“… 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….“
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.
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.
“I had been keeping my eye on the market for a while, and knew that ultimately my decision would come down to the Lumix GH5 and the Fuji X-T2. Both are excellent cameras, and while the GH5 is likely a better option for many filmmakers, based on my unique needs I chose to go with the X-T2.…”
…With regards to resolution, clarity, and motion cadence, the X-T2 is absolutely superb. It delivers detailed images that are clear and crisp without being overly sharp, and it handles panning shots and other motion very well, with less motion judder/artifacts in 24p than what I have come to expect from many other cameras.
Feature film and documentary DoP Nancy Schreiber is the very first female cinematographer to receive the ASC’s Presidents Award and it might, just might, inspire young women to take up cinematography with an eye on working in feature films. I certainly hope so.
The only other female movie professional and ASC member to win an ASC award, DoP Tami Reiker, won 2004’s Movie of the Week or Pilot for lensing the first season of Carnivalé released by HBO.
Before the World Wide Web came into being freeing up the sharing of information, gatekeepers controlled access to facts about career possibilities, especially for women.
Growing up in a far-flung regional capital meant submitting to what one was told one was permitted to do artistically and professionally, and those who kicked against the pricks were severely censured, even blacklisted.
There were no female cinematographers or directors to be seen, no role models and certainly no mentors. Potentially brilliant careers were curbed and subjected to the interests of the gatekeepers’ hold on power.
Only those of the right gender and background were permitted to know about further professional moviemaking education then given the chance of applying for it, often with a well-mentored career to follow.
Without positive examples of successful female filmmakers and especially cinematographers, I and other visual storytelling creatives of my acquaintance flushed their hopes and dreams of moviemaking careers for more mundane occupations supporting men in the traditional manner or employment in production support if they were lucky.
Most just stopped being creative, dreams shattered completely.
The Presidents Award, writes Variety‘s Valentina I. Valentini, “honors a member’s contribution to the next generation of DPs. Schreiber has been a longtime mentor to younger camera crew members, and has worked with Film Independent’s Project Involve — a program designed to enhance the careers of women and people of color.”
We all know the dismal statistics about the lack of filmmakers of color in the industry. Women and LGBT artists also nearly impossible to find. Project Involve is working to change all that….
Ms Schreiber, Variety‘s articlecontinues, “has taught advanced cinematography at the American Film Institute, and is a guest lecturer at film schools around the world.”
If only someone like Nancy Schreiber had existed when I was young, and had reached out to potential young filmmakers outside the film school system in the east.
Variety‘s article ends with this inspirational quote:
“If this award does anything,” says Schreiber, “it will open some doors to the younger generation of women, to show that they can succeed, that they can work in all areas of the film and television industry.”
Good in-depth interviews with camera company decision-makers, product designers and engineers are all too rare and very welcome when they appear, especially when from those companies with histories of listening to professional customers expressing their needs. Fujifilm has a reputation for being one such good listener.
Three senior Fujifilm camera division figures such as Yuji Igarashi, GM of the Electronic Imaging Division, Makoto Oishi, Manager of Sales and Marketing Group and Billy Luong, Manager for Technical Marketing and Product Specialist Group were interviewed on new directions and past achievements by Amazon.com publication DPReview shortly before Fujifilm’s recent announcement of its latest cameras and lenses, most notably the Fujifilm GFX 50S, X100F, X-T20 and the XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR.
The interview was also a reminder that there are Fujfilm cameras I currently don’t have hands-on experience with and that are worth further thought and investigation, the X-En series and the X-Tn0 series, n standing for product version number thus the recently announced X-T20, successor to the X-T10.
Fujifilm GFX 50S and its successors
For whom is the GFX 50S medium format digital camera intended?
‘Fashion, commercial and landscape photographers are the main targets,’ says Oishi. …
‘The tonality and dynamic range also mean it’ll appeal to wedding photographers,’ adds Luong. ‘And architecture,’ says Oishi.
