X100

Great New Firmware From Fujifilm, But The X-Pro2 Ain't Feelin' The Love

Fujifilm has released new firmware for the X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX and even (unexpectedly) the X100F. Unfortunately the X-Pro2 got a little short changed this time around and it ain't feeling the love! But hopefully the great peeps at Fuji will put this right soon. You can find the latest firmware and a full list of what's new from HERE. But here are a few of my favourites.

FRONT COMMAND DIAL ISO:

One great feature that's been added to the X-T2 is the ability to control ISO from the front dial. This one appeared first on the X100F and is really handy when you want to lock in aperture and shutter speed and use the ISO to make adjustments to exposure. I do a lot of jazz concert photography and I tend to have to shoot wide open and with the shutter speed at 1/125th (my preferred minimum SS). The ISO dial on the top of the X-T2 is great, but it means taking my left hand of the camera to make adjustments. The front command dial is easy to access and let's me keep both hands on the camera. This feature was not added to the X-Pro2.

REAR COMMAND DIAL BACK BUTTON FOCUS:

Another great one from the X100F that's been added to the X-T2 is the ability to press the rear command dial for back button focus. You can actually assign a variety of functions to the rear command dial switch. I find the AF/L button on the X-T2 a bit too far to the right, but I can't switch it with the AE/L button because I poke my thumb into my eye with that one (I'm a left eye shooter). So pressing the rear command dial to back button focus is a great option. Sadly though, this feature was not added to the X-Pro2.

OPTION OF 'ALL' ADDED TO AF MODE

This one was unexpected and a really welcome feature. By selecting 'All' in the AF Mode you can use any of the command dials to choose any of the AF Modes. We do this in the exact same way as we change the size of the focus point. Press the Focus Selector Lever (the joystick) to turn the focus point green. Now rotate either the front or rear command dial to increase the size of the focus point, which cycles like this:

  • 6 different sizes of single point
  • 3 different sizes of Zone
  • Wide Tracking (it then loops back to the smallest single point)

I have my AF Mode assigned to the bottom button of the D-Pad, but by using this new method, I could leave it AF Mode set to 'All' and free up that Fn button for something else. It's unexpected gems like this that make Fujifil so great, but guess what - this feature is not on the latest firmware for the X-Pro2.

CONCLUSION 

As far as I know, no other camera manufactures virtually give away new cameras through frequent firmware updates. That might seem like an exaggeration, but quite often it really does feel like a new camera. I'm looking forward to the X-Pro2 firmware engineer getting back from his holiday at Skegness and bringing all the latest features to the other flagship X-Series camera - the X-Pro2. 

One firmware request I do have for another camera in the lineup (even though it might be discontinued), is to fix a bug in the X70 firmware. When using the WCL, the manual focus scale disappears from the LCD, which is a problem when zone focusing.

Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 & Black X100s

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Fuji have announced a lot of new products today at CES, but the two most important ones IMO are the Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 R and the Black X100s.

The 56mm f1.2 is now the fastest lens available for the X Series and one that portrait photographers will be excited about. With a full frame equivalent to 85mm and a wide aperture of f1.2, this looks like it could be one of the finest lenses available for your X-Pro1, X-E1, X-E2 or even the M or A range. I was a bit surprised that the aperture ring is not the push/pull type (to select manual focus) found on the 23mm or 14mm. It could have made a nice trilogy of lenses with the same design and function. Check out the full spec on the Fujifilm website HERE

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There's not much to say about the black X100s, other than it's black. It's the same amazing camera as the silver version, but it's..eh..black. I'm not sure which I would choose when I finally upgrade from my X100? The black looks great, but I still think the silver looks great too. The black case and lens hood for the original X100 Black also fit the S model, so no problem there. Take a look at the black X100s page HERE

There's an updated Lens Roadmap for the X Series too, with great news on the fast zoom front. There's the 16-55mm f2.8 (24-82mm in FF) and the 50-140mm f2.8 (75-210mm in FF), both lenses are OIS (Fuji's image stabilization). I'm sure this will mean a lot more photographers leaving DSLR's behind.

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Asia 2013 part 4 :: Macau

DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF2882 Macau is probably based described as the Chinese Vsgas, but although the later is better known, Macau actually takes in more money than Vagas. It takes one hours be boat to reach and the first thing that catches the eye as you get close, is that the water is very brown, huge patches...I wouldn't swim in it!

As you can see from above, the skyscrapers are not exactly conventional. This golden monster is the Grand Lisboa and is probably the most striking building in Macau, if for nothing else, for it's plant style design. DerekClarkPhotography.com-DSCF3104

You know there's money in town when helicopters shuttle people to and from the ferry terminal to the various hotels. This goes on all day long.

