Fujifilm White Balance Shift: What It Is + How To Use It

White Balance: Daylight. Shift: +3 Red & +1 Blue. Fujicolor Superia 1600.

What is White Balance Shift and how do you use it on your Fujifilm camera? White Balance Shift is one of my favorite JPEG tools that Fujifilm has included on their cameras. It can have a big impact on the aesthetic of an image, and it’s a critical component of my Film Simulation Recipes. It’s one of those things that’s easy to overlook. In this article I’ll explain what White Balance Shift is and how to use it.

White Balance is the adjustment of color temperature (measured in Kelvin) to account for various light conditions, so that white objects appear white, and not yellow or blue or some other color. White Balance Shift is a tool to precisely fine-tune the White Balance. The intention of White Balance and White Balance Shift is to achieve a natural color balance that matches what the eye sees. But you can give your photographs whatever color balance you’d like—this is art; there are no rules.

How do you adjust White Balance Shift on your Fujifilm camera? It’s not immediately obvious, but quite easy once you know where it is. In your camera’s Menu select White Balance. Once in the White Balance Menu, arrow up or down to whichever White Balance you’d like to use, and then arrow right to adjust the White Balance Shift for that particular White Balance. Select OK to set.

Easy, right?

Now that you know how to adjust the White Balance Shift, let’s take a look at what it does to a photograph. The image below demonstrates the dramatic impact White Balance Shift can have on a picture:

Center: 0 Red & 0 Blue. Top-Left: -9 Red & +9 Blue. Top-Center: 0 Red & +9 Blue. Top-Right: +9 Red & +9 Blue. Center-Right: +9 Red & 0 Blue. Bottom-Right: +9 Red & -9 Blue. Bottom-Center: 0 Red & -9 Blue. Bottom-Left: -9 Red & -9 Blue. Center-Left: -9 Red & 0 Blue.

Those are examples of big White Balance Shifts, but what about subtle Shifts? Do they make a difference? Take a look at the picture below. The left image is without a Shift (0 Red & 0 Blue), and the right image is with a subtle Shift (+1 Red & -1 Blue). It’s not a huge change, but noticeable nonetheless.

Slide left and right to compare images.

Now let’s take a look at some less subtle White Balance Shifts and how it can change the aesthetic of a picture. The examples below are all Auto White Balance using various White Balance Shifts, which are prescribed in different Film Simulation Recipes. The specific Shifts and Recipes are listed under each picture.

Shift: +2 Red & -2 Blue. Recipe: Fujicolor Pro 400 Overexposed.
Shift: +2 Red & -4 Blue. Recipe: Vintage Kodachrome.
Shift: +5 Red & -6 Blue. Recipe: Eterna.
Shift: -3 Red & -8 Blue. Recipe: Cross Process.

As you can see, you can get many different color casts using White Balance Shift. In fact, Fujifilm gives you over 350 different options! You can get creative and mix a White Balance Shift with a White Balance that’s other than Auto. Below you’ll find some examples of this. The specific White Balance, Shift, and Recipe are located under each picture.

White Balance: Daylight. Shift: +2 Red & -5 Blue. Recipe: Kodachrome 64.
White Balance: Fluorescent 1 (Daylight Fluorescent). Shift: -3 Red & -1 Blue. Recipe: Kodak Vision3 250D.
White Balance: 6050K. Shift +3 Red & 0 Blue. Recipe: Kodak Ektar 100.
White Balance: 2650K. Shift: -1 Red & +4 Blue. Recipe: Jeff Davenport Night.

White Balance and White Balance Shift affect black-and-white pictures, too! You can manipulate how grey tones are rendered in an image using these tools. The picture below was captured using Acros+R. The version on the left has Auto White Balance and no Shift (0 Red & 0 Blue), while the one on the right has a White Balance of 4200K and a Shift of 0 Red & +9 Blue. Otherwise these two dramatically different images have identical settings.

Slide left and right to compare images.

Below are a few more examples of combining White Balance and White Balance Shift in black-and-white pictures. The specific White Balance, Shift, and Recipe are located under each picture.

White Balance: Auto. Shift: 0 Red & +9 Blue. Recipe: Monochrome Kodachrome.
White Balance: Daylight. Shift: +9 Red & -9 Blue. Recipe: Kodak Tri-X 400.
White Balance: 2750K. Shift: -5 Red & +5 Blue. Recipe: B&W Ifrared.

