Fujifilm X-T3 Owner’s Manual in HTML and PDF, Firmware Update Version 1.01 Now Available for Download

I am awaiting delivery of a Fujifilm X-T3 review loaner and was alerted that a firmware update for the X-T3 would be released before the weekend. 

The ever-reliable Fuji Rumors website has just informed its readers that the Version 1.01 firmware updater is now available with a lock-up fix included, and the Fujifilm X-T3 Owner’s Manual is also now available as a PDF and as a webpage

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.

I am downloading the X-T3 Owner’s Manual as a PDF right now and will be scouring it to find out more about the camera’s many new and improved features, especially exposure zebras.

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Focus Ring Operation choices for the Fujifilm X-H1 camera and now the X-T3. Every Fujifilm camera needs these options for use with the many Fujinon lenses that do not have manual clutch focus. I choose linear over nonlinear any day, especially when shooting video.

As I have often found in recent years, it always pays to at least skim through the owner’s manual of any new gear you buy in order to learn how to quickly get the best out of it.

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Fujifilm MHG-XT3 Metal Hand Grip. Every Fujifilm camera, in my experience, benefits from attaching a metal hand grip or better yet a vertical battery grip.

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FUJIFILMglobal: Xtra Turbo X-T3 with Nicole Emanuel

“Australian photographer Nicole Emanual shoots horses on X-T3”

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.

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Fujifilm Grip Belt GB-001. I recommend using camera straps on all your cameras and especially Fujifilm cameras with metal hand grips or vertical battery grips. I have Peak Design camera straps on all my gear, often up to three of them, but this Fujifilm hand grip looks great for battery grip-equipped cameras.

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British Journal of Photography: Arles is urged to include more work by women

http://www.bjp-online.com/2018/09/arles-women-letter/

“Rencontres d’Arles says it’s “working on it” as an eminent group of photography specialists publish an open letter in Libération urging the festival director to include more women in the official programme….

… The letter urges Stourdzé to create “a more gender balanced festival” and to do so by next year – as 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the festival, and as: “women artists have no more time to waste!” It also points out that there is an appetite for work by women, pointing out that the New Discoveries section of Arles, in which international galleries are invited to recommend new photographic talent, “arouses public interest, who vote for the award, and regularly reward women”. It also points out that Arles’ Prix du livre went to a woman this year – Laurence Aëgerter, for her book Photographic Treatment….

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Mattias Burling: 5 Reasons why I left the Fuji X-T2 for the X-Pro2

“In this video I try to explain why the Fujifilm X-T2 just didn’t sit with me. I am much happier after switching to the X-Pro2. All of it is of course just personal preference based on how I like my cameras. And the X-T2 is also a great camera, truly fantastic. Its just that with expensive gear like this I get very, very picky. On cheaper cameras I would let it all slide. So if you have the X-T2, I’m not ripping on your camera. I actually like it a lot….”

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 black with Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens and Fujifilm X-Pro2 graphite with Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens.

Commentary

With the impending release of Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2019, the first version that allows me to quickly and easily obtain the emotion-laden, infromation-rich image renderings I have been visualizing ever since getting back into photography with digital, I have been excited about seriously getting back into portraiture again.

Portrait photography was how I made a living for some time shooting for magazines and newspapers colour supplements, and I loved it with a passion, and I have missed doing it for years.

Working out how to do it in digital in the way I used to in analog is proving to be something of a quandary as that hardware and those processes are no longer available to me and nor should they, given the environmentally unsound nature of photochemical processing and the fact that contemporary cameras are an altogether different proposition.

My favourite analog films no longer exist and never will again, and my favourite analog cameras are long gone, broken down and unrepairable, or stolen.

The task now is for me to bend the digital gear I have now to making something as close to or better yet surpassing how I used to make portraits, and the biggest challenge is in doing that with full-face close-up portraits where little more than one eye is in sharp focus, with either my beloved Fujifilm X-Pro2 or my trusty Panasonic DMC-GX8.

Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds sensors with their 4:3 in horizontal or 3:4 in vertical aspect ratios are often better suited to portraiture and the printed page than Fujifilm’s APS-C sensors’ 3:2 and 2:3 aspect ratios when uncropped.

Visualizing within a sensor of the best aspect is always easier, more accurate and more satisfying than shooting with one that is too long in one dimension then cropping later.

Right now though I am leaning towards shooting full-face portraits more with my X-Pro2 than my GX8, mostly because I have the amazing Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens and I have nothing equivalent in my Olympus and Panasonic lens set.

