Considering the Fujifilm X-H1 Camera with Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and 18mm f/2.0 R Lenses

When the folks at Fujifilm Australia’s PR consultancy asked if I wanted to borrow a Fujifilm X-H1 and some lenses I leapt at the chance to put this intriguing camera through its paces and to see how well Fujifilm’s first effort at XF camera in-body image stabilization aka IBIS and increased dedication to video production had turned out. 

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The Fujifilm X-H1 APS-C/Super 35 mirrorless digital camera and accessories. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.
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Big lenses need balancing with big rigs. Fujifilm Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR wideangle zoom lens on Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.

The loan also provided an opportunity to compare two of Fujifilm’s smaller wide-angle lenses, the Fujicron-style Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and the semi pancake-style Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R.

Since experiencing the many joys of using vertical battery grips on DSLR-style mirrorless cameras with Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH4, DC-GH5 and DC-G9, I have been in the habit of always requesting vertical battery grips with loaner cameras that have them.

Unfortunately, a Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip wasn’t available so I used the camera ungripped and found, despite that preference for adding hand or battery grips to all Fujifilm cameras, the X-H1 acquits itself well without one when used with smaller lenses.

On the other hand, I suspect a gripped X-H1 with larger, heavier Fujinon lenses attached such as the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR illustrated above would be easier to carry and operate all day long compared to the same lens on an X-T3 or X-T4, gripped or not.

It is, simply, a matter of balance.

Fujifilm X-H1, Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and XF 18mm f/2.0 R

By the time the loan opportunity arose, there were rumours the Fujifilm X-H1 was about to be listed as discontinued and that soon occurred with heavily discounted camera, vertical battery grip plus lens packages appearing in foreign camera retailer websites shortly followed by similar deals in Australia.

Now the X-H1 and its camera-specific accessories are no longer available on the retail websites that I checked this morning, and I am in two minds about that.

If I were offered longterm loan of an X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip, I most certainly would not say “no”!

Fujifilm X-H1

Photographs courtesy of Fujifilm.

The X-H1 is an innovative camera but its release suffered from unfortunate timing, falling as it did between the X-T2 and the X-T3 and thus having the same sensor as the Fujifilm X-T2, the X-Trans CMOS III sensor as well as its own CPU, the X-Processor Pro.

At time of writing, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 and the X-T4 contain the latest generation sensor and processor, the X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4.

When I attended the Fujifilm X-Pro3 First Look Touch & Try Event at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney on Wednesday November 6 last year, a staff member there was keen for me to share my experience of recent Fujifilm cameras with a female customer.

There are all too few female camera store staff members hereabouts and possibly not so many with my particular background so it is understandable male staffers might point her my way.

She ended up taking advantage of the end-of-production-run X-H1 special offer after I gave her the pros and cons of the X-H1 and X-T3, and I hope she is doing well with her purchase.

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The Fujifilm X-H1’s in-body image stabilization unit aka IBIS, the first iteration of it to appear in Fujifilm XF APS-C/Super 35 cameras. Has its design drawn from the larger IBIS unit of the Fujifilm GFX100? Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.

She told me she already had a Fujifilm X-Pro2, loved it and relied on it for most of her work but there were occasions when she needed to photograph in low light and at night so was interested in the X-H1’s in-body image stabilization aka IBIS.

I related my experience with the camera’s IBIS and added that I could comfortably carry either the smaller X-Pro2 or the slightly larger X-H1 around in my hand all day long in a way that I found I could not with the X-T2’s and X-T3’s more minimalist and less sculpted body shapes.

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The Fujifilm X-H1’s “firm-hold design allowing the index finger to concentrate on shutter release actions”. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.
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I find that the exposure compensation dials on X-T and X-Pro cameras work faster than the X-H1’s alternative. Fujifilm X-T4 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.

As above, Fujifilm describes the shutter release button and grip area of the X-H1 as a “firm-release design”, having the same configuration as other mirrorless and DSLR cameras which is more often described as a “trigger” or “pistol” grip by aficionados of the latter types of cameras.

My first digital camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, has the same configuration and, despite that camera’s bulk and weight with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L USM kit zoom lens attached, its “pistol grip” and soft-touch shutter release button made carrying and using it in the field on documentary projects easier than one might think.

It was, simply, a matter of balance. And then the kit zoom’s notoriously poor manufacturing quality control left me without a lens for it altogether until I adapted a couple of vintage manual focus M42-mount lenses via a Gobe M42 Lens Mount to Canon EF & EF-S Camera Mount adapter.

The X-H1’s shutter release button is more sensitive than that of previous cameras like the X-Pro2, X-T2 and the like, the increased sensitivity apparently being aimed at professional photographers needing minimal lag between hitting the button and making the image.

In practice I found this lag minimalization to be very effective for portraiture, photojournalism and urban documentary photography, ensuring a higher percentage of selects than usual, as well as reducing subtle camera shake at the start of clips when shooting video.

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The leaf spring switch of the Fujifilm X-H1’s feather-touch shutter button. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.

Having now experienced both types of shutter release button, I much prefer the one on the X-H1 and hope to see it used in more Fujifilm cameras for its speed gains, boosted stability and lack of a threaded cable release hole that can attract dirt.

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Fujifilm X-T2 in black and graphite versions, with their prominent exposure compensation dials falling under the right hand’s thumb. Photograph by Jonas Rask, courtesy of Fujifilm.

In contrast, the lack of an exposure compensation dial on the X-H1 slowed down my shooting speed and efficiency somewhat compared to the ease and speed with which I can set exposure changes on X-Pro and X-T cameras.

Pros and cons where you gain speed in one aspect of the X-H1’s design yet lose speed in another.

The X-H1’s IBIS bestows two overlapping advantages, being able to shoot at shutter speeds slower than can usually be handheld, and having the confidence that one can resort to it if one must.

As anti-IBIS pundits are always keen to tell us, shooting moving objects while stabilized at shutter speeds too slow to handhold unstabilized will result in at least something being blurred through movement.

But the contrast between unblurred and blurred through movement can be a wonderful creative device to draw attention to the main and unmoving object in the picture.

Other advantages of the Fujifilm X-H1’s design and manufacture

Photographs courtesy of Fujifilm.

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With the exception of the Fujifilm X-H1, all Fujifilm cameras need hand grips or vertical battery grips. Fujifilm Finepix X100 with hand grip. Photograph by Karin Gottschalk.

Four more features of the Fujifilm X-H1’s design stand out: the black 8H coating making it more scratch resistant than its predecessors, its magnesium body that is thicker than its predecessors and its stronger lens mount that takes the strain off the body when mounting large, weighty lenses such as the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR, XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR and XF 200mm f/2 R LM OIS WR Lens with XF 1.4x TC F2 WR.

