Fujifilm Announces Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Collapsible Power Zoom Lens, Affordable Option for Documentary Photos and Videos?

Fujifilm has announced the Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ collapsible power zoom lens and the first Fujifilm APS-C/Super 35 rangefinder-style cameras for which it will be the bundled kit zoom, the X-A5 and X-A20. 

The XC 15-45mm offers a short standard focal length range of 15mm to 45mm in APS-C sensor format, the equivalent of 23mm to 69mm in the 35mm sensor format, and is well-priced for purchase separately from either camera at less than half the cost of Fujfilm’s XF series kit zoom, the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

fujifilm_fujinon_xc15-45mm_header_1920px
Fujifilm Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ power zoom lens
Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 LM OIS kit zoom lens, in effect the longer equivalent of the new Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ power zoom kit lens.

Since purchasing my Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with an eye to using it for fly-on-the-wall documentary stills and video, along with two of Fujifilm’s best available darkness prime lenses, the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R, I have experienced twinges of regret for not being able to add the XF 18-55mm lens at the time for access to some of my other favourite documentary focal lengths – 18mm, 27mm and 50mm – or the 21mm-equivalent XF 14mm f/2.8 R.

Although I have yet to try either of Fujifilm’s current XC zoom lenses, the Fujinon  XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS and the XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS, I have read about them being surprisingly good for the price.

My ideal 35mm prime lens lineup from my Leica M-System rangefinder documentary photography days, comprising 21mm, 18mm, 35mm, 50mm (I preferred the all-too-rare 40mm though), 75mm and 90mm focal lengths. In APS-C format, these are 14mm, 18mm, 23mm, 35mm, 50mm and 60mm.

I look forward to reading about the Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ’s performance in coming in-depth hands-on reviews by well-qualified photographers and moviemakers.

Will I be adding the Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ or the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 LM OIS kit zoom lens to my Super 35/APS-C documentary moviemaking and photography kit?

Will either grant me access to some of my favourite focal lengths that I miss despite the incredible image quality of my two fast prime lenses?

Will either zoom lenses’ optical image stabilization help compensate for their slower variable maximum apertures?

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

    • Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm LensB&H
    • Fujifilm XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ LensB&H
    • Fujifilm XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II LensB&H
    • Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II Lens (Black)B&H
    • Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II Lens (Silver)B&H
    • Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Zoom LensB&H
    • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R LensB&H
    • Fujifilm LH-XF23 Lens Hood for XF 23mm f/1.4 RB&H
    • Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R LensB&H
Advertisements

B&H Explora: How to Assemble a Video Camera Shoulder Rig

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/video/tips-and-solutions/camera-rig-building-101/bi/19115/kbid/10779

DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are small, light, and can get into spaces traditional cinema and ENG cameras just can’t. However, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are not meant to work on a film set all day long—it just isn’t in their ergonomics. This is especially true if you are planning on handholding a camera all day, or working with accessories such as follow focus units, zoom motors, or external monitors….”

Link

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on our B&H affiliate link and purchasing through it helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

Noam Kroll: Color Grading Rant: Why Protecting Your Dynamic Range Is Killing Your Aesthetic

http://noamkroll.com/color-grading-rant-why-protecting-your-dynamic-range-is-killing-your-aesthetic/

“As we all know, high dynamic range is one of the key ingredients needed to achieve a cinematic look.

This of course is because most of us really equate “cinematic” with “filmic” (whether we realize it or not), and images captured on film traditionally have had far more dynamic range than digital footage… With the exception being reversal film, but that’s for another article….”

FujiRumors: Major Fujifilm X-Pro2 Kaizen Firmware Update Will Add 4K Video and More – with COMMENTARY

http://www.fujirumors.com/major-fujifilm-x-pro2-kaizen-firmware-update-will-add-4k-video/

“… I hear from trusted sources, that Fujifilm is working on a major firmware update for the Fujifilm X-Pro2, which will, among the others, give X-Pro2 owners 4K video and more.

Here on FujiRumors, the community asked for 4K on X-Pro2 multiple times, in dedicated articles and comments, and finally also Fuji Guy Billy joined Fujirumors critics on February 2017, when he said here he is also “fighting with Japan” to implement 4K on X-Pro2.

Well… it seemed all this pressure helped ;)…”

Commentary:

News of a really big kaizen update coming for the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is welcome indeed and may turn around my current thoughts about purchasing a second X-Pro2 as a back-up for my current lone X-Pro2 for documentary photography and video projects.

I grew up on rangefinder analog cameras in all film formats and the unique rangefinder aka OVF (optical viewfinder) vision for stills photography. I used and still own analog OVF movie cameras and they also helped shape my cinematography. Applying a similar vision to still images and moving images was uniquely liberating.

The appearance of the groundbreaking Fujifilm Finepix X100 rangefinder camera liberated me in my use of digital photography after finding the DSLRS of the day stultifying by comparison, despite Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II being such a liberation when it came to HD video.

