A Week in Chicago with Fujifilm X-S10

June 01, 2022  •  1 Comment

Since I started taking the photography journey more seriously back in 2007, I would never travel without a camera in my bag anymore. In fact I tend to over analyse the gears that I need to take with me and oftentimes I carry a bit too much! 

The last time I visited the windy city back in 2016, I was lugging around a heavy bag with a full frame DSLR, a few lenses, a flash, a backup mirrorless camera and a tripod. A whooping 7kg Bag!

Towards the end of 2018, I acquired my first Fujifilm camera the X-T2 and I have managed to collect a few Fujifilm gears since then. But during my previous trips since owning my first Fuji camera, I would still carry my canon Full Frame camera with me but for this recent trip to Chicago, I decided to take just one Fujifilm camera and a few lenses.

I find it always a challenge to decide the gears to pack mainly because I am a 'multi-genre' photographer. I shoot portrait, street, food, landscape, nature, wildlife and architecture which is why I tend to travel with a set of lenses that covers a wide range from ultrawide to telephoto. I also need to pack a fast prime for portrait work (family portrait that is) and of course there's the need to shoot macro! 

The main purpose of this recent trip to Chicago was to attend a family event so I had to keep that in mind that I would need to include a lens that's fast enough to cover events in low light and also a lens that could do outdoor portrait work but then I did not want to lug around a 7-kg bag again! 

It took me a while to decide which Fuji camera and lenses to pack for this trip but I eventually settled with the Fujifilm X-S10, XF 10-24, XF 35mm 1.4, XF 55-200mm, a 7.5mm 7Artisan Fisheye lens, a Godox TT350F flash, raynox DCR 150, a Sirui Travel tripod, extra batteries and a few circular ND and CPL filters with step-up rings. Sounds a lot BUT overall the set only weighs around 3Kg! It's amazing how I could fit most of what I needed for the day in a small messenger bag instead of carrying a huge backpack all the time. I will share a few images from this trip down below and and also briefly explain the reasons for choosing one over the other.

 

   (Left to right) Raynox DCR-150 | XF55-200mm | X-S10 + XF 35mm 1.4| XF10-24mm non WR | 7Artisans 7.5mm fisheye lens

I was initially deciding to bring the X-T2 instead considering that it's weather sealed and has 2 SD card slots but there are several things I really like about the X-S10 besides, non of the lenses I took with me were weather sealed anyway. Main reasons are it's smaller compared to X-T2, it has better grip and it has IBIS. Did I worry about the single card slot? Not at all! I back up my images from time to time within the day into a separate SD card  using a card reader and my phone then when I get home I back up all the images again into my laptop. I also carry a spare empty SD card with me all the time in case the one in the camera fails (fingers crossed). But for my style of shooting, I find IBIS to be an important feature as I use lenses with no OIS.

As an example, the below image while waiting for my train in the subway. I wanted to capture the train in motion instead of freezing it. It's true that the lens OIS did help in this case but for most of my shots taken in museums using fisheye lens, the IBIS did help me take some of my favourite creative shots.

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 10-24mm | ISO 640 | 1/10 sec | Classic negative Film Sim | Handheld shot

I did mention that I packed a Raynox DCR-150 with me... I owned a few macro lenses as well as extension tubes but I find Raynox is obviously light and small and at the same time very easy to attach/remove compared to an extension tube or closeup filter. Above all, there's almost no compromise to the image quality.

Here are some images taken at Chicago Botanic Garden using the XF 55-200mm lens with Raynox DCR-150. All images were taken using Velvia Film simulation in camera and almost no editing involved in post except adjusting the WB a little.

 

  
 

And here's another one zoomed in at 200mm with no cropping done in post processing. In fact this is almost a SOOC image as well.

 

    Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 1000 | 1/1400 sec | Velvia Film Sim | Handheld shot

I did mention that the Raynox is way easier to attach and remove! Yes, all you need to do is clip it on the front of the lens. I would have missed the shot below if I was using an extension tube or a closeup filter as it would take longer to remove. While I was busy taking a photo of the flower with the raynox attached to the lens, I saw this Red-Winged Blackbird landing on the branch just in front me and making some noise. I quickly removed the raynox off the lens and fired away! I managed to get a few images before it went off.

