Lensbaby Trio 28 - Velvet

The Lensbaby Trio 28 continues to remain firmly attached to my Fuji X-T2. This week I have been looking at photographs with the Trio 28 set to the Velvet Setting.

Velvet introduces a dreamy look to your photos. It features an area of sharp focus in the middle of the frame with progressively blurrier edges similar to the 'Sweet' lens but the whole photo features a soft glamour glow effect.

I found it harder to find subjects that suited the velvet as I usually shoot landscapes and street which seemed to suite the 'Sweet' effect better. 

Commuters at London Waterloo

The glamour glow effect of the Lensbaby Trio Velvet has given a dreamy feel to this shot of the hussle and bussle of a morning in London's busiest Railway Stations. I tried to keep the shutter speed low to give some motion blur to the commuters.

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - Velvet

Sunflower

The Velvet effect comes in to its own on subjects such as this backlit Sunflower. The haze and lens flare as well as the softness in the flower help make this shot work. This is an HDR or bracketed shots merged in Adobe Lightroom

Fuji X-T2 - HDR
Lensbaby Trio 28 - Velvet

Bench

I was drawn to the soft light and shadows on this wooden bench on London's South Bank.. The Velvet lens has rendered the bench quite sharp and the passers by are rendered softly.. this helps highlight the focus on the simple bench and lines.

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation Lensbaby Trio 28 - Velvet

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - Velvet

St Pauls

This is a sample landscape with the Velvet Option. I have taken similar shots with the Sweet option and think that would be my first option for this type of composition.

Fuji X-T2
Lensbaby Trio 28 - Velvet

Conclusion

I enjoyed using the Lensbaby Trio 28 in Velvet mode but on the whole for my type of Photography I prefer the effects of the 'Sweet' lens. The Sunflower shot is the stand out of the examples for me as it plays to the strengths of the subtle glow generated by the lens. Haze caused by the sun is interesting.

Plotagraphs

I downloaded the Plotagraph App for iPad this week and tried my hand at creating a couple of animations from two of my images. The software is pretty intuitive to use and creates some interesting animations

Lensbaby Trio 28 - Sweet

London

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - Sweet

I hooked up my Fuji X-T2 to a Lensbaby Trio 28 lens and took it on my daily commute into London.

The Lensbaby Trio 28 is an interesting product that consists of a small lens with a rotating front element that features three seperate lenses. These lenses are designed to create image effects across the most popular of Lensbabys lens offerings.

The Aperture is fixed at f3.5 and the lens is manual focus... 

Lensbaby Trio 28 - Sweet

For my initial outing I set the X-T2 to shoot ACROS film Simulation JPG's and switched the Trio 28 to 'Sweet'  - Sweet creates a sharp central sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradually increasing blur.

London South Bank

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - SWEET

Street Scene

I found this scene near Shoreditch in East London. I asked before taking some shots. The blur from the centre is an interesting effect but not sure it makes this type of composition stronger.

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - SWEET

Symmetry

The Lensbaby works well for symmetrical compositins although a stronger focal point might have helped in this example from London Southbank

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - SWEET

Off Center Focus

In this simple composition of a chain on the banks of the River Thames I attempted to bring focus away from the centre of the fame. Interesting effect

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - SWEET

Symmetry

I think that the symmetrical composition works well with the Lensbaby Sweet effect. I think on the whole I'd have liked the dome of St Pauls not to blur out. The effect when used like this gives a miniature world effect. This is reminisent of the effect from the original Lensbaby Composer

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - SWEET

The Shard

I quite like the shot of the  Shard from London Bridge. The softness top and bottom is strong enough not to look accidental.

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 - SWEET

Summary

In summary I enjoyed using the Lensbaby Trio 28 on this days commuting. I didn't have a lot of time to explore too many opportunities but I am seeing some potential creative opportunities. I like the ACROS Film Simulation in combination with the lensbaby.

I'll be adding more real world examples with this lens in the coming weeks. Including hopefully some shots of St Pauls interior at night.

