Feb 052016
 

So you have seen the new press clippings and the new FUJIFILM X-Pro2 seems to be quite a monster of a camera. Should you still need the official news get hold of the link right here. If you are into Fuji stuff at all, this cam might just be the ticket. But wait…isn`t there a follow-up or refresh on the horizon for the great FUJIFILM X-T1? Sure there is!

Being a great fan of the X-T1 myself, I simply cannot get all too excited about the announcement of the X-Pro2. It has a few new features that would be nice to have. But some of these new features will probably make it to the X-T2 as well. The new 24.3MP X-TRans CMOS III sensor (or even a more recent update – see below), the joystick to quickly select AF-points and the dual card slot for SD-cards are most likely all set.

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It boils down to whether or not you like to rather have the OVF or rather an additional hybrid viewfinder and look through the eye cup without smudging your nose against the screen (X-Pro2) or if you prefer the centered position of the EVF which will probably get updated with even faster refresh rates limiting blackout times after shutter release to a negligible limit (X-T2). It is mostly ergonomics we are talking about. The look and feel – the individual preferences each photographer obviously has.

 

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But there is one more aspect to consider. The FUJIFILM X-T2 will probably not be released before the fall of 2016. By that time it is not unlikely that Sony will have given other companies access to their brand new 24MP sensor technology (e.g. that can be found in the new Sony Alpha A6300 – see my article here). Should Fuji use and adept this new sensor for the XT-2, this would further boost resolution and high ISO capabilities of the new cam. And of course the FUJIFILM X-T2 should also have a decent 4K video option on board. No doubt in my mind, the X-T2 will become the new FUJIFILM flagship. The X-Pro2 will then still be a good buy for all photographers who prefer the rangefinder experience. In any case, it is nice to have the choice.

 

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Images: FUJIFILM Corporation

Sep 172015
 

I have been using the FUJIFILM Camera Remote app since I got my Fuji X-T1 right after launch. And the app is a great thing to use e.g. if you like to trigger your cam remotely. But most of all I needed this Apple iOS app for backup storage of my SD card. You could just beam your pics to the iPhone via Wi-Fi® not needing any other internet connection whatsoever. A common thing with most cameras these days and a good thing at that.

Especially important for those of us with high storage iPhones that do not work with any adapter that might transfer the content of SD cards to the phone. It does work with iPads but not with iPhones curously enough.

If you have an iPhone with 128 GB storage this is a good way to have piece of mind – especially when travelling and you do not want to carry any laptops/notebooks, iPads or any other cumbersome external storage devices.

For all folks with iPhones who prefer doing likewise – my advice is to not update to iOS 9 just yet. FUJIFILM needs to update their FUJIFILM Camera Remote app as soon as possible. I sincerely hope they do.

All Android users – not to worry… I believe this is only relevant for iOS.

All those lucky enough to receive the new iPhone 6s/iphone 6s plus in the coming days/weeks…well you will have to find another solution for backups if you handled that with the app before.

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So please FUJIFILM – give us that update real quick!

 

If anyone knows of an easy and inexpensive way to transfer files from the Fuji-SD to the iPhone without having to carry a big external device and without the need of high speed internet – please share that info. Thanks.

 

Update 1:

I received an info from Fujifilm Germany saying the app will be updated for use with iOS 9 by the end of this month.

Update 2:

As of September 23, 2015 the updated version of the FUJIFILM Camera Remote is available for download via the Apple App Store. Thank you FUJIFILM! That was reasonably fast. Now we can carry on as usual. 

Jan 202014
 

Way to go Fuji! The Fujifilm X-T1 will be something like a Fujifilm APS-C version of the popular OIympus OM-D E-M1. Fujifilm fans have been lurking in the corners for this beast to finally show up. As seen in the teaser on the Fuj hompage (see image below) the new mirrorless camera will be announced on January 28th. And from the looks of it this will in all probability be a huge success. Just look at the manual controls and the size of the body. It is Fuji´s birthday and what a nice present they are giving themselves! This camera will not be rangefinder style like the Fujifilm X-Pro1 or Fujifilm X-E1/X-E2 but will feature a pentaprism-like hub housing the new and improved EVF and giving it all a more DSLR-like feeling, great handling with full manual control and smug looks.

