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miXed Zone: XF14mm review by Mike Kobal… and more

XF 14mm

Mike Kobal just received his XF14mm. After a couple of days shooting with it he says that:

“… I found AF speed to be right in between the 18mm and the 35mm. It sometimes struggles in extreme low light, just like the 35mm (latest firmware installed for all lenses and body)…. Capable of achieving insane depth of field when zone focusing: This is where this lens really shines, incredible depth of field already at f4 and it is possible to get everything “in focus” from 5 feet to infinity, the hyperfocal distance extends with smaller apertures. At f8, everything will appear “in focus” from infinity to about 2.5 feet.”

You can read it all (and I’m sure you’ll like some of his beautiful shots too) at his website here.

XF14mm in stock status check: AmazonUS/ B&H / Adorama / Amazon GERMANY / Amazon ITALY / or on ebay worldwide via slidoo

X-E1

Read the review of tech.blogsvoice.com: They liked  “the improved autofocus speeds that Fuji’s new firmware brings, coupled with the 18-55mm kit lens, make this a fantastic camera to easily take on its DSLR rivals” and  “there’s not many things to dislike about the camera, with just a few small niggles keeping it from perfection. It would be nice to have seen a touchscreen, while the autofocus speed when using other lenses could do with being improved.

For the detailed digitalcamerainfo review click here.

X-PRO1

After six weeks with the X-PRO1, Rodney makes his considerations about it: “I know I had a few gripes, and most of them were things I knew going into this, but none of them are show-stoppers. None of them make me regret my purchase. At all. In fact, I absolutely love this camera and I want to use it as much as possible. It just makes me long for the day when these short comings don’t exist any longer and I can seriously consider delegating the DSLR for niche stuff (like shooting my kid’s soccer game, something I don’t think a mirrorless is going to handle for a long time).Read it all and see his shots here.

The styling is great, the handling is great, the autofocus is decent for a contrast detection based system, the sensor is relatively huge for such a small body and in my opinion packs just the right number of megapixels (16).  Crucially, the lenses are excellent (aherm, Sony) which makes the XF system such a great one.  To me, great lenses are the foundation of any system because they’re the pieces of equipment you carry over from one body to the next.  The JPG processing in-camera is good, but I’m still going to continue shooting raw because that leaves me the option of processing in-camera afterwards and because I believe raw support will improve.” Read it all and see the sunrise shots in Liverpool here at digitalrelish.

Read Tobias’ way to the X-PRO1 and his PROS and CONS in German here (translated version)

The winter in Montreal captured with the X-PRO1 at laroquephoto

XF1

Read the review of thephoblographer here.

online storage with bitcasa

Sylvain wrote me an email. He told me about bitcasa, a new online storage service. Bitcasa has no limit in space or number of files and no limits with file size. And if you subscribe in February you pay $69/year instead of $99/year. They have a free 10Gb limited account if one want to try. Take a look at the introduction video here or go to the bitcasa website here.

The performance of Carl Zeiss & Leica M lenses on the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 by Jan Vogelaar

This friday we have a guest author here on Fujirumors. It’s Jan Vogelaar, author of various books like “Contarex, Contax G & Leica M Lenses Guide to Digital Imaging on the Fujifilm X-Pro1” [ebay (click here) or at camerabooks (click here)]. He was so kind to send me an extract of his book.

And don’t worry, Rico Pfirstinger is working on the next X-pert corner articles. Many articles of the X-pert corner are based on Rico’s book “Mastering the FUJIFILM X-Pro1” (Kindle Edition) (Apple iBook Store) (German version)”. As you may know, Rico is writing all his articles on Fujirumors for free. It would be great if you’d support his great work by purchasing his book. And thanks to all those who already did it.

But now, enjoy Jan Vogelaar’s review. The 35mm lenses tested here are: Fujinon XF35mm / Carl Zeiss Contax G Planar 2.0/35mmCarl Zeiss Biogon ZM 2.0/35mm / Leica Summicron M 2.0/35mm

Thanks Jan!

A book review by Jan Vogelaar

The development of photographic lenses cannot be complete without Carl Zeiss AG. It was Ernst Abbe of the Zeiss Company who first applied scientific principles to the lens design process, rather than relying on trial-and-error experience.

