“The reason I didn’t get the X-T2”

Patrick LaRoque on the GFX:

The GFX is the reason I didn't get the X-T2 because for me THIS will become the workhorse camera, replacing how I had used the X-T1 for its battery grip, tilting screen, tethering etc in situations that needed it.

I did get an X-T2, but this thought was (is) definitely floating around in my mind. I’m trying to figure out a way to get a GFX 50s with the GF 32-64mm F4 LM WR as a starting point. $9K though. Cheap for medium format, but a serious stretch from an X-T2 with XF 16-55mm F2.8 WR, for instance, at $2,900 with the grip.

X-T2 Review

I’m more than a little late to the new Fujifilm body review scene this time around, thanks to being MIA during the early access window. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, I missed out on the early rush of excitement, not to mention site traffic. I’ve also felt like I’ve been letting my readers down, especially those who have written in to ask where the heck my review was. On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed taking a (much) less rushed approach. The lack of any deadline doesn’t help me get things done quickly.

The fact of the matter is, my house move and all this computer nonsense has had a huge impact on my ability to write, and earthquakes in Japan have had an effect on Fuji’s ability to get product over here. I have my hands on a bunch of X-T2s now though, and my review has (finally) been published with a big added bonus at the end.

The Versus comparisons you’re no doubt expecting are next in the queue and should be up in a much more timely fashion.

X-T2 + Bonus Review

An Update On Computational Devices

It had been 38 days since Backblaze had seen my local hard drive to backup, but I’m very pleased to say an inherited backup state is being pushed to their servers as I write this.

After returning the 15 inch MacBook Pro, I had myself a bit of a computer crisis. I had little desire to wait another 4-6 weeks1 for a replacement machine with the risk of receiving another wobbly button, so my strategy was to buy a smaller, less expensive stock configuration from the Apple Store that I could exchange easily if necessary, hoping I could get a perfect one.2 A 13 inch MBP would tide me over until new desktops that are rumoured to be announced this Spring, at which point I would get a machine with some serious guts.

I bought a stock configuration entry level 13 inch MacBook Pro with TouchBar. The Power/Touch ID button was better, but still not great. I went back to the Apple Store the next day, exchanged it, opened that unit in the store, and got a wobbly button that was even worse.

The Apple employee suggested it was in my head–it’s not—and even tried to convince me to just keep it—I didn’t. Additional exchanges would have required manager review since officially, Apple considers play in that button to be normal,3 and I didn’t want to be the guy who goes through inventory looking for what seems to be a unicorn unit, so I decided to just return it and further explore other options.

Windows

As readers of my previous MacBook post know, for the first time ever in life, a Windows-based machine was a consideration.

I tried a Razer Blade Stealth→ a bunch at the Microsoft Store, the only place in Canada to try them, and aside from the imprecise trackpad that I intended to work around with a Razer mouse, ironically, it seemed alright. Microsoft offers a return policy twice as long as Apple’s, and this Windows thing was something I just needed to get out of my head.

Shortly after I returned the 13 inch MBP, I placed an order for a Razer Blade Stealth 4K UHD Touchscreen with Kaby4 Lake processors, 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM with 1-3 day express shipping. The storage is slow, but replaceable, the screen is small with monstrous bezels, but its touchable and crazy, like, actually crazy, high resolution. Maybe I’d buy myself one of those Razer Cores and a GTX 1080 graphics card, join the “PC Master Race,” and, wait, what the hell was I thinking?

Before the Razer even arrived, I knew this PC thing wasn’t going to work out. This isn’t to suggest that Windows is bad, I’m just so heavily invested in Apple that switching to another platform would be a huge time-suck. Without even opening it, I took the Razer Blade Stealth to the Microsoft Store for a refund. I have to say, the entire experience outside of them missing their shipping date by a day due to weather in the U.S. was exemplary.

So what do I do? Settle for a 13 inch MBP without the TouchBar or any possibility of a wobbly button? I came close to doing that, but I was already struggling on my old 15 inch MBP with its 8GB of RAM. That GFX isn’t going to go easy on memory either, not to mention those 51.4 megapixels all but demanding a large display for viewing. No, it turns out a 13 inch laptop was never the way to go. And what if Apple hasn’t gotten their desktop shit together by Spring? A 13 inch laptop from now until November would not be pleasant for the kind of work I do.

iMac

It’s been a relatively long time since iMacs have been updated. They will probably get updated in a month or two, so I wasn’t feeling great about buying one, but I needed something right away.

iMac Upgrade?

The other thing is the luke warm reviews of Intel’s Kaby Lake desktop processors that will almost certainly be going in new iMacs. By virtually all accounts, the performance increase is minimal.