 

Image: Fujifilm Corporation

Image: Fujifilm Corporation

 

These are the specs that are very likely 😉

  • high performance EVF (far better resolution than previous versions)
  • further improved AF
  • 16 MP APS-C X-Trans sensor II  (same as in XE-2)
  • integrated grip
  • seperate scroll wheels for ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation
  • Fn-button on top plate as well as a seperate movie-button
  • Wi-Fi
  • availability in silver/black or plain black (first deliveries probably in springtime)

This is what Fuji fans have been waiting for. Congrats to Fujifilm Corporation! We will be eagerly awaiting the full specifications and the price of course. If it comes in between the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and the Fujifilm X-E2 pricewise, Fuji will have to ship boatloads of this gear across the atlantic. It will be a no-brainer for all who have already invested in XF-lenses and accessories. And for those who previously were undecided between the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the new Sony Alpha a7/A7r…well, soon there will be a new kid on the block. A mini DSLR-like body featuring APS-C size sensor will probably hit the sweet spot offering compact enough lenses. This is something the Sony cannot easily compete with. Olympus may still be one up in this regard but the Micro Four Thirds sensor can by no means match the latest Fuji X-Trans output.

No doubt this thing will be a winner. Will you rush to pre-order this beauty? I know a lot of people already have…

 

 

 

 

Jun 252013
 

Lupico_130625_Fujixm1-05So now Fujifilm has decided to shrink the X too. By omitting the Electronic Viewinder (EVF) the body size was reduced substantially making it far more compact than the next of kin Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XE-1. New features have been added and operator controls have been simplified to make the camera more attractive for casual shooters. This will make it a direct competitor to the popular Sony NEX-5R and all the other more basic compact Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILC) aimed at entry-level photographers and enthusiasts who appreciate more pocketable solutions.

In their news release Fujfilm describes the new camera quite adequately: “Compact and lightweight, the X-M1 offers enhanced operability whilst bringing the outstanding design, picture quality and performance of the multi-award-winning Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras not only to photo enthusiasts but also to a broader scope of users.”

 

The basic specs:

  • 16.3 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
  • lightweight and very compact body (when compared to XE-1 and X-Pro 1)
  •  3″ LCD screen with 920K dot high definition (tiltable)
  • built in flash plus hot shoe
  • ISO 100-25600
  • Full HD Video at 30fps
  • 49 point AF
  • In-camera RAW processing
  • film simulations modes and advanced art filters
  • Q button for quick view of frequently-used menus
  • built-in Wi-Fi for easy image transfer to smart phones and tablets
  • available in black, silver and brown
  • on sale from August 2013 for €679/$799.95 body only  (also offered bundled with Fujinon lenses)

 

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Fuji has finally jumped on the bandwagon and now goes without a viewfinder as well. Apart from that, another feature has been omitted from the new line of lenses that have been announced with the camera. Both the Fujinon XC 16-50 f/3.5-5.6 OIS and the new pancake Fujinon XF 27 f/2.8 R now come without aperture rings. According to Fujifilm this was again done to achieve compact and light dimensions.

This may disappoint a few of the Fuji followers who celebrated the X line of cameras for their great professional-like operability but may indeed attract a new clientele. Prospective customers who otherwise might have chosen smaller size Micro Four Thirds or Sony NEX products, now may think twice and go for the superb retro design.

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Lupico_130524_X-M1_Silver_Back

With the X-Trans CMOS sensor the new Fujifilm X-M1 will again deliver outstanding image quality. A tiltable screen for nicer on-screen previews and Wi-Fi to enable quick and easy transfer of photos and videos to mobile devices and computers are features that are highly welcome. Small dimensions and the ability for one-handed camera operation makes the camera more attractive as an alternative to point and shoots or as a backup device to accompany DSLRs or existing Fujifim X series cameras. This new product might steal some more market share away from previously dominant top dog manufacturers. Especially Nikon with its 1-inch sensor mirrorless offerings may lose out on sales in future. There are no preeminent size benefits to justify small sensors anymore. Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and now Fujifilm show headfirst what can be achieved using great sensor technology coupled with highly appealing design. Nikon may not want to jeopardize DSLR sales but they will have to watch their back. DSLR-class image quality is now possible in a far more compact package. Check my article on the death of the DSLR.

Will I buy a Fujifilm XM-1? I am not sure yet. I am addicted to the use of a high quality viewfinder and will probably stick with my Fujifilm XE-1 for now. But the pancake might fit the bill to make the X more pocketable. Shame they got rid of the aperture ring though…

All images: Fujifilm Holdings Corporation

All images: Fujifilm Holdings Corporation

 

 

Jun 142013
 
Cameras with mirrors - soon a thing of the past?

Camera mirrors – soon a thing of the past?

