Now that Fujifilm has announced its reportedly revolutionary X-Pro3 digital rangefinder-style camera, what opportunity is there for all us non-Fujifilm Ambassador-type folks to see and try one?
Fujifilm Global announced FUJIFEST Glocal 2019 back on September 21 with “We are coming to over 50 cities worldwide!!” and “The list will be updated as the time goes, so stay tuned!!” but a great many cities and countries are missing so far, most notably Sydney and Australia where I currently live.
Let’s hope that Fujifilm corrects these unfortunate omissions very soon!
Patrick Di Vino of Fuji Rumors has done it again with a series of rumors about the much-anticipated Fujifilm X-Pro3 and which hardware features will make it into the successor to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-Pro2.
Mr Di Vino’s sources tend to be reliable and apparently none more so than the individual who supplied Fuji Rumors with a set of hand sketches of the X-Pro3, featuring several surprises including removal of the D-Pad and the addition of a downwards hinged LCD monitor.
Will Fujifilm supply more information about the X-Pro3 at Friday’s Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya event?
Although Fujifilm generally listens to its user base and mostly acts positively on their requests, the company has been known to make some very odd decisions and none more so than the X-Pro1’s lack of the diopter correction essential for those of us needing to wear eyeglasses while we work.
As a result of that and other problems with its first generation professional-tagged rangefinder-style camera and lenses, Fujifilm lost me as a customer for several years while I explored another of the triumvirate of affordable digital photography and video innovators, Blackmagic Design, Fujifilm and Panasonic.
The many benefits of, for example, Panasonic’s fully-articulated LCD monitors on cameras like the Lumix DMC-GH4, DMC-GX8, DC-GH5, DC-GH5S, DC-G9 and more recently the coming 35mm sensor-equipped Lumix DC-S1H, became readily apparent when using these cameras for documentary stills photography and video.
Going from full articulation to the many and various one, two and three-way tilting monitors is feasible but uncomfortable, with too many sacrifices to be made in losing that key functionality and if every pro-level hybrid camera followed Panasonic’s lead then I would be very happy.
But then, cameras with fixed monitors or no monitors at all are not outside the bounds of usability either, so long as one does not need them for work in a wide range of genres from studio-based still-life to architecture, portraiture and documentary cinematography and photography, as I do.
I can do without any form of articulation on the X-Pro3’s LCD monitor if Fujifilm improves its electronic viewfinder way beyond the X-Pro2’s often irritating EVF, but I would most certainly need to add an X-T3 to my kit for everything else other than documentary photography or turn to Panasonic to affordably fill the gap.
I can do without the X-Pro’s D-Pad on an X-Pro3 so long as the camera’s Q Menu allows access to all the camera’s essential functions.
I can do without yet another analog film simulation so long as the X-Pro3’s video functionality is improved beyond that of the X-Pro2’s pointlessly crippled video, as I was reminded this afternoon when in a situation that could just as easily have demanded recording video as much as stills depending on a possible sudden turn of events.
I can do without in-body image stabilisation aka IBIS on the X-Pro3 so long as the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR proves to be the one-lens documentary cinematography and photography solution I have long been hoping for.
I look forward to learning more about the X-Pro3 and hope that Fujifilm has not taken an absurdly purist approach in imitation of, for example, Leica and its monitorless M10-D.
As much as I love Leica M-Series rangefinder cameras and lenses, and have a long history with them dating almost back to my start in professional photography during the analog era, most of what I do these days demands more of a camera than some sort of perverse ideological purism.
Leica was not the only maker of rangefinder cameras throughout the long history of analog photography, and the Leica M-Series is not the only role model available.
FUJIFILM X Series – Live from Tokyo: X Summit SHIBUYA 2019 / FUJIFILM – video live stream – “Following the first round in Dubai, we are pleased to announce that the second X Summit will be held on September 20th 1PM GMT! This time, the X Summit will be held in Shibuya, Tokyo -the mecca of street photography in Tokyo. “
I always try to attend Fujifilm’s annual People with Cameras in Sydney each year and was able to be there for much of this year’s event held at Doltone House on Darling Island Wharf in Pyrmont on Saturday the 7th September 2019.
More female photographers seem to attend each year, a welcome trend given the low numbers of female photographers and moviemakers who manage to make it professionally in Australia in particular and globally in general.
Those low numbers are not from want of talent but from systemic issues favouring male practitioners and thus the peculiarities of the male gaze and the male power structure, but I am hopeful that female representation in all aspects of photography and moviemaking will continue increasing to the point of parity, rapidly rather than slowly.
I carried a Think Tank Photo MindShift Gear BackLight 26L backpack containing my Fujifilm X-Pro2, a borrowed Fujifilm X-H1, a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens both of which were also borrowed, and my own Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lenses.
I managed to very briefly borrow a Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR and a pre-production model of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens which is due for release later this year.
