Fuji X100s at 3200 ISO 1/60 with built in fill flash
I shot my very first wedding with 100% Fuji X gear and here are my thoughts:
I brought my Fuji X100s, XT1 and XE2 and my X Pro-1 as a back up, to shoot a wedding which was indoors at the Majestic Metro in downtown Houston, TX. The lighting was complicated to say the least. Every color known to mankind was there, I am not kidding. It was dimly lit and white balance was next to impossible. I was forced to leave the cameras set on AWB, which faired pretty well I might add. There was one glaring FAILURE with the Fuji’s that night….FLASH!
THE BAD: If Fuji is hoping to compete with the DSLR world and wants to be considered a viable option to working pro’s like me they must address their off camera flash failure. A tiny on camera flash will simply not cut it. I tried everything to get my Fuji EF-42 to do it’s thing, which it did but at stunningly slow recycle times. Please keep in mind I am accustomed to shooting with a Qflash Trio with a Quantum Turbo battery and less than 1 second recycle times. With that said the Fuji flash was almost useless as a on camera flash. You cannot shoot fast of a bride walking down the isle with the Fuji flash system, you just can’t! I ended up setting up 2 Quantum T5DR flashes, bare bulb, in the corners with did help. Fuji off camera flash is a failure, period!
THE AVERAGE: The XT1 performed well, but not any better than the XE2. The auto focus seemed the same and neither performed well all in low light. In fact none of the Fuji’s autofocus performed well in low light. To be fair by 5D II was not all that and a bag of chips when it came to low light AF, so there’s that. The X100s actually performed the best of all the camera. The AF was average but at least accurate and the lens/ISO combo and 5000 actually looked very good, especially in B&W. One HUGE weak point was that Adobe Lightroom as of this post, does not support Fuji XT1 RAF files, so I was forced to shoot in JPEG which I prefer not to do at weddings. The XT-1 JPEG files made the skin very “plastic looking” and odd to say the least. I did not rate that as “bad” because PS CC Camera RAW does support the files and Lightroom will soon follow. This caused me to use the XE2 a lot more.
Another really noticeable thing about the XT1 is that without the grip (VG-XT1) the camera is very out of balance with the 18-55 or the 60 2.4. It was OK with the 35 1.4 and better with the 14 2.8. The fact that Fuji did not release the grips at the time of the camera release is a head scratcher but luckily my grip arrived form B&H today, just in time for my wedding Sunday the 30th. I will post a follow up to this section afterwards.
Fiji X100s at 3200 ISO f2.2 @ 1/60th AWB
THE GOOD: Ok now the good to really good points to that night. Low light shooting at 3200 to 500 ISO was stunning! I was able to really work the reception room well with the 35 1.4 and got pretty much noiseless, tack sharp shots consistently at 3200 ISO. I set my camera to auto ISO at 3200 with min shutter speed of 1/60. Not because I am shaky but because at a wedding rarely are people still.
The colors were, well, Fuji! I got great color and of course stunning B&W. It is here that I feel the Fuji X system really separates itself from all others, including Leica. There is something flat out amazing about the Fuji X B&W photos!. The other really good thing was the weight. Ahhhhhhh no more Canon back pain after a long wedding shoot! The lightweight and ergo friendly cameras made it a joy to shoot the wedding and with the new grip added to the XT1 things will only get better!
Fuji X100s @ 5000 ISO f 2.0
CONCLUSION: Do I regret selling all of my Canon gear to go 100% Fuji? At times I guess, but I truly believe it will get better as I learn the nuances of the Fuji System. If Fuji address their glaring failure in regard to wireless TTL off camera flash issues, then I will say without hesitation NO, I do not miss Canon. Fuji has something special here but for a working pro there is a lot of room for improvement and I feel confident Fuji will listen to pro’s and make the changes, and soon!
Fuji XE-2 ISO 400, f4.5 1/100 35mm 1.4 XF