A wedding with the X-T1

Discussion in 'Fuji' started by KillRamsey, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    My best friend just got hitched. They had a semi-pro friend come in to shoot the ceremony and some of the reception, but asked if I could bring my camera and "go nuts," essentially. So for Friday night, Saturday morning, late reception, and Sunday, I was the only person around with more than an iPhone or a point&shoot in their hands. I enjoyed it immensely, and I think I got some shots they'll be really happy to have for a long time. Some stats, and some impressions of the gear performance:

    - Total exposures for 3 days was about 700.
    - After first-pass deletions, that dropped to 650.
    - After final deletions, 601, and some of that is from shooting in film sim bracketing the first night. Call it 570 actual individual shots.
    - Lenses used were the 14 (probably 10% of total shots), 35 (70% of shots or so) and the 56 (20% I would say).
    - Went through one full battery, did not exhaust the second one.
    - Shot the first 1/2 of the weekend in RAW+FINE, then suddenly discovered that I'd filled the 16gig card in mid-ceremony, switched to a slower 32 gig card and FINE only.

    Performance feedback...

    X-T1: Only problem I had was that shooting the ceremony in Raw+Fine caused it to freeze up by the end. Indicator light on the back would just go solid red, camera would freeze up entirely until I pulled the battery. Happened during the kiss, so that sucked. Eventually shooting only in Fine stopped it, but the thing was warm to the touch. I'm pretty sure it was heat related, though it could just have been a VERY full buffer, but still, it shouldn't lock up like that for 10+ seconds over and over. This was with that 16gig "top speed" card, the fastest one you can currently get. -shrug-. So that one incident aside, the camera did very, very well, and was a joy to use. Having the AFL lock button at the top right corner of the back was very helpful. I would set up as something good was happening, lock focus on them, then compose and fire away.

    14mm f2.8: During the day, it was great for grabbing all of the room and clawing it into the frame around my subject. I remain convinced that it is the sharpest lens I have, optically. Keep the ISO reasonable, and pixel peep deep into the corners... it is eerily clean, everytime. Where it suffers, however, is in the dark. The few times I tried to use it for people dancing, it just could not manage to stay in my "happy" setting zone. In order to get anywhere within spitting distance of acceptable shutter times, it had to use 6400. I just don't love the XT files up at 6400. They're ok, they're usable, they're better than yesteryear, etc etc etc. I know. But when I compare them to 3200 and under, I don't love them. So the faster 2 lenses pulled duty 99% of the time at night, with a few exceptions (girls looking at music on laptop). When I could brace the camera on the table and shoot people not dancing, that lens cranked out some astoundingly clean, magical Fuji pictures. Swoon. I tried to use the flash, too, but those pictures were a hot mess. Bright white glare, terrible color, and an intrusive shooting experience.

    35mm f1.4: I am slowly but surely becoming more comfortable with this focal length. People always talk about "50's" as this everyday walkaround lens, but when I look through a "50" I always think "this is to long / I have to back up." I think it's largely an adjustment on my part after having been very happily married to the X100 (and its 35 equiv lens) for 2+ years of heavy use. So the mid-length focal length was helpful, as was the ability to throw the cam in 1/4000 and have it select fairly wide apertures when I wanted that. I shot much of the dark evening dancing with this lens, and with the camera set to f1.4 and 1/30, and with EV dropped at least 1/3. That netted me ISO's between 1250 and 5000 for the most part, which made for clean enough files for me to pull up jpg's in post cleanly to make up for the underexposure. Overall that lens is a star performer, and the only thing I wish it had was a push/pull focus clutch like the 14.

    56 f1.2: I finally learned, after much file peeping, why f1.2 is maybe TOO thin sometimes. That green fringing you get wide open in the bokeh in the foreground and afterground... that showed up in about 1/4 of the shots that were wide open and there was a strong contrast line somewhere before or after the plane of focus. Coming from the X100, I at first felt like the "85" was a mile long. Now having tried to shoot the bride and groom from 50 feet away during the ceremony, I realize how "mid length" it really is. I did a lot of cropping. If you have room to back up, it's a stellar "night time dancing" action lens. And obviously it excels at portraiture.

