Boy meets camera, lives happily ever, right? WRONG! But how wrong? And can two wrongs make a right? I’m a funny bugger when it comes to camera gear… Don’t get me wrong, I can suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), my obsessive collection of Transformer toys as a kid, various motorcycles that I’ve pimped up, and a one-time large collection of wrist watches that basically all looked the same… Yup, if you say to me, “Adam, I know I don’t need it, but I simply HAVE to have it” then I’ll unflinchingly look you back in the eye, fix you with an understanding look and say, I know, I know… let’s figure out a plan to get you what you don’t need… What have you got that can be flipped on eBay, how much room is left on your credit card, do you have 2 functioning kidneys?……
The “Fujinon Nano-GI XF16mm f/1.4 R WR” lens, to give it it’s full name, is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while. The majority of my shooting is between 24-50mm (in 35mm full-frame terms). That range probably makes up about 95% of my images. With the XF23mm f/1.4 and XF35mm f/1.4 there was a fast aperture hole in that range for me. Until now I’ve been using the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens to fill that gap. I never did go for the XF16-55mm f/2.8 lens as it lacked OIS, was far more expensive and much larger than the XF18-55mm, which really is a truly fantastic lens for what many consider to be the Fujifilm ‘kit’ lens. Now that the XF16mm f/1.4 has been released we have a full range of fast primes at the wide to standard range focal lengths. If you add in the 56mm and newly released 90mm then there is probably a fast prime lens that would suit pretty much anyone these days who shoot with an X-Series camera……
I know most people usually put their end of year review together in December or early January, but I to like to sit on things for a little while longer. I prefer to be 3 or 4 weeks into the new year before I take a moment to reflect on the previous on. So how was my 2015? It was filled with highs & lows and a new beginning. The year started of on a high, things fizzled out a little in the middle and then ended on a high. The Start: I became an Official Fujifilm X-Photographer, was selected as a member of X100C and got featured on ShotKit. I had an epic 4 days in Paris where I photographed my favorite engagement session to date – Monique + Paul, then Sylvana + Jeremy’s beautiful wedding as well as a spontaneous & unconventional maternity session with Isabelle + Florent. I had weddings published in Asiana Magazine and on a few other online wedding blogs. The likes of Thomas Menk, Patrick and Heather & Mathieu continued to curate my work and shared with their audience, I earned new contacts…….
The Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is a great addition to Fujifilm’s lens lineup. It is ultra-sharp in the image center. The borders are outstanding at 50mm and still more than just decent at longer focal lengths. Lateral CAs are irrelevant which also helps to boost the high image quality perception. Most users will keep image auto-correction activated thus neither distortions nor vignetting are issue in this case. The native characteristic is worse here though. The quality of the bokeh is high for a zoom lens although prime lenses can be better still. Bokeh fringing isn’t really an issue at f/2.8. Fujifilm is targeting the professional market with this lens so the build quality is on an accordingly excellent level. Most body parts are made of metal and the broad, rubberized control rings are a joy to use. Everything is tightly assembled and the constant physical length as well as the weather sealing complete the positive impression…….
After graduating college over 25 years ago, I worked for two years as a photo assistant to an architectural photographer. This was great technical training, as I had to handle heavy 4×5 and 8×10 view cameras on location, shooting with very slow, Kodak Ektrachrome Tungsten sheet film. The work was physically demanding and technically challenging. But it paid off in bringing my technical skills to a much higher level than that I had from my college education. Jumping forward in time: Over the last three years, I’ve been doing photography for real estate advertising and marketing. The city I live in is a hotbed of real estate activity, so there’s huge demand for photography, virtual reality and video when it comes to marketing homes. Last year alone, I was at over 750 photo shoots, both conventional still photography and virtual reality……
In my previous blog post of my visit to the Taj Mahal all shots were taken with the kit lens. In this blog post they are taken with my favorite Fuji lens – the XF14/2.8 R. As I moved closer to the Taj Mahal it was clear to me that now is the time for the 14mm lens. I already praised this lens a lot on my blog. If you scroll down to take a look at the tag cloud of my blog you can see that the 14mm is my main lens and there is a reason for it. The 14mm (or 21mm in full frame terms) is a surprisingly flexible lens. It has many advantages not only over the kit lens but also over the 10-24 but of course it depends on your shooting style and subject if you value them as much as I do. Here are the most important ones:
- zero distortion
- small and light
- wide but not too wide
- offer a focus clutch for easy manual focus (and zone focus)
- uses the same lens hood than the kit lens……..
I am happily married to my Nikon gear. But there’s always room for lovers. Right? So before I tried out the Sony stuff, I’ve also found myself buying a X-Pro1 from Fuji. For about 4 months I used the Fuji for everyday snaps and of course occasional usage in portrait sessions; however, I have to say my experiences were… Let’s just say I was puzzled, and I’ll elaborate on that later. I ended up selling the X-Pro1 in mid-2015. When I eventually sold the A7 II, I decided to give Fujifilm another chance. This time with their flagship X-T1. Two months into my purchase, all I have to say is: WOW……..
Unless you’ve been locked away in a CIA prisoner ship in the South Pacific, you’ll be aware that Fujifilm have now launched their long-awaited X-Pro2! However, the question still arises – does that mean the legendary X-Pro1 is down & out? In my, humble, opinion certainly not. Yes, the X-Pro2 has some great new features but that doesn’t take away the fact that the X-Pro1 is still a supremely capable camera in the hands of those who know how to use it. No, it’s never going to be a speed freak, but that’s not the be-all & end-all. The X-Trans sensor still delivers great results, even at higher ISOs and those awesome Fujifilm lenses mean the images are tack-sharp. I am fortunate enough to own all of the pro-spec cameras in Fujis line-up (X-T1, X-Pro1 along with the X100T and an X-E1 as backup) and a helluva lot of their lenses but on a recent job I decided that I would shoot with the original interchangeable X-series body and a couple of the original lenses……..
Whats all the fuss about fuji cameras? Are they really any good? Are they a poor man’s Leica? Or Just a miniature SLR? Are they really Quality cameras or just another bridges semi professional alternatives to Canon and Nikons P and L series. Unfortunately some people doesn’t know Fuji or know them only by their Studios and cheap point and shoot cameras. Some people think that they are just another Tokina or Sigma companies who make second grade cameras and lenses for top brands. But the truth is that Fuji are not any of those, Fuji is one of the founders in the photography field. Fuji make lenses and films many years before canon was born. Fuji make Top grade lenses, when I say top grade I’m not referring to Nikkor Lenses and Canon’s L series, But to 99,000$ and 200,000$! Yes 99 thousands. Fuji make medium format sensors and they really know how to make sensors in general, not like Nikon who borrows it from Sony. They also help in the design of Hassleblad cameras, for those who don’t know what a Hassleblad is, it is a medium format camera which means that it features a bigger sensor than the full frame 35mm…..
If you want something that will produce excellent results all while maintaining a compact form, a mirrorless camera is hard to beat. To match the small size of some of these mirrorless cameras, many manufacturers have built their own version of a “pancake” lens. Fuji has a couple of lenses that are very compact like the XF 18mm F2 but the XF 27mm F2.8 is their first official pancake lens. The truth is, I didn’t have much desire to try this lens when it was first released. It didn’t seem like it had that many qualities that would help it stand out from the rest of the XF lenses other than its compact size. But when I was planning for my trip to Walt Disney World, I wanted a very compact system, so I wouldn’t have to lug around so much gear in a place where there are long lines and a lot of walking. I brought with me a Fuji X-T10, and I decided to give the XF 27mm a try because the focal length was right between a traditional 35mm and 50mm, and therefore, my thought was that this one lens coul get me through my trip. Plus, I thought the ultra compact size would be a great match with the small dimensions of the X-T10. Here are my results from this lens and what I think of it…….