Fujifilm Australia’s People with Cameras, Saturday November 17 2018, in The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

I attended this year’s Fujifilm Australia People with Cameras event in Sydney’s The Royal Botanic Gardens on Saturday, November 17, carrying my Fujifilm X-Pro2, Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R prime lens, Fujifilm MHG-XPro2 metal hand grip and Fujifilm LH-XF23 lens hood in a Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic Plus waist bag.. 

I also had a Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens in my Think Tank Photo MindShift Gear rotation180° Travel Away backpack, now sadly discontinued, along with a surprising amount of personal and other items carried in the event of rain during this strange weather we have been having. 

The event was very well attended, with Fujifilm Australia supplying a large amount of free food and drink later that afternoon, and I was grateful for the ease with which both bags held all my gear and took the weight off my permanently damaged spine and shoulder. 

With the end of photography trade shows in Sydney for several years now, events like this where one can see and try photographic hardware before making the decision to buy are welcome, crucial even, and I would love to see Fujifilm and other vendors put on more such events more frequently.

The previous Sydney People with Cameras feels like it happened over two years ago now even though it was in October 2017, and I hope that Fujifilm and other vendors will be offering some see and try events before the next People with Cameras in Sydney.

The space in front of Fujifilm Australia’s tables at this year’s event was densely packed, attesting to the amount of interest in Fujifilm’s X and GFX cameras and lenses.

Fujifilm Australia’s People with Cameras, Saturday November 17 2018, in The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR

I am about to begin rebuilding my portrait photography portfolio using a new approach aided by the latest generation of raw processing and image editing software, and have been pondering which lenses would best do the job.

My Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R is a great choice for environmental portraits featuring people in their surroundings while my Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 is excellent for full-face or head-and-shoulders portraits especially with aperture set to just under wide open.

I have a gap in my Fujinon XF lens collection for portraiture however, midway between both focal lengths, for use in full-figure portraits when photographing subjects sitting or standing.

Right now I am considering three lenses as candidates to fill that gap, the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8, Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR, but have only had the chance of a reasonable try out with the latter lens.

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Made with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens.

I reached through the crowd at People with Cameras to pick up the 35mm f/1.4 lens, tried it on a couple of quick shots, but not enough to come to any conclusions.

I had a chance to try out the 27mm f/2.8 several years ago for some urban documentary photography and was impressed at the results but would prefer a lens that is also useful for shooting video and so has aperture and focus rings, the latter offering the option of manual clutch focus rather than just focus-by-wire.

Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 and Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8

Two of the two lenses that got me started in portrait photography back in art school were the Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 and Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8, alongside a Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 lens for environmental portraiture.

Both Micro-Nikkor lenses were great for close-up as well as normal distance portrait photography and quickly taught me the emotive and informational differences of standard and longer focal lengths with photographing people.

These three lenses on a secondhand Nikon F were my gateway into serious portrait photography and I soon graduated into relying on 120 roll film and then 4″x5″ sheet film cameras.

I much preferred the 3:4 and 4:5 aspect ratios of roll film and sheet film, especially when making photographs in vertical/portrait format  and when compared to 35mm’s tighter 2:3 aspect ratio.

I would love it if Fujifilm came out with lenses like these two Micro-Nikkors, especially given I prefer manual focus for portrait photography.

Another possibility is to mount these lenses on a Fujifilm camera via Metabones Smart Adapters and Speed Boosters or their equivalents in other brands, although there might be a focal length penalty that may translate 55mm and 105mm into something a little longer.

Time to pull out the slide rule and do the numbers!

I need a second Fujifilm X-Series camera as a backup to my X-Pro2, for use with wider and longer focal lengths and zoom lenses, and the X-T3 is a good candidate for that given its excellent electronic viewfinder and Super 35 video capabilities.

