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Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens Review | Patrick Leong

Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens Review | Patrick Leong | One of the Secret of Life is to Make Steeping Stones out of Stumble Blocks | Scoop.it

When Fuji announced that they were coming out with the X-Pro1, it got many photographers out there excited because finally, there was a digital camera that reminded them of how cameras use to be built.  The Leica M digitals evoke the same feelings but they also cost a lot more.  The X-Pro1 was a camera that really allowed photographers to take an active role in the photographic process instead of letting the camera do everything for them but for several times less than something like an M9.  Furthermore, the X-Pro1 had many of the same attributes of a traditional rangefinder even though it was in the mirrorless class.  Many thought that just like a traditional rangefinder, only fixed focal length lenses could be used.  Then Fuji surprised us by announcing that they would be creating zoom lenses for the XF Series lineup.  The first of these zoom lenses is the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R Lens, which is the lens that I have here today for review, and the lens that came with my X-E1 kit. Honestly, even I was a bit surprised when I heard the news that Fuji was coming out with zooms for the X-Pro1/X-E1.  First off, most people who are going to buy a camera like the X-Pro1 or the X-E1 are more interested in fast primes.  I know I was because I grew up with fixed focal lengths.  Optically, they’re just better, faster, and most importantly for a rangefinder type camera, smaller.  But as my interest grew for the Fuji X-E1, I began looking at the price of the new zoom.  If I bought the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R Lens separately, I would have to cough up almost $700 for it.  However, if I bought it packaged as a kit with the X-E1, I would only be paying about $400 for it.

 

The Fuji X-E1 with XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R lens.

I’m pretty traditional in terms of what I like in photographic equipment, and everyone who knows me knows that I can be pretty stuck in my ways .  Look at my blog.  You’ll see Leica, and Fuji X series cameras, which are all cameras that rely heavily on user input.  I’m not trying to rat on anyone else’s preferences; that’s just my style.  I like these kinds of cameras because they’re basic, and the controls are manual allowing me to fully concentrate on the photo.  I really don’t like electronics getting in my way, and in terms of lenses, I really believe that all you need is a fast prime to take care of 90% of your shots.  For me, the ultimate setup to this day is a Leica M9 with a 50 Summilux ASPH.  So what made me try out this zoom?  Well, for me, the fact that the X-E1 had only an electronic viewfinder bothered me a bit because I like having an OVF.  But the features of the X-E1 got me to take the leap, and buy it so I figured that since I’m giving the EVF a chance, I might as well go for the zoom, and see what I’ve been missing .  Plus, again, the zoom cost me only an extra $400 if I bought the Fuji X-E1 kit, which to me was a great incentive to give the zoom a chance. Did I regret my decision?  No, not at all.  This is one awesome lens, and in my opinion, Fuji shouldn’t label it as a kit lens because that’s very deceiving.  I love using this lens.  Is it perfect?  No but it definitely expands the range, and usefulness of the X-Series system, and gives the X-Series system one more reason to love it.

 


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Capture One Fujifilm X-Trans Raw support tested | Digital Photography Review

Capture One Fujifilm X-Trans Raw support tested | Digital Photography Review | One of the Secret of Life is to Make Steeping Stones out of Stumble Blocks | Scoop.it


Capture One v7.0.2, the latest version of Phase One's image management and Raw conversion software, includes support for Fujifilm's X-Trans cameras. Given the trouble this non-Bayer design has caused for third-party Raw converters (it remains to be seen how many will ever offer support), this has caused a lot of excitement in the Fujifilm community. So, just how well does Capture One do, and how significant is the problem , in the first place? To provide some context, the vast majority of digital cameras ever made perceive color using what's known as a Bayer Color Filter Array, named after the late Kodak engineer Bryce Bayer. For its recent cameras, Fujifilm has developed its own color filter array pattern, which it calls X-Trans. The idea behind X-Trans is that its pattern repeats less often than the Bayer pattern, rendering redundant the low-pass filter that usually protects against moiré. The disadvantage of creating a non-standard color filter array (especially one that took two years to develop the demosaicing algorithm for), is that third-party software makers have to do a lot more work to provide Raw support....

 

"As you can see, Capture One's color response is much closer to the camera's results than Adobe's default profile. The default results are also substantially more sharpened than the JPEGs are. In comparison with the camera JPEGs, there are hints of the same brushstroke effect that Adobe Camera Raw produces, though not to the same degree and mitigated, perhaps, by the better color response."


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Fujifilm X-E1 + 60mm F2.4 autofocus test | unwire.hk


a short vidoe about the autocfocus speed of the X-E1 with 60 mm lens


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Focal Reducer Lens Adapter Announced by Metabones | Thom Hogan

Focal Reducer Lens Adapter Announced by Metabones | Thom Hogan | One of the Secret of Life is to Make Steeping Stones out of Stumble Blocks | Scoop.it

Over a decade ago I wrote about building your own DX focal reducer from cobbled parts (technically it was an afocal wide converter). The goal was to get back the 1.5x crop factor and make a lens work as you'd expect from it's marked focal length. The result wasn't very pretty, but it gave us true wide angle for our D1 cameras long before Nikon got around to making wide angle DX lenses. Unfortunately, those focal length reducers couldn't be done simply, mostly because the mirror box pushes the mount forward, so you have to do the corrections far forward of where they're optimally done. The nice thing about mirrorless cameras, though, is that the sensor to mount distances are far shorter; short enough to allow for a far simpler focal reducer approach.

