Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The focus advantage of a Fuji X camera for lifestyle photography

One feature I am starting to really appreciate on the X cameras is the way the focus point can be moved into even the furthest corners of the image frame.  When photographing people I like to put the focus point on their eye. With most other cameras this is often difficult to do when the model's face is near the edge of the frame. 

The X cameras have 49 focus points scattered over most of the image frame making it easy to place one close to the edge of the frame. Plus the size of the focus rectangle can be change on the fly by turning the rear command dial.  While many pro DSLR cameras have even more focus points than the X cameras, these points are usually grouped towards the middle of the frame leaving a large border along the edges of the frame without any focus coverage. DSLR photographers have learned to "grab focus" and then move the frame to compose the shot.  With a Fuji X camera that isn't necessary, and that is one reason I like it for lifestyle photography. 

Usually I do my lifestyle shootings with a Nikon D4, which is what I used to take the photo above with the model holding my Fuji X-Pro1.  The rest of the shots below were taken with the X-Pro1 she is holding.  The washed out effect was achieved by not using any fill for the strong daylight coming from the back lit window. 
In the sample images below of a lifestyle shoot I did with one model in the studio today, notice in how many of the situations the model's eyes are not near the center of the frame. In every scene I was able to place a focus point where I needed it without having to "grab focus" or re-compose the photograph because the X-Pro1 always had a focus point where it was needed. 

Another feature I like on the X cameras is the square crop mode. I used to shoot a 6x6 Hasselblad and have always loved composing with a square. 

To keep the colors warm and add more detail to the face in this harshly back lit scene, I added large silver/gold reflectors in front of the model. 

The lighting in the scene is essentially the same at the photo above it except that the reflectors were removed to soften the contrast. I also re-adjusted the color temperature in post-processing to enhance the mood by moving the temperature slider to the bluer side and dialing down some of the color vibrancy. In the photo below I greatly exaggerated the blue, while in most of the other images the color was kept evenly balanced, pretty much as it came directly from the camera.  

This photo is the only one in this series taken with artificial light. I used a 1000 watt tungsten lamp with color correcting blue gels on it and bounced it from the gym ceiling to evenly light the room.   All the rest of the images were taken with available daylight, usually with backlighting. 

This blur action shot of the model with everything else in focus was taken at 1/15 second with the camera on a tripod and focused on the foreground boxes. I use a variable ND filter to dial in the exposure with the shutter speed and lens aperture where I want them to be.

In this photo the model's face is up along the edge of the frame, yet I had no trouble placing a focus point on one of her eyes with the X-Pro1. With the Nikon D4 I normally use for lifestyle shooting I would never be able to reach this focus point without grabbing focus and holding it while recomposing the shot.

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Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle Lens now $699 (save $200)
Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R Lens now $399 (save $200)
Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R Lens now $749 (save $150)
Fujifilm XF 27mm f/2.8 Lens (Black) now $199 (save $200)
Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 XF R Lens now $499 (save $150)
Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro Lens now $399 (save $250)
Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Lens now $499 (save $200)

1 comment :

  1. I guess that is the real advantage over a "mirror less" system vs a SLR with mirror.

    All in all, Fuji's X system is paving the way for the future of photography.