Fuji X Forum: Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses – Commentary

https://www.fuji-x-forum.com/topic/998-complete-overview-over-the-available-and-upcoming-fuji-x-mount-lenses/?page=1

“Posted September 1, 2015 (edited)
Fujinon (Native Lenses) (29 in total)

Fujinon lens designation translation: R: aperture ring – – LM: linear motor – – OIS: optical image stabilization – – WR: weather resistant – – APD: apodization filter – – – – Super EBC: electron beam coating, also called electron beam physical vapor deposition…”

fujinon_xf_8-16mm_f2.8_02_1024px_80pc
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR wideangle zoom lens on Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip. I use  the Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses at Fuji X Forum for information about Fujifilm’s Fujinon and third party lenses for Fujifilm cameras.

Commentary

Three of the most useful free Web-based online tools that I often use here at ‘Untitled’ are Camera Size’s Compact Camera Meter, Points in Focus’ Depth of Field (DoF), Angle of View, and Equivalent Lens Calculator, and the Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses at Fuji X Forum, compiled and updated by quincy.

Quincy’s Fujifilm X-Mount OEM and third-party brand lenses lists are kept up to date and are drawn upon by Patrick at Fuji Rumors for articles, and I go there when I need to research current and coming X-Mount lenses for my articles.

I have been struck by how the number of third-party X-Mount lenses keeps increasing, with most of them being manual focus lenses often designed and manufactured by Chinese companies, but so far my biggest ongoing disappointment with the Fujifilm X-Mount system remains unassuaged by Fujifilm itself as well as by third-parties making native or adapted X-Mount lenses.

Other than Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R semi-pancake prime lens, nobody but nobody is making a prime lens that is equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format.

This searing blindspot is not just a Fujifilm X-Mount APS-C problem; it applies to the Micro Four Thirds sensor format as well wherein Olympus does not make a 14mm lens at all and Panasonic’s Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II pancake lens appears to have gone missing in action from many retailers.

The 35mm sensor format’s 28mm focal length and its APS-C and M43 equivalents of 18mm and 14mm respectively has been a staple of the documentary, photojournalism and street photography genres for years now including those when I relied on them on Canon, Leica and Nikon rangefinders and SLRs, but it seems that contemporary lens makers just do not give a damn.

Yes, one may wish to slap a 14mm, 18mm or 28mm inclusive zoom lens on to one’s camera as I do with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and the excellent Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro or the usually underestimated Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS collapsible zoom lens, but using those focal lengths on a zoom and as a prime lens are two very different things.

Especially if the said prime lens allows easy setting of hyperfocal distance via manual focus or manual clutch focus mechanisms like those in some Fujinon prime lenses and Olympus’ excellent M.Zuiko Pro primes and zooms.

Today I found myself back at Fuji X Forum’s Complete Overview over the available and upcoming Fuji X-Mount lenses to see if any Chinese third party lens makers have added a 28mm equivalent to their current or future ranks lately but sadly it remains no go.

There are some close but no cigar choices for non-Fujifilm cameras, such as Panasonic’s Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lens, but for now I will stick with my two M43 zoom lenses rather than fork out for yet another no-cigar substitute.

What I am really after is a decent 18mm prime lens for my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for use as my number one documentary lens.

Given the premium price Fujifilm charges for its elderly Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R, no way am I going to throw good cash down that particular black hole.

Getting back to close but no cigar, independent cinema lens company Veydra lists a 19mm Mini Prime cinema lens amongst its options, and it is available with a Duclos-designed Fujifilm X-Mount that can be DIY-attached onto an M43 version of the lens.

Sigma released a 19mm f/2.8 Art lens in the M43 and Sony E mounts some years ago, but the company has never shown signs of coming out with a Fujifilm X-Mount version.

The Sigma lens is affordable but the Veydra costs over twice the price of Fujifilm’s 18mm.

Veydra’s is an excellent geared cinema lens but its greater size and wide front diameter compared to the Fujifilm and the Sigma makes it a poor choice on my X-Pro2 given I rely on the camera’s excellent optical viewfinder for documentary photography and oftentimes video too.

This ongoing dilemma would not be one if Fujifilm simply went along with their customers’ longstanding request for an updated 18mm lens but I often find myself wondering if the company even cares for its documentary, street photography and photojournalist customers.

Two X-Pro2 cameras equipped with an 18mm lens on one and a 50mm lens on the other is, in my experience, the closest one can get to a perfect two-camera, two-lens documentary photography and photojournalism set-up.

Why provide half of the equation, Fujifilm, when you could so easily give us both even if each lens might be Fujicron-style f/2.0 compacts instead of the maximum versatility of f/1.4 manual clutch focussing alternatives?

The problem of Fujifilm’s ageing, substandard Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

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Leica Q (Typ 116) digital camera with fixed Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 Aspheric lens. This or the Fujifilm X100F with wide-angle convertor lens may be another solution to the lack of a decent 18mm lens for Fujifilm cameras.

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

  • Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R LensB&H – The least impressive Fujinon X-Mount lens in Fujifilm’s collection and one that badly needs to be replaced with a new Fujicron-style lens or better yet a wide aperture manual clutch focussing alternative for professional photography and video work.
  • Fujifilm M Mount Adapter for X-Mount CameraB&H
  • Leica CL Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18mm Lens (Black)B&H – This APS-C rangefinder-style camera with interchangeable 28mm equivalent lens is another possible solution to the ongoing problem of Fujifilm’s substandard Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens.
  • Leica Q (Typ 116) Digital CameraB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens for Micro Four Thirds CamerasB&H – Sigma, please make a Fujifilm X-Mount version of this lens.
  • Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN Lens for Sony E-mount CamerasB&H – Sigma, please make a Fujifilm X-Mount version of this lens.
  • Veydra 19mm T2.6 Mini Prime Lens (MFT, Meters)B&H
  • ZEISS Distagon T* 18mm f/4 ZM Lens (Silver)B&H
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43 Rumors: Panasonic going to launch new f/1.2 prime lenses? Here are the patents…

https://www.43rumors.com/panasonic-going-launch-new-f-1-2-prime-lens-series-patents/

“Sigma just patented two new Micro Four Thirds lenses: 14mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.2. Now you will wonder…what has this to do with Panasonic? Because Sigma is known to sell those lens designs to Panasonic. The Leica 12mm f/1.4 for example is designed by Sigma…

That’s why there is a high chance the 14mm and 35mm f/1.2 prime lenses will be released by Panasonic (maybe using Leica brand)….”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro. Might Sigma be planning on selling its newly patented  14mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.2 lens designs to Olympus instead of Panasonic?

Commentary

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43 Rumors reports the possibility that Panasonic may buy Sigma recently patented 14mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.2 M43 prime lens designs. If so, Panasonic likely will brand them as Panasonic Leica lenses to go into its premium-quality prime and zoom lens collection. Panasonic’s Leica and Lumix lenses, however, only offer autofocus or focus-by-wire and not manual clutch focus as Olympus does with its M.Zuiko Pro lens collection.