There’s one more application of White Balance Shift that I’d like to mention: Multiple Exposure photography. One example of White Balance Shift applied to Multiple Exposures, which is the first image below, is an exposure (the “main exposure”) made without a Shift, and then a second exposure of white paper or card-stock with a Shift applied. This gives the picture a faded color-cast aesthetic. Another example, which is the second picture below, is to capture two or more (for cameras capable of more than two) exposures, changing the Shift between exposures. This creates an abstract color rendering.

Shift: +9 Red & +9 Blue. Recipe: Faded Color.
Four exposures, each with a different Shift: +9 Red & -9 Blue; +9 Red & +9 Blue; -9 Red & -9 Blue; -9 Red & +9 Blue.

Most Fujifilm cameras do not have the ability to save White Balance Shifts within Custom Presets. Most of my Film Simulation Recipes require a Shift, yet you cannot save the Shift, so each time you change Recipes you must manually adjust the Shift. This is unfortunate, but thankfully Fujifilm has fixed this issue on the X100V (review here), X-Pro3 and X-T4! If you have one of those three cameras, you can save a White Balance Shift with each Custom Preset. As much as I love the new Clarity setting, Color Chrome Effect Blue, and the new Classic Negative film simulation, my absolute favorite new feature Fujifilm has added to their cameras is the ability to save White Balance Shifts. Thank you, Fujifilm!

White Balance Shift is an amazing tool on your Fujifilm camera! Found within the White Balance Menu, it allows you to fine-tune the color cast of your pictures. You can use this tool to customize your picture aesthetics. I use it extensively in my Film Simulation Recipes, both color and black-and-white, to achieve various looks. Without White Balance Shift many of my Recipes would not be possible. You can use it subtly or dramatically, with Auto White Balance or one of the other White Balance options.

Now you know what White Balance Shift is on your Fujifilm camera and how to use it. Now it’s time to get creative with it!

Shrinking Camera Market: What Fujifilm Should Do In 2021 & Beyond

50160901406_742566da86_c

Fujifilm X100V captured by a Fujifilm X-T1

It’s no secret that camera sales have been declining for several years. The global pandemic has unsurprisingly significantly impacted the camera industry. Some companies have had bigger declines than others, and I think over the coming couple of years we’ll see some camera makers restructure, put themselves up for sale, or go out of business altogether. What should Fujifilm do to minimize declines and maximize profits in these tough times?

I’m not an industry insider or business expert. There aren’t any good reasons why Fujifilm should listen to me on this topic (other than I’m one of their customers). Besides, they have a pretty darn good track record for dealing with change within the industry and economy. Fujifilm doesn’t need my help. This article is more for my own enjoyment and perhaps yours. It’s fun to consider and discuss this topic. I don’t expect anything else to come from this.

Camera sales have been declining since the collapse of the compact camera market. Cellphone camera technology has come a long ways, which has rendered point-and-shoot cameras obsolete. The casual amateur snap-shooter uses their phone now to capture pictures, and has no need or interest in another camera. Before cellphone cameras had decent image quality, camera manufacturers were selling cheap automatic cameras to these folks. Lots and lots of them. But now that market is all dried up.

50160642736_57034461f0_c

Captured with a Fujifilm X-T1. This camera is four models old but is still quite capable.

The more serious shooters are still buying cameras, but cameras have reached a point of diminishing returns. Digital technology changes quickly, but if a camera is already really good, these improvements have less of a practical application. For instance, if a photographer finds that his or her camera’s autofocus is already more than good enough for their photography, a quicker autofocus system won’t likely tempt that photographer to upgrade. If a photographer finds that his or her camera already has enough resolution for the size they print, more resolution won’t likely tempt that photographer to upgrade. In other words, photographers by-and-large are keeping and using their gear for longer than they did 10 years ago, or even five. Digital is still disposable, but it is becoming less so, or at least photographers are beginning to realize that they don’t need to “upgrade” as frequently as they used to.

The camera industry isn’t Fujifilm’s main business. After the film collapse, Fujifilm diversified, and now they’re a pharmaceutical and cosmetics company that also happens to sell cameras. Their camera arm, which is just a small part of their business model, is doing better than many other camera makers right now. Still, the current market is impacting Fujifilm, and will continue to do so, which means Fujifilm might need to consider some changes.