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 1000 | 1/300 sec | Handheld shot

The XF 55-200mm is one of my favourite Fuji lenses. I also own the XF 50-140mm f2.8 but I decided to bring the former with me due it being lighter, less bulky and the extra reach. Surprisingly, there's still lots of Tulips around the Botanic Garden even if it's the last week of Spring when I visited. Some SOOC floral images below using Velvia Film Simulation in camera with no Post Processing involved. How good the colours are out of Fujifilm cameras!

 

    Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 320 | 1/850 sec | Handheld shot | Velvia Film Sim

 

 

 

If I am travelling for wildlife photography, I would definitely bring a longer zoom but so far during this trip, I did not feel the need for that extra reach. In fact I still managed to capture a few wildlife images here and there.

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 640 | 1/100 sec | Handheld shot 

 

 

    Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 800 | 1/2000 sec | Handheld shot 

Here's a few more creative images taken with the XF55-200mm. All handheld single shots with very light editing in post to adjust the WB.

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 160 | 1/8 sec | Handheld shot 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 2500 | 1 sec | Handheld shot 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 55-200mm | ISO 160 | 2 secs | Handheld shot 
 

Earlier this year, I acquired a used XF10-24mm non WR lens. I was a bit skeptical about it at first due to a lot of mixed reviews. But I learned to like it and for this trip, it's on my X-S10 most of the time while I was exploring the Downtown Chicago! There's a lot of creative possibilities using UWA.

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 10-24mm | ISO 160 | 17 secs | NISI 10 Stops ND | Tripod Mounted

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 10-24mm | ISO 320 | 5 secs | NISI 10 Stops ND | Tripod Mounted

And the visit to Chicago wouldn't be complete without a photo of the Cloud Gate!

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 10-24mm | ISO 160 | 30 secs | NISI 10 Stops ND | Tripod Mounted

I also had some fun using the UWA for shooting streets...The below is an image taken at the Navy Pier in Downtown Chicago. 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 10-24mm | ISO 640 | 2 secs | NISI 10 Stops ND | Tripod Mounted

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 10-24mm | ISO 160 | 1/17 secs | Handheld Shot | Classic Chrome Film Sim

One complain I have with the XF 10-24mm is it's a bit prone to flare and I couldn't be bothered carrying the hood with me. So I had to embrace the flare to my advantage.

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | XF 10-24mm | ISO 160 | 1/70 secs | Handheld Shot 

The other lens that I ended up using a lot for shooting interiors is the cheapo 7Artisans 7.5mm fisheye which I bought used last year for $100 AUD. It's just so fun to use and with the XS10's IBIS, I could really handhold the setup down to 1 sec or even 2 if I am leaning against a wall. 

 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7.5mm Fisheye | ISO 320 | Handheld Shot                        Fujifilm X-S10 | 7.5mm Fisheye | ISO 640 | Handheld Shot 

During this trip, I have taken a lot of indoor portraits of family and friends as well and the lens that I used the most in those occasions was the XF 35mm 1.4. I will not be including those images in this article unfortunately for privacy reasons but all I can say is I'm glad that I took the lens with me. It's pretty light and tiny in comparison to the full frame primes that I used before so it's a very handy lens to take in the travel bag. I could also use it to fill in the 25mm - 54mm gap in my setup.

So did I make the right decision to go with Fujifilm for this trip? Absolutely! There's a day in my trip where I was walking around the city exploring from 6am to 3pm and I never felt the weight on my shoulders. But same as every other gears, there's always something to complain about. To me, I find the EVF can be uncomfortable to use in comparison to the X-T2. Also I really don't like the fully articulating screen. I still prefer the tilt screen! But for the overall weight/bulk savings, I really could not fault the setup. If I was planning to shoot for astro, I would probably pack the Samyang 12mm f2 with me but not for this trip.

I believe I have a found a perfect travel kit for my needs!

I hope you will find this article useful for those who are still deciding to join the Fujifilm band or for those who who already own the X-S10 and aren't sure yet what lenses to add in their travel arsenal.

 


DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated to Fujifilm nor getting paid for writing this article. I still shoot with my Canon gears and even still use an Olympus camera. Each system has a place in my bag! I just thought I'd share my experience travelling with only one Fuji Camera and 4 lenses.

 

All the images in this blog and in the Gallery are copyright protected. Please feel fee to contact me if you want to purchase or license any of my images.
 

