TALKING IMAGES 24 – THE FUJIFILM X-T1, AND ADOBE LIGHTROOM: FINAL THOUGHTS #X-T1 #Lightroom

 

 

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I’ve already posted twice (here and here) about this new camera of mine and my first encounter with Lightroom, and certainly don’t want to ramble on much further along these lines.  So here are a few, brief, final thoughts – which must be read in the knowledge that the X-T1 has already been superseded by the apparently improved X-T2.  All images were captured using the X-T1, and processed with Lightroom and/or Capture NX2.
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I’M QUITE EXCITED BY THIS CAMERA! … BUT WON’T BE USING IT FOR RAPIDLY MOVING SUBJECTS

Although its quite unlike me to say this, I am actually quite excited by the X-T1.  Combined with the excellent 55-200 Fujinon zoom the X-T1 feels like a beautifully balanced extension of me.  The 10-24 wide angle zoom is not too bulky or heavy, and the X-T1’s tilting screen allows it to be easily used near ground level, which is very useful.  Carrying these two zooms for long walks is fine – the weight of the camera + 55-200 on my front is largely balanced by the 10-24 + small (non-photographic) rucksack on my back.  Using these two lenses, I have in 35mm terms the equivalent of 15mm-36mm and 85mm-305mm, image stabilised lenses, which covers the great majority of my needs.  The only other addition might be a f1.4 50mm or 60mm equivalent lens, but this is nowhere near vital.  Because the X-T1 body is so light (440g), another option would be to avoid lens changes by having a body for each of my two lenses.

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The X-T1 captures gorgeous images.  It is a wonderful creative tool which gives me up to 6400 ISO in Raw capture, and as long as I’m not photographing anything that is moving about a lot, this is the camera I’d use.  My Nikons really do have the edge when it comes to speed and precision of autofocus, and their optical viewfinders are not at all phased by speed of movement.  I fetched up next to a field of moving sheep on the Somerset Levels recently, and was so glad to have the D800 with me.  There might be a case for taking a Nikon and my cherished 70-300 zoom as well as the Fujifilm gear when I’m out in the car, just in case highly mobile situations arise.  Another (partial) aid here might be to always use the X-T1 in its battery draining High Performance mode, while carrying a spare battery.

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ANOTHER NIKON PHOTOGRAPHER, WHO HAS USED FUJIFILM CAMERAS BUT WHO IS STAYING … WITH HIS NIKONS …

And here’s a link – to another WordPress blog actually – to a photographer who, like me, has used Fujifilm cameras but is NOT losing his Nikons.  OK, this photographer is a professional and so he has far more invested in his gear than I do, but this is an interesting read – find it here.

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USING THE X-T1

The lock on the X-T1’s ISO adjustment dial is badly designed, but I’ve got used to it, its no bother now.  And the exposure compensation dial, which has no lock, works fabulously.

One of the things that I really like about the X-T1 is the ability to see all of the main settings that are set without diving into the menus – shutter speed,  ISO, drive mode, metering mode.  And another thing that I really like is that all of these settings – along with aperture, virtual horizon and (albeit small) live histogram – can be seen in the large and excellent electronic viewfinder.

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Its clear that I’m going to have to think more about using the Focus Mode Selector dial on the front of the camera more than I do with the Nikons, where its always set to C (shutter fires whether image is focused or not).  On the X-T1, S is for stationary subjects, C for those moving, and M for manual of course.  Its no problem to remember this.

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The X-T1 has recently been upgraded to the X-T2 which, amongst other things, has improved autofocus.  I’m not sure I want the extra cost of the new camera (£1300), and where I know that I’m going to be shooting faster moving subjects, the Nikons will handle them.

So, am I a fan of the X-T1?  Yes I definitely am – and every time I pick up the Nikons now I’m struck by just how big and heavy they are!

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ADOBE LIGHTROOM

I’m much more acquainted with Lightroom now and am enjoying using it.  Its obviously a powerful tool for professional photographers and other photographers with large numbers of images, but its overkill for me, and I find myself using only the Library and Develop modules, and not tagging any of my images.  I’m using Lightroom via Adobe’s Creative Cloud, for about £7/month.

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Lightroom is a non-destructive editor, which means that it uses of a Catalogue file to record all of the changes made to my files.  The files themselves remain pristine and untouched.  This system works well, but I’m conscious of the Catalogue file’s increasing size, and the insecurity of having all my work stored in this way in a single file.  Although having said that, Lightroom regularly reminds me to back up the Catalogue file (and I keep in mind that a back up OFF MY COMPUTER must be kept too, in case my PC goes into catastrophic meltdown) – but in any case I mostly work on an image and then save it as a .tiff file, which would be unaffected by any Catalogue file malfunction.

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There is far more complexity here than is found in Nikon’s (now long discontinued) Capture NX2 software, but of course that only works in its entirety for Nikon Raw files, although it will also edit jpegs and tiffs. Nikon’s Control Points, which facilitate very targeted editing of images with great ease, (and which are also available in Nik software – see below) are just so effective and easy  to use as not to be true.

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I’m also left with the impression that the myriad sliders in Lightroom’s Develop module are an open invitation to over-editing – over egging, if you like – of images.  Most often, restraint is the name of the game (except in black and white!).

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LIGHTROOM FOR BLACK AND WHITE?  >>>>>DEFINITELY NOT!!!

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Lightroom can of course produce black and white images, and complex processing of these can be achieved.  But I have not the slightest doubt that Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 leaves Lightroom standing in this respect.  There’s simply no contest.  If you’re into black and white, then get SEP2 – and maybe you’d better hurry while Google (who now own it) are giving it away for free – they may discontinue it soon!  I read Amateur Photographer magazine every week, and keep finding highly competent, published photographers who rely on SEP2 for their black and white output.  I’ve also encountered many photographers via this blog who do the same – the numbers of people relying on SEP2 must be vast!

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LIGHTROOM: AN INCREDIBLY USEFUL BOOK

I’m an ex-academic and researcher, and whenever I’m faced with something at all complex, one of my first responses is to see if I can find a book on it, to better get to grips with it.  With Lightroom, I at first relied on Essential Guide to Adobe Lightroom, a slim booklet published gratis sometime back by Amateur Photographer magazine, and this did serve to help me a little bit along the road – but only a little bit.

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So instead, and again in response to a info in Amateur Photographer, I’ve ended up with The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 Book by Lightroom guru Martin Evening, a 722 page tome that is absolutely brilliant – and which I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone wanting a comprehensive reference about what Lightroom can do and how to use Lightroom to do it.  The details are: ISBN-13 978-0-133-92919-5; softback; US $59.99 – in real money I paid about £25 for it from Amazon.  Absolutely wonderful and enthralling, and it has already more than made up for the pennies I’ve laid out on it..

I hope these thoughts are of some use.  Any queries – please do ask!

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

12 Responses to TALKING IMAGES 24 – THE FUJIFILM X-T1, AND ADOBE LIGHTROOM: FINAL THOUGHTS #X-T1 #Lightroom

  1. bluebrightly says:

    I do try to tag images, because maybe I’ll want to go back and find one of something specific. Every now and then I get a nibble from someone from seeing my work somewhere, and if they want a specific image, I don’t know how else I’d find it! Back-up to external hard drive: yes, and though I’ll put it off when LR reminds me, I’ll get to it in a day or two! I agree about the NIK software nudging one towards more creative processing – definitely! I’m glad you’re enjoying the new camera so much – I know it’s terrific. I would be tempted, but mine is still pretty new (to me) and has so many options I haven’t explored yet. As for extra batteries – I have 3, keep one in a wonderful little pouch that attached to the camera strap, and the other in the camera bag. That works well, except when I get home and forget to recharge the spent one! 😉
    I like your all around lens choices – I still don’t have a long lens that’s any good. I really enjoy two primes though, for the quality – they’re bright, sharp, and very image-stabilized, which I need. So I end up switching lenses, and when I don’t feel like doing that, I miss some shots, I’m sure. It’s an ongoing game, isn’t it! A fun one.
    Wonderful shots you have arrayed here – a great advert for the camera, the processing choices, and of course, your expertise and creativity!!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well, Lynn, thank you very much for your good words! Its very interesting and useful to hear of how you do things, its always good to get others’ takes on things. Very glad that you see the creative potential in NIK software, the more I look at it, the more I think LR is geared towards producing good quality images and that’s how the mentioned book comes across. I’m sure that more creative things can be achieved in LR, but NIK just makes those things far, far easier and more intuitive. I must thing about a spare battery. Thanks again! Adrian

