I've been a photographer and gear nut for over 10 years. My images have been in galleries, magazines, national newspapers and on stock sites.
I have shot everything from camera phones to 4x5 film and love any tools that make photography easier or more fulfilling.
As many of you will know I have been living in the Philippines for about 3 years now. I first visited these beautiful islands in 2006, attracted by the natural beauty and friendly reputation of the people here.
With the fairly recent election of President Duterte and his infamous ‘war on drugs’ many people ask me if it is still safe to travel to the Philippines.
The simple answer to that is yes but as with anywhere in the World you should keep your whits about you and follow some basic rules so that you know how to travel safely in the Philippines.
The Philippines is made up of over 7000 exotic islands and almost all are what I would consider safe to travel to.
The only exception to this is the south western side of the island of Mindanao in the south around the area of Zamboanga where there is a heightened threat of kidnapping of foreign nationals by Muslim groups such as Abu Saayef.
Make sure to check out your countries Foreign office website to keep up with the latest travel warnings.
I find the British and American websites to offer the latest and most up to date travel advice within the Philippines. You can find links to their page below:
I live in Cebu province and as you can see from the map above even the southern end of this island is subject to a travel warning. I regularly travel in the south of Cebu province and get the ferry over to Dumaguete on the next island of Negros oriental. Sometimes there are armed guards around the port and sometimes there aren’t. When travelling int he Philippines don’t be alarmed at the sight of armed security guards, armed police and even seeing soldiers at various ports and places as this is quite normal. These people are here for your protection and as you become used to the way of life here it becomes something that you simply accept and don’t notice in every day life.
I can honestly say (coming from a fairly normal UK city) that I feel safer in the Philippines than I do on a Friday night in the city centre of most UK cities. I have never once got in to trouble with a local and by and large the people here are incredibly friendly, respectful and hospitable.
I was living here before Duterte came in to power and nothing has changed on the ground in terms of everyday life.
If you do as you would do in your own country and stay away from drugs, avoid drinking heavily and act respectfully towards people then unless you are very unlucky you should not have any trouble when travelling in the Philippines.
The few problems I have seen are in my mind usually avoidable. ie guys get into fights when they are drunk at 3am in the morning and wander in to the wrong part of town. Well that could be true of any country that I have ever visited.
How to stay safe in the Philippines
Here are a few basic tips to minimise the risk of getting in to any trouble when you are here.
When you arrive (presumably at Manila) be aware that as a foreign tourist you will be targeted by taxi drivers as you exit the airport. Some of these guys are trying to take advantage of the fact that you are new here and don’t know the cost of getting to your hotel or destination. They will try and charge you 1000 pesos for a journey that when metered is only a couple of hundred pesos. The easiest way to avoid these guys is to simply say no thank you I will get a metered taxi. Once they realise that you know this is an option they will usually move on to someone else. The metered taxis all line up outside the airport and you will know where they are because all the Filipinos get them. If you are unsure just ask one of the many guards and they will show you.
The nicest areas of Manila are BGC (Bonifacio Global City) with lots of expats , restaurants and a very safe atmosphere. In particular Mckinley Hill is lovely. Makati which is the business district, offers lots of high end accommodation and again is pretty safe.
Don’t look like a victim and you are unlikely to be one. Be confident when in the Philippines because most people will be happy to help you to find your way around.
Don’t show off your expensive camera, watch, jewellry etc. This goes without saying when you are visiting any country in my opinion and is just common sense. If you don’t show your wealth then you will not attract the attention of thieves and pickpockets.
Use some of the local language and you will immediately find that Filipinos open up and are happy that you made the effort to learn a little bit of their native tongue. Smile and throw in a few words of Tagalog (in Manila) or Bisaya (if in the Visayas) and you are already seen in a more favourable light compared to English only speakers. Whenever I jump in a taxi I always greet the taxi driver with muxta po (in Tagalog) or muxta Kuya (Bisaya) (both pronounced Musta) meaning how are you brother or friend. This has two benefits. It shows that you make the effort to know a little of the language and it also makes the taxi driver aware that you perhaps know a little of the language and culture. In turn this makes them less likely to try and rip you off.
In the Philippines as a foreigner you will often be offered an alcoholic drink by locals wanting you to join their group. Smile have fun but don’t drink what they offer you unless you know these people or are with a local friend who knows them. In general it is most likely harmless and simply a kind offer of hospitality. However there are 2 reasons why I don’t like to do this. First is that you don’t know what is in that drink you are being offered. It may be drugged (highly unlikely but still). Secondly if you get drunk with a bunch of guys that you don’t know then it may just be tempting for them to relieve you of your money, wallet, valuables. In Cebu smile and say dli ko, salamat (I dont want it, thank you). Just be pleasant and make light of it and you will always get a smile back.
Don’t overpay for things in the Philippines. Yes everything can seem cheap when you come here but remember that you will be much more respected by Filipinos if you pay the going rate for something than if you keep getting ripped off. See what the locals pay and if you are feeling generous add a small tip. For example if someone helps you to carry your bags from the taxi to a bus etc a Filipino might give a 5-10 pesos tip. If you pay over the top for everything then you put the price up for local people.
Don’t give money to beggars. They are often part of a gang working the streets. They will carry babies, make hand gestures as if to say I need to feed my baby and basically do anything to make you feel guilty. I never give money to beggars because once you do (and this has happened to me) a whole load more will suddenly appear as they tell their friends that foreigner just gave me x amount of money. If i like the person and they seem genuine I will buy them something to eat.
Just use your common sense and don’t do something or go somewhere that you wouldn’t when in your own country. That is easily the number one piece of advice here. Use your instincts as they are normally right. If you wouldn’t walk down a dimly lit street at night in your home town then don’t do it here.
Don’t get scammed on a dating website. If you meet a girl and within hours she is telling you that she loves you, her mum is sick, she is a student but can’t afford to finish the course or she would love to talk more to you but she needs load for her cellphone, let those alarm bells go off in your head loud and clear. She IS intending to scam you for as much money as possible. Do not send money online to people that you don’t know. Or if you are going to then send it to me instead 😀
Most of all when planning your trip to the Philippines if you stick to the above advice and use your common sense then I am sure that you will have a fantastic, safe trip. It really is a beautiful country and the people rightly have a reputation as among the most friendly and hospitable in the World.
As I live and work here this post is the first in a series of blogs that I will be writing about the Philippines. Upcoming articles will include some of the best places to visit along with blogs about my families travels here.
I would love to hear any tips from you about travelling safely in the Philippines or anywhere else. Have you already visited the Philippines or maybe you live here and have some great tips for other readers. Please add them to the comments below.
I have read many, many photography books over the years to try and find the best portrait photography book. The best one that I have read in a very long time comes from World renowned portrait and Fuji X Photographer Damien Lovegrove.
Damien is a very well respected portrait photographer and creates some of the most beautiful portrait images using a variety of lighting styles. I am particularly enamored with his Hollywood lighting shots.
So naturally when he recently released his own E book called Portraits I was very interested to see what was inside.
Damien proudly claims that “everything that he knows about photographing people is in this book” and having purchased it myself at full price and studied it in detail I believe him.
Not only is the book full of inspirational images, Damien takes the time to break down each image and explain his vision and his camera and lighting settings.
The book is of very high quality with over 300 high-resolution images and 50,000 words. It walks you through everything from having a vision, finding great locations and tips on connecting with and posing your subject. Of course Damien goes in to far more detail than I could ever explain here but suffice to say if you have even the slightest interest in portrait photography then this book will show you how to improve your images exponentially.
As mentioned earlier, Damien is a Fuji X photographer and a huge fan of the Fuji X series of cameras but his hints and tips apply no matter what camera system you use. I have used his tips with my Fuji XT2 (review here) as well as Olympus Pen F (review here) to create some of my favourite images of my wife.
I was so inspired by this book that I contacted Damien to ask for an interview and he was kind enough to oblige.
1. How do you manage to keep your images and style looking fresh?
I use hard light and so few people use it because it can be quite scary, but it’s very rewarding also. All of my pictures are upright, no tilted images and I keep the post production pure. I steer clear of any post production effects so my pictures are either true colour or B&W.
2. Why do you use Fuji cameras?
Because they are small, light and fun to use. They are not intimidating to the people I am photographing and it makes me feel good when I pick one up 🙂
3. What is your favourite lighting setup?
Two Lupo 1000s to create a classic movie lighting scenario.
