Veydra LLC, Maker of Affordable Manual Focus Mini Prime Cinema Lenses, Is Dead. What Now for Lenses in Their Class?

Veydra LLC, maker of the Veydra Mini Prime manual-focus cinema lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-Mount and Fujifilm X-Mount cameras, is no more. 

Veydra’s Ryan Avery recently announced the company’s demise on its Facebook page, bringing to an abrupt end the story of this doughty little lens maker, throwing into confusion affordable native geared cinema prime lens choices for independent moviemakers. 

With its mission statement being “Veydra lenses are designed to be premium quality cinema lenses at the absolute minimum retail price”, Veydra gave thousands the opportunity of using cinema lenses instead of the more common stills-oriented  non-cinema zoom and prime lenses we have come to rely upon despite their shortcomings for video use. 

veydra_miniprime_metric_imperial_01_1920px
Veydra 50mm and 25mm Mini Prime Cinema manual focus lenses with imperial or metric markings, made by Veydra LLC.

Veydra LLC has gone out of business due to the conclusion of ongoing litigation between the founders of the company.

I offer special thanks to everyone involved in the success of Veydra; first and foremost all Veydra Kickstarter backers and customers. Specific thanks to those who made it possible from the start; Phil Holland, Illya Friedman, Matthew Duclos, Joshua Brown, Alex Jacobs, and all the supporters too numerous to mention here.

It’s been a wonderful journey and I thank you all for your support and kindness.

—Ryan Avery
Co-Founder

veydra_7_lenses_composite_new_1920px_60.jpg
Veydra Mini Prime colour-matched, geared manual-focus cinema prime lenses, from left, 12mm T2.2, 16mm T2.2, 19mm T2.2, 25mm T2.2, 35mm T2.2, 50mm T2.2 and 85mm T2.2 for Micro Four Thirds and APS-C sensor cameras.

Social media rumours have it that there was some conflict at Veydra about one partner licensing his lens designs out to another company, Meike, but another factor leading to Veydra’s end may have been the theft of US$200,000 worth of lenses from the company’s warehouse in 2017, after which the company seemed to drop off the radar.

There are cinema prime lens alternatives, however, with SLR Magic releasing an intriguing set of lenses for Super 16 and Super 35  digital cameras in M43, E-Mount and X-Mount.

Another option is Fujifilm’s impressive MKX cinema zoom lenses available in two focal length ranges and now in the same there mounts.

Should Fujifilm continue delivering on its promise to radically improve video functionality on its XF APS-C/Super 35 cameras,  SLR Magic’s seven lens collection appears attractive with the lenses’ 18mm, 22.5mm, 27mm, 37.5mm, 52.5mm and 112.5mm equivalence in the 35mm sensor format.

So far Meike has only released three cinema prime lenses and not in all three mounts, in 12mm, 16mm and 25mm focal lengths, so time will tell whether the company is fully committed to supplying a full set of primes in three mounts.

A prime lens alternative? SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema Lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X-Mount and Sony E-Mount.

A cinema zoom alternative? Fujifilm Cinema Zoom Lenses for Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X-Mount and Sony E-Mount.

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Booray Perry: Why I WON’T be switching to the Fuji XT-3. REAL WORLD TEST!

I’ve had a week to shoot with the Fuji XT-3 and I love this camera… but I WON’T be buying it because there is just one think I can’t get past. Maybe it doesn’t affect you but it’s the one thing that is holding me back. This video will walk you through the things I love and explain in detail why I just can’t make the leap to the Fuji XT-3.

fujifilm_x-t3_14_1024px_80pc
Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.: bigger and easier-to-grip dials meaning far less diving into the multi-level menu system.

Wedding photographer Booray Perry recently tried out a loaner Fujifilm X-T3 mirrorless camera and decided that, though he likes much about the camera and the image quality from its APS-C sensor, he will not be investing in a higher-end Fujifilm camera just yet, especially given he relies on on and off-camera flash and long lenses for much of his professional work.

I have been trying out a Fujifilm X-H1 camera body lately in combination with my own and a couple of loaner Fujinon XF prime lenses, and I agree with much of what he says including that the X-T3 produces excellent images in general.

fujifilm_x-t3_01_1024px_80pc
Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens: although the much-improved NPW-126S lithium battery delivers more stills shots than its predecessor, video drains the battery faster so I recommend the vertical battery grip for its two extra batteries.

I have used some of the larger Fujifilm zoom lenses on loaner X-T3 cameras, as well as a number of Fujicron and non-Fujicron prime lenses, and have concluded that the X-T3 benefits from almost permanently attaching a Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip to it whether shooting documentary stills, documentary video and especially portrait photographs.

