“I ran around with the Fujifilm X-H1 for three weeks. I loved it. More detailed thoughts and photos/videos in the review!…
My channel is about photography as an art form and as a lifestyle, with a healthy dose of technology thrown in!”
Longtime Canon and Nikon DSLR user Brittany Leigh has published a series of video reviews of Fujifilm’s X-Mount APS-C/Super 35 mirrorless cameras and I hope she will review more Fujifilm cameras and Fujinon lenses including the company’s new three medium format G-Mount cameras.
Female reviewers of photography and cinematography gear are far too rare, and female reviewers working in documentary photography, photojournalism or documentary moviemaking are even more rare.
Ms Leigh appears to photograph mostly landscape and wildlife, neither of which are genres I practice, but her technical and usability insight is excellent especially given her DSLR and SLR background, very useful for those from the same background contemplating modernizing by joining the mirrorless revolution.
I have just discovered Brittany Leigh via her TheSnapChick Youtube channel, and so far her analyses of the Fujifilm X100F, X-H1, X-T3 and, I assume, the X-T30, are spot on.
I have yet to experience the X-T30 but given how remarkable its larger sibling the X-T3 has proven to be, the former is doubtless just as remarkable in its own way.
Fujifilm is rather unique in the way it produces cameras with not dissimilar internals to fill a range of usability niches, suiting a wide range of users across all genres.
Fujifilm is not a one-size-fits-all camera and lens maker, and I hope that the granularity of its current offerings becomes even more apparent in future cameras and lenses.
Using the X100 series is a pure photography rangefinder-style experience with all the benefits of a fixed lens in one of the most useful focal length equivalents, a Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 prime at the equivalent of 35mm in the 35mm sensor format.
I do not use the misleading “full frame”, “full format” and “crop sensor” terminology, product of the marketing department rather than designers and engineers, by the way.
The X-T3, and one assumes the X-T30, is a brilliant state of the art Super 35 video camera as well as an APS-C stills camera capable of producing image quality rivalling 35mm sensor-equipped cameras.
The X-H1, which I have been trying out thanks to the kindness of Fujifilm Australia and its PR agency, is a harbinger of pro-level things to come and had I the spare change for one of the current amazing deals comprising camera, vertical battery grip, lens and accessories, then I would snap one up immediately to fill the gaps between the X-Pro2 and the X-T3.
There being no one-size-fits-all camera in the Fujifilm X and GFX systems, each camera needs to be considered for its strengths and weaknesses.
When working professionally, one needs to carry a range of cameras and lenses, often with some degree of overlap should the worst occur on location, and the size, weight and relative affordability of Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 X-Mount cameras and lenses makes it possible to transport it all in a backpack or hard case.
“…We’re in Dubai, where Fujifilm is showing off pre-production and prototype samples of three upcoming lenses – the GF 50mm F3.5 – a compact, lightweight standard lens for medium format – the XF 16mm F2.8, and the XF 16-80mm F4 – both of which [were] designed for the company’s range of APS-C format X-series cameras.
Click through for an exclusive first look at all three, including detailed specifications….”
As time is inching towards the release sometime in the first half of 2019 of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 “travel” zoom lens it is terrific to get some idea of its size and features and other it may provide a solution for own needs as a documentary photographer and videographer.
I am self-funded, only able to carry a small amount of hardware on each project, and must work within ongoing limitations – thanks for nothing, Australian banksters, for blowing our refinancing out of the water after you were found out for your crimes by the Royal Commission into banking.
I must be able to get the most out of the hardware I carry and it must be able to help me create good enough movies and videos without the benefit of cases full of equipment, assistants and crews, and the big budgets that I never had anyway when working as a magazine editorial and corporate photographer during the analog era.
Gaps in their offerings
As two relatively new camera and lens systems, Fujifilm’s APS-C sensor format X system and medium format G system still have gaps in their offerings, especially for documentary types like me who prefer to rely on fast prime lenses with all the manual controls that can be had.
Not to say that I do not appreciate zoom lenses now that their optical, mechanical and image quality are so good nowadays.
I also use and love Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras and Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro lenses, with my most-used lens being the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens and, had it been released at the time I bought my first Panasonic camera, I may well have chosen the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 OIS Pro zoom lens instead.
Slower zoom lenses are fine so long as you supplement them with moderately wide and moderately long fast aperture prime lenses for available darkness documentary work and portraiture, and Olympus offers three of them in its M.Zuiko Pro range at the moment, with more to come I hope.
Going fast to begin with
At the time I bought my first interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera, the company did not offer a standard zoom lens like those above made by Olympus or their Panasonic equivalents, so I invested in a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, well answering my fast aperture moderate long and wide needs.
Another longstanding need has been for a professional quality 18mm prime lens equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format and 14mm in the Macro Four Thirds sensor format.
With little sign of Fujifilm offering such a lens any time soon, I have had to consider other possibilities including adapting an EF-mount Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens to X-mount, but this solution is best suited to DSLR-style cameras like the X-T3 rather than the rangefinder-style X-Pro2 that is much more effective for hardcore immersive documentary photography.
