Speaking Up For The Much-Maligned

dscf7169I am  Fujifilm user and take a keen interest in items and techniques associated with this brand name. It is not a new thing – I started using their compact camera the X10 in 2012 and have added more cameras and lenses to my outfit since – while simultaneously selling off the other digital cameras I used and the accumulated film cameras that had fallen into disuse.

I have not regretted it, as I have been able to structure the Fujifilm outfit to cover all the fields that I am interested in. It’s not been a direct swap for other things – I have had to learn especial ways of configuring or operating the mirrors camera system to get the same performance as the DSLR it replaced. But there are new things that can be done, and done better.

However, keen as I am on the Fujifilm cameras and lenses, I have been amongst the many people who have protested that there is no professional flash system that works with it. The three Fuji speedlight flashes on offer up to now have been seen severely limited in scope – and largely I accepted this assessment. I had come from the Metz 45-series thyristor flashes and the Nikon SB 700 ‘s and appreciated their power and versatility.

Well, maybe I was right and maybe I was wrong – and a day out today with a new flash modifier might just be reconciling me to the present equipment. I use the EF 42 flashes for car and dance shows. Now I think they will be suitable for wedding and event portraiture work as well.dscf7254The new accessories that make this possible are the Mag Mod grips and diffusers. I invested in a rubber holder for one of the EF 42’s and tried it out with the Mag Mod globe. I was filling in harsh morning sunshine on parked cars and trying to illustrate their interiors from just outside the cars.dscf7252 dscf7253Normally you can throw quite a blast of light into the shadows that form around grillwork but the interiors either have harsh shadows or white out if you are using the flash. Closed windows are a nuisance that needs special treatment. It would appear that the Mag Mod globe acts very much like a Garry Fong Lightsphere, but with an even softer throw. The Fongs are good, but they are heavy, and the revolving joint of the EF42 is not strong enough to hold them out sideways. Fortunately even with the rubber mounting, the Mag Mod is light enough to do just that and one can hold the camera vertical with the flash shooting upwards quite easily.dscf7258Some workers have complained about the control system on the EF42 as being too complex to work out. I thought so too, until I read the instruction book (!) and discovered that the changes that I need to make to the operation are all encompassed in about four pushes of the buttons.  The complaint about slow recycling times is instantly addressed with lithium batteries, and the fact that it has a plastic attachment foot is the only niggle left.

When you consider the fact that the much-vaunted EF-500 flash that will be coming out  has been predicted to cost some $ 600-$800 and looks to have features that are not going to be needed, I think I can learn to live with the limitations of the current pair. If I need more distant power, Mag Mod seem to have a tele-vorsatz concentrator that will boost the power. Plus they make filters and gobos for speedlights.

And I shall not be sad to see the days of velcro attachments cease.

Heading Image: The fabulous Bolly Rich from the Free Spirit Gypsies. Taken with the Fujifilm X-E2, 18mm f:2 lens, Ef-42 flash and Mag Mod Scoop.


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