If you are wondering what might have happened to Fujifilm’s famous kaizen firmware updates for its now discontinued X-H1 flagship camera, wonder no more.
As stated by Fujifilm, this may be a minor bug fix but the X-H1 was built around a previous generation sensor and processor combination and the company may well have squeezed every last drop of updatability out of it by now.
Detail of the firmware update
The firmware update Ver.2.11 from Ver.2.10 incorporates the following issue:
The answer would appear to be yes, if Fuji Rumors’ ever-dependable sources prove correct in stating that an X-E4 announcement will be coming sometime in January to March 2021.
Fujifilm X-E3 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR prime lens, often playfully referred to as a “Fujicron” lens in reference to the Leica M-System’s Summicron-M f/2.0 lenses. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.
Many Fujifilm cameras need hand grips or vertical battery grips for security in handling. Fujifilm X-E3 with Fujifilm MHG-XE3 metal hand grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.
That announcement may well be coupled with one for the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 R Mark II 40mm equivalent prime lens with an aperture ring that was missing from the current XF 27mm f/2.8, potentially making Mark II more suitable for video production.
With ongoing improvements in its cameras’ video support, Fujifilm needs to produce new lenses and updated older ones so they better support video production, and aperture rings are one of those much-needed video capabilities.
It remains to be seen whether the new XF 27mm f/2.8 will be a pancake design like its predecessor, a Fujicron-style lens like the XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR, 23mm f/2.0 R WR, 35mm f/2.0 R WR and 50mm f/2.0 R WR primes or a Fujilux-style lens like the coming XF 18mm f/1.4 R WR and its older siblings the 14mm f/2.8 R and 16mm f/1.4 R WR.
I was fortunate enough to be loaned a Fujifilm X-E3 along with three Fujicron lenses by Fujifilm Australia in March 2018, and it was an excellent introduction into the brand’s digital rangefinder-style cameras, as opposed to its digital rangefinder cameras in the X-Pro series.
The loaner Fujifilm X-E3 and lenses arrived safely packed within this sturdy-looking HPRC hard case. Image by Karin Gottschalk.
The Fujifilm X-E3 makes for a fine pair with my favourite camera for documentary photography, the Fujifilm X-Pro2, and both fit well within a Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13 messenger bag. Image by Karin Gottschalk.
Both styles of cameras appear to be less popular amongst most Western Fujifilm camera buyers than the company’s DSLR-style X-mount mirrorless cameras in the X-T and X-H series with their Contax SLR-like form factors and the lingering influence of the heavy marketing during the 1980s and 1990s of SLR analog cameras as the standard for enthusiasts looking to upgrade from rangefinder compact cameras.
Being a bucker of trends by nature, I used mostly rangefinder cameras for film formats from 35mm through to 4″x5″ though I retained a couple of reflex cameras for when the job demanded it.
My experience with the Fujifilm X-E3
I had briefly picked up an X-E3 at a Fujifilm Australia People With Cameras event several months before and had questions about the camera’s electronic viewfinder aka EVF, its round-corner styling, slightly slippery black body covering and reduced size compared to its X-E1, X-E2 and X-E2S predecessors.
When the kind offer to borrow one came along I accepted immediately and the three “Fujicron” lenses were a surprise bonus.
I had used a Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR to make the photographs in A Walk Around Chatswood in Sydney on November 5, 2016 and the XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR during my tryout of the X-Pro2 that resulted in investing in my own along with an XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R.
The 50mm “Fujicron” had fascinated me since its announcement so I appreciate being able to give it a good tryout in the field and compare its performance against the older, slower-to-use XF 56mm f/1.2 R.
While the 56mm has its virtues as a portrait lens, it can be challenging for fast-moving documentary photography whether used in autofocus or manual focusing modes.
I tend to gravitate to wide-angles for documentary work but good storytelling benefits from narrower lenses when close-up details can counterpoint the broad sweep of wider scenes.
