David looked at his watch and realized he had about an hour until his bus arrived. He scanned his surroundings and observed passengers rushing across the platform, the scene was engulfed in yellow light from the setting sun. With a smile on his face he guessed the color temperature, ISO value, shutter speed, aperture value and reached into his backpack. He took pride in guessing the correct settings, a habit acquired back in the film days. He felt good, in the zone, or like his girlfriend used to say, he was in “modus invisibilis”. He instinctively surveyed the area as he slowly stood up, turned on the camera, set the shutter to 1/125, the aperture to 8 without ever taking his eyes off a target he spotted across the platform. Then he disappeared into the crowd. More after the break
Of course David wasn’t always so smooth, missed shots all the time, learned the hard way. “Keep the eyes on your surroundings not the camera” a famous photographer once told him. “know your camera like a blind man knows his universe”.
The Fuji X Pro1 is one of those cameras capable of producing stunning results with little preparation.
Hyper focal and zone focus/OVF shooting:
50% of my street shots have been captured with the 18mm in hyperfocal or zone focus in mf mode . The X Pro1 implements a very useful depth of field scale, however, there is one problem: the focusing ring doesn’t offer enough resistance to stay in place, for example, you see something, raise the camera to your eye, accidentally move the focusing ring and miss the shot. There is an easy, elegant solution for this problem: Place a black rubber band between the aperture ring and the focusing ring, slightly overlapping the focusing ring, just make sure you can still turn it. That’s it. This firms things up considerably. See the image below:
Shutter lag in manual focus mode: this problem could easily get fixed with the next firmware upgrade.
Even in mf and full manual exposure mode, Fuji lenses assume a resting position until the shutter is half pressed. This causes significant shutter lag. Take the Sony Nex 7 for example, it lacks a manual focusing/DOF scale, however, once you focus, set aperture and shutter speed, the lens stays in the prefocused position and holds the selected aperture value. There is practically no shutter lag with this setting. Once I spot a subject or scene, I half press and hold the shutter button until I am ready to take the picture. This eliminates shutter lag completely, if I miss the shot I can’t blame the camera.
Street photography in af mode:
Things are a little more complicated, especially if you are trying to capture moving subjects, the keeper rate will be low (~30~50%) since there is no way to avoid shutter lag, af works best for anticipated shots, mentally precompose, move the focus point into position before you reach the subject, if centered, continuous af works, though I prefer single af most of the time. Turn image review off, this will speed things up a notch and for framing accuracy, switch to EVF.
A few things to remember before setting out:
A) fully charged battery and a spare in a place you can get to within seconds
B) a formatted, empty high speed memory card in the camera
C) check out the classics, Robert Frank, Lee Freedlander, Gary Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz to mention a few.
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