Street Photography with the Fujifilm X100S in Venice

October 09, 2013  •  12 Comments

Fuji X100S Street Photography in Italy

By Paul Rogers

I was fortunate enough to be sent to Treviso in Northern Italy this week for a portrait for The Times T2 section, only to discover on landing that the shoot had been cancelled. So I had almost 12 hours before my return flight with nothing to do. Thankfully I'd flown Ryan Air (never thought I'd use those words in the same sentence) which meant my carry on baggage was extremely limited, and so I'd taken only one Canon 5d MkIII and 3 lenses to cover the job. I'd decided to pack my Fuji X100S as a backup camera which turned out to be a great decision. I put my heavy DSLR and lenses in left luggage, along with my lighting equipment and hopped on a train to Venice with only the X100S and two batteries.

I've never been to Venice, so really enjoyed wandering around with no agenda, just photographing what looked interesting. I did need to send some stock pictures of Venice back to The Times, but that was the only real requirement. It was a pretty overcast day, but the X100S really produces some lovely colour tones even in flat light. I used the back button manual focus method for the entire day and shot mostly at f/2.0. All images were shot as jpeg and processed in Lightroom. Here's some of my favourites from the day, including dawn from seat 12A somewhere above Italy.


12.Documentary Wedding Photographer
Thanks Stevie

That last image of the girl asleep was completely spontaneous. It was early evening and the train was full. She sat opposite me with one parent next to her, one next to me. The X100S really comes into its own here. It's completely silent, and looks like a tourist camera. I took some pictures through the window, knowing I wanted this shot. I'd switched from aperture priority (which is how I nearly always shoot) to Tv and selected about 1/30 second I think, and adjusted the ISO down (it's normally on auto) so I could keep the aperture at f/2.0 (can't remember if it needed the ND filter or not). I quickly prefocused on her with the back button, then waited for a train to pass in the opposite direction. When it did I took three frames, all of which worked, but this had the most pleasing train blur.


11.Documentary Wedding Photographer
Thanks for your comments Tor.

The back button method - if you have the focus set to manual you can use the AFL/AEL lock button to quickly lock focus. You need to set it up in the menu - set the AE/AF-lock mode to AE&AF on/off switch. Then, press and hold it until it focuses - unfortunately theres no beep or other indicator to tell you its locked. It means you can compose a shot, focus then wait for the exact moment before you trip the shutter. When you do it doesn't need to refocus and as long as you and the subject haven't changed distance it will still be in focus. I also use the focus peak to double check focus by pressing in the rocker and fine tuning using the lens barrel - exactly how I shot the plane over the clouds as the MF focus box is huge and doesn't pinpoint what it's focusing on if theres no definite contrast change.
In Lightroom I don't use any film presets. I add some grain, and usually under-expose the whole image a little, then use the brush tool to lighten the areas of interest. That's it really, a little contrast boost too.

Hope that helps
Very nice group of images of a rather over"exposed" subject. Hard to really capture anything that's not already been captures a million times before - even the photos of other folks taking photos.

Your last image though is just extraordinary in every way possible. The motion, the composition the subject matter, and most of all: the perfectly mirrored duality of life as it speeds on by. Great eye and technical skill employed in capturing this exception moment in time. Did you know her, or was she just another passenger on the train that happen to be sitting across from you?

This image has seriously re-inspired me... Bravo!
9.Tor Berg(non-registered)
Very impressive and a great serie Roger.

I'm new to the X100s and find it really fun to use. Learning new stuff from people like you makes it even more fun.
Do you mind tell us a bit more about the "the back button manual focus method"? Sounds like a winner :-).
All your colorpictures has this great tonality and special look. Except for the vignetting, do you apply any film-presets or can you tell a bit about your post-processing?

Thanks, Tor.
8.peter nadort(non-registered)
Awesome pictures Paul, thanks, I've to learn more

regards, peter
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