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)

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  • 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

Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions: FujiFilm X-Pro3: Dangerous!

“A modest dissertation on the X-Pro3 development announcement, clickbait and the diminution of language.”

fujifiom_x-pro3_preproduction_01_1080px
Image of pre-production Fujifilm X-Pro3 from video of Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya 2019 on September 20, 2019.

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bigheadtaco: First Look: Fujifilm XF16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR

“It’s been a while since Fujifilm released a wide to medium range zoom lens, especially with both OIS and WR. Previously, the only general range zoom lens that had both features was the big and bulky XF18-135mm lens. My hope was that Fujifilm would re-make the XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens to be XF16-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS WR. Instead, Fujifilm decided to keep the original kit lens and create the new XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR. Who is this lens for? It really depends. If you own the X-T3 and you really want a mid-range zoom lens with both OIS and WR, this is the only option you have. However, if you own the X-H1, would you be better off with the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 and put up with the size and weight of a professional lens? “

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

Good to see that photographers are receiving pre-production copies of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR and, as usual, even more reviews will be appearing when production versions of the lens make their way into the world.

When I was photographing the climate strike rally in Sydney on September 20, I found myself wondering how the 16-80mm f/4.0 zoom lens might change and even improve the way I cover such subjects.

See my personal Instagram account for documentary photographs of the rally and other events, recently mostly using prime lenses on Fujifilm cameras as Panasonic Lumix camera and lens loaners have been in short supply.

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Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya 2019 and the Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.0 Super Fast Prime Lens

First topic to be tackled at Fujifilm’s X Summit Shibuya 2019 on September 20 was lenses and specifically the Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.0 superfast standard prime lens so often requested by Fujifilm aficionados in online polls such as those run by Patrick Di Vino of Fuji Rumors. 

Before tackling that lens, though, the soon-to-be-released Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens was displayed onstage and its size and apparent weight hinted at it soon being a very in-demand lens and a viable alternative to Fujifilm’s three other standard zoom lenses, the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit lens, the Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR travel lens and the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Red Badge premium-quality lens. 

The surprise of the lens segment, though, was the 33mm f/1.0 being shelved in favour of a Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 prime lens due to size and weight problems Fujifilm encountered in the design process. 

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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 which 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.

I was not cut up about Fujifilm swapping the 50mm f/1.0 for the 33mm f/1.0 given I have never been a fan of 50mm and thereabouts standard lenses and their 33mm to 35mm equivalents in APS-C/Super 35 sensor cameras.

I much prefer 40mm equivalent “perfect normal” standard lenses due to their versatility and and proximity to the effects of human vision, finding 50mm lenses a little too much like short telephotos.

I often carry an X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 “pancake” lens attached and love this focal length as much for use in video as stills photography, for portraiture and interviews as much for multiple figure documentary work.

I even rely on my 27mm f/2.8 lens for handheld product shots, though in other camera systems and sensor sizes I tend more towards 50mm equivalents due to these lenses often being given away with the camera or at least at give-away prices.

I would love it if Fujifilm produced a weather-resistant aperture ring-equipped 27mm lens with manual clutch focus in line with the company’s commitment to pro-quality video production, to sit alongside the similarly-designed XF 14mm f/2.8 R, XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and XF 23mm f/1.4 R lenses.

While Fujifilm’s X-mount Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and MKX 50-135mm T2.9 parfocal cinema zoom lens pair appears to be an excellent solution for video production, we also need prime lenses more suitable for cinematography and stills photography on Fujifilm’s hybrid cameras.

Fujifilm’s surprise XF 50mm f/1.0 would make a suitable 75mm equivalent lens for stills and video as would a revamped XF 35mm f/1.4 R so long as both are also equipped with manual clutch focus.

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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 manual focus, manual exposure macro lens, the lens with which I became a portrait photographer.

If Fujifilm’s lens designers can retain the optical qualities of the current 35mm f/1.4 lens, often referred to as the “god lens”, but encased inside a fast autofocusing, weather resistant, manual clutch focus housing then we would have a decent set of matched primes  for Fujifilm’s X-Tn and X-Hn series cameras as a viable alternative to the MKX zooms.

Even better would be if Fujifilm produced a fast maximum aperture 70mm prime lens, equivalent to 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

Although portrait photography benefits from access to a range of standard or normal to longer focal lengths, from 40mm through 50mm, 75mm and 105mm to even longer ones contained within the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS Red Badge zoom lens, my personal preference for most portrait work is 105mm given I started in portraiture with Nikon’s Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 in my art school days and still yearn for a Fujinon APS-C equivalent.

A wider maximum aperture than f/2.8 would be even better, something closer to Sigma’s 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens than its 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens.