 


The Streets of Sydney Through a Fisheye Lens

November 11, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I have been shooting for many years but I never had any interest on getting a fisheye lens until earlier this year when I stumbled upon an ad on gumtree. Someone was selling a 7artisans 7.5mm f2.8 fisheye lens (Fuji mount) at a bargain price that's very hard to resist so I ended up purchasing it!

The lens is in brand new condition with very smooth manual focusing ring. The only thing I dislike about is the declicked aperture ring. It's also small yet well balanced when mounted on my Fujifilm X-S10 or on the X-T2.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  

 

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I packed it with me to work one day just to test if I'd be happy with the fisheye field of view for street photography. Most would prefer a 50mm or a 35mm equivalent for shooting streets but I like to experiment.

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 200 | f/8 | 1/25 sec 

Long ago, when I started my photography journey I was a big fan of ultrawide angle lenses. The past few years, my style has shifted more into intimate landscape photography using medium telephoto to long telephoto lenses. The first few images I took with the 7artisans 7.5mm lens, I found myself struggling to compose the shot. There's just too much going on in the image. 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 320 | f/8 | 1/900 sec 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 160 | f/8 | 1/70 sec 

Then I started playing with light and shadows to create visual direction. I also had to embrace the crazy amount of distortion. After all it's a fisheye lens. The two images below where taken just an hour after Sunrise around Sydney.

 

   

     Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 320 | f/8 | 1/150 sec   

 

  

      Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 320 | f/8 | 1/40 sec             

There's always a camera and a lens in my office bag every time I go to work. Sometimes when I get to the city early, I'd walk around for an hour before going to the office. Most of the time specially in the autumn and winter months, I'd prefer to walk around with the camera during my lunch break. With the camera always with me, there's always a photo to be had even in the train or at the train platform!

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 1600 | f/8 | 1/10 sec 

 

    Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 160 | f/8 | 1/3 sec 

I also find this lens great for shooting architecture and interiors provided you like the 'creative' and unique fisheye look!

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 160 | f/8 | 1/4 sec

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 160 | f/8 | 1/8 sec 


   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 320 | f/8 | 1/60 sec 
 

    Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 320 | f/8 | 1/100 sec 

Although ultra wide angle lenses like this one is easier to handhold at slower shutter speeds, I find that when paired with my Fuji X-S10's the internal IBIS works really well to help me achieve some creative motion blur in my images.

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 160 | f/8 | 1/3 sec 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 400 | f/8 | 1/7 sec

It's probably obvious by now that all the images here were taken at aperture of f/8. I find that it's the sweet spot for this lens. At least for my copy. At its widest (f/2.8) the corners can be a bit soft but it gets better starting at f/4. I prefer to set mine to f/8 for shooting streets and architecture. 

 

   Fujifilm X-S10 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 160 | f/8 | 1/2 sec 

So it is it worth keeping??

Fisheye lens is not for everyone. And it can get a bit boring  (at least for me) when used a lot! I like switching to different focal lengths from time to time but there's a lot of creative possibilities that this lens can offer. And besides, I got it used for just over $100 so to me it's definitely worth keeping! It's a fun lens to use after all.

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | 7artisans 7.5mm f/2.8 | ISO 400 | f/8 | 1/40 sec 


All the images in this blog and in the Gallery are copyright protected. Please feel fee to contact me if you want to purchase or license my images.
 


A Practical Review of the Fringer Pro EF-FX adapter

October 26, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I have been using Canon gears for more than 12 years and needless to say that I have collected a good number of quality EF lenses to date. My first Fujifilm mirrorless camera body was not acquired by choice but rather by luck or maybe a blessing in disguise?! Yes, I received a Fujifilm X-T2 and an XF80mm f/2.8 macro lens back in 2018 as a winning prize from Australian Photography Awards photo competition (wildlife category). I already own an equivalent macro lens in my canon system so the 80mm Fuji lens was sold within a few days after receiving it. I wanted to convert the X-T2 to cash and I already found a buyer but I pulled it out last minute as I was curious to try it.

At first, I bought a 'dumb' EF-FX adapter for $20 off ebay just to test the quality of images that can be produced using my Canon lenses on the Fuji body and I was happy with the results. The big issue with using a dumb adapter for adapting Canon EF glass is the lack of lens external aperture control. I had to use a separate Canon DSLR to change the aperture then unmount the lens while pressing the DOF preview button then mounting it on the Fuji camera. It's a tedious process so I started looking for an alternative adapter with electronics. 

