Some years back, I posted a work to Stock Libraries quite regularly. It’s always been my intention to return to this activity when time allowed. Most of the work I posted at that time was shot using a Canon 5D MkII with L series lenses and I hardly ever had a problem with images being rejected.
Then came my switch to Micro 43 cameras, which was a turning point. For some reason the reject rate started to rise. Looking at the image submissions and problems logged, I couldn’t understand what was happening. Even now, looking back at some of the examples I still can’t see the problems that were reported. Ultimately this has made me nervous about restarting submissions, especially using the Fuji X-T2. Now before my Fuji readers begin to complain and defend the camera, I need to explain why I’m concerned.
Firstly, I always shoot in RAW format and then process my files to images in Lightroom. When I first started using a Fuji camera, Lightroom wasn’t a great converter for the X-Trans files. In fact, if you search the internet you will find lots of comments about the “watercolour effect” and “wiggly worm pattern”. Whilst there has been a distinct improvement in Lightroom performance, the resulting image files “look different”. In some cases, the difference may even cause you to call into question the sharpness of the image. This concerns me as it could cause the images to be rejected.
Secondly, whilst Fuji has some great lenses in its line-up, the 18-135 isn’t known as one of them. In fact, its come in for a lot of criticism in the photography press. It was also one of the first lenses I used with the X-T1 and guess what, that lens was poor and I ultimately returned it. I now have another of these lenses and I love it. It’s a great lens when out walking and whilst not as sharp as my other lenses, I think it performs well. It certainly gets full marks for versatility. Despite all the positives, making stock library submissions with images shot using this lens makes me nervous.
Finally, I have switched from processing images on a PC using a 23” HD resolution monitor to using a 27” 5K Retina screen on a Mac. Virtually every image viewed on the Mac looks great, even at 100% magnification. I now find myself needing to view images at 200% magnification to determine if they are critically sharp. Now when I look at images on my PC, I find even the smallest flaw looks awful and terrible and most images look grainy/noisy (but not the Fuji which look almost falsely smooth). I’m now finding it difficult to judge image quality using the Mac and it’s making me nervous.
Having considered and fretted over these points for a while now, I decided to do what’s probably obvious to most of you. I decided to submit some images to see if they make it through quality checking. The images were captured on the Fuji X-T2 using the 18-135 lens. I will report back the results soon.