The 50mm’s autofocus works quickly and reliably, though I used it more in manual mode with back button focus as I was unfamiliar with the lens’ depth of focus at various apertures and wanted at least one plane of focus dead sharp.
Even wide open at f/2.0 or stopped down a little, the 50mm f/2.0 R WR rendered the main figures in the image impressively sharply and the background subjects with just enough detail to provide context via similarities and differences from the prime subject.
I prefer primes to zoom lenses though I have several zooms in another camera system when needing close-ups and long shots.
Mixing and matching shots made with different camera systems can be challenging given my preferred raw processing software, DxO PhotoLab and its plug-ins DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint, does not support Fujifilm’s X-Trans raw files so I have been looking for more Fujifilm lenses and adapted lenses to add to my kit to enable processing all my files from any project in the one raw processor.
Years of relying on rangefinder cameras in fast-moving situations where I often needed to be next-to invisible trained me into visualizing a frame around my subject, stepping up to the best vantage point, raising the camera to confirm the accuracy of my framing then during the shutter, all in a matter of micro-seconds.
Little to no lingering over the scene through my viewfinder before making a decision much less an exposure, even when making portraits.
Those rapid-fire skills came in handy with the X-E3 as I found its small, 90%-coverage electronic viewfinder aka EVF more challenging than I would have liked.
I dislike cropping, preferring tight image design unless shooting for a layout, and it helps to see everything the sensor records.
Another challenge came in holding the X-E3 securely and tightly due to its slick-feeling black body covering, rounded corners and minimalist built-in handgrip.
The X-E series’ cameras have shrunk over the years but surely it could afford to grow a little back towards the size of its predecessors if needed.
I always like to have two cameras of any system I own in case one goes down on the job or more likely when I need to use it in my customary two-camera, two-lenses mode.
Both cameras don’t need to be the same model but to work in similar ways, and so after investing in my X-Pro2, I wondered whether the X-E series might present a suitable companion camera.
In-shop tryouts of the X-E2 and X-E2S revealed problems with their EVFs so I would love to see that feature improve in the X-E4 as well as other features listed below.
Shot with Fujifilm X-E3 and Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR
Deeper rubber eyecup for easier shooting in brilliant sunlight.
Better built-in grip.
Optional metal hand grip.
Weather resistance (WR).
Metal rather than plastic body.
Less shiny body covering.
Most likely the X-E4 will have a subset of those but we can live in hope!
Despite the Fujifilm X-E3 lacking those features above, I thoroughly enjoyed using it over the course of several days in the city, and the three Fujicron lenses suited it well.
Camera and lenses fit my smallest Think Tank Photo camera bag perfectly and I barely noticed their combined weight despite having ongoing problems while wearing shoulder bags of all sizes and weights.
That ease of carrying ensured I got into the zone quickly each day and that visual and psychological high lasted for hours each time, resulting in the large set of images published in this site’s Photo Galleries page.
The Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR was particularly pleasurable to use and I could easily have used it only had I not wanted to give the X-E3 a thorough tryout in a range of circumstances.
If I had to reduce that kit of three lenses down to just two for typical outdoor documentary projects, I would make it the 50mm f/2.0 along with the 18mm f/2.0 R but I am looking forward to seeing what Fujifilm comes up with when it reveals the XF 18mm f/1.4 R WR next year which, if it follows the Fujilux design style, may well be a great option for video as well as stills.
I would have loved it, though, if the current 18mm f/2.0 lens were to be updated in the Fujicron design style, making it eminently suitable for use on Fujifilm’s smaller as well as digital rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras with the coming 18mm f/1.4 better suited to the larger X-T and X-H DSLR-style camera bodies with or without vertical battery grips.
“This isn’t a review of the excellent Fujifilm X-T4 but a detailed look at whether the improved autofocus abilities over the X-T3 get close to the superb AF of the Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras.”
I came across this video by Philip Bloom while researching recently-released Super 35 video-capable cameras.
