Fujifilm has been quite the brand the last few years, with the introductions of mirrorless APS-C cameras X-Pro 1 and X100. These cameras revolutionized the digital market, appealing to traditional rangefinder photographers (myself included). I’ve been a Leica M shooter, using an M6 with film, and it’s a system I love and can’t seem to abandon. However, my employment at Englewood Camera allows me the unique opportunity to demo gear when it comes in, and I was very fortunate to take a Fujifilm X-T1 with a few lenses to Europe this month. I can’t say enough positive things about this system–and though I haven’t made the commitment yet, I’m definitely one step closer.
Sony is starting shipments on the brand new A7 Mark II–the latest in its full-frame mirrorless camera lineup. Put your name on Englewood Camera’s waitlist today!
With innovative new products, there’s an instant film revolution happening all across the country! Englewood Camera carries instant film products from both Fujifilm and Impossible Project, including cameras and film. However, Fujifilm recently developed the Instax Share SP-1 printer–a very cool, very compact device that prints instant photos on Mini Instax film–directly from your WiFi enabled tablet or phone! We decided to test drive the printer and show you fun examples of how it works!
Here’s what we found:
Englewood Camera is pleased to announce that we are currently offering the new Petzval 85mm f/2.2 lens from Lomography. Last year, Lomography launched a Kickstarter campaign to recreate a classic portrait lens, based off of 19th century design, for modern digital cameras. This campaign was largely successful, and Lomo started shipping these brass lenses in August 2014. We received our first shipment, and staffer Erin Brinkley-Burgardt took the lens out for testing over Labor Day weekend. For portrait photographers, the results are absolutely stunning.
Englewood Camera employee (and Sony guru) Holli G. took the new A77 Mark II with the 16-50mm f/2.8 for a test drive last night. Her preliminary thoughts on this camera are very positive; while aimed at a prosumer market, the A77 Mark II handles very much like an A99.
In December, Tamron USA announced the launch of an exciting new super telephoto lens: the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD for digital SLR cameras. Some of the features of this lens include:
- Cutting edge e-BAND coating (extended bandwith and angular-dependency) to significantly reduce unwanted light reflections that cause flare and ghosting
- Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilization
- USD Ultrasonic Drive for fast, accurate autofocus
- 9 blade aperture ring for gorgeous background blur effects
- Employs 20 elements in 13 groups: delivers a superior balance of resolution and contrast for sharp, clear images
- Contains three LD (Low Dispersion) glass elements (two in the first group, one in the third) in the front group for enhanced optical correction effectiveness, enabling the lens to thoroughly compensate for on-axis aberrations at the telephoto end
- Upgraded cosmetic design with tungsten silver brand ring and new rubber grips for the focus and zoom
Englewood Camera is expecting shipments of this lens in Canon mount soon, and we hope to see Nikon mount lenses in April! Please call us or stop by the store to add your name to our pre-order list. The Tamron 150-600mm will retail for $1069.99.
Back in May, we posted a review on the Fujifilm X100s camera. This was our most viewed post in Englewood Camera’s blogging history, but since we’ve changed our blog URL, we decided to share the review on our new site.
At this point, Englewood Camera has sold more than 45 of these popular cameras; this has been our best selling camera in such a short amount of time. The X100s first hit the shelves at the end of March 2013. Englewood Camera currently has the X100s in stock, but hurry! These cameras don’t stay on the shelves for long. Cheers!
By Erin Brinkley-Burgardt
I was lucky and able to borrow a Fujifilm X100s, the newest and highly coveted camera in Fuji’s X-Series lineup for a recent trip to San Diego, California. For the past 5 years, I have been shooting a Canon 5D and 5D Mark II full-frame DSLR, which we all know is a cumbersome setup. I’ve lugged my camera gear across the world, shooting with heavy L-series lenses. For the last year, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Fuji X-Series system, contemplating a smaller, lighterweight digital system, but I haven’t taken the plunge because of the APS-C sensor size. Never one to compromise quality, I’ve packed around (what feels like but probably isn’t) 50lbs of camera equipment to ensure the best images I can make. For this trip, I was offered a loaner X100s camera, and could not say no!