My preferred Fujifilm camera form factor for documentary photography remains that of the X-Pro2 digital rangefinder given my extensive background with analog rangefinders of all film formats, but have found that the X-T3 makes an excellent on-location documentary companion camera when using wider focal lengths than 18mm and longer focal lengths than 56mm.

But not too long.

Ungripped, the X-T3 is about the same size as the X-Pro2 and fits neatly with the latter into a small shoulder bag with four or so lenses, aiding in retaining a large degree of invisibility.

Passers-by rarely if ever take any notice of either camera and I have shot stills and video extremely up-close in a way I would ever have gotten away with if using larger cameras such as my Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

The X-T3 has proven to be an excellent handheld portrait camera, benefitting from its tilting LCD monitor, small size in the hand whether gripped or ungripped, and however large the lenses used on it.

fujifilm_vg-xt3_vertical_battery_grip_10_1024px
Fujifilm X-T3 with VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip. The 3×4 aspect ratio of Micro Four Thirds is much better than the 2×3 aspect ratio of APS-C and 35mm sensors for vertical portraits and is close to the aspect ratio of magazine pages. We need 4:3/3:4 added to aspect ratio choices in all APS-C and 35mm sensor cameras via firmware, and possibly also the A4 aspect ratio.

For all-day work on location or in the studio, though, I found the X-T3 more fatiguing in whichever grip and lens configuration than my X-Pro2 and I would much prefer a camera of the shape and size of the Fujifilm X-H1 for that type of work.

The X-H1 has a surety of grip and a smooth shutter release button that I would love to see on the X-T3, and there is nothing so reassuring as always having the option of the X-H1’s in-body image stabilization given that none of my current Fujinon lenses come with optical image stabilization.

The X-T3 outstrips the X-H1 in every processor and sensor-based firmware feature, hardly surprising given the X-H1 contains previous generation internals as well as firmware features moviemakers and photographers have been requesting for ages now.

The lack of IBIS on the X-Pro2 and X-T3 will soon be met with up to six stops OIS on the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, easing my trepidation when needing to shoot in available darkness but I am keen to see what the X-H2 offers when it hopefully appears sometime early in 2020.

And then there is the X-Pro3 reportedly coming later this year and whatever new features may appear thereon.

fujinon_xf_16-80mm_f4.0_r_wr_ois_01_1024px
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens with up to six stops of stabilization, equivalent in 35mm sensor format terms to 24mm through to 120mm focal lengths.

If the X-H2 matches and preferably outstrips the X-T3 in its internals, then it will be a shoo-in for professional video production, studio stills and large lens work on location as well as documentary work in available darkness.

If the X-Pro3 gains the features I have long been wanting to see in Fujifilm’s digital rangefinder cameras, especially in a radically improved electronic viewfinder, then I will be glad to add one to my documentary stills kit.

Meanwhile the X-T3 is a fine candidate for top-quality non-raw Super 35 video in HLG or F-Log, and an excellent stills camera for portraiture and as a second available-light documentary camera whose APS-C X-Trans sensor matches as near as damn it to the image quality from my 5D Mark II and subsequently released DSLR cameras.

Fujifilm X-Pro2, X-T3 and X-H1 APS-C/Super 35 mirrorless hybrid cameras and lenses at Compact Camera Meter

camerasize_fujifilm_x-pro2_x-t3_x-h1_1920px

Footnote

The term “Fujicron” refers to the Leica Summicron-like compact prime lenses made by Fujifilm including the Fujicron XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR, XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR, XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR and XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR. Fujifilm needs to release a Fujicron version of its XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens in response to the longterm barrage of requests from the army of documentary photographers who rely on its 28mm equivalent focal length in the 35mm sensor format, but who find the operational speed and other quirks of the current, ageing 18mm lens irksome to say the least.

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Fuji Rumors: Fuji Guy Billy: APS-C Crop Factor Cheating? :: f/2 X Mount Zoom Lenses? :: Fast G Mount Lenses Potentially Coming :: And More

https://www.fujirumors.com/fuji-guy-billy-aps-c-crop-factor-cheating-f-2-x-mount-zoom-lenses-fast-g-mount-lenses-potentially-coming-and-more/