Autofocus capabilities of current affordable Super 35 hybrid cameras are a constant subject of discussion online, with different manufacturers achieving various degrees of success with it.
Theoretically all makers of such cameras should be able to achieve near-parity in autofocusing given time and R&D dollars, but there is a question of when and whether all current makers will stay in business until they do.
Having grown up as a photographer and videographer during the analog era before autofocusing cameras and lenses even existed, I have always seen autofocus as something of a luxury and fall back on manual focus and back-button focusing anyway.
Philip Bloom has an obsession with autofocus in video and speaks about it well and in detail.
Meanwhile I believe it is a good idea to keep an eye on developments in affordable manual-focus Super 35 prime and zoom lenses that are native to Fujifilm X-mount or that can be adapted.
Keep an eye also on the coming Fujifilm X-H2 professional hybrid camera, successor to the under-rated X-H1, though its arrival may be some time off.
I found the X-H1 much easier to use handheld all day long than the X-T3 and its more hand-friendly design ranks alongside the X-Pro2 for ease of use and of carrying.
As for autofocus on Fujifilm cameras, perhaps the X-H2 may see it come to fruition and match if not beat that in Sony and Canon’s mirrorless cameras, along with new and redesigned Fujinon prime and zoom lenses made for video as much as stills photography.
We can only live in hope.
A “phenomenal” manual focus lens and adapter combo for Fujifilm video
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art EF-mount fast zoom lens can be adapted for a range of Super 35/APS-C cameras or for cameras with larger sensors that can be set to Super 35/APS-C.
Fringer EF-FX Pro II adapter for mounting Canon EF-Mount lenses on Fujifilm X-Mount cameras.
B&H – FUJIFILM XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens – While not the most impressive Fujinon lens for stills photography, there have been good reports about its video autofocusing capabilities with the X-T4 running the latest firmware.
Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR on Fujifilm X-Pro3. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.
“September 17, 2020
To our customers:
FUJIFILM Corporation is due to release a free firmware update for FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR on September 17, 2020.
This latest update enhances the lens’ AF speed and enables Color Shading Correction to mitigate subtle color casts when images are made at the lens’ maximum F1.0 aperture. Please note that the lens must be connected to a supported X Series camera body for the firmware enhancements to take effect.
“… Shin Udono: We continue to investigate future X-H cameras. The X-T4 is not a replacement for X-H1, so we keep our minds open about future X-H models.
Dave Etchells: Ah, OK. So you can’t say specifically, but it’s not your intent for the X-T4 to replace the X-H1. You see a separate market.
Shin Udono: But we will clearly differentiate from the X-T line.
Dave Etchells: So what is that differentiation? What separates X-T and X-H?
Shin Udono: Difficult to say now; we need some sort of the breakthrough, probably.
Jun Watanabe: But actually, after we announced X-T4, studios received a lot of customer’s requests that they want that H1 style.
Shin Udono: Bigger grip, and also…
Toshi Iida: …the command dial control.
Shin Udono: But just having the bigger grip with the X-T4 is not enough for the X-H2. I think that if future X-H models come to reality, we have to have something more revolutionary….”
Fujifilm X-H1 and X-T4
Good to read that Fujifilm continues to work on the X-H2 professional APS-C/Super 35 hybrid camera and that the company is looking for further differentiation between it and the X-T4.
Here is what I want to see in the X-H2 at the very least, and there is plenty more on my wishlist:
Larger grip than the X-H1.
Command control dial for extra speed in applying exposure compensation.
XLR audio input device such as Panasonic and Sony make for their cameras.
Video features that match if not surpass those of Panasonic’s Lumix S and GH cameras, and especially no recording limits.
Fully-articulated monitor taking a lesson from the one on Panasonic’s Lumix DC-S1H.
Here is what I want to see in the X-Pro 4:
In-body image stabilization aka IBIS so the camera is more suitable for shooting in all sorts of light and especially available darkness.
