X-T2 vs Motocross

Armed with an X-T2 + battery grip, the 50-140mm and the "boost mode" on. At the first corner I was able track the bike and get 3 shot in a row done and dusted without even trying. I tested for next hour or so and discovered that I was so focused on getting the compensation and timing, the autofocus didn't even come up as an issue.

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The Really Tiny X-70

You can't deny the attraction of a camera that can shoot at the level we photographers need and want, but at the same time can fit in most pockets. This camera is so damn easy to take with you anywhere and its image quality is spot on - true to the Fujifilm we love and know so well.

The lens has a focal length of 18,5mm, but is the same physical size as the 23mm on the X100, so all filters, lens hoods,etc. will fit.  

X-70 Unboxing

I'm not going to lie: it took me a while to warm to the camera, more than I'm used to with any other cameras in the Fuji X-range. I wasn't quite comfortable with using it without a viewfinder and first couple of times I picked it up, I put it to my eye out of habit. I also found the controls a bit close to the LCD, which also comes from being used to having more real estate on my cameras. If you do want to make movies with it, the red record button on the top is a bit difficult to get to. I am not really one to make videos that often, so that is just my view,
Over time, I got used to using the touch screen and none of it became an issue anymore. You can choose to use the touch screen to just move the focus points, or to focus and take the shot; I chose the first. It was also much faster than using the D-PAD even comparing to the other models in X-series.

The compactness of it really started to grow on me. Walking around in the streets is where it shines. When shooting in the street and at social events, you don't draw any attention to yourself like you would with even an X-T10 or X-T1, plus you don't look like a photographer. This little camera is so easily mistaken for a simple point-and-shoot, but is so much more.

At 18.5mm and an aperture of f/2.8, you will not get a lot of depth of field without getting very close, but there will still be some nice separation from the background.

One thing I definitely missed was the ND-filter that I'm used to on the X100, although it does make up by having an electronic shutter, but you have to keep the rolling shutter effect in mind.
The biggest challenge for me was the LCD. Without the viewfinder, I struggled to see the LCD in bright light. And while it is small enough to not attract attention (like I said earlier), when shooting in dark areas, the LCD lights my face up and attracts attention that way.

What I found very interesting, was that the controls on this camera, e.g. the shutter dial and aperture rings, are identical to the X100 and seems to aim more at the amateur/pro than the beginner. It also lacks the M, A, S, P & Auto options we've seen on the X-M, X-A1, X-30 and most other cameras of this size. It does, however have the Auto toggle switch they introduced with the X-T10. 

APS-C vs Point and Shoot 

APS-C vs Point and Shoot 

Fuji X-70 vs Nikon P300

Fuji X-70 vs Nikon P300

Another feature I really like is the tilt screen, which really comes in handy for some strange angles or to shoot from the hip. The screen even articulates to the front, so if you are in dire need for a selfie, you can see what you're taking. 

Handy tilt screen function 

Handy tilt screen function 

Hip shot with tilted screen.

Hip shot with tilted screen.

It has all the film simulations I love so much. The B/W+Red filter and Classic Chrome with my tweaks to the highlights and shadows give me the results I want. Sadly it did not come with the new ACROS film simulation, but I have read that is due to sensor and process limitations.

When they announced the camera, I didn't pay too much attention to it as the X-Pro2 was announced at the same time. After using it for the week, it would definitely be a good consideration if you don't own an X100 yet, and are looking for something that will be slightly easier on the wallet. I do believe this camera really suits a traveller, a street photographer and, to some extent, a documentary photographer. 

One of the places I think this camera can shine is for new parents wanting to catch all the moments, without having a big, complicated camera that takes your attention away from your new edition.

Without a doubt this camera has its place. The menu structure is no different to the current range, barring the new menus of the X-Pro2. The autofocus was fast and snappy and I did not have any issues there.

Who the exact target market was here, I can't really say. But from my experience and what I've seen, most photographers are really enjoying this little guy. 

If you would like a bit more in-depth info on the X-70, please take a listen to Marco Larousse with the link below. He gives a fairly thorough hands-on review on this new compact camera and played around with things I didn't get around to in the week I had it.

https://photofocus.com/2016/04/28/photofocus-podcast-april-28-2016-mirrorless-with-scott-bourne-marco-larousse/

The X-Pro2...Finally!

Here is my experience of my weekend with the X-Pro2. Most of what I’m comparing to, will be from an X-Pro1 point of view.


Friday Night @18:05  

Message from Fujifilm SA: "Be there in 5 min." I wander off to my gate and get handed the X-Pro2, with the 35mm f/2.0 on it. 
"We need it back Monday." Really? Ok, then. I say my goodbyes, and start walking back to my flat, looking down at the front of this camera I've been waiting for for so long. And it’s basically my X-Pro1. A little bit of sadness that it's not smashingly different, kinda looks the same. 

I wonder if there is some battery left, flip the on-switch and put the viewfinder (OVF) to my eye...NICE!!! Now this is where the difference starts coming in already! The text is crisp and clean and small, the frame line is a lot smaller, not as magnified. No, wait. It is a higher res, more space in the viewfinder. Move over to EVF. Oh, does it rotate like the X-T? Yes! I smile... 

10 minutes later...

Hit the Menu button. Oh, nice! The menu is neat and better laid out, the icons on the left make sense and are broken down into categories, not just numbers in red and blue.  I put the two SD cards in, now to format it. Oh, dear...where is it now? Menu —> Spanner icon —> User (Ah, there it is!) —> Format — > Slot 1 (Damn, back to LCD view) —> Menu —> Spanner icon —> User —> Format — > Slot2  

I run though some of my usual settings I have on my Fuji cameras:

  1. Performance = Normal or high —> High 

  2. All Sound = Off 

  3. AF+MF = On 

  4. Edit/Save Q-menu 

  5. Set my C1 = Provia, C2 = BW+R, C3 = Classic Crome & now C4 = Acros with film noise off, weak or strong = Weak.

  6.  Noise reduction. Oh, look! It can go +4 or -4, that's cool! Oh, but there is no OFF...sigh!

  7. Preview pic in viewfinder is set for 0.5 seconds. Thank goodness! The lowest setting the Xpro1 had, was a very long 1.5 seconds. I use this a lot on the X-Pro1, so that I can see that the shot has hit focus when I shoot with the OVF. And yes, I know this has its drawbacks, it's just a personal preference.

Remove the silly strap they provide and add my leather strap to it. There we go...much better!

X-Pro2 + XF 23mm 

X-Pro2 + XF 23mm 

Right, let's start with that and shoot a bit. It's night time and we are home for the night...what to shoot? So I do what I do every time I get a new camera or lens to try out, I walk out to my balcony and around the flat a bit, picking some random stuff around the house. I aim, shoot. Aim, shoot. Aim, shoot...holy smokes, it’s fast!

