Why the Fuji X-T1 is NOT my Photoshop camera

Hi Folks

Today I just wanted to touch on something about the Fuji X-T1 that I’ve had for the past 3 months.

Ok so to kick off…why did I get it?

Well there’s a few reasons for that and some of them might sound a little WHAT?!?!? to you but remember cameras are a personal thing and what may be suitable for one may not be suitable for another; again for a whole host of reasons.

In short I love my Canon 5D Mk III; the sharpness, speed of AF, colours…the whole nine yards,I love it. HOWEVER what I don’t love (and this goes for all DSLR’s) is the portability…especially when hooked up to the 70-200mm f/2.8 is II.

So I was looking for a camera that could potentially fit in with the kind of work I do AND be great for travel; a big ask I know but I had to find out.

fuji_xt1
Anyway the long and short of it and after speaking with lots of friends who own one I ended up buying the Fuji X-T1 along with the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm lenses and a couple of other odds n’ sods. I loved…and still do!

The picture quality is great, I love having controls for such things as exposure compensation, shutter speeds etc all as dials, the retro look and of course the size and weight. Also things I never even considered would be useful and have grown to love is the tilt screen and the EVF (electronic view finder); sure folks love it or hate it but I for one love the EVF and ability to see on display exactly what the exposure will be is a dream.

Travelling with the XT-1 on a recent UK holiday in Devon was wonderful and in fact kick started me into taking a few landscape shots; something I’ve just not been that interested in before but here’s the crazy thing…it’s the EVF / Display that motivated me to give it a try.

Spillers Farm

So is the X-T1 the replacement for ALL I do?
Now I’m going to be writing a more through blog about this at some point and will back it up with more images BUT the long and short of it is…NO and the reason is all in the detail; oh and the inability to tether to my MacBook Pro too but that’s another story.

Those of you who have followed my work for some time will know that I do a lot of compositing work in Photoshop where as much detail as possible in the file is very important to me and it’s for this reason I feel the X-T1 won’t be my total replacement.

In an earlier post I said that the details from the X-T1 was impressive however without back-tracking, after a few months of use I’m finding it’s where there is a lot of detail that the Fuji drops short (in my opinion)

fuji_zoom

Taken at f/8.0 , iso 200 the result appears almost painterly where the high detail areas seem to lack detail / sharpness

As it stands at the moment this is the main reason I can’t use the X-T1 for my compositing work and so will be sticking with the Canon 5D Mk III.

It doesn’t stop there though as I’m still on the hunt for my ultimate camera that has all that I like about the XT-1 (mirror-less, size, weight, tilt screen, EVF) plus what I love about the Canon 5D Mk III (details and sharpness) and there’s one in particular I’m looking at right now so I’ll keep you posted.

In Summary
I totally LOVE the Fuji X-T1 and I know this will sound weird but I can think of no other way to explain it but … I feel it delivers 100% as a camera for Photography but not for Photoshop.

Anyway I’ll leave it there for now but will definitely keep you posted as to what (if any) does end up being my ULTIMATE camera. Maybe we’re not at a stage technology wise where this would be possible but hey..who knows;)

Have a good one and I’ll catch you next time,
Glyn

  • August 4, 2014 - 5:40 am

    Ed Jones - Hmmm… What software are you doing your RAW conversions in. LR and ACR as they currently stand absolutely massacre the fuji files. C1 and iridientdeveloper do a much nicer job. I know exactly how you feel though, and the irony I found was that the jpegs render much better sharpness and detail SOOC than the RAF going through adobes raw software. Don’t write the fuji off yet!

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:14 am

    lorenzo m. - Great article Glyn, very interesting

    The issue with the paintely ‘effect’, somewhat like ‘fractalization’ on fine details is reported by many fuji users (me too), I found that the raw converter softwares nowadays, especially adobe raw engine converter, don’t support very well the xtrans raw files.
    I noticed that with C1 and NoiseNinja the fine details on fuji xtrans raws are rendered much better than ACR, but the issue stays.

    Maybe the most anticipated Fuji X-PRO2 could be the ultimate camera for you

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:15 am

    Lee Gorecki - Glyn you might have seen it but the new Sony A7s is on the horizon. It promises to be what you want. Mirror less little camera that is super powerful but with a price tag that matches. One great thing about the Sony though is with the Sony to canon Metabones adapter you can use all your canon glass with full aperture and focus control. Not so great with Nikon glass (doesn’t get any control over the lenses with the adapter at the moment). But the Zeiss glass that is designed for it is a bit thin on the ground at the moment but they are getting there.

