If you haven’t already heard, Fuji has another big sale happening on just about all their lenses. A couple standouts are the XF 14mm f/2.8 for $499 (save $400), and the XF 16mm f/1.4 WR for $699 (save $300).
And of course, B&H has all the same deals as well. Get ’em while the gettin’s good.
The response to my Prepping for South Africa post has been incredible. No other blog post on Fuji vs. Fuji has generated so much thoughtful feedback so quickly. I really appreciate it all, and as I catch up on my email, I am seriously rethinking my gear selection yet again. Here’s the latest.
Well, readers are decidedly in favour of me bringing the XF 100-400mm. Tweets, Facebook Messages and emails all say bring it. This prompted me to do a bit of my own reading about the lens, which lead me to this fantastic piece by Daniel J. Cox about mirrorless telephoto zooms. Fuji has an awfully impressive showing.
I certainly won’t mind the chance to do a little testing of my own with a lens like this, but I want to do what’s best for the trip, first and foremost. So, the current plan is to see how things fit once my Airport Essentials arrives. That should help determine just how many zoom lenses I’m going to bring.
Now of course I’m asking myself if I really need the XF 50-140mm f/2.8. In some ways, it could be indispensable. The faster aperture might do wonders during dawn and dusk game park drives. But it’s another big telephoto lens with at least some overlap (depending on which teleconverters I have mounted) to haul around.
It could also necessitate yet another body thanks to…
The Wide Angle
Given how close we could get, there’s no way I can go on a game drive with 50mm being my widest focal length.
Readers also reaffirmed what my research indicates, dust will be a real problem when driving along the dirt roads in the game park, so lens changes are almost certainly going to be impossible. That got me thinking about a lens I don’t think about very often, the XF 16-55mm f/2.8.
One of my big summer comparisons is going to be this lens pitted against primes in its range, but it might just be the perfect companion to one of, if not both of the big zooms. Standard focal range, weather and dust resistant, 77mm filter thread. Suddenly a lens I wasn’t even looking at before is in the running. This trip could be an all red badge affair.
Minimal or Maximal
In truth, when I bought the XF 16-55mm f/2.8, it was with the intention of using it almost exclusively as a travel lens. Visions of trudging through the rainy lakes, dales, and moors of England came to mind. My sole reason for not considering it at first was my desire to travel with as little gear as possible. I wanted to minimize.
I’m now in danger of bringing way more gear than I was hoping. Here are some contending options:
Bodies: X-Pro2, X-T1
Lenses: XF 16mm f/1.4 WR*, XF 35mm f/2 WR, XF 50-140mm f/2.8*
Minimal Zoom Kit
Bodies: X-Pro2, X-T1
Lenses: XF 16mm f/1.4 WR, XF 16-55mm f/2.8*, XF 100-400mm*
I would have a really hard time leaving the XF 35mm f/2 WR behind, and probably won’t, but it’s covered by the XF 16-55mm f/2.8.
Maximal Zoom or “All The Things” Kit
Bodies: X-Pro2, X-T1, another X-T1 or X70/X100T
Lenses: XF 16mm f/1.4 WR, XF 16-55mm f/2.8*, XF 35mm f/2 WR XF 50-140mm f/2.8* XF 100-400mm*
*Denotes gear I’ll bring on the game drives.
Ugh. I really don’t want to have to do this, but if I had both the telephotos along, I feel I would almost have to bring a third body of some kind along to cover the wide end.
Going X70 has the added benefit of my wife having an “adorable little Fuji” at her disposal, but there could be a risk of dust contamination during the game drives, and it means another set of charger/batteries to bring.
Going with a third interchangeable body means I have to actually get a third, weather sealed body. That presents its own set of issues (WAF, space in the bag, batteries, WAF, etc.)
Thanks again so much to everyone who wrote, tweeted and messaged me their feedback. It’s been immensely helpful, and I’ll be sure to post more as I continue to sort this out. I’m hyper aware that this is an awesome problem to have, but the struggle is real, and it continues. More to come.
Work on my comparison between Fuji’s 3 widest angle primes, the XF 14mm f/2.8, the XF 16mm f/1.4, and the XF 18mm f/2 is almost complete. If you’re interested to see how Fuji’s newest weather sealed wide angle compares to their other wide fixed focal length offerings in sharpness, bokeh, handling, and more, this page is for you.
Fuji have officially announced their latest prime, the FUJINON XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR,→ the first prime in their line up to offer weather resistance. You can count on a Versus article involving this lens once I get my hands on it (and have ample time to do my testing and analysis), but for now, you can check out a few initial impressions posts on the lens.
The first is from Tomasz Trzebiatowski over at Fuji Love. It’s a nice overview, however there is one statement that has me genuinely stumped on its meaning:
Images are crisp, but still not overly sharp.
I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of over-sharpness being a problem on the hardware level. I’d be interested to know what Tomasz means by that.
Next up, Neill Soden, despite admitting he’s not a fan of wide angles, appreciated the 16mm, and has a good size comparison photo of the new wide angle next to what was previously Fuji’s chunkiest prime, the 56mm f/1.2. Neill’s impressions are a testament to the impact 2mm can have on wider focal lengths.
Max Demartino has posted full resolution JPEGs over on his site. Full crops from a pre-production lens are a rare find.
Flemming Bo Jensen has probably the most interesting to read impressions on the new wide angle. If I had to choose one review to read this would be it. The astro capabilities in particular have my interest piqued.
Björn Moerman has gone to town, posting test charts, product shots, bokeh samples, the works.
Ivan Joshua Loh has posted his thoughts on the 16mm as well. It won’t be replacing his 23mm f/1.4 anytime soon, but that will be the case for just about anyone who owns the 23mm. Ivan references the weather sealing of the 16mm though, which could end up being a big reason why I have it attached to my X-T1.
