“This isn’t a review of the excellent Fujifilm X-T4 but a detailed look at whether the improved autofocus abilities over the X-T3 get close to the superb AF of the Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras.”
I came across this video by Philip Bloom while researching recently-released Super 35 video-capable cameras.
Autofocus capabilities of current affordable Super 35 hybrid cameras are a constant subject of discussion online, with different manufacturers achieving various degrees of success with it.
Theoretically all makers of such cameras should be able to achieve near-parity in autofocusing given time and R&D dollars, but there is a question of when and whether all current makers will stay in business until they do.
Having grown up as a photographer and videographer during the analog era before autofocusing cameras and lenses even existed, I have always seen autofocus as something of a luxury and fall back on manual focus and back-button focusing anyway.
Philip Bloom has an obsession with autofocus in video and speaks about it well and in detail.
Meanwhile I believe it is a good idea to keep an eye on developments in affordable manual-focus Super 35 prime and zoom lenses that are native to Fujifilm X-mount or that can be adapted.
Keep an eye also on the coming Fujifilm X-H2 professional hybrid camera, successor to the under-rated X-H1, though its arrival may be some time off.
I found the X-H1 much easier to use handheld all day long than the X-T3 and its more hand-friendly design ranks alongside the X-Pro2 for ease of use and of carrying.
As for autofocus on Fujifilm cameras, perhaps the X-H2 may see it come to fruition and match if not beat that in Sony and Canon’s mirrorless cameras, along with new and redesigned Fujinon prime and zoom lenses made for video as much as stills photography.
We can only live in hope.
A “phenomenal” manual focus lens and adapter combo for Fujifilm video
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art EF-mount fast zoom lens can be adapted for a range of Super 35/APS-C cameras or for cameras with larger sensors that can be set to Super 35/APS-C.
Fringer EF-FX Pro II adapter for mounting Canon EF-Mount lenses on Fujifilm X-Mount cameras.
B&H – FUJIFILM XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens – While not the most impressive Fujinon lens for stills photography, there have been good reports about its video autofocusing capabilities with the X-T4 running the latest firmware.
Panasonic 10-25mm F1.7 is the fastest Wide-Angle Zoom for MFT bodies…. Panasonic 10-25mm f1.7 lens was introduced in Photokina 2018. It was not until May 2019 when it was officially launched. It [is] the fastest wide-angle zoom for MFT.
Correction: This unique lens is better described as the fastest wide-to-standard zoom lens.
Time, I thought, to look deeper into this intriguing lens to determine if I should place it on my documentary stills and video hardware wishlist, or forgo it in favour of that other uniquely fast zoom lens, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens.
Peter Forsgård has yet to produce a more in-depth video about the lens and his results with it, and there is the fact that he is using it on Olympus OM-D cameras rather the more videocentric Lumix GH5, GH5S and G9 hybrid cameras from Panasonic for which the lens was clearly designed.
Its clickless aperture ring only works on Panasonic Lumix cameras but clickless is of more use for moviemaking than stills photography and Olympus seems to have fallen well behind Panasonic in the video half of the hybrid camera equation.
Australian/American Director of Photography and Olympus Visionary John Brawley is one of the few I have encountered who shoots serious video with that brand’s hybrid cameras but I can better understand his love of Olympus lenses, especially the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality collection with the lenses’ manual clutch focus via retractable ring and hard stops at each end of the focusing scale.
The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric is Panasonic’s very first manual clutch focus lens and not before time.
Focus-by-wire only lenses can be problematic for moviemaking with some more unusable than others although they can work acceptably for stills photography especially when relying on back-button focus in manual focus aka MF mode.
I have not done much video using autofocus on any camera and lens combination, partly because I only had manual focus during the analog era and became comfortable with it, and more to the point because autofocus on video and hybrid cameras was unreliable up until recently.
I still set my cameras to manual focus by default when prepping for a project, and the unpredictability of documentary photography and moviemaking means I often need to snap into manual focus in an instant, easily done by rapidly retracting the focusing ring.
Hard stops in manual focusing mean I can train myself in approximating the right focus point fast without looking at the focusing scale, then refine focus through the viewfinder or monitor.
The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric, on the other hand, allows its focusing ring to travel beyond extreme left or right of the focusing scale, and I remain unsure as to the usefulness of this behaviour.