… XF16-80mm f/4

  • XF16-80mm f/4 is going to be an all in one beautiful lens, great for stills and video
  • coming later this year [September]…
  • Billy loves images with blown out background, and subjects to stand out, hence he brings prime lenses. Prime lenses also are sharper
  • Often Billy does not bring a zoom lens
  • Slowing down with primes, gets him more keepers
  • with zoom lenses he tends to get too lazy, just stand, zoom, and snap images
  • He would sacrifice primes to get 1 zoom for long hikes or so
  • He looks forward to XF16-80. Sharp lens, great all-rounder…
  • Zoom lenses can make things “easy”, but if you stick to constantly choose the frame, to work on the picture, you can get great images with zooms
  • If you struggle to find your frame, set your zoom to one focal length, and shoot only with that, so you start to take pictures more consciously…
fujinon_xf_16-80mm_f4.0_r_wr_ois_06_1024px.jpg
Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

Although I am primarily a prime lens user in whichever camera system and sensor size, zoom lenses containing just the right focal lengths are invaluable when the two-camera, two-primes solution or swapping prime lenses from camera to bag and back again is out of the question when shooting documentary video and stills in fast-moving and intensive, highly immersive situations.

panasonic_leica_dg_vario-summilux_10-25mm_f1.7_aspheric_g9_01_1024px
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric wide to standard zoom lens.

The Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR for Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 cameras and the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric for M43/Super 16 cameras including those made by Blackmagic Design, Olympus and Panasonic are two such zoom lenses and both have been highly anticipated since their in-development announcements a while ago.

Fuji Guy Billy is a respected in-house commentator on Fujifilm’s hardware and firmware, and it is reassuring to read his own assessment of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS W, supported by videos featuring photographers working in different genres while using the lens.

I look forward to the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS W’s arrival in-store and into the hands of well-qualified independent reviewers soon.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR

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  • FUJIFILM XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR LensB&H

DPReview: Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8 WR LM Review (video)

There’s no doubt that the Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8 is a beautifully built lens. It’s also quite heavy, and at £1750 / $1900 it’s a pretty serious investment. Is the expense worth it? Chris and Jordan take to the hiking trails of Alberta to answer that question….

Commentary

Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR ultra wide-angle zoom lens is beautifully built and delivers beautiful results, but it may not be the best solution for everyone needing ultra-wide focal lengths.

Its size and weight demand mounting it on a vertical battery-equipped Fujifilm X-T3 at the very least with the now-discounted Fujifilm X-H1 providing better balance than the slightly smaller and lighter X-T3.

If the X-H1’s OIS-equipped replacement, the X-H2, is in Fujifilm’s production pipeline then it may be wiser to wait for that to appear sometime late this year or more likely early next if the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR is an important lens in your gear kit.

My experience with the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 proves it to be an excellent solution for architectural photography where street furniture, trees and other buildings dictate using the widest focal lengths to get closer to your main subject and bypass non-removable visual noise.

I have used it successfully for documentary photography in the middle of dense crowds, though there were times I would have preferred the lens had optical image stabilization built-in for when the light dropped and slow shutter speeds were necessary to support deep focus via smaller apertures.

In bright sunlight, photographing landscapes was a pleasure and the lens lapped up fine detail but its lack of provision for attaching screw-on filters meant I was unable to try it out as a video lens and I am not in the market for large, heavy and expensive third-party filter adapters or even larger and costlier matte boxes.

If you need an ultra-wideangle for documentary photography and video then I highly recommend the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R which is small and light enough for use with an ungripped X-T3 and would work well on an X-Pro2 with a Fujifilm VF-X21 external optical viewfinder sitting on its hotshoe.

If a range of wide-angle focal lengths is necessary as well as portability and stabilization then I recommend the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS lens especially it is stopped down below f/5.6 and preferably f/8.0, and this lens will not eat into your savings anywhere near as much as the otherwise excellent Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR.

Links

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Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • FUJIFILM VF-X21 External Optical ViewfinderB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM VG-XT3 Vertical Battery GripB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 14mm f/2.8 R LensB&H

DPReview: CP+ 2019: Fujifilm interview – ‘We want to show photographers the future’

https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/8410636142/cp-2019-fujifilm-interview-we-want-to-show-photographers-the-future

“At the CP+ show earlier this month in Yokohama Japan, we sat down with senior executives from Fujifilm. During our conversation we covered everything from the upcoming GFX 100, to plans for APS-C and why the X100 still occupies such an important position in the company’s lineup.

