How to shoot fast with a slow camera

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Joachim Gerstl
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How to shoot fast with a slow camera
2 months ago

http://www.littlebigtravelingcamera.com/?p=5440

If you have a Fuji X and a 14mm or 23mm lens just give it a try. It's so much easier to capture the special moment when you don't have to wait for your camera.

Happy shooting!

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ryan2007
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

Take the famous Saigon Execution photo. AF did not exist then and in that instant got that shot like many other famous or infamous shots.

SO, sure, MF had to do the job and most new photographers especially those of the digital age are at a disadvantage IMO by making a mirrorless camera their first camera. It should be a DSLR even with one lens just to learn and if you can shoot a DSLR well enough you can use any camera the same way and get excellent results.

Its not the camera it is all technique. One should also understand how to light and meter said light it can help a lot.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/03/the-story-behind-the-man-who-was-killed-in-the-famous-saigon-execution-photo/

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DVT80111
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Agree but there is another catch
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

The focus by wire sometime does not know where it is, and the camera default itself to infinitive instead of staying at the same location it was set. I guess the camera uses a stepper motor, so each time it is turned on, the motor needs to reset to the zero position (like a digital printer)

If I do MF, I rather use a old legacy lens that has manual focus ring like this one.

Nikkor 35mm/F2  - Tricky to get the dog eye in focus - I used Canon Magic Lantern.

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Joachim Gerstl
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Re: Agree but there is another catch
In reply to DVT80111, 2 months ago

DVT80111 wrote:

The focus by wire sometime does not know where it is, and the camera default itself to infinitive instead of staying at the same location it was set. I guess the camera uses a stepper motor, so each time it is turned on, the motor needs to reset to the zero position (like a digital printer)

If I do MF, I rather use a old legacy lens that has manual focus ring like this one.

Nikkor 35mm/F2 - Tricky to get the dog eye in focus - I used Canon Magic Lantern.

Focus by wire is a pain in the neck. The 14 and the 23mm use focus by wire too but the clutch simply disengages AF. I also think that a good MF lens would be better but I don't think that you can sell a new MF lens today unless you are Leica.

Great shot! What is Magic Lantern? I thought it is something for video shooting.

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DanielFjall
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Re: Agree but there is another catch
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

"While most popularly known for video features, Magic Lantern provides a broad array of features for photographers as well."

Magic Lantern is a free software add-on that runs from the SD/CF card and adds a host of new features to Canon EOS cameras that weren't included from the factory by Canon

http://www.magiclantern.fm/

Free and awesome.

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Miki Nemeth
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Joachim Gerstls: the distance scale on the XF 23mm is just a Fujifilm gimmick
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

Joachim Gerstl wrote:

http://www.littlebigtravelingcamera.com/?p=5440

Hi Joachim,

I was nearly on the point of buying my first XF lens, when I read what you wrote.

"In my case the [distance scale ]marks [on the XF 23mm lens] do not correspond with reality. But you can easily test it out. I just “auto-focused” on a subject about 1 meter in front of me and than switched back the clutch. The scale showed 2 meters instead of 1 meter. On my first trip I ended up with a lot of miss focused shots especially in cases where I wasn’t able to stop down a lot because the light. You always should test your gear and never trust anything! Zone focus is the fastest way to take a picture. Short lenses like the XF14 from Fuji work best."

I read earlier some comments from the brilliant Nathan Wright (https://www.facebook.com/shigzeo) he posted on Chad Hardy's https://www.facebook.com/groups/fujixcameras/  facebook group:

"I won't even get into the XF lens design, which apart from good to great optics, has no universal operational method, and is actually more fractured than any modern lens system. …

My biggest complaint, however, is the lenses. They produce great images, but are slaved to a 100% electronic system, and each lens has a different haptic interface. Labels, no labels, stops, no stops, infinite rotation vs metered rotations, clutch and no clutch. It is ridiculously divided."

I am new to Fujifilm, just a learner collecting information. After reading these comments I start to form the conclusion that the Fujifilm native lens collection is just a gimmick, and I better stay away from buying these really expensive Fuji-only (smelling-dead-end) gizmos? I am not sure, hmm.

The reason I am terribly afraid of buying native lenses for niche systems is that when I started photography I bought into Nikon V1, a brilliant AF wizard camera anyway (so far so good), and them a herd of native lenses (I shouldn't have done so). Your published experience just enforces my feeling that: no more native lenses for a niche system. Why shall I buy a 700-euro lens for zone focusing, which is very poor for manual focusing as well as unusable for auto-focusing? To paraphrase the child's observation from the famous Grimm fairy tale: Is the King naked?

