Steve Walton UK Landscape & Travel Photographer bio picture
  • Steve Walton UK Landscape & Travel Photographer

    Steve Walton is a professional landscape, travel, social documentary photographer and published author.

    Based in the UK, he is the owner of Wild Light Photography Tours and Workshops, regularly taking small groups of like-minded photographers of all abilities to varied and interesting destinations.

    Steve was the 2015-16 President of the Master Photographers Association, a Director of the Master Photographers Association, a Fellow of the Master Photographers Association , a Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photography and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

    He is a three times recipient of the joint MPA/BIPP International Awards UK Landscape and Travel Photographer of the Year and an internationally ranked judge for professional awards and qualifications.

    Photography for Steve is a way of life.

Wild Light Landscape and Seascape Photography Workshops on Harris, Lewis and Scalpay  with Steve Walton: £1299*

*****Wild Light Outer Hebrides 2014 workshop fully booked, 2015 workshop fully booked, 2016 workshop fully booked, September 2017 workshop fully booked, August and November 2017 workshops places available.*****

Our September 2017 workshop is fully booked. I will be leading two additional Wild Light Photography Workshops on Harris & Lewis in 2017.  Additional dates are 1st-5th August 2017 and 21st-25th November 2017

The Outer Hebrides are a landscape photographer’s paradise.  Unique mountain geology, the finest beaches on earth, mysterious prehistoric sites, a strong cultural identity and the changing light of North Atlantic weather patterns set these islands apart.  I have been leading photography workshops in the Outer Hebrides for several years.  Our Wild Light Photography Workshop groups are deliberately small with a maximum of four like-minded photographers and myself to guide you.  Open to all abilities,  the emphasis is on learning and improving  your existing skills with ample individual tuition and a lot of spontaneous fun and ‘off piste’ exploration thrown in. Accommodation at the lovely Harris Hotel in Tarbert, breakfasts, evening meals and transport to locations during the workshop,  pick-up and drop-off at Stornoway Airport and ferry terminals is included.  All dietary requirements can be accommodated.  Image reviews and post processing tuition in the welcoming hotel bar before and after dinner are always a great social time for the group after a day of photography and many of my guests have gone on to become good friends with each other following the workshops.

Sunrises and sunsets at dramatic white sand Hebridean beaches, deserted crofts and the awe-inspiring standing stones at Callanish and it’s satellite sites are our locations for the workshop.  Sunrise at Callanish will provide you with an unforgettable experience and we often follow that with an equally unforgettable sunset at Luskentyre on the same day.  Eilean Glas lighthouse at sunset is well worth the walk out across the moorland on the peat cutter’s track and the concrete hulk of the WW1 coal barge Cretetree are just two of the features we will visit on the little island of Scalpay.  The workshop also includes a visit to see the most famous of all traditional Harris Tweed weavers at work in his weaving shed, Donald John MacKay MBE.

Join me for five days of photography and fun in the Outer Hebrides in 2017.  August and November dates are booking now,  I look forward to greeting you on the Islands and taking you on an inspirational photography tour to remember.

*****

Wild Light Outer Hebrides 2017 Workshop dates: 14th-18th September, 1st-5th August and 21st-25th November (Full BIPP/MPA members and previous Wild Light Workshop attendees will receive a 10% cost reduction)

  • Four nights single occupancy en-suite accommodation at the Harris Hotel in Tarbert
  • Breakfasts and evening dinners included
  • Transport to all locations on the workshop
  • Small groups (maximum of 4 guests per workshop)
  • Open to all abilities
  • Tuition by Steve Walton FMPA FBIPP FRSA
  • Post processing tuition and image reviews in the evenings after dinner
  • Exploration and fun included!

 *****

Hebridean beaches.  From our 2016 Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop.

Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides with Steve Walton

Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides with Steve Walton

 

Callanish, the Jewel in the Crown!  Supermoon and sunrises from our previous Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides

Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis.

Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides with Steve Walton

Changing weather and light on our previous Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides

Wild Light Photography Workshops

Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides with Steve Walton

Dramatic locations on our Wild Light Outer Hebrides 2017 itinerary

Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop locations

Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides with Steve Walton

To ensure maximum opportunity for personal tuition, places are limited to four attendees only on Wild Light Photography Workshops.  Please contact me for booking details.

