NITV: Always Will Be, Barbara McGrady

“…In partnership with NITV, the Australian Centre for Photography presents the work of photojournalist Barbara McGrady as a free educational resource for schools across the country. Through her pioneering work, students and teachers are invited to experience the important social, political and historical events witnessed by McGrady.

Spanning 30-years, McGrady’s works are important visual and historical records that inform our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in urban areas, and offer a powerful alternative visual representation of what it means to be Kooris today….”

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DPReview: EXCLUSIVE: Hands-on with upcoming Fujifilm XF and GF lenses [Including Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens] – UPDATED

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/9472614833/exclusive-hands-on-with-upcoming-fujifilm-xf-and-gf-lenses

“…We’re in Dubai, where Fujifilm is showing off pre-production and prototype samples of three upcoming lenses – the GF 50mm F3.5 – a compact, lightweight standard lens for medium format – the XF 16mm F2.8, and the XF 16-80mm F4 – both of which [were] designed for the company’s range of APS-C format X-series cameras.

Click through for an exclusive first look at all three, including detailed specifications….”

Staffers at the Amazon-owned photography hardware review site DPReview got their hands on three upcoming lenses for Fujifilm’s G and X series cameras at Gulf Photo Plus aka GPP’s GPP Photo Week 2019 in Dubai. Here is the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

As time is inching towards the release sometime in the first half of 2019 of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 “travel” zoom lens it is terrific to get some idea of its size and features and other it may provide a solution for own needs as a documentary photographer and videographer.

I am self-funded, only able to carry a small amount of hardware on each project, and must work within ongoing limitations – thanks for nothing, Australian banksters, for blowing our refinancing out of the water after you were found out for your crimes by the Royal Commission into banking.

I must be able to get the most out of the hardware I carry and it must be able to help me create good enough movies and videos without the benefit of cases full of equipment, assistants and crews, and the big budgets that I never had anyway when working as a magazine editorial and corporate photographer during the analog era.

Gaps in their offerings

As two relatively new camera and lens systems, Fujifilm’s APS-C sensor format X system and medium format G system  still have gaps in their offerings, especially for documentary types like me who prefer to rely on fast prime lenses with all the manual controls that can be had.

Not to say that I do not appreciate zoom lenses now that their optical, mechanical and image quality are so good nowadays.

I also use and love Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras and Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro lenses, with my most-used lens being the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens and, had it been released at the time I bought my first Panasonic camera, I may well have chosen the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 OIS Pro zoom lens instead.

Slower zoom lenses are fine so long as you supplement them with moderately wide and moderately long fast aperture prime lenses for available darkness documentary work and portraiture, and Olympus offers three of  them in its M.Zuiko Pro range at the moment, with more to come I hope.

Going fast to begin with

At the time I bought my first interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera, the company did not offer a standard zoom lens like those above made by Olympus or their Panasonic equivalents, so I invested in a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, well answering my fast aperture moderate long and wide needs.

Another longstanding need has been for a professional quality 18mm prime lens equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format and 14mm in the Macro Four Thirds sensor format.

With little sign of Fujifilm offering such a lens any time soon, I have had to consider other possibilities including adapting an EF-mount Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens to X-mount, but this solution is best suited to DSLR-style cameras like the X-T3 rather than the rangefinder-style X-Pro2 that is much more effective for hardcore immersive documentary photography.

Interest piqued

My interest in the coming  Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom was piqued when I borrowed a Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 kit zoom lens for my first tryout of the X-T3.

I loved its 18mm widest focal length, rarely used the lens at 23mm and 55mm as I was also carrying my X-Pro2 equipped with either of those two lenses, and would have loved access to longer focal lengths than 56mm for those times I could not get close enough.

DPReview’s hands-on with the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom provides a reasonably reliable impression of the lens in its shipping form and confirms it has a marked, clicking aperture ring and weather resistance, though no manual clutch focus or, probably, no clickless option.

The X-T3’s firmware offers the ability to switch focus-by-wire from non-linear to linear so I will be giving that feature a tryout during my current X-T3 loan period over the coming days.

Two out of three

Two out of three ain’t bad for the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom.

As I am not a fan of the neither fish-nor-fowl 16mm focal length, equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm sensor format, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” lens is not on my wishlist which is topped by the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R annual clutch focus prime lens to tackle the ultra wide end of things and has a 58mm filter diameter, meaning I can easily add a knurled brass Breakthrough Photography step-up ring for my neutral density filters when shooting video.

