How Subjects React To The Fuji X100S

I am back from the little voyage to DC and I have to say, while I had fun it was a complete and utter washout in terms of really getting to shoot anything for a few of my personal projects. I was stuck indoors, the light was virtually non-existent and what there was had ummmm… challenges. The biggest reason for the trip besides mental health was actually a combo birthday celebration and moving out party. I did however have some anticipation - no big plan but just anticipation that I would have a chance to work on a few of those projects for at least two out of four days. Hopefully with a few subjects that I wanted to shoot in a few locations I wanted to shoot. Crapped out - it was dank/dark/cold/raining and generally miserable.

Moving on to the Fuji X100S - as usual I took it as well as the D600 with a few lenses. I am proud of myself that I took far less than my last trip to DC. The next trip may actually be just the X100S.

Having an extremely experienced model that happened to be crashing at the birthday girl's place meant I did get to shoot for a bit on Thursday - actually made a few images that might make it into one of those personal projects - that's a win for sure. Since I had both cameras with me I used both. Interestingly the last two or three sets I shot I stopped shooting with the D600. Not out of laziness - it was sitting right there next to me. I stopped shooting it because I was making different pictures with the little Fujifilm camera.

While I am very aware that this happens from my perspective as a photographer using the OVF on the X100 I suddenly became extremely aware of just how much it affects the subject differently as well. Even a subject as experienced as Anastasia happens to be - wonderful model and great actress that can pretty much turn on just about anything you want. Definitely not camera shy.

It turns out the images I was in the mood to make were definitely happening with the X100S more so than the D600. Partially due to me but in a large part due to the different reaction that Anastasia had to it. How can this be? Well I was in the mood to make looser, more casual images with a bit more of a dynamic feel. If I were making images where the subject was carefully placed and holding completely still for the most static of static shots then the difference would most likely be all on me or at least more subtle. I wasn't making static shots, I was shooting fast and loose. The images I made with the same intent and even the same process at the same time with a very experienced subject are dramatically different. For the most part it's because Anastasia couldn't hear the X100S. She couldn't tell if I had shot an image or not. This seriously changed how they looked under these circumstances.

While you may look at the X100S's lack of sound as a way to be stealthy let me tell you first hand that that characteristic influences subjects that have tons of experience in front of the camera as well when there's no real stealth equation. There's other reasons subjects react differently as well - I am sure there is. Focusing on the shutter sound or lack of it here's what I saw. Subconsciously or consciously or probably a bit of both, Anastasia had no reference to my particular shooting rhythm on any particular set up. This changed the pictures in a substantial way. You'll have to take my word for it but the difference is clearly visible between the two cameras. I noticed it while shooting, it's even more pronounced looking through them for the first time. I could show examples but that wouldn't really prove anything since I could just pick D600 shots that are the farthest away from what I was getting with the X100S so I'll just skip it.

I guess the take away here is that almost everything in a set of circumstances where you are making photographs of humans can influence the subject. Not all of them are completely predictable. I would have never predicted the X100S's lack of sound would have impacted the images I was attempting to make on this day from photographic hell - it did but for reasons I also would have never predicted. Something to take into account if you happen to shoot people.

On another related note. My last trip to DC also consisted of shooting the X100S in combination with the D600. I didn't happen to notice that same change with respect to what the subject was giving me. Possibly due to the fact that I was attempting to make the same shots I made with the D600/50mm combo with the X100S - call it a comfort level exercise. This trip was completely different - I wasn't attempting in the least to do that. In fact I was using the two for the focal length differences in the shots I wanted to compose - that's it.

RB

Ps. Techno babble - shot all day wide open at slowish shutter speeds ISO 1600 (not much choice). Quick and dirty color and VSCO 800Z++ treatment with a bit of tweaking to make it even funkier.

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