Fujifilm has several camera models that are essentially the same, but look different and have only small feature differences. Fujifilm should consider ways to either further differentiate their similar models or combine them into one. The X-T200 and the X-A7 have nearly identical features, and having both models seems redundant. The X-Pro3 was made more unique to further separate it from the X-T3, and that worked out well, I believe. I look at the X-E line, which I love. My first Fujifilm camera was an X-E1. The X-E3 is so similar to the X-T20, aside from camera body design, so what differentiates the two besides shape? Fujifilm should consider discontinuing the X-E line, or do something to the eventual X-T40 or X-E4 to better differentiate the models. For example, if Fujifilm added IBIS to the X-T40 or made the X-E4 a black-and-white only camera (the “X-E Acros” is what I’d call it), that would separate them, and Fujifilm would have unique models. I think, alternatively, the X-T40 could basically be transitioned into a higher-end model, and serve as the (eventual) X-T5 without IBIS. The X-H line, now that the X-T4 has IBIS, is also redundant, so the X-H2 would need something to make it stand out, such as 8K video. Since the X-T4 has been so well received, I’m not sure how much of a market there is for an X-H2, but Fujifilm insists that this camera is in the works. It will be interesting to see it when it comes out, perhaps next year, and how well it does.

Fujifilm has situated itself as the leader in digital medium-format. It seems like overnight they went from not-even-in-that-market to top-dog, thanks to the success of the GFX line. Still, it’s more of a niche market than anything mainstream. I think what’s missing is a “budget” rangefinder-style 100-megapixel camera without IBIS. Essentially a GFX-50R, but with the 100MP sensor of the GFX100 inside. Maybe Fujifilm should consider adding IBIS to whatever camera replaces the GFX-50S. I have no idea how profitable this line has been for Fujifilm, and if it will stand the test of time, but I think it was smart of Fujifilm to jump into a market that they could easily dominate.

50123395623_b3f031f1d4_c

This is a camera-made JPEG from a Fujifilm X100V, but looks more like film.

Something else that I think Fujifilm should consider is replacing cameras less frequently. When they release a camera and then replace it with a new model one year later, that’s too soon. Two years is too soon. Three years should be a minimum between updated cameras, and four to five years is even better. I know this might sound counter to what consumers want, but X-Trans III cameras, such as the X100F, X-T2, X-T20 and X-E3, are still very excellent! The X-E3 hasn’t been replaced yet, and the X100F was only recently replaced after three years, but the X-T2 is three models old now, and there’s already “talk” of an upcoming X-T40, while the X-T30 isn’t even a year-and-a-half old yet. It’s better to get the most out of a model, then replace it with something that’s a significant improvement over the previous edition. There’s a latin phrase festina lente, which means “make haste slowly.” Fujifilm needs to keep pushing the envelope and strive to produce more technologically advanced cameras, but not be too eager to release new models that only have small improvements over previous versions. If Fujifilm were to update the firmware on the X-T3 and X-T30 to breathe new excitement into these models, these cameras could still be sold for another two years easily.

There’s one more important point that I’d like to make, and this relates to Fuji X Weekly. I think Fujifilm needs to focus even more on JPEGs. I’ve discovered that there’s a huge community of photographers who love the camera-made JPEGs produced by Fujifilm cameras, whether straight-out-of-camera or with X RAW Studio. The film simulations—a brilliant idea by Fujifilm—were just the tip of the iceberg, and now film simulation recipes are all the rage. There’s something big here, bigger than I think Fujifilm realizes. Yes, Fujifilm has demonstrated their commitment to the JPEG with the X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4, but they need to continue their commitment on future models. This is a fairly unique angle that Fujifilm has. While other camera makers do, in fact, have some nice JPEGs, Fujifilm is perhaps the only brand with a cult following based on it. They should absolutely capitalize on that, more so than they have been.

I doubt that Fujifilm will read this article, and I’m even more doubtful that they’ll make any internal changes based on it. I think it’s sound advice, but what do I know? Whether or not Fujifilm does any of the things I suggest, I think they’ll be just fine and will weather this “storm” without too much trouble. The guys running the company seem pretty smart to me, and are doing just fine without my advice. It will be fascinating to see exactly what happens within the camera industry in 2021 and beyond, and what Fujifilm does to find success during these tough times.

RAW vs JPEG? The Debate Needs To End

50096353482_fc0c94781b_c

Did I post-processed a RAW file or is this a camera-made JPEG? Does it matter?