Although I would prefer to have a set of wide-aperture manual-clutch-focus primes for all my documentary moviemaking and photography, the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom would provide a range of my most-needed focal lengths – 18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 56mm and 70mm.

In 35mm sensor format terms, that is 28mm, 35mm, 40mm, 85mm and 105mm, and a limit of 120mm at the long end will account for those rare times my feet are unable to do the zooming.

Postscript

Fuji Rumors has republished images and information about the northern hemisphere fall aka autumn 2019 (southern hemisphere spring 2019) release of the XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR including these from Japanese website capa.getnavi.

Many thanks to Fuji Rumors for the slide translation:

Fujinon XF 10-24mm R OIS, Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount, Fujinon XF 14mm R and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D for architecture and documentary

I have a longterm project coming up where I need to document the construction of a house from greenfield to completion, and I need to expand my stills photography kit for that and a number of other upcoming stills and video projects.

Right now I have no idea what my budget will be, given the economy-wrecking predations of the Australian banks and real estate agencies over the past couple of years, but there are at least two options.

Minimalist:

  • Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R with Fujifilm VF-X21 external optical viewfinder for my X-Pro2.

Maximalist:

  • Fujifilm X-T3
  • Fujifilm MHG-XT3 Metal Hand Grip
  • Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip
  • Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS
  • Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR
  • Breakthrough Photography 72-82mm knurled brass step-up ring x 2
  • Breakthrough Photography lens cap, 82mm x 2
  • Breakthrough Photography X4 UV filter x 2
  • Fixed or variable neutral density filters, 82mm diameter

There are other lenses available that receive good reviews and are suitable for architectural photography though they are too ultra-wide for documentary photography, the Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount at 18mm equivalence and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D at 13.5mm equivalence in the 35mm sensor format.

If only one lens it is to be, then the minimalist option makes sense as I rather like the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R’s 21mm equivalence for figures in landscapes, emotive close-up documentary shots, and architectural and cityscape work.

This lens will need Fujifilm’s VF-X21 viewfinder sitting on top of my X-Pro2 as a 14mm field of view falls outside the X-Pro2’s 18-56mm optical viewfinder bright frames and the X-Pro2’s EVF is not what I would like it to be.

Will the X-Pro3 improve upon that and other weak points?

If there is budget enough, then of course I would prefer the maximalist option camera and lens plus upgrading my ageing post-production facility.

The X-T3 plus grips and two zoom lenses, with the addition of my three current 23mm, 27mm and 56mm Fujinon prime lenses, makes a good Super 35mm video set-up combined with Fujifilm’s X-Trans 120-rollfilm quality stills.

The Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS is an ageing lens design, however, and lacks weather resistance and appears to be at its best optically speaking from f/8.0 rather than closer to f/4.0.

I want to see Fujifilm bring it up to current standards with a Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom that will make a great match with the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, giving the equivalent of 15mm through to 120mm in the 35mm sensor format.

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Bounce-Back and Sore Eyes: Why to Choose Black-Bodied Cameras Over Half-Silvered Ones

I have been trying out a Fujifilm X-T3 loaded up with the latest firmware in order to shoot some HLG video footage and further try out the camera’s radically improved autofocus functionality which will reportedly be getting better again in a future firmware update, possibly in April this year. 

The first X-T3 I borrowed was half silver and half black while the current loaner is all black, and what an unexpected and pleasant difference that has made.

I made great use of the silver X-T3 in a two-day documentary photography project and shot quite a bit of footage with its Eterna and F-Log picture profiles, on location in available darkness and the brightest of high UV sunlight.

Each time, halfway through the day I would notice my eyes becoming sore and by day’s end the soreness would be unbearable, especially in my right eye.

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Plenty of reflective silver. Fujifilm X-T3 minimally rigged for video with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens, 58-77mm step-up ring, variable ND filter and lens cap for protection in your camera bag when out walking about.

I am ambidextrous and tend towards right eye dominance though that is not exclusive, and with DSLR-style cameras always use my right eye to view through their electronic viewfinders.

I had attributed the unaccustomed soreness to the slowly worsening eyesight of my ageing myopic eyes, and had feared the worst for my eyesight despite recent eye tests showing expected slow, steady but not marked deterioration in vision.

I wondered whether using an EVF camera might be the cause of the soreness given I own two Fujifilm viewfinder cameras, an X100 and an X-Pro2, and use their optical viewfinders in preference to their EVFs.

But then I also have two Panasonic Lumix EVF cameras, one viewfinder-style and the other DSLR-style, and have never experienced problems like this with either of them.

This week, after extensive use of the black X-T3 for shooting video and stills, I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that the silver X-T3 and its highly reflective silver-coloured magnesium upper body might be the reason for my previous and constant eye soreness.

I have had no eye soreness with the black X-T3 at all.

Of course, this observation about the difference between the two versions of the X-T3 is a deduction and not the result of any form of scientific test, but it is something worth thinking about when I am in a position to invest in my own X-T3 and the coming  Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

I had been wondering whether my eye soreness was the product of the EVF in the X-T3, and was worried the problem might rule out investing in an X-T3 or any other DSLR-style Fujifilm camera, but the electronic viewfinder clearly is not the source of that problem.

Postscript

I used the black X-T3 in a wide range of lighting conditions throughout the weekend, in bright high-UV sunlight, deep shade and in poorly-lit train stations and experienced none of the eye soreness that I had when using the silver X-T3.

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Lumix G | Experience: Panasonic Lumix LX100 II – a look at the new features

https://www.lumixgexperience.panasonic.co.uk/news/panasonic-lumix-lx100-ii-a-look-at-whats-new/

“… It isn’t like Panasonic to have Mk II versions of its cameras in Europe but it is easy to see why this particular model is being presented as a ‘version’ rather than as a LX200 might have been. The LX100 II is clearly an update of the LX100, bringing the feature-set of the four-year-old compact into line with that of the company’s current G series cameras. At first, second and third glance, the new model is very much like the original in look and feel as almost all the changes have happened inside not outside the body….

panasonic_lumix_dc-lx100_ii_header_02_1920px_80pc
Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II

Commentary

fujifilm_x10_03_1024px_60pc
Fujifilm X10 with fixed collapsible zoom lens fully extended, a terrific complement to the Fujifilm X100 fixed prime lens camera. Brilliant for stills photography, not so much for video.

Although Panasonic classes its Lumix DC-LX100 II as a camera for enthusiasts, this stratification of camera models into professional, enthusiast and beginner is just a little off the mark especially given the varying needs of independent documentary moviemakers and photographers.

Few professionals rely on just the top-end flagship cameras and lenses in any product range.

When I felt the need to supplement the revolutionary Fujifilm X100 “enthusiasts” camera with something similar I chose Fujifilm’s X10 and relied on both for professional-level photography assignments for my voluntary work for a health and human rights charity.

I could have used my Canon EOS 5D Mark II for the job but it would have been the most inappropriate choice given the circumstances and sensitivities of my subjects and the places and events where they were to be found.

My X100 has been honourably retired though it sometimes comes out for documentary projects where discretion is demanded, and my X10 has found a home with a friend needing a great little travel camera.

The only downside to both cameras was Fujifilm’s then lack of commitment to top quality video, so I switched over to Panasonic’s groundbreaking Lumix DMC-GH4 as my prime stills and video camera with a Lumix DMC-GX8 as a backup which rived so capable in its own right that I often carry it every day equipped with the sadly underestimated Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS zoom that I bought secondhand via eBay.

smallrig_cage_lumix_lx100_04_1024px_80pc
SmallRig Cage for Panasonic Lumix LX100 2198, enabling easy attachment of handles, monitors and other accessories to the camera.

The only downside to both cameras is that neither is as compact as Fujifilm’s two offerings and had I known about the Lumix DMC-LX100 chances are that I would have added one of those to my kit.

I still miss the ability to carry a small, lightweight camera with me each and every day either stowed in a larger bag or in its own dedicated detachable belt pouch such as Think Tank Photo’s Stuff It! or better yet Little Stuff It!

Panasonic’s Lumix LX100 was unique in its day for mating a top-quality wide aperture Leica, no less, zoom lens with a variable Micro Four Thirds sensor and still has no equivalent in other brands other than Leica’s D-LUX (Typ 109), an outcome of the Panasonic-Leica camera and lens joint production exercise.

The announcement of the Lumix LX100’s successor as a newer version rather than a complete new replacement in the form of the long-expected Lumix LX200 has come as a surprise and casts doubt on whether and when the hoped-for vamped-up LX200 may ever appear.