E: steve@stevewaltonphotography.info

T: +44 (0) 116 2994901

 

The American-style storm naming convention that has been adopted here in the UK has been predetermined and ranges through the full alphabet from A-Z.  The full story is here on the Met Office UK Storm Centre webpage.  Storm Doris visited us yesterday, not the most violent of storms, but Storm Doris was lively enough and there was plenty of evidence of her passing through this morning.  Probable local wind speeds were around 80-90mph here in Leicestershire and trees were brought down around the County, but Storm Doris was short-lived.  She came, made a bit of a fuss and then she disappeared to leave us with a glorious spring-like day within 24 hours.

Taking advantage of the unseasonably warm sun and calm morning, I went for a walk around Thornton Reservoir.  The village was once my home for almost 15 years and the reservoir is an old friend.  Through the years I have been associated with this place, I’ve seen marriages, divorces, dramas, births and deaths, not only within my own family but amongst the villagers I once shared Thornton with too.  More than two decades on since I left, I still miss Thornton village life but the Reservoir is a constant companion and has been since even before I moved to the village.  A walk or a jog around the two and three-quarter mile perimeter is relaxing and realigns the mind.  You can sense the change in seasons by the coming and going of the birds that visit and we’re approaching that cross-over time of year when the winter birds gradually disappear and the first summer visitors begin to arrive.  There were noticeably fewer fieldfare and redwing today than last weekend, but buzzard were calling and displaying and great tits and chaffinches were singing with intent.  We’re only days away from the first chiffchaffs and willow warblers, sand martin and black terns of 2017.

Despite Storm Doris’s brief and noisy visit, we are on the cusp of my favourite time of year.  It’s a time of rebirth and renewal, a time for looking forward, a time for optimism and for planning.  It’s the time of year for good things to happen and progress to be made.  I love the approach of Springtime, even if Doris did briefly put her foot in it.  She tried hard and managed to considerably reduce the height of one of my favourite dead trees by the reservoir.  I’ve seen barn owl, buzzard, kestrel and sparrowhawk perched in those old branches before Doris’s work, but there’s still a good vantage point left in what remains of that old tree.

Storm Doris’s work.  Fuji X100T with TCL-X100

Storm Doris at Thornton Reservoir, Fuji X100T

Dead tree at Thornton Reservoir, a frequent vantage point for passing raptors.

  • February 25, 2017 - 8:33 am

    Sue Coates - Very poignantly written Steve. I’m sure your favourite tree will be named Doris now as a reminder of the damage she did!ReplyCancel

After two years of using my Fuji X100T as a secondary unobtrusive documentary camera at weddings and being very happy with the images, the announcement of the Fuji X-T2 was an eagerly-awaited event for me.  The X-T1 was not a complete enough camera for me to make the sea-change from Nikon to Fuji for my wedding and portrait photography.  I was fully aware that many of my professional colleagues changed camps long before the X-T2 and I had known for the best part of two years that it was only a matter of time until that decision would also be made by myself.  Fujifilm are savvy enough to take heed of their customer’s wants and at the very least dual card slots would be de riguer for my primary wedding camera before I would contemplate the leap.  Sure enough, the official launch spec of the X-T2 included dual card slots and close study of the full story was therefore mandatory.

Small, lightweight, fast, powerful and 24mp with access to superior quality Fuji lenses was a compelling prospect.  Would I really go back to aps-c after years of photographing weddings with Nikon full frame ‘professional’ cameras such as the D4?  The concise answer is yes, like a shot!  With 2017 wedding photography commissions as far-spread as the UK, Republic of Ireland and Sardinia, I was feeling the burden of those big, bulky Nikons each time I stood at a Ryanair check-in desk.  I’d even had a stand-off with a FlyBe check-in person who insisted my camera bag was too heavy to travel as cabin luggage.  She had a point, it weighed well over 10kg and the official FlyBe limit was 7kg.  Fortunately, her Superior, who I had insisted on joining us in the conversation, was a human being and bent the rules ‘Just this once….’.  Whilst I was lurching my way from Birmingham to Knock, firmly wedged into my seat by the morbidly obese fellow traveller to my left and a Dash-8 turbo prop thumping away 10 feet from my right ear, I decided something had to be done.  But what?  A couple of smaller Nikon aps-c cameras like the D7200?  Ugh, no, Nikon don’t make any worthwhile prime lenses for aps-c anyway.  Micro 4/3rds?  Nope, too miniscule, too fiddly, the M4/3 sensor is a step size too far down and I’m a red-blooded bloke.  I know some blokes do it well enough with their tiny pea-shooters, but it’s not for me.

