X100s

Fuji 50-140 2.8 R LM OIS WR review

image

(more…)

Advertisements

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.

The death of film. Well, maybe not! But most likely. But when?


 

We have to accept that in these days the Leica myth has more nostalgia than future. The exhibition is a proof that the future is not a continuation of the past and even Leica can not disregard the writing at the wall.” …Erwin Puts from The TAO of Leica 2014 “Augen auf!” exhibit

 


 

My Leica M6 is and I guess, will always be the crown jewel of my camera world, aka “obsession”.  Any photographer worth their salt puts the emphasis on the image, the subject if you will.  The story the image tells.  The emotion it evokes.  Second to this is the camera they use.  After all the camera is just a tool right?  The flip side of this argument is: does the “tool” matter?  I guess I fall on both sides of this discussion.  I use my Leica M6 for the image quality, ease of use, the fact I shoot film and the “stealth” like shooting I can do.  But I am not how “stealth” I am at 6’3″ and 360!  But I digress…

As much as I yearn for the days of film I am constantly drawn to the merits of digital.  One of the best art nude photographers I know, Richard Tallent of Beaumont, TX, scratches is head each time I post anything about shooting film.  Ya see, he is 100% digital and misses NOTHING about film shooting.  Richard is always befuddled as to why I choose to still shoot film.  My answer to him is always the same;  It’s because it slows me down and makes me feel more like a real art photographer.  Which I am sure makes zero sense to him and most of you who might real this.  Now enter The Fuji X system.  This was a BIG TIME game changer for me.

The Fuji X Pro-1 with the 35mm 1.4 lens and my ability to really use the hell out of Silver EFX Pro2 made me really second guess the use of my Leica M6.  Well, for a while that is.  No one can argue the exacting and amazing image quality you get out of these cameras.  The B&W images from the Fuji X series are simply stunning! But even with a tool that mimics the M6, there was still something missing in the final product to which I have struggled to put words.  Until now!

To me the digital file is too exacting.  Too literal if you will.  It’s cleaned and polished with every pixel is right where it should be.  Digital images are the Stormtroopers of photography.  What I get with film (talking B&W film here) is a buttery creaminess coupled with (arguably) wider dynamic range and tonality.   It has the serendipitous imperfections that make each frame on the roll truly unique, absent of subject matter.  The grain is real and not a created digital version of grain.  When you look at a frame taken with my M6, Hasselblad 500Cm or Pentax 67, there is no doubt this is a film image.

Even with all of this spoken I constantly hear; “but you still have to scan it to make it a digital image so why not just shoot digital“?  My answer to this is always the same.  Because a scanner takes a “picture” of what it is scanning and therefore I retain that look and feel of a film image even after it is scanned.  I then ask; why do you shoot digital and then spend hours on Photoshop or Lightroom trying to get it to look like film?

Now, do I shoot digital?  Heck yes!  Do I feel like I am giving up something in the way of image quality because I am NOT shooting film, sometimes.  But I am learning that I am not giving up image quality in as much as I learning the differences in image aesthetics when I shoot digital.  What I know to be a fact is, not one of my images would have been a “better” image had I used a film camera.  The reverse is also true.  This harkens back to my earlier statement. Care more about the photograph and less about the gear to truly see what kind of photographer you can become!

 

Until I can deal with the mental block of shooting digital as an art medium I will still use film.  Admittedly I am shooting less and less film.  I think I feel obligated to shoot film because I have these cameras and because the ever so annoying hipsters still shoot film.  However, the Fuji X Pro-1 is helping me a great deal with this issue.

 

FYI my Nikon D800 with its mammoth 36 mp is really changing my opinion!

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!

Fuji X Series Cameras, I’m In Love!

Elaya4-W

I am a huge fan of the Fuji X series cameras!  Ok that is the end of my blog post!  Kidding, of course.  Let me explain why it is I love these cameras.

I dipped my toe into the Fuji X pool a little over a year ago when I bought my X-Pro 1.  I was just like everyone else who used this camera, I couldn’t wait for the next firmware update!  The X-Pro was beautiful and maddening at the same time.  It missed focus a ton, was slow and unsure of itself.  But as time went on and as Fuji listened to their customers, through diligent firmware upgrades that camera started to soar!  Now I can gladly say that not only do I love my X-Pro1 but I also love my X100s and X-E2!

I love that these cameras excel where a camera should, image quality.  Fuji did it right with their sensor and mojo thingy that is inside the wonderful little jewels of image producing perfectness!  The colors are bold, different but no so different that they are not believable.  As close to film as I have come with digital.  The auto focusing is much better on the newer versions but at the end of the day I never thought they that bad after the first few firmware upgrades.  Are they DSLR fast, no, but then again they are not supposed to be a DSLR.  They work exactly the way they should.  As a tool to help you achieve the best possible image quality, period!

If you are a B&W lover, like I am, then you will not find anything out there that does B&W better than the Fuji X system cameras.  I know this may sound like a bold, dare I say dangerous statement to make but I will stand buy it until I am proven wrong.  I am not sure what it is about the B&W’s that come out of these cameras but when I pair a B&W image from my X-Pro with my Epson 7880 which is loaded with Peizography ink sets, well it is as close to wet darkroom as you can get.  I print on Canson fiber based baryta papers and I will say the prints are stunning.  And the Fuji’s have a lot to do with that.  The detail, sharpness and dynamic range in RAW is exceptional and most of all I can shoot RAW and keep all of the lush goodness the Fuji files give me.

Let’s be real here.  The Fuji’s are not a magic box that will make you a better photographer, but I will say, when I hold one of these wonderfully built instruments I do “feel” like a photographer.  it is a hard thing to explain and I freely admit it makes no sense but it is a feeling that is real and genuine.

What do I want to see next from Fuji?  Full frame!  I shudder at what can be accomplished as a photographer if Fuji put out a $2,500.00 18-24mp, full frame work of art!  I will be the first in line to buy one!