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Bye bye X-Pro1

Last Saturday as I was wandering around in a park in Laval, QC (northern suburb of Montréal) my X-Pro1 decided to stop working, shutter stuck closed — the camera turn on but doesn’t respond to anything ; it will respond to the firmware flash mode triggered by [DISP] + power on. A quick search lead to other people with the same problem and with a a claim of a $500~$800 (USD?) servicing cost. When a X-Pro2 cost CAD$2000, it might be a no-brainer.

The camera is now in the shop, in the hands of Fujifilm Canada technicians, and I should know soon.

In the mean time, back to shooting with the Canon 5DMkII. It is even more sad that my 2005 Canon 20D still work.

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The Elephant in the digital darkroom

The Elephant in the digital darkroom talks about how Film is coming back to Hollywood:

It’s an inexpensive archiving system, a highly effective means of preserving the motion picture heritage. Archived 35mm film stock remains stable for centuries under proper climactic conditions. With digital, however, the film industry is discovering that its core assets, its digital motion picture masters, aren’t as permanent as the film stock they’ve replaced.

I have always thought the same about still images, that under the guise of looking more convenient, that digital wasn’t as good as an archival medium.

What about the shoe boxes with pictures from your family members?

What about those lost rolls from unknown artists that happen to be an historic treasure depicting everyday life, like for example: Vivian Maier ?

This is the digital conundrum: we shorted the photographic workflow, we make it “easier” for the photographer, we make sharing more pervasive, but we also made the archival life shorter. Between the cloud services that disappear, recordable CD/DVD that disintegrate over the years, the hard drives that crash, the stolen phones, there is a lot of uncertainty whether your photos are safe or not and whether future generation will see them or not.

I wish good luck to the archivists of our future.

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Pentax K-1 full frame DSLR

FINALLY, Pentax (Ricoh) announce a full frame DSLR.

Petapixel announcement:

Pentax is finally in the full frame DSLR game. Ricoh today announced the new Pentax K-1, a camera that it claims “offers innovations not available in any other DSLR.”

Not sure about the “first in a DSLR” gimmicks though, nothing ground breaking from this camera except that it takes K-Mount — a decade later. As mentioned on twitter by @lamlux, the innovation is HDR on knob….

WEX photographic hands-on review:

On paper, the K-1 continues the long-held Pentax tradition of delivering an excellent and well-rounded feature set at a reasonable price – very reasonable when you consider the asking prices of similar models at launch.

We’ll see.

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Craig Mod reviews the Leica Q

In 2010, Craig Mod wrote the GF1 field test — 16 Days in the Himalayas, a very compelling essay advocating Micro4/3 cameras, with the Panasonic GF1 and the 20mm f1.7. And what a gorgeous location. Later in November he wrote Seeing prime, an essay reviewing the Lumix 14mm f.2.5 and photography with a prime lens.

The in December 2013, not necessarily and change of heart but more like evidence of the shift of the whole industry Cameras, Goodbye where the iPhone quality reach the one of bigger cameras that don’t have the online features — something that the author found important. A testimonial about camera phones, with the iPhone spearheading, taking over the compact camera market.

Then come his essay The Leica Q where he took the Leica Q on a field test for six month:

I now understand the limitations of this photographic instrument, of which there are few. And I trust and enjoy it more than any other camera I’ve owned.

Yes, even more than my iPhone.

Read the whole essay — six month of use in the field is quite long enough to have a definitive opinion. It feels that Leica managed to make an attractive camera priced not too insanely above of the Sony RX1 (+ EVF to compare). This echoes quite well the early reviews back in June.

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Video tour of the Fujifilm factory

Our friends at DigitalRev TV went to the Fujifilm factory tour. Let’s watch it:

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Another tour of the Fujifilm factory

DPReview went to the Fujifilm factory in Sendai. In pictures.

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Digitizing negatives

David Lam show us his rig for digitizing negative using a digital camera and explain the rational behind his choices.

Back in June, Petapixel had an article about DIY film scanning with LEGO and an iPhone, an interesting alternative approach.

At a time where film scanners are mostly things of the past – where the new models are a niche segment in which flatbed scanners reach the quality that the traditional film scanner used to have, where the old models are abandoned by their vendor whose software was so mediocre that it doesn’t run on modern PCs and where the high quality machines are so expensive, it feels like the best way is to actually use these digitizing devices called digital camera that are quite common. Everything is in the setup.

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Fujifilm film price increase

Bad news, Fujifilm Announces Big Worldwide Price Hike on Film according to PetaPixel:

This latest price hike will hit your wallet pretty hard — hence the dedicated announcement.

“The price increases are substantial and it would be an increase of at least double digit, but will vary depending on products, markets and regions,” Fuji says. You can expect to see the price tags change starting this month.

