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            Showing posts with label lens review. Show all posts
            Showing posts with label lens review. Show all posts

            Monday, December 3, 2018

            Review: Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F/2.8 R LM WR

            This is my latest review of Fujifilm's new red label ultra-wide zoom lens the XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR. Will it replace my beloved XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS? Probably not, but this new ultra-wide is pretty amazing. Check out my written review of this lens over at FujiLove Magazine as well:

            Monday, November 5, 2018

            Unboxing: Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F/2.8 R LM WR

            Hello my friends, it's time again for another unboxing video. I have a love-hate relationship with these types of videos. They are necessary but also not necessary. So if you hate unboxings, you can skip this one and wait for either my written review (most likely on FujiLove Magazine's website) or look for posts on my Instagram account. Although this is an unboxing, I do make sure I talk about my thoughts during the video, so it won't be a complete waste of your time if you did watch this. Also, it's the first unboxing video where you don't have to look at my face, so maybe this is a good thing for you.

            As always, thanks for your support and wait for my videos. I have at least 30 videos still waiting to be produced. I'm really, really behind.


            Tuesday, October 16, 2018

            Huge Unboxing: Fujifilm XF200mm F/2 R LM OIS WR

            What on earth am I doing with such a huge lens? Well, Fujifilm asked me if I wanted one new-in-box (they know I love opening boxes), and I said yes. Please enjoy the video and let me know what you think I should do with it, now that I have it unboxed. In the past I use to own the Minolta 300mm f/2.8, and I only used it for shooting sports. I currently don't shoot sports, so what else is there to do with a monster lens like this? Please help me....

            Saturday, June 24, 2017

            First Impressions: Fujifilm GF 23mm F/4 R LM WR Lens

            Fujifilm GFX 50S w/GF 23mm f/4. 1/125th sec f/4 @ ISO 3200. Classic Chrom. TJ Schneider of The Shop Vancouver
            Back in the film days I was never a fan of the 18mm ultra wide angle focal length. I didn't trust it. The major manufactures would make 21mm prime lenses, or 21-35mm zooms; but rarely would they go to 18mm. The only brands who would go that wide was 3rd party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc. I don't think there's anything wrong with the focal length, it's just the number seemed too.... even? Yes both 18 and 21 is divisible by 3 (sorry, I'm nerding out a bit), but the 21mm focal length just felt... better. The Fujifilm XF14mm, the WCL-X70 (for the X-70), the Ricoh GR-21,  Leica 21mm F/1.4 Summilux Asph, these are all 21mm equivalent (or actual) field-of-view lenses. I trust this focal length. But 18mm ultra wide? The APS-C equivalent is a 12mm, a focal length that Fujifilm does not make, but Samyang/Rokinon does... see the pattern? So when Fujifilm announced the GF 23mm f/4 lens instead of a GF 27mm f/4 (yes I did the math), I was a bit surprised. Would I dare test this unusual (for a major manufacturer) focal length prime lens for the GFX system? If so, would I enjoy shooting with it? Because of my experience shooting with the XF10-24mm zoom lens, I can safely say I am indeed reviewing and enjoying this crazy (good) prime lens for the GFX system.

            Tuesday, October 20, 2015

            Fujifilm XF35mm f/2 R WR: 1st Impressions

            Fujifilm has finally done it. Like the Leica M lens model, sell multiple versions of the same focal length but at different maximum apertures. This is a smart decision. Leica has done this and the formula has worked for them for over 60 years. Can Fujifilm pull it off? They can with the 50mm equivalent focal length of 35mm on a cropped APS-C sensor. The venerable XF35mm f/1.4 is probably the best selling prime lens in the Fujifilm x-mount line-up, and for good reason. It’s sharp, compact, and reasonably priced. With the announcement of the new XF35mm f/2 R WR, Fujifilm has matured their lens choices for prime lens shooters. For those who wish for a slightly lighter, slightly more compact, and a weather-sealed body at a 50mm equivalent (at a lower price point as well), the new XF35 f/2 R WR is a solid lens.

