Category Archives: Equipment

Fujifilm Update — Deals on X-E2 And More…

I have recently been posting photographs made with my new Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Before long I intend to share a review based on my experiences — but that is a bit too big of a project for today. For now I’ll just say that it is meeting and exceeding my expectations and I can recommend it to folks who can make use of its special set of features. A few pages on this website mention it:

Fujifilm X-E2 Deals

Fujifilm X-E2 Digital Mirrorless Camera
Fujifilm X-E2 Digital Mirrorless Camera (shown with 18-55mm lens)

But the main point of this brief update is to let you know about an excellent deal available on the X-E2, a 16MP interchangeable lens mirrorless camera much like (but better than) the X-E1 that I relied on for three years. Right now you can pick up this camera for as low as $499. Considering that you can apply a free Fujifilm firmware update and give it virtually the same capabilities as the newer X-T10 and X-E2s, this deal is even more remarkable. If you have been thinking about one of these little mirrorless cameras and would like to give it a try, check out these deals.

Several bundles from Adorama include include Fujifilm NP-W126 Battery, Fujifilm Half Case for XE1 Camera, 24/7 Traffic Collection – Small Holster

Fujifilm X-E2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens

  • Adorama: $689 (Regular $1,099) — Black | Silver
  • B&H: $689 (regular $1099) — Black

Fujifilm X-E2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

  • Adorama: $499 (Regular $699) —  Silver

Free Shipping. While supplies last

There’s More…

Right now Fujifilm has a promotion on a huge selection of mirrorless cameras and lenses with prices on some as much as $400 off: B&H | Adorama

Here is a list of some of these products at Adorama. (The same equipment is also available at B&H.)

CAMERAS

LENSES


This website has an affiliate relationship with B&H Photo and Adorama. Your purchases through website links return a percentage of the sale price to this website — but your cost remains the same. Be sure to verify pricing and descriptions at the vendor websites.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm just released their newest camera, the X-Pro2. Since I have been relying on an earlier Fujifilm camera (the original X-E1) for over three years — and liking the results a whole lot — it seemed like time to move up to the newer, more refined body. My new X-Pro2 arrived a few days ago, and so far I’m quite impressed. (My time with the camera has been limited thus far, and I’ll share a much more detailed report once I have had a chance to use it extensively.)

Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X-Pro2 with the new XF 35mm f/2 WR lens

The Fujifilm “x-trans” sensor cameras are appealing for a number of reasons:

  • Small, light mirrorless designs offer an alternative to larger DSLR systems.
  • The x-trans sensor produces excellent image quality and uses a photo site layout that is designed to minimize aliasing without using anti-aliasing filters.
  • The Fujifilm lenses are truly top-notch, from primes to zooms, and there is a complete and diverse selection of available lenses.

Until now all of these cameras have use 16 megapixel (MP) 1.5x cropped sensor designs. 16MP is plenty for almost all photographers, and I make beautiful 18″ x 24″ prints from the files. One of the main updates on the X-Pro2 is the addition of an optimized 24MP sensor. If anything, this sensor improves the low light performance and dynamic range of the 16MP versions, and it provides a bit more resolution.

The X-Pro2 also improves on many of the ideas behind the original (and now a bit long in the tooth, though quite inexpensive) X-Pro1. Both cameras use a hybrid viewfinder that incorporates both an optical viewfinder (OVF) and an electronic viewfinder (EVF), both of which have advantages in various situations. The OVF works beautifully with many primes, eliminates shutter blackout, and allows the photographer to see what is going on just outside the borders of the image. The design overlays an electronic display on top of the optical image. These features are very useful to those doing street photography and similar things.

The EVF works well with all lenses, from ultra wide to telephoto and especially with zoom lenses. It can be advantageous in very low light, such as night street photography. It also shows the precise frame edge lines and can display even more image data than the OVF.

The camera feels light but also solid and well-constructed, and it recalls classic rangefinder cameras.

I got mine with the new XF 35mm f/2 WR lens, one of five newer lenses that are optimized to autofocus more quickly on the X-Pro2 (and, presumably, future X-series cameras). It is also weather resistant. I can report that it focuses quickly and accurately in a wide range of situations. Since I also have my older XF 35mm f/1.4 lens, I haven’t yet decided whether I will end up valuing the extra stop of the f/1.4 lens enough to give up the faster AF and smaller size of the new f/2 lens.

That’s all I’ll say for now, but expect more in the not-too-distant future as I gain more experience with the camera. For now, I don’t see any reason to not recommend it.

  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 digital camera body — $1699 at B&H or Adorama
  • Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 WR lens — $399 / $299* with X-Pro2 at B&H or Adorama (*limited time offer)

(If you find this website and posts like this useful and you are going to get one of these products, consider making your purchase through links on this site. Your price will be the same, but the purchases help support the operation of the site. Thanks!)

