Fujifilm Launches 24MP X-E3 and Touch Controls

Fujifilm has announced the X-E3, featuring 24 megapixels and 4K video recording. This is an update to the X-E2S launched previously. The X-E3 has several features trickled down from the flagship X-T2, including a 325-point AF system. The subject tracking algorithms has also been improved over the X-E2S, allowing the X-E3 to capture subjects half the size or moving twice as fast as before.

The X-E3 is the first X-series camera to offer Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless communication. This allows photographers to pair the camera with a smartphone / tablet for easy transfer of pictures via the free Camera Remote application. The 3″ touch screen has a resolution of 1.04M dots, and the ability to select a focus area by tapping on it. There’s also intuitive smartphone-like gestures like double-tap to zoom, swiping between images, pinch to zoom etc. You can also create custom functions by swiping left, right, up, or down. Unfortunately, Fujifilm has removed the built-in flash on the X-E3, but a EF-X8 accessory flash is included in the box.

The Fujifilm X-E3 will be available in September for US$900 for the body alone, US$1300 with the XF 18-55mm kit lens, or US$1150 with the 35mm f/2R WR.

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Guess What? Fujifilm’s SQ10 Photos Are Shot on a Mamiya Leaf Digital Back!

While preparing the post about Fujifilm’s newly-released SQ10 Instax/Digital Hybrid camera, I went to Fujifilm UK’s Image Bank to look for images of the camera which I can use. After downloading, I wanted to check the file’s dimensions and file size, so I did a “Get Info” on mac OS. This is when I noticed that the file had the full EXIF information intact, and the images were shot on a Mamiya Leaf Aptus II 7 digital back. I would have thought that Fujifilm (or its photographic agency) would have used Fujifilm’s own GFX 50S to shoot them instead.

Interestingly, the images for the GF 23mm and 110m lenses doesn’t have the EXIF information embedded.

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Fujifilm Launches GF 23mm and 110mm lenses for the GFX 50S

Fujinon GF 23mm F4 R LM WR and GF 110mm F4 R LM WR

Following the launch of the GFX 50S Mirrorless Medium Format camera, Fujifilm has released the 23mm and 110mm lenses for it. The GF 23mm F4 R LM WR has a 35mm equivalence of 18mm on the GFX 50S, is weather resistant, and works right down to -10ºC. It features a linear focus motor, 9 aperture blades and a Nano GI coating. It’ll be available for US$2,599 in late June.

The GF 110mm F2 R LM WR, on the other hand, is a portrait lens with a 35mm equivalence of 87mm when used on the GFX 50S. It is also weather resistant, has 9 aperture blades, a linear focus motor and a Nano GI coating. It will be available for US$2,799 in late June as well.

In addition to the two lenses, Fujifilm has updated their roadmap for future medium format lenses. A 45mm F2.8R WR (equivalent to 36mm), a telephoto prime and a teleconverter will be available later this year.

Last but not least, Fujifilm will soon release the View Camera Adapter G, which lets you use the GFX 50S with 4×5 large format cameras.

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Fujifilm Launches SQ10 Digital/Instant Instax Hybrid Square Camera

Fujifilm SQ10

Fujifilm has launched the SQ10, a hybrid digital / Instax camera which shoots both digitally, as well as on square-format Instax film. This is a departure from Fujifilm’s tradition of analog-only Instax cameras of the past, and adds on-camera filters and other digital effects. Photos taken are saved to a microSD card. There is also auto-exposure, face recognition and autofocus.

Fujifilm SQ10

The camera has a 1/4″ 3.6MP sensor and a 3″ 460K-dot LCD display. This seems low by today’s standards, but is more than enough for the small print sizes that this camera produces. Images are printed on 86 x 72mm film which will go for US$17 per pack of 10 sheets. The camera itself will be selling at US$280. Both will be available in May.

I’m personally not a fan of Instax and other instant film (e.g. Polaroid) but this might appeal to the millennial generation who finds this more fun than traditional digital-only cameras. Perhaps the next generation will feature wireless connectivity to upload to Instagram?

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CES 2017: Fujifilm Announces Graphite X-T2 and X-Pro 2

Graphite X-Pro 2 with matching XF 23mm f/2 WR.
Graphite X-Pro 2 with matching XF 23mm f/2 WR.

Just like they’ve done for the X-T1, Fujifilm has applied the graphite treatment to their two latest cameras—the X-T2 and X-Pro 2. The graphite X-Pro 2 will also come with a matching XF 23mm f/2 WR lens. With a more silvery finish, the new X-T2’s colour is appropriately called “Graphite Silver”.

