Eighteen Months With Fujifilm – Reflecting On The Move

It was a little over 18 months ago that my decade with Nikon came to an end. I remember struggling to decide what to do. My heart had been set on upgrading to a Nikon D500, but then at the Camera Show 2019 in Birmingham I played with numerous cameras and really disliked how the D500 felt in the hand. On the other hand, I just loved everything I seen and touched from Fujifilm. I went home and researched everything there was too know about The Fujifilm cameras available, and the story began.

A Bit Of Background

There are a number of reasons that Fujifilm sprang to mind when deciding to upgrade from my D3200 and D5300 cameras (I’d also had a D40 and D7100 over the years before these). First of all, I had briefly used a Fuji S1 DSLR before moving to Nikon, plus during the time I owned Nikon camera I also owned a number of Fujifilm bridge cameras. I always wanted my Nikon images to look like the Fuji images, but sadly they never did.

Another reason I swayed towards Fujifilm was the very granula analogue controls and looks that the cameras have. Since I was around twelve I’d had access to or owned various 35mm SLR cameras from Zenith, Minolta, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax and more. I’d also owned many instant film cameras and other formats, but the 35mm SLR cameras were never far from me. Having read that the Fujifilm also emulate old film stocks very faithfully, my mind was made up and I purchased a Fujifilm X-T20. It was everything I had wanted. Smaller than the clunky DSLRs, stylish, plenty of control without going into the menu and I could sell all my Nikon kit and just afford it with two lenses.

The Journey

It was a huge learning curve moving from a DSLR to a Fujifilm mirrorless camera (just getting used to the fact there’s no PASM dial alone was interesting!). It was akin of moving from throwing paper airplanes, to suddenly flying a jet fighter. Yes, the basic principles are the same, but that’s as far as it goes.

Having the ability to see exactly how your photo turns out before you press the button is game changing, having film simulations (or very advanced colour profiles) is game changing, having 14fps instead of 5 is game changing, quick flip screen… Analogue controls… Hundreds of auto focus points… Eye auto focus… Edge to edge focusing… Huge selection of bracketing modes… Upgrading firmware from phone app… Amazing low light performance… All game changing in everyday use.

I loved the X-T20 more than any camera I had ever owned. It transformed my photography because of everything mentioned and more. Photography was fun again, and I adopted a philosophy of one camera one lens to keep my kitbag small and to really push my artistic abilities. If you look through my images, you can visually see the point that it changes from Nikon to Fujifilm. If never been happier.

Having such power from such a small and capable camera really helps you enjoy photography again. No more heavy bags, you can carry your camera anywhere, and enjoy taking photos again. In fact, I’ve enjoyed taking photographs and the Fujifilm ecosystem so much that I traded in my X-T20 for the top of the line X-T3.

The Future

Now I have what is arguably the best APS-C camera, with even more features than the X-T20, and much faster processor as well as other refinements (faster frames per second, much better auto focus, more simulations, bigger EVF etc) I can happily build on what I’ve been working with. This includes my onecameraonelens personal website which has regular photography posts filled with my photos, the Fuji film simulation section of onecameraonelens (which is proving hugely popular), Great Photography Walks South Wales which I run (as a meeting group and a Facebook group) and which allows me to take images in places I have never or rarely visited before and lastly to concentrate on the Fujifilm Simulations Group which I Admin.

As far as photo development is concerned, I really want to concentrate even more on getting everything I want in camera. I only want one or two images per shoot to be artistically edited in any way. I want to visit more towns and cities and let the documentary photography overtake my landscape photography. I also want to concentrate more on creating more film simulations as well as grow my website.

Conclusion

It’s not hard to imagine how much I’ve fallen in love with Fujifilm. Everything from the tactile controls before you take the photo, through to the finished product is just perfect. It’s the system for photographers who just want to enjoy taking photos.

I’m enjoying being out with the camera, it’s non-obtrusive these days which makes so much of a difference. The images I take are sharper than ever before, I can shoot in lower light and I never get to miss a shot because of lack of burst or buffer speed.

I’m looking forward to taking photos, shooting until my cards are full of my batteries are empty. Because you can never look at photos and opportunities you’ve never taken and quantity with quality is a feeling second to none.

Why Landscape Photography Is Perfect For Beginners

When you get your new camera, chances are you’ll want something to photograph, and there are only so many times you can photograph the cat, family members and your back garden before they get annoyed or you get bored. The next best thing to do is go out with your camera and take photographs of the surrounding landscapes! They’re not scary places, there’s rarely any people and you can concentrate on what your doing.