            Saturday, March 14, 2015

            YouTube Video Review: Fujifilm X-T1 with XF 16-55mm f/2.8 vs X-E2 with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4

            As a street photographer I value compact size and weight as a major feature. Yes I love the Leica 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux, but I prefer the f/2.0 Summicron instead. Now those are serious extremes in terms of price, size, weight and aperture performance. What if the trade-offs and benefits were closer? I always struggled choosing between the X-T1 and the X-E2 when it came to street photography. The X-E2 is more compact and light, but the X-T1 has a dedicated ISO dial and a much nicer EVF. I wanted to revisit this debate between the X-T1 and X-E2 by coupling the review with two similar but very different lenses. The XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 has always been my benchmark lens. Whenever I test any Fuji lens, I use the standard kit zoom lens for comparison for image quality, AF speed and accuracy, as well as weight and feel. This standard zoom 'kit lens' is hard to beat. The only beef I had with the lens was that I wished it started at 16mm (or 24mm equiv) instead of 18mm. Fujifilm has now announced the new XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR. This is a pro-spec lens and a monster in size and weight. How does it compare against my benchmark lens? Check out my latest YouTube video with my special guest Gord Webster, the West Coast Fuji Guy:

            Monday, February 2, 2015

            Lens Review: Fujifilm XF56mm f/1.2 R APD

            1/1100th sec f/1.2 @ ISO 400. Classic CHrome Jpeg

            The Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD is a great lens. It's not because it's the sharpest, or has the best colour or an array of other sought after features. It's great because it's unique. Not unlike much of the Fujifilm X series cameras and lenses, Fujifilm stands out as different and this gives their cameras and lenses an edge over every other brand. Why? Because when you shoot with most 85mm equivalent portrait lenses, everyone seems to be aiming for the same effect in the same exact way. Not Fujifilm. They remind me of Minolta in the 80s and 90s with their Dynax-Maxxum series of cameras and lenses. They were trend setters and made unusual cameras and lenses that puzzled many (9 blade circular aperture, programmable hold buttons on the lenses, flare cutter aperture, Smooth Trans Focus technology (apodization tech!), AF 500mm mirror lens, etc.) but had a huge legion of fans that liked their unique approach. 

            In fact, this apodized lens by Fujifilm is the same technology that Minolta introduced on their 135mm STF lens in the 90's (although the Minolta could alter the secondary aperture to change the bokeh), further proving my connection between Minolta and Fujifilm. How effective is this APD technology, and is it worth paying an extra $500 to get it? Let's find out

            Thursday, December 18, 2014

            First Impression: Fujifilm XF56mm f/1.2 R APD is Insanely Bokehlicious!

            Fujfilm X-T1 Graphite Silver with XF56mm f/1.2 APD. 1/2400th sec f/1.2 @ ISO 3200. Classic Chrome jpeg

            I'm Japanese and I've never liked the word 'bokeh'. Yes, Japanese are famous for making up words (karaoke, emoji, cosplay, anime), some work, some are just weird. Shallow depth of field sounds a bit too technical for such a subjective 'quality', so someone had to come up with a better word. I guess 'bokeh' will just have to do for now, although I wish the Germans or Italians came up with a term first. Not only am I not fond of the word, I'm not fond of the pursuit of it, as if bokeh is somehow intrinsic to a good picture. In fact, as a street photographer I almost avoid it. I typically shoot F/8 and 1/750th of a second and I focus on composition and the decisive moment. 

            When Fujifilm asked if I wanted to review the new XF56mm f/1.2 R APD lens, they assumed I would say no and I assumed I would say no as well. However, after looking at some pre-production images, I was intrigued (check out this link and this one as well). There was something about the out-of-focus area that was... should I say 'bokehlicious?' I wish I didn't type that...

            Monday, July 28, 2014

            New Video: Fujifilm X-T1 vs X-E2. Also water pour test on X-T1 and XF 18-135 WR!

            Hello everyone, 

            I've been so busy working on my different projects that I haven't had much time to focus on my YouTube videos and my articles. I'll be back in full force in the next week or so. I currently have on review the following: Fujifilm X-T1, X-E2, XF 18-55mm, XF 35mm, XF 18-135 WR, SHARE SP-1 wireless INSTAX printer. I also have some Leica cameras on the way: Leica M Monochrom and M240 and some lenses. I will be a guest speaker at the upcoming Leica Akademie being held in Vancouver so I have to make sure I know what I'm talking about before the workshop! 

            So here's my latest YouTube video. I'm comparing the X-T1 and the X-E2 and help people decide which one to get, and I also do a water resistant test with the X-T1 and the XF 18-135 WR. Enjoy and happy shooting.