Hmm, let me take the preview pic off. Aim, shoot, shoot, shoot. Review image on LCD. I really can’t quite explain in text how much faster it is compared to the X-Pro1. It’s not just the AF that's fast, it's the whole process. From taking the shot, to the camera processing it and moving to take the next shot or reviewing the image on the LCD, this all in OVF mode.

So it’s not just Auto Focus improvement, it really is the whole experience.

Added a few thing to My Menu, but could not add Format or Preview pic in viewfinder to it, a real pity.

Quick setup of my menu

Quick setup of my menu

 

Let's see what I get out of it tomorrow. We have planned an early morning hike, and then there is a Chinese New Year celebration in the streets of Jo'burg (Johannesburg) from about 18:00.

Saturday Morning @8:25

Hiking along, I have the camera in my hand, leather strap wrapped around my wrist, with the 23mm f/1.4 on it as there will be a mix of people and landscape photography. The light is harsh and not the best. With the solid 23mm on, it's heavy gear. But we are outside, breathing fresh air and happiness will ensue.   

 

23mm - f/3.2 - 1/7000  ISO 200

23mm - f/3.2 - 1/7000  ISO 200

23mm - f/1.4 - 1/8000  ISO 200

23mm - f/2.8 - 1/8000  ISO 200

23mm - f/2.8 - 1/8000  ISO 200

23mm - f/1.4 - 1/8000  ISO 200

23mm - f/1.4 - 1/8000  ISO 200

Not too many pictures came out of the hike, which was a personal social event and was never intended to be part of the review anyway, but it will hopefully give a bit of an idea of the 1/8000 shutter. The camera wasn't as practical, it's a heavy camera which I would not normally take on a hike, but rather my light weight X100T.

So, after a well-deserved cold beer, a refreshing dip in the pool and lunch, we headed home to freshen up and hit the streets of Jo'burg and experience the Chinese New Year for the first time, where I will really put this camera to the test.


Afternoon 5:15pm

Armed with a 23mm and a 35mm f/2.0 we arrive, park and quickly get badgered by the car guards. Just another day in Jo'burg. We walk a block or so to the street where the celebration is to take place. Stalls are already selling food that smells amazing and people are milling about where usually cars will be speeding past. The atmosphere is quietly working its way up to excitement. And the pièce de résistance...big reddish-orange drums set up in the middle of the road, awaiting their players. The sun is just starting to create nice, long shadows.
I hit the Q button...argh, this View Mode! I have to cycle through again. Why can’t it allow me to make it Viewfinder only and then when I hit the Q or MENU button, it opens it on the LCD?
But let the shooting begin! I make sure I got it on C4 to try the new Acros film simulator.

With the XF35mm f/2.0 as my weapon of choice, I put the camera to my eye (OVF) and start shooting a few shots of the people around me.

The shutter goes off and man! is it a sweet sound!
What a feeling! It’s like you’re invisible to the people. Not sure if it’s just in my head or if it is the rangefinder.

JPEG : Acros + Red  | 35mm  - f/2.0 1/7000 ISO 200

JPEG : Acros + Red  | 35mm  - f/2.0 1/1400 ISO 200

JPEG : Acros + Red  | 35mm  - f/2.0 1/8000 ISO 200

JPEG : Acros + Red  | 35mm  - f/2.0 1/5800 ISO 200

Post Editing: In Lightroom, I did very little to the jpeg. I mostly just added a little contrast. I was not 100% sold on ACROS. But I might change my mind once I get to spend a little more time with it.

Then this happened: (OVF) I had the focus on the head of this gentleman, and then saw in the preview that the focus did not quite hit the spot. The second shot worked, but I missed the moment. The camera didn't struggle to get the focus, it just hit the wrong spot. I had it happen to me once or twice more, which could just as easily have been either me or the camera. I'm sure as with any new camera, more time spent with it will make you get to know each other better. Either way, it was nowhere close to how often this happens on the X-Pro1.

Switching to the 23mm and moving to the drums, I see the nice shadows, put the camera to my eye and change it to EVF. I can see it is in Acros black and white, and see how the shadows fall. It looks really good, Acros is starting to growing on me.

JPEG: 23mm | f/1.4 - 1/1800 ISO 200

Post Editing : In Lightroom, I really liked the results I was seeing. As you can see below, the small amounts of editing I did to get the image to my liking.

30min later... 

They announce for us to make space and we gather around the drums. While waiting I notice the amount of photographers, in fact one to my left and one to my right. As I start talking with the one on my right, I find out he is from one of the local newspapers and is covering the event. He does of course notice the camera in my hand and comments on how nice it is. He says Fuji needs to work on their AF. I can just smile, and tell him that this might just be the one.
To my left is another photographer, who actually calls me by my name. We have met before at a Fuji event. He looks down at my camera and asks if it is, in fact, the X-Pro2. "No, it's not.", I say with a sly smile and hand it over to him to have a look. He grumpily complains that he really should have come with his Fuji camera, rather than the big SLR weighing him down.

I'm impressed when the drummers come out. An awesome group of ladies that showed us how it is done. The 23mm is a little slower than the 35mm f/2.0, but did in no way affect my shots.

Click thumbnails to see the images.

The sun is moving lower and more directly into my lens. I must have shot around 60-70 shots just here, really enjoying the camera. I was in EVF mode with the Acros simulation ( jpeg/RAW). 

Post Editing : I could not decide if I preferred the black and white or the colour. They are both nice, but in the end I feel it fair that you get to see a bit of colour with the Astia film simulation (camera profile applied in Lightroom). I liked what the sun did in the rest of the photos.

At this point I move, and as the crowd is really packed, there is very little chance of moving again. I am also very limited by the focal length of the 35mm, and wish I had brought the 56mm, which in the end was not really needed after all. I turn my focus on the crowd around me, and they don't even notice me taking photos of them, my camera is so quiet. I play around a lot with the AF and try to see if it will get the shots I am aiming for. 99% of the time it hits the spot.

It is around this time that I get a message that slot 2 is full, and panic mode kicks in. It must have still had some shots on it from my test session the night before. I think quickly, pull the card out of slot 1 and put it in my bag. I take the card in slot 2 and put it in slot 1 and format the card.

That was ± 250 images on a 16GB and I only brought the 2 cards...now is the perfect time for an outburst of profanity.

I take two more shots, when I recall seeing a comment online about uncompressed RAW files. I quickly scan thought the menus, find the setting and switch that off. That's better - about 470 images to go on this SD card.

Later, when I was looking at the files I had a quick look and noticed the uncompressed RAW file is 50MB. That's just crazy! Scrolled down to the compressed ones and those are about 25mb, a bit better. When I was editing these RAW files, the I5" Macbook Pro Retina was really struggling.

Time to try out the film grain and I set it on STRONG. In a not-so-bright moment, I somehow forget to switch it off for the rest of the night. Luckily, it only effects the jpegs, not the RAW files.

I have a bit of a confusion, still getting used to the joystick. My muscle memory hits the D-PAD Up button (Drive) and somehow switches it to the setting 'Toy Camera'. When I look though the viewfinder it is in colour, with a very over-saturated EVF.  I am perplexed at first and after 5 min or so of looking at the camera's settings, I figure it out and switch it off.

It's beyond me why a camera with the word PRO on it even has this as an option! I have no idea if the Up D-Pad button can be configured, as it is labeled DRIVE.

I find that you can't change the AF block size when you use the joystick to move the AF points, but you can when using the Down D-Pad Button. I also discover that if I hold the joystick down, you have the option to lock the focus point, until pressing it once to move it again. That can be handy.

RAW: Classic Chrome | 35mm f/2.0 1/60 ISO 400

It should be noted at this point that my auto ISO minimum shutter is still on default at 1/60. I should have pushed it up to take advantage of the higher ISO capabilities of this camera, which affected me  later. 

It is now getting very crowded and getting harder and harder to be on the front line. When trying to shoot over the heads of the people in front on me, and holding the camera above my head, the low shutter in auto ISO really affects me. I also realise here how much I miss the tilt-LCD from the X-T1. I had to reject a lot of images that were just too blurry at 1/60 held above my head, while being bumped by people passing by.

SOOC : 35mm | ISO 2000 | Film Grain = STRONG | ACROS

SOOC : 35mm | ISO 2500 | Film Grain = STRONG | ACROS

Zoomed in with Lightroom

Post Editing: When editing the above image, I found the STRONG grain setting not so visible, but you can really see it on the zoomed image on the right. The strong grain grew on me and did add a nice feeling to it.

I really like the STRONG film grain in this image 

 

We find dragon dancers on the other end of the block, as well as the lion that first dances through the street, then goes from one store to the next as every store sets off its own string of firecrackers.

Late Evening @20:30

I am switching between shooting above me, over people's heads and through the viewfinder. While it's hard to judge when shooting above my head, when shooting through the viewfinder, the focus does not give me any trouble. It doesn't once refuse to focus, and doesn't even hunt, even in the low light. I can truly say this is outperforming the X-Pro1 on every level.  

I am very fascinated with all the mobile phones people are using. It is nothing new to see, but I enjoy using it as the subject of my shots.

RAW : 23MM | f/1.4 - 1/60 ISO 640 

RAW : 23MM | f/1.4 - 1/60 ISO 640 

The night ends with a spectacular display of fireworks. The whole evening was such a great experience. The camera really performed, the whole event rushed past in a bit of a blur, and things usually happened too fast to think about changing settings, like trying out an ISO higher than 6400. There was no time to use it or even think about it. 


Sunday Afternoon @4:30

Nice and tired after the long Saturday, my wife and I choose to spend a quiet morning at home. Then go for a drive just before sunset. We head to a hilly field we go to sometimes to shoot for ourselves, enjoy the nature and get some quiet time outside of the city. But instead of driving around, we pick one spot to chill. We find the little road we are looking for, park the car and with no plan in mind start to play a bit with the camera. While waiting for the nice afternoon light, I am really enjoying the OVF viewfinder. Oh! One more thing which is not a major thing but quite important for me. If you're using glasses, the viewfinder is a lot better. It's not as big as the X-T1 and you can still have info cut off at the top or bottom, but was a far more pleasant experience shooting with my glasses. 

This is when I get it into my brain, to try make a video of the viewfinder. With only 2 hands, a camera, no tripod, a lot of wind and an iPhone, several tries later this is about the best I could  put together, but you get the idea :-)

I am playing with the ISO dial and have my shutter in manual. In pulling up and turning the ISO dial, I realise my shutter setting is changing as well, which is not really what I want it to do. I test it while looking through the viewfinder and get a similar experience. Let's try the shutter in A - much better!

I switch back to manual shutter and play a bit with the ISO dial, first looking at the camera, then looking through the view finder. I finally find the sweet spot. It isn't really an issue, you just need to get used to the dial and pull it up quite high. 

Late Afternoon ± @18:40

The light we've been waiting for, has arrived! And it is beautiful! Armed with the 56mm, and my wife playing model for me as always. I get a bit lost in the photography here and am just shooting without trying out too many new features of the camera. At some point I switch to OVF mode and I am really impressed using it with the 56mm. There is the small block that show the lens coverage, and then all the space around it. That may not be so practical for portraits in general, but what occurs to me, is that you can see what is in the frame, but also what is just outside of the frame. This allows me to recompose or ask Yvonne to move to a better spot or background. And that is what this rangefinder is all about.

1st attempt

1st attempt

2nd attempt - recomposed

2nd attempt - recomposed

All in all, it really is a wonderful camera. 

For me, if I could have the processor, viewfinder and auto-focus and put it in my X-pro1, I would be so happy. The button placement is great and the joystick is really nice to have, and I would love to spend a bit more than 2 days with it. I guess the debate you have to have with yourself, is if the price tag is worth it. 

We can talk about the new sensor, which is nice. But then again, the quality of the images has never been an issue for me on any of my Fuji cameras.

I was lucky enough that the LR update had just come out and was able to read my RAW files, and I'll get more chance to study them over time.


Four images stitched with LR Pano

If you are shooting with the X-T1/10, you might not feel the need to want to upgrade to this camera. I personally would trade in my X-Pro1 and X-T1 for this camera, though. Just remember that it's heavy and a good chunk bigger than the X-T1. Also, the rangefinder design does not suit everyone. I really enjoyed this camera, I have a huge soft spot for the X-Pro1 and now for this model, I believe the changes are significant, especially if you waited the 4 years since the X-Pro1.

If you want to upgrade from an X-Pro1 or X-E1/2, or if a rangefinder pulls at the heart-stings, YES! just do it







Fujinon 16mm 1.4

 

This lens was somewhat of a surprise to me. Generally, I avoid wide angles like I avoid aubergine. However, I really grew to like the lens, which turned out to not be like aubergine at all. Unlike the 14mm, which I just could not get to like, this was different. 

Aperture ring moves with the nice, elegant clicks we've gotten used to on the 56mm, and have the manual focus quick pull-back, like on the 14mm and 23mm.

It feels a bit bigger than the 23mm in hand, and is not shy in length next to the 56mm, with a ring size of 67mm.  Being weather sealed, that's no surprise.

I have always wondered why you would use f/1.4 in a wide angle, as for me this is more of a landscape lens and you would normally shoot f/8 and above. But only having been able to use it for ±4 days, which is only really a few hours of shoot time between normal day to day stuff,  I had to get creative and getting close to the subject is not a problem.

