Will Fujifilm Update Its X-E Rangefinder-Style Camera Line With X-E4 in First Quarter, 2021?

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. 

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Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/1.4 R OIS WR on Fujifilm X-T4. This new version gains an aperture ring and weather resistance though optics remain the same. 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.

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The legendary Contax AX 35mm analog film single lens reflex camera of 1996, made by Kyocera.

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

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Fujifilm’s “Fujicron” fast, compact prime lens collection as of February 2019 comprising the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR, Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR, Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR and Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR lenses. Images courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

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.

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Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 WR R “Fujicron” prime lens, equivalent to 75mm in the 35mm sensor format. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

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.

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Fujifilm X-E3. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

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.

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Fujifilm MHG-XE3 Metal Hand Grip, highly recommended for secure grip of the Fujifilm X-E3 camera. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

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.

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Fujifilm X-E1, X-E2 and X-E3. Image courtesy of Compact Camera Meter.

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

The full photo gallery of images mostly shot with the X-E3 and XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR with some made with two other “Fujicron” lenses is available at Walking Around Sydney CBD During Several Days in March, 2018.

What do I want to see in the Fujifilm X-E4?

  • In-body image stabilisation (IBIS).
  • Closer to 100% EVF coverage rather than 90+%.
  • Deeper rubber eyecup for easier shooting in brilliant sunlight.
  • Better built-in grip.
  • Optional metal hand grip.
  • Weather resistance (WR).
  • X100V-style tilt-screen.
  • 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!

In conclusion…

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.

Links

FUJIFILM X GFX Australia: Live Stream Session – Russell Ord – Creating the Lifestyle you want

“Throughout the years, Russell has created a lifestyle that many photographers would aspire towards. From shooting magazine covers of world-class surfers, to roaming the Australian outback with Uunguu Rangers and island-hopping across tropical fantasylands, Russell’s photography experience has led him to becoming an internationally acclaimed photographer. In this Live Stream Session, Russell shares how he turned his passion into his work, alongside his pivotal career defining moments and advice to others looking to take the plunge into the professional photography space.”

Links

Firmware Update: Free firmware update for FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR Lens

https://fujifilm-x.com/global/global-news/2020/0917_3724073/

“September 17, 2020
FUJIFILM Corporation

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.

Links

Press Release: Fujifilm Heralds in a New Age of Portrait Photography with the Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR Lens

https://fujifilm-x.com/en-au/global-news/2020/0903_3719517/

Today Fujifilm published the press release and product shots for its superfast Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR prime lens, designed for the company’s APS-C/Super 35 sensor-equipped interchangeable lens cameras including the X-Pro3 digital rangefinder and the X-T4 DSLR-style camera. 

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Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR superfast prime lens. Image courtesy of Fujifilm.

FUJIFILM heralds in a new age of portrait photography with the FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR Lens

The World’s First F1.0 lens with Autofocus

September 3, 2020

FUJIFILM Australia Pty Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of the FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR Lens (hereafter “XF50mmF1.0 R WR”), the world’s first autofocus lens with a maximum aperture of F1.0, designed for mirrorless cameras. This is the 35th interchangeable lens for X Series digital cameras, delivering exceptional image quality using FUJIFILM’s unparalleled colour reproduction technology.

The XF50mmF1.0 R WR is an ultra-fast mid-telephoto prime lens with a focal length of 50mm (equivalent to 76mm in the 35mm film format) and a maximum aperture of F1.0. As FUJIFILM’s fastest interchangeable lens to date, it features a large-diameter design delivering incomparable resolving power and beautiful bokeh effects. The lens can also deliver edge-to-edge sharpness, showing versatility in the way it produces images.

The inclusion of a DC autofocus motor into the XF50mmF1.0 R WR allows for quick and accurate autofocus when images are captured at the maximum F1.0 aperture. With an extremely shallow depth of field, the lens also utilises the X Series cameras’ Face / Eye AF function to achieve sharp focus. This is especially important when capturing portraits, which is something that is quite difficult to achieve when focusing manually.

For times when manual focus is required, such as during video-recording, the manual focus ring provides 120 degrees of rotation to allow for precise, enhanced control and quick travel through the focus range to infinity. Lastly, despite being a large-diameter F1.0 lens, its weight, size and weather-sealing make it a practical choice for any professional photographer.

