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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Fujifilm Announces X70—Smaller, Wider and Cheaper X100

Fujifilm X70
Fujifilm X70

Fujifilm’s X100 has been very popular with photographers wanting a relatively small and light fix-lens camera, and has gone through several iterations and improvements culminating in the latest X100T. Today, Fujifilm has released a smaller and wider version of the X100—the X70.

The X70 has a fixed 18.5mm (28mm equivalent), f/2.8 lens and the tried-and-tested (but old) X-Trans II CMOS sensor with a resolution of 16MP. Unlike the X100 series, there is no longer a hybrid viewfinder. In fact, there isn’t a viewfinder. Instead, there is a tilt and swivel screen like the one found on the X-T1 and X-T10, but with touch input.

The AF system features 49 AF points in single-point mode, and 77 points in wide/tracking mode. A fully electronic shutter lets you shoot silently up to 1/32,000s. Maximum ISO is 51,200.

It will be available in silver, black and a mixed black/silver combination for US$700 in February.

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Fujifilm Announces X-E2S

Fujifilm X-E2S with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 Kit Lens
Fujifilm X-E2S with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 Kit Lens

Fujifilm announced the Fujifilm X-E2S today, a “S” upgrade to the X-E2 released in Oct 2013. Just like the “S”-series iPhones, the X-E2S adds some improvements to the X-E2, most notable of which is an improved hybrid AF system similar to the X-T10. It adds 77-point zone and wide/tracking modes along with the 49 points that’s already in the X-E2. AF speed is also slightly improved from the 0.08s on the older X-E2 to 0.06s on the X-E2S.

The X-E2S also adds an electronic shutter, allowing for shutter speeds of up to 1/32,000s. This lets you shoot in complete silence, though the rolling shutter effects might crop up under certain shooting conditions.

Unfortunately the sensor is still the older X-Trans II CMOS sensor with 16MP instead of the 24MP X-Trans III one found on the X-Pro 2.

The X-E2S will be available for US$699 (body alone) or US$999 with the excellent 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens.

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Fujifilm Announces the Highly Anticipated X-Pro 2

 

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with XF 35mm f/1.4
Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with XF 35mm f/1.4

Fujifilm today announced the X-Pro 2, the highly anticipated and rumoured successor to the X-Pro 1 released in 2012. It was the first Fujifilm X camera to feature interchangeable lenses and is very popular with photographers looking for a high-quality, rangefinder-style mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.

The 16MP X-Trans II CMOS sensor used in the X-Pro 2, and many Fujifilm cameras after that, is getting a bit long in the tooth by now. The X-Pro 2 finally brought a change to this with the new X-Trans III with 24.3 megapixels, bringing it more in line with the other 24MP APS-C sensors used in other cameras.

The X-Pro 2 also features the X-Processor Pro Image Processor (what a mouthful) which Fuji says is 4x the speed of conventional image processors. Start up time of the X-Pro 2 is just 0.4s, and the continuous shooting speed is up to 8fps. Shutter lag is a low 0.05s and AF speed a mere 0.06s. This is a huge improvement over the original X-Pro 1!

The AF sensor has 273 AF points, out of which 77 are phase detect. These sensors cover 40% of the frame and the X-Pro 2 currently has the best AF performance among all the X-Series cameras.

Fujifilm X-Pro 2 Top Plate
Fujifilm X-Pro 2 Top Plate

Like the X-T1, the X-Pro 2’s body is weather-sealed, making it dust, splash and temperature proof down to 14ºF / -10ºC. The top of the camera features a combined shutter-speed/ISO dial reminiscent of the Nikon FM series—you pull up the outer ring of the shutter dial to adjust your ISO. Unfortunately, while this looks retro and cool somewhat, in practical use, it makes adjusting ISO on the fly difficult. I already found the X-T1’s locked ISO dial to be mildly annoying.

X-Pro 2 Electronic Rangefinder
X-Pro 2 Electronic Rangefinder

The hybrid viewfinder has been improved with a multi-magnification that switches its magnification depending on the lens that you are using. There’s also an electronic rangefinder which shows the EVF on top of the optical view. The EVF features 2.36M dots with frame rate of 85fps for smooth and detailed viewing.

Like a true professional camera, the X-Pro 2 has dual SD slots—the first X-camera to have this. Other improvements include a new ACROS film simulation mode, max ISO of 12,800 and 1080p/60fps video recording. The top shutter speed is also increased to 1/8000 and the flash sync speed, 1/250s.

The X-Pro 2 will be available for US$1700 (body only) from next month.

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Fujifilm Introduces X-T10: A Mini X-T1

14Fujifilm has announced the X-T10, which is a smaller version of the X-T1. The X-T1 was quite well-loved by many photographers, and CK and David here at Three Guys With Cameras added it to their camera bags. The X-T10 takes most of what is great about the X-T1, including the 16 megapixel X-Trans sensor and EVF module, and puts it into the a smaller, lighter package. It also incorporates features found in the new firmware of the X-T1, so hopefully we get faster autofocus right from the start this time.

08Being a smaller camera targeted at a broader market, a few changes have been made; the two-level ISO and drive mode dial has made way for a dedicated dial devoted to the latter. Also missing is the dedicated metering mode switch. ISO and metering mode will presumably be handled by the Q menu or by assigning the custom Fn button.

A new addition is the Auto switch. Previously on most Fujifilm cameras, only the standard PASM exposure modes were present, meaning beginners who liked the camera but with little or no knowledge of photography terms would be left a little lost. The new switch is to help them, I assume. The old-timers might cringe, but having more newcomers buying into a system is not a bad idea – even if Fujifilm treats the camera business as a sideline, it would be nice to see their decision to make such nice cameras be rewarded financially.

06The X-T10 will arrive in June for US$800, with a 16-50 XC kit for US$900.

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Fujifilm Announces Firmware 4.0 for the X-T1/X-T1 GS With Major AF Improvements

As part of their “Kaijin” philosophy, Fujifilm has announced version 4.0 of the X-T1/X-T1 GS Firmware which offers significant improvements to the X-T1’s AF system. I am sure Fujifilm is as excited about this as I am, as they’ve made the above video to take you through the improvements. This is the first time I’ve seen any camera maker do a video to introduce a firmware update!

According to the press release, the AF improvements are:-

1. A new auto focus system with Zone and Wide/Tracking modes for effortless capture of moving subjects – The auto focus system complements the fast and accurate single-point auto focus system with new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes, which use 77 autofocus points across a wider area to substantially improve the camera’s ability to track and capture moving subjects.

The Zone mode allows users to choose a 3×3, 3×5 or 5×5 zone from the 77-point auto focus area. When combined with the AF-C continuous focusing mode, the camera continues tracking a subject in the selected zone. The 3×3 and 3×5 zones at the center, in particular, offer extra-fast focusing with the use of the built-in phase detection pixels.

In the Wide/Tracking mode, the camera displays the area in focus, identified automatically out of the 77-point auto focus area (Wide in the AF-S mode) and tracks the focus area’s subject across the entire 77-point AF area (Tracking in the AF-C mode). This makes it possible to maintain focus on a subject that moves vertically, horizontally, and back and forth.

2. Improved auto focus accuracy – Single-point auto focus now divides the focus area into smaller sections to more accurately determine the distance to the subject for even greater focusing accuracy. The built-in phase detection pixels have increased sensitivity from 2.5EV to 0.5EV. This improvement delivers phase detection auto focus performance that enables fast focusing in low-light conditions and on low-contrast subjects.

3. Eye detection auto focus – The new firmware update provides Fujifilm’s Eye Detection auto focus, which automatically detects and focuses on human eyes. The function allows you to easily focus on the eyes even in difficult conditions, e.g. when shooting a portrait wide open to obtain a beautiful bokeh background.

4. Auto Macro mode – The firmware update introduces an Auto Macro function that automatically switches the camera into the Macro mode while maintaining the conventional auto focus speed. You no longer have to press the Macro button to initiate a close-up shot. This update eliminates the Macro function assigned to the Macro Button, allowing you to assign a different function to the button.

5. Auto focus improvement in Movie mode – The optimized algorithm delivers a more natural and smoothauto focus action during movie recording.

There are also other., albeit less exciting, improvements to the camera:-

Improved Shutter Speed Dial operation – When the Shutter Speed Dial is set to T, you can use the command dial to set the full range of exposure times. This means you can change the shutter speeds across a broader range without having to change camera position. This is particularly useful when shooting in the portrait orientation with the Vertical Battery Grip VG-XT1 attached.

