When you get a new camera…

…you need to learn to use it. Its instructions. Its strong points and weaker points. Its do’s and dont’s. Its quirks, even.

I am learning to use my Fuji X100:

Fuji X100 (Photo: Michael Willems)

It will take me a few days of use until I fully “get” it – its instructions (cannot use the optical viewfinder for close focus); when it does not accurately focus; when exposure is off; how it displays pre- and post-shot; how best to focus (in manual, I can use the AE-L/AF-L button to focus, which I only just discovered!), and so on.

Let’s start with a few snaps taken during a nice downtown Oakville “getting to know the camera” walk today. All these were shot as JPGs, and post-editing in Lightroom was minimal – a little cropping, perhaps a slight exposure tweak, that sort of thing.

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

Quality is excellent. Results are good.

In using the camera today, I found a few issues I have to work on. Namely:

    1. I have to get quicker at the “switch to EVF (electronic viewfinder) if you want to focus closely” thing.
    2. Switching focus points. I switched to “let camera select focus points” half way, since I was not quick enough switching. Next time, manual focus plus the AE-L/AF-L button to pre-focus!
    3. When does the camera refuse to focus? And when does it miss, and focus on the background instead of on the object I am clearly pointing the focus spot at?  I am not 100% clear yet, so this needs a little more work too.
    4. I have to get more familiar with shutter speed limitations: at what ISO is it limited to what shutter speed? This needs to be second nature to me.
    5. Exposure is sometimes unpredictable, or at least seems so when looking pre- and past-shot. In fact looking at the results, they seem good, if somewhat hot in the highlights – forgiveable on a bright sunny day at 2pm. So maybe on a crazy bright day like today I just shoot and ignore the previews and post-views.

      And here is my favourite of the day, because it shows clearly what you can do with a little camera: people do not even notice you. Not even Mr Muscles here:

      Oakville Scene (Photo: Michael Willems)

      (Click and see it at large, original size to see the full effect.)

      The Degas-like composition is due less to my artistic input than to the fact that the camera was just fast enough for me to capture him before he skated out of the frame.

      The pedagogical point of this post: when you get a new piece of equipment, whether it is a camera, a set of lights, a flash, or a lens, do not be discouraged too quickly. Learn its quirks and benefits and how to best use it.


      10 thoughts on “When you get a new camera…

      1. Good comments, got mine over a month ago as backup camera which I am using on my current trip. Really impressed with quality of the images inspite of the quirks.

        Also as you point out few people pay attention as they would with a big DSLR. With me they just see a guy with a small old looking camera and pay no attention, exactly what I want.

      2. Hi Michael,

        Can you explain a bit more what you mean by issue #4? Is this ISO/shutter speed limitation something that all cameras have?

        Great photos, by the way!

      3. Annia,

        He must have meant to say Aperture/Shutter Speed combinations, and no this is not a problem for any other camera I can think of. In the Fuji it has a leaf (in lens) shutter which doubles as an aperture. Because it is a large aperture lens (F2) the shutter needs to transverse a large area which it can’t do as quickly as when it transverses a smaller area (when a smaller aperture such as f16 is set). Due to this, the maximum shutter speed is limited to 1/1,000s at f2, whereas it can go to 1/4,000s at an aperture of f8 or smaller. Whilst other cameras may have a similar design (My Konica AF also has an f2 Leaf shutter), they choose not to allow a shutter speed higher than can be accommodated at f2 at any aperture. This is much less confusing, but means that the fastest shutter speed in my Konica is only 1/250s.

        • Right! Note that there is also a big advantage to leaf shutters, though, and that is the ability to use your flash at high shutter speeds (as opposed to a “normal SLR”, which allows flash only up to around 1/250th second).

      4. You are having way too much fun with the new camera. I have to say I am quite interested in one myself to replace the Canon G11 of which I absolutely hate the ergonomics of.

      5. Pingback: 43 Fuji X100 reviews | | What Is PhotographyWhat Is Photography

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