That leaves Leica, Sony, Panasonic or Fuji as potential smaller camera options for my wedding photography.  Two of those are better at making tv’s than logical stills cameras for wedding photographers, another has been having a laugh at the expense of photographer’s bank accounts for years with their abysmal quality control issues and non-existent professional support (I say that as a Leica user, too!), but the other is definitely viable.  Welcome, little Fujifilm X-T2!

Black Friday was the starting gun to launching open season on my credit card, but there was some methodology in my madness: Fujifilm were throwing in double cashback Black Friday offers on all of the lenses I had earmarked.  No such offer on the X-T2, though. Fujifilm know when they’re onto a good thing, but Fujifilm are as good as their word and I did claw back £792 from the Black Friday lens deals.  Not a bad saving, it will pay for a 90mm lens…or 2/3rds of an X100F…..or half way to a second X-T2……or…..

Anyway, the deed was done and a pallet-load of Nikon stuff was shed a few weeks later to settle the credit card bill and preserve my credit rating.  I felt like I had lost 20kg in weight.  Some diet!

The X-T2 arrived with the VPB-XT2 grip, two sets of batteries, the 14mm f2.8, 16mm f1.4, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4 and 56mm f1.2 lenses, a Cactus RF60x flash and a Cactus V6ii transceiver  My secondary camera is the rather lovely and hitherto faithful X100T with it’s twin supplementary lenses.

Did I say something about losing weight?  The point is that at least two of those lenses, the 14mm and 16mm, and the Cactus RF60x flash won’t be carried throughout the day. They will live mainly in the back of the van, rattling around in the  now redundant Think Tank Airport International V2 mobile home that I no longer need, until they are required by necessity.  The main event will be photographed with minimal kit, namely the 23mm & 35mm and the X100T with WCL-X100. Let’s analyse that weight loss: XT-2 with the 35mm in the Spider Holster, X100F with WCL-X100 in the Peak Capture Pro clip on the same belt, the 23mm f1.4 with spare batteries and cards in the Think Tank Speed Freak.  Or substitute the 35mm f1.4 for the 56mm f1.2.

Yes, I could have saved even more weight and a load of money by buying a second X100T and using only a brace of X100T’s with a pair of supplementary lenses.  It’s very do-able and was briefly tempting, but no thanks, I like f1.4 lenses. I learnt a long time ago that four to six carefully selected prime lenses offer a plethora of different options and combinations and you don’t need to carry all of them all of the time.

 

And now we shall begin.

You will have noticed there is not a zoom lens in sight.  I prefer prime lenses until Fujifilm produce a 16-70mm  f1.4 zoom no larger than the 56mm f1.2 and of equal mtf values, that’s all.   I’ve already proven that I’m an optimist, so I’ll happily wait on!  Daydreaming apart, it was my original intention to add a second X-T2 to extend the wedding tackle. Being a model of self-control with such onanistic temptation,  I’m not convinced I really need to extend it in that direction just yet.

The other obvious question is “Why don’t you get an X-Pro2, then?”  I have to be careful how I answer that one because camera-owners (and photographers) can be very territorial about their choice of cameras and far be it from me to upset anyone with an incendiary comment.  It isn’t that I dislike the X-Pro 2,  I like it very much and it is without doubt a quantum leap in evolution beyond the X-Pro1.  My reticence with the X-Pro2 is mainly to do with the fact that my wedding tackle is extremely dear to me.  It is my bread and butter, and for paid work I buy with my head and not with my avarice.  I feel very comfortable with the X-T2 and, for myself,  the XT-2 just exudes more versatility than the X-Pro2 does.  That may change.

Anyway, at the moment I just happen to prefer the idea of an X100F as my next secondary camera, as reported in my previous blog post.  That may change too.

 

Fujifilm revisited, 17 years on.  My X-T2 with 5 primes and an X100T ( to be replaced by an X100F….Possibly) and supplementary converters.  The stuff of this wedding photographer’s dreams of extraordinary weight-loss.

Fuji X-T2 for wedding photography

Fuji X cameras for Weddings

 

I have a long tradition of sticking odd bits of stuff on my cameras and stubbornly refusing to countenance major irritations like shoulder straps. Working is very different to when I’m carrying my feel-good Leica MP with it’s Deadcameras work-of-art leather strap.  That’s just showing-off.   When I’m working,  I need to have both hands free when I’m not actually pressing the shutter button and the best way for me is to use a Spider Holster.  Forget Black Rapids, SunSnipers and even Peak Design Slides. Such things drive me nuts.  The cameras need to be securely out of the way and holstered on my hips.  With camera in hand, I use the Peak Design Cuff for security.  That means I can wave my arms about like a real wedding photographer, or just fluff the bride’s dress without accidentally clobbering a pageboy or flowergirl round the head with a swinging camera.  Holsters and wrist straps only. That’s me. Sorted.