Although I have yet to experience any of them, I suspect that the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR and XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR professional red badge zoom lenses would also benefit from the X-H1’s strengthened lens mount as well as its stronger body and better balance achieved by attaching the VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip.

I have focused here on the X-H1’s design and manufacturing qualities because the DSLR style is not my first choice when it comes to cameras for documentary photography and yet many aspects of the X-H1’s body design work for me in a way I have not experienced with Fujifilm’s X-T series cameras.

I have used the X-H1 alongside my X-Pro2 on day-long documentary projects and not once have my hands been fatigued in the way I have experienced with the Fujifilm X-T1, X-T2 and X-T3 cameras whether equipped with vertical battery grips or not.

Fujifilm has got the design of the X-H1 body closer to perfect for me, at least, than that of the X-T series.

Fujifilm, please seek inspiration from Olympus for lens design

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom lens. Photograph courtesy of Panasonic.

Which is not to say that Fujifilm does not have some way to go with its X-H, X-T and X-Pro series cameras.

The Fujifilm x100 camera radically improved digital photography for me but its poor video quality and that of subsequent cameras meant I had to look elsewhere for a while  and I settled (solely) on Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras for their great stills and video quality and (mostly) Olympus’ M. Zuiko Pro lenses for their manual clutch focus and excellent optical and mechanical qualities.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom lens. Photograph courtesy of Panasonic.

As good as they already are, the M.Zuiko Pro professional lenses for video and stills would be even better with the addition of an aperture ring that can be used clicked or declicked at the flick of a switch.

I chose the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro over the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Aspheric Power OIS kit zoom lens due to the former’s manual clutch focus mechanism, its all-black metal barrel and smoothly operating zoom and focus rings and its slightly longer focal range, forgoing the optical image stabilization of Panasonic’s standard zoom alternative.

The Lumix zoom’s OIS would have been useful for the IBIS-less Lumix DMC-GH4, but optical quality and excellent manual focusing comes first in my opinion.

Nowadays, I probably would have chosen the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro as my first Micro Four Thirds zoom lens for the non-IBIS cameras in my collection, or the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 Pro plus the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro for my available darkness work with IBIS-equipped cameras.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro professional prime lenses with manual clutch focusing, brilliant for shooting video or stills where accurate focus is absolutely critical. Photograph courtesy of Olympus.

When Fujifilm released the X-Pro2 and I discovered I could use it due to its built-in diopter correction, I looked for the closest to my ideal lens design amongst then-current Fujinon lenses: manual clutch focus, all-black metal body and aperture ring.

I was hoping to find three lenses to cover my most immediate documentary stills and video needs, but compromises and cost narrowed my choice down to two, and I ended up with a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R.

The first lens is manual clutch focusing and the second is focus-by-wire only.

My preferred extended focal length set for documentary work is:

  • 14mm = 21mm in 35mm
  • 18mm = 28mm in 35mm
  • 23mm = 35mm in 35mm
  • 27mm = 40mm in 35mm
  • 50mm = 75mm in 35mm
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Leica worked out the best prime lens focal length line-up for documentary photography and photojournalism in 35mm years ago and it remains the benchmark and role model for other lens makers to this very day. The only focal length missing from this lens collection is 40mm, which Leica made for the Leica CL rangefinder camera that was later taken over by Minolta as the Minolta CLE with 40mm standard lens as well as a 28mm and 90mm lens. Too many contemporary lens makers leave out 28mm and 75mm lenses and their equivalents for other sensor formats. Why? Both these focal lengths are the most essential for documentary photography and photojournalism. Photographs courtesy of Leica.
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Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM | Art prime lens with L-mount. Fujifilm needs to make an APS-C equivalent to this lens for portrait photographers missing the 105mm-equivalent 70mm focal length. Photograph courtesy of Sigma.

My preferred focal length for portraiture is 70mm, equivalent to 105mm, but the closest XF prime lens is the longer and non-manual-clutch-focus XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, equivalent to 120mm in 35mm sensor format.

I prefer prime lenses but might have considered the red badge Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR had it been available at the time, though it is sadly not a manual clutch focus lens.

I would have added an XF 14mm f/2.8 R and an XF 23mm f/1.4 R  for available darkness work, making a set of three covering 14mm through to 82.5mm with two lenses having manual clutch focusing.

These three lenses have filter diameters of 58mm, 62mm and 77mm, allowing easy attachment of industry-standard 82mm circular neutral density filters via step-up rings.

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Fujifilm’s “Fujicron” fast, compact prime lens collection as of February 2019 comprising the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR, Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR, Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR and Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR lenses. Photographs courtesy of Fujifilm.

I understand some Fujifilm moviemakers use Fujicron-style lenses,  but

Fujicron lens filter diameters:

  • XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR = 49mm
  • XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR = 43mm
  • XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR = 43mm
  • XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR = 46mm

These lenses present a problem for moviemaking in that step-up rings for these smaller diameters are rare.

Stepping up to industry standard 82mm (or 77mm for that matter) neutral density filters demands stacking multiple step-up rings.

Knurled brass step-up rings are the best option, being stronger than aluminium and less prone to binding.

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Aurora Aperture PowerXND II VND: “The PowerXND-II 128 is a 1-7 stop variable ND filter while the PowerXND-II 2000 is a 5-11 stop variable ND filter. With both filters users can control light reduction from 1 to 11 stops, making them highly versatile tools for general photography and videography applications.” Photograph courtesy of Aurora Aperture, Inc.

Due to gaps in step-up ring sizing by all manufacturers, one ends up with a mixture of aluminium and brass, knurled and unknurled, mixing and matching brands and hoping for the best.

Brands I currently use include Breakthrough Photography, Heliopan, Sensei and some no-name aluminium rings that came from who knows where, but I note that Polar Pro makes some great-looking knurled brass step-up rings as well as fixed and variable neutral density filters.

None of them supplies the full set of diameters needed to step the Fujicron lenses up to, say, 52mm, 58mm or 62mm.

Stepping up from 43mm to 82mm requires a stack of rings so one may be better investing in a set of smaller diameter fixed or variable NDs such as those made by Aurora Aperture, Inc. which lists 43mm, 46mm and 49mm diameter NDs as well as sizes down to 37mm and up to 105mm.

Then there is the question of attaching focus-pulling devices, gears and matte boxes.

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Matte boxes are also invaluable for video production. SmallRig Lightweight Matte Box (95mm, Clamp-on) VB2660, undergoing the co-design process at time of writing. Final design may vary. Photograph courtesy of SmallRig.

Fujicron lenses may be best suited for more casual video projects that demand discretion and that may be shot with the X-Pro3 or X-T4 as a B-camera.

A rumour is circulating that Fujifilm has finally taken onboard the reportedly constant barrage of requests for the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R to be updated but so far we don’t know whether that will take the form of the current lens’ semi-pancake design, that of the Fujicron lenses above or of the Fujilux manual clutch focus design of the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8, 16mm f/1.4 and 23mm f/1.4 lenses.

