I first started using Fuji X-100, thanks to a happy accident: I fell down a flight of stairs in Varanasi, India, and destroyed my Canon 5D. As a secondary emergency camera, I had bought my X-100 before my trip, and so began my relationship with Fuji. Later on, when the Fuji XPRO-1 appeared on the scene, I sold my Canon equipment, and since then I’ve been using exclusively Fuji equipment. Though, I must clarify now, I have no special deal with Fuji; this is all my sincere and own opinion. I’ve taken tons of photographs in low light conditions with my Fuji, and with one of these night shots on one of my photo tours I won the National Geographic World Photo prize in 2012 (though it was disqualified at the end of things, for reasons unrelated to the camera). As well, in the low light category I was a finalist in the 2013 Sony World Photo Awards. Again, my trusty Fuji was my camera of choice. I should say here that 95% of the time I like to use a manual set focus button, and then shoot. I feel it faster this way…….
Despite people having their reservations about the XF18-135 when it was announced, I was still looking forward to the lens being that it along with the X-T1 are the first of Fujifilm’s “Weather Resistant” line of products (with more to come later this year). The XF18-135 isn’t a fast lens given its variable aperture spec which is why I think most people would hesitate getting this lens. But I think what many don’t realize is the reasoning for this. A lot of it comes down to getting the most versatile zoom range while still retaining compact dimensions. Remember that while this is a mirrorless lens, that does not equate to a major design difference size-wise compared to dslr lenses. The mirror on the X-Series cameras may be gone which affords them a much more compact body but the lens for the most part has the same design as any APS-C camera out there. So, many would argue that it would have been better to get a constant F4 or F2.8 on this lens; the fact of the matter is, that would have made the XF18-135 into an unwieldy lens for travel which is what I think this lens is targeted for………
As some of you know already I got the opportunity to test out the latest Fujinon lens for the X-series during my trip to Iceland. Fujifilm Nordicwas kind enough to send me a sample of this weather sealed lens for me to make use of during this trip and see what it could go for. Iceland is (in)famously known for having extremely changing weather so it ought to be a great chance to test how well the weather sealing worked along with my X-T1. Generally I prefer prime lenses and that’s what I work with 95% of the time, much because I don’t like to compromise with focal length or with quality. I like having to move to get the right framing, and it has taught me a lot during the years. And as we all are familiar with the pure photographic quality of the photos will always be better with a prime lens. That being said, there are obviously moments when it’s really convenient with a zoom lens. Especially for traveling. Being able to walk around with just one lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths is very practical, both from not having to change lenses or carrying heavy bags with complimentary lenses because you can’t decide on which one to go with……
In early 2013, Fujifilm introduced the X100S, a bright-lensed camera nicely aimed at the street photography niche, and a followup to the earlier Fuji X100. Although we appreciated its image quality and a reduction in lens flare exhibited by the earlier camera, we had some reservations due to some quirks, predominantly related to its autofocus, controls and body design. Now, the followup Fuji X100T aims to take the best of its predecessors, answer our main criticisms of their design, and bring them up to date with some worthwhile tweaks to the viewfinder, display and connectivity. What hasn’t changed since the X100S is the imaging pipeline, which we commended in the earlier camera. The Fuji X100T shares the same 16.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS II image sensor, the same EXR Processor II image processor, and the same bright 35mm-equivalent f/2.0 prime lens that together makes this a great little candid street shooter. And given that the pipeline is unchanged, unsurprisingly neither is the X100T’s burst performance of about six frames per second. You can also still extend reach of its prime lens in either direction with optional 0.8x wide and 1.4x tele converters……
All of the portraits above were shot in RAW with the Fuji X-T1 body combined with the new 56mm f/1.2R APD lens and processed in LR5 with my own black & white presets. The lens itself was a prototype, so until a full production version of the lens is released I can’t really give an opinion on things like the focus speed, manual focusing, etc. In regards to the lens, what’s new about it? Well, not a whole hell of a lot. It’s the exact same lens on the outside in terms of size, build quality, filter size, etc. It’s the insides that have changed, but as I said, it’s not a huge leap. Below is a side by side, using straight out of camera JPG’s using the in-camera black and white preset, with the exact same settings (ISO 200 – f/1.2 – 1/2000sec) with the image from the original 56mm being adjusted -1 stop in LR5 to keep the exposure consistent. For those of you wondering why I had to adjust the exposure when using the exact same settings, it’s because the original 56mm lens lets in roughly 1 stop of light more than the new APD version, so at the exact same settings the photo from the older version of the lens will come out a stop brighter. That loss of 1 stop of light could be a good or bad thing depending on the shooting situation, but its due to the APD filter they added within the lens………
So yes, the rumours were true: Fujifilm has announced a new, different version of their stellar XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens — the XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD. I’m stressing the word different as opposed to better and I’ll explain why in a bit. APD stands for apodized. This is a process by which an optical filter is introduced inside the lens assembly to modify the way it renders out of focus areas — specifically, to make them smoother. And because this filter gets gradually darker at the edges, it also adds a slight vignetting effect. And I do mean slight: light falloff more than any real darkening. I was fortunate to again be hired by Fuji to shoot samples for this version as I had done for the previous model last winter, along with my Canadian colleague Nathan Elson from Calgary (his stunning images are here; very cool shoot). But the deadline and turnaround were a lot tighter this time and I barely had a few days with it. The lens Tokyo sent in was a prototype with nothing but a yellow sticker to distinguish it from my own “normal” 56mm. Since it wasn’t anywhere near a production model, this isn’t a review at all — just a look at the photo shoot and a few personal notes. And btw, these images aren’t the same versions you’ll find on the official product page: we send in unprocessed raw files for sample use. No retouching, no sharpening. Nada. It’s a humbling experience if there ever was one. The photos here were processed in LR5 with my usual methods (although Capture One was used as well for some of these; more on that eventually)……..
Looks familiar right? Fuji have remained faithful to the sleek retro design that we first saw with the introduction of the X100 over four years ago. The Fuji X100T is distinguishable from the X100S, aesthetically, in only a few places on the chasis of the camera. Most notably, on the back, the Fuji X100T now boasts a much more uniformed button configuration that I’m hoping we will see rolled out across all newer Fuji cameras. One of the biggest feedback comments I get is that the cameras should all share the same ergonomics where possible and it seems Fuji are heading in that direction. The command dial has been replaced with a four-way button system. There are no issues with the tactility of the buttons and they are responsive and quick to depress. Lesson learnt from the X-T1! To my hand, the “grip” side of the camera seems larger too – and certainly feels more ample when holding it. The Fuji X100T boasts seven programmable buttons which are handily placed throughout the camera body. Somewhat confusingly, the button labelled with the “bin” (delete) icon on my camera was actually pre-configured for Photometry. This is how I would prefer it and it remains in a similar position to the X100S default configuration. In my hand, the camera feels almost identical to the X100S. The viewfinder selector has returned to the more vertical orientation which I prefer and, apart from the button configuration, and the slight size and weight loss the Fuji X100T is very similar to the X100S……
I have had a pre-production copy of the new Fuji X100T for a week and I have been putting it through the paces to find out how much this camera has evolved since the first X100 was introduced at Photokina in 2010. It was the original X100 that started my love affair with Fuji cameras, and I haven’t looked back since selling my DSLR gear in favor of the Fuji X series for my small format cameras. Yes, I’m going back to film days and saying that 35mm full frame sensors and below are “small format.” That’s not a dig at full frame sensors. That’s just calling 35mm and below what it is. But, before I digress into hyperbole and enrage the trollz, let’s jump into this new camera and why or why not you might be interested in it. I have had a pre-production copy of the new Fuji X100T for a week and I have been putting it through the paces to find out how much this camera has evolved since the first X100 was introduced at Photokina in 2010. It was the original X100 that started my love affair with Fuji cameras, and I haven’t looked back since selling my DSLR gear in favor of the Fuji X series for my small format cameras. Yes, I’m going back to film days and saying that 35mm full frame sensors and below are “small format.” That’s not a dig at full frame sensors. That’s just calling 35mm and below what it is. But, before I digress into hyperbole and enrage the trollz, let’s jump into this new camera and why or why not you might be interested in it…..
I have since moved on from the Fujifilm X-T1 for my professional work. You can read my reasons in an earlier blog post. Despite my transition away from the X-T1, I wish to make it clear that I continue to rate the X-T1 as a fantastic camera. It most certainly is appropriate for professional work. The caveat however is knowing the limitations of the X-T1 and working around them. For the record, my XF14, XF23, XF35 and XF56 have all been sharp. In fact, my main critique of the Fujifilm system is not of Fujinon, but rather the AF technology of Fujifilm’s mirrorless cameras … I am a big fan of shooting in raw format for my kind of work (namely preweddings and wedding days). I do not have time (nor the skill) to adjust for changing ambient light colour casts. I also tend to leave my white balance on daylight for most of the time (unless there is strong tungsten or fluro light). Then there is the issue of dynamic range. It is not possible to pull detail from a compressed jpeg. I was never formally trained in photography. I learnt from looking at the back of the screen and in Lightroom. Sure, one can nail the shot every single time but really? Really? Every. Single. Time? Not me. Hence raw…….
…. The main reason is that I don’t see the general DSLR market being around in the long term. Yes, I know it’s always been there. Yes, I know that millions upon millions of people own them. Yes, I know lenses are forever (despite the fact that I’ve just sold all of mine, But still, I have no faith in the DSLR market. And when you have several lenses worth around the $5K mark (used) each, and bodies that need replacing for several thousand dollars each, it’s a serious consideration/bet that you’re making. (Don’t get me wrong – the DSLR as an entity will be around for a while yet. But the market is shrinking, and that shrinkage is speeding up as the DSLR market becomes more and more specialised (ie will stop buying the consumer and prosumer models). Really, if you’re buying a camera today and have no compelling reason (sports with long lenses, etc.) for a DSLR, you’re just not buying one (if you have a clue)……..