Nick Thomas: A Memento of Life | A Fujifilm X-T3 Short Film

A MEMENTO OF LIFE | A FUJIFILM X-T3 SHORT FILM from Nick Thomas on Vimeo.

Commentary

When I was trying out Fujifilm’s X-T3 as a video camera, shooting footage at DCI 4K 10-bit 4:2:0 F-Log All-Intra 400 mbps and recording internally rather than onto an external monitor/recorder such as the Atomos Ninja V, I was gobsmacked at the quality of the images even though it was just a little short of the 10-bit 4:2:2 footage that external recording makes possible.

Although cameras that shoot raw or ProRes footage such as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and the like are traditionally termed, well, cinema cameras, the X-T3’s footage is clearly more than good enough for many projects that independent documentary and feature moviemakers are likely to create.

It certainly is for me, and it certainly appears to be a step up from the reportedly excellent 10-bit 4:2:2 the Super 16-like Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S camera is cable of recording internally and that is apparently a step-up from the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5’s 10-bit 4:2:2 footage, also recorded internally.

We appear to now be living in the realm of ‘degrees of excellence’ and so image quality may no longer be the number one deciding factor when choosing how one may shoot a project.

Other factors such as colour science, camera size, shape, handholding ability, available lenses, rigging and more will become the deciding factors and that is no bad thing.

It is great to see what the Fujifilm X-T3 is capable of when shooting short features with it and Nick Thomas and his team have my thanks for kindly sharing their work here.

Bravo!

Links

  • Help support ‘Untitled’

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    The Atomos Ninja V 5-inch HDMI monitor/recorder, perfect for recording 10-bit 4:2:2 F-Log video footage from the Fujifilm X-T3.

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

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The X-T3 is Fujifilm’s Finest Camera for APS-C Photography and Super 35 Video Right Now

Moments after I unpacked the X-T3 it became clear that Fujifilm had created something very special with this, the latest in its APS-C sized line of DSLR-style hybrid stills and video cameras.

No time for contemplation  though so I placed it in my shoulder bag and dashed off down the road to where the venue for an historical commemoration was being prepared for the following day, and my first few minutes documenting the action with the X-T3 proved my initial impressions were absolutely spot on. 

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens, the combination I have been trying out for this article.

Gallery: the Fujifilm X-T3

Fujifilm’s X-T3 hits the mark

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Until Fujifilm released the X-T3, Samsung’s NX1 was the undisputed innovation leader in APS-C hybrid cameras capable of professional-quality 4K video as well as excellent stills. Now the X-T3 is the one to aim for and to beat.

With the X-T3, Fujifilm has really hit the mark and is now fulfilling the promise of affordable, high-quality hybrid stills photography and cinematic video that other makers had dangled back way in 2008 with the 35mm and APS-C DSLRs of the day.

I’ll go even further. With the X-T3, Fujifilm has delivered on the promise of a camera little-known when new and now almost completely forgotten, a revolutionary camera which vanished almost almost as rapidly as it had first appeared, the Samsung NX1.

The Fujifilm X-T3 not only picks up where the NX1 took us back in 2014 but signals a bright future for other top-end Fujifilm APS-C/Super 35 cameras that are hopefully coming soon, specifically the X-Pro3 and the X-H2.

The Fujifilm X-T 3 for stills photography

Amazing feature film-quality video is anything but the whole story for the X-T3 – it is also an amazing stills photography camera.

The Fujifilm X-T3 for documentary photography and photojournalism

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Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and Fujifilm X-T3: a perfect two-camera two-lens documentary photography and photojournalism combination?

I come from a newspaper and documentary photography background, having worked for newspapers, magazines and corporate clients from a ridiculously early age.

I did that work with a range of camera types and sizes, ranging from a Pentax Spotmatic SLR through Nikon SLRs, to sheet film view cameras handheld and on tripods, to Leica’s M-System masterpiece rangefinder cameras and then to a number of medium format roll film cameras in twin-lens reflex, single-lens reflex and rangefinder configurations.

I most found myself at home with rangefinder cameras, small, medium and large, the reason why I was so besotted with the Fujifilm X100 when it was launched in 2010.

As a result I immediately bought an X-Pro2 when it appeared and have loved it ever since.

There is more to documentary photography than the 18mm to 56mm focal length lenses that the X-Pro2’s amazing Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder can handle, though, and I have been hoping for an improved X-Pro3 or some other suitable companion camera that makes the most of lenses longer and wider than 56mm and 18mm.

I certainly hope that the X-Pro3 is on its way, but those other focal lengths continue to beckon.

Having tried the X-T1 and X-T2 and having appreciated them without loving them, I know now that the X-T3 is a big evolutionary jump beyond both older cameras and makes a great companion for my X-Pro2.

The X-T3 side-by-side with the X-Pro2 and all on its own

I loved the X-Pro2 as soon as I picked it up not only for its rangefinder-style optical viewfinder but also for its looks and its feel in the hand, in the way it leaps into my hands every time I get it out of my camera bag.

The day of the X-T3’s arrival I placed it in the bag alongside my X-Pro2, carrying three lenses that day, the Fujinon XF 18-55mmm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom, my Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and my Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R prime lenses.

