X100F: Soft Negative Faces
Being a glass half-full kinda guy (well, most of the time), I've always considered the well-known softness of the X100 line (at f2) an asset—part of the camera's personality if you will. We shoot with Dianas and plastic Lensbaby gear for effect, so why not use these similar characteristic when it fits the context? If I need sharpness I just stop down—typically f2.8 is fine. Since the X100F sports the same lens, I thought I'd do a quick session to exploit, even intensify the trait. So 1) all portraits were shot wide open and 2) I doubled-down with the following in-camera settings:
- NR -4
- Sharpness -4
- Highlights -2
- Shadows -2
I shot JPEG using the Pro Neg Standard simulation, straight to square format. Now, at that aperture and distance my strobes would normally be much too strong—not so with the X100F: I switched on the ND filter AND set my shutter speed to 1/1000s. The high shutter speed had a double effect: killing all ambient (f2 lets in a lot of light) but also further dropping the power output of the strobes (yes, there IS a drop once you get at those synching speeds). All of this only possible thanks to the camera's leaf shutter, obviously. I also used zone focus and eye recognition to move things along. In terms of lighting, I diffused the hell out of an Elinchrom Deep Octa: both baffles plus the deflector. One light, camera left, close to the subject. Images were processed in Lightroom CC.
A few minutes with the kids after school, a very bad imitation of La Castafiore (trust me)...Done :)