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Mar 05, 2014 - 3:25 AM - by Mikey
It was the start of the orchid exhibit at the NYBG so I borrowed my wife's 60/2.4 for macro shooting and thought I'd also bring along the 23/1.4 to give it some much deserved love.
The 60/2.4 is a stellar lens, razor sharp except slow to focus. But never mind the AF (which has gotten better with FW updates), the bigger questions are: 1) Why didn't Fuji put OIS in it? and 2) Why didn't they make it a true 1:1 macro lens? Thankfully, the former issue can be mitigated by the built-in TTL flash.
I've never been much of a flower person but good thing am always up for a challenge. Here are a few of my faves...
A nonflower macro...
Had some time to kill before my wife could come home from work so skedaddled on over to the garden library before closing time. There really was nothing outdoors to shoot and it was too damn cold anyways. I decided to stick with the 23/1.4 this time around. And before the hour was over, boy was I reminded of how much I love this lens.
All shot wide-open...
This last one was slightly stopped down...
Oh, and my dog Charlie who was patiently waiting for me back home...
Fuji X-E2, X-T1 + 18-55/2.8-4, 35/1.4, 14/2.8, 55-200/3.5-4.8, 23/1.4, 56/1.2, 10-24/4
If someone's in need of a second (or third) shooter for a gig in either the Cincy or NYC area, (ahem) I'm available for hire. I'll work for free, just feed me.
I expected to write a longer review of the Fuji 23mm F1.4, (at the time of writing available for wonderful price of $749) but that can be a bit hard when there isn't really too much to say. It gives you the field of view of a 35mm lens on full frame (with the DoF characteristics of an F2 lens), is built well, has a cool snapping MF ring feature, and takes great pictures. I wrote some earlier impressions in this post here (http://www.fujixspot.com/showthread.php?t=2473) with more detailed notes on things such as build, and this will be supplementary to that as more of a real-world report. Here, I'll mostly let the images do the talking.
The 23mm is a very solidly constructed lens without being too heavy. Mounted on the X-E2, the kit is marginally lighter than an Olympus E-M5 + 25mm F1.4, on a smaller sensor. It's a bit large, but never felt unwieldy, although I never bothered to use the included hood which essentially doubles the size of the lens. That's fine though; I never noticed significantly reduced contrast or abnormal flaring from not using the hood.
The manual focusing ring's snap-back feature is really cool and quite useful. As noted in my first impressions, I do wish the distance scale were written a bit higher up on the lens so it could be more easily seen when shooting from the waist, as that's when I'm most likely to use the distance scale in the first place (see what I mean here: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5500/1...500fd704_z.jpg). Nevertheless, a nice feature to have.
One of the weaker notes of the lens is its autofocus performance. It's not bad, but a bit slower than what I've come to expect from modern lenses. The excellent 18-55mm F2.8-4 focuses much faster, and from my recollection, so the 35mm F1.4 might be a little faster too (debatable, as I'm just going from memory). For instance, while with the 18-55mm the X-E2's phase-detect continuous AF seems to work quite well, the 23mm feels like it can't quite keep pace with the system. Granted, the 23mm has to deal with a much narrower DoF, but I didn't notice a difference stopped down. Curious to see how it performs on the faster AF system of the X-T1.
The 23mm also makes more noise than I'm used to nowadays, though nowhere near some of the noisier SLR lenses. Not enough to be irksome or distracting, but you can definitely hear it going, and potentially annoying for video recording.
In my first impressions, I wrote that I thought the fly-by wire mechanism was slower than ideal. I stand by that statement, particularly considering that the mechanism feels much better on the 18-55mm, but at the same time recognize that this will matter little in many real-world shooting situations. I spent most of my time with the 23mm in manual focusing mode, and there were only a few specific instances where I felt hampered by the fly-by-wire mechanism. Mainly, I tend to shoot environmental portraits on the move (both my subject and me), and the digital system just can't compare to a real, mechanically coupled focus ring. But in most other situations, it's totally serviceable, particularly when coupled with the X-E2's excellent focus peaking.
