Always use a Lens Hood – but it doesn’t have to be from Fuji

In previous articles, I spoke about the advantages of always using a Lens Hood. In addition to providing physical protection to the front element, it can help to cut down on unwanted flare. While I love the quality of both the build and optical performance of Fuji’s XF lenses, I haven’t always enjoyed using their lens hoods.


Fuji XF 23mm f1.4 with its factory hood


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Fuji XF 10-24mm: The Essential Lens for Real Estate & Architecture Photography

After graduating college over 25 years ago, I worked for two years as a photo assistant to an architectural photographer. This was great technical training, as I had to handle heavy 4×5 and 8×10 view cameras on location, shooting with very slow, Kodak Ektrachrome Tungsten sheet film. The work was physically demanding and technically challenging. But it paid off in bringing my technical skills to a much higher level than that I had from my college education.

Jumping forward in time: Over the last three years, I’ve been doing photography for real estate advertising and marketing. The city I live in is a hotbed of real estate activity, so there’s huge demand for photography, virtual reality and video when it comes to marketing homes. Last year alone, I was at over 750 photo shoots, both conventional still photography and virtual reality.

The days of using large format view cameras are long gone, and I’m happy that’s the case. Using that equipment for commercial work was a miserable affair. I’m very grateful for the Fuji X system, and use it exclusively for all of my still photography in real estate. Central to that system and absolutely essential for my work, is the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f4 lens.

Captured with Fuji's 10-24mm Lens

Captured with Fuji’s 10-24mm Lens


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My Real Estate Photography featured in Toronto Life

Yes, I still use the old, reliable, Fuji X-Pro1 camera bodies for my real estate photography. my professional work is featured in Toronto Life magazine’s House of the Week –


I’ll write more about the techniques I used to do the shoot.  But I hope my readers like the work.

Fuji X Camera Advice for a Student

Recently, a nice lady saw me at a restaurant with my Fuji X cameras, and she asked me for advice on which Fuji cameras to get for her daughter. Her daughter was enrolled in a high school program with a strong specialty on visual arts, and photography was one of their areas of study.

What follows below is an abbreviated version of my Fuji gear advice to them:

“Fuji X cameras with Interchangeable Lenses

While there are Fuji X cameras that have a fixed lens (I’ll discuss one at the very end of this paper), for a student of photography who wants to grow with her art, choosing a camera that can interchange lenses is the wisest, long-term investment.  Continue reading

The Fuji X Daily Carry Part II: 2 or more Lenses

Fuji X camera with an XF 18mm (28mm-e) and the Zeiss Touit 32mm (50mm-e) X mount

Fuji X camera with an XF 18mm (28mm-e) and the Zeiss Touit 32mm (50mm-e) X mount

In an ideal world, as photographers, we would be able to do all of our work with a single, compact, fast lens. In reality, even the most minimalist photographers will carry at least one other lens, depending on the situation.

There are some Magnum photographers who are well-known for carrying a minimum of equipment. David Allan Harvey is famous for carrying just a 35mm or 50mm equivalent lens. But even he will have another lens with him. He has cited that he sometimes will carry a 35mm with a 28mm, or perhaps a 35mm and a 50mm.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, famous for shooting the majority of his work with a 50mm, also carried a 35mm and 90mm, with a second M body, in a tiny bag. In the 70’s, which was his last active decade as a photographer before he devoted himself primarily to sketching, he replaced the 35mm with the petite 40mm Summicron.

Another Magnum photographer who didn’t bring that much gear with him, but still had a selection of three lenses, is Josef Koudelka. During the 80’s, he worked with 28mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses. I saw him on the street with a 35mm Summilux on a battered old Leica M4, and on a separate occasion with the same 35mm and M4, plus an Olympus OM film body with a 50mm as well as a Fuji panoramic film camera.

It’s great to be able to shoot with a single fixed focal length, but having another lens or two opens up the possibilities on the street considerably. And as long as you have a small bag to carry the extra bit of equipment conveniently, it can be quite easy to carry this gear, even on a daily basis.

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The Optical Viewfinder Experience on the Fuji X-T1 & X-T10

Fuji X-T1 with a vintage Leitz (Leica) 28mm brightline optical viewfinder

Fuji X-T1 with a vintage Leitz (Leica) 28mm brightline optical viewfinder

With decades of Leica M usage, I’ve become quite partial to the rangefinder form. The Fuji X-Pro1 is a camera that I become comfortable in handling very quickly. It’s familiar in all of the best ways, with its innovative hybrid finder that can switch to an optical view instanteously. And unlike its popular cousins from the X100 series, the X-Pro1 had interchangeable lenses, which increases its versatility.

The X-Pro1, however, is quite long in the tooth and its performance, particularly in AF, falls ever further behind. The last couple of months saw the release of the budget Fuji X-T10 and the firmware 4.0 update to the X-T1. Those two Fuji X camera bodies are now many steps beyond the aging X-Pro1’s focusing performance, but they are EVF only.  There’s a relatively economical way, however, to have optical finder capability on Fuji’s latest cameras.