Another possibility is to wait for the Fujifilm X-H2 for the sake of in-body image stabilization which has proven handy for portraiture on my Panasonic cameras, as well as the video features that are on the X-T3, but the X-H2’s release may be some years off according to some pundits.

It just occurred to me that there is one more possibility again regarding Fujifilm APS-C lenses for portraiture, the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 zoom lens.

Although this lens is apparently aimed at travel photography, its 24mm to 120mm focal length range contains the equivalent to the two Micro-Nikkor 55mm and 105mm lenses as well as other personal favourite focal lengths such as 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and 75mm, and its f/4.0 maximum aperture is not too much of a penalty when photographing subjects where bokeh is not essential and when I prefer to stop down to f/5.6 or smaller.

So far there is no word on the 16-80mm’s possible close-focussing capabilities, and given the need for critical focus it would best be used on an X-T3, X-H1 or X-H2 for the sake of their excellent EVFs.

Mind you, if the X-Pro3 appears with an EVF much-improved over the one in the X-Pro2, then my preference for rangefinder cameras may well convince me to invest in that instead.

Image Credits

Photographs by Karin Gottschalk, all rights reserved, made on Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens as raw image files processed with Phase One Capture One Pro using film emulation styles with some images further processed in Skylum Luminar 2018.

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Fuji Island, Picture Perfect Paradise [Special offer time-limited until December 7, 2018]

https://www.fujiisland.com.au/

“Ever wondered what life would be like on your own private island? Or dreamt of whiling away your days as a travel blogger?

Fuji Island is the ultimate luxury escape for photography lovers….

… Created by FUJIFILM, the island comes with the latest camera equipment – including FUJIFILM’s brand new X-T3 mirrorless camera, world-famous lenses and a range of other photography goodies. You even have your own personal photographer on call….”

fujifilm_x-t3_15_1024px_80pc
Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens. Photograph by Jonas Rask, courtesy of Fujifilm.

Fuji Island picture gallery, images courtesy of Fujifilm Australia

Commentary

This sounds like an interesting concept, and I am looking forward to seeing participants’ photographs made on Fuji Island at a Fujifilm event that was apparently held there last week, the week of 3rd September 2018.

Although the Fuji Island web page states “Experience  Fuji Island  for USD $2,200 per night for up to two people (minimum two night stay)”, it appears that the island resort is capable of accomodating at least sixty-three people as that was the number of guests invited to the event.

Fuji Island seems to be a time-limited phenomenon rather than a permanent one:

Fuji Island is available for private hire and overnight luxury stays until 7th December 2018.

If you wish to take up Fujifilm’s special offer then make your booking fast, before southern hemisphere vacationers book up all available places!

Meanwhile we have received further information about another Fujifilm Australia event associated with Fuji Island.

Fujifilm Australia held “the XT-3 launch event on the mainland of Fiji where guests were staying (The Marriott in Momi Bay). The following day, we took everybody out by boat to Fuji Island. The launch event was held on the 6th September, and Fuji Island on the 7th.”

“There were 60 people in total attending the event. It was a mix of Fujifilm retailers, partners, staff and media.”

“We don’t have control over when media will publish articles, but we have already started receiving coverage.”

Further on Fuji Island, “Fuji Island is supposed to be an island paradise people can book. On the private island, there will be a host of FUJIFILM equipment, including an X-T3 that people can try out and take amazing holiday photos with.”

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Fujifilm Small Eyecup EC-XT S: might this be a good choice for eyeglasses wearers?

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Fujifilm People with Cameras Sydney Event, Chippendale Green, October 29 2017

I attended my second Sydney Fujifilm People with Cameras event in Chippendale on Sunday, October 29, 2017. Here is a selection of photographs, shot on a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 using the full ERF image within the OVF in manual mode with back-button focussing for the technically inquisitive, then quickly processed to proof quality in Capture One Pro. 

Tech Notes

I stared writing some tech notes to go with this gallery article and then they expanded far beyond the few words I had originally intended.