There’s a debate in the photographic community that I get really tired of: RAW vs. JPEG. Most of the time, what I find is RAW shooters telling JPEG shooters that they shouldn’t shoot JPEGs for one reason or another. Usually there’s name-calling or a put-down thrown in or a condescending tone. Sometimes it’s the other way around, although I find that to be much more rare. Here’s my opinion: find what works best for you and your photography, and do that.

I wasn’t intending to write this post today, but over the last few days I’ve seen a number of articles and videos that tell me why RAW is really remarkable and JPEGs are just junk. Some make a reasonable argument, while others are absolutely ridiculous. Earlier today I watched a video that falls into the latter category, and that’s why I’m writing this.

Here’s the deal: it wasn’t very long ago that camera makers across all brands did a poor job at in-camera JPEGs. Some were better than others, but by-and-large none of them were great. RAW made sense, since you were going to be editing your pictures. But over the last decade every camera brand has improved their camera’s JPEGs, and some, like Fujifilm, have really made massive strides in this department. Today’s camera-made JPEGs are nothing like they were 10 years ago. Fujifilm’s JPEGs can look like post-processed RAW images, or even film-like. If you plan to edit your pictures, RAW is your best bet. If you don’t want to edit your pictures (or only lightly edit), you can achieve some great looks right out of camera. Neither option is the “right” or “wrong” way, just different means to an end, which is a finished photograph that you’re happy with.

Shoot RAW if that’s what you want to do. Shoot JPEG if that’s what you want to do. One method is not inherently better than the other. One way might be right for you, but wrong for another. You might find that you use both, just depending on the situation. While I almost always shoot JPEG, I do also still shoot RAW sometimes (it’s helpful for developing JPEG recipes). I used to shoot RAW exclusively once upon a time, but I don’t anymore.

RAW vs. JPEG is a tired debate. You don’t need to justify with strangers why you choose one over the other. I don’t want to hear why I’m “wrong” for shooting JPEGs. Don’t try to convince me that RAW is better. I won’t try to convince you to abandon RAW and shoot JPEG only. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and there is a time and place for both. I would encourage you, if you are unsure whether to shoot RAW or JPEG, to try both for a time, and see which you prefer. There isn’t one right path. The debate needs to end—find what works best for you and your photography, and do that!

Fuji X Weekly is Back!

50096353482_fc0c94781b_c

Blue Mountain Lake  – Flathead Lake, MT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

I was on vacation, but now I’m back!

I visited some great places, including Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, but my favorite spot was Flathead Lake in Montana. It was absolutely beautiful! Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake (in America) west of the Missouri River. It’s unbelievably clean and clear. I used to live (many, many years ago when I was a kid) in the Puget Sound area of Washington, and Flathead Lake reminded me of that. Instead of the Pacific Ocean it’s a huge lake, with interesting little towns and communities found along its shore. There’s an island that’s a state park, only accessible by boat, and we saw more wildlife on that island than the two national parks combined. Flathead was fun!

Now that I’m back, I’m going to try to catch up on all the comments, messages and emails that I’ve not responded to. There are so many! It might take me a couple days to answer everyone back. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

I have so many photographs and articles to share. I have a number of videos to make. There’s a lot of content coming, so stay tuned!

Intentionalism – Moving From More To Less

46581367605_0c9dcecf2a_c

The old house. Captured with a Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2.

Less is more. That short and simple statement is true in both photography and in life. Less time commitments. Less money spent. Less accumulating stuff. Less frustrations. Less worrying. Less stress. More time spent with family and friends. More generosity. More doing what you love. More living life right now.

In America, and many other parts of the world, materialism is strong, and it constantly demands more. You need the best, the newest, the largest, and the most-expensive things that you can afford. If the Jones’ have it, you need it now! Envy is everywhere, and it’s difficult to escape its cold, choking grasp. People judge you on your possessions, at least that’s what you’re told, so your possessions better be good. You need to make a good impression quickly, as you might not get a second chance. You aren’t who you are, you are what you have. It’s an incredibly sad and selfish way to live, but it’s normal for a lot of people. I’m guilty of living this way just as much as the next person, but I’m tired of the materialistic life.

The opposite of materialism is minimalism, which is living with the absolute least amount of stuff that you need to survive. If you don’t need it, you shouldn’t have it. If it doesn’t add value to your life, you shouldn’t have it. It’s not about things, it’s about not having things. I’m not against minimalism, but I do feel like it’s a rabbit hole that can miss the point. Having less can be very good, but there’s a point where the pursuit of it can be oppressive and as equally vain as the pursuit of frivolous stuff.

49335221093_53c5c65775_c

View from the old house. Captured with a Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm.