Our interview was conducted with three senior executives in Fujifilm’s Electronic Imaging Products Division:

  • Toshi Iida, General Manager.
  • Makoto Oishi, Product Planning Manager.
  • Shin Udono, Senior Manager of the Sales and Marketing Group.…”

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  • Fujifilm camerasB&H
  • Fujifilm lensesB&H

At Last! SLR Magic Releases Full Set of Affordable Cinema MicroPrimes for Fujifilm X-Mount Super 35/APS-C Cameras

I have been waiting for someone to announce a complete set of affordable, matched cinema prime  lenses for Fujifilm X-Mount Super 35/APS-C hybrid mirrorless cameras for a long time, at least since Fujifilm announced its then coming affordable MK-series of matched parfocal cinema zoom lenses, and finally, here they are, an initial set of six X-mount cinema prime lenses by Hong Kong-based cinema optics specialists SLR Magic ranging from 12mm through to 75mm with a (hopefully) possible 15mm also coming. 

Duclos Lenses came up with a Fujifilm X-Mount option for Veydra’s Mini Primes that can cover the Super 35/APS-C format.

I had thought that US company Veydra might be the first one to achieve this breakthrough but when they dropped plans for a very necessary wide-angle lens to complete its offerings, the writing was on the wall.

Now Veydra has been dropped altogether from B&H Photo Video, and the Veydra website appears to be semi-functional at best so it looks like the feisty little US left coast newcomer may be no more.

Before its apparent demise, Veydra had only released, from memory, five focal lengths suitable for adapting to Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 X-mount cameras and that was courtesy of an optional X-Mount Kit for self-installation by purchasers.

The Veydras’ other built-in limitation was their Mini Primes’ adherence to a common 77mm filter diameter on all lenses rather than 82mm, the latter all the better to avoid vignetting in wider focal lengths.

Luckily the new SLR Magic MicroPrimes come with no such limitation, all coming with 82mm filter diameters suitable for use with the company’s own SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops) or other 82mm diameter variable NDs like those made by Aurora-Aperture, Simmod Lens and a host of other filter manufacturers, as well as fixed value neutral density filters by SLR Magic and a great many others.

Not just for video production?

fujinon_xf_18mm_f2_r_01_1024px_60pc
Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens, regrettably much too slow to focus manually or via autofocus and its aperture ring too flakey and quirky for fast-paced professional work in stills and video, though some folks seem to like it for the quirkiness that made it frustrating for me.

There is no reason why cinema lenses cannot do sterling service for stills photography so long as their gearing does not get in the way.

Several of the SLR Magic Cinema MicroPrimes may well do a great job filling the gaps in Fujifilm’s current Fujinon XF prime lens offerings, and the 18mm MicroPrime may provide a great pro-quality alternative to the quirky Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens so long as you use it with an electronic viewfinder given the former’s 82mm filter diameter which would intrude too much into the X-Pro2’s Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder.

  • 12mm in APS-C = 18mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 18mm in APS-C = 27mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 25mm in APS-C = 37.5mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 35mm in APS-C = 52.5mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 50mm in APS-C = 75mm in 35mm sensor format
  • 75mm in APS-C = 112.5mm in 35mm sensor format
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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 manual focus, manual exposure macro lens, the one that got me into portrait photography. I would love a 105mm equivalent as a native X-mount lens.

Fujifilm does not currently offer a 12mm nor a 75mm prime lens, and I badly feel the lack of a professional quality 18mm when shooting immersive documentary photographs in crowds where there is simply no room to step backwards with less wide lenses and ultra-wide lenses are altogether too wide.

There is another advantage to a manual-focusing 18mm 28mm equivalent lens with a well-marked focusing scale – easily setting hyperfocal distance when shooting so-called “street photography”.

The SLR Magic 12mm may be suitable for architectural and scenic photography, provided its optical qualities test well, and the 75mm is close to my preferred full-face frontal focal length of 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

It is currently unclear as to whether SLR Magic intends to release a 15mm X-mount MicroPrime, but that focal length would also have its uses for video and stills photography.

  • 15mm in APS-C = 22.5mm in 35mm sensor format
fujifiom_fujinon_xf_14mm_f2.8_r_01_1024px_80pc
Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R prime lens with manual clutch focus.

One of my favourite focal lengths for truly immersive, highly emotive documentary photography is 21mm in the 35mm sensor format, and the 15mm MicroPrime comes close.

The Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R is one of the far too few Fujifilm lenses that has manual clutch focus and hard stops at both ends of the distance scale, along with the XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR prime lenses.

When these manual clutch focusing primes first started appearing, I had hoped it was the start of Fujifilm adding this crucial ability to all future prime and zoom lenses but I was to be very disappointed.

As many cinematographers have variously stated about lenses without manual clutch focus or manual focusing rings, pulling focus on lenses without either sucks.

Especially when using follow-focus devices.

SLR Magic makes fixed and variable NDs as well as IR-cutting enhancer filters

The news of SLR Magic’s announcement of its MicroPrimes is recent and so far I have not come across any pre-release reviews of pre-production versions so have no idea of their optical quality and lack of optical distortion or otherwise.