4. For someone starting out in portrait photography what 1 piece of advice would you give them?
Take pictures 3 days a week minimum if you want to see your work improve. Practice really does make perfect. By doing 3 portrait shoots a week you will soon learn how people react and how to get the best from the people you are photographing.
5. What inspires you to keep creating images?
I get a buzz from taking pictures, I find the whole process really rewarding. From taking the pictures to sharing the image with my sitter and on my blog. Photography has been my sole hobby and passion for 35 years.
6. Would you recommend strobes or continuous lighting for portrait work and why?
For interiors I always use continuous light because it is easy to see what you have got and the light balances better with the available light in the room and is much easier to control. Out on location I use strobes just because I need the sheer quantity of light. Continuous light is not yet powerful enough to compete with bright daylight.
7. Do you have any tips for accentuating or disguising a models good and not so good features?
First of all identify someones best bits. This could their personality, a laugh, cheeky smile. They may have fabulous legs or feel good about one aspect of their figure. Focus on these features. For the less flattering attributes, I leave them out of shot or put them into shadow. A portrait photographers role is to enhance, diminish, maximise and minimise.
8. Can you explain to us a little about your new Portraits Ebook and how it will help our readers to improve their photography?
It has taken me several years to write this book and I have covered every aspect of portraiture that I have encountered. It really is a master work, a labour of love and everything I know about portraiture is in this book. I have used over 380 pictures to illustrate the points and features mentioned and every photograph has a detailed caption explaining how it was taken as well as the settings used.
We have secured a 20% discount off Damien Lovegrove’s Portraits Ebook for our readers. Simply follow this link and enter the code cotswoldphoto but don’t wait too long as this expires at the end of March.
I put the Fuji XT2 vs Nikon D750 to see if the X-Trans III sensor can compete with full frame.
There is a lot of talk on the internet about the Fuji XT2 being able to hold its own or even better full frame cameras like the Nikon D750 so I thought I’d put them both to the test to see if this is really the case or not.
The most important point here is whether the X-Trans sensor in the Fuji XT2 can keep up with the very well respected full frame bayer sensor in the Nikon D750.
However I shall also look at handling and features because these play an important role in deciding which camera is right for you. Picking any camera is always a series of trade-offs so hopefully below I can go through the strengths of each system which will enable you to decide which one suits you best.
Before we move on let me just take a second to remind you that I provide all this information for free. It costs me a fortune to buy in all the gear to do these tests and the only way I can make any money to keep this website going is when you buy through my Amazon links. I get a tiny commission and it doesn’t cost you a penny or cent more. So please, if you are going to purchase anything at all (even non photography related) I would really appreciate it if you click any of the links below before you buy. Thanks again to everyone who shops using the links.
Handling is always a subjective matter because some people prefer larger cameras, larger grips or more bulk to balance out big lenses. Others prefer as small a package as possible while still retaining as much image quality and functionality as possible.
The Nikon D750 is one of the more compact full frame DSLRs available. It’s build quality is excellent although not quite up to the standards of the Nikon D500, D810 and above. The Fuji XT2 is a huge improvement over the XT1 in terms of build quality with improvements made to virtually every aspect of the body.
The build quality is roughly of equal level with the D750 feeling more solid but the XT2 feeling of a higher quality.
The D750 grip is reassuringly large and this allows you to carry it comfortably in one hand for long periods even though it weighs quite a lot more than the equivalent Fuji XT2 and lens combination. The grip on the XT2 is a little small and I definitely don’t feel particularly comfortable holding it one handed for any period of time unless the battery grip is attached.
The D750’s PASM dial has a push to unlock mechanism which would be better if it were a push to lock and push to unlock similar to the Fuji’s. It also features 2 custom settings which you can program to save your favourite settings and quickly switch to them with a turn of the dial.
All the buttons on the D750 make sense except the placement of the ISO button which is on the left of the LCD screen meaning that you can only really access it two handed. However you can re-program one of the other buttons such as the movie record button to become the ISO button.
Fuji relies on physical shutter speed, aperture (on most lenses) and ISO dials. As well as an exposure compensation dial. I prefer Fuji’s controls mainly due to the quick and direct access to ISO.
The Nikon D750 gives you a top LCD screen which can light up using the switch on the on/off switch and it shows all your most important settings. The rear of the camera features a flip out 3.2″ LCD screen that can be tilted up and down making it easier to compose shots at unusual angles.
The XT2 features a slightly smaller 3″ rear LCD tilt screen but it also has an additional hinge which allows for flexible shooting while in portrait orientation.
If you are going to be composing and shooting using the rear screen then the Fuji XT2 wins here comfortably as the screen is more reactive, focus is equally fast using the EVF or LCD screen and it allows more flexibility to capture photos at different angles . Whereas focus using live view on the D750 is painfully slow.
If size is a concern then the Nikon D750 is considerably larger than the XT2 at 840g. 141 x 113 x 78 mm vs the Fuji XT2’s 507g. 133 x 92 x 49 mm.
Here’s a quick run down of the features of the two cameras that I see as being the most important.
24mp APS-C X Trans III sensor with no AA filter
Up to 14 FPS burst speed with electronic shutter, 11 FPS mechanical shutter with Grip or 8FPS mechanical shutter without grip.
1/8000 second fastest shutter speed plus electronic shutter up to 1/32000
Weather sealed body
325 focus points + custom focus modes for AF Tracking
4K video (although requires the VPB XT2 grip for full functionality).
24mp Full frame 35mm Bayer sensor with AA Filter
Up to 6.5 FPS burst speed
1/4000 second fastest shutter speed
Weather sealed body
51 Focus Points
Full HD video
I’m not going to run through all the specs here as they are readily available elsewhere. The ones that I consider the most important are the difference in sensors and how that affects image quality (which I shall compare later) along with the burst shooting speed, faster top shutter speed of the XT2 and increased number of focus points.
The faster top shutter speed of the Fuji XT2 makes it possible to shoot fast aperture primes in bright daylight without the need to add ND filters to your lens. This is quite an advantage for portrait photographers working in bright conditions.
The faster FPS shooting of the Fuji XT2 combined with the customisable AF tracking modes make it more usable for wildlife and sport photography where the difference between 6.5 fps and 11fps is pretty noticeable. What is more of a factor is how widely spread the Fuji XT2’s focus points are. They cover nearly all the frame whereas with the Nikon D750 its 51 focus points are clustered very near the centre of the frame forcing you to use the technique of focusing and recomposing your image. That’s not a major problem if you are used to it but a broader spread of AF points would be preferable.
One of the areas the Nikon D750 is renowned for is its ability to focus in poor light. So I really wanted to test the XT2 against it to see whether Fuji’s claims of great low light focusing were justified or not.
When I tested the XT2 against the D750 in a really poorly lit room the XT2 not only kept up with the D750, it actually bested it on several occasions. I shot the XT2 at a wedding (see the post here) and it also focused really well in dimly lit scenes. Both cameras are among the best available for focusing in poor light.
In good light the Nikon D750 is probably a touch faster to focus but both are quick enough for most situations.
If like me you run a Youtube channel (and now I’m back in the UK with decent internet I will be adding videos more regularly) then video quality will probably be of some interest to you.
The XT2 offers excellent quality 4k video as opposed to the D750’s decent HD video. Fuji allows you to use their film simulations straight into video so if you don’t want to edit and grade footage afterwards you can still get some really nice looks. If you have an external recorder you also have the option to use the XT2’s flat F-Log profile to enable more room to push the video in post.
The only point to note is that if you are really considering the XT2 for video then you will probably have to factor in the VPB XT2 battery grip as it extends 4K recording time from 10 minutes to 30 minutes and HD from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. It also adds a headphone jack for monitoring audio levels. That of course adds to the cost of the overall Fuji package making it quite a bit more expensive than the D750.
Fuji XT2 vs Nikon D750 – Image Quality
If you are really just concerned about image quality then this is where I test that out. Can the Fuji XT2’s APS-C X-Trans III sensor compete against the Nikon D750’s 35mm Full frame C-mos sensor?
Below is a shot from the Nikon D750 taken in the Cotswolds with the 50mm f/1.4G lens attached. All images below were shot in Raw and converted to Jpeg in Lightroom CC with no adjustments. Full resolution version are available on my Flickr page
And below is a similar shot taken with the Fuji XT2 + 23mm f/1.4 lens attached. Note these were the closest focal lengths that I had to each other on that day and although the settings aren’t matched it gives a quick idea of IQ.
