In advance of this Wednesday’s Fujifilm Australia Touch-and-Try event at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney, I have been catching up on videos about the mid-range Fujifilm X-S10 APS-C/Super 35 hybrid camera by some of the more credible reviewers, starting with the fast-talking DPReview TV guys.
“The Fujifilm X-S10 delivers impressive features for a camera in it’s price range. Find out what we like, what we dont, and how it compares to other Fujifilm models like the X-T30 and X-T4.”
As it has been a while since I last had access to Fujifilm cameras and lenses for review, and the first Fujifilm Australia event for ages now is coming up in Sydney next week, I thought it wise to watch some video reviews – links below – before going in order to catch up and try to fill in the many gaps in my knowledge of recently-released or at least recently announced gear.
I have no idea of what gear, besides the Fujifilm X-S10, will be available and whether participants will be permitted t0 place their own SD cards in the cameras in order to do more than simply look at them from a distance.
If past events are anything to go by, the Fujifilm Australia presenter guy, usually Warwick Williams, will bring other equipment than the one the event is based around, and I may have the chance to get some brief hands-on time with it.
There are limitations, however, on what one can photograph and video during such events given they occur inside retail stores like Ted’s World of Imaging.
The best one can do is some snapshots of products, other participants and the event itself inside the venue under often challenging available light so I may take a portable Rotolight LED for portraits if I can persuade someone to sit for me.
We will see!
Meanwhile I will write up a list of the Fujifilm gear I have missed out on seeing and trying as the last thing I want to do is skip over things I should try to nab briefly while there.
Most camera and lens reviews whether in videos or text seem to concentrate on the technical details of the lens or are based on generic snapshots of generic subjects rather than the sort of immersive documentary and portrait photographs I love to make.
Almost all such reviews are done by male photographers and videographers and are, of course, based on male attitudes, physical attributes and experiences of the gear and which do not necessarily coincide with the needs of female photographers and videographers.
I would love it if more well-qualified female and minorities reviewers existed in the world but reality, alas, indicates otherwise, so I do my best by whatever means possible to try and tip the balance that way for my many female and minorities readers.
There is no substitute for a long term tryout of equipment – an oft-cited adage of the cinematography world is that it takes a year to begin to understand the capabilities of a new lens, for example – but I can only do what it possible in the circumstances.
Good hands-on experience certainly make my job easier especially for when I am asked to recommend the best and most appropriate for my readers’ needs.
New & upcoming Fujifilm cameras and lenses I have yet to try out:
XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS WR
XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR
XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR
Older Fujifilm cameras and lenses I have yet to try out:
All of the G-mount lenses
MKX 18-55mm T2.9
MKX 50-135mm T2.9
XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR
XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR
XF 35mm f/1.4 R
XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR
XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD
XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro
XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR
XF 90mm f/2.0 R LM WR
XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
XF 200mm f/2.0 R LM OIS WR
If I am really lucky there may be a pre-production XF 18mm f/.4 R WR at the event given how pre-release cameras and lenses are distributed to Fujifilm staff members for try-out and feedback.
Videos by event & portrait Omar Gonzalez
New York/New Jersey photographer who makes reviews that are fun to watch and who concentrates on how it is to use the gear he reviews rather than focusing on the specifications and other technical details. And he never asks his viewers to “hold that thought”!
Omar Gonzalez Photography: Just Announced: The Fujifilm X-S10! MY Secret First LOOK!
Omar Gonzalez Photography: The Fujifilm X S10 in less than an minute
Omar Gonzalez Photography: We need to talk about the Fujifilm X-S10.
Omar Gonzalez: I started with the 56mm and ended with the NEW Fujifilm 50mm 1.0!
Omar Gonzalez: Checking out the Fujifilm 50mm f1.0 Files
Omar Gonzalez: I hold a Fujifilm XT4
Omar Gonzalez: Top 5 Fujifilm X-T4 FEATURES to get excited about!
Omar Gonzalez: Fujifilm XT4 Video and Photo Samples in 4k Hoboken NJ
Nasim Mansurov of Photography Life has published, or more likely updated, extensive reviews of four wide Fujinon prime and zoom lens options for Fujifilm’s XF APS-C/Super 35 camera system in advance of the coming release of the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R WR LM(?) OIS wide-angle zoom lens.
