Fuji Filter Thread Sizes; 2018 Update

Of course the XF 50mm F/2 WR has a 46mm filter thread. Why would it be 43mm to match the other two F2/WR lenses?

My Filter Thread Size piece has been updated to include the XF 50mm F/2 WR and XF 80mm F/2.8 Macro WR OIS. The former adds yet another filter thread size for a total of 10. The latter slots in with 62mm, extending that diameter’s lead. You win some you lose some, I guess.

I’m giving Fuji the gears a bit up there, but it should be noted it certainly appears as though they start out trying to make their lens filter threads consistent. Their first two primes, the XF 18mm F/2 and XF 35mm F/1.4 were both 52mm. The first two F2/WR lenses? 43mm. And there’s an embarrassment of riches in the 62mm thread size. A for effort.

I’ve revised the entire strategy section of the piece, not just to include the new lenses, but also the availability of new filter sizes from Breakthrough Photography,→ my filter manufacturer of choice.

Really Right Stuff at B&H

If you’re a fan of quality camera support—and honestly, who isn’t?—you’ll be as pleased as I was to read that B&H Photo is now carrying Really Right Stuff gear.→ It’s mostly just tripods and one lonely Fluid Head from what I can tell so far, but hopefully they will soon carry the ballheads and plates too.

Full disclosure: As should be apparent, I am part of B&H’s affiliate program. That said, I’ve been recommending Really Right Stuff Gear since I started this website. Their gear has been great for me, and their customer support is top notch.

Photo Storage

I’ve been pushing up against the limits of the internal storage in my MacBook for far too long now. The lack of free space on my boot volume was starting to make my MacBook slower, and resulted in files having to be shuffled to smaller external storage.

I’ve been doing almost as much agonizing over my storage challenges as I have trying to decide what gear to bring on my African adventure. My trip will also leave me with even less space available, so storage is a problem that has to be solved soon. Here’s my thought process.

NAS vs. DAS

The choice is between a NAS (Network Attached Storage) or a DAS (Direct Attached Storage). I like the idea of being able to access my files from anywhere in the house (or world, for that matter), and I really don’t like plugging external hard drives into my MacBook, especially when I’m sitting on a couch, or just want to be mobile.

I’ve been hearing all kinds of good things about Synology products, and almost bought their DiskStation DS716+ → with a third party RAM upgrade, but decided that if I was going to get a NAS, it should have more than 2 bays.1 At the time of my research, Synology didn’t have a unit with 4 or more bays that I was interested in, and being a bit uncertain of how a NAS would impact my workflow, I decided to look at direct storage again.

I had settled on a Promise Pegasus2 R2+ →,2 but I was still struggling with two key aspects:

  1. External RAID arrays are expensive, considering the functionality you can get for similar money with a NAS.
  2. Too many options for direct storage ship with drives pre-installed, and they don’t make information about the manufacturer or the quality of those drives readily available, and if they’re from a less reliable manufacturer, you’re out of luck.

There are diskless options, but to get an enclosure I liked, I was sort of stuck, and without the markup the enclosure manufacturers get on drives, I could end up spending more on the same amount of storage.

Synology to the Rescue

As luck would have it, Synology announced their new DiskStation DS916+ →, which is pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. Better still, the cost for 12TB in Synology’s latest 4-bay NAS is only $20 more than a Promise 8TB Storage Array →. More storage (or equal storage with RAID 5), and way more functionality for $20 more. I’ve since done a bunch more research and a NAS is looking more and more like the way to go.

What I’d Lose

Network attached storage is slower, there’s no getting around that for now. It’s going to hit me particularly hard as the aging MacBook Pro I’m still working on is 802.11n. I have an upgrade planned within the next 6 months, however. I’m also looking into ways of getting more Ethernet access in my home.

Because of the (potentially temporary) slowdown, I’m going to have to make some adjustments to my workflow, setting up more of an archival strategy with my asset management. Once photos have been dealt with, they’ll move off my local storage, and onto the NAS.

I’ll also lose automatic remote backup of my storage solution by opting for a NAS. Backblaze will happily accept whatever files are on any direct attached storage you have hooked up to your computer, but a NAS is off limits without some trickery that I’m not interested in, will cost me more money, and is apparently flakey at best. I’ll likely sign up for CrashPlan on the NAS, and perhaps move my entire cloud backup to them unless Backblaze figures out a way to support NAS (not holding my breath on that).

What I’d Gain

I won’t regale you with the many, many benefits of a Synology, but on the photo side of things, it looks like I’ll be able to log into my NAS while on vacation and upload my RAFs for an on-the-fly backup strategy, provided I don’t blow through anyone’s bandwidth limits. Backups while on vacation has been a bit of a concern. In the past, I’ve pretty much just shot pics until my cards were full, then tucked them away somewhere safe, and hoped for the best. I’ve been fortunate up until now, and always made it home from vacations with my photos, but this is not a good strategy. It would be pretty upsetting to visit a game park at the beginning of my trip, then somehow lose the photos towards the end.

I’ll need to give the NAS backup strategy a try before I go to see just how realistic it is. It will be dependant on the speed my my internet connections.

Conclusion

I went ahead and ordered myself a DS916+ with 8GB of RAM along with four 3GB HGST Deskstar drives,→ which Backblaze reports as consistently having the lowest failure rates.3 I missed ordering when the DS916+ was first in stock, but I’ll be sure to report back on how these things can work in a photographer’s workflow if there’s interest.

