I have owned this wonderful camera since March and finally decided to see how it can shoot in a studio setting. Using both available light and also the strobes. I shoot primarily food photography, and try to earn a living doing it but that’s another story. When I was shooting with the Canon 5d MkII, I used the Canon 100mm macro lens for the bulk of my food shots. On the Fuji, I have the Fuji 60mm macro lens. Did the Fuji live up to my expectations? Boy did it except for a few quirky things.
First off, I tried some available light shots. I have this pretty cool setup using of all things an Ikea kitchen cart that I modified to hold a small backdrop. If you’re interested, here is the link for the cart. I have some amazing light that comes in my living room window so that’s where I have the cart. It’s a pretty basic setup. Camera on tripod, of course, light coming in on the right side of the cart and a small reflector on the left side. If the sun is shining really bright, I have a diffuser panel that I can put in front of the window. Anyway, the above shot was available light and no reflector. I didn’t do a whole lot in post to fix the backdrop so that’s why it’s a little gray. Could have been a better shot, but that’s my fault. I had the Fuji set on manual and the settings were – ISO 400 1/30 sec. @ F7.1. I used Autofocus and auto white balance but I shot in RAW. Like I said, not the best shot.
Using basically the same setup, I tried some butter. I just love the packaging! Again, available light, no reflector and manual settings. ISO 400 .5 sec. @ F20. I did fix the background in Photoshop, just adjusting the whites a bit so it didn’t look so gray. I am really impressed at how sharp the 60mm macro is. Sure it focuses slow and makes noise while it focuses but I don’t care, it’s sharp. Here is a crop of the stick of butter. Oh, I did have the camera set to the macro setting. Don’t really know if it makes a difference but what the hell.
The last things I tried with available light is a Greek salad. Love this salad. This time I used ISO 200, .5 seconds @ F18.
Wow! Don’t you want to just pick up a fork and eat it? I edited some in Lightroom, mainly just tweaking the whites and sharpened it ever so slightly. One thing I do when shooting slower shutter speeds is set the self timer to 2 seconds just to make sure there isn’t any camera wiggle. I also manually focused this shot. I love the picture in picture viewfinder and the focus peaking is spot on!
Alright, next I tried some shots using the strobes. I made a tabletop studio a few years ago and it works really well. I’m able to use a backdrop and I also built some diffuser panels for the strobes to shoot through. I added a roll-up window shade that covers the top of the tabletop studio to diffuse the light even more. I might do a post on the tabletop studio sometime. Anyway, I have a strobe light on both sides, one with a 20º grid and the other with a 30º grid. To me, the grids take some of the harshness away from the strobes. For all the studio shots, the strobes were set to 3/4 power. I have a Pocket Wizard that I used on the Canon and it will work on the Fuji but I am not able use any of the settings. It just acts as a trigger for the strobes which is fine. You also need to remember to take the camera out of silent mode when using the Pocket Wizards.
I didn’t do anything in post on this shot. I manually focused it simply because the settings I used wouldn’t allow me to use autofocus. Here is where the quirkiness comes into play. Let me explain. I shot it at ISO 200 1/60 sec. @ F16. Since I’m using the strobes, the room is kind of dark. I knew I wanted to use F16 and since I’m using the strobes for light, what the meter in the camera is telling me won’t work. Basically, I couldn’t see a thing though the viewfinder, it was dark in the viewfinder! To see what I was doing, I had to open up the F stop enough to focus and then reset the F stop to shoot. If there is a work around for that, I’d love to know what it is. It’s really kind of annoying.
Next, I shot a red onion. This time I wanted to see how close I could get with the macro lens. I was about a foot away from it.
I really like this shot. Crazy sharp! Settings were ISO 200 1/15 sec. @ F13. Of course manual focus. Did I mention that the focus peaking is spot on?
Last, I shot the Greek salad again. This time on a different plate.
The only thing I don’t like about this shot is the background. I should have adjusted my light a bit to even out the background. Still, I like the shot and that macro continues to amaze me. ISO 200 .5 sec. @ F18.
So, do I miss the Canon 5d MkII? Nope, not at all. I think the Fuji X-T1 is a very capable camera in the studio, except for the dark viewfinder. The camera really excels at available light shots in my opinion but the fact that I can still use the Pocket Wizards and strobes is great. To recap, I shot everything in RAW and had the preset set on Provia. White balance was auto. I really love this camera and I’m anxiously waiting for the firmware update in December. The Classic Chrome setting intrigues me. Also the graphite X-T1 is calling my name – buy me, buy me!