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Food for thought

Posted on Sep 28, 2022

The X-H2 features a 40-megapixel sensor – a first for cameras with an APS-C sized sensor. It could well change the way you make images

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Fujifilm has upped the resolution ante with the launch of the X-H2. Previously, 40 megapixels was the preserve of full-frame sensors, but now it’s available in a more compact and lightweight body. Ania Elias was one of the first photographers to try the new camera, with its detail-rich X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor ideally suited to her indulgent food portraits. We caught up with her, finding out how she got started as a photographer and her thoughts on Fujifilm’s latest offering.

Photography News: Tell us about your background – how, when and why did you start making images?

Ania Elias: If you had told me even seven or eight years ago that I would become a professional food photographer, I would have laughed at you. I had taken occasional (very poor!) photos before, but it wasn’t anything serious.

The decisive moment came when our children were born, and I wanted to capture the precious moments in their lives. Very quickly, I was being drawn more and more towards food and its visual aspect. I’ve always been interested in food and cooking. Something about playing with it for the camera and how it is being presented really appealed to me.

Instantly, I knew it was the start of something special! It very quickly became a total obsession of mine and has remained so ever since.

PN: What are the key milestones in your career that have shaped where you are today?

ANIA: Photography constantly keeps you on your toes. Even though you may think you’ve reached a certain level and experience, there’s still so much to learn! It allows you to grow and develop skills constantly – there are no limits to how far you can go. It takes years of practice and a whole lot of failure on the way. What gives me a lot of satisfaction is looking at past work and realising how far I’ve come. That in itself provides a feeling of accomplishment.

A key milestone was winning second place in the internationally renowned Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year awards (Cream of the Crop category), and being shortlisted twice in the previous two years. This was one of the biggest moments in my career so far.

PN: When did you start working with Fujifilm cameras, and what were you using prior to X-H2?

ANIA: I’ve been using Fujifilm cameras pretty much from the beginning of my photography journey. I love the way they feel, the ergonomics, and what seems like the perfect balance between outstanding image quality and camera size.

I started with X-T20, then moved to X-T3. I’ve also worked with GFX 50S and some of its associated lenses.

PN: What did you choose to photograph with X-H2 and why?

ANIA: I made macro images – food and nature. My favourite things to photograph are raw ingredients and anything with lots of natural texture. I found X-H2 perfect for capturing the most intricate details of fresh produce in its natural state – this is a huge source of fascinating colours, shapes and patterns.

I mostly used the XF80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR macro lens when working with X-H2. It’s one of my favourites. I love the way it picks up light, and the diversity it affords me, to do really close-up shots in incredible detail, but take portraiture-style food shots as well. It gives you an opportunity to take a new look at food.

PN: What extra does X-H2 give you, compared to previous models in the X Series?

ANIA: This camera feels different – and is different – to those that I’ve used before.

First of all, it is impressively sharp, revealing things your eyes simply won’t catch. I loved the way it allowed me to capture details on food and just look at things from a completely alternative perspective – a closer one.

The freedom that comes with a high-resolution sensor opens up a whole well of creative possibilities. It allows you to not only capture more information per image and increase sharpness, but also zoom into images without ever sacrificing picture quality.

PN: What are the standout features on the camera that helped you make these images?

ANIA: With a sensor resolution of 40 megapixels, incredible image quality and stunning colour rendition, the X-H2 is a powerful system. By zooming in on luscious textures and complex areas of light and shadow, I found it ideal for creating compelling macro images.

Pixel Shift Multi-Shot mode really impressed me. It allows you to create an ultra-high-resolution image bigger than the camera’s sensor can natively capture. Working together with the in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), the camera moves the sensor in tiny increments for 20 frames, to produce an incredible image, with edge-to-edge detail up to 160 megapixels and incredibly accurate colour reproduction. Mind-blowing!

It’s a fantastic feature which improves dynamic range, increases the level of detail and reduces noise. In terms of creative possibilities, it gives you the ability to crop down to small areas without losing image quality, and delivers a significant boost when it comes to the size of print you could make.

PN: What sort of photographer do you think the camera is suited to?

ANIA: This camera is a game-changer, and I think it will appeal to both hobbyists and professionals, as well as anyone who appreciates a super high-resolution camera and detailed images.

With its weather-sealed body and wide dynamic range, the new X-H2 will definitely tempt those who are into any type of macro or landscape photography. With the amount of detail captured, it is also perfect for large prints – think of all the possibilities!

Perhaps most importantly, the X-H2 did something I wasn’t expecting. By expanding the creative possibilities that lie within ordinary subjects, this camera changed the way I look at things in a new and exciting way.

For more information, visit Fujifilm’s website.

Appears in Issue 101 of Photography News. Read the full publication here.

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