September Announcements

Now that Fuji seems to be getting themselves back in gear, I figure it’s a good time for me to do the same.

X-E3

I’m a little surprised to see some write-ups about this camera hardly mention the lack of a D-pad. That said, I can understand the decision, and it’s interesting to see how Fuji has decided to rework the X-E series of cameras within their lineup. The X-E2S had almost nothing unique about it outside of being rangefinder-style. Fuji is constantly struggling with how to compete against the smartphone on their lower end. They will never beat the smartphone, but making their cameras work with smartphones as seamlessly as possible is nothing but the right move.

The Bluetooth connectivity is something I’m eager to try, and is a feature I think could single-handedly make the X-E3 one of Fuji’s best-selling cameras for photographers who want instant access to their Instagram accounts with their photos.

XF80mm F/2.8 LM OIS WR Macro

This is a lens that many had hoped would be released this time last year, and with a longer focal length. My understanding is the size was getting out of control, and if I had to guess, it became what we now know as the GF 120mm F4 OIS WR Macro.

With weather sealing, f/2.8 aperture, proper 1:1 macro, and a linear motor (just one based on Fuji’s marketing materials) for faster AF, only the budget and/or size and weight-minded will consider the XF 60mm F2.4 Macro anymore, and unless the AF speed of the XF 90mm F2 WR is significantly quicker, or you really need that extra stop of light gathering/bokeh vs. OIS, the XF 90mm F2 WR could find itself getting dusty in inventory.

XF8-16mm F/2.8 WR

Yours truly called the focal length back at the last roadmap update. I’m pleasantly surprised to see the f/2.8 aperture. I’m also pleased to see Fuji say it is most suited for architecture. This suggests to me that distortion will be kept to a minimum. If that is the case, the XF 10-24mm F/4 OIS will be off my lens consideration list faster than you can say “WR”.

GFX Stuff

I have to admit that after my initial buzz around Fuji’s new format faded, my interest in it did as well. The GFX has simply proved to be much too costly for me to really get into. Perhaps once I can get my hands on a review unit again I will add more GFX content, but for the time being, X Series is where my money, interest, and review effort is going. I’d be very interested to know how my readers feel about that.

Medium Format Telephoto

I’d be interested to know how many medium format shooters are pining for telephoto capabilities. And not just telephoto, but teleconverted telephoto. Time will tell I suppose.

FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO

In addition to the new gear announcements, Fuji also announced some software as well. When I saw “Fujifilm X RAW Studio,” my interested was piqued. X Processor Pro on my iMac? Sweet! Then I saw a camera needs to be connected to the computer. I suppose this could come in handy for RAF shooters who want to batch process, but is this software going to change any Lightroom or Capture One users’ habits? Heck no.

I continue to hope and dream for the day Fuji gives us real Fuji processing on our computational devices.

Firmware

And finally, all of Fuji’s current cameras will see a firmware update. Key features include enhanced AF tracking algorithms for the X-Pro2 and X-T2, 4K video support for the X-Pro2—something Fuji once claimed wasn’t possible due to heat tolerances—and the ability to backup and restore camera settings.

I am by far most excited about that last one. I switch cameras so often I often don’t bother adjusting settings far from their defaults, but being able to restore them will definitely encourage some customization. I’m very curious to see how they handle the transfer of settings from different models of camera, particularly where a function is bound to a specific button.

XF 35mm F/1.4 Review Posted

My goal of getting more lens reviews published continues with the addition of the XF 35mm F/1.4. My XF 35mm F/1.4 vs. XF 35mm F/2 WR piece is easily one of the most popular on the site, so it seems fitting to get reviews of these two lenses online. They also happen to cover one of my favourite focal lengths, 50mm.

I don’t use the original XF 35mm as much now that a weather sealed option is available, but I definitely got on well with it when it was the only game in town, and still use it when my wife feels like a portrait session, or I’m in the mood to play with lens flare. Both of which are areas the XF 35mm F/1.4 excels in.

Here’s the review.

Also

I know I haven’t exactly been publishing content daily, but my big, crazy long move is finally coming to a close as I write this. I’ll be away from the site entirely for a few days, and really, truly hope to be settled soon, so I can post more regularly. Big thanks to my readers who have stuck with me.

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.