I tend to regard (especially after reading the story of a number of experienced photographers here) buying lenses is long-term investment, buying camera bodies (consumer electronics) is not: cameras come and go (mostly go), lenses (should) remain. Therefore, instead of native Fujifilm lenses, I am inclined to buy used reasonably priced Nikon AF-D or AF-G (no one can convince me that Fuji lenses are any (significantly) better than Nikons) lenses, since they can be used on any camera ever made and will ever be made on Earth. The native Fuji lenses are anyway useless for AF, after I've learned from your post.

However sorry I am that I have bought into native Nikon 1 (CX) lenses, at least they are excellent in AF.

Zone focusing with an FD 24mm outside Keleti in Budapest. Unfortunately, I was not careful enough to frame the group properly.

Take care, Miki

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kwa_photo
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

Yep.  That will work and I recommend at least trying it if anyone hasn't done so previously.  I've never had an issue with "focus speed" and "missing shots", even with the old X100 and FW v1.x. I used to shoot college football with film SLR's and with my first DSLR.  That's DSLR was in 2003 and the old 3.3MP Canon D30.  Talk about slow AF, even with a 70-200 f/4L on it. It was MF and shooting full manual.  Whether it was with the D30 or the old Canon A2 SLR.

Even now, with my "fast focusing" X100s, for street shooting I still shoot in MF.  I preset at f/8 (if light allows me to stay under ISO6400) and keep the middle of my focal plane at around 8 feet. Super fast. I started doing this with the slower X100 and just keep doing it - even though the X100s AF is up to the task 95% of the time

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Joachim Gerstl
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Re: Joachim Gerstls: the distance scale on the XF 23mm is just a Fujifilm gimmick
In reply to Miki Nemeth, 2 months ago

Miki Nemeth wrote:

Joachim Gerstl wrote:

http://www.littlebigtravelingcamera.com/?p=5440

Hi Joachim,

I was nearly on the point of buying my first XF lens, when I read what you wrote.

"In my case the [distance scale ]marks [on the XF 23mm lens] do not correspond with reality. But you can easily test it out. I just “auto-focused” on a subject about 1 meter in front of me and than switched back the clutch. The scale showed 2 meters instead of 1 meter. On my first trip I ended up with a lot of miss focused shots especially in cases where I wasn’t able to stop down a lot because the light. You always should test your gear and never trust anything! Zone focus is the fastest way to take a picture. Short lenses like the XF14 from Fuji work best."

I read earlier some comments from the brilliant Nathan Wright (https://www.facebook.com/shigzeo) he posted on Chad Hardy's https://www.facebook.com/groups/fujixcameras/ facebook group:

"I won't even get into the XF lens design, which apart from good to great optics, has no universal operational method, and is actually more fractured than any modern lens system. …

My biggest complaint, however, is the lenses. They produce great images, but are slaved to a 100% electronic system, and each lens has a different haptic interface. Labels, no labels, stops, no stops, infinite rotation vs metered rotations, clutch and no clutch. It is ridiculously divided."

I am new to Fujifilm, just a learner collecting information. After reading these comments I start to form the conclusion that the Fujifilm native lens collection is just a gimmick, and I better stay away from buying these really expensive Fuji-only (smelling-dead-end) gizmos? I am not sure, hmm.

The reason I am terribly afraid of buying native lenses for niche systems is that when I started photography I bought into Nikon V1, a brilliant AF wizard camera anyway (so far so good), and them a herd of native lenses (I shouldn't have done so). Your published experience just enforces my feeling that: no more native lenses for a niche system. Why shall I buy a 700-euro lens for zone focusing, which is very poor for manual focusing as well as unusable for auto-focusing? To paraphrase the child's observation from the famous Grimm fairy tale: Is the King naked?

I tend to regard (especially after reading the story of a number of experienced photographers here) buying lenses is long-term investment, buying camera bodies (consumer electronics) is not: cameras come and go (mostly go), lenses (should) remain. Therefore, instead of native Fujifilm lenses, I am inclined to buy used reasonably priced Nikon AF-D or AF-G (no one can convince me that Fuji lenses are any (significantly) better than Nikons) lenses, since they can be used on any camera ever made and will ever be made on Earth. The native Fuji lenses are anyway useless for AF, after I've learned from your post.

