April 28, 2024

Mexico with Courtney

Portraits, Travel, Fuji X-T4, Family

Choosing Digital over Film

I brought film on this trip. Six rolls of FujiColor 200, and my EOS 1N. However, My X-T4 just always seemed to be in my hand. It could be my recent obsession with Fuji Recipes (thanks @rossandhisjpegs - https://youtu.be/hILGXazm1x4?si=sM5vbhco-hKp2IHk) or the sheer convenience of being able to shoot high quality JPEGs and be confident sharing the images in the least number of steps. If I can shoot with the exact look I want right in camera to begin with, then I don't need Lightroom at all. And for me that's perfect for vacation photography.

So I left the film in the hotel room and wandered around the resort on our first day capturing some of the amazing architecture and ambience at Paradisus Cancun.

Paradisus, cancun

We booked this vacation five months ago, back in November. It was a Black Friday deal from Sunwing.ca. Originally looking to book for December, we got such an amazing deal on this place but we had to wait until the end of April. The months came and went. And finally, it was April. And wow, this place was really really nice and worth the wait lol. It had such beautiful architecture I was literally in awe just standing in the main atrium. Like, it even calls it an atrium instead of just the lobby.

The Gear

I had with me, my Fuji X-T4 and Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens. The 35 is pretty beat up. There's dust between the elements and the metal is all scratched up. It's been my workhorse lens for years. And that's all I used.

The Fuji Recipe I used was created by @rossandhisjpegs called Rust Roamer. See the link above. I made two tweaks to this recipe--first I increased the DR to 400% because there was a lot of contrast coming from the sunlight. And also, I made the grain strong and large. I wanted to see a lot of grain in these images as I like that look, and didn't want to do anything to the photos afterwards.

All of the shots in this post are straight out of camera JPEGs from my X-T4.

Overexposing in bright sunlight

This recipe really shines at +1 2/3rd stops. Just shy of +2. Somehow the highlights stay contained, and have a very gentle roll off with this camera. With my grain settings at their maximum, nothing actually seems to clip in the highlights. And I love the saturated look you get in the shadows. Don't be afraid to push your exposure with this recipe. You may be surprised at the amount of detail in your JPEGs.

I really love shooting this lens wide open. At least between f/1.4-f/2.8. I'll stop down to f/5.6 or f/8 for landscapes or if I need all round sharpness (any smaller and the dust in my lens becomes noticeable lol), but generally I love the look of shooting wide open. A big advantage of this camera is how easily it handles its shutter options. My cameras are almost always set to a hybrid of Mechanical + Electronic shutter, where it will use the mechanical shutter up to 1/8000 sec, and automatically use an electronic shutter for anything higher than that, up to its maximum of (I think) 1/32,000 sec. I know there are disadvantages to shooting this way, mainly some rolling shutter artifacts, and, I'm not entire certain on this but possibly a lower dynamic range? Anyway, I don't notice the rolling shutter because this camera has built in stabilization and I'm rarely shooting fast-moving subjects. Shooting this way allows me to shoot with wide apertures in bright sunlight without even thinking twice about it (and without ND filters).

Shot by Courtney Whitelaw