The GFX 50S’ 50MP sensor will also prove useful for fine art and portrait photographers many of whom produce large-format prints for exhibition and for clients. For example, British photographer Brian Griffin shows his fine art portrait medium format photographs as large full-colour prints to great effect.
Architectural photography was traditionally made with 4″x5″ sheet film cameras during the analog era using camera movements for perspective correction.
Tilt/shift lenses for 35mm DSLRs are expensive and similar lenses in medium format would be even more costly, so perspective correction is more often done in software using products like DxO ViewPoint or similar features built into raw processors and image editors.
Fujifilm has taken a different direction by providing adapters so GFX series cameras can be used as sensors attached to the rear of view cameras.
Fujifilm X100F and the X100 Series
What place does Fujfilm have for the X100 series now represented by the X100F?
‘… the X100 is often photographers’ first foray into the Fujifilm system. The size, the weight, the image quality. A good proportion of our customers are saying the X100 brought back their passion for photography. That type of person is very much part of the equation,’ says Luong.
The Fujifilm Finepix X100 was a revolutionary camera bringing a precision digital rangefinder within reach of the masses. It was the digital stills camera I had been waiting for after finding DSLRs just as irritating for their mirror slap, shutter shake and lack of deep space window vision as analog SLRs had been.
I was immediately sold on Fujifilm digital cameras but they lost me temporarily when the X-Pro1 proved to be something of a promising dud, especially for spectacle-wearers and those of use needing high-speed focussing in fast-moving situations.
The X-Pro2 and X-T2 are a welcome return to cameras with traits reminiscent of Fujifilm’s analog glory days under the Fujica brand name, especially its big range of 120 roll film rangefinder masterpieces and the incredible GX680 series of technical studio cameras that combined medium format SLR technology with sheet film cameras’ tilt, swing and shift movements.
Might a medium format rangefinder camera be in the works?
‘It depends on demand and the market. The GFX 50S is one style: the ‘S’ means ‘SLR-style.’ Another way to do it would be a rangefinder style camera. Maybe an ‘R’ could be a rangefinder,’ says Oishi.
Then there is the possibility of a medium format digital rangefinder camera evolving from Fujifilm’s own many fixed lens medium format roll film cameras produced in formats from 6×4.5cm through 6x7cm, 6x8cm and 6x9cm.
‘If mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is too big as a rangefinder style, a fixed lens camera could be smaller, like the GF670.’
Fujfilm X-T20 and the X-Tn0 Series
Fujifilm’s smaller, more affordable spin-off DSLR-style camera series currently represented by the X-T20 is one with which I am entirely unfamiliar yet bears serious consideration as a second or backup camera to the flagship X-Tn series currently represented by the X-T2.
Luong explains: ‘The SLR style targets a wider audience. We find pro and enthusiast photographers gravitate towards the SLR-style camera. Back to the GFX camera, that’s why we went with the SLR style.’
Fujifilm X-E2S and the X-En Series
Like the X-Tn0 series cameras, I have to try out the latest representative of the X-En series, the X-E2S. Now that the X-T20 has gained X-Pro2 and X-T2 traits like the 24.3MP X-Trans sensor and speedier autofocus, I can see why X-En series enthusiasts have been agitating for similarly updated features and functionalities.
Given a choice between the DSLR-style of the X-T20 and the non-OVF rangefinder-style of the X-E2S, I would tend towards the latter. Although I prefer optical viewfinder cameras for certain tasks, electronic viewfinder cameras (EVF) have many virtues and bring a different way of seeing and depicting into play.
Luckily, ‘XE is an important series for us,’ Oishi says: ‘There are so many XE1, 2 and 2S users in the world…. Obviously we can’t confirm anything at this point but we are aware there are many requests for this type of camera.’
Although Fujifilm’s two current flagship cameras have considerably improved video capabilities compared to their predecessors, there is still some way to go with the firmware in both.
As a GH4 owner myself, I can attest that this and related Lumix cameras like the GX8 and GX80/85 possess a videocentric feature list and ease-of-use that have yet to be beaten by any other current hybrid camera including the Fujifilm X-T2.