The difficulties with getting pinpoint accurate focus on an eyeball with the 56mm’s aperture almost wide open are casting my thoughts back to trying out the Fujifilm X-T2’s ability to manually focus accurately enough, and really liking it.

If only Fujifilm’s engineers had seen fit to give the X-Pro2 a better, brighter electronic viewfinder that worked in almost the same way as the EVF in the X-T2.

Will the X-Pro3 be improved in that regard, and will it be appearing any time soon?

Or should I be looking at the X-T3, or the X-H1 or better yet the X-H2 that surely must be following along on the heels of the X-T3 sometime next year?

Or might the coming rangefinder-style Fujifilm GFX 50R offer a more viable solution along with bigger file sizes more suitable to large exhibition prints?

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Fujifilm X-T2 in black and graphite silver versions.

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Benro: Tips & Tricks – Humanize the Tripod

“Filmmaker Patrick Moreau provides some tips on how giving subtle movements to your tripod during an interview creates a more human feeling for your audience, making it feel more natural and genuine.”

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Blackmagic Cinema Camera mounted on Benro Aero 4 Video Travel Angel Tripod Kit.

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Italian-Australian Cinematographer/Director Dante Cecchin Creates Bolidism-Inspired LockCircle HiPock Cage System for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

One camera cage and accessories maker that appears not to receive the press coverage it deserves is LockCircle, a brand of the Brain Emo company based in Lombardy near Lake Como

LockCircle is the only video accessories maker with its origins in Australia, specifically Broken Hill, thanks to Italian-Australian cinematographer/director Dante Cecchin, but the brand is sadly not represented in this country through an importer/distributor or resellers

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LockCircle HiPock, “The Pocket 4K Camera Cage”, designed by Dante Cecchin for the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

Meanwhile LockCircle’s products are clearly well regarded enough to be represented in other countries by respected resellers including AbelCine, B&H, mtf, P+S Technik, The Flash Centre and Vocas.

Mr Cecchin’s product design inspirations include the Bolidist Movement pioneered by Italian designer Massimo Iosa Ghini, who characterizes Boldism as “a way of narrating the transition from materialety to drawing things in which the visual and media aspect prevails with respect to the object’s functional purpose”.

Mr Ghini was involved with the Memphis Group of architects and designers during the 1980s, and perhaps the many highly coloured products Memphis members designed may have influenced LockCircle’s product materials and coatings such as the bronze, grey and black anodized surfaces of the three HiPock elements and cages and the rarer, more wildly coloured limited editions and new product colour-ways sometimes seen on LockCircle’s Facebook page.

Special anodization colours and surface finishes

Mr Cecchin’s LockCircle has been one of the first camera cage makers off the mark to come up with accessories for the soon-to-be-released Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and has come up with three different cages or cage-like devices – Minimal Plate, Essential Plate and System Cage, all under the product name of HiPock.

As with his other camera cages, HiPock integrates intimately with LockCircle’s and camera accessories including MicroMega rigging, RodRocket titanium rods and rails, NoLux “photon trap” technology matte box system, MatBox professional matter box system, LockCircle ultra-secure camera body caps, LockPort camera cable savers, Prime Circle cinema lenses and filters and the Pro M.35 System of accessories for adapting stills photography lenses to use in cinematography.

The breadth and depth of LockCircle’s product system appears to obviate the need to ever go outside it in fully equipping many popular hybrid mirrorless cameras for professional video production.

LockCircle HiPock 4K camera cage for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Due to LockCircle being unrepresented in Australia I have not had the pleasure of seeing and trying any of its products in real life and neither do I know anyone here who owns and uses them, but I certainly hope to remedy that lack some day.

Perhaps Mr Cecchin may be persuaded to pay his birth country a visit to show off his products and share his clearly not inconsiderable achievements.

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

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The Best HDR Image Editor There is, Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2019, is Available for Pre-Order until October 4, with Discounts

Towards the end of each photography editing software maker Skylum, formerly Macphun, announces then releases the annual major update to its two multiple award-winning flagship products, Aurora HDR and Luminar, and both are made available at pre-order discount for a certain period from announcement to the actual release date. 

Right now it is Aurora HDR’s turn, about to be updated to Aurora HDR 2019, with discounts applying until October 4 2018, and the many new additions and improvements in this version make it an absolute must-have update in my humble opinion. 

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Skylum Aurora HDR 2019, with this version blessed with more smart enhancements than ever before as well as a good list of other new features and improvements.

I have dipped my toes in and out of the high dynamic range aka HDR realm for some years at least since Adobe added HDR capability to Photoshop, trying a range of HDR software whether in the form of plug-ins or standalone applications, but none really caught my attention nor got me excited by the possibilities of this form of image creation and editing until Aurora first made its appearance.