The reviews are from the perspective of a landscape photographer rather than a documentary photographer or photojournalist, and do not cover the lenses for use in video so look out for more specialized reviews if needed.
I have been pondering Fujifilm’s current XF optical offerings whilst reprocessing and uploading documentary photo galleries to this website in the light of ongoing frustrations with the company’s still limited lens collection, especially of lenses suitable for documentary cinematography and stills photography.
Belt-tightening for independent, self-funded creatives is ever-more prevalent nowadays given the constant predations against creativity by the pandemic and the federal government, so new lens purchases must be even more well-considered and well-researched than ever before.
I have been lucky enough to have borrowed three of the lenses Mr Nasurov reviews in his articles and agree with his many insights into them.
My first loan of the original Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS occurred alongside that of a Fujifilm X-T1 and an XF 56mm f/1.2 R, eventually resulting in purchasing an X-Pro2, XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R.
The XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS was in contention but, as usual, funds were limited and I had several misgivings about the lens that I hope may be palliated by its mark II replacement.
Chief amongst those doubts are these:
No weather resistance (WR) at a time when Sydney’s weather continues to be increasingly subtropical in summer.
A free-rotating, unmarked aperture encoder ring, less than optimal for video and for fast-moving available darkness documentary photography work when one sets aperture by feel.
Some variations in optical and manufacturing quality control between copies of the lens reported by users.
Less than stellar performance at the wide end, at 24mm, a standard focal length for much documentary work where one often needs to shoot at wider apertures in available darkness.
All three Fujinon lenses reviewed by Mr Mansurov have their many and various virtues and varying price points, but the best bang for the buck, as it were, may well be from an optically and mechanically improved mark II 10-24mm zoom lens and I look forward to learning more about it when it is released.
I do prefer prime lenses to zoom lenses for the most part, the amazing Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR aside, and so the XF 14mm f/2.8 R reminds attractive despite its age and lack of weather resistance, and that I prefer the manual clutch focusing approach Olympus has taken with its M. Zuiko Pro lenses to Fujifilm’s more limited implementation.
Meanwhile those many and various virtues of all four superwide lenses are well-covered by Mr Mansurov’s excellent set of reviews, links below.
Panasonic 10-25mm F1.7 is the fastest Wide-Angle Zoom for MFT bodies…. Panasonic 10-25mm f1.7 lens was introduced in Photokina 2018. It was not until May 2019 when it was officially launched. It [is] the fastest wide-angle zoom for MFT.
Correction: This unique lens is better described as the fastest wide-to-standard zoom lens.
Time, I thought, to look deeper into this intriguing lens to determine if I should place it on my documentary stills and video hardware wishlist, or forgo it in favour of that other uniquely fast zoom lens, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens.
Peter Forsgård has yet to produce a more in-depth video about the lens and his results with it, and there is the fact that he is using it on Olympus OM-D cameras rather the more videocentric Lumix GH5, GH5S and G9 hybrid cameras from Panasonic for which the lens was clearly designed.
Its clickless aperture ring only works on Panasonic Lumix cameras but clickless is of more use for moviemaking than stills photography and Olympus seems to have fallen well behind Panasonic in the video half of the hybrid camera equation.
Australian/American Director of Photography and Olympus Visionary John Brawley is one of the few I have encountered who shoots serious video with that brand’s hybrid cameras but I can better understand his love of Olympus lenses, especially the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality collection with the lenses’ manual clutch focus via retractable ring and hard stops at each end of the focusing scale.
The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric is Panasonic’s very first manual clutch focus lens and not before time.
Focus-by-wire only lenses can be problematic for moviemaking with some more unusable than others although they can work acceptably for stills photography especially when relying on back-button focus in manual focus aka MF mode.
I have not done much video using autofocus on any camera and lens combination, partly because I only had manual focus during the analog era and became comfortable with it, and more to the point because autofocus on video and hybrid cameras was unreliable up until recently.
I still set my cameras to manual focus by default when prepping for a project, and the unpredictability of documentary photography and moviemaking means I often need to snap into manual focus in an instant, easily done by rapidly retracting the focusing ring.