So now I have spun them off into their own fully-fledged article that can be found here:

Links

Fujifilm Australia: Up to $1,300 Cash Back on Selected Fujifilm X Series Cameras and Selected XF Lenses, 16 October 2017 to 7 January 2018

https://fujifilm.cashback.com.au/129

Fujifilm Australia: Cashback of $900 via redemption when you purchase a new FUJIFILM GFX 50S and trade in a qualifying camera

https://fujifilm.cashback.com.au/125

“FUJIFILM Australia announced today that a cashback offer of $900 will be available to photography enthusiasts with the purchase of a new GFX 50S medium format camera and the trade in of a qualifying camera from participating retailers during a limited promotion period that will run from 7 August 2017 to 30 September 2017.

By trading in a qualifying camera and purchasing a new FUJIFILM GFX 50S from a participating Australian retailer during the promotion period, purchasers will be eligible to claim $900 cashback via redemption.

The qualifying trade in camera must be in working order as validated by the participating retailer at the time of purchasing the FUJIFILM GFX 50S. Purchasers will then be issued a unique serial number. To take advantage of the limited special offer, purchasers then need to visit http://www.fujifilm.com.au and click on the link to the cashback website page where they can complete the online registration form. All cashback claims must be received by midnight AEDST on 15 October 2017. The cashback will be paid by electronic fund transfer or cheque within 28 days….”

Links:

Fujifilm Australia: Up to $350 Cash Back on X-Pro2, X-T2, X-T20 with Selected XF Lenses, 1 June to 31 July 2017

https://fujifilm.cashback.com.au/121

“… 3. To be eligible to claim the applicable cash back amount, an eligible individual must purchase one (1) of the selected FUJIFILM X series cameras AND one (1) of the selected lenses listed in section 9 of these Terms and Conditions in a single transaction (an “Eligible Purchase”) from an authorised Australian participating dealer/retailer during the period commencing 1 st June 2017 and ending 31st July 2017 (“Promotion Period”). For the avoidance of doubt, this promotion does not apply to any of FUJIFILM’s X series cameras or lenses that are not listed in section 9….”

Links:

Billy Luong of The Fuji Guys States X-Pro2 4K Video is Possible and is Fighting for It

When the Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera was first announced there was a great deal of excitement about the fact that its brand new 24MP X-Trans III non-Bayer sensor would be capable of 4K video. Although the X-Pro2 was released  with 1080p Full HD video capability only, I was informed early last year by a Fujifilm staffer that the camera’s 4K video capability was forthcoming, to be released sometime after the 4K-capable X-T2. That never occurred. 

The Fujifilm X-T2 Super 35 4K camera rigged for video. Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 has the same 24MP X-Trans III sensor and can be 4K capable as well via a firmware update, according to Canadian Fuji Guy Billy Luong. He says that he is fighting for it. I support him in that fight.

I was deeply disappointed. I want the X-Pro 2 to be fully 4K video-capable  and I suspect more than a few purchasers of Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 camera were too, although they may not be so vocal about it or have simply given up on the idea and have placed their faith in the X-T2 as a viable Super 35 4K video camera.

Although there is nothing wrong with shooting video at FHD 1080p, given most television channels still broadcast FHD-delivered programs at 720p, the differences between shooting and editing in 4K then downscaling for distribution and broadcast, and shooting and editing FHD, are observable. The quality is much better.

Shooting, editing, outputting and archiving at 4K for 4K distribution when the means finally arrives makes good business sense. Why fail to future-proof your work by working only in FHD when 4K and the infrastructure you need to handle it is here now and continues to improve?