I might add that the 18mm focal length in APS-C and Super 35, equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format, is my number one preference for documentary cinematography and stills photography, and the lack of a professional quality 18mm prime lens in Fujifilm’s X-mount system is a constant thorn in my side.

If such a lens existed it would take up permanence residence on my prime documentary camera with a, preferably, fast 75mm or even a 105mm equivalent lens on my second cameras in a two-camera, two-lens documentary set-up.

Think Nick Nolte’s photojournalist in Under Fire or David Douglas Duncan with a long lens on an SLR and a wide lens on a Leica M-Series rangefinder camera.

Imagine a matched set of top-quality lenses for stills and video to choose from consisting of 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 35mm, 50mm, 56mm and 70mm, all with weather resistance, manual clutch focus, fast autofocus and aperture rings.

No more hoping that third party lens makers might somehow see fit to come up with a full set of matched manual focusing optics so that Fujifilm’s Super 35-shooting X-mount cameras might have the video prime lenses they so richly deserve.

Documentary photographs using a two-camera, two prime lens set-up

Prime lens alternatives to the Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0

My first two lenses for the X-Pro2 were the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, and my choice was based on the available light documentary-style wedding photography practices of Kevin Mullins as generously shared on his website f16.click.

My budget was limited so other lenses on my list for consideration then, the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R OIS kit zoom, had to be excluded.

Over the years I have found the XF 56mm f/1.2 R to be an excellent portrait lens with the aperture set at or near f/1.2.

The 56mm’s downsides are the slowness of its focusing motors, its lack of manual clutch focus, that its closest focusing distance is not close enough for my full face portrait style, and its 84mm focal length equivalence means I often must step back too much when framing groups of people in crowds for images like the ones above.

Kevin Mullins’ style is not mine and it has been a long time since I photographed weddings to put myself through university art school.

Mr Mullins appears to mostly photograph weddings with wide open aperture, in program mode, and in search of a blurry, gritty, grainy, funky look whereas my ways of seeing and photographing derive from the deep focus and laser beam sunlight-lit places in which I grew up.

I have tried the Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR out for urban documentary and it performed well, alone and in combination with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 and that pairing has worked in a similar way to when I relied on Leica M-Series rangefinder cameras with 28mm and 75mm Leica lenses.

The Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR in combo with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0

If only Fujifilm would at least update its 18mm f/2.0 to match the optical and mechanical quality of its 50mm f/2.0, or even better come up with an f/1.4 18mm manual clutch focus alternative for video production and stills photography.

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Fuji Rumors: Some LOVE the Fujifilm X-Pro3, and Here is Why!

https://www.fujirumors.com/some-love-the-fujifilm-x-pro3-and-here-is-why/

“Today I thought I try to balance out the X-Pro3 sh*tstorm, by sharing a few stories of people, who actually either like or understand (and hence accept) the new X-Pro3 hidden tilt screen concept.

If you ask me personally, I admit that my first reaction was also something like “what the heck is this?”

But you know what I have learned from reading the massive (and brilliant) essays of Michel de Montaigne?

I have learned that we should try to “suspend our judgment”….”

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The tilting LCD monitor on the Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder camera. Still frame from live streaming video of Fujifilm X-Pro3 from Fujifilm X Summit on 20th September 2019.

Commentary

fujifilm_tx-1_35mm_panorama_camera_01_1024px_60pc
Fujifilm TX-1 35mm panorama camera. Image courtesy of Japan Camera Hunter. Fujifilm has been producing cutting-edge rangefinder cameras for decades.

Suspension of judgement is exactly what is needed in this moment between Fujifilm revealing the X-Pro3 at its recent X Summit Shibuya 2019 and the first appearance of production versions of the camera in the specialist media and retailers.

Fujifilm is clearly going through a process of differentiation and granulation with its current and coming camera offerings, pushing the X-Pro series even further into rangefinder photography camera territory.

When the X-Pro1 was released, there was no X-Tn series and certainly no X-Hn series, and no mention at all of any possible GFX medium format cameras.

All our hopes were in the one basket but now there are non-rangefinder-style alternatives like the X-T3, X-T30 and soon, hopefully, the X-H2 to realize all the promise revealed in the X-H1 that was thwarted somewhat by its X-T2 generation sensor and processor.

I still love shooting 4K video with my X-Pro2 when needed and when it is the only camera I am carrying at the time, which is almost every day, and was saddened by the limited video functionality Fujifilm gave us in the relevant firmware update, but heavy video production requires the use of cameras with heavyweight video firmware functionality.

