Fuji X T-2: The Magic of Beginnings

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” — Meister Eckhart

You might have read about my near horror story in a previous blog post, Fuji X T-2: When Support Helped Save a Vacation, but all turned out relatively well after the close call. This was my first major expedition with a nearly brand new Fuji X T-2 and I was anxious to see how it would perform.

I haven’t had a “state-of-the-art” camera in nearly fifty years. I had been using point-and-shoots with only a moderate interest in photography. I was generally a documentarian. I am now embarking upon the development my creative eye.

“You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

When we arrived in Portland, Oregon, the air was acrid and ash was falling from the sky and landing on our luggage due to the surrounding wildfires. We acquired an automobile and headed toward the coast. By the time we arrived in Astoria, OR, the sun was low in the sky; a saturated light grey. Little did we know that the coast was often grey and/or foggy.

One of my favorite photographs from this trip, was the very first one I captured in Astoria at the end of our first day. Our room was very near the Columbia river and the Megler Bridge. The area was, therefore, a waterfront and had many of trappings expected in such an environment.

As I looked outside the window of our room, I could see several boats that were in disrepair and in dry dock. The lure of these boats was probably the same as that which brings photographers to abandoned buildings. These boats were old and may not have been “sea worthy,” but they had character.

The sun was getting lower by the minute. I grabbed the camera and walked to the area with the retired Ladies of the River. One boat in particular caught my attention because it was stately even when adorned with decay.

I took a couple of pictures with the hope that I could capture the essence of the evening and the feeling I had standing next to this once dignified, yet working class boat.


A river boat in dry dock along the Columbia River, Astoria, OR

My first attempt with the X T-2 on our trip to the Oregon coast

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Metadata

File Name: DSCF0045.RAF
Capture time: 5:24:45 PM
Capture date: September 5, 2017
Exposure: 1/750 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 100
Fujifilm X-T2
Lens: 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS
Edited in Lightroom

Fujinomics – X T-2 and Polarizing Filter

B&W

Those JBRish readers who have been following my photography exploits, know that I recently purchased a Fuji X T-2. Until a couple of weeks ago, I did little more than take some test shots and “getting to know” the camera photographs.

That changed on September 5th when my wife and I left our Sonoran Desert home and headed for the coast of Oregon with plans to visit Crater Lake before heading home. I learned a great deal about photography in general, my new Fuji X T-2 and my Nikon D3300. Needless to say, there was a whole lot of learning going on.

With the understanding that I was heading for the ocean and lake, I wanted to purchase a polarizing filter for the X T-2. I think anyone getting involved with photography has ambitious plans/dreams and I am no different. My intent is to grow my Fuji system to include some of the telephoto lenses. Research indicated that the lens(es) in which I had some interest (FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR – for example) take a 77mm filter size.

My X T-2 has the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS zoom kit lens with a 58mm filter thread. Naturally I want to minimize my expenditures and maximize the use of equipment I own or will soon own, so I immediately thought of purchasing a 58 to 77mm step up ring to use the filter on a number of lenses.

One of my concerns was the problem of vignetting around the edges. I called Fuji and asked if I used a polarizing filter with a 58-77mm step up ring on the 18-55mm kit lens would I experience vignetting. The Fuji techs didn’t think so. I then called the online photographic equipment retailer and asked their sales assistant and I received the same answer. Not being satisfied, I also called the filter manufacturer’s US office and they too indicated that they thought vignetting would be unlikely.

With those assurances, I purchased these items:

B&W 77mm Circular Polarizer MRC Filter and the B&W 58-77mm Step-Up Ring

You might be wondering why I selected this particular filter… These filters received very good reviews from those who have purchased them. These are not inexpensive filters. They are manufactured in Germany which has a reputation for quality photography products and engineering. Lastly, this particular filter was recommended by a professional photographer I follow online. Purchasing any equipment is never a “sure thing,” but with all of the above, I figured the deck was stacked in my favor.

Naturally, as soon as I received these accessories, I took them outside and shot a few frames with them and I did not see any vignetting on the sample images taken at a variety of focal lengths being sure to capture some with the lens fully extended and fully retracted. Based on these trail shots, I was fairly confident that the prospective filter and step up ring would meet my requirements.

I am recently back from the trip and I have only previewed the shots taken with the polarizing filter and step up ring and, at first glance, I don’t see any vignetting. This was a learning experience for me as I was able to spend significant time with the X T-2 and polarizing filter combo.

HERE ARE SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • I wasn’t prepared for the surface area on a 77mm filter. It is HUGE.
  • I wasn’t prepared for the amount of dust and other “things” that were attracted to the filter.
  • I was prepared with my Giotto Q-ball (Rocket Blaster) and I was glad I had it. I used it every time I took the camera out of the bag. BTW, this was one of the best purchases I ever made regarding my photography gear; reasonably priced and used every time I use my cameras!