I was first alerted about Fuji Guy Billy Luong’s statement about the X-Pro2’s 4K capability and his fight for it at the FujiRumors website, in their article of the 12th February:

The half line skipping when shooting 4K allows the X-T20 to shoot 4K without overheating. Take asks Billy if this could be implemented to the X-Pro2 via Firmware update. Billy answers: “I hope so, it’s something I’m pushing all the time. I don’t understand why the X-Pro2 has no 4K like X-T20, since there is a solution for that. I’m fighting for that in Japan.“

The video by bigheadtaco aka Take Kayo where Billy Luong makes this statement is below.

The Fujifilm X-T20 is a DSLR-style EVF-only spin-off, as it were, of the X-T2 and it “is capable of recording both Full HD and 4K video using the X Series’ famous Film Simulation effects“, apparently through half line skipping.

Further, “… the FUJIFILM X-T20 also supports 4K video for amazing movie quality with minimal moiré and artifacts. The camera accepts both an HDMI monitor and an external microphone for full-scale video productions.

When I wrote my first article about the Fujifilm X-Pro2, I tested the X-Pro2’s video functionality and was impressed by its ability to shoot movies in Fujifilm’s justly celebrated film simulations. The downside then, besides the lack of 4K support, was the X-Pro2’s lack of other features necessary for high quality video.

I cover those still missing features in my article, How to Make the X-Pro2 a Credible Filmmaking Camera, A Request to Fujifilm by Karin Gottschalk, which is a spin-off of director.cinematographer Paul Leeming’s own letter to Fujifilm about how to make the X-T2 a real force in Super 35 moviemaking, How to Make the X-T2 a Credible Filmmaking Camera, A Letter to Fujifilm from Paul Leeming.

ebook_fuji-xpro2_video_setup_guide_cover_1024pxVideographer Steve MacDonald is also a fan of the potential of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 rot be a great video camera and has written a soon-to-be-published ebook on the subject, The Fujifilm X-Pro2 Video Set-Up Guide, based on its current 1080p FHD-only incarnation.

I won’t reiterate my own arguments for cameramakers refusing to do a Canon, as it were, by not crippling their own cameras’ capabilities in firmware. I also will not restate how useful it is to be always carrying a camera equally capable of top-notch video as well as stills for those moments when amazing or important things suddenly happen in front of you.

I will state here though that Mr Billy Luong has my full support in taking his fight for 4K video in the Fujifilm X-Pro2 to the powers-that-be at Fujifilm in Tokyo. No more crippling core camera functionality, please!

The Video:

What is Line Skipping?:

Further Link:

Fujifilm Australia Launches Innovative New X-T2 Digital Camera on Sydney Harbour.

 

After days of rain, a sunny day fell well-timed upon our lucky group for the Fujifilm XT-2 launch at Sydney’s Luna Park. The X-T2 shares many similarities with its sister the X-Pro2 such as the 24 megapixel APC-C X-Trans III sensor. What mainly sets the XT-2 camera apart for me, though, is its ability to shoot 4K video.

View of Luna Park from across Sydney Harbour, shot from underneath Sydney Harbour Bridge.
View of Luna Park from across Sydney Harbour, shot from underneath Sydney Harbour Bridge. Fujifilm Australia offered a jet boat ride to X-T2 launch attendees.

Text: Carmel Morris

Photographs: Karin Gottschalk

Having played with other contemporary hybrid cameras such as the Panasonic GH4, I can say that having 4K is a must if you want to shoot top quality, future-proofed video. The processor is fast and the advantage of 4K is that it down-samples beautifully on most 1080p devices. The difference is quite evident when comparing regular 1080p footage with XT-2 down-sampled footage on the same 1080p monitor.

But here’s the kicker: stills on the XT-2 are shockingly impressive. Guest speaker X-Photographer Andrew Hall presented a suite of stunning images that put the XT-2 to the ultimate bash test of high motion stills capture at Le Mans; where every sports car was captured in the precise moment with a clarity unseen in other cameras.

Many shots were taken at 1000 ISO to prove that the processor can easily keep up with scenes in motion. These shots were mostly captured with a wide open aperture instead of the usual ‘two stops down’, showing excellent optical quality with the subject in full clarity and with the bokeh where you want it.