Now lets take a look at both images in Lightroom using the compare feature zoomed in to 100%. I shot the 18-55mm zoom at 35mm on the Fuji to give a roughly equivalent field of view to the 50mm f/1.4 G on the Nikon D750.
These images are zoomed in to 100% in the centre of the frame. What is surprising is that the Fuji using a kit lens is actually sharper than the Nikon D750 using a prime. Both lenses were stopped down to f/5.6. Now I know that the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 may not be the sharpest optic in the Nikon range but this result still bodes well for the XT2 considering we are only using the 18-55mm kit lens.
Below are a couple of examples of the skin tones that each camera produces
I like the skin tones on both cameras but the Nikon is generally closer to what I see in real life. Particularly in the example of my daughter above.
In the photo below the highlights were clipped. I pulled them back using the highlights tool in Lightroom CC. I set the highlights to -100 and as you can see in the second image the sky retains the cloud detail.
And below is a similar shot taken with the Fuji XT2 with similarly clipped highlights in the sky.
As you can see the Fuji seems to retain detail in the highlights as well as the Nikon D750’s full frame sensor. This is pretty impressive performance from the X-Trans III sensor.
Looking at the histograms of both cameras in Lightroom for the same scene I would put dynamic range of the two cameras at near enough neck and neck.
Below we can take a look at a few comparisons between the Fuji XT2 and Nikon D750.
This is a 100% crop from both images. The Fuji XT2 on the left clearly shows a little more noise than the Nikon D750 but the differences are not huge. One thing to note on the full size images above is that the Fuji XT2’s white balance is more accurate in indoor light, better representing the colours than the Nikon. For example the writing on the John Grisham book (right of frame) is yellow as shown on the Fuji image.
At 6400 ISO the Nikon D750 definitely starts to pull away in terms of both luminance noise. The noise pattern from the D750 is finer and more consistent than the XT2. Don’t forget that these are raw files with no noise reduction performed. Both files are very usable with a touch of noise reduction in Lightroom but the D750 gives you a cleaner base file to work with.
Again you can see the advantage that the larger sensor of the Nikon D750 has. My testing confirms that the full frame sensor in the Nikon D750 has almost exactly a one stop advantage over the Fuji XT2 at high ISO settings. Therefore if you shoot a lot at high ISO and find yourself pushing beyond 6400 ISO a lot then I would definitely be looking to get a full frame camera as it does still give you a one stop advantage.
From previous testing the Fuji XT2 performs a little better than the Nikon D7200 and around the same as the Nikon D500 in this area.
I also note that to get the best performance you will want to shoot raw and use Lightroom or your own PP software as the in camera noise reduction of the Fuji XT2 leads to ugly noise and some additional colour noise at ISO 6400 and above. If you are going to shoot Jpeg I would turn the in camera noise reduction down all the way to -4.
Fuji XT2 vs Nikon D750 Conclusion
So is the Fuji XT2 as good as a full frame camera such as the Nikon D750?
In short, if ultimate image quality is what you are after then the larger sensor camera does still hold an advantage with all else being equal.
However those differences are only really noticeable in very specific areas.
For resolution and sharpness there is no discernible difference between the two. Lens choice will have much more impact on sharpness than swapping between the two cameras.
Where the D750 still holds an advantage is in high ISO noise performance and in depth of field control. If you like to shoot portraits with very shallow depth of field then the larger sensor in the D750 will give you the ability to do that more so than the APS-C sensor in the XT2.
In terms of handling and features the Fuji would be my preference with its smaller size, faster shooting speed, more AF points and of course the ability to shoot 4K video.
One point that we must not overlook is the fact that the XT2 sports one of the very best EVF’s with a 2.36 million dot display and a very large .77x magnification. I personally love the What you see is what you get nature of EVFs as I no longer need to chimp after each shot as I often would on a DSLR. However many people still prefer an optical viewfinder and the one on the Nikon D750 is excellent and large.
So which one should you buy?
It really depends upon your preferences. If you want the best camera for your money and value ultimate image quality then the Nikon D750 is the clear winner. It offers a full frame 35mm sensor in a relatively compact DSLR format which is weather sealed, shoots at a reasonable 6.5 fps, focuses incredibly well in low light, offers dual SD card slots and handles as a DSLR should. It is a relative bargain at the moment at around £1500 in the UK.
However as I have a young family now, my chances for dedicated photography outings have diminished somewhat and so I often find myself taking a camera along with me on trips out. Therefore I value several things about the Fuji over any DSLR.
One is the smaller size which makes it much easier to bring along with me when other items take priority.
Secondly I value the EVF because I can quickly get exactly the image that I want without holding everyone up while I chimp on the back of the screen as I would inevitably have to do on a DSLR.
Thirdly when a CSC tells you it has locked focus it almost always has. Whereas you may find that you need to micro adjust your lenses on a DSLR due to back or front focusing issues. I don’t always have the time or the inclination to calibrate all my lenses and I don’t want to capture images of my family only to find they are not in focus.
Despite my personal preference for the Fuji XT2 due to the reasons outlined above I would not argue with anyone who said that the Nikon D750 gives better image quality and is the better value camera. However I would pick the Fuji XT2 over it any day of the week. It is way more fun to shoot with and in the end the best camera is the one that I want to pick up and take with me. At this time in my life that is rarely a DSLR.
Don’t forget to check out my review of the Fuji XT2 here and follow me on Twitter to keep up with what I am testing at the moment.
Hey everyone. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year. I’m now back in the UK so can start to get busy adding reviews and articles again such as this comparison between the Nikon D750 vs D500 vs D7200.
I shot all the images in manual on a tripod and in Raw. All were shot at f/4. Yes I realise that some people want the images normalised for depth of field so I also shot the D750 shots at f/5.6 and those will be available along with all the other files on my Flickr page.
I used the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G on the D750 and the 50mm f/1.4 G on the D500 and D7200. Alhough the field of view is not exactly the same it is as close as I could get with the lenses that I had on me.
The files you see here are straight conversions to Jpeg in Lightroom creative cloud.
I had all three cameras on me and thought it would be interesting to see if the full frame Nikon D750 holds an advantage over the newer APS-C D500 and the bargain Nikon D7200.
So here we go.
At 3200 ISo I am starting to see a noticeable difference between the 3 cameras with the D7200 falling behind slightly. The noise pattern on the D7200 is slightly larger and more obvious than on the D500. The D500 is still not as good as the D750 though which exhibits very clean noise performance at ISO 3200. All 3 cameras are very useable at ISO 3200 but the D750 is definitely producing the cleanest image.
I have seen some people claim that the D500 is as good as the D750 at high ISO. Well it seems that physics still rules and the larger sensor and photosites are still outperforming those on the newer Nikon D500.
Here is a 100% crop of both cameras at ISo 3200. The D500 on the left and the D750 on the right.
Below is a 100% crop of the Nikon D500 (left) vs the Nikon D7200 at ISO 6400. The differences are not huge but notice the finer noise pattern on the D500.
And finally lets push the boat out a bit and see what the cameras can do at 12800 ISO
Below is a 100% crop of the Nikon D7200 vs D750 at ISO 12800. The D7200 image is really starting to fall apart at this setting whereas the D750 is still doing very well. The D500 is a little better than the D7200 but nowhere near as clean as the D750.
All the images are available to view on my Flickr along with some even higher ISO samples from the cameras.
I hope you find this useful if you’re considering any of these cameras.
I’m currently getting out a lot with my Fuji XT2 and am putting it up against the Nikon D750 for general shooting. After that I will be photographing some wildlife and sports action putting the Fuji XT2 against the D500 to see which ones auto focus is better.
Yesterday, December 27th I was happily going about my business doing a little work and trying to relax after over-indulging on Christmas day when my partner called me over to her outside the front of our house.
I wrongly asumed that she wanted me to help to carry the shopping in. However as I walked towards her there was no shopping and she continued to beckon me over.
I really wasn’t ready for what she was about to show me. As I peered over the side of the road in to the boggy filthy field I heard a chorus of tiny yelps as to my amazement there was a litter of 9 puppies scrambling around in the mud, calling for their mother or anyone else to get them out of the mess that they were in.
Someone had clearly brought this litter of puppies (which I guess are 2-3 weeks old) in a sack and dumped them in this boggy field to die. Just days after Christmas and these tiny creatures were thrown out like garbage with not a care for them.