Key features of the XF50mmF1.0 R WR include:

(1) Achieve an incredibly shallow depth of field

The XF50mmF1.0 R WR consists of 12 lens elements in nine groups, including one aspherical element and two ED elements to achieve optimum control of spherical aberration. Used at or near its maximum aperture of F1.0, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR can produce an astonishingly shallow depth of field. Its precisely engineered, rounded diaphragm produces large, smooth bokeh in a professional fashion, allowing users to create clean portraits with almost true-to-life quality and edge-to-edge sharpness. Users can take advantage of this new feature to exclusively focus on the subject’s eyes, making captivating close-up character studies. The lens is not just for portraits. Take it out onto the street or into a lifestyle session and users can turn cluttered locations into clean backdrops with unrivaled subject separation.

(2) Be ready to make images more easily in low-light conditions

The large maximum aperture on the XF50mmF1.0 R WR means there are more options when it comes to capturing images in low-light conditions. At night, or in darkened interiors, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR offers the widest aperture on an XF Lens to date, allowing more light to be brought into an image. The XF50mmF1.0 R WR also easily achieves fast shutter speeds that freeze movement and keep ISO settings lower for detail-rich results. Alternatively, users can combine high ISO settings with the F1.0 aperture for incredible versatility and apply this to other low-light situations like astrophotography.

(3) World’s first F1.0 autofocus lens for mirrorless cameras

As the world’s first autofocus F1.0 lens made for any mirrorless system, including full-frame cameras, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR brings more light to the sensor than any previous XF lens. This makes it possible for the autofocus to operate at -7EV luminance level. The previous limit of -6EV luminance level is achieved using lenses with a maximum aperture of F1.4. X Series users now have fast and precise low-light autofocus, even when used in near-darkness. With the added benefits of on-sensor Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), Face/ Eye AF and a powerful DC motor, precise and fast autofocus at shallow depths of field is now a possibility.

(4) Precise focus for those critical moments

To make the most of its extremely shallow depth of field, focusing must be precise. As a result, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR has a focus ring eight times more accurate than any previous XF lens. This makes it possible to change the focus from the minimum focusing distance to infinity with precision. For this, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR comes with a focus ring with 120 degrees of rotation to let users focus manually without error, as well as achieve accurate focus when using the X Series camera’s Focus Peaking and Focus Assist modes. The 120 degrees rotation also makes autofocus movements notably effortless and precise, while the lens’s engineering is designed to minimise focus shift effects while capturing images.

(5) Engineered to keep the images coming

With fast shutter speeds and a large aperture of F1.0, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR is a lens that enables users to take amazing pictures almost anywhere. Measuring 103.5mm (4.07 inches) long and weighing 845 grams (1.86 pounds), the lens is compact and portable. Like all other weather-resistant XF lenses, it is sealed in 11 locations to protect it from moisture and dust, as well as being capable of use in temperatures down to -10°C (14°F). When attached to a similarly specified, weather-resistant X Series mirrorless digital camera body, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR allows users to create unique images in the toughest environments.

*Users are advised to update their camera’s firmware to the latest version in order to allow colour shading correction at the angle of incidence for F1.0.

Product name, release date and price

Product name: XF50mmF1.0 R WR
Release date: Late September, 2020
Recommended retail price (inc. GST): $AU 2,799.00

For media enquiries, please contact:

Stephanie Qiu, CampaignLab
stephanie@campaignlab.com.au
+61 470 178 743

Nadia Fidler, CampaignLab
nadia@campaignlab.com.au
+61 411 592 524

Fujifilm XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR

Images courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Links

Reviews of Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR Zoom Lens Are Mixed, Possible Problems When Shooting Video

The Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR wide-to-long zoom lens has been one of the most long wished-for, long-awaited optics for Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super35 system cameras in recent years, and early reports from Fujifilm X-Photographer have been positive, especially regarding its apparent parfocal lens design. 

But then one might well expect brand ambassadors to wax lyrical and skip over possible pre-production and early firmware defects given reasonable expectations that Fujifilm will get it right in the end or at least in time for offical product release date. 

Not quite this time, apparently, as Fujifilm recently issued firmware version 1.02 for this now-shipping lens and some reviewers are already hoping that further firmware updates are in the pipeline. 

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.
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Fujifilm X-Pro3 pre-production model in Dura Black with pre-production Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, as seen at a Ted’s World of Imaging Touch-and-Try event in Sydney.

I was lucky enough to have a short time with a preproduction version of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom at a recent Ted’s World of Imaging touch-and-try event for the Fujifilm X-Pro3, and found it worked well enough when shooting event stills on a Fujifilm X-H1 unequipped with firmware updates for the lens.

The lens is situated price-wise in-between the pro-quality, pro-priced red badge Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR and the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit zoom, and there was some speculation that the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR might be bundled with later-release Fujifilm X-T3s or the coming X-T4 as a higher-specced kit lens, especially for video production.

The 16-80mm’s parfocal focusing is especially attractive for video use as well as the lens’ apparent 6 stops of optical image stabilization that helps make up for its f/4.0 maximum aperture when handholding in low lighting when used on non-stabilized cameras like the X-T3, X-Pro3 and the coming X-T4.

Questions about the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR’s optical qualities throughout its focal range were bandied about during the long pre-release period and I have yet to find a complete set of in-depth tests of the lens’ image quality and focusing performance.

In the meantime, pal2tech’s initial and subsequent video reviews have rather dampened my enthusiasm for the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR.

Are what he is seeing in action when shooting video in particular early production model teething problems, uneven quality assurance, limitations in current firmware or the outcome of too many design and engineering compromises?

Zoom lenses are a set of such compromises compared to prime lenses and a certain amount of them are to be expected, especially in a lens with a longer-than-usual focal length range, but has Fujifilm compromised way too much?

pal2tech’s videos may help you make up your own mind, but I would recommend going off in search of more reviews by video professionals before definitively deciding against the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR.

While some optical and autofocusing problems can be compensated for via firmware and during processing of raw stills images, video is more demanding of lens quality given that shortfalls in optical quality cannot be corrected in video non-linear editing software.

My experiences with Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses, as well as Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 gear, have amply proven the advantages of having a stabilized zoom lens in one’s kit when shooting documentary stills and video in trying conditions and available darkness rather than available light, so the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR would, theoretically, fill a yawning gap in my Fujinon lens collection.

Provided that it is as good for video as it seemed to be for stills during my all-too-short time with the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR at Ted’s.

Like many others, I have had high expectations for this lens given my longtime need for a gap-filling zoom lens for video and photography, and given the poor Australian dollar and consequent high price in local online and bricks-and-mortar stores.

Should I be reconsidering the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit zoom lens instead, and go off to ebay to look for the latter secondhand?

pal2tech: Fuji 16-80 Lens Review

pal2tech: Fujifilm 16-80mm Lens Firmware Update 1.01

pal2tech: Fujifilm 16-80 Lens Focus Problem Fix — Possible Solution

pal2tech: Fujifilm 16-80 Lens Firmware Update 1.02 – Can’t Test (and my thoughts)

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H – bundled with the unstabilized Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR, this stabilized camera may still be the current best option for video despite its older generation sensor and processor.
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR Lens B&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS LensB&H

Videos About Two Australian X-Photographers Using X-Pro3 Digital Rangefinder Camera, Megan Lewis and Michael Coyne, Now Online

Australian photographers rarely if ever feature in camera and lens makers’ marketing materials and few Australia female photographers are invited to become brand ambassadors whether they are based in Australia or overseas. 

Documentary photographer Megan Lewis features in one of two recently-released Fujifilm X-Photographer videos about the X-Pro3 digital rangefinder-style camera with documentary photographer Michael Coyne being her male counterpart. 

Both are long-time Fujifilm users and are well-qualified to offer their insights into the X-Pro3 as a dedicated documentary and photojournalism stills camera. 

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Fujifilm X-Pro 3 with MHG-XPRO3 grip and Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR prime lens. I prefer equipping my cameras with handgrips and vertical battery grips for versatility, stability and security when handholding lenses in a wide range of sizes and weights, although the smaller Fujinon lenses such as this XF 35mm f/1.4 R “Fujicron” standard prime lens may not benefit as much as larger prime and zoom lenses.

I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting either photographer, though I am keen to spend time with Megan Lewis to photograph her at work for ‘Unititled’ in order to show other female photographers that one can succeed as a documentary photographer or photojournalist.

In the immortal words of Geena Davis of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, “if she can see it, she can be it”, and so stories, photo essays and videos about female creatives like Megan Lewis are crucial to creating the possibility of women succeeding in their chosen professions to the point where we gain parity with men.

FUJIFILM X Series: Megan Lewis x X-Pro3 / FUJIFILM

FUJIFILM X Series: Different Breed: Michael Coyne x X-Pro3

Fujinon lenses used by Megan Lewis and Michael Coyne in these videos

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • FUJIFILM X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital Camera B&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS LensB&H – used by Megan Lewis
  • FUJIFILM XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR LensB&H – used by Michael Coyne

Fujifilm X-Pro3 First Look Touch & Try Event, Ted’s World of Imaging, Sydney, Wednesday November 6, 2019

I attended Fujifilm Australia’s First Look Touch & Try event at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney on Wednesday, 6th November, 2019, and had a brief opportunity to handle a preproduction version of the Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder camera that has already been well-covered in Fujifilm X-Photographer videos and articles, and first-look commentary by a range of online camera pundits. 

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Fujifilm X-Pro 3, partially denuded. Photograph courtesy of Fujifilm.

As the camera is in preproduction at time of writing, the usual request not to shoot or publish photographs made with it applies, so I will not comment on its stills and video capabilities but will attest that the X-Pro3 is an interesting evolution of Fujifilm’s professional rangefinder line.

Fujifilm is marketing the X-Pro3 as a camera for “street photographers” as Panasonic did for its latest rangefinder-style GX series camera, the Lumix DC-GX9, and I am hoping that with its X-Pro series Fujifilm will not be imitating Panasonic’s decision to make its GX series something less than a great camera for photojournalists and documentary photographers.

I dread the day my Lumix DMC-GX8 gives up the ghost given Panasonic so unexpectedly dropped the ball on pro-quality rangefinder-style cameras in favour of DSLR-style cameras like the admittedly otherwise excellent Lumix DC-G9.

The Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder-style camera

Photographs courtesy of Fujifilm.

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First rangefinder camera I ever used, as an art student. Linhof Master Technika 4″x5″ view camera can be used with a range of roll film, sheet film and digital backs. Photograph courtesy of Linhof.

Throughout my career I have relied on a range of camera styles and formats – rangefinders, rangefinder-style cameras, hand and stand sheet film cameras,  SLRs aka Single Lens Reflexes in 120 and 135  film formats, and a DSLR upon Canon’s accidental revolution in the form of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

My first choice for immersive documentary photography has always been rangefinder cameras and I have been hoping the X-Pro3 would receive many of the advances found in the X-H1 and X-T3.

Until I have a proper hands-on with it, I will not know whether that is truly the case, but the X-Pro3’s loss of the ability to use its otherwise improved optical viewfinder aka OVF with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R moderate wide-angle prime lens is a concern.

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Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 manual prime lens for Leica M-Series. This was my automatic go-to lens for documentary photography and photojournalism. Photograph courtesy of Japan Camera Hunter.

For many documentary photographers and photojournalists, as it has long been for me, the 28mm focal length (on 35mm sensor cameras) is our default and its 18mm APS-C equivalent works well on the X-Pro2 and especially in its OVF.

Since 2015 I have been daydreaming of a radically improved X-Pro3 being released alongside an even more radically upgraded Fujinon XF 18mm lens with both aimed at documentary photographers and photojournalists, but Fujifilm seems to have decided on setting its sights lower than that, upon street photographers whom I humbly suggest might be better served by the forthcoming X100V.

Time will tell where Fujifilm is heading with its cameras, but I hope that it will not forget its documentary and photojournalism customers as Panasonic appears to have done.

Both companies employed celebrated photojournalists to publicize previous versions of their rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras but dropped them in favour of street photographers in their latest versions.

What the… ?

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Warrewyk Williams of Fujifilm Australia presenting the Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder camera at Fujifilm X-Pro3 FIRST LOOK + Touch & Try event at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney on Wednesday November 6, 2019. Photographs by Karin Gottschalk.
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Warrewyk Williams of Fujifilm Australia presenting on the Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder camera.
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Fujifilm X-Pro3 pre-production model with pre-production Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.
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Fujifilm X-T30 dwarfed by the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens.
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Fujifilm X-Pro3 pre-production model with limited edition silver grey Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR prime lens.
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Handing over the Fujifilm X-Pro3 pre-production model with limited edition silver grey Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR prime lens.
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Fujifilm’s smaller, more affordable “Fujicron” lenses are particularly suitable for the X-Pr03 and its processor the X-Pro2, given how the front elements of the larger, costlier “Fujilux” lenses protrude into the lower right of both cameras’ optical viewfinders.
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I have yet to have the pleasure of trying out the Fujifilm GFX-100 medium format camera but it appears particularly suited to the style of portrait photography I used to carry out with 120 roll film and sheet film cameras during the analog era.
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The X-Pro3 finds its way into some female hands.
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Ditto, though with the oversight of a gentleman’s innate expertise.

PauL Leeming’s Leeming LUT Pro Now Released for Fujifilm F-Log, LUTs for Eterna Cinema, Pro Neg Std and HLG for Rec709 Coming Soon

Cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro and Visceral Psyche. Photograph made by Karin Gottschalk with Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R then processed in Alien Skin Exposure X4 using Summer Blockbuster cinematic preset.

Australian feature film cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has released the first camera profile correction look-up table in his Leeming LUT Pro set for Fujifilm X-Trans sensor-equipped cameras, for Fujifilm’s F-Log logarithmic shooting profile, with Eterna Cinema, Pro Neg Std and HLG for Rec709 LUTs to come. 

This is a significant and long-awaited event given that Fujifilm has finally delivered on its longtime promise to radically improve its cameras’ video capabilities with the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-H1, with the coming X-H2 hopefully improving on the X-T3 as a moviemaking hybrid mirrorless camera in Super 35 format. 

Super 35 has long been the feature film format of choice for narrative and documentary production, and the arrival of improved video capabilities on Fujifilm’s X-T2 cameras was a relief after the disappointment of the X-Pro2’s video support. 

Leeming LUT Pro for F-Log on Fujifilm cameras with X-Trans sensors

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Still frame from sample footage of Leeming LUT Pro for Fujifilm F-Log in use with video from Fujifilm X-T3.

Even the recently announced X-Pro3 appears to have 4K Super 35 video features that may prove good enough in a pinch when more video-oriented cameras are unavailable.

The Leeming LUT Pro expose and correction methodology is based on exposing to the right aka ETTR followed by correction via camera-specific look-up-table files in one’s nonlinear editing suite or colour grading software of choice.

The ETTR method’s most vocal proponent was the late Michael Reichmann who was in favour for its use in photography and videography, and although he and many other photographers constantly lobbied camera makers for auto-ETTR in their Live View-capable cameras, to no effect so far.

Why camera makers continue to ignore the necessity of optimal exposure is anyone’s guess.

For that reason I am grateful that Paul Leeming has applied himself to solving the problem of correct exposure followed by correcting colour via Leeming LUT Pro, with the added benefit of making footage shot on a variety of affordable cameras usable in the same timeline without excessive shot matching work.

The ideal, maximum possible dynamic range and realistic colours, using Leeming LUT Pro and Expose-To-The-Right (ETTR)

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Footage with Leeming LUT Pro applied in nonlinear editing suite.

Uncorrected camera maker luma and colorimetry

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“Uncorrected manufacturer luma curve and colorimetry. Notice how the X shape is all distorted and not straight, and how it artificially lifts the mids to make them much brighter (a favourite trick of the manufacturers to make their images appear brighter than the sensor is recording them).”

Luma curve and colorimetry levels corrected with Leeming LUT Pro

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“Corrected luma curve. Notice how straight the X shape is. As an aside, you can also see the fixed colorimetry levels.”

