Fujifilm cameras can't shoot sport!
Okay, let me start by saying that I'm not a professional sports photographer by trade. I am a full-time professional Scottish wedding & portrait photographer, who shoots exclusively with Fujifilm cameras. That's what pays the mortgage and feeds my family, but I'm sometimes asked to shoot other subjects and have photographed a variety of sports over the years, including mountain biking, boxing and martial arts events. A few days ago a local magazine contacted asking if I could cover a large rugby match which was being played nearby between the Glasgow Warriors and French side, Racing 92 in the European Championship. I always maintain that shooting a variety of subjects allows me to hone my skills as a wedding photographer, so I figured why the hell not? I'd previously tried out the focus tracking on my X-T1's using my dogs (two lurchers and a whippet) running over the local countryside and was pleasantly surprised to see that they delivered great results. Admittedly, not every shot was in focus, but then neither were my DSLRs when I used them. If they're good enough to capture my dogs, all with different running styles and speeds, over uneven ground, they're more than a match for a bride walking down the aisle. However, how would they cope with some of Europes top rugby players? Well, I was confident that we would come away with some decent results - despite the nay-sayers and keyboard warriors out there in Interwebland declaring that "Fujifilm cameras can't shoot sport!"
So, the day came and it was a 5.30pm kick-off, in January, which meant it was pitch black and the only light available was the stadium floodlights. Shooting at ISO2000 meant I was between 1/500sec - 1/800 sec at f2.8. Not ideal conditions, but that's life. To make things even more challenging, we had high winds and torrential rain to put up with - thankfully the X-T1 and 50-140mm f2.8 meant I had a fast, weather-sealed combo to shoot with. My lack of a really long lens obviously meant that I wasn't going to getting many great shots of the other end of the pitch, but there was enough action at our end to keep me busy. My settings were: AF-C, 8fps, the centre AF point was the only active one and the size used was one up from the smallest size. I tried using the other zone focus modes but found that they slowed the camera down too much, but the single point gave me great results and kept up with the action most of the time. It may not have been quite as instantaneous as some of the DSLRs out there but it certainly wasn't slow by any means. I shot on JPEG Fine only as I didn't want to miss any shots while RAW files were being written to the card.
As the magazine will be printing mostly colour shots, they've kindly agreed to let me publish my black & white shots here to let you see how the X-T1 coped (oh, and don't worry about the 'noise' in some of the shots - that was just the rain ;) )
All of the above shots are fairly low resolution, but to give you a better idea of how they turned out, the shots below are 12" on the long edge at 300dpi
Based on the results I got, I'd be more than happy to shoot more sporting events with my X-T1's and am quite looking forward to seeing how they get on at the Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William this June (if Fujifilm UK fancy loaning me the new 100-400mm zoom lens to try out there, feel free guys :) )
So, there you have it - proof that Fujilm cameras CAN shoot sport!
Making a fraction of a second... last a lifetime