Fujifilm X-T2 "Graphite Silver"
Fujifilm X-T2 “Graphite Silver”

Both will ship in late January for US$2299 (X-Pro 2) and US$1799 (X-T2).

 

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Photokina: Fujifilm Announces Development of the GFX 50S Medium Format Mirrorless Camera

Fujifilm GFX 50S
Fujifilm GFX 50S

Perhaps the most exciting camera announced at Photokina is Fuji’s GFX 50S. This is a medium format, mirrorless digital camera built around a new series of “G” mount lenses that includes both primes and zooms. It  has a 51.4MP CMOS sensor similar to the ones in the Pentax 645Z and the Hasselblad X1D. The camera looks somewhat like a large X-Pro II, and with the clip-on EVF, it looks like a large X-T1/X-T2. At 43.8×32.9mm, the sensor area is 1.7X larger than full-frame 35mm sensors, and 4X greater than Fujifilm’s APS-C cameras. The large sensor and pixel count allows the camera to shoot at various different aspect ratios.

Six lenses have been announced to go with the GFX 50S. They are:-

  1. Standard prime “GF63mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 50mm in the 35mm format)
  2. Wide-angle standard zoom “GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 25-51mm in 35mm format)
  3. Mid-telephoto macro 1:0.5 “GF120mmF4 Macro R LM OIS WR” (equivalent to 95mm in 35mm format)
  4. Fast aperture mid-telephoto “GF110mmF2 R LM WR” (equivalent to 87mm in 35mm format)
  5. Ultra-wide “GF23mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 18mm in 35mm format)
  6. Wide “GF45mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format)

Fujifilm says the camera will be available in the first half of 2017 at “under $10K” with the 63mm lens.

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Fujifilm Announces Entry-Level X-A3 Digital Camera and XF 23mm f/2.0 WR Lens

Fujifilm X-A3
Fujifilm X-A3

Fujifilm has announced an update to their entry-level X-A2 digital camera with the X-A3. This is a “selfie-optimised” camera to go with the popularity of selfies today. It features an LCD which flips upwards by 180º so that you can compose that perfect selfie. A command-dial at the back of the camera lets you trigger the selfie shot while still having a good grip of the camera.

Fujifilm X-A2 with LCD flipped up.
Fujifilm X-A2 with LCD flipped up.

The sensor has been upgraded to a 24MP CMOS bayer sensor (no X-Trans here), and the AF system now has 49 points. No on-sensor phase-detection though, unlike the higher end Fujifilm cameras.

The camera will be available in Oct and will be available in silver, brown and pink at a price of US$600. Price includes a XC 16-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS kit lens.

Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 R WR

Fujifilm has also announced the XF 23mm f/2 WR, a small and lightweight, weather resistant lens for the X-series cameras. As the WR moniker suggests, the lens is dust and water resistant, and can continue working down to temperatures of -10ºC. The lens features 10 elements in 6 groups, and a 9-bladed aperture. Fujifilm claims that the lens can achieve and AF lock in 0.05s when paired with the AF systems of the X-T2 and X-Pro 2.

Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 WR
Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 WR

This lens sure took a long time to be released, most likely, I feel, due to Fujifilm not wanting to cannibalise the sales of the X100 series, which also has a 23mm f/2 lens. Prior to this, the only other Fujinon lens that lets you have a ~35mm equivalent is the 23mm f/1.4, which is larger and heavier, while lacking the weather resistance. It’s also costs more.

The lens is available in both silver and black, and is available starting in September for US$450.

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Fujifilm X-T2 Launched in Singapore. Plus Hands-On Impressions.

DSCF5876

After weeks of anticipation, the Fujifilm X-T2 was finally launched in Singapore on 10 Aug 2016, a day after Singapore’s National Day. It was held in the Luxe Art Museum, a small museum near The Cathay at the end of Orchard Road. To cater to the large turnout, Fujifilm Singapore has organised two sessions of the launch event—one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. I attended the latter session.

The event started with Mr. Favian Loo, Divisional Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Asia Pacific giving us a rundown of the new features of the Fujifilm X-T2. Among them are an upgraded 24MP sensor (the same one used on the X-Pro 2), significant improvements in AF performance and 4K performance. There is also a specially designed vertical battery grip which further improves the performance of the X-T2, as well as to give a much longer battery life by allowing the user to use three batteries simultaneously. The two batteries in the grip will be consumed before the one in the camera body. As with modern-day electronic devices, the X-T2 batteries can also be charged using USB.

