Fuji XP1: One Gripe.

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I read tons of reviews on the interweb.  One of the reasons why I settled on Fuji as a system, was because I read reviews.  However, you need to be careful who’s review you are reading.

There are only a handful of sources that I would trust in regards to giving an honest review of a camera or a lens.  When I say “handful”, I mean there are only about 4 sources that I respect and trust.  That gives new meaning to, “don’t believe everything you read on the internet”.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who review cameras on the internet.  The problem is, a lot of these people should not be reviewing cameras in the first place, let alone be on the internet.  Furthermore, for people who don’t know any better, these “reviewers” are actually believed when they are far from being right.

The types of reviews that get on my nerve, are the ones that state a camera does not do certain things, when it was never intended or designed to do those things in the first place.

You read it all the time: “This camera does not do this like my DSLR did” and they put that down as a “con”.  Or, “this camera should do this and this and this!”.  Why should it? Just because you said it should?

It get’s even better when you go onto camera forums and come across people doing all sorts of tests with their camera and pointing out minor defects.  Okay, so you have a defective camera.  Get off the keyboard and return it to the store where you bought it from, because everyone else on the forum is not experiencing that “defect”.  Though, they keep going on about it, making it sound like that particular model of camera is complete rubbish.

Again, you really have to be careful what you read on the interweb.  One persons “bad” experience should not be an indicator of how you will experience the product.

As the title of my post indicates, I do have one very tiny, miniscule, gripe about the XP1.  First, I will say that this gripe will in no way take away from the XP1 being a spectacular camera.

What’s the gripe?:  the battery door and the fact that the memory card is so damn close to it.  When you have the battery door open, it is not without some delicate grasping, that you can get the memory card out.  Now, this is not a design flaw on Fuji’s part because they got it right on the X10, where the door is hinged on the left side of the compartment.  This takes the door completely out of the way and you can take out the battery and memory card without having the door interfere with you.

If I were anyone else, I would make a federal case out of this, go on every camera forum known to man and bitch about it, write to Fuji, write to my MNA…. essentially, just whine about it until I am given attention and until my pathetic little complaint is heard around the world.

No, I am not going to do that.  I know Fuji knows better (did I mention the door on the X10?) and I am sure they have received this complaint already.  Here is hoping that they do the right thing on any subsequent cameras.  If they don’t, oh well.  I care more about taking photos then not being able to take my memory card out in world record time with my giant hands!

Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R

I have owned 35mm lenses before when i had my Nikons.  They are very nice primes to have in your bag and are great in low light and for blowing out the background when you want to isolate the subject.  On a cropped sensor (APS-C), it has the same field of view as a 52.5mm lens (if it existed) would have.

*** I found this nifty little tool to calculate 35mm equivalents: http://www.digified.net/focallength/

Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R, with lens hood.
Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R, with lens hood.
Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R, without lens hood.
Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R, without lens hood.

The lens comes in the same sort of posh, piano black box as the XP1 and has a foam insert inside.  The foam insert has cut outs for the lens and lens hood (you can see the box in my post about my first impressions of the XP1).  Last night, i just realized that the flap on the box has a magnet in it – as does the side of the box, so that the top stays closed.

The lens comes with standard accessories: lens hood, lens cap, bottom lens cap, instruction manual and a black cloth.

All the rings are very smooth in their movement.  You will notice that this lens does not have any switches on it and if you are wondering, it does not have OIS.  At this focal length, there really is no point in having OIS anyhow.  It should be easy enough to get a fast shutter speed of 1/40 or more, which should ensure you to get crisp photos.  If not, a sturdy stance and grip with the camera should do or use a tripod.

One thing i found slightly awkward, was mounting the lens.  This is because the focus ring and the aperture rings are quite close together and having the aperture ring so close to the lens mount, makes it difficult to get a grip on the lens without turning the rings, rather than the lens itself.

In regards to the octagon shaped lens hood, i have no idea why it is shaped like that.  It is certainly different, but not unique.  If you look at some Leica lenses, they also have the same shaped lens hood.  Again, i do not know the purpose of designing the lens hood in this manner.  With the lens hood, you do get an extra cap that fits over the lens hood.

