Technology of the Year: Fujifilm’s X-Trans Sensor (Imaging resource)

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[The X20 arrived at Rico‘s home! See his first samples on Flickr here.]

For our inaugural Camera of the Year Awards, we came up with seven categories we felt spanned most of the great cameras we were privileged to test and review in 2012.” And here are the “The Magnificent Seven“. Let’s begin with point 7, technology of the year:

7) Technology of the Year: Fujifilm’s X-Trans Sensor:

” […] Because the X-Trans pattern includes red and blue pixels in every horizontal line of the array — whereas Bayer-filtered cameras display these two colors only in alternating rows — it can produce more consistently accurate colors and color boundaries. The net result is a real step forward in image resolution and crispness, as well as a more “filmic” look to its image noise pattern. […] With their X-Trans technology, though, they appear to have finally delivered something truly special. In testing the X-Pro1, we found exceptionally sharp images, with clean detail and very few artifacts — and the X-Pro1’s image sharpness was realistic, not oversharpened and rife with halos like we often see in JPEGs from even top DSLRs. […] Everyone talks about the importance of out-of-the-box thinking, but few are willing to endure the struggle that’s needed to bring something truly radical to market. Fujifilm stuck it out, and we’re happy to see them finally enjoying the fruits of their long years of effort and innovation in sensor technology.” Read the whole text here.

X-Trans is probably one of the reasons why Thomson Reuter named Fujifilm to the world’s Top 100 Global Innovators (2012). From the Fujifilm press release: “With this award, Thomson Reuters recognizes the world’s top 100 companies that strive to protect inventions via intellectual property rights and lead the world with innovative discoveries and initiatives, based on the concept of regarding patent activity and other intellectual properties as an indicator of technological innovations and future trends.

… and here are the other imaging resource winners:

1) Overall Camera of the Year: Sony RX1 (BHphoto / Adorama / your Amazon / ebay)

2) Compact System Camera of the Year: Olympus OM-D E-M5 (BHphoto / Adorama / your Amazon / ebay)

Not the winner, but close enough, the X-PRO1. Imaging resource says: “Quality prime lenses and a tack-sharp sensor come together with a unique hybrid optical viewfinder to form the Fujfilm X-Pro1, a digital camera built exclusively for enthusiast photographers. The X-Pro1 really hits the nail on the head, driving deep into high-ISO territory with tack-sharp images. Its controls and feature set are also ideal for the target market, and its available lenses are reasonably priced, small, well-made, and light weight. We found it to be a terrific photographic tool, easy to control, and a joy to use.”

3) Enthusiast DSLR of the Year: Canon 5D Mark III (BHphoto / Adorama / your Amazon / ebay)

4) Pro Camera of the Year: Canon 1D X (BHphoto / Adorama / your Amazon / ebay)

5) Pocket Camera of the Year: Sony RX100 (BHphoto / Adorama / your Amazon / ebay)… let’s see if the X20 can endanger the RX100 next year edition of the imaging resource award.

6) Entry-Level Interchangeable Lens Camera of the Year: Nikon D3200 (BHphoto / Adorama / your Amazon / ebay)

Here is a list of all Fuji X-series cameras with X-Trans sensor

Check in Stock info and price at
Fuji X-E1: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay Fuji X-PRO1: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay Fuji X100s: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay Fuji X20: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay

X100s: AmazonUS / BHphoto / Adorama / AmazonDE / AmazonUK
X20: AmazonUS (blacksilver) / BHphoto (blacksilver) / Adorama (blacksilver) / AmazonUK (blacksilver) / ebayITA /  / AmazonDE / AmazonITA /

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X100s: High ISO review at Brian Krafts website

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Keep the X100 or jump to the X100s? Brian says that, if you shoot in low light, you should definitely buy the new Fuji X100s. It’s a huge improvement to the previous model and “I have to say that I am quite impressed with the usability of these files.

Click here to see the High ISO 25,600 shot with different noise reduction (NR) settings.

Remember that Brian updates continuously his X100s review with PROS and CONS and images.

X100s: AmazonUS / BHphoto / Adorama / AmazonDE / AmazonUK
X20: AmazonUS (blacksilver) / BHphoto (blacksilver) / Adorama (blacksilver) / AmazonUK (blacksilver) / ebayITA /  / AmazonDE / AmazonITA /

image courtesy: Brian Kraft – ISO 25,600 NR at 0

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New Zeiss X-mount lenses to be announced soon?