Mr Undone is currently the first and sometimes only YouTube reviewer I watch these days and his in-depth, fast-talking rundowns amply reward the effort.
The highly adaptable Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art EF-mount fast zoom lens is high up on my wishlist for use with several camera systems and sensor sizes, but the lure of one lens with a focal range from 10mm through 14mm, 17mm, 20mm and 25mm is strong.
In 35mm sensor terms that equates to 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and 50mm, only lacking my longer favourite focal lengths of 75mm and 105mm.
The lens’ image quality at each of those focal lengths is reportedly almost as good as that of pro-quality premium-priced lenses such as Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes, a feat only matched by Fujifilm’s shorter Red Badge zooms.
I will keep looking for reviews and videos about Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7, but I found Gerald Undone’s comparison with Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens the most useful so far.
There are pros and cons to both lenses and the choice depends on these currently unanswered questions about the 10-25mm:
Exactly how much curvature is there at its wide end of lens? I find too much curvature irritating especially when the frame contains horizontal parallels and I am following a figure walking through it.
How much vignetting is there at all focal lengths but most especially at the wide end?
How well is skin rendered by it given not all lenses are equal in doing this?
Does the lens have that classic warm and three-dimensional Leica lens micro-contrast and resolution?
I love the idea of an emotive wide-angle closeup on a face and upper body using a wide aperture to throw figure and background into stark contrast, but how well does the lens render this look?
Why did we not have a choice between clicked and clickless aperture ring given de-clicked works best for video while clicked is best for stills?
Is Panasonic working on the perfect companion for the 10-25mm, a similarly-designed 25-50+mm f/1.7 zoom lens?
I am accustomed to hard stops at each end of the focusing scale on manual clutch focus lenses, but how useful or not are the 10-25mm’s software stops?
Although I still rely heavily on manual focus for video and back-button focus for stills, great autofocus in both modes certainly has its uses. Will Panasonic’s reliance on DFD aka depth-from-defocus instead of PDAF aka phase-detection autofocus continue to be its Achilles’ Heel?
Questions remain about the viability of the Micro Four Thirds system given Olympus’ recent sale of its camera and lens division to JIP and Panasonic’s big investment in 35mm SLR-style cameras.
Panasonic staffers say that work continues on the company’s M43 cameras and lenses, but where is the much-requested pro-quality successor to the GX8 rangefinder-style hybrid workhorse, and when can we expect the GH6?
With the Lumix DC-S5, Panasonic has demonstrated it can make 35mm sensor cameras smaller than its M43 cameras.
If Panasonic follows the same path with the successors to its other two first generation S-Series cameras, the S1R and the S1H, will there be less incentive to stick with M43?
Right now I love the choice between the GH-series and G-series M43 cameras’ Super 16 and 35mm film handling and aesthetics, and those of the S-Series cameras’ Super 35 and 120 roll-film look and feel.
But DxO’s PhotoLab raw editing software and Topaz Labs’ Gigapixel AI image enlargement application radically reduce the need for larger sensors to produce better image quality.
Likewise, I wonder how much difference is really noticeable onscreen between Super 16 4K and Super 35 4K.
Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 may be an amazing M43-only lens with an incredibly useful focal range for documentary stills and video, but Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens is adaptable to a range of Super 35/APS-C and Super 16/M43 cameras, helping future-proof one’s investment in lens and adapters.
Furthermore, the 18-35mm already has a longer companion lens in the form of Sigma’s 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom, though there is no obvious companion lens on the wide end though there is that gap between 35mm and 50mm.
Breakthrough Photography – Step-Up Ring – I strongly recommend Breakthrough’s excellent knurled brass X4 UV and ND filters although they do not supply every filter diameter in existence. That is where step-up rings come in handy.
johnbrawley – website of “John Brawley has developed a reputation as one of Australia’s most talented and sought after Directors of Photography, who works with vision, speed and an inherently collaborative nature.”
Panasonic’s recent announcement of the amazing Lumix DC-S5 had me wondering where Meike and other makers of manual focus cinema prime lenses might be in their offerings for Super 35 hybrid and cinema cameras.
I was pleased to see that Meike, currently offering an attractive range of cinema primes for Micro Four Thirds cameras, has just announced the first of its range of cinema primes for Super 35 cameras with EF and PL mounts.
