I’ve owned a Fuji X100 and now a X100s. I shoot street and usually shoot very close to my subjects , So F8 (sunny), Shutter at 500, ISO Auto (6400), manual focus at 7 feet and I am ready for some street photography. So out I go to the streets and I see an interesting subject, whip out my x100s , frame > shoot (sometimes from the hip) in a matter of seconds ! Sometime later, I retire to a nice cafe, order a ice mocha … and settle down to browse thru my shots. Arrrrggh !!! Fully half of my shots are not in focus. Only now I’ve noticed that my manual focus distance has shifted from 7 feet to 15feet instead !!!
So the issue here to me is, the manual focus ring is so damn smooth that it is very easy for me to unintentionally touch it and shift focus distances. It is very irritating when you are zone focused and need too check the evf/lcd every now and then to make sure your distance scale is correct.
So I brainstormed a bit and came out with a small (maybe inelegant) solution. I dug out an old inner tube for my mountain bike, cut out a strip that is about the width of the focus rings and wrapped over it. The little bit of friction from the rubber prevents the focusing ring from moving from the lightest of touches but it does not affect anything else and I still can adjust aperture/manual focus (turning the ring or AEL/AFL method) as per normal.
I’ve attached a pic here …
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The Fuji X100s is a photographer’s camera. It’s also a hipster’s camera and a dentist’s third or fourth camera that they never use. If you want value, this is not your camera. Get an APS-C DSLR – the companies that make them have competed away all their profit margins and you can get a really great, mature, feature-rich camera for a lot less than the X100s. But your DSLR won’t look like the X100s. It won’t be silent like the X100s. It won’t be as small, light, and portable as the X100s. It won’t travel like the x100s. It won’t shoot street photography like the X100s. But, then again, you can say all that about the other large-sensor-but-small-body cameras out there right now…..
So what are we left with? Well, the Fuji X100s produces as-good-as, or better, images than the majority of those alternatives, and to my eye it’s the best looking of the bunch. Add on top of that the most important things: good ergonomics and handling, a good sensor, and a good lens, and you’ve got a winner. For now. This is a good camera. It takes good pictures. My friends like it. It looks cool. All the cool photographers (some of whom seem to spend more time writing about gear than taking photos) are raving about it. I guess I’d better like it. But is it a DSLR-killer? Hell no. (What are you, high?) The Fuji Xpro2 or Xpro3 might get there, someday, and until then, I’m waiting in the wings…..
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Fujifilm is committed to the entire X-Series line of advanced digital cameras and FUJINON XF lens, and is issuing an updated XF lens roadmap following the initial XF lens roadmap released in June 2012.
With 10 FUJINON XF lenses and the new three X-Mount lenses that Carl Zeiss announced in September 2012, there will soon be 13 high-performance lenses available for the X-Mount system to meet the needs of every photographer and support a wide range of photography from ultra-wide-angle at 10-24mm(15-36mm*1) to super-telephoto of 55-200mm (83-300mm*1.)
In late 2013, Fujifilm will deliver the pancake XF27mm (41mm*1) F2.8 high performance single focal length lens. Fujifilm will then launch the super wide zoom XF10mm-24mm (15-36mm*1) F4 lens with optical image stabilization and the single focal length XF23mm (35mm*1) F1.4 lens.
In early 2014, FUJINON will launch its premier prime portrait lens, the XF56mm (84mm*1) F1.2R.
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Over the past few years, the digital camera market has been transformed by the arrival of mirrorless system cameras. Freed from film-era design constraints, these can provide image quality to match SLRs in a much more portable form factor. Entry-level models provide compact-camera like handling and simplicity, while high-end cameras such as the Sony NEX-7, Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Fujifilm X-E1 are able to offer a full set of enthusiast-friendly manual controls in smaller, more discreet systems, and with relatively few compromises. However to persuade buyers to forsake their SLRs, the camera companies also need to offer lens lines that will cover their needs. While most manufacturers have attacked the mirrorless market from the bottom up, Fujifilm’s approach has been the opposite, starting with unashamedly top-end X-Pro1 followed up by the more enthusiast-oriented X-E1. The company’s lens line reflects this – instead of starting out with entry-level kit zooms, it took the decidedly unusual step of launching with three fixed-focal length primes. The first zoom appeared with the X-E1, but the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.5 R LM OIS is no ordinary ‘kit’ lens, offering premium optics and a faster maximum aperture.
The XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS telephoto zoom follows in the same vein – according to Fujifilm the aim is to provide premium optical quality and construction alongside class-leading image stabilization. Like the 18-55mm it features a relatively fast maximum aperture, gathering half a stop more light than most similar zooms for SLRs, and it uses a pair of linear stepper motors for near-silent autofocus. As with the other XF lenses, it also offers all-metal barrel construction and an on-lens aperture control ring. The overall picture is of a decidedly premium lens, that’s quite unlike the inexpensive 55-200mm F4-5.6 telezooms for APS-C SLRs.
Headline features55-200mm focal length (83-300mm equivalent)Relatively fast F3.5-4.8 maximum apertureOptical image stabilization; 4.5 stops claimed benefitAperture ring on lensX mount for Fujifilm X system mirrorless cameras
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Following the recent public release of Adobe Camera Raw 7.4, we’ve updated our studio comparison database with new raw conversions of files from the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, X-E1 and X100S. We’ve been using the release candidate version of ACR 7.4 for some time, which contained significant improvements to Adobe’s treatment of files from Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensors. The official public release version of ACR 7.4 brings some further (very minor) tweaks. Follow the links below to the studio comparison pages in our X-Pro 1 and X-E1 reviews, and X100S preview, now with final ACR 7.4 raw conversions.
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The XF 14mm F2.8 R is a relatively rare example of a genuinely wideangle, high quality prime lens for any camera type other than full frame SLRs. The closest comparisons lie with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 for Micro Four Thirds and Pentax’s smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited for its APS-C SLRs, both of which also offer premium metal-barrelled construction and ‘proper’ manual focus rings with distance and depth of field scales. Indeed the 14mm’s push/pull manual focus switchover mechanism bears more than a passing resemblance to Olympus’s version. They’re not strictly alternatives, of course; they all work on different camera systems. But of the three, the 14mm offers the widest view.
The 14mm is a pretty expensive optic, so needs to perform well to justify its price. Thankfully, it does just that – in fact it turns out to be an exceptionally good lens. At the apertures you’d most often shoot a wideangle it’s exceptionally sharp right across the frame, and it’s almost perfectly-corrected for distortion and chromatic aberration. Vignetting is quite strong at F2.8, and never quite goes away on stopping down; however it’ll only be visible to RAW shooters, as it’s corrected automatically by the camera’s JPEG processing. The drop-off in brightness across the frame is also quite gradual, rather than abrupt in the extreme corners, which means that visually it’s not so objectionable anyway.
Perhaps the nearest the lens has to a real flaw is rather soft edges and corners when shot at F2.8. This could be a real problem for photographers who shoot a lot handheld in low light, especially as there’s no image stabilization available. But as sharpness picks up dramatically even at F4, and wideangles can safely be shot at relatively slow shutter speeds without fear of camera shake (allowing use of smaller apertures without having to raise the ISO) we suspect it won’t be too much of a concern for the majority of users.
Autofocus isn’t especially fast, but it’s very accurate, and for many typical uses of a wideangle lens focus speed isn’t especially important anyway. Manual focus is extremely well-implemented; the focus ring is well-damped and very responsive, making precise manual focusing very straightforward. Switching from auto to manual focus is very quick, requiring just a quick pull back on the focus ring. This reveals a distance and depth for field scale for zone focusing, which many users will be pleased to hear is calibrated conventionally, as opposed to the very conservative version Fujifilm displays in X-system camera viewfinders.
One point worth knowing, though, is that there’s no way of combining auto and manual focus, so you can’t use AF to prefocus then make adjustments manually. Instead switching the lens from AF to manual resets it to the last-used manual focus position. But again, this is a function that’s arguably rather less useful on a wideangle lens than on a telephoto. Overall the 14mm offers perhaps the most convincing implementation of MF we’ve yet seen on an ‘focus-by-wire lens, and is streets ahead of the existing XF lenses.
