Japan’s annual photography convention sees all of the big players in the photography market under the huge roof of the Pacifico Convention Centre in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo. Obviously the reason I’m here is because Fujifilm have once again put on an amazing stand, showing off all aspects of the business.
It turns out they took to it incredibly well. Large crowds, lots of questions at the end, laughs at the jokes throughout, and rapturous applause at the end helped us see that the gamble paid off.
Fast forward twelve months and we’ve done it again.
The Fujifilm X Photographer stage
CP+ opened today and the X-Photographer stage has proved extremely popular. The program kicked off at 13:00 with Japanese photographer Issaque Foujita taking the audience through a number of his favourite shots, explaining the thought process both technically and artistically that went into each.
At 14:00, Switzerland-based wildlife photographer Chris Weston introduced himself with this video on the large screen, before giving some great advice about telling stories with your images.
Japanese professional photographer Masaaki Aihara took to the stage at 15:00 and spoke about his natural, minimalist approach to photography.
Finally, Japanese photographer Shinichi Hanawa presented the last talk of the opening day and explained his style of photography and how he uses Fujifilm X system to help him realise his vision.
I’ve been lucky enough to interview each of the photographers, plus a few other key members of staff from Fujifilm Japan, and I’ll look to getting all of these interviews and more images posted online soon. We’ve also recorded all of the talks so we’ll try to get these up as quickly as possible so you can watch them and be inspired.
What else is happening on the Fujifilm stand?
Following the lens roadmap announcement earlier this week, we displayed mock ups of the new XF35mmF2, the XF100-400, the XF120mmF2 Macro and the XF1.4x tele converter.
Fujifilm “touch and try” let’s members of the public try out our new products. Lots of interest in the XF16-55mmF2.8
The Photography Show is our annual excuse to talk all things camera, and to add to the excitement we have an expert line-up of pro X photographers who will be sharing their hands-on experience with you throughout the show.
Bert is a professional photographer from Belgium who spends most of his time shooting creative portraits for editorial, commercial and private clients. He believes in sharing knowledge with other photographers by teaching workshops around the world, blogging and producing educational videos.
The Beauty of the Imperfection
Here you will learn tips and tricks for shooting creative portraits with simple camera & lighting equipment. Bert will also talk about the importance of subject interaction.
Date: Tuesday 24 March 2015
Time: 11:30 – 12:00
Stage: Live Stage
Date: Monday 23 March 2015
Time: 11:30 – 12:00
Stage: Live Stage
Kevin Mullins is a Wiltshire-based award winning wedding photographer who specialises in telling stories, through pictures, of weddings. The style of wedding photography he uses is known as documentary wedding photography, or reportage wedding photography and he is passionate about photographing weddings authentically, sympathetically and responsibly.
Reportage Photography for Weddings
Explore reportage photography from a wedding and social documentary point of view. Learn how to get close to your subjects without disrupting the event and how to look for humour and emotion in a scene.
Date: Monday 23 March 2015
Time: 13:00 – 13:40
Stage: Behind the Lens theatre
Paul became a professional photographer in 1984, and moved into newspapers in 1991, eventually becoming Picture Editor of The Times. In 2011 he left The Times to pursue his love of landscape photography and to launch a project for young children to develop visual and creative awareness through photography.
His work conveys the emotional and spiritual responses he has to the landscape in front of him. His journey from news photographer to landscape photography began as a form of therapy to help deal with the stress of his job. Through photography he was able to express himself where words failed him.
Connecting with your Landscape
Learn a mindful approach to landscape photography and how to connect with your subject. Paul will also show you the importance of equipment that doesn’t get in the way of your vision.
Date: Monday 23 March 2015
Stage: Behind the Lens Theatre
Matt Hart is a black and white Street and Event Photographer based in Liverpool. He is an official Fujifilm X Photographer; a Formatt Hitech featured Artist and the founder of The Fujiholics Social Media Group.
Matt is passionate about Street Photography, he has developed the skill to observe and be virtually invisible, letting the world carry on around him without affecting the scene. The subject is unaware. Matt keeps the system and process as simple as possible so as not to over complicate the task. This is why he has chosen the Fuji X system for his professional work which helps him to achieve his style.
Here you will learn Matt Hart’s modern street style and how to be invisible when shooting street photography. You will also be shown street camera techniques that Matt uses to maximum effect.
Date: Saturday 21 March 2015
Date: Sunday 22 March 2015
The above image was taken with the X-T1 which had recently had a firmware update to make it compatible with the XF18-135mm lens which was used to obtain this shot, via the remote control feature and a monopod.
