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Behind the X-gear: A talk with “photoholic” X-shooter Trenton… and why the X-T1 is perfect for Lord Voldemort :-)

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 photo levitation_zpslfxmtrxw.jpg

Trenton’s Flickr

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Hi X-folks

Let’s take a short break from the rumors and focus on the real heart of the X-system, which is you.

In this second “Behind the X-gear” episode, Fuji X Forum member Trenton presents himself to the X-world, tells us about his photography, about the gear he loves and the gear misses in the Fuji X-system and a lot more.

If you also want to have the opportunity to be interviewed & featured on FujiRumors, all you have to do is to join our Fuji X Forum Community, share your pics & thoughts there, and you might be the next one :) .

Previous Episodes: Milandro /

X-Shooter TRENTON

Tell us something about you

Professional Photographer or Amateur or something in between?

Tap-tap. Is it on? Oh hi, my name is Trenton and I do photography for a living because I cannot live without photography. Yes, I’m a photoholic, but since there’s no such word, people usually call me “Professional”.

What is your kind of photography? (Motives, Approach …)

I specialize in photographing social events such as weddings and bar mitzvahs, as well as portraiture. In short: I mostly photograph people. Why? Social events are fun, and human relations are fascinating. Guess I’m an amateur anthropologist. Besides, people require a lot of active problem-solving, just like Fuji X cameras do.

My approach is mostly candid, I’m always trying to capture the essence of the moment, the connection between people in the frame. I’ve been practicing this “photojournalistic” approach for well over quarter of a century, but lately started experimenting with creating my own realities – not in Photoshop, but in front of the camera.

Where can we find more about you on the web (website, Flickr, Facebook, portfolio)

You can find my current portfolio at http://trentontalbot.com; the key word here is “current”. Most of it has been created in Belarus, where I’ve spent last 6 years; only 2 or 3 photos are from my “old” US portfolio. And since I’ve just moved (permanently!) back to Atlanta, I’ll have to create a new one, keeping just a few images from the Eastern Europe. Different world, different event lighting, different approach to liabilities.

What’s your favorite image taken with a Fuji?

It’s like asking a father of many children who’s his favorite! If you insist, I can probably settle with just two. Both are part of my experimentation with reality.

Here I’ve invited a gang of fire artists to help me better understand photographic properties of fire. Remember “different approach to liabilities” that I’ve mentioned earlier?…

This is another favorite, because it was my very first experiment in “levitation” photography. Shot just a few days before I married the girl on a photo.

Your Move to Fuji

What’s the main reason for you to own a Fuji?

Back in the film era I was a huge fan of Fujichrome Astia, and now Fuji X allows me to get the very same colors digitally. I can talk all day long about how compact the whole system is, or how much lighter my camera bag became after I’ve switched to Fuji… But in the end it all boils down to colors. And how it handles the bad quality of light – low CRI, mixed color temperatures, all that horror doesn’t bother me anymore.

Is there something you miss from your previous system?

I dearly miss Canon’s 16-35/2.8L. That was a perfect “reception” lens, AF was practically telepathic on a 1-series body. Nikon’s offering in this league sucked, and Fuji’s XF 10-24/4… Well, I sold mine. It was gorgeous, but “reception” lens needs to be much faster.

Another thing that I miss is a fast stabilized super tele, such as 300/2.8. I had it for all of my systems – but Fuji doesn’t have one, even on a roadmap. While I understand that it’s a very expensive and niche-oriented piece of glass, I hope that Fuji will make it someday.

Favourite Equipment

What’s your favorite lens?

The most favorite Fujinon in my arsenal is XF 56/1.2. Second favorite is 23/1.4, followed closely by 14/2.8.

What’s your favorite camera bag?

I’m a hardcore ThinkTank fan, even helped them with testing the early prototypes of their modular system.

As for a particular model – like I said, different countries, different worlds. While working in Belarus, I alternated between MindShift Gear Rotation 180 Professional backpack and ThinkTank Retrospective 5 / 7 models. However, on US soil I prefer the roller+belt approach. It works like this: the gear that I currently use lives in a modular components on my ThinkTank Steroid belt, while the rest of the stuff (including backup equipment) are safely stashed in a locking roller case. I currently use ThinkTank Airport International for this.

What’s in your bag?

Do you seriously expect a list? It all depends on assignment. Typically it’s one or two X- T1 bodies, an X100S and a few primes. The “minimal” kit consists of just a good ol’ X100S, while the “maximum” is a truckload of primary and backup gear, lights, stands, props and grips.

Your Advice to Fuji

Which lens, that is not yet in the roadmap, would you like Fuji to make?

Dear Fuji Santa, bring me the 10-24/2.8, better yet – make it f/1.8. That’ll be my reception workhorse! And while you’re at it… How ‘bout that 300/2.8 OIS for next year’s Christmas?

Tell Fujifilm what’s the main thing they should still improve in the X-series system via Firmware and/or Hardware

The interface! There’s never enough shortcuts for a professional workflow. For example, how many keystrokes does it take to format the memory card in a Fuji camera?

Hardware interface got room for improvement, too. Lack of tactile feedback, non-locking drive mode dial, low quality of both side doors

Decisive Questions

OVF, EVF or Display?

HVF is a more of a gestalt-ish, inspirational thing. It changes the way you perceive the scene. I’ve been shooting with both eyes open for decades, so “seeing outside of the frame” and “viewfinder lag” are both not an issue to me. There’s just some magic to that HVF.

And “EVF vs LCD” is not really a dilemma: horses for courses. If you shoot from odd angles or in extremely cold environment, use an LCD; in all other cases the EVF is your best option.

Rangefinder style or DSLR shape?

I never gonna win any prizes at the Lord Voldemort lookalike contest, for I have a nose. Quite a shnobel actually. So for me personally, the corner placement of an eyepiece always wins.

RAW or JPEG?

Both. I use Photomechanic to quickly edit the shoot, then process the keepers in LR. If Fuji reconsiders their ImageIntelligence policy that results in “waxy” skin tones, I might switch to Jpeg only… But I don’t think that it’s going to happen in the foreseeable future.

Curiosity & Customize you X

You most & you least used feature in Fujifilm cameras (like film simulations, build-in RAW converter, Extended DR(100-200-400), advanced filters, panorama, digital split image etc…)

The least used feature are probably the built-in RAW converter. Never used it, never going to.

And of course, I’m in Astia mode nearly all the time, so the film simulation is a “gimmick” that I use the most.

Which functions did you place on the FN-buttons of your camera?

Arrows do what they should, moving AF point. Front button used to toggle face detection (why can’t we assign a menu with only 2 available options to the button as a real toggle, by the way?). Top button assigned to “Preview WB/Exposure”.

What’s You favorite film simulation

Astia, as you know already. And my least favorite film simulation is B&W Red: it’s a great preset for landscapes, but a lot of photographers have been enthusiastically using it on people… Yikes.

A custom setting you recommend to X-shooters.

The most important custom settings can be found between your ears. Use them! There’s no such thing as a “gorgeous” preset.

Your favorite photography quote.

If there’s no fun to be had, I’m not interested”.

This is not a photography quote per se, but boy oh boy, does it apply to photography! Here’s another one of my favorites:

Teach your children photography, and they will never have money for drugs”. Yup. I’m not serious at all. Thou shalt not take thyself too seriously.

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