I ended up swapping between my 56mm lens and the borrowed 18mm lens for this event but wondered if I might have been better served by the 50-140mm zoom lens or the 50mm f/2.0 prime in conjunction with the 16mm lens or the reportedly excellent Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR.
“Imagine a VariCam and a GH5 fell in love and had a brilliant baby – a small, powerful full-frame camera baby capable of shooting 6K V-Log video and 96 megapixel raw images and with image stabilisation so impressive it all but eliminates the need for gimbals. That’s the new flagship S series cinema camera from Panasonic, the Lumix S1H – and from what we know so far, it’s a filmmaker’s dream….”
It goes without saying that I would be the very last person who would ever be invited to launch events like this though I was always on the invitation list for similar events overseas and for the Australian branch of one particular camera company whose then PR person was a family friend.
Hence, having to cobble together information about new hardware and software releases of interest to my not inconsiderable daily readership from press releases, articles and videos created by others.
If I am lucky I get to hear about public launch events held at or by Sydney retailers and can obtain a brief hands-on there in less than ideal conditions, and if I am even luckier I may be loaned the item in question some months or years after its local release.
I am incredibly grateful for any kind assistance that is rendered by hardware and software makers and their public relations officers and consultants and am glad to be able to share with you anything that I can.
Meanwhile I am pleased to share this report on the Sydney launch of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H and am glad that at least one female was invited to the event though it would have been terrific if she was a cinematographer as well as a stills photographer and thus better able to assess the video-oriented S1H’s potential.
Event photographs shared by Panasonic Australia on its Facebook page
I dropped into the Media + Entertainment Tech Expo 2019 trade show component on its first day to catch up on recent developments in hardware and software from the point of view of the self-funded independent media producer that I am.
METexpo, for short, is the rebranded and relaunched biannual conference and trade show exhibition formerly referred to as SMPTE, not to be confused with the Australian section of the organization known as SMPTE standing for Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.
Although METexpo 2019 aimed to be more inclusive than previous SMPTE conferences and exhibitions, by “focusing on all aspects of the industry that drives the ‘creation, distribution and consumption’ of media, entertainment and technology”, this year’s version was a much smaller affair than all the previous ones I had attended and many Australian and foreign brands and retailers were missing in action.
While previous SMPTE trade shows demanded at least one full day to get through all their exhibits, I found I could see everything of interest in the space of a morning due to the many no-shows this year.
I hope that future METexpos will see their exhibitor numbers climb back up but am wondering at the wisdom of staging it every two years given the high pace of change within all the categories covered this year – “Audio Mixers, Audio Processing & effects, Audio Production, Cameras & Lenses, Capture Devices & Software, Cloud Technology, Delivery & Distribution, Digital Solutions, Esports, IP Broadcast Solutions, Lighting, Microphones, Mobile/Vehicle Production, Motion Picture/Virtual Production, Motion Picture/Production, Networking Technologies, Post Production, Set Design/Props/Furniture, Workflow Solutions”.
Two important global Australian-based brands missing from METExpo 2019 were Blackmagic Design and Miller Tripods while the long list of other absent long-established and breakthrough companies in the media and entertainment technology aka MET space included Adobe, Canon, Dedolight, Dell, Dolby, Fujifilm, Hewlett-Packard, Pelican, Think Tank Photo, Vitec Group and its many brands, while Rotolight’s only inclusion this year was one boxed-up product on display in a vitrine in the CR Kennedy stand, a Rotolight Neo 2 HSS and continuous LED light unit.
I had particularly hoped to see, touch and try Blackmagic Design’s breakthrough Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K along with a range of suitable accessories, lenses and rigging, but was disappointed.
Meanwhile other brands of interest had much smaller displays of their products than usual and were minus the on-floor speakers and try-out displays of previous SMPTE trade shows.
A sad loss given the lack of all-in-one retailers in this country and especially Sydney, places where one can see, try and buy items of interest rather than going by word-of-mouth or Youtube reviews before placing back orders or ordering online from overseas.
One long-established MET trade show tradition that remained in full force is exhibitors’ tendency to ignore females on the show floor in favour of almost exclusively paying attention to the males of the species.
Useful if one is going about making documentary photographs as I was, standing up close to my subjects while they engage with each other and ignoring me as if I am invisible, but not so great if I wanted directly engage with exhibitors to ask questions and try out new items.
The METexpo 2019 modus operandi as I and a number of attendees I watched experienced it was essentially one of being left to our own devices to gaze into display cases or accost passing floor staff in search of answers about the items within.
With Fujifilm taking Super 35 video production more seriously with its X-T3 and X-H1 cameras, and hopefully even more so with possible successors X-T4 and X-H2, the need for geared cinema quality prime lenses like SLR Magic’s MicroPrimes can only increase.
As a documentary person, 1.3 to 10 stops variable neutral density solutions like this one by SLR Magic are a must and even more so with recent cinema and video cameras having higher base ISOs than on previous generation hardware.
