Fuji Rumors: Fujifilm X-H1: Full English Press Release and More Images with MK Lenses

https://www.fujirumors.com/fujifilm-x-h1-full-english-press-release-images-mk-lenses/

“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….”

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Fujifilm X-H1 with battery grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom, image released by Nokishita and republished at Fuji Rumors.

Commentary

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Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 X-Mount Cinema Zoom

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.

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Samsung NX1 with Samsung Premium S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS zoom lens, still the benchmark for up-to-date Super 35mm hybrid video cameras, though it missed out on a fully-articulated monitor and 10-bit 4:2:2.

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
  • 4K 60p
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that works in conjunction with optical image stabilization (OIS)
  • 10-bit 4:2:2
  • 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-articulated monitor
  • Fully-customizable picture profiles
  • In-body audio-monitoring aka headphone port
  • Unlimited recording duration
  • Viable eye and face autofocus
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Is this the camera that inspired Fujifilm’s X-H1 designers? The Contax N1 autofocus analog SLR, last in a long line of Kyocera-made Contax cameras licensing the Contax brand from Zeiss, released in 2000. Kyocera also made Yashica brand cameras.

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?

Links

Duclos Lenses Announces Premium Fujifilm X-Mount Adapter for Veydra Lenses on Fujifilm Super 35/APS-C Cameras

Hollywood moviemaking optics expert par excellence Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses has announced the development of a professional-class Fujifilm X-mount lens mount adapter for a subset of Ryan Avery’s Veydra Mini Prime lenses via Mr Duclos’ The Cine Lens website. Welcome news indeed. 

For Super 16/Micro Four Thirds format: Veydra Mini Prime 6 Lens Master Kit, 12mm, 16mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm M4/3 with 6 Lens Case (Metric Focus Scale). Veydra lenses suitable for Super 35/APS-C format are 19mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm.

For what felt like the longest time, Fujifilm staff members acknowledged privately then publicly that the company needed to do better on video, first with the groundbreaking Fujifilm Finepix X100 – which I use for shooting documentary stills to this very day – then through the X-E1, X-Pro1 and X-T1 and their smaller, more affordable companion cameras.

The offical Fujifilm product shot that signalled Fujifilm’s serious intentions for shooting professional video on the X-T2.

Fujifilm’s current flagship cameras, the X-Pro2 and X-T2 are the ones where they have finally begun to get it right for video, but there is some way to go yet, as indicated by Paul Leeming’s letter to Fujifilm citing the GH4 and GH5 as exemplars.

Panasonic was the first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (ILC) maker to start to get it right so far as video goes, with Panasonic’s Lumix GH4 cementing that company’s position as masters of the Super 16/Micro Four Thirds sensored, eminently portable, day-long usable ergonomically-advanced documentary video and stills camera.

Hybrid stills/video cameras for use in serious moviemaking need to be solid, reliable, ergonomically-designed, able to be rigged up for handheld usability and equipped with a full set of videocentric features via firmware. Paul Leeming swapped from Red Super 35 cameras over to the Super 16 Panasonic Lumix GH4 for shooting short and full-length feature films. This is Mr Leeming’s most minimal rig for feature filmmaking.

The GH4 and now GH5 have not been adopted only by documentary moviemakers. Paul Leeming shoots feature films with his GH4 and now his similarly-rigged GH5 camera after moving away from the RED Super 35 cameras he owned and rented out for some years.

Veydra’s Mini Prime lenses filled a yawning gap in matched set lens options for Super 16 moviemakers relying on the GH4 and now GH5, and, with Duclos Lenses’ announcement of their X-Mount adapter, a subset of Veydra’s lenses is poised to do the same for Fujifilm’s X-T2 and rumoured “ultimate APS-C camera” for stills and video.

Fujifilm’s X-Mount lenses have been eyed-off by video professionals familiar with their Fujinon broadcast and movie production zoom lenses, for some time and for good reason, as Matthew Duclos shares in his post about the X-Mount adapter:

Any Fujifilm fan (including myself) knows that Fujinon makes some amazing lenses for their X line of cameras. They’re fast, lightweight, sharp, and relatively affordable. I firmly believe lens quality and selection is what sets Fujifilm apart from the rest of the mirrorless pack. But for motion picture work, the current lineup of Fuji X lenses simply isn’t going to produce good results. Will they get the job done? Sure… They’ll be good enough.

