And onto the WCL-X70…If you have read this blog recently, you’ll know about my initial commitment to disliking the new Fuji X70 and then, actually, falling head over heals in love with it. You can read about my first day at the races with the Fuji X70 if you so wish.
Well, subsequently, I have kindly been loaned a WCL-X70 from Fujifilm UK- that’s a Wide Angle Converter in English and its made just for the little Fuji X-70.
However, for those that can succumb to the size difference, and want to perhaps pop the WCL-X70 in their bag when travelling or shooting on the streets, I think its a fab little addition and far more importantly, I think it gives a pretty unique point of view.
Oh, and the image quality and sharpness is superb.
I’ve been working on a long term personal project for a while. I’ve tentatively called it “Burning Britain”, but I think it might end up just being about…well….being British.
I spend hours pouring over the work of Martin Parr and modern contemporaries like Peter Dench and whilst I won’t ever emulate their inane knack of capturing true “Britishness”, I’ve decided that (for the time being at least), I’ll take a leaf out of their book and aim for bright, vibrant and colourful scenes and images.
My day job is as a documentary wedding photographer and I shoot my weddings in a candid style. I also shoot a lot of street photography, and mostly I see Street Photography as my passion and a way for me to hone my skill set needed as a documentary wedding photographer.
I see weddings the same as I see Street Photography or social documentaries; its people, being people. And its those people (being people) that I love to photograph, and hopefully document in some way.
This weekend, something quite amazing happened in Britain. The Sun came out. My wife and I, and our two children headed to our nearest mainstream seaside town which is Weston-Super-Mare.
We did all the normal things that families do at this brilliant place; splashed in the sea (kind of – those that know Weston will know that the sea is normally at least three miles away), had fish and chips, had ice cream, went on the fair, walked along the pier an got dive bombed by herring gulls.
It was a superb day, and my “Being British” radar was in full operation as we walked around.
I’ll discuss the X-70 and the WCL-X70 a bit more after this; the photofilm. It’s only 40 images, but I thought I’d wrap them all up in a little photofilm. Please press play, turn the sound up and go full-screen if you wish.
So, this is what the Fuji X70 with the WCL-X70 attached looks like.
I’ve chosen not to show the rubber lens hood because, well…..I lost it. I’m sure it will turn up but its quite a neat little idea that Fuji have had.
Essentially the lens hood is a malleable rubber which means it can be folded in a bag or pushed into a pocket very easily. It might also mean its easier to lose.
As I said before, the WCL-X70 does make the whole system substantially larger, but I think the benefits of having this with you will out weigh that as a negative.
According to Fujifilm themselves; The WCL-X70 is a dedicated wide conversion lens that multiples the fixed focal length by approx. 0.8x, converting it to 21mm (35mm format equivalent). Not only does this lens emphasise perspective, it is also perfect for capturing a broader view such as when shooting in tight spots or landscapes.
Oh, and I’ve been asked this a lot on Twitter – The X100 Series dedicated WCL-X100 and TCL-X100 conversion lenses cannot be used on the X70.
One thing I would love to see on the WCL-X70 and the conversion lenses for the X100 range is the camera automatically realising the conversion lens was attached. Currently, you have to attach the lens, then update the menu (and vice versa where removing it). Its not the end of the world if you don’t adjust the menu, the camera will still work but the EXIF data will be incorrect and also the Lens Module Optimisation (barrel distortion correction) will not work correctly.
Returning to Velvia & My Settings
Remember, all of these images are shot on the X70 which has all of the film simulation options with the exception of Acros which is only present in the X-Pro2.
Since the introduction of the Classic Chrome film simulation with the X100T I have shot all my colour work with that film simulation. Every single frame.
Until I started my “Being British” series. For this, I’ve returned to the Velvia setting. The in camera menu states the name as: Velvia / Vivid – and vivid is correct in my opinion.
On a day like Saturday where the sky was a deep blue and there were many contrasting primary colours I think the Velvia film simulation made the perfect choice.
I really wanted to add punch and contrast to the pictures and to that end, I tweaked my fairly standard camera settings a little and ran with this:
- White Balance: Auto
- Shadows: +1
- Highlights: 0
- Sharpness: +2
- * Dynamic Range: Auto
I typically still keep the Dynamic Range setting on Auto as I’m a big believer in letting the camera make as much of the exposure decisions as possible. However, on a couple of the very bright images, like the last one with the wind breaker, I purposefully set the Dynamic Range to ensure I got the exposure I needed (I was fighting a brigh sun and trying to expose for a dark subject).
Zone Focusing & WCL-X70
The X70, as I mentioned in my initial review of the Fuji X70 is almost perfect (for me) for Street Photography.
By and large though, I really do enjoy using this little camera and with the WCL-X70 its adding a new dynamic to the camera.
When I shoot with the X70, I tend to veer away from aperture priority or even fully automatic and pretty much shoot everything using a zone focus method.
In short, I set the camera up manually and will pre-fix an aperture to give me a distance that I’m comfortable with. This way, I know that the subject will 100% be in focus given that range.
This is annoying, more than problematic as you can still use the focus peak highlighting option. However, it does still leave me often looking for the distance scale and I miss it. For proper Zone Focusing you need either a distance scale on the lens or in the viewfinder and to work with neither is a little difficult.
Hopefully this will return in a firmware update too.
I’ve pulled a few of the stills form the photofilm above to discuss a little further and hopefully give you more of an insight into the WCL-X70.
Fujifilm X70: f5.6, 1/680, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
Getting in Close with the X70 & WCL-X70
The above image is one of my favourite from the day at Weston-Super-Mare. It is almost impossible to be noticed if shooting from the hip with the Fuji X70. As I said before, its my new favourite camera for Street Photography.