            Thursday, June 26, 2014

            Review: Fujifilm TCL-X100 Converter Lens

            Fujifilm X-100S with TCL-X100. 1/400th sec f/5.6 @ ISO 1250. Chinatown, Vancouver

            When Fujifilm announced the WCL-X100 wide angle converter for the X-100 series cameras, I was a bit confused. The difference between the standard 35mm equiv (23mm) angle of view and the 28mm equiv you got with the converter was negligible. If it went to 21mm or even 24mm equiv, I would have been more interested. But I understand why they didn't go wider, since the optical viewfinder on the X-100(s) couldn't accommodate such a wide lens (although they could have been creative and added some sort of OVF adaptor as well...) When Fujifilm recently announced the TCL-X100 this spring, my ears perked up. A 50mm equiv focal length with a rangefinder-style camera... now that's more like it! When Fujifilm Canada asked if I wanted to test it out for a few weeks, I immediately said yes! Let's check out this monster converter and see how it performs on the X-100S...

            Monday, June 23, 2014

            Video Review: Fujifilm TCL-X100 Teleconverter for the X-100 Series

            Here is my quick video review of the TCL-X100 teleconverter for the Fujifilm X-100 and X-100S. My full written review will be up soon with sample images. For now, let`s just say that if you own an X-100 or X-100S and you`ve been wanting a little bit more pull-power, this is the perfect solution. It`s an easy, screw-on adaptor, and no optical compromises (except for funny lens flare). It`s a lot of glass, and it`s heavy, but it balances well on the X-100S. At $349 USD, it`s not cheap, but if the X-100 is your primary camera, this lens is a must have. Check out my preview here, and watch my video below. Happy shooting.

            Thursday, June 12, 2014

            Yes The Leica T Also Takes Great Pictures!

            Leica T with Vario-Elmar T 18-56mm @ 23mm. 1/400th f/8 @ ISO 400. Main Street, Chinatown, Vancouver.

            Is it wrong to care about how a camera looks? If that's all you care about, then yes. But we are creatures of aesthetics and symmetry. That's why we are attracted to beautiful things in both nature and things made by hands. How a camera looks and feels can affect how we feel, which in turn affects how we shoot. Shooting with a rangefinder feels very different to me versus shooting with an SLR. Shooting film or instant really feels different versus shooting digital. My mood affects my shooting pattern.

            Leica successfully plays on this concept of beauty and style (along with function) with the new Leica T. They spent a lot of time and energy marketing this camera as such, including a 45 minute video of an employee hand polishing a T body. It's Audi design. Does all this effort in making this camera sexy successful? Yes it is. Wherever I walk around with this camera, people want to look at it, touch it, play with it. Even at Eric Kim's recent street-photo workshop in Vancouver, everyone wanted to hold and play with the T over any of my other review cameras. Moreover, if you want attention, buy the Leica T, it's worth every penny. However, do you also want to take great pictures?

            Monday, June 2, 2014

            Preview: X-100S w/ TCL-X100 is Leica-like

            Fujifilm X-100S with TCL-X100 teleconverter attached @ 50mm equiv. 1/350th sec f/2.8 @ ISO400. Local artist and instructor Josh Hite in Gastown, Vancouver. 

            I enjoy shooting with an optical viewfinder. For those who don't get it even after trying it, they will never get it I suppose. It's like trying to convince someone to ride a fixed-gear single speed bike, or drive a manual transmission on a car. Yes it's more work and more limiting, but through the limits we become better photographers, bike riders, and drivers. Sometimes, there's even advantages to the limits. For an optical viewfinder (OVF), we don't get exact frame lines of the final image, we don't get to see depth of field or exposure; but we gain something that a digital screen doesn't give us: the real world!!

            Yes we get to see the world the way our eyes see it (but through a singular optical finder). When I use an OVF I find that I learn to imagine the shot which helps me visualize the final product before I shoot with it. It's the same thing many Leica film shooters have been saying for decades, the beauty of shooting with a rangefinder camera. It's true the Fujifilm hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder is technically not a true rangefinder (using dual framing windows to find focus), but it's the closest representation of one on a modern camera. When I shoot with the X-100S, I feel like I'm shooting a Leica M series camera. I can say this with confidence because as you know, I also review for Leica Canada as well. How does the X-100S shoot when attaching the TCL-X100 tele-converter lens? Let's find out...