Today, Metabones has announced a commercial focal length reducer and mount converter for NEX systems called the SpeedBooster. The initial versions work with Canon EF lenses and provide a 0.71x focal length reduction. In reducing the focal length, you also get an aperture change (as with teleconverters, which do the opposite of a focal reducer): you gain approximately one stop of aperture. The EF versions of these SpeedBooster adapters feature auto-aperture, IS support, EXIF data transfer, and even partial autofocus support on many recent Canon lenses (post 2006). The adapter also has a detachable tripod foot that's also an Arca Swiss plate. The first version to be made available will be Canon EF to Sony NEX (E-mount), available later in late January (25th) for US$600. Other versions will be at different prices (Leica R to Fujifilm XF or Sony NEX is listed at US$400 on their site).

 

Since there's a lot going on here, let me reiterate what the SpeedBooster does:

 

Mount conversion — initial version for Canon EF lenses to Sony NEX, but conversions to m4/3 and Fujifilm XF mounts are also coming. Also, Metabones claims they will eventually have Leica R, Alpa, Contarex, Contax C/Y, and Nikon F versions (if they did everything they currently write about, that would be 18 different versions of the SpeedBooster.

 

Focal length conversion — the focal length is reduced 0.71x. Thus, a 50mm Canon EF lens becomes a 35.5mm lens. That's not quite a perfect reduction between full frame and APS, but close enough for most of us (the 50mm should become 33.3mm to be a "perfect" 50mm equivalent on NEX).

 

Aperture adjustment — the effective aperture is increased by one stop. So an f/1.4 lens becomes an f/1 lens. This is again just about the right change for going from full frame to APS: you'd get about the same DOF on the Sony NEX with a lens mounted on this adapter as you would from a full frame camera if you kept all the other parameters equal. Some may wonder how the aperture gain is achieved. Simple: the image circle is reduced (concentrating the collected light into a smaller area). 

 

MTF gain — the "compression" effect of the focal length reducer also tends to reduce the size of aberrations, which are a primary driver of MTF. Metabones uses a Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 as their example for plotting the lens' normal MTF versus with use of the SpeedBooster, and there's indeed a clear MTF boost in the central area on an m4/3 version of the adapter. The NEX version, however, shows more MTF loss as you move to the corners (the center is still higher than the original lens). The MTF gain claim is a little less reliable than the other claims: there's going to be high variability in the size and position of the gains depending upon the lens used and the format you're adapting to.

 

Telecentricity gain — digital sensors like light to hit at less than 15° to perpendicular. In some wide angle lens designs that's difficult to achieve, so you get impacts from the slanted light. One simple to see impact is vignetting. One by-product of the focal reducer is that light is slightly more tele centric. The difference isn't dramatic, but I'll bet we see visible differences in some adapted lenses' vignetting performance.

 

If you want to read more about the technical details of the SpeedBooster focal reducer, Metabones has a White Paper on their Web site that describes the details at length. The Metabones adapter was designed by Brian Caldwell, the man who created some of the best corrected lens designs for Coastal Optics (the 60mm f/4 Macro, for instance, is one of the best performing lenses I know of for Nikon mounts, and it can pass UV and IR light as well as visible). 

 


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Annapurna base camp trek | Richard Simko

Annapurna base camp trek | Richard Simko | One of the Secret of Life is to Make Steeping Stones out of Stumble Blocks | Scoop.it

I am very excited about my second trip to Nepal. In 2010, I had opportunity to visit the country for the first time and I made it up to Kalapattar just across the valley from Everest. This time I decided to visit Annapurna base camp which is the second most popular destination after Everest base camp. I am doing it off season, in winter so I am hoping for less tourists and more snow. Let’s see how it comes together. I’ll be on the road for 15 days and mainly following the traditional trek route. I am quite happy that I will be joined by my friend and guide from 2010, Agasta. He is a great guy with extensive trekking experience and knowledgeable about mountains and people. He also speak many of the dialects used by people in mountains. It would be possible to do this all by myself but I don’t need to be a hero and besides, altitude sickness can strike anybody, even a seasoned mountaineer, so it is good to have somebody around especially somebody who speak the local language......
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Fujifilm X-E1 and XP1 to be announced on September 5 | Photo Rumors

Fujifilm X-E1 and XP1 to be announced on September 5 | Photo Rumors | One of the Secret of Life is to Make Steeping Stones out of Stumble Blocks | Scoop.it

 

Together with the new X-Pro1 firmware update, Fujifilm will announce also their two new cameras on September 5th, 2012: the mirrorless interchangeable lens X-E1 and the compact XP1 cameras (there is a chance that the camera will be called XF1).


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