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:27 am

    Glyn - Lorenzo…TBH mate I notice the same in all RAW converters I’ve used so I guess that’s just how it is at the moment. Not a disaster though…it’s a GREAT camera but not suitable for me when working on images that need the fine details to be there. Being unable to tether is also an issue too if I’m honest.

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:28 am

    Glyn - Lee…Sure thing; I’m actually looking at the Sony range at the moment (A7, A7R and A7s) so I’ll keep you posted.
    Cheers, Glyn

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:30 am

    Glyn - Ed…I use Camera RAW, Lightroom and also Capture 1 and the results I get are all the same. It’s a great camera for sure but not one I can use for certain jobs but then a camera for all occasions is a big ask :)

  • August 4, 2014 - 12:52 pm

    David - Glyn,

    Being a Canon 5D III shooter myself, I get the good and bad especially portability, but I also understand what you are saying about the Fuji. Although I don’t personally own it, I do try to keep up with mirrorless camera technology. Mirrorless may one day be the killer of the DSLR, but the technology is not there yet when it comes to killing a 5D III.

    A side note, but relevant to your post: I like the way that you posted in advance that you were doing this post to keep the curiosity up.

    Thanks for sharing the post and all your video tutorials,

    David
    USA

  • August 4, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Riccardo - Thanks for your honesty Glyn, really!
    I own and love my XE-1 that has the exact same “problem”.
    Also, I noticed it is particularly with GREEN details (don’t ask me why, it’s just a lot more evident there).
    I said honesty, because I noticed many photographers just loving the file, for the sake of jumping on the “incredible Fuji quality” wagon, so to speak.
    I still think the overall quality is great and usable with ANY type of assignement but traditional RGB color matrix seems to be the way to go after all. I have seen great quality from Sony Alpha 7r although it lacks a bit on the lens selection. Thank you for your always interest videos.
    Riccardo

  • August 4, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    Roberto Palmari - Hi Glyn,
    you got my exact same feeling, I also wanted something lighter than the 5DMkIII and its lenses to carry around and I bought the olympus EM-10 for its compromise between price and performances. I love it, definitely, but just for what concerns my street and travel needs. Its lighter, less “attractive” on the street and, when provided with the right lenses, delivers high quality images.
    The big issue I find though is that anyhow, the RAW files delivered by the 5D (or the D800) are simply much better still.
    I would like to have a medium-format-like quality but in a light and portable body. I didn’t try it myself yet but I think Leica M9 may be the answer to this hunt, but at what cost?

    Ciao,
    Roberto

  • August 4, 2014 - 7:04 pm

    Guy Aubertin - I agree Glyn. Having a camera for all jobs is just not possible. The fuji is great when you need a lighter load. But for maximum quality and speed I look elsewhere. For landscape I look to the Canon or Large Format, possibly the new 645Z. For family days out, the XT fits the bill nicely and keeps up with a running child. Look forward to seeing your next choice :)

  • August 5, 2014 - 11:47 am

    Dave Kai Piper (@DaveKaiPiper) - I too am very much in love with the X-T1 (and pretty much all Fuji x-trans cameras). Your breakdown is very correct in many ways. Personal I use the Fuji very differently to how I use my D800. Most importantly, I use them to shoot different things. The X-T1 is not a replacement but a perfect addition to my gear that gives me more options when shooting. For the size and weight though, the Fuji does an amazing job. Maybe looking at something like the Sigma DP2 or RX1 might be the way forward for you ?

  • August 6, 2014 - 8:21 am
  • August 6, 2014 - 11:19 am

    Steinar Knai - Don’t give up on LR. It evolves all the time and I find that my Nikon files are getting better with each firmware update of LR. The same seems to be happening with Fuji files, if I judge by the comments of people like MingThein and others!
    In the meantime, I am convinced that the Sony A7s is a great alternative for landscape photogs. Check my web site for tests and articles on the Sony A7 line of cameeras.

  • August 6, 2014 - 11:26 am

    Glyn - Steiner…Giving up on LR was never a thought; I’m one of Adobe’s Influencers and on the Pre Release Program. It’s a major part of my workflow and is up to date with the Fuji profiles; the problem with the details is the Fuji :)

    Definitely looking at the Sony you mention too ;)
    Cheers
    Glyn

  • August 6, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    Alan - “Giving up on LR was never a thought; I’m one of Adobe’s Influencers and on the Pre Release Program. It’s a major part of my workflow and is up to date with the Fuji profiles; the problem with the details is the Fuji :)

    Definitely looking at the Sony you mention too ;)
    Cheers
    Glyn”

    No. the problem is the software you’re using.

