X70

A Walk On The East Side

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It feels like a while since I shot some street photography in Edinburgh. I had an hour to spare while I was in the capital last week and decided to pull out the X70 for some Zone Focusing fun.

1 Hour 47 Minutes of Street

As the title would suggest; this post contains my favourite shots from 1 hour, 47 minutes on the street. Less than that really because I spent around 20 minutes in book shops). My first shot of the day was in the train station just after I got off the train (minding the gap) and the last was back at the station, just before I bought the train. I took 175 pictures, all of them on the Fujifilm X70. All were shot using the zone focus method and possibly all of them were taken at f8, 1/500th of a sec on Auto ISO. I used my EV compensation dial to adjust for changes in light (walking into shade, facing the sun etc). I selected 52 out of the 175, edited 34 in colour and then made virtual copies in black and white. I exported 62 pictures (31 colour, 31 b&w) and if my count is right, I have posted 26 of them here (6 colour, 20 b&w).

The light was really nice today. The way it bounced off buildings as the sun dropped lower in the sky was fantastic. Here in the UK we get extremes when it comes to the amount of daylight hours. In the winter it gets dark around 4 pm, but in the summer months we have daylight well past 10 pm. There’s almost 9 hours more daylight between the summer and the winter solstices, which is probably why we’re all pale and miserable here during the winter:o)

Spring Forward & Patches Of Light

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I’ve shot a boatload of street since the beginning of the year. Like anything we do a lot of, we start to develop our craft. It’s the 10,000-hour rule I suppose. Something that I’ve become really aware of lately is knowing where the light will be good at certain times of the day. I know on certain street corners that the light will drop between a couple of buildings and that it will bounce off glass and steel before reaching the pavement (sidewalk). The colours are fantastic and it really enhances the Classic Chrome film simulation in my Fuji cameras. I also know where to go next when the light disappears from my favorite corner.

We moved our clocks forward at the weekend for British summertime, so all the good light will be an hour later than usual. Pretty soon the sun will go down even later and the streets will be empty when all the good light is available. March might just be my new favorite month for street photography, but let's not wipe out April when it just began.

These pictures were shot with the Fuji X70 (28mm) and the X-Pro2 with the 16mm f2.8 (24mm).

Of course, I cannot neglect the monochrome side of things just because the light was great for colour. As always, all my black and white street pictures are post-processed using Nik, Silver Efex Pro (now owned by DXO and well worth the money).

Colour Makes An Appearance

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The grey of the dark Scottish winter feels as though it lasts longer each year. This year has felt particularly bleak and my camera optimistically peaks it’s viewfinder out from under the the lid of my bag, then rushes back in to hibernation. But then suddenly there was a bit of decent light, a few degrees increase in temperature, and colour made a brief appearance. There must have been some sort of memo sent out, because a few people had shed their blacks and greys and were now wearing colour. Oranges and yellows drop-kicked my eyeballs and the buildings were bathed in late afternoon sun. A teaser trailer for the summer to come.

Berlin Street Photography

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Here's a random selection of street pictures from Berlin in both colour and black and white. These were shot last year during a bit of a heatwave, but although it was a little too sticky walking for hours on the streets of Berlin, it was a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll get back to Germany some day for more street photography.

BLACK AND WHITE

COLOUR

Photo 24 London

This is a selection of street photography shots I did while in London to lead some photowalks for Fujifilm UK at the recent(ish) Photo24 London event. The name probably gives it away, but basically, it's an annual event that has photographers of all levels hitting the London streets for a full 24 hours. Various events are laid on through the day to keep participants going and to keep things interesting, including photowalks during the day by me and others at night by Matt Hart.

It was a great event organised by Photography News and sponsored by Fujifilm UK. There was also the chance to borrow Fujifilm equipment and test drive it on the streets for free. Look out for next years Photo 24 London event if this is the sort of thing that floats your boat.

All of these pictures were shot in the Classic Chrome film simulation on either the Fujifilm X100F or X70. Basically anything that looks as though it was shot from a low angle is from the X70 using the Zone Focusing Method.

The Second City Of The Empire

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland. But if it had been possible to have two capitals, Glasgow would surely be the other. A friend of mine said to me recently that Glasgow would have been the capital city...if it wasn't for that bloody castle :o)

I took a walk last week to prove to myself that the X70 was as good a street camera as I thought, away from the hustle and bustle of a festival and onto a normal city street. Although I wasn't feeling particularly inspired on the day (some days are like that and you just need to go with it), The camera worked a treat.

I was in the city to shoot an essay without words for The Kage Collective. This month's theme is 'The Silence', and in keeping with that, we decided to produce only pictures for this issue. There are a couple of links at the bottom of this post relating to this.

More Fuji X70 From The Hip At The Edinburgh Festival

More X70 shots taken from the hip. This tiny camera with it's 28mm (FF) lens is a surprise hit with street photographers. Although it doesn't have a viewfinder, it's so inconspicuous and nonthreatening that I can get in really close to the subject. I still love my X100T or X-Pro2 for street, but when it comes to shooting from the hip, the X70 is under the radar.