As... [Read More]
Wintry days with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4
34mm - f/4.5 - Cropped to 4:3
When I received an X-E2 for review, I didn’t expect to be very interested in the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 that came with it. After all, I also received the excellent 23mm f/1.4, and I’ve always been a primes kind of guy. But of course, the 18-55 has been out for a year now and built a very strong reputation in that time. Allow me to add on to these accolades.
There's no sense in being too technical since the lens has been out for so long (although if you have any technical questions I'd gladly answer), but this is probably the best kit zoom I've ever used. Granted, at nearly $700 when bought individually, it's not exactly priced like a typical kit lens (and there is now a lower end, slower kit lens), but it's quite affordable when bought with a body (heck, at the time of this writing you can snag one with an X-E1 attached for just $720!). If, like me, you're used to shooting with fast primes and have internally scoffed at the idea of using a zoom, you should take a second look. Simply put, it's an incredibly versatile, relatively fast kit lens that will satisfactorily get you through most of your day-to-day shooting scenarios. It's easier to just tell you what it's not good at than list all the things it excels at.
It's not weather-sealed
18mm - f/4
Not as if protection against the elements were expected, particularly when the lens was released before any weather-sealed bodies became available, but when trekking through hard snow as snowflakes started to fall, I certainly didn't want to risk messing up my review unit. I also always complain about things that aren't weather sealed.
55mm - f/4. This sandal featured disappointing weather-sealing.
Otherwise, the lens is very solidly built, with a lightweight, mostly metal construction. One of the best combinations of lightness and robustness I've handled. The zoom and focus rings are well dampened, and the aperture ring has distinct clicks. The aperture values aren't labeled like on other Fuji lenses, but this obviously makes sense given the variable maximum aperture of the lens would make such design and operation confusing. The lens extends while zooming, but is surprisingly compact when retracted. Given that it's a stop faster across the range, I was surprised to find it was about the size of a typical APC-S 3.5-5.6 kit lens. Focusing is fast--it feels noticeably quicker than the 23mm--and silent.
42mm - f/4
It's not the brightest lens around
18.8mm - f2.8 - Handheld at 0.8 seconds; OIS worked really well.
At a widest aperture of f/2.8 closing down to f/4 at the zoomiest end, this wouldn't be your ideal lens for shooting in a dark bar or other low-light conditions. I'm used to lenses that open wider than f/2, but I keep reminding myself: "this is a kit lens, and I'm already getting a stop more than I normally would." Nevertheless, this ended up less relevant than I'd expected for a couple of reasons. For one, the OIS is quite effective; I have a pretty steady hand, but I'd say I consistently managed to use shutter... [Read More]
A dozen full-size samples with a pre-production copy of the new XF10-24mmF4 R OIS wide-angle zoom:
DSCF0362 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0361 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0367 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0393 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0373 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0374 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0395 SOOC JPEG + perspective correction by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0380 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0383 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0384 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0385 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF0389 SOOC JPEG by ricopress, on Flickr
You've surely read all about it, and now it's finally here.
Official Link: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/dig...fujifilm_x_t1/
Standout features from Fuji's description:
B&H Pre-order Link - Body Only (Picture may show lens, but it's just the body): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...v21-t1-x504440
- "Multi Mode Viewfinder"
- The world's highest* viewfinder magnification ratio of 0.77x The world's fastest** display with a lag-time of just 0.005 sec.
- X-Trans™*** CMOS II & EXR Processor II
- 80 years of photo film research adds up to color reproduction that's second to none.
- Weather Resistant - dust-resistant, water-resistant and -10°C low-temperature operation.
- No matter whether the power is on or off, analog dial operation connects your vision and the camera.
