Motorsports Photography with Fuji X-T1

Hello Austris! Could you please introduce yourself?
I’m sports, fashion, music and commercial photographer living in Riga, Latvia. Sometimes I do weddings, if somebody asks me a lot 🙂

Did you study-Photography or are you self taught?
I have been self taught all the way. Lots of reading, experimenting and shooting. In the very early days of my photography I took beginners class at one local photographer, just to find out how camera works and how to switch it ON. Since then I have done all my learning by myself.

Do you make distinction between your personal work and the commercial?
Nine times out of ten… No! I believe every photographer puts his soul and vision in his work and it’s not possible to hide that. I drive my car across our city and mostly I can tell which photographer have created which photograph or billboard on streets. I always try to find the right way of my photography, so it matches my clients vision, but anyway first of all it’s my vision. And clients hire me for what they have seen in first place.

What camera sets do you use at the present moment?
Currently my go to camera is the X-T1 with XF16-55mm F/2.8 and XF50-140mm F/2.8 lens. This is an amazing kit for a outstanding image quality in such a small package.
Last autumn I did comparison between two totally unmatchable cameras – X-T1 and Hasselblad H3D ll with 39 Mpix back. I shot halloween project for my and neighbours kids. Image quality and sharpness overall for my eye seemed much better on X-T1. Of course some may say, that Hassie is an older camera, more megapixels etc, etc. But for me and my eye X-T1 was better and that is only thing that interests me the most – do I like or not. So after that time I have used my Hassie only one more time.

While photographing car races, you feel the X-T1 and the XF 50-140mm combo is responsive enough, or do you miss having a DSLR with you?
This question is hard to answer in Yes or No. Both have its own plus and minus sides. Definitely DSLR is a little faster than X-T1 and also better in terms of ergonomics. I wish that X-T1 had usable back button focusing — buttons are in so awkward places, that their use is not possible for me when shooting horizontally. On battery grip for vertical use back focusing button is ok, but not great. So I hope these thing will be changed and improved on X-T2.

The biggest and most important reason why I switched to Fuji system was image quality, lens quality, weight and price. So, I will try to explain each of those reasons. Image quality and lens quality definitely goes together. Using Nikon or Canon gear you always need another lens – bigger, better, faster, longer etc., and it’s never-ending story. In Fuji system I can buy all system at once and cover everything from 10mm up to 800mm (about 15mm to 1200mm on full frame). And thats for a price lower than Nikon D5 body alone, maybe a little more. And Fuji lenses are phenomenal with their sharpness and resolution. That was the biggest motive for me.

Which software you use to process the images? Could you describe your workflow?
I’m using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Workflow depends from the job. For sports photography it’s Lightroom with my own presets and a few little tricks I do, so I can process and sort 1500 pictures in less then 2 hours.
For example, for real estate images the processing is much longer – it takes up to 40min for one image. And there I use both – Lr and Ps.

If you could ask Fuji to produce the perfect camera, how would it be?
That is easy – according to technology – Fuji does it job very good and I can’t wait what is coming next. But I would welcome improvements in terms of ergonomics – closer to DSLR. And faster EVF refresh time after shot.


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