The Online Photographer: Shooting with a Fuji X100

The Online Photographer has a guest post by Robert Plotkin: Shooting with a Fuji X100.

Plotkin has a lots of gripes against the focusing system:

The imprecise focusing takes an unusually long time. It is like waiting for a cashier to incorrectly manipulate an abacus and hand you the wrong change.

He also have issues with the usability. But in the end:

Shooting the Fuji X100 is like driving a vintage Ferrari: bugs in your teeth, pebbles ricocheting off your goggles, double-clutching straight cut gears, applying opposite lock to correct a slide—and coming out of the corner neck-and-neck with a soccer mom in a black Escalade of an SLR.

Read it thoroughly. I still want to get one.

Nikon 1

Nikon 1 is the just unveiled Nikon mirror less system. It seems to be a trend. First, m4/3, then Samsung NX, Sony Nex, Pentax Q and now Nikon 1.

2 cameras:

  • Nikon J1: 10.1 megapixel “CX-sized” sensor (x2.7 crop), electronic shutter, pop out flash, 1080p HD video, lot of colors. $649 with the 10-30mm.
  • Nikon V1: more advanced that the J1. No flash, accessory port, built-in EVF, higher resolution LCD, mechanical shutter, stereo microphone input, fewer colors. $899 with the 10-30mm.

The camera feature interchangeable lenses, SD card (high capacity), PSAM exposure modes, autofocus, etc. And NEF raw files.

4 lenses, 1 prime, 3 zooms:

  • Nikkor 10mm F2.8 pancake
  • Nikkor VR 10-30mm F3.5-5.6
  • Nikkor VR 30-110mm F3.8-5.6
  • Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6

Two accessories for the V1: a flash and a GPS unit for $149 each. According to DPReview there will be a F-mount lens adapter coming as well. The availability in the US will be 20th of October 2011.

More at Nikon USA.

(Price are US list prices in USD)

My opinion, without having seen it. The new mount and the small sensor are two things that could hinder the camera success. The sensor, “CX size”, smaller than the one of m4/3, but still bigger than the one of the Pentax Q, make it more difficult to contain the noise at high ISO. I haven’t see samples yet to make myself an opinion. Also the new mount means that the lens will be specific to the system. I do believe Nikon could have benefited from joining the m4/3 gang instead and could have introduced Nikon lenses to the mix for the variety. It is one of the reason m4/3 cameras are popular.

On the other hand, the GPS accessory, while a bit overpriced, seems to be a welcome addition that virtually no other maker has. It is not Nikon’s first attempt.

Leica factory visit

The kind people at Luminous Landscape have an article about a Leica factory visit in Solms, Germany (by Nick Rains).

These [Leica S2 and M9] are hand made products – quite literally. It’s why they are desirable in the first place and the process can only proceed so fast. I’m told it takes 8 hours to assemble an M9 body and having seen the care and precision with which they are assembled, I can certainly believe it.

This should explain why the quality is at the top along with the price.

Pentax Q

Pentax just announced the Pentax Q, a mirror-less camera with interchangeable lenses and a small sensor of 1/2.3″. There will be 5 lenses available.

As usual, DPReview has a preview.

Just a few comments after reading the specs and the preview:

  • Small sensor. I already find the m4/3 to be noisy due to its size. 1/2.3″ is significantly smaller and the quality will likely converge to a compact: lot of noise at higher ISO.
  • Barely smaller than the Sony NEX (or a micro 4/3), according to the picture on DPReview, despite a much smaller sensor.

Also the lenses will include a “standard” prime (kit) 48mm equivalent, “standard” zoom ($300), a fisheye with manual focus and fixed aperture f5.6 ($129) and for less than $100, two “toy” lenses, one wide (28mm equiv.), one (100mm equiv.) telephoto whose image look will remind of the Diana or Lomo.

At $800 with the prime lens, I don’t really see where the Pentax Q fits in the market. That reminds me of the Pentax Auto 110 film SLR.

Open letter to Leica

Lloyd Chambers wrote an open letter to Leica:

The M9 felt like 2 year old technology the day I got it, with many disappointments.

And yes you are allowed to bad mouth Leica. I believed that the M8 was a mishap – evidence that Leica didn’t really know what to do. Apparently the M9 is too. And very expensive. Chambers has already written very extensively about the M9 (sorry, paywall).

And I have read a lot of praise about the Leica M9 too.

Leica 25mm for m4/3 and Panasonic GF-3

News from the micro Four Thirds front:

Panasonic GF-3: more compact than the GF-2, still no viewfinder, even more stripped down:
DC Resource previewDPReview
In July 2011 with the 14mm f2.5 for USD$699. August for USD$599 with a kit zoom.

Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4 DG: fast sharp “standard” lens:
DC ResourceDPReview
Price unknown, for August 2011.

Ricoh GR-D III for street photography

Using the Ricoh GRIII For Street Photography: A Review by Eric Kim (from The Phoblographer):

Without spoiling anything, it is truly the best compact camera for street photography, and everybody who is serious about shooting in the streets should have one. Keep reading to read my in-depth review of the Ricoh GRIII digital.

I have a GR Digital II which is almost the same. The Ricoh GR Digital series have a lot of fans. I believe this family of camera is greatly underrated, maybe because it does not have a zoom making it some sort of pariah for consumers. I have yet to get myself on using it in that situation having used the E-P1 more often. Maybe soon for a more complete review.