    If the problem was as you say the Fuji people wouldn’t be getting better results with other software they’d be getting the poor results you’re getting no matter what they used but that isn’t the case and they’re getting better results than you’re getting.

    If you want to stick with Adobe that’s fine and your decision and what you need to do is select a camera which together with an Adobe product gives you a result you’re happy with.

    The problem with the Fuji is that to get the best results you’d have to move away from Adobe and that seems to be something you’re not willing to do.

    Stick to something Adobe processes well.

  • August 6, 2014 - 2:06 pm

    Glyn - Alan…Nope I disagree having worked the same files in capture one and seeing the same results. The Fuji is a great camera but NOT for what I do. The Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony I have used in the past all look and process great in both Adobe and Capture one…but not the Fuji.

    Bottom line is I use what I use because it is ‘fit for purpose’ and if Adobe didn’t do what I wanted / needed or Capture One then I wouldn’t be sticking there; the same goes for camera brands.

    So…I’ll stick with a camera that gives the results ‘I’ need and that is what this post is all about…what ‘I’ want and need…no one else and I was explaining why because some people won’t ‘get it’.

  • August 6, 2014 - 11:29 pm

    Martin Vitek - Hi Glyn,
    only a small sample of comparison screenshots from Lightroom (v5.5) and Iridium (v2.4.4). Only opening without editing (default setting). (X100s)
    http://www.fuuz.cz/wp-content/uploads/X-trans-srovnani-vyvolani.png

  • August 6, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    Martin Vitek - …eh :-O Iridient …of course :-)

  • August 7, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    palinode - It makes sense. Fujifilm makes marvellous cameras, but I’d be surprised if any crop sensor device at a fraction of the price of the 5DIII could deliver the same level of detail. I love my X100s but I don’t pull it out to shoot anything with lots of background foliage (although sometimes it does a fine job – say around 5.6 with a lowish ISO). On the other hand, it’s great for capturing absurd levels of detail in street scenes and studio settings. I don’t expect it to deliver the same kinds of pictures as a 5D or D810, but I’m consistently pleased with the results I get.

  • August 10, 2014 - 6:53 pm

    Bradley - I have Iridient, C1, Aperture, and LR. Although I have the longest relationship with LR I am quite used to all of them. With non-foliage shots I see the biggest difference is not detail on RAF files, but rather acutance which is something they can all adjust to an almost common output. I have seen the green-beast on rare occasion and I shoot a lot of landscapes, but I don’t print really large nor do I spend a lot of time pixel peeping. I love the Fuji rendering, which I understand is a combination of all factors, sensor, glass, and me :)

    FWIW, I hate Adobe’s new licensing (subscription) model and it may drive me to C1 exclusively as the differences otherwise are largely academic in my view.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences in an impartial and informative way Glyn!

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:09 pm

    Glyn - Bradley
    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your findings / thoughts.
    As for being impartial..it’s the only way and like I’ve said before…what suits one may not suit another and that doesn’t make ‘it’ be it a camera, a light etc bad..it just means it’s not suitable for that person.

    Cheers, and thanks again
    Glyn

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:12 pm

    Glyn - Palinode…Yeah I agree…the Fuji is a great camera but a ‘go to for all’ … but then … is any camera? :)

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:12 pm

    Glyn - Thanks for sharing this Martin

  • August 17, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    HF - I used LR before, but got the water-colour effect. Using C1 or PhotoNinja (or Irident) I don’t get the problem. Made a few tests comparing shots with foliage to the OMD EM1 and could not see differences in rendering fine detail using C1 (although LR clearly showed it). Using C1 and downsampling to 12MP, wouldn’t the detail be at least as good as that of the A7s (of course this camera has other benefits)?

  • August 19, 2014 - 10:57 am

    Glyn - Thanks for your comment. FYI I was getting the same water colour effect with C1.

  • September 13, 2014 - 12:17 pm

    Karen - Thanks so much for your post! I’ve just started working a lot more in the composite world after a long run shooting weddings and portraits. I have the 5Diii, 6D, plus all the lenses I could ever need, but I too am looking for that more portable camera. I had a lot of photographer friends recommend the Fuji XT100 but I haven’t been convinced yet, and I’m glad I haven’t purchased yet. My main use was to carry around for background scenes and objects etc that I may later want to use in my composites, without having to cart the big camera with me everywhere.

