Category: News and Updates
Top 45 – Travel Photographer Society Awards 2017

We are delighted to announce the Top 45 Photographs shortlisted in the Travel Photographer Society Awards 2017. We received an incredible 3681 entries from 108 countries worldwide.

Entries were open from the 19th of November 2016 – 10th February 2017. Our jury panel judged each image on the following criteria; narrative, originality, relevance to the category, composition and overall image quality. The categories were Landscape/Enviornment, Travel/Documentary, People/Culture and Street.

The Grand Prize Winner and Category Winners of TPS 2017 have already been selected by the jury team, and are among these Top 45 photographs, which will be announced on April 6th on Facebook, Instagram and our website: www.travelphotographersociety.com

You can also view all 3681 entries on the TPS website gallery!

Cheers,
Editor-in-Cheif

Drew Hopper

Fujifilm X-T2 Review

First Impressions of Fujifilm’s X-T2

I love new gadgets, especially the latest camera equipment. Over the past decade I’ve owned various cameras, which has given me the opportunity to understand what I want, need and dislike about many of them. I have found that there’s no ‘magic camera’, and there will always be room for improvement. The perfect balance for me is finding the camera that’s lightweight for travel, works how I need it to work, and has a few bonus features thrown in to keep me satisfied. Am I asking too much?

Physically, the X-T2 is very similar to the X-T1. I know looks aren’t everything, and it probably shouldn’t determine whether it’s a suitable camera or not, but it does have a classic look and feel to it that I really like. For years I shot primarily with DSLRs and recently added a Fujifilm X100S to my arsenal, which has become my go to camera for travel and street photography. When I saw the specs of the X-T2, I knew Fujifilm had taken a good long look at their rivals, and have made serious attempts to offer a camera similar in performance to a DSLR, wrapped in a more compact body.

On the surface, the shutter speed and ISO dials have been refined and improved with the inclusion of click and declick locks. This really helps avoid accidently knocking the dials during use. Fujifilm have also added photometry functions to the base of the shutter dial, leaving the left hand ISO dial to select drive modes. The X-T2 now shoots 4K video, a first in the x-series, with the video function set on the left hand dial. It’s a nice placement, allowing for easy switching between stills and video. There are also plenty of function buttons (Fn) to allow complete customisation, all of which make it easy to setup an ergonomic workflow.

In the hand, the X-T2 feels solid and water resistant. On the left hand side of the body you’ll find an HDMI port, USB port and a mic jack, which videographers will appreciate. With its dual SD card slots and a redesigned locking door hinge, you’ll be left in doubt how serious this camera is.

I like that Fujifilm have added a joystick/lever that can be used to set focus point similar to what can be found on high-end DSLRs – your days of using the focus assist button are over. Browsing the menus is a breeze using the joystick, as well as playing back images on the LCD.

Speaking of the LCD, one of the biggest improvements is the 3-axis tilt screen, giving both landscape and horizontal orientations. This makes shooting from the hip responsive and really helps you nail the shot. There’s also a new EVF (electronic viewfinder) with a refresh rate of 60fps in normal mode and a whopping 100fps in boost mode with the new booster grip installed (more on that later). I didn’t notice any lag – it feels very smooth. The EVF performs exceptionally well in low light even manual focusing with the split focus screen. It’s responsive with barely any suppression between shots, which some X-T1 users have mentioned.Battery life and speed is where the X-T2 shines with the addition of the new booster grip. As mentioned earlier, you’ll get a refresh rate of 100fps with continuous bursts at 7fps when using the mechanical shutter, and 14fps with the electronic shutter. Attach the grip and you’ll get an astonishing 11fps with the mechanical shutter. I have no hesitation shooting all day with the grip installed – goodbye spare batteries!

