Photokina Day 1 – 90mm, 16-55mm, 50-140mm, Super tele-photo, Zack, and La Roque

One day down, one to go.

Zack

We kicked today off with a talk by Zack Arias. He was... Zack. Well, he started out as Zack giving a talk, but soon after it was like reading one of his blog posts, or his book. My wife—who is a decidedly less of a photo nerd than I—also enjoyed Zack’s tips, found him charismatic, and could relate to his approach to street photography.

Zack, sending a shot he took of an audience member to his Instax

Zack, sending a shot he took of an audience member to his Instax

Fuji 50-140mm f/2.8

Next we spent some time at the Fujifilm booth. The hands-on stars of the show were the X-T1 Graphite Edition, and the 50-140mm f/2.8. Sadly, Fuji aren’t ready to let us mount the 50-140mm on our own cameras or put one of our own SD cards in their 50-140mm-mounted X-T1 so we can’t post samples yet, but the build, and image quality I was seeing on the LCD were both exceptional. Autofocus was fast, but slightly inconsistent. I have no doubt this will be remedied by the time the lens goes to production. The lens is large, but it doesn’t feel as front-heavy on the X-T1 as I was expecting. At 995g, it’s 2/3 the weight of Canon or Nikon’s equivalents, and that all-internal focus keeps the overall length consistent.

X-T1 Graphite Edition

The X-T1 Graphite Edition was nice. It’s essentially an X-T1, but in a silvery graphitey colour. It looks pretty cool from the front especially, and Fuji wanted to ensure I knew the graphite coating was a 7-step process with the colour being baked onto the camera, vs. just bare aluminum. Whether that’s worth the premium on price, well, you guys will decide that.

Behind closed glass doors

90mm f/2

The 90mm f/2 was on display, behind glass, and sort of tucked away. It is one hefty-looking piece of glass. That lens looks to be around the same length as the 56mm f/1.2, but considerably thicker. I’m looking forward to that lens, but I have a feeling it will really call for the VG-XT1.

 

 

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Super Tele-Photo Zoom 140-400mm f/4-5.6

Another one behind the glass, but some preliminary specs were revealed. The lens markings say 140-400mm f/4-5.6. I’m told that’s not quite final yet though. The lens is another thick one—this is Fuji’s sumo year I think—but the prototype doesn’t appear longer than the 50-140mm. There is quite a range on it, but I hope they find a way to make it an f/4 constant. There’s something about variable apertures I’m just not into.

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16-55mm f/2.8

And finally, Fuji’s standard zoom is still behind glass. This is one A lot of people are most eager for and sadly the release date slipped, but I’d rather they get it right rather than rush it out. Here are some more comparison images.

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Patrick La Roque

After scoping out some other players, we made it back to the Fuji booth in time to see fellow Canadian, Patrick La Roque speak. Patrick is a super nice, down to earth dude whose work I really admire. He spoke about storytelling, and then did a live demo—models and all–that turned out really well.

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Other Players

I spent a lot of time checking out the other players of course, but one standout for my readers was Phase One. No joke, I was going to ask Phase One about any updates planned for Capture One when the email announcing version 8 landed on my inbox. Sadly, I couldn’t find anyone who spoke enough English to walk me through the new features, but I’ll try again tomorrow, and will look into updating my Raw Converter comparison once I’m back home.

That’s it for now!

I’ll be back for more tomorrow, but for the most part, I think one day at the show for consumers is plenty. I’m pretty happy to have just the one brand to cover.

Photokina Bound

photokina

Fuji vs. Fuji is headed to Photokina!

This year I am fortunate enough to be going to the big show. I hope to do a bit of live reporting from the show floor—and of course, the Fujifilm booth.

Afterwards, we’ll be extending our trip to a couple of weeks in Europe. As a result, Fuji vs. Fuji will be on a bit of a hiatus during that time, as we put our Fuji gear to good use.

Cologne, here we come!

Backblaze

Last year I decided that the local backup strategy I had in place for my photos wasn’t cutting it. Not to mention leaving for vacation with my computer and external hard drive backups “hidden” didn’t leave me feeling particularly at ease. A break-in or fire could have resulted in my gear—and thus, all my photos—being gone forever.

I decided it was time to give Backblaze a try. For those who don’t already know, Backblaze is remote backup for everything that’s on your computer, including any connected external hard drives for $5/month. The price was never an issue; $60 a year for unlimited remote backup, and crazy fast retrieval of my files is a no-brainer. The problem I was faced with was my initial backup, which clocked in at just under 1 terabyte.

