Trying something new today, setting up the Fuji X-E1 with 18-55mm using Zone Focus. What this means is that the camera is set to have a field of focus that is deep. This allows you to shoot without having to focus. The way the camera is set is to typically shoot with narrow aperture f/8 to f22 and depending on the focal length you choose to shot at you will be able to select a rage of depth of field that will be in focus. I chose to shoot with a very long field of view and field of focus. Therefore I set the camera at 18mm and f16, letting the ISO and shutter speed do its thing in auto. Lucky for me today was a good bright sunny day, if this had been a dim day I would have had to open the aperture and loose some depth of focus.
I have to say I never shoot like this. I normally set all manual or aperture priority and full as with spot AE. So this is a little different. I also chose to shoot black and white as I am still trying to take better BW images as I don’t feel I do a very good job when it comes to black and white street shots. So how did it go….
The first thing I noticed was the almost complete dislocation from each image when taking shot. You just click the shutter when you see something that catches your eye. You don’t really need to look through the view finder. Although when I chose not to look through some of my composition was way off so several of these images have been cropped. Just hitting the shutter release made for quick shooting and I can imaging in busy streets and capturing street portraiture I can really seen the advantage and reason for shooting this way. However today I just felt isolated. Looking over the images in post the focus is a little dodgy in a few, certainly not representative of the capability of the Fuji X-E1 and 18-55mm in manual or auto focus.
I have to admit however the most out of focus shots did tend to be the ones I took from the hip so that just suggest I need a little more practice with this type of shooting. The question to ask now is how would I use this type of shooting and indeed would I use it. I think it’s a yes but in very specific situations. I imagine this method is fantastic for covert people shooting in the streets, however I would use the almost completely silent X100 for that type of work, I would now consider setting up the X100 with similar settings although only having a min aperture of f/16 and a 23mm focal length this would limit the depth of focus considerably from the settings I used today. I do think I will give it a try.
In general it was an interesting way to shoot, I don’t think its something I will do very often but I can see the appeal and its use particularly in street photography. I will try this with the X100 albeit with limited depth of focus but I really will need to practice shooting from the hip to avoid movement and subsequent poor focus problems. The images today as alway still have a huge appeal to me jpegs from this Fuji X-E1 and X-Trans sensor still has me hooked and wanting to shoot more and more and that’s the really cool thing.
Lastly the dynamic range in black and white from this camera is gobsmacking, I was never able to get this range from my Nikon D300s, this sensor is able to select black in ranges that allow greater detail and definition….. It’s yummy. More black and white on sunny days for me then.