Meanwhile I will be keeping an eye out for hands-on reviews of the Lumix LX100 II, adding them to this page, and am hoping that the camera will provide a worthy supplement to its predecessor which clearly still has some life left in it yet albeit with a slightly reduced feature set compared to the Lumix LX100 II.

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The Guardian: University guide 2019: league table for film production & photography [Coventry University #1]

https://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2018/may/29/university-guide-2019-league-table-for-film-production-photography?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“If you dream of spending hours mulling over snaps in a dark room, or are incapable of sitting through a film without boring your friends with comments about the special effects, a degree in either film production or photography could be for you….”

fujifilm_x-e3_1080087_luminar_1024px_60%

Commentary

Congratulations to the film and photography teaching team at Coventry University for being placed at number 1 with a score of 100 for 2019, and especially to its photography teaching team which includes a number of Australians including Anthony Luvera and Gemma-Rose Turnbull.

Coventry University very much sounds like the sort of institution I was so hoping that the university I attended might be but most certainly was not, with film and photography teachers of a calibre that simply did not exist back then in Western Australia.

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Imaging Resource: Olympus 17mm f/1.2 Pro Lens Review: The best wide-angle prime for Micro Four Thirds

https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/05/11/olympus-17mm-f-1.2-pro-lens-review-best-wide-angle-for-micro-four-thirds

“Having earned the top spot as our Best Wide Angle Prime of 2017 in our annual Lens of the Year awards, we’ve now finalized our lab testing of the Olympus 17mm f/1.2 Pro lens. This 35mm-eq. wide-angle prime lens is undoubtedly a professional-level optic that offers excellent performance. Image quality is spectacular, even at f/1.2, with very low distortion and low chromatic aberration….”

https://creativityinnovationsuccess.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/olympus_m-zuiko_digital_ed_17mm_f1-2_front_upright_clutch_1024px_60.jpg
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro professional-quality Micro Four Thirds prime lens with manual clutch focus rings drawn back for accurate, repeatable manual focussing at a quarter turn to go from infinity to closest focusing distance, excellent for stills photography and video production on hybrid cameras and cinema cameras.
olympus_m-zuiko_pro_collection_1920px_60%
The Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lens line-up as of late October 2017.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro

Commentary

With the coming release of Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K later this year, along with the already-released Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 IBIS hybrid 4K stills/video camera and the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S high-end compact 4K video camera, attention is on affordable yet high-end professional-quality lenses capable of delivering excellent results whether manually-focussed or used with those cameras’ autofocus functionality if they have it.

After trying out prime and zoom optics from several ranges of Micro Four Thirds lenses, I have chosen to invest in Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro range and will be adding more as availability and finances permit.

My documentary photography and moviemaking work demands gear that can withstand years of use and potentially challenging environments without succumbing, and the weather resistance, durability, quality and relative low weight and size put the M.Zuiko Pro lens range in the frame.

leica_cwsonderoptic_m0.8_set_5_01_1024px_60pc
The first five lenses from the Leica M 0.8 cinema lens set by Leica Camera sister company CW Sonderoptic, in the 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, all with 77mm filter diameters, a perfect set for cinematographers or stills photographers. I am hoping that Olympus will expand its M.Zuiko Pro prime lens offerings to add a wider range of focal lengths like these in their M43 equivalents.So far Olympus has issued 35mm and 50mm equivalent focal lengths.

It is hardly surprising that the folks at Imaging Resource awarded their Best Wide Angle Prime of 2017 plaudit to the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro lens.

I have yet to have the pleasure of trying one out due to apparent local supply problems, but the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro is at the top of my M43 lens wish list along with its 45mm and 25mm stablemates as well as the 5-stop image-stablized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro zoom lens followed by the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro wideangle zoom.

I will be adding Xume fast-on, fast-off filter holders, Breakthrough Photography brass knurled step-up rings and UV protection filters, and a full set of top-quality variable and fixed ND filters to my kit in the 82mm and 105mm sizes soon.

I hope that Olympus will continue to expand its M.Zuiko Pro offerings into the 10.5mm and 14mm prime lens sizes as part of the company’s stated commitment to its professional lens range.

Both focal lengths, in 35mm sensor terms equivalent to 21mm and 28mm, are crucial to my work in documentary photography and video, and are essential to any well-rounded collection of professional-quality prime lenses.

