Inspiration: Marco Larousse

If there‘s one person I follow on Twitter who makes me feel inadequate about my street photography skills, it’s Marco Larousse, who is perhaps equally well known as “HamburgCam.” Marco’s eye, patience, and post processing, be it digital or darkroom, add up to some incredibly clever photography that routinely makes me stop and think, “Holy shit, that’s nice.”

I had the good fortune of meeting Marco in person and he’s as nice a guy in real life as he is on Twitter.

You can see lots more of Marco’s work here, read an excellent interview with Marco here, and you follow Marco, a.k.a HamburgCam here.

UPDATE: It turns out my friends over at MirrorLessons had a similar idea. Another great interview with Marco can be found here. Crazy coincidence.

Fuji XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR

Fuji have officially announced their latest prime, the FUJINON XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR, the first prime in their line up to offer weather resistance. You can count on a Versus article involving this lens once I get my hands on it (and have ample time to do my testing and analysis), but for now, you can check out a few initial impressions posts on the lens.

The first is from Tomasz Trzebiatowski over at Fuji Love. It’s a nice overview, however there is one statement that has me genuinely stumped on its meaning:

Images are crisp, but still not overly sharp.

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of over-sharpness being a problem on the hardware level. I’d be interested to know what Tomasz means by that.

Next up, Neill Soden, despite admitting he’s not a fan of wide angles, appreciated the 16mm, and has a good size comparison photo of the new wide angle next to what was previously Fuji’s chunkiest prime, the 56mm f/1.2. Neill’s impressions are a testament to the impact 2mm can have on wider focal lengths.

Max Demartino has posted full resolution JPEGs over on his site. Full crops from a pre-production lens are a rare find.

Flemming Bo Jensen has probably the most interesting to read impressions on the new wide angle. If I had to choose one review to read this would be it. The astro capabilities in particular have my interest piqued.

Björn Moerman has gone to town, posting test charts, product shots, bokeh samples, the works.

UPDATE:

Ivan Joshua Loh has posted his thoughts on the 16mm as well. It won’t be replacing his 23mm f/1.4 anytime soon, but that will be the case for just about anyone who owns the 23mm. Ivan references the weather sealing of the 16mm though, which could end up being a big reason why I have it attached to my X-T1.

Ben Cherry is another recipient of a pre-production unit. I’m happy to see him address the potential duplication or even triplicating of adding this lens to your bag, and he calls attention to the size difference between it and the 14mm, which is substantial.

Conclusion

Fuji has really gone to town on shipping out samples to get the word out about their new kit. There’s a bit too much gushing for my taste, but it’s tough to get beyond the initial excitement of a new lens and get the feel of it, warts and all after only a few days. Sometimes you need weeks to really get a sense of whether or not it’s something you reach for regularly.

I’m looking forward to having my own impressions of this lens. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the 14mm f/2.8, and both the 10-24mm f/4 and 16-55mm f/2.8 at 16mm.

The New Zooms

For those who haven’t yet noticed, detailed handling comparisons of what I’ve called “Standard Zooms” and “Telephoto Zooms” are online. I have a good start on comparison images as well, but it’s been difficult with the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing in Canada recently. Comparison crops are in the works though, and will be posted as soon as possible. In the meantime, check out my impressions of these new lenses and how they compare as far as handling and build quality is concerned.

Inspiration: Verity E. Milligan

First, a Note

Testing gear is great fun, but we mustn’t forget that it’s the photographs we make that really matter. I’m guilty of this slipping my mind at times, but I managed to sneak a moment for myself this past weekend to make an image amongst the testing. With that said, I hope none of my readers mind the odd post here and there that features the photos we make with our cameras.

I’ve called this quite simply “Inspiration,” because for me, that all it is. These are the people who inspire me to grab my camera and go shoot.

Now onto the Inspiration.

I met Verity (or Vemsteroo) on Twitter sometime late last spring when her extraordinary landscapes of various Districts in England were retweeted. She was an insta-follow. Her latest set of images, this time from the Peak District, is as lovely as ever, and includes this gem, which I think is particularly genius.

