Thanks to Glazer's Camera here in Seattle, I was able to get my hands on the fujifilm GF 80mm ƒ/1.7R WR on release day. Since then, the weather's been shit, so I haven't been able to test it. I have been able to take some sample shots in my home, running all the way through its ƒ/1.7 to ƒ/22 aperture range and from minimum focusing distance to infinity. I've also shot it with both of my macro tubes, for shits and grins. The 80mm was a lens GFX owners have been screaming for for years now. It's a common focal length in medium format portraiture and one of the most common focal lengths you'll see if ever shopping for a medium format film camera. It's odd Fujifilm has chosen to ignore it for as long as they have and I'm assuming it's due to some internal strife over how it should have been engineered... a fight between ultimate resolution versus ultimate character. In the end, they seem to have landed on a mix of both and you'll see why as you read this review.
Usually the 85mm, or equivalent, lens offered on a system is one of their best lenses optically due to its popularity for portrait photography. The Fujifilm GF 110mm ƒ/2 is no different in this regard. Despite being one of Fujifilm’s first 3 lenses for the GFX system when it was released in 2017, the formula still holds up. The hype surrounding the GFX 100’s release last year also caused a resurgence in this lens’ profile and popularity. It’s reputation has reached near mythic proportions and for good reason: this is an excellently performing lens. It’s not without its flaws, but it has the right combination of flaws to give it character.
When the X-H1 was introduced, it was described as a sibling lineup; specifically an approximately 60/40, video-weighted hybrid that also shot great stills. It had a larger body and grip, not just to facilitate the IBIS system, but to give it better balance with larger cinema lenses for owners seeking a capable video camera. The X-T series was defined to be exactly the opposite ratio; a stills-centric camera that also shot great video. However, like the odd inclusion of a factory adjustable leaf spring shutter switch on the X-H1, a feature that's more coveted by stills shooters, the X-T4 has also incorporated a couple of weirdly out of place features that betrays Fujifilm's original description of the X-T series being stills-focused.
Enough hyperbole. Mirrorless will not make DSLR cameras extinct the same way film remains extant despite digital.
The market for DSLRs will contract significantly, likely surrendering the entry-level, systems camera market to mirrorless, but enthusiast and high-end DSLRs will continue on because you will always have its supporters who will vote with their wallets.
The biggest news was the purchase of a Fujifilm GFX 50S, GF 45mm ƒ/2.8 lens and TechArt autofocus EF-GFX lens adapter. It arrived just before Xmas and I was able to use it for parts of both latter shoots. I also gave it a couple of runs, one from Kerry Park that was foiled by fog, another from Rizal Bridge that wasn't. The increase in resolution is shocking. Shots taken from the bridge could be cropped down to 8mp and were still crystal clear. Also shocking: the size of the uncompressed RAW files at ~140MB each.
Known for shit weather, the Washington coastline can be a bit of a toss up when it comes to photos, but even when the weather isn't particularly good for beach going, it can still be great for photos. During the summer, weekly events draw in thousands from around the state, so there are opportunities for all types of photographers; from landscapists, astrophotographers, street photography and even instagrammers, it's all there.
What may just look like wasting money, there’s an actual reason why I’ve bought into the Wine Country Camera filter holder system and round filters to replace the kits I had before:
I’m planning to purchase a Fujifilm GFX-50S by year’s end.
Oh, you're an "enthusiast," "professional," or talking face on YouTube? This camera wasn't designed for you. It was designed for the audience you spew your crap opinions at, like, "pros only shoot full frame and just because you don't get paid doesn't mean you're not a pro-level shooter. You need full frame if you want to be a pro." Well, now all of your viewers who have no technical reason to shoot with a 35mm camera now have a 35mm option with the price and features commensurate with an entry-level product.
The first three were taken before the penumbra even reached the moon. The weather had just begun to clear but a few clouds still managed to cross the sky before clearing moments before the Earth's penumbra began to cast itself upon the moon's surface. The full moon's glow and reflection on the passing clouds created an eerie look that was just too good to not photograph. All three were bracketed shots but the second is an HDR stacked in Lightroom. The first and third were fully recoverable from single images at the proper exposure.
finally went out to take some photos since the Alaskan Way Viaduct is closing for good this weekend. i ended up hitting the Pier 66 Rooftop Park at sunset then moved back to the Pike Place Marketfront location above the viaduct. finally, i went through Post Alley on the way home. oddly, it was through Post Alley that inspired the shot i liked the most from the set.
Fujifilm proudly declared they would not be going with a 35mm sensor size in the future, for one, believing that it's a bit redundant since they currently cover APS-C and cropped medium format. There are significant benefits to both formats: the former covers a Super35 area and is currently fast enough for excellent video capabilities that consumer level 35mm cameras are currently unable to match, while medium format has a level of detail and low light capability that exceeds all current 35mm format sensors.
So I've revisited a few photos from the past year and applied what I've learned in Lightroom since then. The hope was to take what I felt were good photos and try to make them better, possibly even worth printing, since I liked the views.
I went out and bought the Fujifilm X-T3 on release day, which was September 20th. The spec sheet intrigued me because a lot of the bullet points revealed improvements that would improve my ability to shoot under less than optimal conditions, situations that can sometimes stump my X-T2. Mind you, this is not my review of the X-T3. That will come later when I've spent more time with it. As for the features relevant to me, they are as follows:
GET TO THE FUCKING POINT.
Never mind the boring, droning, pedantic talking heads who avoid writing themselves a script or interject false information they were either too lazy to get right or too stubborn to be bothered with facts. The biggest problem is their ability to take 30 seconds of useful information and wrap it in 10 minutes of garbage exposition, rattling off 8 examples to make a point when 2-3 will do and 0 would be even better. Most seemingly do it because they refuse to write an outline and stick to it or they're trying to impress you with fluff trivia to distract you from their lack of charisma, creativity or actual insight. That shit works in text because a reader can easily skim over it, unlike a YouTube video.
I ended up taking some of my best photos so far, ones that truly display how far along I've come in my hobby since picking it back up again. Obviously I'm quite proud of these. Side by side with photos I've taken a year ago, the progress made is immediately apparent. Of course I still have a long way to go before I achieve anything truly remarkable, but these are noteworthy for demonstrating my progress.