Monday, 29 February 2016

REVIEW: X-T1 SD Memory Card Buffer test



Yesterday I posted a quick test to see how fast the memory buffer was in the new X-Pro2 and how fast the camera could shoot with different speeds of SD memory cards I have available.

You can see the results on the blog HERE

As a comparison I decided to carry out the same test with the same six SD cards in the X-T1 to see what the difference is between it and the newer X-Pro2.  The results were quite an eye opener.

Here are the results for the X-T1.  

The first column is the number of frames (RAW + JPEG N) the camera shot before the buffer was full and the next column shows the time taken to clear the buffer after the last shot was taken.  The final column is the number of JPEG (F) only images could be taken before the camera buffer was full.


And as a comparison here are the results from yesterdays tests using the X-Pro2.  Slot 1 is for the newer SDHC II cards and slot 2 is for the older SDHC I cards.  You can use the type II cards in slot 2, you just don't get the faster speeds.

You can see the direct comparison between the speeds of the X-T1 buffer and the X-Pro2.


The buffer on the X-T1 tops out at 22 RAW + JPEG (N) files and 36 JPEG (F) files no matter which card is used.  The difference is the speed that the files are written to the memory card and the time it takes to clear the buffer to allow the camera to shoot again.

Using the Lexar and Toshiba SDHC II cards, the camera is obviously quicker at clearing the buffer allowing the camera to carry on shooting.

Now I need to point out that this in no way means the X-T1 is no good for sport or wildlife, far from it.  22 RAW + JPEG shots is far more than I ever shoot in a sequence while working at a motorsport event.  The most is around 11-12 shots in a row.  

Using the fastest cards the X-T1 can clear a full buffer in 15-20 seconds, compared to 11-13 seconds for the X-Pro2, so 11-12 shots will still give me 9 or 10 in reserve and in 8-10 seconds the buffer will be clear anyway.



CONCLUSION
As I concluded yesterday following the X-Pro2 test, I recommend using the fastest cards that are available to maximise the performance of your X-T1.  The X-Pro2 and X-T1 are the only Fujifilm X Series cameras to use the new SDHC II cards and I recommend using these faster cards in these cameras.  

You can still use the SDHC II cards in other X Series cameras but you won't be using them at the headline read/ write speeds but you will still be maximising the performance of your camera.  You will also benefit from the higher transfer speeds when moving your files onto a computer as long as you are using a fast card reader as well.

I recommend avoiding the slower 30 MB/s cards and I only keep them now to transfer files between computers and not to take images on.





-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY VISITING THE ADVERTISERS ON THIS PAGE
By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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, 28 February 2016

REVIEW: X-Pro2 SD Memory Card Buffer test


How many images can an X-Series camera shoot before it runs out of steam?  This is a question I hear a lot.

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the first X-Series camera to incorporate two memory card slots.  The first utilises the new, fast SDHC II cards while the second accepts the slower SDHC I memory.  You can fit a slower SDHC I card in slot 1 and conversely you can put a SDHC II card in the second slot but it will only work at the slower write speeds.

I have been using the faster SDHC II cards in my X-T1s since April 2014 as it speeds up the processing of the images and frees up the camera quicker after a continuous burst at 8fps. 

I have long known the benefits of using the faster cards for camera operation and last weekend on the Snowman Rally I was shooting with the X-Pro2 on 8fps and the cards I am using certainly enabled me to continuing shooting uninterrupted.

Anyway a lot has been written about the faster AF, the faster processing speed etc etc of the X-Pro2 but I wanted to conduct a quick, and very unscientific test, to find out how many shots I can take with the camera shooting at 8fps before the memory card would buffer.



For this test I am using six different cards, two are SDHC I and four are the newer SDHC II type cards.  If you flip the card over you can see the extra set of pins on the type II cards compared to the older type I.