Bright frame for 18mm in the optical viewfinder aka OVF.
Here is what I want to see in lenses for Fujifilm’s X-Series:
An upgraded 18mm lens, at least in a ‘Fujicron’ design for documentary and photojournalism work with X-Pro cameras but better yet a ‘Fujilux’ design with manual clutch focus and larger filter diameter as in the Fujinon XF 14mm, 16mm and 23mm lenses.
A 70mm lens for portraiture, in effect the Fujinon answer to Nikon’s justifiably legendary 105mm lenses.
Prime and zoom lenses better suited for video with radically improved autofocus and manual clutch focus: right now there are only three MCF primes and very few lenses that perform acceptably for video production, shocking given Fujifilm’s reputation for fine-quality cinema and broadcast lenses for other mounts.
A fast aperture, superwide-to-standard zoom lens for video production that learns lessons from Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom, Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens and the recently announced Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm f/4.0 Pro.
A serious commitment to upgrading all the older Fujinon prime and zoom lenses to meet contemporary stills and video needs: lenses remain their largest weak point.
Here is what I want to see in Fujifilm’s GFX-Series cameras:
An affordable medium format camera for portraiture, documentary and photojournalism, and architectural photography.
When the folks at Fujifilm Australia’s PR consultancy asked if I wanted to borrow a Fujifilm X-H1 and some lenses I leapt at the chance to put this intriguing camera through its paces and to see how well Fujifilm’s first effort at XF camera in-body image stabilization aka IBIS and increased dedication to video production had turned out.
Since experiencing the many joys of using vertical battery grips on DSLR-style mirrorless cameras with Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH4, DC-GH5 and DC-G9, I have been in the habit of always requesting vertical battery grips with loaner cameras that have them.
Unfortunately, a Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip wasn’t available so I used the camera ungripped and found, despite that preference for adding hand or battery grips to all Fujifilm cameras, the X-H1 acquits itself well without one when used with smaller lenses.
Fujifilm X-H1, Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and XF 18mm f/2.0 R
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens.
Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.
By the time the loan opportunity arose, there were rumours the Fujifilm X-H1 was about to be listed as discontinued and that soon occurred with heavily discounted camera, vertical battery grip plus lens packages appearing in foreign camera retailer websites shortly followed by similar deals in Australia.
Now the X-H1 and its camera-specific accessories are no longer available on the retail websites that I checked this morning, and I am in two minds about that.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro lens.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR professional standard zoom lens. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kist standard zoom lens.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R WR zoom lens.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens and Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip.
Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip in portrait/vertical orientation and 3-way tilting LCD monitor untilted.
Fujifilm X-H1 with 3-way tilting LCD monitor flipped up for portrait aka vertical shooting.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R WR zoom lens.
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 200mm f/2 OIS WR telephoto lens on Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip.
Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip and Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR telephoto zoom lens.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens.
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens.
Fujifilm Wide Eyecup EC-XH W.
The X-H1 is an innovative camera but its release suffered from unfortunate timing, falling as it did between the X-T2 and the X-T3 and thus having the same sensor as the Fujifilm X-T2, the X-Trans CMOS III sensor as well as its own CPU, the X-Processor Pro.
At time of writing, the Fujifilm X-Pro3 and the X-T4 contain the latest generation sensor and processor, the X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4.
There are all too few female camera store staff members hereabouts and possibly not so many with my particular background so it is understandable male staffers might point her my way.
She ended up taking advantage of the end-of-production-run X-H1 special offer after I gave her the pros and cons of the X-H1 and X-T3, and I hope she is doing well with her purchase.
She told me she already had a Fujifilm X-Pro2, loved it and relied on it for most of her work but there were occasions when she needed to photograph in low light and at night so was interested in the X-H1’s in-body image stabilization aka IBIS.
I related my experience with the camera’s IBIS and added that I could comfortably carry either the smaller X-Pro2 or the slightly larger X-H1 around in my hand all day long in a way that I found I could not with the X-T2’s and X-T3’s more minimalist and less sculpted body shapes.