Hard stops in manual focusing mean I can train myself in approximating the right focus point fast without looking at the focusing scale, then refine focus through the viewfinder or monitor.
The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric, on the other hand, allows its focusing ring to travel beyond extreme left or right of the focusing scale, and I remain unsure as to the usefulness of this behaviour.
Mr Undone is currently the first and sometimes only YouTube reviewer I watch these days and his in-depth, fast-talking rundowns amply reward the effort.
The highly adaptable Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art EF-mount fast zoom lens is high up on my wishlist for use with several camera systems and sensor sizes, but the lure of one lens with a focal range from 10mm through 14mm, 17mm, 20mm and 25mm is strong.
In 35mm sensor terms that equates to 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and 50mm, only lacking my longer favourite focal lengths of 75mm and 105mm.
The lens’ image quality at each of those focal lengths is reportedly almost as good as that of pro-quality premium-priced lenses such as Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes, a feat only matched by Fujifilm’s shorter Red Badge zooms.
I will keep looking for reviews and videos about Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7, but I found Gerald Undone’s comparison with Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens the most useful so far.
There are pros and cons to both lenses and the choice depends on these currently unanswered questions about the 10-25mm:
Exactly how much curvature is there at its wide end of lens? I find too much curvature irritating especially when the frame contains horizontal parallels and I am following a figure walking through it.
How much vignetting is there at all focal lengths but most especially at the wide end?
How well is skin rendered by it given not all lenses are equal in doing this?
Does the lens have that classic warm and three-dimensional Leica lens micro-contrast and resolution?
I love the idea of an emotive wide-angle closeup on a face and upper body using a wide aperture to throw figure and background into stark contrast, but how well does the lens render this look?
Why did we not have a choice between clicked and clickless aperture ring given de-clicked works best for video while clicked is best for stills?
Is Panasonic working on the perfect companion for the 10-25mm, a similarly-designed 25-50+mm f/1.7 zoom lens?
I am accustomed to hard stops at each end of the focusing scale on manual clutch focus lenses, but how useful or not are the 10-25mm’s software stops?
Although I still rely heavily on manual focus for video and back-button focus for stills, great autofocus in both modes certainly has its uses. Will Panasonic’s reliance on DFD aka depth-from-defocus instead of PDAF aka phase-detection autofocus continue to be its Achilles’ Heel?
Questions remain about the viability of the Micro Four Thirds system given Olympus’ recent sale of its camera and lens division to JIP and Panasonic’s big investment in 35mm SLR-style cameras.
Panasonic staffers say that work continues on the company’s M43 cameras and lenses, but where is the much-requested pro-quality successor to the GX8 rangefinder-style hybrid workhorse, and when can we expect the GH6?
With the Lumix DC-S5, Panasonic has demonstrated it can make 35mm sensor cameras smaller than its M43 cameras.
If Panasonic follows the same path with the successors to its other two first generation S-Series cameras, the S1R and the S1H, will there be less incentive to stick with M43?
Right now I love the choice between the GH-series and G-series M43 cameras’ Super 16 and 35mm film handling and aesthetics, and those of the S-Series cameras’ Super 35 and 120 roll-film look and feel.
But DxO’s PhotoLab raw editing software and Topaz Labs’ Gigapixel AI image enlargement application radically reduce the need for larger sensors to produce better image quality.
Likewise, I wonder how much difference is really noticeable onscreen between Super 16 4K and Super 35 4K.
Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 may be an amazing M43-only lens with an incredibly useful focal range for documentary stills and video, but Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens is adaptable to a range of Super 35/APS-C and Super 16/M43 cameras, helping future-proof one’s investment in lens and adapters.
Furthermore, the 18-35mm already has a longer companion lens in the form of Sigma’s 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom, though there is no obvious companion lens on the wide end though there is that gap between 35mm and 50mm.
Breakthrough Photography – Step-Up Ring – I strongly recommend Breakthrough’s excellent knurled brass X4 UV and ND filters although they do not supply every filter diameter in existence. That is where step-up rings come in handy.
johnbrawley – website of “John Brawley has developed a reputation as one of Australia’s most talented and sought after Directors of Photography, who works with vision, speed and an inherently collaborative nature.”
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.
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?
FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip Kit – B&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.