Karen Hutton is an International Landscape and Travel Photographer, Artist, Speaker, Author, Educator, and Voice. Through stunning imagery, humor, thought-provoking ideas and a genuinely positive outlook, she inspires people to discover their artistic voice in photography — while making it all feel like an unforgettable and eye-opening adventure. Photography has been a part of her life from inception. She’s widely followed in social media and her voice has been heard around the world in commercials, narrations, apps, trains, tutorials and television.
As well as being a Professional Fujifilm X-Photographer, Karen creates online courses and leads photography workshops/retreats in the U.S. and Europe focused upon Storytelling, Seeing Photographically, Finding Your Artistic Voice and the Power of Awe and creates online courses for Kelbyone. Her articles have been translated into multiple languages and she speaks all over the country about photography and inspiration. She is also featured in a short documentary film about her approach to photography, created by Smugmug. Her adoring fans + customers have called her “Pure JOY, LIGHT & absolute FUN!”, “An inspirational gem” and “Incredibly artistic. Captivatingly genius. World class!” Karen believes deeply that finding your truest voice and “living life as if it were your art” is of the highest calling. That when you let it in, light, artistry and creativity flood everywhere, pouring through life’s nooks and Guilty pleasures? When she’s not traveling the world, you can find her watching epic movie trailers, crunching popcorn at the latest superhero blockbuster and sipping Bulletproof coffee.
“The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart.” – Robert Schumann
Karen Hutton revels in FUJIFILM X-T5’s stunning resolution as she turns nature into art
The West Coast of the US is mythic in its splendor – serving, for many, as a symbol of wonderment. State to state, scene to scene, its beauty shifts like the seasons. Within such a canvas, Karen Hutton has been exploring the delights of a new creative tool. In the capable hands of this traveling creator, FUJIFILM X-T5 has found a home in the natural world.
“My first Fujifilm camera was X-T10, and X-T5 is not unlike that size. It’s so compact and lightweight. If you hike a lot, like me, that’s a perfectly sized body to take with you,” Karen begins. “Of course, the capabilities inside are absolutely phenomenal.”
Despite housing many of FUJIFILM X-H2’s cutting-edge stills specs, including the 40.2-megapixel sensor, X-T5 takes a step back in size compared to its predecessor. The finest image quality from an X Series camera to date – in a comfortable daily carry – is unsurprisingly attractive for Karen, but also for those working in countless other genres. True to form, tactile control dials have been retained, leaving drive mode, shutter speed, ISO, and more within physical reach.
“My whole nervous system is based on muscle memory,” Karen states, speaking on a personal love of the build. “I don’t like to menu dive. I want to be able to adjust what I need immediately. It lets me stay in the creative side of my brain. If I have to look for a setting, I’ve got to stop what I’m doing, thinking, and creating just to deal with it. That’s always been one of the things I love most about Fujifilm, and this camera is no exception. It has set dials for features everyone controls often, then I use the programmable buttons for settings specific to my needs. It just works!”
On more technological fronts, the capabilities of this camera cannot be overstated. It sets a new benchmark in resolution for X Series and the APS-C format. The quest for greater detail has been unending since the dawn of digital photography, and for high-level creators like Karen, X-T5 marks a revolutionary new era.
“When I began to edit the images I’d created, seeing they were over 7700 pixels on the long edge, I was astounded. With newer lenses, like XF30mmF2.8 R LM WR Macro, the difference is even more noticeable, but the resolution is incredible no matter what optic is attached.
“The trickle-down in quality from the GFX System is obvious. It’s totally upped the game on these newer X Series cameras. A 40.2-megapixel sensor is a huge benefit for me, because a lot of my work is printed big.”
When a suitably static scene can be found, there’s even greater resolution to be had. In Pixel Shift Multi-Shot mode, X-T5 collects a series of incrementally different images, later combined into a single 160-megapixel file. It’s an avenue Karen is excited to explore, when documenting still, rocky landscapes to come.
Thankfully for the many creatives who have grown to love X Series’ characterful, film-like image quality, plenty of added pixels haven’t led to unpleasantly sharp results.
“If a photograph is too perfect, it loses a little bit of what makes it special,” Karen continues. “The thing I love about Fujifilm is that, somehow, they’ve managed to retain soul in these images, as well as a massive amount of detail. Subjects can be perfectly sharp, as they should be in an epic landscape – but it’s much more than that. The sensor offers detailed color, tonal range and depth, micro-contrast, and all of it plays together.”
When choosing how to present the nuanced beauty of nature, such rich quality is invaluable to Karen. As she notes, results do not always directly require sharpness, but a fuller, more complete sense of detail.
“Some subjects – certainly those towards the macro end of the spectrum – I don’t want to document in deep focus, so they feel intimate, authentic, and real,” she notes. “I want the image to play the way your eye works, which is to focus on one thing at a time and let the rest of the detail fall away. That’s bokeh, in terms of technically describing an image. But how it affects the viewer’s brain, and shapes their experience, is its own thing entirely. Big, epic images are fun because we don’t see life that way. But image quality is still important outside of that, when there’s desire to express subjects in a more human way.”
Alongside its X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor, X-T5 is equipped with Fujifilm’s fifth-generation processor. The powerful pairing unlocks all-new potential beyond the final image itself, helping to shape the creation process for the better. Staggering maximum shutter speeds of 1/180,000 sec can be achieved, as well as extended sensitivity down to ISO 64.
“I like to photograph handheld as much as I can,” Karen enthuses. “While I do need to rely on a tripod sometimes, my creativity simply flows more without one. There’s something purely enjoyable about the handheld experience. A faster shutter speed is perfect for that – especially with certain subject matter.
“Both factors are also great for really bright situations,” she continues. “Sometimes, it’s a challenge to move to faster apertures if shutter speed only stretches to 1/4000 sec and you can’t go lower than ISO 200. Expanding both makes the camera much more versatile. I don’t believe only professionals will benefit from such features, because many creatives want to manage those settings more carefully, but ultimately it makes X-T5 feel like even more of a professional camera.”
With the next leg of her creative journey set to begin, Karen may well have found a lifelong companion.
“It’s imperfect to compare two different systems, but X-T5 comes closer to GFX in terms of the breadth and depth of its capability. This release is a significant step up for smaller-format X Series cameras.
“I’m an artist through and through, but I know many photographers are more technical. A camera is a paintbrush to me. In that sense, I view all these features as expanded creative potential. Instead of having to pull out another brush, I have one that does everything – and does it well.
“Whether you want the simplest controls, or prefer to dig in and customize features, FUJIFILM X-T5 is as simple or complex as you want it to be. Either way, they are different paths to world-class results.”