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Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography – I use ’em and I love it.
I’ve got some time now, and more than a few weddings under my belt with the Fuji XT2’s, to give the usual “Why I moved to Fuji” kind of blog. In case you are interested, I’ve shot over 30+ weddings with the dual Fuji XT2’s.
But what cracked it for me was the reaction I got from a professional photographer giving a workshop on Canon mirrorless (courtesy of Clifton Cameras). I told him I was a full-time wedding photographer using Fujis. His response – “…you’re using Fujis for weddings?!” So I could have been a bit sensitive about that comment – but you know what? NOT ONE of my clients have noticed the change! (Except 2 old geezers who served in the RAF in WWII who looked at the top plate of the Fuji XT2’s and asked me if I was shooting film!)
I have had Canon cameras for years. And years. And years. My last Canon bodies were the 5D3’s. Superb camera bodies for wedding work. The Canon L series lenses were outstanding. I had a 24-70mm f2.8 L Mark I that was around 10 years old and as sharp as the day I bought it. I got great images from the Canons. All my flash system was Canon. All of the off-camera flash systems I was using were dedicated Canon triggers. In short, I was into Canon in a big big way. Around £20k worth I reckoned.
So why the move?
Canon introduced the Canon 5D4. And, in my opinion, it was overpriced for what tech it included and didn’t really justify the high price tag. At the time it was £3,500 each. When you have multiple bodies (4 in my case) to replace that starts to add up. It was an evolution from the 5D3 but the price tag was a brand new model. Also, I’d started to suffer from a usual backache, arm and elbow joint ache of holding these big DSLRs with the 70-200 f2.8 plus flash etc. So the time was right to think about moving.
I’d looked at mirrorless a couple of years previously when the Fuji XT1 came out. I loved the form factor but it wasn’t quite there for me at that time (although several great wedding photographers do use Fuji). The timing was perfect when the 5D4 came out (and then Canon increased the cost by £100 because they left something out that videographers use. I mean come on. The 5D2 introduced video into DSLRs and Canon forgot to include something? That’s sloppy market research and taking your customers for a ride.)
I researched a lot. About 3 months worth. Read every blog I could, every website, every review. Got hold of raw images from various brands (Fuji & Sony mainly) to play with and finally made a decision to go for the Fuji XT2. It wasn’t an easy decision to use the Fuji XT2 wedding photography – I’d become very used to the kudos of having a large DSLR at weddings!
Why Fuji XT2 over Sony
Quite simply the Fuji looks like a camera should. Top dials on the top plate. An aperture ring on the lens. It was like going back in time and I loved it. Next to no learning curve as I had come from a film background. Sony had the edge in a few areas, and technically I’d say Sony is the world leader in mirrorless cameras and will be for years to come – but they have NO SOUL!
So for me, I moved from being a Canon wedding photographer to a Fuji XT2 wedding photographer.
Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography – My first weddings.
Nothing like a baptism of fire… I had three weddings back to back starting 30th March over in the Bristol (United Kingdom) area. My last wedding with the Canons had been the 18th March – so only about 2 weeks to sell ALL the Canon gear, buy the Fuji gear, including flashes, off camera triggers and a quick practice in the garden and that was it. Worked like a dream and I was officially a Fuji XT2 wedding photographer. I’d just like to state again – NO ONE noticed a thing about my cameras.
After that is was away and I’ve now done 33 weddings, 40 pre-wedding sessions, 5 baby sessions and ran 2 of my wedding photography workshops using my Fuji’s. I’ve ordered around 20+ wedding albums (I also moved wedding album supplier at the same time – nothing like change!) and again NO ONE noticed a difference in the quality of the wedding albums, quality of the images on screen or quality of the images in the wedding albums.
It’s not all good doing Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography though…
So let’s have the breakdown of what is good what is bad…
Power management is a bloody nightmare. That first long weekend of three weddings I was charging batteries left right and flipping centre! Result – I ended up buying a total of 10 spare batteries, all Fuji OEM, and at £60 a pop that wasn’t cheap. I’ve now bought another 6 cheaper Ex-Pro Black batteries that I’m trying out. At £12 each they are better value. I’ve also learned how to manage the power consumption better on the Fuji’s, so a set of batteries (I use battery grips so I have three batteries) will last from Bridal Prep to the wedding breakfast. I think a later blog post woud be a good idea on this.