‘Video is a big growth area for us,’ acknowledges Luong: ‘Our latest cameras such as the X-Pro2 and X-T2 show there’s a lot we’ve learned.’
Paul Leeming and I both want to see Fujifilm bring its current and future flagship cameras’ video capabilities up to par or surpass those of the GH4 and the soon-to-be-released GH5 is that we will have excellent Super 35 alternatives to Panasonic’s Super 16 cameras.
Then there is the question of more video-capable Fujinon lenses, both primes and zooms.
‘We already have cinema lenses that are Super 35,’ Luong reminds us. ‘We’re continuing to develop video features, so we’ll continue to investigate.’
Listening to Customer Feedback
While there does not appear to be a direct channel into Fujifilm for user feedback, Fujifilm staff members are known to read certain online publications, and articles published here are passed on up the system hopefully to end up in front of Fujifilm staffers like Messers Yuji Igarashi, Makoto Oishi and Billy Luong.
‘Our X Photographers: professionals who use the camera day in, day out, that’s the first line of feedback,’ says Luong: ‘It’s quite a large group. With the GFX we had something like 50 photographers around the world using pre-production cameras.’
That figure of 5o GFX 50S pre-production camera users is impressive. I hope that Fujifilm will seek feedback like Mr Leeming’s from plenty of well-qualified video professionals and improve the firmware in the X-Pro2 and X-T2 as soon as possible while planning major video-centred hardware and firmware improvements in the X-T2’s and X-Pro2’s successors.
Header aka featured image created for this website in Photoshop by Carmel D. Morris. Product photographs kindly supplied by Fujifilm.
Product photographs in the body of this article have been processed in MacphunLuminar using the Majestic Dreams preset from the premium Photo Essentials Pack. Portrait of Brad Latta made as 3-bracket HDR on Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 56mm f/1.2 lens then processed in Macphun Aurora HDR 2017 and Luminar.
I have used Wacom pen tablets since the days of Apple ABS connectors after observing how my designer coworkers suffered so much from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, RSI or whatever the current term is for skeleto-muscular overuse and have only had such problems myself when employers refused permission to take my Wacoms into the office.
Wacom pen tablets do more than allay repetitive overuse injuries and this latest version of the Intuos Pro is very tempting indeed. I have a small Intuos 5 Touch, which looks very close to the Intuos Pro S, on this desk in my photography and video editing workroom, and there are Bamboo pen tablets attached to two other computers here.
My older Wacoms have found homes with grateful non-creative owners who had never used anything but a conventional mouse then developed overuse pain and injuries. I always make the point that anybody can benefit from relying on pen tablets as their primary pointing and clicking device. I have seen the benefits in action many times.
Some people, however, never seem to get the hang of using pen tablets, which is a real pity, or outright reject the idea of giving up the mouse. I have no answer for the naysayers, but I suspect the reason some cannot abide tablets is this, that they seem to want look at the pen on their tablet, move it, look up at their computer monitor, check what they have done, look back at the pen, make a move, and so on.
Doing all that is enough to wear anyone out. Watching it has certainly made me feel exhausted. The answer, for those with enough resolve, is simply to look only at the monitor while moving the pen over the tablet in the very same way that people learn how to use a mouse.
Although my current Wacoms are small, my very first was a large model. I replaced it with a smaller one when I began travelling and have stuck with small ones ever since for the sake of travel and commuting while carrying 15-inch Mac Book Pros.
Now that I am editing on an iMac 27-inch 5K Retina computer in my home office, I am wondering whether it is time to give a medium or large Wacom a go once again. This standing desk has enough space from front to rear and left to right to accomodate larger input devices as well as two monitors next to the iMac.
I used to know a top graphic designer/magazine art director who had a curved multi-level desk with side arms custom-built to hold the biggest pen tablet he could get, but he always sat to work. I prefer the many health benefits of standing. I am glad this desk is larger and more versatile than any I was given when working in agency and corporate offices.
Header photoillustration aka featured image created for this website in Affinity Photo by Karin Gottschalk. Product photographs kindly supplied by Wacom.