Thursday, August 3, 2017

More Fujifilm GFX 50s

GF32-64 f/4
23mm f/4 1/4 ISO 100
 
GF32-64 f/4
63mm f/5 0.3 ISO 100
 
GF120 f/4
 f/6.4 0.3 ISO 100
 
I had the opportunity to shoot inside Colonel Ward Pump Station while in Buffalo NY.  I had no idea of how massive these old steam pumps were until I entered the building. The pumps are housed in a 1900s colossal five-story high building and are 60-feet tall.  The steam pumps are quite now having been replaced by smaller more efficient electric pumps.

 
GF63 f/2.8
f/6.4 0.3 ISO 100
 
Anyone who follows us knows that we do not write reviews of cameras or lenses.  What we do instead is show examples of what the camera and lenses are capable of producing.  I believe any camera and most lenses are more than capable to producing great images so long as the person who is operating the camera doesn’t slip up.  There are 2-brains behind any image.  The camera has a brain that needs to interact with the person operating it.  While I attempt to achieve as much as possible “in-camera” that isn’t always the case.  When that happens you need software to help it along.  In rare cases no amount of software processing will correct the deficiencies while in other cases just a slight nudge is all it takes to make a mediocre image stunning. 

The simplistic way of describing our processing workflow is that we “listen” to the image.  It will either tell us we screwed up and no matter what we do it’ll always be like putting lipstick on a pig as it remains a pig.  Thankfully that doesn’t occur often.  There are times we open the file and find it’s perfect and nothing else is needed.  There are times we open the image and “listening” understand it would look better if processed a different way. Shooting inside Colonel Ward Pump Station presented a set of unique options.  Do we show it as it was in color which actually looked more monotone or do we convert to black and white or use another process?  The 2-images above reflect that dilemma. And then there's the image below.
GF 23mm f/4
f/8 0.8 ISO 100
 
This was a change from shooing inside Silo City and offered unique challenges.  Where I used 2-lenses for the interior work in Silo City I quickly found the need for other lenses.  The light was much better inside the pump station than shooting inside the darker Silo City.  I also enjoyed seeing the older street lamps lining the upper walkway.
 
GF120mm f/4
f/6.4 0.3 ISO 100
The machinery wasn’t the only thing on a large scale.
GF 120mm f/4
f/8 0.8 ISO 100
 
GF 32-64 f/4
32mm f/4 0.8 ISO 100

I used four Fuji GF lenses while inside. There are 17 images included here with the GF 23mm f/4 accounting for 3, 8-with the GF 32-64, 3-with the GF63 and 3-with the GF 120mm.
GF 23mm f/4
f/8 0.5 ISO 100
 
GF32-64 f/4
64mm f/4.5.0.5 ISO 100
 
GF32-64 f/4
32mm f/4 1.3 ISO 100
 
All the images were processed initially in Capture One Pro before sending them to Photoshop CC and in some cases processing in either Nik Software or Topaz Labs.

GF 32-64 f/4
32mm f/4 0.8 ISO 100 
GF32-64 f/4
52.7mm f/4 0.8 ISO 100
The GFX 50s performed just as well as it has done throughout the time I’ve had it.  Put any of the above lenses on and it becomes a lightweight walk around camera system.  The camera was either in a backpack, attached to a tripod or hanging around my neck.  The unused lenses were all stored in a backpack along with spare batteries.  All in all a nice compact system.
GF 32-64 f/4
48.2mm f/4 0.8 ISO 100
 
GF 32-64 f/4
32mm f/7.1 0.8 ISO 100
 
Speaking batteries. I never once had an issue with power, shooting all day at long exposures.  I did screw up once on a particularly long exposure by not checking the power and I count that as user error.  I normally watch the battery level and once it shows 2-bars I’ll switch (I do that as a normal course with all my cameras).  At the end of the day I would have a battery in the camera that was close to 75% and 1-that I needed to charge. 
GF32-64 f/4
36.4mm f/4 0.8 ISO 100