The DSLR is dead, long live mirrorless! This remark isn`t exactly brand new and similar discussions have been going on in numerous photo forums (like on dpreview or on Flickr) and all over the net for some time. Editorial and commercial photographer Zack Arias started it all off again reopening old sores with his musings on the death of the DSLR, accompanying his strong praise for the Fuji X100s (see his Fuji Istanbul Video below) and his follow up on “…life without DSLRs“. All very entertaining, nice video and a good read. It may be a little daring to claim the demise of the DSLR at this stage in time. But truth be told, it will not take a lot more to make it happen.

Maybe the proclamation (and also the stated headline) simply is not precise enough. Rather one should say – sticking with Zack Arias`s basic tonality and none too prosaically: the good old DSLR is on its deathbed stricken in years. The royal household is waiting near by saying prayers. The end is near and the next generation of MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras) are waiting to take over the reign.

In the good old days there was no way around shooting DSLRs. To take professional grade pictures, these machines were a must have. Nowadays it has become more or less indistinguishable whether an image was snapped with pro Nikon or Canon DSLR gear or a mirrorless Fuji X, Sony NEX or even a smaller sensor Micro Four Thirds camera (just to name a few).

The movable mechanical mirror system plus necessary pentaprism and even the pellicle mirror solution (as seen on previous Sony models) seems like some sort of residue left over from an ancient world. There is no real use for it anymore. The next generation of electronic viewfinders will make it even more obvious. With resolutions between 2 and 4 million dots, you will almost have to strain your eyes to see much difference compared to the optical solutions that come with clackety clack mirrors in the package. And that is just for starters.

And don‘t forget there are mirrorless cameras out there right now that feature optical finders that are quite nice too. The Fuji X-Pro 1 and Fuji X100s both have hybrid viewfinders. Using the optical viewfinder you can still frame each shot with bright frames projected by an LCD panel with all the digital information you choose to have displayed. You can switch between optical and electronic finder at will. Whatever you need, whatever you feel like. It will be exciting to see what the next iteration of this invention will bring. The Fuji X-Pro 2 might pleasantly surprise some people.

 

 

Any arguments in favor of the mirror? I can`t think of one. A clear and bright 100% viewfinder frame coverage is nice to have. But what`s the fare? Larger camera bodies with gigantic lenses need to be carried. No one really wants to carry a wagonload of  equipment these days. In fact a lot of people are quite happy using their smart phones to do the job. When I read about the Chicago Sun-Times giving up on professional photographers in favor of the remaining journalist staff equipped with iphones, I was taken aback at first. Then it dawned on me, that most photographic images in newspapers or the net might already have been taken with comparably simple photo tools. You probably would not notice the difference anyway. It may be a sad thing but photojournalism probably will have to adept to the new mindset.

Today everyone can snap images on the go anyplace and any time – equipped with smart devices, affordable portable cameras or at best mirrorless system paraphernalia. A new trend will undoubtebly be a dual combination of smart phone with emphasized camera functionality incorporating a high quality lens and bigger than usual sensor. Future cameras in general may look more like small computers e.g. running on Android with apps to make things easier. Just look at the promised new Samsung Galaxy NX. You can see first pictures of that device (scheduled for June 20) on engadget .

There may still be room for professional grade gear in some cases: if you like to do art or shoot weddings or fashion gigs, for sports, birding, architecture or for some other special photo application. But let`s face it: even those strongholds of old are being undermined rapidly. Prominent features that are incorporated in DSLRs today will soon be adapted and developed further to fit the mirrorless crowd. Better AF speed, more frames per second plus some new tele lenses may be all that is needed in the end. Coupled with new wireless capabilities and GPS, a new breed of cameras might well rejuvenate the whole market.

More and more pros are seen using alternative gear, very happy to break the rules and to distinguish their work from the nondescript photography face. Maybe instead it will just be the medium format that will thrive next to diverse Compact System Cameras (CSC). Maybe megapixel giants from the dinosaur-like DSLR world will in turn challenge the medium format champions. But IMHO it is a fight that cannot be won in the end.

On the other hand DSLRs are hard to destroy – as proven by the guys at DigitalRev TV. A word of warning: this YouTube video is real painful to watch. 🙂
 

 
Zack Arias may have exaggerated and polarized a bit to start a discussion. But in a few years time no one will question his initial remarks. Today you can`t venture to go anywhere without encountering all sorts of photo amateurs proudly presenting their DSLRs with kit lenses or big zooms attached. Soccer moms and even kids that hardly know the difference between aperture and shutter speed are lugging around their huge camera kits. Pros are looking for unobtrusive alternatives that just work without fuss. Times are changing.

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