Medina performs at the Distortion street party's RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

Fujifilm X-T10: Capturing Music and Madness

Charlene fujifilm gear 16 Comments

I mentioned at the end of the promo video that I’d use the X-T10 in a professional setting.

I got the chance to do this last week in Copenhagen, as I still had it when Flemming and I started working for Red Bull at the Distortion street festival.

DJ SHAQ snaps a selfie with a wild crowd at the end of his set at the Distortion street party, RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

DJ SHAQ snaps a selfie with a wild crowd at the end of his set at the Distortion street party, RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

Flemming is a music photographer, which means I have opportunities to work alongside him at gigs I’d otherwise never go to. So I’ve shot a fair few music events in the last couple of years.

Wednesday was Distortion’s opening street party that last year, saw a hundred thousand revellers dancing on the streets. This year, an estimated forty thousand alone came through at the Red Bull stage alone.

Emil Stabil at the Distortion street party's RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

Emil Stabil at the Distortion street party’s RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

What was the X-T10 like to use in a mad setting?

Mostly, bloody good, save one thing that bothered me a lot on the first day.

When I shoot for myself, I hold the camera very loosely – shoulder strap wound around the wrist, with its tension keeping the camera in hand. On the job, and especially at events like these with inebriated, writhing, tightly-packed masses, I often get shoved, fallen on, and knocked around when in the crowd.

Medina's fans experience a kind of rapture during her performance - RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

An enraptured Medina fan – RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

In these collision-rich environments, I maintain a death grip on my equipment.

With the X-T10, this means I’m forever hitting buttons on the back of the camera – especially the right arrow, and Fn buttons – as the edge of my palm closes over the D-Pad. It doesn’t have a lot of material on the front right of its body to hold securely, so I have to hang on to both the front and back of the camera, where all the buttons are. Because almost all these buttons are configurable, I’ve managed to assign them to random functions while waiting for my shot, and occasionally activating those functions too (argh).

Courtesy at the decks, opening set - Red Bull Music Academy stage, Distortion Ø

Courtesy at the decks, opening set – Red Bull Music Academy stage, Distortion Ø

This has not happened to me with any other X-series camera I’ve used – the X-Pro 1, the X-E2 and lately, the X-T1. All have rested issue-free in my hands, right from the start.

This is the only thing about the X-T10 that frustrated me.

But did I eventually figure out:

  1. How to hold the camera to minimize my palm contacting the D-Pad, and
  2. Assigning “None” to the right arrow and Fn button. Good thing there are plenty of other buttons to assign functions like ISO to.

The X-T10 does come with a hand grip in its accessory line up, which I didn’t have, but would have been useful in this situation.

Fans - Distortion street party's RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

Fans – Distortion street party’s RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

ELOQ at Red Bull Music Academy stage at Distortion Ø

The crowd goes wild for ELOQ (and Flemming, heh) at the Red Bull Music Academy stage – Distortion Ø

Aside from that though, I found no difference in performance and output of the X-T10 from the X-T1. I used it with only the 23mm f1.4 on the day of the street party – it turned out to be the perfect combination for shooting that stage.

I found the zone focusing function (part of the new AF system) pretty useful, for targeting performers while maintaining my composition. I’d said before that the non-LM primes I used couldn’t keep up with the new AF modes, but the 23mm responded well enough, with performers who didn’t run around too quickly.

Friday and Saturday were night time events by Red Bull Music Academy, held at a large indoor climbing area.

Bambounou at Red Bull Music Academy stage at Red Bull Music Academy stage at Distortion Ø

Bambounou at the Red Bull Music Academy stage – Distortion Ø

These were high ISO jobs all the way. I started at about ISO 1600 and as the light faded, gradually bumped it up until I was shooting at ISO 6400. Anyone who uses the X-E2 or X-T1 would be familiar with the kind of output the X-Trans CMOS II sensor is capable of – specifically, the great low light handling.