Giotto Q-ball blaster

  • I was prepared with a good number of lint free, microfiber cloths made specifically for cleaning camera lenses.
  • I was pleased with the beautiful rendering of the colors with the camera/filter combination.
  • I was surprised at how much light can be “lost” by using the polarizing filter at one of its stronger settings. When I use the word surprised, I don’t actually mean surprised because all the literature pointed to the reduction in f-stops, but I didn’t appreciate how much of a difference it would actually make in situations where there is not strong daylight.

** NOTES ** – I did not purchase a lens hood to fit on the lens with the polarizing filter because of my concern about the vignetting. I am going to try to find a lens hood and appropriate lens cap to help keep dust off of the filter.

I previously explained how I like to have a tethered lens cap and let me just say that had my lens cap not been tethered, I would have dropped it numerous times and perhaps lost it. This is my issue since I have a particular shooting style re: hiking as I shoot! You can read about my tethering of the Fuji lens cap in this article:

Fuji X T-2: Making the Lens Cap Stay Put on the Kit Lens

I will write more about my photographic exploits with my X T-2 and other gear. Check back for more articles and if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below.

Read more photography posts HERE:


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Photography: The Fuji X-T2 has arrived (Strap and Lens)


The Fuji X-T2

Hello JBRish readers. I have to say that my postings may be somewhat limited over the next several weeks as my new Fuji X-T2 camera has arrived and I am dedicating myself to learn how to use it.

NOTE – My apologies to anyone who isn’t like me. I celebrate everyone who has a different learning style, but I am basically a concrete, sequential person. What that means is that I like to learn everything in a logical, step-by-step progression with details and with lots of reviewing. This is my story of how I am trying to improve my photography skills and learning how to use a professional level camera; the Fuji X T-2.

There are so many unboxing videos for all types of cameras out there. I am going to skip that part and get right down to what I consider to be the “nitty gritty.”

When you buy a modern digital camera, it really isn’t a camera. The word digital is the giveaway. It is a computer that takes pictures. One look at this piece of gear and you know you have something special in your hands. Something serious that demands your attention.

It is easy to be overwhelmed and I thought that perhaps it would be difficult for me to get up and running quickly without assistance. Manufacturers don’t provide owner’s manuals that are very thorough. I am not complaining. I understand that the camera industry today is quite competitive and that everything is being done to cut costs. Still, we need to learn how to use the gear the best way we can. The Internet is a good resource, but it is spotty and doesn’t always have the information needed.

Let me offer some words from one who has, as of now, been down the path before:

  • 1 – When you first get a new camera, unbox it in a clear area where everything can be laid out in front of you. There is usually a page in the owner’s manual that shows what is included in the box so take everything out of the package and review all items to make sure all the pieces are there.
  • 2 – Next, let’s talk about the camera strap! I generally don’t go in for fancy camera straps and I make do with the straps that come with the camera and use carabiners to keep things organized and to stop them from banging into each other. The strap that came with the X T-2 is a bit above par, but not exciting or extraordinary overall. If I decide later on that a different strap is needed, I will consider it at that point.

Here is a picture from the manual describing the final two steps explaining how to attach the strap to the camera:


Attach the camera strap
Picture courtesy of Fuji X T-2 Camera Manual, v.2.10

I may not be the smartest bulb on the tree (so to speak), but I really needed a bit more direction than the information in the manual to make sure that the strap is firmly and securely attached. Nobody wants their camera falling off of their body to go smashing to the ground.


As an example:
That piece of plastic in the middle (shown in the bottom frame), the one with the two square-ish sections with the bar in between appears to have “teeth” on one of the faces/sides when you are actually holding it. This doesn’t show in the picture. Do the “teeth” face inward or outward?

I found the video below which presents a pictorial explanation. Truth must be told, I had to watch the video three times to get it done exactly as they explain!

The next logical step after attaching the strap might be to attach the lens.

Here is the picture and description from the manual:


Attach the lens to the camera

Picture courtesy of Fuji X T-2 Camera Manual, v.2.10

The marks” to which they refer really cannot be seen well unless both the camera body cap and the rear cap from the lens are removed. Then, you need to line up the red dots and twist the the lens until you hear the click. It is not easy to discern the precise position using the graphics in the owners manual (IMHO).

One reason why users want to do this quickly is to prevent dust form getting on the sensor and thus leaving spots on the images. Do this in as dust-free environment as possible.

This was only the first few steps in getting started. We aren’t quite at the point where we get to take some pictures, at least not yet.

The story will continue…

To read more JBRish photography posts, click HERE!


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017