Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions: FujiFilm X-Pro3: Dangerous!

“A modest dissertation on the X-Pro3 development announcement, clickbait and the diminution of language.”

fujifiom_x-pro3_preproduction_01_1080px
Image of pre-production Fujifilm X-Pro3 from video of Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya 2019 on September 20, 2019.

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 Cameras B&H
  • Fujifilm LensesB&H

bigheadtaco: First Look: Fujifilm XF16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR

“It’s been a while since Fujifilm released a wide to medium range zoom lens, especially with both OIS and WR. Previously, the only general range zoom lens that had both features was the big and bulky XF18-135mm lens. My hope was that Fujifilm would re-make the XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens to be XF16-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS WR. Instead, Fujifilm decided to keep the original kit lens and create the new XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR. Who is this lens for? It really depends. If you own the X-T3 and you really want a mid-range zoom lens with both OIS and WR, this is the only option you have. However, if you own the X-H1, would you be better off with the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 and put up with the size and weight of a professional lens? “

fujinon_xf_16-80mm_f4.0_r_wr_ois_06_1024px.jpg
Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

Good to see that photographers are receiving pre-production copies of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR and, as usual, even more reviews will be appearing when production versions of the lens make their way into the world.

When I was photographing the climate strike rally in Sydney on September 20, I found myself wondering how the 16-80mm f/4.0 zoom lens might change and even improve the way I cover such subjects.

See my personal Instagram account for documentary photographs of the rally and other events, recently mostly using prime lenses on Fujifilm cameras as Panasonic Lumix camera and lens loaners have been in short supply.

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 Cameras B&H
  • Fujifilm LensesB&H

Fujifilm X Summit Shibuya 2019 and the Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.0 Super Fast Prime Lens

First topic to be tackled at Fujifilm’s X Summit Shibuya 2019 on September 20 was lenses and specifically the Fujinon XF 33mm f/1.0 superfast standard prime lens so often requested by Fujifilm aficionados in online polls such as those run by Patrick Di Vino of Fuji Rumors. 

Before tackling that lens, though, the soon-to-be-released Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR standard zoom lens was displayed onstage and its size and apparent weight hinted at it soon being a very in-demand lens and a viable alternative to Fujifilm’s three other standard zoom lenses, the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit lens, the Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR travel lens and the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Red Badge premium-quality lens. 

The surprise of the lens segment, though, was the 33mm f/1.0 being shelved in favour of a Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 prime lens due to size and weight problems Fujifilm encountered in the design process. 

leica_summilux+_lineup_21-90mm_square_1920px_80pc
Leica worked out the best prime lens focal length line-up for documentary photography and photojournalism in 35mm years ago and it remains the benchmark and role model for other lens makers to this very day. The only focal length missing from this lens collection is 40mm, which Leica made for the Leica CL rangefinder camera which was later taken over by Minolta as the Minolta CLE with 40mm standard lens as well as a 28mm and 90mm lens. Too many contemporary lens makers leave out 28mm and 75mm lenses and their equivalents for other sensor formats. Why? Both these focal lengths are the most essential for documentary photography and photojournalism.

I was not cut up about Fujifilm swapping the 50mm f/1.0 for the 33mm f/1.0 given I have never been a fan of 50mm and thereabouts standard lenses and their 33mm to 35mm equivalents in APS-C/Super 35 sensor cameras.

I much prefer 40mm equivalent “perfect normal” standard lenses due to their versatility and and proximity to the effects of human vision, finding 50mm lenses a little too much like short telephotos.

I often carry an X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 “pancake” lens attached and love this focal length as much for use in video as stills photography, for portraiture and interviews as much for multiple figure documentary work.

I even rely on my 27mm f/2.8 lens for handheld product shots, though in other camera systems and sensor sizes I tend more towards 50mm equivalents due to these lenses often being given away with the camera or at least at give-away prices.

I would love it if Fujifilm produced a weather-resistant aperture ring-equipped 27mm lens with manual clutch focus in line with the company’s commitment to pro-quality video production, to sit alongside the similarly-designed XF 14mm f/2.8 R, XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and XF 23mm f/1.4 R lenses.

While Fujifilm’s X-mount Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and MKX 50-135mm T2.9 parfocal cinema zoom lens pair appears to be an excellent solution for video production, we also need prime lenses more suitable for cinematography and stills photography on Fujifilm’s hybrid cameras.

Fujifilm’s surprise XF 50mm f/1.0 would make a suitable 75mm equivalent lens for stills and video as would a revamped XF 35mm f/1.4 R so long as both are also equipped with manual clutch focus.

nikon_micro-nikkor_105mmf2.8_01_1024px_60pc
Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 manual focus, manual exposure macro lens, the lens with which I became a portrait photographer.

If Fujifilm’s lens designers can retain the optical qualities of the current 35mm f/1.4 lens, often referred to as the “god lens”, but encased inside a fast autofocusing, weather resistant, manual clutch focus housing then we would have a decent set of matched primes  for Fujifilm’s X-Tn and X-Hn series cameras as a viable alternative to the MKX zooms.

Even better would be if Fujifilm produced a fast maximum aperture 70mm prime lens, equivalent to 105mm in the 35mm sensor format.

Although portrait photography benefits from access to a range of standard or normal to longer focal lengths, from 40mm through 50mm, 75mm and 105mm to even longer ones contained within the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS Red Badge zoom lens, my personal preference for most portrait work is 105mm given I started in portraiture with Nikon’s Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 in my art school days and still yearn for a Fujinon APS-C equivalent.

A wider maximum aperture than f/2.8 would be even better, something closer to Sigma’s 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens than its 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens.

I might add that the 18mm focal length in APS-C and Super 35, equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format, is my number one preference for documentary cinematography and stills photography, and the lack of a professional quality 18mm prime lens in Fujifilm’s X-mount system is a constant thorn in my side.

If such a lens existed it would take up permanence residence on my prime documentary camera with a, preferably, fast 75mm or even a 105mm equivalent lens on my second cameras in a two-camera, two-lens documentary set-up.

Think Nick Nolte’s photojournalist in Under Fire or David Douglas Duncan with a long lens on an SLR and a wide lens on a Leica M-Series rangefinder camera.

Imagine a matched set of top-quality lenses for stills and video to choose from consisting of 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 35mm, 50mm, 56mm and 70mm, all with weather resistance, manual clutch focus, fast autofocus and aperture rings.

No more hoping that third party lens makers might somehow see fit to come up with a full set of matched manual focusing optics so that Fujifilm’s Super 35-shooting X-mount cameras might have the video prime lenses they so richly deserve.

Documentary photographs using a two-camera, two prime lens set-up

Prime lens alternatives to the Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0

My first two lenses for the X-Pro2 were the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, and my choice was based on the available light documentary-style wedding photography practices of Kevin Mullins as generously shared on his website f16.click.

My budget was limited so other lenses on my list for consideration then, the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R OIS kit zoom, had to be excluded.

Over the years I have found the XF 56mm f/1.2 R to be an excellent portrait lens with the aperture set at or near f/1.2.

The 56mm’s downsides are the slowness of its focusing motors, its lack of manual clutch focus, that its closest focusing distance is not close enough for my full face portrait style, and its 84mm focal length equivalence means I often must step back too much when framing groups of people in crowds for images like the ones above.

Kevin Mullins’ style is not mine and it has been a long time since I photographed weddings to put myself through university art school.

Mr Mullins appears to mostly photograph weddings with wide open aperture, in program mode, and in search of a blurry, gritty, grainy, funky look whereas my ways of seeing and photographing derive from the deep focus and laser beam sunlight-lit places in which I grew up.

I have tried the Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR out for urban documentary and it performed well, alone and in combination with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 and that pairing has worked in a similar way to when I relied on Leica M-Series rangefinder cameras with 28mm and 75mm Leica lenses.

The Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR in combo with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0

If only Fujifilm would at least update its 18mm f/2.0 to match the optical and mechanical quality of its 50mm f/2.0, or even better come up with an f/1.4 18mm manual clutch focus alternative for video production and stills photography.

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 Cameras B&H
  • Fujifilm LensesB&H

Fuji Rumors: Some LOVE the Fujifilm X-Pro3, and Here is Why!

https://www.fujirumors.com/some-love-the-fujifilm-x-pro3-and-here-is-why/

“Today I thought I try to balance out the X-Pro3 sh*tstorm, by sharing a few stories of people, who actually either like or understand (and hence accept) the new X-Pro3 hidden tilt screen concept.

If you ask me personally, I admit that my first reaction was also something like “what the heck is this?”

But you know what I have learned from reading the massive (and brilliant) essays of Michel de Montaigne?

I have learned that we should try to “suspend our judgment”….”

live-from-tokyo-x-summit-shibuya-2019--fujifilm-01185515_gigapixel
The tilting LCD monitor on the Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder camera. Still frame from live streaming video of Fujifilm X-Pro3 from Fujifilm X Summit on 20th September 2019.

Commentary

fujifilm_tx-1_35mm_panorama_camera_01_1024px_60pc
Fujifilm TX-1 35mm panorama camera. Image courtesy of Japan Camera Hunter. Fujifilm has been producing cutting-edge rangefinder cameras for decades.

Suspension of judgement is exactly what is needed in this moment between Fujifilm revealing the X-Pro3 at its recent X Summit Shibuya 2019 and the first appearance of production versions of the camera in the specialist media and retailers.

Fujifilm is clearly going through a process of differentiation and granulation with its current and coming camera offerings, pushing the X-Pro series even further into rangefinder photography camera territory.

When the X-Pro1 was released, there was no X-Tn series and certainly no X-Hn series, and no mention at all of any possible GFX medium format cameras.

All our hopes were in the one basket but now there are non-rangefinder-style alternatives like the X-T3, X-T30 and soon, hopefully, the X-H2 to realize all the promise revealed in the X-H1 that was thwarted somewhat by its X-T2 generation sensor and processor.

I still love shooting 4K video with my X-Pro2 when needed and when it is the only camera I am carrying at the time, which is almost every day, and was saddened by the limited video functionality Fujifilm gave us in the relevant firmware update, but heavy video production requires the use of cameras with heavyweight video firmware functionality.

Right now, the Fujifilm X-T3 makes an excellent Super 35 video camera for use with gimbals and other forms of traditional stabilization via hardware, and OIS-equipped zoom lenses are also a good solution when shooting handheld video.

The coming Fujifilm X-H2 needs to take a leaf from Panasonic’s book, learning the lessons of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, the GH5S and the S1H and then surpassing them with all the hardware features and firmware functionality required for handheld or heavily-rigged video production.

I am looking forward to learning more about the X-Pro3’s improved optical viewfinder and especially its improved electronic viewfinder, the latter one of the weakest aspects of the X-Pro2 despite its other many strengths as a documentary camera.

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 Cameras B&H
  • Fujifilm LensesB&H

TheSnapChick: IBIS, Dynamic Range and a Clever Coyote! Fujifilm X-H1 is an X Series Gem

“I ran around with the Fujifilm X-H1 for three weeks. I loved it. More detailed thoughts and photos/videos in the review!…

My channel is about photography as an art form and as a lifestyle, with a healthy dose of technology thrown in!”

fujifilm_x-h1_50-140mm_01_1024px_60%
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR professional zoom lens.

Commentary

Longtime Canon and Nikon DSLR user Brittany Leigh has published a series of video reviews of Fujifilm’s X-Mount APS-C/Super 35 mirrorless cameras and I hope she will review more Fujifilm cameras and Fujinon lenses including the company’s new three medium format G-Mount cameras.

Female reviewers of photography and cinematography gear are far too rare, and female reviewers working in documentary photography, photojournalism or documentary moviemaking are even more rare.

Ms Leigh appears to photograph mostly landscape and wildlife, neither of which are genres I practice, but her technical and usability insight is excellent especially given her DSLR and SLR background, very useful for those from the same background contemplating modernizing by joining the mirrorless revolution.

I have just discovered Brittany Leigh via her TheSnapChick Youtube channel, and so far her analyses of the Fujifilm X100F, X-H1, X-T3 and, I assume, the X-T30, are spot on.

I have yet to experience the X-T30 but given how remarkable its larger sibling the X-T3 has proven to be, the former is doubtless just as remarkable in its own way.

Fujifilm is rather unique in the way it produces cameras with not dissimilar internals to fill a range of usability niches, suiting a wide range of users across all genres.

Fujifilm is not a one-size-fits-all camera and lens maker, and I hope that the granularity of its current offerings becomes even more apparent in future cameras and lenses.

Using the X100 series is a pure photography rangefinder-style experience with all the benefits of a fixed lens in one of the most useful focal length equivalents, a Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 prime at the equivalent of 35mm in the 35mm sensor format.

I do not use the misleading “full frame”, “full format” and “crop sensor” terminology, product of the marketing department rather than designers and engineers, by the way.

The X-T3, and one assumes the X-T30, is a brilliant state of the art Super 35 video camera as well as an APS-C stills camera capable of producing image quality rivalling 35mm sensor-equipped cameras.

The X-H1, which I have been trying out thanks to the kindness of Fujifilm Australia and its PR agency, is a harbinger of pro-level things to come and had I the spare change for one of the current amazing deals comprising camera, vertical battery grip, lens and accessories, then I would snap one up immediately to fill the gaps between the X-Pro2 and the X-T3.

There being no one-size-fits-all camera in the Fujifilm X and GFX systems, each camera needs to be considered for its strengths and weaknesses.

When working professionally, one needs to carry a range of cameras and lenses, often with some degree of overlap should the worst occur on location, and the size, weight and relative affordability of Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 X-Mount cameras and lenses makes it possible to transport it all in a backpack or hard case.

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 Cameras B&H
  • Fujifilm LensesB&H

DPReview: CP+ 2019: Fujifilm interview – ‘We want to show photographers the future’

https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/8410636142/cp-2019-fujifilm-interview-we-want-to-show-photographers-the-future

“At the CP+ show earlier this month in Yokohama Japan, we sat down with senior executives from Fujifilm. During our conversation we covered everything from the upcoming GFX 100, to plans for APS-C and why the X100 still occupies such an important position in the company’s lineup.

Our interview was conducted with three senior executives in Fujifilm’s Electronic Imaging Products Division:

  • Toshi Iida, General Manager.
  • Makoto Oishi, Product Planning Manager.
  • Shin Udono, Senior Manager of the Sales and Marketing Group.…”

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • Fujifilm camerasB&H
  • Fujifilm lensesB&H

Ivan Joshua Loh: Happy 8th Birthday X100.

https://ivanjoshualoh.com/2019/03/05/happy-8th-birthday-x100/

“My earliest memories of X100 was at a shopping mall. I was walking pass an electronic store and on display was a gorgeous camera. I actually stop and spend a little moment admiring how good looking it was. It was a Fujifilm camera. Wow. I have never own the original X100. I have used a X100s and owned a X100T and now a X100F.

The X100 series is always special to me. I love the design of it. Kudos to the designer; whom I have the privilege to meet on two occasion. Thank you Masazumi Imai; you have design a timeless looking camera that is loved by photographers all over the world….”

_1060674_aurorahdr2018_1024px_60%
Fujifilm Finepix X100 with lens hood and hand grip, still in use after all these years and still producing great photographs.

Commentary

The X100 was the first camera that showed me I was going to love digital photography, after too many dodgy and disappointing premium compacts, bridge cameras and DSLRs.

I ordered one immediately and have loved it from the day it eventually arrived.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • Fujifilm camerasB&H
  • Fujifilm lensesB&H
  • FUJIFILM X100F Digital CameraB&H

Fujifilm Releases Firmware Updates for X-T2, X-T20 and GFX 50S, Still No Live Zebras for Perfect Exposure when Shooting

Fujifilm has released its firmware updates for the X-T2, X-T20 and GFX 50S APS-C/Super 35 and medium format cameras, along with the new, free Fujifilm X Raw Studio raw convertor and Fujifilm X Acquire 1.7 for settings back-ups, restoration and tethered shooting on Mac or Windows computers, while firmware updates for the X-Pro2 and X100F remain on-course for late December 2017. 

Fujifilm’s support for Super 35 video in the X-T2 flagship DSLR-style mirrorless camera appears partially complete. Looks like we may need to wait for the Fujifilm X-H1 for the arrival of a full set of top-end professional video features some time in 2018.

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.

How to access RGB histograms and overexposed areas blinkies, from page 1 of the X-T2 New Features Guide Version 3.00. But is this the whole story?

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?

A cunning plan?

Does Fujifilm have a cunning plan?

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.

If FujiRumors’ report that the Fujifilm X-H1 will be Fuji’s [sic] first IBIS Camera (no longer X-T2S) is correct, and their rumour accuracy has proven to be high in the past, then will the X-H1 be the very first Fujifilm camera worthy of being attached to Fujifilm’s new Fujinon MK Series X-Mount Ciné zoom lenses, currently only available with Sony E-Mounts as the Fujinon MK18-55mm T2.9 Lens (Sony E-Mount) and
Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9 Lens (Sony E-Mount).

Leaning elsewhere for video, but…

Right now, I am not holding my breath but am leaning heavily towards Panasonic’s mature Super 16/Micro Four Thirds offerings now and in the very near future for video in combination with Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro manual clutch focus prime and zoom lenses.

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.

Postscript

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.

Links

Image Credits

Image concept and quick hack by Carmel D. Morris.

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Mirrorless CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X100F Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lensesB&Hg
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H

Fujifilm, Damn It, Get a Grip!

One thing my partner learned from ten years working in Canon’s research and development division is that even photographic market leaders have hardware and firmware blindspots, and in that instance they were legion and persistent, and remain so to this day. 

Fujifilm has its own persistent camera and lens hardware and firmware idiosyncrasies, which I have covered in other articles on this site, with one of its most recent hardware blindspots being the failure to issue a hand grip for the camera most in need of one, the Fujifilm X100F. 

Fujifilm Finepix X100 camera with Fujifilm MHG-X100 hand grip and Peak Design original Cuff and CL-2 Clutch camera straps. I am waiting for Peak Design AL-3 Anchor Links to appear locally so I can replace the original AL and current AL-2 Anchor Links illustrated as they are too thick to permit easily opening the camera’s battery and card door.

When I managed to see an X100, I was impressed by Fujifilm’s achievement but dismayed by its minimal built-in grip and the slipperiness of its tiny body.

I ordered one and it arrived just before a trip to San Francisco where I carried it everywhere every day.

It helped me produce some terrific photographs but my ability to hold it comfortably and safely at all times was compromised by the lack of a hand grip, despite finding a reasonable wrist strap to attach the camera.

I eventually came across Fujifilm’s MHG-X100 hand grip and snapped it up, attaching it to the camera along with Peak Design’s Clutch and Cuff camera straps.

I was impressed by how Fujifilm had thought of everything, by designing a rectangular notch into the side of the hand grip to allow attaching camera straps like the first one I bought for it, from San Francisco’s DSPTCH travel company.

Gallery of X100 images, before and after hand grip

The top three photographs were made when I did not have a hand grip for my X100, and the three photographs below were made after I bought a Fujifilm hand grip.

The safer former grip afforded by the hand grip gave me far more confidence and allowed me to be far more gestural in my approach, working faster and getting close in to the action.

I use my X100 with hand grip for documentary projects to this day.

No Fujifilm hand grip for the X100F!