My wife asked me what we should do. Now I should explain that we are in the Philippines, there is no pet rescue or even animal welfare here. I understand that is a luxury for rich countries so the options are limited to, let them die or save them.
I don’t have a lot of money but I am sure as hell that I’m not going to let these innocent animals die. I couldn’t live with myself if I just ignored them.
Obviously being an animal lover I said we will get them all of course, so we proceeded to wade through the mud bare foot and gather them all up. Nine puppies in total, 5 boys and 4 girls to add to the two dogs I already have here.
After a quick bath to clean them up and get rid of the fleas they were covered in we gave them water and I headed off to the local pet food supply store and bought a couple of kilos of puppy food.
I put them in our outside utility room to dry and rest as they were obviously stressed and tired and left them with a bowl of water and food.
So this is their first full day with us and I am glad to say that they all seem healthy enough apart from a few chewed tails and some friction burns (probably from when they were thrown of the motorbike or car that dumped them).
I let them out today and the two most adventurous boys came out almost instantly and started to explore our yard, followed by a couple more and then eventually the whole gang appeared. They are now sat lazing in the afternoon Sun after having eaten most of the food I bought yesterday and made friends with Barney and Mitziou my two other dogs.
So this is a pre-warning that I now have 9 new subjects to test cameras out on so expect plenty of puppy pics to come whenever they’re up-to their cheeky antics.
I don’t know how anyone can just throw animals out as if they are garbage, especially when it would have been possible to find them homes here with just a little effort.
My plan now is to get them healthy and let them enjoy life a bit as puppies should. I’m now like the pied piper as they follow me everywhere I go. Two of the boys are very adventurous and boisterous and one of the girls is quite timid and shy. She is the smallest of the litter so I will be keeping an eye on her to make sure she gets her fair share of food.
I’ll leave you with a few photos I just took of them with the Nikon D7200 and Fuji XT2 as I will be doing a vs video and article on those two cameras soon.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and wish you all a Happy New Year.
I’ve been testing them out for a while now shooting portraits, street photography and a few landscapes too.
This weekend I was asked to photograph a wedding here in the Philippines and I thought it would be a great chance to test these three cameras against each other in a fast paced, unforgiving environment.
Now I’m not a professional wedding shooter. I’ve shot landscapes, portraits and commercial work professionally but wedding photography is a whole different ball game. I made it clear what the couple could expect from me and that they really should hire a pro wedding photographer. However budget was a concern and so I offered to help out as they are friends of my Fiancée.
I also wouldn’t recommend shooting a wedding with a bunch of different cameras as it was really hard work switching between three systems and still trying to get shots of the couple’s big day.
I shot all cameras with prime lenses.
For the Fuji I used the 23mm f/1.4 and 90mm f/2. On the Pen F I had the 17mm f/1.8 and 45mm f/1.8. On the Nikon I mainly used the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and the 20mm f/1.8.
In terms of handling I found all three to be well suited to fast paced shooting where you don’t get a second chance to capture the shot. The Nikon feels solid and well-built but you do start to feel the weight after a full day. I’m writing this article up 2 days later and my arm still feels a little sore so less weight is always better in my eyes as long as I don’t feel I’m compromising on image quality too much.
The Pen F is fantastic for blending in to the crowd and not intimidating subjects thanks to its small size and beautiful looks. Although as the only foreigner at a Filipino wedding it’s pretty much impossible to blend in despite the Pen F’s best efforts.
The Olympus Pen F also offers a fully articulating touch screen and touch to focus which is great for getting shots at interesting angles.
The Fuji XT2 was and is my favourite camera to handle of the 3 because it offers quick access to ISO, shutter speed and aperture via external dials. When you’re trying to photograph constantly changing and moving subjects it’s great to be able to see and change your settings as you bring the camera up to your eye. I can’t tell you how great the Fuji is for that reason alone.
The Nikon feels the most like a workhorse and it certainly is fast to use and solidly built. However during the ceremony I was aware of its louder shutter going off and I opted to use the more discreet Pen F and Fuji XT2 a lot of the time. That’s one of the major benefits of shooting mirrorless. The mechanical shutters are quieter and they have the option to use a totally silent electronic shutter. The Nikon D7200 does have a quiet mode but it’s not that quiet and it slows the camera down.
Some people deride Micro 4/3 because of the smaller sensor but I really don’t think these people use the cameras in the real World. I’ve shot loads of photos with all three of these cameras and as you can see in this article the difference in image quality between M4/3 and APS-C is very small now.
The only real benefit I see to larger sensors is the ability to create more shallow depth of field and the better high ISO noise performance but you only really see a big difference when you jump up to full frame.
Image quality from all three cameras is superb and certainly good enough for professional work. Of the three I prefer people images from the Fuji XT2 because at high ISO’s it does have slightly less noise than the other two. Just be sure to turn down in camera noise reduction to -4 otherwise any Jpegs you shoot will make your images look like mush. I shot raw at the wedding to give a little more leeway to edit the photos later on so it wasn’t a problem.
I also appreciate the ability to throw the background out of focus a little more than you can with the Pen F. This was especially useful as the locations I was shooting at didn’t always have pleasing backgrounds, in fact some would have quite easily ruined shots had the background been in focus. Obviously the new Olympus 25mm f/1.2 Pro gives us micro 4/3 users a great choice for shallow depth of field shots but I don’t have that lens yet despite it being on my Christmas list.
I had planned on shooting a Nikon D750 at the wedding too but thanks to the postal system here it didn’t arrive in time. I’ll be comparing it with the others once I get my hands on it.
For me the most important aspect of the cameras on the day was auto focus performance. This is where the mirrorless cameras actually kicked the DSLR’s butt. Yes, I know this is where DSLR’s still reign supreme according to most but in reality both the Pen F and Fuji XT2 focus really quickly and only slow down a touch in bad light. They lock on fast and when they give focus confirmation you can be sure you got the shot.
What I found frustrating with the Nikon D7200 when reviewing the photos after was the amount that were out of focus. It just isn’t as accurate to focus as the mirrorless bodies. It may be a millisecond faster but what’s the point if focus isn’t spot on.
The Nikon 50mm f/1.4 is not sharp until you stop it down so the benefit of a larger aperture is lost. Whereas the Fuji 23mm f/1.4 and 90mm f/2 are sharp wide open and combined with the more accurate focus of the XT2 gave a far higher hit rate. The 17mm and 45mm on the Pen F are both perfectly sharp too.
The Pen F in my opinion has the best S-AF of the three cameras as it is quick, silent and deadly accurate. The only down side to the Pen F is that you don’t have direct access to change AF points. Instead you need to press the left D-pad button and then press one of the direction buttons to move the focus point around. It’s only when you are shooting something like a wedding that you notice this tiny delay but it does make a difference occasionally.
I also can’t overstate how useful I find an electronic viewfinder in my photography. I love the WYSIWYG nature of EVFs. It is so much better to use as you don’t need to take a shot then chimp on the LCD screen after to check it. For me the constant chimping needed on DSLR’s does ruin your flow and gets irritating after a while. With the large EVFs on the Pen F and particularly the Fuji XT2 I could quickly change to Acros or the Pen F’s black and white modes and see what my shot would look like in black and white. It also showed me whether the exposure was correct and if focus was spot on.
So which one would I choose if I had to do it all again?
Before I shot this wedding I have to be honest and say that I had a preconception that although I prefer mirrorless cameras for personal use, I would in fact find that the DSLR was still better when it comes to Professional use in a fast paced environment like a wedding.
Well, I was wrong. For me mirrorless cameras have caught up and in fact overtaken DSLR’s in every area that matters and if I was buying just one camera now it would be mirrorless and it would be from Olympus or Fuji.
If I could only have one of these cameras and I thought I may be shooting further weddings then it would be the Fuji XT2 because of the external control dials, slightly better high ISO performance, ability to deliver more shallow depth of field and fast accurate AF performance. I also happen to think the Fuji lens line-up is fantastic. Mind you, so are the micro 4/3 lenses.
If I was buying one camera just for personal use it would be the Olympus Pen F all day long. It is simply beautiful and a joy to use. Lightweight, great AF, excellent image quality and I haven’t even mentioned how much fun the colour dial is for black and white photography. That’s the camera I take with me when I go out with family and friends.
If you are going to shoot a Nikon I’d opt to jump up to full frame because the DX lens line-up is pathetic. The Nikon bodies are very good but I just prefer using mirrorless cameras these days and with the Fuji XT2 the AF is now quick enough to do its job.