    Some of my favorites, and why...

    Setting up 20 feet away, locking focus, and waiting for one side to score netted me a lot of shots like this. I wasn't seen, and two sides of the now merged family got to know each other better.
    14793996822_37cef8c25e_c.jpg KBRX7242RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    One of my new mental rules where the 14 is concerned with shots of people is "Get Closer." I also need to keep them centered and out of the corners.This is a good example of it.
    14607824127_d8d373e648_c.jpg KBRX7369RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    The 56, doing its thing:
    14607704978_9a1cf95342_c.jpg KBRX7464RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    14607635130_8e0cee3a81_c.jpg KBRX7471RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    14771339416_6ce0e0b19d_c.jpg KBRX7557RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    Action Shots...
    14607630150_12b757f41f_c.jpg KBRX7690RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    Air Guitar...
    14607695618_4ea5e1a017_c.jpg KBRX7823RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    The 14 pulls off a few good low-light shots, with help from a sturdy table or some sparklers. When you can work within its parameters, this thing will reward you handily. (Side note: the two girls didn't even see me take these first two.)
    14607626640_0e7c639093_c.jpg KBRX7842RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    14607812397_35573aaaa0_c.jpg KBRX7843RT by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    14607712738_074083f3c2_c.jpg KBRX8105 by gordopuggy, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 7
  2. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    Excelllent report and photos, Kyle!
    The 56mm looks like a great lens indeed.
    At first, I was somewhat puzzled when you mentioned that you used the 14mm, but the shots came out very well, especially the shot of the women and the glass in front.
    Did you try the high performance mode? It drains the battery but helps in taking a lot of shots (i used it witthe whale shots and Ch mode).
    Thanks again. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and viewing!
  3. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA

    No! I forget that it exists, and have in fact never activated it. What's the gist of it... I assume faster wakeup time, but any other boosts?
  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Great stuff Kyle, and great write up on lessons learned. I see a future as a wedding pro for you!

  5. Well done, they should be a great addition to their collection.
  6. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Ray I'm a little uncomfortable with getting praise from you, so let's please not make a habit of that. As for being a wedding pro, I'm sure you were kidding, and I'm not sure it's something I would actually enjoy. I enjoy it now, for friends, because I feel like I can over-deliver on the agreed-upon price point (which is $0.00). If I got paid, I'd have to do a LOT more learning, and then I suspect I would find it repetitive after a while. It's a great challenge for now, and I feel like this time I inched closer to "acceptable" results as viewed by the couple. I learned a lot. I'd like to do it again sometime, but not forever. And I would love to get some pointers from people on these shots.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think that what you've managed to do here is capture the valuable of all wedding photos, and that is the candid moments. Even better is how well those images have turned out.

    I must have developed a subconscious barrier to always back off fast primes a little from wide-open unless I'm desperately scrambling for more light at ridiculous ISOs. I generally find the gain in edge sharpness or reduction in fringing to be worth it, and as you mention there is such a thing as too little depth-of-field.

    Way to condemn a man to the salt mines, Ray :biggrin:
  8. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Nice work - I'm sure your friends were delighted.
  9. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    It's more than battery life and wakeup time. Processing is beefed up, resulting in faster AF and processing. I assume that writing buffer content to memory card depends mostly on the writing speed (determined by camera's througput and card's writing speed, if I'm correct).

    I experienced a noticeable increase in speed (and a notieable drop in battery life) by using the HP mode. I was amazed how many shots I could take and store in a single burst. But you need a fast memory card!

    see also: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3632721

  10. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Ahhhhhh, very cool, pniev. Thank you!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. bluzcity

    bluzcity Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 24, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    You captured raw emotion and that's a good thing. #1, 3, and 6 ring my bell. Good work.