I remain hopeful, though, and look forward to the full set of X-mount MicroPrimes finding its way to well-qualified professional videographers for assessment.

The Super 35 sensor format is a great one for narrative, commercial and feature-style documentary moviemaking though I also appreciate the grittier Super 16 documentary style afforded by Panasonic’s GH5 and GH5S, as well as the possibilities of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K especially now that it has received its Blackmagic Raw firmware update.

Meanwhile I am thinking seriously about whether some of SLR Magic’s X-mount MicroPrimes may answer some of my long-standing need for professional-quality manual focus-capable primes for documentary and portrait stills photography in certain undercatered-for focal lengths.

Such lenses would do well on my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and even better on the amazing X-T3 and the even better-gripped X-H1 for stills and video, given the latter two cameras’ superior electronic viewfinders, though I certainly hope that the X-Pro3’s EVF improves radically over its predecessor’s EVF.

Fujifilm’s X-mount MKX 18-55mm and 50-135mm T2.9 parfocal cinema zoom lenses

Where to see, try and buy SLR Magic MicroPrime Cinema X-mount lenses in Sydney?

In the absence of an all-things-to-all-people megastore in Australia, and the difficulty of finding smaller brands like SLR Magic here in Sydney, I went looking for other possibilities and discovered the following:

  • Media + Entertainment Tech Expo, Sydney – exhibition 18-20 July 2019, venue location TBA at time of writing but likely to be either Darling Harbour or Moore Park.
  • C.R.Kennedy Photo Imaging – importer, distributor and retailer of a wide range of photo and video products including SLR Magic filters, lenses and other optical accessories. Many brands unavailable in retail stores here are imported and retailed by this company, such as G-Technology HDDs and SSDs, in my experience the most reliable mainstream brand of them all and yet oddly enough the hardest to find, even in Apple Stores which used to be the most reliable stockists. C.R.Kennedy most likely will be exhibiting at the above expo in July.

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  • Digital Cinema Lenses, Fujifilm X-MountB&H
  • Aurora-Aperture 82mm Power XND Mark II Variable ND 0.3 to 2.1 Filter (1 to 7-Stop)B&H
  • Aurora-Aperture 82mm Power XND Mark II Variable ND 1.5 to 3.3 Filter (5 to 11-Stop)B&H
  • Fujifilm XF LensesB&H
  • FUJIFILM MKX18-55mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount)B&H
  • FUJIFILM MKX50-135mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount)B&H
  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • SLR Magic 82mm Image Enhancer Pro FilterB&H
  • SLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops)B&H
  • SLR Magic 86mm Solid Neutral Density 1.2 Image Enhancer Filter (4-Stop)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 12mm T2.8 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 18mm T2.8 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 25mm T1.5 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 35mm T1.3 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 50mm T1.2 Lens (Fuji X Mount) – B&H
  • SLR Magic MicroPrime Cine 75mm T1.5 Lens (Fuji X Mount)B&H

Trying Out Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R WR Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens on the X-T3

Thanks to Fujifilm Australia, I have been lucky enough to try out the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR ultra-wide zoom in combo with the amazing Fujifilm X-T3 DSLR-style camera and its VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip.

My primary motivation in requesting the loan was so cinematographer/director Paul Leeming could use the X-T3 to shoot video footage in order to create a custom Leeming LUT Pro for it.

He did the same for my X-Pro 2 camera, and I am looking forward to eventually relying on Paul’s various Leeming LUT Pro 3D look-up tables to quickly and easily combine footage from those two cameras with video shot with my Panasonic cameras and, hopefully, Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

fujifilm_vg-xt3_vertical_battery_grip_04_1024px_80pc
Fujifilm X-T3 with VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens.

At the moment I am using the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR for stills photography and for a self-funded independent documentary photographer and moviemaker I believe it is stills to which this lens is best suited.

Reason number one?

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR does not permit attaching circular filters.

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR

Large and costly adapters are required in order to attach square or rectangular filters in front of the lenses convex front element, though someone may come up with a similar adapter for attaching wide diameter circular filters to it.

Another large and costly solution is to invest in a matte box, though which one may be best is beyond my current knowledge and experience.

As a budget-driven documentary video solo operator I need to keep my equipment load and expenses down so I rely on circular variable ND filters.

My current VNDs are built with ageing technology, and more recent ones are reportedly sharper, more colour-neutral and offer a greater range of filtration density stops for today’s sensors.