A blurb about the Fuji X100s: this camera is a compact, with an SLR type APS-C sensor, 23mm f/2 lens, and a optical/digital viewfinder reminiscent of classic rangefinder cameras. This is the replacement for Fuji’s first camera of this type, the X100, and Fuji made some serious upgrades with this new model. The camera has a 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS Sensor, similar to the X-Pro 1 and XE-1 models in the line-up, but added a new feature on the sensor called on-chip phase detection, which allows faster auto focus (a big improvement from the X100). In addition, Fujifilm added a new processor, the EXR Processor II, for overcoming lens diffraction and peripheral aberrations. Fujifilm also added two tools for more accurate manual focus–focus peaking and digital split image focusing. The first, focus peaking, is a display that outlines the in-focus elements. Digital Split Image Focusing, on the other hand, shows a black and white area within the viewfinder, much like old viewfinders, that line up when in focus. You can find a full review, with the technical specs, on dpreview.com.
So, back to my review.
Once again, I loaded my Domke inserts into my Chrome bag to travel. I packed my 5D Mark II with two lenses and flash, and my Leica M6 with some film, and slipped the Fuji X100s into my pack. I was fortunate to have a rental car and not have to trek around on foot with all of this gear! My first day of shooting was along the southern California coast; I stopped at Laguna Beach to check out the tide pools, and slowly unpacked my bag, pulling out the 5D Mark II first. After shooting some frames with the Canon, I packed it away and settled on the X100s–and didn’t put it away the rest of my trip!
I started using the X100s in manual mode, controlling the shutter speeds and aperture myself, but it didn’t take long for me to switch to aperture priority. Though both the optical and electronic viewfinder on the X100s are clear and easy to view, I had a difficult time reading the light meter. It’s located on the left side of the viewfinder, and is a white overlay–a bad combination for those of us used to a green meter over solid black.
The response time of the auto focus, plus the response of the shutter was very quick. There is a slight delay with the shutter, but it definitely didn’t slow me down or bother me at all. The X100s is fantastic for street, travel or landscape photography–the lens is sharp, rivaling my L-series glass on the Canon. The color straight out of the camera is spot on; where my Canon leans towards the warm color spectrum, the Fuji remains neutral. In post, I didn’t have to adjust the color, or sharpness, at all. This is a welcome relief, as I prefer to shoot as best as possible in camera to cut back on post production time.
I never had time to test out the original X100, but from the reviews I’ve read and complaints I’ve heard, the X100s is a definite upgrade. I played around with the manual focus, using the Digital Split Image Focusing setting, and found it easy to use and quick to focus. I struggle with manual focus on most digital cameras because I can’t see what I’m focusing on very well. The split image lines up much like a rangefinder, and I’m used to that type of manual focus from my Leica. I mainly experimented with manual focus in lower light situations, as the auto focus preformed very well in daylight.
Let’s look at some example shots I made with the X100s. This first image was shot in macro mode, which works very well and retains detail across the frame. I was very impressed. The new X-Trans sensor eliminates color moire as far as I can tell, and the dynamic range is solid (good detail in the highlight and shadow areas across the image). Click on the images to see full size.
Another look from my examples was from an afternoon spent in Encinitas, CA, just north of San Diego. This is one of my favorite beaches–it’s home to surfers and not often crowded. There were kids taking surfing lessons after school, so I hung around to make some images of the surfers and the landscape. For this shooting situation, I was grateful for the X100s. My Canon would have been very obtrusive in making candid photos of people. The Fuji is quiet, small, and doesn’t look like much, so I went undetected in my picture making. In the picture below, the subjects were walking about 5 feet in front of me.
I also tested the X100s’ performance in low-light conditions. I visited the Bernardo Winery, one of the oldest wineries in California, and made some photos in their tasting room. The only lighting in this room came from a few old wine bottles that had been made into lights, and from natural light coming in through a few windows. I upped the ISO between 800 and 1250, and shot a few images hand held. Below is one example, shot at ISO 800, at 1/60s, f/2.8. The image is sharp, and retains detail throughout the whole image.
Here’s another example of glass grapes with lights, shot at ISO 1250, 1/60s at f/2.0. Pretty impressive for a wide-open aperture and faster ISO.