I vote for a Fujilux-style XF 18mm f/1.4 R WR as the best possible default documentary stills and video lens, though I suspect that an 18mm Fujicron may be appearing sometime soon instead.

Pity, but let’s see what comes down the turnpike soon.

Fujifilm, please seek inspiration from Panasonic for camera design

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The Panasonic Lumix S1H’s “tilt free-angle touchscreen LCD” is possibly the most versatile LCD monitor I have seen so far, one step beyond the fully-articulated LCD monitors of other S-Series as well as Lumix Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the G9, GH5, GH5S and GX8. Photograph courtesy of Panasonic.
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Flipping the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S’ fully-articulated LCD monitor and rotating it is crucial when shooting in tight spaces. Photograph courtesy of Panasonic.

Despite a torrent of comments against fully-articulated LCD monitors like the one in the coming Fujifilm X-T4 by pundits opining that photographers would refuse to buy any camera so equipped, I love and enjoy the LCDs on my Panasonic cameras for stills photography and video.

Two-way, three-way and fixed LCD monitors, not so much.

Panasonic has gone one step beyond its usual fully-articulated LCD monitor with the “tilt free-angle touchscreen LCD” on its DSLR-style camera best suited for feature documentary production, the Lumix DC-S1H.

I tried out Panasonic’s Lumix DC-S1 and DC-S1R 35mm sensor cameras at touch-and-try events and was pleasantly surprised at how easy to handle they were despite their much larger size and weight than their smaller siblings, Panasonic’s G-Series Micro Four Thirds cameras.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H with Panasonic Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro OIS standard zoom lens. Photograph courtesy of Panasonic.

I have ruled out considering the Lumix S-Series cameras and lenses for now as they would be a huge investment for not enough gain in stills quality and not a lot in video quality as I would be shooting Super 35 rather than so-called “full frame” video with them.

On the other hand, I already have a foot in Fujifilm’s Super 35/APS-C camera system and would rather see Fujifilm lift its video game well beyond what it has gained in the X-H1 into the realm of Panasonic’s many moviemaking achievements.

The other thing I really like about Panasonic’s S-Series and DC-G9 body designs are their big, hefty and easy-to-hold “pistol grips”.

I prefer fully-articulated over fixed, two-way or three-way LCD monitors

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Smallrig LCD Screen Protector Sunhood 1972 on fully-articulated aka vari-angle LCD monitor screen of Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5. Photograph courtesy of SmallRig.

One of the many advantages of fully-articulated or vary-angle LCD screens is that they can be used with detachable sun hoods like those made by Smallrig for cameras and monitor/recorders, as above.

Try staring at an LCD in bright light when shooting stills or video then compare that to using a shaded LCD.

Hoods are invaluable when needing to forgo heavily-rigged cameras for video production but wanting to use the camera away from one’s eyeball on tripods, monopods or gimbals.

I hope that Smallrig will make a hood for the Fujifilm X-T4 if the Smallrig LCD Screen Protector Sunhood 1972 does not fit.

Accordingly I hope that the Fujifilm X-H1 will have some form of fully-articulating or vari-angle LCD monitor screen suitable for mounting a sun hood.

The Fujifilm X-H1 for Super 35 moviemaking

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Fujifilm’s Super APS-C camera system is one of the most affordable Super 35 platforms for professional moviemaking including feature-quality documentaries and narrative feature films. The two MKX cinema zoom lenses are amongst the most affordable of their kind, though Fujifilm needs to upgrade its prime lenses for serious video production. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.

Panasonic must be doing something right given its Lumix DC-S1H is the first and only DSLR-style stills/video hybrid camera to be approved by Netflix.

Many hybrid shooters have apparently been investing in the camera and its rather large and pricey L-System zoom and prime lenses.

Did Netflix approve it for its Super 35 video or for the fact that it also shoots 35mm video?

Super 35 has been a standard format for high-end feature-quality moviemaking for many years now but can Fujifilm offer a high-end Super 35 alternative?

Even one that will tickle Netflix’s fancy?

(Further commentary coming soon.)

Fujifilm cameras, photojournalists and World Press Photo 2020

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Fujifilm GFX100 medium format digital camera with Fujinon GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR prime lens. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.

I first spotted a Fujifilm X-H1 in use by an expatriate Australian photojournalist, Jack Picone, alongside an X-T2 when shooting in available darkness, and events like World Press Photo show that more and more photojournalists are relying on Fujifilm cameras for their daily work.

Fujifilm first used former Leica aficionado National Geographic photographer David Alan Harvey to promote the X-Pro2 and he is now using the X-Pro3 in his magazine work.

I and others in the magazine and newspaper spheres have also relied on non-rangefinder-style cameras to supplement our rangefinder cameras over the years and it is interesting to note how many World Press Photo award-winners this year are Fujifilm users.

Yasuyoshi Chiba uses Fujifilm X-H1 and GFX100 in-body image stabilized cameras for his available light photojournalism work, testimony to the cameras’ capacity to handle challenging environments and poor available light.

Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R

What I want to see in the Fujifilm X-H2

(Commentary coming soon.)

Links

Considering the Pentax Digital Spotmeter

As a kid in art school during the analog era I learned far more about photography from the books of Ansel Adams and the newsletters and products of Fred Picker’s Zone VI Studios, Inc. than I ever did from the school’s under-qualified photography teacher. 

One of the most important lessons was that accurate exposure is crucial and that the best way to do that was with a spotmeter and the Zone System as formulated by Ansel Adams. 

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Pentax Digital Spotmeter. I still have my copy of this analog era essential item, in the version modified by physicist Dr Paul Horowitz for Fred Picker of Zone VI Studios in Vermont. Photograph courtesy of Ricoh.

When Zone VI Studios released its version of the Pentax Digital Spotmeter, modified by Harvard physicist Dr Paul Horowitz, I placed my order for one and a leather holster.

The case succumbed to the mould problem that keeps getting worse in this part of Australia as climate change continues to set in, but the spotmeter itself is in good condition and so is perfectly usable.

Pentax Digital Spotmeter

The sticky paper Zone System label that denotes zones I through to VIII has seen better days though and I have been searching for a decent replacement for years now without success.

Then, today I came across not one but two versions of the label made by photographer James A. Rinner and retailed on ebay.

One version reproduces the look of Fred Picker and Paul Horowitz’ original label sticker, while the other is designed by James. A Rinner himself.

Zone System labels by James A. Rinner

While there were other spotmeters made during the analog era, and some current digital light meters have spotmeter capability, the Zone VI-modified Pentax Digital Spotmeter proved unique in its accuracy under all sorts of lighting conditions.

I made great use of my spotmeter when photographing in some truly terrible industrial lighting for commercial, industrial and mining clients in Western Australia during my corporate photography phase before I found a more pleasant home in magazine editorial photography in the east.