I remember when I first approached Fujifilm UK with the idea of testing their equipment in the jungles of Borneo. My intention was to rely on the X-Series to document my trip, which had a heavy focus on nature. Unfortunately at the time the X-Pro1 and X-E1 weren’t quite up to the speeds I required to use this system exclusively. If I had done this trip in 2014, oh how things would be different. Not purely because of the wonderful X-T1 but because of the firmware improvements made to the X-Pro1 and other cameras.
These firmware updates are so much more than simply updating cameras to optimise their usability with lenses launched more recently. If you look at this link you can see the timeline of improvements made to the X-Pro1, from large improvements like auto focus performance and better “single-hand” settings operability to extra functions being added like focus peaking for manual focusing. Below shows a screen grab with some of latest firmware updates for the X-Pro1.
It wasn’t just the flagship model which gained firmware upgrades; the X-E1 had much the same improvements and the X100 had an autofocus improvement that meant that it was in fact the ongoing firmware updates that were the most spoken about thing of this camera, instead of the previously poor autofocus. Further down the line, the X-E2 has had the refresh rate of its EVF improved to the very high standard of the X-T1. The X-A1 and X-M1 can now both wirelessly transfer pictures to the brilliant SP1 printer for near-instant prints.
Now the X-T1 is set for a major firmware update. The Internet has been buzzing with excitement around the new features that are integrated into the X100T and X-T1 graphite edition. Other than the wonderful 6-part creation of the graphite finish, this new version has some very exciting software improvements. The first headline feature is the new Classic Chrome JPEG film simulation that’s blowing everyone’s mind with its unique style that’s so different from the other film simulations available.
The second feature is the crazy electronic shutter toping out at 1/32000! For those of you using the fast prime lenses at F1.2 and F1.4, this opens up a huge realm of creativity. Only recently I had to juggle a neutral density filter between the XF23mm F1.4 and XF56mm F1.2 while exploring sunny Lisbon to take full advantage of the thin depth of field on offer. This new feature will make this a thing of the past, one less thing to have to worry about. The benefits of the electronic shutter don’t stop there – being electronic there are no moving parts to generate noise meaning it is truly silent shooting. This has always been one of the big factors that has made the X100s such a joy to use to quiet situations, a factor that often meant I would lean towards the X100s series instead of the X-T1.
Taken in the centre of Lisbon using an ND filter so I could use f1.2.
These aren’t the only updates to look forward to, as there are many many more features due to happen in a December firmware overhaul:
4-way controller AF selection
Changeable focus area during MF
Q menu customization
Interlocking AF and metering points
Unlocked AE-L/AF-L buttons
Direct selection of macro mode
Phase detection AF support for instant AF
Expansion of shutter speed in Program Shift mode
Manual shooting in video mode
New video frame rates
These all look like great improvements as the X-Series continues to evolve into an increasingly refined camera system, appealing to an increasingly wide genre. Notably for action/fast paced photography, the addition of the 4-way controller being able to move the AF point is very help for quickly adapting to situations instead of having to focus and recompose which can get annoying and frustrating with fleeting moments. The customisation of the Q menu is definitely a bonus, allowing photographers to really tailor the camera to their needs, prioritising the features that are most frequently used instead of constantly having to search through menus. I could go through and state the pluses of each new feature upgrade but this webpage explains them all.
These are the upgrades that Fujifilm have let us know in advance about, I can only imagine the other ‘goodies’ they have in store in the near future. Logically you would think that the X-E2 could potentially have remote shooting via phones or tablets like the X-T1 and X100T. Both the X-E2 and X-T1 might be able to wirelessly transfer pictures to the SP1 for wireless printing on the go. There are so many features that Fujifilm could add to the ever-increasing list of benefits for using the Fujifilm X-Series. I think the number 1 benefit on this list is that Fujifilm look after their current users, with upgrades such as this.
To look for the latest firmwares updates for your Fujifilm product search here.
Last week we were at photokina, the world’s largest imaging fair, from Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st September. It’s been a complete blast and this post will hopefully highlight the bits you missed if you couldn’t make it to Cologne this year.
Our booth was big. It was made up with lots of different sections covering many different areas of our business, all with the same common goal – helping people with photography.
The X-Photographers Gallery
We had images from many different photographers displayed how they were always meant to be seen – printed.
Print of a shot by Ken Kaminesky
Paul Schlemmer asking “what do I do with my hands?” in front of his print
Some were printed on FUJIFLEX Crystal Archive Printing Material and others on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Digital Paper but they were all amazingly good to look at. We’ve combined our X series cameras with many years’ experience of printing and finally the creativity of real users of our cameras to create a truly awe inspiring array of beautiful prints. Many visitors to the stand told us that they thought these were the best prints on display at the show.