I am currently using a range of SD cards across my X Series cameras -
  • Sandisk Ultra 30MB/s SDHC I 16GB
  • PNY Elite Performance 100 MB/s SDHC I 32GB
  • LEXAR Professional 1000x 150MB/s SDHC II 32GB
  • Toshiba Exceria Pro 240 MB/s SDHC II 16GB
  • Sandisk Extreme Pro 280 MB/s SDHC II 32GB
  • LEXAR Professional 2000x 300 MB/s SDHC II 32GB
RAW + JPEG Shooting 
To conduct the test I fitted the 18mm f2 lens to the X-Pro2 and set the camera to manual exposure (1/250s @ f2 ISO1600), set the focus to manual and the drive to continuous High (8fps) .  The first round of testing was conducted with the camera set to record RAW + JPEG N as this is the mode I tend to shoot in when out working.

I then fired the shutter until it stopped.  I immediately removed my finger from the shutter release and timed how long it took for the light on the back of the camera to stop blinking, which indicated that the buffer had cleared.  I also conducted this test in slot 1 (the faster slot) and then switched the card to slot 2 and retested.  I formatted the card between each test so it was clear of any images.

The first card tested was the slowest, a Sandisk Ultra 30 MB/s SDHC I 16GB card.  Unsurprisingly this was the slowest of the group but the performance was way off the pace.  The camera would shoot 24 shots before the cameras buffer was full but the camera was then tied up for nearly 150 seconds before the buffer was cleared.  Switching the card to Slot 2 gave the same performance.

I then moved on to the PNY Elite Performance 100MB/s SDHC I 32GB card.  Things were a lot better with this card in slot 1.  The camera took 25 shots before the buffer was full but more significantly only took 24.3 seconds to clear the buffer.  The camera was able to shoot again after a few seconds as buffer space became available.  The performance was exactly the same in Slot 2 of the camera.

Moving to the slowest of the SDHC II cards, the LEXAR Professional 1000x 150MB/s 32GB, I started to see a difference between the two slots as Slot 1 was able to use the higher write speeds to clear the buffer faster.  The buffer was filled after 25 shots but only took 18.5 seconds to fully clear the buffer.  Once again the camera was in operation after just a few seconds as the buffer was cleared as the images were written to the memory card.  In Slot2 the LEXAR gave the same 25 shots and took 2.5 seconds longer to clear the buffer.

Next up was the Toshiba Exceria Pro and this was the first card where I saw an increase in the number of shots before the camera buffer was filled.  With the faster write speeds the camera was able to transfer images out of the buffer before it was filled so I reached 27 shots, two more than the LEXAR, before the buffer was full.  It only took 12.9 seconds before the buffer was cleared, 5.6 seconds quicker than the 150 MB/s LEXAR.  In slot 2 the camera buffered at 25 shots and took 17.6 seconds to clear.

I expected great things from the Sandisk Extreme Pro 280 MB/s card but in reality it was actually slower than the Toshiba.  It took the same 27 shots before the buffer was full but took 13.8 seconds to clear.  In slot 2 this card took just 24 shots and a mammoth 31.6 seconds to clear the buffer, slower than all the other cards with the exception of the 30 MB/s Sandisk. I ran the test three times and the results were the same.

The final card on this test is the new LEXAR Professional 2000x 300 MB/s and this card did not disappoint.  It took 30 shots before the camera buffered in slot 1 and took just 11.5 seconds to clear the buffer. In slot 2 is took 27 shots and was clear again in just 16.8s.



JPEG only shooting
As a final test I put each card in slot 1 but set the camera to only shoot JPEG images to see how many shots the camera would take.    The results were quite impressive with the slowest card taking 65 shots, the 100 MB/s PNY taking 120 shots, the LEXAR 1000x taking 182 images and all three of the fastest cards not buffering even when the camera passed 300 images, so I have classed these as unlimited.




UPDATE - I have just carried out the same tests on the X-T1 and you can review the results HERE
Conclusion
In reality when shooting sport or wildlife you are only going to shoot short bursts and rarely anything more than 8-10 shots.  What this unscientific test shows that the faster cards do speed up camera operation and are well worth investing in to get the best out of the new breed of X Series cameras.  If you are running an X-T1 or X-Pro2 I recommend buying the faster LEXAR or Toshiba SDHC II cards.

The 32GB LEXAR 2000x was £47 on Amazon and represents great value for money.  I have four LEXAR memory cards and I have never had one fail on me.  The same goes for Sandisk and Toshiba and PNY but I tend to buy new cards every 12-18 months to cut down on the possibility of failure and losing precious images.

