Have I found my ultimate camera?

A couple of years ago, I started – and completed – a 365 project. I not only took a picture everyday for a year, I also wrote a daily blog to accompany those pictures. You can still read it here if you’re interested.

Any photographer who has completed a 365 project will draw different conclusions from the process. It taught me to see photographs everywhere I looked, it confirmed that photography is the greatest hobby/job on earth and it also made me realise that I didn’t have a true ‘go anywhere and everywhere’ camera. My 365 was completed using a variety of different bits of kit. Some Fujifilm, some not – I just tended to shoot with what I had handy. And that annoyed the hell out of me.

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Impressive sharpness at a higher ISO. 1/45sec at f/4, ISO 1600

Ever since then, I’ve been looking for a camera that can accompany me everywhere I go; a camera that I can have a relationship with, a camera that I can learn to use intuitively, a camera that if I spend enough time with it I’ll know exactly how it’s going to perform in any given situation. Stop me if this is sounding a bit weird.

That ideal camera isn’t a DSLR or a CSC (too big), it isn’t the X100S either (I’m just not that disciplined), but every since I was handed an X30 a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had the feeling that my search is over. It’s early days, of course, we’re still in the honeymoon period, but after three weeks of carrying Fujifilm’s latest premium zoom compact everywhere with me, here are three things I love about my new magnesium-bodied mate…

1) The viewfinder
We all like the Real Time viewfinder in the X-T1, right? Well the X30 has got one too and it’s just as good. OK, it’s not as big, but the detail is there, the pre-visualisation of camera functions is there and the orientation sensor is there – no matter which way you hold the camera, the shooting information stays at the bottom of the frame. Some detractors have suggested that the lack of optical viewfinder makes the front of the camera look slabby and ugly. They’re wrong.

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Great vibrancy on the greens. 1/150sec at f/3.2, ISO 400

2) The customisation
One of very few failings of the X100S is the fact that there’s only one customisable function button, the same issue afflicted the X10 and X20. But the X30 has six buttons that can have functions re-assigned. Not only that, there’s also a Control Ring around the zoom barrel that has further customisable functionality. This is a great move. I don’t use Wi-Fi very often, so that button has been re-assigned to control the ISO instead. I’ve done the same with other buttons, although I have occasionally forgotten what I’ve assigned to what. This is down to my advancing years, nothing more.

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Wide maximum aperture makes it easy to focus attention on certain parts of the frame. 1/75sec at f/2.8, ISO 400

3) The picture quality
The X30 doesn’t need a one-inch sensor. ⅔-inch does just fine. That 28-112mm lens is lovely and sharp, too and gives me just the right amount of framing versatility. It’s an X100S for lazy people, sort of.

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Impressive macro, great colours. 1/50sec at f/2.8, ISO 400

Only time will tell if the X30 is going to be my ideal camera, whether we’re going to walk off into the sunset, hand in (much larger) handgrip, but in the early stages of our relationship, I have to admit that we’re getting on famously. It could be the one…

Fujifilm at Photokina 2014!

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

Shot by Kevin Mullins at f/2 and 1/32000th in bright sunlight using Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Kevin Mullins using the X100T at f/2 and 1/32000th using 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.

Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation
Image by Alex Lambrechts using the X30 with new Classic Chrome film simulation

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 full X line-up

Additionally, behind a glass cabinet we had the entire range lined up (click the image below for a larger display)

Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge
Full X series lineup. Click to enlarge

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

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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.

Technologies

We showcased a few of our technologies – some current and some in development

Film simulation
Fujifilm Film Simulations
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.

Electronic rangefinder
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Here’s what the Hybrid Viewfinder in the X100T looks like. Learn more about the X100T Electronic Rangefinder here.

Lens coating demo
Nano GI comparison demoAlthough it’s pretty hard to see in this photo, here we demonstrate the lens coating on the new XF50-140. It has a special coating applied to reduce the amount of light that is reflected away.
Learn more about the technology that goes into the XF50-140mm lens, including Nano GI technology, here.

Remote “Multi-shooting” application
tech-multi-shoot 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

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:photowalk-prize-winners

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Fabiano Dallmeyer , Richard Powazynski, Jens Fricke, Ken Kaminesky, Carl Nasman, Patrick Mayon, Elia Locardi, Florin Lucian Patras and Michael Magner

Participants soohting the padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
Participants shooting padlocks on the bridge (image by Naomi Locardi)
An after-dark image by Naomi Locardi
After-dark (image by Naomi Locardi)
Me, being mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA... (image also by Naomi Locardi)
And finally me, being unwittingly mocked by Justin from Fujifilm USA… (image also by Naomi Locardi)

Many more photos from participants of the event have uploaded and will continue to be added to the Google Plus public event here: https://plus.google.com/events/chu5ri84smk6smt9ags8inu36l4

Fujifilm X Live

For more photos from the whole photokina event, and to keep up to date in real time with future events like this, please check out our Social Media accounts:

– http://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://twitter.com/FujifilmXLive
– http://instagram.com/FujifilmXLive