The 2015 Photography Show - Fujifilm X-T1 as a Professional Camera for Wedding and Studio work and other highlights
This week I made the rather long and arduous trip to the NEC Birmingham for the 2015 Photography Show. As well as hoping to gather a few freebies I wanted to get my hands on some of Fujifilm’s latest kit and get a first look at the new Full Frame monsters from Canon, the 5Ds/5Ds R. On arrival I was amazed at the number of people in attendance – sure photography is popular but it was really, really busy on the last of its four days.
The Fujifilm stand greeted me immediately on entry and they had a wide selection of bodies and lenses on display for people to use and play with. My first look at the X-T1 body paired with the XF 50-140mm lens was a pleasing experience and a step up from my own X-Pro1 with its 35mm f1.4. The X-T1 fits well in the hand, even with the optional battery grip and even with the 50-140mm attached feels just right. Similarly with the 56mm f1.2 or one of the smaller zooms it is a very compact unit – this may be the next aspirational piece of kit to accompany the X-Pro1 but only time will tell. I did pick up my pre-ordered free USB stick sample from 3XM, which I was little disappointed at – the top doesn’t fit well and it wouldn’t be something I would want to show a client if I’m honest. Might drop them a note to see what they say (Update, new sample en route, thanks 3XM!). Some snaps from around the event are included here, taken on the X-Pro1 with the 35mm f1.4.
What was very noticeable also was the number of the studio professionals who were choosing to use the X-T1 on stage, over the more obvious DSLR candidates from Canon and Nikon. They seemed to prefer the size, lightness and glass over their competitors and certainly the image quality being delivered by the Fujifilm kit was stunning. However, there are still some perceived issues around Fujifilm and its autofocus speed on some models and that might be a critical issue if I were to consider going down the Fujifilm line entirely for wedding work. Another issue is the sketchy battery life from Fujifilm currently, both in amount and predictability – they have a habit of going from two bars to dead very quickly. The additional battery grip on the X-T1 will help but I can still see me having a bag full of batteries for peace of mind.
Over at the Canon stand the usual massive lenses were getting people very excited and there were a number of 5Ds bodies available for inspection – however the stand was about five people deep so I decided that I’m unlikely to be wanting to pay £3,000+ for a body any time soon so gave it a miss. The Nikon stand was similarly busy as they had run out of free bags I gave them a miss too. The other favourite stands for me were Loxley Colour (massive stand, great products, nice Scots people), Hasselblad (beautiful cameras but a one very dodgy Marilyn Monroe lookalike model and another who looked a bit more like it), the Bowens studio stage (really good practical workshops from great pros), the Adobe theatre (again rammed with people so didn’t get to hear much), Leica (oh my God, how much do you want for that camera?) and some of the lovely smaller exhibitors who were always keen to chat. Olympus had some good live performances for snapping at, as did Panasonic with their cross-eyed Irish boxers. I probably felt most sorry for the guys trying to sell their mast aerial photography kit alongside the guys selling drones – surely the mast market is being killed now by drones?
Overall it was a great show which I really enjoyed – my Fujifilm envy continues to grow but I’ll have to deal with that in the short term