Also see:  Taking Stock of the Fujifilm X-E1, X-E2, S-T1 Mirrorless Cameras


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Canon EOS 5DsR/5Ds: My Experience

These days I use the Canon EOS 5DsR for much of my photography — particularly my landscape, nature, wildlife, and long-exposure night photography. Since people often ask me about the camera, I have decided to offer this write-up. I’ll try to cover some things about the camera that work well for me, acknowledge one or two very small issues, and consider the kinds of photographers for whom it (or its twin, the Canon EOS 5Ds)  might be a great choice. (This isn’t the first time I’ve written about aspects of this camera’s performance, and I have included a list of some of my other posts near the end of this article.)

Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR
Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR

The 5Ds and 5DsR are both 51 megapixel (MP) full frame DSLR bodies from Canon. They currently provide the highest sensor resolution available from a full frame digital camera and, as such, are targeted to photographers who need particularly high image resolution and who will photograph and post-process in ways that provide this. The 5DsR cancels the effect of the anti-aliasing filter found in the 5Ds — more on that subject below.

It is probably fair to say that the main attraction of these cameras is that high-resolution sensor, a fact that might lead some photographers to ask whether or not they will be able to take advantage of the high-resolution. Compared to earlier 5D-series cameras, the 5Ds/5DsR provide some other improvements, too. The autofocus (AF) system has been updated, noise handling is very good, and the  camera produces high dynamic range files that can be pushed and pulled quite a bit in post. Some updates have been made to the hardware and software interface of the camera, too.

Two Sandhill Cranes in Flight
A pair of lesser sandhill cranes in flight above California’s San Joaquin Valley

Sensor Resolution

There is no question that these cameras can produce very high-resolution images. Photographers who work carefully and who make very large prints will be pleased. I have made test prints equivalent to 30″ x 45″ prints that look very good and it is possible to go even larger. However, before you jump at the highest resolution full frame camera purely on the basis of higher resolution, you should ask yourself a few serious questions. Continue reading Canon EOS 5DsR/5Ds: My Experience

Reader Question: Sony Versus Fujifilm

Today I am sharing  another reader question and my response. This one came from “Greg” in a response to a post on my Facebook page:

Hi Dan, have heard good things about the Fuji cameras. Have also heard good things about the SONY cameras. Both are mirrorless, but the SONY is a full-frame while the Fuji is APC/1.5X. Is there a reason you would choose the Fuji over the SONY – you indicated in the article you have been using the  X-Pro1 and will be moving up to the  X-Pro2… Illuminate me on the subject

That is a great subject to consider, Greg. Both Sony and Fujifilm are making some very fine mirrorless cameras these days, but for my purposes the Fujifilm is a better fit than, say, the Sony a7R II full frame mirrorless camera that Greg is thinking of. (Small correction: I have not been using the X-Pro1. I have used the X-E1 for the past three years.)

Before I explain, I must acknowledge that the Sony is an excellent body, and another photographer may well find it to be the choice choice for his/her needs. The Sony a7R II is, as you point out, a full frame body and the current version has a 42MP sensor rather than a 24MP sensor. The sensor is known for its low noise and excellent dynamic range. Sony has some native lenses, but lots of folks are using their Sony cameras with a range of third party lenses, including those from their Canon and (now) Nikon DSLRs.

So, with all of those positives, why Fujifilm? Continue reading Reader Question: Sony Versus Fujifilm

Reader Question: 5Ds/5DsR Print Quality

Reader “Tom” writes to ask:

I’ve read your reports on the 5Dsr.  I assume by now you have one?  Maybe you have different thoughts now, but you seem to point to the new body being good for large print/detail, but maybe not so great for fine art print. 

If that’s still the case, what would you opt for if leaning towards fine art prints, large, maybe a heavily cropped slice measuring say 16″ x 72″ or so? Minus a mf body. 

I’m looking to switch bodies and thinking the 5dsr or possibly the Nikon d810.  Just curious what your thoughts might be if you ever had time. Thanks.

Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR
Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR

It has been a while since I’ve written about the Canon 5DS and the 5DsR cameras here, but since you asked I’ll share more based on my extensive use of the 5DsR over the past months. I have used it to photography everything from landscapes to people to wildlife. I think I see several sub-questions here, so let me respond to each of them.

Are the 5DsR and  5DS good for large prints? Continue reading Reader Question: 5Ds/5DsR Print Quality

New Fujifilm X-Pro2 — and X-Pro1 Discounts

Fujifilm announced the new X-Pro2 digital mirrorless camera today., The announcement provides very interesting opportunities for photographers — one being the new camera itself and the other being an extraordinary low price on its predecessor, the X-Pro1. (The X-Pro2 is now available for pre-order at B&H.)

