As good as X-Trans sensors are in terms of performance, most software makers have had some trouble with demosaicing the slightly unusual RAW files in the past. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has been noticeably trailing behind in this regard even back when version 5 was introduced, as I found out in the review. That’s not brilliant given that X-Trans has been around for, what, almost three years now? To be completely fair, the paint-like rendering isn’t as much of an issue in most cases as one might think, and yet I can’t help but wish Lightroom was able to render X-Trans RAW files at least as well as Fujifilm does with its in-camera conversion. After all, superior technical image quality is the whole point of RAW, and Lightroom should certainly deliver. So the question is – does it? Since the X-E2 has permanently taken residence in my camera bag and is now my second tool, if not quite the first one yet, I am very curious to see how my favorite RAW converter will perform. Careful, now. I am about to get technical…….
Here are the 5 sets of images I made in Gran Canaria, Valencia and Barcelona this summer. All images were made with a Fujifilm X-T1 and mainly with the 18-55mm lens. I’ve been very, very pleased with the camera, it does everything I want with the minimum of fuss. It lets me get on with photography. It just works! Jpegs straight out the camera are first rate and RAW files have a lot of latitude for processing. I had some slight worries before about digital viewfinders, the X-E1 felt a bit like peering at a TV in someone else’s house from across the street. Not that I’ve ever done that….um… But the X-T1 viewfinder is massive – very bright and clear with very little lag . I was shooting in very bright sunlight and didn’t have any problems with either the viewfinder, or the screen. My last camera was a Canon 5Dmk2 and lugging it around for a day in the city (with associated lenses) was a pain in the arse. With the X-T1, the 18-55mm lens plus a spare battery (or three) I am set for a days shooting in the city…….
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I’ve had the pleasure of owning my Fuji X-Pro1 for just over 2 years now (unfortunately I bought it when it was still ridiculously expensive) and although lots of people have talked of switching entirely from Nikon and Canon, I still have plenty of use for my 5D iii. I prefer the Canon for the odd wedding I shoot (I do use the X-Pro1 as a 2nd camera/back up) and I also use it for the odd freelance camera operating gig. The reason I bought the Fuji was pretty much the same as everyone else. I really couldn’t be bothered dragging round a massive DSLR to family things, holidays, weekends away etc but still wanted something that could shoot great quality images. When I decided to head off on a 6 week trip round the United States with 3 other people, taking the X-Pro1 and leaving the 5D was a no brainer. As well as taking plenty of pictures, I was also editing the images, updating Tumblr and creating Steller stories as I went, all without my trusty laptop. I think I had an almost perfect balance of kit and functionality for traveling so I thought I’d outline my process and the gear I took…….
While in Honduras I spent a long time in a Toyota Land Cruiser on dirt roads feeling like a bobble head doll. Dirt roads like this one, we would be on for couple hours at a time. I was in the front seat riding shotgun because I was 6’2″ and the others were much smaller in the back seat. The others had been here many times before and were astonished that I was getting any usable pictures. They had bad experiences in these situations. So how was I able to get sharp photos? ……
It all started in July 2013 when I bought a Fuji X100s. Apart from being a gorgeous camera, it has amazing image quality and portability. I’ve been babbling on about it on these pages for a while. For what I shoot, when I shoot, it does a fantastic job. I recently printed the final image from this post on fine art paper at 13″ x 19″ and it is gorgeous! So I was reviewing the pictures I’d taken through the last 6 months of the 2013, and I realized that I hardly touched the D800E. It was a rapidly depreciating asset that I almost never used. With the addition of the teleconverters for the X100s, The only thing I needed the Nikon for was long lens work or super wide angle stuff. I also came to realize that 36MP is overkill for my needs. I decided to take to leap and sell the Nikon and most of the glass. Because of my experience with the little Fuji, I wanted to replace it with a small, light CSC that could go super wide and long to cover what I needed the Nikon for, but in a smaller package. I was going to stay with Fuji because I now knew it and was comfortable with the processing workflow, which is a very important consideration. I also want a viewfinder. I will always want a viewfinder. Always. So, given the extensive range of interchangeable compact cameras they do, how do I decide…….
We took a road trip to Santa Cruz last month and I thought it would be a good opportunity to rent and try out the Fujinon XF 18-135mm lens. Even though I generally prefer prime lenses, the XF 18-135mm intrigued me because it’s the first weather resistant lens from Fuji and because it covers a very useful focal length range. Being someone that spends a lot of time shooting near the ocean, the idea of having a weather resistant lens that covers most of my shooting situations sounded quite appealing. During the week I spent with the lens, I was impressed with almost everything about it. While it’s bigger and heavier than the lenses I’m used to shooting with, it didn’t feel as unwieldy as I expected. In fact, it felt quite well balanced with the X-T1. I don’t have the battery grip for the X-T1, but I think those that do will find that they pair nicely with the XF 18-135mm lens. All the images I captured with the lens were plenty sharp for me and the image stabilization came in handy on numerous occasions……..
Living in Alberta one could say that the flat prairies are kind of boring. They can be, yet at the same time they can be quite exciting. The prairies are not that flat, and depending which direction you go from Edmonton the landscape varies. If you go east, you will encounter typical flat prairies with huge skies. Go west and the landscape becomes hills and valleys, with lakes and streams. This time my a wife and me, decided to wonder east. There were several storms passing by as the sun was setting. We needed big skies. It was a little bit urgent, since we left late, and did not have a destination in mind. At the last moment we found a spot that looked half decent from the road, and since we were running out of time, we had to do with what we got. I shoot primarily with Fuji X cameras now. After ditching my Canons a few years back, I haven’t looked back. The Fuji 10-24mm F4 lens that was used to capture these images, is one of the best lenses I have used to create landscape photos….
Having owned my X100s for just a little over a week now and more or less taken it everywhere, I thought it would be an idea to talk about my initial impressions of it against my X-Pro1 which through 12 months of ownership I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with. At times I feel the X-Pro1 is the best camera I’ve ever owned and at times I’ve felt I should sell up and start over with a completely different system. Coming from a pretty simple DSLR system of a Canon 5D Mark1 and a couple of primes to the Fuji X-Pro1 was certainly an eye opener for sure. Having always had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that the X100 was the camera I really should own, I had the option to pick one up recently. I could have added another lens, or maybe even two to my X-Pro1 but felt now was the time to finally buy into the X100. I picked up a soon to be replaced almost new X100s which is perfect for everyday carrying around and with the 23mm fixed focal length is ideal for just about, well everything…….
Sharpening is one of the most taxing aspects of the digital process and consequently many photographers prefer to stick to safe and secure ways, either using presets, plug-ins, exporting to Photoshop or ultimately using JPEGs straight from camera. The X-Trans sensor produces wonderful JPEGs, and all the usual advice about always shooting in Raw doesn’t necessarily hold true anymore. There are now many professional photographers who happily shoot JPEG using X-Series cameras all the time and have no complaints. JPEGs are very convenient, but for a landscape photographer like me, interested in the creative process and using post-processing as part of the digital alchemy, Raw files are so much more versatile. Sharpening Raw files from the X-Trans processor can be challenging for those of us who have grown familiar with more traditional Bayer array sensors; they demand a different approach and even experienced photographers will find there is a learning curve……