My X-Pro2 is my only rangefinder camera at the moment though I also use and love EVF cameras constructed in rangefinder-style and DSLR-style configurations. I may well add a Fujifilm X100F rangefinder camera with the WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion and TCL-X100 II Teleconversion lenses should the need for a small, fast and discrete documentary stills camera arise.

I am holding out hopes that the 4K video functionality that some Fujifilm staff members were convinced would appear on the X-Pro2 after the arrival of the 4K-capable X-T2 will finally make its appearance even if it must be implemented via a similar line-skipping technology to the one found in Fujifilm’s X-T20.

There are distinct advantages to shooting and editing in 4K UHD and 4K DCI compared to the 1080p HD and 720p HD currently available on the X-Pro2, not least being better quality from downsizing to smaller release formats and the ability to apply software-based stabilization via firmware or NLE plug-ins like CoreMelt’s Lock & Load without losing too much of the frame.

There is more to useful video capability than 4K though, and Fujifilm needs to add other video-centric features to its X-Pro2 and X-T2. I might add that I am not the only video and stills shooter saying this.

Here is my current full-length X-Pro2 firmware wishlist, not in order of importance:

  • 4K video – even if it must be implemented via line-skipping as in the X-T20. Every camera I own must be capable of acceptable, professional-quality stills and video. You never know when a situation demands one or the other or both and I cannot always carry a stills kit and a video kit.
  • Highlight tone, shadow tone, color and noise reduction adjustments – all absolutely necessary for serious, professional video.
  • Ability to easily choose, set and lock 1/48th or 1/50th of a second for video.
  • Improved autofocus in low light aka available darkness – I bought the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 R lenses after seeing how documentary event photographer Kevin Mullins uses them so effectively in his work. The latter lens is much slower to manually focus than the former, and faster autofocus on both would help compensate for their optical configurations and slow focussing motors.
  • Changeable focus point for video – same as when shooting stills.
  • Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) – has a distinct colour cast that changing the settings does not affect well enough. I understand that a great deal of the X-Pro2’s hardware development effort went into the Hybrid Multi-Viewfinder, an advanced OVF, but not all lenses work best in OVF mode. I wish to see the EVF improved as much as firmware permits.
  • Live exposure zebras – are crucial to obtaining and maintaining optimal exposure when shooting video and stills, especially when using ETTR – exposing to the right.
  • Tethering – I bought the X-Pro2 primarily as a handheld documentary stills and video camera, but I also use it for studio and on-location portraiture and increasingly still-life photography due to the X-Trans sensor’s remarkable colour rendition. Tethering would be an asset especially given the X-Pro2 lacks a fully-articulated or even partly-articulated LCD monitor.
  • Full range of ISO adjustments with a Command Dial – I often use the X-Pro2 in fast-moving documentary situations where fiddling about with its combined ISO/shutter speed dial is out of the question. Although I often rely on the camera’s AutoISO function in those situations, there are many others where quickly setting ISO manually is optimal.
  • Color Chrome – having briefly tried out the Fujifilm GFX 50S and later studying the results other photographers have obtained from that camera’s JPEGs with the Color Chrome setting, I would love to have it on the X-Pro2 and other Fujifilm cameras. I have been using custom JPEG settings more lately after some photographers published their own but there is something still lacking especially in the Velvia (Vivid) analog film simulation of one of my favourite films of all time.
  • HDMI port live view – crucial when using external monitors and recorders.
  • Focus points for portrait and landscape mode – just like the X-T2, especially invaluable when shooting portraits.
  • Panorama mode – brilliant when regular photographs will not do the job.
  • Improved face detection – especially when the subject is anything but full face frontal to the camera.
  • 4:3 aspect ratio – Fujifilm cameras currently offer three aspect ratio choices – 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. Panasonic adds 4:3 on its Lumix cameras which  have micro four thirds sensors and I use that aspect ratio a great deal, whether vertically as 3:4 or horizontally as 4:3. Either way, the 4:3 aspect ratio is excellent for portraiture of all types and is close to the 5:4 aspect ratio of the 4″x5″ sheet film, 6cm x 4.5cm and 6cm x 7cm 120 roll film analog cameras. I find 2:3 too narrow for vertical portraits. Granted, one can crop in post-processing but years of experience show it is better to design the image perfectly in-camera without leaning on later cropping for tightly-designed images. Also, magazine page aspect ratios are closer to 3:4 than 2:3.
  • 1:1 pixel-level image review – critical applications such as portraiture and product photography demand accurate viewing of shots in-camera at the pixel level, at a 1:1 magnification. I can check if eye highlights are razor sharp on my Panasonic Lumix cameras so why can I not do this on my Fujifilm cameras? This feature is even more crucial given the lack of tethering on the X-Pro2. We need all our mirrorless cameras to have a full set of professional features.

