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Low light :how does the Fuji X system primes work in real life ?
Old 10-23-2017   #1
yinyangbt
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Low light :how does the Fuji X system primes work in real life ?

I am in love with a Fujifilm X20 ! I couldn 't believe that such a tiny sensor can produce such images in low light indoor or night street photography handheld . The little X20 is a beauty , and a tactile and ergonomic pleasure .

Coming from the Sony a5000 and the Oly EP-l1 , this little Fuji revealed to me that there still are real cameras like the classic rangefinders that cat shoot well in low light handheld .

So, I have a new itch I'd like to switch from the A5000 (beautiful sensor for low light , a superb small volume and weight but sooooo boring , I don't love shooting with it .And the lenses are not what I'd like ) .

I am looking for small bulk and weight to shoot handheld cities at blue hour or indoor cathedrals or other such static subjects . I am debating between the mft oly om-d10mk2 ( depth of field , all the lenses stabilised , small fast wide primes 12/2 15/1,7 17/1,8 , small good kit zoom 14-42 ) and a beautiful Fujifilm X-E1 with primes . The zooms 18-55 or 16-50 are too big for my taste . But how the 18/2 and 23/2 could manage the handheld low light situations ? Wouldn't the High ISO advantage of the sensor be wiped out by the lack of stabilisation ?
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Old 10-23-2017   #2
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High ISO is not going to ba an issue with most of the current Fuji... but the XE1 is not the latest. The AF will not focus fast in low light (even with the latest lenses like the 23mm f2), the EVF will be a bit crappy in low light, and you can expect to be able to go to about usable ISO 3200.

The newer bodies such as the XT2 will focus down to -3ev and will give you usable 6400-12800 if you can post process well. The latest primes are the fastest to focus as well.
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Old 10-23-2017   #3
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In low light you will find your XE1 will be the weakest link not the lenses.
The XE1 is one of the first generation cameras and does not have an Phase detection pixels for autofocus.... it relies on Contrast detection.
In low light, the largest aperture possible will improve AF.
If you consider one stop = 2x the amount of light.
A compact f2/23mm is going to have a much easier time focusing than the PRO f2.8/16-55 zoom.
The f1.4/23mm will have again twice as much light hitting the sensor than the f2/23mm... and so on.
Even if you shoot at f4-5.5. being able to focus at those larger apertures will improve af performance.
A few more tips.

*Switch to manual focus and use the afl/ael button to choose a focus point. Once you get it keep it there rather than adjusting for each take.
*Discover your lowest handholding speed ahead of time.
Set the SS manually and set the camera ISO to auto.
More noise in low light image is often more desirable than motion blur.
*Use the built in flash. The XE1 flash is easy to flex up towards a ceiling or the sky. You can use piece of tape to keep it there... works great!

*As far as handholding, Faster shutter speeds from faster lenses will help stop subject movement. IS lenses can help with photographer related blur but only faster speeds slow down subjects.
I usually choose faster lenses over IOS for this reason.

Others may have more to say.

Cheers!
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Old 10-23-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
In low light, the largest aperture possible will improve AF.
If you consider one stop = 2x the amount of light.
A compact f2/23mm is going to have a much easier time focusing than the PRO f2.8/16-55 zoom.
The f1.4/23mm will have again twice as much light hitting the sensor than the f2/23mm... and so on.
On paper this might be true, but in reality the 23mm f/2 and the 16-55mm focus faster in low light than the 23mm 1.4. Well, in all light really.
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Old 10-23-2017   #5
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I don't know how relevant this is, but I've been pretty disappointed in the performance of the X100T in low light. The AF is very slow. I need to test the camera using manual focus in low light (cranking up the iso so I can shoot stopped down a bit). I took photos at an outdoor evening wedding reception using AF and the camera missed the focus most of the time.
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Old 10-23-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bingley View Post
I don't know how relevant this is, but I've been pretty disappointed in the performance of the X100T in low light. The AF is very slow. I need to test the camera using manual focus in low light (cranking up the iso so I can shoot stopped down a bit). I took photos at an outdoor evening wedding reception using AF and the camera missed the focus most of the time.
It's relevant. Only the latest generation Fujis work ok in low light when it comes to AF... and only with the latest lenses really. I'm talking pure speed, not focus accuracy. I found the older ones to be accurate as long as you had decent contrast in the scene. They were just too slow though.
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Old 10-23-2017   #7
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For what it's worth the X100F i have can AF at lower light levels than my Nikon D610.
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Old 10-23-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
For what it's worth the X100F i have can AF at lower light levels than my Nikon D610.
Yes, 0EV vs. -2EV.
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Old 10-23-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
On paper this might be true, but in reality the 23mm f/2 and the 16-55mm focus faster in low light than the 23mm 1.4. Well, in all light really.
I've tried with the 2/35mm and f.14/35mm.
In low light, the f1.4/35mm is better in accuracy and lock speed. (xtrans2).
The f2/35mm is silent and silky by comparison which makes it seem faster.... in good light yes but, once the ambiance is lower... the f1.4/35mm is better.
I only assumed the 23's would show up similarly.
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Old 10-24-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
I've tried with the 2/35mm and f.14/35mm.
In low light, the f1.4/35mm is better in accuracy and lock speed. (xtrans2).
The f2/35mm is silent and silky by comparison which makes it seem faster.... in good light yes but, once the ambiance is lower... the f1.4/35mm is better.
I only assumed the 23's would show up similarly.
Honestly, you might be the only person who I've ever heard say this. Not my experience.
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Old 10-24-2017   #11
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Low light is not a problem. I always use raw files.

