Fujifilm

Fuji X-Pro2 First Impressions

I want to make it clear this is not a review. These are my first impressions of MY copy of the newly released Fuji X-Pro2


 

I posted a similar thread the other day and my post was met with a lot of mean-spirited attacks. If you feel the need to call me an idiot or any other pejorative term I will report you as spam.

 


 

I purchased my copy of the X-Pro2 March 4th. I used it for a photo shoot March 6th. I was using my Quantum T5D-R* as off camera flash triggered by Pocket Wizards. The “on camera” transmitter was a Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 for Canon.  If you know anything about Pocket Wizards you know that the MiniTT1 can be set in basic triggering mode which causes it to act like any other Pocket Wizard. The flash had a PlusX attached as the receiver.  The lens I was using the 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR.

While shooting I got a “internal temperature warning” screen.  I turned off the camera and when I  turned it back on and got the same screen.  To the touch nothing felt warm, much less hot.  When I removed the OEM battery it felt fine.   In short, the tactile heat inspection of the camera and battery passed with flying colors. I then changed the transmitter from the MiniTT1 to a PlusX and didn’t have this issue for the rest of the shoot.  I also noticed that my camera setting had completely reset to the factory original settings.  I did call Fuji and gave them this information and they said they would pass it on to Japan.  Very nice person at customer service by the way.

To be fair, the issue could have been with the MiniTT1 but I’ve never had this issue when I used the MiniTT1 with my XT-1, XE-2, Pentax 645z or Leica M Type 240.  My guess is that Fuji will provide a firmware fix shortly. One great thing about Fuji is they do an excellent job providing firmware updates.  I did call and talk to Pocket Wizard support as well.  They confirmed that the fact the MiniTT1 was for Canon is a non issue seeing how it is designed to work with any camera as a basic flash trigger.  The TTL functionality specific to Canon has zero affect on the basic triggering mode.

One other thing I noticed was the slow write speed.  I was using Delkin 633x SD cards and it was noticeably slow.  But I have since purchased Lexar 1000x cards and no longer have an issue withe write speed.  The AF seems a good, maybe slightly better than my XT-1. Again, this is just my eyeball test.  Nothing scientific here.

I feel compelled to state one more time that these are MY first impressions of MY X-Pro2. I had the X100 in my hands the day it came out, same with the X-Pro1. I have been sooting Fuji X system for wedding sine 2013.  Yes, I know how to set the camera settings.  No, I’m not an idiot.  THIS IS NOT A REVIEW

*I have since switched to the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra for my location lighting.

UPDATE

I connected the MiniTT1 to the X-Pro2 again with a different battery and lens and itmdidmthe same thing.  As soon as I powered up the camer I received the internal temperature warning.  Used the MiniTT1 On my other cameras with zero issue.  Also if you follow the Fuji X Forum you will read a lot of posts about a lot of issues with the X-Pro2.

PROBLEM IDENTIFIED:  The X-Pro2 has the additional flash hot shoe post for supplying power to the flash much like that of the XT-1.  This extras post seems to be the culprit.  I will find out of the solution I’ve come up with fixes the issue permanently.  That solution being, buying a single post hotel short adapter and mounting the MiniTT1 to it and therefore bypassing the power supply post on the cameras hot shoe.

Pentax 645Z Review


The Pentax 645Z is Nothing Sort of Amazing!

 

I freely admit I am a camera gear junkie and on no level apologize for the illness!  I am always looking at the newest, latest and greatest thing to hit the market.  While I will never do video review full of sarcasm and profanity I will however, offer my real world opinion of newly purchased gear.  Today I want to talk briefly about the new Pentax 645Z!

I use the Fuji X System for a lot of my work, mostly wedding work but I wanted a dedicated  “portrait” camera, one with substance. A camera I could take into the wilds of locations shooting.  I had the Nikon D800 and while a nice camera, it just isn’t do it for me.  I have alway lusted after the “medium format” digital cameras, but found them very expensive, so much so I did no feel comfortable taking them on location.  Then Pentax released their 645Z, or zed for you Canadians!  Why did I choose this camera for my portrait work?

First and foremost the price was excellent.  I got a great deal at Houston Camera Exchange  The Pentax 645z body with the 55mm f2.8 AL [IF] SDM AW lens for $6,999.99.  For the cost of some of the higher end DSLR’s I was able to move into the world of the much larger full frame medium format sensors, and boy howdy I am glad I did!  Admittedly the 55mm is not a portrait lens, but, the line up of Pentax FA lenses is decent and affordable so I picked up the 75mm FA, 120mm FA macro and the 150mm 2.8 FA, now I am set for lenses!

