Yesterday I decided to take my new camera – a Fuji X100 to a wedding that I was photographing. It was a late decision. The camera turned up from the brilliant guys at Warehouse Express at 10am and the wedding was at 3pm. Batteries charged I headed off to Cripps Barn in The Cotswolds.
Of course, I had my trusty Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and my Canon EOS 5D Mark II with me (as well as my trusty Canon EOS 50D backup camera). I would never risk using a new camera on a professional assignment until all the relevant coverage was done with the tools I am familiar with and so the Fuji X100 did not come out until well into the evening dancing.
Now, those of you who know Cripps Barn will understand that, whilst it’s a wonderful venue, its pretty dark in that barn when the music gets going. The wedding had a Ceilidh which made things a bit more tricky as it meant everyone would be moving (and, as it turned out, not always in the correct direction).
Before I go onto the images, I wanted to mention that these images have had no noise reduction done to them with the exception of the standard settings from Lightroom 3. In fact, as they have each gone through my standard editing procedure, they have actually had noise added to them. As you’ll see when you look at the EXIF details – the Fuji X100 is a very viable camera for wedding photography. Especially my style, which is documentary wedding photography.
These images are very quick edits, done on my laptop so not colour calibrated. They may not be the finished edits. I am only putting them on here to demonstrate the power of the X100 really – I will hope to have the full set from the wedding on the blog in a few weeks.
My preference was using the OVF as it allowed for much faster focusing and frame capture in my mind. It was dark, so there was a fair amount of mis shots, but I really wanted to test the camera so didn’t use the built-in flash.
So, onto the wedding photography images using a Fuji X100:
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #1:
Prior to the wedding we had a storm of biblical proportions in Gloucestershire. I took this shot very quickly out the window of my car. I managed to flip down the built-in ND Grad filter which worked amazingly well. This was pretty much the first shot I ever took with the camera and in essence, had forgotten to move the aperture ring out. Personally I like the focus on the cloud, but at f/16 or 22 this would have been better. I’m used to shooting documentary style at wide open apertures – not rain storms 🙂
1/320th Second at f/2.0
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #2:
This is one of the images that impressed me most. Considering the very large square of window light affecting the scene, the pattern metering mode performed admirably. Focus was locked and I used the by then newly found rocker switch to adjust my ISO.
1/250th Second at f/2
I found ISO 4000 to be more than workable, and remember, these shots have had digital noise added in post.
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #3:
This shot was more test the depth of field of the f/2.0 fixed lens on the X100.
1/250th at f/2
Exposure Compensation +1
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #4:
This image I think is just gorgeous from a compact camera. The shot was just before dusk and again the ND Grad filter was employed. By now I had figured out the best way of using my hands to control the exposure without taking my eye out of the viewfinder. By the way, the menus are in the viewfinder themselves and the brightness and overall vividity of the viewfinder is just stunning.
The image was shot at 9:10pm and I knocked up the exposure compensation slightly.
1/250th Second at f/2
ND Grad filter on
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #5:
One of my favourite images. Not because its particularly spectacular but because it shows exactly what I can do with the X100 as a documentary wedding photographer that I could not do with a traditional DSLR. This image was shot from the self timer on the camera. I had moved away from the scene after setting the exposure and put it down on the bar. I couldn’t get away with that level of discreetness with my Canon cameras.
1/140th Second at f/2
Fuji x100 self timer mode
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #5:
As a photojournalist it’s all about capturing the moment right? I am the first person to say that many of my wedding photographs are not technically perfect. I don’t pose or orchestrate a scene and if a moment is captured, and it’s not perfectly on the 3rd then so be it – its more important to capture the moment for me.
So, this image; The gentleman and his daughter had been playing all day. A really lovely relationship to see and I’d kept my eye on them throughout as I was hoping to get some kind of fun interaction. They happened to be exiting the marquee at Cripps Barn when the band struck up. Immediately the little girl put her hands to her ears (in fun) and ran for it. Her father emulated her – it was a lovely moment. I was sat on a chair waiting for something to happen.
Throughout the day every time the little girl saw me, she stopped in her tracks and gave me a smile – because she could see me with my big black camera. This time, I believe she didn’t even notice me. I had the camera set to use the OVF, plopped it my eye focused and panned. Of course, the focus isn’t perfect – it was panned shot – but to me, this picture is one of the best of this set. I adore it because I know how much that little girl and her father had played all day. It’s a moment captured. A bit blurry, but still captured. I genuinely think this moment would never have occurred if I had my DSLR sticking out of my face. And that an honest opinion.
1/25th Second at f/2
Manual Exposure panned movement.
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #6:
The last of the dance shots. It was dark now, very dark. There were some missed focus shots but this one made the mark. I really wanted to include this to show how clean the images are. Remember noise has been added in my workflow.
1/90th Second at f/2
Aperture priority (hence the lower shutter speed)
Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #7 Panorma):
And finally – this image. Please click it for a larger version.
This image is a 120 degree panorama. Essentially the barn was in front of me, and the bit of grass on the right of the frame was directly behind me. This is an automated feature built into the Fuji X100. Apart from a Canon G10 I don’t use compacts so I don’t know if this feature is new for compacts, or even if its good, but to me its astounding.
I take panoramas at pretty much every wedding – and stitch them manually. This photograph, for me, is incredible and opens up a whole world of creative opportunities that you simply wouldn’t get away with a DSLr at a wedding.
So, in summary, I’m extremely pleased with this Fuji X100. I genuinely believe, because of its technical merits, that it opens up a whole world of opportunities for us wedding photographers. Especially those of us who specialise in reportage wedding photography.
There are quirks of course. The menu system takes a bit of getting used to and the buttons are all a bit, well, small – compared to a DSLR. My DSLRs go through some pretty rough moments with me and get knocked about all over the place. This little thing felt sturdy and strong but very fragile too in my hands.
If it keeps performing like this, and I can can control it quicker and be more responsive with the exposure, I expect this camera to replace my Canon 5D Mark II as my second camera at weddings soon.
Comments and questions of course appreciated.
Update (11th July): I used the X100 again at Saturday’s wedding and it was still astounding. Even more challenging situation regarding light but using the OVF is definitely the way forward if you want to capture the moments.