Given my other duties as a carer and limited funds I was unable to attend the METexpo 2019 conference and had to miss out on the Women In Industry Function and Women in Media and Technology Breakfast but hope that they may prove to be turning points for female inclusion and visibility in the MET industries and especially METexpo itself.
I made all the photographs illustrating this article with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 equipped with a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens kindly loaned to me by Fujifilm Australia’s PR consultancy, and also carried a loaner Fujifilm X-H1 and Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens as well as three of my own Fujinon lenses.
The 16mm lens’ fast back button focus and autofocus proved more useful in the circumstances than the much older 18mm lens, despite the 28mm equivalence of the latter being my all-time favourite focal length for immersive in-situ documentary photography and video.
I found that the 16mm “Fujicron” allowed me to quickly lean forward and back, left and right, in order to reframe my images as human elements constantly moved position relative to each other, and it proved quite a pleasurable experience.
Normally I would reserve the 24mm equivalence of 16mm for superwide establishing shots though I much prefer 21mm equivalent focal lengths for that purpose.
However, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR’s width proved an asset under the trade show floor’s oftentimes difficult lighting and limited space and I rarely needed to crop my images to exclude extraneous details.
“”FUJIKINA 2019 TOKYO” will be held on May 25th-26th 2019!
This event is a must-go for all GFX and X Series users. You will be able to try the latest range of GFX and X Series cameras and lenses. There will be live talks, studio demos and photo galleries showcasing the works of the professional photographers and creators from all over the world. Quick maintenance service and loan programs will be available free of charge (reservation required).
There will also be public shooting of music videos on site. The production team led by Pål Laukli will only use GFX and X Series models to complete the music video and stills. This is a rare opportunity to witness the professional at work!…”
I attended the launch of the 2019 Loud and Luminous Exhibition by the Loud and Luminous collective of Australian women and non-binary photographers at Contact Sheet, “an education and mentorship space, a gallery and a co-working space” in the Sydney north shore suburb of St Leonards, located in a complex of creative spaces supported by TWT Developments, Building Hope Foundation and Brand X.
This is the first time I have encountered these organizations and there may well be some intriguing stories and documentary subjects to be found within them.
Having been to digiDirect’s public launch of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 and DC-S1R cameras and the initial three lenses on April 1st, with hands on the S1 and Lumix S 24-105mm f/4.0 zoom lens, I wanted to get to know the higher megapixel S1R and the Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 prime lens.
With both cameras I immediately learned there is so much more to them than two brief events like these can reveal, such as their video and high resolution mode capabilities, but getting a decent feel for how they work and what they are capable of is crucial.
Getting a good feel is exactly what I did to the point where I was impressed enough to consider purchasing the S1R for portrait photography sometime in the future, with an eye on mating it up with some coming wide aperture lenses from members of the L-Mount Alliance.
Hands on with the LUMIX S1 & S1R, Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney, April 4 2019
Portraits, Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R with Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4
Portraits in the gallery above were made by Karin Gottschalk with the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R equipped with Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 as raw files, converted from .RW2 raw to .TIFF files using the L. Monochrome D profile in Adobe Camera Raw 11.2.1 then processed in Alien Skin Exposure X4 using the Platinum Print Warm analog simulation profile.
All JPEGs here have been reduced in size, so they can only hint at the detail and visual richness of the S1R’s raw files that would be better revealed as large format prints.
I often saw photo gallery shows in London where all the images were printed rich and dark in platinum to draw viewers in and impart a sense of mystery, and drama, and the photographs were shot in medium format roll film or 4″x5″ and 8″x 10″ sheet film, so my aim in making these portraits was to pay homage to that look.
Although I did not have the means to print my own work as platinum prints aka platinotypes when I was working as a magazine editorial portrait photographer, I printed my portfolio work in silver-rich baryta photographic papers that I toned or split-toned to simulate non-silver printing processes as well as silver-based processes like Lith printing.
I showed these images to magazine art directors who were so excited by their expressive possibilities that they fought to have all pages printed in four colour instead of some in colour and the rest in black ink only.
My favourite camera in those years was my Zone VI Studios 4″x5″ field camera based on the Tachihara Wista camera made of cherrywood, and my favourite monochrome film was the now tragically deceased Polaroid Type 55 positive/negative film that I shot at 20 ISO for proof prints and 12 ISO for negatives.
My method was to shoot with medium wide or medium telephoto large format lenses with the aperture wide open or stopped down by one-third or half a stop, light minimally with a three-light Broncolor monobloc flash light kit, dunk the instant-processed Polaroid Type 55 in a Polaroid bucket on location then complete the negative processing, washing and drying back in the studio.
My aim was to produce deeply emotive close-up and full-face portraits, and environmental portraits, that would leap out of the printed page, stopping dead then drawing readers in as they flicked through the magazine.
The combination of Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R with Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 helped me simulate aspects of that approach to analog portrait photography and I look forward to spending more time with the S1R and its lenses present and future sometime soon.