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Just like the Brittish with Hong Kong, Macau was leased for one hundred years to the Portuguese and this is very obvious in the architecture. The Portuguese actually renovated a lot of the buildings in their original bright colours prior to the handover of sovereignty (to the Chinese) in 1999.

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I don't know who I felt more sorry for in the blistering heat, the couple or the photographer...who am I kidding, it was the photographer. With no umbrella to shade hime from the sun and wearing jeans (very casual over here), he must have been having the worst day, especially having to shoot in direct sunlight.

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We stayed in Taipa, which is just over one of the bridges from Macau. This is the flattest of the three (first night shot) and looking from Taipa to Macau. You can see the Grand Lisboa just at the end of the road. This shot give a better idea of it's hight, with the round entrance section just visible at the base.

The bridge above (second night shot) is the Taipa Bridge with the Macau Tower to the right. You can do lots of crazy things here, including a skyward or bungee jump like HERE.

The shot's on this post were taken with either the X100 or the X-E1.

Asia 2013 part 3 :: My Favourite (Travel) Things

DerekClarkPhotography.com-3xXCams Fuji X System Cameras (iPhone photo)

This one is really obvious, But I stands out the most when traveling just how fantastic it is to be shooting the Fuji X system. There’s no way I could have brought three cameras and the equivalent to a 35mm, 50mm, and a 27-84mm. The 35mm being fixed to the X100, but if I was shooting a DSLR system, it would be a 35mm f1.4, which is not a small lens. It’s amazing to see all these moms and dads running around with big DSLR’s because they think that’s how you get great photos.

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Fujinon 18-55mm f2.8-f4

This was a last minute thing before I left. I’m a prime lens shooter, but I went for the 18-55mm for three reasons. 1). The longest Fuji lens I had was the 35mm. 2). I have the 18mm f2, but I get mixed results with it, I can’t put my finger on it, but sometimes it looks fantastic and other times  3). A zoom is just so much more versatile as a travel lens. The variable aperture bugs me and I’m not used to lenses that extend, but it’s definitely been the go to lens on this trip (so far). I was using it on the X-E1 and body and lens work well together, but it is a bit front heavy. It feels much better on the X-Pro1. But if you own an X-E1, don’t let it put you off.

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Apple Macbook Air 11”

I bought the 11” Macbook Air for this trip and I’m so glad I did. I originally intended bringing a Windows laptop, then had the bright idea of buying a smaller Netbook as it would fit in the ThinkTank Retrospective 7 and I wouldn’t need to bring a bigger bag. That idea got out of hand and I ended-up buying the 11” Air. I have it set-up exactly like my iMac, so it’s so easy to edit and organize. The 11” Air was a good choice and I’m glad I bought it. I bought the 128gb version with 4gm of RAM for £600 second hand. It was the current model until Apple announced the latest updates a couple of weeks ago) and in mint condition. The downside of the 11” version is the omission of the SD card reader and the 3rd USB port.

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Kingston MobileLite G3 SD Card Reader

So I bought this little card reader on Amazon for very little money and I just love it. It’s simple and does what it says on the tin. It does feel a bit wobbly when the covers are extended at each side (one to cover the USB plug and one to cover the card(s) if you choose to keep them in), but it’s solid when the covers are pulled back and in use. The G3 has slots for both SD and Micro SD cards and takes up very little room in even the smallest camera bag.

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Think Tank Retrospective 7

The Retrospective 7 is great for travel or as an everyday camera bag. I have a few dislikes about it (as I do with any bag). The side pockets are too tight for my liking and I’ve ended up using them for the included raincover in one side, which I’ve used and really glad it’s there, and wetwipes and travel cards in the other. I’d liked to have a bit of elastic on one side at least to accommodate a water bottle. On the up-side for travel, being so tight makes it harder for thieves to get at. My second gripe is that the inner compartment should have a few pockets with Velcro lids to keep small items like batteries, card readers, lens cloths, headphones etc... But apart from that it’s a great travel bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag. If you haven’t seen my post on packing for this Asia trip, take a look HERE to see the contents of my Retrospective 7, it holds a lot of gear.

Oh, and one final thing...

Micro Fibre T-Shirts

I bought three of these t-shirts in a sale for £5 each. They’re lightweight and absolutely crease free. At the end of a day, I simply wash one in the shower and it’s dry in the morning and looks like new. These shirts are an essential item of clothing for traveling light.