Right now, the Fujifilm X-T3 makes an excellent Super 35 video camera for use with gimbals and other forms of traditional stabilization via hardware, and OIS-equipped zoom lenses are also a good solution when shooting handheld video.

The coming Fujifilm X-H2 needs to take a leaf from Panasonic’s book, learning the lessons of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, the GH5S and the S1H and then surpassing them with all the hardware features and firmware functionality required for handheld or heavily-rigged video production.

I am looking forward to learning more about the X-Pro3’s improved optical viewfinder and especially its improved electronic viewfinder, the latter one of the weakest aspects of the X-Pro2 despite its other many strengths as a documentary camera.

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Fuji Rumors Publishes Sketches of Fujifilm X-Pro3, Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya Scheduled for 1:00PM GMT, September 20, 2019

Patrick Di Vino of Fuji Rumors has done it again with a series of rumors about the much-anticipated Fujifilm X-Pro3 and which hardware features will make it into the successor to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-Pro2. 

Mr Di Vino’s sources tend to be reliable and apparently none more so than the individual who supplied Fuji Rumors with a set of hand sketches of the X-Pro3, featuring several surprises including removal of the D-Pad and the addition of a downwards hinged LCD monitor. 

Will Fujifilm supply more information about the X-Pro3 at Friday’s Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya event? 

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 black with Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens and Fujifilm X-Pro2 graphite with Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens.
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Fujifilm X-Pro1 with Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R prime lens. Although I badly needed this camera, Fujifilm’s first interchangeable lens X-Series camera, to supplement my Fujifilm X100 for use in charity documentary work, I had to forgo buying it due to its lack of built-in diopter correction, instead turning to Panasonic’s excellent Micro Four Thirds cameras with the added benefit of great video capabilities. I bought back in to Fujifilm after the X-Pro2 was released along with second generation and later interchangeable lenses that surpassed the turgidly slow focusing mechanisms of the first generation lenses including the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R, XF 35mm f/1.4 R and XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro.

Although Fujifilm generally listens to its user base and mostly acts positively on their requests, the company has been known to make some very odd decisions and none more so than the X-Pro1’s lack of the diopter correction essential for those of us needing to wear eyeglasses while we work.

As a result of that and other problems with its first generation professional-tagged rangefinder-style camera and lenses, Fujifilm lost me as a customer for several years while I explored another of the triumvirate of affordable digital photography and video innovators, Blackmagic Design, Fujifilm and Panasonic.

The many benefits of, for example, Panasonic’s fully-articulated LCD monitors on cameras like the Lumix DMC-GH4, DMC-GX8, DC-GH5, DC-GH5S, DC-G9 and more recently the coming 35mm sensor-equipped Lumix DC-S1H, became readily apparent when using these cameras for documentary stills photography and video.

Going from full articulation to the many and various one, two and three-way tilting monitors is feasible but uncomfortable, with too many sacrifices to be made in losing that key functionality and if every pro-level hybrid camera followed Panasonic’s lead then I would be very happy.

But then, cameras with fixed monitors or no monitors at all are not outside the bounds of usability either, so long as one does not need them for work in a wide range of genres from studio-based still-life to architecture, portraiture and documentary cinematography and photography, as I do.

I can do without any form of articulation on the X-Pro3’s LCD monitor if Fujifilm improves its electronic viewfinder way beyond the X-Pro2’s often irritating EVF, but I would most certainly need to add an X-T3 to my kit for everything else other than documentary photography or turn to Panasonic to affordably fill the gap.

I can do without the X-Pro’s D-Pad on an X-Pro3 so long as the camera’s Q Menu allows access to all the camera’s essential functions.

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Leica M-D (Typ 262), without LCD monitor or function buttons. Radical purism for those who can afford it.

I can do without yet another analog film simulation so long as the X-Pro3’s video functionality is improved beyond that of the X-Pro2’s pointlessly crippled video, as I was reminded this afternoon when in a situation that could just as easily have demanded recording video as much as stills depending on a possible sudden turn of events.

I can do without in-body image stabilisation aka IBIS on the X-Pro3 so long as the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR proves to be the one-lens documentary cinematography and photography solution I have long been hoping for.

I look forward to learning more about the X-Pro3 and hope that Fujifilm has not taken an absurdly purist approach in imitation of, for example, Leica and its monitorless M10-D.

As much as I love Leica M-Series rangefinder cameras and lenses, and have a long history with them dating almost back to my start in professional photography during the analog era, most of what I do these days demands more of a camera than some sort of perverse ideological purism.

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Limited edition black Contax G2 with Zeiss Planar 45mm f/2.0 T* prime lens. Image by Japan Camera Hunter.

