Dan Taylor

Macro product photography with the Fujifilm X-T1

My original intention was to take my Fujifilm X-T1 and Nikon 50mm f/1.8 over to the Augarten today and see what happened. But since the flat was warm and the outside air cold, I decided to call it a lazy Sunday and see what other challenges I could cook up for the Fuji. I absolutely love my Fuji+Nikon combo, perhaps most importantly because of the depth of field f/1.8 can produce, and the fact that I have to manually focus the Nikon lens. That's not to say I'm going to be manual focusing only any time soon, I just love the challenge of capturing razor sharp focus in a very small plane without the aid of the camera.

But since I've used the 50mm, a wide aperture, and natural light combination so often, I thought it might be fun to try the reverse and add some artificial light, and a different lens. Heading over to the lens shelf, the first one my eye fell upon was the Sigma 18-55mm f/2.8-4.5 macro lens. And since I've just recently acquired a new ring...the Sunday afternoon project was born.

Now I really do like working with manual lenses on the X-T1, as it's brought an entire range of my tools back to life. However, because of the need for an adaptor ring between the camera and the lens, all electronic data (e.g. auto-focus, metering, etc.) is lost. What this means is that the photographer has to manually calculate ISO (film speed), Aperture (how open the blades inside the camera are - those that control how much light hits the sensor), and shutter speed (how slow or fast the shutter stays open, thus effecting how much light gets to the sensor). This is just like the old days, and I love this challenge, in natural light.

When you start adding artificial light, e.g. flash units, you want to start working with low ISO, a large(r) aperture (f/8 - f11), and and the shutter speed depends on how much ambient or back lighting you want coming into the image. The problem here is this combination of speed and size. Because of the way a mirrorless camera is constructed, you see through the viewfinder exactly what the sensor will see. All fine and dandy...when you're calculating for 1/32 and 1/64 powered flashes. These flashes will light up your subject, and you'll have a perfectly lit scene with proper lighting balance.

Have you figured out the conundrum yet? The primary culprit here is the aperture. Because the camera is set up to receive a large amount of light when the shutter is opened, it's calibrated for this blast. When the flashes are not on, the viewfinder registers a dark image.

In order to combat this loss of light, what I ended up doing was opening the lens up as wide as it would go, in this case f/4.5, doing my manual focus with peak focusing (and using the zoom in focus assist tool), and then gradually closing the aperture back down to what I would guess is around f8. There are more expensive adaptors on the market today that will provide more accurate readings and stop indicators, but honestly, I kind of like the whole guestimation process. Almost like the old days of watching your film develop in the basin.

After a number of test shots, I found the angle and lighting setup that I liked, and started dialing in the focus/aperture twist settings and ended up with the work presented above.

Tools used for this project:

Source: http://www.dan-taylor.com/wp-content/uploa...

Retro Sunday with the Fuji X-T1

If I haven't said it enough already, I absolutely love my Fuji X-T1. Ever since picking it up earlier this year in New York, it's seen more use on the street than any other camera I've ever owned. Gone are the days when I have to lug my DSLR around with me just to get a level of quality that meets my standards. And since Fuji's got this whole retro styling going on, I thought it might be interesting to throw a retro lens on it via an adaptor and seen what might happen.

I have a 1969 135mm Nikkor Q f/2.8 that I've used with the X-T1, but it's not optimal for street shooting. So what better than the classic street lens, a vintage 1986 Nikkor 50mm f/1.8? A great lens in it's day, this 50mm was in production for almost 20 years before being replaced.

Using the no-name adaptor that came with my original X-Pro1, I'm able to use all of my existing nikon and nikon compatible lenses. For today's outing I packed the X-T1, X-Pro1, D610, adaptor ring, 50mm Nikkor prime, 8mm Walimex fisheye prime, xf18-55mm fujinon zoom, and 24-70mm Nikkor zoom.

Although I do have a Fuji X-Mount lens that covers the 50mm range, if bottoms out at f/4. as this zoom, and let's be honest...who doesn't love a good depth of field and the patience and accuracy of manual focus? From time to time? So here's what I did today. How about you?

And because I'm a big fan of music AND art, this is what I was listening to while shooting this afternoon. I highly recommend you press play while viewing these images:

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The Fuji X-T1 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 combo

Shots with the X-T1+8mm f/4 fisheye combo

Shots with the X-T1+18-55mm f/2.8-4 combo

Shots with the Nikon D610+24-70mm f/2.8 combo

Source: http://www.dan-taylor.com/wp-content/uploa...