As above, Fujifilm describes the shutter release button and grip area of the X-H1 as a “firm-release design”, having the same configuration as other mirrorless and DSLR cameras which is more often described as a “trigger” or “pistol” grip by aficionados of the latter types of cameras.
My first digital camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, has the same configuration and, despite that camera’s bulk and weight with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L USM kit zoom lens attached, its “pistol grip” and soft-touch shutter release button made carrying and using it in the field on documentary projects easier than one might think.
It was, simply, a matter of balance. And then the kit zoom’s notoriously poor manufacturing quality control left me without a lens for it altogether until I adapted a couple of vintage manual focus M42-mount lenses via a GobeM42 Lens Mount to Canon EF & EF-S Camera Mount adapter.
The X-H1’s shutter release button is more sensitive than that of previous cameras like the X-Pro2, X-T2 and the like, the increased sensitivity apparently being aimed at professional photographers needing minimal lag between hitting the button and making the image.
In practice I found this lag minimalization to be very effective for portraiture, photojournalism and urban documentary photography, ensuring a higher percentage of selects than usual, as well as reducing subtle camera shake at the start of clips when shooting video.
Having now experienced both types of shutter release button, I much prefer the one on the X-H1 and hope to see it used in more Fujifilm cameras for its speed gains, boosted stability and lack of a threaded cable release hole that can attract dirt.
In contrast, the lack of an exposure compensation dial on the X-H1 slowed down my shooting speed and efficiency somewhat compared to the ease and speed with which I can set exposure changes on X-Pro and X-T cameras.
Pros and cons where you gain speed in one aspect of the X-H1’s design yet lose speed in another.
The X-H1’s IBIS bestows two overlapping advantages, being able to shoot at shutter speeds slower than can usually be handheld, and having the confidence that one can resort to it if one must.
As anti-IBIS pundits are always keen to tell us, shooting moving objects while stabilized at shutter speeds too slow to handhold unstabilized will result in at least something being blurred through movement.
But the contrast between unblurred and blurred through movement can be a wonderful creative device to draw attention to the main and unmoving object in the picture.
Other advantages of the Fujifilm X-H1’s design and manufacture
Photographs courtesy of Fujifilm.
The Fujifilm X-H1’s “grain size of the exterior coating has been improved to achieve scratch resistance equivalent to 8H surface hardness”.
The Fujifilm X-H1’s body is “made of magnesium alloy, 25% thicker than previous models. The lens mount’s structure has been revised to achieve a compact and lightweight design that is also of high precision and more resistant to shock or damage than other models in the X Series”.
The Fujifilm X-H1’s shutter shock absorption mechanism. I found myself using its mechanical shutter far more than I would for other Fujifilm cameras.
I have focused here on the X-H1’s design and manufacturing qualities because the DSLR style is not my first choice when it comes to cameras for documentary photography and yet many aspects of the X-H1’s body design work for me in a way I have not experienced with Fujifilm’s X-T series cameras.
I have used the X-H1 alongside my X-Pro2 on day-long documentary projects and not once have my hands been fatigued in the way I have experienced with the Fujifilm X-T1, X-T2 and X-T3 cameras whether equipped with vertical battery grips or not.
Fujifilm has got the design of the X-H1 body closer to perfect for me, at least, than that of the X-T series.
Fujifilm, please seek inspiration from Olympus for lens design
Which is not to say that Fujifilm does not have some way to go with its X-H, X-T and X-Pro series cameras.
The Fujifilm x100 camera radically improved digital photography for me but its poor video quality and that of subsequent cameras meant I had to look elsewhere for a while and I settled (solely) on Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras for their great stills and video quality and (mostly) Olympus’ M. Zuiko Pro lenses for their manual clutch focus and excellent optical and mechanical qualities.
As good as they already are, the M.Zuiko Pro professional lenses for video and stills would be even better with the addition of an aperture ring that can be used clicked or declicked at the flick of a switch.