Mr. Favian Loo
Mr. Favian Loo talking about the improvements made in the Fujifilm X-T2.

Next to present is Ms. Mindy Tan, the first female Fujifilm X Photographer. Mindy presented a photo slide show about the hutong in Beijing, China and her experiences in using the X-T2 while shooting her photo project. Unfortunately, the projector and the purplish light used in the event doesn’t do justice to her work. Thankfully, they are also presented as prints in the event grounds.

Ms Mindy Tan
Ms Mindy Tan

Next up is Mr. Benny Ang, followed by Mr. William Chua, both wedding photographers. They shared with the audience their experiences of using the X-T2 for their shoots and how the small size of the X-T2 helped them get their shots more easily. In particular, William told us about how the smaller X-T2 (compared to a DSLR) enabled him to shoot more easily in Morocco, where the people are camera-averse.

Mr. Benny Ang
Mr. Benny Ang
Mr. William Chua
Mr. William Chua

Hands-On

After the presentation, we finally got to lay our hands on the Fujifilm X-T2. There are also two live studio shooting sessions hosted by photographers Benny Ang and Ivan Joshua Loh. I headed straight to the demo stations, where there are a few demo units.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2.0 WR lens.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm f/2.0 WR lens.

In the hands, the X-T2 body feels similar to the X-T1. The hand grip is now slightly deeper, making for a nicer feel. The lock on the ISO dial—one of those things I hate on my X-T1—is now improved. It’s now a toggle switch—press once to lock, press again to unlock. This is much better as I can leave it unlocked for ease of changing settings. The same lock is also implemented on the shutter speed dial, though I think that doesn’t really require locking in the first place. But still a good usability improvement.

Also, as you can see from the photo above, the X-T2’s shutter button now has a threaded hole for those of you who wants to use a traditional mechanical plunger-type shutter release or a soft-release button. The exposure compensation dial of the X-T2 now lets you do up to ±5 stops of compensation. This is done by setting the dial to the “C” setting, and dialling in the desired exposure compensation using the front command dial.

Fujifilm X-T2 exploded view.
Exploded view of the Fujifilm X-T2.

On the back of the camera, the next major change is the flip LCD screen. Besides flipping up/down for high/low angle shots, the LCD also flips horizontally. Unfortunately, it only flips to the right. It would be nice if it could flip to the left as well. Though improved, I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the X-T2’s EVF compared with my X-T1.

Fujifilm X-T2 Rear LCD
Fujifilm X-T2 Rear LCD

Like the recently-launched X-Pro 2, the X-T2 also features a joystick controller at the back. This works much better in selecting AF points than the rather mushy D-pad of the X-T1. On the X-T2, the D-pad buttons were also improved. They click more positively now compared to the X-T1. Definitely an improvement. With 91 AF points, the joystick is a welcome addition to easy selection of the desired AF point or group.

Another new change is the SD card door. On the X-T1, the SD card door slides towards you to unlock, much like some Nikon DSLRs. On the X-T2, there is now a lock lever on it which you must press in order to unlock the door. This implementation, though possibly more secure, is more fiddly when you need to change SD cards quickly. It’s probably not something you can do quickly when wearing gloves.

I also tried to test out the improved AF speeds as well. However, the first unit of the X-T2 I laid my hands on had a XF 16mm f/1.4, which isn’t very fast. Also, the rather dim (and lit with purplish lighting) show ground isn’t the best place to test AF performance. I tested with an unit mounted with a XF 35mm f/2.0 and AF speeds were similar to my X-T1 which I had with me. At the live studio setup, however, the X-T2 AF speeds were pretty good, focussing almost instantly on the models. I believe the firmware is still not the final version and is still being improved. The production version should be much better.

A visitor checks out the Fujifilm X-T2 at one of the live shooting setups.
A visitor checks out the Fujifilm X-T2 at one of the live shooting setups.

Another highlight of the X-T2 is 4K video recording. Again, the lighting conditions on the show floor weren’t good for this. The rather short security cable which the demo units were tethered to didn’t help either. On the X-T2, Fujifilm has removed the dedicated movie record button from the body. Movie recording is now its own drive mode which you set on a dial below the ISO dial. Once in movie mode, the shutter button will start the video recording. The X-T2 is able to record to the SD card slots or to an external recorder via the HDMI output.

Image quality is excellent. Here is a shot taken at one of the studio shooting areas, using a X-T2 and XF 50-140mm f/2.8. It’s slightly cropped but no other image adjustments were made.

