Classy!

Fuji – I love your X100 camera.

I also love Fuji’s Canadian outfit. Who just sent me a certificate for a free 13×20″ mounted art canvas print, just for buying the X100!

And who iterated their service level: it is free, and better than Canon Canada’s CPS (which I no longer use because it costs money).  Fuji promises two hour email/phone support. Two business day repairs. Free shipping. Loaners if repairs take time. Wow!

Here’s a few more snaps taken with this little camera recently in Toronto and Niagara, respectively:

Tip of the day: For an entire day, shoot with one focal length, namely 35mm on a full frame camera or 24mm on a “crop” camera. You will see this enforces a certain discipline of compositional thought.

 

 

Pink

When walking through Toronto recently, I noticed this picture you saw a few days ago:

Pink bike in Toronto (Photo: Michael Willems)

Tip One of the day: when you see an interesting colour, take a shot (which is why you always have a camera handy – right?).

Tip Two: And as said in a post a few days ago, please do not automatically shoot it from 5 feet above the ground. See if tilting, or getting down on the ground (as here), or standing on a chair gives you a more interesting picture.

Tip Three. Use a little fill flash (as I mentioned the past few days).  The Fuji X100 and its tiny fill flash did all this.

Let me share how boring this shot is when shot from higher up and without fill flash:

Point proven.

 

Tip time: Fill Flash

Tip time: fill flash and how it works.

Fill flash means flash “helping a little”. It is not a particular type of flash; it is a particular use of flash.

In fill flash, the flash is used to light up the foreground a little, to get rid of shadows. On bright days, say, or when backlighting, or when a subject it being hit by harsh sunlight.

As in this example:

Yonge-Dundas (Photo: Michael Willems)

The sign above is lit up by my Fuji X100’s little flash, on a bright summer day.

Tip one: traffic signs will light up with minimal added light, since they are designed to reflect brightly.

Tip two: when you use exposure compensation to decrease the exposure to get a darker blue sky, the flash may also decrease in power. It does that on Nikon, but not on Canon. This is an arbitrary design decision. You can solve it by either of these two options:

  1. increase the flash (i.e. opposite adjustment) using Flash Exposure compensation;
  2. Simply set the ambient exposure in manual mode. That way flash is not also adjusted.

Tip Three: when it is bright, turn on high-speed flash (“Auto FP Flash” on Nikon) and get very close to your subject.

One more:

Pink bike (Photo: Michael Willems)

Try fill flash – start in program mode, then work your way up to manual modes and adjustments.


Fuji X100 tips

Two more Fuji X100 tips for you today. This little camera continues to amaze me.

First: turn off the shutter sound. And perhaps also the focus chirp, although I must admit I find it hard to dispense with that altogether, so I leave it on but turn its volume down to the minimum. Why add a shutter sound when the super-quiet operation is exactly why you bought a rangefinder-like camera in the first place?

Second: pre-focus. Do this as follows: set focus to “manual”, then aim at your subject, then press the AF-L/AE-L lock button to focus. The camera now focuses (i.e. manual was not all that manual). You can now let go of the AE-L/AF-L button: focus is taken care of. You can now worry about moment, composition and exposure.

 

Solution to many problems: ISO

As you know, an exposure is determined by three factors:

  1. Aperture: the larger (ie the smaller the f-number), the more light gets in.
  2. Shutter: The slower the shutter, the more light gets in.
  3. ISO: the higher the ISO, the less light is needed.

So from this “triangle”, the following follows: if you want higher shutter speeds, either lower the f-number or increase the ISO.

And increasingly, the latter is an option.

In the last day or two, I shot the following as JPG images (imagine, me shooting JPGs) in the X100 camera. View them at original size (click, then click on the “full size” link (where it says “Full  Size = 1200×800”), then view that on your Mac or PC at full size).

Now realize, all I did to these is crop a little in a few cases, and resize for these web images – other than that I did not touch them. They were shot as JPG files with standard settings: no extra noise reduction or anything else. Just standard.

First… 800 ISO used to be high. Now it gives you this on a point-and-shoot. Admittedly, the Fuji X100 point and shoot:

X100: Flower at 800 ISO (Photo: Michael Willems)

Indistinguishable from a 100 ISO image of just a few years ago!

320o ISO used to be impossible. Now look at this:

Little Italy, 9 July (3200 ISO X100 photo: Michael Willems)

(1/15th sec at f/2, 3200 ISO).

Little Italy (X100 Photo: Michael Willems)

(1/20th sec at f/2, 3200 ISO).

Little Italy, 9 July (3200 ISO X100 photo: Michael Willems)

(1/15th sec at f/2, 3200 ISO).

Couple in Little Italy, 9 July (3200 ISO X100 photo: Michael Willems)

(1/80th sec at f/2, 3200 ISO).

Wow, what quality! Surprised to see the pic, the couple remarked “but I did not see you flash”. Yes, that is a big benefit of high ISOs.

And let’s take it up one more notch. Here’s 6400 ISO:

3200 ISO: X100 owner in Mississauga (Photo: Michael Willems)

Wow. That is 6400 ISO? Yes it is. Can I make an 8×10 print from that? You bet, and more.

So what does this mean?

It means that I can now shoot at 3200 and above wherein the past 800 was the absolute limit. That is 2-3 stops of extra light.

This in turn means that with a fast moderate wide angle lens I can now shoot pretty much in the dark: an outdoors restaurant, where amazingly, the camera actually sees more than I do, and it does it with great quality.

So, with the right equipment you no longer need to be afraid to shoot at high ISO values. And that means hand-held night photography now becomes a real option. I urge you to take advantage of that. See how far your camera can go and use it.