Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Travelling light

As mentioned in an earlier post, I love my DSLR and don't see what all the mirrorless fuss is about (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
When I had an entry-level DSLR I lusted after something more 'Pro'. While I'm fully aware that having a 'better' camera won't improve my photography, it does feel better in the hand (especially with a decent sized lens on the front). I like the weight, I like having an LCD display on top so that i can quickly see my exposure settings and adjust accordingly.
As odd as this may sound, I feel more credible and therefore more confident as a photographer with a big camera in my hands.
I bought my Fujifilm X20 purely as a compact camera for BBQs and days out with friends, not as a camera that i would ever reach for given the choice.

When I was invited to a wedding at a castle in Ireland, I was very much looking forward to taking my kit bag and getting some shots. Sadly the closest airport to the Castle was only serviced by a certain Irish budget airline and my 15kg kit bag was over the weight limit for hand luggage. In addition, to take my clothes in a suitcase would more than double the cost of the flight. As I was just a guest at the wedding, I couldn't justify the expense of taking my big shiny camera with me. So I resigned myself to the fact that I would 'only' have a compact camera with me all weekend.
Even 'loose' the essentials take up a fair amount of space
I'll have to take the 'compact'
The Fujifilm X20 only has a 12MP 2/3" sensor but the lens does does let a lot of light in with a maximum aperture of f/2. I thought that for outdoor shots in August it would be fine. It's likely that I wouldn't be able to shoot during the ceremony but for any other indoor or low light shots I'd just have to make do and hope for the best. At least it shoots in RAW so I've got some post-production options.

All packed up for the weekend
Once again the "Little Camera That Could" impressed the hell out of me. I was able to easily shoot in manual mode as the X20 has 2 rear control dials (shutter speed and aperture) but I ended up shooting everything in aperture priority mode, choosing a wide aperture and letting the camera do the rest. If I wanted to make any small adjustments there's a handy exposure compensation dial on top of the camera with +/-2ev at 1/3 increments.
I was also pleased with the range of focal lengths on the small zoom lens (28mm - 112mm) and found that it suited what I wanted to photograph on the day. All in all I couldn't fault the X20 as a handy and versatile compact camera. Considering the sensor size, it's a fairly competent camera.
I didn't have to worry about off camera flash, changing lenses, carrying a big kit bag, I just concentrated on taking pictures - perhaps a lesson to learn there.

The official photographer at the wedding was absolutely superb, it was a pleasure to watch him getting creative and also trying to work out what he could see in his mind as he dashed around the castle and the grounds to find his shot. Having since seen the finished shots, I am blown away by his creativity, vision and proficiency with a camera.
He deserved a drink!

Enough about the official photographer, how did my little toy camera get on shooting a proper wedding?
Well here are a few shots taken on a £400 compact camera:
Markree Castle, County Sligo

So, in future I might leave my kit bag at home more often!
Not always necessary to take the full kit...

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