the camera opens for when you take a shot. A shorter shutter speed will result in less light hitting the sensor and will have the effect of “freezing” motion. A longer shutter speed will allow more light to hit the sensor and any movement in the scene will appear blurred in the direction it was moving (“motion blur”) which can often be a desirable effect depending on what you are trying to achieve. Each shutter speed setting doubles (or halves) the speed compared to the next setting. Don’t forget to check out our beginner’s guide to shutter speed priority mode on your camera.

Aperture – This refers to the size of the opening in the lens that lets light hit the sensor. Wider apertures obviously allow more light in and narrower allow less light in. The size of the opening is measured as f/1.4, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6,f/8, f/16, f/22 etc (commonly referred to as “f stops”). The small the number, the larger the opening and each “stop” up from there effectively halves the size of the opening (and thus the amount of light entering the camera). Aperture also allows you to control depth of field.

Latest News

2016 saw us off to The Pyrenees to photograph butterflies and flowers for two weeks in the sunshine of the south of France. Now still going through over 2500 images of butterflies, birds and landscapes. Fantastic weather, fantastic walking and amazing butterflies – we saw over 80 species and there will be a full review of the trips shortly. Booked with Borderline Holidays (Peter Derbyshire and Jude Lock) who arranged for us to stay at Hotel Le Central in Bareges where we were looked after exceptionally well.

My latest project is investigating if any of the various manufacturers have a mirrorless system which will be able to give me the same quality of image and speed of autofocus as my Canon gear, in particular Sony Alpha 7R II which looks interesting but we will see. There aren’t many longer lenses available yet so I am investigating using Canon glass with Sony cameras with the Metabones adaptor. Will let you know what I conclude. There seem to be quite a few other photographers out there looking to do a similar thing. Now with the Canon 1DX II released it may be time to change from my 1D MKIV to the 1D X MKI!! However with the imminent release of the Fuji XT-2 I may have to rethink this – the Fuji range of lenses is second to none, will probably hire the Fuji and the 100-400mm lens (which becomes a 152-609mm lens allowing for the 1.5 plus crop factor)

Also I have been looking for a frame providers and have finally found one. I have ordered some frames from them and will update once they have arrived. Company is Pictureframestudio and is based in Cheshire. Latest – they arrived today (8th Dec) and upon first inspection they look superb. They will shortly have three limited edition hare prints from Mark Langley within them hanging on our wall! (If you want to see his work it is currently in Bennetts in Derby) – well worth a look as his drawings are some of the most detailed and lifelike we have ever seen.

During the last year we have been with Bob Brind-Surch for a bird of prey shoot (review to follow), and a trip to photograph crocodiles (again with Bob) at Crocodiles of the World in Oxfordshire! Blimey that was this time last year – really must write that up!

Also last year (2015) we went to Skye for two weeks (wet, windy with some sun!) calling at Glencoe and Eileen Donan on the way up. On Skye we arranged a trip with Wild About Skye for their “Grand Day Out” which involves an early morning boat trip followed by breakfast at Cafe Arriba and a full day wildlife spotting, mainly in the south of the island – this was brilliant. We also did a trip on Stardust II for White Tailed Eagles and were lucky enough to get very close (we saw 7 altogether). Latest review of the weeks can be found here

Latest image news – lots of images to process so it may take a while, especially as I am still sorting the images from The Vercors Plateau where we had been with Naturetrek last year and there is now a new gallery for these images here. Still ongoing!

All content is © GFC Photography, however if you are a school, educational establishment, wildlife group or charity you are welcome to use these images on a not for profit basis. Please contact me here if you wish to use any in this way.

Bye Bye Wordpress!

I have finally got fed up with WordPress (or to be more precise with the all too frequent down time periods from TSOHost) so have moved to Pixelrights – loads of storage but most definitely less maintenance! I can now get on with the job of presenting my images on a superb platform. We have just returned from The Pyrenees at the end of July with over 2500 images of butterflies, birds and landscapes. Fantastic weather, fantastic walking and amazing butterflies – we saw over 80 species and there will be a full review of the trip shortly.

Pixelrights

Pixelrights.

Yes – I’d never heard of them either but with the delivery of my Fuji XT2 ever nearer I discovered that Fuji ownership had a fantastic benefit of a year free subscription to a Pixelrights Pro website so I joined up. Wow! It is by far the easiest to organise and setup and my images look far better than they ever did on any WordPress site.

I have therefore moved my primary website gfcphotography.co.uk over to it and started uploading pictures – but being more selective about it! The Pro level comes with 25000 images (called Smartframes) and can be up to 50mb as a maximum

Here is a link to Pixelrights and here is a link to my new site GFC Photography