When Fujifilm released the X-Pro2 and I discovered I could use it due to its built-in diopter correction, I looked for the closest to my ideal lens design amongst then-current Fujinon lenses: manual clutch focus, all-black metal body and aperture ring.
I was hoping to find three lenses to cover my most immediate documentary stills and video needs, but compromises and cost narrowed my choice down to two, and I ended up with a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R.
The first lens is manual clutch focusing and the second is focus-by-wire only.
My preferred extended focal length set for documentary work is:
14mm = 21mm in 35mm
18mm = 28mm in 35mm
23mm = 35mm in 35mm
27mm = 40mm in 35mm
50mm = 75mm in 35mm
My preferred focal length for portraiture is 70mm, equivalent to 105mm, but the closest XF prime lens is the longer and non-manual-clutch-focus XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, equivalent to 120mm in 35mm sensor format.
I prefer prime lenses but might have considered the red badge Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR had it been available at the time, though it is sadly not a manual clutch focus lens.
I would have added an XF 14mm f/2.8 R and an XF 23mm f/1.4 R for available darkness work, making a set of three covering 14mm through to 82.5mm with two lenses having manual clutch focusing.
These three lenses have filter diameters of 58mm, 62mm and 77mm, allowing easy attachment of industry-standard 82mm circular neutral density filters via step-up rings.
I understand some Fujifilm moviemakers use Fujicron-style lenses, but
Fujicron lens filter diameters:
XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR = 49mm
XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR = 43mm
XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR = 43mm
XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR = 46mm
These lenses present a problem for moviemaking in that step-up rings for these smaller diameters are rare.
Stepping up to industry standard 82mm (or 77mm for that matter) neutral density filters demands stacking multiple step-up rings.
Knurled brass step-up rings are the best option, being stronger than aluminium and less prone to binding.
Due to gaps in step-up ring sizing by all manufacturers, one ends up with a mixture of aluminium and brass, knurled and unknurled, mixing and matching brands and hoping for the best.
Brands I currently use include Breakthrough Photography, Heliopan, Sensei and some no-name aluminium rings that came from who knows where, but I note that Polar Pro makes some great-looking knurled brass step-up rings as well as fixed and variable neutral density filters.
None of them supplies the full set of diameters needed to step the Fujicron lenses up to, say, 52mm, 58mm or 62mm.
Stepping up from 43mm to 82mm requires a stack of rings so one may be better investing in a set of smaller diameter fixed or variable NDs such as those made by Aurora Aperture, Inc. which lists 43mm, 46mm and 49mm diameter NDs as well as sizes down to 37mm and up to 105mm.
Then there is the question of attaching focus-pulling devices, gears and matte boxes.
Fujicron lenses may be best suited for more casual video projects that demand discretion and that may be shot with the X-Pro3 or X-T4 as a B-camera.
A rumour is circulating that Fujifilm has finally taken onboard the reportedly constant barrage of requests for the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R to be updated but so far we don’t know whether that will take the form of the current lens’ semi-pancake design, that of the Fujicron lenses above or of the Fujilux manual clutch focus design of the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8, 16mm f/1.4 and 23mm f/1.4 lenses.
I vote for a Fujilux-style XF 18mm f/1.4 R WR as the best possible default documentary stills and video lens, though I suspect that an 18mm Fujicron may be appearing sometime soon instead.
Pity, but let’s see what comes down the turnpike soon.
Fujifilm, please seek inspiration from Panasonic for camera design
Despite a torrent of comments against fully-articulated LCD monitors like the one in the coming Fujifilm X-T4 by pundits opining that photographers would refuse to buy any camera so equipped, I love and enjoy the LCDs on my Panasonic cameras for stills photography and video.
Two-way, three-way and fixed LCD monitors, not so much.
Panasonic has gone one step beyond its usual fully-articulated LCD monitor with the “tilt free-angle touchscreen LCD” on its DSLR-style camera best suited for feature documentary production, the Lumix DC-S1H.