I’m an inveterate lens hood user, I don’t feel dressed without my hood, so the only let-down here is that the generic cheapo hood I’ve stuck on my TCL-X100 vignettes badly.  The front element of the TCL-X100 is very close to the front of the filter threads.  Not close enough to mash a filter into that large disc of glass, but close enough and there is clearly next to no leeway for filters and hoods on the TCL. My method involves keeping the hood on until the vignetting is problematic and then remove it when I have no option.  A total pain! With interiors, it’s usually less of a problem than expansive outdoor images that include areas of even mid tones such as sky, grass, gravel etc.  One other add-on I will not do without is a UV or protection filter on all my lenses at weddings.  I learnt the hard way a number of years ago that soap bubbles blown onto a front lens element by a cherubic pageboy can divert your attention from pressing the shutter button.  It would be far easier and less traumatic to simply wipe a filter or remove and rinse it quickly in the gents than be up to my elbows in someone’s goo, should it happen again.

The third go faster stick-on bit for my X100T is my JB Camera Designs recycled plastic grip case. It has a glove-like fit, non-slip finish and a tripod socket.  All of the three stick-on bits, the JB Gripcase the Chinese wooden thumb grip and Peak Design Cuff  combine to improve the handling without excessive bulking-up.  The final stick-on sticky bit is the Expert Shield LCD screen protector.  This works a treat and makes that nose-grease you smear all over your screen all but invisible.  They are great fun to attach, buy one, follow the instructions and you’ll find out why.  If all goes well in your dust, pet, child and human-free home, you won’t have a clue why I make this point.  The X100T (or X100F) is not the fastest camera in use but these tweaks have improved the handling and that helps my personal hand-eye-brain response time.  I have a Peak Design Capture Pro clip and Pro Pad on my Spider Holster belt and the X100T sits there happily and out of the way when not earning it’s keep.

 

 

Fuji X100T

Fuji X100T, WCL-X100 and TCL-X100 converters

 

The observant will have noticed the Peak Design anchors on the strap lugs which seems to be at odds with my anti shoulder strap ranting.  They are there for my non-wedding photography outdoor activities where a shoulder strap, or rather a Peak Design Leash, is a better option for once.  It’s also the obvious place to carry spare anchors in the event you need one quickly, which of course never happens.  The wooden thumb thing was purchased via Ebay for peanuts and probably made by a 10 year old in a Shanghai sweatshop. I find it invaluable for shooting one-handed Zombie style with the camera at arm’s length or Ninja-style at close quarters to get observational storytelling images like this:

 

Freya and Skylar waiting for Nikki to arrive at Shearsby Bath

Freya and Skylar waiting for Nikki’s arrival

 

Let’s look at the X-T2 as a primary wedding camera, after all that’s one of the two main reasons I bought it.

If you’re going down this wedding photography route with the X-T2, you will need the VPB-XT2 grip.  I was a little disappointed by this realisation at first because the whole objective was to lighten the load and adding a grip to the camera seemed like a backward step.  That is until I worked it out that the VPB exponentially boosts the camera’s performance. The frame rate of up to 11fps is the obvious immediate effect and the camera feels finely balanced.  Despite my initial irritation that I would need it, the VPB-XT2’s function has been carefully considered by Fujifilm.  It transforms the handling and functionality in all orientations and the size and additional weight is soon forgotten.  It is still a much smaller and lighter package than my D4’s were and the joystick control gives the impression of a D4 that shrank in the wash.