I was shocked to learn that Fujifilm had failed to produce an updated version of its MHG-X100 hand grip for the X100F, when I was kindly loaned an X100F.

Like the X100 and its two successors, the X100S and X100T, the X100F’s body is small and slippery, and its taller built-in slippery grip bump does little or nothing to aid in ensuring a good hand-hold of the camera.

I attached my usual Peak Design Clutch and Cuff via Peak Design’s Arca-Swiss compatible camera plate, as in the photographs above, but it was a compromise compared to my hand-grip-plus-camera-straps solution for the X100.

Compromise, too is the word I would apply to each third party camera grip design I have seen online so far, linked to in my list of links blow.

None of them appeal to me and I am wondering whether even Really Right Stuff’s L-Plate Set and Grip might be worth the investment given its size, weight and slippery CNC surface, despite the potential usefulness of its optional L-Component for tripod-mounting in portrait orientation via an Arca-Swiss tripod head.

Really Right Stuff’s X100F solution has one really big downside besides slipperiness, size, expense and weight, and that is its lack of provision for attaching my two Peak Design camera straps.

Instead the company offers its Magpul Gen 2 MS4 Dual QD Sling for carrying the plated and gripped-up X100F rather than my smaller, safer, lighter and more elegant Clutch plus Cuff solution.

A long, long time ago… even the Leica CL, Leitz Minolta CL and Minolta CLE had a hand grip

My first thought on first seeing preview images of the Fujifilm Finepix X100 online some years ago was that it might be the closest digital equivalent to a Leica CL, Leitz Minolta CL or a Minolta CLE.

The Leitz camera company, now Leica Camera AG, reportedly killed off the Leica CL as sales were eating into those of the far more expensive Leica M5, and having seen and tried an M5 I can see why.

According to Ken Rockwell, “the CLE is a joy to carry, and a joy to shoot” and that it “could be photography’s messiah: the smallest, lightest possible solution for a complete advanced camera system” but as none of its versions appeared in my part of the world at the time I have never had the pleasure of using one.

It is remarkable how popular the Minolta CLE remains amongst those in the know to this day, including Take Kayo of Big Head Taco who reportedly has two of them.

Three lenses were created specially for these three cameras – the Minolta M-Rokkor 28mm f/2.8 wide-angle, the M-Rokkor 40mm f/2.0 “perfect normal” and the M-Rokkor 90mm f/4.0 medium telephoto.

But I digress..

The Fujfilm X100F achieves a similar result with its 35mm-equivalent 23mm fixed lens and its optional TCL-X100 II Tele Conversion and WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion lenses providing the equivalent to the 28mm and 50mm focal lengths in 35mm sensor terms, making it close to a credible digital “complete advanced camera system” able to fit in a small waist bag or shoulder bag.

Now if only Fujifilm could release its own hand grip for the X100F to make it a complete camera system, then we would be much happier. 🙂

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris. Hero image of the Fujifilm X100 with hand grip photographed as 5-bracket HDR on Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with Panasonic Lumix 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric lens then processed with Skylum Aurora HDR 2018 and Luminar 2018.

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Fujifilm MHG-X100 Hand Grip for X100T, X100S and X100 Digital Cameras – B&H
  • Fujifilm X100F Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm TCL-X100 II Tele Conversion LensB&H
  • Fujifilm WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion LensB&H
  • Match Technical EP-2F Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X100FB&H
  • Peak Design Anchor Connectors for Peak Design Straps (4-Pack)B&H
  • Peak Design AL-3 Anchor LinksB&H
  • Peak Design Cuff Camera Wrist StrapB&H
  • Peak Design CL-2 Clutch Camera Hand-StrapB&H
  • Peak Design Leash Camera StrapB&H
  • Really Right Stuff Base Plate for Fujifilm X100FB&H
  • Really Right Stuff Base Plate and Grip for Fujifilm X100F – B&H
  • Really Right StuffL-Component for BX100F Base Plate – B&H
  • Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set and Grip for Fujifilm X100F B&H