I came across the Fringer Pro EF-FX mount adapter. There's some great reviews at that time from Canon users and so I ended up ordering one to give a try.

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I did not want to go out shopping for Fuji lenses so I thought the adapter would help me test the Fuji camera while using the existing lenses that I already own. I did purchase the XF 18-55mm though when it was on sale so I would have at least one native lens to play around with.

There are 2 versions of this adapter. The one that I bought was the version with external aperture control ring though it's slightly more expensive but I thought it's worth the extra dough.

All my canon lenses worked flawlessly with the adapter including the lens IS (Image Stabilisation) function. The EF 100mm 2.8 L IS is one of my most used lens on my X-T2 specially at home in the backyard where most of my macro images are created.

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS | ISO 400 | f/14 | 1/125 sec | Manual Focus | Handheld

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS | ISO 200| f/8 | 1/8 sec | Manual Focus | Handheld

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS | ISO 200| f/5.6 | 1/250 sec | Manually Focused | Handheld

One of the features of the Fuji mirrorless cameras that I really like is the Focus peaking. It does help with the manual focus and it makes shooting in manual focus fun and way less painful when compared to adapting lenses on DSLR!

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS | ISO 200| f/2.8 | 1/900 sec | Manual Focus | Handheld

 

    Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS | ISO 800 | f/2.8 | 1/210 sec | Manual Focus | Handheld

The other favourite canon lens that I like using on my X-T2 and now on X-S10 is the EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L. It's my walk around lens in my canon System and it's also a fantastic performer for Infrared imagery (zero hotspot). I brought it with me when I went to New Zealand back in 2019 and it did help me create some of my favourite landscape images from the trip.

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 24-70 mm 2.8 L mk2 | ISO 200 | f/16 | 5 secs | 28mm | Manual Focus | Tripod Mounted

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 24-70 mm 2.8 L mk 2 | ISO 400| f/16 | 20 secs | 70mm | Manual Focus | Tripod Mounted

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 24-70 mm 2.8 L mk 2 | ISO 200| f/10 | 1/26 secs | 24mm | Manual Focus | Tripod Mounted

The other favourite wide angle lens that I like adapting on Fuji camera bodies is the EF 16-35mm F4 IS L. The IS also works seamlessly using the Fringer Pro and also it can focus really quick although I don't use AF when shooting landscape 99.9% of the time anyway.

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM | ISO 400| f/10 | 1/300 sec | 22mm | Manual Focus | Handheld

 

    Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM | ISO 500 | f/13 | 1/280 sec | 24mm | Manual Focus | Handheld

I am getting a lot of questions regarding the AF performance when using this adapter. On my X-T2, the AF works but not great on longer lenses like my EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L MK2, EF 100mm 2.8 IS L and also with my EF 70-200mm 2.8 IS L MK 2. I realised that it's also because of the slower AF in X-T2. In Fringer's website I believe they also mentioned this one. 

Earlier this year I acquired an X-S10 and this time it's by choice! I did some tests using AF and found out that it's better than X-T2 in terms of accuracy. I am still getting a few out of focus shots though specially for fast moving subjects. But I am getting so used to using Manual Focus that it's my default mode even for birds in flight these days!

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS mk 2 | ISO 200 | f/5.6 | 1/1800 secs | 400mm | Manual Focus | Handheld

My hit rate is getting better and better each time - I like to work around the limitation of my gears. In this case, I challenged myself to develop my reflexes and relying on the Focus Peaking to nail focus. I can only imagine how challenging it was to shoot sports back then! 

 

    Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS mk 2 | ISO 500 | f/5.6 | 1/220 sec | 400mm | Manual Focus | Handheld



    Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS mk 2 | ISO 400 | f/5.6 | 1/4400 sec | 278mm | Manual Focus | Tripod Mounted

 

    Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM | ISO 800 | f/4 | 1/450 sec | 290mm | Manual Focus | Handheld
 

My Kenko 1.4 extender also works and I like using it when shooting macro or when I needed the extra reach. 