Investing in Meike lenses with Canon EF mounts gives owners of non-EF cameras the most options when adapting to L-mount cameras such as Panasonic’s 35mm sensor-equipped S-Series Lumix S5, S1H and S1, Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Lumix GH5 and GH5S, Blackmagic Design’s cinema cameras and Fujifilm’s X-mount and G-mount Super 35/APS-C and medium format cameras.
A good first cab off the rank
Meike’s 35mm T2.1 Super 35 prime is a good choice of first cab off the rank given its equivalence to 52.5mm in the 35mm sensor format, with 50mm and equivalent focal length lenses often being first choice when investing in new lens systems.
I look forward to seeing more examples of stills and video shot with this lens, given I currently don’t have a cinema lens at this focal length and that Meike is offering a decent prerelease discount right now.
I would choose the EF-mount version and then adapt it for L-mount, Micro Four Thirds mount, Fujifilm X-mount and G-mount hybrid cameras.
Meike states that its coming “Super35-Prime Cine Lens Series with industry-standard 0.8mm pitch gears on the focus and aperture ring” includes “18mmT2.1, 25mmT2.1, 35mmT2.1, 50mmT2.1, 75mmT2.1, 105mmT2.1” focal lengths.
I would love it if Meike added 14mm, 21mm and 40mm lenses as they are three of my favourite Super 35 video and stills focal lengths.
Meike 35mm T2.1 Super 35 Cinema Lens
Images courtesy of Meike.
Meike 35mm T2.1 Super35 Cinema Prime with EF or PL mount.
Meike 35mm T2.1 Super35 Cinema Prime with EF or PL mount.
Meike 35mm T2.1 Super35 Cinema Prime with EF or PL mount.
Meike 35mm T2.1 Super35 Cinema Prime with EF or PL mount.
Today Fujifilm published the press release and product shots for its superfast Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 R WR prime lens, designed for the company’s APS-C/Super 35 sensor-equipped interchangeable lens cameras including the X-Pro3 digital rangefinder and the X-T4 DSLR-style camera.
FUJIFILM heralds in a new age of portrait photography with the FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR Lens
The World’s First F1.0 lens with Autofocus
September 3, 2020
FUJIFILM Australia Pty Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of the FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR Lens (hereafter “XF50mmF1.0 R WR”), the world’s first autofocus lens with a maximum aperture of F1.0, designed for mirrorless cameras. This is the 35th interchangeable lens for X Series digital cameras, delivering exceptional image quality using FUJIFILM’s unparalleled colour reproduction technology.
The XF50mmF1.0 R WR is an ultra-fast mid-telephoto prime lens with a focal length of 50mm (equivalent to 76mm in the 35mm film format) and a maximum aperture of F1.0. As FUJIFILM’s fastest interchangeable lens to date, it features a large-diameter design delivering incomparable resolving power and beautiful bokeh effects. The lens can also deliver edge-to-edge sharpness, showing versatility in the way it produces images.
The inclusion of a DC autofocus motor into the XF50mmF1.0 R WR allows for quick and accurate autofocus when images are captured at the maximum F1.0 aperture. With an extremely shallow depth of field, the lens also utilises the X Series cameras’ Face / Eye AF function to achieve sharp focus. This is especially important when capturing portraits, which is something that is quite difficult to achieve when focusing manually.
For times when manual focus is required, such as during video-recording, the manual focus ring provides 120 degrees of rotation to allow for precise, enhanced control and quick travel through the focus range to infinity. Lastly, despite being a large-diameter F1.0 lens, its weight, size and weather-sealing make it a practical choice for any professional photographer.
Key features of the XF50mmF1.0 R WR include:
(1) Achieve an incredibly shallow depth of field
The XF50mmF1.0 R WR consists of 12 lens elements in nine groups, including one aspherical element and two ED elements to achieve optimum control of spherical aberration. Used at or near its maximum aperture of F1.0, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR can produce an astonishingly shallow depth of field. Its precisely engineered, rounded diaphragm produces large, smooth bokeh in a professional fashion, allowing users to create clean portraits with almost true-to-life quality and edge-to-edge sharpness. Users can take advantage of this new feature to exclusively focus on the subject’s eyes, making captivating close-up character studies. The lens is not just for portraits. Take it out onto the street or into a lifestyle session and users can turn cluttered locations into clean backdrops with unrivaled subject separation.