If I was shooting another wedding with a Fuji XT2 I’d be buying a lot of spare batteries though as I fully drained 2 before the reception had finished. In fact I would buy the VPB-XT2 grip so you don’t have to worry about battery changes.
The Nikon D7200 after a full day was still showing 80% remaining and the Pen F about 40%. I took roughly the same number of shots with each Camera. That’s the only benefit the Nikon had over the others.
There are many phenomenal photographers to follow on Facebook throughout the world that deserve recognition. This list includes 10 of those photographers that post amazing work on Facebook for followers to enjoy. Included are fine-art photographers, wildlife photographers and many more.
1. Simone Bramante
Simone Bramante is based in Italy and works in six continents. Simone’s work has been published on Vogue US, Forbes, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Repubblica, Wired. With over 6,000 Facebook followers and 750,000 Instagram followers, he has become known as ‘Brahmino’ and also the first Italian photographer on Instagram. Brahmino’s work is very crisp, genuine and conveys a refreshing message. His work focuses on storytelling, portraiture and travel. Simon Bramante’s work is stimulating and certain not to bore photography enthusiasts.
As she quotes on her Facebook page, “There is beauty to be found every day.” This quote describes the way in which she photographs her surroundings perfectly. Ginger Unzueta is a very devoted to her family, her faith and in addition to her passion for photography, is a homeschooling mother of three. She teaches a workshop focused on lifestyle photography and mentors other photographers. She captures everyday activities in the most magnificent way. Ginger portrays the simple things in life through her photography in a way that is appealing and exciting. Ginger Unzueta’s work has been featured on the Huffington Post, BabyCenter.com, Daily Mail and several blogs.
3. Dean Bradshaw
Dean Bradshaw has a very distinct style that is evident through his work. He is an advertising photographer and director based in Los Angeles, California. His portfolio features spectacular portraiture, motorcycle photography, athletes, and much more. Dean Bradshaw thrives on narrative and is attracted to the ‘why’ of things. He has worked on National Geographic campaigns and his work has been featured on ABC. Dean Bradshaw’s work is very colorful, some of it comical, but overall very deep and interesting.
4. Terje Sorgjerd Photography (TSO Photography)
Terje Sorgjerd primarily goes by “TSO Photography” and is an incredible landscape photographer from Norway. His work is breathtaking, to say the least. His work has been featured on many news outlets, including but not limited to: Discovery Channel, CNN, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Weather Channel, Washington Post, Good Morning America and The Guardian. Terje Sorgjerd is also recognized for the following time-lapse movies: “The Aurora,” “The Arctic Light” and “The Mountain.” TSO’s work has a surreal and overpowering feel to it. This artist is definitely worth adding to your list of “likes.”
5. Mikko Lagerstedt
Mikko Lagerstedt is a fine-art photographer out of Finland. With over 900,000 followers, he is quite the artist. He especially enjoys atmospheric and night photography, with an emphasis on simplistic landscapes. While most of his work is dark, it is at the same time far from gloomy. His work has been featured on Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, BBC, Business Insider, Nikon, The Telegraph and much more. Mikko has won multiple awards and even offers tutorials to viewers on his website.
6. Kirsty Mitchell Photography
Kirsty Mitchell is a British fine art photograper. Her work is very well recognized and captivating. She has won multiple upscale photography awards and has over 300,000 Facebook followers. She began studying photography, fine art and the history of art at 16 years old. Kirsty’s works have been published on Harper’s Bazaar, The Royal Photographic Society and Vogue Italia. You can see the level of work that goes into her art. It is very inviting and detailed. Nikon is noted on her website as her ambassador of fine art photography.
7. Jody Miller
Jody Miller is an award-winning fine art photographer. Her work is phenomenal. In addition to multiple exhibitions and awards, her photography has been featured on Huffington Post, Washington Post, Coastal Living Magazine, and much more. While she does not have an official Facebook page for her photography, you can follower her, as she makes her work public on her page and it is splendid! Jody is a photographer you must check out!
8. David Guttenfelder
If you are looking for intense and amazing photography, look no further. David Guttenfelder is a world-renowned photographer. He is currently a “National Geographic Photography Fellow focusing on geopolitical conflict, conservation and culture,” as mentioned on his website. Prior to this he worked for the Associated Press for 20 years. David Guttenfelder has also worked for TIME, New York Times and Newsweek. In addition to many awards, he is a eight-time World Press Photo Award winner and finalist seven times for the Pulitzer Prize. His work is exhibited in various locations all over the world. He posts very interesting photos that often include a story.
9. Suzie Esterhas
Award-winning wildlife photographer Suzie Esterhas is most-definitely worthy of a follow on Facebook. Her heartwarming images of all types of creatures will brighten your day. Her work has been featured on Popular Photography, Smithsonian, TIME, BBC Wildlife, GEO, Popular Photography, and National Geographic Kids. Suzie is based out of California and is known for capturing newborn animals and family lives of endangered species. She posts a lot of good photos on her Facebook page regularly.
It’s been over a week since my last post mostly thanks to the fact that I am incredibly busy at the moment. I am getting married in January and the paperwork required here in the Philippines is very time-consuming to arrange and obtain. I am also in the process of sorting out visas for my wife and daughter so that we can return to the UK next year. Therefore I have been spending a huge amount of time discussing everything with lawyers, accountants and every other official I can think of to get everything prepared properly.
In between all this I am continuing to work and test cameras.
So what is coming up. As some of you will know I will be interviewing Damien Lovegrove, the acclaimed Fuji X photographer and portrait guru. I also have a Nikon D750 on its way to me as I am going to do a comparison between the Nikon D750, D7200 and the Fuji XT2 to see which one is the better camera. I’ll be testing those at a wedding I’m shooting next week and will try to get the article online asap. I have previously owned and used a D750 so I’m familiar with all three cameras. As the Fuji XT2 and Nikon D750 are in the same ballpark when it comes to price I think it is an interesting comparison to make. Since I currently have a D7200 and it is considered one of the best APS-C cameras on the market I will throw that into the mix too. Don’t forget to check out my Nikon D7200 review and Fuji XT2 review to see what I think of those two cameras.
I’m still waiting on stock of the OM-D E-M1 II to arrive and once it does I’ll be reviewing it over the coming months and comparing it to the XT-2.
I will also have more articles, a few lens reviews and I’ll take a more in-depth look at the auto focus capabilities of the Fuji XT2, particularly in low light.
Who are the seven most influential people in photography? The experts don’t seem to agree. Nevertheless, once you examine various sources, a pattern slowly develops. One thing is certain, if you wish to take great photographs then you have to study the work of famous, influential photographers. “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” –German photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995)
While some of the greatest photographers are now no longer with us, many remain who never fail to fascinate us with their photos. Having said that, here is a list of famous photographers–living and dead–who still influence our lives today.
1. Ansel Adams “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”–Ansel Adams
Adams was a photographer and environmentalist. He was born in San Francisco, California on February 20, 1902. He died in Monterey, California on April 22, 1984.
He is one of the most easily recognized names in the industry. He is most famous for his black-and-white landscape photographs such as those shot in the Yosemite National Park and other locations in the American West. Along with Fred Archer, he created the Zone System in order to establish the correct exposure and alter the contrast of the actual print. This added a clarity and depth to his photos. He mainly used what is known as “large-format cameras.” Their high resolution aided in making certain that his photographs were sharp.
2. Yousuf Karsh “Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.”–Yousef Karsh
Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian photographer who specialized in portraits. He was born in Mardin, Turkey on December 23, 1908, and died in Boston, Massachusetts on July 13, 2002. Both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and TIME magazine referred to him as “one of the great portrait photographers of the 20th century.”
His signature style was marked by his dramatic use of theatrical lighting. His photos told stories with a universal appeal. He sought to reveal people’s secrets with his pictures. His portraits speak to people around the world.
3. Robert Capa “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”–Robert Capa
Born Andre Friedmann, in Budapest, Hungary on October 22, 1913, was a photojournalist and war photographer. Considered by some to be the most influential adventure and combat photographer in history, he died in Thai Binh, Vietnam on May 25, 1954. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1947 for chronicling World War II in pictures.
He also co-founded the cooperative agency Magnum Photos in Paris, France. Hungary issued a gold coin and stamp to honor the five-war veteran. He believed that you had to be close enough to get good pictures and would therefore frequently work in the trenches with the soldiers while the majority of other photographers took their pictures from a safe distance.
