Question #42: About My Camera Settings

Q: "Valerie, I love your photographs, there's a timelessness attached to them and very French if I may say so! These are in the tradition of the great French photographers of the fifties. One thing though, I'm dying to know what your settings are if you shoot Raw or Jpegs out of the camera. Hoping you will put me out of my misery. Best wishes." Alan Thomas.

A: "Thank you for the nice compliment Alan, made me blush! :)

As you probably know, I shoot almost exclusively with the Fuji x100s. I love its simplicity and user-friendly dials. I shoot RAW because I like the control it gives me. I don't spend much time in Lightroom but I like consistency and control in my B&W conversion. I don't use presets, I adjust each slider in seconds and the job is done. I have used the JPEG setting on many occasions and the fun filters. I have often set the format in square high contrast B&W with yellow filter and got great results that didn't differ much from the adjustments I make to my RAW files. Basically I shoot RAW out of habit more than anything else...

I shoot in Aperture Priority most of the time. A dial I use a lot is exposure compensation, which is very conveniently located on the x100s (not the case for every camera where you have to go into a menu to change it!) 

My two cents: It's not about shooting Raw or Jpeg, full manual or auto, it's really about learning to see and know how to use your camera to tell your story. I see a lot of bad imagery shot in full manual mode and quite a lot amazing photography shot with camera phones. Vision is still the most indispensable element to produce good photography :)

I hope this answers your question. Happy shooting!" Valerie

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Question #34: About NX300 vs. X100S?

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've answered a question on my Q&A Blog. I have a few hours to catch up as I am sitting on the plane from MSP to SFO. Perfect time to answer another question! 

Q: "You're playing with the Samsung NX300? Have you used it long enough to have arrived at any opinion. What lens are you using with it? I've looked at it, as well as a Fuji, which is much more expensive. An impression I have is that in either case, the lenses that are available are not that fast. Do you find this to be a problem. (I'm used to Canon f/2.8 lenses)
I'm not ready to scrap my Canon 70-200, but am thinking about a second camera for travel. I do have the x100s, but believe it would be somewhat limiting. Your thoughts would be appreciated.. Maybe this can be your question of the week." Hugh H.

A: "Thank you for your question Hugh! First, I would like to start by saying that I left the Samsung Imagelogger program, not because of the gear, simply because other exciting opportunities have presented themselves, but more on that in due time…

Although the Samsung NX300 is a fine little camera, I don’t think we can compare it with the Fuji x100s which, in my opinion, is in a class of its own. It would be like comparing apples and oranges (is that the right expression?)

The NX300 is small, light weight and has an appealing retro look. Its large tilt LCD is very convenient and the touch focus quite efficient. Its 20MP and WiFi connectivity make it quite appealing as well. I would not recommend the kit lens, I’ve used it almost exclusively with the 30mm f/2.0 pancake lens and I think it’s the best combo. I don’t see the point in putting a big long lens on such a small body, it would defeat the purpose of using such a small camera. But at least you do have the option to change lenses and use one of the many Samsung lenses available. Some of them are quite fast. 

The Fuji x100s is, so far, the best camera I’ve ever owned. I love the quality of its fixed 23mm (35mm equiv) lens, the quality of the images is excellent, its low light capability is amazing and you can’t beat its cool retro look. As a street photographer, the silent mode is priceless! I don’t think it is a camera for everyone. The limitations of not being able to change lenses can be very intimidating for many who are transitioning into the mirror-less systems. I find those limitations refreshing and liberating. The camera becomes an extension of my vision and doesn’t get in the way. 

The Samsung NX300 would be a perfect first step into the mirror-less world. I can also see it being a great companion to a DSLR kit for anyone who is wanting to have a great little camera with them all the time without sacrificing on the quality, like you would with a camera phone. Whereas, in my opinion, the Fuji is definitely a primary camera, one that will make you want to give up your DSLR altogether!

Note that the Fuji x100s is also twice the price of the Samsung NX300... I hope this helps!" Valerie

Please leave a comment below and share your experience with the community. If you have a question, feel free to send it to Valerie for an upcoming Q&A blog post. This blog cannot exist without your questions! 

Conversation #1 With Street Photographer Fokko Muller


This is the first of a new series of conversations with photographers from all over the world. I will continue to answer questions on this blog as well, so please keep those them coming!

profile photo fokko muller.jpg

Today I would like to introduce you to Dutch Street Photographer Fokko Muller. Fokko lives in Emmen in The Netherlands. He has been shooting street photography since 2010. He is the co-founder and member of The Street Collective . He also gives lectures about street photography and teaches workshops in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. His work has received awards and was exhibited at the State Center of Fine Arts in Novosibirsk. Fokko also writes for Fotoclub, a Dutch online publication.

You can find out more about Fokko Muller by visiting his website.

I invite you to view the conversation on the video below:

My Conversation With Street Photographer Fokko Muller

©Fokko Muller

©Fokko Muller

©Fokko Muller

©Fokko Muller

Question #8: About My Preferred Equipment For Street Photography

Q: "I'm a big admirer of your work. You are an inspiration especially to those of us who adore street photography. I'm giving a talk to my camera club soon on street photography and I'd love to know what is your preferred equipment/camera/lens for shooting on, say, the boulevards of Paris? From the pictures on your website, you don't necessarily appear to 'go compact' or 'rangefinder'?" Richard G from Perth, Western Australia

A:"Hi Richard! Thank you for your kind words and for submitting a question to the blog. I hope my answer comes before you give your presentation. If not, I apologize for the delay!  I used to shoot street photography with a DSLR camera, mostly with a 50mm lens, and more recently with the 40mm pancake lens. True, there are a few images on my website that were shot with my 24-70mm lens. That's one of my favorite 'all around' lenses. Now that I've experienced shooting with the Fuji x100s and its fixed 23mm (35mm equiv.) lens for a few months, I can't imagine taking anything else on the streets with me. It's the ideal tool for street photography. In my opinion, street photography needs to be experienced up close and one should not hide behind a long zoom lens. That is not always easy, especially when you start out, as it is often very intimidating to photograph a candid situation when your subject is within arm's reach. The look and feel of the images will be very different and being close is what makes street photography so special and unique. 

Why do I favor the Fuji x100s for street photography? It's small, inconspicuous and who can resist it's retro rangefinder look? I also love the fact that is has a fixed lens that is not interchangeable. It's simple without sacrificing on the incredible quality of the glass. It doesn't get in the way between me and my vision. It's more of an extension of me than a DSLR has ever been.

I hope this answers your question and I look forward to your feedback!"

Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear about your own experience shooting street photography. 

If you have a question about photography in general, about the business side of things or anything else that is photography related, please use the contact form to send it.   Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!