 

 

 

Fuji X-T2 - Lensbaby Trio 28

Lensbaby Trio 28

My good friends at Lensbaby recently sent me a Lensbaby Trio 28 to try out on my Fuji X-T2.

The Lensbaby Trio 28 is a neat little lens with a revolving front element featuring a selection of three lenses which give the effects of some classic lensbaby optics, Sweet, Velvet and Twist.

Fuji X-T2 and Lensbaby Trio 28

Fuji X-T2 and Lensbaby Trio 28

Lensbaby Composer

I've had a selection of Lensbaby optics over the years and have enjoyed the creative incentive that they give.

Not every subject benefits from the optical qualities of Lensbaby but its fun to try different subjects to see the effects that can be achieved.

The Lensbaby Composer range of lenses was capable of some quite strong effects especially when the moveable front element was tilted to the more extreme angles.

The Lensbaby Trio 28 is light and compact, almost like a pancake lens. It probably won't win any design awards as it's looks are a little reminiscent of a Lomo type camera. The quality and the sharpness of the results tell a different story.

The lens is focused manually using the large marked focus ring. I suggest setting up the Fuji with a focus selection assist such as focus highlight to aid focus especially when using the 'Sweet' lens setting where critical focus is more important.

While the Trio 28 replicates the looks of Lensbaby optics of the past the effects are more subtle than the original lenses. The Sweet Mode is the easiest to jump straight into and the Bokeh is quite pleasing

Rotating the front element between the three lenses is a little awkward (at least it was for my large fingers!)

Fuji X-T2 ACROS Film Simulation JPG - Lensbaby Trio 28 'Sweet' Example

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Straight from camera example of Lensbaby Trio 28

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
100% Crop example of Lensbaby Trio 28 using 'Sweet' lens

Lensbaby Trio 28 - Sweet

I decided to start out with the Lensbaby Trio 28 set to sweet mode as I figured that this might be the easier of the effects to get used to. Sweet creates a sharp central sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradually increasing blur.

I thought I'd shoot on my daily commute in London, UK with the Fuji X-T2 and ACROS Film Simulation mode and see if I could capture some 'keepers' - I plan to write a seperate post for each of the three lenses available on the Trio and write a full review after a month of real world usage. 

Commuters on the Millennium Bridge, London

Fuji X-T2 - ACROS Film Simulation
Lensbaby Trio 28 with 'Sweet' Optic setting

 

 

 

 

 

Lensbaby Trio 28 - Fuji

Lensbaby make a dedicated mirrorless 28mm lens by the name of Lensbaby Trio 28. The 'Trio' title comes from the three effect types that this lens is capable of rendering- Twist, Velvet and Sweet. I plan to evaluate this promising product in the coming weeks and will publish a number of articles with example images from some real world photography in London.

Fuji X-T2 Autofocus Examples

I recently visited a local dog agility show and took the opportunity to test the Autofocus Speed of the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135mm lens. I took photographs from the sidelines for a few minutes and captured the dogs jumping the fences.

Fuji AF-C Custom Settings

The Fuji X-T2 provides some Autofocus Presets which are optimised for certain shooting conditions. I used the Set 4 - For Suddenly Appearing Subject for all of the example shots in this article. I set the focus mode to 'Zone' with 9 focus point grid.

When taking this type of photograph there is advantage to setting the camera frame rate to continuous high. This helps ensure that you capture a good number of frames and can choose the best composition. 

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135mm Autofocus Test

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135mm 4 Frame Sequence demonstrating Fuji Autofocus Speed

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135mm
4 Frame Sequence demonstrating Fuji Autofocus Speed

I shot all the images in RAW format but have converted a selection to Black and White using the Fuji ACROS settings.

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135mm Autofocus Test
Dog Agility Show

Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135mm Autofocus Test
Dog Agility Show

Conclusion

The Fuji 18-135mm is not the fastest lens in Fuji's lens line up but it is a versatile and capable lens. It focuses quickly and Fuji have made great improvements in Autofocus speed with the X-T2. I was pleased that I was able to capture the fast moving subjects effectively without much experience of technique.