Low light focussing. It’s much slower than the 5D3 I was used to. However – I’ve NOT missed a critical shot during the first dance, evening, sunset, night-time or in poorly lit churches because of this. You just have to think slower (which is no bad thing for any photographer). My primary lens (and more on my kit later) is the Fujinon 16-55mm f2.8 (24-70 f.28 equivalent) and it’s great. Some of the more faster lenses are apparently quicker at focussing in low light, so I’ll just have to take other Fuji wedding photographers word for it.
Overall focus Speed. It’s a bit slower than the 5D3, but again I’ve NOT missed any critical shots. The thing with Fuji focussing is that there are a lot of choices and options to play with. You can even get your own set up into the mix as well. So now I change focusing patterns and styles during the day – easy to do using the Fuji menu and assigning functions to the many buttons on the camera.
Battery Indicators. Sometimes they just turn red for no apparent reason, yet the camera still works. With the battery grips I just take out the battery tray, reinsert it and it’s all fine. That is using OEM batteries by the way.
Lockups. I’ve not experienced any but a few people have had lockups. I also had lockups on my Canon’s though so this isn’t just a Fuji thing.
Image quality. Canon & Nikon. Eat. Your. Heart. Out. The Fuji rocks it out of the stadium. Or whatever the cool kids say to mean it’s really really good. ISO invariant sensors, inbuilt Fuji film simulations. It may just be an APS-c sensor but take look around my site – tell me which are Canon 5D3 images and which are Fuji. Pop along to a wedding fayre and look through my albums – which are Canon and which are Fuji? You won’t be able to tell.
ISO & low noise. Excellent. The sensors are ISO invariant so I can push them much more than the Canon. I don’t get the horrid banding that Canon 5D3’s used to produce (not sure about the 5D4 on that issue?). The colours are rich and vibrant as jpg and the jpg files are sharp as hell straight out of the camera with no tweaking. I would think about using images at 6400 on the 5D3 carefully. With the Fuji, i’m ok unto 12,800. Add in some NR in Adobe LR or Imogenics and you are away.
EVF. The What You See IS What You Get (WYSIWYG) is fecking stunning. No more having to guess exposures beforehand and then chimping, just set the exposure, look at the EVF or viewfinder and press the shutter. Off camera flash has never been so easy.
Weight. A full wedding kit, for me, is Lbs lighter than the comparable Canon. After those first three weddings, I hardly felt a thing. With the Canons, my back would be in bits for a few days. And as you get older looking after your health starts to become a serious concern. Same for the joints – shoulders, wrists, elbows. That lighter weight is excellent, you can really feel it.
Size. Smaller form factor is great for those with small hands. I use battery grips to give me more power but also to give me a better grip. For the female photographers, the Fuji XT2 is a perfect fit. Just carry the batteries in your pocket and you’re away. Less obtrusive, more blending in.
FPS. Frames Per Second. Using the Electronic Shutter mode with a battery grip I get 14frames a second from my Fuji XT2’s 14 frames a second. That’s amazing. What is more amazing is that it is TOTALLY SILENT. Not a squeak at all. Even the mechanical shutter is quieter than Canon and barely audible compared to the Nikon “thwack!”. So if you want sneaky street shots or sneaky shots of anything – buy a Fuji. As a comparison, I tried the Canon M5 & M6 mirrorless cameras this week. Noisey as feck – couldn’t turn the volume down or even shut off the noise at all. By the way, If the M6 is the best mirrorless Canon has, they are about 5 years behind Fuji. I wait with trepidation for Nikon’s offering of a sensible mirrorless camera…
Flash System. A few months ago I would have put this in the “The Bad” section. Now it’s a fully formed, fully developed TTL compatible flash system supported by Fuji themselves, Yongnuo, Newer and more importantly for me Godox.
Back then…I originally used Cactus v6ii triggers wired unto my Godox units. It all worked and I got amazing images from that system. They were expensive (£90 each – I got four. One for each body and now for each main OCF unit). I couldn’t use HSS at that time so had to be careful about things, but the EVF made it easier. I couldn’t use TTL either, but I seldom used TTL with Canon anyway, even on camera.
Now… Godox X1T-f triggers are fully HSS and TTL compatible for Godox lights. Everything works flawlessly and works first time. best of all the Godox triggers are £37 each. I have a couple of Canon & Nikon X1T’s as well for when I run my photography workshops for the Canon / Nikon users. If I ever get a Sony user on one of my workshops I’ll buy a Sony trigger. In fact, they are so good on a workshop I attended in Manchester sponsored by Photix in July I used my own Godox OCF kit as the Photix kit just wasn’t stable enough.