4. Henri Cartier-Bresson “The photograph itself doesn’t interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.”–Henri Cartier-Bresson
Bresson was a humanist and photographer. Born in Cereste, France
on August 22, 1908, he went on to become a reputed master of candid photography before passing away in Montjustin, France on August 3, 2004. His style was so influential he makes most “top photographer” lists. He generally shot in black and white and was one of the first photographers to actually use 35mm film. He retired almost three decades prior to his death so unfortunately there are not as many examples of his work as there could have been had he not retired early. 5. Dorothea Lange “One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind.”–Dorothea Lange
Lange was a photojournalist and documentary photographer who was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on May 26, 1895. Before her death in San Francisco, California on October 11, 1965, she became well-known for the photographs she had taken during the Great Depression. One of her most famous photos is that of a migrant mother. It is also reported to be one of the most famous photos in history. She is also known for her photos of the 1940s Japanese internment camps.
6. Jerry Uelsmann “Photography is just light remembering itself.”–Jerry Uelsmann
Uelsmann is a photographer who was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 11, 1934. His work was ahead of its time. He led the way with photomontage in the American 20th century.
He was notably talented in the darkroom. He put that talent to good use when he introduced the world to unique images of composite photographs. To date, he has never used a digital camera because he personally feels that his strengths and creative talents are actually more suited to his darkroom.
7. Annie Leibovitz “The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.”
Leibovitz is a famous American portrait photographer. Born in Waterbury, Connecticut on October 2, 1949, she continues to be one of the most popular, iconic photographers to influence the music industry and pop culture. Her work continues to inspire generations of young people.
To date her most famous work are her photos of singer-songwriter, musician, actor, artist and former Beatle John Lennon. They were taken on the same day he was assassinated. Her work can be seen in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines.
Leibovitz’ photographs were also used on a pair of record albums by Joan Armatrading. She is also the first woman to have exhibited her work at London’s National Portrait Gallery.
She lists Richard Avedon, and his concept of “personal reportage”, as a major influence on her work. She believes in creating a close rapport with her subjects. She has no problem with falling in love with those she photographs. Her work is somehow descriptive and intimate.
So there you have it, 7 of the most influential photographers of all time. I hope their work inspires you like it does me.
A number of these great photographers didn’t lug around big heavy cameras, in fact many of them took shots on 35mm film cameras. To me, today mirrorless cameras are similar in size to 35mm film cameras, especially cameras like the Olympus Pen F and Fuji XT2 or X-Pro 2. Except the image quality that we get from these cameras is much better than 35mm film. Imagine what you can do with a Pen F or XT2 and a couple of small primes. We really are very lucky today to have so many great choices at our disposal. Photographers like these inspire me to get out and create images.
I must admit that I was quite excited for this Fuji XT2 review. Partly that was down to my love hate relationship with the XT1. That was a camera I loved the concept of and indeed it had many great features such as external dials for aperture, shutter speed and ISO, a huge viewfinder and great image quality. However there were a few aspects that made me begrudgingly sell it. The focus still wasn’t quite as good as it needed to be and other cameras offered more features at that time. See my XT1 vs Olympus EM1 video for more on that.
My excitement was also aroused due to the internet buzz over the improvements made to the X-Pro2 and indeed the early noise coming out from Fuji XT2 reviews.
Before we go any further I would just like to remind you that if you find this review helpful then please shop using my Amazon links. It wont cost you an extra penny but it does help to support my work here. Absolutely anything that you buy through my links, even groceries helps me to keep adding to the website. A huge thank you for those who use the links.
As you can see from the list Fuji pulled out all the stops here to create a true flagship camera that has improvements across the board. The new 24mp sensor, a bump of 50% from the older generation 16mp sensors is a welcome addition and brings it in line with the competition.
Fuji clearly want to take the video market more seriously with 4K output and they have listened to feedback from photographers in nearly every department and worked to improve on what they already had with the XT1.
Fuji XT2 Review – Handling
The XT2 is slightly larger than the XT1 at 133x92x49.2mm and also 67 grams heavier. In the hand this makes the XT2 very comfortable to hold, offering good grip and a little more space to work with when using the controls.
I always felt the XT1 was a good camera but in need of a few improvements and the XT2 has come up trumps here, offering a little more room to work with and a more robust feel than its predecessor.
The front grip is slightly more pronounced on the XT2 and fits perfectly in my hand.
The first and most noticeable addition is the new AF Joystick which allows you to easily re-position your selected AF point directly with just the a flick of the controls. It works seamlessly and really speeds things up when you need to quickly select or change your focus point. This has the added benefit of freeing up the D-pad direction buttons to use as custom function buttons.
The Fuji XT2’s magnesium alloy shell is fully weather sealed (when combined with Fuji WR lenses such as the 90mm f/2) down to -10 Celsius, having 63 points of sealing. The VPB-XT2 grip is sealed to the same level. I’ve been caught out with my XT2 + 90mm f/2 in torrential downpours and it dealt with them rather better than I did.
One of the features that draws many photographers to the Fuji X-Series of cameras and especially the XT1 and 2 is the retro style control dials.
The Fuji XT2 retains the shutter speed dial although now it offers a 1/8000 maximum shutter speed. This is a particularly welcome feature for those wishing to shoot with fast aperture primes in bright light.
The XT2 also has a physical ISO dial with a range up to 12800 ISO + the H (high ISO options set in menu of 25600 or 51200)
One of the major handling improvements I’ve found with the XT2 is that Fuji have now changed the ISO locking mechanism to a push ball point style button. Now you press to lock and press again to unlock. This is vastly more usable than the one on the XT1 where you had to press and hold it to unlock the dial every time you wanted to change ISO.
The dials are also slightly taller and better damped which makes them much easier to change quickly. They are now what I would consider as close to perfect as you can get. In fact they’re so good that I don’t think about them. That’s a good thing as they simply do their job and don’t hinder the shooting experience at all.
The addition of dual memory card slots will be appreciated by everyone but in particular by pros because it gives the option to have an overflow, backup, or to shoot raw to one and Jpeg to the other. Both slots are UHS-II ready (unlike the X-Pro2) so you can stick a fast SD card in both and keep on shooting as I have.
You can get the same memory cards that I used from Amazon UK
and Amazon.com for international readers
Fujifilm have also attended to one of my gripes on the XT1, namely the flimsy memory card door. It is now much more robust and features a small lock so that you no longer accidentally open it in use. The little flick lock is easy to operate so doesn’t hinder you when you want to access your memory cards.
The exposure compensation dial is well damped and in my time using it has never been knocked while getting it in and out of my bag. It doesn’t feature a lock unlike the shutter speed and ISO dials but it doesn’t seem to need one. It offers +-3ev of compensation with the addition of a C position which extends this to +-5 ev.
The Fuji XT2 retains the front finger and rear thumb control dials but they now include push to click functionality taken from the X-Pro 2.
The rear D-pad buttons protrude away from the surface a little further than on the XT1 and feel much more responsive in use. No more squidgy buttons here.
The video record button has been removed and replaced with a dedicated video position on the drive dial (Located around the base of the ISO dial). The options on the drive dial are now Movie, Bracketing, Continuous High, Continuous Low, Single frame, Multiple Exposure, Advanced Filter (effects), and Panorama.
The Fuji XT2 offers several metering modes which are changed with a second dial around the base of the shutter speed dial. Spot metering is taken from the centre 2% of the image frame, centre weighted which adds increased importance to subjects in the centre of the frame, multi and average. For most circumstances multi metering does a good job although I often switch to centre weighted when shooting portraits, particularly against a bright background.
I found the XT2 to under expose slightly in some circumstances but it’s so easy to add a touch of exposure compensation via the dedicated dial that it wasn’t really an issue. Just something to be aware of.
[UPDATE] This feature is offered. I missed it but found it while playing with the cameras menu system. Thanks to Eric who also pointed this out.
It would be nice if Fuji would offer the option of linking spot metering to the AF point in use as this can be really useful for shooting portraits off centre and for shots such as birds in flight against bright skies.
The XT2 also includes bracketing options for exposure, ISO, film simulation, white balance and dynamic range. Exposure bracketing is inexplicably limited to only 3 frames though which will be a serious gripe for those interested in HDR photography. I’m sure Fuji could increase this via firmware and I suggest that they do. Adding the option to bracket up to 7 frames would seriously increase this cameras appeal to HDR photographers.
