Fuji has done a great job in building a robust lineup for their X-Series mirrorless cameras, but despite releasing the weathersealed X-T1 earlier this year, they hadn’t created a weathersealed lens until now. The XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R OIS WR is a wide range super-zoom lens that features Fuji’s new Weather Resistant tag, with rubber gaskets around all points of entry and even a novel ventilation system to allow air to enter and leave the lens without sucking in moisture and dust. The lens covers a great range of focal lengths, equivalent to the field of view that a 27-205mm lens would have on a full frame camera. The one big up front question with this lens is whether it’s worth the rather high $899 price of entry. Let’s take a look…..
For several years I love taking photographs of all kinds of animals at Zoo’s nearby. Before I more or less entirely moved to Fujifilm I have used Canon camera equipment like the Canon 1DMkII, 5D and 600D paired with the lovely EF100-400mm, the 100mm L macro and many other Canon L and third party lenses. One of my main concerns entirely moving to Fujifilm was a missing telephoto zoom (>300mm) to replace my “old” 400mm Canon gear. Unfortunately the highly awaited Fujinon telephoto lens was shifted to the end of 2015. At the moment I have the choice to still use my 100-400mm together with the 1DMkII (8MPx) or the somehow focal length limited but very sharp XF55-200mm zoom lens paired with a Fujifilm X camera. I have to admit at all last three Zoo visits I have only used the much lighter Fujifilm equipment of course only to treat my back with respect …..
So after using Leica digital M system since it became available with first M8 model and raving about it any chance I had (see my previous post here on that subject), I woke up one day and had a “brain fart”: why am I paying every few years for a rangefinder digital body so much money only to sell it 3 years after for a fraction of purchase cost (pure reality of shooting digital with any system. Basically using a computer with a lens mount. Not much, not less…)? Problem IS that Leica digital rangefinder looses value percentage wise far more than some other digital cameras, as they are overpriced to begin with (I have no idea what is going on but just check out the used prices on the net on year old M240s…) Lenses are a different story: Leica glass IS an investment. You can not go wrong with good (and desirable) Leica M lens. Over the years I acquired all lenses that I needed to complete the system. But, amount of money invested became crazy high… After all I am professional photographer, not wealthy collector. I got tired of dropping a big bag of cash every 3 years for a new Leica M body… Something had to change! ……
I was out shooting some street photography earlier today with my trusty little Fuji X-E1 and I noticed that I had taken a lot of portrait orientation shots. As I was sorting through the shots I noticed that all the vertical images paired up nicely, so I thought I’d do a set of paired images, just for the fun of it. All of these were taken around the streets of Dublin city, using a Fujifilm X-E1 with a combination of the Fuji 35mm and the 18–55XF lenses. It was a lovely fresh Autumn morning and I was there early so the city was coming to life with the fresh energy of a new day, and for some reason I just had a really good time shooting. While these aren’t award winning images by any stretch, I did catch a few quirky sights around the city. I’ll post some more shots from this shoot over on my Photoblog. Processing was done in Lightroom, using various presets as the starting point. There’s a combination of VSCO Film 01, 02 and 04 in there. The VSCO presets work really well with the Fuji sensor, especially if you want to create an authentic film look. I’ve started using VSCO 2 a bit more lately, and I’m really liking the look of the Fuji Superia film presets. I don’t think that I’ve ever shot with that in actual film……
As a kid growing up in Saskatchewan, one of the highlights of every Summer was the Air show. My Dad would load up chairs, snack and my brother and I and we’d spend a day baking in the summer sun and checking out what used to be an amazing display of aeronautics. A fond memory from one year was a massive thunder and lightning storm arriving in the afternoon and we got to hide from the storm inside a C-130 Hercules, at that moment the kid inside of me hoped it would take off to take us for a cruise, didn’t happen. Living in Vancouver, the city of Abbotsford, nearby hosts an airshow each year and this was the first time in years that I was actually in town to check it out. So my brother, 2 friends and myself packed snacks, chairs, water and other “grown up” supplies and headed to the air show. In my camera bag, simply enough, the Fujifilm X-T1 and the brand new XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. The XF 18-135 has been called the “tourist lens” due to the fact that it’s focal lengths are perfect for almost any situation, from architectural to portrait. The first thing I noticed was the amount of people that came out to camp for the full 3 days, huge expensive trailers and motor homes, lining the camp site that sat on the edge of the airport. Upon entering it was amazing to see all the young faces so filled with that same excitement I once had, and to be honest, I tapped in to that excitement again with the smell of jet fuel in the air. We were graced with perfect weather and an almost full moon as the sun went down. The XF18-135mm lens worked wonderfully with the X-T1, and as you can see the image stabilization worked wonders in very low light situations…..