Macphun Luminar - Update

Macphuns excellent Luminar software has just received a major free update. They have added what they call an 'Accent AI Filter' that is designed to analyse and enhance photos at the touch of a button (or slide of an amount slider)

I tried it out on a landscape image from Yosemite.

JPG image straight from RAW

Image enhanced with MacPhuns Accent AI Filter @ 80%

Luminar has done a pretty good job of analysing the image and lifting out the shadows and details in the sky as well as adding saturation and punch to the foliage. 

5 Astrophotography Mistakes

Broad Haven Beach

I recently visited the Stackpole Estate in South Wales where the South facing Broad Haven Beach is conveniently located near to a National Trust Car Park.

Broad Haven Beach is within a 'Dark Skies' area of the UK and enjoys fairly low levels of light pollution. I took the opportunity to visit the beach at mid-night and try my hand at some astrophotography with the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 16mm f1.4 and 10-24mm f4

Overall I was pleased with the shots that I took on this night and although I managed to get some things right there are a number of mistakes that I made that I will hope to avoid the next time out.

Milky Way - Broad Haven Beach

1) Not utilising Long Exposure Noise Reduction

When taking photographs of the stars or Milky Way it is important to keep the length of exposure short to avoid blur caused by movement of the stars during exposure. (It is useful to refer to the 500 rule to help calculate this for your lens - See Below)

It becomes necessary to use a high ISO even when using fast glass. I did not think to enable the 'Long Exposure Noise Reduction' feature on the X-T2 which would have helped reduce digital noise in the final image. 

When using Long Exposure Noise Reduction it is necessary to expose for 20 seconds and then wait a further 20 seconds for the camera to complete the Noise Reduction Frame.. but this is not to inconvenient.

500 Rule
To achieve points of light you can use a simple rule that's often called the “500 Rule”. For example; let's say you're taking a shot with a 16mm lens on a full frame camera. 500 / 16 = 31.25 seconds, which you can round to 30 seconds.I was using a 16mm Lens on a Fuji X-T2. Taking into account the 1.5 crop factor of the APS-C sized sensor - This gives a guideline exposure of 21 seconds - 500 / (16 * 1.5 Crop Factor)

2) Not waiting until full dark

I visited Broad Haven around 11:30pm and stayed until around mid-night. I was on vacation with my wife and didn't want to let this diversion impact on the next days activities but it would have been better to shoot later in the evening when the light from the day had faded further.

You should reference apps such as PhotoPills to calculate the darkest point of the night.

Fuji 16mm f1.4 Coma Effects at f1.4

Fuji 16mm f1.4 Coma Effects at f1.4

3) Not taking into account lens performance artefacts @ f1.4

I used the excellent Fuji 16mm f1.4 for the photos of the Milky Way. I did not realize that the lens suffers from coma effects at the edges when stopped right down to f1.4

I should have taken some exposures at f2 or f2.8 to reduce the effect.

 

4) Not turning off  'Preview Picture Effect'

This is specific to mirrorless cameras. I should have thought to disable Preview Picture Effect for the LCD and IVF screens to ensure that I got an enhanced image to compose with rather than a preview of exposure (which was blank in the dark!)

I had to compose using 10 second exposures to trial and error the camera angle.

5) Not being fully prepared to manual focus

While I did some research on methods of focusing in the dark I should have experimented further with the 16mm to ensure that I was confident on manual focus to infinity. The 16mm f1.4 has a focus scale which should make this straight forward.

I was photographing with an aperture of f1.4 and I tried a number of methods on the night to focus correctly. This is the wrong time to be experimenting and I missed some shots due to mistakes

Fuji X-T2 - Milky Way Photography

Dark Skies

I recently returned from a trip to Wales where I had the opportunity to visit Broad Haven Beach which is located within a designated Dark Sky area.