Fujifilm X-T2 sample.
Fujifilm X-T2 sample shot.
100% Crop
100% Crop

High ISO performance looks pretty decent too. Here’s a shot at ISO 12,800. This is the highest native ISO of the X-T2 before going into one of the boost modes.

Fujifilm X-T2 output at ISO 12,800.
Fujifilm X-T2 output at ISO 12,800. No noise reduction applied.
100% Crop of the above image.
100% Crop of the above image. No noise reduction applied.

Hopefully, we can get hold of a review unit of the X-T2 from Fujifilm as it’s really hard to test out the camera at the event. But as of now, I quite like the improvements which Fujifilm has put in. The camera is available for pre-order from Fujifilm’s authorised dealers at S$2,599 for the body alone, or $2,999 with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens.

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Fujifilm Announces the X-T2—An Upgrade to the X-T1 With 24MP X-Trans CMOS III Sensor And 4K Video

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4

Over two years ago, Fujifilm launched the X-T1, which won me over to the Fujifilm X system, I never looked back since. Today, Fujifilm announced the highly anticipated and much rumoured (and leaked) Fujifilm X-T2. Like the recently-launched X-Pro 2, the X-T2 features a 24MP X-Trans CMOS III CMOS with an ISO sensitivity of up to 51,200 (extended.)

The improvements of the X-T2 revolve over AF and video, with the AF system being boosted up to a whopping 325 AF points (there were only 49 in the X-T1.) Out of these 325, 169 has phase detection. Fujifilm claims that the X-T2 will be able to focus down to light levels of -3EV. On the video side of things, Fujifilm’s video capabilities were previously sub-par on the previous X-cameras, so I am surprised that the X-T2 will have 4K 30fps video recording capabilities. I am not sure how that performs, though. It does look like Fujifilm is serious about video on this camera, providing a 3.5mm microphone socket, on-screen audio-level monitoring and even a F-Log flat tone curve for easier post-processing. Mic levels can be adjusted by means of a customisable button.

The maximum shutter speed has been increased to 1/8000 when using the mechanical shutter (1/32000 with electronic shutter.) Fujifilm says that everything from the AF speed, start-up time, shutter lag and EVF blackout have been improved to the extreme, calling this “ultimate mirrorless camera.”

The EVF has the same resolution as the X-T1 with 2.36 million dots, but the refresh rate has been increased up to 100fps in Boost Mode. The display lag time has also been reduced to 0.005s. Blackout time has been halved from that of the X-T1 due to parallel processing of the live view and fast shutter charging, allowing continuous shooting up to 5fps in Live View. Brightness has been doubled on the X-T2’s EVF and there is now a auto-brightness function to allow easier viewing in bright lighting conditions. Another improvement is in the rear LCD—whereas on the X-T1 you can only tilt up/down, the X-T2’s LCD also flips to the right for waist-level viewing when shooting in portrait mode.

Finally, a special Vertical Power Booster grip is also available for the X-T2, which lets you use a total of three batteries (two in the grip, one in camera) for an increased maximum burst rate of up to 11fps (from 8fps) and 4K video recording up to 30min (from just 10.) Of course, this also lets you shoot many more shots than you can with a single battery. Like the X-Pro 2, the X-T2 also features a joystick control at the back for controlling the settings or navigating the UI. This, in my opinion, beats the rather mushy d-pad of the X-T1.

Fujifilm X-T2 With Power Booster Grip
Fujifilm X-T2 With Power Booster Grip

Photographers who like old school cable releases might like to know that the X-T2 now has a threaded shutter release button which allows you to use these mechanical shutter releases. On the X-T1, the only option is the electronic shutter release RR-90. Like the X-Pro 2, the X-T2 now features two SD card slots which can be configured as backup, overflow or video storage.

Overall, the X-T2 is a significant improvement over the X-T1. I can’t wait to get my hands on one to try it out. Fujifilm, if you are reading, maybe you can send us a review unit to check out.

No local pricing has been announced yet, but in the US, the X-T2 will be launched in September at US$1600 for the body alone or US$1900 when bundled with the excellent XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens. The Vertical Power Booster Grip will cost another US$330.

 

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Fujifilm X-Pro 2, X70 and X-E2S Launched in Singapore

Entrance to the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 / X70/ X-E2S launch event
Entrance to the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 / X70/ X-E2S launch event

Fujifilm Singapore launched the X-Pro 2, X70 and X-E2S at a launch event at Suntec City last Friday (29 Jan 2015.) A giant sticker of a Fujifilm X-Pro 2 frames the entrance to the hall where the event was held—visitors walk through the lens mount to get in. Cute! A mini exhibition of photos made by the new X-cameras—the X-Pro 2, X70 and X-E2S greets the visitor as he walks into the hall.