            Saturday, May 31, 2014

            Style Wars: Fuji X-100S vs Ricoh GR Ltd Ed

            Taken with Ricoh GR-D IV. 1/50th sec f/4.0 @ ISO 200. RAW image, converted in CS5.

            It's been almost a year since I've had both the Ricoh GR and the Fujifilm X-100S at the same time. I love both cameras, and I knew I was going to buy one of them. Which one was 'better' was what I started off thinking; but I realized this was the wrong question to ask. 'Which one is best for me?' was what I ended up asking myself, and I chose the Ricoh GR (well, the Limited Edition kit). Although the Fujifilm X-100S is the 'better' camera (functions, versatility, technology), the GR was better suited for the type of photography I was taking.

            However, I never stopped thinking about the X-100S. I love the hybrid OVF-EVF system, the top dials, the dedicated aperture ring, and the on-screen horizontal focus and DOF scale. What did I miss the most about the X-100S? I know its superficial, but I love the look!! It's so sexy!! When I had the opportunity to review the new TCL-X100 tele-converter for the X-100S, I thought it would be great to do another GR vs X-100S again...including style factor!! Which looks better? Which looks like a serious shooting tool? Which do you want to be seen carrying? Who cares?

            Friday, May 23, 2014

            Review: Fujifilm XF56mm vs XF18-55mm?

            Fuji X-E2 w/ XF56mm. 1/600th F/5 @ ISO200. Railtown District, Strathcona, Vancouver.

            Primes versus zooms? It's the great debate among camera equipment enthusiasts, pro photographers, and camera reviewers. I remember this debate in the film era, and it still continues in our digital era. In the 1970's, primes were superior to zooms, no argument. Zooms got better in the 80's, but due to their slower speeds, those that needed fast glass still chose primes. In the 90's, faster zooms appeared, and the image quality divide between primes and zooms became narrower. How about today? Are primes still superior to zooms in the era of digital imaging, especially when many manufacturers are using digital technology to correct many optical imperfections in images? Is there a need for primes, since whatever weakness existed with zooms in the past can now be fixed post production? Let's check out the advantages of both zooms and primes even in our digital era, including the disadvantages. Let's review the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm F/1.2 and compare it with the XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 R OIS lens.

            Wednesday, May 21, 2014

            Preview: Ricoh GR-D IV versus Ricoh GR

            iPhone 5S picture. 1/40th f/2.2 @ ISO 40.

            Sensor size and megapixels, the two biggest specs that lead most consumers to believe which is the 'best' digital camera. These features are definitely important, but is it the only consideration? Are there other features or specs that are as important, or more important? Yes. To use the vehicle analogy, imagine if engine size, type and horsepower were the only specs you were considering. A vehicle with a 5.7l V8 with 350hp can end up being a minivan or a 2 seat convertible sports car. Same as a digital camera. Just because you say APS-C and 16MP sensor, you can end up with a wide range of cameras, from DLSRs, point and shoots, ILC mirrorless, compact non-ILC zoom, rangefinder styled fixed lens, etc. 

            Can a professional shoot with a non-full frame camera? Yes. Is it absurd for a serious amateur to shoot full frame? No. If the pro shoots primarily for news media, then a M43 would be good enough (I know a few who use M43 as official photographers for news media events). If an amateur shoots landscapes and enjoys printing images over 20" x 30" sizes, then a full frame sensor makes sense. A pro Instagram photographer (yes, they do exist) can easily get away with shooting with his or her iPhone. Different cameras for different purposes.

            Sunday, May 4, 2014

            Re-review: Revisiting the Fujifilm X-E2 with Firmware Version 2.0

            Fujifilm X-E2 with XF23mm F/1.4. 1/85th sec F/4 @ ISO 250. Coffee Bar, Gastown.

            Recently I've been spending time perusing through the comment sections on DPReview.com and other photo websites, just to get a feel for what's going on out there. As a reviewer, we often get immersed in our own view of how things are and should be, so its important to leave our bubble once in a while to explore the outside world. I do follow the main websites and YouTube channels to see what other reviewers are saying, but what's it like on the street?

