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.

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Fuji X100T / WCL F2 ISO 400 1/100 second

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Fuji X-T1 / XF56mm F1.2 ISO 400 1/850 second

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Fuji X100T / WCL F4 ISO 400 1/140 second

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Fuji X100T / WCL F2 ISO 250 1/100 second

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Fuji X100T / WCL F4.5 ISO 400 1/150 second

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Fuji X100T / WCL F5.6 ISO 400 1/140 second

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Fuji X100T / WCL F5.6 ISO 400 1/125 second

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Fuji X-T1 56mm F1.2 ISO 400 1/1,250 second

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Fuji X100T F2 ISO 250 1/125 second

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Fuji X-T1 XF35mm F1.4 ISO 200 1/430 second

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Fuji X-T1 XF35mm F1.4 ISO 400 1/600 second

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Fuji X-T1 XF35mm F1.4 ISO 400 1/1,400 second

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Fuji X100T F2 ISO 400 1/140 second

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Fuji X-T1 XF35mm F3.2 ISO 400 1/150 second

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Fuji X-T1 XF56mm F1.2 ISO 400 1/280 second

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Fuji X100T F2 ISO 400 1/350 second

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Fuji X-T1 XF60mm F2.4 ISO 400 1/640 second

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Fuji X100S F2.8 ISO 200 1/140 second

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Fuji X100S F2.8 ISO 200 1/150 second

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Fuji X100S F2.8 ISO 200 1/500 second

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.

Feel free to sign up to the email alerts to get an email when any new posts are added to this site.

  • (Tuesday morning, sat in my studio in Malmesbury listening to Composer of the Week: Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739-1813)on BBC Radio 3)
  • Love your style. Love the tone of your photos – I can never get the dark brown b&w right. I would love to take one of your workshops but I live too far away.
    Love your work – it’s inspiring.

  • Rick Estrada

    Your style is awesome, I become so inspired to do better every time I see one of your videos. Thank you for sharing your work!

  • Minh

    Thanks for sharing. LOVE your photos. It’s inspiring.

  • I’m very curious, and perhaps you have answered this elsewhere if so I apologize.
    Who’s music is it you used in these videos? It is quite wonderful and touching when coupled with your photographs.

    Keep it up!

    • Hi Caleb – it’s a track from Triple Scoop Music. I can’t remember which one exactly.

  • Thank you for sharing your images and your insights into making them. Your site went a long way in persuading me to move from Canon 5D1’s to Fuji instead of another DSLR. I don’t quite have the hang of the camera yet, but for the first time in a long time I love what comes out of it. I was curious what software you use to create your photofilms, as they are cleanly presented, and I’ve not seen much offered since ShowIt and Animoto years back.

    • Thanks Morrison – I use Premiere Pro to produce the Photofilms.

  • Neven Miškulin

    Mr. Mullins,

    Picture this. I have preordered Fujifilm X100 F. It comes in the first week of March, And my wife will give birth some two weeks later. Of course, I want to be with her in the delivery room. What bulletproof settings would you reccommend using in order not to miss capturing our first child being born? I.e. ISO, AV, TV, DR, focus. I am not a total novice (used entry level SLR’s with 18-55 kit zooms), but getting the hang of using any camera takes time. I love the B&W but would like to have also the ones in color. Maybe using RAW +JPG (acros). Please help.

    Thank you

    Neven

    • Hi Neven,

      Firstly, congratulations on your upcoming arrival. It will be such a great thing for you. I remember my first baby being born and it changed my life so much for the better.

      For the photography element, I think your mind will be on lots of things, so keeping it simple is the answer. I would shoot RAW firstly. This way you can decide later on the colour conversion – it will also mean you probably won’t be reviewing the images as much during the day (which is a good thing given the event). I would shoot Auto DR (although this only affects RAW files dependant on the software you are using to convert them). I would shoot Aperture Priority. Keep the ISO in Auto but set the minimum shutter speed to 1/125th and max ISO to 12,800.

      Try and get used to the metering system (photometry). If you are OK with it, use one of the function buttons as a quick way of switching metering. I use Spot metering a lot to add drama to my images.

      If you are 100% happy with the configuration, I’d also consider locking the buttons down (hold the menu button down). This way, you can’t accidentally knock a button or change a setting which might cause a panic when you are trying to shoot something so important.

      And finally, I strongly believe having pictures at events like this are so important but not as important as the event itself.

      Enjoy & look forward the greatest chapter of your life.

  • Axelle

    Hi Mr Mullins,
    I really really appreciate your photographic style and think your images are very powerful. I am trying to transition to documentary photography as well, after starting with the traditional posed images (which I find are not satisfactory at all, in terms of results and in terms of process).
    When you say in your article : “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”, do you mean that you set up your camera somewhere in the room where you know you’ll be at the right angle, and trigger it from a distance ? You must get lots of ditchable shots that way, as you cannot predict where the action will take place ?
    Could you please recommend what sort of actions would benefit from such set up, and the settings used (I guess a small aperture for long DOF ?)
    Thank you again for sharing with us your wonderful images and the story that goes with them !
    Axelle

    • Hi Axelle,

      I only use the wifi feature occasionally. For example, I used it recently at a shoot where the family were having dinner. The camera was placed on the table in a position I simply wouldn’t be able to get. Because you can see the image on the phone, you don’t get too many miss shots.

  • Axelle

    Hi Mr Mullins, Thank you for your reply. I didn’t mean it to be offensive in implying you get lucky shots, it’s very clever to put it on a table ! Thank you again, looking forward to more images from you !