By Guzzi JimI am at a juncture that I believe many of you are, or have been, at. Every now and again I find myself 'lost in tech' and need to ground my self again to improve my photography and focus on the things that really matter, not f stops, focal lengths, micro-contrast but photography; painting with light.
I currently have a handful of fuji lenses, need to sell some and probably need to buy some to achieve something I believe will be better...maybe not. As we all know, but don't always admit to, the most important piece of gear we own is the 12 inches behind the camera. My best photos ever taken were on equipment seriously lacking in 'currentless'
So, to get to the crunch.... I want a selection of gear to capture my life events, in decent quality, to help others capture theirs through small photo shoots and to record beautiful places I have experienced. Could be the bar, the theatre, the wonders of the world or my garden.. it's all available.
I'll ignore my collection of film camera's for the minute and focus on Fuji X-series, why were here...
I have read reviews on all the lenses currently available and have decided on setting out my stage as buying the best I can afford without spending a fortune, I work in a normal job!!
I started out with an X100 and used it alongside my Canon 20D, and then 5DII full frame with some nice glass. I have now sold all Canon gear (apart from 430EXII speedlight) and ended up with X-Pro2 and X100T.
The X-pro2 is an amazing camera, my excuses diminish shooting with it.
I can split the rest of this blurb into 2 sections - my advice and my outstanding queries
Anything I say is purely user based. I dont really pixel peep, check for distortion levels and far corner sharpness when I dont look there..I want to see a nice looking capture of a nice thing, end.
Some focal lengths are definitely more suitable to the success of what you set out to achieve, nothing more, nothing less. I personally, and it's personal, like to capture, street, scenic, people images with a smattering of wildlife thrown in, so have based my lens selections on it...apart from a couple of them that came my way.
The widest I own is the 18mm, a fairly dis-respected lens, I love it, small discreet and nearly all my scenic stuff shot thought it. At f8 with a ND10 filter I have captured some beautiful images, well at least I like them..
I have the 27mm pancake bought as part of the X-pro1 promotion but have only used it for a handful of shots. I think its the lack of aperture ring on this FL that puts me off, a big reason for coming to Fuji was the lovely manual ring....more later on a lens I have bought today that hasn't!!
It has a great deal of sharpness but the f2.8 on this FL doesn't give a lot of scope of creating a nice background blur. It is however a great lens for setting at f5.6 or f8, zone focussing and just clicking away. Its quite liberating not thinking about the camera
The X100T following on from my X100 confirmed to me the usefulness of the more that useful FOV but I still went ahead and bought the 23mm f2 even though I already had it!! I convinced myself that I could leave my X100 at home and still have the FL when it suited me?? Kinda works as it does give me a smaller 'foot print' The 23 f2 on the X-pro2 is sharper and better contrast than the X100T at f2 but comes with baggage, the X100T is where it's at. Difficult to explain but feels so good. I have an olympus 35SP and a Rollie 35S that yields similar feelings.
On the 35mm front I own the f1.4 and the f2, the 1.4 came first on a instinctual ebay purchase one boozy night, I do like it but wanted the f2 so WEX helped me out. The form factor of the f2 is nice on the x-pro and the images are sharp and colourful, strangely almost too much. The 1.4 seems more 'natural', there is a very high chance I will sell the f2 as the subject matter I shoot doesn't demand the faster focus etc
I bought the 18-55 second hand, still have it but cant get excited. It allows flexibility and saves me moving my feet, but pics are only recording whats there, difficult to add artistic impression. I might use it for Thailand to record my holiday but will need some nice primes to capture it beautifully.
Now onto the the longer focal lengths...this is where it gets difficult for me. I bought the 56mm f1.2 as I needed a fast, short tele for a wedding, what a lens!!! I love it. The rendition whether optically perfect or not, is amazing. Once you get used to the razor thin DOF and the huge aperture/shutter speed selection the images it gathers are outstanding, it's 1.2 so I want to use it at 1.2. It is bulky but coming from a DSLR/Medium format film background it's insignificant. I'll ask a question later on the 50mm f2
I bought the XC 50-230mm today after much research and the reluctance to spend such a lot of money on the 55-200mm for something I only occasionally use. I'm going to Thailand later this year and doing a bit of nature park stuff. Hopefully it will help me yield decent images of creepy crawly, furry, jumpy things.
The most fun I have just now with longer FL's is the veritable Nikkor 105 f2.5 and the Zeiss 135mm f3.5. Both the lenses on the X-pro2 are amazing, they take some practice but with the focus peaking and EVF the results can be superb. If fact my favourite butterfly photo was through the Nikkor, the smooth rendition and colour reproduction is to be lusted over. Hopefully the 50-230 wont make me sell them..
Onto my request for help
This week I went camping to a beautiful location, The Island of Mull on the west coast of Scotland. I was changing lenses way too often, lovely scenery with the 18 or 23 then the Zeiss 135 for the Golden Eagles. In the towns the pace was pretty slow so I managed to get some lovely shots of Tobermory harbour with the 23mm. I do wish I had the 50mm f2 at times though for detail capture around the town. I want to go prepared for Thailand with the right kit, I felt stressed on Mull getting the right gear together which did impact on my holiday, in Thailand i would like stress free so what do I take?
The 18-55/50-230 plus a fast short sounds the best combo, what do you think?
I have asked this forum on this before but without my experiences, please excuse me.
If you want me to share some pictures captured with the above lenses let me know
Please let me know your thoughts