The battery life was something of a concern after I greedily ripped open the packaging on delivery day, charged the battery and began to play with the set-up menus. The battery ‘meter’ icon seemed to be showing discharge at an alarming rate and I wondered how may of the new 126s batteries I would need to order to get through a wedding.  With a few totally Fuji weddings behind me now, I can say that a fully-charged set of three batteries with the VPB-XT2 attached will easily get through a typical day from bride in prep to everyone being seated for the wedding breakfast, ie, around 6 hours shooting or so.  As ‘they’ often say with an air of superiority and gravitas on camera forums, YMMV.  It depends on your camera set-up and how many images you shoot in that time.  My typical quota for that coverage would be 600-750 images and no more.  I have a life beyond Adobe Creative Cloud and I aim to have a wedding fully edited and images online for the couple within 2-3 hours.  If you include evening coverage, say 10-12 hours in your day, then you should expect to make at least one complete change of batteries.  Again, YMMV.  What I have noticed is that the camera will let you know beyond all doubt that the batteries need changing, it seems to function but does not write to the cards with low batteries.  The battery thing is a drawback compared to my previous Nikon behemoths which would work all week and power the venue too.  But those days are gone,  so just get on with it.

The EVF is pretty much a joy to use but gets a bit whacky in contrasty light, but I’ll get used to it.  What I really relish is the total withdrawal from having to periodically mess about with FoCal to calibrate my Nikon dslr autofocus, now I can watch paint dry instead. The paint-over bits that were pulled off the wall when I stuck the FoCal target to it.  Joy!  There has also been some discussion going around concerning the X-T2’s low light autofocus behaviour.  All I can say is that the evening do’s and first dances that I have covered have thrown up no issues so far with the X-T2’s autofocus and most wedding venues are caves at this time of year.  Everything seems work more or less as normal, albeit noticeably slower than a Nikon D4.  But then you’d expect that, wouldn’t you.

Fuji XT-2, VPB-XT2, 35mm f1.4

Fuji X-T2 with VPB-XT2 and 35mm f1.4

 

Nikki

Nikki, Fuji X-T2 with 35mm f1.4

 

What about the lenses, then?

Every single one of the five lenses I have bought initially seem to be superlative.  All but the 14mm have had regular wedding use, the most used being the 23mm f1.4 and  35mm f1.4,  I have used the 16mm f1.4 slightly more often than the 56mm f1.2.  That is no surprise to me, 35mm and 50mm are my preferred full frame focal lengths anyway and it’s one more reason I have no desire to lug a 24-70mm f2.8 full frame zoom around with me.   All perform nicely at wide and fully open apertures, even the cheapest and oldest of them, the 35mm f1.4, is very sharp in the centre at full bore and it is my favourite of all in many ways.   The 56mm f1.2 lives up to it’s reputation, it’s a worthy aps-c alternative to my Nikon 85mm f1.4G.  The 16mm f1.4 is a razor and absolutely eclipses my previous Nikon 24mm f1.4G.  Short of copying and pasting mtf graphs here, which is a bit pointless and boring, I will say I am more than happy with all five lenses, which in themselves justify my Nikon to Fujifilm conversion.  All are a match for, or demonstrably better than the best from most manufacturers and they make me want to buy another one.  Or two.

If I add any more lenses to the quiver, it will probably be the 90mm f2.  Fujifilm won’t rest on their laurels with lenses or cameras and it will be interesting to see where they concentrate their efforts next.  No doubt the new GFX large sensor camera will divert a lot of attention, but I suspect there is much more to come in the X series camera and lens repertoire.  The way things are panning out, it seems to make perfect sense that Fujifilm now have two distinct, non competing ranges in the GF and the X series.

 

Millie taking a nap from Flowergirling

Millie taking a nap from flowergirling

 

The X-T2 is considerably more quiet than my Nikon cameras, not as near silent with the mechanical shutter as the X100T, but quiet enough to be completely unobtrusive in most wedding situations. The tilting screen is useful for image like the one above, it makes composing a doddle and the instant feedback of live view instantly shows changes to the exposure.  This was an interesting benefit from my point of view, I have always worked manually with close attention to the histogram and only occasionally using auto iso.  The Fuji X-T2 has profoundly changed my method of working, and I can’t see me going back to an optical finder for wedding photography.  Most of the controls I use for basic image-making are on the outside of the camera and I can see at a glance where I am with composition and exposure before and during any changes I make.  When you’ve clocked-in to the method, it’s liberating.

Nikki at Shearsby Bath X-T2

Nikki at Shearsby Bath

One concern I did have about returning to aps-c was with noise at higher iso’s.  I had plenty of experience of that back in the DX-only days of Nikon, even with the much less densely-packed pixels we had to work with back then I would often need to resort to some means of noise reduction in post processing.  Whilst the Fuji files are noisier than Nikon FX, the noise is even and grain-like in character.  The files also seem to be relatively flexible.  On a recent model shoot I was doing some long exposures with a fountain in the background and using a 6-stop neutral density filter.  Having underexposed two exposures by a full 6 stops, I managed to recover the images well enough in ACR to make acceptable A3 prints.  This was from  RAW files that were totally black in Bridge and ACR!  I doubt I could have rescued such a grossly underexposed NEF.  I have found that where I would quite happily have used 6400iso with a Nikon D4, I wouldn’t push the X-T2 much beyond 1600iso for comparable noise levels.  That is not to say you can’t go higher, you can do what you like,  it’s to say that noise is about two stops from where I used to be with Nikon, but it isn’t a problem.

