A Practical Review of the XF35mmF2

I’ve recently been selected to review loan equipment by Fujifilm Australia, the first of those was the acclaimed XF35mmF2. When Fujifilm announced the XF35mmF2 it was well received throughout the Fuji community but I believe that’s largely due to the reputation of the original XF35mmF1.4 which was and still is an amazing lens. Although they both share the same focal length they are different in almost every respect, having used the lens for almost a good solid month I will share my experiences with using this lens. As with all my other reviews, there’s no charts or pixel peeping here, I’m only concerned about real world performance and user experience.

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A Practical Review of the XF16-55mm F2.8

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With an equivalent focal length of 24-84mm on a full frame and a constant aperture of f2.8 the XF16-55mm falls in the same category as other 24-70mm lenses including the prestigious Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L lens which many consider as the pinnacle of this focal range and is also seen as the benchmark for others to follow. Can Fujifilm’s XF16-55mm keep up with the heavyweights?

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A Practical Review of the Fuji XF27mm F2.8

DSCF6973-2Let’s face it, a pancake lens is not something you would normally go out and buy as your first lens however if I could turn back time the XF27mm F2.8 would have been one of the first lenses I’ll add to my kit. This won’t be your typical lens review with charts and numbers instead I’ll discuss the lens in practical everyday use, the Pros, and Cons along with sample photos.

Introduction

The 27mm falls in the same family as other pancakes such Canon’s 24mm & 40mm, Olympus 17mm and the Nikkor 10mm just to name a few. In the past pancake lenses haven’t been known for their image quality and are rather slow with apertures usually set between F2 and F2.8, they are like an acquired taste, you either like them or you hate them. Those that do like them do so for their size and portability so naturally when Fujifilm’s 27mm was released there wasn’t much love for this lens.

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5 Quick Tips To Help You Get Into Street Photography

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OK so you’ve been thinking about doing some Street Photography but never got round to it, I don’t blame ya as it is not a genre typically embarrassed by many especially if you’re only just getting into Photography. Hopefully, these 5 quick tips will help you in your transition or if you’re already an aspiring Street Photographer these will help improve your game while out on the streets.

There’s no doubt that you would have read your fair share of blogs and articles on how to approach Street Photography so I’m not going to repeat them here but instead, share some with you the things that helped me overcome the many obstacles that one faces in this genre of photography.  Continue reading “5 Quick Tips To Help You Get Into Street Photography”

Shooting the Streets of Hong Kong

 

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This is a quick post on my recent travels to Hong Kong and my experiences while exploring this urban jungle. Known for its dense urban environment, hidden alleys, tight laneways and busy streets, it is obvious why Hong Kong is a haven for street photography. I traveled with my wife and together we visited a close friend of ours who was also kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule to take us around and point out some hot spots in Hong Kong.

I’ll be honest and say that I was reluctant to bring my zoom lens (16-55mm f2.8) and instead use the two primes (14mm & 27mm) however as it turns out I found myself reaching for the zoom lens a majority of the time. Given that both the primes had the same aperture of f2.8 and that the zoom lens only looses 2mm over the 14mm and combined with the weather resistance seals, it was obvious that the 16-55mm was more suited for the streets of Hong Kong as well as its unpredictable weather (similar to Melbourne). Despite the hefty weight behind the 16-55mm, the versatility and weather resistance outweighed this and there were a few occasions where I found myself shooting in light drizzle and just knowing that I can continue shooting without worrying about my gear is a great feeling.

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First Impression: X-Pro2

Disclaimer: This is not a review, in fact, it probably shouldn’t even be called First Impression granted that I’ve only had it for approx 20 mins of solid use. So if you’re expecting fancy charts and mathematical equations please stop reading.