Shutter releases. My usual workflow is using a Fujifilm RR-90 wired remote shutter and did so for close to 95% of the time shooting in Buffalo.  I also had a Pluto Trigger however I kept it in the bag on this trip.
Thank you once again for allowing us to share our experiences.  Please let us know if you have any question, suggestions or comments.
Don
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 

 
 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Shooting Urban Decay with a Fujifilm 50s

Hamburg Street
Fujifilm 50s GF23mm f/4
f/5.6 10-seconds ISO 100
 
Hamburg Street close up
Fujifilm 50s  GF120mm f/4
f/8 1/60 ISO 100
 
I had the opportunity to meet Mark Maio, and attend his workshop in Buffalo NY in conjunction with Capture Integration.  The primary location was Silo City with side trips to Colonel Ward Pumping Plant 2, and Concrete Central.   
"Gears"
laying flat on my back with the camera on tripod
Fujifilm 50s GF63 f/2.8
f/2.8 1.3 ISO 500
 
Art project left in a silo
laying flat on my back with the camera on tripod
Fujifilm 50s GF23 f/4
f/4 0.8 ISO 100
 
This was a very unusual experience for me for several reasons; I normally am the one hosting a workshop not an attendee plus I usually don’t photograph urban decay instead I capture cliff dwellings in the southwest.
I found this photograph on a wall.  Unknown date.
Fujifilm 50s GF 23mm f/4
f/4 1/8 ISO 100
 
The same image just processed differently; one in color the other in black and white.
 
Fujifilm 50s GF63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.3 ISO 125

The immediate issue was which camera to use.  The Phase One XF/IQ1-100 would provide stunning full frame images at 100-megapixels but at a cost of weight.  On the other hand I could use the Fujifilm 50s with the cropped sensor and 51-megapixels.  What made my decision easier was the combination of weight and the fact that I would be climbing several flights of stairs each day.  Keeping a loose count of the number of flights of stairs climbed in one day totaled over 13!  I stopped counting afterwards…
Top of the stairs
Fujifilm 50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 0.8 ISO100
 
Fujifilm GFX50s GF63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.6 ISO 100
 
The chair was clean!
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.6 ISO 100
 
The title says it all. I decided to use the Fujifilm 50s.  I took 4-lenses and ended up using all of them.  The lens lineup is the new 23mm, 32-64, 64, and 120.  I found each lens performed very good and for the most part used either the 23 or 64 while exploring inside the silos.  I ended up using all four of the lenses while in the Colonel Ward pump station.
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 63 f/2.8
f/2.8 1.3 ISO 160
 
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 2-seconds ISO 160
 
There was still oil in the can
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 3-seconds ISO 200

The floors were filthy littered with years of rust, trash, peeling paint, and a mixture of oil and water. In some cases it looked like the shift ended and the people never returned to clean up.  I saw the remnants of grain on the floor where plants took root as well on conveyor belts with standing rain water. As I said, a very dark, damp and in July hot and humid place to photograph.  Taken all together and I’m still very pleased I was able to visit.
A one-minute exposure
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 60-seconds ISO 400

I put the GFX 50s through its paces, shooting low light in damp dark spaces.  Using auto focus I focus stacked on several occasions experimenting using the toggle switch moving the focal point instead of touching the focus ring in manual focus mode.  I used both the LCD and the viewfinder with no issues.  Some shots were taken inches from the floor while others were taken as high as the tripod would allow.  Shooting in a dark, damp environment necessitated the use of a tripod for all captures.

Two shot image focus stacked
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 1-seconds ISO 125

This is the result of 2-files shot then merged; one-file shot for the shadows with the window blown out and the second file shot for the window.
Peeling paint and plant growth
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/8 1/50 ISO 100

There are 23-images shared with the majority (11) taken with the 23mm, (1) at 60.7mm, (8) at 63mm and (3) at 120mm.  The majority of the ISO used was 100 (15) with the highest at 500.  The most used lens for these images was the GF23mm. 

