Monday, 30 November 2015

The Trio of XF Fujinon Premium Zooms


One of the beauties of the Fujifilm X-Series compact system cameras is the fact that you can have a professional level camera and lenses with less weight of the equivalent DSLR.  This usually means I can take three camera bodies, eight lenses and all the support material in one carry on piece of luggage that weighs less than 12kg.  However there are some countries that carrying that amount of gear will raise questions at the point of entry and one of the places for potential issues is the People's Republic of China.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am the Media Delegate for the World Endurance Championship and we visit China every year for the race in Shanghai.  I have a business visa in my passport as I am not a member of the press corps at the event and a business visa is a lot easier to obtain than a media visa.  Therefore carrying lots of camera gear might raise an issue at immigration, so for the past few years I have taken minimal equipment into the country.

In 2012 I travelled with a newly purchased X100 and it was this trip to China that opened my eyes to the possibilities of the X-Series.  In 2013 I took an X-Pro1 plus four primes and in 2014 an X-T1 plus the same prime lenses.  

In 2015 I decided to travel with the X-T1 and just the three Fujinon Zooms and the 1.4x converter for the 50-140mm (plus the 35mm f1.4 for low light work - but I never used it during the trip).

The zooms were the 10-24mm f4, the 16-55mm f2.8 and the 50-140mm f2.8 which covers a lot of focal lengths, especially when you factor in the 1.4x converter to extend the 50-140 to 70-196mm.  In full frame terms this covers 15mm up to 300mm with a maximum aperture of f4 and 24mm to 200mm with an aperture of f2.8.

While the Fujinon zoom lenses are certainly not small, they are not overly big and the quality of the images they produce are second to none.  Fujinon also make the 18-55mm f2.8/4 and the 55-200mm f3.5/4.8.  I have never owned the shorter lens but I had the 55-200mm for a couple of years and it is a great lens for travelling with.  But the 50-140mm is step up in quality and the f2.8 maximum aperture is a big advantage over the f3.5/f4.8 of the lighter 55-200mm.

As well as taking shots at Shanghai International Circuit during the event I also used all three lenses during my trip to the Water Town at Zhujiajiao.  One of the advantages over the primes is the fact you don't have to keep swapping lenses for different focal lengths.  I tended to favour the 16-55mm, swapping over to the wider and telephoto zooms as necessary.

Now the question I had to ask myself is the flexibility of the three zooms better than taking the lighter and faster primes I own - 18mm f2, 35mm f1.4, 56mm f1.2, 90mm f2.  The problem with the primes is the the narrow focal lengths they offer (27mm to 135mm compared to 15mm to 300mm for the zooms) but they are certainly lighter and are a lot smaller than the zooms.  I suppose it is down to the individual photographer as to what they prefer to use.

In use I found having the 16-55mm f2.8 almost permanently glued to the front of one of my X-T1s was the best option as the 24mm to 85mm equivalent focal length this superb piece of glass offered covered most options when walking about in the pitlane or around Zhujiajiao.  The 10-24mm is slightly smaller than the 16-55mm and was useful for getting a wider view and the OIS on this lens was useful in low light when I didn't have a tripod available.  The extra stop offered by the f2.8 of the standard zoom was useful and the fact this is the only lens of the trio that doesn't possess an Optical Image Stabilisation system wasn't a problem.

The 50-140mm f2.8, and the 1.4x converter, was the most used lens at the circuit but the least used in and around Zhujiajiao due its large, intimidating size.  However I did use it for shots of building and for compressing the perspective on some of the waterways.

The two f2.8 lenses are the only two of the trio to wear the red XF badge, denoting the professional standard lens.  The 10-24mm f4 was launched before the two F2.8 lenses and I am sure in future the ultra wide zoom will be given a red badge as the results are certainly worthy of this.

