Grayson Lauffenburger

X-Pert 53 Interview

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Grayson Lauffenburger Is a professional Photographer From Berlin, Germany. He Has A Passion For Shooting people and got punched in the face by an italian guy in scotland once. 

Grayson is a formidable photographer who utilises the Fuji-X Series cameras and their lenses in remarkable ways. In particular, his XF35mm work has caused quite a buzz on the _53mm_ Instagram feed with many hailing him as a firm favourite and source of much inspiration for their own 53mm work. He employs a striking understanding of composition and a brilliant colour palette comprehension to help create his many stand out shots. His love for 'people' photography clearly stands out in his work and his series of shots of his fiancee are superb. It's a great pleasure to have join the X-pert 53 roster of photographers and I have no doubt that his words as well as his photographs will continue to inspire us all. His interview concentrates on the Fuji XF35mm f/1.4 in partciular.

Here is Grayson's X-pert 53.

1. What Genre Of Photography Do You Specialise In?

I specialize primarily in fashion and portraiture of different varieties. Anything with people really and I’m down.

2. Why Do You Like Using The XF35mm Lenses?

I like using the XF 35mm f2 because its essentially a perfect lens. Obviously there is no perfect lens, but for my needs I have found very few lenses that deserve that title more. It’s small, light, sharp, fast focusing, and weather sealed. Plus I’m a huge fan of a 50ish millimetre lens for my portrait work which makes this an obvious choice.

3. What Do You Like Photographing The Best With Your XF35mm Lens/Lenses? Why Your Choice?

I most enjoy getting reasonably close up portraits of people. I like shooting the lens wide open and even though it isn’t the widest of apertures and it is mounted to an APS-C sensor, you an get really nice subject isolation. I like close portraits (i do a lot with the 23mm f1.4 as well) and the 35mm gives me a nice subject to background ratio when shooting environmentals plus some soft backgrounds which I am a fan of. I also dabble in some really close up portraits of people with this lens. 

Why Your Choice?

It has a super short minimum focus distance which allows me to get basically just a face in the frame and although 35mm isn’t necessarily a classical tight portrait focal length, i enjoy playing with the little bits of distortion i get from it.

4. Do You Shoot Professionally With The XF35mm Lenses?

Most of my professional work requires that I shoot tethered into capture one which limits how much I can use my Fuji system on professional jobs but for any job or shoot where I don’t need to be tied to my computer, the Fuji system gets the nod. And if I am shooting Fuji, the 35mm will most definitely be used. 

5. Fuji XF35mm F/1.4 Or Fuji XF35 F/2? Why Your Choice?

I have only ever used the f2 version.

Why Your Choice?

I hear some great things about the f1.4 version as well but for me, I find quicker focusing, weather sealing, and silent operation more important than an extra stop of light and a bit more background blur.

6. How Often Do You Reach For Your XF35mm Lens/Lenses?

The 35mm is my walk around lens. If I want to travel as light as possible and be able to shoot both wider and closer up portraits, this is the only lens that fits my workflow. My 23mm is slightly too wide to get tight with and my 16-55 is just too heavy for a low-key walk-around lens. So I grab the 35. 

7. Could You Live With Just An XF35mm Lens In Your Photography Bag?

Hmm…. I could, if forced to, do the vast majority of my work with the 35. Do I want to? Not particularly. It’s undoubtedly a great lens and very versatile for what it offers but it does also obviously have its limitations and sometimes I need something more, whether it be a longer focal length, a shorter foal length, wider aperture, etc.

8. Do You Like To Use Available Light Or Studio Light With Your XF35mm Lens/Lenses?

When shooting with my Fuji stuff (I also shoot nikon in studio) I’m almost exclusively using natural light. The biggest advantage of the Fuji system for me is its portability and, according, I like taking my kit outside and doing work in environmental settings when I can. If i can get away with it, I will take just an xpro2 body and the 35 and I always get the shots I want. The weather sealing is a plus too and I like to test Fujis weather sealing claims from time to time. I know the Fuji system is a fully capable studio system but I think it’s real virtue lies in its portability and the opportunities that provides.

9. What Fuji-X Camera Body Do You Prefer To Use The XF35mm Lenses On? Why Your Choice?

I primarily use the xpro2.

Why Your Choice?

I have an xt1 as well but I just like the xpro2 more for whatever reason. I guess it's weird because I literally never use the optical view finder (which apparently is the reason to get the xpro2?) but the body just appeals to me more. I’ll use the xt1 from time to time as well but it’s more just because I think it will be fun to play with the tillable screen for a little while. My go-to camera though is undoubtedly the xpro2.

10.Do You Have Any Favourite Photographs Using The XF35mm Lenses?

Yeah, one or two. 

11.Finish This Line: The Fuji XF35mm f/1.4 Lens is… 

...strong with the force. 

Iain Palmer

Abundant Magazine