With XTrans I and II cameras I never used ISO > 1600 for color work. I did push image global brightness in post-production by 1 stop or so (effectively ISO 3200). In extreme low light I render raw as B&W.

With Xtrans III dual-gain technology I am comfortable using ISO 3200 and pushing a bit in post.

The newer primes focus well in very low light. Newer bodies have faster CPUs and the AF algorithms are faster and more successful.
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Old 10-24-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yinyangbt View Post
...I am looking for small bulk and weight to shoot handheld cities at blue hour or indoor cathedrals or other such static subjects . I am debating between the mft oly om-d10mk2 ( depth of field , all the lenses stabilised , small fast wide primes 12/2 15/1,7 17/1,8 , small good kit zoom 14-42 ) and a beautiful Fujifilm X-E1 with primes . The zooms 18-55 or 16-50 are too big for my taste . But how the 18/2 and 23/2 could manage the handheld low light situations ? Wouldn't the High ISO advantage of the sensor be wiped out by the lack of stabilisation ?
"Static subjects" in low light aren't really a big challenge to any decent camera/lens combination. AF speed is not as important as accuracy here.

I use Fuji and Olympus cameras (several Fuji models and an Olympus OMD E-M1). Personally, I prefer the Fujis for the way they handle and the outstanding quality of their lenses. What I like most about Olympus is the IBIS that allows me to use a long lens handheld. Both systems are capable of good results but, IMO, Fuji's APS-C format has the edge in overall quality (at high or low ISO) compared to the M4/3 format used by Olympus. Especially if you crop, which I often do. I've never found the lack of IS in the Fujis to be a hinderance when using the wide to normal range of primes. But Olympus IBIS has proven invaluable for the small amount of long telephoto work I do.

Simple response: Fuji has great high ISO function, Olympus has great IS function. Both can do a good job under your stated conditions.
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Old 10-24-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yinyangbt View Post
I am in love with a Fujifilm X20 ! I couldn 't believe that such a tiny sensor can produce such images in low light indoor or night street photography handheld . The little X20 is a beauty , and a tactile and ergonomic pleasure .

Coming from the Sony a5000 and the Oly EP-l1 , this little Fuji revealed to me that there still are real cameras like the classic rangefinders that cat shoot well in low light handheld .

So, I have a new itch I'd like to switch from the A5000 (beautiful sensor for low light , a superb small volume and weight but sooooo boring , I don't love shooting with it .And the lenses are not what I'd like ) .