I tried out Panasonic’s Lumix DC-S1 and DC-S1R 35mm sensor cameras at touch-and-try events and was pleasantly surprised at how easy to handle they were despite their much larger size and weight than their smaller siblings, Panasonic’s G-Series Micro Four Thirds cameras.
I have ruled out considering the Lumix S-Series cameras and lenses for now as they would be a huge investment for not enough gain in stills quality and not a lot in video quality as I would be shooting Super 35 rather than so-called “full frame” video with them.
On the other hand, I already have a foot in Fujifilm’s Super 35/APS-C camera system and would rather see Fujifilm lift its video game well beyond what it has gained in the X-H1 into the realm of Panasonic’s many moviemaking achievements.
The other thing I really like about Panasonic’s S-Series and DC-G9 body designs are their big, hefty and easy-to-hold “pistol grips”.
I prefer fully-articulated over fixed, two-way or three-way LCD monitors
One of the many advantages of fully-articulated or vary-angle LCD screens is that they can be used with detachable sun hoods like those made by Smallrig for cameras and monitor/recorders, as above.
Try staring at an LCD in bright light when shooting stills or video then compare that to using a shaded LCD.
Hoods are invaluable when needing to forgo heavily-rigged cameras for video production but wanting to use the camera away from one’s eyeball on tripods, monopods or gimbals.
Accordingly I hope that the Fujifilm X-H1 will have some form of fully-articulating or vari-angle LCD monitor screen suitable for mounting a sun hood.
The Fujifilm X-H1 for Super 35 moviemaking
Panasonic must be doing something right given its Lumix DC-S1H is the first and only DSLR-style stills/video hybrid camera to be approved by Netflix.
Many hybrid shooters have apparently been investing in the camera and its rather large and pricey L-System zoom and prime lenses.
Did Netflix approve it for its Super 35 video or for the fact that it also shoots 35mm video?
Super 35 has been a standard format for high-end feature-quality moviemaking for many years now but can Fujifilm offer a high-end Super 35 alternative?
Even one that will tickle Netflix’s fancy?
(Further commentary coming soon.)
Fujifilm cameras, photojournalists and World Press Photo 2020
I first spotted a Fujifilm X-H1 in use by an expatriate Australian photojournalist, Jack Picone, alongside an X-T2 when shooting in available darkness, and events like World Press Photo show that more and more photojournalists are relying on Fujifilm cameras for their daily work.
Fujifilm first used former Leica aficionado National Geographic photographer David Alan Harvey to promote the X-Pro2 and he is now using the X-Pro3 in his magazine work.
I and others in the magazine and newspaper spheres have also relied on non-rangefinder-style cameras to supplement our rangefinder cameras over the years and it is interesting to note how many World Press Photo award-winners this year are Fujifilm users.
Yasuyoshi Chiba uses Fujifilm X-H1 and GFX100 in-body image stabilized cameras for his available light photojournalism work, testimony to the cameras’ capacity to handle challenging environments and poor available light.
Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R
Photograph made with Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS kit zoom lens at 18mm setting, equivalent to 28mm in 35mm sensor format. The 28mm focal length is perfect when one needs enough width to depict figures in landscapes and interiors, but without the exaggerated, attention-grabbing perspective of wider focal lengths such as 24mm and 21mm, 16mm and 14mm respectively in the APS-C sensor format. Photograph by Karin Gottschalk.
Up close and personal with Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR Fujicron-style prime lens. The lens’ 24mm equivalent focal length can boost the feeling of being mere inches away from your subjects at the cost of exaggerating perspective. Photograph by Karin Gottschalk.
I always try to attend Fujifilm’s annual People with Cameras in Sydney each year and was able to be there for much of this year’s event held at Doltone House on Darling Island Wharf in Pyrmont on Saturday the 7th September 2019.
More female photographers seem to attend each year, a welcome trend given the low numbers of female photographers and moviemakers who manage to make it professionally in Australia in particular and globally in general.
Those low numbers are not from want of talent but from systemic issues favouring male practitioners and thus the peculiarities of the male gaze and the male power structure, but I am hopeful that female representation in all aspects of photography and moviemaking will continue increasing to the point of parity, rapidly rather than slowly.
I carried a Think Tank Photo MindShift Gear BackLight 26L backpack containing my Fujifilm X-Pro2, a borrowed Fujifilm X-H1, a Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR and a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens both of which were also borrowed, and my own Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lenses.
I managed to very briefly borrow a Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR and a pre-production model of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens which is due for release later this year.
I ended up swapping between my 56mm lens and the borrowed 18mm lens for this event but wondered if I might have been better served by the 50-140mm zoom lens or the 50mm f/2.0 prime in conjunction with the 16mm lens or the reportedly excellent Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR.
I have always set up my cameras to zone focus by simply going into manual focus mode, setting the focusing distance scale to my desired focusing distance and shooting away. The problem with this approach is that it is difficult to keep the focusing distance consistent because more often than not I am accidentely bumping the focusing ring. However using the settings I describe below I have been able to circumvent both of these issues and have a reliable zone focusing setup….”
I made heavy use of zone focusing via setting hyperfocal distance during a years-long urban documentary project during the analog era when relying on a pair of Leica M-Series cameras and mostly 28mm and 35mm lenses.
Of the two my preference was the 28mm lens as its medium wide-angle focal length allowed me to be right in the middle of crowds and close-up to my human subjects while still revealing telling details of the environment in which they and I found ourselves.
Narrower or wider than 28mm or 35mm does not cut it for that approach, as I have proven to myself many times before and since, and ultra-wideangle lenses like the otherwise excellent Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R and Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR with their 21mm and 24mm equivalent focal lengths impose a so-called “lensey” look on the image the perspective distortion of which draws undue attention to the lens and not to the subject matter when using it up-close and in-deep in the street.
Setting one of two hyperfocal distances for either closer or more distant action with the 18mm-equivalent 28mm Leica lens was a brilliant solution to the need for maximum speed and meant I could concentrate on seeing and getting into the zone, achieving maximum flow, achieving extraordinary outcomes that evaded a slower, more deliberate approach.
My term for this high-speed, highly-focused approach to urban documentary photography was “visual athletics” and it produced challenging, heavy-muscled images that upset the denizens of my then-local art and photography community and challenged them in accepting my work as art much less as being in any way creative.
More fool them, now that photography is understood as an art form in its own right and that so-called street photography has become an acceptable creative practice.
It can be a thankless task, though, to be something of a provincial pioneer in any art form.
As I have written here a number of times, I am not a fan of Fujifilm’s ageing 18mm almost-pancake lens and have been waiting far too long for its modernized replacement.
A Fujicron-style Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR lens would be an acceptable upgrade especially for urban documentary photography but even better would be a far more versatile professional-style manual clutch focus lens in the manner of the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and XF 23mm f/1.4 R for stills and video.
Fujifilm, where is the Fujinon XF 18mm that Patrick of Fuji Rumors has been telling us is coming for ages now?
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Breakthrough Photography X4 Brass UV filters – B&H – I rely on this brand’s beautifully-made non-binding knurled traction frame UV filters to protect all my lenses with filter diameters from 39mm up to 105mm.
Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle Lens – B&H
Leica CL Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18mm Lens (Black) – B&H – Leica’s APS-C sensor digital rangefinder-style camera with 28mm-equivalent f/2.8 interchangeable lens is one possible solution to Fujifilm’s lack of a decent 28mm-equivalent 18mm lens.
Leica Q (Typ 116) Digital Camera – B&H – Leica’s 35mm sensor digital rangefinder-style camera with 28mm f/1.7 fixed lens is another possible solution to Fujifilm’s lack of a decent 28mm-equivalent 18mm lens.