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Author Topic: GFX for street photography in Hong Kong  (Read 587 times)

chrismuc

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GFX for street photography in Hong Kong
« on: May 05, 2017, 11:35:52 PM »

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I had a half day off-work to walk around and explore the city life. I brought with me my GFX and 63mm lens and wanted to give this combo a try for street photography.

Especially I was keen to find out:
- does the weight (incl. battery grip) make the combo uncomfortable to use?
- is the (contrast detect) af speed sufficient for street photography?
- how does the lens perform at open aperture?
- which miminum exposure time wound 50 MP resolution require to achieve critical sharpness?

I used the cam in the following way:

Holding the camera in front of me at waist or belly level I could control aperture, exposure time, ISO and exposure compensation without using the evf or lcd and without digging into the menu. That's just what I love about the Fuji X series cameras. Actually I set (mostly) the aperture to f2.8, ISO to auto-ISO with 1/125 min. exposure time and no exposure compensation or +1/3.

Then I turned the backside LCD up 90, switched from eye detection to 'LCD only', moved the AF-point with the joystick from center to about 2/3 up as a start point for af with face-recognition.

Like that I walked slowly holding the camera in front of me, 'scanned' the situation around me, at a pressumed interesting moment I looked down, tried to spot the face af a person in front of me with the elevated af-point, as soon as catched, pressed half down the shutter, slightly re-framing, another fraction of a second waiting for the 'right moment' and press for exposure. The lower position of the camera IMO gives a more natural viewing angle than the normal higher viewpoint pointing the camera down to a certain extent.

Here some results.
(Att.: Adobe ProPhoto RGB)
Impressively that way worked really well. I got a rather high keeper rate (read +/- 50%) with perfect or nearly perfect sharpness. Actually the sharpness on the face of a person was typically either spot-on or very slightly back-focussed. I am not sure about the reason back-focussing, could be quite a few: If I and/or the motive move during the process of auto focussing towards each other, there is of course the tendency that the actual focus will be slightly behind if not perfectly predicted by the af algorithm of the camera (the GFX is not a sports cam and has no phase detect af). Also I did not specify if the camera should choose the right or left eye to focus, so the camera sometimes choose the slighty more backwards loctaed eye instead of the nearer eye. Focus shift could not cause any trouble as I mostly shot at open aperture. Then there still could be a slight systematic focus error as reported by Jim Kasson and Lloyd Chambers but in my case I wouldn't call it systematic.
With that large sensor, 50 MP resolution, f2.8 and rather short distance to motive, the dof for critical sharpness at pixel level (see 100% crops) is rather shallow and I am generally very positively surprised of the af accuracy.

But not only the af accuracy is very usable for candids, also about the sharpness of the lens at open aperture I only can repot positive things. Simply amazing, I cannot imagine anything better (at 50 MP).

For example at this picture the face of the guy is perfectly in focus and also the top right corner where eventualy some of his tools are perfectly sharp. The GF 63f2.8 is very usable at open aperture from corner to corner if required.

The Fuji GFX / Sony sensor files are great. Very flexible to work on in Photoshop CC ACR. I don't use the Fuji film simulations but slightly tweek in ACR mainly shadows, highlights, clarity and a bit color temperature acc. my taste. For sharpness I use USM 70/0.5 for images at f2.8 and f4, 60/0.5 for images at f5.6 and f8.
Due to my architecture photography work, I became a bit a maniac regarding correcting any inclination of the camera (both axis), so I mostly correct this in post also for candid pictures.

The weight of the camera is similar to a 5D + lens combo, so I won't call it 'light' but also not very heavy. I use the original strap which is very comfortable and I like the easy attach/detach mechanism (similar to my Contax 645). I felt comfortable to hold and operate the camera for several hours, no problem.

Battery life is endless (two with battery grip), I used only half of one battery, the set of two might easily last the whole day of shooting, even with the LCD on most of the time.

First I had set the minimum exposure time at auto-ISO to 1/60s but that was a bit too long to achieve critical sharpness if the motive or me are slightly moving, so I changed it to 1/125s.

I loved the usage at waist level and controlling all features like described above. That way of working is only possible with the Fuji GFX and X-T1/T2, it's not possible to work like that with a Canon 5D, Nikon D810, Hasselblad 1DX, Leica M, Q, SL, S aso.. I worked very simiilar with the Sony A7RII but with the restrictions no af point joystick and operation of the various settings more with dials and LCD, less directly with.

A few distractions:
As mentioned by other GFX users, the Q button too easily can be pressed by accident and the function unfortunately cannot be turned off.
At the end of a row or column, the af point jumps to the other side of the image when moving it with the joystick. That happens more often accidentially than intentionally, I hope that 'feature' can be switched off after a firmware update.
I still would like more the real exposure dial like at the X-T1/T2 and many other cameras, especially as I find the button to press (plus turn the back wheel) rather small.
Also the on-off lever is IMO not elevated enough to find it with the index finger and turn on quickly.
But overal for my taste minor topics.
Can't imagine the next generation with faster PDAF ... already now I would rate the GFX the best/most useful high resolution camera even for street photography (at least for my preference of camera user interface and style of usage). The image quality is on par or slightly ahead compared to the of course also really excellent Sony A7RII with best Zeiss or Sony FE and G lenses, but I just have more fun using the GFX.
Comments appreciated, enjoy, Christoph
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 11:44:28 PM by chrismuc »
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chrismuc

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Re: GFX for street photography in Hong Kong
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 11:37:15 PM »

/2
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chrismuc

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Re: GFX for street photography in Hong Kong
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 11:38:28 PM »

/3
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chrismuc

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Re: GFX for street photography in Hong Kong
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 11:39:51 PM »

/4
slight back focus
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chrismuc

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Re: GFX for street photography in Hong Kong
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2017, 11:41:57 PM »

/5
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