    I was hesitant with the fuji anyway as my other concern was the size would be smaller and not match in when using 5Diii files for compositing. The Fuji is only 16mp

    I’m interested in which direction you go and what you choose.

    Also wanted to mention, I just found your tutorials on youtube and I’m blown away by the gems that you’ve shared. I’ve learnt so many more tips in your short videos than hours of tutorials from some other trainers. I love that each one your present focuses on a specific area. It’s such a good way for me to learn and solve particular compositing problems I have. Thankyou!

PHOTO WALK: Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

Hey Folks,

On Saturday 16th August 2014 I’ll be heading down to the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset to spend the afternoon taking photographs that I’ll then be using in new composite image for my ‘Animals‘ project…

monkey_world

Come Join In!!!
As I’ll be there for the day I thought it would be a good opportunity to arrange a social get together and a photo walk so if you fancy coming along for the afternoon taking photographs, chatting and meeting others just BOOK A SPACE and I’ll be able to keep you posted re meeting place, time etc…

(Note: Attendees will need to purchase an admission ticket to enter Monkey World  – £11.25 for Adults)

Competition
As the visit is motivated by creating a new composite image for my ‘Animals’ project I’ll be running a competition for  those of you who come along where you can win a FREE copy of my Photoshop Workbook due for release in December of 2014 and published by Peachpit Press…

gd_book_promo

The competition is to either take a photograph or create a composite image from the day and I’m really excited and honoured that it will be judged by Artist and Animator Aaron Blaise (The Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Brother Bear, Bear and the Hare John Lewis Christmas 2013 TV Commercial etc…)

REGISTER HERE and I’ll see you there!

Hope to see you there for a great day,
Glyn

  • August 3, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    Rbelela - Hi Glyn, the composite image needs to be about animals or can be any composite we want?

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Glyn - Rbelela…It would need to be from the visit at Monkey World so yeah animal related.

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: Tricky Cut Outs made EASY!!! #57

Hi All,

Just to let you know that a new episode (57) of my weekly podcast is now online!

So what’s covered this week?
Well, we don’t always have the luxury of a a plain and simple background to make selections / cut outs of hair and fur as easy as possible HOWEVER in the following 16 minutes I shoe you a way to Fake it!

Hope you ‘Like’ it and hey if you feel compelled to Subscribe and share that would be awesome..hint, hint;)

Enjoy,
Glyn

  • August 1, 2014 - 3:36 pm

    Thierry Paradis - Hello Glyn.

    Thanks for sharing! I really appreciated. It’s a good idea to integrate Lightroom to your tutorials.

    One question: What hardware do you use? Monitor? Keyboard? Mouse or pen or pad?

    Thanks again and have a great week-end,

    Thierry.

  • August 2, 2014 - 9:57 am

    Glyn - Thierry
    I use a Wacom Cintiq 22HD for retouching, an Apple Macbook Pro and when travelling a Wacom Intuos Pro Small

Get Focused – Get Sketching!

Hi Folks

Hope you had a good weekend and managed to do what you had planned be it something or nothing:)

I was busy writing all day yesterday putting together another chapter that will appear in my book once published and on worldwide release in December.

Huge thanks to everyone that has already placed pre orders on Amazon; just hearing that has been quite literally overwhelming!

Ok so for today’s post I just wanted to write a short post to share something with you; a part of the process I go through when planning a new picture.

Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus
If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I like to plan each shoot as much as possible so that I know exactly what it is I want to achieve and that process generally involves a sketch of some description.

I say ‘of some description’ because drawing certainly isn’t my strong point (Aaron Blaise I’m most definitely not) but the idea is purely to help me get a clearer understanding of what it is I want to do.

wacom

I’m currently using the Wacom Intuos Stylus on my iPad mini to sketch out ideas in the Wacom Bamboo iPad App rather than initially writing down ideas in note form. I’ll move over to the Adobe Ink and Slide combination in the near future but just to give you an idea of what I mean, below is a rough sketch showing what I want my next picture in my Animals series to be, and the great thing was being able to sketch it out whilst on the train heading into London..now that’s multi tasking:)

sketch

So once the idea was sketched out it was then a case of finding the suitable locations to photograph the scene. For the Apes I’ll be heading to Monkey World Ape Rescue in Dorset in the next couple of weeks but where to find a view overlooking tree tops?