What I would get is faster M.2 storage like they have in the new MacBooks, but appears to only affect large sequential reads/writes, a 2TB storage option, up from the 1TB max they currently have, and USB-C possibly joined by all the dongles I needed for the MacBooks if they elect not to include “legacy” ports.

Apple also seems to be very interested in bumping up the average selling price of their products these days, so if the MacBooks are anything to go by, a similarly spec’d 2017 iMac is sure to cost more than 2015 units.

Refurbished To The Rescue

Apple probably has the best “refurbished” reputation in any business. It’s not fire-sale pricing, but you can save a fair bit. I ended up ordering a maxed out 27 inch 2015 iMac:

  • 4.0 GHz Quad-core Skylake Processor
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB Flash Storage
  • AMD Radeon R9 M395X

I added a Magic Trackpad 2, which I love, and so far I couldn’t be happier with the decision. This display is phenomenal, I can have four USB-A items connected to it while being hard wired to the internet with two Thunderbolt 2 ports and an SD card at the ready. Yes, I could have tried to buy a unit without Apple RAM and saved some money by going third party, but since I was already saving $600+ and these units come with full AppleCare available, I decided to keep things simple. Now, if anything goes wrong, it can only go straight to Apple.

I’ll probably be a little gutted if new iMacs are announced in a month or so, but I have a feeling once I check the pricing on those new units, I’ll go back to feeling alright. I really only wish I had the sense to do this sooner.

Finally, Back Up To Speed

Work on this site hasn’t stopped since December—I’ve made lots of progress on my X-T2 Review, done a Pre-Review of the GFX, updated my XF 14mm F2.8 Review, added an XF 18mm F2 Review, and I plan to get more lens reviews up soon—but now I can really kick things back into high gear, which is nice. And with a 5K display on hand, I’m ready for those GFX files.

  1. The Radeon Pro 460 was causing the most delays for Apple. That seems to have be rectified. ↩︎
  2. I need to stress (again) that my criteria is based solely on what Apple has available in their own stores. Some Power/Touch ID buttons on floor models have some play to them, but others are rock solid. If it weren’t for that last part, I probably wouldn’t be writing this. ↩︎
  3. Again, despite them having shim kits for this very button, but no matter. ↩︎
  4. It’s pronounced “cay-be” folks, not “cabbie.” Rhymes with “baby.” If Intel says otherwise, they spelled it wrong. ↩︎

Fujikina Toronto 2017

Earlier this week I attended an event put on by Fujifilm Canada in Toronto called “Fujikina”, a name I initially snickered to myself at, but after a moment of reflection, decided it’s actually quite appropriate, given how much Fuji stole the photography show at CES this year.

They had everything on hand to try and hold, so I got a good amount of time with the GFX in particular. Here’s what I learned at the event.

GFX

My GFX coverage has become a little more extensive than I anticipated at this stage, so I decided to break it out into it’s own Pre-Review. Much more detail will be added as I test this new camera more.

Graphite (Not Silver)

By all accounts, there won’t be anymore lenses in the “Graphite” finish to match the X-Pro2 Graphite. Only the XF 23mm F2 WR will be offered in the X-Pro2 Graphite Kit. →

X100F →

I’m not quite as enthusiastic for an evolutionary step in the X100 series of cameras only because I’m still so infatuated with the X-Pro2 and XF 35mm F2 WR, my preferred focal length. For anyone who likes 35mm though, they are going to want an X100F a lot.

Upgrading from an X100S to and X100T wasn’t a cut and dried decision, upgrading from any other X100 camera to the X100F will likely be a no-brainer for fans of the camera. The jump in quality and usability is huge.

Getting back to the details, the X100F shutter sound seems to be a little different; more robotic than previous cameras. It’s entirely possible that is restricted to the demo unit I tried, but it was a final production unit, so should be indicative of what we’d get when buying.

The wide angle and teleconverter are in fact optically identical to the first iterations. Good news. The difference is that, when paired with an X100F, the camera will automatically detect the converter and make the changes in camera that once needed to be done manually. This should all but eliminate accidentally capturing photos with comical distortion.

Fuji’s own employees can only speculate how the camera not only detects the converter, but which one. The current guess is some sort of magnet.

X-T20 →

The X-T20 has seen a huge spec bump, but otherwise remains pretty close to its predecessor. It’s not a camera for me, but for entry level or folks who just want the smallest interchangeable body in a DSLR style they can get their hands on, it’s fantastic, and is made that much better with the new imaging chain.

X-E3?