Over the years since then the Skylum team has steadily improved Aurora as well all the rest of its software with concepts and features very different from what those usually found in more conventional image editing software made by more conventional image software companies.

One of those unconventional concepts involves features that appear to derive from a side project, Photolemur, described as “the world’s first fully automated photo enhance that makes all your images great automatically with the help of Artificial Intelligence”.

The products of Photolemur’s AI advances started to find their way into Aurora HDR and Luminar a versions or two ago and, with Aurora HDR 2019’s software engine being radically updated to the brand new Quantum HDR Engine and with a number of AI and Smart features appearing in both flagship applications.

I suspect the AI integration in both will continue and look forward to seeing what will appear in Luminar 2019 in the coming months.

Skylum’s modus operandi has been to create standalone versions of its software that can also operate as plug-ins to popular host applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements, and more recently to each other with, for example, Aurora HDR 2019 being able to call on Luminar and Photolemur as well as a long list other popular Photoshop plug-ins.

My personal MO when processing HDR images is to do the fundamental HDR tone mapping and basic editing in Aurora then pass the image on to Luminar directly or oftentimes export as a TIFF file with a detour through DxO ViewPoint for powerful automatic optical corrections based on my raw files’ EXIF data and sometimes though DxO FilmPack or Alien Skin Exposure as well for each application’s excellent simulations for classic and quirky analog films and printing processes.

With the addition of Look Up Tables aka LUT support in Aurora HDR 2019 as previously occurred in Luminar, I suspect I will doing less of this detouring with the benefit of applying items from an extensive LUT collection acquired over many years shooting video.

A number of those LUTs are derived from scans of classic, now often sadly discontinued, colour and monochrome movie film stocks and printing films or are based on feature film colour grading looks based on analog films, with one of the most recent such releases being Digital Film Stock aka DFS by LookLabs.

There is a host of similar LUT collections available on the Web for free or very reasonable prices given their quality and if you are new to the world of LUTs I recommend searching and trying to see what LUTs can do with the benefit of Aurora HDR 2019’s new LUT Mapping tool.

Screenshots, Aurora HDR 2019 user interface

The new and improved features in Aurora HDR 2019

User Interface / Performance

  • Tone-mapping technology for bracketed images with the Quantum HDR Engine.
  • Tone-mapping technology for single images with the Quantum HDR Engine.

Editing

  • HDR Smart Structure for realistic and artifact-free structure.
  • All new Aurora HDR Looks to enhance and stylize images.
  • LUT Mapping filter for creative color and tone adjustments.
  • Eleven integrated LUTs to use with the LUT Mapping filter.
  • HDR Details Boost filter that allows for high-resolution tuning while adjusting – improved.
  • Adjustable Gradient filter with new controls for Shadows and Highlights– improved.

Open / Plugin / Export

  • Photoshop plugins support.
  • Photolemur plugin support.
  • Plugins menu for both Mac® and Windows® users
.

A quick tryout, resurrecting ghosts

Unlike most of the photographers who rely on HDR, I use this style of photography not so much for landscapes, cityscapes, architecture or interiors but for portraits, product shots and stills for use in videos often for use with the Ken Burns effect.

For portraits and product shots in particular, most often shot with a mixture of natural and artificial light and increasingly with rather challenging natural light conditions, the HDR plus Aurora HDR combo results in images where textures acquire a hyperrealism that enhances the feeling of actually being in front of that person or those objects.

But I digress.

The 3-bracket HDR image above is one of my less frequently shot scenic photographs and my rather unsophisticated quick and dirty edit in Aurora HDR 2019 in the middle shows just how far Skylum’s software engineers have come with their Quantum HDR Engine and its radically improved processing quality and speed.

Instead of needing a fair bit of work to get a typical HDR image natural looking, Aurora HDR 2019 creates a very realistic tone mapping rendering from the word go, then allows you to choose from a large and growing selection of naturalistic or highly creative presets, or even more image editing controls than in previous versions of Aurora.

From the evidence of the list above of new and improved features in Aurora HDR 2019, and the results of my quick and dirty tryout scene, I will be rethinking my use of HDR imaging and especially how I will be processing future HDR images. 

Reservations that I used to have about HDR due to haloing and processing speed have now gone and I am looking forward to counting on HDR and Aurora HDR 2019 far more than I ever have before.

Portraiture tryout, 7 brackets, straight tone mapping and minimal processing

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Expressing exhaustion and resignation via Aurora HDR 2019 and a film emulation LUT.