(2) Be ready to make images more easily in low-light conditions
The large maximum aperture on the XF50mmF1.0 R WR means there are more options when it comes to capturing images in low-light conditions. At night, or in darkened interiors, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR offers the widest aperture on an XF Lens to date, allowing more light to be brought into an image. The XF50mmF1.0 R WR also easily achieves fast shutter speeds that freeze movement and keep ISO settings lower for detail-rich results. Alternatively, users can combine high ISO settings with the F1.0 aperture for incredible versatility and apply this to other low-light situations like astrophotography.
(3) World’s first F1.0 autofocus lens for mirrorless cameras
As the world’s first autofocus F1.0 lens made for any mirrorless system, including full-frame cameras, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR brings more light to the sensor than any previous XF lens. This makes it possible for the autofocus to operate at -7EV luminance level. The previous limit of -6EV luminance level is achieved using lenses with a maximum aperture of F1.4. X Series users now have fast and precise low-light autofocus, even when used in near-darkness. With the added benefits of on-sensor Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), Face/ Eye AF and a powerful DC motor, precise and fast autofocus at shallow depths of field is now a possibility.
(4) Precise focus for those critical moments
To make the most of its extremely shallow depth of field, focusing must be precise. As a result, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR has a focus ring eight times more accurate than any previous XF lens. This makes it possible to change the focus from the minimum focusing distance to infinity with precision. For this, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR comes with a focus ring with 120 degrees of rotation to let users focus manually without error, as well as achieve accurate focus when using the X Series camera’s Focus Peaking and Focus Assist modes. The 120 degrees rotation also makes autofocus movements notably effortless and precise, while the lens’s engineering is designed to minimise focus shift effects while capturing images.
(5) Engineered to keep the images coming
With fast shutter speeds and a large aperture of F1.0, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR is a lens that enables users to take amazing pictures almost anywhere. Measuring 103.5mm (4.07 inches) long and weighing 845 grams (1.86 pounds), the lens is compact and portable. Like all other weather-resistant XF lenses, it is sealed in 11 locations to protect it from moisture and dust, as well as being capable of use in temperatures down to -10°C (14°F). When attached to a similarly specified, weather-resistant X Series mirrorless digital camera body, the XF50mmF1.0 R WR allows users to create unique images in the toughest environments.
*Users are advised to update their camera’s firmware to the latest version in order to allow colour shading correction at the angle of incidence for F1.0.
Product name, release date and price
Product name: XF50mmF1.0 R WR Release date: Late September, 2020 Recommended retail price (inc. GST): $AU 2,799.00
The sudden closure of Ryan Avery’s Veydra cinema prime lens design and manufacturing enterprise several years ago created a huge gap in the affordable ciné lens market and many self-funded independent moviemakers were dismayed if not devastated by the ending of the line.
Luckily, HongKong Meike Digital Technology Co., Ltd has ramped up its lens division to the point where the company appears to be rivalling if not outstripping Mr Avery’s noble efforts.
I had been planning on obtaining my own set of Veydra Mini Prime lenses for native use in documentary production on Panasonic and Blackmagic Design cameras, spurred on by Duclos Lens’ creation of its interchangeable mount to enable using a subset of the Veydra lenses on Fujifilm X-mount Super 35mm/APS-C cameras.
Two things dampened my enthusiasm, however.
First was the sheer cost of a complete set of Veydra lenses in M43 mount along with the Duclos X-mount kits needed when adapting them for Fujifilm X-mount cameras.
Compare the cost of the Meike primes with the now discontinued Veydra primes by looking at the Duclos Lens product pages for proof of the radical price differences between lens lines.
Compare the Meike lenses’ USD400.00 average price and reported superior quality to the Veydra lenses’ USD1200.00 average price and the conclusion is clear – consider investing in a set of Meike cinema primes.
At time of writing, seven focal lengths are available as Meike Cinema Primes in M43 mount :
12mm = 24mm in the 35mm sensor format
16mm = 32mm
25mm = 50mm
35mm = 70mm
50mm = 100mm
65mm = 130mm
85mm = 170mm
A subset of the Meike Cinema Primes is available for Super 35/APS-C cameras in Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount:
25mm = 37.5mm in the APS-C/Super35 sensor format
35mm = 52.5mm
50mm = 75mm
65mm = 97.5mm
85mm = 127.5mm
Whether for M43 or Super 35 cameras, the Meike Cinema Primes provide a well-spaced and feature-matched set of focal lengths that should meet most cinematographers’ daily needs.