Ria, floodlit

Ria, floodlit Fuji X-T2

 

I’m pleased with the leap of faith back to Fujifilm for wedding cameras after my 17-year hiatus.  So far in 2017 I have been challenged by repeated dull, cold, wet and windy conditions for my Fujifilm wedding conversion, but I’ve been around long enough to understand there is no better way than to jump straight in and get on with it.  As I said earlier in this blog, I have changed my working methods and the post processing is also faster.  Fujifilm’s colours are better than the colours my Nikons produced, there is no argument there. Skin tone shadows are clean and free of acid yellow and the camera profiles are very nice, especially Classic Chrome and Acros + green.  I’m still learning the camera, but the real point is that I’m enjoying the conversion.  I can’t see my Fujifilm inventory stopping here, either.  So much for ‘downsizing!

 

-ooOoo-

 

The second part of my Fuji X-T2 journey will be about my landscape photography and cover my experiences with the X-T2 on my Wild Light Photography Workshops in Cornwall and the Faroe Islands in April 2017

  • February 24, 2017 - 11:41 am

    koen - Hi,
    nice article.

    grtzReplyCancel

The two years that have passed since I bought the Fujifilm X100T have seen me elevate this diminutive rangefinder-esque powerhouse from intended personal use only to frequent professional use.  It really is that good,  it has surpassed my expectations both in handling and in output quality and has been the major driver behind my total conversion to the Fuji XT-2 and a tranche of fast prime lenses for all my wedding and portrait work.  I’ve waited for the X100F with a lot of anticipation and I have had the opportunity to spend an hour with it on the streets of Leeds ahead of the shipping date.

The X100T would be a tough act to follow and it’s successor would have to be very good indeed to tempt existing X100 users to upgrade.  Fujifilm considers it’s products rather more diligently than many camera manufacturers,  they listen to their customers and it’s now a  given that Fuji’s upgrade cameras are invariably worthwhile progressions.

When Fuji recently announced that they would be running a number of X100F pre-release “Touch and Try”  days around the UK, I checked the diary and decided to apply to attend one of these sessions at Dale Photographic in Leeds.

The session lasted from 9.30am until 12 noon and took the format of a photo walk around Leeds City Centre for a couple of hours of street photography, led by Fuji X Ambassador, Matt Hart.   We were each given an X100F and a memory card.  The camera was to be handed back at the end of the session, but Fujifilm kindly allowed us to keep the 16gb cards.  I decided to take my WCL-X100 wide angle converter lens with me.  I use it more often than not on my X100T and I was keen to see how it would fare with the increased resolution of the X100F.

It’s worth noting that the latest X100 series converter lenses have a magnetic contact that ‘tells’ the camera that a converter is attached.  Otherwise, for those who already have first generation converter lenses, you have to rummage around in the X100F menu to input the converter information manually, as you do with X100, X100S & X100T cameras.

 

Passer-by.  County Arcade, Leeds.

Fuji X100F

Fujifilm X100F with WCL-X100

 

Adobe CC does not currently support X100F RAF files so I was restricted to recording  fine jpegs during the walk. The upside is that the X-Trans iii sensor and X-Processor Prog in-camera processing  can be instantly appreciated when zooming into a Fuji X100F jpeg.  All of the images here were recorded as fine quality jpegs using the Fuji Acros with green filter camera profile. The file quality is excellent and the increase in resolution to the 24mp sensor is clear to see when compared to the 16mp of the earlier X100 cameras.

 

Little Street Devil, Leeds.

Fuji X100T

Fuji X100F

 

Having now spent a couple of months with the XT-2, the user interface of the X100F is virtually identical and intuitive.  Anyone currently using the XPro-2 or XT-2 will likely not have to resort to the user manual to get started. It really is a case of simply picking the X100F up with a charged battery and card installed and you are out of the blocks.  The TCL and WCL conversion lenses work just as well as they do on all other X100 series cameras.  As I was restricted to jpeg recording, it was not possible to fully correct the slight barrel distortion produced by the WCL-X100 as seen in the image below.

