Landscape Photography With The Fuji X100T

When you think of a landscape photography camera I bet the first thing that comes to your head is a Nikon D800 – or the Sony A7r. Am I right? I bet you never think of Fujifilm. Who has ever considered using a Fujifilm camera for landscape photography, I mean come on, they’re only 16 megapixels right?

 

Shooting Landscapes With The Fuji X100T

After playing around with the Fuji X100T I have had my eyes open to a whole new system that produces the most incredible colors I’ve ever seen from a camera. And it’s not coming from the optics or the sensor or any of the other tech specs. It’s these Fuji film simulators.

 

The Fuji Film Simulators

Fuji has for over 50 years been an expert at designing the looks of the film we’ve all grown up with. Today, they’ve taken their expertise and placed it inside a digital camera. With looks mimicking classic film stocks such as, Velvia, Provia, Astia and more.

 

How Fuji Film Simulators Have Change My Editing

Usually with landscape photography I shoot my shot, often more than one and at a few at different exposures to accurately capture the dynamic range of the scene. Combine them, then spend the next day tweaking the colors to get it to look and feel sort of how it was when I was there. It’s obviously impossible to match this perfectly as the human eye is a chemical marvel that is constantly adjusting to the light around us. But with the Fuji X100T, I now shoot my shot, then cycles through a few of the film simulators. And just like that, I feel like the image is 90% there.

On this particular photo, I was using the film simulator look Velvia / Vivid and used very little Lightroom tweakage to get it looking like this. I’m very happy.

Paradise Cove Pier of Malibu California

“A Perfect Calm” – Order Print

Location: Paradise Cove, Malibu California
Camera: Fuji X100T
ISO 200, f/16, 0.5 seconds
Stock: Velvia

 

What’s Next From Fujifilm?

I really think Fuji cameras will continue to grow in popularity. The X-T1 is one of the coolest interchangeable camera systems out there. But I think Fuji will need to increase its megapixel count before it’s fully adopted by Avid photographers. Not because it will make the cameras better, because it won’t. They need to do it simply because of marketing psychology. A mistake Canon made by not releasing a high megapixel sensor in response to Nikon and Sony which caused a lot of photographers to switch. Myself included. Although I did it for other reasons. Mainly because I feel like Canon only cares about sports shooters.

 

The Thing With Megapixels

I think one of the main reasons Fuji cameras aren’t more popular, compared to say a Sony A6000, is simply because of the megapixel count. This strange thing happened in this digital cameras era where people started thinking more is better. And sure this made sense back when cameras were 4 megapixels and then the new 6 mexapixel camera came out – wow gotta have that!

Sure more megapixels will give you more detail, but there is a limit and I learned this shooting landscapes. This limit comes from the physics of light and optical design. Ironically landscape photographers who shoot at these crazy high f-stops benefit the least from more megapixels. Here is why – 

 

Diffraction

When I review a camera and lens I often do a diffraction test. Diffraction is basically how a wave bends when it moves across a surface. Think of waves in a harbor bending around a buoy. Same thing happens with light. And the smaller the aperture the more the light will bend or diffract. As light passes across the edge of your aperture, it bends.

What I notice is that diffraction is a lot more noticeable on higher megapixel cameras because of the higher pixel density. This is because you’re hitting your lens resolution limit.  Some lenses are better than others but what ends up happening is your images at 36 megapixels at an aperture of f/16 or f/19, turn out to be soft, basically resolving detail as though you were at 24 megapixels. It happens at 24 megapixels as well, you just don’t see it because the pixel density is much lower.

Right now I’m seeing diffraction on many of my Sony lenses appearing at f/9 to f/11, by f/16 I might as well be using a Canon 5Dmkiii. That’s why on my landscapes that I shoot with my Sony A7r, I rarely shoot over f/11. I wrote a whole article about why you should avoid shooting small apertures here.

In an interview with DC watch, Fuji Manager Mr. Iida Toshihisha said,

“. . . lenses having also a limited resolution, we are going to reach a maximum. We consider that 25Mpx is that maximum for APS-C. With the current technology available, it doesn’t make much sense to go higher.”

So expect to see an APS-C 25 megapixel camera from Fuji. Translate that pixel density over to a full frame system and you’re looking at somewhere around 50 megapixel resolution limit which would likely happen at f5.6. Expect to see that from Canon this year. So landscape photographers with a 50 megapixel camera shooting at f/19 will get absolutely no benefit from that high pixel count. You would probably need to be around f/8 or lower to not notice the softening effects from diffraction.

 

Fuji Landscape Inspiration

If you want to see more incredible landscapes captured with the Fuji X-Series, check out the work of Elia Locardi. One of Fuji’s global ambassadors. I think you’ll be impressed.

As far as the future goes, I’ll continue to shoot Landscapes with the Fuji X100T, post my shots on this site and continue to update my Fuji X100T Review with anything new I discover. But this year, I’ll likely pick up Fuji’s next APS-C interchangeable, whatever that may be. I’m thinking the X-Pro 2. 

Paradise Cove Malibu California

“Paradise Cover” – Order Print

Location: Paradise Cover, Malibu California
Camera: Fuji X100T
ISO 200, f/16, 0.8sec
Film Stock: Velvia

Landscape Photography Dockweiler State Beach.See more at AlikGriffin.com

“Left Behind” – Order Print

Location: Dockweiler State Beach, Los Angeles California
Camera: Fuji X100T
ISO 200, f/16, 1.0 sec
Film Stock: None / HDR

Huntington Beach Pier Sunset

“Huntington Pier Sunset”

Location: Dockweiler State Beach, Los Angeles California
Camera: Fuji X100T
ISO 200, f/11, 1/5 sec
Film Stock: Velvia

Santa Monica Pier just after sunset.

Santa Monica Nights – Order Print

Location: Dockweiler State Beach, Los Angeles California

Camera: Fuji X100T
ISO 200, f/11, 1 sec
Film Stock: Velvia