Macro Photography with the Fujifilm X-T1

While I now regularly work with the Fujifilm X-T2, looking back through the archives the other day, I thought it might be of interest to some shooters on how I shoot (shot) some macro photography with the X-T1, an adaptor, and a Sigma macro lens.

I really appreciate working with manual lenses on the X-T1, as it’s brought an entire range of my tools back to life. However, because of the need for an adaptor ring between the camera and the lens, all electronic data (e.g. auto-focus, metering, etc.) is lost. What this means is that you have to manually calculate ISO (film speed), Aperture (how open the blades inside the lens are — those that control how much light hits the sensor), and shutter speed (how slow or fast the shutter stays open, thus effecting how much light gets to the sensor). Talk about nu-skool meets old school. The art of analogue with the tech of today.

When you start adding artificial light, e.g. flash units, I always start with low ISO (200 in this case), a large(r) aperture (f/8 — f11), and and the shutter speed depends on how much ambient or back lighting you want coming into the image. The problem here is this combination of speed and size. Because of the default view settings with the Fuji, what you see through the viewfinder exactly what the sensor will see. All fine and dandy…when you’re calculating for 1/32 and 1/64 powered flashes. These flashes will light up your subject, and you’ll have a perfectly lit scene with proper lighting balance.

However … Because the camera is set up to receive a large amount of light when the shutter is opened, it’s calibrated for this blast. When the flashes are not on, the viewfinder registers a dark image. The fix for this is in the menu:

Setup->Screen Setting->Preview EXP./WB in manual mode.

Sigma 18–50mm Macro and Generic Nikon->Fujifilm mount

Now that we’re able to see what’s what, it’s time to dial in the settings. For the ring shot above, I used one speedlight and softbox combo as my key light, the light that will be illuminating the subject, and one smaller speedlight to light up the background, providing that “seamless” look.

I used two sheets of white paper and some books to hold up the background. Simple, easy, effective.

Tools used: