Vancouver Street Photography with the Fuji X-T10

DSCF1119(Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens)

I recently wrote about my first impressions of the Fuji X-T10 that Fuji Canada sent me to review this summer.

Last week I had a chance to use it on the streets of Vancouver for a day of street photography, and also used it to shoot a concert this past weekend (more on that in a future blog post).

After a few days of shooting with the Fuji X-T10 the overwhelming thought I keep having  is:   “What’s the catch?”  Much has been written about how the X-T10 is a “stripped down” version of the Fuji X-T1, but I must say it handles beautifully and has been an absolute pleasure to use so far…. especially at the price point.  There is very little that feels “stripped down”.

DSCF1115-Edit(Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens)

Setting the camera up for shooting street

When I shoot street I tend to let the camera determine the best exposure, and use either auto or manual focus depending on the situation.

For this day I set up the X-T10 as follows:

  • I paired the X-T10 with the superb Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens.  This created a small kit that fit easily in the hand and was very light to carry.
  • I shot in Aperture Priority Mode, with the aperture set between f/8 and f/11 (depending on the light).
  • I used Auto ISO, with a minimum shutter speed of 1/250th (to freeze most action), and a maximum ISO of 3200 (the Fuji sensor can handle high ISO brilliantly, so I have no concerns about going that high).
  • Single Point Autofocus was used 90% of the time, with manual and zone focusing used the other 10% as needed.
  • To try to keep the camera as discreet as possible all sounds were turned down as much as possible, the AF assist light was disabled, etc.

For the most part these settings allow me to walk around and shoot effortlessly, using just the exposure compensation dial on the top of the camera when an exposure adjustment was needed.

Shooting through the day

I started my day around 8:30am, and shot until about 4pm or so.  During that time (almost 8 hours) I walked over 10km with the camera in my hand the entire time (on a wrist strap).  It is such a small setup that I never once noticed the weight.  Of significant note is that I also did not have to change the battery once on this day.

Shooting street photography with a 35mm lens involves getting close to your subjects.  For this picture I was probably only a meter away:

DSCF1152-Edit(Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens)

And, the same goes for this one:

DSCF1040-Edit(Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens)

The camera and lens is such a small combo though that nobody really seemed to notice, even when I was that close.

Mirrorless cameras have often been faulted for their autofocus systems, which are definitely not as mature as DSLR autofocusing.  Fuji recently released a new firmware update for their cameras, however, and the autofocusing on the X-T10 handled these moments beautifully.  Not once did I feel I missed a shot due to poor focusing, something I could not always say in the past.

I usually split my time when street shooting between capturing candid moments, and stopping people to interact and make more of a portrait.   When I do this I try not to bring the camera up for the first few minutes.  My goal is to learn about the person, not just snap a quick photo, so I’d rather wait until I think they feel comfortable.   When I do bring up the camera there is rarely an issue, I think because of its non threatening size.  People also seem genuinely interested in these retro looking mirrorless cameras.

Here are a couple more impromptu portraits from the day:

DSCF1144-Edit(Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens)

DSCF1182(Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens)

The only time I switched to my X100t was when I needed a wider focal length due to working on a narrow sidewalk to capture this photo:

DSCF2786(Fuji X100T)

Final thoughts from the day

ONE:

I am used to shooting street photography with my leaf shutter Fuji X100t, which is COMPLETELY silent.  I realized this when I shot a candid photograph of somebody from about 3 feet away, and they turned to the sound of the Fuji X-T10’s shutter.

Oops.  🙂

It isn’t that it is a loud shutter, but when you are used to a silent camera it is noticeable and I wasn’t expecting it.  I’ll know for next time, and this is something that could possibly be mitigated through use of the electronic shutter.

TWO:

Those who have been around with Fuji for a while will remember the days of horrible battery life.  I was pleasantly surprised to make it through an entire day of shooting and still be on the first battery.  This was a welcome change, and reminiscent of my DSLR days.

THREE:

Coming from an X-T1, the X-T10 felt 100% comfortable in my hands.  So far there  has only been a minimal learning curve moving from one camera body to the next.  It feels great.

To end this post…

I’ll be writing about it in a separate blog post, but here is an image from the concert I also shot this weekend:

DSCF1324(Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8 lens)

Cheers,

Ian