I also tried out a long-exposure with the X100s. While I was in California, I drove towards Palm Springs and stopped off of I-10 and Twenty Nine Palms Road in Desert Hot Springs to photograph the windmills by night. Silly me forgot a cable release, but I set the camera on the roof of my car to shoot a 30 second exposure of the windmills (with I-10 in the foreground). I was very impressed with the results. The reflection is from the car roof, but has an effect similar to water.
Now for a landscape shot that I wasn’t totally impressed with. I love to photograph palm trees; I spent my childhood in California, and palm trees are one thing I miss living in Colorado. The first shot below was taken with the X100s. It looks good at first glance, but look at the zoomed in version. There is definitely a loss of detail at infinity when comparing the shot with a similar version shot with my 5D Mark II.
This is the full image from the X100s. When cropped in (below), you can see a loss of detail in the palm leaves, as well as a halo effect around the trunks of the trees.
This is a similar shot from my Canon EOS 5D Mark II with an EF 85mm f/1.2L.
You’ll notice that the crop from a full-frame camera is much more usable. There’s detail in the palm leaves, and no halo effect.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the quality straight of camera on the X100s. This is definitely a professional grade camera, and a good companion for street photographers and landscape/travel photographers (aside from the limitations seen above). 35mm is my go-to focal length, and is perfect for street and travel photography. I’d love to test this out at a wedding–I think the compact size and quiet shutter would allow for great candid shots. Again, I did not alter the color or sharpness of these images in post production; everything was shot in RAW and converted to JPG in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.
Englewood Camera sells the X100s for $1299.99 and is the Premiere Elite dealer of Fuji products in the Denver metro area. The cameras have been coming in and going out the door very quickly, so call for availability and to possibly have your name added to a wait list.
If you want to check out the archive on Englewood Camera’s previous blog, click here.
The latest camera in Fujifilm’s X-Series camera system was announced in June 2013, and we’re pleased to say we’ve just received our first shipment!
The Fujifilm X-M1 has a 16.3 megapixel APS-C sensor with the EXR X-Trans II processor. The camera is available with a brand new Fujifilm XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens for a retail price of $799.99. You can buy the camera in all black, silver and black, or silver and brown.
A few specifications on the X-M1:
- 16.3 megapixel CMOS
- 3″ tilting LCD
- ISO 200 – 6400; expandable to 100 (L) and up to 25,600 (H)
- Face detection and subject-tracking auto focus modes
- Wi-fi enabled for easy file transfer to smartphone, tablet or PC
- 5.6 fps continuous shooting
- FullHD Movie: 1920×1080 at 30fps with built in stereo microphone
- Fully compatible with all XF lenses
The ergonomics of the XM-1 are similar to the other X-Series cameras, namely the X-E1 and X100s, but without a viewfinder. Instead, Fuji has added a 3″ vertically-tilting LCD screen with a 920k dot display. The camera design is catered more towards photo enthusiasts; there are no longer dedicated aperture and shutter controls, but rather a exposure mode dial offering Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Custom, and a few automatic settings instead. This is a great feature for those shopping for a mirrorless camera that is user friendly and simple to use! Fujifilm has been known for the classic-camera look and feel with their X-Series cameras; the X-M1 definitely continues the rangefinder feel with a more modern look, but fits in with the existing X-E1 and X-Pro 1’s as a smaller, simpler camera.
Comparing the X-M1 to it’s siblings in the X-Series lineup, the word that keeps coming up is simple. The buttons and settings on the back of the camera are easy to figure out and use. For example, the X-M1 now has a dedicated movie record button on the back of the camera, comparable to the Olympus and Sony cameras. Second, there’s an arrow pad (like most compact cameras) to control autofocus, white balance, continuous shooting/bracketing, and macro mode; these arrows also function as right/left and up/down movements within playback and the menu. There’s one simple wheel at the top of the thumb grip on the back of the camera to control aperture in both manual and aperture priority modes, or to scroll up and down through the menu. Also on the back is a button “Q” for quick menu; under this menu, the photographer can control a variety of settings, such as ISO, autofocus drive, resolution, picture styles (film simulation), sharpness, and noise reduction. This is a very handy menu to use, and saves time fumbling through the main menu or searching for specific buttons. Lastly, there’s a handy Fn button for custom function at the top of the camera, near the shutter release. This button can be used as a shortcut button, so the user can set it to change film simulation, AE/AF lock, focus mode, face detection, image quality, dynamic range, etc.