The great thing about landscape photography compared to other types of photography is that with little skill, you can create amazing photos. This is due to the fact that nature can be so beautiful and you have so many options. You see a mountain, the sea, cliffs, horses in a field, an empty farm house, and you can literally photograph anywhere near them and you’ll have a result. Even the newest of photographers will usually have some understanding of composition, and I dare to argue that when you’re new, you are far more experimental with your compositions, because you’re learning your craft.

As time goes on, you’ll understand that weather conditions, time of day and the type of light that is available can enhance your photographs, and there’s little to adapt other than learning to work with the things you’ve learned. You’ll experiment with light and shadows much more, and you’ll build on what you know. It’s a perfect learning ground, where the only things that change are the light and weather conditions. You can fine tune your craft with the certainty that you’ll always be in your safe place, with little risk to others, and the knowledge that you’ll get some amazing images.

Landscape photography also lends heavily on allowing you to continuously work and improve on your editing skills. Unlike other forms of photography where colours can hugely vary, you know what colour the skies, water and landscapes are. You’re already programmed with that knowledge, so when you’re at the computer editing, you know straight away if you are on the right track with the edit you are making.

A lot of photographers will almost exclusively do landscape photography, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Firstly it gets you outdoors, and secondly, of all the other forms of photography its the easiest to sell and the easiest to please other people with. As mentioned, it’s also a great place to learn your craft, as there’s so much opportunity to play with your camera and the settings that go into capturing an image.

If you’re just starting out with photography, get outside, and photograph to your heart’s content. With digital photography there’s no cost, and nobody ever got better by doing less photography. If you’ve got a printer, use it on a regular basis, print out your favourite images and just look at them. Give them to friends and family to look at, and take in any feedback. There’s a myth that you should only do photography for yourself, but if you think your work is great and others don’t, it can be really detrimental to you progressing in photography. Of course you should be able to please other people with your images, it will boost your moral and give you confidence to get better.

Once you’ve taken the time with landscape photography, try other genres such as street photography, portraits, architecture or any other kind of photography. Yes, they are so much more challenging, but you’ll reap the rewards for your efforts.

Conclusion

Starting with photography can be a minefield. You’ll read books, watch videos and listen to others. Even if you don’t plan on doing landscape photography, give it a try. Your subject won’t be moving, you’ll have beautiful photos, and you can concentrate. Landscape photography can really be the place to start your career, and it’s one you can dip your toes into time after time in the knowledge you are learning new techniques and enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with it.

Lockdown Photography Is Tough

Recently in Wales we had what they called a “Firebreak” lockdown where there were restrictions on where we could go, what shops were open and what places we could visit. I took advantage of this to try and be creative with some photography, so my goal was to take a photo a day.

I managed 15 photographs from the 17 days that we were locked down. Sometimes I just had to force myself to take them, sometimes they came naturally. These photos are not meant to be particularly awesome in any way, but I think I managed to grab one or two that interest me.

Images were edited in a mobile phone app called “Koda”, which has many filters for old cameras, plus effects and other such things. I used it just to use something different.

Here are my 15 photos from Wales’ Lockdown, October/November 2020.

A variety of photographs, taking any opportunities I could to get the photograph. It’s surprising how hard it can be if you loose your mojo because of circumstances.

Looking at the images after I have put this together, I quite like a number of them a lot more than I thought, plus I quite like the editing style. Let me know what you think!

— Hopefully that’s the last of the lockdowns, but you never know! If you enjoyed what you have seen, please like, comment and subscribe to my blog. Thank you all very much for your time.

Autumnal Shoot In Margam Park (Kodachrome Slide)

Today was the first day we were able to get out with Great Photography Walks South Wales since Wales came out of lockdown yesterday. We prayed for good weather as it has been very wet lately, and we were lucky enough to have a few fine hours to get some amazing shots of Margam at this wonderful time of year.

My plan for the day was simple. Capture the wonders of autumn, in camera, using only my Fred Herzog Kodachrome Slide Film film simulation from the jpegs that my new Fujifilm X-T3 produces. This simulation is really meant for street photography and architecture, but I thought I would give it a go in the countryside, and I am more than happy with the results!

A couple of the images were cropped slightly using Photoscape X Pro, and they were all resized to 1200×800. No other edits were performed to these images.

This is definitely a look that I really like. The film recipe I used has grain in it, and so if you zoom you will see added grain, but I think that adds to the filmic qualities of the images.