Although I also carried several other light meters of various types and brands, the Zone VI Pentax Digital Spotmeter proved to be the most accurate, most reliable and most durable of them all.

I cannot recall exactly what modifications were made to factory standard spotmeters, something to do with internal baffles, filters and possibly circuitry, but have read some online discussions about it.

Unmodified secondhand Pentax Digital Spotmeters are available on ebay for prices between $AU500.00 and $AU750.00 but so far I have not seen a modified one for sale and no doubt one would cost more than the factory standard version.

I hauled mine out from storage this morning, intending to carry it on a coming shoot in the city where I want to use my venerable Canon EOS 5D Mark II with East German and Japanese M42 manual prime lenses adapted with a Gobe M42 Lens Mount to Canon EF & EF-S Camera Mount adapter, intending to ignore the camera’s meter readings for the sake of what the spotmeter tells me.

Links

Considering Adapting MS Optics Short-Run Hand-Made Manual Leica M-Mount Lenses for Fujifilm XF Cameras

It has been fascinating watching the emergence in recent years of Chinese makers of manual focus stills photography and cinema lenses adding their expertise to those of more established brands like Lumography, Voigtlaender and numerous others. 

And then I came across Japanese brand MS Optics at Japan Camera Hunter. 

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MS Optics Perar 17mm f/4.5 Leica M-Mount manual focus pancake prime lens, designed and handmade by Mr Miyazaki in Japan. Photograph courtesy of Japan Camera Hunter.
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Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 manual prime lens for Leica M-Series. This was my automatic go-to lens for documentary photography and photojournalism for many years since I bought it new as a young photographer. Photograph courtesy of Japan Camera Hunter.

Back when I was considering my first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera I looked into vintage manual focus lenses like those made by Zenit but set the idea aside when considering the scarcity and cost of buying them locally.

I had sold my Leica M-Series cameras and lenses several years before during a financially challenging period and before mirrorless cameras began making a dent in digital photography and video production.

The value of vintage manual lenses on mirrorless cameras became clear when Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro dropped by our studio and kindly gave us two lovely little M42-mount lenses in 28mm and 50mm focal lengths.

After purchasing lens mount adapters from Gobe, I began using both lenses on Fujifilm X-mount and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras, and later my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the latter when my copy of Canon’s notoriously shoddily-made and optically-poor Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM kit zoom lens failed just after end of warranty and the technician gave up on trying to render it usable.

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Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens.

The 28mm focal length in the 35mm sensor format is my standard for documentary photography and one that I favour for documentary video as well.

When adapted for Fujifilm X-mount, a 28mm lens becomes 42mm, and when a 50mm lens is adapted for the same mount it becomes 75mm.

Likewise, adapting both lenses for Micro Four Thirds effectively turns them into 56mm and 100mm lenses, great focal portrait lengths.

One of my favourite focal length pairs for documentary video in Super 35 is 18mm and 50mm, equivalent to 15mm and 37.5mm in Micro Four Thirds and 28mm and 75mm in the 35mm sensor format.

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Zeiss Distagon 18mm f/4.0 ZM prime lens for Leica M-mount, now stupidly “discontinued” according to Zeiss and retailers.

While the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R is good enough for most documentary photography work provided its optical and mechanical quirks do not get in the way, I find it next to useless for video work and have long been asking Fujifilm to at least update the focal length with a Fujicron-style f/2.0 lens if not a Fujilux-style f/1.4 lens with the manual clutch focus that is invaluable for serious movie production.

Meanwhile I have been searching for manual focus alternatives to Fujifilm’s 18mm semi-pancake lens and was almost settled on the reportedly excellent Zeiss Distagon 18mm T* f/4.0 ZM in Leica M-mount when it suddenly vanished from retailers, listed as “discontinued” and without a replacement.

@#$%^&*!!!

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Contax Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f/4.0 Leica M-mount manual prime lens, now long-discontinued. Photograph from ebay.com listings.

An utterly stupid decision in my opinion, with no equivalent offered by any other current lens maker, especially given how much high praise the Zeiss 18mm Distagon has received over the years.

The closest affordable 18mm lens I have found online second-hand is the long discontinued Contax Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f/4.0 in Contax/Yashica aka C/Y mount made by Kyocera, but I have no experience of these lenses or of the cameras for which they were designed though they are often described as “not to Zeiss standards”.

On the other hand cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro speaks of his set of Contax Carl Zeiss C/Y mount lenses with affection, having adapted them all to EF mount with some filing down of the tab protrusions to allow speed booster compatibility for professional movie production on a range of cameras and sensor formats.

Mr Miyazaki’s MS-Optics lenses

I don’t know much about the limited-run Leica M-mount prime lenses handmade by Mr. Miyazaki of MS Optics save that they are clearly designed for stills photography and would be less useful for video production.

If it were not for the fact that MS Optics lenses are made in tiny production runs and are apparently not reissued after selling out, I might have considered the MS Optics Perar 17mm f/4.5 Leica M-Mount for use at hyperfocal distance settings for, say, urban documentary photography.

I have been keeping an eye on the ever-growing list of Chinese manual lens makers but so far none have shown signs of an 18mm lens in Leica M-mount or any other mount.

All one can do is hope beyond hope that Fujifilm will finally act on the reported deluge of requests made by XF-mount camera users to Fujifilm to release a radically upgraded Fujinon XF 18mm lens, one better suited to professional video and stills photography.

Outside the bounds of affordability nowadays: Leica M-Series lenses

I relied on two Leica M-4P cameras and several Leica M-Series lenses as the backbone of my kit for years of corporate, magazine and newspaper photography and while the fees were nothing like the ones I used to pay photographers when I worked in advertising in London, they were enough to help cover the cost of Leica and other gear.

While Leica manual focus prime lenses remain my personal benchmark for optical and mechanical construction, I can no longer afford them and so keep a keen eye on the growing number of Chinese lens makers.

I hope they will be emboldened to go beyond the usual standard, moderate short and moderate wide focal lengths and develop lenses such as, for example, Kipon’s Iberit 75mm f/2.4 and Iberit 40mm f/0.85 Mark Ⅱ for Fujifilm X-mount, or even an 18mm lens for the same mount.

Links

DPReview: Fujifilm X-T4 Review: Hands-on with Fujifilm’s newest flagship camera – Commentary

“Is the Fujifilm X-T4 the king of APS-C cameras? We have the answer!…”

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Fujifilm X-T4 with Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR zoom lens.

Commentary

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One design inspiration for Fujifilm’s X-T4? Leica Leicaflex SL with Summicron-R 50mm f/2.0, made in 1968. The SL2 is considered one of the best analog-era 35mm SLRs.

I missed out on seeing a pre-production Fujifilm X-4 at Fujifilm Australia’s event at Ted’s World of Imaging earlier this year when COVID-19 struck and I could not attend due to highly susceptible family members back home.

