One of the primary reasons I made the decision back in 2011 to invest in the Fujifilm X-Series was because of (then) X100 and it’s amazingly quiet shutter.
Couple that with a small, discreet form factor and I believed the perfect camera (that was affordable) had arrived for me. The X100, as we know, had a stuttering start, but the cogs were in motion and through the iterations of X100’s to the X-T1 I’ve been a users of every model in between.
As you know, I’m a full time documentary wedding photographer and I shoot 100% of my work with the X-Series. These days my tools of choice are the quintessentially amazing Fuji X100T and the incredibly versatile Fuji X-T1.
Whilst I shoot a lot of weddings, I also shoot the occasional family photo shoot – I like to call it “Day in the Life”.
I shoot these in exactly the same fashion as my wedding and street photography. Candidly.
It’s a very personal and subjective view of course, but for me, I can really empathise with intimate candid moments and its those types of photographs that make me smile compared to staged, often sterile, posed family portraits.
(disclaimer: that’s just my preference….doesn’t mean there aren’t great portrait photographers out there of course)
Using small, silent, cameras definitely enables you to capture more intimate moments between the subjects and being able to use features such wifi exposure triggering from a mobile phone can really get you images you simply would not get as easily with a DSLR.
Fuji X-Series Metering
For me, a camera is a camera. I’m not at all fussed about how retro it looks or whether the strap looks cool or not. My favourite interchangeable lens X-Series to date is the X-Pro1. Its a photographers camera that feels good in the hand, is tactile and produces amazing images. It’s not perhaps as responsive as say the X-T1 but it is a little black box that takes pictures. And bloody good pictures at that.
If first realised how good the metering system is in the X-Series with the original X100. By using an EVF in tricky lighting situations, I can so simply pop the camera into spot metering mode and make a much better use of light.
I shoot a lot in spot metering mode these days and its partly because the cameras are helping me to understand light more and appreciate the more refined ways of measuring it, and shooting for it.
If you look at this first photofilm, you will see during the surgical part, that I am metering a lot using spot. This was using an X100S so the metering was only tethered to the central focus point but the principle is the same.
When Maja is actually born, using the cameras metering, instead of perhaps relying on fancy Photoshop work, makes the images far more dramatic and powerful.
Take a look….
Caesarian Birth Photography
That was a commissioned photo shoot of which I’m very proud of the results and I genuinely believe I would not have been able to shoot that story on my old DSLR equipment.
Moving forward, I have revisited Maja and her lovely mum and dad a couple more times. The Photographs are precious to Maja and her family and I’m delighted to have been able to capture these moments for them.
Electronic Silent Shutter
When the electronic shutter was rolled out into the X-T1 via Firmware 4.0 there was great rejoicing in the Fujifilm community and there was none happier than me.
When I’m shooting in churches or when the registrar has forbidden “clicks” the electronic shutter on the X-T1 has saved the day.
Shooting these day in the life stories with a totally silent shutter has meant I can shoot without any interference with the subjects behaviour. As long as the family are happy with my presence, shooting from the hip or with the tilt screen on the X-T1 means they have no idea what-so-ever that the shutter has been depressed.
Its features like the electronic shutter and the amazing metering system in the X-Series that make me consider them the best cameras I’ve ever had the privilege of using for social documentary photography.
8 Month Later
12 Months Later
Some Family Documentary Photography Stills:
So enough of the photofilms (though I hope you enjoyed them).
Here are a set of twenty stills complete with Exif. You’ll see I’ve used two different variants of the X100, the X-T1, 23mm lens, Wide Conversion Lens, 35mm lens and the 60mm macro too.
The versatility of the X-Series makes them such wonderful systems to shoot with and the most important thing for me….they allow me to enjoy shooting these types of projects.
As always, please feel free to share or comment below. I always try and answer any questions as soon as possible.
Why are the cameras faster?
As you can see, there are some quite powerful images in the collection – images I’m very proud to have captured, but equally, images that I had to have a full understanding of my cameras to be able to capture in what was sometimes a very pressured and time sensitive situation.
Once of the questions I get asked a lot on my workshops is simply “what aren’t the cameras faster?”
My answer is always the same; Once you have learned how to use the cameras in the way that suits you best, they are are as fast to use as any system.
Granted, the X-Series currently won’t keep up with say a Canon 1DX when shooting the rugby world cup, but when I totally understood the best way to make the cameras work for me, I have not once thought “gah – my DSLR would have got that shot”.
I’ll be exploring this topic a little more soon in an updated “Shooting Weddings with the X-Series” post. I’ll go into detail about subjects such as back button focusing, Instant AF and continuous focusing.
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- (Tuesday morning, sat in my studio in Malmesbury listening to Composer of the Week: Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739-1813)on BBC Radio 3)