The New X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X-Pro2

The X-Pro2 is the updated successor to  XPro1. The newer camera will feature:

  • A compact rangefinder style mirrorless design
  • 24 MP 1.5x cropped format sensor
  • Improved autofocus capabilities
  • A hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder
  • Manual controls for shutter speed, aperture, ISO, more
  • Wifi equipped
  • …and more
  • Body-only price is $1699 — preordering now available..

The X-Pro2 is now available for pre-order at B&H. I’m almost certain to upgrade to the X-Pro2 from the  X-E1 that has been my primary street and travel photography camera for the past three years.  (The current updated equivalent of my camera is the X-E2.) Since I’m sold on the Fujifilm system — bodies and lenses — the X-Pro2 will bring features that I’ve wanted for some time.

(See a Fujifilm press release for the X-Pro2.)

The Old X-Pro1

Fujifilm X-Pro-1
Fujifilm X-Pro-1

The announcement of the X-Pro2 brings a very special opportunity for folks who could use the X-Pro1.  The X-Pro1 provides

  • The same compact rangefinder design
  • An excellent 16MP 1.5x cropped format sensor
  • A hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder
  • … and more
  • a very low price of $499 for the body-only!

While the X-Pro2 most certainly brings useful  advances, the X-Pro1 is also a fine camera, and at this very low $499 price (it was originally $1299) it is a tremendous bargain right now. If you poke around a bit at the B&H website, you can find it with a lens for $699.

Other New Fujifilm Gear

Fujifilm also announced several other new products including…

This website has an affiliate relationship with B&H Photo. Your purchases through website links return a percentage of the sale price to this website — but your cost remains the same.

One More Thing

Regarding Fujifilm cameras, a quotation from Fuji X-series senior product manager Takashi Ueno in the British Journal of Photography says a lot:

“We are in a very good position to make a medium format camera, as we make camera bodies, sensors and lenses. We already make the lenses for Hasselblad, so we have that expertise.”

  1. Fujifilm, a company with a history of producing some excellent medium format film cameras, is becoming more open about their interest in medium format digital. (Note that they have not actually announced a product. Yet.)
  2. If you have wondered why those of us using the Fujifilm system are so enthusiastic about the beautiful Fujifilm lenses, re-read the quote if you missed it the first time and note whose lenses they currently make.

BJP article here, with the medium format discussion on page 2.

Continue reading New Fujifilm X-Pro2 — and X-Pro1 Discounts

Morning Musings: Canon and Mirrorless Cameras

(It has been a while since I’ve written a “morning musings” post, but since I’ve been “musing” about Canon and mirrorless cameras over the past few days and learning a few things about the subject, it seems like time for another such post.)

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few years you are aware of the introduction of so-called mirrorless cameras by several manufacturers and of the increasing sophistication of these cameras. Their features typically include:

  • smaller and lighter bodies that may be reminiscent of older rangefinder film cameras.
  • the ability to allow use of smaller lens designs, due to the shorter distance between the lens mount and the sensor.
  • electronic viewfinders (EVFs) that can incorporate additional useful tools and information into the viewfinder display and which have advantages in low light.
  • designs and features that increasingly appeal to serious photographers.

There are still issues with these cameras, and while much progress has been made and will continue, they still lag behind DSLRs is some areas:

  • battery consumption rates tend to be quite high by comparison to DSLRs.
  • AF performance is uneven and in some cases quite slow.
  • EVFs have latency issues.
  • Not everyone is fond of looking at an EVF monitor instead of the “real” image on focusing screen.
  • With some systems (notably Sony) using a wide range of lenses will likely require the use of third-party adapters.

I’ve been using a Fujifilm X-trans mirrorless system for my travel and street photography for nearly three years. (Mine is a discontinued model, but if I were buying today I would get the Fujifilm XT1 or perhaps the Fujifilm XT10.) Virtually all of my street/travel photographs of the past two years were made with my Fujifilm camera and lenses.  For this photography, the small size and excellent quality of the system compensates for the slower AF speeds and the battery consumption issues.

More recently the Sony A7r and A7rII cameras have gotten a lot of attention. When first introduced, the A7r came with the highest MP full frame sensor then available. The cameras can use (with varying degrees of compatibility and functionality) a wide range of non-Sony lenses, and they have a number of the other pluses associated with mirrorless designs. Several landscape photographer friends use the A7r and A7rII bodies for their tripod-based, manual focus photography, and I know several street/travel photographers who like the system a lot.

Sony and Fujifilm are not the only companies moving in this direction. For example, Olympus and others produce some very fine small mirrorless cameras.

All of which leads to the question: “Where is Canon’s mirrorless offering?” (Or, “Is the EOS-M the best Canon can do?”) Continue reading Morning Musings: Canon and Mirrorless Cameras