In the light of camera makers’ tendency to fudge their camera’s video output as illustrated above, exposing to the right appears to make footage appear darker than one may be accustomed to, but Mr Leeming has made available other, secondary, LUTs to quickly and easily raise footage low values, as explained below.

As usual, the LUT will “darken” the footage, which really just means it will make the curve perfectly LINEAR. Examine the attached image using your waveform scope in your favourite editing software, and you’ll see what that means, with the exposure steps forming a perfect “X” shape in linear fashion. This is of course ETTR, so if you under-expose your image, it will look darker.

The LUT(s) don’t make the image darker. The LUT(s) correct the manufacturer luma curves to be linear. In most (but not all) cases, this results in the image “appearing” to be darker, but it’s not affecting anything, nor clipping anything, nor adding additional noise that wasn’t in the shot to begin with.

Don’t forget, you also have the Apollo Pro Quickies to use after the corrective LUT in case you want to brighten the image without clipping the highlights or adding any more shot noise. But when you can, please ETTR and save yourself the problems (and give yourself the cleanest possible log image to begin with).

If your shot after LUT application has its highlights not reaching 100% IRE, then you underexposed it. Use the zebras as per the guide to see where the clipping point is. Expose just shy of that and you’ll maximise sensor dynamic range and minimise shot noise.

If you HAVE underexposed or simply want a brighter image post-corrective LUT, try following it with one or more of my Apollo Pro Quickies, which are expressly designed to lift the shadows in a natural way without clipping the highlights.

Stills frames from feature film shot by Paul Leeming, ungraded then graded with Leeming LUT Pro

Settings for shooting video Fujifilm cameras for processing with Leeming LUT Pro

  • Pro Neg Std, Eterna Cinema, F-log or HLG
  • H265 recording format
  • DR100 for all profiles
  • Highlight tone 0
  • Shadow tone 0
  • Color 0
  • Sharpness -4
  • Noise Reduction -4
  • Zebra level 100%

Quick and dirty Leeming LUT Pro for Fujifilm F-Log tryout with Fujifilm X-H1 F-Log footage

I shoot documentary stills and video rather than make narrative feature movies, so often work alone under challenging conditions as in this example.

The Fujifilm X-H1 had a vintage Zeiss Jena Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 MC Auto prime lens attached to it via a Gobe M42-to-X-mount adapter with no neutral density filter, and I fudged on setting a custom white balance as I was more concerned with understanding the creative possibilities of this lens for video than in getting technicalities perfect.

An adapted 50mm lens on an APS-C/Super 35 camera equates to 75mm in the 35mm sensor format, which is one of my favourite focal lengths for documentary photography and video.

I have been throughly enjoying trying out this lens and its companion, a Panagor PMC 28mm f/2.8 wide-angle prime lens that Paul Leeming kindly gave us.

These sorts of vintage prime lenses are rare and overpriced here in Sydney, at least ever since camera stores like Foto Reisel with their secondhand gear cabinets closed down.

Fujifilm Super 35/APS-C hybrid cameras capable of shooting 4K and Cinema 4K F-Log video as well as in other picture profiles: X-T3, X-H1 and X-Pro3

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • Fujifilm XF and GFX CamerasB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital Camera B&H
  • Fujifilm XF LensesB&H

Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions: FujiFilm X-Pro3 Hands-On: I’m Convinced. – video

“A technically modest upgrade yields big dividends….”

Links

Commentary

Worse eye relief in the X-Pro3 and an optical viewfinder that is not as good as the one in its predecessor, the X-Pro2, when it should have been radically improved upon?

I can see why so many online commentators are saying they may acquire a second X-Pro2 instead of an X-Pro3 when the prices drop or abandon rangefinder-style cameras altogether for the DLSR-style X-T3.

The proof is in the pudding, however, and such decisions are best made by trying out any new camera, just as Hugh Brownstone has done albeit all too briefly with the Fujifilm X-Pro3.

As for me, I am off to check the X-Pro3’s eye relief data, the OVF’s magnification factor and whether it still allows use of focal lengths from 18mm through to 56mm with full view and not cropped, as occurs when using a 16mm lens on the X-Pro2.

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • FUJIFILM X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital Camera B&H
  • Fujifilm XF LensesB&H