How does it perform?  Well, for me, it performs amazingly.  Though, if you want your fix of lens mumbo-jumbo, please read these reviews:

http://kenrockwell.com/fuji/x-mount-lenses/35mm-f14.htm

http://www.photozone.de/fuji_x/746-fuji35f14

The XP1 Goes To The Street

Shot a roll of 36 today.  I’m really learning how to restrain myself and be more selective in my photos.  I think, despite having room for thousands of photos on our memory cards, we should go out and shoot as if we only have a roll of film with 36 exposures on it – or 24, your choice.

I never did enjoy doing street with my DSLR.  It was a bit to obvious when you pointed the camera at someone and your whole face was hidden.  With my XP1, it is so much easier to raise the camera up to my eye, snap the photo and not be hidden behind a huge camera.  I am definitely less conscious when using my XP1.

You can cross now.
You can cross now.
Filming.
Filming.
Playing for the people.
Playing for the people.
Waiting for the bride & groom.
Waiting for the bride & groom.
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Walking with purpose.
Walking with purpose.
Framed.
Framed.
Two small guys with two very big cameras.
Two small guys with two very big cameras.
Where to eat?.
Where to eat?.
Packed up.
Packed up.
A bustling Jacques Cartier square.
A bustling Jacques Cartier square.
Waiting for customers.
Waiting for customers.

Thanks for looking.

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Fuji XP1: First Impressions

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You know that old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”?  When you walk down the street and you see some guy wearing scruffy clothes, you immediately make a judgement about him.  You probably think that he is jobless, a bum, down and out, etc.  Though, he could have a heftier bank account than you and drive a Ferrari.  You just never know these days.

When i first took hold of my XP1 and the 35mm lens, they both came in their own piano black boxes, with the minimalist lettering denoting what each box contained.  Open these boxes up and you are in for a world of, “this is how a high end camera should be packaged”.  This would be one instance where you see sophistication on the outside and get sophistication on the inside as well.

First the XP1: when i opened the main box, i was presented with two, flat, rectangular boxes.  One had something moving around inside it when i tipped it on it’s side, so i knew that was not the box with the camera inside.  Therefore, i went straight for the other box.

The box with the XP1 inside is not some crummy brown, corrugated box.  This box is a piece of art in itself and is something you will not want to throw away.  When you open the box, the only item inside is the XP1.  Take the XP1 out and you will notice that Fuji has taken it’s time to make a perfect, sophisticated, foam insert, that has an exact cut out for the XP1 body.  Again, you will not want to throw this box out.

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On to the second rectangular box.  This box contains all the accessories for the XP1: charger, battery, cables, neck strap, lug rings for the strap and software CD.  The box itself is not as sophisticated as the one for the camera, but still worth keeping.

I then move onto the lens.  The 35mm lens is packaged very much like the camera itself.  You get the same kind of box with foam insert and cut outs for the lens and the lens hood.  Definitely a keeper for me.  Along with the box, there is another piece of cardboard shaped into a rectangular “envelope” kind of spacer.  Inside this spacer, you will find the instruction manual for the lens, along with other documentation.

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What is my first impression of the XP1?  Well, it is what i expected it to be: very solid feeling, has heft/bulk and is very well made.  Seeing as i owned an X-E1 before hand, there was not anything surprising. The buttons and dials are pretty much in the same place and they both posses the same “retro” styling of the rangefinder cameras of yesteryear.

What are some of the main, noticeable differences: the OVF kind of sticks out like a sore thumb when you compare it with the X-E1.  It’s like a bay-window on a tiny shack in the woods.  The second noticeable difference is the feel of the body.  It’s an all magnesium alloy body, as opposed to the X-E1s body that only has the top and front of the camera made of magnesium alloy (please refer to this site and go down to design:  http://fujifilm-x.com/x-e1/en/faq/).  The last real noticeable difference is the lack of a built in flash.