No news on the EVF-only rangefinder-style body getting the X-Trans III treatment. If I remember right though, I got my X-E2 in around November along with the XF 23mm F1.4 when they were both released.

XF 50mm F2 WR →

Not much more to say about this lens. It handles as nicely as the XF 35mm F2 WR, just with a wider manual focus ring. I really like the size and operation of the new WR F2 lenses, but it’s unlikely either will replace the XF 16mm F1.4 WR or XF 90mm F2 WR for me. The focal length spread just doesn’t have enough coverage.

In Other News

That’s it for the event, however, I do believe I have finally sorted my computer crisis after having returned the 2016 MacBook Pro I’d been waiting months for. That has hindered my progress on this site a bit, but thankfully ought to be behind me soon. I’ll have more to say on that front in another post shortly. X-T2 review and comparisons coming soon!

Busy Month

It’s been an action-packed month in the land of Fujifilm. From new finishes to new formats, Fujifilm are on a tear we haven’t seen in some time. Let’s take these in order:

CES; Fujifilm in Graphite

Outside of another rugged point and shoot, Fujifilm’s CES showing has consisted of the announcement of a “Graphite Silver Edition” of the X-T2, and, for the first time in this form factor, a “Graphite Edition” of the X-Pro2. Note the missing “Silver” on the X-Pro2. I noticed a difference in the finish of these two models immediately, but it took me a while to realize the names were actually different.

I prefer the Graphite finish over Graphite Silver myself,1 but it is curious that yet another “colour” has been added to Fujifilm’s roster. We now also have lenses in 3 different finishes, black, non-graphite silver, and graphite. Graphite is seemingly exclusive to the XF 23mm F2 for now, and is only available as part of an X-Pro2 bundle.

Can we expect more lenses to become available in Graphite? The XF 35mm F2—my preferred lens to pair with the X-Pro2—seems like a prime2 candidate, along with the next announcement:

XF 50mm F2 WR

Rounding out a nice compact set of weather sealed primes at f/2, the XF 50mm F2 WR is a 200g 76mm equivalent that sadly doesn’t share the same 43mm filter size as the XF23mm F2 WR and XF35mm F2 WR. Strangely, or perhaps tellingly, this new prime is also not currently available in the darker Graphite finish.

X-T20

One of the quickest iterations, the X-T10 has been superseded by the X-T20, which sees improvements as large as the X-T1 saw with its successor, the X-T2. This isn’t the form factor for me, but man, talk about a feature-rich little camera.

X100F

Number Four. Everyone’s favourite fixed focal length photographic device finally gets the not-so “New AutoFocus System,” and ACROS. It also gets new teleconverters, presumably better optimized for the new sensor. As someone who owns both of the original teleconverters, this certainly isn’t my favourite part of Fuji’s announcements.

(Almost) All 24.3 MP X-Trans III/X-Processor Pro

Every currently available form-factor but one, the X-E2(S) is once again available in Fuji’s latest sensor and processor. Pretty soon our camera body buying decision will once again come down to body size and handling preference without compromising image quality. I loved it when every camera was X-Trans II. This is Fuji at their best.

Medium Format

I’ve been pretty quiet about the GFX 50S. Not for lack of excitement, more for trying to figure out if this new format is something I’m going to be able to get my hands on and add as part of the content of this site. At $6,499 for just the body, I suspect it will be out of reach for many, if not most of my readers, but I sure would like one.

The Big Event

Yours truly has been invited to a Fujifilm Canada Media late tomorrow afternoon that I plan to attend with the opportunity to do some interviews and ask questions. If you have any burning questions of your own, feel free to pass them along and I’ll do my best to get them answered.

  1. It would have gone great with the MacBook Pro I returned. Pity. ↩︎
  2. See what I did there? ↩︎

“Photometry” Needs to Go

In referencing Fuji‘s excellent1 online manual for the X-T2 for my (extremely tardy) review, I noticed that while this page URL still says “Photometry,” the page content is exclusively about “Metering.”

I’d really like to see Fujifilm amend the language around Metering in the rest of their online documentation and camera UI, especially of cameras where metering isn’t changed exclusively via hardware.

Photometry or Metering?

While the word “Photometry” certainly makes some sense in this context, I always found it confusing, as I’m sure many people switching from other camera brands do.

There are basic usability issues at play here as well. When making adjustments to the “Display Custom Settings,” the X-T2 still says “Photometry,” which, when paired with the manual, must be awfully confusing for people who want to see their current “Metering” mode displayed. Consistency in the nomenclature would be helpful for everyone.

  1. Outside of Search being “Powering by Google (Ads).” ↩︎