From February to October 2015 I did all of my fashion/art shootings with the sole X100T armed with the teleconverter. Besides a few landscapes, which I shot at the X100T’s native focal length of 35mm equivalent, all of my published work has been done with the 50mm equivalent provided by the teleconverter. The classic, elegant, and natural point of view of a 50mm has been enough for all of my shootings, but unfortunately this doesn’t mean I’m free from cameras/lenses temptations! I entered in the Fujifilm world with the X100T for a lot of good and different reasons, but the day I understood I liked it I also started looking at the other options Fujifilm offered. I’m one of those photographers usually working with at least a couple of bodies around his neck, both armed with prime lenses, such as a 35mm equivalent and an 85mm equivalent, so getting a second body, maybe equipped with the splendid Fujinon 56mm f1.2, made a lot of sense. Since I really love the range-finder form factor and the optical view-finder of the X100T, I decided to wait for the X-PRO2 to come to the market. Problem is, the X-PRO2 announcement gets constantly delayed!
A couple of weeks ago, however, Amazon put and end to my waiting-game by offering the 56mm at an extremely good price. With only one lens available for that price, I didn’t think twice and I placed the order. With no X-PRO2 to put the 56mm on, however, I had to look at other options and find a quick solution.
The main candidates were the X-E2, the X-T1, and the X-T10. I do not intend to offer any comparative review, there are plenty out there, so I’m just going to quickly share my thoughts about those bodies. The X-T1 is nice, but I don’t like the DSLR-like form factor, so I’m not willing to spend that amount of money on that body. I like the form factor of the X-E2, but it doesn’t have an optical viewfinder, plus it’s just barely cheaper than the newer X-T10 right now (on Amazon), which has better performances. So, you see, the X-T10 won the game by being the cheapest and newest of the body options. I went for the black body, being the 56mm a black lens, but also because I personally love the look better.
I haven’t finished yet to pimp and configure my X-T10, so there won’t be any pics of my camera today, but I had a chance to test it “on the field”. Two days ago I had the Italian model Catherine Cabò posing for me. She happened to be in Rome for a couple of commissioned shootings, and she was so kind to offer me her only free morning for a collaboration. After seeing my series “I dreamt of you”, Catherine wanted to be part of my dark and dreamlike work, so I planned a special shooting for her at an abandoned underground parking.
I brought with me the lights-bag (four Yongnuo YN-568EX II flashes, four Yongnuo YN-622C receivers, one Yongnuo YN-622C-TX transmitter, a set of gelatines, a foldable snout, a foldable reflector, two clamps, one Velbon UT43D tripod, and one Velbon UT53D tripod) and the Fujifilm-bag (X100T, teleconverter, X-T10 with the Fujinon 56mm f1.2, batteries and cards). I’m really amazed as to how lightweight and portable an equipment of to camera bodies, three lenses, and four flashes with diffusers and tripods can, nowadays, bee.
At the location, I started working with the X-T10 more as a test than anything, but I once I started, I never stopped. That’s how good the camera felt and performed. It’s not such a trivial thing to switch to another body, even though from the same brand, and keep shooting with the same efficiency. Especially seen the completely different ergonomics and different buttons placement of the X-T10 compared to the X100T. Thumbs up to Fujifilm.
Once fixed the ISO to 400, I started working with the shutter speed and aperture to control the ration between flash-light and the ceiling lights. The trick is simple, Aperture tunes BOTH flash and continuous light, while Shutter Speed tunes ONLY the continuous light (once the value, however, is equal or lower than the flash-syncing speed). So, when I wanted to use only the ceiling lights, so I would shutdown the transmitter and open the aperture or reduce the shutter speed until I got the perfect exposure on the electronic viewfinder (EVF), thanks to the preview-on function on manual mode.
Instead, when I wanted to add the flashes, I would reduce the ceiling light to a minimum by closing the aperture or reducing the shutter speed, and if the scene in the EVF happened to become too dark to work with, I would switch off the preview-on on manual mode function, so the EVF would come bright again. I love the fact that I can set one of the Fn buttons for the “preview-on manual mode” function on the X-T10, so to quickly switch on and off the function without navigating any menu, and now I’m frustrated I don’t have this option on the X100T too!
The shooting went fine, I was never stopped or even slowed down by the camera, while enjoying the one important extra-features of the X-T10 compared to the X100T, that is the tilting screen, which allowed me to easily get some portraits from above or from the waist level.
I am still planning on getting the X-PRO2 when it should, eventually, hit the market, maybe coupling it with the new 35mm f2, since it is designed not to protrude at all on the optical viewfinder (like the teleconverter on the X100T does so uglily), plus the combo would be totally weather resistant. But from the time being, I’m super happy with my “two bodies / three lenses” set-up, they are fantastic to use, deliver top-notch results, and so gorgeous to look at! Plus, and that’s the only plus I really care about, they are both capable to put me “in the dream” and to keep me there, with no technical “wake-up calls”. Because, the longer I dream, the weirder the dreams get…