There is a difference between the needs of higher-end motion picture cinematographers and other moviemakers for whom stills lenses can be good enough for shooting video. Fujifilm seems to have recognized that with their recently released Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 and MK 50-135mm T2.9 zoom lenses but there is no sign they will be coming up with videocentric prime lenses any time soon.

Veydra Mini Prime lenses for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds and Super 35/APS-C

That is where five out of seven of Veydra’s Mini Primes come in. All seven of them provide a well-spaced set of focal lengths from 12mm through to 85mm, in 35mm equivalent terms from 24mm to 170mm for Super 16 cameras. The Veydra subset suitable for Super 35 cameras like the X-T2 and its successors covers 19mm through to the 85mm focal lengths.

Veydra primes for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds cameras

  • 12mm – 24mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 16mm – 32mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 19mm – 38mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 25mm – 50mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 35mm – 70mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 50mm – 100mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 85mm – 170mm, in 35mm equivalence

The Veydra team was working on a wider lens than 12mm but had to abandon the idea as it would have been prohibitively expensive and oversized. Pity, as a 21mm equivalent or wider makes for excellent scene-setting and interiors shots.

Veydra primes for Super 35/APS-C cameras

  • 19mm – 28.5mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 25mm – 37.5mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 35mm – 52.5mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 50mm – 75mm, in 35mm equivalence
  • 85mm – 127.5mm, in 35mm equivalence

The 12mm and 16mm lenses vignette on Super 35 cameras. Wider focal lengths than 19mm would come in handy, so may have to be sought from amongst Fujifilm’s prime lenses such as the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R or XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR with their clutch manual focus option.

The Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS or XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR zoom lenses offer wider options than 19mm too. Many Fujifilm users wish to see the latter lens upgraded with OIS as it would make an excellent stabilized companion to the 10-24mm and XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR zooms.

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image composite made in Affinity Photo and Alien Skin Exposure X2 using Summer Blockbuster (glow) Cinema preset.

LockCircle Announces Innovative First Cage for Fujifilm X-T2, Excludes Vertical Power Booster Grip

The very first cage for the Fujifilm X-T2 is about to appear. Italian camera cages and accessories maker LockCircle first came to notice via its self-named camera body cap for the Canon EOS camera range, born from director of photography Dante Cecchin’s “idea to design the most over-engineered and priced body cap, the LockCircle“. A range of other unique products soon followed including BirdCage, LockPort, MatBox, PrimeCircle ciné lenses, MicroMega, MetalJacket for Leica SL and now, the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional. 

LockCircle’s Cage Kinetics XT2 Kit, minus optional accessories like top handle, hot shoes, MicroMega nameplate and rod riser, MicroPort and more.

I have yet to see any of LockCircle’s products – the company has yet to find a distributor in Australia though B&H Photo Video is listed as a LockCircle reseller – so please regard this article as a notification and not as a recommendation.

LockCircle is taking pre-orders for the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional and its accessories options with availability slated for end of April, with shipping worldwide. A special promotional discount applies to the first 10 pre-orders, of US$199.00 plus shipping or €189,00 plus VAT and shipping.

LockCircle Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional, with LockPort, MicroPort and MicroMega Accessories

Purchasers may wish to add accessories to the basic Cage Kinetics XT2 Kit, and a list is available in the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional downloadable PDF. Most notable is item LPFLEX-KIT-XT2, the Flex Port Micro HDMI to Full Size HDMI Adapter as well as XT2-MP, the MicroPort XT2.

LockCircle LockPort XT2

The Fujifilm X-T2, in common with most current hybrid cameras on the market other than the coming Panasonic Lumix GH5, is equipped with a somewhat vulnerable micro HDMI port for external monitoring and recording. Repairing damaged HDMI mini and micro ports is costly and time-consuming so any solution that takes the strain off them can only be a good thing.

LockCircle’s solution looks well-conceived and manufactured, reducing strain on the HDMI cable while adding a full HDMI to mini HDMI adapter, enabling cabling camera to monitor/recorder with full-size HDMI cables.

LockCircle’s LockPort XT2 for adapting and securing the X-T2’s micro HDMI port and MultiPort XT2 for adapting and securing the camera’s micro USB 3.0 port are available for direct connection to the X-T2 without needing a cage, as a dual kit or as separate items.

Observations

LockCircle’s Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional appears to be the very first cage for the Fujifilm X-T2 to leave the drawing board and become available for pre-orders. Other cage makers are still in the design phase or have not made it known whether they will be making cages for the X-T2 at all.

I encourage all cage makers to take the Fujifilm X-T2 Super 35 camera seriously now that Fujifilm has created two new cinema zoom lenses for E-Mount now, X-Mount later, the Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 and MK 50-135mm T2.9.