There are 8 special effects filters which I have never used but for those interested they are Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Colour, High Key, Low Key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus and Partial Colour. The effects don’t work when shooting video of course but they also don’t work if you are shooting raw and Jpeg.
More interesting I suspect to the vast majority of photographers is the addition of the Acros film simulation along with the ability to add red, yellow and green colour filters as well as grain in two strengths. I’ll take a more in depth look at this in the image quality section below.
In addition to Acros we also have the standard film simulations of Provia (standard colour) , Velvia (more saturated) , Astia (A little softer in colour than standard and nice for outdoor portraits), Pro Neg standard, Pro Neg Hi (Give nice skin tones Hi offering a little more contrast), Classic Chrome (muted colours for a retro look) and Monochrome with the ability to add red, green and yellow filters.
Out of these filters I find myself mainly using Astia for outdoor portraits, Classic Chrome when I want a more subdued vintage look to shots, Pro Neg Standard and Hi when shooting portraits both in and outdoors depending on the look I want. If I want a black and white image I always use Acros now as it delivers beautiful contrast without blowing highlights and blocking shadows. The smooth tones of the new simulation are rich and very, very pleasing but more on that later.
The Fuji XT2 also offers an interval timer to shoot up to 999 images at intervals of between 1 second and 24 hours.
Viewfinder and LCD Screen
The Fuji XT2 retains the same excellent 2.36million dot viewfinder as the XT1. Offering 1024 x 768 resolution with a large 0.77x magnification. Compared with its rivals the XT2 viewfinder offers a huge view and is certainly one of the selling points of this camera for me.
An excellent feature carried over from the XT1 is that when shooting in portrait orientation all the shooting information is rotated so it is easily legible. A great feature and one which I’m not sure why other manufacturers have not implemented on their models.
There is also an option to show a slightly smaller image along with a second image to the right giving a highly magnified view with focus aids such as peaking and split screen simulation. I must admit though that I don’t use this feature as I prefer to keep the immersive large display intact.
The viewfinder has a vast number of display and overlay options which enable you to set it up with the information that is most important to you. It offers a level gauge although unlike Olympus and other models it is only a single axis level.
The viewfinder is now twice as bright as the XT1 which is perfect when shooting on bright sunny days as I have been recently. The refresh rate remains around the same at 60fps vs 54 fps on the XT1 but you now have the option to use boost mode on the XT2 to increase this to 100FPS. This is particularly useful when shooting fast moving subjects and firing off a burst of shots.
I’ve found that while there is still a little lag when tracking fast moving subjects it is now pretty minimal and I have no problem keeping up with the action when using boost mode.
The viewfinder eyepiece is now larger and keeps out stray light effectively.
Overall I’d say the Fuji XT2’s electronic viewfinder is the best on the market. It’s a joy to use.
The LCD screen on the XT2 looks virtually unchanged at first glance. It remains a 3″ 1040 unit and unfortunately Fuji have again decided not to add a touch screen. Particularity with the addition of 4K video on the XT2 it would have been great to have a touch screen in order to easily be able to pull focus when shooting video.
However Fuji have implemented an ingenious design to allow shooting at varying angles in portrait orientation. As well as being able to tilt vertically there is an additional hinge that allows the screen to flip out horizontally. It’s a great bit of design and one that adds to the usability of the camera in more situations. For some reason the shooting information doesn’t rotate to match the shooting orientation unlike when using the viewfinder.
One issue I have on my XT2 and one that has been reported by a number of other users is that when switching on the camera both the viewfinder and LCD white out for several seconds before the exposure seems to adjust and display correctly. I’m hoping Fuji attends to this in a firmware update. In fact, knowing Fuji I’m almost certain they will as they are the best in the industry for adding fixes and improvements via firmware updates.
Fuji have implemented a new menu system on the XT2 which overall is a little more user friendly. Being a long time Fuji X user it has taken me a little while to get used to it but now that I have it is more intuitive and makes more sense. The new menu layout is tabbed and with the XT2 offers an AF specific tab, highlighting the cameras aspiration to become a workhorse of pro sports and nature photographers. I’ll talk more about this and the AF performance further on. One small gripe is that it doesn’t always remember your last location in the menu. So for example, I format memory card one, it then takes me out of the menu and I have to go back in, re-locate the format option and repeat for slot 2. It would be better if once card 1 is formatted it just kicked me out to the same sub menu so I can quickly format card 2.
The Fuji XT2 is well connected, now with a separate 2.5mm remote jack and thankfully a common 3.5mm microphone socket. There is also an HDMI port and a faster USB3 port too. The XT2 can output uncompressed 4.2.2 8bit 4k video externally although internally this is reduced to 1080p.
WiFi options remain essentially the same as the latest X Series models. It uses the same app and offers the same features. There is no NFC or Bluetooth available.
The XT2 uses the new NP-W126 battery which retains the same power specs but apparently deals with heat better. Presumably this is necessary when shooting 4k video. The older XT1 batteries will still work but just make sure to check for overheating issues if shooting 4k video. The battery door on the XT2 now feels more sturdy and has a reassuring feel to it when opening and closing.
What is new on the XT2 is the ability to charge it via USB which is great, if like me you have a number of different cameras and travel a lot. No more lugging all the various chargers with you. It is still supplied with an AC charger though unlike some Sony’s I have purchased in the past.
The VPB-XT2 battery grip offers a number of additional features which I shall quickly list here. For my Fuji XT2 review I did not purchase the battery grip so can’t really comment on them.
Increases shooting speed to 11 FPS
Reduces shutter lag
Adds headphone jack
Increases 4k shooting time from 10 to 30 minutes
Takes 2 additional batteries.
Adds AC power so you can shoot even without batteries
The VPB-XT2 is more than just your standard battery grip and I will probably purchase it in the future when funds allow. I’m getting married in a few months time so I can’t justify it right now.
Amazon UK link
Overall Fuji has addressed every single one of my issues in terms of handling that I had with the XT1. It feels better made, the dials are much more user friendly and there are no little things that bug me. Ergonomically I’d say Fuji have made the perfect camera with the XT2. I absolutely love using it. I previously always found using a PASM dial and control wheels to be faster than the external dials of the Fuji system. However with the XT2 that has changed. The extra depth of the ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation dials give just the right feedback to be able to change them quickly and easily. The revised ball point pen style locking mechanisms are so much better and the slight increase in overall size mean that this camera handles superbly. I actually can’t think of anything that I would change in terms of ergonomics. Oh yes I can, just add a touch screen Fuji and then the XT2 would be perfect.
Fuji XT2 Review – Auto Focus
I got the Fuji XT2 with super high hopes for the auto focus system, mainly because of the hype that I had heard on the internet about it being incredible, amazing, lightening quick etc.
The XT2 now sports 325 auto focus points (you can select to only use 91 if you wish), including 169 phase detect points. The area covered by the phase detect AF points is significantly larger than on previous models so tracking subjects becomes much easier. The XT2 also offers Zone and Wide AF tracking modes which use a portion of the AF points to keep your subject within them.
In Zone AF the autofocus area becomes a square measuring 3×3, 5×5 or 7×7 points. You can adjust its position using the AF joystick or cross keys. If you are using S-AF mode you can choose from a 13×7 array, or in C-AF, the smaller 7×7 square.
First lets start by talking about the AF speed in S-AF mode because that is probably what a lot of us use most of the time.
I intentionally shot the XT2 with an older 23mm f/1.4 and a more recent 90mm f/2 because I am aware that if I only used older lenses then any criticism of the XT2’s auto focus would be blamed on the older lens design.
I can say now that the Fuji XT2 auto focuses faster than any other X series camera that I have tried. It is faster to focus and lock on than the XT1.
When shooting in good light it is very quick to focus and very accurate too. Using the new AF joystick combined with the additional focus points available you can easily adjust your AF point and for example, highlight the one over your subjects eyes.
Speaking of eyes, the XT2 offers face detect AF and eye detect AF with the ability to select left or right eye. I have found this to work very well in practice although I still slightly prefer Olympus’ system. The Face and Eye detect AF can be overridden manually by selecting your AF point with the joystick. Something which wasn’t available when I tested the XT1. Face detection is not available in C-AF mode though as it only uses contrast detect AF.
In the menu system you can select your priority between focus and release and have it set separately for S-AF and C-AF. For S-AF I always have this set to focus priority.