An increase of about 10% in the us according to Fujifilm USA.

Some people suggested to buy anything but Fujifilm. If only they were not the only one in some market segments.

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More Fuji X-Pro2….

The Verge shows us how Fujifilm makes the X-Pro2 and camera lenses in Japan:

I didn’t really know how they were put together. The answer, it turns out, is that they’re not assembled by robots, but by actual humans with a lot of work and care.

A fascinating photo essay.

ephotozine tells about the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 Design, Prototypes, and Manufacture, another view of the manufacturing and also the evolution of the physical design of the prototypes, showing different tests on the controls layout. They also follow up with their own Fujifilm X-Pro 2 First Impressions Review which is not very optimistic on the battery life.

Marius Masalar Fujifilm X-Pro2 review, based on a pre-production model with more close up picture of the body:

I’ve been waiting for the camera that takes everything I love about the X100T and expands the shooting envelope enough to make it viable for work as well as pleasure. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s Fuji who ultimately delivered it in the form of the X-Pro 2.

After reading that, the X-Pro2 is even more tempting than before.

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Fuji X-Pro 2 and 5 years of Fuji X

Fuji has been celebrating the 5 years of Fuji X, a line they started with the release of the Fujifilm X-100.

Yesterday, Fujifilm officially announced the X-Pro2, the successor of the X-Pro1 that was released in April 2012 and boostrapped the Fuji X-system and introduced the X-Trans sensor. I bought the X-Pro1 sight unseen and didn’t regret it, despite its flaws and quirks.

The X-system has since evolved, between the X-E bodies (cheaper X-Pro1) and X-T (improved EVF only bodies) and the range if new high quality lenses, into a really high quality mirrorless photographic system. Fujifilm has followed-up from customer feedback and managed to provide serious improvements for the various through firmware updates for the existing model — something we have yet to see from most of the competition. And it is happening again with the X-E2 getting improvement from X-E2s.

The X-Pro2

I don’t have the privilege to have access to this camera, so don’t treat this article as a review.

The short version of the X-Pro2 vs the X-Pro1, it is a bit more of everything. More pixels, more speed, more AF focus points, more manual controls, more shutter speed, more exposure compensation, etc.

The various improvements are, without specific order:

  • 24 Mega pixels X-Trans (vs 16 on the X-Pro1)
  • The same hybrid viewfinder improvements than the one found on the X-100T
  • More AF focus point – with phase detection AF
  • Faster shutter speed (1/8000) and fast flash sync (1/250) with the new focal-plan shutter
  • Mechanical dial for the ISO
  • ±3 stops exposure compensation on the dial and up to ±5 in C mode with electronic controls
  • Front selection wheel and improved grip
  • Diopter for the viewfinder
  • 2 SD-cards slots
  • More precise battery meter (but quid of the battery life)
  • Built-in wifi with remote control
  • More film simulation modes
  • Weather sealing

The expected price of USD$1700 is in the same range as the original X-Pro1 and to be available in February 2016.

Let’s see what is being reported elsewhere:

I still have questions. A major one is about the battery life. Since the X-Pro2 uses the same NP-W126 batteries, I’m not sure if it will not plagued by the same problem. I have trouble filling up a 16GB card in RAW with only 4 batteries ; so imagine with two 32GB cards…. in this dual slot setup. Not that the dual slot is useless, but it is not useful for just extended capacity as you’d end up switching batteries even more.
Update: Garrett told me over twitter that the X-T1 that use the same battery is already much better for battery life. There is hope.

The other question is how long it will take to have RAF support in the various applications, given how much of a joke is the application that come with the camera, at least with the previous ones. If only this was documented…, but I digress.

While it sounds like a good time for me to upgrade, I will wait for the things to settle first.

Other announcements

Also announced, the X-70, a refresh of the X-E2 named X-E2s, a new XF 100-400mm lens and a new flash EF-X500.

The X-E2s is a refreshed, aka slightly improved, version of the X-E2 with better high ISO and a few other software perks, that will also be delivered through a firmware upgrade for the X-E2 users. It is great to see Fujifilm committed into improving existing model with software when it is possible.

  • The X-70 is like a X-100T with a wider angle and slower fixed lens 17.5mm f/2.8 and an EVF a flip LCD screen instead of the hybrid. With the promise of an expensive hot-shoe mounted optical viewfinder. In short a competitor to the Ricoh GR.
  • The XF 100-400mm is a f/4.5-5.6 tele-zoom with weather sealing and optical image stabilizer.
  • The EF-X500 is an auto TTL flash for the X-system to be released in May 2016.

Edit: the X70 doesn’t have an EVF. Edited accordingly. Sorry about that.

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