The boost function for higher frame rates and dual battery system to support this is a definite bonus. The phase detection auto focus system is state-of-the-art and menu options allow you to modify autofocus type, speed and sensitivity.

Fujifilm's two latest pro-quality cameras, the X-T2 and a rigged-up X-Pro2. Smartphone photograph by Carmel Duryea, processed with Macphun Tonality CK. .
Fujifilm’s two latest pro-quality cameras, the X-T2 and a rigged-up X-Pro2. Smartphone photograph by Carmel Morris, processed with Macphun Tonality CK. .

The X-T2’s Look and Feel

The camera is surprisingly lightweight, though some would argue for more weight to help stabilize shooting on the go. Of course the addition of a battery grip adds to the weight somewhat, but I had no trouble taking quick shots either way as the grip and feel is solid.

Like the X-Pro2, the XT-2 features a joystick control which makes it easy to navigate and zoom in and out of images and menu items on the viewer.

The rear LCD viewer features an unusual pivoted swing-out mechanism so the screen can be adjusted to many suitable up-down-left-right viewing angles. I found the mechanism a little awkward to begin with but can see the advantages. Someone mentioned that he had dropped the camera (a concern one would have if the view screen was extended) but the armature is well-designed and the viewer mech was undamaged. I have seen other camera brands with different viewer design approaches and my scant guess is the unique XT-2 design is to get around a patent.

The X-T2’s Vertical Power Booster Grip (VPB-XT2)

Fujifilm’s proprietary battery grip unit for the XT-2 offers multiple boost settings that improve continuous shooting speed and autofocus.

The VPB-XT2 unit locks to the XT-2 seamlessly and appears to operate on one to two battery units, that being the NP-W126S lithium battery. The AE-L, AF-L, Q, and Fn Buttons are doppleganged onto the unit for ease of use, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack (yes standard 3.5mm, who’d have thought?).

I am not privy to any battery management circuitry for the XT-2 but would hope something is in place to protect from overcharging. Finally, while the handgrips are useful (MHG-XT2) I’d fork out the extra dollars for the battery grip any day.

All New Professional Flash unit (EF-X500)

I spotted a Fujifilm wireless EF-X500 TTL flash unit on display and was curious as for a long time we had avoided flash units in favour of LED studio lights. The specs look great; up to 50 meters at 100 ISO (details in link below).

Tethering a wireless flash unit has many advantages. Supporting up to three units and four optical channels, you can easily set up keylight, background, and hairlight the way you want. Optical wireless syncing has been around for a while now and, like the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, I hope Fujifilm provides a radio version (at typically 2.4Ghz) for multiple tethering (though you could experiment with RoboSHOOT triggers).

My imagination can only toy with radio possibilities which Fujifilm could take up if 802.11 (b,g,n) multi-flash is the thing you want. Imagine a daisy chain of multiple flash units programmed to a time sequence, for example, following the marathon runner’s last staggering steps through the ribbon, all carefully calculated via onboard CMOS and light-balanced accordingly, and without cables – but we digress.  🙂

Finally, I will definitely be placing the XT-2 on my shopping list as this camera encompasses many features spread across other camera brands, making it a fantastic all-round device. With many thanks to Fujifilm Australia, I look forward to taking some great images on the XT-2.

Tech Notes:

The header and gallery photographs in this story were made with a Fujifilm X-Pro2 rangefinder-style camera and Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 lenses, carried in a Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13 bag. The X-Pro2 was equipped with a Match Technical Thumbs Up EP-7S thumb grip and Boop-O-S Black soft release, a Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 hand grip, and Peak Design Clutch and Cuff camera straps.

The images were shot as raw digital negatives and processed with Capture One Pro 9, with some images exported to Macphun Noiseless CK or Google Nik Sharpener Pro via Affinity Photo.