I could not find the focus distance limit, so yeah, the f/1.4 is great. (Yes, I know it's not a 'true f/1.4', but who cares, it looks good.)

Getting very close 

Getting very close 

I'm not sure what else to say about the lens. Keeping in mind that I am no expert when it comes to wide angles, I can't fault the lens.  If you've  been waiting on the edge of your seat for this lens, I doubt you'll be disappointed. I wish I could have gotten out to try some landscapes, but sadly I wasn't able to fit that in to an already packed weekend. You'll also notice that 99% of the images are shot in f/1.4, that depth of field is just so nice!

All in all, this lens is great for your collection of prime lenses. I had loads of fun with it.

 


Gallery below of the images I was able to get in the limited time 

The X100T

About two weeks ago, I received a sample copy of the X100T from Fujifilm South Africa. In this time, I have truly enjoyed the updates they have added to the camera.

I will not be going into too much of a technical review, but will mostly just talk about the changes I came across in the features and functions that I use.

At first glance, it looks much the same as the previous models. One can only notice the changes when you look at the back of the camera; with button placements that's been moved and improved. I am sure these changes have come from a lot of feedback that Fujifilm has received by its users and X-Photographers.

I can not fault the placements of the buttons, although it took a little getting used to, since I'm used to my X100S. The directional buttons are one of my favourite changes, we saw the similar change on the X30.

Much like the X-T1, the directional buttons are function buttons. So they can either be defined to your liking from the predefined list, or as focus point adjustments. As the latter, you just hit any direction and it starts moving your focus point around. This is how I have and like it.

My Fn-button near the shutter button, is set to ISO. While the new Fn-button that is under the Trash button, I've set to ND filter. The Wifi function button I left as is. I welcomed the additional function buttons with open arms. It allows you to customise the camera even more to your liking. 

The side panel has the added mic input. I did not test this, but I've heard one can now charge the camera via the USB. This makes it handy to use and keep powered.
 

I'm certain you've already seen or heard that the EV-dial now allows compensation from +3 to -3. 

Power-up did not appear to be any faster. However, the overall operation of the camera is a lot more snappy. 

The LCD has grown a bit in size, and the font is now small and crisp like the X-T1, with more info that's been added to the info screen. 

Wifi is great, works just like that of the X-T1 and is a really welcome addition to the X100. I found I used this far more than on the X-T1, due to how I use the X100 as an everyday carry-around camera.

If there is one thing that completely sold me on this model, it has to be the viewfinder. I wear glasses and have found the viewfinder of the X-T1, and now the X100T, really great. I have found that with glasses, there are always small blind spots around the edges of the older models. With the bigger viewfinder and smaller font in OVF, there is less clutter in the way of framing and that really helps me. Also, with the EVF, the information jumps to portrait-mode with you when you turn your camera, which is also great. Again, much like the X-T1.

The switch between the OVF and EVF is much faster and feels just right. With the add-on of the third view, which is OVF with a small EVF in the corner. At first I thought this was something I would not use, but over time I found it very useful. 

The electronic shutter...now this is really great. Here in the African sun, we've been itching for something like this. Allowing us to shoot wide open (f/2.0) in bright mid-day light. I set mine to MS+ES, which is mechanical shutter till 1/4000 and then it goes into the electronic shutter at anything higher than that. I can’t say I could fault any of the images shot higher than 1/4000. When the shutter is in ES, you can't even hear that a photo was taken. The X100 was quiet already, now it's deadly silent

The images below are just examples of the capabilities of the electronic shutter at midday, when the sun is at its brightest and worst here in South Africa.

The new electronic shutter, combined with the built-in ND-filter will make this camera get even more love than its older brothers. The only drawback I discovered was that you could not enable the flash in any modes, unless you put it back to MS mode only. This could be a limitation of the current sample firmware though, so don’t hold me to it. 

The auto focus is definitely better and faster than the X100S. 
The last thing I found, was that the aperture ring is not limited to f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4, etc. But you now have all the increments in between.  f/2.0 f/2.2 f/2.5 f/2.8 f/3.2 etc.

In the end, the things that I really loved was the improvements to the viewfinder and the addition of the wifi. The X100 has been my favoured and most loved camera of the X-series, not just because of its look, but because of the size and what I am able to do with it The tweeks and changes done really make this camera complete in my eyes. 

Now, I know that there is a lot more to the camera, but I won't bore you to death with every little detail. Here is the thing: if you've never owned one and are looking at getting one...just get it! If you own DSLR gear, get it! It is a great compliment to any gear, and is that camera you always wanted, because it allows you to drag it along to every family, friend and social event.

Would I upgrade? Yes, in heart beat! Do I have and need to upgrade? Probably not.


Electronic Shutter X-T1 Graphite Silver

I have just received a sample of the X-T1 Graphite Silver from Fujifilm South Africa, and want to give a quick shout about the electronic shutter feature.

I am very excited about this, as Africa has a lot of harsh sunlight to deal with and this feature will come in very handy. You set the electronic shutter to kick in after 1/4000, and you can hear the “fake” shutter sound go, much like the X100/S has.

X-T1 Silver 56mm | ISO 200 f/1.2 1/14000

X-T1 Silver 56mm | ISO 200 f/1.2 1/14000

X-T1 Silver 56mm | ISO 200 f/1.2 1/7000

X-T1 Silver 56mm | ISO 200 f/1.2 1/7000



Small review of the X30

I was given the X30 to try out, but as I have hardly used the X20 and never owned one, it is hard for me to do a full comparison.  I did manage to get my hands on an X20 during this review. It will be a very quick compression and a not very scientific testing.

At the time of writing and reviewing, I had no technical information on the camera.

Here is the X30

The body and layout 
When I took the camera out of the box, my first impression was that it was bigger. When I gave it a good look-over, it struck me as a bit more modern-looking over the retro look we have come to know (and which I love) from Fujifilm. The edges seem to be more square, the corners are sharper and don't bend as subtly as they did on the X20, while the lens looks the same to me.

The on-and-off switch is still the same; built into the lens. They have added a function ring around the lens that can be defined to things like aperture, ISO, white balance, film simulation and continuous but can differ depending on the mode you're in. I set it to aperture and kind of like the cool fake clicking noise when I am changing my f-stop.

It also felt like it was a bit heaver, but not by much. 

The size increase has also allowed them to put a bigger battery in. It is now the same as the X100 battery (NP95), so in theory you should get more shots out of the charge. However, there is the EVF, Wi-Fi and bigger LCD to be powered. The battery and SD-card are both in the same place as before, while the tripod mount is still to the left of the centre of the camera. 

Overall the camera feels strong and solid. The only plastic I could feel and see, was the new function ring. . 

Button layouts
Few buttons have been moved and added. You'll be happy to know that the Wi-Fi is there, and this can also be set as the Fn button. Unfortunately, I could not test the Wi-Fi just yet, as the app had not yet been released to the Appstore.

What I did find and liked a lot, was how they implemented some toggles, e.g. when you hit the macro button, it toggles between off, macro and super-macro.

View-button and drive-button has been added to the top of the LCD. There are no more buttons on the left of the LCD, allowing for more screen space.

There is the record movie button added next to the shutter release and EV now has been increased to -3/+3.
The toggle switch for AF-type is still on the front left, but has moved a bit to the bottom and is a bit smaller. 

Portrait views

Portrait views

LCD and EVF  
The tilt screen is much the same as we've seen on the X-A/M/T. The resolution of the screen you can see straight away is better. The text on the screen is small, sharp and crisp.

When I put my eye to the EVF, the first thing I could see was that it is very similar to the X-T1. Big and bright with small, sharp text on the edges, not obscuring the view at all. 

I was also impressed when I turned the camera for portrait photos. The EVF rotated, again the same as the X-T1. The refresh rate looked good, but I did notice a bit of a drop in low light. The EVF also has the adjustable diopter for your eyes.

 


Performance has improved in the menus and is a lot better than the X20 and the AF is way better. It focuses much faster, even in low light. Again, this is all on gut feel, but it felt pretty much on par with the X-A/M1. 

 

I see they have added a new film simulation called 'Classic Chrome’, here is a sample of the simulation compared to the Provia and Astia:

Provia

Provia

Classic Chrome

Classic Chrome

Astia

Astia

What else I noticed 

They also allow you 7 custom presets for your menu, which I really missed when I used the X20. Focus peeking is there and one can define the colours. The sensor or the way it reproduces the jpeg at least is definitely better. I can't tell you technical details, but you can see by these two shots of the X20 and X30 that there is a definite improvement on the noise sensitive side.

X20

X30

Interval Timer Shooting option is in the menu, so for the time laps shooters out there, I'm sure you'll be happy!

They added the ability to connect to the Instax printer in the last menu. They had 3 auto ISO settings you can define and select with the Fn ISO button.

Charging is with a USB cable into the camera, there is no loose charger. One can easily buy the X100 charger, though. The side flap  has the mini HDI, USB/Power and the mic input.

In closing, I’m not sure what it will cost and hopefully fits the pocket for its class of camera. I am sure there will be far more detailed reviews out there once the official release has happened. It was nice to see a lot of the new features coming from the X-T1, and a lot of tweaks that we see come out in new firmware and newer models. Overall the camera is fast, good AF and  improved  ISO performance. Overall a great package all round, and it will be a great travel and everyday camera.

TCL-X100 50mm for the x100/s

Well, here it is: the 50mm converter I've been waiting for for some time has finally arrived. I had very high expectations of this converter.

X100S with TCL-X100

First off, I hope the next versions of the cameras and converters will have some sort of contact that tells the camera you're putting either the wide or this-tele converter on. I found it quite a hassle to have to use the menu to tell it when it is on or off. In my case, the converter was constantly on and off, so while I used it, I changed my function button to set it to the correct converter. 

The converter does not seem to lose any quality or light when used. Much like the wide angle, it performs great and the results are absolutely nothing to complain about.

I did find that the AF performance dropped slightly when used, but it was still workable in most cases.

One with lens hood & one with TCL-X100 on.

When attached to the camera, the EXIF data sees it as a 33mm  (±50mm equivlent ). The converter does add a bit of weight and size to the X100s, as you can see in the photo above. 

There is nothing wrong with that image quality.

There is nothing wrong with that image quality.

I found that having to screw the converter on and having to keep setting it in the menu, was not the quickest. So if you need to get a shot in a hurry, it is not the handiest set-up.

The TCL-X100 and the wide-angle converter will make your x100/s very versatile, though. And, with the size and portability, a  perfect travel companion for your x100/s. 

Traveling with an X100S

I've never done a review of the X100S. Even though I've been meaning to during the year or so that I have had it. So let's go ahead and call this a review, even though it is not really about the buttons and dials on the camera, as there is a lot of those out there already.
We have just returned from a trip to the Netherlands and Belgium for a bit of travel, so I thought I would put the emphasis on how great this camera was for carrying around. I hope I can put in words how it really saved my shoulders and arms. 

X100S &  WCL-X100 

Most of my photos are not something to publish in a travel magazine, keep in mind that the trip was about a friend's wedding, a bit of time away from work, routine and home.

The focus, which my wife had to keep reminding me, was about experiencing a new country, seeing things, enjoying myself and taking photos in the process, not going out to get the perfect picture. The result in the end was a great bunch of pictures of a trip that we both loved and enjoyed immensely. 

Gear taken on trip for both of us

Gear taken on trip for both of us

I took with me the X-Pro1 + 35mm 1.4 and the X100S with the wide angle converter. I had forgotten that there is so much light in Europe this time of the year, we are used to the sun going down the latest 7:00pm  here in Johannesburg, South Africa. We both loved this for the extra time it allowed us to take photos, as well as longer days = longer holiday.

I found that I used the X100S the most, just because it was so easy to carry with me. Easy to pull in and out of a simple shoulder bag, no camera bag required. The other small reason was that my wife was mostly shooting at 50mm, and in the end we would both get the shot of the same stuff, so a different focal length will give you a different view for that building or scene, and it forces you to see it differently. 

Slinging it over my back while cycling around the Dutch countryside was easy and I didn't even feel it. (Though taking photos while cycling may not be the smartest move, luckily it stayed on top of the bike, as did I.)

While cycling

Hiding it, or covering it under an arm or a pullover while it was raining was simple enough, even hanging over my neck under an umbrella was trouble-free. Plus a one hand operation while holding an umbrella was easy.

Walking into places like churches or cathedrals, the camera is so silent, you feel a bit braver and can get away with more discreet shots. Including quick shots of people on the trains or in the streets. 

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When traveling, one also has to experience the local food and drink, so out comes the X100S!

The ND-filter came in handy as well. One can not always plan visits to new places around the best light, so having it built-in is great and takes away the hassle of having to carry and fiddle with ND-filters.

The wide-angle converter was great, and can get you really great results. 

I wasn't sure I would actually use the wide-angle converter, but I have about a 100 keepers in my library taken with it attached, so it was worth taking it along.

Sadly, I could not get my hands on the teleconverter for the 50mm equivalent before leaving. If I did have it, I think I would have left the X-Pro and 35mm at home.