In recent interviews Fujifilm staff members have restated their commitment to improving video functions in their flagship Super 35/APS-C and other cameras and over time they will doubtless be delivering on that promise. I hope they have taken Paul Leeming’s recommendations for improving the X-T2 for filmmaking seriously and will be implementing them soon.

Although the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is the Super 16/Micro Four Thirds 4K camera of the moment, especially given its Dual IS and 5-axis IBIS stabilization that will be of enormous benefit to independent moviemakers wanting to break free of gimbals, monopods and tripods, Fujifilm’s X-T2 has the potential to become a go-to tripod-mounted Super 35 movie production camera given the renowned quality of Fujinon lenses and the beauty of Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensors’ colour rendering.

Lock Circle has designed an intriguing cage in the Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional, but it has one glaring omission in its lack of provision for the X-T2’s Vertical Power Booster Grip.

Without the grip attached, the X-T2 is limited to 10-minute clips instead of the 30-minute recordings possible with the grip beneath the camera. Monitoring audio also requires the battery grip as the headphone jack is located there and not on the camera itself.

Shooting 4K eats power and having two extra batteries attached to the camera is a real advantage. Another current limitation of the X-T2 is that it requires an external monitor/recorder for shooting in F-Log, Fujifilm’s flat logarithmic camera profile.

Once Fujifilm solves those problems I am sure more moviemakers will take the X-T2 and its successors seriously as viable Super 35 production cameras. The loss of Samsung’s excellent NX1 and NX500 4K Super 35/APS-C hybrid cameras and indeed their whole camera design and manufacturing division has created a big hole in the market that Fujifilm can fill if they wish.

Meanwhile LockCircle’s Cage Kinetics XT2 Professional signals that they have already been taking the X-T2 seriously, though I hope that LockCircle and other cage makers too will be coming up with cage designs integrating the Vertical Power Booster Grip into the mix.

Links:

Tech Notes:

Header image composite made with Affinity Photo then exported as a TIFF to Alien Skin Exposure X2 where I applied the Damaged Daguerrotype preset along with Cyanotype split-toning, in homage to the BBC’s Britain in Focus: A Photographic History documentary series.

Zacuto Takes First Look at Groundbreaking Fujinon MK 15-55mm T2.9 Cinema Zoom Lens E-Mount Version

Filmmaking accessories maker Zacuto seems to have a direct line into camera and lens makers and is often first kid on the block to have a hands-on look at innovative new pieces of movie production gear. Not unreasonable given that Zacuto needs to know the parameters of new cinema equipment so it can fine-tune its own product range. 

In its first video about the first MK zoom to be released, Fujifilm‘s E-Mount Fujinon MK 15-55mm T2.9, Zacuto’s Steve and Jens discuss the lens with Fujifilm US Director of Sales, Optical Devices Division, and state that it really is a true cinema lens – fast, beautiful, geared and with minimal focus breathing.

Better yet is that the Fujinon MK 15-55mm T2.9 is priced under US$4,000, remarkably affordable for a lens of its type and quality.

Zacuto – FIRST LOOK Fujinon MK 18-55 Lens: 4K under $4k

Zacuto – How to Set Backfocus – featuring the Fujinon MK 18-55 lens

Image Credits:

Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.

Now Surfacing: The Long-Awaited Fujinon MK 18-55mm and 50-135mm T2.9 Cinema Lenses – E-Mount Now, X-Mount Later

Fujifilm has announced the Fujinon MK 18‐55mm T2.9 and Fujinon MK 50-135mm T2.9 cinema lenses, a matched pair of relatively affordable top-quality zooms “specifically designed for consumer and prosumer videographers and emerging cinematographers”. 

The Fujinon MK 18‐55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens, to be released as an E-Mount lens for Sony cameras with a Fujifilm X-Mount version coming later this year for the X-Pro2, X-T2 and future X-Series cameras.

The MK 18-55mm T2.9 standard zoom lens is scheduled for an early March 2017 release while the Fujinon MK 50-135mm T2.9 is currently under development and is touted for a southern hemisphere winter 2017 release. Both lenses will initially be available in E-Mount for Sony’s popular A7-series cameras and X-Mount versions for Fujifilm’s own X-T2 and X-Pro2  will appear later in 2017.

Standout features of both lenses are that they are lightweight, are made of composite polycarbonate for lightness and strength, have the same external dimensions, are clickless, focus, iris and zoom gearing, are parfocal, have low distortion and high quality edge-to-edge sharpness, have no focus breathing, have matched constant maximum apertures and matching colour rendering and are fully manual.