I will admit that just using three zoom lenses for a week did cause me some concerns.  While I love the flexibility that zoom lenses offer, I bought into the X-Series system because of the fast apertures of the prime lenses.  But having lived with the zooms for a week I can say that the three premium zooms in the XF lineup are not a compromise on quality and I will not hesitate to use the solely use the zooms again if the needs arise.  For the recent trip to Bahrain I returned to my usual kit of a mixture of prime and zoom lenses but found myself reaching for the zooms - enough said really.

Here are some samples from the three zoom lenses and there are plenty of blogs from the trip to China - follow the links below.

Chinese Water Boat Men

In and Around Zhujiajiao

Town God Temple

Kezhi Yuan

Seven Treasures


Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR + 1.4x converter

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR

Fujinon XF10-24mm f4R OIS WR

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR + 1.4x convrter

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR + 1.4x converter

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR

Fujinon XF10-24mm f48R OIS WR

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR

Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8R OIS WR

Fujinon XF16-55mm f2.8R WR



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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Launch of 2016 Audi R18


Yesterday I flew to Munich for the Audi Sport 2015 review where the German manufacturer celebrated their achievements during the past 12 months.

The evening concluded with the revealing of the 2016 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the car Audi Sport are confident that will regain them the World Endurance Championship that they last won in 2013 and also score them their 14th victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Sitting in the audience I was only able to get this shot of the car as it was unveiled as the covers went back on as the presentation came to a close.  There are some official shots of the new car on the Audi website.  The image above was taken on the Fujifilm X-T1 and the XF18mm f2.

This morning I am heading back to Scotland for a few days before I head to Paris for the FIA Awards Gala, the official closing event of the 2015 season where all the world champions for WEC, F1, WRC, WRX and WTCC will receive their trophies.

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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Seat With A View


I do a lot of flying with my job.  This year I have taken in excess of 80 flights to destinations in Asia, North America, the Middle East and Europe and I never get tired of looking out the window at 38000 feet.  You get some great views and it's something I never want to take for granted.

Last Tuesday I flew back into Edinburgh from Qatar and the skies over the Firth of Forth were clear, giving some great views over East Lothian towards Edinburgh.

I usually take pictures on one of my Fujifilm X-T1s or the X100 but on this occassion the cameras were in the locker above my head and I decided to use the camera on the iPad Mini that I am typing this blog post on.   

The first shot shows Prestonpans, with the remains of the Cockenzie power station at the bottom of the picture.  The second picture is on the approach to the airport and is of Leith Harbour with the bright sunshine bouncing off the water.


I have just two more trips to Munich and Paris to take in 2015 and I hope that the skies over these cities will be clear so I can enjoy a seat with a view.

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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'




Friday, 27 November 2015

Red Sky in the Morning




After several long haul trips to Japan, China and Bahrain, with shorter flights to France and Portugal over the past couple of months, the racing season is drawing to a close.

I have travelled to some wonderful places and have shared some of my exploits on this blog, but it has left me little time to get out and about with the camera closer to home in Scotland.  I intend to remedy this situation and this morning I made a start by heading out to Barns Ness.  

Watching the weather forecast on the BBC last night there were fronts moving across the country which meant there was a good possibility of a nice sunrise.  So I packed the camera bag and headed out to Barns Ness just before dawn.  The cloud formations above the Lammermuirs boded well and as the sun came up the clouds were lit with a red glow that slowly turned golden.

I set one camera on the tripod to capture some long exposures and the other was fitted with either the 16-55mm f2.8 or the 50-140mm f2.8 to capture the scene as it unfolded.

In 45 minutes the sun was high enough for the light show to be concluded and it was one of those events thank makes all the effort of rolling out of bed in the dark worth while.

All images shot on the Fujifilm X-T1 with either a XF10-24mm f4 or XF50-140mm f2.8







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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Grand Mosque


After a week in the Kingdom of Bahrain which saw the dramatic conclusion of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship I head home to Scotland this evening for a few days rest. 

