July Announcements and Roadmap

It’s turned out to be a big week for Fuji fans. After the XF10→ fake out yesterday, Fuji dropped official announcements for two new lenses, and unveiled the latest X Mount roadmap including 3 more new lenses.

XF10

The X70 just sort of disappeared from store shelves a while back. I didn’t even know it was gone. I reviewed the X70 a couple years ago, but it failed to recapture the magic of the X100. It might have been a little bit too early to the market in some ways. Connectivity wasn’t seamless enough, and the 16MP sensor may not have been compelling enough a spec to lure smartphone shooters, X Trans or not. Fuji is hoping their new connectivity and 24.2MP sensor will turn more heads, but they’ve made some curious choices. The flip up screen is a feature I don’t think they should have omitted, but if it gets the cost down low enough, maybe that will make the difference. The XF10 weighs in at just 280g, 66.5 grams less than the X70. I expect this camera will do much better in Asian market than Western, but I’m still not expecting it to set the photography world on fire.

XF 8-16mm F/2.8 WR

We’ve likely all known this was coming, but it’s nice to get some official details including estimated release date and pricing. The XF 8-16mm F/2.8 WR→ will cost a nickel under $2,000 when it is released in late November. Cripes. That’s a lotta dough. As I quipped on Twitter, this thing better be absolutely stellar to justify that kind of price.

It’s also big. And heavy. 150 grams heavier than the XF 16-55mm F/2.8 WR,→ which is already pretty hefty. Fuji themselves call this lens “Monster Glass.” They’re not wrong, but it is still a couple hundred grams less than full frame equivalents.

Weight in grams

Add to its size and weight that it lacks OIS, and this lens sort of demands to be mounted on an X-H1, much like the XF 16-55mm F/2.8 WR.

Using filters with the XF 8-16mm F/2.8 WR is going to be rough. No rear insert like what Canon has. I don’t yet know if the front elements moves at all, but it would have been super cool if Fuji could have figured out a way to add a filter thread to this lens. It would have been a unique selling feature for a lens this wide.

XF 200mm F/2 OIS WR

Fuji might be aping Canon with the colour, but no matter. The XF 200mm F/2 OIS WR→ looks awesome. It’s another monster though, size weight, and price, all sky high. Should the day arrive that I want to shoot wildlife again, this is the lens I’m starting to save up for now.

Weight in grams

I love that it includes the 1.4× teleconverter,1 but the somewhat, if not totally legendary Nikon 200mm f/2 can be had with a 1.4× teleconverter for just $100 more. That lens covers full frame sensors as well.

I hope the tripod collar is a little more solid than the one than ships with the XF 50-140mm F/2.8 WR. Mine is prone to flex.

By the way, you see the hood? That green just screams Classic Fujifilm.

XF 33mm F/1 WR

Considering it isn’t due to hit store shelves until around 2020, it might be a bit premature for Fuji to shout “world’s first mirrorless lens with an F/1 maximum aperture,” but man, do I ever want one. Judging by the Roadmap image, it looks like it will be too large to completely supplant my XF 35mm F/2 WR, but it’s an eff one point zero. ’Nuff said.

XF 16mm F/2.8 WR

A new entry into the F2WR line of lenses that doesn’t quite make it to F/2, sadly. This lens will have to be much smaller, lighter, and less expensive than the outstanding XF 16mm F/1.4 WR for it to be a consideration. Given the previous F2WR’s, chances are good it will be all three.

XF 16-80mm F/4 OIS WR

This lens has “travel” written all over it. Maybe even more than the XF 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 WR, which has always left me unsatisfied, optically. This lens should replace the XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 OIS as the kit lens for any weather sealed bodies, but it’s been categorized it as “Red Badge,” so that could be unlikely.

It will be nice to have the choice between and extra stop or 25mm more reach, but I always have a hard time turning down light gathering.

Conclusion

Lots of cool stuff coming from Fuji over the next little while. Personally, I’m most interested in the XF 33mm F/1 R, and if my Twitter replies are any indication, most of you are as well, with the XF 16-80 F/4 OIS WR coming in a close second.

  1. Don’t let the tricky language mislead you though, when they say “supporting the lens’s maximum aperture of F/2” they don’t mean the f-stop value remains constant. They note that in the legal copy, but I still find the language misleading. ↩︎

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.

Fujifilm XF 2X Teleconverter Announced

Well isn’t this fortunate. Fuji has officially announced their XF 2X Teleconverter.

From Fuji:

The “FUJINON TELECONVERTER XF2X TC WR” is a high-performance teleconverter capable of multiplying the focal length of mounted lenses by two.

This gives the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 and effective focal length of 100-280mm f/5.6, or 152 to 427mm in 35mm equivalence, and the XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 reaches all the way out to 200-800mm f/9-11, which is 305 to 1,219mm in 35mm.

That quite a bit of a slow down in aperture, but over 1,200mm of reach is going to be tough to resist.

No Phase Detection

Also worth noting, we lose Phase Detection on the XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 altogether with the XF 2X TC attached thanks to the reduction in aperture. That could pose a bit of a problem for things like early morning game park drives or bird photography outings when higher ISOs are already common. It will be interesting to see how this lens performs with the TCs attached.

Size and Weight

That extra reach also means extra size and weight with the new 2x weighing in at 170g, or 40g more than the 1.4x and measures twice as long at 30.2mm. I’ll be getting close to maxing out the height of my bag already, so be mindful of your max carry size before you place any preorders.

Edit: Jonas Rask already has one of his typically epic reviews up for the XF2X TC. Man, that guy is on fire these days.

35mm (and where I’ve been)

XF 35mm f/1.4 vs. XF 35mm f/2 WR

After weeks of testing, my extensive comparison of Fuji’s 35mm primes is now online. See how well the new normal compares against the old normal.

Where I’ve Been

As a bit of an aside, regular visitors have likely noticed a serious lull in content and updates. Looking at my last post that happened in August, I can hardly believe it’s been that long myself. What happened? A combination of things.

First of all, I found new employment approximately 5 months ago. It’s been a big transition from my previous freelance gig, and the ups and downs of a new job on top a huge multi-month project, had all but squelched my capacity for creative photography, let alone photographic analysis. Fortunately, things have settled down considerably.

Secondly, I decided early last year to take control of my physical wellbeing. This started out with the standard physical fitness, but quickly morphed into an obsession with restoring mobility and range of motion I’d lost from 15+ years of sitting for 8-15 hours a day. It’s been hard work, and took up almost all my free time, but it was well worth it.1

Anyhow, it was always an internal struggle for me. I felt bad neglecting the site outside of replying to those who emailed or tweeted, but it was the right thing to focus on.

TL;DR

I’ve been busy with work and life, but plan to get content on the site more regularly now. It’s good to be back.

  1. Physical health is hardly a topic for this website, but if you’re at all interested in restoring your own capacity for movement and how good movement can apply to photography, I recommend Kelly Starrett’s CreativeLive Class. Simply being able to squat properly behind my camera (ass to ankles, heels on the ground, toes pointed forward) has increased my enjoyment of photography, and saved me from putting more bad loads on my knees. If you can relate to that last part, you owe it to your lower extremities to restore full range of motion in your hips and ankles.