A friend I have often used as a test subject dropped by and I decided to try out Aurora HDR 2019 as a portrait processing toolset.

This is the result, above, after minimal processing entirely in Aurora HDR 2019.

During my editorial photography career in the analog era, I specialized in making emotive close-up portraits and information-packed environmental portraits for magazines and newspaper colour supplements, using colour transparency films, Polaroid Type 55 instant positive/negative film and Kodak Tri-X using sheet film and 120 roll film cameras of various types.

That career was interrupted at its height due to succumbing to photochemical allergies followed by conceiving and cofounding “not only Black+White” magazine, a project that helped further my longtime ambitions to help bring about positive change in how photography was understood and used as a means of communication and as an art form in Australia.

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The light in the café where this was shot is amongst the worst that I have shot in over the years and previous attempts using earlier versions of Aurora HDR have been disappointing. This attempt processed with Aurora HDR 2019 is much better. HDR portraiture benefits from expressive lighting, whether natural or artificial, rather than this sort of dull overhead illumination.

My portraiture practice was intimately shaped by the cameras, lenses, films and processing and printing materials and methods of the time.

I carted my 4″x5″ sheet film camera with a medium wide and a medium long lens, sheet film and 120 roll film holders, Broncolor 3-light electronic flash kit, tripod and light stands, with my two Leica M-4P rangefinder cameras and lenses as backups, around the city and suburbs on assignment, photographing creative people, chefs, actors, celebrities and businessmen.

It was fun while it lasted and I used it as an opportunity to introduce my clients to new ways of processing, printing and reproducing my work all the better to communicate the emotions I wanted readers to experience when looking at my photographs in those magazines.

I have long wanted to get back to those forms of photography but this time unencumbered by all that gear, stripping my means of production back to just me, a handheld camera and uncomplicated but expressive processing methods.

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On a day of smokey sunlight due to burning off in the local national park.

Will Aurora HDR 2019 allow me to do that?

I hope so, based on the results of this quick and dirty test above.

Time to take a good, hard look at the current state of the magazine editorial photography landscape here in Australia now?

Definitely time to build a new portrait portfolio, and Aurora HDR 2019 may well be an important factor in that.

One of my aims in portraiture was and is to create the impression in the viewer’s mind that they are in the same room as the subject.

High dynamic range photography appears to assist in helping form that impression, though I have much to try and much to learn about how and why, and how to get the best out of it for portraiture.

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SmallRig Has Two Fujifilm X-T3 Cages in Pre-Order, One for the Camera with Battery Grip and One Without. First 100 Orders Get 30% Off.

Camera accessories maker SmallRig is quick off the mark with not one but two camera cages for the Fujifilm X-T3 APS-C/Super 35 hybrid mirrorless camera to take advantage of the X-T3’s radically boosted video capabilities. 

My experience with a range of Fujifilm cameras indicates that almost all of them benefit at least from metal hand grips and more so from vertical battery grips for better, safer handholding and extra power. 

It is pleasing to see that SmallRig has acknowledged this by adding extra gripability to its cage for the X-T3 minus vertical battery grip. 

Both camera cages are currently available under SmallRig’s Pre-Order scheme at 30% off an already low regular price and the estimated shipping date is October 11, 2018, well-timed for the official release of X-T3 production models. 

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.

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News Shooter: Hands-On with the HDMI Atomos Ninja V recorder/monitor

https://www.newsshooter.com/2018/09/10/hands-hdmi-atomos-ninja-v-recorder-monitor/

“I first saw the 5″ HDMI monitor/recorder at NAB 2018 and was impressed with the design, however, the Ninja V wasn’t ready for prime time yet as Atomos didn’t power it up for us to see the 1000 nit screen and new user interface. Well, today I have my hands on a working Ninja V….”

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Atomos Ninja V monitor/recorder attached to Nikon DSLR.

Atomos Ninja V

Commentary

Great to see Atomos release a beefed-up 5-inch monitor/recorder that is sized to suit the smaller video-capable hybrid cameras that have almost become the defacto standard for independent documentary and other moviemakers.

I have yet to see or try an Atomos Ninja V here in Sydney but it looks like a great piece of kit that is well priced enough for affordability by, well, just about anyone who needs one.

Thanks to Erik Naso and the News Shooter crew for writing and publishing this informative first look hands-on review of the Atomos Ninja V.

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Manfrotto 492LCD Micro Ball Head for attaching monitors and other accessories to cameras and camera cages.

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  • Atomos Ninja V 5″ 4K HDMI Recording MonitorB&H
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