While the two rarely photograph weddings together, the business is run as a team. Since going full-time in 2009, the number of weddings has varied from 40 to 70 per year, and the majority of the weddings involve a flight somewhere.
Stylistically, Nordica believes the best results come from telling it like it is. The art happens in recognizing the moments when the setting, subject and mood are in sync and the real story unfolds naturally, without being contrived.
The first mirrorless body that sold me on using Fujifilm for weddings was the X-T1. At the time, the ergonomics had me hooked. It felt like the perfect camera body for wedding photography. One you could handle without thinking about for a 14-hour wedding. Ever since, the X-T system has been my workhorse body.
With meaningful growth from the beginnings through to the X-T5, I have hands-on history. Most of my favourite photos are with an X-T camera. After using the X-T5 for the first time in the Dolomites, I have no doubts my future favourites will be too.
The Dolomites project challenged our team with the task of using this yet unseen body. So the morning of the shoot was my first introduction to this new camera.
So new, in fact, I wondered if Capture One would accept the RAW files, which seemed unlikely. That unknown meant I had to nail everything in camera. The straight-out-of-camera JPEGs might be the only files available to me. So I set it to Classic Chrome, my go-to for landscape-centric locations, and off we went.
We began with surreal conditions. Our hike was lit by a glorious full moon without a cloud in the sky. This was ideal to get cracking with the high-ISO and low-light focus capabilities of the X-T5. For wedding photographers, these are two key components when evaluating a camera system. How will the body perform at dark receptions when there’s almost no light, and flash isn’t an option?
First impression using the light of the moon: outstanding. The X-T5 was snappy without any hunting for focus. So out of the gates (or box, in this case), I felt confident and impressed. The moon test was a perfect starting point for what was to come later in the day.
As we continued our morning hike at Tre Cime, it was exciting to put the X-T5 to the next test with backlit situations. When photographing portraits, those precious first moments of sunrise light are the best. It does pose a significant challenge for some bodies though. Catching focus with backlit sun isn’t always a great combo. These backlit portraits can backfire and leaving you with a dud.
Yet again, the X-T5 nailed it. The autofocus was instant, and a big jump from previous X-T bodies. Additionally, I was curious how much of the image would be blown out by the sun. The in-camera histogram showed that almost all the highlights held up, which is rare in that light. Ever rarer with an X-body.
Moonlit and backlit, the X-T5 was on fire. Solid start, and an exciting feeling knowing that this was going to be a special day.
Rarely when I photograph do I pay attention to the screen. I may as well be using an X-Pro3 because the screen is not a tool I use. That changed with the X-T5. In the Dolomites, I found myself using the 3-way tilt screen in a variety of situations, particularly for AF. For instance, I framed Moa between two distant mountain peaks. It had to be in a way so that the peaks lead to her in the middle without the horizon lines cutting her off. The only way to do this was by holding the camera high above with the screen swivelled and assisting. A quick view afterwards with the intuitive touch screen, and it was refreshing to have as an extra tool.
With the day starting that smoothly, it later occurred to me that I stopped thinking about the camera for a period of time. That might be strange to read in a camera review, but it’s a compliment. To stop thinking about the camera means things are going well. The X-T5 relieved me from overthinking things, because everything was so close to perfection. Right down to the battery life – I used one battery the entire day.
As our Dolomite adventure was nearing the end, we had ideal conditions at the Giau Pass. From flawless focusing, natural handling, and improved touch-screen, the X-T5 was delivering. Then, while photographing the couple at sunset, in the back of my mind the JPEG dilemma crept up again. Would Capture One read the files? As I glanced at the files on the back of the camera, the images looked as close to perfect as I could have hoped for. Could SOOC JPEGs highlight the best this camera has to offer? Definitely.
Post-shoot, the files did make their way into Capture One and were far better than I could have imagined. These files sung. It’s the closest I’ve seen to a medium-format file that you would normally expect from a GFX body, yet with the air of an X-system. From flawless handling through to impeccable files, the X-T5 peaks at one crowning achievement: Putting photography first.