This combo is not fast. For one, the lens – the new 56mm from Fuji – is not equipped with a linear motor as many of the newer Fuji lenses are; it bears a DC coreless motor. While it’s not quite as noisy and clunky in its focusing movements as older DC coreless motors, it’s still not up to the quiet linear motors we are coming to expect from new Fuji lenses. For two, the camera is an old camera model – originally released in 2013 – and while it’s a mirrorless model, it doesn’t offer have the newest autofocus capabilities like eye-tracking, doesn’t have a touch screen, and doesn’t offer an optical viewfinder, just a few features that can speed up the process of picking up an subject and snapping a well-exposed, in-focus image.

Another hurdle of the X-M1 compared to modern mirrorless cameras is that it doesn’t offer a preview of your exposure and white balance as part of the live view on the back screen. However, once you half-press the shutter button and the camera gains focus, then the back screen will give you a preview of the exposure. So, at that time, you might want to adjust your exposure settings and try again. The image above was shot indoors in a dimly lit entry space of the Millard Sheets Art Center and I had to snap off a few exposures before I had everything dialed in. Fortunately, this couple, attending the Kwanzaa event, was patient and waited for me to get the shot together.

This combo works, when the photographer is on his or her game and the exposure is dialed in, and I would chalk that up to a pleasing way that the camera renders skin tones and textures, coupled with the gentle and pleasing bokeh of the background. I asked the DJ for the event (brother of the event organizer, Chara) to pose for a photo and I love this shot so much! One, he’s charismatic and friendly. Two, this looks like a shot from a movie with the smooth, even rendering of light on the face – even though this was taken directly in harsh midday sunlight.

In monochrome mode with the black and white film simulation selected, the portraits come out sharp and pleasing. These three images really pop with the contrast of the skin tones against the light colored plaster walls of the courtyard behind them. The skin almost has an airbrushed quality to it, yet when you zoom in, the image retains the details of the skin’s texture, just rendered softly and without a lot of contrast so the skin appears super smooth.

The 16 MP sensor, a first generation or X-Trans I sensor, really complements people’s skins. I love the friendly smiles of these two participants, complemented by the soft lighting of the covered patio.

I love the natural, engaged smile from one of the event’s presenters as she chats with another attendee during a break. Again, pleasing skin tones from the X-Trans I sensor, and a soft, gentle rendering of the background from the 56mm lens.

Finally, a couple of shots of event organizer, Chara. She did a great job organizing all the resources from speakers, musicians and vendors to bring this annual event to the community, and I loved being a part of it as the event photographer, documenting this part of the life of the community.

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