Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Trees and Cameras have something in common

Fuji X E2 with the 18-55mm on a ProMaster XC525 Tripod

Both Christmas trees and cameras do better with tripods that support them and hold them steady.

Now for the past few weeks I have been testing the Fujifilm X E2 camera. Lately I was taking Christmas tree ornaments and enjoying using the Wifi to help upload the JPEGs quickly through my iPad using the Camera App you can download.

I also was taking portraits which I posted on the blog earlier. What I noticed right away was my pictures were not as sharp with the Christmas tree ornaments as compared to the studio. Well of course the ƒ-stop was greater, but really the sharpness issue was with camera motion.

Sure the Fuji camera has vibration reduction, but even when this is flawless a camera on a tripod cannot be beaten.

ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/35
Once I started taking photos with a good tripod the photos looked so much better.  It wasn't camera error, it was operator error that was causing my photos to not appear as sharp as they could.

ISO 6400, ƒ/7.1, 1/10
The other thing I was able to do by shooting on a tripod was vary my depth-of-field since the camera movement at a slower ƒ-stop wouldn't affect the sharpness of the photos.

ISO 6400, ƒ/7.1, 1/9

ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/30
While the photos were definitely sharper there is another benefit with shooting on a tripod, composition.

While these photos don't win a pulitzer for composition, I was able to keep the camera still, which is hard to do when you are focusing as close as the camera will do on such small ornaments.

ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/7

Some of the ornaments like this of Snow White were tricky to shoot if you shot them wide open and that would be ƒ/4 on this camera and lens. I stopped the lens down to ƒ/10. How did I know that is what I wanted?

Fuji X E2 Feature Bonus
On the Fuji X E2 when you push the shutter release half way down the camera aperture closes to the setting you have and the viewfinder automatically adjusts in brightness so you can see your depth-of-field as it will look when you take the photo. On a traditional DSLR you have to wait for your eye to adjust to see the DOF. This is one of the really cool things about this new camera.

Now all these photos are using the existing light in the room, which was primarily the lights on the tree. By getting so close on all the ornaments the depth of field was pretty shallow and helped to pop them out from the tree and the background was cleaned up in the process.

My suggestion for any photographer who has a Christmas tree and a tripod is to take time and record some of your ornaments and maybe just post them to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest account.  I have gotten more comments about these than many other posts I have done.

Maybe the reason is the ornaments is something many of us collect and understand.

At our house you are just as likely to see The Citadel ornaments, photography ornaments in addition to what the season is all about, those that remind us of Jesus.

Go get your tripod and let it slow you down this season to take the time to remember the reason for the season.