Saturday, May 31, 2014

Studies in black and white with a basic Fuji kit -- X-T1 and 18-55mm

I particularly enjoy shooting black and white with a Fuji X-camera. I can set the camera to record both RAW and jpg at the same time,  and also set the camera to record black and white with the Q-menu. Since the camera uses the jpg image for its screen display, I get to see an actual black and white rendition of the image for viewing. I sometimes also set the contrast and exposure compensation to reflect what I am trying to accomplish with the images. Here I had the contrast set higher because I wanted a stark silhouette to use in creating my composition and I knew this is something I would probably be boosting later in Photoshop.

While I see the image as a jpg, I still retain a RAW image with full detail in case I want to change anything later in post -- something I did do in the two photos below. I format many of my images as squares, and the Fuji X-camera also allows me to show a square crop on the viewing screen or finder. The RAW version of the file preserves the entire image with the crop over it so I can still make some minor adjustments to the composition later in post processing  -- something I did to to tweak the composition of both images below.

For this composition I liked the stabbing thrust of the two triangular shadow shapes cutting into the Flatiron.and also slicing a hard diagonal line over the entire frame. I kept a bit of detail in the shadows of the foreground building because I thought it harmonized well with the general decoration of the Flatiron.

For this composition I wanted the four silhouetted dormers to present a hard thrust into the frame with their arrow-like tops.  I played the two diagonal lines of the building rooftops against each other and to form a zigzag compositional line starting at the bottom and working its way to the top where it disappears into the left corner of the frame. I kept the foreground shadows dark and only brightened up the one lone window in the right-most dormer for contrast and to prevent the eye from running off the frame.


  1. Thanks for sharing your photos. They are really striking.
    Would you share your camera settings for these B&W pictures.

  2. Sure thing: In both cases I worked at f/8 for good depth of field and sharpness, as this is a sweet spot for this lens. ISO was 200, and shutter speeds of 1/320 and 1/900. The focal length of the top image was at 55mm (83mm on ff), and the bottom photo was at 46mm (69mm on ff).

    1. Thanks- Also did you use any special Q settings? Contrast - etc. which B&W profile? The square cropping also looks great for this series.
      Thanks Henry

    2. Henry, I also set the highlight tone to -2 and shadow tone to +2 to increase the contrast.

  3. Enjoyed these images. A little off topic... If you don't mind me asking, what size prints have you made form your Fuji cameras. I'm wondering at what size do you start noticing there not as good as with something like a D800. Im con siding getting interchangeable lens mirror less system and I'm down between the Sony a7r and the Fuji. I want the ability to get to 16x20 prints. Have a great Sunday!

  4. Brian, I regularly make 16x20 prints and some even larger from Fuji X images. Of course, it does require up-sizing, but that is not much of a problem when a print is the final use of the file. A 24mp sensor has a native image size of 13x20 , and the D800 is 16x24. As image size approaches 20x24 and beyond you will notice a difference.