The following 2-images are the result of focus stacking. Each image was shot with 5-captures autofocus, moving the focal point for each capture using the toggle switch.  In the past I would have had to use manual focus touching the focus ring. Not so with these as I only had to touch the rear of the camera body which was the most secure as it sat overtop the tripod.  Try it to see what I'm talking about.
"White Room"
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 4-seconds ISO 100
 
"White Room II"
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.3 ISO 100
 
I used the same workflow that I developed prior to the trip with downloading the files onto an external drive then converting the files to .dng before using Exif Pilot to batch change two lines in the Exif.  All images were opened in Capture One Pro, initially processed before sending them to Photoshop CC.   
The following 3-images were captured in the Colonel Ward Pumping Plant 2. The equipment photographed are the original pumps used to supply water to Buffalo.  I’ll be sharing more images on another blog.
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 120mm f/4
f/6.4 0.3 ISO 100
 
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 120mm f/4
f/6.4 0.3 ISO 100
 
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 32-64 f/4
60.7mm f/8 0.8 ISO 100
If you want to challenge yourself and capture urban decay and don’t mind climbing several flights of stairs, shooting in dark, damp and cramped spaces then I’d highly recommend the Silo City Photography Workshop.  Mark hosts several workshops per year and Capture Integration partners at least once per year.
The remaining images were all captured in Concrete Central; a place where there’s more paint on the walls than bare concrete. The floors are littered with trash and stepping away from the window light the walls very dark and spooky.  
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 23f/4
f/4 1/15 ISO 100
 
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 23 f/4
f/4  1/4  ISO 100
Two images focused stacked
I found working with the GFX50s easy and enjoyable.  I had 5-shooting days capturing 466 images with no issues.  Likewise each lens performed as I had hoped it would producing crisp clear and clean files even at a higher ISO.  The more I use the GFX 50s the more I like it.
This is the first of what may become several blogs regarding shooting Silo City with the Fujifilm 50s.
Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or thoughts.
Don
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Friday, July 7, 2017

Fujifilm GFX 50s

GF120mm f/8 1/3200 ISO 5000
Shot handheld
 
100% crop from above
 
GF120 f/10 1/4000 ISO 3200
Shot handheld and cropped
 
I’ve been busy using the Fujifilm GFX 50s in a way I wish I could with my Phase One XF; shooting small fast moving subjects. 
GF120mm f/11 1/4000 ISO 3200
Shot handheld and cropped
 
GF120mm f/18 1/4000 ISO 3200
Shot handheld and cropped

I've found the best way to get use to a camera/lens combination is to test it on small fast moving objects thus I picked the hummingbirds.   Sandy and I spent 4-days shooting these tiny fast moving birds using a combination of cameras.  Sandy used her Sony A7rII in burst mode which sounds like a machine gun going off; I tried the Phase One XF in “burst mode” and was lucky to get 1 in 10. I then switched to the Fujifilm GFX 50s and while not nearly as fast as the Sony it did very well for itself. 
The next two images were shot f/8, 1/2500 ISO 2000 handheld using the GF120mm

 
The following image was also shot handheld with the GF120mm with a shutter speed of 1/4000 which is the max the Fujifilm GFX 50s is capable of.  Once again these are 100% crops from the original files.
 
