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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
- How to hold the camera to minimize my palm contacting the D-Pad, and
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: