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.
“… How did you decide on what video features to include in the camera? Some expected features – like zebra – are missing.
Honestly, we couldn’t add zebra because of hardware constraints. The processor cannot support it. It requires too much processing power. At this time, we’ve achieved the best possible performance for the processor….
… Is 8-bit capture enough, for F-Log recording?
There are 10-bit cameras on the market, but we recommend using Eterna to short-cut the recording process. We think 8-bit is enough for good quality….”
With the X-H1 Fujifilm has successfully pulled off the in-body image stabilization that we were told was simply not possible, and what a success Fujifilm’s IBIS appears to be with a maximum of 5.5 stops for non-stabilized lenses like the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R.
With the X-H1 positioned as a hybrid for stills photographers and independent moviemakers, the camera’s other specifications are something of a compromise and that is also due to being equipped with the same X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor and X-Processor Pro used in its older Fujifilm siblings such as the X-Pro2 and X-T2.
The rumor sites have reported, though, that the Fujifilm X-T3 DSLR-style camera will be announced later in the year at photokina and will have a new X-Trans sensor of between 24 and 30 megapixels, and a new X-Processor Pro, although no IBIS.
With a more powerful processing engine on the way, Fujifilm may be able to add three crucial features missing from the X-H1 – exposure zebras, 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video and 4K 60fps – to its successor, presumably to be named the X-H2.
I am hoping that this new sensor and processor will find its way into the successor to my beloved X-Pro2, probably to be named the X-Pro3, along with a much improved electronic viewfinder (EVF) to match the already high quality of the X-Pro2’s Advanced Hybrid optical viewfinder and monitor.
The X-Pro2 is the almost perfect, affordable documentary photography and photojournalism rangefinder camera and I am looking forward to adding wider and perhaps longer Fujinon X-Mount lenses to my kit for use with a brighter, clearer and more colour-accurate EVF on a zebra-equipped X-Pro3.
The X-H1 is a remarkable advance in Fujifilm’s DSLR-style offerings and will be snapped up by those of us still able to work commercially or with large enough budgets to acquire each new camera that appears.
Being a self-funded documentarian nowadays, I have to be more cautious with new gear and so am looking forward to the X-H2 and especially the X-Pro3.
Fujifilm has announced the Fujifilm X-H1 photography and video hybrid APS-C Super 35 DSLR-style camera, and it comes with a range of new features and features yet to arrive and that may appear in firmware updates later in the year or not at all.
Fujifilm also announced the long-awaited X-Mount versions of its first two affordable parfocal cinema zoom lenses for use with its X-Mount Super 35/APS-C cameras and especially the X-H1, the Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9,
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R WR zoom lens
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R WR zoom lens
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip
Vistek | Your Visual Imaging Experts – Fujifilm X-H1 Review – “Fashion photographer Nick Merzetti and Vistek video producer Dale Sood give us a full review of the video and photo features of the new Fujifilm X-H1.”
“In case you missed it, I have google translated to English the entire press release leaked in German as well as manually translated the full specs sheet (see below). You can also download the specs sheet in English here at my dropbox….”
Fuji Rumors has outdone itself on the Fujifilm X-H1 with heavily detailed specifications lists, press releases, images and size comparisons between the X-H1 and other hybrid stills/video cameras whether mirrorless or DSLR, in advance of Fujifilm’s official X-H1 product announcement on February 15.
That announcement will no doubt also include the X-Mount versions of Fujifilm’s MK Series 18-55mm T2.9 and 50-135mm T2.9 cinema zoom lenses, previously released in E-Mount versions for Sony cinema and Sony Alpha hybrid cameras in the α7 and α9 series.
I will be publishing official product photographs, specifications, and links to articles and videos by moviemakers and photographers who have been working with pre-production versions of the Fujifilm X-H1 and X-Mount versions of the Fujinon MK Series zoom lenses after Fujifilm’s announcement on the 15th and no doubt that article will be a lengthy one.
With the leaks by DigiCame-Info, Fuji Rumors and Nokishita, there has been much discussion and speculation at online moviemaking fora, much of it comparing the X-H1’s video specifications to Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 and DC-GH5S Super 16/Micro Four Thirds cameras, and Samsung’s discontinued but still revolutionary Super 35/APS-C NX1.
All three cameras raised the bar for mirrorless video very high indeed.
This is the set of video-centric features I have been hoping to see appear in the X-H1:
4K UHD and 4K DCI 200 Mbit
5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that works in conjunction with optical image stabilization (OIS)
Battery grip with full controls for vertical/portrait orientation
Decent battery sizes
Decent body grip
Decent set of of well-spaced colour-matched native X-Mount prime and zoom lenses with manual clutch focus or at least linear focus-by-wire
Dual memory card slots
Exposure zebras with ability to set percentages/IRE levels
External recording via HDMI 2.0+
Full 10-bit internal F-Log
Fully-customizable picture profiles
In-body audio-monitoring aka headphone port
Unlimited recording duration
Viable eye and face autofocus
How many of these boxes, as it were, will the DSLR-style Fujifilm X-H1 tick and how much will any non-inclusion of essential features mitigate against the X-H1 in being a viable, up-to-date video camera for the sorts of productions that warrant Super 35 image quality?
Or, will that good old Australian saying, “close enough is good enough”, be applicable enough in the case of the Fujifilm X-H1?
Of the three Fujifilm cameras in question, I am most familiar with the X-T2 having been lucky enough to have borrowed a review loaner, so will confine my comments here to that but readers interested in the X-T20 and GFX 50S may wish to read up on their firmware updates in my list of links below.
I am currently the proud owner of an X-Pro2 rangefinder camera and am looking forward to late December’s release of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 Version 4.00 firmware for 4K video mode, tethered shooting, new autofocus algorithm and support for Fujifilm Raw Studio and Fujifilm X Acquire.
Version 3.00 of the X-T2’s firmware does not include the much-requested exposure zebras persistent in shooting mode, one of the two most essential firmware features needed for professional-quality work, along with focus peaking which previous firmware did have.
Instead, Fujifilm has included “overexposed areas blink” aka “blinkies” which is activated by pressing “the function button to which Histogram has been assigned” as per Fujifilm’s X-T2 New Features Guide Version 3.00.
The Guide does not specify whether the RGB histogram and overexposure blinkies can be viewed and remain persistent while shooting photographs or video thus allowing exposure adjustment as the light changes.
Having both the blinkies and the RGB histogram on-screen while shooting as illustrated in the Guide would be distracting to say the least, and blinkies alone while shooting would have been preferable.
Fujifilm’s blindness to zebras persists
Percentage-adjustable exposure zebras as featured on numerous contemporary and recent digital cameras and camcorders would have been even better again, but Fujifilm seems to have a persistent blindness to zebras as I have mentioned in many articles on this website, most recently Fujifilm… I’m Cross Over Your Aversion to Zebras.
This zebra blindness is surprising given Fujifilm’s legendary willingness to listen to its user base as well as its famous Kaizen – “improvement” or “change for the better” – philosophy.
Is there something Fujifilm knows that thousands of professional and enthusiast moviemakers do not?
Is Fujifilm really serious about fully supporting professional-quality video functionality in its cameras?
Will exposure zebras and other essential pro video features like internal F-Log recording, on-camera headphone ports and many more hardware and firmware functions eventually find their way into a future, more video-worthy version of the X-T2 or one of its descendants?
Or is Fujifilm having a cunning laugh at video functionality while continuing to aim its cameras more at photographers than videographers?
I would love Fujifilm to take some hints out of Panasonic’s and Samsung’s books, and their cameras’ many cutting-edge video achievements, to produce a truly remarkable, market-leading Super 35/APS-C hybrid video/stills camera.
For immersive fly-on-the-wall documentary stills photography on the other hand, nothing beats a real digital rangefinder camera and Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 hits the spot in combination with Fujifilm’s Fujinon aperture-ring-equipped manual clutch focus prime lenses like the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, my current favourite documentary photography lens.
More power to Fujifilm’s advanced hybrid rangefinder and fast manual clutch focus prime lens arm, as it were, and I am looking forward to December’s firmware update for the X-Pro2.
I am relishing being able to shoot great 4K video on this wonderful rangefinder camera at long last.
FujiRumors has shared a video showing how focus peaking and overexposure blinkies flash when both are switched on.
I hope there is an option to at least turn the flashing off as I would find this irritating when shooting, just as I did when viewing this video.