New Discounts: Fujifilm Australia Summer Cashback 2020 on Selected Products Between 2nd November 2020 to 10th January 2021

It is Fujifilm Australia Summer Cashback time, this time featuring the Fujifilm X-T3, X-T30, X-T200 and X-T4 cameras as well as the VG-XT4 and a range of desirable Fujinon prime and zoom lenses. 

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Fujifilm Australia Summer 2020 Cashback. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

My ideal starter set camera and lens combination?

The Fujifilm X-T4, VG-XT4 Vertical Grip, Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR and XF 14mm f/2.8 R.

Add the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS telephoto zoom lens to that kit and just about any stills photography or video assignment is within your reach.

Links

Muse Storytelling: Ninja Filmmaking – Commentary with my own hardware & software recommendations

https://www.ninjafilmmaking.com/minicourse

The current state of the world has posed challenges for all of us. As filmmakers, our challenges have been extra unique. Budgets are reduced, crews need to be smaller, and we are generally expected to work with less resources. That’s why we created the free Ninja Filmmaking mini-course: to show you how to create big results by outthinking your challenges. We’ll break down exactly how to plan out your story and be a far more proactive, stealth and intentional filmmaker.

Commentary

The Muse Storytelling folks have launched a free online short course under the title Ninja Filmmaking that is aimed at helping moviemakers cope and survive if not thrive in this pandemic-affected world.

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The camera that accidentally changed everything. Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM kit zoom lens. Image courtesy of Canon.

If things were difficult enough for independent self-funded documentary moviemakers before the arrival of COVID-19, they are even more challenging now with personal income and resources radically reduced and yet even more need for us to produce compelling visual storytelling to production standards that are constantly growing higher and higher.

Luckily, we are in the post-DSLR filmmaking revolution era, the now well-established mirrorless hybrid era with high quality, affordable cameras that can record excellent stills as well as video footage to current UHD broadcast and cinema projection standards.

Moviemaking remains, however, a predominantly white, middle-class occupation except in places where those of us locked out of the system have banded together in cooperatives with the support of donors and mentors to equip and teach ourselves to tell our own stories.

The last such organization located in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Paddington shut its doors several years ago after charging high fees for equipment rental and training during its later years.

Any free or affordable training by well-qualified moviemakers is welcome and I am for grateful Muse Storytelling’s ‘Ninja Filmmaking’ online course and advice on what for current production standards by one-person bands.

Moviemaking remains costly here

As Drew Turney of Filmism.net shared in a recent newsletter:

We all know moviemaking is an inherently expensive exercise. Even the amount of money we’d consider low (or no) budget filmmaking would be enough to get the average middle class family out of debt for the rest of their lives.

Drew bounces between Perth in Western Australia and Los Angeles, and is doubtless aware that moviemaking is an even more costly exercise in Australia than it is in the USA, with our exchange rates, lack of importer and retailer competition and local unavailability of many key items as well as non-representation of a number of useful, even essential, brands.

Nonetheless the equipment list shared by the Muse/Ninja folks is a good one based on the currently most affordable and versatile feature-quality Super 35 hybrid camera, the Fujifilm X-T4, supported by microphones from Australia’s own world-famous audio equipment maker, Røde Microphones, along with other currently popular lighting and grip products.

Production hardware recommended by Ninja Filmmaking

The list is a useful starting point though I would recommend considering alternatives from brands like 3 Legged Thing, Olympus, Panasonic, Rotolight and many others.

Some alternatives and extras to the above

The Muse Storytelling team’s Ninja Filmmaking gear list is a good one and in the best of all possible worlds would be affordable and findable at local retailers, had COVID-19 not arrived to disrupt supply chains and global air freight not to mention Australian and US postal reliability, or rather, the lack thereof.

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Approved by Netflix for top quality broadcasting production. Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H rigged with Zacuto moviemaking accessories. Image courtesy of Zacuto.

As underlined by the Ninja Filmmaking list’s reliance on Røde Microphone’s products for audio recording, Australian brands such as Atomos, Blackmagic Design and Miller Tripods are highly regarded in video production around the world for their affordability and durability under challenging conditions.

While Fujifilm’s X-T4 Super 35 hybrid camera is an impressive performer and the company’s Fujinon prime and zoom lenses are justly respected by cinematographers, there are other approaches to video production.

Panasonic has been making strides in its S-Series 35mm sensor hybrid cameras with the Netflix-approved Lumix S1H while the recently announced S5 looks like a respectable and affordable lower-specced alternative A or B camera.

Panasonic’s G-Series Micro Four Thirds hybrid cameras like the Lumix GH5, GH5S and even the G9 have impressive video capabilities, excellent IBIS and a documentary-style Super 16 4K look and feel, though many moviemakers regret the company’s reliance on DFD contrast-detection autofocus when autofocus rather than traditional manual focus-pulling is becoming increasingly important for one-person bands.

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Meike T2.2 Series 6x Cine lens Kit for MFT + Cine Lens Case, containing Meike cinema prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

While Westcott’s Flex Lights are impressively versatile in combination with the company’s Scrim Jim bounce and diffusion system, I have long relied on industry-leading Rotolight’s LED lights for stills and video.

Sachtler’s Flowtech tripods are reportedly fast and efficient to use on location by solo moviemakers while Miller’s solo user tripods are solid performers and prove great investments, lasting for many years in the trenches.

Independent stills and now video tripod maker 3 Legged Thing continues to expand its range with constant innovation in a field where innovation was sluggish for years.

Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro manual clutch focus cum fly-by-wire autofocus professional lenses are benchmarks of lens design in any sensor format whereas Meike’s expanding collections of affordable geared cinema lenses show real promise in independent production compared to the exorbitant prices usually charged for cinema primes.

The question is, then, what look and feel, what visual and operating style suits you, your personality and your personal circumstances best?

Hardware and software Ninja Filmmaking forgot

The Muse Storytelling folks have assembled a great core list of hardware recommendations but they left out some essential items of hardware and software for the “proactive, stealth and intentional filmmaker.”

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PolarPro Variable Neutral Density Filter, Peter McKinnon Edition., Combo Set comprising 2 to 5 stops and 6 to 9 stops filters.

To date no hybrid camera other than Fujifilm’s X100 series comes with built-in neutral density filters so one must invest in sets of fixed value neutral density filters or the variable neutral density filters that are most appropriate for one person run-and-gun moviemakers.

Quite a few documentary and video journalism cinematographers have matching variable NDs permanently attached to each lens in their kit to avoid exchanging filters on the spot.

Brands to look out for include Aurora-Aperture, Breakthrough Photography, Formatt-Hitech Firecrest, PolarPro, SLR Magic and many others.

If you are collecting filters with industry-standard diameters of 77mm or 82mm then you need step-up rings to attach them to lenses with smaller filter diameters.

Brands I use and recommend include Breakthrough Photography, Heliopan, PolarPro and Sensei, but I lean towards hardened aluminium or better yet brass, and look for knurled step-up rings for ease of use, and fast removal and attachment in the field.

Lastly, whatever camera you are using, you cannot go wrong with Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT Pro system for creating perfect colorimetry and colours indistinguishable from what your eye sees.

Expose your footage using Mr Leeming’s recommended ETTR aka expose to the right method, demonstrated on the Leeming LUT Pro web page, and your footage will be eminently gradable to feature film standards in editing and grading software like Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve.

Other Links

  • 3 Legged Thing – “The most technologically advanced tripod system in the world.”
  • Apple – Final Cut Pro X
  • Blackmagic DesignDaVinci Resolve – “DaVinci Resolve 16 is the world’s only solution that combines professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects and audio post production all in one software tool!”
  • Fujifilm-X Global
  • Leeming LUT Pro – “Leeming LUT Pro™ is the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table (LUT) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading. The Pro II LUTs are designed for perfect Rec709 colorimetry and have a linear luma curve, with an average measured dE(2000) of less than 1, meaning they are visually indistinguishable from reality to the human eye.”
  • Muse StorytellingNinja Filmmaking
  • OlympusM.Zuiko Pro – “With no compromises made, M.Zuiko PRO lenses are amazing in every aspect.”
  • Panasonic Lumix Global
  • Peak Design – “Our products must be innovative, beautifully crafted, and quite literally the best in their category. “
  • Røde Microphones
  • Rotolight – “From the very first LEDs to offer the shoot what you see benefits of continuous lighting and High Speed Sync flash all-in-one, to the brightest 2×1 soft light ever made, Rotolight LEDs streamline the workflows of imagemakers across the world.”
  • Sachtler Flowtech 75 MS

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

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.”

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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? “

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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 Australia Red Badge Cash Back Promotion for X-H1 and Choice of Three Fujinon Red Badge Pro Zoom Lenses, 1st March to 30th April 2018

https://fujifilmcashback.com.au/?admin=click

“… Cash back via redemption. Australia residents only. Limit of 1 claim per eligible claimant. Promotion runs 1st March 2018 to 30th March 2018. Claims must be submitted by 27th May 2018….

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Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 battery grip and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR professional zoom lens.

Help support ‘Untitled’

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

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

Please refer to Fujifilm Australia’s Terms & Conditions if seeking to take advantage of the cash back promotion.

  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR LensB&H

Fujifilm Australia: Up to $1,300 Cash Back on Selected Fujifilm X Series Cameras and Selected XF Lenses, 16 October 2017 to 7 January 2018

https://fujifilm.cashback.com.au/129

Zack Arias: My Bag of Cameras

“In my last video I went through my bag of lights. For this video I walk you through my bag of cameras and lenses. I’ve spent a lot of time streamlining my gear to the essentials and it has really helped clear my head and make life easier for me. I was constantly moving from bag to bag and one set up to another depending on the job at hand. I wanted to simplify my photographic life to a bag of cameras and a bag of lights.

While I feel my bag of lights is complete, I’m not so sure yet about my bag of cameras. I’d really like to add the Fuji GFX to this kit to be a back up to the Phase One and to be my run-n-gun camera. I’m still trying to decide if that will be the best option for me and the work I do….”

Fujifilm Australia: Up to $350 Cash Back on X-Pro2, X-T2, X-T20 with Selected XF Lenses, 1 June to 31 July 2017

https://fujifilm.cashback.com.au/121

“… 3. To be eligible to claim the applicable cash back amount, an eligible individual must purchase one (1) of the selected FUJIFILM X series cameras AND one (1) of the selected lenses listed in section 9 of these Terms and Conditions in a single transaction (an “Eligible Purchase”) from an authorised Australian participating dealer/retailer during the period commencing 1 st June 2017 and ending 31st July 2017 (“Promotion Period”). For the avoidance of doubt, this promotion does not apply to any of FUJIFILM’s X series cameras or lenses that are not listed in section 9….”

Links: