Post Processing Style Evolution

As I was digging through my catalogue of images for my XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 OIS review, I came across the image below. It’s your typical vacation snap, nothing terribly noteworthy, but I like it, and figured I’d reprocess it anyway. It’s not uncommon for me to look back at my post processing, especially in my earliest days of shooting, and find myself somewhat aghast.

In this case, I don’t hate the way I had processed this image before, but I don’t like it either. There is a lot about it that is no longer to my taste. Believe it or not, I was long since out of my days of wanting to extract every last bit of detail from shadows when I first edited this photo, but even then, I think I was much too heavy-handed on the Shadows slider in Lightroom. I started with Adobe’s built in profile since that’s all there was available back then, whereas today I started with PROVIA. Less vibrance, more contrast, I don’t know what I was thinking with the sky and the greens on the mountains. Probably that I wanted to emphasize the warmth of the sun hitting the mountains. Now I find my eye hunting around the frame, side to side, and top to bottom with the reflection. With the left side more in shadows, it encourages a subtle rule of thirds, and lets my eye rest where the sun hits the mountains after the clouds lead it there.

Maybe you agree with me, maybe you think I’m out to lunch and my first pass was better like my wife does. Or maybe you think they both suck, and that’s fine. What’s interesting to me is how we as photographers grow and evolve, not just in the kinds of images we capture, but also in how we handle them after the fact. I am the furthest thing from a SOOC snob. I still enjoy tinkering with an image in Photoshop, and man, would I like to have the time to take another processing pass on a lot of my older images.

Fuji XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 OIS Review Posted

I recently finished up my review of the XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 OIS, the “don’t call it a kit lens” kit lens.

As I posted in social media after my last set of body reviews and comparisons, I’ll focusing on lenses for the next little while, and have spent the past few weeks combing through my back catalogue of images trying to find some worth posting in a review. I hope to share more of those soon.

Deal: X-T1, X100T, X-T10

You can save yourself $500 on the cost of an X-T1 in black on its own,→ or with the XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4,→ or in Graphite Silver on its own.→

You can also get $200 off and X100T,→ or X-T10 with or without two lens choices.→

If you’ve been thinking about a second X-T1 body, now would be a great time.

Here’s a list of all the deals:

  Price Savings
X-T1 - Body Only, Black $799→ $500
X-T1 - Body Only, Graphite Silver $999→ $500
X-T1 Black + XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 $1,199→ $500
X100T $1,099→ $200
X-T10 $599→ $200
X-T10 + XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 $899→ $200
X-T10 + XC 16-50mm $699→ $200

Forthcoming Firmware Updates

Earlier today Fujifilm announced two huge firmware updates are on the way for both the X-T2 and X-Pro2. The first one, due out at the end of March, includes 27 updates, seven being X-T2 exclusives, one that catches the X-T2 up with the X-Pro2, and three to bring the X-Pro2 a little closer to the X-T2 today.

March, 2017 Update Favourites

Here’s a breakdown of my favourites with some commentary:

  1. More RAFs with bracketing: I really like Film Simulation bracketing, but it’s a huge bummer it currently excludes RAF recording. Like the GFX, we will soon be able to have JPEG + RAF support for all the bracketing modes. Good stuff.
  2. Programmable long exposure of up to 15 minutes: No more thumb cramps from holding down the plunger on your cable release!1
  3. ON/OFF for ⅓ shutter speed adjustment: One of my beefs with the X-T2 compared to the X-T1 will be getting addressed. When I set my dial to max sync speed, I don’t want anything to change that except for the dial. This setting that is already available on the X-Pro2 will put a stop to that.
  4. “AUTO” setting added for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting: Depending on how aggressively the camera chooses shutter speeds, and if OIS is taken into account, this could be fantastic for Auto ISO shooters.
  5. Improved in-focus indication in the AF-C mode: This is something I noted in my review of the X-T2 as needing improvement.
  6. Addition of a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF: With a possible 325 AF points to choose from, having a smaller Focus Point in the UI is welcome. That it allows even more precise focus? Gravy.
  7. Addition of “AF Point Display when tracking a subject”: Already available on the X-T2, this is the first steps bringing the X-Pro2 closer in line with the X-T2 for continuous autofocus.
  8. AF-C Custom Settings for X-Pro2: And here’s the second, considerably larger step. Given how the X-Pro2’s strategy has been marketed by Fuji, it wouldn’t have surprised me of this never happened, but it’s fantastic that the X-Pro2 will soon be on par with the X-T2 in AF-C goodness. It will make having the X-Pro2 as a second body in continuous AF settings that much more viable.
  9. Portrait/Landscape AF Mode Switching: Want to be in Zone AF mode in landscape and single point AF in portrait with the AF point in different places? You’ll soon be able to, on the X-T2 anyhow.
  10. Change of focus frame position while enlarging it: Not a favourite, but I have no idea what the one actually means. I’m sure it’s great though.
  11. Constant “Dual display mode”: It’s weird that the small window disappearing when the shutter is pressed. It’s also weird the histogram disappears. I hope that’s included.
  12. Vertical LCD UI: Big thumbs up! I’ve been wondering about and waiting for this since the X-T1 was still in pre-release! Thumbs down that it’s X-T2 only though. X-Pro2 owners compose in portrait through the LCD.
  13. Name Custom Settings: This, and the fact I can’t back them up/transfer them from camera to camera are the two main reasons I haven’t saved a custom setting in a couple years. I’m the edgiest of edge cases in how I use cameras though. For normal people who have a camera or two, this is awesome.
  14. Copyright info in EXIF Data: Does this make Fuji cameras ready for pro use? I mean, they definitely haven’t been up until now.
  15. Extended AE Bracketing: This feature really ought to be higher on the list. We’re going from 3 frames ±2EV to 9 frames ±3EV. If you can’t capture the full dynamic range of your scene in that, you’re doing it wrong.

Video updates for the X-T2 only:

Eye Sensor, re-autofocusing, and live histogram during recording, and external mic input level optimizations. Fuji are showing their commitment to making the X-T2 a viable options for recording video. What I’d like is for them to add higher frame rates if possible.

May, 2017 Update

As if that weren’t enough, a second smaller update is due out in a couple month’s time. Again, here’s a selection of the updates with some commentary:

  1. “All” AF Mode: This will be pretty swank. Change your AF Mode with one Command Dial, and the AF point or Zone size with the other. I hope they let us choose which dial does what.
  2. Extra Dim EVF: X-T2 only (forgivable given the display tech is different), the EVF will have two more dimmer settings for extra low light shooting.
  3. Another Function Button: The Rear Command Dial can be changed from Focus Check, which doesn’t even work when Zone AF is selected, to another function.

Wow

I’m sure Fuji did their best to get all this stuff rolled out in one update, but man, these are two solid updates for two already really solid cameras. Looking forward to these ones.

  1. Yes, I know most have locks and releases. ↩︎

X-T2 vs. X-T1

My in depth X-T2 vs. X-T1 comparison has been posted, including lots about each camera’s grips.

A Possible Break From Bodies

Despite still having a few new bodies to review and compare, I’m planning to take a bit of a break from bodies to focus on lenses. A possible exception is the GFX if I happen to receive a test unit with limits on my time with it.

Electronic Shutter Distortion

You see reports of distortion when capturing photos of fast-moving subjects using the electronic shutter. Here’s an excellent example of what happens.

This image was captured with the XF 56mm F/1.2 wide open, ISO 200 and a shutter speed of 1/10500 on an X-T1. Thos balls were in fact spherical.

So the next time I want to shoot family members playing backyard picnic games with very shallow depth of field, I’ll definitely look into a neutral density filter.

XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS vs. Primes Redux

Almost two years ago, I published my XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS vs. Primes article, which compared the zoom to the XF 14mm F/2.8, XF 18mm F/2, XF 23mm F/1.4, and even the Zeiss Touit 12mm F/2.8. It was a beast of an article, and I had pushed my CMS to its breaking point, literally. Making edits to this page was excruciating, and I imagine loading the page took longer than it should as well.

It took much longer than expected, but I have given this page a serious once over, updating copy, redoing comparison images to be more clear, and removing dozens of page elements and re-optimizing images to improve page responsiveness.

In addition, reviewing comparison images from so many lenses at once was a real chore on a 15 inch display. Having this new 5K iMac has made an incredible difference in how quickly I can review comparison images, and export assets for the site.

I hope this edit makes the page more useful. Check out or revisit this monster comparison.