Low Light Concert with Fuji X Pro 1

July 18, 2012

I have to start this off with a bit of a disclaimer.  Third and Lindsley is a great concert venue to see some very talented musicians and a better than average sound mix.  However, just as good as it is for the musicians and fans, it is equally terrible for photographers.  I knew that going into this evening it would be challenging at the very least.  I was prepared to come away with zero images because I really don’t have any “Plan B” to fall back on, I have sold every piece of Nikon equipment that I owned.   I “buy in” all the way and then learn to make it work.  Find out the limitations of the equipment and work within those…always pushing the gear and myself to deliver the very best I can.  Sure, it can be a little rough at first, but it stretches me as a photographer and as a person.

The opening act was a very talented female artist, with an incredible voice!  (sorry I don’t remember her name)  Simply herself on acoustical guitar, an electric guitar, a bass player and percussionist.  They were tight and enjoyable to listen to.  Here is an early image from the evening ISO 2500, 1/30 at f2.8 with the Fuji 18-55 zoom.

All shots with Fuji X Pro 1 and the 18-55mm OS zoom lens

I was encouraged with the first few images of the evening.  However, the lighting you see here was going to be totally changed for the feature act, and then it went bad in a hurry.  While shooting these I had no major complaints with the focusing.  It was of course slower than I am accustomed to with my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII lens.  It also was not $2500.00 nor did it weigh nearly 2 pounds like the Nikon!  So, it is a trade off.  I definitely experienced slower focusing, but I didn’t feel like I had been carrying one of my grand kids around all night either.

My soul reason for attending this event was date night with my wife.   Our good friend, Bill Kelly was featured on vocals for a few songs.  12 Against Nature is not only an outstanding Chicago tribute band, they  do Steely Dan equally as well.  In other words, these are incredibly talented musicians no matter what type of music they do.  I was blown away by the horns and super tight rhythm section!  (This would be a fun group to play with!)

Here are some images from the rest of the evening.  The color is not all that great, at least it’s not what I want.  If all else fails, convert them to black and white right?  I have not done any noise filters on these, just processed from raw.  All this work was done in Lightroom 4 for now.

ISO 1600, 1/8 at f2.8.  I’m not proud of this, but in an effort to be totally honest you have to show the good with the bad.  One thing to be very happy about is the optical stabilization.  As you can see it works well.

It’s useable converted to black and white and would benefit from noise reduction. 1/125  f2.8  6400 ISO

My conclusion from this first outing is that it’s going to be just fine.  There is of course a learning curve to anything new, and this is no exception.  Overall, I am encouraged that this wasn’t a total failure.  My typical work is portrait and event photography.  This camera is going to be a great answer for that.  As with anything new, I’m trying it in all kids of different applications.  I will continue to post what I find and the images I’m able to produce.

There was one final option I wanted to try.  The Fuji X Pro comes with a copy of their “Silky Pix” software.  From the beginning I’ve heard nothing good about this at all, so I didn’t install it.  Today I had some time and I thought I needed to give it a try for myself.  OK, it is painfully slow as it processes files.  It is a clumsy interface and not that intuitive at all.  But, it didn’t do a bad job, in fact it was better than Lightroom in my opinion.  Take a look for yourself at these black and white files.

This one is processed in Fuji Software Silkypix.  Nice gradation of tones



Lightroom 4 conversion.  Looks more blocked up and not as much shadow detail

There is still much to learn about the camera, software options and the handling of the files.  I hope that Adobe gets involved in accepting this camera and explores developing their ability to process files.  I loved Lightroom for my Canon and Nikon cameras, but I’m not thrilled with what they are doing in the Fuji world so far.  We can only hope that someone there hears about what this camera has to offer and jumps on board.




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