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The Fuji X Daily Carry Part I: Always have one Fuji camera with you at all times

A Fuji X camera with an 18mm (28mm-e) lens, carried discretely under a jacket

A Fuji X camera with an 18mm (28mm-e) lens, carried discretely under a jacket

My favorite type of photography that I do for myself (rather than for my professional photography work) is street photography. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager, back in the ‘80’s, and have continued on and off with it, over the decades. It’s always a difficult pursuit for me. I find it’s a lot like poetry – on the surface, it seems quite easy, yet it’s wickedly difficult if you ever try to attempt it yourself.

Creating a street photograph that is an ideal blend of form and content is a challenging endeavor, that doesn’t seem to get easier over the years. That elusive blend is definitely the hardest aspect of shooting street photography.

The easy part is knowing one’s equipment and how to use it. That’s relatively easy to learn, and I’m happy to share some of the techniques that I’ve acquired over the years. I’ve already discussed how I use and set up the Fuji X-Pro1 for street shooting. For this post, I’d like to discuss how to carry a single Fuji X camera (or any other compact camera), so that it’s always with you at all times.

Always have your camera with you

The start of being ready and able to shoot, is always having your camera with you. Even if you don’t intend to being shooting that day, ALWAYS bring it with you.

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Fuji X-Pro1 or X100 series: The Optical Viewfinder versus Electronic Viewfinder

Fuji’s X100 series and their X-Pro1 camera both have an innovative, hybrid viewfinder. With a flick of a switch, the photographer can switch instantly from an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) to an Optical Viewfinder (OVF).

Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera (Silver)

Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera (Black)

Fujifilm X-Pro 1 16MP Digital Camera with APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor (Body Only)

The Hybrid Viewfinder of the X-Pro1

The Hybrid Viewfinder of the X-Pro1

While I discussed the ideal situations of when to use the OVF versus the EVF in my article on using the X-Pro1 for street photography, I’ve received a few questions for further details. I’ll try and answer those questions in this post.

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“Now the 50 is my 50” – David Alan Harvey Or, in Fuji X-speak, Now the 35mm is my 35mm

An interesting quote about the 50mm (or equivalent) lens, from the great Magnum and National Geographic photographer, David Alan Harvey –

“…when i was shooting slow iso colour transparency film, i could not use the 50 in the same way that let’s say HCB used the 50 with b&w…simply a low iso thing…for anything w low iso the 50 is not the same tool as it is with higher iso’s with either Tri-X (400 iso) or with digi….of course one can use the 50 with low iso , but it then must be used wide open most of the time (at least in my case)…it then is not a great candid street lens (no depth of field)…but with high iso digi it becomes a street lens again, just as it was for the old b&w photographers..i like the more “compressed” look of the 50…in short, digi makes it so that i can use the 50 in a way i could not w colour film…for colour film, the 35 became my 50….now the 50 is my 50…”

The premium, beautifully built, Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4

Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4

Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Aspherical Manual Focus Lens (11891)

Zeiss Touit 32mm X mount with factory hood installed

Zeiss Touit 32mm f1.8 in Fuji  X mount

Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 Touit Series for Fujifilm X Series Cameras

The thread and context of this quote can be found at Mr. Harvey’s Burn Magazine site, for this photo essay –

A quick note: this article is discussing the 50mm lens in terms of its field of view in Full Frame, which is 46.8 degrees diagonal. For the Fuji X APS-C sensor size, the 50mm equivalent is the XF 35mm or Touit 32mm.

So for the purposes of this article, the full frame focal lengths (first figure) are the same as the Fuji X equivalent (second figure):

50mm FF = 32mm Zeiss Touit or 35mm Fuji X

35mm FF = 23mm Fuji X

28mm FF = 18mm Fuji X

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Is the Fuji X-Pro1 still relevant?

I have a lot to thank the Fuji X system for. Over a year and a half ago, I bought my first Fuji camera, the X-Pro1. Due to its rangefinder form that reminded me of my old Leica M cameras, optical/electronic hybrid finder, its lightweight, its range of great lenses, fantastic image quality and reasonable price, I was totally smitten with the X system. It made photography fun again for me.

The Fuji X-Pro1 with the XF 18mm f2 lens - one the best set-ups I've found for street photography

But it wasn’t just the fun aspect, in using the Fuji X-Pro1 for street and personal photography. The ability to switch from the optical finder to the electronic finder made the camera completely relevant for my professional work too. The EVF allows me to see exactly what the lens is seeing. I can carefully line up elements visually, which I need to do for my real estate/architecture work and when I do corporate portraits. The camera’s EVF allowed me to get rid of my old and heavy Canon DSLR system, which I could never do if my only remaining system was the Leica M system.

The X-Pro1, however, is getting on in age. It was released in 2012, and was already overshadowed by its up to date sister, the fast focusing X-T1, when I purchased it in 2014. At over three years old and with its rumored successor, the X-Pro2, possibly being announced before the end of 2015, the flagship of the X system is looking very elderly.

With the high performance X-T1, the budget priced X-E2 and now the X-T10 all available, and the X-Pro2 around the corner, is the X-Pro1 still relevant?

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