There’s a reasonable middle ground, where you’re not consumed by consumerism and you’re not subservient to minimalism. It’s called intentionalism, which is being intentional with your time and treasures. The idea is that everything you own should serve a purpose or bring you joy. If it doesn’t have a purpose in your life or if it doesn’t bring you joy, you don’t need it, so get ride of it! It’s about living with less. It’s having less clutter; having less things that you don’t really need taking up space in your life. Everything that you buy should be purchased very intentionally. Thoughtful consideration is required for what you spend money on. Spend less on junk. You shouldn’t be a servant to money, but instead money should serve you. Also, be careful of things that rob your time, because time is incredibly short.

Cut down on what you’ve accumulated. Lessen time spent unnecessarily. Trim what you spend money on. Scale down yourself, so that you can gain what those things can never provide. Reduce, so that you can obtain joy. Reduce, so that you can spend more time with family and friends. Reduce, so that you can be more generous with others. Reduce, so that you can live more freely. Not less for the sake of less, but less for the sake of more.

I don’t want to sound too preachy; I’m writing these things to myself just as much as I’m writing them to you. I’m telling you about this philosophical road that I’m beginning to journey down because you might notice some changes. Actually, the journey began several months ago, but the changes will become more obvious on Fuji X Weekly as time goes on.

49405942277_74cc2d425d_c

View from the new house. Captured with a Fujifilm X-T1 & Funinon 35mm f/2.

Something that I’ve been working towards is fewer articles on this blog, yet higher quality content. I want to spend less time on insignificant posts, and use that time instead for more meaningful articles. I hope that this will improve Fuji X Weekly. Another change is that I sold my house and moved. For me, a big part of intentionalism is downsizing, which I’ve been doing, and now I live in a different town. That will affect my pictures in some way, although I’m not certain exactly how at the moment. Anytime that you change where you’re photographing, it will change your photography, at least a little.

How does intentionalism relate to photography and Fujifilm? Well, for me, Fujifilm cameras save me a ton of time because I can rely on camera-made JPEGs. I rarely sit at a computer editing pictures. I can use that time for other things, such as playing with my kids or a date night with my wife or visiting a friend or capturing more pictures. This isn’t new for me, but it does fit well with this philosophy. Another way that this relates is that I should only own gear that I need (serves a purpose) or that brings me joy. Of course, all of it brings me joy! But things that sit on a shelf collecting dust and taking up space, rarely used, aren’t really bringing joy, they’re just clutter. If something is working well for me, there’s no need to replace it just because something new came out. It’s good to get your money’s worth out of what you buy before replacing it. Buy things of quality and really use them, and don’t be in a hurry to upgrade.

Intentionalism is a journey towards simplicity. It’s similar to minimalism, but the end goal isn’t less for the sake of less, it’s less for the sake of more. It’s a path towards joy and a meaningful life, where I’m less important and those around me are more important. It’s a journey of generosity. It’s finding ways to make life simpler so that I can focus more on what’s really important. Less can indeed be more.

Cheap Fujifilm Cameras

Fujifilm X-E1 Camera Photography Blog

I’ve been searching the last couple of days for a new Fujifilm camera. Actually, a used camera. You might recall that back in September I posted that I wanted to buy a full-spectrum camera for infrared photography. I’ve had an interest in infrared photography for a long time, and I’ve been eager to try it, but the funds to buy such a camera have eluded me. I did get the green light to spend $300 or less on a used camera to eventually (maybe mid-2020) convert to full-spectrum. There are a few different companies that will convert your camera to infrared, and the going rate seems to be about $300, plus you still need to buy various filters, so it’s not exactly a cheap endeavor. I have been searching for a cheap Fujifilm camera that’s hopefully gently used, since I need to keep costs down in order to make this dream a reality.

When I looked at various places, such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, KEH, etc., I was surprised to see a lot of great options for $300 or less. I found some Fujifilm X-E1 bodies for under $200, one as cheap as $150. The X-E1, or “Sexy One” as it was once called, was my introduction to Fujifilm cameras, and is a solid choice. I saw an X-T10 that claimed to have a low shutter count but with some serious scratches for $200. There were several X-E2 bodies for around $250, and an X-E2s for under $300. I was surprised to see a few X-T1 bodies for $300. There were also some non-X-Trans Fujifilm cameras, such as the X-A3, X-A5 and X-T100, for under $300. I had a lot to choose from.