B&H Pre-order Link - with 18-55 f/2.8-f/4: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...v21-t1-x504441
Dear readers of FujiXspot.com,
My name is Napier Lopez. You may not know me, but I’ve been a community member of this forum’s sister site, Mu-43, for a couple of years. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me now. Amin recently contacted me looking for help expanding this forum and its sister sites--Mu-43, TalkEmount, SeriousCompacts, and LeicaPlace--with regular editorial and review content. I was eager to oblige. Starting out as a complete photography novice, I lurked around Mu-43 and its sister sites for for months, finally made an account and posted many of my very first “real” photos for critique, and have since developed my style and technique by observing the works of countless other members more experienced than me. I’m a philosophy graduate preparing for an advanced degree in physics, but photography is an equal passion of mine (some friends have called me the triple ‘ph’, although I’m most fond of philographerist), as well as my full-time source of income. That probably wouldn’t have ever happened without the warm, thoughtful, and encouraging community that is Mu-43.
All that being said, I now hold the title of Contributing Editor, and you can expect to see posts from me on the front page at least once a week in the form of opinion pieces, gear and software reviews, and more spread across Amin’s various sites. I hope you’ll join me in helping FujiXSpot become an essential resource for all Fuji X camera enthusiasts, and in fostering the continued growth of this wonderful community.
Fuji X-E2 and the XF 23mm f/1.4 First Impressions from a New Fuji User
When I first signed up to do reviews, one of the systems I was most excited to work with was Fuji's X Mount. Fuji has made strides in the camera world by introducing an old-school mentality into the modern world of digital cameras at a manageable price point. Of course, this is a forum of experienced Fuji users, but I thought the impressions of a newcomer may provide a fresh perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the system. I've played with some of the system's gear for hours, but there's nothing quite like hands-on experience in the field.
I'll leave the most of the technical stuff for my upcoming full reviews, since the X-E2 and XF 23mm f/1.4 have been out for a while (they'll be getting individual write-ups). I'll also be posting impressions of the kit XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 soon. For now, these are just some quick impressions for a first time Fuji user. Please note that unless otherwise stated, I'm treating this gear as if it were my own and images are thus run through my typical editing process. This allows me to better familiarize myself with the gear. As such, edited images may not all be fully representative of straight-out-image quality or rendering.
The Fuji X-E2 is Fuji's second-in line camera, somewhat replacing the X-E1. I say 'somewhat' because save for a few additions, most people probably won't notice a significant difference.
The first thing I noticed when picking up the body was how light it was. Don't get me wrong, it's solidly constructed and feels like it could take beating all around, but I was surprised to find it felt a lot lighter than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 I normally shoot with. Once you add lenses, the differences become much less apparent, but... [Read More]
I finally got a brand-new pre-production sample of the XF56mmF1.2 R lens. I couldn't resist to step out into the dark for about an hour and perform a little wide aperture test. The following was all shot at f/1.2, click on the images for larger views:
DSCF1077 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
You are required to focus carefully, so the X-E2 with its improved CDAF and hybrid PDAF came in quite handy.
DSCF1094 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
It appears like field curvature is something users of this lens won't have to worry about...
DSCF1060 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
A hendheld 1/40s can be tricky with this lens, however I was more amazed by the AF of the camera actually finding its target bulls-eye, almost literally. In reality, the scene was so dark that I couldn't make out much beyond a silhouette with my eyes. So the WYSIWYG EVF was very helpful. DR400% saved the highlights in the background...
DSCF1080 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
Again DR400%. Putting some distance between me and the subject, even f/1.2 resulted in sufficient DOF.
DSCF1084 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
More DR400% here...
DSCF1089 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
DSCF1073 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
The local photo store had almost the full X-series palette on display: X100, X20, XQ1, XF1, X-E1, X-M1 and a very decent choice of lenses:
DSCF1086 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
Finally ISO 200, pressing the lens hood against the shop window in order to hold 1/15s:
DSCF1088 SOOC JPEG, f/1.2 by ricopress, on Flickr
This may well be the best X-Mount... [Read More]
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December 23rd, 2013 11:37 AM
December 23rd, 2013 11:25 AM
December 19th, 2013 08:53 AM