Four years ago, Fujifilm announced the X100 at Photokina, Germany. Little did they know, that this announcement would change the way photographers looked at Fujifilm for the foreseeable future. The X100 with its high quality fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) prime lens, was quickly becoming the “must have” for a lot of pro and serious amateur photographers. But it wasn’t all wine and roses from the start! The Rangefinder-like camera delivered great image quality, but its unpredictable autofocus quickly became well documented in the photography world. A bit more than a year later, Fujifilm launched the X100S; a major upgrade to the existing X100 in which they gave it a complete new sensor (16.3 X-Trans CMOS II) and a vastly improved autofocus functionality. The X100S quickly became the dream camera for a lot of Street photographers. But could the X100S even be improved?……
One of the perks of being a workshop leader, is that through meeting new participants each year, I get to see an array of assorted camera equipment, from the budget to the seriously expensive. And once in a while, somebody turns up with a camera that I think has a very beautiful look to its images. During my Scottish workshops, I do a daily critique of participants images, so I get to see first hand the differences in colours and tones between different models. For a while, the digital camera that I thought had the most beautiful tones and colours was the Nikon D3X. I won’t pretend to know much about the tech side of any digital camera. I rarely go to websites to look at equipment specs for digital systems as I’m pretty much focussed on my art with the medium I’ve been using for the past twenty odd years (I’m a film-shooter). But it is interesting to see how digital cameras are improving and advancing each year while running my workshops……..
Last weekend at the Fuji International Speedway, where I was working on the Japanese round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, I had the opportunity to see the new Fujinon XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens ahead of its release in the UK this November. My thanks to the guys from Fujifilm Japan, who brought one along to the race. Because it was race day I was unable to go out and shoot with the lens, hopefully I will be able to remedy this later this year, but here are my first impressions of this new fast telephoto lens. During my 18 years shooting with Nikon, my favourite lens was the Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 AF-D that I bought new in 1996. I kept this lens for the entire time I used Nikon both as an enthusiast and professional photographer and I sold it, reluctantly, in May of this year. It is probably the one lens that I miss the most, so when Fujifilm announced a constant f2.8 mid range zoom (76mm-213mm equivalent) I was eager to get my hands on a copy to see what it is like……
There is something that new users need to know about the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 lens – as the X series are not full-frame cameras then the lens is really equivalent to a 21mm lens when it comes to the field of view and should be considered with this in mind. This is not like the Voigtländer 15mm lens in terms of its field of view so it is important you manage your expectations. It remains however an ultra-wide angle lens by any standards and gives a pretty extreme angle of view at 89º. The lens I am using as a benchmark for this review is the Zeiss Biogon T* 2.8/21 for the Contax G2 as that was my stock 21mm lens for years and is outstanding quality. One of the first photographs I took with the Fuji 14mm lens is the one of Tower Bridge (above) which was taken with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera. Click on the images to enlarge (but please remember the sample images are copyright and shouldn’t be used without my permission) ……
Telephoto zoom lenses are very popular because of their versatility and space saving compared to having several prime lenses to cover the same range. I’ve owned some of them in different mounts, so when i switched to Fuji i wanted to cover the maximum range with the minimum lenses. So i bought the 18-55mm and not long after i bought the XF 55-200mm because of it’s attributes (aperture ring, built quality and OIS) and IQ. Sure the XC 50-230mm is smaller and lighter but i wanted the better IQ and built of the XF 55-200mm. I will be talking on how this lens performs in the field as a Nature photography telephoto lens, covering landscape, close-ups and some wildlife. Telephoto zoom lenses in that range are very useful in my photography, a big part of what i photograph is covered by the XF 55-200mm…….
I wanted deeply explore new X100T and compare it to the older models. But plans are one thing and force majeure is another. There were two issues in this case. Instead of promised ten days of testing I had less than four days for it, then I had to return the camera and it traveled to Poland to be introduced at a press conference. And when I came back home from Fujifilm, I found that I lost one SD card with many photos and videos. I know that the test piece no. 119 may differ from the final product, so I don’t do any judgments and my findings relate only to the piece. I am going to focus primarily on comparison with X100S, because this is what most people are interested in these days. I added the old X100 to comparison mainly because this veteran started the whole successful series of X and for some photographers is still the king. So we’ll see …
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…….
Is the Fujifilm X-T1 camera better than the X-Pro1? I think the answer is a resounding yes. I will leave the technical reviews to others – this is purely about the X-T1 from a user perspective as much technical information is pretty meaningless when it comes to me using a camera in a day to day situation. As a user I’m interested in only three things – how easy is the camera to use, is it reliable and does it take great photos? Well earlier this year I got a chance to find out. I had been using a Fujifilm X-Pro1 for about 18 months and mentioned in passing to my brother that I was thinking about the X-T1 as a possible replacement but it was too expensive. Imagine my surprise the following week when a brand new X-T1 arrived in the post completely out of the blue! Having an older brother definitely has its advantages….
Three months ago, I got myself the new Samyang/Rokinon 12mm f2.0 NCS CS lens for my Fujifilm X-E2 and in the time since I’ve been using it a lot, both locally around here and in trips to Greece and Ireland. Even though I specifically selected this lens for its qualities with respect to astrophotography, I’ve been using it for all kinds of landscapes and more, including close-ups, street and even cat photos! While I don’t do real reviews and I have no test charts to shoot or any way to measure sharpness, light fall-off or distortion, I still wanted to give you my impressions of using it in the field and show some of the images I got out of it. If you just want the punch line, here it is: I like this lens, I like it a lot. If you want to know more, read on…….
I’ve been a loyal Canon user since I’ve started photography, and I have nothing but praise for its cameras. I shall still retain my Canon 5DII and a bunch of lenses for as long as I can. However, I realized that my style of photography has evolved during the past few years…prompting me to splurge big time on a Leica M9, and not too long ago on a Fuji X-Pro1. The evolution of my way of seeing, the lightness of these two cameras and the quality of their images laid the foundation for my being ready and very receptive for a DSLR replacement. Traveling to photograph Holi in India earlier this year, and having to hold the 5DII at shoulder-length to photograph inside temples and avoid color powder/water bequeathed me a short-lived tennis-elbow like pain, but it made me realize that DSLRs are really heavy computers with lenses attached to them……