I want to find the best contemporary VND, need a great set of fixed density NDs for less run-and-gun style projects, and I want to upgrade from 77mm to 82mm to future-proof for coming bigger lenses.

All that aside, I absolutely love the results I have been getting with the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR.

It balances well on a battery grip-equipped X-T3 whereas it is far too large and heavy for an ungripped camera.

I cannot comment on how it works with a gripped or ungripped Fujifilm X-H1 as I have yet to experience that particular camera.

I wish the X-T3 had the X-H1’s in-body image stabilization aka IBIS and optical image stabilization on the 8-16mm lens would have been terrific.

The X-T3’s ungripped body makes for a great companion camera to my X-Pro2 as I discovered during my first X-T3 tryout late last year, equipping the latter with a Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 alongside the former with my Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R attached.

Adding a Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip to the X-T3 turns it into a great handheld portrait camera with the addition of my Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R.

But I digress.

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR is the first Fujifilm Red Badge zoom lens I have tried, and so far it looks like it adheres to the common praise heaped upon the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R WR, that it is like having a set of top quality primes at your disposal but all in the one lens.

The widest lens I have ever used until now was the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to one of my favourite focal lengths for immersive documentary photography and video, 21mm.

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR goes well beyond that excellent and affordable little lens with a focal length range from 12mm through to 24mm in 35mm sensor terms, the latter not one of my preferred focal lengths by any means.

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR’s focal range is particularly well-suited to cityscapes and ‘burbscapes, though it can handle documentary shots in a pinch provided you set it at 16mm and watch out for weird volume distortion of people and objects too near the corners of the frame.

Some of that corner volume distortion can be corrected in post-processing with DxO ViewPoint but that can also introduce other distortions in the centre of the photograph.

I would rather have a pro-quality 18mm lens for immersive documentary work, but Fujifilm has yet to update its current quirky 18mm offering or release the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

In my analog days I often made architectural photographs with 4”x5” sheet film cameras as part of corporate photography assignments, and as it was a sideline rather than a speciality did not have the set of wide-angle large format view camera lenses I would have liked.

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR gives me all of those focal lengths and more.

Shooting architecture with a small handheld camera is a very different dynamic than doing it with a tripod-mounted field camera.

The small camera’s fast and easy mobility means one feels free to dart all around the subject and the zoom lens makes it so fast and easy to try out plenty of alternative camera positions.

I often found myself using the lens at its widest focal length when street furniture, signage and random objects and people got in the way.

So long as you keep a keen eye on potentially detrimental volume and perspective distortions due to distance from and angle of view to the subject, you will do fine.

On the other hand, if you want radical perspective and even more radical near/far object size comparisons, select one of the lens’ wider focal lengths and distort to your heart’s content.

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR is possibly the sharpest lens I have ever used, with excellent resolution and micro-contrast.

Whether using Adobe’s Enhance-equipped Camera Raw 11.2, previous versions of Camera Raw or another raw processor or image editing application, its unsharpened raw files are impressive onscreen.

If adding sharpening in post-processing, go easy with it and you may also wish dial down your in-camera sharpening for certain subjects if you are a JPEG user.

The Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR zoom lens makes for a superb addition to your Fujifilm lens collection if your work demands ultra-wide focal lengths, though its current high pricing will give some pause to stop, think and postpone purchase.

Many video-oriented users of Fujifilm APS-C/Super 35 cameras may be better off considering the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom lens for one or more of its most prominent differences – price, size, weight, optical image stabilization and not least the ability to easily mount circular filters of 72mm diameter or larger.

In terms of focal length, one loses 2mm at the wide and gains 8mm at the long end with the 35mm sensor equivalent of 15mm to 36mm, thus providing my preferred documentary photo and video focal lengths of 14mm, 18mm and 23mm or in 35mm sensor terms 21mm, 28mm and 35mm.

Add a medium-to-long zoom lens or some longer primes and you have most bases covered.

The Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom lens is reportedly not as sharp or as high-resolving as the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR and I have read complaints about its lack of corner sharpness at certain wider apertures, so I hope it will be one of the lenses Fujifilm considers for revision in the very near future.

If the Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR meets your needs despite its inability to take a screw-on filter and lack of OIS, and its price is beyond your budget, wait for the discounts and sales seasons or for Fujifilm to substantially drop its price.

If price is no object and if I were a full-time architectural photographer, this would be my number one and possibly only lens for the job.

Gallery, Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR on Fujifilm X-T3

Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR at 16mm and 8mm

The XF 8-16mm f/2.8 for architecture with the X-T3’s 3D Electronic Level indicator

fujifilm_x-t3_electronic_level_manual

One of the great X-T3 features rarely if ever covered in the many reviews of the camera is its optional 3D level indicator that can be assigned to a function button.