Such touch-and-try preview events can be useful but production versions are the real deal when it comes to assessing potential new hardware purchases.

DPReview is in prime position for obtaining early production releases and recently published its two-hander video review of the Fujifilm X-T4 alongside an in-depth text review plus image gallery.

A cursory skim through confirms my initial assessment of the desirability of the X-T4 for documentary stills photography and video production as an independent self-funded practitioner without the means to acquire every bit of hardware that comes down the turnpike, so I will be forgoing an X-T4 unless circumstances change.

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Should some of us wait for the X-H2? Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 battery grip and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR professional zoom lens.

Or we just might win the lottery. Ha!

COVID-19 and its worldwide economic havoc and consequent uncertainty for independent creatives means more belt-tightening and skipping over new models while trying to get the best out of past purchases.

There is plenty to like about the X-T4 for stills and video, especially video, and it is clearly one of the current best options for available light documentary work in either.

It is excellent to see that Fujifilm has now entered the small camera IBIS era (in-body image stabilization) and is reportedly approaching the IBIS in Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5, DC-G9 and S-Series 35mm cameras such as the Lumix DC-S1H, DC-S1 and DC-S1R.

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Cinematographer, director, producer, writer Emily Skye of She Wolf Films production company with Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera.

Some reviewers are speculating that Fujifilm may issue firmware updates to improve the X-T4’s IBIS, and that will be quite an achievement if they do so.

I have the most experience with the GH5’s stabilization in combination with non-stabilized autofocus lenses like those in Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro range as well as manual-focus vintage lenses of East German design and German or Japanese manufacture, and can testify to the camera’s excellent IBIS for stills and video.

My baptism into the joys of IBIS occurred with my still-beloved Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 during a vacation away from Fujifilm cameras when the company had yet to get its head round video.

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Australian photojournalist Daniel Berehulak using Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8’s fully articulated LCD monitor. Now we have full articulation in the X-T4!

The GX8 has an earlier, stills-only version of IBIS than the GH5, but I soon discovered how useful, essential even, stabilization is for available darkness documentary work and I cannot imagine ever going back to non-stabilized cameras or at least non-stabilized lenses on such cameras.

Subsequently I picked up a copy of the legendary though often overlooked Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS stabilized zoom lens and would have added the equally impressive Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS zoom, had I found a secondhand copy at a good price at the time.

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Panasonic DMW-XLR1 Microphone Adapter for Panasonic Lumix G and S-Series cameras. Fujifilm needs to make one of these for its more video-oriented cameras.

Without the pleasure of access to a production version of the Fujifilm X-T4, I am reluctant to express any opinions about it here so have added links to articles by well-qualified reviewers in the list of links below.

I do hope, though, that Fujifilm will come up with the all-in-one APS-C/Super 35 alternative to Panasonic’s excellent Lumix GH5, GH5S and G9 Micro Four Thirds cameras, whether in the coming Fujifilm X-H1 or in the successor to the X-T4, perhaps to be named the X-T5.

Time will tell.

Fujifilm X-T4

The Fujifilm X-T4 for moviemaking

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Fujifilm X-T4 rigged for video production. Image courtesy of Fujifilm-X.com.

Links

Coming Soon! Fujifilm X-T4, X-T200 and X100V First Look Event at Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney, Friday 13th March, 2020

I will be attending Fujifilm Australia’s X-T4, X-T200 and X100V First Look event at Ted’s World of Imaging in Pitt Street, Sydney, on Friday 13th March. 

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Fujifilm X-T4 with Fujifilm VG-XT4 Vertical Battery grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.

Join us for another Fujifilm Friday at Ted’s World of Imaging with Warwick Williams from Fujifilm Australia.

Warwick will present the latest three additions to the Fujifilm family – the X100V, X-T200 and the X-T4!

Starting off with a brief presentation, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about the latest and greatest features of all three new models, and of course, get your hands on them for a bit of a play!

I am hoping that a production model Fujifilm X-Pro3 will be at the event too as the camera shown at the X-Pro3 event at Ted’s in November 2019 was a pre-production model and so I could not make sample stills or video footage with it.

Fujifilm X-T4, X100V, X-T200 and X-Pro3

Fujifilm USA: Introducing the Fujifilm X-T4, Crafted for the Modern Image-Maker – Press Release

INTRODUCING THE FUJIFILM X-T4: CRAFTED FOR THE MODERN IMAGE-MAKER

Valhalla, New York – February 26, 2020 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation is proud to announce the launch of the FUJIFILM X-T4 (hereinafter “X-T4”), a flagship model of the X Series family of mirrorless digital cameras.

The X-T4 is an astounding imaging tool, packing a newly designed IBIS, a quiet new shutter unit, a new vari-angle LCD screen, a new Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation, and a new, large-capacity, battery all into a compact and lightweight camera body. This camera is the perfect tool for today’s image makers and is an ideal multi-functional solution for visual storytellers to use in creating their stories.

More information about the key features of X-T4:

Designed for Quality and Speed

Fujifilm’s state-of-the-art X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 combination sits at this camera’s core, pairing this exceptional, 26.1MP, back-side illuminated sensor with a powerful quad-core CPU to produce images with wide dynamic range and incredible image quality, doing so with lightning-fast processing and precision AF performance, right down to -6EV.

IBIS Puts Stability in the User’s Hands

A huge part of creating great photos or videos is being in the right place at the right time – and that often means making handheld images to get to the heart of the action. X-T4’s five-axis In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) provides up to 6.5 stops1 of image stabilization to make sure that, even in the midst of all the excitement, images remain steady and sharp. Combine this with the new four-axis Digital Image Stabilizer, and there’s lots of room to maneuver.

Steady, Reliable Performance

For any serious image maker, having a tool that can be relied upon to perform flawlessly whenever it is required is extremely important. For this reason, X-T4 features a newly developed mechanical shutter that is the fastest and most robust in the history of the X Series. Not only can it make 26.1 Megapixel images at 15 frames per second, but it is also rated for 300,000 actuations. Combined with its larger capacity battery that is capable of up to 600 frames per charge2, X-T4 has the power and the durability to give users the peace of mind that they’ll never miss the perfect opportunity.

Find the Best Angle for the Story

When chasing the perfect image, versatility is key. The 1.62 million pixel vari-angle touchscreen LCD featured on X-T4 can be adjusted to make it visible from a wide range of positions. This not only provides a high-quality monitor to frame with, but also provides quick and simple controls when they’re needed most. On the flip side, there are times when it’s necessary to minimize the light and distractions that a screen can create. That’s why X-T4’s LCD has been designed to easily fold away so it is completely hidden from view, leaving the updated 3.69 million pixel/100fps electronic viewfinder to focus on the moment at hand.

When a Story Needs Movement

The modern image maker is blurring the lines between photography and videography, and X-T4 has been designed to celebrate this new generation of hybrid creativity. With the simple flick of a switch, movie mode is activated, meaning X-T4 is capable of recording both professional-level DCI 4K/60p and Full HD/240p super slow-motion video. It is also possible to record F-Log footage in 10-bit color, straight to the card. What’s more, the innovative AF-C subject tracking works in low-light conditions down to -6EV and the camera’s use of a new, high capacity battery lets content creators push their creative limits.

Powerful Image Manipulation Made Easy

For over 86 years, FUJIFILM Corporation has produced photographic films that have been used by some of the world’s best-known moviemakers to create some of the world’s most successful movies. This legendary reputation in color science is celebrated with the company’s hugely popular selection of film simulation modes, which digitize some of the industry’s most iconic films and puts them right at hand. X-T4 introduces ETERNA Bleach Bypass, the newest addition to the much-loved collection of Film Simulation modes available in the X Series product line, which creates a beautiful de-saturated, high-contrast look that image-makers will find irresistible.

X-T4 will be available in both black and silver and is expected to be available for sale in Spring2020 at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,699.95 USD and $2,199.99 CAD. For more information, please visit https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/products/cameras/x-t4/.

1 – With selected FUJIFILM XF lenses. Based on CIPA stabilization standards. Pitch/yaw shake only.

2 – Based on CIPA battery life standards.

About FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Electronic Imaging Division

For more information, please visit http://www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to https://twitter.com/FujifilmX_US to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, go to https://www.instagram.com/fujifilmx_us/ to follow Fujifilm on Instagram, or go to https://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXUS/ to Like Fujifilm on Facebook.  To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

About Fujifilm

FUJIFILM North America Corporation, a marketing subsidiary of FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation, consists of five operating divisions and one subsidiary company. The Imaging Division provides consumer and commercial photographic products and services, including:  photographic paper; digital printing equipment, along with service and support; personalized photo products; film; and one-time-use cameras; and also markets motion picture archival film and on-set color management solutions to the motion picture, broadcast and production industries. The Electronic Imaging Division markets consumer digital cameras, and the Graphic Systems Division supplies products and services to the graphic printing industry. The Optical Devices Division provides optical lenses for the broadcast, cinematography, closed circuit television, videography and industrial markets, and also markets binoculars. The Industrial and Corporate New Business Development Division delivers new products derived from Fujifilm technologies. FUJIFILM Canada Inc. sells and markets a range of FUJIFILM products and services in Canada. For more information, please visit www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to www.twitter.com/fujifilmus to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, or go to www.facebook.com/FujifilmNorthAmerica to Like Fujifilm on Facebook.  To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, brings cutting edge solutions to a broad range of global industries by leveraging its depth of knowledge and fundamental technologies developed in its relentless pursuit of innovation. Its proprietary core technologies contribute to the various fields including healthcare, graphic systems, highly functional materials, optical devices, digital imaging and document products. These products and services are based on its extensive portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies. For the year ended March 31, 2019, the company had global revenues of $22 billion, at an exchange rate of 111 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com.

###

FUJIFILM and X-TRANS are trademarks of FUJIFILM Corporation and its affiliates.

© 2020 FUJIFILM North America Corporation and its affiliates. All rights reserved.

CONTACT:

Daniel Carpenter

FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation

daniel.carpenter@fujifilm.com

914-529-2417

Fujifilm X-T4

Links

Fujifilm USA: Introducing the X-T200 Mirrorless Digital Camera: A Full-Featured Camera to Document Those Day-to-Day Moments – Press Release

INTRODUCING THE X-T200 MIRRORLESS DIGITAL CAMERA:
A FULLY-FEATURED CAMERA TO DOCUMENT THOSE DAY-TO-DAY MOMENTS

Valhalla, New York – January 23, 2020 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation is pleased to announce FUJIFILM Corporation’s launch of its “FUJIFILM X-T200” (hereinafter “X-T200”) mirrorless digital camera.

The X-T200 provides content creators of all levels with a new, light-weight and compact mirrorless camera body that features a newly designed EVF, quick face detection AF, and a new sensor and processor combination that can create 24.2MP stills at 8 FPS and record 4K UHD video at 30fps.

An ideal camera for creative individuals who want to make high-quality imagery anywhere, the X-T200’s HDR functions for still and video make this easier in high-contrast environments. It can also record Full-HD 120p video, making it a great tool to use for scenes needing super slow motion. Additionally, the new Digital Gimbal Function can now be used to smoothly record video in-camera by mitigating camera shake through new gyro sensors in the camera body. This enhances image quality even further beyond what normal Smartphones can provide comparatively.

Incredible Image Quality for any Situation

X-T200 combines innovation, design, and technology to provide image makers of all levels with a complete solution to unlock limitless creative possibilities. Weighing 13.05oz (370g), X-T200 is about 2.82oz (80g) lighter than its predecessor (the X-T100) and is equipped with a new vari-angle touch-screen, a high-speed APS-C 24.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor which uses copper wiring for optimal performance, and an intuitive user interface that provides professional quality with the ease and familiarity of a Smartphone. Able to process data 3.5 times faster than the X-T100, rolling shutter is reduced with the X-T200, while AF performance in the X-T200 is dramatically enhanced through the use of phase detection autofocus pixels across the sensor.

Touch Your Way to the Perfect Image

X-T200 is equipped with a vari-angle 3.5-inch, 16:9 Aspect Ratio widescreen LCD touch-screen that can be opened and closed between 0 to 180 degrees and rotated between -90 to +180 degrees. It also provides an intuitive and responsive control over the camera’s features and functionality and can be used to adjust a variety of settings, like brightness, background blur, film simulation effects, and image aspect ratios.

Focus on the Faces and the Moment

The use of on-sensor phase detection pixels across the sensor and a new AF algorithm means focus can be achieved quickly and in a variety of conditions. The updated Face/Eye Detection AF makes focusing on individuals or groups of people quick and easy. This is even possible when the camera’s LCD monitor is flipped out and you want to take a selfie. Automated functions, like Main Subject Recognition, allow the camera to be set to recognize and track a main subject within the frame. These features, combined with a burst mode of 8fps, allow you to see, frame, and make images of those important moments with those important people.

Legendary Color Science

Fujifilm’s history in color science has given it world renowned status among image-makers across the world. With over 85 years of experience in the industry, Fujifilm has been responsible for some of the most iconic photographic films in history and this exceptional knowledge has been poured into the 11 digital film simulation modes installed into X-T200. Images made with these film simulations carry the look and feel of the actual films that inspired them, which are a great building block to sparking creativity in image-making. In addition, 20 advanced filters, which includes the new, “Clear Filter”, give even more creative possibilities to image-makers as they seek to express themselves artistically.