Ben Cherry is another recipient of a pre-production unit. I’m happy to see him address the potential duplication or even triplicating of adding this lens to your bag, and he calls attention to the size difference between it and the 14mm, which is substantial.
Fuji has really gone to town on shipping out samples to get the word out about their new kit. There’s a bit too much gushing for my taste, but it’s tough to get beyond the initial excitement of a new lens and get the feel of it, warts and all after only a few days. Sometimes you need weeks to really get a sense of whether or not it’s something you reach for regularly.
I’m looking forward to having my own impressions of this lens. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the 14mm f/2.8, and both the 10-24mm f/4 and 16-55mm f/2.8 at 16mm.
Big Head Taco has written a nice piece about his time with both the President and Vice President of Fujifilm Canada. His impressions of the imaging leadership is certainly of interest1 but this is the bit that really caught my attention.
I asked Greg why no prime WR lenses and he said they are coming soon. He mentioned the new 90mm f/2 and the 16mm f/1.4 are going to be WR lenses, but the lens roadmap doesn't mention it.
This is fantastic news. Weather sealing is the one thing I find lacking with Fujifilm lenses. I suppose the question now is, how does Fuji go about re-issuing WR versions of existing lenses? There aren’t many I wouldn’t like to see WR appended to their model names.
- And I happen to share a lot of his opinions whole-heartedly, ↩
Ross Kennedy has created an outstanding guide for Fuji shooters on capturing the Milky Way, and astrophotography in general.
This type of photography appears very complex and difficult but once you actually work through the process a couple of times it becomes fairly easy…provided a few simple guidelines are followed. A successful Milky Way photo requires the right equipment, a bit of research and a sprinkle of luck from Mother Nature.
The whole post is well worth your time if you have any interest in capturing actual stars on camera, and includes links to some great tools.
One day down, one to go.
We kicked today off with a talk by Zack Arias. He was... Zack. Well, he started out as Zack giving a talk, but soon after it was like reading one of his blog posts, or his book. My wife—who is a decidedly less of a photo nerd than I—also enjoyed Zack’s tips, found him charismatic, and could relate to his approach to street photography.
Fuji 50-140mm f/2.8
Next we spent some time at the Fujifilm booth. The hands-on stars of the show were the X-T1 Graphite Edition, and the 50-140mm f/2.8. Sadly, Fuji aren’t ready to let us mount the 50-140mm on our own cameras or put one of our own SD cards in their 50-140mm-mounted X-T1 so we can’t post samples yet, but the build, and image quality I was seeing on the LCD were both exceptional. Autofocus was fast, but slightly inconsistent. I have no doubt this will be remedied by the time the lens goes to production. The lens is large, but it doesn’t feel as front-heavy on the X-T1 as I was expecting. At 995g, it’s 2/3 the weight of Canon or Nikon’s equivalents, and that all-internal focus keeps the overall length consistent.
X-T1 Graphite Edition
The X-T1 Graphite Edition was nice. It’s essentially an X-T1, but in a silvery graphitey colour. It looks pretty cool from the front especially, and Fuji wanted to ensure I knew the graphite coating was a 6-step process with the colour being baked onto the camera, vs. just bare aluminum. Whether that’s worth the premium on price, well, you guys will decide that.
The 90mm f/2 was on display, behind glass, and sort of tucked away. It is one hefty-looking piece of glass. That lens looks to be around the same length as the 56mm f/1.2, but considerably thicker.
EDIT: After a second viewing, the clear the 90mm is going to be substantially larger. It’s pretty much a proportionally scaled up version of the 56.
I’m looking forward to that lens, but I have a feeling it will really call for the VG-XT1.
Super Tele-Photo Zoom 140-400mm f/4-5.6
Another one behind the glass, but some preliminary specs were revealed. The lens markings say 140-400mm f/4-5.6. I’m told that’s not quite final yet though. The lens is another thick one—this is Fuji’s sumo year I think—but the prototype doesn’t appear longer than the 50-140mm. There is quite a range on it, but I hope they find a way to make it an f/4 constant. There’s something about variable apertures I’m just not into.
And finally, Fuji’s standard zoom is still behind glass. This is one A lot of people are most eager for and sadly the release date slipped, but I’d rather they get it right rather than rush it out. Here are some more comparison images. It’s surprising how much larger this lens is compared to the 10-24mm f/4.
The 16mm f/1.4
This one was hiding on from me. I didn’t even realize it was behind the glass until the second day. As far as size goes, the 16mm f/1.4 doesn’t appear to be a great deal larger than the 14mm f/2.8, although I think Fuji maybe have been playing a trick on us as in the comparison image below, the 16mm is the only one that doesn’t have its rear cap attached.
One thing that’s extra nice is the focus ring that’s pulled back for manual focus, that reveals the engraved depth of field markings.
Patrick La Roque
After scoping out some other players, we made it back to the Fuji booth in time to see fellow Canadian, Patrick La Roque speak. Patrick is a super nice, down to earth dude whose work I really admire. He spoke about storytelling, and then did a live demo—models and all–that turned out really well.
I spent a lot of time checking out the other players of course, but one standout for my readers was Phase One. No joke, I was going to ask Phase One about any updates planned for Capture One when the email announcing version 8 landed on my inbox. Sadly, I couldn’t find anyone who spoke enough English to walk me through the new features, but I’ll try again tomorrow, and will look into updating my Raw Converter comparison once I’m back home.
That’s it for now!
I’ll be back for more tomorrow, but for the most part, I think one day at the show for consumers is plenty. I’m pretty happy to have just the one brand to cover.