Ever since the lens design principles by Zeiss are given special names, which nowadays, some for more than a century later, are still used: Tessar (1902), Planar (1896), Sonnar (1929), Biogon (1951) and Distagon (1958). In many ways the history of Carl Zeiss AG is the history of photographic lenses. Carl Zeiss has acquired an excellent reputation for its lens quality, mechanically as well as optically.

Another relevant aspect is illustrated in the next picture, showing the light beam projection angle of the Retrofocus and the Biogon lens design. The angle α-1 of the Retrofocus lens is much sharper than the angle α-2 of the Biogon design lens.

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Granted permission by Zeiss, full owner of the biogon and distagon design name and (former) patents

Thus, the edge light beams hit the sensor with an angle of 90o minus α-1 for the Retrofocus design and for the Biogon: 90o minus α-2 degrees.

Imagine a small light beam that hits the sensor activating green collecting pixels and the next beam of the same color hits the red collecting pixels next to it, and then a green/magenta color shift may occur.

The sharper the hitting angles the more chance there is for this color shift. This phenomenon occurs with some Biogon (ánd other) lenses.

Although this is not a complete scientific explanation, now you can understand the origin of the different color shifts that now and then appear in your digital pictures more often with the Biogon type of lens design. All colors should be in focus in exactly the same plane e.g. the sensor’s plane.

PIXEL COUNT & RESOLUTION

The requirements for the sensor’s resolution primarily depend on what purpose the photographer has with his pictures. If the aim is to obtain a picture file for maximum enlargement then the maximum resolution is required. The pixel race is mainly a marketing tool, easy to write about and the general public believes the more pixels the better. However, the number of pixels is most relevant for the size of the picture to be printed. 12 mega pixels are sufficient for any 10” x 18” print.

From a resolution point of view the actual pixels pitch and the optical performance of the lens might well be much more relevant for the registration of finest details in the image. In other words, if the lens resolution is capable to define a 6 micron sized detail, the resolution for the sensor should be capable to do the same. The pixel pitch for a 15 – 20 Mp sensor is app. 6 microns.

Definition: The pixel pitch is the distance in mm between the centers of two neighboring pixels in the pixel array.

Today’s sensors are approaching the capabilities of the best lens designs, at least that is the message that lens designers are now broadcasting.

The main factors limiting the lens performance are:

  • Aberrations, which lens-designers try to improve ánd
  • Diffraction, which basically is a physical phenomenon.

Aberrations: spherical, coma, axial chromatic, astigmatism, field curvature, are very hard to eliminate
with the high-speed lenses.

Diffraction is an optical effect, which softens the total resolution of the photography, no matter how many megapixels the sensor has.

The designer’s success determines how much resolution and contrast is captured. If the aperture is opened wider, the aberrations are increasing with the bigger aperture openings.

Conclusion: The most relevant parameters, that limit the lens performance, given a particular picture size, are the best optical design and the aperture opening. In general: the aperture openings smaller than F = 16 or 22 already come close to the diffraction limitations.

Definition: Light travels in straight lines, however it begins to disperse or diffract when it is squeezed through a narrow opening e.g. the camera’s aperture.

We will leave the technical and physical background information for what it is and now concentrate on what the purpose of this article is:

The goal is to review and determine the real life and practical results and compare the results achieved with a variety of Zeiss Contarex, Zeiss Contax G and Leica M mount lenses. By showing the results for each lens at full opening, at f = 5.6 (on the table) and at f = 8 the variable of diffraction is not really relevant.

ADAPTERS

A wide variety of adapters are produced, for the Sony Nex mount, the Olympus 4/3rd and micro 4/3rd mount and for the Fujifilm X mount. At the lens end virtually every mount is available:

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Alpa / C mount (ø 25 mm) / Canon EF / Canon FD / Contarex / Contax & Yashica / Contax G1 & G2 / Exakta / Leica M / Leica R / Leica screw (ø 39 mm) / M42 screw (ø 42 mm 1 mm pitch) / Minolta MD / Nikon F / Nikon G / Olympus 4/3rd / Olympus OM / Pentax PK / Rollei / Sony / T2 (ø 42 mm 0.75 mm pitch)

The main adapter producers are: In Germany: Novoflex, Voigtländer, in China & Japan: Kipon, Metabones, Rainbowimaging, Rayqual and Photodiox.

Furthermore Fujifilm introduced in June 2012 already a fully coupled Leica M adapter including the focal length selection for the Fuji X Pro 1. The design prevents collapsible Leica lenses hitting the interior of the camera.

The Fujinon XF lenses are newly designed for the APS C sensor. Al other lenses in the book however are originally designed for film. Even many new lenses on the digital market today are a modification of film design lenses.

The scores for all lenses are given on a scale of 1 to 10 for sharpness and brilliance, 10 is best. For Color fringing and color aberration the score is also on a scale of 1 to 10. 10 equals totally absent.

All material is produced in a timespan of about 2 to 3 hours and no post-processing for aberrations or sharpness is performed. All files are .jpg from Photoshop and/or the Fuji .jpg in camera engine.

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The Fujinon XF lenses are newly designed for the APS C sensor. Al other lenses in the book however are originally designed for film. Even many new lenses on the digital market today are a modification of film design lenses. These considerations made me select the new Fujinon XF lens for the standard.

THE FUJINON XF 1.4/35 MM PERFORMANCE (specs&price)

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This very fast Fujinon XF 1.4/35 mm lens is a pleasure to use. Not the most compact, but still light weighted and an excellent performer.

The center is at f = 1.4 already very sharp: excellent. The very minimal light fall off disappears in one stop. There is minimal chromatic aberration in the very far corner only at f = 1.4. Stopped down to f = 5.6 the chromatic aberrations disappears completely even in the very far corners.

An easy to handle, very fast wide-angle lens living up to all expectations.

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Center crop Fujinon XF 1.4/35 mm at f = 1.4

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Corner crop Fujinon XF 1.4/35 mm at f = 1.4

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Center crop Fujinon XF 1.4/35 mm at f = 8

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Corner crop Fujinon XF 1.4/35 mm at f = 8

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THE CARL ZEISS CONTAX G PLANAR 2.0/35 MM PERFORMANCE (ebay worldwide via slidoo)

** CLICK HERE to Read the Rest of the Article **

X100s + X20 impressions at whatdigitalcamera (videos)

Here are part 1 and part 2 of the whatdigitalcamera interview with Jim Marks, who had his hands on both cameras (X100s and X20). To keep it short: well done Fuji :-)!

Thanks a lot for the links, Stefan!

… or click here for the article at the website of whatdigitalcamera.

part 1

part 2

PREORDER

X100s: AmazonUS / BHphoto / Adorama / AmazonUK

X20: AmazonUS (blacksilver) / BHphoto (blacksilver) / Adorama (blacksilver) / AmazonUK (blacksilver) / ebayITA

X-E1 review of Alexander at Steve Huff

castel photo castel_zps31579926.jpg

image courtesy: Alexander Hessentswey (via stevehuff)

Let’s start from the end, when Alexander says that his favorite X-system review is the one of riflessifotografici (translated version) [posted on FR here… also Simon Peckman says it here.. read Simon’s X-E1 review here (with studio shots)]. Then Alexander put his effort into writing his own review. The result is well worth a read (click here)!

The X-E1 (+ 35mm lens) is not a good camera for sport photography and in reportage you need to be quick. But after updating with the latest firmware?

“After some testing I see significant improvement over the autofocus accuracy and speed with 35mm f:1.4 (the only system lens I have), I’ve tested it in the same very conditions in which it focused slowly and failed time to time with the old firmware. Now I had no problems focusing and the camera becomes relatively fast (except for totally non-contrasty objects in really dim light which can be difficult for most of the cameras) and not a hyper-snail like it was before. For me, it makes X-E1 much more acceptable in real life using.”

The review is well written and there are some beautiful shots! He offers some pracital tips, quotes Rico’s X-pert article about the DR (read it here) and much more:

“Fuji tends to set you a +1 stop ISO value because it tends to overexpose 1/3 to 1 stop, while preserving the highlights, however. Make sure you prefer the exposure set by your camera, or if not add the exposure compensation -1/3 or more, or set the ISO value by hand. As with every camera, try to keep ISO as low as possible, but not ISO100 (it’s artificial pull-process from 200) [there is an X-pert corner article about it! read it here]. Noice reduction may be a little bit too aggressive, so in a good light prefer -2 and in low light check what works better: 0 or -2, it depends. Post processing will give you better sharpness control so +1 can be used only in good light (and mostly isn’t recommended). For better details you can try Sharpness -2 (sic!) and compare with 0. If you want good details, try to stay inside ISO 200-800 or 200-1250. But it’s Fuji, so don’t be afraid to enlarge ISO up to 6400 and more if the shot needs it – chances are, you’ll get quite usable and fair detailed photo.”

Read it all here at Steve Huff’s site.

P.S.: You may remember that some users reported (and emailed me) that the firmware update made the lens noisier (X-E1 body vs 1.04 + XF35 vs 2.02 / X-PRO1 body vs 2.03). Alexander says that “it was tested that 1.04 WITHOUT 2.02 causes AF noice, but WITH 2.02 works good.” I’ve read the comments to my firmware post here. Some user had noise problems after updating the X-PRO1, but the lens update solved the problem. Other have different experience.

Here are some of them:

Shane: “Having read the comments of the noisy and slower AF, I proceeded to ONLY update the camera body. AND…. the AF was noticeably noisier!!! Not sure about slower, but definitely noisier. I went to update the lens to 2.02! Wow, the Noisy AF went away! One can only conclude that some of those having the noisy AF problems might have accidentally downloaded the old version of the Firmware update (hence their version number might not have changed). Could be a cached problem with the page, or user error, since the links on Fuji’s page are so horribly positioned.

Taz: “Just updated my X-PRO 1 & lens.. Focusing seems faster, but the lens makes louder noise now…….”

Kuba: “After update my 35/1.4 is LESS NOISY than before.”

Mads: “Just updated the X-E1 and the 35 1.4 in that order to 1.04 and 2.02. Lens seems snappier and backlit images are focused faster. Not bad. BUT – here we go: The good old and VERY distinct aperture chatter is back, going on with it’s slight but noticeable series of clicking sounds every time I move the camera around in shooting mode. Happens at all apertures.”

CH: “Everything works fine – speed and accuracy improved. No “extra” noise. x-pro1 / 35mm 1.4”

You can read Rico’s “Tips for Updating your Firmware” at the X-pert corner!

[UPDATE] XF 14mm: first impressions of dslrmagazine, phoblographer, Olaf and dc.watch

[Update:] The Spanish dslrmagazine posted right now his XF 14mm review. Read it here (translated version)

image courtesy: dslrmagazine

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1) The phoblographer published his first impressions of the XF14mm (specs&price). You can read them here. From the conclusions:

“In our tests so far, we’re fairly impressed with the image quality but still don’t think that this lens can touch the 35mm f1.4. However, we love the fact that Fujifilm decided to put a working depth of field scale on this lens. The build quality is also the best of the X series lenses released so far. We’re a bit disappointed with the autofocus performance on the X-Pro1, so far, with the latest firmware updates.”

image courtesy: phoblographer
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2) I’ve received this mail from Fujirumors reader Olaf: “[…] I have just published sample images taken with the XF 14mm F2.8. Please feel free to share them with your readers. Regards, Olaf.”

“Since I sold my SLR gear and started shooting exclusively with X-series cameras I have started enjoying photography once again. I spend less time playing with menus and settings and focus instead on light and composition. The biggest drawback of the system so far has been the lack of wide-angle lenses – my favourite perspective. But my problem has been solved. This weekend I picked up the latest Fuji lens – XF 14mm F2.8. What a lens it is!”

Read the whole article and see Olaf’s shots on his website here!

Please note that these are sample images without any distortion correction applied. Processed in Capture One 7 and Lightroom 4.”

image courtesy: Olaf

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3) Last but not least, the dc.watch article here (translated version)

[ XF14mm in stock status check: AmazonUS/ B&H / Adorama / Amazon GERMANY / Amazon ITALY / or on ebay worldwide via slidoo ]