Yes, there are times you wish you had a little bit more focal length or some other accessory, but then one remembers how easy this camera is to carry with you, and when you get the results, all doubt just falls away. Even if you have a good DSLR setup, this X100S is a great compliment to your gear, and you will find that it gets used just about every day. 

The 56mm and a little bit more of the X-T1

I had this idea to take a portrait of someone walking in a field. A shot like this is nothing new or revolutionary, but it's a bit out of my usual space.

I do not have the resources when it comes to acquiring models etc, as it's not really my area of photography. So instead of using my poor wife again for the umpteenth time, I asked my cousin if she would be willing to play model and she was kind enough to agree and get up at 4am to catch the light on location at 5am.

Saturday morning came, and after running a little late due to a small miscommunication, the weather was good to us and the sun sat behind the clouds for an hour or two for me to complete my testing of the 56mm.

On Sunday I was itching for more. So I took it with me on some berry picking with friends and a trip to one of our upper-market shopping centres, which has a bit of a European feel to it.

Some of the images were in midday-sun, so the results were not to my utmost liking. What I did get I was able to work with, and I was lucky that in some cases I was able to shoot under some shaded netting.

The Lens 
I should be comparing it to the 85mm f/1.4, but I don't have that luxury, so this example will have to do.

I shot a lot with an 85mm f/1.8 on my Nikon early in 2013. I found the Fuji 56mm smaller, yet heavier due to the construction being metal vs plastic. The aperture ring is just like the new 23mm, feels good and clicks into place nicely, the whole lens feels solid and well-built. 

The depth of field is smooth and dreamy and all-in-all just hypnotically beautiful.

In general use and comparing it to my Fuji 35mm, it focuses quieter and faster, and does not hunt like the 35mm. 
 
I have shot portraits with the 60mm and it's a great lens, but its AF is slow and hunts like crazy, especially in bad light. While I see there are some really good deals on the 60mm, I would advise  saving up a bit more and acquire the 56mm. 

The 56mm on the X-Pro1 worked without a problem. Though it did complain about firmware, I used it anyway, as you can read in the first post on the 56mm here. The only little annoyance I experienced was when you put the lens on the camera and put it down, it isn't flush with the surface. The lens sits slightly lower than the body, making it a little wobbly. This of course will not affect your photography in any way, but personally I did find it a little vexing. 


The Camera 
Just to touch on the X-T1 again. This camera is great, fast and spot-on in the performance from the menus to the access to the SD card. 

I only shot in jpeg, as there is no current RAW-support in Lightroom for the X-T1. The AF performed well, and I was happy with it for my needs. The AF-C is something to get used to and almost felt like a hit-and-miss at times. However, most of the time I was impressed when an object moved away from or towards me. 

I did try the AF on some small birds. Now, I am no bird photographer, and can't really compare it to the a DSLR, but in my own opinion, I doubt it will work for bird or sport photography just yet. 

I forced myself to use the battery grip on Saturday's shoot, and found I was struggling, at first mostly due to my lack of never using one. However, as time went by it became easy and natural, the only issue being getting your thumb to the directional button (D-Pad) to change focus points, but again that is very much a muscle memory. It would be nice if the functions you define on the D-Pad would rotate when you used the camera in portrait mode with the battery grip.

The grip does add some weight and size and gives the camera a far more pro-DSLR look. With that, it does lose some of its compact appeal for me, however it is still far smaller and lighter than your semi- to pro-bodies like the D600. 

I've shown and let a few of my photographer friends try out the camera, whom all mostly come from the DSLR world and they've all found the camera very interesting. While some liked the buttons and sub-dial placement, most just loved the retro look and feel of the camera and the feeling they get. "That fussy feeling" and that sort of status you feel about the camera. 

I do get the feeling this camera will attract more DSLR users over people who are already using the X-Pro1  or X-E1/2.

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The Remote App
While the wifi transfer of images is really cool on the X-E2, it was not a big must for me, but the remote app is just so cool. Allowing you to control 90% of the camera from any smart device was really impressive. I think if you're a landscape photographer or do a lot of long exposures, this will be a must tool in the field.

I did not get around to try the Remote App practically, but the image transfer to the iPad, while having coffee after Saturday's early shoot was really handy to talk, discuss and laugh at the images. 


While I get to test and play with new and old equipment from Fujifilm South Africa, I do this of my own accord and do not get paid or compensated for any of the reviews I do.

The X-T1

It feels a bit like I am cheating on my much loved X-Pro1, but this camera is such a huge leap for Fujifilm. It has so much aesthetic value in its appearance and usability.  

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It looks just like a baby SLR with all the controls out of the golden era of photography. Following in the footsteps of all the other Fujifilm models, the X-T1 has the emotion and nostalgia, adding on the extra dial for ISO and the more modern switches right under the shutter speed and ISO dial. They have now added the Fujifilm text on the front of the camera, so it is made very clear that this is a Fujifilm camera.

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The camera certainly is beautiful, being weather-sealed and with the ability to add the optional battery pack.

The battery pack only allows for one extra battery, while the other lives in the body. I am guessing there will be some who will not like this. A nice touch is that the battery indicator displays the charge of each battery independently. The controls on the battery pack pretty much cover what I have seen on your current DSRL battery packs.

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When I hold the camera in my hand it absolutely has the right feel. It fits nicely, its weight feels right and the extra thumb and hand grip is perfect. The weight and size is very similar to the X-E2, but it is smaller than the X-Pro1. I also love that they decided to put the slot for the memory card on the side now, and not squashed into the bottom with the battery anymore. Hopefully this becomes the norm for all future models.

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Most of the function buttons are placed in the perfect spot for me and I was able to customise it precisely to my needs. The focus assist has been moved to a dedicated button on the back, where in the past you used the back command control wheel to zoom in on your picture or for manual focus. Each directional button is also customisable. There is a love/hate relationship between me and the Fn-button on the front of the camera. I have set it up to quickly change my custom settings, however while this makes changing it easy, it is also very easy to bump, and I find it accidentally changes back to Custom 1 very easy.

The sub-dials right under the shutter dial allow you to quickly set the metering type, while under the ISO you have an array of options that used to be in the DRIVE menu: BKT, CH, CL, S, multiple exposures, advanced filters and pano.

The ISO dial is great, even though initially I wasn't sure I liked the lock that you have to press to move it. But as I got used to it, I found it was not too much of an annoyance anymore. They did add an ISO "L", which makes it 100. I have not tried this out yet, guessing it may come in handy when you need to go beyond the 1/4000 limit on the shutter. 

The EV-dial is the one thing I absolutely don't agree with or understand why they felt the need to make it so much bigger than any of the other models and requires two fingers to adjust. I personally think they should have used the one on the X100/s, to me that size and rigidness is perfect. 

Like the X-E2, there is a top Fn-button for Wifi, which can be defined, but has been moved to below the shutter button. 