“Ice Planets” by Verity E. Milligan

“Ice Planets” by Verity E. Milligan

The entire set was captured with the X-T1 and 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6, showing off the lens’s versatility, but more importantly, Verity’s words about winter echo my own thoughts about the season.1

Seasons provide us photographers with exponentially more photographic opportunities so even if it’s still cold where you are, bundle up, stick a WR lens on your X-T1 and make some images.

  1. Except maybe when temperatures get down below -30˚C like they did last weekend. That’s just nonsense.

Get Ready For Your Close-Up

Fuji Fujifilm MCEX-11 MCEX-16 Extension Tubes.jpg

Have you been looking for a way to get closer to your subjects without having to shell out for another lens? Perhaps you’re biding your time until the 120mm f/2.8 R Macro arrives. Either way, my review of Fuji’s latest addition to their accessory line-up has been posted.

MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 Review

An in-depth comparison of maximum closeness with and without the extensions tubes is also underway. So far only the primes are ready for viewing.

MCEX-11 vs. MCEX-16

16mm f/1.4 and 90mm f/2 WR

Big Head Taco has written a nice piece about his time with both the President and Vice President of Fujifilm Canada. His impressions of the imaging leadership is certainly of interest1 but this is the bit that really caught my attention.

I asked Greg why no prime WR lenses and he said they are coming soon. He mentioned the new 90mm f/2 and the 16mm f/1.4 are going to be WR lenses, but the lens roadmap doesn't mention it.

This is fantastic news. Weather sealing is the one thing I find lacking with Fujifilm lenses. I suppose the question now is, how does Fuji go about re-issuing WR versions of existing lenses? There aren’t many I wouldn’t like to see WR appended to their model names.

  1. And I happen to share a lot of his opinions whole-heartedly,

The Red XF Badge

In starting a comparison including the new 50-140mm, I was struggling with how to categorize Fuji’s lenses. My initial thought was to describe the 50-140mm f/2.8 as “Pro” with all other lenses being “Consumer.” The trouble with that of course is Fuji already have a second consumer-focused set of lenses that carry the XC moniker.

Perhaps Fuji has already found a way of differentiating between these two levels of quality within their XF series of lenses though. The red badge.

Fuji’s red XF Zoom badge

Fuji’s red XF Zoom badge

I noticed this badge immediately when I first saw the 50-140mm f/2.8 at Photokina. I wasn’t crazy about it when I first saw it, but it’s grown on me.1

Just two lenses carry this badge officially to date, the 16-55mm f/2.8, and the 50-140mm f/2.8, which are the two lenses unofficially referred to as “pro zooms.” These lenses also happen to be the only two lenses in the lineup that come with the new Nano GI coating so the red badge might be the signifier of this coating’s presence,2 but it could just as well be their version of the gold band found on Nikon’s pro glass or the red band found on Canon’s L lenses. It’s clearly not indicative of weather sealing since the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 has the standard black XF badge.

Looking back at my my images from Photokina, it appears as though the XF zoom badge was deliberately left off of the the new Super Tele-Photo Zoom 140-400mm f/4-5.6. This would suggest that Fuji do have an idea of what the red badge stands for, and that they hadn’t yet commited to adding the stamp to the new Super Tele Zoom. Or maybe it just fell off. It is a prototype after all.

No XF Zoom badge? What does it mean???

No XF Zoom badge? What does it mean???

It’s interesting that Fuji have created a new tier of zoom lenses with these latest releases—I’d bet the farm that this isn’t a revised design language for all lenses going forward, and I suspect they won’t dish out the red badge often—but it’s odd that there doesn’t seem to be an official word on what the red badge stands for.

  1. I do wish that Fuji went with red for all their functional accent colours as they have on the black X100’s rather than the orange used on their interchangeable bodies.
  2. Much like Nikon’s “N” for “Nano Crystal Coating.”