Cost. A Fuji XT2 is around £1399 body only. A 5D4 is £3500. For the sake of one or tech minority areas of tech (higher ISO, fast focusing) I’ll forgo the Canon and go for the Fuji as better value for money and technology.
Updates. Fuji has a policy called “No Camera Left Behind”. It’s essentially based on the continuous improvement technique called Kaizen. What that means is they regularly send out free firmware updates for ALL the cameras they have. These updates will improve battery power or increase focusing speed or tweak this setting or that setting. Canon / Nikon would just wait three years and introduce a new body with all those updates in.
Lens Adapters. You can get fully functioning (all lens info passed to camera lens adapters for most lenses mounts out there. Except for Canon! So if you shoot anything other than Canon you can keep your lenses. This also means that you can buy some amazing lenses at amazing prices that are 30, 40 or even 50 years old. So if you are into the whole retro vintage feel in a big way – you can really get it right in camera!
My Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography Kit
2 x Fuji XT2
2 x Fuji XT2 battery Grips
1 x 7.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens made by 7Artisans
1 x 10-24mm f4 Fujinon
1 x 16-55mm f2.8 Fujinon
1 x 18-135mm f3.5 – f5.6 Fujinon (my everyday all-purpose not at work lens)
1 x 55 – 140mm f2.8 Fujinon
10 x Fuji Batteries
6 x Ex-Pro Black batteries
And my final XT2 Wedding photography thoughts…
There are one or two well-known world famous world-class professionals that mock Fuji, even calling them “toy cameras” etc. But you know what? Feck ’em. If get the results I get with “toy cameras” I’ll quite happily use toy cameras.
I’ve got my sense of fun, enjoyment back from using the Fuji XT2’s. I’m into Fuji XT2 wedding photography in a big way. I’ll never go back to the main manufactures again unless they can match the Fuji and I can’t see that happening anytime soon.
Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography – Update 1
I’ve had a few comments on various Facebook pages about my post. A few people have stated they tried Fuji XT2’s and then moved back to Canon or Nikon. I’ve not been told why, but I suspect it’s because people moving to Fuji expect a camera costing £1400 to do the same as a camera costing £3500 (in one case a Nikon D5 – £5k). Which are just plain nuts in my opinion? It’s not comparing fairly.
Example. You have a screw coming lose in your bedroom wardrobe but don’t have the correct size. So you pop into town. You come to a local flea market and see the right sized tool for £1 but just opposite you see a high-end tool shop which also sells the same size tool (different brand) for £100. Common sense would dictate that the £1 tool and the £100 will do the same basic job. However, you wouldn’t use the £1 tool on an F1 car, whereas you may use the £100 tool!
And that is my point. If you want damned expensive super duper ultra-fast focusing heavyweight camera then, by all means, choose the Nikon D5. If you want great lower cost slightly slower focusing lightweight camera then choose the Fuji XT2. They do the same job though – take photographs. Would I use the Fuji XT2 for sports/action? Personally no. But that isn’t what I photograph!
I’d suggest that the real answer lies in that those who move to Fuji / Sony and move back haven’t really understood that using mirrorless cameras needs a different workflow, a different thinking process, a slowing down of the photography process.
So tell me. Which of the images below are from Fuji XT2’s and which are from Canon 5D2’s or 5D3’s? (Large images not available due to WP admin!)
Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography – Update 2
So, 18 months on from using Fuji and more specifically a brace of Fuji XT2’s.
There is, in the Fuji world, a massive snobbishness about using prime lenses. Yes, Fuji primes are excellent and they are small, lightweight and fit the mirrorless system really well. However for other Fuji users to decry that using zooms just isn’t good is getting to be religious preaching.
I use a camera/lens system that I find appropriate for my kind of work. And I encourage every Fuji user to do the same.
As you can see from my work on this website, I am predominantly a wedding photographer. I am also non a natural light wedding photographer, although using Fuji’s has cut down the amount of flash I use during certain parts of the ceremony. I use flash a lot. I don’t need super fast lenses at f1.2 or f2 etc. I like to use zooms because they allow me to stay in one place and capture emotions and fun and laughter and all the other myriad of stuff that goes on at weddings.
Moving about because I have the wrong focal length on or having to miss the moment because I have to change lenses is not and never will be my preferred style:
- It’s awkward carrying several different focal length lenses to get the images I want. I feel like I am back in the military again with a belt full of webbing carrying different focal length lenses! A zoom is much more practical.
- It stops the flow of observation when I have to change lenses.
- It takes time (even a few seconds is precious in a wedding) to stop, change lenses and carry on when you are doing the couples session. My couples don’t want to waste time!