I had chosen those two fast primes after reading wedding documentary photographer Kevin Mullins’ blog at F16.click and seeing the results he was getting in the usual ill-lit churches and wedding venues.

I had worked as a wedding photographer to supplement my income as a kid, relying on flash units and medium format roll film cameras, so appreciated the speed and ease with which Mr Mullins creates his images.

I covered the commemoration event with the X-T3 and X-Pro2 draped around my neck via two Peak Design SlideLite camera straps, relying more on the X-Pro2 at the start then quickly switching to the X-T3 after discovering how beautifully it handled the venue’s available light, or more accurately its available darkness.

I usually rely on Fujifilm cameras’ Auto ISO feature, with aperture priority auto exposure, choose reasonably high ISOs and shoot with fairly wide open apertures in those circumstances and found I was getting better results from the X-T3.

It proved easier and faster to use, faster to autofocus especially when using eye autofocus, produced less noisey images, and most pleasantly of all, it felt just as good in the hand as my X-Pro2, with the result that I began to rely solely on the X-T3 for the rest of the loan period, and loved it.

The Fujifilm X-T3 for monochrome documentary photography

Most of my photography in monochrome, or black-and-white as its more commonly known, is reserved for documentary photography in poor lighting or when the colours of my subjects and their environments carry little to no meaning.

These commemorative event photographs are typical in that the lighting in parts of the venue was low, of mixed sources with some continuous and others prone to flickering, where colour played little to no part in conveying information about the event and its participants, and where I was prepared to shoot in at high ISOs with resulting grain-like digital noise.

The X-T3, frankly, amazed me with its low noise at high ISO to the point where I could easily have shot at ISOs greater than 3200 which I usually set as my upper limit only to be used in emergencies.

Chalk at least some of that up to the X-T3’s new X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4.

The Fujifilm X-T3 for colour photography

Fujifilm cameras are rightly celebrated for their colour science and the richness and veracity of their film simulations for JPEGs and video footage, but I tend to rely on raw files that I process in a number of different applications and plug-ins depending on whether I am after realism or pictorialism, or whether I wish to emulate analog films or go entirely digital in my effects via high dynamic range imaging by merging 5 or 7 exposure brackets in Skylum Aurora HDR 2019.

Since buying my X-Pro2 I have tried out a number of custom picture styles for JPEGs by following the recipes shared by photographers like Kevin Mullins, Thomas Fitzgerald and others.

They have proven to be great reminders of how I visualized the final rendering of my raw files but rarely if ever have I used my JPEGs for final reproduction.

If I were working for a fast-moving client with tight deadlines that deny me time enough in the digital darkroom then I would take my JPEGs more seriously, but those days may well be long over for me now.

And then Fujifilm put Colour Chrome Effect in the X-T3 and what a difference it makes!

Colour Chrome Effect was the crucial step needed to persuade me to finally take JPEGs seriously.

For me, shooting JPEGs for reproduction is akin to shooting colour transparency film while shooting raw is not unlike shooting colour negative film then fussing and mussing it in the colour laboratory.

With an X-T3, my JPEGs to raw files keeper percentages would be more even than they are now when I often chuck out my JPEGs or use them as a quick reference and reminder and not as final art.

The Fujifilm X-T 3 for video

With Fujifilm positioning its X-H1 as the most videocentric DSLR-style camera in its range, as well as the highest performance camera of the whole X Series, the X-T3’s pro-quality video features came as a complete surprise.

In the run-up to Fujifilm’s X-T3 announcement, rumour websites had placed more emphasis on it as a stills photography camera than for video, and I was left wondering whether there would ever be an APS-C hybrid camera that approached or even surpassed the revolutionary Samsung NX1.

Samsung’s NX1 foreshadowed the video capabilities of Fujifilm’s X-T3

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Until Fujifilm released the X-T3, Samsung’s NX1 was the undisputed innovation leader in APS-C hybrid cameras capable of professional-quality 4K video as well as excellent stills. Now the X-T3 is the one to aim for and to beat.

The Samsung NX1 had taken everyone by surprise with a slew of video features nobody could have foreseen at the time it was announced back in 2014.

Those features included its 28.9 megapixel backside illuminated sensor (BSI), autofocus phase detection points covering almost all the sensor’s frame, subject tracking that was incredibly effective for its day, great 4K video, 8-bit 4:2:2 4K video out, a dynamic range and low light capability that was outstanding, high-speed burst stills, touch screen, fast and intuitive menu system, built-in Wi-Fi, an almost lag-free OLED viewfinder and, looking to the future, its H.265 video codec.

DPReview’s Pros and Cons lists for the NX1 included the same item in two places, the NX1’s H.265 video codec in the Pros list due to the small size of H.265 HEVC video files and in the Cons list because many computers of the tine were just too underpowered to handle it well.

The X-T3’s H.265 HEVC video codec and contemporary computers

Those relatively underpowered computers of the day when the Samsung NX1 was new are no longer as much of a concern now, something I proved by putting the X-T3’s H.265 video files to the test in an Apple Store on a range of current computers from an entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro through an entry-level 27-inch iMac up to a mid-range iMac Pro maxed out with RAM.

The two entry-level machines were low in memory for their CPU but they had enough video RAM and graphics processing power to easily handle my H.265 files whether in playback or editing in Final Cut Pro X.

Internal and external graphics processing units like Blackmagic Design’s  Blackmagic eGPU are the key to the big video files that cinema-quality cameras like the X-T3 and NX1 produce, especially when maxing out on resolution, bitrate, compression and aspect ratio.

I carried the Fujifilm X-T3 in this Think Tank Photo MindShift Gear Exposure 15 adventure shoulder camera bag throughout heavy downpours and the occasional sunnier days. Until this bag with its innovative gel shoulder strap, I was unable to carry larger shoulder bags due to longtime spinal injuries but now I can carry two cameras and several lenses as well as a host of other items large and small with impunity.

I initially tested the X-T3’s ability to shoot great video with settings I would apply to making records of family and friends, choosing from Fujifilm’s legendary film simulations for instant television playback via HDMI.

However I shot most of my test video with the cinematic combination of F-log, the cinematic 17:9 aspect ratio of DCI 4K, shooting at 24p and 400Mbps, chose the H.265 (HEVC) codec for 10-bit 4:2:0 on the SD card which would have been 10-bit 4:2:2 if I’d had an Atomos Ninja  V monitor/recorder handy, and ALL-I movie compression instead of Long GOP.

Fair warning: if you choose to shoot whole projects at those settings, make sure you have plenty of internal hard drive space and plenty more fast external hard drives to store on and edit from.

Transcode to ProRes when editing on older computers

I was pushing it on my ageing 27-inch iMac Retina 5K, with video playback stuttering whichever software I used, including the ever-reliable Kyno media management application.

For older machines like mine, be prepared to transcode your H.265 footage to ProRes using your choice of Kyno, EditReady, Compressor or any other capable transcoding software so your computer playback goes smoothly and your editing goes even smoother.

And be prepared to investigate how to use external GPUs on likewise ageing computers, and to invest in a workable solution.

The external GPU community website eGPU.io is a great place to start your research into adding extra graphics processing power to older computers.

Alternatively, choose the older H.264 codec, Long GOP compression and 1080p if you don’t need to future-proof your footage by shooting and editing in 4K.

“Simples!”

Fujfilm X-T3 lightly rigged for video

It is still early days for camera cages and accessories makers coming up with designs for the X-T3 and I do not currently have access to gimbals and other stabilization devices so used it handheld.

Equipped with an optically stabilized zoom lens, however, the Fujifilm X-T3 makes for a very good run-and-gun video camera and its great balance and weight easily accommodates popular video mics from makers like Australia’s very own Røde Microphones as well as headphones or earphones for a little more on-location discretion.

The X-T3 benefits from larger, faster SDXC memory cards especially when shooting video for the high road, and I have some suggestions in the list at the borrow of this page.

You will also need neutral density filters especially when shooting in available light outdoors as the X-T3 has a base ISO of 640 in F-Log and 160 in Rec. 709.

Documentary cinematographers often rely on variable neutral density filters aka VNDs while feature filmmakers choose sets of fixed value ND filters in circular screw-on frames, or square or rectangular filters for sliding into matte boxes or filter holders.

I use both, depending on the project and its circumstances, and there are some recommendations in the list at the bottom of the page.

I also recommend rigging your handheld X-T3  up with ample camera strapping for safety and better grip, and I equip every camera I use with Peak Design’s Clutch, Cuff and SlideLite.

Still frames from DCI 4K video shot in F-Log then minimally graded with Fujifilm’s free LUTs

The video still frames above were shot at DCI 4K then downsized to 1080p to keep file sizes down but they give a good idea of the video image quality delivered by the X-T3 at high road video and in-between settings.

The X-T3’s Super 35 4K footage is eminently gradable, looks beautiful whether shot with F-Log or Fujifilm’s Eterna Rec. 709 film simulation, and I am looking forward to seeing what it does with Fujifilm’s Hybrid Log-Gamma aka HLG profile when it is released via a firmware update sometime later this year.

With the arrival of HLG on Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras the Lumix DC-GH5 and DC-GH5S last year and this, many documentary and feature moviemakers have adopted it as their go-to profile and the same may very well occur with X-T3 users.

I have shot all but one of these in F-Log with the exception of one as Eterna, and have graded the F-Log footage with Fujifilm’s recently updated set of three LUTs for F-Log along with some creative looks LUTs from LookLabs’ SpeedLooks and DFS aka Digital Film Stocks collections.

The X-T3’s Eterna footage looks like it is more than usable ungraded and can take a modicum of grading as well.

The X-T3 takes video autofocus seriously and now, so do I

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A great opportunity to try out the Fujifilm X-T3’s video autofocus and tracking capabilities while panning on fast-moving subjects in dull light during a typical gloomy Sydney October day. Looks good enough for me. Lens used was the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom minus ND filter, at about 18mm and with aperture fairly wide open.

For years there has been no end of to and fro online about whether serious moviemakers use autofocus or not, with the implication that real professionals only focus manually.

My motto is ‘take nothing for granted’ so I put the X-T3’s video and eye detection autofocus to the test in some rather trying conditions and found they certainly work well enough for use when shooting run-and-gun style video and during fast-and-loose handheld camera movements.