            There seems to be an US versus THEM attitude, with endless debates over sensor size (M43, APS-C, FF), and camera styles (DLSR, mirrorless, retro, modern, ILC, P&S, etc.). This ongoing 'battle' shows how segmented the market has become, even more so than in the past. This has also affected the manufacturers, trying to predict what photographers want and adjusting their product line to satisfy their market share, and hopefully increase it. This isn't always a bad thing, and Fuji has decided to add a bit of variety to their X-series line-up.

            A few months back I reviewed the Fujifilm XE-2 and felt it was the best X-series body I had reviewed up to that point... until they announced the X-T1. It was quite the departure from the direction Fuji was taking their mirrorless cameras, but it was a nice change. Although the X-T1 had basically the same sensor and processor as the X-E2, the style and ergonomics of the camera was completely different. The X-E2's styling (and all other X-series cameras) is retro-rangefinder, while the X-T1 is styled like a modern mirrorless DSLR (much like the Olympus OM-D and Sony A7 series). The question that kept coming up was which was better, the X-T1 or the X-E2? I think the better question is: who is each camera for?

            Saturday, March 29, 2014

            Full Review: Fujifilm X-T1 and XF 10-24mm

            XF10-24 @ 10mm (slightly cropped). 1/200th sec F/4 @ ISO 1600. Distortion correction in CS5.
            In an ever changing world of technology, it's difficult for manufacturers to balance the desire to innovate versus listening to the demands of a finicky consumer market. It would be foolish for a company to ignore the wants and needs of their loyal customer base or the industry trends in general. However, if all you do is follow trends, you will always be a follower, never a leader. Sometimes it takes vision to foresee a need, or create one. Fuji has been able to balance both sides of this tricky equation very well. Yes, they consistently listen to their customer's needs and wants, but continue to innovate and evolve at the same time. When the first X-series camera came out in 2010 (X-100), there was no demand for a retro designed APS-C sized rangefinder styled, hybrid EVF/OVF non-ILC camera. Fujifilm basically created a category, and as the X-series evolved, the engineers listened to their loyal fans and the industry to find ways to improve their cameras.

            4 years later, the Fujifilm X-T1 is the result of this balance, and this is the reason why there's such a buzz around this most recent iteration. There's lots to talk about and lots to comment on. Let's take a full look at this latest (and greatest?) camera from Fujifilm, as well as their newest addition to their ever growing line of XF lenses, the XF 10-24mm F/4 R OIS lens...

            Wednesday, March 12, 2014

            Camera Preview: Fujifilm X-T1 with XF 10-24mm F/4 R OIS

            iPhone 5S image. Shot and edited in-camera using VSCOcam and PS Express. Previously posted on my Instagram account.

            I walked into a coffee shop in the hip part of town where the poorest neighbourhood in Canada meets industrial meets trendy hipster meets lawyers and architects zone. I prepared to sit down by unloading all my stuff from around my neck when I heard someone from behind me say, "Hey, is that the new Fuji X-T1?". I guess I shouldn't be surprised. This camera is creating a lot of buzz in the technology industry. Even people who aren't following the mirrorless trend has heard about this camera. Why all the interest? Is this camera really such a big deal?

            Friday, February 21, 2014

            First Impression: Fuji X-T1 Has Landed!

            The Fujifilm X-T1 has finally arrived! The last time I was this excited about reviewing a camera was when I first received the Leica M Monochrom in the summer... it's been a while. What makes this camera so special? Why is everyone so excited about this new X-series camera body from Fuji? Because it's the best value-performance-quality mirrorless system camera body on the market today. The best image quality mirrorless belongs to the Sony A7R, but the AF is just ok and the price is more than many full-frame DSLRs. The best overall performing and featured mirrorless is the Olympus OM-D EM-1, but the sensor is smallish (not too small for most but a bit too small for working pros). 

            The new Fujifilm X-T1 lies right in the sweet spot of the market: large-enough-for-pro APS-C sensor, well priced (cheaper than the Olympus!), well featured, and performs as good or even better than it's APS-C sensored DSLR competition. At $1299 USD body only, it's reasonably priced for what you get, and cheaper than going full-frame mirrorless. To top it off, the X-series is a mature system with lots of lenses (both zooms and primes), accessories, and camera body options. Some complain its a shameless copy of the Olympus OM-D EM-1 (no pop-flash, weather-sealed, articulating screen, large EVF, lots of custom buttons and DSLR-ish form-factor and handling, etc.); but Fuji has done their homework, put their own twist to this new X-series camera and has done some innovating and improvements of their own. How good is good?