I’m not gonna lie, for me it sort of sucked. In Canada, we’re faced with mostly terrible options when it comes to ISPs that have comically low bandwidth caps, and even worse upload speeds. I initially tried to manage my backup to only allow my monthly allotted bandwidth. It was impossible. What I ended up doing was paying for unlimited bandwidth during the time it took for my initial backup to complete. It gets worse. If I dared use the entirety of my puny upload limit of 3 whole MB, my 35MB/second download speed would grind to a halt. This makes absolutely no sense, but that’s what we get for trying to use the service for which we’re paying for legitimate reasons. This meant keeping my upload speed to 1MB or maybe 2MB for the majority of my initial upload. That was painful. The initial backup took well over a month, but that was 100% the fault of my awful ISP, and the fairly large amount of data I had to push upstream. I’ve heard mamy reports of people pushing many times the data I had in well under a week.

Now that my initial back up has completed, Backblaze could not be easier. I don’t even think about it. I leave my max upload speed at around 2MB/second, and take solace in the fact that I have a complete remote backup of all my stuff. I’ve tested the retrieval process a bunch of times, and it works flawlessly. The only minor inconvenience is having to pause my backup on occasion while watching Netflix. That terribly ISP again.

So why am I writing about this? Well, if there’s one thing I know my readers have, it’s photos. Losing all your photos would suck. I also like Backblaze so much that I can recommend them without hesitation. If you’re thinking about getting yourself a remote back up, and you should, consider using a link to my newest affiliate, Backblaze. A full year will probably cost less than your monthly cell phone bill, and I guarantee you will feel better knowing you digital stuff is safe. I know I do.

On Buttons

If the rumours are to be believed, Fuji are doing some interesting differentiating with the button layouts of their cameras. Take the most recent leaked photos of the X100T.1 It appears to have a D-pad that’s very much like the one found on the X-T1, no functions assigned to it via icons. I’ll assume it will be the new and preferable clicky variety. The images of the back of the camera look great to me. Very clean. No more scroll wheel. It will be interesting to know if the toggle has moved to a dial as well.

Now, the just-announced X30 has a D-pad that’s more similar to the X-E2, complete with even more icons delineating their function. Fuji’s consumer-centric cameras tend to all feature this more protruding and icon-laden D-pad whereas cameras like the X-T1, which is decidedly more “professional,” has the customizable and more recessed D-pad.2

It’s interesting to me that the X100 line of cameras is taking on the X-T1 style D-pad and I fully expect the X-Pro1 successor to do the same. This suggests that Fuji slots the X100 into less of a consumer space which coincides with it’s price, and the fact that it’s a fixed focal length. The X30 couldn’t be more targeted at the more casual “consumer” shooter.

If these photos are real, it’s nice to see Fuji bringing consistency to their cameras like this. It makes a lot of sense for them to take no the role as expert with the more consumer-focused cameras and tell the user which buttons do what, but let the more serious shooter make up his or her own mind about how the buttons behave.

 
  1. I have to say, their poor quality and the fact that the OVF/EVF switch has gone back to how it looked on the X100 (non “S”) makes me question their authenticity a little. EDIT: With the addition of the OVF/EVF hybrid mode, it makes perfect sense for Fuji to go back to the symmetrical viewfinder switch as each direction from middle serves a different purpose.
  2. The X30’s buttons are all fully customizable as well, but Fuji have provided their suggested designation, which is a subtle suggestion that digging into the menus to adjust things is less of a necessity.

The “Best” X-Trans RAW Converter

Perhaps my most fussy article to date, I’m going to great lengths to determine what the “best” RAW converter is for X-Trans sensors. As it stands, I’ve only examined how these applications treat a typical wide angle image shot with a FUJINON XF 14mm ƒ/2.8 on an X-E1. I will add more images as time permits.

See for yourself what the best RAW converter for X-Trans is.

18mm f/2 vs. 27mm f/2.8

Somewhat to my surprise, this is a comparison I’ve not only had requested, it’s also a search term that lands more than a few people on my site. These lenses really only have two things in common, and that’s size and weight. It would seem lots of people are after an X100S form factors, but aren’t sure which of these two lenses will do it best.

Because the focal lengths are so different, I’ve left the pixel-peeping image comparison out. They may be added in the future, but for now, lots of impressions, comparison images, and even a few charts should help with which of these two tiny lenses you should get for a small interchangeable kit.

Read 18mm f/2 vs. 27mm f/2.8 here.

Get a grip

To all my American friends, if you’ve been putting off buying the X-T1, now might be the time to click “Buy!” Us Canadians were fortunate enough to get a free VG-XT1 vertical grip when we preordered the X-T1. B&H are making the missed promo up to you guys by providing the grip and an extra battery for $200 off. Not too bad.

As I noted in my review, the ergonomics of the VG-XT1 are fantastic, and maybe even better than the actual camera for some. I haven’t done as much event shooting as I once did lately, but when I do, you better believe I’ll have the VG-XT1 affixed to my camera.

Get yours here.