The second reason I picked up this camera is the weather sealing.  I will never, nor have I ever shot in the rain But in Houston humidity is a real concern and I figured that having a weather sealed camera is not a bad thing.  To be fair. Most, if not all, of the newer professional lines of cameras come with weather sealing and the Pentax 645Z finally joined their ranks.  The only lens I have that is weather sealed is the 55mm the rest are not.  But to spend $4000.00 for the 90mm Macro is not on my list of things to do any time soon.

Lens quality is the third reason I picked this camera.  I knew I wanted this camera for a specific purpose and that being portrait work, so a huge lens line up was not necessary.  The Pentax 645 lens line up may not be extensive but they have a perfect line if you ask me.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that they may not have a ton of lenses like Canon and Nikon, but what they do have is very high quality and cover your needs nicely.  I am not a zoom lens kind of guy, but they do have a couple that are really nice and affordable.  I have used and still use my Pentax 67II and have always loved the quality of their lenses and the quality is there on the 645 lenses as well.

Megapixels galore!  Yes, at 50 megapixel I get full, sensual, detail rich ACW files and I love this!  I am a fan of anything that is RAW and the ACW files seem to plays nicely with Adobe.  Yes, my slow to evolve Fuji X is only 16 megapixels, detailed for sure but when you compare those files with that taken from the Pentax 645z their is simply no comparison.  I like detail.  I like the ability to crop without losing image quality.  But mostly I like that option of doing all of this which the Fuji X simply does not offer.  I know the Fuji X Pro-2 has been announced and yes I know it is up to 24 megapixels.  But this is all on a APC cropped sensor.  Fuji, WAKE UP and make a full frame!  The size of this sensor makes all of the difference as well.  You get the “medium format” depth of field at 2.8.  I love shooting my Pentax 67II and the 105mm 2.4 at an aperture of f2.4 and the Pentax 645z allows for that same look, which is a great thing!

The “hand feel” of this camera is excellent.  It is not a Leica M6, but then again nothing else is.  It’s not any more cumbersome that my D800 was.  In fact I find this camera more comfortable to hand hold.  The grip fits me perfectly and the rubberized texturing is tactile enough for me to eel very confident while holding onto my new love.  The controls are well places and they are intuitive.  People feel the need to point out camera control placement and make poorly placed controls the be all-end all of their world.  The way I see it, ya gotta place the buttons somewhere right!  Nothing gets in the way with this camera and that’s all I need. By the way, the worlds worst button were on the original Fuji X100!

In conclusion:  This is the best decision I’ve made in a long time when it comes to new camera gear.  I own a lot of gear but it is the Pentax 645z I find myself reaching for more times than not.  If you want DSLR handling but in a medium format digital camera then the Pentax 645z is a no brainer!


 

Some sample images froths camera:

Julia2-W

Pentax 645z with 5mm 2.8

Keira-Chic1-W

Pentax 645z with 150mm 2.8 at 2.8

Julia6-WPentax 645z with 75mm2.8

Sammie3-WPentax 645Z 55mm2.8

Julia3-WPentax 645z 55mm 2.8

IMGP0417Pentax 645z 120mm macro

P645-Selfie2WPentax 645z 55mm 2.8Rose-P645-WPentax 645z 120mm f4.0 Macro

All images are copyright 2016 Scott Evans all rights reserved.  Do not republish or reuse without written permission

Why I kept my Fuji X Pro-1

With all the new fangled, fancy pants, digital gee-wiz-a-bang’s being released seemingly on a weekly basis, I decided to stop!  I decided to stop buying the latest and greatest version of what I already have.  I have the Fuji XT1 and love it but I also KEPT my Fuji X-Pro 1, and here’s why.

  1. Just because Fuji released something new does not make my X Pro-1 a bad camera.  
  2. The B&W I get from the X-Pro 1 is more like film than any other camera I’ve used, X100s a close 2nd
  3. It’s focusing is fast enough, certainly faster than I can manually focus my Leica M6
  4. It’s a pretty tough camera.  In fact I have my XE-2 repaired from a slight drop where as the X-Pro 1 still works
  5. The X-Pro 1 fits my hands perfectly.  I love rangefinders and this is a rangefinder-ey as you can get

Now, please keep in mind that cost does factor into this process, but not to the degree you might be thinking.  I have learned that when you find something that just works keep using it until it breaks.  Then get it repaired and keep using it until it needs to be replaced.  Then buy a used X-Pro 1 from B&H or KEH then repeat the steps above.

I have always, and guess always will, wrestle with the film vs. digital thing with no clear winner in sight.  The Fuji X-Pro 1 is the only digital camera I have used that comes closest to the look of B&W film.  And for me that matters.  I rarely shoot in color but when I do I am equally pleased with the color files.  I still use the heck out of my X-Pro 1 at weddings.  It along with the X100s are amazing wedding cameras!

In the end as long as my X-Pro 1 works and Fuji updates the firmware I will keep shooting it.  I liken the  X-Pro 1 to Alanis Morrissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album, they both got it right the first time!

Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS is a BIG SURPRISE!

I have been doing some Fuji bashing lately, well deserved bashing might I add, but I thought I would take a break from flogging the Fuji horse and talk about something positive with the Fuji X system.  I am talking about the Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 R LM OIS!

We all know I have a huge issue with the claims that the new Fuji XT1 is a DSLR killer, which it is not by they way, but I digress.  I was in Houston Camera Exchange about 3 weeks ago and was looking to buy something.  Didn’t really care what, just knew I wanted to buy something, anything!  After looking around I spotted a few used Fuji X lenses and I asked mi amigo Craig what he had on the shelf and low and behold a used 55-210!  I asked how much.  He gave a price.  I scoffed and said, here is what I can pay today, and he said OK!  My mission was accomplished.  Plus I didn’t think I’d get hurt too bad at an out the door price of $350.00.

With my Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II long since sold I was concerned that when shooting weddings I did not have a lens that would be long enough to accommodate the Catholics.  We fellow wedding photographer know how the Catholics love to put us photographers way in the back, turn out all the lights and say NO FLASH!  With the lens costing a just $350.00, I figured it was a low enough price to take a calculated risk. An added bonus is the crop factor is 1.5x which make this a seriously long reaching lens.  I must say I did feel more comfortable and confident knowing I had this lens in my bag.  And now I could shoot a wedding without ticking off the Catholics LOL!  So now my thoughts:

I was on my way to shoot a wedding at the end of March with my newest lens (yes latest firmware installed) and had my XT1, X Pro-1, XE-2 and X100s in my bag.  The XE-2 held the 18-55 and the XT1 was adorned with my new’/used 55-210.  Right away I noticed how smooth everything was on the lens.  The autofocus was pert-near silent and actually pretty responsive.  Now keep in mind, I was shooting in the prefect sun-setting, beautiful light.  The zoom function was buttery smooth and the feel of this lens on the XT1 was substantial, in a good way.  Everything felt solid and well balanced.  Oh yea, you must use the new grip for the XT1 to get that balanced feel.  All in all the lens felt good, no, felt great in my hands.  But what about performance?

I must admit I had little to no expectations as to the image quality of this lens, after all it’s a “kit lens” and what pro would ever dream of using one of those things?  As I snapped the first few test shots before the bride strolled down the isle I noticed the images on the back of the camera where sharp, I mean fixed lens sharp.  The colors and contrast were what you would expect from the Fuji XF lenses.  To be honest I was stunned with what I was seeing and crossed my fingers that the quality would be the same on my iMac.  And so far so good!


LR-7104LR-7201-2

Fuji XT1 with 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS.


 

As you can see from the .jpeg images above (Lightroom did not have a RAW plugin yet) not bad.  Not bad for a “kit lens and most of all not bad for $350.00!  I will freely admit that I was spoiled by the Fuji 35mm 1.4 on my X Pro-1. That combo just may be the greatest lens/camera combo to date.  Take that Leica lovers!  All kidding aside, the image quality was not only more than acceptable it was down right fantastic!  Will I use this lens more?  I already have. in fact I use it at every event I shoot now.  Understanding this lens is slow and therefore you will not do as well in low light, even with a superb OIS lens stabilization, but for what it is and for the price point, even new, this lens is a steal!  If you are trying to decide what to add to your bad I implore you to take a long and lustful look at the surprise Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS.  You will be glad you did!

First wedding with the Fuji-XT1

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Fuji X100s at 3200 ISO 1/60 with built in fill flash


 

I shot my very first wedding with 100% Fuji X gear and here are my thoughts:

I brought my Fuji X100s, XT1 and XE2 and my X Pro-1 as a back up, to shoot a wedding which was indoors at the Majestic Metro in downtown Houston, TX.  The lighting was complicated to say the least.  Every color known to mankind was there, I am not kidding.  It was dimly lit and white balance was next to impossible.  I was forced to leave the cameras set on AWB, which faired pretty well I might add.  There was one glaring FAILURE with the Fuji’s that night….FLASH!

THE BAD:  If Fuji is hoping to compete with the DSLR world and wants to be considered a viable option to working pro’s like me they must address their off camera flash failure.  A tiny on camera flash will simply not cut it.  I tried everything to get my Fuji EF-42 to do it’s thing, which it did but at stunningly slow recycle times. Please keep in mind I am accustomed to shooting with a Qflash Trio with a Quantum Turbo battery and less than 1 second recycle times.  With that said the Fuji flash was almost useless as a on camera flash.  You cannot shoot fast of a bride walking down the isle with the Fuji flash system, you just can’t!  I ended up setting up 2 Quantum T5DR flashes, bare bulb, in the corners with did help.  Fuji off camera flash is a failure, period!

THE AVERAGE: The XT1 performed well, but not any better than the XE2.  The auto focus seemed the same and neither performed well all in low light.  In fact none of the Fuji’s autofocus performed well in low light.  To be fair by 5D II was not all that and a bag of chips when it came to low light AF, so there’s that.  The X100s actually performed the best of all the camera.  The AF was average but at least accurate and the lens/ISO combo and 5000 actually looked very good, especially in B&W.  One HUGE weak point was that Adobe Lightroom as of this post, does not support Fuji XT1 RAF files, so I was forced to shoot in JPEG which I prefer not to do at weddings.  The XT-1 JPEG files made the skin very “plastic looking” and odd to say the least.  I did not rate that as “bad” because PS CC Camera RAW does support the files and Lightroom will soon follow.  This caused me to use the XE2 a lot more.

Another really noticeable thing about the XT1 is that without the grip (VG-XT1) the camera is very out of balance with the 18-55 or the 60 2.4.  It was OK with the 35 1.4 and better with the 14 2.8.  The fact that Fuji did not release the grips at the time of the camera release is a head scratcher but luckily my grip arrived form B&H today, just in time for my wedding Sunday the 30th.  I will post a follow up to this section afterwards.

Image

 

Fiji X100s at 3200 ISO f2.2 @ 1/60th AWB


 

THE GOOD:  Ok now the good to really good points to that night.  Low light shooting at 3200 to 500 ISO was stunning!  I was able to really work the reception room well with the 35 1.4 and got pretty much noiseless, tack sharp shots consistently at 3200 ISO.  I set my camera to auto ISO at 3200 with min shutter speed of 1/60.  Not because I am shaky but because at a wedding rarely are people still.

The colors were, well, Fuji!  I got great color and of course stunning B&W.  It is here that I feel the Fuji X system really separates itself from all others, including Leica.  There is something flat out amazing about the Fuji X B&W photos!.  The other really good thing was the weight.  Ahhhhhhh no more Canon back pain after a long wedding shoot!  The lightweight and ergo friendly cameras made it a joy to shoot the wedding and with the new grip added to the XT1 things will only get better!

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Fuji X100s @ 5000 ISO f 2.0


 

CONCLUSION:  Do I regret selling all of my Canon gear to go 100% Fuji?  At times I guess, but I truly believe it will get better as I learn the nuances of the Fuji System.  If Fuji address their glaring failure in regard to wireless TTL off camera flash issues, then I will say without hesitation NO, I do not miss Canon.  Fuji has something special here but for a working pro there is a lot of room for improvement and I feel confident Fuji will listen to pro’s and make the changes, and soon!


 

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Fuji XE-2 ISO 400, f4.5 1/100 35mm 1.4 XF

Fuji XT1, my first impressions!

XT1-1W XT1-2W

When you are stricken with the incurable disease that is photography you find yourself on a mission to own the perfect camera.  I have owned everything from Leica M and R’s to Hasselblad 50o CM and everything in-between.  But with digital the world is upside down and sideways and it seems as if you are standing on the shifting sands of rapid changing technology, which can be both good and frustrating.  Then sort of out of nowhere (remember their S5 Pro) comes Fuji and their cute little “X” systems cameras, (as if my lust for the holy grail of cameras needed to have the their embers stoked) first the X100 and now the newest creation the XT1!

My first impressions are admittedly biased, but they are honest nonetheless.  I will give you my straight up view of the Fuji XT1 as I see it:

BUILD QUALITY:  As soon as I unboxed the camera and picked it up the differences were immediate and pronounced.  The hand feel is solid, as in rock solid.  The texture is reassuring without being obnoxious.  The buttons move with in a solid, reassuring way.  The dials are just firm enough to make accidental adjustments a thing of the past.  Am I right you XE-1 users!  Can I get a Amen!  But one awesome feature are the dials themselves and what they control and how brilliantly laid out they are.  No more riffling through confusing menus to change the ISO or shutter speed.  Nikon DF tried the retro dial thing but failed in their execution, whereas Fuji XT1 succeeded.  For me I will need the grip ASAP because the camera is still small.  I would dare to say X Pro-1 size.  And for adding a second battery to insure longer shooting before battery changes.  Speaking of the battery.  It is the same as the X Pro1 and the XE-2, which is great.  In addition the battery has it’s own compartment and so does the SD card slot, FINALLY!