I am looking for small bulk and weight to shoot handheld cities at blue hour or indoor cathedrals or other such static subjects . I am debating between the mft oly om-d10mk2 ( depth of field , all the lenses stabilised , small fast wide primes 12/2 15/1,7 17/1,8 , small good kit zoom 14-42 ) and a beautiful Fujifilm X-E1 with primes . The zooms 18-55 or 16-50 are too big for my taste . But how the 18/2 and 23/2 could manage the handheld low light situations ? Wouldn't the High ISO advantage of the sensor be wiped out by the lack of stabilisation ?
I currently have a OMD EM10 MKII and had a XE-1 with the 18-55mm. I'm not a fuji or olympus fanboy. I really don't care for either brand since they both have serious flaws. That being said IF i were to compare the two when it comes to handholding/AF etc theirs no comparison. Go with the Olympus with the fast wide primes. The IBIS really works and the AF speed is excellent. The XE-1 is a dud. Ok in goodlight but goes blind the moment the light drops. For comparison I can handhold the Olympus with the equivelent of a 300mm FL lens at 1/8s with no camera shake if I was photographing a static subject. People here will start talking about fuji files vs m43 files (and they have a good point). But if you learn to use the olympus, it's much better than it's given credit for.
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Old 10-24-2017   #14
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Just to add, I had a hard time hand holding the XE-1 with 18-55mm below 1/60th and getting consistently sharp results.
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Old 10-24-2017   #15
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Seems it comes down to price , and it seems I can find cheaper a X-E1body and fuji primes .Mft fast primes are not so much cheap In fact they seem qite similar . I am not much interessed in telephoto
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Old 10-24-2017   #16
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I've got the XE-3+23/2. It's just fast, anywhere, any condition.
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Old 10-24-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
Just to add, I had a hard time hand holding the XE-1 with 18-55mm below 1/60th and getting consistently sharp results.
I always felt like the IS in the 18-55 was overactive when used with the XE1 camera.
I have much better success using it on the XT1.
Maybe you were experiencing similar issues.
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Old 10-24-2017   #18
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Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
I always felt like the IS in the 18-55 was overactive when used with the XE1 camera.
I have much better success using it on the XT1.
Maybe you were experiencing similar issues.
I think it was more the camera than the lens. Probably the least responsive digital camera I've used. The original x100 is a close second
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Old 10-25-2017   #19
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I have to agree Pramodh... the slowest AF APSC digital cameras I've owned were the XPro1, X100, Leica X1, and Nikon Coolpix A. However, the latest generation cameras all work pretty well at this point.
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Old 10-25-2017   #20
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In situations where light levels are low, it's hard to go wrong with any new digital camera. They all offer excellent S/N in low light situations.

Buy the newest camera you enjoy using with a lens lineup that best meets your needs.

Practically all new digital cameras have the following characteristics.
  • Their maximum raw-file signal levels are limited by a combination of sensor surface area and lens surface area.
Maximum exposure limits (i.e. raw file signal levels) are as old as photography. In low light, lenses are as important as sensors. So maximum aperture and T-factors matter. So does cost, size, weight, and convenience.
  • Their raw file noise levels are dominated by photon noise levels.
This is relatively new. This means image noise levels are determined by exposure (shutter time and aperture) and not by differences in sensor sensitivities and ISO amplification.

Random noise from electronic sources (read noise) is relevant for older digital camera technologies. In many cases, using raw files within a specific ISO range minimizes the S/N disadvantage of older cameras with significant read noise levels.

Some of the newest cameras use dual-gain photo-diode technology. Dual-gain sensors minimize the trade-off between low ISO performance (dynamic range) and high ISO performance (low electronic noise levels). The photo-diode capacitance changes above ISO 400 to 800, depending on the brand. The impact on image quality is not profound, but it is real.
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Old 11-10-2017   #21
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Why not get the x-t1? formfactor? The price difference is not all that large for what you gain.

I personally use the x-t1 currently only with the 18-55 and i am happy with what i get in low light situations. That being said, i usually only shoot static subjects, so the ois is giving me its full advantage. Size is a considerations, as you said, so i will buy a 27 2.8 for that matter. It does not have ois or a super fast aperture, but it is very small and i think this will help with handholding at slow shutter speeds. The 35 1.4 would be my next choice, but i don't like the focal length all that much anymore.
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Old 11-10-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai.zorki View Post
Why not get the x-t1? formfactor? The price difference is not all that large for what you gain.

...
For people who often work in low light (EV 5 or less) the XTrans III sensor offers a significant advantage.

All XTrans II cameras use Aptina's dual-gain technology (as do some other brands). This results in a S/N improvement at ISO 800 and above (data.)

A lower gain is used below ISO 800 which maintains the maximum dynamic range in bright light (link).

Whether or not this technology is worth the price difference is completely subjective.

PS Here's a link to data that indicates about a 1 EV gain for the X-T2 compared to the X-T1.Unfortunately the graph is inconvenient to read.
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Old 11-16-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai.zorki View Post
Why not get the x-t1? formfactor? The price difference is not all that large for what you gain.

I personally use the x-t1 currently only with the 18-55 and i am happy with what i get in low light situations. That being said, i usually only shoot static subjects, so the ois is giving me its full advantage. Size is a considerations, as you said, so i will buy a 27 2.8 for that matter. It does not have ois or a super fast aperture, but it is very small and i think this will help with handholding at slow shutter speeds. The 35 1.4 would be my next choice, but i don't like the focal length all that much anymore.
I don't want a dslr shaped camera .This is what stops me until now to go towards OM-D .I much more like the rangefinder style , when I got and began to use the X20 was like coming back home . Over 90% of my pictures this year were taken with the fuji despite the 12MP resolution over my 14 and 20 MP Sonys . I could go to Oly EP5 or EP-L7 but I want viewfinder .And the Fuji jpegs are great .
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