The more I use Fujifilm camera’s, the more I just want to shoot using jpeg as they are so perfect, however I still shoot raw and jpeg just so I can have something to go back to should I need to, plus I can use the raw files to design more film simulation recipes.

If you’ve liked what you’ve seen, taking into consideration they are straight from camera, please comment, like and subscribe to my blog. Thank you all for taking the time to visit.

— You’ll find a full section of Fujifilm Film Simulations here, and there are more added on a regular basis.

Photographers Spotlight Series: Marc Roovers


Welcome to One Camera One Len’s Photographers Spotlight Series, where we discover other photographers who you may find extremely interesting. They share their love for photography, their stories and a selection of their images. This is a regular feature, see the end of the article for details.


Hello,

My name is Marc Roovers, the youngest of four and born in 1961. My brother started a photography club in the village where we lived and it didn’t take long before I caught the virus too.

First it was mainly watch them take pictures, lying flat on their belly in front of a mushroom or a row of trees, and learn about coupled flash units, command dials, extension rings and reversed lenses. Almost every weekend we were hauling bags full of camera equipment to a new destination.

And then into the dark room, the red light, the chemicals, the baths, the enlarger, and finally a photo on paper. Who thinks that photography stops with the shot, and that developing the film is something you can’t control is wrong, the darkroom is the photoshop of the computer.

Analog photography, fully executed from shot to result, has something …

I don’t remember exactly, but it must have been somewhere around the age of 10 that there was nothing stopping me, I needed a camera, and I got one, a Kodak 110 Instamatic.

There was not much fun to be had with that one, and as we had a lot of cameras at home, I quickly switched to an old Voigtlander with bellows, which could be set completely manually, then the fun started!

It didn’t take long before I got my first SLR, I think it was a Fuji ST701, shortly afterwards I also had a Pentax SV, and as the years passed, other cameras followed.

I completed my obligatory Military service, got married 3 years later and soon after we had 2 children, both girls. In this period one element disappeared: development from start to finish. I continued to shoot, but it wasn’t the same anymore.

The eighties brought the computer into my life through work, and a new hobby was born, from self-study to programming courses, website building, databases, etc. to evening classes and ultimately trained as an IT specialist and got a job as network administrator.

Meanwhile, digital photography started booming. A new hobby that revived an old hobby. What was missing was back: developing… now digital, on the computer. And yes, it just wasn’t enough, I soon developed tools and apps for image editing in Windows.

At one point I realized it was time to move on and leave Windows for what it is, about 3 years ago, I started working on Kubuntu and open source image editing software. Making apps and tools has temporarily stopped, and now I’m developing HaldCluts and profiles. I have developed my own series of Luts called PictureFX, and these are also present in the G’MIC-Qt plugin and the Free Online Film Emulator, recently my infrared Luts have been added.

Other hobbies? Bushcraft is one of them, learning survival techniques, not to survive but to live in and with nature. Less of a hobby but a very deep interest in motorcycles, cars and airplanes, especially older ones and more specifically those of  the WWII period.

Got the opportunity thanks to a wonderful wife and life partner to drive a Ferrari like in the Magnum P.I. series years ago, and as icing on the cake more recently flew with a WWII fighter plane, the Mustang P51, I was even allowed to take over the controls for a short time while we were up in the air, of course under the supervision of the experienced instructor / pilot. This last present was not cheap so I don’t expect any major ones for the next 10 years 🙂

Not so long ago I started a new website, https://marcrphoto.wordpress.com/

I was already working on my own website before, in 2011 I bought my own domain, digicrea.be, but retirement is imminent, and the costs became too high to maintain it any longer (the contract expires April 2021).

Hence the new start – photography Regenerated !

Marc Roovers

Camera Gear:
Pentax DSLR K3 and K5 and many lenses from 8mm up to 500mm.
Olympus OM D EM10 with pancake 14/42mm and K&F Concept OM/M43 adapter.
Fujifilm X100 original, X-A3, X-E1, X-T10 and X-T20.
Fujifilm XC 15-45mm, 7artisans 25mm, Meike 35mm, Samyang 12mm and 7Artisans 7.5mm.
Olympus Zuiko OM lenses from 21mm up to 300mm with K&F Concept OM/Fuji X adapters.

and more…

Development:
Dell Studio 17” i5 8MB ram (about 10 years old) with Kubuntu 18.04.
Rapid Photo Downloader, Digikam, Luminance HDR, RawTherapee.


We’re always looking for photographers to share their stories, websites, social media and more. Please contact me if you would like to contribute! People always enjoy reading about others. Get yourself seen today