FUJIFILM just sent over their $6,000 200mm f/2 lens. I was planning to shoot a sporting event with it, but I decided to do something a little different.
The FUJINON 200mm f/2 lens is a super-specialized piece of kit. Only a select group of sports or wildlife photographers would even dream of buying it. It's large, it doesn't zoom, and it's incredibly expensive. But, it takes amazing-looking shallow depth of field photos.
Keep in mind that this lens is designed for APS-C (cropped sensor FUJIFILM cameras). This means that it will act like a 300mm f/2.8 lens on a full-frame camera. For this shoot, I was shooting with the FUJIFILM X-T3. Together, this lens and camera were able to autofocus with impressive accuracy and produce razor-sharp images even with quick-moving subjects.
Originally, I was planning to shoot a live sporting event with this lens, but I realized it would be hard to produce a complete tutorial video without more control over the scene. I decided instead to shoot a single football player at an "empty" football field and incorporate high-speed sync to strobe outside while continuing to shoot at f/2.
What Is High-Speed Sync?
A camera's maximum sync speed is the fastest shutter speed where the film or sensor is entirely open to exposure without being partially blocked by the shutter. As a camera's shutter speed gets faster, the shutter will become a small slit that slides across the film or sensor. Shooting above your camera's maximum sync speed will work with constant lighting, but not with strobe lighting, because the blades of the shutter will cast a shadow on a portion of the image.
Some strobes are able to switch into "high-speed sync" mode, and instead of producing one powerful flash, they produce multiple strobes (too quick for the human eye to perceive). By pulsing, the strobe light is acting as a constant light, and you will be able to shoot, with a flash, beyond the camera's maximum sync speed.
Shooting in high-speed sync mode will allow you to capture images with shallower depth of field in bright environments, but it will also cause you to lose flash power. In our tests, we were losing around two stops of light. This wasn't an issue for us, because I was shooting with bare bulb lights that were relatively close to our subject.
We went out to a local football field to photograph Steve, a recent high school graduate. I decided to shoot some senior portrait style images of Steve in action as well as standard some portraits. Obviously, I wasn't going to stop down on a f/2 lens, so I knew I would be shooting wide open for this entire shoot. The incredibly shallow depth of field made it pretty difficult to find a background that both looked interesting and was an even exposure with a strobed subject, but I settled on shooting with some industrial stands in the background.
Alienskin has been sponsoring a lot of our videos recently and I wanted to teach a few things that I hadn't before. Obviously, I was pretty heavy-handed on post-production, but, hopefully, I was able to show a few new features of Exposure X4.
Obviously, the gear used for this shoot is overkill for senior style portraits, but it's always a treat to use such an expensive and specialized lens. I'm excited to use the 200mm f/2 again in future for a more serious shoot. I may try to shoot wildlife with it.
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