 Mobile Man, Leeds.

Fujifilm X100F

Fuji X100F, Acros +G

 

The autofocus point is controlled by a similar joystick to the XT-2.  It works well enough, but if I’m completely honest I feel the old method of using the D-pad to select single point af is more precise and less ‘jumpy’.  That is not a legacy of using the X100T and dslr’s such as the Nikon D750 because my (now sold) Nikon D4 also had a joystick and I never really like it that much either.  This is purely personal and is certainly not a deal-breaker, despite being an evolution that camera designers seem to believe we photographers want and need.  It’s there, it works and it’s ok.  The great leap forward is with the revised autofocus, it is head and shoulders above the earlier iterations in speed, accuracy, number and spread of af points.

 

Street Vendor, Leeds.

Fuji X100F

Fujifilm X1ooF, Acros +G with WCL-X100

Setting iso is done by pulling up the outer ring on the shutter speed dial, old school style. Of course it’s a throwback method, but I suspect it has more to do with not cluttering the top plate with too many dials and providing a more recognisable manual iso control than one which is buried in a menu, even if it is very near the surface in a Q menu.  I like the mechanical iso setting.  It was a good enough several decades ago and hasn’t lost any functionality during that time.  It works and you can see exactly where you are at a glance.  It’s something you’ll use without thinking too much.  The beauty of the X100 series lies in the simplicity of the design and with the X100F, everything you need for basic settings to create and control images is on the outside of the camera.

 

Immobile Man, Leeds.

Fujifilm X100F

Fuji X100F, Acros +G

 

The other obvious change to the control layout of the X1ooF is the front command dial which can be used to control iso and is a real bonus when the shutter speed and aperture are ‘locked’.  It’s a welcome additional method of exposure control, such a simple and effective control that works perfectly.

 

Passing Pret,  Leeds.

Fuji X100F

Fujifilm X100F, Acros + G with WCL-X100

Fuji have included a digital zoom in the X100F.  This gives equivalent angles of view to 50mm and 70mm (in 35mm terms), but allows only for jpeg recording.  I can see the usefulness of this but for myself, I am happier with the WCL and TCL conversion lenses as these provide for full RAW capture.  I need RAW files for my commissioned work workflow, but I can fully understand how the digital zoom function would keep many photographers perfectly happy without need for converters.  At least the option is there should I ever choose to use it and I’m happy to have that option.

 

Happy lad, Leeds.

Fuji X100F

Fujifilm X100F, Acros +G

If you’re reading this, you probably know what the Fuji X100 series cameras are all about and will not have learnt anything you didn’t already know about the X100F. I’ve often said that the X100T is the best digital camera I have ever used, and I’ve used many digital cameras since my first one back in 1999.  There are some cameras that I will never part with and they all happen to be film cameras: my Hasselblad 503CW, Fuji GSW690iii, Fuji GX617 and my Leica MP are all cameras that have been with me throughout my career as a professional photographer.  Through thick and thin and ups and downs, they are my fellow travellers in life and my career was built with them.

I have never been able to say that about any digital camera, for those are my work tools and I’ve never felt that same bond with any dslr.  They are mainly transient and sometimes forgettable, but the Fuji X100 series strikes a chord that no dslr has managed to play to my ear so far.  It’s a brilliant camera for the documentary and travel photographer, it’s small, responsive, configurable and produces output of extremely fine quality.  When you pick the X100F up, you simply want to use it.   After an hour of use on the streets of Leeds, the X100F is the best digital camera I will own next.

Don’t waste your time mulling it over.  You are a photographer, go and buy a Fuji X100F.

With thanks to Dale Photographic for their hospitality, Fujifilm UK for the opportunity and to Matt Hart for his company.  It was a fun morning!

 

  • February 15, 2017 - 8:50 pm

    Sue Coates - A very informative and an extremely well-written review. Look forward to reading your future reviews.ReplyCancel

Join our small group of like-minded photographers on our Wild Light Photography Workshop, based in Northumberland in May 2018

Our three day Wild Light Photography Workshop in Northumberland takes place from 11th-13th May 2018.  This workshop will visit iconic locations at Bamburgh, Holy Island, Dunstanburgh, the Cheviot Hills, Alnwick, Craster, Belford and many more in the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  May is a perfect time for the workshop, the daylight hours are longer, the weather is often settled and the unique and the diverse flora and fauna in this region will be at it’s best and most active.  For coastal photography, the beaches of the Northumberland coast are some of the finest in the UK.  The foreground interest of Northumberland’s beaches ranges from rounded boulders near Dunstanburgh, dune systems near Bamburgh and rocky oucrops of The Great Whin Sill ensure our carefully selected locations are all particularly good for long exposure coastal photography.

