Before I begin, this is quite a nerdy photographer’s gear talk. Just letting you know!
As I am maturing into Fujifilm’s X system, I am finding pros and cons. This post is about this one bad thing I’ve found recently. I do not have any sample photos to post other than failing shots from wedding, which I cannot share, but I don’t think this will need any samples.
Fujifilm X cameras have some great colour and very nice feel to their images. The images are quite flexible when it comes to post-processing, and not much to even post-process when doing portraits especially. It’s great. Plus, their retro approach to the design really helps when dressed up in weddings. I’ve had number of people approaching to me making conversations about how beautiful my cameras look. Because I’m not using conventional DSLR and it’s quite retro even look like old film cameras. Some old folks love my cameras even more because it reminds them of their old toys.
There is one issue though. Flash. I’ll be completely honest on this. Fuji sucks with flash. I have Fujifilm branded EF-42 flash which I never use. It won’t fire until it’s fully charged. Camera freezes until the flash is charged, and it’s not fast at all. AT ALL.
I can understand that. I can just use manual flash and work around it. It’s only a little difficulty I can work around. But there is one more issue. It won’t fire flash when it’s not in S drive mode. That’s right. You can only take single shot with flash on. I have to change setting all the time to pop that flash every time. Let’s say the couple just walked out and now they’re in rather shaded area, or bright background where some fill is needed. I would be shooting at Hi-Continuous drive mode, but I can’t just pop in flash and shoot again! I gotta change to S drive to take shots! What!?
I found this out when I was trying to take a group shot in the wedding. I set all my cameras to Hi drive mode because I didn’t want to single shoot the action and lose some of the important moments. I don’t do it often but some ceremonies are not really photographer-friendly and go on their own pace.
After the ceremony was a group photo as usual. I forgot to change the setting. When I had DSLR, I never had this problem anyway. I put the flash on and started taking photo, then the first shot, flash didn’t pop. What..? Took another and the same. I thought there was something wrong with wireless flash connection. I tried all my X-Pro1, X100s and X-T1, but none of them worked. All of them were in continuous mode… Only after finishing up one group photo I found out what was wrong with it. In the middle of the shooting I almost shouted out “Are you kidding me!?”. Well, I didn’t shout.
It still is quite a big trouble for me. I started using flash more and more again after getting wireless flash system. For now, I gotta keep thinking about settings and change as needed. But I’m thinking why should I? I know using flash with continuous drive mode is not necessary, but it’s not really something you have to block. If the flash can’t fire, it won’t fire, camera shouldn’t have to block the flash. It’s a little thing but a little significant thing for me.
One of the biggest announcement from Fujifilm at Photokina 2014 was that X-T1 will be getting a new electronic shutter firmware upgrade enable up to 1/32,000s shutter speed. This is really good, especially when you want to open up the aperture of 56mm f1.2 in broad daylight for smoother feeling portrait.
With a little bit of hope, I contacted Fujifilm to ask if their new electronic shutter will sync the flash. Answer was an unfortunate no. Big bummer. Because 1/180s flash sync is really hard. 1/250s would have been so much better, but 1/180s makes it harder during the day time, and it’s much harder to calculate the light ratio. For me.
I’m hoping, when they release their new X-Pro2 or X-E3, they will introduce highspeed sync, and enable flash even with continuous mode. But we’ll see. I’m trying out another camera soon and if that camera works better, I may even think about changing the system once again. For me, workflow during the shooting is very important.