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS mk 2 | ISO 1600 | f/7.1 | 1/240 sec | 400mm | Kenko 1.4 Extender | Manual Focus | Handheld
 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS mk 2 | ISO 200 | f/5.6 | 1/480 sec | 400mm | Kenko 1.4 Extender | Manual Focus | Handheld

 

   Fujifilm X-T2 | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS mk 2 | ISO 400 | f/6.3 | 1/950 sec | 400mm | Kenko 1.4 Extender | Manual Focus | Handheld

I have been using the Fringer Pro for almost 2 years now and it never ever failed me. I believe I have enough experience to share my view and answer the most common questions I always get around the AF and reliability.

So is it worth it?? 

I don't use AF when I am adapting my canon lenses on my Fuji Cameras. That's mainly because I liked the focus peaking so much that I feel like I trust it more than the camera's AF. Even when using XF native lenses (YES! I own a few now), I still use Manual Focus. So that said, in my own testing, the AF works more reliably and quicker on my wider lenses than the longer lenses. But it's also worth noting that I am comparing it against my canon cameras which is an unfair comparison to start with - comparing a native lens against an adapted lens performance.

I have not tried any other brand of EF-FX adapters so I can't really compare. But I have no regrets getting it and if you are like me who owns and shoot using both Canon and Fujifilm, I believe it's the cheaper way to enjoy both worlds! I only wish that is has a weather sealing considering that all my Canon lenses are weather sealed as well as the X-T2. But still, for me it's worth it. 

If AF performance is very important for you then there's no better way than shooting using native glass. 
 


All images in this blog and in the Gallery are copyright protected. Please feel fee to contact me if you want to purchase or license my images.
 

 

 


Misty and Foggy Landscapes

October 16, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I like chasing mist and fog during the colder months. In fact it's one of the reasons why I like Autumn and Winter here in Sydney. And a lot of times, I didn't have to travel too far to be able to create some pleasing images. Fog could turn ordinary places with distracting background into something special. It hides the background and helps simplify the composition.

A lone horse on a foggy morning. The trees can still be seen in the background but less distracting.

Mist and fog can also add depth to the image.

Copyrights Ryan Mark Ostrea Photography

And because it helps to diffuse the light, it makes shooting into the sun much easier and safer. (Caution: Looking into the Sun can cause damage to the eye). I would normally use Live view when composing a shot with the Sun in it. Direct Sunlight could damage the sensor in the camera. Mine seems to be fine til now but I would only do it when the light is so diffused similar to the two images below.

 

Autumn colours work really well with mist too.

And last but not the least it can help make some dramatic black and white images!

Occasionally with the right amount of humidity and lower temperature, we also get some nice misty mornings during Summer but it's more frequent in the colder months. This year's winter was mostly spent in lockdown. Hopefully next year there'd be more freedom to travel.


All images in this blog and in the Gallery are copyright protected. Please feel fee to contact me if you want to purchase or license my images.

 

 

 

 


Backyard Macro Photography

October 09, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Macro photography is one of my favourite genres of photography (just second to Landscape)! In fact it's the first genre that I learned when I started my photography journey many years ago. Even though one can take closeup images of pretty much anything, I tend to look for interesting subjects in nature.

Since the Covid pandemic started and with all the imposed lockdowns and restrictions from time to time, I find myself looking for subjects in the backyard.

Early mornings are my favourite time of the day to chase bugs and tiny creatures as they are less active. Also, it's less windy and the morning light is softer - even better!

In the colder months, say autumn or early spring there's also the morning dew which could add that extra appeal to the images.

Autumn and early Spring are the seasons of the year when my macro lens would get a lot of workout. Here are some Spring flowers. One thing good about flowers is you can plant them in Autumn in pots or garden bed then in a few months, you'd have some beautiful subjects to photograph in the comfort of your own backyard. (Tip: I prefer potted flowers so I could move then around easily for best lighting and background.)

Copyrights Ryan Mark Ostrea Photography

 

And flowers would attract other insects too...

...and even arachnids. And yes, I love spiders. They always fascinate me. This little fella below was enjoying a big catch!

And then more snails. They are all over the place but when I could not find any other creatures in the backyard, they make good subjects too. This was taken in the afternoon with the warm light hitting the maple tree leaves.

So with macro and closeup photography, the imagination is the limit and there's really no need to travel far. All the images here were taken at home during lockdown.

 

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