      Like

  2. krikitarts says:

    I use Lightroom (4, Extended) on my laptop, but I can no longer use it on my desktop since I upgraded to Windows 10 (upgraded the laptop too–strange!). Guess I’m going to have to bite that bullet and elevate (levitate?) into the Creative Cloud, too. Bother!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well the £7/month is not a lot, and of course it means that I’ll get all new LR developments as they appear (tho I probably won’t use them much if at all) and if I get a new camera (which I may not) then LR will handle its Raws too. And so far, with one hitch, using the C Cloud has worked fine.

      But you said you are having another bash with Nik Software >>> and something that I’m finding is that Nik gets my creative juices flowing far more than LR does. Once again, this may reflect my relative inexperience with LR but, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. To me, LR is more about producing well produced photos, rather than letting my hair down and trying new things – which Nik does so well. Good luck on your latest Nik bash!

      And I’m distinctly wary of Windows 10 – and the more so since I nearly fell for that Microsoft trick, where closing a dialogue meant agreeing to accept W10. I’m still on W7 and finding it fine fine fine. How have you found W10, Gary? Any big pluses or minuses? It would be great to know. Adrian

      Liked by 1 person

      • krikitarts says:

        On the whole, the transition was pretty straightforward and intuitive. Really, the only problem I’ve had is that my Lightroom 4 won’t work on the desktop (but it does on my laptop–go figure! I consulted Adobe and they said (surprise!) that my old LR prgram works on some computers with W10 and not on others. Very helpful, indeed. But I’m sure it will be better when I get into the Creative Cloud and can work with the updated edition.

        Like

        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Well that’s good to hear, Gary – thank you – because I suppose at some stage I shall be going over to W10 too … horror of horrors … but I’m fine with W7 at present. Subscribing to the Creative Cloud was fine – I opted for a few days’ free trial and subscribed from there. One blip occurred when my credit card number changed (old card had expired) and Adobe wanted to put me back onto the free trial again – but I just refused the suggestion and the blip went away. A

          Like

  3. Helen Cherry says:

    As ever very interesting, Adrian.. As I haven’t yet got my lump sum! soon I hope.. I haven’t bought a mirrorless yet.. several in my camera club have bought Olympus and swear by it… we’ll see !

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Perhaps the most important thing to consider when thinking about a mirrorless camera is the sensor size >>> since the smaller a sensor is, the great will be the depths of field (depths of focus) it produces. This is no problem at all if you’re a lover of photos with front to rear sharpness, but it is a problem if you love acres of dreamy, high quality bokeh, eg in portraits.

      Camera makers have gone at this problem with large aperture (and often expensive) lenses eg f1.4, and also with slightly longer focal lengths eg a 75mm lens now being an 85mm. But the fact remains, the smaller the sensor is, the more DOF suffers.

      My Nikons are full frame, with full frame DOFs. The X-T1 has a smaller sensor (focal length mag x1.5) and I’m doing ok with DOF >>> but then many of my pics are at 300mm equivalent, where shallow DOFs are not so difficult to generate. Olympus sensors are smaller still.

      So have a think about what sort of pics you want to take, and whether larger DOFs will affect them.

      Another point of course us how many megapixels you will need – and to some extent this depends upon what you want to do with your images. I simply post my pics on my blog, often with the option of clicking onto them to enlarge them – and I make Blurb photobooks of the better ones, to keep and give as presents – and the X-T1’s 16MP are fine for me – its more than my D700 after all! But if I were thinking of big enlargements I might be thinking of more MP, and the X-T2 is 24MP – and my D800 is 36MP >>> but remember that the greater the number of MP, the more carefully must a camera be used in order to preserve photographic quality – although I don’t always obsess over faultless quality 😉 !!! Hope this is useful. A

      Liked by 1 person

  4. paula graham says:

    Great informative article and so well illustrated. I am waiting for my D3 to give up the ghost before I move to something else , although I am well aware that it might outlive me!!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, it hard to imagine a D3 giving up the ghost, that’s real quality. I have its spin-off, the D700, and its still fine – and several times I’ve read of photographers who’ve sold of their’s and now wish they hadn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

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