The X-Photographers Stage
For me the stage was the real star of the show.
Bert Stephani Studio Demo
We had 23 photographers from all over the world talking about a wide range of subjects. Some were very inspirational, other educational, but all were very interesting. We will post another blog post shortly with more detail on each of the photographers and what their talk was like. Sign up at the top-right of the page to receive notifications when it is published.
Large crowds came to listen to what our photographers had to say
Martin Hülle from Germany talking about some of his images
Zack Arias on stage
“Touch and Try” section
On the stand we had the new X100T and X30 cameras and the new XF50-140mm F2.8 and XF56mm APD lenses available in our “Touch and Try” section for people to use. We also made sure there was something beautiful to shoot in the way of a BMW i8 and some lovely models so everyone had something to shoot.
One of our lovely models and our lovely car
Staff on hand to explain how the cameras work
Visitor testing out the X-T1
Putting on the big lens
The X100T is an evolution from the X100 and X100S with the main upgrades being a 1/32000th electronic shutter, digital rangefinder and new Classic Chrome film simulation.
The X30 takes the popular X20 and gives it a new high-resolution Electronic Viewfinder, tilting LCD, new control ring, lots of new customisable Function buttons and the same awesome Classic Chrome Film Simulation as sported by the X100T.
The XF50-140mm is our first weather resistant constant aperture lens. It boasts f/2.8 throughout its focal length range and contains a lot of amazing technology to make sure the results are comparable to prime lens quality
The XF56mm APD is a fast, sharp prime lens that contains an Apodisation filter that helps produce an even smoother bokeh affect than the standard XF56mm.
The final new product people could get their hands on was the new X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition pictured below.
The XF50-140mm lens on an X-T1 Graphite Silver
The XF56mm APD on an X-T1 Graphite Silver
The full X line-up
Additionally, behind a glass cabinet we had the entire range lined up (click the image below for a larger display)
Notable products were:
The XF16mmF1.4 has the same focus ring as the XF14 and XF23 with focus distance and depth of field guide on the barrel itself.
The XF16-55mmF2.8 appears to have OIS dropped from its name suggesting that the final lens will not have OIS, but instead aim for absolute optimal image quality. This is still to be confirmed though.
The XF90mmF2 looks like it’s going to be a big bit of glass. Similar in length to the XF56mm but a bit thicker.
Finally, previously known as the Super Tele-Photo Zoom Lens on the roadmap, a lens with no label underneath. However, it had an inscription bearing the specifications “XF 140-400mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR”. I’d like to point out that these are not 100% final specifications. They just needed to put something on the front of the mock-up lens to give a better idea of what the final lens would look like. Either way this gives us a guide as to what sort of spec the final lens is likely to be, and also how big it will be.
Free maintenance and camera loan service
We offered a FREE maintenance service and a FREE camera loan service for the six days of photokina, In total we were able to service 510 cameras and loaned 433 cameras and lenses combined.
We showcased a few of our technologies – some current and some in development
Film is our heritage and therefore we spend a lot of time developing (pun not intended) our film simulation modes for our digital cameras. The latest film simulation mode we have released is Classic Chrome and it is available on the new X100T, X30 and will be made available via a firmware update for the X-T1 later this year.
Remote “Multi-shooting” application
Here’s a new app we’re currently working on that allows you to wirelessly control and shoot up to three cameras at one time using the same tablet computer.
Applications for this could be for recording video, creating 3D imagery or shooting event photography.
Since the launch of the X-T1 we have seen some amazingly creative uses people have found for the existing remote shooting app so we hope that this will allow people to be even more creative with their photography.
The Cologne photokina Photowalk
On Saturday night we held a photowalk with X-Photographers Elia Locardi and Ken Kaminesky. 213 people showed up, despite the threat for heavy rain beforehand. Most people brought their own equipment to shoot with and Fujifilm X-T1s and lenses were available for people to borrow if they wished.
We met at the Dom and then walked as a very large group around the cathedral and then across the river to watch the sunset from the East bank. It was a great event and we’re sure everyone enjoyed themselves and made a few new friends that share their love of photography.
These guys even won some prizes by having their names drawn at random:
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Fabiano Dallmeyer , Richard Powazynski, Jens Fricke, Ken Kaminesky, Carl Nasman, Patrick Mayon, Elia Locardi, Florin Lucian Patras and Michael Magner