Background

Fujifilm Camera Australia and DigiDIRECT held a workshop that showcased the highly anticipated X-Pro2 and X70. The people at Fujifilm Camera Australia were also kind enough to share the full range of XF lenses to try from the 10-24mm through to the 100-400mm. Unfortunately as there was only 1 unit of the X-Pro2 we had to share it around so most of us only had a good 20 mins or less of solid use, so this is purely my impression of the camera after 20 mins.

First Impressions

While holding the unit my first thoughts were its size, it felt big in my hands compared to the more familiar X-T1. Unfortunately without having used the X-Pro1 I cannot compare their sizes, it feels bulky and solid like a  miniature tank. Personally, I prefer the DSLR-like style and design (hence the X-T1 is my preferred camera) just a personal preference.

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X-Pro2 – Shot with 56mm f1.2

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Shooting Bali with the Fuji X-T1

One thing to be mindful when traveling to places like Bali is the humidity level. The humid environment will easily fog up your lens unless you exercise some precautions. Although the X-T1 is weather resistant I noticed that the on/off switch would stiffen up making it difficult to switch it to the on position.

On this trip, I only had 3 lenses with me however whenever I’m out shooting the streets I ever only select one and leave rest behind. It’s difficult to do I know but what usually happens when you’re carrying multiple lenses is the urge to change lens, when you see something unique your brain will automatically start telling you things like “oh that would look good with an ultra-wide angle lens”. Not only is it going to add to the weight you’re carrying around but in humid conditions such as Bali, changing lens will risk trapping moisture between the sensor and the rear element of the lens which increases the chances of fungus.

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Coincidence or Clever design?

The_Exposure_Triangle1If you’ve operated a camera in full manual mode then you already know what the ‘Exposure Triangle’ is.

Those of you who are familiar with the Fuji X-T1 and the XF lenses are aware that the ISO and Shutter settings are located on dials on top of the camera body, while the aperture is controlled on the lens. Now if you assign all settings to ‘A’ (automatic mode) and connect the A’s together, you get the shape of a triangle. Coincidence or clever design on Fuji’s part?

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What’s in my bag?

I have two bags, one for travel and one for when I’m out patrolling the streets. My travel bag is the LowePro Sports Flipside 15L (orange) which originally housed my 5D3 and an assortment of lenses, flash, tripod and other accessories. Today it’s primarily used when I need to bring my entire Fuji X-T1 kit with me on shoots or when traveling abroad.

In this bag I have…

  • Fuji X-T1
  • XF 14mm
  • XF 16-55mm
  • XF 50-140mm
  • Fuji EX-F8 Flash
  • Wasabi NP-W126 battery
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Small Maglite torch
  • Peak design pro clip
  • Allen key set

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Why I switched from DSLR to Mirrorless (5D3 to X-T1)

Right, I’m going to get straight into it. Part of the reason why I switched from my Canon 5D3 over to the Fujifilm X-T1 was because my preferences changed, mainly my shooting style among others. As a street photographer, my thought process and decision making is different to say a wedding photographer. Our needs are different, our styles are different and ultimately we have different views when looking to capture that perfect moment. So here are my reasons why I switched.

Weight & Size

One of the main factors that made me switch was the weight difference. When I was traveling around Europe I had a heavy backpack full of camera gear (including tripod). It was frustrating going through customs and other security checkpoints, it was taxing on the body – going up and down stairs, waiting in queues at an attraction under the summer heat etc. It was causing so much discomfort that in the end I was not enjoying the trip.

Canon 5D Mark III + Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 = 1,685kg
Fuji X-T1 + XF 16-55mm f2.8 = 1,095kg.

The size was the other deciding factor, I found that raising a DSLR to eye level was more noticeable than a smaller compact camera. The size of DSLR and lens also means you had to carry a large size bag to fit it all, whereas the X-T1 has a more compact size and as a result looking less conspicuous. This is extremely important for street photography as it allows you to blend in with the crowd and ultimately capture unspoiled, candid moments. 6a00df351e888f883401bb08847054970d-800wi.jpg

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