My interest in the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom was piqued when I borrowed a Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 kit zoom lens for my first tryout of the X-T3.
I loved its 18mm widest focal length, rarely used the lens at 23mm and 55mm as I was also carrying my X-Pro2 equipped with either of those two lenses, and would have loved access to longer focal lengths than 56mm for those times I could not get close enough.
DPReview’s hands-on with the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom provides a reasonably reliable impression of the lens in its shipping form and confirms it has a marked, clicking aperture ring and weather resistance, though no manual clutch focus or, probably, no clickless option.
The X-T3’s firmware offers the ability to switch focus-by-wire from non-linear to linear so I will be giving that feature a tryout during my current X-T3 loan period over the coming days.
Two out of three
Two out of three ain’t bad for the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom.
As I am not a fan of the neither fish-nor-fowl 16mm focal length, equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm sensor format, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” lens is not on my wishlist which is topped by the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R annual clutch focus prime lens to tackle the ultra wide end of things and has a 58mm filter diameter, meaning I can easily add a knurled brass Breakthrough Photography step-up ring for my neutral density filters when shooting video.
Although I would prefer to have a set of wide-aperture manual-clutch-focus primes for all my documentary moviemaking and photography, the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom would provide a range of my most-needed focal lengths – 18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 56mm and 70mm.
In 35mm sensor format terms, that is 28mm, 35mm, 40mm, 85mm and 105mm, and a limit of 120mm at the long end will account for those rare times my feet are unable to do the zooming.
Fuji Rumors has republished images and information about the northern hemisphere fall aka autumn 2019 (southern hemisphere spring 2019) release of the XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR including these from Japanese website capa.getnavi.
Many thanks to Fuji Rumors for the slide translation:
Fujinon XF 10-24mm R OIS, Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount, Fujinon XF 14mm R and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D for architecture and documentary
Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom lens.
Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R prime lens with manual clutch focus.
Fujifilm VF-X21 External Optical Viewfinder for 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.
Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount prime lens.
Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens with Fujifilm X-Mount.
I have a longterm project coming up where I need to document the construction of a house from greenfield to completion, and I need to expand my stills photography kit for that and a number of other upcoming stills and video projects.
Right now I have no idea what my budget will be, given the economy-wrecking predations of the Australian banks and real estate agencies over the past couple of years, but there are at least two options.
Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R with Fujifilm VF-X21 external optical viewfinder for my X-Pro2.
Fujifilm MHG-XT3 Metal Hand Grip
Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip
Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS
Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR
Breakthrough Photography 72-82mm knurled brass step-up ring x 2
Breakthrough Photography lens cap, 82mm x 2
Breakthrough Photography X4 UV filter x 2
Fixed or variable neutral density filters, 82mm diameter
There are other lenses available that receive good reviews and are suitable for architectural photography though they are too ultra-wide for documentary photography, the Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount at 18mm equivalence and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D at 13.5mm equivalence in the 35mm sensor format.
If only one lens it is to be, then the minimalist option makes sense as I rather like the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R’s 21mm equivalence for figures in landscapes, emotive close-up documentary shots, and architectural and cityscape work.
This lens will need Fujifilm’s VF-X21 viewfinder sitting on top of my X-Pro2 as a 14mm field of view falls outside the X-Pro2’s 18-56mm optical viewfinder bright frames and the X-Pro2’s EVF is not what I would like it to be.
Will the X-Pro3 improve upon that and other weak points?
If there is budget enough, then of course I would prefer the maximalist option camera and lens plus upgrading my ageing post-production facility.
The X-T3 plus grips and two zoom lenses, with the addition of my three current 23mm, 27mm and 56mm Fujinon prime lenses, makes a good Super 35mm video set-up combined with Fujifilm’s X-Trans 120-rollfilm quality stills.
The Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS is an ageing lens design, however, and lacks weather resistance and appears to be at its best optically speaking from f/8.0 rather than closer to f/4.0.
I want to see Fujifilm bring it up to current standards with a Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom that will make a great match with the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, giving the equivalent of 15mm through to 120mm in the 35mm sensor format.
Camera accessories maker SmallRig is quick off the mark with not one but two camera cages for the Fujifilm X-T3 APS-C/Super 35 hybrid mirrorless camera to take advantage of the X-T3’s radically boosted video capabilities.
My experience with a range of Fujifilm cameras indicates that almost all of them benefit at least from metal hand grips and more so from vertical battery grips for better, safer handholding and extra power.
It is pleasing to see that SmallRig has acknowledged this by adding extra gripability to its cage for the X-T3 minus vertical battery grip.
Both camera cages are currently available under SmallRig’s Pre-Order scheme at 30% off an already low regular price and the estimated shipping date is October 11, 2018, well-timed for the official release of X-T3 production models.
SmallRig Cage for Fujifilm X-T3 Camera 2228.
SmallRig Cage for Fujifilm X-T3 Camera with Battery Grip 2229.