I would very much like to see Meike release a super wide angle in the 10mm to 10.5mm range, and an 18mm moderate wide angle lens with coverage enough for M43 and Super 35.
I have written before about the need for a professional-quality 18mm lens for stills photography with Fujifilm X-mount cameras, as an alternative to Fujifilm’s quirky and semi-pancake Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R.
Meike’s current cinema prime lens offering for Super 35 goes no wider than 25mm and a complete lens set needs, nay, demands, a medium wide and an ultra wide lens in the equivalent of 28mm and 21mm.
That is, an 18mm and a 14mm.
Ryan Avery had been pursuing an 8.5mm ultra wide-angle Veydra M43 lens design but eventually ruled it out due to cost and size considerations.
And then disaster struck with a break-in at the company’s lens storage facility, followed by a court case with Mr Avery’s Veydra business partner.
Matthew Duclos of Duclos Lenses recently shared all he knows about Veydra’s demise at his personal blog.
Meike Cinema Lenses with Ryan Avery
Meanwhile, Ryan Avery is retailing Meike Cinema Primes at his Revar Cine website.
“Meike Cinema Prime lenses are designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. Available for MFT, Sony E, and Fuji X Mount cameras from Micro4/3 to APS-C size sensors. Compact, lightweight and perfect for a true cinematography experience on most mirrorless cameras.”
Meike Cinema Primes on Fujifilm and Panasonic hybrid and Blackmagic Design cinema cameras
Meike Cinema Prime 12mm T2.2 lens on Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC4K with Micro Four Thirds mount. Image courtesy of Meike.
Meike Cinema Prime 12mm T2.2 mounted on Panasonic DC-GH5 Micro Four Thirds camera. Image courtesy of Meike.
Meike Cinema Prime lenses with Fujifilm X-mount in 25mm, 35mm, 50mm and 65mm focal lengths. Image courtesy of meike_global instagram account.
Meike’s cinema lens lineup for Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount are welcome indeed given their affordability and the absence of OEM cinema prime lenses by brands such as Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony.
After the end of Veydra, I was contemplating the direction to take with video-capable prime lenses for Super 35/APS-C and Super 16/M43.
I grew up relying on prime lenses for filmmaking and still feel most comfortable with cinema primes for video production over the reportedly excellent zoom lenses in several lens mounts made by Fujifilm in its Fujinon MK pairing for X-mount, E-mount and M43.
With Olympus’ recent announcement that it had sold its camera and lens division, and the possible outcome of its excellent M.Zuiko Pro zoom and prime lenses going the way of Veydra, I have been wondering if my beloved Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro should plan on welcoming some M.Zuiko Pro siblings if there was a sudden sell-off of the lineup.
But the M.Zuiko Pro lineup does not answer the need for X-mount cinema lenses whereas Meike appears to be on the right track not only with its current Meike Cinema Prime offerings and possible additional focal lengths but also its coming so-called “full frame” aka 35mm sensor format cinema prime lenses.
More power to Meike’s arm, though I do hope the company will see fit to loaning cinema primes to a range of well-qualified stills photography and video production reviewers so we can get the full measure of these exciting new lenses.
Now to find out if there is a way of converting their M43 mounts to Fujifilm X-mounts when needed.
The Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR wide-to-long zoom lens has been one of the most long wished-for, long-awaited optics for Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super35 system cameras in recent years, and early reports from Fujifilm X-Photographer have been positive, especially regarding its apparent parfocal lens design.
But then one might well expect brand ambassadors to wax lyrical and skip over possible pre-production and early firmware defects given reasonable expectations that Fujifilm will get it right in the end or at least in time for offical product release date.
Not quite this time, apparently, as Fujifilm recently issued firmware version 1.02 for this now-shipping lens and some reviewers are already hoping that further firmware updates are in the pipeline.
I was lucky enough to have a short time with a preproduction version of the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom at a recent Ted’s World of Imaging touch-and-try event for the Fujifilm X-Pro3, and found it worked well enough when shooting event stills on a Fujifilm X-H1 unequipped with firmware updates for the lens.
The lens is situated price-wise in-between the pro-quality, pro-priced red badge Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR and the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit zoom, and there was some speculation that the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR might be bundled with later-release Fujifilm X-T3s or the coming X-T4 as a higher-specced kit lens, especially for video production.