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While we are still waiting to get some news about the future X cameras we may soon get new X-mount lenses! Not from Fuji…from Zeiss! Some sources confirmed that Zeiss will announce three new X-mount primes in early April. Those are the 12mm f/2.8, 32mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/2.8. All priced at around 1.000 Euro and all with electronic Aperture and Autofocus control.

Two of the lenses may a bit too close to current Fuji offerings. The 12mm f/2.8 Zeiss will be a tiny bit wider but also more expensive than our Fuji 14mm f/2.8 (Price check at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay). And the 32mm f/1.8 will be slower and more expensive than the already very good Fuji 35mm f/1.4 (Price check at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay). At the end the 50mm f/2.8 is likely the most unique lens within the X range.

Now it’s up to you….

Which equivalent focal length would you prefer?

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X100s: PROS and CONS at Brian Kraft

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Brian Kraft continuously updates his post about the X100s with images and PROS and CONS here.

Here some PROS:

  • AF improvement… Is it what you’d expect from the latest and greatest DSLRs? Do you really expect it to be? In some respects it is as good, but probably not quite in all– as it’s very different. At least if I’m comparing to my Canon 5D Mark III cameras, which are quite sophisticated in tracking motion, etc. That’s what I have to compare to and probably an unfair comparison.[…]
  • Being able to preview your photo in the viewfinder for .5 seconds is like a fresh of breath air to me. On the X100, the shortest preview time was 1.5 seconds or not at all.[…]
  • A much shorter minimum focusing distance (with AF) in non-macro mode! Fuji says it’s been reduced to 21 centimeters or 8.25 inches at that seems to be what I’m getting.
  • The manual focusing ring is way more responsive.[…]
  • Switching between AF and MF, with the re-ordering of the switch on the X100s is wonderful.
  • You can now switch between photo previews in a zoomed-in state. If you want to closely examine photos for detail on the LCD or EVF, you can now scroll through various photos with that same view, whereas with the X100, you had to zoom all the way back out, proceed to the next photo, then zoom back in on that one–making it almost impossible to properly compare any photos in that way.[…]

The CONS:

  • This does not apply to RAW shooters, but for those that enjoy shooting jpegs, this may apply. Now, I say may, because this is very much an opinion and personal preference. I’ve noticed that when I had the X100s set to standard (0) noise reduction and I shot jpegs at 3200 and even more so at 6400, and even higher, that I was not wild about the way the camera was cleaning the image up. Less noise can be a nice thing oftentimes, but it’s  the trade off that I’m not quite loving–when set at 0. To my eye, it’s almost a smearing of detail–an almost plastic-y look–the way someone may heavy-handedly over-use the noise reduction in a program like Lightroom. It’s not something I initially noticed zoomed in at all. In fact, I think it’s even more apparent when viewing without zooming in. Now, the nice thing is the X100S allows you to set among 5 different levels of noise reduction +2, +1, 0, -1, and -2. I just did a test at ISO 3200 and 6400 settings and shot the same thing, using all 5 levels across the 10 photos and happily I can already tell that I will be able to find the happy balance that works for me. I need to spend more time with it, but I think I’ll keep mine set on at least a -1 NR. I don’t mind a little noise and, in fact, quite enjoy the quality of noise that the X100S has– at least at ISO 3200 and 6400. I’ll need to do further testing to see what my impressions are at the even higher ISOs and what effect the different NR settings do for me.[…]
  • […]On the X100, that button was called the RAW button and after a few firmware updates, it became customizable and was the perfect way for me to toggle the ND filter on and off. Now, with the X100S, you have to dive into the menus to toggle the ND filter on and off. I’m not happy about that and I do hope a firmware update can address that and add the ND filter to the Q button options. I do realize that the function button can be assigned to the ND filter, but I like that assigned to my ISO.[…]

X100s: AmazonUS / BHphoto / Adorama / AmazonDE / AmazonUK (will be shipped on March 11, according to R. Bachmann)
X20: AmazonUS (blacksilver) / BHphoto (blacksilver) / Adorama (blacksilver) / AmazonUK (blacksilver) / ebayITA /  / AmazonDE / AmazonITA /

image courtesy: Brian Kraft (PROS and CONS / initial photos / more photos)

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