Not to forget that they will be affordable relative to Fujinon’s other cinema lenses in the HK, ZK and XK series as well as competing brands of cinema zoom lenses.

Sony E-Mount Super 35 camcorders and Super 35/APS-C hybrid cameras are a clear and obvious launch market for Fujifilm’s new Fujinon MK-Series lightweight cinema lenses, with X-Mount versions for Fujifilm’s X Series flagship and related cameras coming later.

Fujifilm’s press release states that:

Cinema lenses are the optimal choice to achieve a shallow depth-of-field and a beautiful bokeh. However, since they are typically large, heavy and expensive, those involved in online and other lower cost movie production often opt for interchangeable lenses for digital cameras, which are more affordable and mobile.

The problem is that interchangeable lenses for digital cameras are designed primarily for shooting still images, and therefore prone to focus shift and optical axis shift while zooming, and so on. In response, Fujifilm has been working on developing new cinema lenses that offer advanced optical performance with compact size and operability to meet the needs of creative emerging cinematographers.

There have been rumours floating around for some time that Fujifilm would be introducing a new line of clickless video lenses suitable for its X-Mount X Series interchangeable lens Super 35/APS-C hybrid stills/video cameras. The first two lenses in Fujifilm’s Fujinon MK Series of ciné zooms are specified beyond expectations and I am looking forward to seeing them in action despite their initial release only in E-Mount for Sony cameras.

As Paul Leeming‘s letter and my own request of Fujifilm attest, Fujifilm’s latest X-Series are very promising Super 35 video production cameras whether currently 1080p in the case of the X-Pro2 or 4K with the X-T2. I hope that the imminent arrival of the MK lenses helps Billy Luong apply more pressure on Fujifilm management to add 4K capability via line-skipping as in the X-T20 to the X-Pro2.

If Fujifilm heeds mine and Mr Leeming’s requests for firmware and hardware improvements, then they will have a very capable Super 35 video camera able to take any of their current and future X-Mount stills lenses as well as the new MK X-Mount zooms.

The sudden tragic demise of Samsung’s promising, much-loved NX1 and its companion the NX500 has left a hole in the affordable 4K Super 35 market that Fujifilm still has a chance of filling, and better yet of exceeding expectations.

Many cinematographers familiar with Fujifilm’s Fujinon stills and cinema lenses have expressed a desire for a fully-featured Fujifilm Super 35 camera able to make the most of them. The ball is in Fujifilm’s court and one hopes they pick it up and run with it.

There is now even more pressure on Fujifilm to up the ante on the video capabilities of their current and future flagship X-Series cameras given the imminent arrival of Panasonic’s groundbreaking Lumix GH5 4K Super 16/Micro Four Thirds camera with its wide range of new and radically improved moviemaking features.

Why would I want a Super 35 4K as well as a Super 16 4K camera? Foremost, choice in sensor size, lens range and image quality. I am more likely to pick up the GH5 – or rather, watch it leap into my hands as the GH4 does currently – for single-operator documentary projects and rely on a revamped X-T2 or its successor for advertising, corporate and feature film projects. Others’ opinions will differ.

On the MK Series’ potential user base, Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses says it best:

So who did Fujinon make this lens for? I believe this lens is a great option for documentary style shooters…projects that run on the most skeleton [of] crews that need to be agile with their gear. It’ll be right at home on a music video set or a web series looking for a classic zoom range.

I have just one big question for Fujifilm right now, other than when will they act on the Leeming, Gottschalk and Luong X-Series flagship video features requests, and that is, is a super wide-angle MK-Series X-Mount ciné zoom on the drawing board?

Sony owners more expert than I in lens design have stated that the downside of the narrow E-Mount is that it mitigates against a larger collection of lenses at the wide end, though I note that Sony offers a 10-18mm f/4 OSS super wide-angle zoom lens.

Adding a super wide-angle ciné zoom to the MK series would complete its  classic three-zoom moviemaking set.

FUJIFILMglobal –FUJINON MK Lens Official Introduction movie / FUJIFILM

FUJIFILMglobal – FUJINON MK Lens – Image movie / FUJIFILM

FUJIFILMglobal – FUJINON MK Lens – Image movie making / FUJIFILM

Fujifilm Europe – FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9 Footage Shot by Philip Bloom

Fujifilm Europe – BTS FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9 Shot by Philip Bloom

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.