Or maybe there is an even higher chance that Sigma is planning on selling these two new f/1.2 prime lens designs to Olympus for its top-tier M.Zuiko Pro lens collection to go with its current 17mm, 25mm and 45mm f/1.2 primes?

Sigma Corporation, like Cosina and several other mostly Japanese companies, is an OEM manufacturer of lenses for other brands and apparently has already sold lens designs to Olympus, such as the 150mm-equivalent M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8, considered to be one of the optically finest Micro Four Thirds lenses available.

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Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens for APS-C sensors and for adapting to M43 with Metabones SpeedBoosters, lens available in Canon EF or Nikon mounts.

Sigma apparently was known for some years as a budget lens maker but its Art range of premium lenses proved that it belongs in the ranks of professional-quality lens makers now.

Sigma’s recently released Ciné prime and zoom lens collection cements the company’s reputation firmly in place as does, on the adapted lens front, the company’s much-lauded Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art, often first choice in combo with Metabones Speed Boosters for M43 video camera users working in available darkness.

Two documentary movie and photography favourites, 28mm and 75mm

My two preferred documentary prime lens focal lengths are 28mm and 75mm in 35mm sensor equivalence and they are my first choice when buying into a new camera system.

That choice is often thwarted, though, by their equivalents’ unavailability as native lenses in some mirrorless camera systems or, in the case of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R, an ageing lens’ quirky mechanical qualities making it next to useless for a high speed approach necessitated by the nature of my subjects and their circumstances.

28mm equivalent prime lenses by Fujifilm, Leica and Panasonic

Panasonic’s pancake prime, the Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II, had vanished from most retailers after I tried a review loaner out and although I made some great photographs with it, its performance was suboptimal for everything I wanted to do with it, not least due to its lack of a focussing ring.

I and many other Fujifilm camera users are still waiting for the company to issue its long-rumoured 18mm update perhaps in the form of a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron”, especially suitable for documentary photography with the X-Pro2 rangefinder camera, the X-E3 rangefinder-style camera and Fujifilm’s smaller DSLR-style cameras.

For video, though, a faster 18mm lens in the style of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R would be the preferred option.

75mm equivalent prime lenses by Fujifilm, Leica and Veydra

Prime lenses in the 35mm sensor equivalent 75mm focal length are as hard to find in the Micro Four Thirds world as their 28mm equivalent siblings, and that relative rarity is not assisted by Sigma’s patent for a 35mm and not 37.5mm focal length lens.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens, one of the most versatile top-quality professional zoom lenses made, especially invaluable for its manual clutch focus and fast autofocus. I use mine resting on the 14mm or 37.5mm spot on the zoom ring depending on my project and subject.

I have used Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens in its previous version I form but found its 35mm long end limited for documentary work and portraiture so opted for Olympus’ stellar M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro instead.

Even so there are times I miss the 90mm focal length equivalent so have Olympus’ M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro high on my M43 lens wishlist, also due to the manual clutch focus featured in all M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses making them invaluable for professional moviemaking and photography work.

Given a choice between a manual focus or manual clutch focus lens and a fly-by-wire autofocus or autofocus/manual lens, I will choose the manual or manual clutch focus lens same as I will choose a pair of fast primes over a zoom lens that includes both focal lengths.

There is no denying, though, that some projects demanding stealth, speed and small camera bag transportation can benefit from carrying just one top-quality zoom lens like the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro or the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro.

Designed by Sigma for Olympus or Panasonic?

panasonic_leica_dg_nocticron_42.5mm_f1.2_aspheric_power_ois_H-NS043_04_1024px
Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 Aspheric Power OIS lens, apparently designed by Sigma. It has focus-by-wire manual focus or autofocus and can often miss the mark despite Panasonic’s DFD focussing system.

It is too early to tell whether the 43 Rumors folks are correct about Sigma’s 14mm and 35mm f/1.2 lens design patents being intended for Panasonic.

I am hoping upon hope that the eventual destination will be Olympus and its M.Zuiko Pro lens collection.

Panasonic seems disinclined to replace its lenses’ linear and non-linear fly-by-wire mechanisms with the far more capable manual clutch focus mechanism used in Olympus’ M.Zuiko primes and zooms, and Fujifilm’s 14mm, 16mm and 23mm wider aperture trio for that matter.

Panasonic insiders have told me they constantly receive requests from professional users for manual clutch focus lenses but the company seems set on its current path if its apparently Sigma-designed 12mm, 15mm, 25mm and 42.5mm wide aperture Leica-branded lenses are any indication.

I wish to see Olympus adding to its M.Zuiko Pro collection with 14mm and 37.5mm focal length lenses as well as 10.5mm and 12mm focal length prime lenses.

Sigma’s 70mm-equivalent 35mm f/1.2 lens is not quite my preferred focal length but at least it fills the gap between the current 25mm and 45mm M.Zuiko Pro lenses.

Now let’s see Olympus fill the other gaps in its M.Zuiko Pro collection.

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and quick hack by Carmel D. Morris.

Image inspired by The Expanse TV show currently on SyFy channel soon moving to Amazon, and Cooke Optics’ famous matched sets of evenly-spaced top-quality cinema prime lenses.

I wish to see all lens makers emulate Cooke’s example with sets of manual or manual clutch focussing prime lenses in evenly spaced focal lengths.

Help support ‘Untitled’

olympus_m.zuiko_digital_ed_12-100mm_f4.0_is_pro_06_1024px_60pc
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro, an excellent choice for travel and daily walkabout requiring a longer focal length range than kit and other zoom lenses.

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

  • Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR LensB&H
  • Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0 XF R LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R LensB&H
  • Leica APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Metabones Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds Smart Adapters and Speed BoostersB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II ASPH. POWER O.I.S. LensB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art LensB&H
  • Sigma Art lensesB&H
  • Veydra Mini Prime lenses for APS-C and M43 sensor formatsB&H

Fujifilm Global: Fujifilm announces firmware updates for X-H1, X-T2, X-Pro2, X-E3 and X100F coming soon

http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n180412_03.html

“FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) will release free firmware updates for the FUJIFILM X-H1 (“X-H1”), FUJIFILM X-T2 (“X-T2”), FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (“X-Pro2”), FUJIFILM X-E3 (“X-E3”) and FUJIFILM X100F (“X100F”) X Series digital cameras. Due for release late April and May, the updates reflect the feedback received by FUJIFILM X Series users with regards to improving usability and adding new functions….

… FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (Ver.5.0.0) – due May 2018

1. Enlarged and customizable indicators or information
The upgrade allows users to enlarge indicators and information in the viewfinder and/or LCD monitor. This upgrade will also enable users to customize the location of where the information is shown on the display.

2. Enhanced Phase Detection AF
Latest updates to the AF algorithm provide the following performance enhancements

(1) The low-light limit for phase detection autofocus has been improved by approximately 1.5 stops from 0.5EV to -1.0EV, raising the precision and speed of autofocus in low-light environments.
(2) The range at minimum aperture has been expanded from F8 to F11. For example, even when using the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR with the tele converter XF2X TC WR, phase detection autofocus can now be used.
(3) Major improvements have been made to the AF-C performance while operating the zoom, which provides major benefits when shooting sports and other scenarios in which the subjects moves unpredictably.
(4) Finely-detailed surface textures of wild birds and wild animals can now be captured at high speed and with high precision as a result of improvement in phase detection autofocus.

3. Addition of “Flicker Reduction”
For enhancing the quality of indoor sports photography, the upgrade allows users to reduce flicker in pictures and the display when shooting under fluorescent lighting and other similar light sources.

4. Addition of “Select Folder” and “Create Folder”
Enable to choose the folder in which subsequent pictures will be stored. And also enable to enter a five-character folder name to create a new folder in which to store subsequent pictures….”

fujifilm_mhg-xpro2_hand_grip_x-pro2_01_1024px
The brilliant Fujifilm X-Pro2 optical viewfinder aka rangefinder camera with Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder, Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 metal hand grip and Fujinon XF 23mm f.2.0 R WR lens brings the digital form of classic rangefinder photography to the rest of us in a relatively affordable form. It handles like a cross between a Leica M-series camera and a Fuji analog 120 roll-film “Texas Leica” but with all the benefits, bells and whistles of a cutting edge digital hand camera. Excellent for documentary photography and photojournalism.

Commentary

Fujifilm has done it again with its commitment to continually improving the functionality of most of its cameras long after their initial release with firmware updates that squash bugs, introduce major new features and update major and minor core functionality.

As an X-Pro2 owner my interest in the current round of announced and already released firmware updates is primarily to do with that camera but I note the usefulness of Fujifilm’s updates for the X100F, X-E3, X-T2 and X-H1.

I am grateful that with X-Pro2 Firmware Version 5.00 Fujifilm will be adding the ability to enlarge information and indicators in the X-Pro2’s remarkable Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder and its LCD monitor as some, under the current firmware, are a little too small to be as useful and easy to read as they could be.

I am looking forward to the coming enhancements to the X-Pro2’s Phase Detection Autofocus although I tend to prefer using back-button autofocus in Manual mode for precision focussing when shooting documentary stills in available darkness.

The X-Pro2 is nothing if not versatile given its four different viewing methods – LCD, OVF-only, EVF-in-OVF and straight EVF – that effectively make it four cameras in one, and I use it for a range of other subjects and shooting conditions which call for improved AF-S and AF-C focussing functionality.

As the cliché goes, my X-Pro2 may well feel like a while new camera again, yet again.

The addition of a flicker reduction feature will also be very welcome.

I am based in a country with 50 Hz mains power and despite following the common advice to select shutter speeds that are multiples of 50, banding or flicker can be a constant problem especially in places lit by ageing fluorescent lights or mixed lighting that includes flickering light sources.

The ability to choose folders or enter five-character folder names on my SD cards is one the usefulness of which I have not considered but it may be worth trying if I am shooting two or more different subjects or projects in the same day to otherwise needing to keep files clearly separate.

X-Pro2 Firmware version 5.00 does not, however, include improvements that we have been waiting a long time for now.

Foremost of these is pixel-level view of photographs to ensure accurate focus of critical image elements, an essential professional-quality feature even the X-E3 comes with straight out of the box.

Second is exposure zebras for fast and accurate exposure-to-the-right aka ETTR, instead of the blinkies that appeared in an earlier X-Pro2 firmware update.

Blinkies on already shot images are fine when chimping in poor visibility but diabolical when actually shooting.

The X-Pro2’s blinkies often drive me mad especially when used in conjunction with focus peaking for manual focussing which also blinks in unison, a needless distraction that should, at the very least, be able to be switched off in the menu settings.

Thirdly, the EVF badly needs improving if that can be done in firmware alone so that its clarity and colour cast can be made to approach if not match the quality of non-Fujifilm EVF cameras such as those made by Panasonic or by Fujifilm in its also-flagship X-T2 and X-H1 cameras.

If this problem with the X-Pro2’s EVF is a hardware issue, then I hope it will be fixed in the X-Pro3 when it arrives, perhaps, sometime in 2019.

Missing feature number four is the ability to apply picture profile customizations to video in the same way currently exists for JPEGs.

I am grateful to Fujifilm for finally giving us the long-promised 4K video in X-Pro2 firmware version 4.00 but they forgot that decent quality video also requires the ability to customize Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Color and Sharpness exactly the same as exists in Fujifilm’s other stills and video-capable hybrid cameras.

Lastly, and as firmware wishlist item number five, I would love to see the X-H1’s Eterna film simulation come to the X-Pro2 as a more viable alternative to Fujifilm’s more stills-appropriate film simulations.

Other useful features come to mind but these five are first and foremost for me as a documentary stills and video creator who needs all her cameras to be as capable and as feature-rich as possible.

As a purely self-funded independent visual storyteller, I no longer have the commissions nor the budgets to maintain a number of different camera systems in parallel, nor do I have the physical strength to carry two complete sets of cameras and lenses with one for stills and one for video on any given project.

Accordingly, each camera system that I have must be capable of producing good enough stills and good enough video as the project, the subject and the often unpredictable circumstances of the day demand.

Links

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Fujifilm 64GB Elite II Performance UHS-II SDXC Memory Card

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  • Match Technical EP-XP2 Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Black)B&H
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  • Match Technical EP-2F Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X100FB&H
  • Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set for Fujifilm X100F  – B&H 

DPReview: Fujifilm interview: ‘We want the X-H1 to be friendly for DSLR users’ – COMMENTARY

https://www.dpreview.com/interviews/6430541330/fujifilm-interview-we-want-the-x-h1-to-be-friendly-for-dslr-users

“… How did you decide on what video features to include in the camera? Some expected features – like zebra – are missing.

Honestly, we couldn’t add zebra because of hardware constraints. The processor cannot support it. It requires too much processing power. At this time, we’ve achieved the best possible performance for the processor….

Is 8-bit capture enough, for F-Log recording?

There are 10-bit cameras on the market, but we recommend using Eterna to short-cut the recording process. We think 8-bit is enough for good quality….”

fujifilm_xh1_rear_battery_grip_1024px_60%
Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip

Commentary

With the X-H1 Fujifilm has successfully pulled off the in-body image stabilization that we were told was simply not possible, and what a success Fujifilm’s IBIS appears to be with a maximum of 5.5 stops for non-stabilized lenses like the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R.

The X-H1 specifications list includes other useful new features including feather-touch shutter button, internal F-Log, Eterna movie film simulation, touchscreen, flicker reduction and 68 weather resistance sealing points on the camera body with a further 26 on the battery grip.

With the X-H1 positioned as a hybrid for stills photographers and independent moviemakers, the camera’s other specifications are something of a compromise and that is also due to being equipped with the same X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor and X-Processor Pro used in its older Fujifilm siblings such as the X-Pro2 and X-T2.

fujifilm_mhg-xpro2_hand_grip_x-pro2_01_1024px
Right now the Fujifilm X-Pro2 fills many of my documentary photography needs and I am looking forward to the next versions of Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor and X-Processor Pro coming to the X-Pro3 as well as the X-T3 and X-H2. I have been hanging out for a companion for my X-Pro2 for wider lenses than 18mm and longer lenses than 56mm, but if the X-H2 comes with the essential features left out of the X-H1, then I may choose an X-H2 instead. Time will tell.

The rumor sites have reported, though, that the Fujifilm X-T3 DSLR-style camera will be announced later in the year at photokina and will have a new X-Trans sensor of between 24 and 30 megapixels, and a new X-Processor Pro, although no IBIS.

With a more powerful processing engine on the way, Fujifilm may be able to add three crucial features missing from the X-H1 – exposure zebras, 10-bit 4:2:2 4K video and 4K 60fps – to its successor, presumably to be named the X-H2.

I am hoping that this new sensor and processor will find its way into the successor to my beloved X-Pro2, probably to be named the X-Pro3, along with a much improved electronic viewfinder (EVF) to match the already high quality of the X-Pro2’s Advanced Hybrid optical viewfinder and monitor.

The X-Pro2 is the almost perfect, affordable documentary photography and photojournalism rangefinder camera and I am looking forward to adding wider and perhaps longer Fujinon X-Mount lenses to my kit for use with a brighter, clearer and more colour-accurate EVF on a zebra-equipped X-Pro3.

The X-H1 is a remarkable advance in Fujifilm’s DSLR-style offerings and will be snapped up by those of us still able to work commercially or with large enough budgets to acquire each new camera that appears.

Being a self-funded documentarian nowadays, I have to be more cautious with new gear and so am looking forward to the X-H2 and especially the X-Pro3.

Links

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  • Fujifilm EC-XH Wide EyecupB&H
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  • Fujifilm MKX50-135mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount)B&H
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  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 50-140mm Lens and Battery Grip KitB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 100-400mm Lens and Battery Grip KitB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H

B&H Explora: Using Optical Viewfinders on Cameras that Already Have Viewing Systems – COMMENTARY

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/using-optical-viewfinders-on-cameras-that-already-have-viewing

“… My attraction to optical viewfinders has to do with visual simplicity. Specifically, when composing a photograph, I don’t want to have to peer through a barrage of backlit numbers and flashing icons. I want zero distractions—I don’t want my subject bordered by a Broadway theater marquee….”

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Leica Brightline Finder M-21 optical viewfinder for 21mm lenses (14mm in APS-C and 10.5mm in M43)

Commentary

fujinon_14mm_f2.8_white_square_1024px
Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R prime lens, equivalent to 21mm in the 35mm sensor format.

The appearance of this article by Allan Weitz is a timely one given I am currently contemplating buying a Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R ultra wide-angle prime lens for my Fujifilm X-Pro2, for architectural and documentary photography.

I had hoped to use this beautifully optically-corrected 21mm equivalent (in the 35mm sensor format) lens to shoot high quality 4K video on my X-Pro2 too but have set this plan aside after finding that Fujifilm dropped the ball on allowing us to customize picture profiles and especially sharpness settings in their recent 4K video firmware update for the X-Pro2, doing a Canon by crippling a long-promised, much-needed functionality.

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The art school’s Linhof 4×5 Master Technika Classic rangefinder metal field camera taught me the value of optical viewfinders and optical/mechanical rangefinders as well as large format sheet film photography, for documentary photography and portraiture.

I hope we do not have to wait too long for the ability to customize sharpness, noise reduction, contrast, colour, highlight tone and shadow tone for video as is permitted on all the other current and recent generations of Fujifilm cameras so I can put my X-Pro2 to work on producing great video footage to match the high quality of its stills.

The Eterna video picture profile would also be very welcome on the X-Pro2.

The X-Pro2’s amazing Hybrid Multi Viewfinder that I love using in its ERF-in-OVF mode for stills and video, with electronic rangefinder (ERF) image lower right in the camera’s optical viewfinder, can only properly handle focal lengths between 18mm and 56mm inclusive, so I must rely on the X-Pro2’s excellent though non-articulated monitor or its suboptimal electronic viewfinder (EVF) for lenses wider than 18mm or longer than 56mm.

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Graflex Crown Graphic 4″x5″ sheet film field camera for use in the hand or on a tripod.

When reading Mr Weitz’ article on optical viewfinders, I was reminded of how useful I found the OVFs on the Linhof, the Graflex Crown Graphic upon which I relied in my magazine photography career, my Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras and the odd borrowed specialist camera such as the superb Hasselblad XPan panorama camera and Hasselblad SWC Superwide.

The XPan was made by Fuji Camera as it was then known and marketed in Japan under its own product designations, the Fuji TX-1 and Fuji TX-2.

Leica has produced its superb but incredibly expensive external optical viewfinders for many years now, from long before the famous portrait of a young Henri Cartier-Bresson with external OVF-equipped early 20th century Leica was made.

Something I especially like about composing through an optical finder is that unlike the black-bordered, tunnel-like view of the scene you get with LCD, electronic, and conventional reflex viewing systems, optical finders allow you to see beyond the borders of the frame, which gives you a definitive edge when photographing fleeting moments.

_fujifilm_vf-x21_external_optical_viewfinder_for_14mm_lens_02_1024px_60%
Fujifilm VF-X21 External Optical Viewfinder originally for the Fujifilm X70, for use with 21mm and 28mm equivalent lenses such as the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R and XF 18mm f/2.0 R on the X-70 and other cameras.

I am now in the market for a good but affordable 21mm optical viewfinder to go with the second-hand Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R that its current owner is currently using on a trip to India and hopefully the lens will return safe, sound and free of dust.

Fujifilm, Voigtländer or another brand altogether, I am looking forward to the digital version of a camera view-finding experience that I grew to love during the era of analog cameras, film, photochemicals and, sadly for me, a debilitating photochemically-derived dermatitis that prematurely ended my magazine photography career.

Roll on digital photography!

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Fujifilm X-H1: DSLR-Style Stills Camera on Steroids, 5-Axis IBIS 8-Bit 4:2:2 Video Contender, or Both? – List of Links and Videos

Fujifilm has announced the Fujifilm X-H1 photography and video hybrid APS-C Super 35 DSLR-style camera, and it comes with a range of new features and features yet to arrive and that may appear in firmware updates later in the year or not at all. 

Fujifilm also announced the long-awaited X-Mount versions of its first two affordable parfocal cinema zoom lenses for use with its X-Mount Super 35/APS-C cameras and especially the X-H1, the Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9, 

fujifilm_xh1_front_battery_grip_18-55mm_1024px_60%
Fujifilm X-H1 with the excellent Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens and Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster Grip

Fujifilm X-H1

Fujifilm Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9 parfocal cinema zoom lenses

Articles & Reviews

Articles or reviews by female moviemakers or photographers with pre-announcement access to the Fujifilm X-H1 = 1 (one)

Press releases

Product Pages

Videos by Fujifilm

Fujifilm videos about female moviemakers or photographers = 3 (three), as part of the Markus&Koala celebrity and fashion photography duo.

Fujifilm videos featuring actresses portraying non-professional moviemakers or photographers = 1 (one)

Videos by Retailers, Reviewers and Vloggers

Videos by female moviemakers, photographers or retail store staff members with pre-announcement access to the Fujifilm X-H1 = 1 (one)

Image Credit

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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  • Fujifilm MKX50-135mm T2.9 Lens (Fuji X-Mount)B&H
  • Fujifilm VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster GripB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-55mm Lens and Battery Grip KitB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 50-140mm Lens and Battery Grip KitB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 100-400mm Lens and Battery Grip KitB&H
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Fujifilm Announces Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Collapsible Power Zoom Lens, Affordable Option for Documentary Photos and Videos?

Fujifilm has announced the Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ collapsible power zoom lens and the first Fujifilm APS-C/Super 35 rangefinder-style cameras for which it will be the bundled kit zoom, the X-A5 and X-A20. 

The XC 15-45mm offers a short standard focal length range of 15mm to 45mm in APS-C sensor format, the equivalent of 23mm to 69mm in the 35mm sensor format, and is well-priced for purchase separately from either camera at less than half the cost of Fujfilm’s XF series kit zoom, the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

fujifilm_fujinon_xc15-45mm_header_1920px
Fujifilm Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ power zoom lens
Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 LM OIS kit zoom lens, in effect the longer equivalent of the new Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ power zoom kit lens.

Since purchasing my Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with an eye to using it for fly-on-the-wall documentary stills and video, along with two of Fujifilm’s best available darkness prime lenses, the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R, I have experienced twinges of regret for not being able to add the XF 18-55mm lens at the time for access to some of my other favourite documentary focal lengths – 18mm, 27mm and 50mm – or the 21mm-equivalent XF 14mm f/2.8 R.

Although I have yet to try either of Fujifilm’s current XC zoom lenses, the Fujinon  XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS and the XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS, I have read about them being surprisingly good for the price.

My ideal 35mm prime lens lineup from my Leica M-System rangefinder documentary photography days, comprising 21mm, 18mm, 35mm, 50mm (I preferred the all-too-rare 40mm though), 75mm and 90mm focal lengths. In APS-C format, these are 14mm, 18mm, 23mm, 35mm, 50mm and 60mm.

I look forward to reading about the Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ’s performance in coming in-depth hands-on reviews by well-qualified photographers and moviemakers.

Will I be adding the Fujinon XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ or the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 LM OIS kit zoom lens to my Super 35/APS-C documentary moviemaking and photography kit?

Will either grant me access to some of my favourite focal lengths that I miss despite the incredible image quality of my two fast prime lenses?

Will either zoom lenses’ optical image stabilization help compensate for their slower variable maximum apertures?

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    • Fujifilm XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II LensB&H
    • Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II Lens (Black)B&H
    • Fujifilm XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II Lens (Silver)B&H
    • Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Zoom LensB&H
    • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R LensB&H
    • Fujifilm LH-XF23 Lens Hood for XF 23mm f/1.4 RB&H
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How I Use My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Advanced Multi Viewfinder OVF Rangefinder Camera for Documentary Photography

Events involving more than a handful of people closely interacting with each other in public rarely occur where I live now and creative events are rarer still, so this year’s Fujifilm People with Cameras event in the city of Sydney provided an excellent opportunity to exercise my documentary photography muscle memory.

I carried my Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens attached and my Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 in a Think Tank PhotoSpectral 8 shoulder bag.

The Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic Plus Camera Bag is also a terrific waist bag for the urban documentary photographer. It can carry one mirrorless camera and one, or two or three lenses if they are small primes or zooms. This model easily carries an X-Pro2 with two Fujicron lenses or a Panasonic Lumix GH5 with standard zoom lens.

The Spectral 8 looks like anything but a typical camera bag, making it a great choice for working events and crowds, and it is the first shoulder bag that has not given me spine and shoulder problems whichever mirrorless camera and however many lenses I carry in it.

If working with just one lens and one camera, and traveling light with personal items too, I choose a Cosyspeed waist bag such as the Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic Plus Camera Bag.

The Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder

The Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R is an excellent lens for documentary photography and photojournalism, especially when working in available darkness.

I chose the X-Pro2 for its Hybrid Multi Viewfinder (HMVF), a considerable evolutionary step beyond the non-digital optical viewfinder (OVF) cameras in all film sizes from my analog photography days.

My documentary photography style was shaped by my first rangefinder camera, a second-hand Leica M-4P, and my first Leica M-System lens, a Summicron-M 35mm f/2.0.

I soon added an Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 after finding the narrower 35mm focal length more suited to a feeling of contemplative distance rather than emotive immersion in fast-moving events.

I purchased my X-Pro2 along with the 23mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 lenses after reading about Kevin Mullins, a documentary-style wedding photographer and Fujifilm X-Photographer from the UK who often works in adverse lighting conditions, reminding me of when going down the mines as a corporate photographer.

Available light and gestural photography

The Fujinon XF 56mm f1/2 R lens is one of the best head and shoulders or full face portrait lenses I have ever used. I also use it for urban documentary photography as a short telephoto lens.

I was excited about these two lenses due to their reportedly high image quality when used wide open in available darkness, a lighting condition common to events I had covered with other digital cameras and lenses for a charity for several years.

What I enjoy about using rangefinder cameras, as opposed to rangefinder-style cameras, is their conduciveness to being used in a gestural manner, seeing the world as if through a window into deep space, and making creative decisions and photographs within a fraction of a second without shutter blackout.

One of my two battered old Leica M4P rangefinder cameras, sold after I contracted severe photochemical reaction dermatitis, prematurely ending my professional magazine photography career. I had to wait years until digital cameras and software were affordable and at the right stage of development to buy back into photography and moviemaking.

All that is the direct consequence of the cameras’ optical viewfinders showing you more than what will end up in your photograph, in combination with having both eyes open at all times, seeing the wider scene with left eye and through viewfinder with right, superimposing one upon the other.

A short movie was once made of me photographing a public event, and the cinematographer swore that I surely could not have been making photographs at all, so rapidly and so casually was I handling my Leica.

Camera in right hand attached by wrist strap, concentrate on the scene, anticipate and visualize the possibilities, wait until a fraction of a second before the perfect conjunction of people, objects and events, raise camera, pass in front of eyes, snap and it is done.

Repeat until you are in the zone and amazing images keep coming thick and fast.

I use my X-Pro2 in manual focussing mode in a similar but now digitally enhanced way, relying on the electronic rangefinder (ERF) set to show the whole scene at lower right of the OVF and with focus peaking set to on.

Fujifilm, exposure zebras please!

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera’s Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder is key to how I get the best out of it. Depicted, the X-Pro2’s finder window with ERF-in-OVF viewing mode selected.

If the firmware for X-Pro2 and other Fujifilm cameras had exposure zebras built-in then I would swap zebras for focus peaking in full image ERF view to ensure perfect exposure under challenging extreme subject dynamic range such as blacks in deep shade combined with whites in bright sun.

In combination with back-button focus on the X-Pro2 via AF-L button or the 23mm f/1.4 lens’ manual clutch focus mechanism, I can see everything on all four sides of the lens’ field of view, have access to plenty of focus and exposure information, can make creative decisions rapidly and accurately, use joystick to select the most critical point of focus then make the exposure with minimal lag time.

A photograph from Fujifilm Australia’s People with Cameras event in the Sydney CBD in October 2017.

As a result the X-Pro2 is the first digital camera that allows me to achieve split-second speeds to photograph the perfect combination of actions and encounters across the frame.

You will notice that I often place my main subjects within a broader field of view, depicting unrelated figures going about their daily business yet in apparent choreographic unison with each other, as if under the command of a dance master instead of blind chance.

Another photograph from Fujifilm Australia’s People with Cameras event in the Sydney CBD in October 2017.

These are image design decisions I came up with years ago after studying painting and visual storytelling throughout the ages in art galleries and museums in Europe.

I find a particular satisfaction in suggesting possible deeper stories and apparent relationships than what may really be going on in the central focus of the action.

More than meets the eye?

The Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 Aspheric lens. I loved using an older, larger version of this lens for immersive, gestural urban documentary photography.

In other words, my photographs are intended to suggest that there is more there than meets the eye.

Although I enjoy the remarkable optical qualities of the 23mm f/1.4 lens, I often find myself wishing for a similar but wider lens for more immersively photographing events outdoors and indoors.

My Leica 28mm lens hit the immersive sweet spot in comparison with wider or narrower lenses and there is no substitute for that specific focal length.

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 lens, one of the first three lenses released by Fujifilm for its interchangeable lens APS-C cameras along with the XF 35mm f/1.4 R and XF 60mm f/2.8 R Macro lens. It needs to be updated to current lens optical and mechanical design standards to suit my needs for high-speed gestural documentary photography.

Its Fujifilm APS-C equivalent is 18mm, but having tried the Fujinon 18mm f/2.0 lens, I rejected buying it due to its lack of manual clutch focus, slow autofocus speed, clanky aperture ring and clunky construction despite its quite reasonable optics.

Fujifilm needs to produce a radically updated version of this lens, and although I prefer the clutch manual focus design of the 23mm f/1.4 and 14mm f/2.8 Fujinon lenses, I could cope with a Fujicron-style design such as that of the small XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR, XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR and XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR primes that are particularly suited to the X-Pro2 due to their small front end that protrudes less into the camera’s OVF.

The curse of funky chic

The Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” lens, equivalent to 75mm in 35mm sensor terms. One of my favourite analog 35mm film format lens pairs was 28mm and 75mm, an excellent combo for two-camera, two-lens documentary photography so long as each lens is quick and accurate to use.

On Sunday I was told that the ageing XF 18mm f/2.0 lens has undergone a sales resurgence recently, and I suspect that is due to its olde worlde funky chic that is being promoted online by certain photographers.

If I really wanted funky chic there are plenty of other lenses that go the extra mile and were built specifically for that.

Fujifilm, please do not shelve your reported plans for a Fujicron-style Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR just because funky chic has become a thing with a clearly mechanically inferior lens.

I have considered adding Fujifilm’s reportedly excellent kit zoom, the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS, to my nascent lens collection but having tried it out at an event last year decided it was not for me due to its size and its front element protruding into the OVF.

The Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS zoom lens, which I had considered purchasing when I got my XF 23mm f/1.4 and XF 56mm f/1.2 lenses but had to let go due to budgetary constraints and other reasons.

At the 18mm setting, the X-Pro2’s 18mm bright frame is almost equivalent to the whole of the OVF window and with ERF activated I would be losing fast and easy view of a crucial percentage of the action.

That view would be further reduced with the addition of Fujifilm’s lens hood for the 18-55mm lens, a necessity in the extremes of light and shade found in an average city scene.

I like the idea, though, of the 18-55mm zoom for its access to much-loved focal lengths from my Leica days – 28mm, 40mm and 75mm in the 35mm sensor size or in APS-C terms, 18mm, 27mm and 50mm – as well as 35mm which for me is more of a video focal length than a stills focal length.

Fujifilm X100F with WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion lens attached, converting the camera’s 23mm f/2.0 lens to an 18mm f/2.0 lens. In 35mm sensor terms, converting a 35mm focal length into 28mm.

The Leica 40mm true normal lens is now sadly discontinued but the closest currently available 40mm lens is the reportedly excellent Voigtlaender Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 SC.

There is one less obvious solution to my 18mm dilemma and that is an X100F with WCL-X100 Wide Conversion lens to convert its fixed 23mm focal length lens to 18mm, with Peak Design Cuff and Clutch camera straps essential for good grip of its small, slick-surfaced camera body.

The Fujifilm MHG-X100 hand grip with notch for attaching Peak Design camera straps, for the X100, X100S and X100T cameras, but, bizarrely Fujifilm has not released a version for the X100F and it is an essential for tight, safe grip especially when using convertor lenses.

The one downside to that set-up is that Fujifilm has, bizarrely, failed to release an updated X100F version of its small but effective MHG-X100 hand grip previously made available for the X100, X100S and X100T.

Fujifilm’s hand grips are the only ones I have come across that have a notch for attaching Peak Design’s camera strap AL-3 Anchor Links and are smaller and neater than those of third party competitors.

A hand grip for the X100F, yet another silly Fujifilm blind spot?

Primes, not zooms

Fujifilm X-Pro2 attached to 3 Legged Thing Equinox Albert Carbon Fibre Travel Tripod with AirHed 360 Ball Head via 3 Legged Thing QR11-LC Universal L-Bracket, an excellent set-up for on-location portraiture. Albert extends high enough for full face close-up portraits and is great for environmental portraits too. For studio use I recommend 3 Legged Thing Winston.

For me at least, zoom lenses are more suited to EVFs and LCDs, not OVFs.

During Sunday’s Fujifilm People with Cameras event I was lucky enough to have a few moments with a save-disabled pre-production model of the coming Fujifilm X-E3 rangefinder-style camera.

It is easy to forget that contemporary mirrorless digital cameras offer two or, in the case of the X-Pro2 and X100F, three ways of seeing in one due to offering an EVF and an LCD, and in the case of those two cameras, an OVF as well.

Fujifilm has a long history of producing excellent analog film cameras, lenses and film stocks.

Two or three ways of seeing, two or three cameras in one. 