Build quality is very good, with the metal-skinned barrel and chunky metal focus ring offering a real feeling of solidity. On our sample this was slightly let down down by rather loose click-stops on the aperture ring, making it too easy to change by accident. Of course with the aperture setting constantly displayed in the viewfinder there’s less risk of shooting lots of images at the wrong setting, but this does demand you get into the habit of checking your settings whenever you take the camera out of the bag for shooting.
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- Unique camera design makes you want to take pictures
- Excellent JPEGs, little need to shoot raw most of the time
- Reliable metering and AWB systems, good color (with choice of ‘film modes’)
- Dials for exposure controls allow for easy check of settings by glancing at the top deck, particularly with prime lenses
- Impressive image quality at all ISO settings – good resolution and low noise
- Built-in flash is handy for fill lighting in a pinch
- Film-simulations offer quick access to different color modes and black and white filters
- Use of electronic viewfinder simplifies interface while maintaining most important features
- Quick menu gives fast access to most digital controls not covered by dials or buttons
- Built-in level helps when capturing landscapes
- Various bracketing modes are easy to set via the Drive button
- Relatively quiet shutter
- Excellent available prime lenses
- Built-in level isn’t always as accurate as we’d like
- Relatively slow AF makes photographing children more difficult
- Framerates in continuous shooting mode aren’t completely consistent
- Camera disables RAW shooting without warning in some bracketing modes
- Relatively low-resolution rear LCD compared to some peers
- Panorama mode can result in visible banding in plain tonesAuto ISO often chooses too slow a shutter speed (specifically problematic with the longer primes)
- Minimal control available in video mode
- Continuous drive mode saves files with a different name, sorting them to the bottom
- Large and chunky build won’t suit everyone
There’s a lot to be said for form as well as function and there’s no question the Fujifilm X-series cameras elicit a certain response from those of us who enjoy both photography and well-built gadgets. What’s great about the X-series cameras and lenses is they don’t just look like old photographic tools, they integrate digital and analog controls very successfully. Also, the old-style analog dials are really excellent ways of helping conceptualize things like shutter speed and aperture, the two main elements of photography one has to understand to use cameras effectively. Those who already understand the concepts generally have no trouble understanding numbers on an LCD, but those who are learning can benefit from seeing the numbers laid out in a linear fashion; and the truth is I still find it helpful to turn a dial to adjust aperture, as I can do with the X-E1. For beginners, having that dial wrapped around the lens completely differentiates it from the body-bound shutter speed dial. When using one of the XF prime lenses, the main photographic interface elements are right up front and visible, in the form of physical dials. Photography students would do well to secure a prime lens for this reason (as well as others). Kit lens users will have to pay attention to the numbers on the LCD. But that’s not all Fujifilm did right with the X-series cameras. Their simple button arrangements also make accessing common functions convenient. Important functions like Drive mode, Exposure, and Autofocus are dedicated to three buttons left of the LCD – a good position to adjust each setting. At first having a button for Drive mode seemed unnatural compared to a dial, but Fujifilm’s inclusion of fast access to bracketing modes made those even more useful. The Quick Menu allows access to almost all the other important adjustments the average still photographer will want to make, including things like ISO, resolution, and aspect ratio. Only one analog control needs fixing: the somewhat loose Exposure Compensation dial, which can be rotated accidentally, both in the hand and when being carried around or put in and taken out of a camera bag. Of course, the elephant in the room is video. Although the X-E1′s design philosophy is based around giving you all the direct manual control you could ever need, this does not apply to video, which overall seems as much of an afterthought as it is in the X-Pro 1 and X100. For now, the X-series is simply not competitive with its peers in terms of video functionality. As impressive as the Hybrid Viewfinder is on the other cameras in the X-series, the X-E1′s electronic viewfinder is excellent. Compared to the X-Pro 1′s finder in electronic mode, the X-E1 offers a better and higher-resolution image, but of course it can’t pull of the X-Pro 1′s impressive trick of switching to an optical view for those times when you want a literal ‘window’ on the world in front of your lens. The X-E1′s EVF cannot replace the X-Pro 1′s OVF but if you don’t really need or want an optical finder, the X-E1 is clearly a better choice than the X-Pro 1, thanks to its superior EVF and lower overall cost.