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How does it perform: So far, i have only taken about 50 images with it – my post about the Cruise Ship Regatta features the first photos i took with the XP1.  In all honesty, it does not really perform much differently than the X-E1.  I do prefer using the OVF over the EVF.  I suppose this is due to the fact that i used Nikon DSLRs for so long.  Other than that, the photo quality is going to be the same since both cameras posses the same guts.

One thing i will say is, i much prefer handling the XP1 over the X-E1, simply because of the XP1s bulk and weight advantage.  All in all, it is a beautifully engineered camera that i look forward to using for many years to come.

The Fujinon XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS

The 18-55mm is the lens that came with my X-E1, which I no longer posses.  I sacrificed it for an XP1.  If I were to use one word to describe this lens, it would be “awesome”.

For an 18-55mm “kit” lens, this Fujinon 18-55 blows all other 18-55 “kit” lenses out of the water, plain and simple.  There is no competition.  Nikon? Canon? They don’t even come close.

Here is a run-down of the specs:

Focal range: 18-55mm (27-84mm in 35mm equiv.)

Maximum aperture: f2.8-f4.0

Minimum aperture: f22

Number of diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded)

Elements: 14

Groups: 10

Special glass: 3 aspherical, 1 extra low dispersion

Minimum focus: 15.75″

Maximum magnification: 0.15x

No distance scale

No DOF scale

Weight: 310g

Length: 2.77″ (retracted)

Filter thread: 58mm

 

However, for a “kit” lens, there is a hefty price tag attached.  At $700 for a brand new copy, it can hardly be classed as a “kit” lens and this is what I want to clear up.

The term “kit” lens comes from the world of Nikon & Canon, where you find their DSLRs packaged with cheap, plastic starter lenses, usually in the 18-55mm range.  Don’t get me wrong, these lenses may be cheap & cheerful, but they are quite good optically.

On the other hand, these “kit” lenses that come with Nikon and Canon cameras, are at the bottom of the lens ladder; meaning, you can not get anything cheaper or with more plastic than these lenses.

With Fuji, it’s a whole different story.  Now, when I called the 18-55 a “kit” lens, I was doing so because any 18-55 is going to be seen as a “kit” lens in the eyes of people who walk in the Nikon/Canon worlds.  This 18-55 is in no way a traditional “kit” lens, even if it has that traditional focal range.  When was the last time you saw a “kit” lens with a metal mount, metal body, metal rings, an aperture ring and spectacular optics?  This is not a “kit” lens by any means.

Fuji does it differently, as I stated before.  When I bought my XP1, it came with the 35mm.  If you know anything about the 35mm, you know that it is light years from being a “kit” lens.  Fuji does not pair up their top end cameras (X-E1 & XP1) with cheapo plastic starter lenses.

Anyhow, enough of that.  I think you get my point.  On to the lens itself.

I call it a little engineering marvel.  It is quite compact compared to a Nikon 18-55.  And when you consider that it has OIS and an aperture ring, it makes you wonder where they put everything.

It comes with you usual accessories: lens hood, lens cap, rear lens cap and an instruction manual.  it does have some weight to it, but it is a weight that feels solid.

All the rings turn very smoothly and the barrel zooms in and out very smoothly as well.  The rings are easy to grip and the OIS and aperture switch are easy to move back and forth, but not that easy as to accidentally move them.

Optically, it is an amazing lens in my opinion.  If you want your fix of lens techno-jargon, you can read these reviews:

http://kenrockwell.com/fuji/x-mount-lenses/18-55mm.htm

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/fujifilm-fujinon-xf-18-55mm-f-2-8-4-r-lm-ois-lens-review-22595

The 18-55 is a great walk around lens and is compact enough to stay on your camera and fit into a camera bag.  At all focal lengths and apertures, I find it takes excellent photos.  You can not go wrong with this lens.