When Stills Just Aren’t Enough

The new Electronic Stabilization and HDR Video modes, along with the X-T200’s basic internal editing functions, helps X-T200 do more than just produce beautiful 4K Video– it ensures that videos are stable, crisp, and properly trimmed so they can be easily shared with family and friends. A gyro sensor sits at the heart of the new Electronic Stabilization Mode and assists in reducing the effects of camera shake when recording video footage. The new HDR Video function makes recording footage in high contrast situations much easier and more practical, while its in-camera video editing functions allow for clips to be trimmed and right-sized before they are shared. This means creators can share the perfect section of a super-slow motion clip or the best part of their 4K footage right from the camera to their Smartphone without ever needing to open a computer!

Pick Your Favorite Color and add a Fast Prime Lens

X-T200 will be available as a standalone body and as a kit with the XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens in three colors (Silver, Dark Silver, and Champagne).

For those interested in expanding their X-T200 tool kit, the new FUJINON XC35mmF2 lens gives an equivalent to 52mm field of view on 35mm format. Weighing just 130g and measuring 46.5mm in length, this new prime lens has nine elements, including two aspherical lens elements in six groups, which work to produce sharp and crisp images with creamy bokeh. AF operation is quick and near silent thanks to the use of an internal focus system and a stepping motor, which is used to drive the focusing elements quickly and accurately.

X-T200 is expected to be available for sale in late February 2020 at manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing as follows:

-X-T200 camera body only: $699.95 USD ($899.99 CAD)

-X-T200 kit including camera body and XC15-45mm45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens: $799.95 ($1,049.99 CAD)

-XC35mmF2 lens: $199 USD ($259.99 CAD)

For more information, please visit https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/products/cameras/x-t200/ and https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/products/lenses/xc35mmf2/.

About FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Electronic Imaging Division

For more information, please visit http://www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to https://twitter.com/FujifilmX_US to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, go to https://www.instagram.com/fujifilmx_us/ to follow Fujifilm on Instagram, or go to https://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXUS/ to Like Fujifilm on Facebook.  To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

About Fujifilm

FUJIFILM North America Corporation, a marketing subsidiary of FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation, consists of five operating divisions and one subsidiary company. The Imaging Division provides consumer and commercial photographic products and services, including:  photographic paper; digital printing equipment, along with service and support; personalized photo products; film; and one-time-use cameras; and also markets motion picture archival film and on-set color management solutions to the motion picture, broadcast and production industries. The Electronic Imaging Division markets consumer digital cameras, and the Graphic Systems Division supplies products and services to the graphic printing industry. The Optical Devices Division provides optical lenses for the broadcast, cinematography, closed circuit television, videography and industrial markets, and also markets binoculars. The Industrial and Corporate New Business Development Division delivers new products derived from Fujifilm technologies. FUJIFILM Canada Inc. sells and markets a range of FUJIFILM products and services in Canada. For more information, please visit www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to www.twitter.com/fujifilmus to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, or go to www.facebook.com/FujifilmNorthAmerica to Like Fujifilm on Facebook.  To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, brings cutting edge solutions to a broad range of global industries by leveraging its depth of knowledge and fundamental technologies developed in its relentless pursuit of innovation. Its proprietary core technologies contribute to the various fields including healthcare, graphic systems, highly functional materials, optical devices, digital imaging and document products. These products and services are based on its extensive portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies. For the year ended March 31, 2019, the company had global revenues of $22 billion, at an exchange rate of 111 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com.

###

FUJIFILM and FUJINON are trademarks of FUJIFILM Corporation and its affiliates.

© 2020 FUJIFILM North America Corporation and its affiliates. All rights reserved.

CONTACT:

Daniel Carpenter

FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation

daniel.carpenter@fujifilm.com

914-529-2417

Fujifilm X-T200

Links

Fujifilm USA: Introducing the Fujifilm X100V, Make Everyday Remarkable – Press Release

INTRODUCING THE FUJIFILM X100V: MAKE EVERYDAY REMARKABLE

Valhalla, New York – February 4, 2020 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the FUJIFILM X100V (X100V), the latest model in a long line of iconic, portable, and fun X100 premium compact digital cameras.

The fifth iteration in Fujifilm’s X100 Series, the X100V is a significant upgrade over previous X100 line models.  Featuring a new 23mmF2 lens, advanced hybrid viewfinder, optional weather resistance*, and 2-way tilting rear LCD screen, among a host of other product line updates, the X100V also uses the latest generation X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 to provide all creatives from professionals to everyday image makers with an easy to use, fully capable, and sophisticated tool that provides incredible image quality when shooting both stills and video.

Key features and improvements of X100V include:

Sophisticated appearance, advanced operability and classical design

X100V’s timeless body has top and bottom plates milled from single pieces of aluminum, which results in a refined and classic camera body with clean edges. Finished with a beautiful satin coating, slight enhancements have also been made to the camera’s grip, ISO dial, and lens barrel to make it incredibly comfortable to hold and operate. Weather resistance appears for the first time in the X100 line when the optional AR-X100 adapter ring and the PRF-49 protection filter are attached. Additionally, a new two-way tilting touchscreen LCD screen fits flush at the back of the camera and provides intuitive touch controls, unlocking even more possibilities for image-makers to see, frame, and create images.

A new lens to make the most out of any image

X100V features a new 23mmF2.0 lens to ensure that every detail from its X-TRANSTM CMOS 4 Sensor is resolved beautifully. Designed for higher resolution, lower distortion and improved close focus performance, this lens is a significant upgrade from the design used on previous X100 cameras, while maintaining the same overall size and compatibility with legacy WCL/TCL conversion lenses, and retaining its internal ND filter that now features 4 stops.

At the heart of X100V is the state-of-the-art X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 combination. The exceptional 26.1MP sensor uses a back-illuminated design to maximize quality and dynamic range, while its unique color filter array controls moiré and false color without the need for an optical low pass filter. Such outstanding imaging capability is complemented by the quad-core X-Processor 4. This powerful CPU not only ensures images are quickly and smoothly processed, but also, thanks to a new algorithm, boosts AF performance with precision face and eye detection down to -5EV.

Two ways to see an image

X100V’s vastly improved hybrid viewfinder enables image-makers to quickly and easily choose between the 0.52x magnification optical viewfinder (OVF) or the 3.69M dot OLED electronic viewfinder to make their images. Offering 95% frame coverage, the OVF provides parallax-correcting frame lines to provide an uninterrupted view of the world, while the camera’s EVF delivers a real-time representation of the image as it is being made. The Electronic Rangefinder (ERF) function can also be selected to display a small EVF at the bottom right corner of the OVF, which gives image-makers another helpful tool as they frame and make their images.

More than just a still camera

X100V offers the ability to record 4K video at up to 30 frames per second or capture 120 frames per second at 1080p to create super slow motion effects. Filmmakers needing extreme color fidelity can record 10-bit, 4:2:2 color externally via the HDMI port and leverage Fujifilm’s advanced color reproduction technology, to apply film simulations, like “Eterna”, to their video footage. Additionally, image makers can also incorporate numerous shooting functions, such as “Monochrome Adjustments” and “Color Chrome” to extend their creative visions directly to the footage being recorded.

Optional accessories

Use the wide conversion lens (WCL-X100 II) or tele-conversion lens (TCL-X100 II) to extend X100V’s fixed 23mm focal length to a 28mm equivalent (0.8x) or 50mm (1.4x) equivalent lens on a 35mm format system.

Add a premium, genuine leather case (LC-X100V) to X100V to complement its classic design, while giving complete access to the camera’s battery and memory card without removing the X100V from its case.

X100V will be available in both black and silver and is expected to be available for sale in late February 2020 at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,399.95 USD and $1,799.99 CAD.For more information, please visit https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/X100V.

*With the combined use of the optional AR-X100 Adapter ring and the PRF-49 protection filter (sold separately)

About FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Electronic Imaging Division

For more information, please visit http://www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to https://twitter.com/FujifilmX_US to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, go to https://www.instagram.com/fujifilmx_us/ to follow Fujifilm on Instagram, or go to https://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXUS/ to Like Fujifilm on Facebook.  To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

About Fujifilm

FUJIFILM North America Corporation, a marketing subsidiary of FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation, consists of five operating divisions and one subsidiary company. The Imaging Division provides consumer and commercial photographic products and services, including:  photographic paper; digital printing equipment, along with service and support; personalized photo products; film; and one-time-use cameras; and also markets motion picture archival film and on-set color management solutions to the motion picture, broadcast and production industries. The Electronic Imaging Division markets consumer digital cameras, and the Graphic Systems Division supplies products and services to the graphic printing industry. The Optical Devices Division provides optical lenses for the broadcast, cinematography, closed circuit television, videography and industrial markets, and also markets binoculars. The Industrial and Corporate New Business Development Division delivers new products derived from Fujifilm technologies. FUJIFILM Canada Inc. sells and markets a range of FUJIFILM products and services in Canada. For more information, please visit www.fujifilmusa.com/northamerica, go to www.twitter.com/fujifilmus to follow Fujifilm on Twitter, or go to www.facebook.com/FujifilmNorthAmerica to Like Fujifilm on Facebook.  To receive news and information direct from Fujifilm via RSS, subscribe at www.fujifilmusa.com/rss.

FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, brings cutting edge solutions to a broad range of global industries by leveraging its depth of knowledge and fundamental technologies developed in its relentless pursuit of innovation. Its proprietary core technologies contribute to the various fields including healthcare, graphic systems, highly functional materials, optical devices, digital imaging and document products. These products and services are based on its extensive portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies. For the year ended March 31, 2019, the company had global revenues of $22 billion, at an exchange rate of 111 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com.

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FUJIFILM and X-TRANS are trademarks of FUJIFILM Corporation and its affiliates.

© 2020 FUJIFILM North America Corporation and its affiliates. All rights reserved.

CONTACT:

Daniel Carpenter

FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation

daniel.carpenter@fujifilm.com

914-529-2417

Fujifilm X100V

Links

Reviews of Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR Zoom Lens Are Mixed, Possible Problems When Shooting Video

The Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR wide-to-long zoom lens has been one of the most long wished-for, long-awaited optics for Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super35 system cameras in recent years, and early reports from Fujifilm X-Photographer have been positive, especially regarding its apparent parfocal lens design. 

But then one might well expect brand ambassadors to wax lyrical and skip over possible pre-production and early firmware defects given reasonable expectations that Fujifilm will get it right in the end or at least in time for offical product release date. 

Not quite this time, apparently, as Fujifilm recently issued firmware version 1.02 for this now-shipping lens and some reviewers are already hoping that further firmware updates are in the pipeline. 

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.
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Fujifilm X-Pro3 pre-production model in Dura Black with pre-production Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, as seen at a Ted’s World of Imaging Touch-and-Try event in Sydney.

I was lucky enough to have a short time with a preproduction version of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom at a recent Ted’s World of Imaging touch-and-try event for the Fujifilm X-Pro3, and found it worked well enough when shooting event stills on a Fujifilm X-H1 unequipped with firmware updates for the lens.

The lens is situated price-wise in-between the pro-quality, pro-priced red badge Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR and the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit zoom, and there was some speculation that the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR might be bundled with later-release Fujifilm X-T3s or the coming X-T4 as a higher-specced kit lens, especially for video production.

The 16-80mm’s parfocal focusing is especially attractive for video use as well as the lens’ apparent 6 stops of optical image stabilization that helps make up for its f/4.0 maximum aperture when handholding in low lighting when used on non-stabilized cameras like the X-T3, X-Pro3 and the coming X-T4.

Questions about the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR’s optical qualities throughout its focal range were bandied about during the long pre-release period and I have yet to find a complete set of in-depth tests of the lens’ image quality and focusing performance.

In the meantime, pal2tech’s initial and subsequent video reviews have rather dampened my enthusiasm for the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR.

Are what he is seeing in action when shooting video in particular early production model teething problems, uneven quality assurance, limitations in current firmware or the outcome of too many design and engineering compromises?

Zoom lenses are a set of such compromises compared to prime lenses and a certain amount of them are to be expected, especially in a lens with a longer-than-usual focal length range, but has Fujifilm compromised way too much?

pal2tech’s videos may help you make up your own mind, but I would recommend going off in search of more reviews by video professionals before definitively deciding against the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR.

While some optical and autofocusing problems can be compensated for via firmware and during processing of raw stills images, video is more demanding of lens quality given that shortfalls in optical quality cannot be corrected in video non-linear editing software.

My experiences with Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses, as well as Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 gear, have amply proven the advantages of having a stabilized zoom lens in one’s kit when shooting documentary stills and video in trying conditions and available darkness rather than available light, so the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR would, theoretically, fill a yawning gap in my Fujinon lens collection.

Provided that it is as good for video as it seemed to be for stills during my all-too-short time with the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR at Ted’s.

Like many others, I have had high expectations for this lens given my longtime need for a gap-filling zoom lens for video and photography, and given the poor Australian dollar and consequent high price in local online and bricks-and-mortar stores.

Should I be reconsidering the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit zoom lens instead, and go off to ebay to look for the latter secondhand?

pal2tech: Fuji 16-80 Lens Review

pal2tech: Fujifilm 16-80mm Lens Firmware Update 1.01

pal2tech: Fujifilm 16-80 Lens Focus Problem Fix — Possible Solution

pal2tech: Fujifilm 16-80 Lens Firmware Update 1.02 – Can’t Test (and my thoughts)

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H – bundled with the unstabilized Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR, this stabilized camera may still be the current best option for video despite its older generation sensor and processor.
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR Lens B&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS LensB&H