The Fujifilm X-T3’s autofocus, and autoexposure capabilities for that matter, are well worth putting to the test under a range of conditions.

From the evidence of the still-frame above and others I would me more than happy to rely on the X-T3’s autofocusing in a pinch, especially for use in documentary projects.

My Fujifilm X-T3 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Slightly larger body, dials and buttons – better grip, more stability in the hand, easier to locate without looking, easier to click or turn.
  • Slightly larger built-in grip – though I would still add the metal hand grip or vertical battery grip for larger lenses and portrait photography.
  • Size, shape and silver colour – aids in being ignored when shooting side-by-side with Canon and Nikon DSLR users as I look like an amateur playing with a toy or an old analog era camera.
  • Linear or non-linear focussing with focus-by-wire lenses.
  • Faster and surer face/eye focus detection – in available light, available darkness and with the face turned sideways, defeated only by subjects wearing glasses.
  • Faster and more accurate autofocus – in stills and especially video.
  • Flicker reduction using mechanical shutter.
  • Locking diopter adjustment!!! – no more knocking off its settings and annoying resetting.
  • More megapixels at 26.1 MP – leading to less noise when shooting in available darkness at high ISOs.
  • Size, shape and silver colour – aids in being ignored when shooting side-by-side with Canon and Nikon DSLR users as I look like an amateur playing with a toy or an old analog era camera.
  • Minimal blackout of the electronic viewfinder.
  • Better video dynamic range than other APS-C and M43 cameras.
  • Beautiful stills and videos. 
  • Wide range of film simulation picture styles – augmented by Colour Chrome Effect, Eterna and F-Log.
  • Good low noise results at high ISOs. 
  • Built-in microphone and headphone ports – on-camera instead of only on battery grip.
  • Zebras – for accurate video exposure, with ability to set percentage.

Cons:

  • No in-body image stabilization – wait for the X-H2?
  • Three-way tilting LCD monitor instead of fully articulated LCD monitor – limits the operator’s range of positions relative to the camera, especially in tight spaces, and eliminates the possibility of mounting detachable hoods and loupes.
  • Small battery – while the NP-W126S delivers more sustained power than the NP-W126, shooting throughout the day requires carrying several of them and so I recommend the Vertical Battery Grip VG-XT3.
  • Blinkies only – for accurate stills exposure and not zebras and percentage settings as with video.

Conclusions

The Fujifilm X-T3 has been a revelation, the first contemporary DSLR-style APS-C/Super 35 format camera I have used that has impressed me as much as the revolutionary Samsung NX1 did, for photography and for video.

The Fujifilm X-T3 is the first APS-C DSLR-style camera that proved to be as comfortable, as at-home in my hands while covering an all-day event as my Fujifilm X-Pro2, and I would have no hesitation relying on it for plenty more of the same.

The Fujifilm X-T3 also proved to be just as usable and as comfortable in my hands in its role as a Super 35 movie camera shooting beautiful high-end DCI 4K cinematic footage with its video settings maxed out, and its straight-out-of-camera 1080p video shot using the Eterna and other film simulation picture profiles was a delight.

The X-T3 will be as at home shooting family videos with stabilized zoom lenses attached as it will be on the set of a commercial movie or television production, heavily rigged up with adapted cinema prime lenses or Fujifilm’s two geared parfocal X-Mount cinema zoom lenses, the Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 and the Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9.

I have only touched on the surface of this amazing camera and its capabilities, but even so I was deeply impressed and excited about the future of Fujifilm’s X-Mount system for stills photography and moviemaking, and have no hesitation in recommending the X-T3 for users at all levels of expertise.

Links

This is an exhaustive list of hardware and software products that may be of interest to those using the Fujifilm X-T3 for stills photography or video production. I use or have at least tried out most of these products and can recommend them.

Many of them are available for purchase via my B&H Photo Video affiliate link account if you wish to help support may work in producing articles like this one, or you may wish to do so via the shorter list at the base of this page.

    • 1Styles.pro – maker of film simulations styles and presets for Capture One.
    • 8Sinn – maker of popular camera body-hugging camera cages and accessories, currently designing cages for the Fujifilm X-T3.
    • Alien Skin – maker of Exposure X4 raw photo editor and organizer.
    • Aurora-Aperture – excellent quality UV, neutral density and variable neutral density filters for photography and cinematography, including the PowerXND-II VND series featuring a range of 1 to 11 stops of light reduction.
    • Apple – Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter – … “a bidirectional adapter, it can also connect new Thunderbolt 3 devices to a Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port and macOS Sierra.”
    • Blackmagic DesignBlackmagic eGPU – external high performance graphics accelerator for photograph and video editing and grading, currently sold exclusively through Apple stores.
    • Blackmagic DesignBlackmagic Raw – “the world’s fastest RAW format with better quality and better features!” – imagine if this raw codec was implemented in all cameras, especially the X-T3!
    • Blackmagic DesignDaVinci Resolve – “DaVinci Resolve 15 is the world’s first solution that combines professional offline and online editing, color correction, audio post production and now visual effects all in one software tool!” – available in excellent free version as well as paid-for Studio version.
    • Breakthrough Photography – makers of some of the finest brass traction-framed and non-framed UV and fixed ND filters as well as the best brass traction-framed step-up rings though the company does not make every single size that may be needed. If the size you need is not available, consider the brass step-up rings made by Heliopan and Sensei, UV filters made by Chiaro and ND filters made by Formatt-Hitech and SLR Magic.
    • Chiaro – excellent high transmission UV protection filters in brass frames.
    • CoreMelt – Australian maker of plug-ins for Final Cut Pro X that are considered must-haves for all video editors, with its Chromatic plug-in especially essential for quality colour grading within FCPX.
    • divergent mediaEditReady 2 – affordable macOS-only application for transcoding video files.
    • DxO – maker of DxO PhotoLab, DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint as well as the new owner of the Nik Collection Plug-ins. Sadly, DxO does not support Fujifilm X-Trans raw files in its applications but they can be applied as plug-ins.
    • eGPU.io – macOS user community website dedicated to external graphics processing unit solutions for current and older Mac computers including those that predate Thunderbolt 3.
    • F16.click – Fujifilm X-Photographer Kevin Mullins’ blog, where he shares his excellent SOOC JPEG custom settings amongst other things. Like me he is a rangefinder camera-using documentary photographer and I recommend his articles on the X-T3 from that point of view.
    • Formatt Hitech – makes Firecrest Ultra ND and Firecrest ND fixed value neutral density filters in framed and unframed versions, the “world’s first hyper-neutral ND”.
    • Fujifilm GlobalApplication Software – free software including Fujifilm X Raw Studio, Fujifilm X Acquire and Tethered Shooting Software HS-V5.
    • Fujifilm Global – Digital Camera Firmware : Interchangeable Camera Body / Lens – check that you have the latest camera and lens firmware here.
    • Fujifilm Global – Fujifilm launches new mirrorless digital camera “FUJIFILM X-T3” – press release.
    • Fujifilm GlobalFujifilm X-T3 – product pages.
    • Fujifilm Global – LUT for F-Log (Look Up Table) – set of three free LUTs for X-T3 video, an excellent starting point when grading F-Log and other video from the X-T3. I particularly like the F-Log to Eterna LUT.
    • Fujifilm Global – RAW FILE CONVERTER EX 3.0 powered by SILKYPIX – free raw file convertor.
    • Fujifilm X/GFX USA
    • Fujifilm X Series Official Site
    • Image Alchemist – maker of presets for Capture One.
    • iridient digital – maker of Iridient X-Transformer and transformer software for other cameras’ raw files as well as Iridient Developer for processing raw files; helping get the very best out of Fujifilm X-Trans raw files.
    • Leeming LUT Pro – Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming makes “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 Rec. 709 starting point for further creative colour grading.” and is working on a LUT for the Fujifilm X-T3.
    • Lesspain SoftwareKyno – unique application for macOS and Windows that is effectively a Swiss Army Knife media management toolset for moviemakers, that works in close conjunction with Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro.
    • LockCircle – run by Italian-Australian director/cinematographer Dante Cecchin, this Italian company makes some of the best camera cages and accessories for digital moviemaking.
    • LookLabs – makers of SpeedLooks and Digital Film Stocks aka DFS looks LUTs based on scans of film stocks and popular feature film grading looks.
    • On1, Inc. – maker of On1 Photo Raw 2018, soon to be upgraded to On1 Photo Raw 2019, raw image editor and organizer.
    • Phase OneCapture One Express Fujifilm, Capture One Pro Fujifilm, and Capture One Pro for all cameras – Express version is free, other two must be purchased, both offer tethered shooting on top-tier Fujifilm cameras, and all versions provide top-quality raw image processing of Fujifilm raw files with integrated Fujifilm film simulations coming soon.
    • Silkypix – maker of Silkypix Developer Studio Pro 9, Silkypix Developer Studio 8 and free raw developer software for Fujfilm cameras.
    • Skylum – maker of Aurora HDR 2019 and Luminar 2018 image editing and organizing software.
    • SLR Magic – makers of neutral density and related filters popular with professional documentary moviemakers, includingSLR Magic 82mm Self-Locking Variable Neutral Density 0.4 to 1.8 Filter (1.3 to 6 Stops) and SLR Magic 86mm Solid Neutral Density 1.2 Image Enhancer Filter (4-Stop) as well as a range of fixed neutral density filters.
    • SmallRig – maker of cages and accessories for cameras including the X-T3, with two cages in Pre-Order at time of writing, SmallRig Cage for Fujifilm X-T3 Camera with Battery Grip 2229 and SmallRig Cage for Fujifilm X-T3 Camera 2228.
    • Thomas Fitzgerald Photography – blog by JPEG and raw file processing expert whose ‘Fuji Jpegs: Shooting and Processing Guide’ eBook contains some excellent advice and recipes for getting the best out of SOOC JPEG custom settings.

    Image Credits

    • Header image by Jonas Rask on commission from Fujifilm.
    • Press image product shots courtesy of Fujifilm.
    • Photograph of Fujifilm X-T3 and Samsung NX1 made on location at a local event as a 5-bracket HDR image with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens then processed in Aurora HDR 2019 and DxO Nik Collection plug-ins.
    • My own product shots made as 5-bracket HDR images with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens then processed in Skylum Aurora HDR 2019, Alien Skin Exposure X4 and DxO Nik Sharpener Pro as plug-ins.

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Fujifilm X-T3 First Impressions

I have been using the Fujifilm X-T3 since its release late last week and, in brief, it is the camera that I was hoping the X-T2 would be both in stills and video functionality. 

I like the X-T3 though I am not naturally an SLR-style camera user for stills photography, having spent my formative and magazine photography years relying on rangefinder cameras in a number of film formats from 35mm through 120 roll film to 4″x5″ sheet film. 

I have relied on DSLR-style cameras for video, however, specifically Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH4 and GH5 though not, as yet, the GH5S. 

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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.

I chose Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds mirrorless hybrid cameras for video due to Fujifilm’s APS-C hybrid cameras lack of professional-quality video capabilities for so long.

Until now, that is.

I will be putting the X-T3 to the test over the next few days and will then be better able to determine if the X-T3 is as ready for professional use in documentary photography and video production as its Panasonic Lumix counterparts.

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Fujifilm X-T3 alongside the legendary and sadly discontinued Samsung NX1, until now the most advanced APS-C/Super 35 DSLR-style mirrorless camera. Is the X-T3 the NX1 successor that I have been hoping for? Quite possibly, but further testing for stills and video are required before I can definitely answer that question.

Until then, my first impressions of the Fujifilm X-T3 are very favourable indeed, especially on the stills photography front as I took it straight into production documenting an all-day event on the day of arrival and all the following day too.

I will be more specific about how and why in coming articles soon, covering stills and video.

Meanwhile here are the general and stills photography features and improvements I have used and like so far:

  • Bigger, easier to grip body and more stability when handholding for video due to increased weight and better balance.
  • Bigger, easier to grip dials.
  • Bigger buttons, easier to locate unseen.
  • Choice of linear or non-linear focussing with focus-by-wire lenses.
  • Faster and surer face/eye focus detection in available light, available darkness and with the face turned sideways.
  • Larger built-in grip, though I would still add the metal hand grip or vertical battery grip for larger lenses and portrait photography.
  • Faster and more accurate autofocus.
  • Flicker reduction using mechanical shutter.
  • Locking diopter adjustment!!!
  • More megapixels at 26.1 MP, which appears to lead to much less noise when shooting in available darkness at high ISOs.
  • Size, shape and silver colour leads to being ignored when shooting side-by-side with Canon and Nikon DSLR users as I look like an amateur playing with a toy or an old analog era camera.

And finally and straight out of left field, here is a feature I would love to see on all DSLR-style cameras including those made by Fujifilm, that was again pioneered by Samsung but in its NX30 and not the NX1:

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The amazing tilting electronic viewfinder eyepiece on the Samsung NX30 with Samsung 18-55mm III f/3.5-5.6 OIS zoom lens, making waist-level photography possible as Panasonic did on its Lumix DMC-GX8 professional flagship rangefinder-style M43 hybrid camera. Panasonic, where is the pro-quality successor to the GX8?

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Fujifilm X-T3 with VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS zoom lens.

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XTRAS: All about that Hood

http://fujixtras.blogspot.com/2015/08/all-about-that-hood.html

“… There’s a lot of good things to say about the Fujifilm lens hoods though. They do come included with the lenses, and provide more than adequate light shielding and protection for the front lens element. They can be mounted reversed to save space in your bag, and are made of solid mass-colored plastic to resist dents and scratches (the 18 and 35 metal ones are the exception for both last attributes).

But they remain cumbersome, tend to come off or knock loose when banging around in crowds, are a pain to mount/unmount when changing lenses, and look quite a bit, well… boring….

… Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives available. Some come from traditional third party accessory brands, others spawn out of Chinese workshops courtesy of eBay….”

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Fujifilm LH-XF23 Lens Hood for Fujifilm Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R prime lens. Chinese accessories maker JJC and the Vello brand of US company Gradus Group make more affordable alternatives that look and work the same. I bought the one by JJC recently and like it, though I am also looking for a Leica-style circular lens hood with multiple vents that do not obscure the view through my X-Pro2’s optical viewfinder.

Some third-party lens hoods for Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R prime lens

Commentary

Recently I bit the bullet and ordered a JJC brand lens hood for the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R prime lens (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm sensor cameras) as a replacement for the plastic petal lens hood that was supplied with the lens.

I have been going without a lens hood for quite some time now, relying for protection on the excellent Breakthrough Photography 62mm knurled brass traction framed UV filter I keep permanently mounted on that lens.

I find that lens hoods are essential protection when using my cameras in city crowds where people seem to enjoy smashing into each other or hurling out of shop doorways at high speed without bothering to look.

I often wonder if many people now live in virtual worlds in their own minds, where other people are simply background figures to be walked through as if random collections of pixels on a screen.

Fujifilm’s supplied petal lens hood protrudes into my X-Pro2’s optical viewfinder and it can often be annoying to lose sight of that part of the frame, even though I usually have my camera set so that its electronic rangefinder shows a full view of the scene at the lower right of the OVF.

The JJC lens hood, bought from an Australian-based supplier of several Chinese accessories brands including JJC, arrived faster than if I had bought its Fujifilm or Vello equivalents from B&H or ebay and it is working out well, being robust and protective of the front element and filter of my most-used lens.

It has already done its job while photographing an event in some heavily packed rooms where the participants seem to have limited vision or simply did not care who and what they bumped into.

I am looking for an alternative lens hood though, something lighter and smaller and with vents in exactly the right place to allow less obscured vision through the X-Pro2’s OVF, in the same way that Leica’s vented lens hoods work with the company’s M-Series rangefinder lenses.

The article I have linked to here is one of the most researched on the subject of lens hoods for Fujifilm lenses, and through it I have located an eBay supplier in China that makes multiple-vented 62mm screw-in lens hoods.

Shortly after I bought the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R lens, I came across a European supplier of third-party Fujifilm accessories who claimed that their lightweight  62mm vented screw-in lens hood had vents that did not obscure vision through the OVF.

It did the opposite.

Caveat emptor, I suppose.

With luck and the article by XTRAS, I may have found a lightweight vented lens hood that actually does its job.

We shall see!

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Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R prime lens with manual clutch focus, equivalent to 35mm in the 35mm sensor format.

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FujiLove: Why I Want the XF18mm f/2, by Charlene Winfred

https://fujilove.com/why-i-want-the-xf18mm-f-2/

“… I think I want-need another lens. No, none of those fancy new ones Fuji recently released. It’s another small prime, six years old, an original XF lens.

I want the XF 18mm F2.

I’ve been told it’s optically not quite up to par with the newer Fujinon lenses, but that doesn’t bother me, and I love it for all of the reasons I love my other gear:…

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Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R prime lens, for me regrettably much too slow to focus manually or via autofocus and its aperture ring too flakey and quirky for fast-paced professional work in stills and video, though some folks seem to like it for the quirkiness that made it so frustrating when I tried it out..

Commentary

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Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 Aspheric prime lens for Leica M-System cameras, for me the archetypal 28mm documentary and photojournalism lens whose short barrel and narrow front diameter does not protrude into the camera’s viewfinder window. I want something similar for my X-Pro2, an 18mm f/2.8 or faster. When I had my own Elmarit-M 28mm lens for use on analog Leicas, f/2.8 proved fast enough, though Leica also does f/2.0 and f/1.4 28mm lenses.

I sympathize with Charlene Winfred’s Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R GAS* attack.

A new lens is a new way of seeing the world and if that new lens is a focal length far away from those you are most accustomed to using then it can be exciting, even liberating.

Ms Winfred has relied on some of the longer Fujinon XF focal lengths for some years – 23mm, 27mm, 35mm and 56mm – and felt the allure of 18mm while borrowing one a couple of times.

That I can well understand.

I felt the same after buying into the Leica M-System with a secondhand Leica rangefinder camera and a new Summicron-M 35mm f/2.0 lens, the perfect one camera, one lens combination for environmental portraits, cityscapes and documentary work.

The 35mm focal length – 23mm in Fujifilm APS-C, 17mm in Micro Four Thirds – is a great one prime lens compromise along with the slightly longer 40mm lens – 27mm in APS-C and 20mm in M43.

I felt the 28mm urge – 18mm in APS-C and 14mm in M43 – after getting deeper into documentary photography, needing to better share my close proximity to the people, events and emotions in which I was embedded.

My 28mm Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 lens was my documentary go-to lens for years, and when Fujifilm finally released its first interchangeable lens rangefinder camera, the X-Pro1, I hoped that the 18mm lens released with it might have qualities located somewhere in that particular ball park.

It didn’t.

Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R is quirky, what some commentators refer to as a character or art lens with properties that suit some subjects and  photographic styes but not others.

Especially not the sort of photographs I like to make where every single part of the photograph is important and the whole visual field needs to be in sharp focus, near to far, left to right and right up into all four corners.

If I want radical bokeh or a curved image field instead of flat, then I will consider an art lens or two, some day.

A number of other documentary photographers have expressed the hope that Fujifilm will finally release a Fujicron style Fujinon 18mm f/2.0 R WR to go with its current Fujicron 23mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses and the coming 16mm ‘Fujicron’ prime.

I would prefer to see Fujifilm release an 18mm lens in the style of its excellent 14mm f/2.8, 16mm f/1.4 and 23mm f/1.4 lenses with their manual clutch focus mechanisms, so useful for video and available light photography with the aperture wide open.

Why can’t Fujifilm issue two or more versions of some focal lengths, just like other lens makers do?

They are about to do exactly that with the 16mm focal length, a focal length I do not particularly like, that is so wide it draws undue attention to itself and detracts from what it depicts, and that I find so distorting for human subjects that I must apply volume deformation correction to images I have shot with 16mm or equivalent lenses via DxO ViewPoint.

Fujifilm, keep the current 18mm f/2.0 semi-pancake lens, by all means, for those for whom quirky is an essential creative character trait, but please, please, please Fujifilm, give us a professional-quality 18mm lens too.

What have you got to lose?