Inside, image quality is superb with the same 24.3MP sensor as the X-Pro2, producing a crisp resolution of 6000 x 4000px. The dynamic range is impressive, allowing you to really push the shadow/highlight detail without the need to bracket exposure – perfect for landscapes when you don’t want to use graduated ND filters. You will of course still have to watch your histogram, as it does still have limitations to how much information can be recovered in the highlights, but it’s very impressive. High ISO is clean; I had no issues shooting ISO 6400 at night.

The most significant upgrade of all is the Autofocus, an outstanding 325 AF points, with 49 being phase detection. Auto focus is important for my travel and street photography, so it’s critical that my camera nails focus at least 98% of the time. AF is accurate and fast; even in low light it locks focus quickly. In AF-C mode you now have various profiles with three simple parameters: Tracking sensitivity, speed tracking sensitivity and zone area switching. It means you can make your own adjustments to fine tune AF for any situation, which is really useful.

Inside, image quality is superb with the same 24.3MP sensor as the X-Pro2, producing a crisp resolution of 6000 x 4000px. The dynamic range is impressive, allowing you to really push the shadow/highlight detail without the need to bracket exposure – perfect for landscapes when you don’t want to use graduated ND filters. You will of course still have to watch your histogram, as it does still have limitations to how much information can be recovered in the highlights, but it’s very impressive. High ISO is clean; I had no issues shooting ISO 6400 at night.

 

My Personal Rating

Handling (5 stars)
The X-T2 is one fine piece of kit featuring Fujifilm’s classic stylish looks: it’s sure to be a conversation starter. The body feels pro and it responds like a pro body. I had no need to read the manual everything works as you’d expect it to. The buttons and controls are positioned for ease of use, I had no problem adjusting the settings during mid-shoot, although I did find the exposure compensation dial a little awkward at times. I prefer the exposure compensation dial on the X-Pro1, with the slight indentation for my thumb. That aside, the menu was simple to navigate. The new joystick made AF selection quick and simple.

Features (4 1/2 stars)
With an abundance of features the X-T2 packs a punch. The EVF has been improved substantially, making it more adaptable when shooting fast paced subjects or photographing in difficult lighting. AF-C settings strengthen AF performance. If you shoot video you will appreciate having 4K video, I tried it briefly and it worked well. I did miss not having a built-in ND filter like the X100S; I found the ND useful for landscapes, but this is easily overcome by purchasing ND filters. Like all Fujifilm cameras the X-T2 has film simulation with my favourite being Classic Chrome, a perfect all rounder.

Exposure (5 stars)
Adjusting exposure is simple with a dedicated shutter dial on the top of the camera. Auto exposure is accurate 99% of the time. I shot mostly with the exposure set to ‘A’ mode and set my aperture accordingly. Auto white balance was also accurate. No complaints here.

Image Quality (4 1/2 stars)
Images are sharp even at 100%, and it handles high ISO surprisingly well. I found I was able to achieve clean results up to ISO 12800. The Classic Chrome film simulation for people photography is absolutely gorgeous. I did find the images a little contrasty when shooting landscapes, however I was able to adjust this in Lightroom. Dynamic range is really impressive, allowing me to really push the shadow details to obtain a natural looking HDR. I do feel it performs better shooting people than it does landscapes, but it did a very nice job overall.

Value For Money (5 stars)
In the world of mirrorless APS-C, I feel there’s no other camera that compares to the Fujifilm X-T2.

This review was originally published inside Australian Photography magazine, and shared with consent on my blog. 

ANZANG 2016 Botanical Runner Up

In celebration of World Photography Day, Australian Geographic have just announced the winners and runners-up for the 2016 AG Nature Photographer of the year competition. I was fortunate enough to win the runners up award in the Botanical category with my image ‘Mist Shower’ , taken in New England National Park. 

You can see all the winning images and results on the Australian Geographic website.

New England National Park was registered as a World Heritage area in 1986, due to the universal significance of its biological and landscape values. The park’s genetic diversity and natural cycles remain unaltered, which has allowed the survival and evolution of rainforest species over geological time.

New England National Park, New South Wales

Canon 6D, Canon 16-35 mm f/2.8, 2.5, f/13, ISO 200, tripod and circular polarised filter.

The Poor Mans Leica, FUJI X100S

DSCF7627
After months of research and anticipation I finally purchased a Fuji X100S, and in short, it would have to be my best photography purchase to date. I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it as much as my eyes fancied the retro styling of the X-series cameras, but after two weeks of owning, holding and shooting with the X100S – I’m one happy camper. The slick retro style with simple analog dials, practical and dedicated aperture control on the lens and dead silent shutter tick all the boxes for me. This little baby is capable of producing stunning images, which it continues to do effortlessly even in JPEG and blows my mind every time.

The Fuji’s have a real sense of heritage, probably how it got the name ‘The Poor Mans Leica’. There’s definitely an emotional connection when holding the X100S, it’s almost timeless in its mannerism. Just looking at the camera stimulates the senses and inspires expression of interest and the desire to go shooting. Before getting the Fuji I never really understood the ‘hype’ of them, but at the same time I never really felt much connection with my DSLR either. I believe it’s opened new avenues, a passion driven by integrity that will transport me on a new journey whether that be physically or mentally – this is the camera I will want by my side 24/7.

I have always considered myself as a landscape photographer, shooting with Canon DSLR cameras. I have always been interested in people, but because of my shy personality I have always pulled away from pursuing my passion for street photography. It’s pretty intimidating shoving the 5D with the 24-70mm in a strangers personal space, no one enjoys feeling like the paparazzi are stalking them. Sometimes it requires going stealth to capture those special moments. That was when the Fuji X100S found it’s way into my hands and wow, did things change. I feel like I’m now wearing an invincibility cloak. People pay less attention to me with a toy-like camera around my neck, and those who do notice it are intrigued. I’ve had people ask me what kind of film camera it is, even a few people mistaking it for a Leica. My response to that is ‘Yeah, in my dreams’. Anyway, it’s a great conversation stater, the perfect lead to meet new people.

 

Why I’m loving the Fuji X-System? Here’s a few reasons:

– Hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder
– Superb high ISO image quality
– Fast 35mm f.2 lens

– Dead silent shutter
– Dedicated aperture control on lens
– Compact retro looks

Anyway, enough fantasising for now. Here’s a few sample shots taken with the Fuji X100S. The majority of these are straight out of camera (SOOC), shot in JPEG with one of the monochrome film simulation filters. I’ve included the meta data for each photo for anyone interested. All images were imported into Lightroom 4 with minor to no adjustments. I haven’t felt the need to retouch the files too much, they’re damn nice SOOC. Although, obviously any photos with analog effects were applied in post because that’s the era this camera transports you to, Bygone! 

DSCF7525-editCarousel at Coffs Jetty Carnival, Australia.
Fuji x100s – f2, ISO 1250, 1/250th 

DSCF7480Coffs Harbour Marina, the lone fisherman.
Fuji X100S – f8, ISO 400, 1/250th 

DSCF7555Susie’s Home onboard Simba.
Fuji X100S – f2, ISO 1000, 1/550th

DSCF7575Susie’s headquarters onboard Simba, 30ft yacht.
Fuji X100S – f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/300th

DSCF7653Rosemary Spray Rainbow, Susie.
Fuji X100S – f5.6, ISO 500, 1/320th

DSCF7473Darcy chilling on the porch.
Fuji X100S – f2.8, ISO 1000, 1/125th

DSCF7204Fruity mohawk at Tropical Fruits, Lismore.
Fuji X100S – f2, ISO 400, 1/210th

DSCF7526
Bygone Era, 2015??
Fuji X100S – f2, ISO 1250, 1/250th

DSCF7462Flowers.
Fuji X100S – f2.8, ISO 640, 1/500th