The 16-80mm’s parfocal focusing is especially attractive for video use as well as the lens’ apparent 6 stops of optical image stabilization that helps make up for its f/4.0 maximum aperture when handholding in low lighting when used on non-stabilized cameras like the X-T3, X-Pro3 and the coming X-T4.
Questions about the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR’s optical qualities throughout its focal range were bandied about during the long pre-release period and I have yet to find a complete set of in-depth tests of the lens’ image quality and focusing performance.
In the meantime, pal2tech’s initial and subsequent video reviews have rather dampened my enthusiasm for the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR.
Are what he is seeing in action when shooting video in particular early production model teething problems, uneven quality assurance, limitations in current firmware or the outcome of too many design and engineering compromises?
Zoom lenses are a set of such compromises compared to prime lenses and a certain amount of them are to be expected, especially in a lens with a longer-than-usual focal length range, but has Fujifilm compromised way too much?
pal2tech’s videos may help you make up your own mind, but I would recommend going off in search of more reviews by video professionals before definitively deciding against the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR.
While some optical and autofocusing problems can be compensated for via firmware and during processing of raw stills images, video is more demanding of lens quality given that shortfalls in optical quality cannot be corrected in video non-linear editing software.
My experiences with Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses, as well as Fujifilm’s APS-C/Super 35 gear, have amply proven the advantages of having a stabilized zoom lens in one’s kit when shooting documentary stills and video in trying conditions and available darkness rather than available light, so the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR would, theoretically, fill a yawning gap in my Fujinon lens collection.
Provided that it is as good for video as it seemed to be for stills during my all-too-short time with the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR at Ted’s.
Like many others, I have had high expectations for this lens given my longtime need for a gap-filling zoom lens for video and photography, and given the poor Australian dollar and consequent high price in local online and bricks-and-mortar stores.
Should I be reconsidering the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit zoom lens instead, and go off to ebay to look for the latter secondhand?
FUJIFILM X-H1 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Battery Grip Kit – B&H – bundled with the unstabilized Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR, this stabilized camera may still be the current best option for video despite its older generation sensor and processor.
Australian photographers rarely if ever feature in camera and lens makers’ marketing materials and few Australia female photographers are invited to become brand ambassadors whether they are based in Australia or overseas.
Documentary photographer Megan Lewis features in one of two recently-released Fujifilm X-Photographer videos about the X-Pro3 digital rangefinder-style camera with documentary photographer Michael Coyne being her male counterpart.
Both are long-time Fujifilm users and are well-qualified to offer their insights into the X-Pro3 as a dedicated documentary and photojournalism stills camera.
I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting either photographer, though I am keen to spend time with Megan Lewis to photograph her at work for ‘Unititled’ in order to show other female photographers that one can succeed as a documentary photographer or photojournalist.
In the immortal words of Geena Davis of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, “if she can see it, she can be it”, and so stories, photo essays and videos about female creatives like Megan Lewis are crucial to creating the possibility of women succeeding in their chosen professions to the point where we gain parity with men.
FUJIFILM X Series: Megan Lewis x X-Pro3 / FUJIFILM
FUJIFILM X Series: Different Breed: Michael Coyne x X-Pro3
Fujinon lenses used by Megan Lewis and Michael Coyne in these videos
Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom lens.
Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” prime lens.
I attended Fujifilm Australia’s First Look Touch & Try event at Ted’s World of Imaging in Sydney on Wednesday, 6th November, 2019, and had a brief opportunity to handle a preproduction version of the Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder camera that has already been well-covered in Fujifilm X-Photographer videos and articles, and first-look commentary by a range of online camera pundits.
As the camera is in preproduction at time of writing, the usual request not to shoot or publish photographs made with it applies, so I will not comment on its stills and video capabilities but will attest that the X-Pro3 is an interesting evolution of Fujifilm’s professional rangefinder line.
Fujifilm is marketing the X-Pro3 as a camera for “street photographers” as Panasonic did for its latest rangefinder-style GX series camera, the Lumix DC-GX9, and I am hoping that with its X-Pro series Fujifilm will not be imitating Panasonic’s decision to make its GX series something less than a great camera for photojournalists and documentary photographers.
