December 28, 2012

X-E1 First Outting

Fuji X-E1 - 1/5th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

Fuji X-E1 – 1/5th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

 

Back in August, thanks to a kind loan from Will Crockett over at DiscoverMirrorless.Com, I got to try the Fuji XPro-1 for a couple of days.  That story is here:http://thecameraforum.com/xpro-1/

 

I liked it very much.  Though I didn’t have time to shoot any low light, or “available darkness” subjects with it as I would have liked, I did have time to do some daylight work that looked pretty fabulous.  The dynamic range on the XPro is fantastic, and while some do not enjoy it’s retro form factor, I do.  I come from many years of shooting Leica rangefinders, first film and then digital.  So to my hands and rangefinder trained brain, the XPro falls readily to hand.

 

Fuji X-E1 - 1/9th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

Fuji X-E1 – 1/9th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

 

I had the opportunity and traded for a Fuji X-E1, the little brother of the XPro-1 with the optical viewfinder missing.  I also bought the highly regarded 35mm f/1.4 ASPH Fujinon lens, as having tested it earlier in the year I found it impressive.  A couple of days trying out a few camera setup options, I made these images from “The House of Blues” in Hollywood, CA.  This Fuji’s low light capability is outstanding.

 

Fuji X-E1 - 1/9th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

Fuji X-E1 – 1/9th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

 

The venue is the world famous “House of Blues” in Hollywood, CA.  The location is the artists backstage area, also known as the third floor stairway landing.   I found these three band members waiting to go on, just chilling.  I was fascinated by the colorful backgrounds and the sense of ease of the band.  This was to be one of their biggest nights to date, preceding the release of their first album.  The electricity in the air was as exciting as was the soft whisper of low light playing on their faces.

 

Fuji X-E1 - 1/8th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

Fuji X-E1 – 1/8th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

 

The light is so dim, autofocus is impossible.  I setup my zone focus for about two feet for the close-ups and five to six feet for the longer shots.  I never expect to get stellar results under these harsh shooting conditions, or at these ridiculously long shutter speeds.  Even after many years of practice, shooting this kind of ultra-low light portraiture requires patience and very low expectations.

 

Fuji X-E1 - 1/12th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

Fuji X-E1 – 1/12th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

 

These images were processed using Lightroom in my usual manner.  I was quite impressed with how well the noise was controlled.  Where most cameras exhibit a rainbow kind of effect the noise in the X-E1 more closely resembles film grain.  Whether by design, or sheer luck of the draw, Fuji has produced a camera remarkable at capturing low light images with a remarkable clarity, color, and detail.

 

Fuji X-E1 - 1/12th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

Fuji X-E1 – 1/12th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

 

While this was my first low light experience using the Fuji X-E1, it certainly will not be my last.  This camera has the most potential of any camera I have used for this type of work.  I look forward to enjoying my continued exploration of pushing it’s limits.

 

Fuji X-E1 - 1/12th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

Fuji X-E1 – 1/12th Second 35mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4, ISO 6400

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    About Chuck Jones

    Digital Media Producer, Photographer, Video Storyteller, Cinemagraph Master. Only Semi-Reformed Hippy. Managing Editor of http://TheCameraForum.Com

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