You can really move in close and, if zone focusing, you don’t even need to rely on the LCD screen.
Things become a little more complicated when you attached the WCL-X70 because it does make the camera larger, and of course the front lens becomes much more obvious.
I found I could still easily shoot from the hip, but when I spotted these two lads on the beach I wanted to capture them without any worry of being spotted.
It was a shot I really wanted to get, so I actually shot the picture above with my back to the lads and the with the camera under my arm. I even held the camera upside down as it was more comfortable to shoot (and less obvious).
Note: Whilst they may look mischievous, I’m fairly sure they were watching a life-raft being launched from the beach….
The idea of shooting from the hip, zone focusing and these tips for getting closer to people without a fear of shooting are things I explore more in my street photography workshops.
The wide angle (14mm APSC / 21mm Full Frame) means that whilst you need to be careful with angles and tilt, you can “usually” get most of the subject in the frame. I did, of course, lose several shots on the day because of the angle or an unusable crop but I guess that par for the course when shooting like this.
The next two shots were taken with exactly the same technique.
My good friend Rob Gillespie, who, along with his lovely wife Sarah, are great wedding photographers, pointed out that nobody is smiling in this series of images. This isn’t something I purposefully aimed for, but I think its a symptom of the type of shot I was getting, rather then the element of “Britishness”…….or maybe it is…..Fujifilm X70: f5.6, 1/1,000, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f5.6, 1/1,100, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
Being Very British
I think there are certain things that people from Britain, associate with “Being British” – especially on balmy hot summers days at the seaside.
As I always say, its just people, being people and that is what I’m excited to photography. For example, I particularly like this series of images and to me, being British myself, these images make me smile. A smile of acknowledgement and of nostalgia too.
Fujifilm X70: f5.6, 1/400, ISO 400 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f5.6, 1/600, ISO 400 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f5.6, 1/750, ISO 400 Focal Length: 14mm
Metering with the Fuji X70
I shot all these images using Spot Metering (Photometry in Fujifilm world). I wanted to make the camera work and help me with the exposures that were going to have as much impact as possible.
In some cases of course, I’d use the meter to give me the exposure, then lock that in manually – especially when I was shooting with the sun to my back.
Those of you who know Weston-Super-Mare well will also be well aware of the seagulls, especially on the pier.
Technically, there is no such thing as a “seagull” (so I’m told). They are generally herring gulls….but I’ll just call them seagulls for now.
I think if you look at this first image below, you’ll be able to appreciate the dynamic range that is in the little X70. Considering the sun is high above, and this is pretty much a grab shot, it has done a great job of exposing the image I think:
Fujifilm X70: f13, 1/900, ISO 400 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f5.6, 1/480, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
Letting People Get Close
Well, there is nothing more summery than a nice Mr Whippy…. and the ice creams were out in force in Weston last weekend.
On a technical note, these images are again, of course, shot from the hip and remarkable close.
One of the things I talk about on my Street Photography Workshops and, in fact, my Wedding Photography Workshops is the idea of beating the fear by allowing people to come to you, instead of you to them.
The series of images below were shot by simply pre-configuring the camera, looking for a relatively good spot, metering accordingly and just waiting. If people aren’t comfortable walking by you, they won’t.
Click. No pressure.
Fujifilm X70: f9, 1/800, ISO 400 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f6.4, 1/850, ISO 400 Focal Length: 14mm
Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/850, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
Going Shirtless – and pink…Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
Fujifilm X70: f7.4, 1/950, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
One of my greatest passions is understanding, or at least trying to understand, the relationships between people. I adore elderly people holding hands and I strive to look for pictures like that. Pretty much, I just want to be like that with my wife when I’m elderly too.
I think there is something in being a wedding photographer that attracts me to seeing people who are, perhaps, in the twilight of their lives, still in love and relying on each other.
Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/950, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/950, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/950, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/950, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/850, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
Us British are a nation of dog lovers. I myself have a crazy whippet called Breeze that thinks its a cat.
For many, their pet is as much a part of their family as the humans and I’m always intrigued by the way that people interact with their dogs.
If I can combine this sub-theme of pets with my day out shooting then I’m very happy.
The below image was of course taken with the flip out screen and shot from a very low angle. Its not the image I really wanted to be honest.
I’d positioned myself so the dogs would walk right towards me, but at the last moment the owners pulled the dogs right and headed off onto the beach itself. I still like it though.
Its the only shot in the series where I relied on the AF-C (Continuous focus) mode of shooting.
Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/850, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/850, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm Fujifilm X70: f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200 Focal Length: 14mm
So I hope you enjoyed my little sojourn across the promenade of Weston-Super-Mare. Its a really fun place and full of diverse characters, all enjoying themselves.
If you have a young family you will love it on a warm summers day, I highly recommend Weston-Super-Mare for a day out – especially if you are interested in the intricacies of “Britishness”.
If, like me, you are a Fujifilm user and you like Street Photography I don’t personally think there is a better camera for the art than the Fujifilm X70.
If you want to give yourself the added benefit of a pretty unique field of view and to shoot wider then the WCL-X70 is also going to be for you.
Its large(ish), but it will most certainly become an essential part of my street photography kit going forward.
And if you are interested in any of my workshops, please check out the Fujifilm Workshops page.
As always, please feel free to share this and leave comments below – I try and answer everyone one.
- Happy Snapping – Kevin (in my Studio in Malmesbury, listening to Red, Red Wine sung by James Morrison from BBC Radio 2’s Sounds of the 80s Volume 2)