I dread the day my Lumix DMC-GX8 gives up the ghost given Panasonic so unexpectedly dropped the ball on pro-quality rangefinder-style cameras in favour of DSLR-style cameras like the admittedly otherwise excellent Lumix DC-G9.
The Fujifilm X-Pro3 digital rangefinder-style camera
Photographs courtesy of Fujifilm.
Fujifilm X-Pro 3 with MHG-XPRO3 grip and Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR prime lens.
Fujifilm X-Pro 3 with Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR prime lens.
Throughout my career I have relied on a range of camera styles and formats – rangefinders, rangefinder-style cameras, hand and stand sheet film cameras, SLRs aka Single Lens Reflexes in 120 and 135 film formats, and a DSLR upon Canon’s accidental revolution in the form of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
My first choice for immersive documentary photography has always been rangefinder cameras and I have been hoping the X-Pro3 would receive many of the advances found in the X-H1 and X-T3.
Until I have a proper hands-on with it, I will not know whether that is truly the case, but the X-Pro3’s loss of the ability to use its otherwise improved optical viewfinder aka OVF with the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R moderate wide-angle prime lens is a concern.
For many documentary photographers and photojournalists, as it has long been for me, the 28mm focal length (on 35mm sensor cameras) is our default and its 18mm APS-C equivalent works well on the X-Pro2 and especially in its OVF.
Since 2015 I have been daydreaming of a radically improved X-Pro3 being released alongside an even more radically upgraded Fujinon XF 18mm lens with both aimed at documentary photographers and photojournalists, but Fujifilm seems to have decided on setting its sights lower than that, upon street photographers whom I humbly suggest might be better served by the forthcoming X100V.
Time will tell where Fujifilm is heading with its cameras, but I hope that it will not forget its documentary and photojournalism customers as Panasonic appears to have done.
Both companies employed celebrated photojournalists to publicize previous versions of their rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras but dropped them in favour of street photographers in their latest versions.
Australian feature film cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has released the first camera profile correction look-up table in his Leeming LUT Pro set for Fujifilm X-Trans sensor-equipped cameras, for Fujifilm’s F-Log logarithmic shooting profile, with Eterna Cinema, Pro Neg Std and HLG for Rec709 LUTs to come.
This is a significant and long-awaited event given that Fujifilm has finally delivered on its longtime promise to radically improve its cameras’ video capabilities with the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-H1, with the coming X-H2 hopefully improving on the X-T3 as a moviemaking hybrid mirrorless camera in Super 35 format.
Super 35 has long been the feature film format of choice for narrative and documentary production, and the arrival of improved video capabilities on Fujifilm’s X-T2 cameras was a relief after the disappointment of the X-Pro2’s video support.
Leeming LUT Pro for F-Log on Fujifilm cameras with X-Trans sensors
Even the recently announced X-Pro3 appears to have 4K Super 35 video features that may prove good enough in a pinch when more video-oriented cameras are unavailable.
The Leeming LUT Pro expose and correction methodology is based on exposing to the right aka ETTR followed by correction via camera-specific look-up-table files in one’s nonlinear editing suite or colour grading software of choice.
The ETTR method’s most vocal proponent was the late Michael Reichmann who was in favour for its use in photography and videography, and although he and many other photographers constantly lobbied camera makers for auto-ETTR in their Live View-capable cameras, to no effect so far.
Why camera makers continue to ignore the necessity of optimal exposure is anyone’s guess.
For that reason I am grateful that Paul Leeming has applied himself to solving the problem of correct exposure followed by correcting colour via Leeming LUT Pro, with the added benefit of making footage shot on a variety of affordable cameras usable in the same timeline without excessive shot matching work.
The ideal, maximum possible dynamic range and realistic colours, using Leeming LUT Pro and Expose-To-The-Right (ETTR)
Uncorrected camera maker luma and colorimetry
Luma curve and colorimetry levels corrected with Leeming LUT Pro
In the light of camera makers’ tendency to fudge their camera’s video output as illustrated above, exposing to the right appears to make footage appear darker than one may be accustomed to, but Mr Leeming has made available other, secondary, LUTs to quickly and easily raise footage low values, as explained below.
As usual, the LUT will “darken” the footage, which really just means it will make the curve perfectly LINEAR. Examine the attached image using your waveform scope in your favourite editing software, and you’ll see what that means, with the exposure steps forming a perfect “X” shape in linear fashion. This is of course ETTR, so if you under-expose your image, it will look darker.