- It encourages dust and other crap to get onto the sensor. So saving me money by not having to get the cameras cleaned. I’ve not taken off the 16-55mm f2.8 for 12 months.
- I have big hands. so I use a battery grip. The primes would look silly on the Fuji XT2’s with battery grips.
- THE CLIENTS COULDN’T CARE LESS WHAT FOCAL LENGTH / LENS / F STOP / SETTING YOU USE. Honestly, they don’t care. Getting the shot – that is what matters.
- I’m not into snobbery. This is a paying job to me – full time pays the mortgage, puts food on the table etc. I use the tools I feel are most appropriate to get the money coming in.
If you are new to Fuji -rent the primes, rent the zooms and see what suits YOUR style. Don’t copy other people and become a Fuji sheep.
Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography – Update 3
Now I’ve used the Fuji XT2 for over 18 months and have become very used to the layout, buttons, images etc it[s time to mention battery life.
It can suck. But that really depends on YOU, and how YOU use the camera.
I use battery grips on the cameras so that gives me 3 batteries. Those three batteries, when fully charged before a wedding, will give me all day wedding photography of around 16 hours. I don’t shoot a huge number of images in that time, by the way, only averaging around 1300 at the moment. My last few weddings have had loads of kids and extra stuff going on so have pushed that average up!
I also carry, in my camera bag, an extra 3 batteries per camera. So for each wedding, I have 12 batteries. These are the OEM NP-W126S versions which are the recommended ones for the XT2. I haven’t really NEEDED the extra batteries, but when you are shooting a wedding it’s all about risk management!
SO. My set up for a wedding and my Fuji XT2’s, both of which are set to the exact same settings.
Dual XT2’s with battery grips.
One XT2 with the 16-5mm f2.8
One XT2 with the 10-24mm f4
ISO dial set to A and the front command dial set to “Command”. This gives me manual control over the ISO
Shutter dial set to “T” and the rear command dial set to adjust the shutter giving me manual control over the shutter speed.
Aperture is on the lens and I control that manually.
White Balance is set to Auto
AF Mode is set to Single Point, and I move it around using the joystick on the camera when I need to
I select Spot Metering
No Exposure compensation so that dial is set to 0 (zero)
I bling my camera shutter buttons. One has a Silver button, the other has a Red button. Kids love it.
Dynamic Range is set to 100. If you change it or set it to Auto you may find that your shots need more attention in your editing programme. With it set to DR100 I can batch process in Adobe Lightroom much quicker.
I shoot to two cards simultaneously. One card has RAW and the other card had JPG. (I use a faster card for the RAW by the way).
Image Quality is set to Fine/RAW
RAW’s are compressed
I have the EVF and LCD set to use both. I have found that I use the LCD much much more now and don’t know where I’d be without it! Yes – this does cause some issues with battery life. I accept it and carry spare batteries.
Using the battery grips allows me to boost the AF and FPS somewhat – so I do. FPS is set to 11fps for mechanical and 14fps for electronic.
Fuji XT2 Wedding Photography – Update 4
“I love Fuji, but I just want the better quality / ISO/bokeh etc of a full frame camera.” In short, they want at least an extra f-stop of light.
Bull. Shit. Bolloxs.
Seriously. Bull shit. if you are shooting at 12800ISO using an f1.2 Fujinon 56mm lens on a Fuji XT2 and it is still too dark there is something seriously wrong with your composition. I have NEVER EVER been in a situation that is that dark and not been allowed to use external lights. Even the darkest church won’t be that dark.
Try it. Take your camera, get your fastest lens (mine are f2.8) and set your camera to 12800ISO, f2.8 and, let’s say 1/60.
Then add some of that special magic/voodoo / special sauce/filter thingy that the younger photographers call editing. Then print it out at 10″x8″.
Then hold it at arm’s length and ask your mam/partners mum/lady/dog next door in the street to have a look at it and give you some feedback. I’ll make a bet here – NONE of them will say it looks crap / grainy / out of focus. Especially the dog.
The average client (weddings/portraits etc) just doesn’t care. They would prefer you got the shot, any shot, of that special moment rather than no shot at all. And if your corporate client really wants to bitch about the shot remind them about getting enough light on the subject in the first place!
In short – it’s a teeeeeny tiiiiny amount of difference between a full frame sensor and a crop sensor like the Fuji XT2.
This video (below) is fab. Watch and digest!
Andrew Miller Photography
andrew [at] andrew-miller.co.uk
01633 400 051
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