  1. I would set my NAS up as RAID 5 to give myself a one drive failure tolerance. ↩︎
  2. I decided to go with a 2-drive array to save some money with the intention of getting a NAS in the future. I also would have considered something from OWC, but I’ve had a couple not so good experiences with their products in the past so I’m hesitant to try them again.
  3. Fun fact, Promise Technology use Toshiba hard drives in their arrays. They have pretty low failure rates, but it's still 3× as many as HGST. ↩︎

Another Metal Hood

In addition to the 2x Teleconverter, Fuji also quietly added another metal hood add-on accessory, this time for the XF 23mm f/1.4, the Lens Hood LH-XF23. I don’t know about you, but I’m perpetually in “persuit of premium quality to multiply the pleasure of ownership.”

Truthfully, I do really like the metal hood for the XF 16mm f/1.4 WR. It’s noticeably heavier than the plastic hood that comes with the lens, but significantly more compact when ready for use. A worthwhile trade off in my opinion. The hood that ships with the XF 23mm f/1.4 is also much too large for me to ever want to attach it to my lens.

I think we can expect this trend to continue from now on. It’s shame because these hoods aren’t cheap, but they’re so much nicer.

One Wide Angle Remaining

The XF 14mm f/2.8 comes to mind as being the next lens due for a new metal hood. As I’ve mentioned, the plastic hood for the XF 14mm f/2.8 is a clone of the hood for the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4, which leads me to believe it hasn’t been terribly well optimized for the former, since it was released after the kit zoom.

Smartphone Downsizing and User Error

Incredibly, I’ve been taken to task on my piece about the potential for data loss with Fuji’s mobile apps by some readers who insist this comes down to user error, and we should all STFU and RTFM.

This is absolutely not user error. It’s using marquee features with dedicated buttons as advertised. Suggesting the onus is on regular people to read the manual about a standard, discoverable feature which comes with a penalty that is fairly well hidden from the user is a terrible response when discussing a consumer device or consumer behaviour.

Think back to when you got your first Fuji camera. Did you read the manual before connecting it via USB or slapping your SD card in your computer the to make sure your files wouldn’t be downsampled? I thought not.

Just For Good Measure

Let me throw a couple analogies at you:

  1. What if tethering behaved the same way? Captures are saved on the card, but are sent to the computer by default at a reduced size without the user knowing. The user formats their card thinking the images are already on a computer, and loses the original 16MP files. That would be crazy, right?
  2. What if Apple automatically reduced the bit rate of songs when copying to a mobile device without letting the user know for faster transfer speeds and so your device could hold more songs? It would be pretty difficult to actually lose your data entirely in that case, but it would still be less than optimal UI design. Good design, is to have a checkbox for that setting on the import screen, as they have done.

Something Like This

 An obvious button here, or at in the Browse and Receive screens would be ideal. Trashing full resolutions photos after would then actually be user error.

An obvious button here, or at in the Browse and Receive screens would be ideal. Trashing full resolutions photos after would then actually be user error.

You might think using WiFi for image transfer is crazy, but the reality is there are a lot of people whose primary and/or only computer is a smartphone, and that number is growing. It won’t be long before waiting to plug a cable into something to transfer images will be considered quaint. Queue the #believeinwires tweets.

There are others, like Yours truly, going iOS-only for a considerable portion of their workflow. With mobile devices outpacing laptops in some benchmarks, destroying them in sales, and capturing images at 12+MP natively themselves, transferred images probably shouldn’t downsized by default, and they definitely shouldn’t be downsized without it being really clear to the photographer.

Artisan & Artist Silk Strap Review

Thanks to Canadian Artisan & Artist dealer Digitec Trading, I’ve spent the entire summer with two the best straps for hot, sweaty days, the Round ACAM-301, and Flat ACAM-310.

Artisan & Artist straps are quite coveted, but do come with a price tag to match their premium quality. Are they worth it? Find out in my extensive review.

Artisan & Artist ACAM-301, ACAM-310 Silk Strap Review

The X-T10 Grip

In my review and comparison, perhaps my biggest criticism with the camera was its grip, or lack thereof. This potential issue is easily addressed by way of a half case, or MHG-XT10 grip that also provides Arca Swiss tripod compatibility. Both maintain battery and SD card access, which is nice.

 Fuji’s X-T10 with MHG-XT10 hand grip – Image courtesy of Fujifilm Canada

Fuji’s X-T10 with MHG-XT10 hand grip – Image courtesy of Fujifilm Canada

Historically, I haven’t been thrilled with Fuji’s grips, and have preferred to attach a Really Right Stuff L-plate for my Arca Swiss needs, but this is a camera where a little added grip would do wonders. On the other hand, if the grip on the X-T10 is too small for you and you’re considering an MHG-XT10, the price of your X-T10 is now $930 (USD), just $270 less than the price of an X-T1. Less than $300 gets you a grip you’ll be more comfortable with out of the box, superior build, weather sealing, better continuous shooting, etc.

If an X-T10 arrives in my home as an X-T1 owner already, it would be the sort of camera that would stay off the tripod for the most part, and this may be the first Fuji half case I test. Anyone want to send me a Luigi half case to compare?