Each way of seeing equal to one camera only during the analog era, with the rare exception of the Linhof and Speed Graphic cameras that I used as handheld rangefinder cameras or tripod-mounted view cameras.

The X-Pro2 is, in my opinion, a superb OVF hand camera while other Fujifilm cameras have better quality EVFs better suiting them to use with zoom lenses, prime lenses outside the X-Pro2’s optimum range of 18mm to 56mm, and tripod-mounted use like a miniature view camera via the LCD monitor.

Matching cameras, complementary lenses

Every Fujifilm camera needs an optional hand grip or battery grip in my experience. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 metal hand grip.

Having always relied on carrying two matched cameras for documentary photography I am uncomfortable with just one camera and two lenses, thus risking dropping while changing lenses at speed in the field, or missing shots because I have the wrong lens on it at the time.

I need a second camera for documentary photography projects.

Will an X-Pro2S or X-Pro3 improve their EVFs to match those in the X-T2 and its successors?

Will Fujifilm add the X-Tn series’ excellent and incredibly useful Dual viewfinder mode to cameras in the X-Pron series?

Will Fujifilm finally relent and add exposure zebras to all its cameras, for stills and video?

The Fujifilm X-E3 EVF/LCD rangefinder-style camera with MHG-XE3 hand grip, essential for balancing big lenses and safely holding the camera itself.

Will the X-E3 make for a good EVF rangefinder-style companion camera to the X-Pro2 so I can get back to my well-proven two-camera, two-lens documentary default mode?

Should I seriously consider a Fujifilm X100F with WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion Lens attached, now that the X100F sensor’s specifications are closer to that of the X-Pro2, X-E3 and other Fujifilm cameras?

Time will tell and, no doubt, so will access to a production-run Fujifilm X-E3 for a really good tryout in typical documentary photography conditions in the field.

One thing I know for sure, resulting from handling the X-E3 for even a short time is that, like the X-Pro2 and X100F, it needs a hand grip whether mounting small lenses or large ones on it, whether primes or zooms, as well as Peak Design Cuff and Clutch camera straps.

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  • 3 Legged Thing tripodsB&H
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  • Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic Plus Camera BagB&H
  • Fujifilm MHG-XE3 Metal Hand GripB&H
  • Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 Metal Hand Grip for X-Pro2B&H
  • Fujifilm WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion LensB&H
  • Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X100F Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R Ultra Wide-Angle LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 18mm f/2.0 R LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Zoom LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2 R WR LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2 R WR LensB&H
  • Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R LensB&H
  • Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH LensB&H
  • Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Peak Design Cuff Camera Wrist StrapB&H
  • Peak Design CL-2 Clutch Camera Hand-StrapB&H
  • Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set and Grip for Fujifilm X100F  – B&H
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Will the New Fujifilm X-E3 Rangefinder-Style Camera Take My Breath Away?

I love my Fujifilm X-Pro2 digital rangefinder camera and have no regrets buying it despite its current inability to shoot 4K video, relative lack of other videocentric features and unimpressive electronic viewfinder (EVF). 

As a longtime user of rangefinder cameras in all formats from 8mm (movie film) and 35mm (stills) through various 120 roll-film aspect ratios (6×4.5cm to 6x12cm) up to 4″x5″, it has been such a relief to once again have a very capable rangefinder camera in my hands. 

Coming from an available light (and oftentimes available darkness) documentary background, I heeded Kevin Mullins’ advice and so my first two Fujinon lenses were the XF 23mm f/1.4 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R fast primes.

I wavered on the somewhat slow XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom and a shortage of funds finally made that decision for me, compounded with the Fujinon X-mount lens series’ current 18mm focal length situation.

A fast medium wide-angle of 18mm in Fujifilm’s APS-C format, equivalent to 14mm in the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format and 28mm in the digital 35mm format (I refuse to use the silly term “full frame”) is my number one choice for immersive documentary photography in combination with a moderate telephoto focal length like 50mm in APS-C, 30mm or so in MFT and 75mm in 35mm format.

Gallery

I have applied that moderate wide/moderate long combination to almost all formats and aspect ratios in the past, occasionally adding something in-between, preferably on the wide side of “standard” or “normal”.

In other words, 27mm in APS-C, 20mm in MFT and 40mm in 35mm rather than the more usual “normal” focal lengths of 35mm in APS-C, 25mm in MFT and 50mm in the 35mm format, all of which feel like short telephoto to me.

My choices can vary, though, in shooting video when a longer “normal” lens offering clutch focus functionality for repeatable, accurate manual focussing may override my creative preference for a slightly wider focal length.

The X-Pro2’s advanced hybrid optical viewfinder (OVF) was the clincher in buying into APS-C, aided and abetted by the existence of those 23mm and 56mm focal lengths.

Lenses are, for me, key influencers in camera choice, with sensor aspect ratios coming second followed by a myriad of other often interrelated usability and functionality factors.

I shoot documentary and portrait photographs and documentary videos, am self-funded, and the gear I need must be affordable, small, portable, self-contained and capable of the best quality possible.

No single camera system can provide all that so I use APS-C/Super 35 and MFT/Super 16 cameras and lenses.

Right now, the Lumix GH5 has the edge over Fujifilm for video by a long list of remarkable top-end professional moviemaking features, which is little wonder given Panasonic has been working on video since the GH1.

We have yet to see any Fujifilm camera approach the GH5 in terms of its video feature set and its self-contained usability, and one can only wonder what may turn up in the X-T2S or what might have been of the now-abandoned Fujifilm APS-C/Super 35 “super camera” project.

Playing the waiting game wears thin especially when gaps persist in both sensor formats’ lens and camera offerings, and each has its pros and cons.

The 3:4 (vertical) and 4:3 (horizontal) image aspect ratio is optimal for portraiture and I often find 2:3 (vertical) and 3:2 (horizontal) irritating for that purpose while it is much more suited to documentary photography in horizontal aka landscape orientation.

I love the 1:1 image aspect ratio for monochrome portraiture and urban documentary, combined with the tilting EVF built into only one current camera, the Lumix GX8, allowing me to shoot as I used to with my Rolleiflex twin lens reflexes (TLRs).

I prefer rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras for photography and cameras with fully-articulated monitors for video.

The perfect lens set comprising the right focal lengths combined with manual clutch focus, stabilization and fast non-variable maximum apertures with excellent mechanical and optical construction remains something of a pipe dream.

So, I compromise on APS-C/Super 35 mostly for photography with MFT/Super 16 mostly for video with a mix of Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic cameras and lenses.

Right now I am prepping to photograph a human rights rally tomorrow, the sort of event I have often covered at the same time with gear from all three brands and in both sensor formats.

A DSLR-toting photographer travelling light.

In a DSLR-fixated culture, event participants are effectively rangefinder-blind, allowing me to photograph centimetres away from them without objection.

At this event, I have some constraints imposed by carrying my gear in a small shoulder bag that I have received for review.

The bag is capable of carrying one mirrorless camera plus three lenses in its default internal divider configuration, or up to four small lenses, or two mirrorless cameras-plus-lenses with a minor divider rearrangement.

Somewhere in this image lies my ideal two-camera documentary photography kit. The two fast lenses in the lower lineup for available darkness and two lenses from the upper lineup for available light. I like the 18mm plus 50mm combo from from my Leica M-System days, with those two APS-C focal lengths equivalent to 28mm and 75mm in 35mm format. The 27mm lens is very tempting due to its equivalence to the classic 40mm focal length in 35mm format, as used on the Leica CL and Minolta CLE cameras. Fujifilm is reportedly working on an 18mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” lens. Images not to scale.

I don’t currently have the ideal one-plus-three, one-plus-four or two-plus-two set-up in either mirrorless sensor format, so may limit myself to my X-Pro2 with 23mm lens on-camera and 56mm ready to swap should the portrait opportunities for which that lens is best suited arise.

I would much prefer two cameras with an 18mm lens on one and a 50mm lens on the other but that ideal set-up must wait for our self-financing effort to bear fruit.

FujiRumors reports that a “Fujicron” Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R WR is on its way, slowly and surely, to replace the current Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R and although I would love a Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR right now, that too must wait.

I could carry an MFT Lumix camera with fast fixed maximum aperture standard zoom lens attached to cover the event with all my desired focal lengths and more, but I relish the discipline of carrying a limited set of fast prime lenses, and this new bag warrants a realistic test according to its default design parameters of one camera and two to four lenses, size dependent.

The coming release of Fujifilm’s X-E3 has me musing on another possibility this bag presents via rearranging its dividers, X-Pro2 with 23mm on one side and X-E3 with 56mm on the other.

A less tight fit might be the 18mm on one and the 50mm on the other but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

What remains to be seen is whether the X-E3 will be a worthy companion to the X-Pro2, filling the gaps that the other camera cannot fill.

Based on its specifications list, I suspect that might be the case, with one exception, Fujifilm’s crazy ongoing failure to add crucial exposure zebras functionality for stills and video to all its cameras’ firmware.

Video on X-E3 and other Fujifilm cameras

Although Fujifilm’s cameras have some way to go until they approach Panasonic’s video feature set, especially that of the GH5, they already possess certain advantages.

I enjoy shooting video via my X-Pro2’s advanced hybrid OVF with ERF in lower right of frame set to show the whole scene as seen through the lens, in close-up or in mid-view as desired.

Fujifilm’s manual clutch focus primes are a joy to use as are their aperture rings when needing to ride constantly changing available light.

Fujifilm’s film simulations that work so well for JPEGs apparently look terrific in video, as demonstrated by Andrew Reid at EOSHD with a still frame from a Fujifilm X-T20 which permits customization not currently possible on the X-Pro2.

The lack of 4K in the X-Pro2 is the only factor against using it more for video given I generally use multi-camera 4K set-ups for editing in 4K and increasingly, release in 4K, Australian fraudband’s lousy upload capabilities permitting.

All Fujifilm cameras have their persistent video annoyances, however, and Fujifilm does not appear inclined to correct them any time soon.

None has an integral headphone jack for audio monitoring.

Each has a non-industry-standard 2.5mm microphone jack, demanding the use of unreliable 3.5mm-to-2.5mm adapters or microphones with interchangeable audio cables like Røde’s more recent on-camera models like the VideoMic Pro+.

Beachtek SC25 3.5mm to 2.5mm stereo audio minijack coiled cable for cameras like the Fujifilm X-E3 that have 2.5mm instead of industry-standard 3.5mm audio jacks. I have standardized on coiled audio cables wherever possible as they make my rigs neater and more under control especially when handholding.

Interchangeable 3.5mm-to-2.5mm cables have proven hard to find but I eventually located and ordered several Beachtek SC25 coiled cables.

Fujifilm has proven deaf and blind to the crucial need for customizable exposure zebras for video and stills, instead substituting a blinking highlight overexposure indicator on the X-E3.

Cinematographer/director Paul Leeming explains how to use exposure zebras at his Leeming LUT One webpage.

While the exposure zebras problem can be remedied by a Fujifilm with a firmware update, the best solution right now for effective audio monitoring is by connecting compact audio adapters or field recorders beneath your camera.

I have a Beachtek DXA-SLR ULTRA adapter and a Tascam DR-70D four-track recorder while other moviemakers use the Tascam DR-701D six-track recorder, recorders made by Zoom and Sound Devices, and audio adapters/mixers made by Azden, Saramonic, Sound Devices and other manufacturers.

Audio adapters and recorders permit the use of balanced XLR-cabled professional-grade microphones in a similar way to Panasonic’s GH5 with its optional DMW-XLR1 XLR microphone adapter.

I recommend using coiled XLR cables like those made by KopulK-Tek, Cable Techniques, Ambient Devices, and formerly by Remote Audio, in order to keep your rig compact, neat and under control.

Audio adapters and recorders expand the video potential of all cameras, not just Fujifilm’s, and I use the same sort of audio set-up with my Panasonic and other cameras.

Another way of expanding your audio acquisition capabilities for immersive documentary moviemaking is by relying on wireless lavalier microphones.

I have a second Røde RØDElink Filmmaker Kit on my wishlist and rumour has it that Røde is working on a RØDElink multi-input receiver.

Alternatively, a RØDElink Newshooter Kit for versatility may be a good idea if its receiver can be re-paired to a lavalier-linked transmitter as needed, though so far separate transmitters and receivers remain marked as “coming soon” at the Røde website.

Hmmm, looking at all the many themes and variations of acquiring top quality audio as a solo documentary producer/director/cinematographer, perhaps I should do an article on that alone given some cameras provide for audio acquisition and monitoring very well and others much less so.

ALL Fujifilm cameras need grips

One thing that was immediately obvious when I bought my first Fujifilm camera, the X100, is that it desperately needed a hand grip for better grip of the camera in all conditions when shooting on location.

Every Fujifilm camera needs an optional hand grip, especially the X-Pro2, X-E3 and X100F. Fujifilm does not make a hand grip for the X100F even though the company made hand grips for the X100, X100S and X100T.

My assessment remains the same for all subsequent Fujifilm cameras that I have tried out or purchased, including the X-T1, X-Pro2, X-T2 and X100F.

Fujifilm does not make a hand grip for the X100F, a truly bizarre omission given the camera’s very slight built-in grip and slippery leather-look plastic covering, which has contributed to placing the X100F lower down on my wishlist than it deserves.

As stated on Fujifilm’s Hand Grips page:

Hand Grip provides a secure hold and masterful control of the camera.

Offering an assured hold while preventing any interference with a tripod head, grip is ideal when the camera is fitted with a large lens. The tripod mounting socket is aligned with the optical axis.

Fujifilm does make a grip for the X-E3, the Hand Grip HG-XE3, and I will be getting one for the X-E3 should it prove to be a great companion camera to my X-Pro2.

Links

Image Credits

Image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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