I have long wished that all Fujifilm cameras had the same always-on 3D level indicator that Panasonic puts in its cameras so that levelling shots involving parallel verticals is made better than guesswork.

Without much if any fanfare Fujifilm has upgraded its electronic level function from just displaying a simple virtual horizon, and if one assigns Electronic Level to a function button then the function becomes even better, a 3D electronic level that displays roll and pitch indicators.

I assigned Electronic Level to the X-T3’s front function button and, when pressed, its 3D form appears onscreen as an overlay for a fixed period so you can quickly tilt your camera in 3D space to avoid what they used to call “keystoning” of buildings.

I found myself using the 3D Electronic Level all the time when photographing architecture and street views, though sometimes I would run my images through DxO ViewPoint after raw processing in order to further refine perspective and volume deformation.

DxO ViewPoint works as standalone software as well as a plug-in in Photoshop and Photoshop-savvy image editing software, as well as a plug-in in DxO PhotoLab which does not, regretfully, support Fujifilm X-Trans raw files.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • FUJIFILM VG-XT3 Vertical Battery GripB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 14mm f/2.8 R LensB&H

Fujifilm Global: Fujifilm announces firmware updates for the FUJIFILM X-T3

http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n190214_04.html

“… FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) will release new firmware updates for the FUJIFILM X-T3 (“X-T3”) X Series digital camera in April.

Firmware Version:
[ FUJIFILM X-T3 Ver. 3.00: April 2019 ]

1.Strengthened the accuracy of face / eye detection AF performance

The AF algorithm has been improved along with the accuracy of face / eye detection AF. The ability to detect faces in the distance has been enhanced by approximately 30% and AF tracking is now more stable, even when an obstacle appears in the way. The improvements in AF are applicable to both still photos and video recording.

2.New Face Select function

The Face Select function has been introduced to provide priority auto-focus, tracking and exposure on a selected subject when multiple faces have been detected. The priority face can be selected by using the touch screen or focus lever.

3.Faster AF speed for subjects at a distance

Thanks to the improved AF algorithm, faster AF speed is achieved when shooting from short to long distances (or vice versa).

4.Intuitive operation of touch screen

A Double Tap Setting and Touch Function has been added to the touch screen settings*. The two settings must be set to OFF to provide a better touch screen response. These new settings allow a more intuitive touch operation when shooting, AF and focus area select.

*By default, Touch Screen Setting, Double Tap Setting and Touch Function are set to all OFF.
For improved touch screen response, Touch Screen Setting must be set to ON.”

fujifilm_x-t3_15_1024px_80pc
Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens.

Commentary

Autofocus is a feature I had assumed would be nice to have rather than crucial when I first got back  into moviemaking and photography with hybrid digital cameras.

As time passed, and as autofocus steadily improved on the gear I was using through firmware updates and new camera models, I have come to see the utility value of autofocusing for stills photography and now, with the X-T3 having the best autofocus functionality for video yet of all the mirrorless cameras I have tried, it looks like it will be getting better again with April’s coming firmware update.

Improved face and eye detection is particularly welcome given I am in the process of getting back into portrait photography and manual focus with longer lenses and moving subjects does not always cut the mustard, as it were.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

sigma_18-35mm_f1.8_dc_hsm_a_02_1024px
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens for APS-C sensors and for adapting to M43 with Metabones SpeedBoosters, lens available in Canon EF or Nikon mounts.

Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • 8Sinn camera cagesB&H
  • Angelbird 256GBGB Match Pack (2 x 128GB)B&H
  • Angelbird AtomX SSDmini (1TB)B&H
  • Atomos Ninja V 5″ 4K HDMI Recording MonitorB&H
  • Atomos Handle Adapter for AtomX SSDmini (5-Pack)B&H
  • Aurora-Aperture variable ND filtersB&H
  • Bluestar Eye CushionsB&H
  • Breakthrough Photography CPL, UV and ND filtersB&H
  • Chiaro UV FiltersB&H
  • Formatt-Hitech Firecrest fixed value ND filtersB&H
  • Fujifilm CVR-XT3 Cover KitB&H
  • Fujifilm EC-GFX Round Eyecup – B&H
  • Fujifilm EC-XH Wide Eyecup – B&H
  • Fujifilm EC-XT L Long Eye Cup – B&H
  • Fujifilm EC-XT M Medium Eyecup – B&H
  • Fujifilm EC-XT S Small Eyecup – B&H
  • Fujifilm MHG-XT3 Metal Hand GripB&H
  • Fujifilm NP-W126S Li-Ion Battery PackB&H
  • Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery GripB&H
  • Fujifilm Fujinon XF LensesB&H
  • Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • LockCircle camera cagesB&H
  • MindShift Grea and Think Tank Photo camera bags and accessoriesB&H
  • Peak Design camera strapsB&H
  • Phase One Capture One ProB&H
  • Røde video microphonesB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EFB&H – can be adapted for Fujifilm X-mount cameras via third-party manual and autofocus smart adapters.
  • SLR Magic variable ND FiltersB&H – SLR Magic was reputed to be working on a collection of fixed value ND filters though they do not seem to have appeared at B&H yet.
  • SmallRig camera cagesB&H
  • Sony 128GB M Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Card Kit (2-Pack)B&H