Social Media that’s where; no sooner had I posted out asking if anyone could recommend somewhere suitable replies came flooding back and as I often find…the locations are quite literally on your doorstep! Many people recommended Salcey Forest which is only just over one hours drive away in Northamptonshire and it looks perfect with a tree top walkway so I’ll be heading there this week.

As for Monkey World I thought it might be a good chance to organise a social gathering too so I’ll be posting the date and time real soon so if you’d like to come along you’re more than welcome; heck we could even make it a Photo Walk:)

Anyway that just covers part of the planning process I go through when looking at working on a new picture but probably one of the most important things I do as seeing it drawn, albeit badly, makes me want to get out there and get working on it.

Oh and talking of my book as I briefly mentioned at the start, I’ll be looking to add this new picture in as a ‘How To’ Chapter covering all the retouching from start to finish.

Right that’s all from me for today so have a good one and I’ll catch you back here next time.

Enjoy,
Glyn

  • July 28, 2014 - 4:44 pm

    Steve Healy - Hi Glyn,
    The monkey themed image sounds like a great addition to your animal pictures. The photo walk at Monkey World sounds like a good idea too….is there a curry house nearby? ;-)
    Best regards,
    Steve

  • July 29, 2014 - 11:44 pm

    Glyn - I’ll keep you posted Steve if you fancy popping along for the day

Dealing with Tricky Cut Outs / Selections in Photoshop

Hi Everyone

Since posting my new LION – THE KING IS FREE picture I’ve had a few emails and questions posted online asking how I actually cut the Lion out from the background.

So today I thought I’d just give you an outline as to how this was done by pointing you to a few videos that I’ve previously recorded…

king_final-Edit
Just to give you a bit of a background first, the picture started it’s life from a trip to Woburn Safari Park in the UK where I saw this beautiful Lion in an enclosure which was within a large grassland area where all the Lionesses were roaming around. He was here so as they could all get used to seeing and smelling each other before he was eventually introduced amongst them.

_DSF1363
Having seen him in there I knew straight away what it was I wanted to do with the picture so then it was just a case of taking other pictures that could be used to create the scene and also sourcing some I couldn’t take such as the vultures.

The large Acacia Tree trunk is from a picture given to me by my Buddy (Artist / Animator) Aaron Blaise [LINK] that he’d taken during one of his many trips in the past to Africa researching for movies he worked on such as The Lion King.

Here’s all the pictures that went into making the final image…

king_2
Once I’d gathered all the assets I needed to put the picture together it was then a case of getting to work in Lightroom and Photoshop.

The first task was to remove the fence lines from the enclosure that were over the top of the Lion and here’s a video I recorded showing exactly how to do that:

Once the fence lines had been removed, the next task was to cut the Lion out from the original background:

cutout
Due to the contrast and colouring behind the Lion being fairly similar cutting him out wasn’t as straight forward as just using something like the Quick Selection Tool or Channels but rather a combination of several techniques. I may look at recording a video for this and sharing in my Weekly Podcast / Show if you think that would be helpful. Rest assured I’ll also be covering ‘tricky’ cut outs / selections in my first book that is due to be available at the end of this year [LINK]

Anyway once a cut out of the Lion had been made it then also meant having to create fur / hair and to show how I do that, here’s a video by Aaron showing the technique that I learned from him…

Finally when it came to the cut out of the Lion, there was a dark outline around the mane so to remove, or rather hide  that I used a Layer Style.

Now in the video below at 8 minutes in you’ll see what I mean; the only difference being that I sampled the colour of the mane and used the Screen Blend Mode:

Obviously there was a lot more that went into making this final picture but for today I wanted to give you an overview of how I approached the cut out of the Lion.

As I’ve already mentioned I’m busy with writing the book at the moment which is a priority but once that is all complete I’ll be recording new tutorials to add into the web store and as I’ve had requests for showing how the animal series of pictures are put together I’ll definitely be recording some of those.

Right that’s all from me for today so as always if you have any questions / comments feel free to drop me a line otherwise have a great weekend and I’ll catch you back here in a few days.

Enjoy,
Glyn

  • July 30, 2014 - 4:52 am

    Julie Boyle - Hi Glyn – In your tutorial (when you get to it) will you being showing how to make each layer the same colour tone (via blurring/average)? I am having trouble when I try to add 2 different images to one new document. I manage OK when I have 1 image to add but come to grief when I try to add another image. I will look forward to your new tutorial in anticipation. I really appreciate your method of teaching – so easy to follow along – Many thanks.

  • July 31, 2014 - 9:09 pm

    Glyn - Sounds like a great idea for a tutorial…thanks Julie