In shooting these music events, there are a couple of things that happen with light. There is either too much, or too little light. Frequently, there is too much light where I don’t want it, and too little where I do. And strobes.

ELOQ at the Red Bull Music Academy stage - Distortion Ø

ELOQ at the Red Bull Music Academy stage – Distortion Ø

I shoot on Aperture priority, and control desired exposure by adjusting my exposure value, usually between -1 and -3 EV. While I’ve  come to expect X-series metering and auto white balance to keep up with different coloured lights snapping around everywhere, I am still occasionally amazed that they are on point close to 100% of the time. The X-T10 is no different in this regard.

Barnt at Red Bull Music Academy stage at Red Bull Music Academy stage at Distortion Ø

Barnt at the Red Bull Music Academy stage – Distortion Ø

Spectacular light displays at the Red Bull Music Academy stage - Distortion Ø

If I was going to continue using the X-T10 on jobs, I’d add a hand grip to it, stat. But aside from that, I’ve found it a pleasure to use in this. It delivers everything an X-T1 does, in a smaller, lighter package that’s easier on my back.

In 2013, I was introduced to concert photography shooting Ukendt Kunstner with the X-Pro 1. It was a manual focus job all the way. Almost two years later, I’m shooting equally energetic performers on madly lit stages with the X-T10, with the auto focus keeping pace with everything on stage, and massive improvements in just about every other aspect.

A spectator with funky glasses watches Kenton Slash Demon play. Red Bull Music Academy stage - Distortion Ø

A spectator with funky glasses watches Kenton Slash Demon play. Red Bull Music Academy stage – Distortion Ø

I’ve often been asked why I use Fuji as opposed to any other brand. It happened arbitrarily, my picking up an X-Pro 1 in 2012. But I’ve had no reason to want to make the switch to anything else since. Fuji supports me by making equipment I continue to enjoy using, that delivers the quality and performance I need. It’s a hard proposition to refuse.

Speaking of enjoyment, here’s an outtake from the day time street party. This is the other thing I enjoy about using X-series cameras. They’re small enough that I can just point, and shoot:

Medina and her dancers warming up backstage. RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

Medina and her dancers warming up backstage. RedBull Studios Live #Gadekryds stage

Comments 16

  1. Liked ’em! I’ve done very little concert photography, but turning the camera on the audience, like you have done here, is great fun.

    1. Post
      Author

      During these gigs I normally shoot the audience, a LOT, as Flemming shoots the artists. The stages at this particular event were big and varied enough that we both had enough room to move to shoot it all though.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thank you Erin. They didn’t dance at all (much, I think, to the disappointment of lots of guys), just stood at each end of the stage with crossed arms, live-mannequin-like.

    1. Post
      Author
  2. Love your concert photos. They transport me to the noise, sweat and crush of the crowds. I walk about with a Canon 7DII and find that the Peak Design “Clutch” camera strap allows me to keep a firm grip on the camera body. You might check it out: https://peakdesign.com/store/clutch. By the way, I wondered over from “Dear Susan.” Cheers.

    1. Post
      Author

      There wasn’t so much sweat that day as it was fairly chilly, but the noise and crush you would certainly not have been able to escape, it being the first really big festival after the cold!

      I’ll certainly check the strap out. Thanks for dropping by, Melvin!

  3. I don’t know if you are aware but you can press on the Menu/OK button for a few seconds to lock the screen so you don’t change any settings if you accidentally press a button on back. That’s my only gripe about this camera as well. I kept hitting various buttons, especially that damn WiFi one. Just press the Menu/OK button for a few more seconds to release the locked screen. This is where I like my Sony A6000 much better. Same size camera but the Sony has a thicker grip and it is just lovely. It’s crazy to have to buy an accessory grip for this, and at the price Fuji is asking for it. Also, defeats the purpose of this being a smaller camera. Next hardware update, they need to make the grip thicker in front.

    1. Post
      Author

      Yup. That’s completely impractical when shooting events though. I’d rather things just not get in my way, so there’s no lag when I do want to hit a button to get to a menu item.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *