Cantonese Opera with Fujifilm X-T1 & X100S - Joe Ng
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2014-05-02

It is my second time covering the Vancouver Cantonese Opera performance at the Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby, British Columbia. The difference this time is that I wanted to shoot solely with my Fujifilm gear for this assignment. So I carried the Fujifilm X100S, X-T1 with 35mm, 55-200mm lenses and a bag of batteries. One of my key goals is to find out how the X-T1 autofocus responding in low light situation and accuracy. Especially the face detection feature. The x100s and X-T1 with 35mm are mainly covering the backstage and makeup activities.


Applying makeup for a Cantonese opera usually takes a long and specialized process of 2 to 3 hours. The “white and red face” is one of the most common styles. This style is created by applying white foundation and a red color around the eyes that fades to the bottom of the cheeks. It is one of the fundamental skills that the performers have to learn and practice. I enjoy shooting this kind of activity in order to capture the different moments.

Every character has a specific costume that corresponds to the theme of the play and their role. This play reflects a time of war and involves a bit of romance. While shooting the play, I realized the intricate details that were put into the costumes by the costume designers.

Working with manual focus is natural to me, so I leave the X100S on manual focus all time. Regarding the X-T1, it works perfectly fine at the backstage and front stage with autofocus all time. I toggle the face detection on and off frequently, and it would be great if the information embedded into the RAW file could indicate whether or not face detection was applied.

Overall, I was quite satisfied with the performance of the x100s and X-T1 with 35mm lens. As you can see from the photos, the 35mm f1.4 lens rendered lots of details of the subjects. I have left the EXIF embedded in all the photos so that you can find out all the details if you would like to. All photos are captured in RAW, as I am a RAW shooter, and processed by Lightroom v5.4 with the Fujifilm Astia profile.

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