This review was written by our Bristol store manager Andy Hoang, who also works as a fashion and commercial photographer, specialising in studio lighting.
Some of the staff at Calumet would call me a mercenary because I don’t stick to one camera system. I guess there’s some truth to it as I like to try the latest gadgets in real life situations, from DSLR’s to Medium Format bodies, and on this occasion, the Fujifilm mirrorless systems.
The task for the day was to shoot a fashion editorial on location with clothing brands including Victoria Beckham, Self Portrait and Burberry, provided by a Bristol garment boutique. I was surrounded by my lovely team, who for me, greatly help you achieve your end goal be it hair styling or assisting on lighting. Sourcing and scouting a location prior to the shoot date also helps when it comes to the day, as it means you can go full speed without unnecessary distractions as we always have a tight shooting schedule.
The technical side of Fujifilm X-T2
The camera I’d be using today would be a Fujifilm X-T2 which is currently their flagship model. Having not used a Fujifilm system on a shoot before, I did the silly thing of leaving it until the morning of the shoot to get acquainted with how it all works. Now there are the obvious differences between a mirrorless and a full frame or even medium camera, the main one being the weight difference, the mirrorless camera being far lighter then it’s counterparts. The other big difference for me was that it had an electronic viewfinder or EVF for short. This was something I wasn’t used to with the Canon’s or Hasselblad’s as they were primarily optical viewfinder systems. This gave me a great advantage on the day as I could see, in real time, what the image would look like when captured.
Shooting with X-T2
The Fujifilm X-T2 has a function where when you spin the aperture ring or up the shutter speed it will show you the changes in real time. Not only did it show me the results I was getting, it also cut my shoot time in half. Normally an editorial takes 6-7 hours depending on looks and prep, but it only took me 4 hours to achieve what I needed to be confident enough to submit for publication. With its 24.3MP, it produced stunning files which myself and my team were pleasantly surprised at when viewing for final selection.
Loaded with handy features
There are functions on the Fujifilm X-T2 that some may think are gimmicky, and to be honest I didn’t think I’d use much, but I’m not embarrassed to say I was wrong.
Firstly, including all the Fujifilm film stock as selectable simulations when image taking is a genius idea. I took advantage of this straight away and changed my ‘look’ to monochrome – this became the platform of the whole editorial as the garments were mainly black and white in style. Normally we would change in post, but having the capability to do it in real time meant I knew how the editorial story would unfold.
Secondly, the tilt screen actually helps a lot! In fashion, we sometimes like to shoot at odd angles to give our story diversity. For me, I like to shoot quite low up and it can get tedious having to lie on dusty and wet floors, so the tilt screen becomes an important element in combating this task, however mundane that might be.
The final feature that I loved was the facial recognition. Yes, a lot of you will say just get it sharp in the first place, but because a fashion shoot can be so fast paced, we may think we have that money shot and view back later to find out it’s out of focus. I must admit this has happened to me on occasion and can be disheartening when you are forced to cut that look out because of it. The speed of the processor really does keep up with your movements and will maintain its focus on your subject, ensuring you have the shot you are happy with.
I really do recommend you give the Fujifilm systems a try as you will be pleasantly surprised by its performance and build. It has definitely changed my opinions on mirrorless systems.