Nick Thomas: A Memento of Life | A Fujifilm X-T3 Short Film

A MEMENTO OF LIFE | A FUJIFILM X-T3 SHORT FILM from Nick Thomas on Vimeo.

Commentary

When I was trying out Fujifilm’s X-T3 as a video camera, shooting footage at DCI 4K 10-bit 4:2:0 F-Log All-Intra 400 mbps and recording internally rather than onto an external monitor/recorder such as the Atomos Ninja V, I was gobsmacked at the quality of the images even though it was just a little short of the 10-bit 4:2:2 footage that external recording makes possible.

Although cameras that shoot raw or ProRes footage such as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and the like are traditionally termed, well, cinema cameras, the X-T3’s footage is clearly more than good enough for many projects that independent documentary and feature moviemakers are likely to create.

It certainly is for me, and it certainly appears to be a step up from the reportedly excellent 10-bit 4:2:2 the Super 16-like Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S camera is cable of recording internally and that is apparently a step-up from the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5’s 10-bit 4:2:2 footage, also recorded internally.

We appear to now be living in the realm of ‘degrees of excellence’ and so image quality may no longer be the number one deciding factor when choosing how one may shoot a project.

Other factors such as colour science, camera size, shape, handholding ability, available lenses, rigging and more will become the deciding factors and that is no bad thing.

It is great to see what the Fujifilm X-T3 is capable of when shooting short features with it and Nick Thomas and his team have my thanks for kindly sharing their work here.

Bravo!

Links

  • Help support ‘Untitled’

    atomos_ninja_v_02_1024px_80pc
    The Atomos Ninja V 5-inch HDMI monitor/recorder, perfect for recording 10-bit 4:2:2 F-Log video footage from the Fujifilm X-T3.

    Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

    • 8Sinn camera cagesB&H
    • Angelbird 256GBGB Match Pack (2 x 128GB)B&H
    • Angelbird AtomX SSDmini (1TB)B&H
    • Atomos Ninja V 5″ 4K HDMI Recording MonitorB&H
    • Atomos Handle Adapter for AtomX SSDmini (5-Pack)B&H
    • Aurora-Aperture variable ND filtersB&H
    • Bluestar Eye CushionsB&H
    • Breakthrough Photography CPL, UV and ND filtersB&H
    • Chiaro UV FiltersB&H
    • DJI Ronin-SB&H
    • G-Technology Atomos Master Caddy 4K (1TB)B&H
    • HPRC 2500 Hard Case for DJI Ronin SB&H
    • Formatt-Hitech Firecrest fixed value ND filtersB&H
    • Fujifilm CVR-XT3 Cover KitB&H
    • Fujifilm EC-GFX Round Eyecup – B&H
    • Fujifilm EC-XH Wide Eyecup – B&H
    • Fujifilm EC-XT L Long Eye Cup – B&H
    • Fujifilm EC-XT M Medium Eyecup – B&H
    • Fujifilm EC-XT S Small Eyecup – B&H
    • Fujifilm MHG-XT3 Metal Hand GripB&H
    • Fujifilm NP-W126S Li-Ion Battery PackB&H
    • Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery GripB&H
    • Fujifilm Fujinon XF LensesB&H
    • Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
    • LockCircle camera cagesB&H
    • MindShift Grea and Think Tank Photo camera bags and accessoriesB&H
    • Peak Design camera strapsB&H
    • Phase One Capture One ProB&H
    • Røde video microphonesB&H
    • SLR Magic variable ND FiltersB&H – SLR Magic was reputed to be working on a collection of fixed value ND filters though they do not seem to have appeared at B&H yet.
    • SmallRig camera cagesB&H
    • Sony 128GB M Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Card Kit (2-Pack)B&H
    • Zhiyun-Tech Crane-2 3-Axis StabilizerB&H