Saturday, September 17, 2016

First lifestyle shoot with the Fuji X-T2

When shooting what I call "dynamic lifestyle" photography where both the models and photographer are constantly moving and the camera is trying to follow rapid changes in focus and exposure at very wide open aperture settings, I need a camera that can follow pace and keep the face and eyes of the model in constant focus. Viewfinder lag of mirrorless cameras has always made this type of shooting somewhat difficult. The new AF improvements in the X-T2 have substantially diminished this problem.

The X-T2 has a total of 325 AF points and 169 of these are phase-detection points. A new joystick control has been added to quicken the response time of moving the focus points about the screen. Viewing screens have been improved with a .005 sec refresh time at 60 fps or 100 fps in the new boost mode. I found the new viewing to be very close to real time similar to that of a DSLR. Additionally, the image presented in the viewfinder and LCD is clearer with much more color rendition than on the X-T1 predecessor.

Even simple scenes like those above I keep the models in constant motion by directing them as I shoot in an attempt to capture more of a spontaneous look that on their faces that looks like they were caught spontaneously in a fluid scene that was not posed.  This is unlike the scene below, which is static with the models fixed to one position and not presenting any focus challenge to the camera. Adding motion where the models' heads are moving constantly in and out of the plane of focus forces the camera AF system to follow the action while keeping a pinpoint focus on the eyes.

The improved video capabilities of the X-T2 represent a giant step forward for the X-trans sensor. The camera can deliver 10 minutes of 4K video at 30fps on just a single standard battery. Performance jumps to 30 minutes of 4K shooting by adding the dual-battery auxiliary grip. What I found most impressive was the ability of the X-T2 to follow focus in AF mode when shooting video. This is a tremendous benefit to following along with the actions of models as they move about the scene and allows for shooting at larger apertures where holding on to critical focus can be a problem in video.

The X-T2 does away with the function button to start video action by replacing it as a choice on the drive mode dial. I found this to be work much better as I switched back and forth from shooting stills to recording video of the scenes. For one thing, selecting the video mode via a dial also brings up the video frame on the LCD and viewfinder so you can compose the scene precisely before actually recording it.

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