The 56mm and a little bit more of the X-T1

I had this idea to take a portrait of someone walking in a field. A shot like this is nothing new or revolutionary, but it's a bit out of my usual space.

I do not have the resources when it comes to acquiring models etc, as it's not really my area of photography. So instead of using my poor wife again for the umpteenth time, I asked my cousin if she would be willing to play model and she was kind enough to agree and get up at 4am to catch the light on location at 5am.

Saturday morning came, and after running a little late due to a small miscommunication, the weather was good to us and the sun sat behind the clouds for an hour or two for me to complete my testing of the 56mm.

On Sunday I was itching for more. So I took it with me on some berry picking with friends and a trip to one of our upper-market shopping centres, which has a bit of a European feel to it.

Some of the images were in midday-sun, so the results were not to my utmost liking. What I did get I was able to work with, and I was lucky that in some cases I was able to shoot under some shaded netting.

The Lens 
I should be comparing it to the 85mm f/1.4, but I don't have that luxury, so this example will have to do.

I shot a lot with an 85mm f/1.8 on my Nikon early in 2013. I found the Fuji 56mm smaller, yet heavier due to the construction being metal vs plastic. The aperture ring is just like the new 23mm, feels good and clicks into place nicely, the whole lens feels solid and well-built. 

The depth of field is smooth and dreamy and all-in-all just hypnotically beautiful.

In general use and comparing it to my Fuji 35mm, it focuses quieter and faster, and does not hunt like the 35mm. 
I have shot portraits with the 60mm and it's a great lens, but its AF is slow and hunts like crazy, especially in bad light. While I see there are some really good deals on the 60mm, I would advise  saving up a bit more and acquire the 56mm. 

The 56mm on the X-Pro1 worked without a problem. Though it did complain about firmware, I used it anyway, as you can read in the first post on the 56mm here. The only little annoyance I experienced was when you put the lens on the camera and put it down, it isn't flush with the surface. The lens sits slightly lower than the body, making it a little wobbly. This of course will not affect your photography in any way, but personally I did find it a little vexing. 

The Camera 
Just to touch on the X-T1 again. This camera is great, fast and spot-on in the performance from the menus to the access to the SD card. 

I only shot in jpeg, as there is no current RAW-support in Lightroom for the X-T1. The AF performed well, and I was happy with it for my needs. The AF-C is something to get used to and almost felt like a hit-and-miss at times. However, most of the time I was impressed when an object moved away from or towards me. 

I did try the AF on some small birds. Now, I am no bird photographer, and can't really compare it to the a DSLR, but in my own opinion, I doubt it will work for bird or sport photography just yet. 

I forced myself to use the battery grip on Saturday's shoot, and found I was struggling, at first mostly due to my lack of never using one. However, as time went by it became easy and natural, the only issue being getting your thumb to the directional button (D-Pad) to change focus points, but again that is very much a muscle memory. It would be nice if the functions you define on the D-Pad would rotate when you used the camera in portrait mode with the battery grip.

The grip does add some weight and size and gives the camera a far more pro-DSLR look. With that, it does lose some of its compact appeal for me, however it is still far smaller and lighter than your semi- to pro-bodies like the D600. 

I've shown and let a few of my photographer friends try out the camera, whom all mostly come from the DSLR world and they've all found the camera very interesting. While some liked the buttons and sub-dial placement, most just loved the retro look and feel of the camera and the feeling they get. "That fussy feeling" and that sort of status you feel about the camera. 

I do get the feeling this camera will attract more DSLR users over people who are already using the X-Pro1  or X-E1/2.


The Remote App
While the wifi transfer of images is really cool on the X-E2, it was not a big must for me, but the remote app is just so cool. Allowing you to control 90% of the camera from any smart device was really impressive. I think if you're a landscape photographer or do a lot of long exposures, this will be a must tool in the field.

I did not get around to try the Remote App practically, but the image transfer to the iPad, while having coffee after Saturday's early shoot was really handy to talk, discuss and laugh at the images. 

While I get to test and play with new and old equipment from Fujifilm South Africa, I do this of my own accord and do not get paid or compensated for any of the reviews I do.