I would also like to see a 75mm equivalent lens added to the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lens collection – 21mm, 28mm and 75mm is one of my favourite 35mm sensor focal length triplet for documentary stills and video, or in M43 sensor terms 10.5mm, 14mm and 37.5mm.

That aside, I am very pleased that Olympus has released the 17mm f/1.2 in its second tranche of M.Zuiko Pro primes as I have been badly missing this focal length in my M43 sensor format cameras.

I had considered Olympus’ other 17mm lens, the M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8, as well as Panasonic’s near-17mm, the Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric, but my head was decisively turned towards the M.Zuiko Pro series by my very first M43 lens purchase, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro, one of my favourite zoom lenses to this very day.

My head was further turned towards the M.Zuiko Pro lens collection by Cosyspeed’s Thomas Ludwig’s review of the M.Zuiko Pro 25mm f/1.2 and its beautiful skin-tone rendering.

“What makes a good lens? This is in many ways a question that can only be answered individually. To me it is not important that it is super sharp wide open or does not vignette etc. – to me the most important point is the esthetics, the look and feel it delivers. When I look at the images of a certain lens and it “feels” good, well, than it is a good lens. And you know what? The OLY 25/1.2 is a lens of this category. I’m simply amazed especially when looking at the portraits I made in Hamburg. Amazed not by my images but by the clean, natural and three dimensional look.

The OLY 25/1.2 has a certain magic and I would describe it’s special character in the way it closes the gap between a pronounced three dimensional look and a portrait friendly (lower) level of micro contrast. A high level of micro contrast gives 3D pop for example to LEICA and ZEISS lenses, but it can be a bit harsh when shooting portraits. I don’t know how the OLYMPUS engineers made it, but they found a way to give it a lot of 3D pop while micro contrast is on a natural level.”

I have tried out the Panasonic Leica Summilux 15mm f/1.7, equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to 30mm, but I found the focal length an uneasy in-between, too wide for the subjects I prefer photographing with a 35mm equivalent lens and too long for those much better suited to a 28mm focal length equivalent.

When I began researching the Micro Four Thirds format for moviemaking and photography several years ago, its detractors harped on about how few M43 lenses existed back then.

The critics were factually wrong then and the number of M43 prime and zoom lenses has grown considerably since, but gaps still remain in the major lens makers’ offerings, especially at M43 system co-founders Olympus and Panasonic.

Olympus has hit the right notes with its M.Zuiko Pro collection but it needs to keep growing its prime lenses and long focal-length subsets, in the former case taking a leaf out of the book Leica Camera wrote some years ago with its Leica M-System lenses for stills photography and its recent cinema lens spin-off, Leica sister company CW Sonderoptic’s five-strong Leica M 0.8 series.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens with manual clutch focus, great for manual focussing. I like the longer image-stabilized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro zoom for available light daily walkabout needs for video and stills.

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Fujifilm Global: Fujifilm announces firmware updates for X-H1, X-T2, X-Pro2, X-E3 and X100F coming soon

http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n180412_03.html

“FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) will release free firmware updates for the FUJIFILM X-H1 (“X-H1”), FUJIFILM X-T2 (“X-T2”), FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (“X-Pro2”), FUJIFILM X-E3 (“X-E3”) and FUJIFILM X100F (“X100F”) X Series digital cameras. Due for release late April and May, the updates reflect the feedback received by FUJIFILM X Series users with regards to improving usability and adding new functions….

… FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (Ver.5.0.0) – due May 2018

1. Enlarged and customizable indicators or information
The upgrade allows users to enlarge indicators and information in the viewfinder and/or LCD monitor. This upgrade will also enable users to customize the location of where the information is shown on the display.

2. Enhanced Phase Detection AF
Latest updates to the AF algorithm provide the following performance enhancements

(1) The low-light limit for phase detection autofocus has been improved by approximately 1.5 stops from 0.5EV to -1.0EV, raising the precision and speed of autofocus in low-light environments.
(2) The range at minimum aperture has been expanded from F8 to F11. For example, even when using the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR with the tele converter XF2X TC WR, phase detection autofocus can now be used.
(3) Major improvements have been made to the AF-C performance while operating the zoom, which provides major benefits when shooting sports and other scenarios in which the subjects moves unpredictably.
(4) Finely-detailed surface textures of wild birds and wild animals can now be captured at high speed and with high precision as a result of improvement in phase detection autofocus.