The shutter button can not be controlled by cable release anymore, but there is a very cool remote control app available on Android or iOS, more on that later. Right next to it is the record-button for movies, but I've found this placement a little annoying, as it used to be the place of the well-used Fn-button for ISO, and there's been a few times I've actually put it in movie mode accidentally. The people that are into making movies, might find this placement useful. 

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The View Mode-button is back and sits on the right site of the prism, while on the other side is the adjustment dial for your eyesight.

The EVF...it's just beautiful. Filling the eye with a very wide view and it's nice and bright. I can compare it to my experience of upgrading to a retina screen on a Macbook, there is so much wow factor and it puts a smile on one's face. They also decided to move away from the rangefinder position on the left, that I personally loved. It is now more to the centre, like your traditional SRL. The frame rate is fast and I could not pick up any delay, even in low light it is smooth and clear. All the information you need is there and out of the way.

Lastly, the image quality is just breathtaking, and the AF is a huge, huge improvement, even over the X-E2, but I think they've still got a bit of a way to go before one can use this for shooting things like sport. It is not impossible though, as you can see by some of my MX and bicycle shots in the brochure of the X-T1 and advertising.

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There is a lot more I can talk about, but there are a lot of other detailed reviews out there. For now, I want to use my time with this camera and try the 2 lenses I have on review: the very much anticipated 56mm f/1.2 and 10-24mm f/4 and will cover more on the AF-performance accompanied by these lenses.

I would just like to thank Fujifilm South Africa for the opportunity to work with them, for the use of the X-T1, and for the placement of my photos in the brochure and promotional material for this camera. It is such a pleasure and huge honour to work with you.

56mm f/1.2

I have not had too much time to post about the X-T1 and even less time to play with the new 56mm, but last night I was out and took the 56mm with me and used it on my trusty X-Pro1.

As always, walking anywhere in Jo'burg can feel a little dodgy at times, but Melville has quite a vibe and a very busy nightlife on Thursdays. Which made for a nice opportunity to steal some shots.

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X-A1; a little surprise

Wow, was I surprised by this little camera! It's even smaller than the X-E1, X-E2 and X100, the biggest difference lies with the sensor. From what I have read, the X-A1 has the traditional Bayer sensor, whereas the X-M1 and the models above that, all have the new X-Trans. The fact that you can put any lens from the X-range on this little camera, allows one to really push it to a pro-level, while keeping it simple for beginners and non-photographers.

The camera also has all the manual controls: M, A, S and P, for any photographer to apply their knowledge and it's very easy to use. Personally, I found this camera better than any point-and-shoot I have ever tried to use in manual mode. At the same time, it has all the usual auto features with options like portrait, landscape or sport. There is also an SR mode that auto-detects what you're trying to take a picture of, and lastly there is an ADV mode that allows you to apply some filters like low key, pop colour, miniature and toy camera to name but a few.

This camera is not aimed at pro's or higher level photographers like myself, and they would be pixel peeping and judging it against the higher-end cameras.

I felt that was unjust to the camera. So what I did for this review, was handing it to my cousin. She is not a photographer, but has a good understanding of art and likes to play around with our cameras sometimes. I first gave her the camera with the kit lens, 16-55mm and some basics of the camera. After a week, I gave her the high-end 35mm f/1.4 and a few more lessons on photography and the camera. 

I can say that once I gave her the 35mm for the camera, it was game over. She was sold. However, she was still impressed with the camera before I gave her this lens. The very capable kit lens and the camera itself handles high ISO and low light so well.

Personally, I think the original 18-55mm kit lens from Fuji would have been better, but that would push the price up.

Here is what she had to say: 

I’ve never been big on photography as an art for myself, always loved seeing the beautiful and impressive photos taken by people who have that talent, people who can spot a great picture and just capture a moment so incredibly real, but never really thought it to be something that I can do. That was until Neill asked me to do this really interesting thing for him, he wanted me to test a camera…

As exciting as that request was, it was very intimidating.

For me, a person who is only used to point-and-shoot cameras with basic settings, always adoring my photos on the small screen of the camera and then being really disappointed with the same photos on the bigger screen of my laptop, this Fuji X-A1 camera was a great experience and I will tell you why.

The size of this camera is impressive, just a slight bit bigger than my usual ‘point -and-shoot’ cameras (if you ignore the lens, as this can differ in size), it holds more power than you can imagine. Thinking of the usual expectations that I have when I am taking photos, be it of a great night out with friends, or of the scenery of a beautiful place, I always wanted the pictures to be as impressive as it was to see the moment happen, I didn’t need them to be photography art, just needed them to be that one memory that will be captured forever - in clarity, and with this camera that actually happened way better than I could have imagined. The photos taken is incredibly sharp, not only do they look great on the camera’s screen, but they also look incredible on the laptop screen, it is beyond impressive, and you don’t even have to understand photography terminology and all the settings on the camera to get an impressive photo, the Auto setting (which is always my first ‘go-to’ setting) does a great job.

Being the ‘instant share-a-moment-with-the-world’ addict that I am, this camera has one of the best features that can help me fuel that addiction.The built in Wi-Fi. By just having the relevant Fuji app on your smart phone you can send all the photos that you have just taken with the Fuji X-A1 camera immediately and instantly to your smartphone, ready to share with the world in the blink of an eye. I had so much fun with this camera, and this function made me want to take even more photos all for the purpose of instant sharing.

Wifi transfer to smartphone.

Neill was kind enough to take me for an educational stroll, camera-in-hand of course, through the botanical gardens. This educational stroll covered some topics of photography that I never knew about, information that I will most probably never forget. This was a lesson about aperture, the difference a specific lens can make to a photo and some really great tips on taking photos of people. The last couple of days that I got to spend with this camera, and after this photography lesson, I do feel that I have taken the best portrait and nature photos that I have ever taken. All this was due to my mind being taught something that it never knew, a different lens on the camera, and having an incredible user-friendly camera in hand.

Just one thing that I found I need to watch out for is the brightness setting on the screen of the camera, this can be adjusted lighter or darker, and that can actually make it seem like you have taken a perfectly exposed photo while it is actually not, caught me out a couple of times.

I have never taken a photo with a Fuji camera up until now, and after spending time with the X-A1, I can fully understand why Neill prefers this brand of camera. To describe my experience with this camera in one short sentence – Incredible, I loved making art with this camera!

Thanks to my cousin for taking the time to help me with this review!

 To round it off, I did a quick, simple test against my brother's Nikon D3200 and 35mm F/1.8 DX lens, I put the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens on the X-A1. Both shot at f/1.8. Click on the image to see it bigger .

In closing, this camera is more than capable and I was very impressed by the image quality and the controls. The built-in jpeg controls are very good and allow the person to edit the picture in-camera, as I have seen a lot of beginners avoid the editing part for the first year or so.