However with a late flight to Qatar I was able to spend a few hours visiting the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Manama. The Al Fateh Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world, encompassing 6,500 square meters and having the capacity to accommodate over 7,000 worshippers at a time. The mosque was built by the late Sheikh Isa ibn Salman Al Khalifa in 1987 and was named after Ahmed Al Fateh, the conqueror of Bahrain. In 2006, Al-Fateh became the site of the National Library of Bahrain.

I visited at sunset, but a cloudy day in Bahrain meant there was little sunshine but the clouds broke to provide a dramatic backdrop.  I also made a mistake by not going earlier because when I got there, there was a call to prayers and so I couldn't visit inside.  That will have to be on my itinerary for next year's visit.

The images were converted to black and white in NIK Silver Efex Pro2 after being taken on a Fujifilm X-T1 and a XF10-24mm f4.






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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Sunset over the Persian Gulf


The Kingdom of Bahrain is a desert state and it comes as no surprise that the sun tends to shine.  So you would expect some great sunsets but the best late evening, or early morning, displays happen when there are some clouds in the sky to bounce the light around.  

The shot below was taken on Monday evening and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  The resulting sunset was 'OK' but nothing to get excited about.

However this evening's sunset was a good one as there was some cloud cover as can be seen in the shot at the top of the page.  The result was a beautiful sunburst through the clouds.

Both images were taken on the Fujifilm X-T1 and the Fujinon XF50-140mm f2.8 lens.


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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

Jeff Carter was recently named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Turn One


This shot was taken at the first corner at the Bahrain International Circuit earlier today.  This tight hairpin will see plenty of action during this weekend's 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship.

The corner has the magnificent backdrop of the Sakhir Tower.  The image was taken on a Fujifilm X-T1 and a Fujinon XF10-24mm f4 lens.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Using Analog Efex 2


One of the software programmes I use in conjunction with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop is Nik suite of filters which includes Color Efex, Silver Efex and Analog Efex. The later give the images an old school film finish and I use this very sparingly as it can be overdone.  However in high contrast light with the right subject the finish can transform an image.  

Cars in the pitlane is one subject I tend to run through the Analog Efex filters and this is what I've done with some of the shots I took today during the set up for the 6 Hours of Bahrain this weekend.

I have produced and saved several custom filters based on the Classic Camera 4 preset that comes with the programme.  I will tweak my own custom settings to get the effect that suits the subject.  It is very similar to Classic Chrome that comes with the Fujifilm X-T1, X100T etc but I found that Analog Efex gives me more control.  So I tend to set up the shot from the RAW file in Lightroom and then put it through Analog Efex to give me the finished image.

I looking for a finish that is very metallic and very 3D, like transparency film.

All of the images were shot on a Fujifilm X-T1 with either an 18mm f2, 56mm f1.2 or 50-140mm f2.8 lens.










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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

Jeff Carter was recently named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Pitstop at Le Mans



Now that the 1.4x converter has been launched I have been revisiting the MacLean Photographic archive to see what I have taken over the couple of months but have been unable to share due to the fact that I was secretly testing this new lens.

Having said that this trawl back through the files has a turned up some other gems that I hadn't used for various reasons.  Take these shots from the pitlane at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June.  I was testing the Version 4 software upgrade for the X-T1 prior to it's introduction and I decided to go out on track for a couple of hours during the night.  

As I walked back in I waited at the end of the pitlane, because I wasn't wearing a fireproof I couldn't go any closer, as I saw the pitcrew for two of the teams getting ready for a pitstop.

The first to stop was the crew of the GTE class Dodge Viper and then a few minutes later the Nissan LMP1 car stopped with lights ablaze.

I captured both images on the X-T1 with the XF50-140mm f2.8 (no converter fitted).  The exposure for both shots was 1/125 @ f2.8 ISO800 and I set the exposure manually so the metering wouldn't be affected by the bright lights of cars and under expose the image.


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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

Jeff Carter was recently named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'