3. Addition of “Flicker Reduction”
For enhancing the quality of indoor sports photography, the upgrade allows users to reduce flicker in pictures and the display when shooting under fluorescent lighting and other similar light sources.

4. Addition of “Select Folder” and “Create Folder”
Enable to choose the folder in which subsequent pictures will be stored. And also enable to enter a five-character folder name to create a new folder in which to store subsequent pictures….”

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The brilliant Fujifilm X-Pro2 optical viewfinder aka rangefinder camera with Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder, Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 metal hand grip and Fujinon XF 23mm f.2.0 R WR lens brings the digital form of classic rangefinder photography to the rest of us in a relatively affordable form. It handles like a cross between a Leica M-series camera and a Fuji analog 120 roll-film “Texas Leica” but with all the benefits, bells and whistles of a cutting edge digital hand camera. Excellent for documentary photography and photojournalism.

Commentary

Fujifilm has done it again with its commitment to continually improving the functionality of most of its cameras long after their initial release with firmware updates that squash bugs, introduce major new features and update major and minor core functionality.

As an X-Pro2 owner my interest in the current round of announced and already released firmware updates is primarily to do with that camera but I note the usefulness of Fujifilm’s updates for the X100F, X-E3, X-T2 and X-H1.

I am grateful that with X-Pro2 Firmware Version 5.00 Fujifilm will be adding the ability to enlarge information and indicators in the X-Pro2’s remarkable Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder and its LCD monitor as some, under the current firmware, are a little too small to be as useful and easy to read as they could be.

I am looking forward to the coming enhancements to the X-Pro2’s Phase Detection Autofocus although I tend to prefer using back-button autofocus in Manual mode for precision focussing when shooting documentary stills in available darkness.

The X-Pro2 is nothing if not versatile given its four different viewing methods – LCD, OVF-only, EVF-in-OVF and straight EVF – that effectively make it four cameras in one, and I use it for a range of other subjects and shooting conditions which call for improved AF-S and AF-C focussing functionality.

As the cliché goes, my X-Pro2 may well feel like a while new camera again, yet again.

The addition of a flicker reduction feature will also be very welcome.

I am based in a country with 50 Hz mains power and despite following the common advice to select shutter speeds that are multiples of 50, banding or flicker can be a constant problem especially in places lit by ageing fluorescent lights or mixed lighting that includes flickering light sources.

The ability to choose folders or enter five-character folder names on my SD cards is one the usefulness of which I have not considered but it may be worth trying if I am shooting two or more different subjects or projects in the same day to otherwise needing to keep files clearly separate.

X-Pro2 Firmware version 5.00 does not, however, include improvements that we have been waiting a long time for now.

Foremost of these is pixel-level view of photographs to ensure accurate focus of critical image elements, an essential professional-quality feature even the X-E3 comes with straight out of the box.

Second is exposure zebras for fast and accurate exposure-to-the-right aka ETTR, instead of the blinkies that appeared in an earlier X-Pro2 firmware update.

Blinkies on already shot images are fine when chimping in poor visibility but diabolical when actually shooting.

The X-Pro2’s blinkies often drive me mad especially when used in conjunction with focus peaking for manual focussing which also blinks in unison, a needless distraction that should, at the very least, be able to be switched off in the menu settings.

Thirdly, the EVF badly needs improving if that can be done in firmware alone so that its clarity and colour cast can be made to approach if not match the quality of non-Fujifilm EVF cameras such as those made by Panasonic or by Fujifilm in its also-flagship X-T2 and X-H1 cameras.

If this problem with the X-Pro2’s EVF is a hardware issue, then I hope it will be fixed in the X-Pro3 when it arrives, perhaps, sometime in 2019.

Missing feature number four is the ability to apply picture profile customizations to video in the same way currently exists for JPEGs.

I am grateful to Fujifilm for finally giving us the long-promised 4K video in X-Pro2 firmware version 4.00 but they forgot that decent quality video also requires the ability to customize Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Color and Sharpness exactly the same as exists in Fujifilm’s other stills and video-capable hybrid cameras.

Lastly, and as firmware wishlist item number five, I would love to see the X-H1’s Eterna film simulation come to the X-Pro2 as a more viable alternative to Fujifilm’s more stills-appropriate film simulations.