The Fujinon XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6-7 OIS is a good performer in relation to its price level. The results are mostly sharp in the image center. The corners aren’t quite as snappy in the upper range but let’s be fair – you don’t tend to place the main subject of your scene into the extreme corners anyway. The level of CAs is pretty good at the extreme ends with a weak spot (135mm) in between. Distortions and vignetting are taken care of by the automatic image correction. However, the original characteristics are quite a bit worse though – especially in terms of light falloff. As far as build quality is concerned, you shouldn’t expect wonders. The lens body is completely made of plastics and the build tolerances aren’t quite as tight as on the Fujinon XF lenses. The comparatively low price tag takes its toll here. That being said – the zoom action is a bit smoother than on the XF 50-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. The AF performs is pretty fast in bright conditions but slows down in low light – this is more an issue on the camera side though. The OIS (optical image stabilizer) works nicely but due the slow max. aperture of the lens this feature is also often needed. Compared to the XF 50-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, we would place our bets on the XF. However, if your bank account manager starts crying, the XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6-7 OIS will be a viable choice without sacrificing too much quality…..
This year I had the great pleasure of spending 3 weeks in China. Not sticking to one place, but travelling through this vast and beautiful country. As I wanted to travel light I opted for the Fuji X-E1 with the 18-55mm, backed-up by the Fuji X100s. Anyhow, I took a lot of pictures of the locals and here is a brief B&W selection. Some of them are shy, others are happy, some are young and some are old. Others are painfully poor…but does it mean it should not be recorded……
May the 4th be with you, this year on star wars day I had the great pleasure of being asked by a good friend of mine to cover an event he was putting on in Manchester. The event was a kind of Comic-Con-esque and the 4th ‘Geek Night’ put on by ‘Niche Nights’ saw a fantastic mix of Cosplayers, gamers and fans of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, it also provide fantastic subject matter for photography and as such I greatly enjoyed photographing this event. I stuck with a light bag of gear for this event and all the shots are on either a Fuji X100 or X-E1 with either the 35mm or 8mm Samyang on, all the flash lit shots are form an on board Yongnuo 560ii most of the time tilted up for bounce flash and manually controlled. Shooting events like this is a great opportunity to face a new challenge as well as try out some kit, I and not previously had the chance to try the Samyang 8mm out at events and can safely say it performed really well, the crazy wide view being incredibly useful in tight conditions, shots from above had the flash facing backwards to bounce of the ceiling and overall I’m very happy form the results…….
I have wrote many times on this blog how I’m not going to upgrade to a new camera. I am anti G.A.S. But I recently ran into a deal where a X-T1 was $400 off. I could not pass that up so I decided to get it. When you shoot a lot, you know when you need to upgrade. I was getting to that point with my X-E1. I was shooting about 5000 photos a month. The X-E1 felt sluggish. I knew I had to upgrade, but the prices felt too high for me. I remember upgrading from an X100 to an X100s. That was a mistake. It was not a huge upgrade so I felt like I wasted my money. Then how is the X-T1 compared to a X-E1? It’s a huge difference. It seems like a worthy upgrade to me. I could not believe how fast it was. Everything felt lighting quick. When I first turned on my X-T1, my mouth dropped when I experienced how fast the AF was. Then I realized I didn’t even have High Performance mode on. I didn’t even get the latest lens firmware to take advantage of the Phase Detection pixels! Once I did that, the AF became even faster……