A final advantage of using the faster cards is the download speed from the card to your computer, as long as you are using the latest card reader to do the transfer of course.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY VISITING THE ADVERTISERS ON THIS PAGE
By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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'






Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Lone Tree


This was an image I captured while taking landscape shots between Kinlochewe and Torrid in the Highlands of Scotland.  I spotted the lone tree on the ridge and saw a cloud being highlighted by the sunlight drifting quite quickly into the shot.  The dark snow clouds provided a very nice contrasty scene.  

With the Fujifilm X-Pro2 fitted with the XF50-140mm f2.8 I only had to wait a few minutes for the cloud to be in the perfect position to capture this image.

The final picture was cropped slightly to improve the composition and was converted to mono in Silver EFEX Pro2 after a few tweaks to the contrast and clarity in Photoshop.

The exposure was 1/850s @ f11 ISO200 with the focal length at 140mm (210mm equivalent)


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY VISITING THE ADVERTISERS ON THIS PAGE
By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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, 24 February 2016

Light Display Over Edinburgh Castle



Most of the time as a landscape photographer I have to plan my trips carefully, always keeping one eye on the weather forecast to try and optimise my chances of coming back with a few 'keepers'.  Other times I can just get lucky and these images are one of those occasions.

The shots were actually taken last September when I was testing the 1.4x converter for Fujifilm along with fellow X Photographer Dirk Bogaerts from Belgium, who was doing a round Scotland trip in his MGB for his new magazine Carburettor.  

I had taken a series of shots for the test and these were taken just as the clouds parted to produce this stunning light display over Edinburgh Castle.  I filed the images for processing later and completely forgot about them until yesterday due to other work commitments. 

As I said the images were shot on the XF50-140mm f2.8 fitted with the 1.4x converter fitted to the X-T1.  We were standing on Calton Hill looking west towards the castle when the clouds parted and the sunlight cascaded down through the dark clouds.  The scene only lasted a few minutes but we were able to capture a few frames.






-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY VISITING THE ADVERTISERS ON THIS PAGE
By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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'


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Down at the Harbour


Yesterday was the first MacLean Photographic workshop of the 2016 season and after a quick presentation we headed down to the harbour to put into practice what had been discussed indoors.

A beautiful sunny day in Dunbar provided the perfect conditions for some photography with the boats, both in and out of the water, providing colourful subject matter.

I was on hand to provide one-to-one tuition and don't take that many images when teaching, but I also had my camera handy to take a picture to illustrate a point about exposure or composition.

Here are some of the images from the photography workshop, all taken on the Fujifilm X-T1 and 16-55mm f2.8.

If you are interested in finding out more about a MacLean Photographic workshop or you would like to book a one-to-one lesson CLICK HERE







-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY VISITING THE ADVERTISERS ON THIS PAGE
By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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, 22 February 2016

Snow on the Mountains


Snow on the mountains and stormy weather in the Highlands of Scotland always make for a dramatic combination.  We headed north on Saturday to cover the aptly named Snowman Rally, round 1 of the Scottish Rally Championship, and because of the snow on the A9, the main route north to Inverness we decided to head straight to the final stage of the day.

Because we arrived early for the stage we headed off toward Torridon to capture some landscape images before heading back to Strathpeffer.

The storm clouds were coming across the mountains in waves, so we had to dodge the sleet and rain, which meant is was a typical Scottish day weather wise!

Using the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the 50-140mm I captured a set of landscape images which suited a mono conversion in post production using Silver EFEX Pro2.






-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY VISITING THE ADVERTISERS ON THIS PAGE
By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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, 21 February 2016

REVIEW: X-Pro2 Does Rally X-Treme

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/250s @ f2.8 ISO800
Yesterday I decided to attend the Snowman Rally near Inverness with a view to test the X-Pro2 in a motorsport environment.  I knew the forest stages would be a challenge for the X-Pro2's focus system but little did I realise that the weather would throw everything at us - snow, ice, rain and very occasional sunshine; the weather was pretty extreme.