The towns and villages in this area are quietly remote and very photogenic.  Moving inland, we have options to visit locations based around Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviot Hills.  Northumberland is a landscape photographer’s paradise and no visit would be complete without an excursion to Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, with it’s iconic boat sheds, lobster pots and dramatic castle.  Seabird and marine wildlife are prolific and as this workshop is timed to coincide with the peak of the breeding season when the seabirds are at their most active and feeding their young, you may wish to extend your visit before or after the workshop to include a boat trip from Seahouses out to the Farne Islands.  You will see many breeding species including puffin, kittiwake, guillemot, razorbill, shag and gannet, seals etc., all at close quarters.

Northumberland has so much to offer with endless photographic opportunities.  I’m excited to return to Northumberland and looking forward to leading this workshop in May 2018.  The cost includes two nights accommodation, made to order breakfasts on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th and evening dinners on 11th and 12th May.  Transport to locations on the workshop and photography tuition by myself are included and the full coat is £395.  For returning guests who have previously attended my Wild Light Photography Workshops, the cost is discounted to £350.

Please contact me for full details of the itinerary and booking information for our Wild Light Photography Workshop in Northumberland 2018.

 

-ooOoo-

*Three remaining places available for Wild Light Northumberland Photography Workshop, May 2018!

The workshop includes:

  • En-suite luxury accommodation on Friday 11th May and Saturday 12th May 2018
  • Breakfasts (made to order) on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2018
  • Evening dinners (a la carte menu) on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May 2018
  • Transport to locations during the workshop
  • Improving your photography and learning within a small group, with fun guaranteed!

The workshop does not include:

  • Travel to and from the workshop
  • Lunches
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Photography equipment, editing hardware of software
  • Photography and post processing of images tuition and image reviews by professional landscape and travel photographer, Steve Walton FMPA FBIPP FRSA*

*Steve is a 3 times winner of BIPP/MPA UK Landscape & Travel Photographer of the Year, President of the Master Photographers Association 2016 and a Director of  the Master Photographers Association, Fellow of Master Photographers Association,  Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photography and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

 

Bamburgh Castle, image by Steve Walton, made during our May 2015 Wild Light Photography Workshop in Northumberland.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Bamburgh Castle at sunrise, May 2015

Camera: Fuji GX617

Lens: Fujinon SWD 90mm

Film: Fuji Velvia 50 iso

 

At the time of posting this, there is only one place left on my Wild Light Outer Hebrides landscape and seascape photography workshop on 14th-18th September, based at the Harris Hotel in Tarbert.   Due to the popularity of my Outer Hebrides landscape and seascape  photography workshops, I am holding two additional workshops in 2017. These will take place on 1st-5th August and 21st-25th November.  These additional dates give a choice of two seasons and vastly different light and weather conditions to work with.

August is often warm, settled and sunny.  The Islands are idyllic in summer with wild flowers, white sand beaches and blue sea.  Daylight hours are long and the  twilight of night time is a great opportunity for those moody long exposures.

Winter conditions bring another dimension to landscape photography and there is a good chance that the Harris Hills will be snow-capped in late November.   Stormy winter skies are frequent and will give attendees the opportunity to create dramatic images, particularly around the times of sunrise and sunset.

The cost is £1299 per person.  Groups are limited to four guests only to maximise individual tuition. The cost includes single occupancy accommodation for four nights at the Harris Hotel, breakfasts, evening dinners, transport to all locations on the workshop and personal tuition by myself.  All abilities are welcome and tuition is commensurate with your current level.  The objective of the workshop is for guests to join a small group of like-minded photographers to learn, gain knowledge and improve upon their existing skills.

To attend the workshop, a deposit of £300 is payable on booking and this is deductible from the balance.  The balance is payable10 weeks in advance of the workshop starting date.  Payments can be made by cash, cheque, PayPal and Bank Transfer  Please contact me via the contact form for full details and booking information.

New landscape and seascape photography workshop dates in the Outer Hebrides! 

Photography workshops in the Outer Hebrides

                      Inspirational Photography Tours and Workshops in the Outer Hebrides with Steve Walton.

 

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