As I was looking at all of these cameras, I was reminded of some articles I’ve written. About a year-and-a-half ago I published Digital Is Disposable, which is about how we continuously buy the latest gear and don’t keep what we own for very long. It’s just as true now as it was then. People (myself included) upgrade their gear much too quickly, and cameras that are still excellent get tossed aside like an old moldy bag of tangerines just because there’s something else that’s brand new. Last week I briefly touched on this topic in my Photography Investments article, and just the other day in 5 Tips To Become A Better Photographer. It’s better to keep your gear longer and spend your money on experiences instead of upgrading your very capable and practically still new camera.

The flip side to this coin, however, is that if you want a cheap yet excellent camera, there’s plenty to pick from. Maybe you’d like a second camera body. Well, you can have one for $300 or less, maybe even as low as $150! Perhaps your kid or spouse has been begging for a camera, but you don’t want to spend a bunch of money. Why not buy something used and affordable instead of brand new and expensive? I’m just throwing this out there in case you didn’t realize that used Fujifilm gear is going for so little.

I purchased a Fujifilm X-T1 that claims to have a very low shutter count and is in like-new condition for only $300. That seems like a fantastic deal! Sometimes someone else’s description doesn’t match how I would describe it, so when it arrives I’ll see just how “very low” the shutter count is and just how “like new” it actually is. If it’s in halfway decent shape I’ll be happy. With any luck sometime in the coming six months or so I’ll be able to convert it to full-spectrum, something I’ve wanted to do for many years. One man’s junk is another’s treasure, as the saying goes, and I’m hoping this camera will prove to be a treasure for me.

Photography Investments

49041164583_9fb487c005_c

Cameras are terrible financial investments. In a way they’re like cars: as soon as you own it, the value drops, because it’s now used and not brand-new. And the more it’s used and the older it gets, the more the value drops. That’s not 100% true all of the time–there are exceptions–but it’s pretty true. You don’t buy cars as a financial investment, unless it’s a rare antique car, and you don’t buy camera gear as a financial investment, unless there’s something that makes it collectible. Most of your photography gear, if not all of it, is worth a little less now than when you purchased it.

About a year-and-a-half ago I did something really crazy: I distressed a Fujifilm X-E1 to look old and worn. It was a gutsy thing to do, and I had mixed thoughts as I did it. I mean, who takes sandpaper to their cameras? Once finished, I sold the distressed camera for more than I had paid for it. I turned the camera from an appliance into art, and that increased the value of it, at least a little. That’s an unusual situation. Most of the time, the photography gear that I buy decreases in value, not increases.

Cameras are a lousy investment, but you can make money with them if you want. You can do family portraits or weddings or sell prints. People make money with cameras all of the time. Not necessarily lots of money. In the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medium salary of a photographer is about $35,000 annually, which is an average wage. You can use your gear as a tool to make money, even if down the road you sell your camera for far less than you paid for it.

48945695962_6218ac83e0_c

The photography business world is extraordinarily crowded. Everyone’s a photographer nowadays. Not only are there a ton more photographers than there used to be, but the number of great photographs being created has skyrocketed. What used to be considered “good” is now “average” and what used to be “great” is now “good”–yet “amazing” photographs are still amazing. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd, and there’s very little being created that’s unique. Starting a photography business has never been easier, but creating a successful photography business is still just as tough as it has always been, if not more difficult because there are fewer photography consumers (from a business standpoint) than there used to be, yet with stiffer competition.

There is a way in which photography gear is a worthwhile investment, and that’s experiences. Because I own a camera, I want to photograph with it, and because of that I go places, see things, meet people, and otherwise live differently than if I didn’t have a camera. The camera opens up a life of experiences that would be completely foreign to me if I wasn’t a photographer. You cannot put a dollar figure on these experiences because they’re priceless. Their value transcends money. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for any amount of money.

Besides, I love creating photographs. There’s something deep inside of me that yearns to be creative, and photography is my preferred artistic outlet. I feel that photography is just as necessary for me as eating, sleeping and breathing. An investment in photography gear is an investment in experiences if I allow it to be. Even though the camera I spent $1,000 on might only be worth $500 next year, it was still money well spent, just as long as I create photographs with it. If gaining wealth isn’t the goal, investing in photography is a great decision because my life is richer for it. In my opinion, it’s better to live a rich life than to live a life devoted to being rich. My photography gear allows me to live a richer life, not because of the gear itself, but because of what I do with it.