Other useful features come to mind but these five are first and foremost for me as a documentary stills and video creator who needs all her cameras to be as capable and as feature-rich as possible.

As a purely self-funded independent visual storyteller, I no longer have the commissions nor the budgets to maintain a number of different camera systems in parallel, nor do I have the physical strength to carry two complete sets of cameras and lenses with one for stills and one for video on any given project.

Accordingly, each camera system that I have must be capable of producing good enough stills and good enough video as the project, the subject and the often unpredictable circumstances of the day demand.

Links

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Fujifilm 64GB Elite II Performance UHS-II SDXC Memory Card

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

  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm 64GB Elite II Performance UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 Metal Hand Grip for X-Pro2B&H
  • Match Technical EP-XP2 Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Black)B&H
  • Fujifilm NP-W126S Li-Ion Battery PackB&H
  • Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm MHG-XE3 Metal Hand GripB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X100F Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm TCL-X100 II Tele Conversion LensB&H
  • Fujifilm WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion LensB&H
  • Match Technical EP-2F Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X100FB&H
  • Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set for Fujifilm X100F  – B&H 

MindShift Gear: MindShift Gear’s “Exposure” Shoulder Bags Offer the Ultimate in Durability and Weather Protection for Outdoor Photographers

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/blogs/news-events/mindshift-gear-s-exposure-shoulder-bags-offer-the-ultimate-in-durability-and-weather-protection-for-outdoor-photographers

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear. MindShift Gear’s new Exposure shoulder bags are storm-resistant carrying solutions for the active photographer in virtually any outdoor environment. Built with high performance waterproof sailcloth panels, strategically placed storm flaps, water-repellent DWR fabric, and a sturdy Tarpaulin bottom; the Exposure protects camera gear from the elements and withstands the rigors of adventure photography. And, with its cross-body stabilizer strap, the Exposure moves with you while you’re active or is removable for more causal environments.  A waterproof rain cover is included when it’s time to put the camera away and hunker down….”

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MindShift Gear Exposure 13 and Exposure 15 storm-resistant shoulder bags for outdoor photographers and moviemakers using mirrorless and DSLR gear.

MindShift Gear Exposure 15

Commentary

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens with manual clutch focus, great for manual focussing. I like the longer image-stabilized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro travel zoom for available light daytime walkabout for video and stills supplemented with faster M.Zuiko Pro f/1.2 prime lenses for available darkness work.

Just when I was contemplating what lenses and accessories might be needed to effectively carry and operate the amazing new Blackmagic Design Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K, this press release arrived from camera bag and backpack maker Think Tank Photo.

Think Tank’s MindShift Gear brand is specially intended for outdoor adventurers who photograph and make movies in all sorts of weather and all kinds of locations, through thick or thin, whether in natural or in my case urban environments.

The game-changing, to use an already overused cliché, BMPCC 4K portable cinema camera does not appear to be weather-resistant so may need transporting in the field in weather-resistant, storm-resistant bags and backpacks along with the equally sensitive equipment needed to make the most of its high end video production capabilities.

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Røde NT-SF1 Soundfield microphone, core of Røde’s ambisonic hardware and software system and potentially great supplementary audio-recording and post-production solution for shooting video with the BMPCC 4K. Will the final version of this microphone be mountable on top of the BMPCC 4K?

Shooting and carrying out initial post-production or DIT (digital imaging technician) duties on BMPCC 4K video footage in the field has certain workflow and hardware demands, and if choosing a shoulder bag rather than backpack then the bag itself should be large enough and protective enough for 15-inch portable computer, SSD or HDD drives and other media, audio recorders and microphones, lenses, color checker or grey card for white balance, small grip items and a portable video tripod as needed.

Accordingly, it would appear that the MindShift Gear 15 may be the best choice of the two MindShift Gear Exposure shoulder bags when using the BMPCC 4K.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) dimensions, imperial, camera only.

At 7 inches wide and with a sloping 5-inch rear touchscreen display, the BMPCC 4K has an unusual shape and size as well as accessory demands, so I will be putting that hypothesis to the test in another article where I look at its actual dimensions as well as an ideal kit of accessories, supplies and lenses for mobile indie documentary work in the field.

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  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • MindShift Gear Exposure 15 Shoulder BagB&H
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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

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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?

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    • 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