Not as much as I have by not being able to have a good enough 18mm prime lens on my X-Pro2.

I hope that Ms Winfred gets hold of her own Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R lens very soon as its immersive, wide but not too wide focal length can be a real liberation after years of narrower ways of seeing.

Fujifilm, are you reading this?

Some views of Chatswood with a borrowed Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R on my X-Pro2

The folks at Fujifilm Australia kindly loaned me a subset of Fujinon XF prime and zoom lenses a little while ago and one of them was the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R.

I took it out for a spin several times but found it frustrating to use in making my usual urban documentary photographs as above, and found I needed to bend my usual way of processing raw files shot with it into more of a quirky, funky direction than I like, substituting clarity all across the frame with something a little more retro, an almost 1980s analog style.

Not my favourite era, frankly.

One of the other loaner lenses was the Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR zoom lens and I found myself relying on that mounted on a loaner Fujifilm X-T2 on preference to the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R mounted on my X-Pro2 when needing the 18mm focal length.

I have yet to try Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens but note that veteran photojournalist David Alan Harvey spoke of using that lens at its 18mm focal length setting during Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 launch event in Tokyo.

I have also tried out the Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom lens on a Fujifilm X-T1 at the 18mm focal length setting and found that a very satisfying experience too, even though my needs are for rangefinder and rangefinder-stye cameras with prime lenses that do not protrude into those cameras’ optical viewfinders if they have them.

Theoretically the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom should provide a decent match for the X-Pro2 in its optical viewfinder aka OVF mode given the OVF’s brightline range from 18mm to 56mm, but I suspect the 58mm filter diameter of the lens may protrude into the OVF’s lower right somewhat.

That is a problem that can be palliated to some degree by using the X-Pro2 in M for manual focus mode with the EVF-in-OVF switched on to give you an overall view of the scene, or in S or C autofocus mode with the focusing area set to smallest.

Some urban documentary photographers render the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R more usable by taping its aperture and focusing rings up on selected settings while others use the lens untaped-up and set for zone focusing, like Sydney urban documentarian Steve Dimitriadis in his article below.

I have tried using the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R for the up-close, immersive, available light documentary projects for I which I also loved to use my Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 but found the 18mm even more frustrating in use than for urban documentary at a distance from my subjects.

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Postscript

As a result of this article I have been accused online of demanding that Fujifilm must now make two versions of every lens that they currently make, one with a wide maximum aperture and one with with a less wide maximum aperture, and thus that I am demanding that Fujifilm bankrupts itself.

Reference to some facts is in order.

I am asking Fujifilm that they consider releasing the updated 18mm lens design that has apparently been on their internal lens release roadmap for some time since it was first reported by Fuji Rumors.

Given Fujifilm is about to release a 16mm Fujicron lens to sit alongside its current 16mm f/1.4 lens, surely it is not outside the bounds of imagination that the company may be capable of having two 18mm lenses in its collection, a quirky and characterful 18mm art lens and a professional-quality 18mm lens.

If two different 16mm lenses are unlikely to bankrupt Fujifilm then perhaps two different 18mm lenses may not bankrupt Fujifilm either.

Other lens makers manage to issue two and sometimes even three different versions of the same focal length without bankrupting themselves.

I would hope Fujifilm is capable of doing the same.

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Veydra Mini Prime 19mm cinema lens available in Sony E-Mount, Micro Four Thirds mount and Fujifilm X-Mount. An alternative to the disappointing Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R in case Fujifilm does not bother to issue a professional quality 18mm prime lens? Only if you are using it on an X-T2, X-T3, X-H1 or future X-H2 I suspect as it is long, heavy and the filter diameter of 77mm means it will protrude far too much into the X-Pro2’s optical viewfinder. Or it may work in EVF mode on a future X-Pro3 if Fujifilm improves it beyond the X-Pro2’s EVF. Desperation makes its demands and takes it tolls. I have never used any of Veydra’s Mini Prime lenses but they apparently render not unlike Zeiss prime lenses.

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  • Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f/2 LensB&H – Cosina makes excellent lenses under its own brand name, Voigtlaender, as well as on commission from camera and lens companies. Voigtlaender lenses for Leica M-mount tend to be far more affordable than Leica own-brand lenses
  • ZEISS Biogon T* 28mm f/2.8 ZM LensB&H – Zeiss ZM lenses for Leica M-Mount rangefinder cameras and adapters are an excellent, more affordable alternative to Leica’s own lenses and tend to have more neutral colour rendering than Leica’s warmer colours.

Footnotes

  • * Gear acquisition syndrome

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…”

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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

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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

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?

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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.

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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.

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  • 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….”

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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.

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

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  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm 64GB Elite II Performance UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 Metal Hand Grip for X-Pro2B&H
  • Match Technical EP-XP2 Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Black)B&H
  • Fujifilm NP-W126S Li-Ion Battery PackB&H
  • Fujifilm X-E3 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm MHG-XE3 Metal Hand GripB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip KitB&H
  • Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X100F Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm TCL-X100 II Tele Conversion LensB&H
  • Fujifilm WCL-X100 II Wide Conversion LensB&H
  • Match Technical EP-2F Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X100FB&H
  • 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….”

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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.

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

  • 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
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