Exposure Compensation control in Manual mode – The Exposure Compensation dial can be used to make exposure adjustments while shooting in the Manual exposure mode with the ISO Auto setting.

Finer lines on the framing grid enhances visibility – The lines on the framing grid have been made finer making it easier to view the subject.

Fujifilm cameras were traditionally never known to have super-fast AF speeds unlike something like the Olympus OM-D series and the Nikon 1 series. The X-T1/X-T1 GS is no exception. The various firmware releases have more or less improved the AF speeds to something more usable. Nothing has been as significant as this release, however. I can’t wait to see how much more improvements it can bring to my X-T1.

Among the smaller improvements, the “Improved Shutter Speed Dial Operation” will most likely appeal to photographers who prefer the more modern method of using command dials to control exposure, as opposed to the more traditional shutter speed dial + aperture ring combo.

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Fujifilm Announces X-A2, XF2, and Updated Kit Lenses

Fujifilm X-A2 Front with Tilted LCD
In the doldrums that is right in-between CES and CP+, Fujifilm has announced a series of minor updates to some of their products. I know, it is not the most exciting thing, but look at it this way: The possibility of other announcements is still there. Normally manufacturers announce the less exciting products away from peak announcement period to avoid getting drowned out by other, more interesting products.

First up is the X-A2. As the entry level camera to the Fujifilm X system, the X-A2 now has a flip-up LCD screen for selfies. The 16 megapixel standard CMOS sensor is still the same, as is the rest of the camera.

Next up is the XQ2, which adds Classic Chrome film simulation mode. Yes, that is the only change from the XQ1. I am guessing Fujifilm wants to have another go with the XQ camera as the first camera got a lukewarm reception, even though it was competitive with Canon’s Powershot S120. It has the same 2/3″ X-Trans sensor along with a 25-100mm equivalent f/1.8-4.9 lens.

Finally the two XC kit lenses, the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 have also been given modest updates. The 16-50 focuses closer to 30cm, down from 40cm, and the 50-230mm has slightly improved OIS. Fujifilm also claims better build quality for both of them, though it looks like the lens mounts are still going to be plastic.

The X-A2 will be available in February for US$550 with the 16-50 II, while the XQ2 will be available in February for US$400.

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Fujifilm Launches the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, X100T, X30 In Singapore

Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Edition with XF 56mm f/1.2APD
Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Edition with Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2APD

Fujifilm Singapore launched the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, the X100T, X30, XF 54-140mm f/2.8 and XF 56mm f/1.2APD at One Rochester on 11 Oct 2014. The event was opened to anyone who registered, and I decided to check it out. Continue reading Fujifilm Launches the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, X100T, X30 In Singapore

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Fujifilm Announces X100T, X-T1 Graphite Silver, and Two XF Lenses

SidebySide

Firing the first big round of announcements is Fujifilm. The X100S gets an upgrade with the X100T. So is Fujifilm doing the alphabet loop this time?

Continue reading Fujifilm Announces X100T, X-T1 Graphite Silver, and Two XF Lenses

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News Round-up: Photokina Early Announcements

Olympus E-PL7
The first wave of announcements for Photokina arrived over the past week, and usually are not the “Plan A” cameras that the manufacturers will be bringing to the show. So let us start with the more significant camera, the Olympus E-PL7, which is mostly significant in that it seems to signal Olympus’s downsizing of the PEN line. With dual control wheels and a set of specifications pretty much from the OM-D E-M10 (16 megapixel 3-axis stabilised sensor, 3″ WVGA touchscreen, 1080p video at 30 FPS, built-in Wifi), this looks like the PEN update for the next product cycle. Not really surprising too, as the E-M10 at its current price point more or less makes a high-end PEN redundant, and as profit margins are needed to clear Olympus’s debt it looks like the low-end E-PM line is also getting the boot. It’s not a bad camera, though having the LCD flip downwards for the selfie mode seems a bit unfriendly for tripod use.

Arrives later this month for US600 for the body, and US$700 with the 14-42 EZ kit zoom. Also coming is the 12mm f/2 in black without the “Special Edition” price tag.at US$800.
Continue reading News Round-up: Photokina Early Announcements

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