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With the posting of ACR 7.4 and Lightroom 7.4 ‘release candidates’ (RC), Adobe has updated its raw processing algorithms for Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor cameras, the X-Pro1, X-E1, X100s and X20. This move comes in response to months of online user requests for improved raw processing of the X-Pro1, Fujifilm’s flagship mirrorless interchangeable lens model. It is rare that Adobe’s Camera Raw team revisits its demosaicing process for previously supported cameras, so we were excited to try out this latest version with some X-Pro1 raw files and compare results to the previous version of ACR, Capture One Pro 7 and Fujifilm’s own in-camera conversion. To provide some context, the vast majority of digital cameras ever made perceive color using what’s known as a Bayer Color Filter Array, named after the late Kodak engineer Bryce Bayer. For its recent cameras, Fujifilm has developed its own color filter array pattern, which it calls X-Trans. The idea behind X-Trans is that its pattern repeats less often than the Bayer pattern, rendering redundant the low-pass filter that usually protects against moiré. The disadvantage of creating a non-standard color filter array (especially one that took two years to develop the demosaicing algorithm for), is that third-party software makers have to do a lot more work to provide Raw support. Adobe was one of the first third-party software makers to provide Raw support for the Fujifilm X-Pro1, but the results often fell short of the standard set by the camera’s own JPEG engine, in terms of rendering fine detail. So let’s see what changes Adobe has made…..
While it’s important to recognize that ACR 7.3 and earlier was certainly very usable for many types of X-Pro1 images – especially if they weren’t subjected to 100% view scrutiny – there’s no question that with the 7.4 release candidate, Adobe has substantially improved their raw processing for the camera’s X-Trans sensor. Our hats are off to Adobe for committing the not-insignificant resources necessary to improve support for X-Trans sensor cameras with relatively limited market share. The results speak for themselves and we feel confident in saying that ACR 7.4 RC is the update that X-Pro1 users have long been waiting for. Default settings offer a useful comparison of a raw engine’s demosaicing capabilities but of course you’ll want to tweak these parameters to get the most out of any raw file. In re-processing dozens of X-Pro1 images with ACR 7.4 we found that they all benefited from slightly more aggressive than usual sharpening, with a higher radius value than we’d typically use. You can download the original Raw files below to try your hand with your own settings in the raw processor of your choice. Share your findings with the community in the comments section. We’d love to hear what works best for you.
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Another series, during the same weekend as the China Light event.
This hotel is a beauty and a good place to test the Fuji X-E1…..
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I’ve just spent 3 days in Marrakech on a business trip, and packed the Fuji X-E1 and 35mm in the hope of getting a few hours off to explore the old city. I’d been before with the 5D MkII and some lenses, but found photography very hard work owing to the local’s distaste for having pictures taken. (At least some genuinely do not like it on the grounds of their religion, whilst the more tourist facing people don’t mind if they are paid for having their photo taken). Like in any public place, the wielding of an SLR seems to scream “photographer” and make you conspicuous. So this time I tried with the little Fuji in my short time off (just two hours ). I found it a much better camera for this type of environment than the DSLR. I felt less embarrassed wielding a smaller camera, and it was clear to me that people were not as bothered about having their pictures taken even when they noticed I was there. It’s funny how the size of the camera seems to make so much difference (I’m sure more seasoned street photographers than me will find this blindingly obvious). Of course, the most important thing is to treat the subject with respect, but I really did find that the camera also made a difference. Here are some shots – the camera and lens performed really well it what were often very low levels of light. Very few mis-focussed shots, excellent exposure and colour. I love the rendering from the XF35m F1/4 wide open too. This is not my particular forté in photography – I’m not well practiced in “street photography” so any comments more than welcome!
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