Category Archives: Reviews

A weekend with the Fujifilm X-T1

SR-71 Blackbird, Museum of Flight
SR-71 Blackbird, Museum of Flight. Fujifilm X-T1 with 14mm f/2.8 lens.

Spring break is upon us, and that often means family vacations. I took my son to Seattle for a short weekend adventure, and I brought the Fujifilm X-T1 and two lenses; the 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 and 14mm f/2.8. Yes, a very small kit. Because I was with my son, I knew I’d be mostly taking snapshots, so I figured this very small kit would do. The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to put everything underneath the seat in front of me on the plane, which was a CR-J regional jet. 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

Review: Think Tank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i

Since I bought my Fujifilm X-T1 system, all of my camera bags were suddenly too big! I purchased a Think Tank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i to carry it in. It’s perfect for walking around with the camera and a couple of lenses plus accessories. I still may get a slightly larger bag for times when I want to pack the entire kit, but right now, the Mirrorless Mover 30i is a good fit for me. It’s small, well-built, and can carry the X-T1 plus four lenses and accessories, including my iPad. For vacation travel, that’s a perfect combination!

Check out my review of the Think Thank Photo Mirrorless Mover 30i bag on YouTube:

Check out the Mirrorless Mover bags at Think Tank Photo and receive a bonus item with any order of $50 or more.

Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T1: First Impressions

The Fujifilm X-T1 is a mirrorless camera with DSLR features (Image courtesy of Fujifim).
The Fujifilm X-T1 is a mirrorless camera with DSLR features (Image courtesy of Fujifim).

Well, I decided I’d see what the hub-bub was all about with regard to the Fujifilm X-series cameras. I’ve known for some time that these cameras have a great sensor (16MP, APS-C, no AA filter), but the ergonomics and performance made me hesitate. The biggest flaws with the Fujifilm X-system have been related to focusing speed and lag. Now, with the introduction of the Fujifilm X-T1, most of those issues are gone.

The X-T1 is more DSLR-like in design than the other Fujifilm bodies, making it a little less compact than say, the X-E2. However, it’s weather-sealed, has an articulating LCD, and the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is huge. Moreover, the autofocus performance is said to be faster than the X-E2, which was considerably better than the previous generations of Fujifilm cameras (X-E1, X-Pro1). The X-T1 shoots at 8fps, and has a nice built-in grip.

So I put in an order with B&H Photo (I buy all my own gear) and got a nice Fujifilm kit. Here’s me unboxing it with my first impressions:

Short answer: the build quality of the X-T1 and lenses is nothing short of dreamy. Silky smooth focus ring action and metal barrel construction. It’s really nice to handle! Moreover,  the size of this kit is totally manageable. My ThinkTank bags just swallow this kit up!

Now that the battery has charged, I’ve had a few hours to play with the camera. I had to run firmware updates on most of the lenses. Here’s the link to Fujifilm’s lens firmware page for reference. Continue reading

Nikon Capture NX-D: The end of Capture NX as we know it

Nikon Capture NX-D: A return to 2004 RAW editing workflow.
Nikon Capture NX-D: A return to 2004 RAW editing workflow. I made this screen capture before the beta software stopped working on my Mac Pro.

Along with the Nikon D4s announcement, Nikon yesterday also announced a long-awaited upgrade to Capture NX2. Called Capture NX-D, this Nikon RAW converter is being offered for download while in beta form. Public beta testing is something Nikon has been reluctant do to in the past, and it’s something I applaud them for. I downloaded the beta of Capture NX-D to see what it would do. Unfortunately, it is clear to me that this new product is more notable for what it lacks than what it offers. Continue reading