Hip Replacement : The Fujifilm X70 for Street Photography

The X70 was delivered 5 minutes before my train was due to leave for Edinburgh. It takes 5 minutes to drive from my house to the station, so I ripped open the cardboard box and then quickly opened the familiar black Fuji box (no ripping here). I grabbed the plastic bag with the camera inside and stuffed it in my pocket. I had batteries, an SD card, a leather wrist strap and a lens hood in my camera bag just incase the X70 arrived on time (Thanks Royal Mail Special Delivery). 

I got To the platform with only seconds to spare, boarded the train and sat down to unwrap the small, but surprisingly weighty X70. I bought the black version because I wanted it to be as stealthy as possible on the street, otherwise I might have gone for the silver and black version (like myX100). But this was about function rather than looks. 

The camera is pretty much an X-T1 with a touch screen LCD, but without a viewfinder. I have two X-T1's so it was like second nature setting the X70 up. The buttons are smaller and a few reviewers have expressed a dislike to them due to being tiny and certain ones being a little awkward to press. Maybe it was because I was anticipating this, but I don't have a problem and even prefer them to my X-T1's by a long way. The button layout is sort of familiar, but again slightly different from other X-Series cameras. I could be wrong, but I don't think any X-Series body has ever had the same layout. The layout is fine on this one, it's just that I need to constantly think which camera I'm using and where the buttons are. This takes a street photographer out of the zone and that's not good. 

The Main Menu and Q Menu are almost identical to the X-T1 except for a couple of items related to the touch screen. I like that you can hold in the Trash button for a couple of seconds to reassign it to control another feature when in shooting mode if you like. After all, it only needs to be a trash button in playback mode. And speaking of buttons, there's one on the side of the camera under your left hand that can be used to assign what the focus ring does. There's plenty of options, including ISO, film simulation, digital crop and many more. On the subject of cropping, the Digital Crop allows you to choose the full size of the 28mm lens or a cropped version at 35mm or 50mm. I don't see this as a problem for the 16mp X-Trans sensor, but I won't use it too much. 

The touch screen works well and I had no problem seeing it on a bright day. There is an optical viewfinder available as an optional accessory, but it is cold shoe and only displays two bright frame lines on 28mm and 21mm, but no other information. Why 21mm I hear you ask? Because like the X100 series, the X70 has a WCL (wide conversion lens) available that screws on the front of the fixed 28mm lens to take it down to 21mm. If it's anything like the one for the X100 it will be sharp and gorgeous.

Just returning from the Edinburgh Tattoo

Just returning from the Edinburgh Tattoo

But back to the touch screen. The limited amount of functions are enough for now. I'm not a big fan of touch screens, but I can see a few situations that it could come in handy. When shooting, there's a little on-screen button at the top right of the LCD that toggles between OFF, FOCUS (tap the screen where you want your focus point to be, but it doesn't actually focus) and SHOOT (Tap a point on the screen and the camera will focus and shoot). There is a short delay in the Shoot Mode as the camera locks focus, so it's not that great for street photography where the subject is moving quickly toward you, but fine for static or slow moving targets. The big plus for this mode is not needing to press the shutter button, which can disguise that you're actually taking a picture. 

The X70 does have a few negatives, but I think these could all be fixed in a firmware update.

1. There should be an option to switch off the LCD when using the optional VF-X21 optical viewfinder.
2. When setting the X70 for use with the WCL-X70 in the menu, the focus distance scale in manual focus disappears. This has to be a bug.
3. The focus distance scale when in manual focus, is too small on the LCD and the blue bar that shows your zone of focus is really difficult to see. This is important when zone focusing. 
4. Tap to focus and shoot is a great feature on the touch screen, but the lag needs to be reduced.
5. Another useful mode of the touch screen would be tap to focus (but not shoot).

As you can see from the picture, the X70 is shorter in length than the iPhone 6 and just a fraction shorter in hight. The iPhone 6 does win in thickness though:o). I've used this leather wrist strap (by Cam-In) on a few of my X-Series cameras, but I think I'll have to find a smaller one for the X70.

I can't believe you're talking to this clown

I can't believe you're talking to this clown

The X70 is the best camera I have used when shooting from the hip! The tilting screen can be flipped out slightly for general hip style, or all the way for a shot from the ground or even a TLR style where you're looking straight down at the screen. I can flip out the opposite way to shoot above your head. Like a lot of photographers, I had no interest in a camera without a viewfinder, but after the first 5min on the street with the X70 I was hooked. 28mm focal length (full frame) for a hip camera is perfect for me. It has an interesting look and is far enough away from our eyes field of view that it has a magnetic effect to the viewer. It pulls them in and holds their attention, even if they don't quite know why. I'm looking forward to getting back out on the street with my new tiny friend. 

Harvey Keitel's uncle Frank's sister's cousin's brother's son?

Harvey Keitel's uncle Frank's sister's cousin's brother's son?