PMA@CES 2014: Fujifilm Releases the Black X100s and 56mm f/1.2R X Lens

Fujifilm X100S in Black
Fujifilm X100S in Black

For those who are clamouring (or used to clamour) for the black version of the highly-popular X100s, Fujifilm has released the black X100s at the yearly Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 at Las Vegas. Everything remains the same as the chrome X100s, just the colour.

Continue reading PMA@CES 2014: Fujifilm Releases the Black X100s and 56mm f/1.2R X Lens

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Fuji Announces XF 23mm f1.4 R lens

XF 23mm f1.4 lens
Fujifilm’s new XF 23mm f1.4 R lens

Finally, the lens long anticipated and awaited for the Fuji X mount system, the XF 23mm f1.4 R lens is finally here – the hallowed focal length of 35mm, a common and highly popular moderate wide angle focal length is now available with this lens on any X-Mount camera (currently the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-M1).

When Fujifilm launched the X-system with the X-Pro1, I was disappointed they did not include any lenses with an equivalent focal length of 35mm in its initial launch, opting instead to go with a 28mm, 50mm and 90mm equivalent set of lenses (the 18, 35 and 60mm XF lenses), though admittedly the 28, 50 and 90 combination is also a very widely popular set of focal lengths.  I can only assume Fuji wants to sell the X100 still, so to protect sales, the 35mm focal length was left to the X100, and later, the X100S.

All is now forgiven with this lens. Reading the press release, here are a number of stand out features:

– Lens distortion has been reduced to the absolute minimum using only optical rather than digital correction, thereby delivering the highest possible picture quality. This means the lens itself has an optical design that is purer and follows traditional optical design principles of getting it right in the lens – instead of some sloppy modern lens designs (I’m looking at you, Olympus and Panasonic lenses) which depend on software-based in-camera lens correction or worse, in-house raw converter lens correction. Score one for this new Fuji!

(YS: Hey hey, it’s a legitimate design for the digital age if you ask me, provided there is enough resolution to deal with the corrections in the first place.)

– The rounded seven-blade diaphragm ensures smooth bokeh even when shooting portraits or product shots at a medium aperture to maintain reasonable depth-of-field. This means bokeh is probably going to be good!

– All lens elements are treated with Fujifilm’s multilayer HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating) which delivers enhanced durability and ensures an even spread of light across the sensor. Similar to Nikon’s branding of their nano-crystal coat and Canon’s sub-wavelength structure coating, Fujifilm has caught on and brand its new coating with some fancy marketing name designed to induce a level of awe.

– The FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R features a camera-to-subject distance indicator and a depth-of-field scale on the barrel. Both are useful when manually pre-focusing to capture a fast moving subject, or minimize the shutter lag to capture a fleeting moment. Score another one for this new Fuji XF lens – a real depth of field scale and an actual subject to distance scale allows quick zone / hyper focusing without looking through the viewfinder or at the LCD, and is a great asset to working on the streets.  One quick glance down at the camera and one twist of the lens barrel is enough to achieve the desired zone of focus without even bringing the camera to the eye.

This lens is announced at a time when I’m contemplating an X-Pro1 to complement my Leica M9 as a medium telephoto solution using M mount lenses. If Fujifilm keeps getting things right such as this lens, I’m going to have to build a secondary system based on the X-mount!

X-Pro1 with XF 23mm f1.4R lens
X-Pro1 with XF 23mm f1.4R lens

 

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Compact Camera, Serious Sensor: Fujifilm X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Ricoh GR Roundup, Part II

The Fujifilm X100S, Nikon Coolpix A and Ricoh GR being reviewed. The Nikon 1 V1 photobombed the group shot by showing up at the back.

Welcome back for part two of our look at three compact cameras with large imaging sensors. Here we will look at the cameras’ performance and image quality, followed by our conclusions. If you have not, read part one first!

Performance and Image Quality

YS: Ah, the part where everyone skips to and ignores the previous parts. Sadly, too many people don’t pay attention to how a camera works and then moan afterwards how hard or awkward or different it is to use. So just a reminder, go through the previous bits and pay attention to the parts you might have an issue with. You might save yourself some time and hard-earned money. Continue reading Compact Camera, Serious Sensor: Fujifilm X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Ricoh GR Roundup, Part II

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Compact Camera, Serious Sensor: Fujifilm X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Ricoh GR Roundup, Part I

The Fujifilm X100S, Nikon Coolpix A and Ricoh GR being reviewed. The Nikon 1 V1 photobombed the group shot by showing up at the back.
The Fujifilm X100S, Nikon Coolpix A and Ricoh GR being reviewed. The Nikon 1 V1 photobombed the group shot by showing up at the back.

Introduction

Just a few short years ago, there were generally two groups of cameras: Small cameras with small sensors, and large cameras with larger sensors. No matter what you tried to do, the best you could do if you wanted a small camera with a large sensor was to buy a small SLR and stick some small lenses on it. Then Sigma came up with their good but flawed DP1 along with Olympus and Panasonic with the mirrorless system cameras, and now we are lousy with small cameras with large sensors. This area is now gaining ground, and here in this shootout, we take a look at the three main contenders of 2013: The Fujifilm X100S, the Nikon Coolpix A, and the Ricoh GR. All pack APS-C sized sensors with a fixed lens, and are priced at about US$800 to US$1200, making them pretty close on paper.

This review will be published into two parts, due to the length of it. We will update this space with the link to part two when it is published. For now, here is part one!
Continue reading Compact Camera, Serious Sensor: Fujifilm X100S, Nikon Coolpix A, and Ricoh GR Roundup, Part I

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On Fujifilm’s new X100S…

X100S
Image Courtesy of Fujifilm

David: News of Fujifilm’s new X100S, a seminal update to the venerable game changer (IMHO) hit the web a few hours earlier than the NDA scheduled due to a uhmmm… accidental leak on Fuji’s UK website (riiiigghhht), but rumors of it have been floating around the net a few days before, so it wasn’t a complete shocker to me.

But what a camera…. what an update. Rather than go through all the specs laboriously one by one (other sites do it better, e.g. Fuji’s own X-series website), as a X100 fan and active user, I want to highlight the key features of this update which may have eluded those of you unfamiliar with the X100. This is NOT a news update, but think of it as my ode to one of the most enjoyable cameras I’ve ever used. So, here goes…..

Continue reading On Fujifilm’s new X100S…

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