Like the X100s, and now the other interchangeable X-cameras because of firmware updates, the X-M1 offers focus peak highlight as a manual focus assist. For those photographers who want precise focus, Fuji has created this technology for accurate focusing on the LCD screen. The contrast of the image becomes intensified, so the sweet spot of your focus is easy to determine–and this means you can quickly focus the lens. While the autofocus is fairly fast, the manual focus is faster than on comparable models. My complaint, however, is that there isn’t a switch to change focus drive (like on the other X-cameras). Instead, the user must change it over in the Quick Menu. The X-M1 doesn’t have a mode for auto and manual focus either, so the focus cannot be fine tuned in autofocus mode. That said, there probably aren’t many users who desire manual focus on this type of camera, and the autofocus has a fast response time.
Fuji has a built-in flash on the X-M1, similar to that on the X-E1. Like all pop-up flashes, the range on this isn’t significant, but the flash works well for fill light and quick snapshots. It also serves as a commander for off-camera flash.
Fuji’s X-M1 joins the mirrorless camera market with similar features to Sony and Olympus, so I decided to test out the camera alongside an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and a Sony NEX-6. For the sake of comparison, I tried to use the LCD screen on the cameras while shooting, as the X-M1 does not have a viewfinder. All three cameras were difficult to use in very bright sunlight, a problem still prevalent with digital cameras. However, the ability to tilt the screen definitely helped. Without this feature, a viewfinder would almost be necessary.
Testing out the Wi-Fi Transfer was an interesting experience; I have an iPhone, and I initially tried to find the network just through my iPhone’s wi-fi settings. It turns out Fuji has an app to download images to your device, so I downloaded the app, and after a few technical difficulties on my part was able to make it work. What I love about the wi-fi transfer is the ability for the X-M1 to automatically downsize the image resolution to fit my iPhone. And the transfer time is relatively quick–we’re talking a few seconds! You can set the camera to automatically transfer photos to your PC, too, so you don’t have to hassle with cords or card readers anymore. You can find the app from Fuji here.
The size of the X-M1 is perfect; there are many times I don’t bring a camera with me places because my equipment takes up too much space! With the X-M1, however, I can carry it with a decent zoom lens (namely the 16-50mm) in my purse and not have to think twice about it. It’s also lightweight, so keeping it in a purse isn’t cumbersome.
Image quality from the X-M1 is a strong rival to the other X-Series cameras, and the new 16-50mm lens is pretty impressive!
Please see a few test shots with data below on the X-M1.
I wanted to see the detail that can be produced by the X-M1 with the kit lens (XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6), so I took this test shot of one of my favorite subjects–my pet pig, Pipsqueak.
This was shot at ISO 200; 1/50s at f/8, 25mm, in aperture priority. The minimum focus distance of the lens is about 8 inches, so I was able to shoot relatively close to my piggy.
When zoomed in, the level of detail is incredible! Though the build quality of the 16-50mm isn’t nearly as solid as the XF lenses in Fuji’s lineup, the quality is great for most practical purposes. See the detail shot below.
Though I shot in RAW + JPG (Fine) resolution, I am happy with how the Fuji’s process jpeg files. I did not alter the color, contrast, sharpness or anything from these files–they are merely downsized for the blog.
A few other samples:
Shot at ISO 200; 1/65s at f/7.1, 35mm
Shot at ISO 200; 1/900s at f/5.6, 50mm
This shot is another one worthy of a crop to see beautiful detail on this sunflower. See below:
After spending some time with this camera, I definitely think Fuji is onto something with this new design. The X-M1 isn’t a professional-grade camera like the X-Pro 1 or X-E1, but is designed to attract a broader customer base. And for good measure; the features are easier to use, the camera is smaller, but the user doesn’t sacrifice any quality with this setup.
Come on in to Englewood Camera to check out this new camera–we have silver/black and all black combinations available today.