The camera has a nice tilt screen, to allow for the really low or over-the-head sort of shots. 

I personally would recommend this to the anyone who is looking at the entry level DSLR, and have a point-and-shoot or bridge camera background, as they will not miss the viewfinder. And the one key thing here, besides the image quality and ease of use, is the size that is a huge factor. I've seen too many people buy a DSLR and leave it at home when they should be taking it with them, due to it size. 

Fuji X-E1 review

A couple of weeks ago, Fuji South Africa contacted me and asked if I, as a photographer would like to review their X-series cameras. I was really excited to look at it, as this was something I was ready to buy for myself.

Basic Technical Info  

  • 16 MP
  • APS-C “X-Trans CMOS (Crop Sensor)
  • FUJI-FILM X mount

For more technical info, you can browse all over the net, and here.

How I Feel About the Camera 

I am absolutely in love with it, the look and feel sold me the day I saw it online. Everything on the camera is cool; the dials, the metal, the retro look, even down to the aperture ring on the lens. I have never shot film or experienced that era of cameras, but it just felt authentic and there is a certain romance about it.

It has the old feel and is all metal, the lens feels expensive and is well-built . 

X-E1 with 18-55mm 

X-E1 with 18-55mm 

Coming from the bulky DSLR side, I like the size. It's nowhere close to being able to pocket, but it can be put in a small carry bag, like my wife's handbag. However, it can be deceiving and when you put it next to an entry-level DSLR, it is not that much different. I am not going to split hairs here over lens types when you compare the size.

What you need to look at more, is the benefits you get out of the camera. Like the low noise is great, and I can not say this more: the great image quality is just mind blowing!

D3100 vs X-E1

Wagon wheel in Parys

I was supplied with the standard 18-55m lens. Personally I perfer prime, fixed focus lenses, but I was very impressed with this “kit lens” when you compare it to the 18-55mm lenses of DSLR cameras. The advantage it has, is that at 18mm you can open it up all the way to f/2.8, great for depth of field and low light. Unfortunately not the greatest for faces, as they will distort a fair amount, which one can fix to a certain degree in post-edit.

With the sensor and the exclusion of the anti-aliasing filter, you can effortlessly get sharp images even at shutter speeds as low as 1/15. 

Shutter speed 1/9, no mirror to create vibration.

Shutter speed 1/9, no mirror to create vibration.

One of the things that would make me get a camera like this, beside the carry-around size, is the image quality you get out of it. It can firmly stand its ground next to a pro-DSLR any day. It is an every day camera, even with its quirks. It has Fuji's splendid film simulations, with some custom settings like highlights, shadows and colour. This results in very little to zero editing on a big percentage of my images. You can take the JPEG and post it as it is. As much as I love the editing process, I find there is a certain amount of gratification in taking the photo and getting it out straight away without the editing.

I ended up mostly shooting in RAW+JPEG mode, to better see what the camera did with the photos while using the film simulations, mostly jumping between Velvia, Astia and black-and-white with a yellow filter. 80% of the time, when the lighting and exposure was on my side, I kept the JPEG. 

The camera was usually set on aperture priority and I adjusted the exposure with the EV-button. It was much the same as a DSLR, but the difference was the sub-dials one finds on the DSLR-body. What was delightfully different, was the old-school aperture ring on the lens where you set your F-stop and set the shutter dial on the top to 'A' if you need shutter priory. To do the opposite, you set the aperture ring to 'A' and now adjust your shutter on the top dial. It's easy enough to just take both out of 'A' and you're in full manual. 

ISO was easy to adjust with the Fn button and you could set a static ISO or AUTO ISO, but sadly could not tie it to a minimum shutter speed like on the X100S.

The biggest issue floating around on the net is the controls for the AF control. To set the focus point, you need to use your left thumb to enable it, then your right thumb on the directing dials to move it. It is a tedious process and often make you miss the focus you were looking for. 

I've heard there is a firmware update coming out at the end of July that will allow you to assign this function to the Fn button on the top of the camera next to the shutter button.

The Q-button soon became my best friend, as it allowed me to quickly change the important settings like ISO and film simulation. But even better was that it had 7 pre-sets or custom settings that I had set up to allow me to jump around between some settings quickly. 

 

Menu under the Q button

Menu under the Q button

Controls

Flash 

Beside being able to mount an external flash, there is also a pop-up flash. I found I was able to mount a SB900 on the camera and it would trigger the flash with no problem. You do however have to set everything manually on the flash to control your light, there was no TTL option that I could find. I was also able to remote trigger the SB900 with the pop-up flash. 

Even though I found this handy, it is not one of my personal requirements for this type of camera. Besides, it surely does look very silly with the huge SB900 on it!  

Speed 

Here lies the biggest issues and most quirks of the camera. 

Auto-focus is not the fastest, but as firmwares come out it gets better. I was working with 1.06 coming from the speed of DSRL and you do notice it when you first start using the camera. Though, with my style of shooting it did not bother me too much. Where it became harder was single/solid colour and dark areas, but with the help of the AF-assist lamp it was better in the dark if my subject was close enough.

The speed when jumping from the back LCD to EVF can be annoying and slow to change with eye sensor. I found the best was to set it to EVF only and change to LCD only when I need to look at the menus. The way the screen and EVF works and switches can be customised. 

It sees in the dark, ISO 2000.

  
Green in winter.

Green in winter.

In the end, I really like this camera. I love the feel, the look and the retro controls. The issues with speed are being addressed with firmware updates, and I can live with the AF-button in the wrong place. The only thing that would hold me back is the Electronic Viewfinder. I would prefer the option of the Optical that comes with the Xpro-1, which comes at a higher cost and is also a bigger camera. Personally, I would also prefer the 35mm f/1.4 lens over the 18-55mm.

While writing this article, this news was released: "Focus peaking and one handed focus point change are coming to the XPro-1 and X-E1” here.

You can find more photos on my Flickr account  .

All this is a very much a personal opinion, there are a lot of pro's and amateurs that use this camera and they are happy with the way it performs and deals with these issues and quirks. It all boils down to what you want to do with the camera.

This is a camera for the amateur, the street photographer, the enthusiast, the photographer who wants a Leica but can’t afford one. It is just a different feel and style to a DSLR, but with all the quality when it comes to the image and build. I loved using it.

Neill 

X100s and X-E1

I have ordered my X100s from Fotofirst Fourways, and awaiting stock, I am hoping by this evening or tomorrow I will have it in time to compare it to the X-E1 I am currently reviewing for Fuji.

Why the X100s over the X-E1? If I could, I would have both. But there is some practical thinking here, I'll let you know in my review of the X-E1 soon. 

Power to the sun

Roof and light