Leica was not the only maker of rangefinder cameras throughout the long history of analog photography, and the Leica M-Series is not the only role model available.

 

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Thomas Fitzgerald Photography: Two Years with the Fuji X-Pro 2: A look back – COMMENTARY

https://blog.thomasfitzgeraldphotography.com/blog/2018/5/two-years-with-the-fuji-x-pro-2-a-look-back

“I discovered the other day, quite by accident, that my Fuji X-Pro 2 is two years old this week. Tomorrow in fact. What a few years it has been. I’ve had ups and downs with the camera, but it’s also been good to me. Writing about it and processing Fuji files has undoubtedly made a name for me in certain corners, and I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it hadn’t been for buying that camera….”

 

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” lens and Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 metal hand grip, a necessity when attaching lenses larger than this one.

Commentary

I have had my X-Pro2 for almost as long as Thomas Fitzgerald has had his, and I have benefited from his hard-won insights into how to get the best out the camera’s X-Trans raw image files thanks to his ebooks on the subject.

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Fujifilm X-Pro1 with Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R, Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R and Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro prime lens, the first set of Fujinon XF lenses released by Fujifilm in March 2012, all with focus-by-wire non-manual clutch focussing mechanisms.

Unlike Mr Fitzgerald, I had passed on the X-Pro1 after some extensive hands-on testing at the sadly now defunct Sydney city CBD professional camera store Foto Reisel, due to its lack of diopter adjustment, the disappointing optical quality and mediocre mechanical operation of the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R, one of my most important focal lengths for documentary photography, the slow autofocus of that lens and its then companions the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro and the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 , one of my least favourite focal lengths.

I had been hoping for those three lenses to have manual clutch focus to enable accurate focussing with aperture wide open in available darkness and fast setting of hyperfocal distance, like certain lenses made by Olympus such as its Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8  for Micro Four Thirds format, later joined by the entire M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality prime and zoom lens range.

Luckily that need has been satisfied in more recent years by Fujifilm’s APS-C format Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, though there have been no indications that they will be joined by further manual clutch focus prime or zoom lenses any time soon.

That is puzzling given the need for fast and accurate manual focussing and focus pulling for video or for available light photojournalism that often cannot be usefully met by relying on autofocus alone or focus-by-wire only lenses such as the majority in Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF collection.

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Fitzgerald’s dislike of the X-Pro2’s video implementation which turned out to be rather disappointing.

Although the X-Pro2 finally received its long-promised 4K video capability via firmware, Fujifilm just plain forgot to make it usable enough and left out all the associated video controls needed for quality moviemaking – see my list below.

The X-Pro2’s electronic rangefinder aka ERF in action in the optical viewfinder aka OVF.

I love the X-Pro2’s form factor, its size and weight and most of all its Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder that I mostly use in ERF-in-OVF mode, that is, with the small electronic rangefinder window active lower right of the optical viewfinder window.

I tend to bypass the X-Pro2’s electronic viewfinder aka EVF much of the time, especially when working in available darkness, as it is not up to the standard of, say, my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 rangefinder-style hybrid camera with its tilting 2.36m-Dot 0.77x OLED EVF or my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4’s 2,359K-Dot OLED Live View Finder.

Unlike those two Panasonic cameras and all others made by Fujifilm, the X-Pro2 is remarkable in being three cameras in one, with its optical viewfinder, electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor.

In effect it is a rangefinder camera, a DSLR-style camera and a view camera all in one and of a size and shape in-between a classic Leica M-Series rangefinder camera and one of Fujifilm’s incredible 120 roll-film format “Texas Leicas”.

I am hoping that Fujifilm’s coming X-Pro3 will correct some of the X-Pro2’s shortcomings just as that camera was a huge advance on the X-Pro1, but in the meantime Fujifilm needs to issue another firmware update for the X-Pro2 as follows.

  • Custom settings for video – Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Color and Sharpness.
  • Exposure zebras – instead of the dreaded non-programmable overexposure “blinkies”.
  • Focus bracketing – for focus stacking for product and microphotography.
  • Eterna film simulation – for a flatter, more gradeable look for video.
  • Pixel view – for professional operation in all image review functionality and not just when ‘Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display’ is selected.

The X-Pro2 got it right in so many ways that the X-Pro1 got it wrong, but its successor the X-Pro3 can be much better again with an OLED electronic viewfinder and more, making it the perfect companion camera for longer and wider lenses than the X-Pro2’s OVF comfortably allows.

Fujifilm’s ongoing Kaizen firmware updates for the X-Pro2 has made it a much more usable camera than it was on release, and I am deeply grateful for that, but more still needs to come.

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  • Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 Metal Hand Grip for X-Pro2B&H
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