 
Note: The Phase One XF and 100-megapexel IQ1-100 was never meant for ultra-fast shooting.  I knew that when I tried it and expected it as well.  I tried the XF one morning for just a very short while and the images I did manage to capture are stunning. Nothing beats the IQ1-100 for image detail and you need to use it for its intended purpose; for me that’s landscape work.
GF120mm f/8 1/4000 ISO 2000
Shot handheld and cropped

GF120mm f/8 1/4000 ISO 2000
Shot handheld and cropped
 
GF120mm f/8 1/4000 ISO 2000
Shot handheld and cropped
 
I found shooting small fast moving subjects handheld easier than I expected.  I used a combination of manual and autofocus finding both equally good.
I enjoyed this endeavor so much I found I wanted a longer focal length and began looking for a lens adaptor.  I choose a FotodioX Mamiya 645 Fujifilm G-mount adaptor to adapt a Mamiya 200/2.8 APO and possibly a Schneider LS 240mm.  When factoring in the crop of the Fujifilm GFX 50s the GF120mm is close to 95mm, the Mamiya 200 will be around 158mm with the Schneider 240 coming in around 190mm.
I tried using the Schneider LS240 lens attached to the GFX by way of the FotodioX adapter and got mixed results.  While I liked the extra reach the lens gave me it came at a cost. It weights much more.  There are other issues as well; the lens shoots wide open in this case f/4 and I could only control the shutter speed and ISO.  Manual focus is tricky as the focus ring is very delicate to touch and I had to watch where I was holding it.  Get past these issues and you get excellent images.  The following images were all shot with the Schneider LS 240mm lens.
Phase One XF, IQ1-100
f/11 1/4000 ISO 1600
Shot handheld and cropped

Phase One XF, IQ1-100
f/11 1/4000 ISO 1600
Shot handheld and cropped

Things got easier when I began using a Mamiya 200 APO lens (manual focus only).  The 200 APO has a ring to manually control the aperture thus I was able to set the f/stop as well as manually focus, set the shutter speed and ISO on the camera.  I quickly noticed a weight change even using the FotodioX adaptor.  The 200 APO seems to weigh just slightly more than the GF120mm and much less than the Schneider LS 240.
Left to right, Fujifilm GF 120mm, Mamiya 200 APO and Schneider LS 240. The FotodioX is missing from the image.
 
Mamiya 200 APO f/8 1/4000 ISO 800
Shot handheld and cropped

Mamiya 200 APO f/8 1/4000 ISO 2000
Shot handheld and cropped

Mamiya 200 APO f/8 1/4000 ISO 800
Shot handheld and cropped

Mamiya 200 APO f/8 1/4000 ISO 800
Shot handheld and cropped

Mamiya 200 APO f/8 1/4000 ISO 800
Shot handheld and cropped
 

Spending so much time shooting hummingbirds with the Fujifilm GFX 50s medium format system has taught me that this is a very capable system.  I found the Fujifilm 50s to be light weight enough to handhold for several minutes at a time and using a lens adaptor more than capable of providing the reach.  While I would prefer to use the GF120mm the Mamiya 200 APO comes in a very close second.  The Schneider LS 240 works well however I don’t see me using it nearly as much mainly due to the extra weight.

One of the main reason for testing on such small subjects is that when a larger one happens along it makes it easier.  

Mamiya 200 APO f/8 1/4000 ISO 2000
 
The following is the result of 3-files merged for focus using the GF 120mm.  The files were all shot handheld in a burst mode f/10 1/4000 ISO 3200.  This is just an example of how you might use a burst mode on the GFX50s to capture something that caught your eye.
 
While I was busy testing I also took delivery of the new GF23mm.  I plan on using this later this month while visiting Buffalo NY.  The following are the only sample images I’ve produced so far. 

f/4 0.4 seconds ISO 100
Shot on tripod
 
Just a quick note of the 23mm.  I like it.  What I plan on doing is slowing down and being more careful with the focus.  While the edges looks good I feel that with proper aperture and focusing they will become even better.
We’ve covered using the Fujifilm GFX 50s shooting one of the smallest and fastest birds with success. I’ve come to like the GF120mm both as a distance and macro lens. I’ve also learned that while I can use the Schneider LS 240 lens I much prefer the older Mamiya 200 APO.  And lastly, the new GF 23mm appears to be another keeper and looking forward to using it.
Thank you as always for allowing me to share.  Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.  Please also let me know if I can clarify anything I’ve discussed here.
 
 
Don