Links:

FujiRumors: Firmware Updates for Fujifilm GFX 50S, X-Pro2, X-T2, X-T20 and X100F Available – with COMMENTARY

http://www.fujirumors.com/firmware-updates-fujifilm-gfx-50s-x-pro2-x-t2-x-t20-x100f-available/

“Fujifilm just released new firmware that fixes the following issues:

The phenomenon is fixed that in the MF mode, repeated halfway shutter pressing can shift the focus point under a specific exposure condition.

The phenomenon is fixed that in the AF-S mode, repeated halfway shutter pressing can shift the focus point with SHUTTER AF setting OFF….”

Commentary:

Whenever possible I wait until a number of reports are in from other users on new firmware updates before applying the update to my own cameras. Websites like FujiRumors and their social media channels are invaluable in that regard.

I have held off on applying the version 3.11 firmware update to my X-Pro2 until more user reports are in. So far there have been reports that, post-update, “the EVF is laggy, even in High Performance mode, and the image ‘sticks’ in the screen while shooting. Also the pop-up screen for the hybrid OVF sticks up while the EVF is active, and performance slows considerably.”

Another user has reported slower face detection and focus confirmation beeps even when the lens in not in focus after installing the firmware update on his X-Pro2 and X-T2.

Links:

Apple US Business Store: RED RAVEN Camera Kit + Final Cut Pro X

https://www.apple.com/us_smb_78313/shop/product/HK8Q2ZM/A/red-raven-camera-kit-final-cut-pro-x

“The RED RAVEN Camera Kit gives you all the components you need to begin shooting true professional-quality video. Along with the kit you’ll get Final Cut Pro X*, which allows professional video editors to work quickly and easily with RED RAVEN footage on Mac notebook and desktop systems.

Designed and engineered to meet RED’s exacting standards for superior image quality, the RED RAVEN camera can capture high-resolution motion and stills in 4.5K Full Format at up to 120 frames per second (fps)—or 2K Full Format at up to 240 fps. It also allows you to take advantage of RED’s cinema-grade dynamic range and color science while offering the ability to record in REDCODE RAW (R3D) and Apple ProRes simultaneously.

The kit includes a lens, monitor, handle, batteries, media, and other components from RED and other professional brands, making it a complete solution for content creators. And weighing in at just 3.5 pounds (1.59 kg), RAVEN delivers the ultimate blend of flexibility and performance for any situation….”

Great News! Director/Cinematographer Mike Figgis Has Redesigned The Legendary, Innovative Fig Rig Video Camera Rig

Just as I was wondering if we would ever see the likes again of movie director Mike Figgis’ innovative, legendary Fig Rig, welcome news arrives of the Fig Rig’s redesign for more contemporary video camcorders and hybrid cameras courtesy of The Guardian newspaper’s culture webchat with the creator of the Fig Rig himself, Mr Mike Figgis

First version of the Mike Figgis-designed Fig Rig, made for the HD and SD camcorders of the pre-4K DSLR and DSLM digital moviemaking era.

Here is the relevant extract from the webchat:

artmod asks: Do you still use your Fig Rig?

Mike Figgis, 19 June 2017 1:17pm: Good question. I use it all the time. And have spent the last two months redesigning and updating it, based on using a 15-mm bar system, combining it with bits of equipment acquired cheaply from the internet. And it has been a revelation.

I’m using it with a Canon C300 and the new Nikon D5, adding follow focus and a 7-inch monitor and it is working beautifully.
I’m talking to Manfrotto about relaunching it and if not them, would love to find a small British company and stay local.

Great news indeed and I hope that Mr Figgis finds a good new manufacturing and marketing partner for Fig Rig version 3 – Manfrotto made and marketed Fig Rig in its first and second, Sympla, versions – or hashes out a great deal with Manfrotto ensuring that Fig Rig 3 will be affordably priced, well distributed and better marketed than its predecessors.

Although I have not had the pleasure of seeing and trying out a Fig Rig, and one was not available for purchase when I was searching, the short movie above showing Mr Figgis using a Fig Rig version 1 reveals its uniqueness as a camera-supporting solution, one based on the human body and natural human movement in a way foreign to better-known movie camera stabilization solutions such as shoulder-mounts, gimbals, Steadicam and the like.

Mr Figgis shared that he has been using Canon’s Cinema EOS C300 camcorder and Nikon’s D5 DSLR lately and so has based his Fig Rig redesign around them.

It is likely that Fig Rig 3 will function equally well with other mid-sized camcorders and cinema cameras such as Panasonic’s AU-EVA1 Super 35 Handheld Cinema Camera and smaller DSLM cameras such as Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 Super 16 hybrid with or without camera cages, battery grips, audio or video recorders and the like.

If so, colour me very excited indeed.

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

LumaForge: LumaForge NAB 2017 Recap Video Playlist