‘Tis The Season For Stealing

41669491680_ae43ae0824_c

Ethos – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F – Double Exposure

It’s come to my attention that I’m the victim of theft. People have been stealing my words and pictures from the Fuji X Weekly blog. They have taken them without permission and illegally used them on their own websites. Sometimes they’ve even claimed them as their own. It’s extraordinarily disheartening. This blog is intended to be helpful to Fujifilm photographers, and not a place to find license-free content. I, and I alone, own the copyright.

This isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last, that someone has illegally taken my intellectual property. Five or six years ago I was reading a newspaper (something that I rarely do) and I spotted one of my pictures in an advertisement. Someone found my picture on the internet, copied it, and used it in a printed ad to sell their product. Crazy, huh? I’ve seen someone trying to illegally sell one of my pictures on a print-on-demand site. Someone else used some of my pictures without permission in an article that was factually untrue. In a theft that I just recently became aware of, an entire article of mine was copy-and-pasted onto someone else’s website, word-for-word, picture-for-picture, without permission. They didn’t even credit it to me (not that it would have made it any less illegal, but perhaps slightly less unethical). Sometimes creative people are easy targets because we put ourselves “out there” for the public to see.

The internet has made theft incredibly easy. It only takes a couple of clicks to steal someone’s pictures or words. As many times as my pictures have been illegally taken and used, my words have been plagiarized even more often. There are ways to use someone else’s words legally and ethically, but there are people out there on the internet who either don’t know or don’t care. Perhaps ignorance is better than irreverence, but they’re both bad. I just want people to stop stealing my stuff. I don’t want to be victimized by lowlifes on the internet who are trying to benefit from my work. Go write your own words! Go capture your own pictures! Oh, you’re not very good at those things? Well, did you ever think to contact me and go about this the right way? Or do you only care about yourself?

15407615488_14653647cd_c

I do this website mostly as a service to you. Nobody pays me to write the articles you find on Fuji X Weekly, a blog that has been beneficial to many Fujifilm photographers. I do get compensated a small amount for the ads and the affiliate links, but it doesn’t pay much; mostly it covers the cost of running the website. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, “That’s like a dollar an hour!” If only it were that much. But I enjoy “giving back” because so many have helped me along the way, and it’s good for the soul to be helpful to others. I also love to write, and this blog is good practice for me. I hope that you like seeing my pictures, too. There are many reasons why I do this Fujifilm blog, but being victimized is surely not one of them.

If you are reading this and you illegally copied my pictures and words and are using them without permission and in a way that violates “fair use” laws, please take it down. Please remove from your website what you stole from me. If you go to the About page, there’s a way to contact me. Please use that to reach out to me if you’d like to use my pictures or words the right way, the legal way: with permission. I’m sure we can work something out. But please stop stealing. I don’t like it. Nobody does. It’s wrong. This is a community, and we’re all neighbors, so let’s be kind and not disrespectful. Thank you.

Some of you have shared my content in limited ways, citing the source, and following the rules of fair use. Rest assured that this article isn’t aimed at you. I appreciate what you do and your support. My disdain is aimed towards those who don’t follow the rules, operating outside of ethical and legal; those who would rather steal, profiting off of the hard work of others. My words belong to me, and my photographs are mine. Don’t take what’s not yours, it really is that simple.

Is Fujifilm’s Autofocus Any Good?

Captured with a Fujifilm X-T30.

Fujifilm’s autofocus is inferior, apparently. There’s been a buzz on the web lately about autofocus. There have been several tests recently comparing the autofocus capabilities of different camera brands and models, and Fujifilm hasn’t come out on top, and sometimes they’ve come in last place. There’s been a lot of negativity towards Fujifilm in response to these articles, and I want to talk about that.

I have no problem whatsoever with these articles. There’s always something, no matter how hard one tries, that someone points out as unfair in these type of tests. It’s the nature of it, and it’s nearly impossible to be completely fair and unbiased. There’s always something that you didn’t consider, there’s always an apples-to-oranges situation, and somebody will undoubtably point it out. I think it’s important to understand this, as taking these types of articles with a small grain of salt will alleviate some of the frustration that comes with them. In other words, don’t take them as gospel, even though they mean well and might contain useful information.