The auto focus is fast but it is still not quite as quick as my Olympus Pen F which is instant. The XT2 is quick but on occasion when using older lenses such as the 23mm f/1.4 it can hesitate for just a fraction of a second. However when using the 90mm f/2 it was noticeably faster.
In general it is fast enough for almost any purpose. Capturing photos of your children who wont keep still for a second will not be a problem for the XT2.
Tracking performance on the Fuji XT2 is where I found the greatest improvement. In comparison to the XT1 the XT2’s tracking performance is excellent. It is quick to pick up the subject, almost always selects the correct subject (especially if you select the suddenly appearing subjects option as below) and once locked on it gave me the highest hit rate of any camera that I’ve tested so far and that includes my Nikon D7200.
What’s new with the Fuji XT2 is the ability to select between a number of different tracking profiles to suit your subject. These profiles alter the sensitivity and speed of the XT2’s auto focus. The profiles available are Multi-Purpose, Ignore Obstacles, Accelerating / Decelerating Subjects, Suddenly Appearing Subjects, and Erratic Motion. This feature is normally found on high end DSLR’s aimed at pro sports photographers so it is great to see Fuji including them here.
Turning on boost mode supposedly improves AF performance but in all honesty I found that it didn’t hugely affect AF performance or the hit rate I was getting with the camera.
The buffer depth of the XT2 is good. I was using matching Sandisk Extreme Pro 32gb 280 mb/sec UHS II cards in both slots and when shooting Raw+Jpeg at 8FPS the camera would only start to slow down after about 3 seconds. The buffer then cleared in about a further 3 seconds.
Shooting Fine Jpeg I was able to shoot forever. Shooting Compressed Raw files I was able to capture 34 frames before the camera slowed down.
Overallthe Fuji XT2 has some of the best AF performance you will find in any mirrorless camera. Combine this with the additional tracking AF profiles and it is a very capable camera for almost any use.
Fuji XT2 Review – Image Quality
The Fuji XT2 uses the same 24mp X-Trans III sensor found in the X-Pro 2. It increases resolution by 50% over the older 16mp sensors. It also now allows shooting in raw at ISO 100
In terms of resolution this allows for greater detail and increased ability to crop your images if required. Wildlife photographers in particular will be delighted with this increase in resolution as you can never have too much reach or ability to crop when shooting animals in the wild.
Where I really notice this is when shooting portraits, the new sensor shows more detail in the eyelashes of a subject. It is also quite noticeable when shooting detailed landscapes. The higher resolution combined with lack of AA filter allows for incredibly sharp images. Combined with the new autofocus system, getting pin sharp images even at large apertures is easy. Don’t forget that thanks to the way mirrorless cameras work there is no need for micro adjustments to the AF system when using different lenses. When your shot is in focus, you can be sure it really is in focus.
What is surprising if you look at the results below is that the Nikon 18-140mm kit lens does surprisingly well when compared with the Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 prime.
To test dynamic range I set the Fuji XT2, Nikon D7200 and Olympus Pen F up on a tripod. Shooting at all the cameras base ISO settings with the same shutter speed and aperture and in raw.
There are a couple of interesting things to note here; The Fuji at ISO 200 is a little brighter than the Nikon shot at ISO 100 but darker than the Pen F. This would match my findings that it can sometimes under expose a little. The XT2 seems to prefer to under expose slightly and protect the highlights.
Secondly, when you increase the shadows in Lightroom to the same level as the Olympus Pen F the Fuji retains the detail and doesn’t introduce too much noise. So the detail is still there in the shadows while protecting the highlights.
Now if we compare it against the Nikon D7200 where I have increased exposure by one stop in Lightroom, effectively giving an ISO 200 image we can see that the Nikon image is brighter at the same settings. There is not much in it though so to me it doesn’t look like Fuji are fudging the numbers anymore, or at least not to any significant degree. The Nikon is exposing the image slightly to the right on the histogram and indeed it shows more clipped highlights than the Fuji file but shows more shadow detail. The Nikon image is also more saturated but when shooting raw it’s not a significant factor as you can easily change the colour.
There is some jpeg artifacting in these images so I will upload full resolution samples to Flickr so that you can look in more detail.
From these results I can say that the Fuji XT2’s sensor is right up there with the best performing APS-C sensors on the market. I would also say that at this point, dynamic range and resolution are no longer significant factors when choosing between APS-C and Micro 4/3. All the sensors perform really well at base ISO.
Fuji XT2 Review – ISO performance
I tested the noise performance of the XT2 against the Nikon D7200 and Olympus Pen F.
Firstly I tested all 3 cameras in the same dim light using the same shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings. All shots were taken in Manual mode using a tripod. The light was very dim.
At ISO 1600 the differences between the three cameras are minor. At 3200 we start to see a gap emerging as this is where Micro 4/3 tends to fall behind.
It also performs a little better than the Nikon D7200
At ISO 6400 the Fuji sensor really starts to show better noise handling than the Nikon D7200. Noise is better controlled and finer as you can see below. I’d say it has about 1/2 stop advantage at this point.
Finally I shot both cameras at 12800 ISO and at this point the D7200 image starts to break down, I was surprised how well the XT2 handled it. At this point the Fuji XT2 is significantly better than the D7200, by almost a stop. The Pen F at 6400 performs very similarly to the Fuji XT2 at ISO 12800.
So in terms of noise performance the Fuji XT2 has improved on previous generation sensors by around a stop at high ISO’s. This is very impressive considering that they have increased resolution by 50% over the older X-Series models and their ISO settings seem to be more in line with the competition now.
I feel comfortable shooting at ISO 6400 on the XT2 and will go to 12800 if required. Remember these shots are all raw files with no post processing work done on them. They were converted straight to Jpeg in Lightroom (creative cloud version). As I mentioned before I will upload the samples to my flickr account so that you can look in more detail if you wish.
Acros Film Simulation
As I mentioned before one of the additions to the XT2 is the Acros film simulation first seen on the X-Pro2 earlier in the year. I personally find this black and white mode to give beautiful tones with plenty of contrast. In my testing it requires contrasty scenes to really get the best out of it but then high contrast scenes always benefit black and white images.
Below are a few samples. You can see more on the Fuji Acros vs Pen F Tri X page here
The XT2 adds the ability to shoot 4k video and for me this is a huge bonus because it was an area where I would previously had to have kept a separate camera just for video. I have only briefly tested it but the quality looks to be excellent with little of the artifacting that we saw from previous Fuji models.
I’ll be testing this further and adding some samples once I have a faster internet connection.
Fuji XT2 Review – Conclusion
Overall Fuji has really pulled out all the stops with the XT2. They have upgraded the sensor giving 50% more resolution yet somehow improved high ISO noise performance. Everything about the camera feels quicker than the XT1, from the menu system through to auto focus performance.
The AF joystick speeds up AF point selection by a huge amount and this combined with accurate face and eye detection means that you rarely miss a shot. S-AF is as quick as anyone needs in real life and tracking performance is among the best I have used.
Yet it is the handling where I feel that the XT2 really shines now, thanks in large part to to all the minor changes that Fujifilm have made to the design. Slightly larger body, more rugged build quality, larger dials, better feeling buttons, better quality memory card and battery doors, dual SD card slots and an intuitive hinged LCD design.
I think Fuji have made the perfect handling camera and it really is a joy to use. I get to use a huge number of cameras and for me the Fuji XT2 feels the best in use. It is quick and easy to control and the image quality is superb, right up there with the best APS-C sensors. The fact that it is also a good looking beast is a bonus.
Apart from the addition of a touch screen LCD I struggle to see how the Fuji XT2 could be improved ergonomically. It seems to have hit the perfect size/weight/performance combination for all my needs.
Fuji have smashed it out of the park with the XT2 in my opinion and judging by the stock delays I think a lot of people agree with me.
I mentioned previously in a post that I wondered whether the XT2 would be enough to tempt me back in to the X-System as my main camera. Well I no longer have to wonder. I shipped off three cameras for sale yesterday and the XT2 wasn’t one of them. I’ll be keeping that and hopefully adding a few more lenses to my bag too.
If you appreciate the time that I have put in to creating this article for you then please shop using my links. You can buy through them at absolutely no additional cost to you and no matter what you purchase I receive a small commission from the retailer. That commission helps me to keep this site going and to keep bringing you real world reviews and comparisons. It is the only way I make any money for all the time and effort that I put in to this website so thank you to each and every one of you who shops through the links below.