The LUT(s) don’t make the image darker. The LUT(s) correct the manufacturer luma curves to be linear. In most (but not all) cases, this results in the image “appearing” to be darker, but it’s not affecting anything, nor clipping anything, nor adding additional noise that wasn’t in the shot to begin with.
Don’t forget, you also have the Apollo Pro Quickies to use after the corrective LUT in case you want to brighten the image without clipping the highlights or adding any more shot noise. But when you can, please ETTR and save yourself the problems (and give yourself the cleanest possible log image to begin with).
If your shot after LUT application has its highlights not reaching 100% IRE, then you underexposed it. Use the zebras as per the guide to see where the clipping point is. Expose just shy of that and you’ll maximise sensor dynamic range and minimise shot noise.
If you HAVE underexposed or simply want a brighter image post-corrective LUT, try following it with one or more of my Apollo Pro Quickies, which are expressly designed to lift the shadows in a natural way without clipping the highlights.
Stills frames from feature film shot by Paul Leeming, ungraded then graded with Leeming LUT Pro
Ungraded, straight out of camera footage. The sort of non grading currently popular in Australian TV commercials.
Graded with Leeming LUT Pro. Cinematic and filmic, and far more emotive.
Settings for shooting video Fujifilm cameras for processing with Leeming LUT Pro
Pro Neg Std, Eterna Cinema, F-log or HLG
H265 recording format
DR100 for all profiles
Highlight tone 0
Shadow tone 0
Noise Reduction -4
Zebra level 100%
Quick and dirty Leeming LUT Pro for Fujifilm F-Log tryout with Fujifilm X-H1 F-Log footage
Ungraded, out of camera footage from Fujifilm X-H1 with F-Log.
Graded footage from Fujifilm X-H1 with Leeming LUT Pro for Fujifilm F-Log, plus a LUT from Leeming LUT Pro Quickies and colour correction.
I shoot documentary stills and video rather than make narrative feature movies, so often work alone under challenging conditions as in this example.
The Fujifilm X-H1 had a vintage Zeiss Jena Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 MC Auto prime lens attached to it via a Gobe M42-to-X-mount adapter with no neutral density filter, and I fudged on setting a custom white balance as I was more concerned with understanding the creative possibilities of this lens for video than in getting technicalities perfect.
An adapted 50mm lens on an APS-C/Super 35 camera equates to 75mm in the 35mm sensor format, which is one of my favourite focal lengths for documentary photography and video.
I have been throughly enjoying trying out this lens and its companion, a Panagor PMC 28mm f/2.8 wide-angle prime lens that Paul Leeming kindly gave us.
These sorts of vintage prime lenses are rare and overpriced here in Sydney, at least ever since camera stores like Foto Reisel with their secondhand gear cabinets closed down.
Fujifilm Super 35/APS-C hybrid cameras capable of shooting 4K and Cinema 4K F-Log video as well as in other picture profiles: X-T3, X-H1 and X-Pro3
Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 battery grip and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR professional zoom lens. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.
Fujifilm X-Pro 3 with MHG-XPRO3 grip and Fujinon XF 35mm f/2.0 R WR prime lens.
Fujifilm X-T3 with VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS zoom lens.
The Luminous Landscape – Expose Right – This once-essential website is now paywalled, though a limited number of free page views is permitted before paying for access.
The Luminous Landscape – Optimizing Exposure – “In 2003 I wrote a tutorial titled Expose Right. To my knowledge this was the first generally available essay that discussed the realities of digital exposure, as opposed to that required for film. Since then the technique described has become known as ETTR (Expose To The Right)…. A live-view histogram-based auto-exposure system is all that needed to generate the best possible exposure from a technical perspective.”
Wayback Machine – Optimizing Exposure: Why Do Camera Makers Give Us 19th Century Exposures With Our 21st Century Cameras? – “In digital photography, exposing to the right (ETTR) is the technique of adjusting the exposure of an image as high as possible at base ISO (without causing unwanted saturation) to collect the maximum amount. So – here we are, more than a decade into the DSLR revolution (and the new century) and camera makers are still using 25, 50, even 100+ year old exposure technology in our latest cameras. Why? I really can’t say, but they should be taken to task for not delivering the best image quality that their cameras are capable of and thus get the optimum performance out of the digital image sensor.”