Category Archives: Gear

Fuji X-T1 News: New body, New Firmware

The Fujifilm X-T1 (Graphite) edition offers some new features that will also be available to original X-T1 owners via a firmware update in December 2014. Image courtesy of Fujifilm.

Fujifilm announced a new color (Graphite) X-T1 body to be released later this year. While it looks really nice, it’s really the same camera as the original (black) X-T1, which I use as my primary travel/family camera. The bigger news, however, was a firmware upgrade coming in December that will match the original (black) X-T1’s features with its silver counterpart. I looked through the firmware features, which you can read here, and the following items caught my eye:

  • Electronic shutter option for fast primes: You will be able to shoot at a shutter speed of up to 1/32,000s with the electronic shutter. That’s perfect for using a fast prime in bright light without having to stop down. The downside is that this feature will only work with the 23 f/1.4, 25 f/1.4 and 56 f/1.2 Fuji prime lenses (I’m scratching my head on that one).
  • Natural Live View Mode: Because the X-T1 uses an electronic viewfinder (EVF), the viewfinder displays the scene with in-camera settings applied, like monochrome or “Velvia” mode. What that means is that sometimes the viewfinder image is too contrasty or saturated due to the chosen film emulation mode. Natural mode will display a normal image in the viewfinder, while the captured images will have the film emulation settings applied to them.
  • Linking the focus area to the metering area in spot metering mode: This is something my Nikon’s do, and it’s a feature I find quite useful. Currently, the spot meter uses the center of the frame, meaning you can’t just choose a metering area with the focus points without recomposing the shot.

Sadly, the one feature I really want, ± 2EV bracketing, wasn’t on the list. I hope Fuji reconsiders and adds this feature… it would make HDR capture so much easier!

The X-T1 (Graphite Silver) is available for pre-order from site sponsor B&H photo for $1499 (body only). You can also pick up the original X-T1 (black) in a new bundle with the 18-135mm zoom lens (highly recommended) for $1899.

Solved: Image Stabilization with the Fujinon 18-55 OIS lens

Earlier this year, I posted about using image stabilization with the Fuji 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS Fujinon lens. Actually, I posted about how turning OIS on ended up creating softer images than hand-holding at moderate to fast shutter speeds. It’s frustrating to me because I really like the overall sharpness and versatility of this lens, but I was at the point where I’d only turn stabilization (IS) on when I was shooting at very low shutter speeds (slower than 1/60s).

Today I got a message from a friend asking if I’d tried setting stabilization to Mode 2, as he’d heard this might solve the softness issue we were both seeing with the Fuji 18-55mm lens.

Huh? I had to plead ignorance on that one. I knew there were two stabilization (IS) modes with the Fujifilm X-T1, but I didn’t think they’d cause any major differences in sharpness. Why? Here’s what the manual says about the two image stabilization options: Continue reading

Fuji X-T1 versus Nikon D4: High ISO Test

File this under “just for fun.” I have both a Nikon D4 and Fujifilm X-T1. Both cameras are roughly 16MP resolution, but the Fuji uses an APS-C sensor while the Nikon D4 is a 35mm sensor. I performed this quick ISO comparison simply to see how well Fuji’s sensor stacked up against that of my D4, which is a low-light champ. Before I go on, please understand that these are two very different cameras, for very different uses. I like them both for different reasons! Continue reading

Review: Fujinon 18-55mm lens and image stabilization

The Fuji XF 18-55mm f.2.8-4.0 R LM OIS lens has image stabilization. How well does it work?
The Fuji XF 18-55mm f.2.8-4.0 R LM OIS lens has image stabilization. How well does it work?

The standard kit lens for most of the Fujifilm X-mount cameras, including the X-T1 I just purchased, is the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS zoom lens. There’s a lot of alphabet soup going on with that name, but the main feature here is OIS, or Optical Image Stabilization. This in-lens stabilization system is intended to improve the sharpness of hand-held images of static subjects at lower shutter speeds. As someone who’s used Nikon’s VR lenses for nearly a decade now, I’m very much happy with the feature, especially when shooting indoors. Keep in mind that no stabilization system will prevent subject motion blur at low shutter speeds.

I was doing some test shots with the 18-55mm lens, and I just wasn’t getting satisfactorily sharp results. As I was shooting hand-held, I had OIS enabled. Just for fun, I thought I’d test my lens with the OIS turned off. What I saw was amazing as my image sharpness rivaled that of my 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS G Nikkor lens. It is true that in certain situations, stabilization systems can actually introduce softness when using fast shutter speeds, but it’s not something I found to be an issue with my Nikkor glass. But with this particular lens, it makes a huge difference! Continue reading