However sorry I am that I have bought into native Nikon 1 (CX) lenses, at least they are excellent in AF.

Zone focusing with an FD 24mm outside Keleti in Budapest. Unfortunately, I was not careful enough to frame the group properly.

Take care, Miki

AF is not useless on Fuji lenses but, as with every camera, AF introduces some delay. This delay can be crucial sometimes. The XF14mm is one of the best lenses I have ever used. The 23 and the 56 seems to be fantastic lenses too. The Fuji kit zoom is better than other kit zooms.

For APS-C Fuji is offering the best lens selection and they continue to extend it. I think it is clearly the best system available today and it can be an alternative to a full frame DSLR especially if coupled with their fast primes like 14, 23, 35 and 56.

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uniball
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

Thanks, good post. Its funny, I shoot wide and shot manual Nikons for 20 years.  Yet the moment I changed to AF Nikons I stopped doing MF. Now with an xt1, I find myself back in MF. Totally unexpected.

Your'e right the rub is in the lenses. Even though I have some old Nikkors, the weight and the center of balance with an adapter is not acceptable to me other than "hobby mode". Which leave me between Fuji's fly by wire and biting the bullet and buying a couple of good Leica mount lenses and the Fuji adapter.

Thats a whole lot nicer focusing than fly-by-wire but not that much nicer.

Hmmm, I can afford the Leica's and they will be around a long time, and I can pick the right body to couple with them. I hate threads like this.

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57LowRider
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

That's just a bit stupid. Doing AF and pulling back the clutch to find.. oh, out of focus. Well no sh!t Sherlock. The manual focus position will be where you last left it, it doesn't magically spin round when you're in AF.

I've pretty much stopped using my legacy lenses, having sufficient system lenses to cover my needs. If any of the XF lenses fell short in any way, I would still be using an old MF equivalent, but every Fuji is better than any of my legacy lenses.

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jonnie burtoft
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

Hi, I sometimes try pre focusing to about 2 to 3 mtrs and set aperture to f8 ish I use evaluative metering and use exp compensation where needed.

I think manual focus is far superior with legacy lenses. I really like the focus tab on manual lenses, some have a really short throw and can go from close, mid to infinity with a 90º rotation, my film rangefinders are great for this, my mamiya rangefinder goes from roughly 5 o'clock to 7 o'clock with 6 being mid distance.

Cheers, jon

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to 57LowRider, 2 months ago

57LowRider wrote:

I would still be using an old MF equivalent, but every Fuji is better than any of my legacy lenses.

Agreed.  I tried a bunch of legacy manual focus lenses...many highly touted in their day...and today for that matter.  I found them to have much lower contrast, softer corners and higher CA than any of the FujiX lenses.

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photoreddi
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

Joachim Gerstl wrote:

http://www.littlebigtravelingcamera.com/?p=5440

If you have a Fuji X and a 14mm or 23mm lens just give it a try. It's so much easier to capture the special moment when you don't have to wait for your camera.

Very nice article which made several interesting and valuable points concerning using MF. One thing needs to be corrected, I think. You wrote :

With exception of the very latest and top of the line cameras like the Fuji XT-1 or the Sony A6000 you still can’t track anything but a turtle.

but this isn't correct. According to The Camera Store's "The Great Mirrorless Camera Autofocus Shootout!" video which compared the GH4, X-T1, A6000 and E-M1, with the exception of the X-T1 which finished in a far distant 4th place, all of the others performed very well. Here's a quote about the X-T1 from about the 12 minute mark in the video.

" ... and autofocus is still very decent, but of all these cameras, although accurate it was quite slow, it was the ponderous one in the bunch"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up8K_xd_iwU

The X-T1 would probably have done much better if the same shootout was performed later this year or next year since the 55-200mm lens that was used isn't exactly a speed demon.

Thom Hogan also had some reservations, noting that the X-T1's AF behaves the way DSLRs do that use Focus Priority for continuous shooting which prevents the shutter from releasing if the camera is only barely out of focus. High performance DSLR owners generally use Release priority when they're shooting with Continuous AF. He notes that because if this, his X-T1's burst rate was often about half of the stated rate, so whether you get the full rate or half rate depends on what you're shooting, and it does better with less demanding subjects. He also noted that while tracking was usually fast enough, if it lost track for a single frame it would have to go through the entire reacquisition sequence, slowing it down enough that he recommends letting go of the shutter button and starting over. I don't have access to his review at the moment so I'm just quoting from memory, but I think that I've gotten the gist of what he wrote accurate enough.