Now before I start I feel I need to explain something. The reason for the test was NOT to say the X-Pro2 is the latest all singing-all dancing sports professional camera, the X-Pro2 is NOT aimed at sports photographers.  I wanted to see if the improvements that Fujifilm had made to the AF system would cope with the conditions better than the X-T1 and therefore would point the way to future developments of the X-Series.  I also wanted to prove that while the X-Pro2 wasn't aimed at sports photographers, it is quite capable of taking images in these arenas.

Anyway a 90-minute delay meant we didn't have as long as we hoped to conduct this test as the first car down the final stage of the day was at 16h30 and the light was already failing as the next set of snow / rain clouds approached the area.

I set the X-Pro2 to zone focusing and AF-C to see if the camera could follow a car.  I used the 50-140mm f2.8 and with the camera set manually to 1/500 @ f2.8 ISO1600 I took a set of images as the first car came towards me in along the forest track.  The X-Pro2 followed the car perfectly, producing a set of eight images all perfectly sharp.

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

X-Pro2 + XF50-140mm - 1/500s @ f2.8 ISO1600

I then moved down the track to the hairpin to try the same experiment with a car coming towards me and then going across the frame. 

I decided to switch to the XF100-400mm and set the X-Pro2 to 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000 with the focal length at 125mm.  The results were pretty impressive considering the very poor lighting conditions, the camera only losing the lock on one of the nine shots taken in the sequence.

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f4.7 ISO2000

I then shot some head on shots of cars using the long end of the 100-400mm f4.5/5.6.  Here are three examples of the X-Pro2 fitted with the 100-400mm.  1/250 @ f5.6 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f5.6 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f5.6 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f5.6 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF100-400mm - 1/250s @ f5.6 ISO2000

As the light continued to drop the sleet returned and the 100-400mm had to be put away.  I swapped to the 90mm f2 prime lens which gave me an extra stop over the 50-140mm to play with. Not only did the light present a challenge, the wet and windy conditions were a good test of Fujifilm's weather proofing and I can report that the X-Pro2, and the lenses, stood up to the challenge well and never missed a beat.

The first two shots below were shot on the 90mm with the exposure set at 1/125s @ f2 ISO2000.

X-Pro2 + XF90mm - 1/125s @ f2 ISO2000

X-Pro2 + XF90mm - 1/125s @ f2 ISO2000

The final shots were taken on the X-Pro2 and 90mm with the exposure set to 1/30s @ f2 ISO800 to get lots of movement in the cars as they sped across the frame and up the hill.


X-Pro2 + XF90mm - 1/30s @ f2 ISO800

X-Pro2 + XF90mm - 1/30s @ f2 ISO800


X-Pro2 + XF90mm - 1/30s @ f2 ISO800

X-Pro2 + XF90mm - 1/30s @ f2 ISO800

Conclusion
I would've liked to have had longer to take more test images and in more locations but we arrived late in Inverness due to the blizzard conditions in the Highlands and this also meant we had a long and hazardous journey back to East Lothian during the evening. We had to make a decision to only cover the final stage and the 90 minute delay due to a fire on SS2 earlier in the day meant we had limited time to take these images.

All of the shots on this blog were taken on the X-Pro2 with the AF set to AF-C and Zone focusing selected.  The camera's drive mode was set to Continuous High (8fps) and images were saved in RAW and JPEG (Velvia).  I used the EVF on the X-Pro2 as the OVF was not really usable with the long lenses I was using for this test.

The X-Pro2 produced some great images in some very challenging light and weather conditions.  I ran the X-T1 alongside the X-Pro2 and I have to report that the AF on the X-Pro2 did a better job of following the cars.  

The 100-400mm was also very good in the challenging conditions but as soon as the light faded I had to switch to a faster lens.  I will be trying the X-Pro2 and 100-400mm combination in more future tests on fast moving subjects.

The 50-140mm f2.8 was the most flexible lens to use as I was close enough to the track to fill the frame with the cars and the faster f2.8 meant I didn't have to push the ISO as much to maintain a higher shutter speed.

The weather proofing on the X-Pro2 was tested by the changeable conditions and the new camera and the three lenses never missed a beat even in the driving rain and sleet.

The hit rate of usable shots was above average for the lighting conditions I faced and I would be happy to use the X-Pro2 at future sporting events.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG BY VISITING THE ADVERTISERS ON THIS PAGE
By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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'