Mini Exhibition
Mini Exhibition
X70 Gallery
X70 Gallery

The event started off with Mr. Favian Loo, Marketing Manager of Fujifilm Singapore with a short speech of Fujifilm’s development over the past 5 years. The cameras were then launched and presented by a woman dressed as Cat Woman and another in traditional Japanese gear, both who paraded the camera to dozens of flashes popping and cameras clicking.

Models presenting the camera to the audience
Models presenting the camera to the audience
Cat Woman
Cat Woman with Fujifilm X-Pro 2

Up next on stage is Mr. Makoto Oishi, Camera Product Planner of Fujifilm Japan, who presented on the advanced technologies found on the X-Pro 2 and X70. It’s rather interesting to know that the shutter/ISO speed dial of the X-Pro 2 consisted of 38 individual parts!

Mr. Makoto Oishi
Mr. Makoto Oishi

Popular local street photographer, Mr. Chia Aik Beng, more popularly known as ABC, shared his experience with the X70 in Tokyo. The small and light X70 allowed him to discreetly take street photos, as well as freely roam the city without the burden of a DSLR system. In fact, he walked up and down the famous Shibuya crossing for 3 hours!

Street Photographer, Chia Aik Beng, on stage
Street Photographer, Chia Aik Beng, on stage

Another X-Photographer, Mr. Ivan Joshua Loh. Ivan shared with the audience how he was skeptical of mirrorless systems in the beginning, but soon switched after he tried the X-Pro 1 for his commercial work. He has since used the X-T1, X-Pro 1 and now the X-Pro 2 for his work as they are, according to him, as good as a full-frame DSLR.

Commercial Photographer Ivan Joshua Loh
Commercial Photographer Ivan Joshua Loh

Fujifilm’s Ambassador, Ms Belinda Lim made an appearance at the event, sharing her experience with the X-cameras during her recent trip. She also added that the video quality from the X-Pro 2 is good enough to function as a backup vide camera in case the one used by her video crew fails.

Ivan and Belinda
Ivan and Belinda

Next, we were ushered to the next room where we can have a hands-on experience with the newly launched cameras (and a couple of the older ones as well.)  I spent a short time with the X-Pro 2, and in my excitement, I did not take photos of it. Then again, you probably already knew how it looked like anyway. Here’s a shot of the interior, though.

Interior of the X-Pro 2
Interior of the X-Pro 2

The first couple of things I did was to test out how much faster the improved AF is, and it is indeed a big improvement over the original X-Pro 1. In my unscientific tests of randomly pointing it at stuff and trying to acquire focus, it is at least as fast as my X-T1 with firmware 4.0. However, chatting with other users seem to reveal that the different units on the show floor seem to perform slightly differently in terms of AF speed. We were told they are still pre-production units, which might explain the anomaly.

Shutter and ISO dial
Shutter and ISO dial

The EVF is also much improved over the 4-year old X-Pro 1. With a much higher refresh rate and resolution, it’s now a joy to use. It reminded me of the time I first tried the X-T1 and got totally impressed. Not being a rangefinder person, I don’t have much comments on the OVF, but the ability to automatically change the framelines according to the lens used might appeal to some.

One nice touch of the X-Pro 2 is the little joystick at the back of the body for AF point selection. This works far better than the (originally) mushy D-Pad found on the X-T1.

Visitors checking out the cameras
Visitors checking out the cameras

Moving on to the X70, it’s roughly the same size as the Ricoh GR, but with a nicer aesthetic design (to me anyway.) The tilt LCD screen is perfect for creative angles and shooting the selfie/wefies that are all the rage these days. The downsizing has meant that Fujifilm did not include an EVF on the camera, but there is an optional optical viewfinder which can be mounted to the hotshoe that you can buy. AF speeds unfortunately isn’t great, though not as slow as the original X100. I’d say it’s roughly similar to the X100S. Maybe the lighting conditions at the event weren’t ideal.

Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X70 tilt screen
Fujifilm X70 tilt screen

Build quality wise, both felt solid in the hands.

I didn’t try the X-E2S as it’s not much of a change over the X-E2. In fact, the X-E2S and X-T1 were pretty much neglected at the test stations, with everybody clamouring over the X-Pro 2 and X70.

The X-Pro 2 is now available from your favourite dealers at S$2,799, the X70 at S$1,199.

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