 

 

The Fujinon XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 OIS

Fujinon XC 50-230mm f4.5-6.7 OIS Zoom Lens
Fujinon XC 50-230mm f4.5-6.7 OIS Zoom Lens

About a week ago, Fuji officially announced two new products: It’s X-A1 camera and the XC 50-230mm lens.  I have been waiting for this lens to come out and more importantly, I have been waiting for some in-depth reviews about it.

This lens is really targeted at the folks who have bought into the little brothers of the X series, the X-M1 and now the X-A1.  Both of those cameras are quite small and light.  Therefore, Fuji is expanding its line of XC (“C” for casual) lenses for those two cameras.

This is not to say that you could not use an XF lens on the X-A1 or an XC lens on the X-Pro1.  Any lens in the XC/XF line-up will work just fine on all the X mount cameras.

From what I can gather, the new 50-230 is a mostly plastic lens, meaning the barrel and the mount are plastic.  This is unlike the XF lenses, which are mostly metal.  One other aspect of the XC lenses is, they don’t have aperture rings.

With more plastic comes lighter weight, which is perfect for the X-A1 and X-M1, which are no heavy weights themselves.  Don’t get discouraged about the plastic though.  If Nikon lenses are any indication, the plastic on lenses these days is very good.  The pieces are very well molded and are precise.  Hey, if you want an all metal lens, you can fork out an extra $300 and get the 55-200mm XF lens.

At the long end of this lens, you are only going to get a maximum aperture of  f6.7, which is not going to help you in low-light situations.  Therefore, you are going to have to boost your ISO to get good shutter speed in low light.  I am sure the OIS of this lens will come in handy as well.

In ideal situations, this lens will be great for doing nature photography, portraits, moon shots and any other application where you may need a telephoto lens.

Let’s talk about price:  the lens is listed just under $400 at $399.95.  For a lens of this focal range and build quality, I would say Fuji has priced it quite fairly.

Let’s look at the specs: nothing exciting or sexy here at all.  Very plain Jane specifications if you were to compare it to any of Fuji’s prime lenses, like the 35mm.  Anyhow, here are the specs.

Lens type: zoom

Format size: APS-C/DX

Focal range: 50-230mm

OIS: yes

Max Aperture: f4.5 – f6.7

Minimum aperture: f22

Diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded)

Elements: 13

Groups: 10

Special glass: 1 aspherical, 1 ED

Minimum focus: 43.31″

Maximum magnification: 0.2x

No distance scale

No DOF scale

Weight: 375g

Length: 4.37″ (not extended)

Filter thread: 58mm

I am interested in this lens, but I think I will first pick up some wide angle lenses first.  Furthermore, as far as I can see, no one has done a full blown review of this lens; therefore, I have no idea how it performs optically.

I will assume that in the next few months, we will see the first reviews of the lens, with all the MTF charts, CA, distortion and sharpness numbers as well.

Fuji NP-50 Battery For The X10

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So the third and final piece of my order came in the other day: the NP-50 battery for my X10.  It came just in time, for the battery that came with the camera (it was a used unit) seems to have given up the ghost!

Looking at the battery itself, you would think that it is an original.  However, I am quite certain it is not – hey, I paid less than the cost of a new one.  When I look at the box it came in, the number 50 is printed in a different font than the 50 on the OEM Fuji box!  Not only that, but the instruction booklet that came with it seems to have been printed on a cheap printer.  And finally, throughout the instruction booklet, it talks about the NP-40 battery.

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The box on the right is the fake.
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Instruction booklet mentioning the NP40 battery.

Ironically enough, the day I bought my XP1, I bought an original Fuji NP-50 from my local store.  He sold it to me at cost because I had bought the X10 from him.  Anyhow, this was another way to really see if the one I ordered on Amazon was real/original.

Aside from the obvious gaffs on the box and enclosed instruction booklet, the battery itself has different wording and the pictograms are in different places.  At this point, it is very apparent to me that the battery is not an original Fuji battery.

Anyhow, my camera has not blown up yet and I have not seen any major complaints about the battery on Amazon.  I have not fully charged it yet, but it works just fine in my X10.

Thanks for looking.

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