When I started out in photography, autofocus existed, but many cameras (mine included) didn’t have it, and autofocus wasn’t very good on those cameras that did have it. The best autofocus systems of 20 years ago are embarrassing when compared to those found today. That’s not surprising as technology advances quickly. The best autofocus systems of 10 years ago aren’t as good as the “worst” found in any of those cameras that were recently tested. Sony, Canon, Nikon or Fujifilm, it doesn’t matter which one “wins” and which one is rated last, as they are all great! No one could imagine 20 years ago that autofocus would become as good as it is today, and the autofocus found on “pro” cameras 10 years ago aren’t as good as some “entry level” cameras today. Context is key.

Fujifilm X100F

Captured with a Fujifilm X100F.

It’s easy to get caught up in the results of autofocus tests, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter in practical use. Just because one camera did slightly better than another doesn’t mean that you’ll “get the shot” with one camera and not another. You’ll either get it with both or you’ll miss it with both, because the skill and vision of the photographer is far more important than the technical capabilities of the camera in hand, especially when the differences are so narrow. Cameras are tools, and one tool might work a little better for you than another, but they’ll all capable of getting the job done just so long as the photographer is also capable. One camera over another won’t make you a better photographer.

I don’t doubt that Sony’s autofocus is superior to Fujifilm’s. They’ve been working at it a heck of a lot longer, so they should be. What I argue is that it doesn’t matter, or if it does matter, it matters very, very little. Those saying that Fujifilm desperately needs to “catch up” or else are speaking hyperbole. A lot of the reactions I have seen have been overreactions. Instead of celebrating just how far autofocus has improved, people seem to be far more concerned about being ranked number one. Trust me on this: it doesn’t matter one bit. Fujifilm has made significant progress, and they’re continuing to do so. Autofocus on X-Trans II cameras is plenty quick and capable for most people and circumstances, yet it doesn’t compare to X-Trans IV. There comes a point where the improvements are more “gee whiz” than anything practical. It’s great for the marketing department, but is it something you’ll even notice? Will it really make a difference to your photography?

To answer the question in the title of this article, Fujifilm’s autofocus is indeed good. Very good, in fact! It’s more than capable, just as long as you are as well. So don’t worry so much where Fujifilm (or any brand) ranks compared to another in some test. It’s not important. Creating art is important, and you can use any camera to do that.

My Fujifilm X-T30 Color Negative Film Simulation Recipe


48961963973_dffb2397ca_c

Evening Light On A Clearing Mountain – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Color Negative”

Silly Putty was invented by accident. There was a shortage of rubber during the second world war, and as a result several companies worked hard to create a synthetic substitute. What we now know as Silly Putty was a failed attempt at synthetic rubber. Even though it didn’t turn out exactly like its inventor had hoped, it still became a useful product that has brought joy to many people across the world. This “Color Negative” film simulation recipe has a similar story to Silly Putty (minus the war and rubber).

I’ve been working on a number of different recipes, trying to mimic several different aesthetics that I’ve been asked to create. One of the films that I’ve been trying to recreate the look of is Fujifilm C200, but I’ve yet to crack the code. This recipe is one of the failed attempts at C200. I like how it looks, so I thought I’d share it, even though it’s not exactly what I was trying for. I hope it become useful and brings joy to someone.

48962516186_17ac58aa5a_c

Cameras and Coffee – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – “Color Negative”

I named this recipe “Color Negative” only because it has a general color negative aesthetic, and I didn’t know what else to call it. It’s in the general neighborhood of Fujifilm C200, but it’s not exactly right for that film. Perhaps there’s some generic film that looks similar to this. It doesn’t precisely mimic any one film that I’m aware of, but this recipe does have a film-like quality to it.

PRO Neg. Hi
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +2
Shadow: +2
Color: -2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: +1
Grain Effect: Weak
Color Chrome Effect: Off
White Balance: Daylight Fluorescent (1), -2 Red & +4 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)

Note: There was some confusion on the white balance required for this recipe. It’s Fluorescent 1, also called Daylight Fluorescent or Neon 1. It’s the first option underneath Cloudy.

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using my Color Negative Film Simulation recipe on a Fujifilm X-T30:

48962447698_86cb0c1997_c

Fallen Leaves – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48962699202_b8d5614318_c

Hanging Apple – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48962516216_31228b6528_c

Leaf Hanging On – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48962698712_f4ae76d0b1_c

Boy Unsure – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48962516206_c4bec91576_c

Joy’s Smile – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48961965163_d601507572_c

White Stars – Roy, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48961963988_a9d22be9c7_c

White Cloud Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

48961964663_c1cb3a2665_c

Reserved Parking – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: My Fujifilm Film Simulation Recipes

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

$2.00