X100s: David’s feedback to Fujifilm

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Lucky FR-reader Douglas with his brand new X100s!

David Hobby tested a pre-production X100s in Dubai and, after two weeks testing, he send his feedback to Fujifilm. You can read the whole feedback here at petapixel. Here an extract:

“The chip is fantastic. I was worried that higher pixel density (16mp vs 12 mp) would bring noise problems. Nope, it’s truly awesome. […] Autofocus: Super quick, confidently grabbing focus in low light. […] Fantastic manual focus. The focus peaking works wonderfully. The changed pitch of the manual focus ring was much-welcomed and is, in my opinion, perfect. Bravo. […]”

The story has a happy end… he fell in love and purchased the X100s!

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

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X100s: UK delivery postponed + rolling review + more sample shots

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

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1) What’s this? I told you that the X100s should be available in UK in time for the focus on imaging show. But now I’ve received the following email:

“Hi,fuji have had technical difficulties with the x100s so date has been pushed back a further two weeks,as long as difficulty gets ironed out..no idea what the technical difficulty is but dealers have this two week new timescale. R Bachman”

Can’t tell you what these technical difficulties are. Fact is, the camera should have been available now, but AmazonUK pushed back the delivery date to a vague “usually dispatched within 1 to 2 months”. Let’s hope that shipping times won’t slip also in other countries.

2) Alan sent me the following email: “I’m sure you’ve already heard about this, but just in case… Sean Reid at Reid Reviews (www.reidreviews.com) has started a “rolling review” of the X100S.  A rolling review is one that he updates multiple times as he adds more observations and tests.  His site is subscriptiononly, and I’m not able to provide a direct link to the review.  But your readers might want to be aware of it.  Reid is well known and highly valued for lengthy reviews written from the standpoint of the working photographer, not the pixel-peeper or testbed-jock.  He calls the X100S “one of the most impressive cameras (all aspects considered) that I’ve used in a long time – especially in this price category” and suggests that Andre Kertesz might have taken an interest in it. Hope this is helpful”. Alan also told me that ” he goes into extreme depth -, not with DP Review-style technical reviews but with a real, felt exploration of how a camera is going to perform in the hands of a working photographer.” A subscription is currently $32.95 per year.

Other readers told me that two X100s were available, for a short time, at Calumet in the UK yesterday morning, and the lucky FR-reader Douglas grabbed one.

3) Thanks to Vernon, who posted this link (fujixseries) in the comments, with X100s indoor and high ISO shots of phdezra.

image courtesy: phdezra (Flickr)

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Fujirumors Readers Roundup: XF14mm and more

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– Tom tested the XF14mm lens (read here, posted on February 24). Here are his conclusions: “I suppose the best thing I have to say about this lens is that I have nothing bad to say about it.  It focuses quickly, is fully corrected for the usual distortions, is convenient to use, focuses super close, has convenient manual focus over-ride, and has excellent resolution — all features I would want in a focal length I use primarily for travel and landscape photography. The $900 price tag is well worth the delivered image quality from this lens. I would expect a similar quality level from a full frame lens of this focal range to cost at least twice as much.

Tom

– I’ve already posted the first impressions of Olaf (read them part here). Now he posted some more samples shot with the XF 14mm here.

Olaf

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– “Hi Patrick. […] I own a X100, sell it to buy a X-Pro1. I’d like to share with you some of my pictures made with these cameras. Many thanks for your great work on your website. Cheers.” Visit Laurents website here

Laurents
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– “Hello, […]  the thing is that I have an X-E1 and find it very annoying to have that grey bar under the image in the viewfinder. (The grey bar where the aperture iso.. informations are.) It obstructs the view too much from my point of view. What I’d like to see is the ability to change the color (black in my case), so that we only see the informations. I like to have a clean minimalist viewfinder. What do you think of it? Best Regards” If you want, answer to Christopher in the comments.

– “[…] I’m a Fujifilm fan myself and use the Fuji FinePix X100 and the FUJIFILM X-Pro1 with various lenses. I post my (almost) daily photos on my site and sometimes write small articles there, see: http://vannuil.com Feel free to link to it. Kind regards and keep up the good work, Edwin” He also tested LR 4.4 RC and says: “FujiFilm supplied Adobe with all the specs of the ​X-Trans CMOS sensor and it looks like it paid off, because from the little testing I’ve done so far I do see an improvement. Will do some more testing / developing in the coming days.”

Edwin (website or 500px)

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– “Hi Patrick, my name is Einar. I live in Norway and have been doing photography since I was in my teens. Sadly I am not in my teens anymore :D, more like 47, but I can handle it :-) […] Here is my “story”: I bought the X-PRO1 in September 2012 and I currently have the following lenses xf18, xf35 and the xf60. I have taken many pictures with this camera and I really like the results I get from the lenses and sensor Fuji makes. Of course the autofocus and speed could be better... Here are some pictures I have taken with the X-Pro1. Feel free to publish the links. Thanks.” (flickr photostream)

Einar

XF60mmF2.4 R Macro (this image was picked up by Gettyimages, so this is licensed through them)
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– Alessandro: “Hello Patrick! […] I’m in love with the X-series and posses x10 and X-E1. I put aside a D700. I love street photography […] I share with you this video of my pictures taken with X-E1 Fujinon 18mm manual focus. Hope you like them. Good luck for the site that I follow with passion, greetings!”

Alessandro

(… and if you liked the song in this video, click here for the youtube video)

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Fuji X-E1 tested at Dpreview (gets the Gold Award).

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The likely most famous digital photography website Dpreview tested the Fuji X-E1 (Click here to read the article). Here is the last part of their conclusions: “From the simple slab-sided design to Fujifilm’s enthusiast-friendly control logic, the X-E1 is tuned for the enthusiast photographer who likes straightforward controls and a no-nonsense emphasis on still photography. As such, despite it’s sub-par movie mode and less than stellar autofocus performance, it earns our coveted gold award, by a whisker.

By comparison, the X-PRO 1 earned the “Silver Award”.

Check the price and in Stock status of the two X cameras:
Fuji X-E1 at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Fuji X PRO 1 at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

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RAW, JPEG, Silkypix and “Fuji Colors”

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by Rico Pfirstinger

Since pretty much everybody wrote about Lightroom 4.4RC in the past few days, I won’t. After all, what’s the big story? It took Adobe a full year to get their paying customers what the free RAW File Converter EX software and Fuji’s internal JPEG engine delivered from day one: decent X-Trans demosaicing quality. Big deal! But for those who are still interested in LR4.4RC, I have updated my RAW converter comparison set on Flickr with several new renderings.

Let’s take a look at colors, so-called “Fuji Colors” in particular. It’s often noted that Fujifilm’s built-in JPEG engine is one of the best in the entire industry. Obviously, people either love it, hate it or are just plain ignorant about it, but if you belong to the “I love it” crowd, there’s a good chance that “Fuji Colors” have played a role when you made your decision to buy an X-series camera.

The heart of these colors are the different film simulations Fuji’s cameras are offering in either the shooting menu or in the camera’s internal RAW converter. X-Trans sensor cameras feature five different color film modes, named after famous analog slide and negative FUJIFILM brands: Provia, Astia, Velvia, Pro Neg. Std and Pro Neg. Hi. Make no mistake: These aren’t accurate recreations of analog films. Instead, you get modern, state-of-the art color gradations that feature key qualities of their vintage role models: Provia is a more-or-less neutral all-purpose film mode, Astia delivers more distinct “Fuji Colors” with added pop in the shadows and smooth highlights, while Velvia offers high-contrast JPEGs with strong, saturated colors. Pro Neg. Std and Hi deliver accurate and pleasant skin tones, with “Std” acting as the neutral option and “Hi” as the one giving additional pop and contrast.

Here’s a practical example illustrating the five different film simulation modes:

This example was shot with an X-Pro1 and the Fujinon XF 60mm Macro prime lens at f/4.0, 1/480s and ISO 200. The top row is showing Provia, Astia and Velvia, the bottom row shows Pro Neg. Std, Pro Neg. Hi and a Lightroom development that looks like something in-between Provia and Pro Neg. Std. You can click on the image for a hi-res view, but even if you don’t, you can clearly see that Fuji’s different film modes can deliver quite distinct results. Remember, this is all the same shot, just developed with different film simulation modes in the camera’s internal RAW converter (aka JPEG engine).

Let’s decide for Astia at this time, as it offers a very distinct purple-red rendering of the flower, with smooth highlights and nice contrast in the darker shadows. A typical problem of mono-colored subjects like this one are overflowing RGB color channels, in this case the red color channel. Here’s a magnified view of our Astia shot, showing three different color saturation level settings that can be applied either in the shooting menu or when (re-)developing the RAW file in-camera:

The color settings used here were -2 (left), 0 (center) and +2 (right). Clearly, too much color saturation in the reds goes at the cost of image detail, so we are better off using a saturation setting of -2 (aka “low” when you are using the internal RAW converter). Here’s the less color saturated Astia JPEG of this shot, straight from the camera’s built-in RAW converter:

As usual, click on the image for a full-size view. This was a hand-held macro shot, so I used the smallest available AF field size and moved it precisely over the area I wanted to be in-focus.

So far, so good. We now have an image with quite distinct “Fuji Colors”. Some people may like it, some may not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that many of those who like their own JPEGs with Fuji colors would often also like to achieve similar looking results with external third-party RAW converters like Silkypix or the free RAW File Converter EX (which is an older version 3 of Silkypix).

How can we do it? Let’s play it through! Here’s the RAW file as it looks in Silkypix 5 with the software’s default settings:

Uh-oh! While this default rendering proves that claims about X-Trans sensors being incapable of delivering saturated reds are wrong, this is obviously not the result that we had in mind. In order to emulate the Astia rendering of the in-camera JPEG engine, we need to make some changes. But there’s more! If you click on this image for a full-size view, you will see ugly artifacts in the deep reds, almost like dirt soiling the colors of the flower. Here’s a zoomed-in view of this phenomenon, just click on it to see it in full size:

This doesn’t look nice, not to mention that the red is somewhat over-saturated and obscuring image details. So let’s correct this, shall we? After a few modifications in Silkypix, the image looks like this:

To make the comparison a little easier for you, here’s the original Astia JPEG again:

It’s not exactly the same, but it’s close enough for me. Of course, you could achieve a perfect match with a few further adjustments in Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture or any other powerful image editor, but maybe an exact match wouldn’t really improve the image, anyway? Also note that the “dirt” and other color artifacts in the red flower are now gone.

So what exactly did I do to make it work?
Well, buy my next book to find out.
Good night, and good luck!

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