Roel Dixon Mahatoo

Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 LM R OIS | Roel

The Fujifilm XF 55-200mm f/3.5~4.8 R LM OIS is a decent performer.  It is sharp, the OIS is effective and it balances nicely on an X-Pro1 body (but not so much on the X-E1).  For stationary subjects, AF is good (but not great), and given the current state of continuous AF on the X-Pro1 and X-E1, I won’t be using it for any of my action work (wildlife and sports). I have been on the fence as to whether I would keep this lens – not because it is bad, in fact, it is quite good.  I initially purchased my X-Pro1 system because of the high quality, fast and small prime lenses – I am not a fan of variable aperture zoom lenses.  But for now, I will keep this lens as it is the only way to go beyond 60mm with the “X” system and still have auto focus – plus optically, it delivers the goods.So for now, I will be holding onto it.  For me, it is a compromise but if you don’t mind variable aperture zooms, then you will probably like this lens a lot…..

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Scoresby Sund, Greenland | Roel

One of my greatest pleasures in life is traveling.  There are so many amazing places on this planet and I want to see as many of them as possible in my lifetime. I frequently get asked, “Where are you going next?” – and my answers often leave people scratching their head.  But one recent response did catch me off guard: “You’re going … where?” That is what I got when I told someone I was going to Greenland. “Why the h*ll would you want to go there?”, they asked. Why would I?  Read on to find out…

Why Greenland? Just over a year ago, my wife and I were visiting Iceland (one of our most favourite places) and spent some time in a town called Husavík in the northern part of the country.  During our stay, we went on a day trip to Puffin Island with a company called North Sailing which we really enjoyed. After our excursion, I noticed in their brochure that they had a one week sailing tour of Greenland which really piqued my interest.  I had heard from several people that Greenland is a beautiful place, especially Scoresby Sund where this voyage was supposed to take place. After doing a quite a bit of research (plus speaking to the helpful folks at North Sailing), we took the plunge and decided to go to Greenland.  As you will find out, it was a decision I am so glad we made…..

Thx for sharing, Roel – great pictures :-)

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Two Months with the Fujifilm X100S | Roel


I took my X100 everywhere with me – including to Antarctica and China.   It was a camera that really made me think about composition, exposure and lighting – it was made for “intentful” shooting and thus it allowed me to create some of my best images. I vowed to never, ever sell this camera as I really loved using it. Then I did the unthinkable:  I sold it.

Why, you might ask?  I had just acquired a second X-Pro1 camera body and given that Fujifilm had announced several new lenses for this system, I felt that my X100 was not going to see much use in the future.  I already had the XF 18mm f/2 (28mm equivalent) prime lens which I thought would be a good substitute for the X100′s 23mm f/2 lens (until Fujifilm released its upcoming 23mm f/1.4 lens). It seemed like a good idea at the time, hence why I sold the X100.

It turned out to be a decision I came to regret – a lot…..

One thing though – someone asked me recently if I was planning to purchase the upcoming XF Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 lens to use with my X-Pro1 now that I own the X100S. The short answer is, “no.”  The way I view the X100S is that it is an excellent 23mm f/2 lens with a great camera attached to it – which now has a permanent place in my bag.

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Cambodia – A Photographer’s Guide | Roel Dixon Mahatoo

Empires. The world has seen many empires come and go.  No matter how powerful they were, they have all disappeared for various reasons and you can see the remains of them today if you willing to travel. The tiny country of Cambodia in southeast Asia was home to one of humanity’s most powerful empires – the Khmers (802 to 1431 AD).  They were ambitious people led by even more ambitious kings who wanted wanted to be worshiped by their subjects – so they declared themselves to be god kings. To demonstrate their status as such, they erected stone temples that were built on a massive scale – unlike anything one could imagine, even to this day.  These temples dwarf most European cathedrals, even though the Khmers built them many centuries before.  They were truly a very advanced civilisation. I recently had the privilege of visiting Siem Reap in northern Cambodia which is an experience I will never forget.  The main reason for my visit was to see (and photograph) these magnificent structures – the other, to spend some time with the Cambodian people (still referred to as “Khmers”) who are some of the friendliest on the planet. I spent a lot of time preparing for this trip as I was traveling a great distance and wanted to make sure I had everything I needed with me.  The purpose of this article is to share my experience(s) so that photographers can prepare for their journey to this remarkable part of the world. Keep in mind as you read this that I spent all of my time (nine days) in the Siem Reap area of Cambodia, which is a much longer visit than most.

This article is in four sections:

  1. Before you go
  2. Photography Advice
  3. Other Advice
  4. The Best Advice …….

 

… more Cambodia Images by X-Photographer Roel Dixon Mahatoo:
http://roel.me/?gallery=cambodia

roel

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Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R | Roel

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to test a pre-production copy of this new prime to provide some feedback to Fujifilm.  This article will discuss my experience with it plus provide you with some of my initial images taken with this lens.

Before you can use this lens with your X-Pro1 or X-E1,  you will need to upgrade the firmware on the camera body (which allows for lens corrections plus enables a few other features).  I was supplied with (non-public) beta-firmware from Fujifilm (V2.02 for my X-Pro1) but I suspect when this lens is publicly released, a new firmware version (V2.03 or higher) will be available for download.

Final Thoughts
Here is a quick summary of this lens:
 
Pros

  • excellent build quality and lightweight
  • fast f/2.8 aperture
  • the AF/MF clutch is a welcome feature to move quickly from AF to MF
  • focus ring responds nicely when using manual focus (as opposed to the original focus by wire)
  • Depth of Field markings
  • Distance Scale markings
  • aperture ring feels solid with discreet 1/3 stop settings
  • sharp, even wide open
  • very little distortion
  • surprisingly flare resistant
  • the petal lens hood is an improvement over the previous ones made by Fujifilm

 
Cons

  • the $US 899.99 price tag might put some people off
  • 14mm (21mm equivalent) is very wide and will challenge any photographer’s composition skills
  • the focus ring could use more dampening, but that may change in the final production units

See full review on roel.me

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Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS (goes to the Bahamas) | Roel

It is the first zoom lens for the Fujifilm X camera system and unfortunately, I did not have a chance to use it as it was not available when I received the X-E1 for testing.  At a trade show in Toronto later that month, I did have a very brief opportunity to use the 18-55mm at the Fujifilm booth, but I could only view the images on the camera’s rear LCD screen (and not a calibrated computer monitor) so I did not feel that I had sufficient data to present an informed opinion. I really wanted to see how this lens performed – especially since I have been spoiled by the superb optical quality of the Fujifilm X prime lenses.  But I was just going to have to wait a bit longer before I could get my hands on this new zoom lens. As I was heading off for a much needed vacation in the Bahamas in December 2012, Fujifilm sent a production copy which I took with me on this trip. This is not an in depth review as I tend not to be a pixel peeper but I wanted to pass on my thoughts – plus, show you a few sample images…..

Final Thoughts
Here is a quick summary of this lens:

Pros

  • excellent build quality
  • fast for a variable aperture lens (f/2.8 to f/4)
  • focus ring is dampened nicely
  • aperture ring feels solid with discreet 1/3 stop settings
  • sharp, even wide open
  • incredibly sharp when stopped down
  • OIS works well
  • AF is extremely quiet in operation
  • the petal lens hood is a much needed improvement over previous lens hoods

Cons

  • the $US 699.99 price tag might put some people off
  • Linear Motor provides adequate AF speed, but I expected it to be faster

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Fujifilm X-E1 – High ISO Images | roel.me

See on Scoop.itFuji X-Pro1

What really surprised me were ISO 12800 and ISO 25600. There is some smearing in the shadow areas due to the noise reduction, however, these images are still good (and quite useable) in terms of noise, detail and colour fidelity.   This is remarkable considering the extremely high ISO values. I also checked my X-Pro1 (with the latest firmware V2.00) and its image quality is the same.  It seems that Fujifilm has improved the image processing engine in both the X-Pro1 and X-E1 to produce even better JPEG images.

This was totally unexpected and nothing short of amazing. If someone told me a few years ago that I could get this kind of image quality from a 300 gram (10.5 ounce) camera that used an APS-C sensor, I would have laughed them out of the room. To say that I am blown away (and humbled), is an understatement.
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Fujifilm X-E1 – First Impressions | roel.me

See on Scoop.itFuji X-Pro1

This is actually the second article I have written about the X-E1 – but the first one never got published.  I deleted most of my first article as I was basically regurgitating my three posts on the X-Pro1 – with the exception that the X-E1′s firmware greatly improves the camera’s performance (same as the new firmware V2.00 for the X-Pro1).  This essentially means that the X-E1 is a very similar camera to its bigger brother – except it is a more compact body that loses the OVF, gains a few additional features and costs 40% less.

Fujifilm has done a very good job with the X-E1  – and it is attractively priced.  I know I have referred to the X-E1 as the X-Pro1′s “little brother” – and in some ways, that is an inaccurate description.  The X-E1 is every bit as capable and I suspect the X-Pro1 may get a little jealous with all of the attention the X-E1 is about to receive.  One has to love sibling rivalry.

With the superb “X” mount lenses (plus new ones from Carl Zeiss) being released, the continuing commitment to this system, plus the first rate image quality, I believe that Fujifilm is now and will be a major player in the mirrorless camera market for many years to come.
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Fujfilm X-Pro1 and Off Camera Flash – FlashWave III | roel.me

For years I have been using off camera flash, no matter what camera I happened to own at the time. It produces beautiful lighting when done properly and helps you avoid that flat, “deer in the headlights” look with your images. David Hobby (Strobist), Zack Arias and Joe McNally (just to name a few) use off camera lighting all of the time (I know, I’ve seen them in action) and if you want to improve your flash photography, I recommend you do too.

I find myself using my X-Pro1 all of the time (and soon, the upcoming X-E1) and I have continued to use off camera flash. I had an unfortunate incident with my old Pocket Wizards (which were extremely reliable) which I used to trigger my remote speedlights and wanted to replace them – ideally with something smaller to match the compact size of the X-Pro1.

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X-Photographers | Roel Dixon Mahatoo | roel.me

See on Scoop.itFuji X-Pro1

Fujifilm appears to have incorporated a lot of the X100 feedback in the X-Pro1’s design and it is great that they did this. There are numerous improvements the bottom line is that you are getting DSLR image quality in a compact, functional body with high quality optics. Current X100 owners will feel right at home and it should not take too much time for a new user to become familiar with the X-Pro1. The build quality is excellent, just like the X100. Fujifilm have done a great job with this system and I look forward to it expanding over time. I like the X-Pro1 so much that I have just pre-ordered the body and all 3 lenses. I am confident enough in the camera to use it for paid client work.


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