Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? Part III: The Five Stop-effective Optical Image Stabilization System « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? Part III: The Five Stop-effective Optical Image Stabilization System

What’s Up?

I am on my way to Tokyo. I will likely have good internet access every day. I get home late on 28 FEB.

My flight from Orlando to LAX was a piece of cake. I am on the plane to Japan now but still on the ground — it is 11:10am Pacific time as I type. On Tuesday, 7 FEB. I am girding myself for the long leg πŸ™‚ I’ll be in touch when I get to the Tokyo hotel. We are scheduled to land at 4:35 Tokyo time on Wednesday 8 FEB. Be well and have fun.

Hey, I am really excited. Regular readers know that I have long done The Work of Byron Katie in an effort to bring more peace into my hectic life. I took a huge step yesterday by signing up for the March 2017 School for The Work in Ojai, CA. At this nine day workshop I will fulfill a lifelong dream by getting to give Katie (as everyone calls her) a big hug. After seven years of beating myself up after the death of my beloved wife Elaine Belsky Morris, doing The Work brought me peace and I have always wanted to thank her personally. The Work: who would you be without your story? I hope to find out in March πŸ™‚

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 453!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 453 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

This image was created down by the lake at Indian Lake Estates with the truly hand held Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens with the Fujifilm XF 2x TC WR Teleconverter (at 800mm–effective 1200mm) with the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with the Power Booster Grip. ISO 800. Pattern metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/400 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB.

Shutter Button Continuous Autofocus. Additional AF information is unavailable.

Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? Part II

For this image I was truly hand holding with no additional support except for my two arms and hands. In order to get almost on sun angle I needed to walk into a foot of water with my boots on. Such dedication. You can see by the shadow of the bird’s head that I was at least 15 degrees short of head angle but the bird cooperated with a good head angle that negated potential serious problems.

Getting Close

In most situations you cannot simply walk up to a Black Vulture (except at Anhinga Trail). But for this image, the bird was sitting on a sign that was in two feet of water … The water gave the bird a sense of protection. As photographers, knowing that can help us quite a bit.

The Five Stop-effective Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)

The Fujifilm/Fujinon 5-stop OIS system is quite amazing. Being able to produce sharp images with moderate shutter speeds while hand holding a relatively lightweight 1200mm effective focal length rig is quite amazing. Especially since it is difficult to find the subject in the viewfinder and then to keep the image properly framed. Hand holding my Canon 600 II with the 2X III TC in place without any additional support is simply impossible for me to do because of the weight. And I am pretty sure that I have not even pushed the envelope all the way yet …

As mentioned here previously, one of the weird things about the 5-stop Optical Stabilization system is that as far as I can figure, the stabilization does not go into effect until the the shutter button is pressed, just like IS Mode 3 with the newer Canon lenses. With the XT-2’s 1.5 crop factor this makes framing difficult especially when working with very long effective focal lengths (such as 1200mm); you are trying to keep the bird in the frame but the image is jumping all over the place (unless the bird cooperatively decides to stand stock still as in today’s featured image).

Flight and Action

For me, photographing birds in flight and in action with a 2X teleconverter with a Canon 500 or 600mm series II lens on a tripod is difficult but do-able. With the Fujinon/Fujifilm gear that I used to create today’s featured image photographing birds in flight and in action with the 2X teleconverter in place is pretty much not possible due to the very slow speed of initial focusing acquisition. By the time the system acquires focus either the bird has is no longer in the frame or the action is over. In addition, the AF system may have trouble tracking the action. If you have had success with flight or action using the 2X TC with the Fujinon 100-400 lens I would love to hear from you and see a few images.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT
Monday July 3 through Monday July 10, 2017: $5999: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 6). Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and BPN co-owner, BPN Photography Gear Forum Moderator, and long-time BAA Webmaster Peter Kes.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12. (We may opt to stay in Edinburgh on the night of July 11.) Price and details should be finalized at least six months before the trip but you will need to be a bit patient. It would be ideal if I can get all the work done by the end of September so that folks can arrange their flights then.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to β€œArthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

10 comments to Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? Part III: The Five Stop-effective Optical Image Stabilization System

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    I have noticed that for the last few months that the first camera advertised by B&H at the top of your blog is the new Olympus OMD EM1 Mark 11. The Olympus f4 300mm lens is said to be their sharpest lens and the combination will also take a 1.4 converter. Weight will be an issue for me with a top Canon combination. Given your comments about BIF above I thought the reported 15 frames/second or up to 60 frames/second (RAW!) would have drawn your attention.

    A light weight hand-holdable 840mm with lots of reported features needs an expert bird photographer to give it a really good run. Any chance your good friends at B&H could supply you with this set-up? They have been pushing it up front on your blog for many weeks now. Being a micro 4/3 with a 2x crop factor one would suspect that IQ could not be up to DSLR standards. However the combination of reported features would put me “in the hunt” with a set-up that I could easily carry. Demos on the web of BIF have not been done by bird photographers but some against “busy” backgrounds are eye-catching.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Neil,

      I did try the OMD 1 I think a while back. It could not even focus on someone walking much less a bird in flight πŸ™ That at the time with me doing my best …


  • Can you recall to which one of the 5 AF-C Custom focus-tracking Settings your X-T2 was set for the BIF trial w. the 2x tc?

    Also what AF Mode (Single/Zone/Wide-Tracking), etc.?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Not sure and unfortunately there is no software that can help with any of that (as far as I know).
      In any case, the stuff has been returned. I would not be averse to trying it again somewhere down the road.

      later and thanks and love,


      ps: with the 2X in place I would only be using single point …

  • Thank you Guru for presenting a capture with different setup. Wonderful shot indeed.

    This description wasn’t clear to me: “Shutter Button Continuous Autofocus. Additional AF information is unavailable.”

    Could you to kindly educate me on this?

    Thank you in advance.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW. I used Shutter Button AF with Continuous AF that is the same as AI Servo with Canon and C for Nikon. The problem is that there is no software that can show you either the AF mode or the selected or active AF points, not even the Fujifilm software that converts the RAC files. That is a bad situation for anyone trying to learn or to teach about the AF system πŸ™‚


  • Its a hard life being a Wildlife Photographer, some body has got to do.

    Best wishes and have a great shoot in Japan



  • avatar Curt Folkstedt

    You say that the OIS is not working before you press the shutter. I have the X-T2 and the 100-400 and I have the stabilized view all the time without pressing the shutter. In the menu under “shooting setting” choose “IS mode”, and there you can choose between “continuous” and “shooting only”. Choose the “continuous” mode! If that doesn’t help your camera must be faulty.