The dial, doors, hatches, portholes and every other orifice is weather sealed.  Not water proof but sealed enough so the next time I am shooting a wedding at the Texas Renaissance Festival and it decides to rain as if we are in the Costa Rican rain forest I will not fret as much.  In order to truly take advantage of this weather sealing you need the lenses to be the same, which as of now, are nonexistent.  With that said great job on the build quality.  The first real, “DSLR like” body from Fuji in the X mount system and hope this is a trend from Fuji.

VIEWFINDER:  This is going to be a super short review of the viewfinder.  Think IMAX when looking through this viewfinder.  It is brilliant, responsive and most of all 100% coverage and color accurate.  I crave a WYSIWYG viewfinder, hence my love for the Canon 1V HS.  Told ya it would be short 🙂

IMAGE QUALITY:  Boy, am I spoiled!  I have the X Pro-1, X100s, XE-2 and now the XT1 and to be honest they all produce the same stunning, detail rich, sharp images day in and day out.  Fuji XT1 did not deviate far from the sensor and processor that is in the XE-2, and nor should they.  The control you have over the images in camera is perfect and the JPEG’s are as good of a JPEG can get out of camera.  White balance is very good and of course the B&W are, as usual, simply stunning.  Never mind the crazy good, and I mean CRAZY good low light performance.  Fuji done got this one right!

AUTO FOCUS:  The thorn in the side of Fuji X system has been their auto focus.  The X Pro-‘s auto focus on day one was miserable.  Now, it’s not bad at all.  I am a wedding photographer I must have fast, accurate auto focus and so far I can say the XT1 delivers.  The XE-2 is pretty darn good but I needed better than good.  I needed really good and a really good focus tracking system.  Hey, the Canon 5D II aint no track star in the auto focusing department.  I missed as many or more shots with the crappy 5DII AF system than I care to admit.  But, that’s all there was in Canon until the 5DIII, which I REFUSE to pay $3499.00 for!  Arrrgg, the arrogance of Canon!!!!

Anyway, back on topic.  The XT1 auto focus is snappy and seems to be spot on accurate.  I need to do more low light testing to see how it truly performs.  If the single shot and focus tracking performs the way I think it will I might be able to finally dump all my Canon gear for good!   I do wish Fuji would add two thing to their focusing, one is multiple point focusing.  Not like a zillion focusing points but 9 to 12 would be perfect.  I would love to see Fuji change the color of their focus peak highlights to red like in the Sony A7 and A7r.

FLASH:  This is the one glaring failure in the Fuji X system.  I say failure because I use flash and for me the ability to take flash off camera is paramount and down right mandatory.  Yea, yea, yea I know you can use Pocket Wizards with strobes.  What I mean is the ability to take my EFX-20 and EFX-42 off camera and retain TTL functionality.  Or at the very least be able to adjust flash output off camera wirelessly.  EVERYONE else does this why can’t Fuji?  This is a big deal to me because I (and many other pro’s) invested heavily into the Quantum Qlash system.  When I use my Canon there is no problem.  But with the Fuji, this is a big problem.  If Fuji is going to delve into the pro market I feel they need to address this glaring weakness.  The lack of ability to use any Fuji flash off camera is very limiting and almost debilitating.  The nice surprise is the little flash that comes with the camera.  It is rather nice and is powered off your camera batter so no need to carry extra batteries for the flash!

VIDEO:  I do not do video and neither should you 😉

In conclusion, the Fuji XT1 is exactly what I was hoping it would be, well almost.  The lack of off camera flash issue is the cactus in my Speedo.  However I am willing to deal with that glaring deficiency to get a light weight, fast, well built and beautiful image producing work of art.  The Fuji XT1 is the only camera where I declared prior to its release that regardless of my situation I am buying one the day they are available in Houston.  If you are debating on if it is worth it $1,299.99 price tag.  In one word; oh hell yes!  This is the Fuji that has been needed for a while.  The XT1 is a real working photographers camera.  Yes, it will piss off the hipsters because it’s not “ironic” and “retro” but who cares.  Plus pissing of hipsters is FUN!

Thanks to Craig at Houston Camera Exchange looking out for me and putting one aside until I could get their to pick it up, big man hug to you Craig!