I wanted to capture the Milky Way above Church Rock and took my Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 16mm f1.4 lens to the beach around midnight on 24th May 2017

Fast Glass - Fuji 16mm f1.4

The Fuji 16mm f1.4 has a useful focal length which is wide enough to capture the elements of the scene. I used the excellent Photopills App to plan the shot and knew the position and elevation of the Milky way before the trip.

When taking photographs of the Milky Way it is important to keep the shutter speed as low as possible to avoid the stars blurring into trails. The 16mm f1.4 was fast enough to allow shutter speeds as low as 10-20 seconds at ISO 3200.

I edited the photographs in Lightroom where the 'Dehaze' feature is very useful to bring out the detail in the sky. In this case I used a Dehaze setting of around +45

Fuji X-T2 - Fuji 16mm f1.4 - (20 second exposure, ISO 3200, f1.4)
Milky Way over Church Rock - Broad Haven Beach, Wales

It can be a challenge to find focus in the dark. In the case of the Fuji 16mm f1.4 there is a focus scale which helps. It is usually also possible to focus on the moon or bright star or ask a friend to walk a distance away and shine a torch towards you.

Fuji X-T2 - Fuji 16mm f1.4 - (20 second exposure, ISO 3200, f1.4)
Milky Way and shooting Star over Church Rock - Broad Haven Beach, Wales

I forgot that the X-T2 features the ability to enhance the LCD and EVF to make composition in the dark that bit easier. (Disable 'Preview Picture Effect') so I had a bit of trial and error to get the composition. The Landscape Shot at the top of this page is the third shot of the evening. 

I swapped out the 16mm for the 10-24mm to get a wider view. I think the fact that this was later in the evening and the Milky Way has risen in the sky has helped the definition.

Fuji X-T2 - Fuji 10-24mm f4 - (40 second exposure, ISO 12800, f4)
Milky Way and shooting Star over Church Rock - Broad Haven Beach, Wales

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS

Fuji 23mm Examples

I have been using the excellent Fuji 23mm f2 with the X-T2.

The shots below were taken using the Fuji Film Simulation ACROS and are un-modified straight from camera unless otherwise indicated.

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS
Aperture f5.6, ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS
Aperture f5.6, ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS
Aperture f5.6, ISO 320 - Cropped

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS
Aperture f5.6, ISO 200 - Cropped

Busker

The shot of this young busker was taken in a gloomy tunnel under the railway line. The 23mm f2 allowed me to capture a sharp image in the low light. The X-T2 did a great job of capturing the image in challenging light.

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS
Aperture f5.6, ISO 1600

Full Size Crop

Full size crop from the original ACROS JPG. Click on the image for the full-size version

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS
Aperture f5.6, ISO 1600 - Full Size Crop

Fuji X-T2 23mm f2 - ACROS
Aperture f5.6, ISO 200

Summary

I highly recommend the Fuji 23mm f2. It is a versatile focal length on the cropped sensor Fuji bodies. It is ideal on the X-Pro bodies but pairs very well with the Fuji X-T2 forming a lightweight and weather proof option

Fuji X-T2 - Bluebells

I got a chance to grab some shots of this years Bluebells. I was only able to get out and about around mid-day so the lighting was a little bland... but the Bluebells looks good this year.

All of these shots were taken in the grounds around Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2
Bluebell Woods - Polesden Lacey

Fuji X-T2 - London Graffiti

I took the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 16mm f1.4 around London this week and captured some of the interesting graffiti in an around my office and around London Waterloo Train Station.

All images were taken on a Fuji X-T2 in RAW using the Fuji 16mm f1.4 lens. Post Processing in Adobe Lightroom using the Fuji Classic Chrome Pre-set. Images have been cropped and perspective corrected in some cases.

Near Brick Lane, London

Near Brick Lane, London

Leake Street Tunnel underneath London Waterloo Station.

Leake Street Tunnel underneath London Waterloo Station.

Leake Street Tunnel underneath London Waterloo Station.

Near Brick Lane, London

Near Brick Lane, London

Further reading

A friend of mine runs an excellent blog featuring some very cool examples of graffiti...