Capturing the Chinese New Year with my new Fujifilm X-S10

Performance, Chinese New Year 2023 - Austin, Texas

Performance, Chinese New Year 2023 – Austin, Texas

I mentioned yesterday that I used my Fujifilm 50mm f1.0 lens at this year’s Chinese New Year Celebration. I bought it primarily for portraiture in dark conditions, which I experienced during my Drink and Click sessions. So using it here in bright conditions is a departure and an experiment.

I also recently purchased a new camera, the Fujifilm X-S10. I picked it up in December and secretly posted two Christmas tree pictures during the holiday season. Incidentally, people who subscribed to my free monthly magazine knew about my latest gadget months ago.

The Fuji X-S10 has most of the features I want in a small package. Of course, it could be better, but it fits my needs out of Fuji’s current line of cameras, including my critical in-body image stabilization. However, on this bright sunny day in January, there was no need for stabilization. Instead, I had the opposite problem — hitting the maximum shutter speed.

Performance, Chinese New Year 2023 - Austin, Texas

These colorful images of the celebration may not look out of the ordinary, but that’s not the case. I shot all of these photos at f1.0, wide open, which brings in copious amounts of light on an already sunny day. While the primary subject is in sharp focus, notice how the background blurs away because a lens at f1.0 creates this extremely shallow depth of field.

Performance, Chinese New Year 2023 - Austin, Texas

The challenge, however, is setting a shutter speed fast enough to tame all that incoming light. The X-S10’s mechanical shutter maxes out at 1/4000 of a second — which is much too slow. Even the higher-end models only go up to 1/8000 of a second. So I enabled the electronic shutter for the first time.

Traditionally, electronic shutters don’t work well for fast action — you get strange warping distortions caused by a rolling shutter due to sensors with a slow readout. Luckily, the Fuji S-X10 has a fast sensor readout which significantly reduced these distortions — something I didn’t know about the camera. So you see no odd warping in the fast-moving blades during the martial arts demonstrations, for example.

Performance, Chinese New Year 2023 - Austin, Texas

The electronic shutter and an f1.0 aperture created a unique look for this year’s Chinese New Year festivities. For reference, the shutter speeds were 1/11000s, 1/16000s, 1/23000s, and 1/32000s for these images from top to bottom. Hard to believe, but it’s true.

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