Late again – New Brunswick 2010 12 – 24mm lens
The Reasons Why
Being ready for the shot
The best camera in the world is of no use to you unless you are prepared and ready to take the shot. In the next series, I want to explore ways of speeding up digital camera capture, this is particularly appropriate for street photography. In the street, pictures appear and disappear in milliseconds. In the first part of the series, I am going to look at some of the pre-requites for being ready to take the shot quickly.
In part 1 of the series the topics include: 1 Is your camera comfortable to hold? 2 Which is quickest for your camera – boot up or wake up? 3 Raw or Jpeg Files? 4 Prime or Zoom Lenses 5 Conserving Battery Power.
Just for clarity, the terms used in this series refer to Fujifilm camera settings. Hopefully, the Fujifilm camera menu references given in this post are reasonably consistent across a range of different Fujifilm X mount cameras.
1 Is Your Camera Comfortable to Hold?
As I said in the introduction a great camera is of little use to the unprepared photographer. Perhaps a more critical reason is the camera is not a good fit for your hand. For me, getting a camera that fits the size of your hand is crucial. A good case in point is my recent purchase of the small and light Fujifilm X-T 30, without the addition of a handgrip, the body is too small and not a camera I want to use. The handgrip I bought was made by Mcoplus at half the price of a Fujifilm model at £80, other alternative handgrips are available.
Unprepared in the sense that the camera is still in the bag or case or it is not switched on, the lens cap is still on and the viewfinder is black and you wonder why? You have not checked your settings.
“Opportunity doesn’t make appointments, you have to be ready when it arrives.”
Being ready for the shot – Glastonbury Tor February 2019
2 Which Is Quickest for Your Camera – Boot-up or Wake-up?
I suggest you leave your camera switched on because you want to be alert and ready to take pictures. All cameras have an Auto Power Off setting I have mine set to 5 minutes. See The Spanner > Power Management Settings. This setting can be switched off, but I know that I occasionally forgetfully leave my camera switched on when it should be off.
Furthermore, following on from Auto Power Off, find out which of these two operations your camera does the quickest, Boot Up (Turn on) or Wake Up from hibernation. I feel with the Fujifilm cameras it is quicker to power off and back on again than wait while it wakes up from hibernation. Knowing this could be the difference between not being able to take a picture when you want or not.
Digital camera hardware has moved on vastly from its early beginnings of slow boot-up, focus and saving. My first Nikon Coolpix 5700 camera took 72 seconds to save a 5mp Tiff file.
3 Raw or Jpeg Files?
I have been using Raw files continuously since December 2004 when I bought a Canon 20D. (I used the Lightroom Library Module to find out when I first used Raw files). Until very recently I had no interest in Jpg files. As I discover in part 2 of this series with some experimentation Jpg files can be an aide to visual art with less time spent post-processing. In part 2 I will explore the creative possibilities of Dynamic Range and Dynamic Range Priority. These two controls only apply to Jpg files.
I am currently recording Raw and Jpg files on separate cards. To set up what goes on to which card on a Fujifilm camera see The Spanner > Save Data Set up > Card Slot Settings.
A note for Lightroom users, to be able to Import Raw and Jpg files with same file number the Lightroom Preferences must be set by ticking the box in Preferences. Edit > Preferences > General.
Being ready for the shot – Clevedon Sea Pool September 2018
4 Prime or Zoom Lenses
The benefit of a prime lens for speed of capture is there is only one choice of focal length to choose from that viewpoint. With use, you will be able to assess the angle of view without having to lift the camera to the eye.
Therefore, you will be able to tell instantly whether a shot will work or not. Obviously with a zoom you have a wide range of options to decide on before pressing the shutter. The required thinking time could be why a shot is not taken at the peak of the action.
5 Conserving Battery Power
There is no manual power option on a digital camera when the battery is dead so is the camera. Therefore, it would be wise to consider options for reducing battery drain for no additional picture capture benefit.
Two ways of conserving battery power
1) Turn off Bluetooth if you are not using it. It is on by default at the standard Fujifilm factory settings. This function is only relevant if you are connecting a camera to the a) Fuji Remote App or b) Fujifilm Instax Printer. To turn off the Bluetooth go to The Spanner > Connection Settings > Bluetooth.
2) The less you use the LCD for Chimping the longer the battery will last. This assumes of course that you are using the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) to take pictures!
See the View Mode Button on the Viewfinder with repeated presses of the button it will cycle through: Eye Sensor, EVF Only, LCD Only, EVF Only + Eye Sensor, Eye Sensor + Image Display. EVF Only turns off the LCD saving battery power. This is a matter of personal preference; I like to have the LCD turned off that might not suit you, my choice is a throw-back to film cameras.
A note to Fujifilm users
it is recommended by many the Power Boost Mode is better turned on, this speeds up the cameras Auto Focus Performance and Viewfinder Refresh Rate. See The Spanner > Power Management. Power Boost Mode will obviously use the battery quicker that is why it is helpful to make savings elsewhere whenever you can.
I always carry two fully charged batteries in my coat pocket so they are instantly available. Having a spare battery in your bag or rucksack takes time to take the rucksack off to get them. Another option would be to change the battery when it gets down to one bar. In this way, the camera cannot die just as the action gets interesting.
Rounding things off for this time
Just to round off this post in part 1 of this series on speeding up digital camera capture, so far, we have looked at:
1) Is your camera comfortable to hold? 2) Which is quickest for your camera – boot up or wake up? 3) Raw or Jpeg Files? 4) Prime or Zoom Lenses 5) Conserving Battery Power
In part 2 I will explore a range of camera settings that until quite recently were alien to me. These topics are presented in no particular order:
1) A Large Single Centre Focusing Area 2) Face / Eye Detection 3) Auto ISO 4) Dynamic Range 5) Dynamic Range Priority 6) Drive Burst Mode 7) There is less need to Chimp.
See you next time for the next instalment.