There was a saying going around some years ago amongst documentary photographers that the most interesting images are to be made before and after an event and not so much during it.
That was the case to some degree during this Fujifilm Australia workshop presented by Stephen Pierce on how to best look after your cameras, their sensors and your lenses with a free sensor clean for each participant thrown in for free when they’d normally cost around AU$100 depending on the condition of your gear.
As usual Mr Pierce shared much of his hard-won in-depth knowledge and if I’d had a free cameraless hand I’d have been taking copious notes as some audience members were doing, but I did my best to commit as much as I could to memory.
I’ve been thinking about video production quite a bit lately while researching the late, great and forgotten Australian feature film cinematographer Robert Krasker in preparation for writing up a treatment for a documentary or a series of short movies about him and his many achievements.
That may explain why I felt compelled to photograph this event in more of a cinematic way or was it the presence at the event of some terrific Fujifilm hybrid cameras such as the X-H2S and the X-H2 and more video-oriented lenses like the Fujinon XF 18-120mm f/4.0 LM PZ WR, Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9.
Add a Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R to the 18-120mm f/4.0 and the X-H2S along with a Tascam CA-XLR2d-F audio adapter and you’d have the core of a powerful, versatile documentary stills and video production kit.
When knowledge for free beats knowledge for a fee
Fujifilm Australia’s series of free ‘Discover Fujifilm’ workshops is a good demonstration of free being better than fee.
They may be motivated by the need to get feet in the door of the Fujifilm House of Photography in Sydney and to get Fujifilm cameras, lenses and accessories into the hands of customers for try-before-buy, but they’re also an example of sharing the benefits by conveying knowledge that isn’t available all in one place and for the price of just showing up.
No other camera and lens brand does that here in Sydney.
The quality and volume of the knowledge that Fujifilm Australia has been sharing, thanks to presenter Stephen Pierce and his decades of professional experience in photography and videography, is beyond anything I experienced at university art school and TAFE colleges where what was taught was not worth the cost.
Free sensor clean and more
This workshop went one step further with free sensor cleaning for one camera from each participant and it looks like every one of them brought a camera.
The sensor cleaning was done by Fujifilm Australia camera and lens technician Zaffer and he went further than the sensor, cleaning the rest of the cameras and attached lenses.
Here is Zaffer cleaning our Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R:
I made these photographs with our venerable Fujifilm X-Pro2 digital rangefinder camera with a Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R and XF 23mm f/1.4 R then processed the X-Trans raw image files with DxO PhotoLab Elite, DxO FilmPack Elite and DxO ViewPoint using the Kodak Portra 160VC colour negative film simulation and DeepPRIME XD.
I rarely if ever used colour negative films during my analog photography days preferring to give my corporate and magazine clients colour transparencies to eliminate the extra step of printing from negatives and to keep more control over the result.
The wide and ever-growing range of accurate film simulations in DxO’s software tempts me to try out films I have never used and it’s fun to apply various film simulations to a series of short projects made in the same place under similar lighting to see what they have to offer.
My default film simulation is Fujifilm Astia for its subtly accurate skin tones but lately I’ve been enjoying trying out some Kodak and Fujifilm colour negative simulations that have more pronounced ways of rendering colour and particularly skin tones.
Another variation I’d like to try in these projects soon is in focal lengths.
I love Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R and 23mm f/1.4 R for their manual clutch focus rings and their speed and ease for manual focusing given the age of our X-Pro2’s autofocusing capability.
A variable focal lens may help produce a very different way of documenting these events especially if it offers a reasonably long focal length range, with my ideal being from 14mm through to 180mm, the range I’m most used to for documentary stills and video as well as portraiture ai the longer end.
That’s why I’m keen to put the Fujinon XF 18-120mm f/4.0 LM PZ WR to the test with a Fujifilm X-H2S.
Its f/4.0 maximum aperture should not be a problem as I usually follow the old news photographer’s rule of “set f/5.6 and be there”, stopping down to f/8.0 for deeper focus in crowds.
Supplement the 18-120mm f/4.0 with the 14mm f/2.8 and you have all the focal lengths you could wish for, the first on the X-H2S and the second on the X-Pro2.
If required to photograph in available darkness, say during an in-studio lighting demonstration, then the best choice might be the Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR Fujilux prime lens.
I’m hoping that Fujifilm will see fit, though, to create a worthy successor to the old pancake-style XF 18mm f/2.0 R in the form of a Fujicron XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR, a focal length perfectly suited to the coming X-Pro4 so long as it offers 18mm bright-lines in its optical viewfinder and X-Pro2-style OVF dual magnification.
For a classic two-camera, two-lens documentary combination I can’t think of a better companion to a Fujicron XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR than the Fujicron XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR, an incredible lens too-often overshadowed by its larger, flashier sibling the XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR.
- B&H Affiliate Link –Click here to research and purchase or pre-order your choice of cameras, lenses and accessories for stills photography and video production whatever your genre and subject matter.
- B&H Affiliate Link – Fujifilm – X-H2 – X-H2S – X-Pro3 – X-S10 – X-T4 – X-T5
- B&H Affiliate Link – Fujifilm – X Series Lenses – Primes – Zooms
- B&H Affiliate Link – Kodak Portra
- DxO – website – PhotoLab, FilmPack, ViewPoint, PureRAW, Nik Collection – Our #1 choice in raw image processing and editing software.
- Fujifilm House of Photography, Covent Garden – website
- Fujifilm House of Photography Sydney – website
- Kodak Alaris – KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 160NC, 160VC, 400NC, 400VC, and 800 Films – PDF – “KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 160VC Film: For more vivid color and slightly higher contrast in controlled lighting situations.”
- Unititled.Net – Free Sensor Cleaning at the Fujifilm House of Photography in Sydney on Saturday 15th April 2023