I got a chance recently to exercise that natural curiosity in Spain. The history of the country alone is overwhelming especially for a country boy growing up in small towns. For a century and a half She was the prevailing superpower in Europe and had the largest presence around the world even longer than that. Her influence stretches continents away. Loathed to admit this but I did the “touristy” thing. I took a tour bus around Valencia and it wasn’t half bad. The heat and distance combined made running around on foot pretty unattractive plus we got on and off as we wished. I found out pretty quick that convenience didn’t always jive well with making photos. Being high up in the bus and constantly on the move made it challenging. Being inside the bus was worse since I shot through the windows……..
Fujifilm is taking an important step with the new lenses it recently announced, and with the lenses that will come in 2015. We are not talking about small and compact lenses but professional lenses with a complex design that can give you the best image quality while keeping size and weight as low as possible. I think that the presence of these lenses is certainly going to help the system take a big leap forward, but many users have also started to wonder whether one of the most interesting aspects of the CSC camera, portability, is at risk……
I had a chance to speak briefly with Torben Hondong of Fujifilm Germany today about the recently announced Fujifilm X-Series lenses and the future of the lens lineup at Fuji.
Stabilization in the 16-55mm f/2.8
I asked Mr. Hondong the question that everyone’s been asking: Why does the new 16-55mm f/2.8 not feature an image stabilizer? Mr. Hondong stated that the main concerns were to do with size and weight. To keep the high quality they wanted, the lens with a stabilizer would have been too large, both larger in diameter and length, as well as weight. He thought that the lens would have enough performance to be useful to photographers without having a stabilizer……..
I give this lens 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed my time with this lens but I’m going to sell it for something more compact and less bulky (*see UPDATE 1). It’s a little awkwardly weighted on the XE-2 and I found myself shooting only within the 10mm – 14mm range 80% of the time. So I’m purchasing the Zeiss 12mm f/2.8 Touit * — a nice middle ground that will take up less space in my bag. The Fujifilm 10-24mm f/4 is a high-quality lens that could definitely pass for certain professional uses but perhaps not for huge fine-art prints (though that’s up for debate). While compiling the photos for this review I almost convinced myself to keep the lens! If you don’t mind the extra weight and size or f/4 aperture, this is is fantastic purchase……..
Let’s face it, shooting architecture and landscapes is not something I feel comfortable with. However I’ve always been attracted by long exposure and sunset shots. Three things were missing so far in order to start an long exposure architecture project and I managed to get two of those already:
- the will (yep, got it eventually)
- a proper lens. The Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 has been delivered!
- filters (still missing those babies but it doesn’t prevent from training and shooting)
Unfortunately for me the 10-24mm I ordered came with dust between two lenses and I could only play with it for half a day before sending it back. The pictures below are a tiny set of what I could quickly shoot in the morning before going to work and during my lunch time in Paris…..
These are tentative steps, her first away from us; away from home. We spend a few hours moving in, exploring every nook and cranny, sharing her joy and excitement. But when the time comes for us leave… All that freedom becomes harder to bear. We walk away through tears and it’s hard but we know it’ll pass. A week from now, when we come back, she’ll barely say hello — too busy with her newfound friends. Letting go is the toughest necessary thing we do……
Despite people having their reservations about the XF18-135 when it was announced, I was still looking forward to the lens being that it along with the X-T1 are the first of Fujifilm’s “Weather Resistant” line of products (with more to come later this year). The XF18-135 isn’t a fast lens given its variable aperture spec which is why I think most people would hesitate getting this lens. But I think what many don’t realize is the reasoning for this. A lot of it comes down to getting the most versatile zoom range while still retaining compact dimensions. Remember that while this is a mirrorless lens, that does not equate to a major design difference size-wise compared to dslr lenses. The mirror on the X-Series cameras may be gone which affords them a much more compact body but the lens for the most part has the same design as any APS-C camera out there. So, many would argue that it would have been better to get a constant F4 or F2.8 on this lens; the fact of the matter is, that would have made the XF18-135 into an unwieldy lens for travel which is what I think this lens is targeted for………
As some of you know already I got the opportunity to test out the latest Fujinon lens for the X-series during my trip to Iceland. Fujifilm Nordicwas kind enough to send me a sample of this weather sealed lens for me to make use of during this trip and see what it could go for. Iceland is (in)famously known for having extremely changing weather so it ought to be a great chance to test how well the weather sealing worked along with my X-T1. Generally I prefer prime lenses and that’s what I work with 95% of the time, much because I don’t like to compromise with focal length or with quality. I like having to move to get the right framing, and it has taught me a lot during the years. And as we all are familiar with the pure photographic quality of the photos will always be better with a prime lens. That being said, there are obviously moments when it’s really convenient with a zoom lens. Especially for traveling. Being able to walk around with just one lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths is very practical, both from not having to change lenses or carrying heavy bags with complimentary lenses because you can’t decide on which one to go with……
Earlier this week I made my second trip of the summer down to London – this time a flying visit of less than 24 hours. I had two reasons for going down. Firstly to attend the British Wildlife Photography Awards, having been delighted to find I had a photograph shortlisted and printed in the book. Secondly to visit Charlie Waite’s wonderful exhibition of both old and recent work at the National Theatre – I have long been a big fan of Charlie’s work and was so pleased the exhibition was extended by a few weeks, allowing me the opportunity to get down to see it.
All of the portraits above were shot in RAW with the Fuji X-T1 body combined with the new 56mm f/1.2R APD lens and processed in LR5 with my own black & white presets. The lens itself was a prototype, so until a full production version of the lens is released I can’t really give an opinion on things like the focus speed, manual focusing, etc. In regards to the lens, what’s new about it? Well, not a whole hell of a lot. It’s the exact same lens on the outside in terms of size, build quality, filter size, etc. It’s the insides that have changed, but as I said, it’s not a huge leap. Below is a side by side, using straight out of camera JPG’s using the in-camera black and white preset, with the exact same settings (ISO 200 – f/1.2 – 1/2000sec) with the image from the original 56mm being adjusted -1 stop in LR5 to keep the exposure consistent. For those of you wondering why I had to adjust the exposure when using the exact same settings, it’s because the original 56mm lens lets in roughly 1 stop of light more than the new APD version, so at the exact same settings the photo from the older version of the lens will come out a stop brighter. That loss of 1 stop of light could be a good or bad thing depending on the shooting situation, but its due to the APD filter they added within the lens………