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Joachim Gerstl
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to uniball, 2 months ago

uniball wrote:

Thanks, good post. Its funny, I shoot wide and shot manual Nikons for 20 years. Yet the moment I changed to AF Nikons I stopped doing MF. Now with an xt1, I find myself back in MF. Totally unexpected.

Your'e right the rub is in the lenses. Even though I have some old Nikkors, the weight and the center of balance with an adapter is not acceptable to me other than "hobby mode". Which leave me between Fuji's fly by wire and biting the bullet and buying a couple of good Leica mount lenses and the Fuji adapter.

Thats a whole lot nicer focusing than fly-by-wire but not that much nicer.

Hmmm, I can afford the Leica's and they will be around a long time, and I can pick the right body to couple with them. I hate threads like this.

Do you plan to get Leica lenses or do you use one already? I think Leica lenses would be nice regarding size and weight but there has to be an adapter (additional weight) and the crop factor makes the lenses less useful. I rather use the great Fuji lenses like the 14mm and maybe soon the 23mm too with zone focus.

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DVT80111
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 2 months ago

If you are interest in Leica, get the Sony A7, or 66% of your image goodness is wasted.

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Fabio Amodeo
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to photoreddi, 2 months ago

It does not seem terribly complicated to me. Qith the 14 or the 18 just select f/11, manual focus, focus on the hyperfocal and let the depth of field and auto ISO do the rest. With longer lenses prefocus with the help of those silver phantoms that help a lot. In doubt go back to autofocus single. All the X cameras I used worked better if the focussing target is kept very small. Want to do follow action continuous autofocus? Wrong system. It's written everywhere, in every test: Fuji X is not (yet) the right system for this kind of things. I don't shoot flying birds, so it's all right for me.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Fabio Amodeo, 2 months ago

Fabio Amodeo wrote:

It does not seem terribly complicated to me. Qith the 14 or the 18 just select f/11,

Just a quick note.  Above F8 and you start losing resolution with an APSC sensored camera.  F11 for full frame.

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Miki Nemeth
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Daniel Lauring: When selecting an aperture take diffraction limit into consideration
In reply to Daniel Lauring, 2 months ago

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Above F8 and you start losing resolution with an APSC sensored camera. F11 for full frame.

Hi Daniel, I was sure that once I learn something from You, too.

Following your hint, I found a perfect source that explained the diffraction concepts clearly

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm following the discussion http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/34963285

I found another interesting white paper to read http://www.metabones.com/assets/a/stories/Speed%20Booster%20White%20Paper.pdf

Handheld no-image-stabilized manual-focused legacy telephoto taken with Nikon AI 180mm on Speed Booster. Magnified into this photo, I am still not convinced that you can capture more details with any Fujinon lens than with this 300-Euro legacy lens.

It's always a joy to read your comments and your photographs in Your gallery are gorgeous. Take care and have fun, Miki

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Fabio Amodeo
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Daniel Lauring, 2 months ago

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Fabio Amodeo wrote:

It does not seem terribly complicated to me. Qith the 14 or the 18 just select f/11,

Just a quick note. Above F8 and you start losing resolution with an APSC sensored camera. F11 for full frame.

I agree. But it's a give and take game. Is depth of field more important than a slight loss in resolution and contrast? Or the reverse? The reply depends on anybody needs, and also on the lens used. Diffraction does not cut in the same manner for every lens. Some are more resistant than others.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: How to shoot fast with a slow camera
In reply to Fabio Amodeo, 2 months ago

Fabio Amodeo wrote:

Daniel Lauring wrote:

Fabio Amodeo wrote:

It does not seem terribly complicated to me. Qith the 14 or the 18 just select f/11,

Just a quick note. Above F8 and you start losing resolution with an APSC sensored camera. F11 for full frame.

I agree. But it's a give and take game. Is depth of field more important than a slight loss in resolution and contrast? Or the reverse? The reply depends on anybody needs, and also on the lens used. Diffraction does not cut in the same manner for every lens. Some are more resistant than others.

I agree with the first part.  Macro photographers have been trading peak resolution for DOF forever.  However, diffraction had nothing to do with the lens chosen.  It is purely based on aperture and image circle size.

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