Fuji X-H1

The rumored Fuji X-H1 is no longer a rumor. This is the new top of the line Fuji X camera from Fujifilm.

Note: I do not have access to one at the moment.

From the Fujiguys:

In summary from this video (after a quick watch):

  • Same sensor as the X-T2 / X-Pro2. Same film simulations, plus “Eterna” (a motion picture film stock) added.
  • 4K up to 30fps, cinema 4K DCI (4096 x 2160, 17:9 aspect ratio) up to 24fps, f-log 8bits 4:2:0 internal recording , adjustable bitrate up to 200Mbps.
  • Still 1.17 crop factor. 120fps in 1080p for smooth slow motion.
  • AF-C tracking speed adjustable with the face detection in 4K.
  • 5-axis in body IS. 3.5mm headphone jack. Mic in.
  • Body is bigger, has a top LCD like on the GFX50.
  • Tiltable 3 way LCD touch-screen (but not flip).
  • Use the same NPW-126 batteries.

Update: Fujifilm Canada product page.
Update 3: DPReview first impression: USD$1900.

The other videos from the Fujiguys for more official information:

Leica CL

Today, Leica announced their new mirrorless camera for the Leica APS-C System, the Leica CL. Not to be confused with the 1970’s era film rangefinder Leica CL that was developed with Minolta.

This new camera body comes as alternative of the TL2, with the same 24 megapixel sensor and Leica “Maestro II” imaging system. Unlike the TL2, the Leica CL has an EVF built-in, without being bigger. Body only, the camera is at roughly USD$2800, it uses the same lenses as the TL2.

Also introduced today, an 18mm f/2 “pancake” lens (27mm equivalent) that will set you back by USD$1300 ; albeit as a kit lens, the whole camera (body and lens) will be around USD$3800.

This camera plays more in the same field as Fujifilm X-series, albeit at the Leica price tag.

Kai has a hands-on preview:

Also unlike Canon, this camera do 4K video, even though it wouldn’t be my choice for this purpose.

In the mirrorless game, Leica seems to have found their product segemnt: high end quality camera, with a solid lens lineup.

Reflex, a new 35mm film camera design

Petapixel had the news about Reflex, a new 35mm film camera design:

The Reflex combines old, time-tested designs with exciting new ideas to create a brand new concept of what a manual film SLR can be for the modern generation of photographers.

Head over to the kickstarter page that explain it in more details. Here is the summary:

  • Modern mechanical and electronic components.
  • Interchangeable mount, by default with a M42 threaded mount, but optionally K, Nikon F, Canon FD, etc.
  • Interchangeable back: 35mm film magazine.
  • Built-in Flash and continuous LED light.
  • Modular, “open-source” and connectivity (like Bluetooth Low Energy). The intent being to have open specifications for third-parties to provide accessories.
  • Battery with USB charger.

Still at the Kickstarter level, already past half of its funding as I write this, on the first day, Reflex plans to ship in September 2018 with the specifications still subject to change. The pledge that gives the camera body in its barest configuration as a reward is at GBP350 (~CAD$590). You get the M42 mount, no lens. I believe this is reasonably priced.

My thoughts:

It is good to see that there are some people interested in make film cameras, beyond the booming instant photography. Yes there is Japan Camera Hunter’s project of 35mm compact camera project but it seems to be just a project.

The supply in used film camera is nice, with quite many affordable units, but it won’t be eternal. Something fresh is definitely needed for the survival of film photography.

The design is also interesting. It doesn’t try to be too complicated or gimmicky, the two major innovations are the interchangeable lens mounts and the removable film back. The former is a dedication to reusing older lens, without having extra adapters, and the later solve one of the issue of film that we can’t change film type without finishing a roll (or hacking by rewinding the spool, been there, done that). Some would argue that the flash or continuous LED light are gimmicky, but the Bluetooth Low Energy part is interesting. I like geotagging and this seems to be the perfect fit. It would be terrific if we could get the exposure information and DX that way as well.

And with all the comments, Shootfilm has an opinion on the matter.

Is Yashica back?

Usually a question as the headline means a “no” as an answer. This time as well.

Last month, Yashica teased us about their comeback.

Today, they announced the Kickstarter for digiFilm™, already funded in less than 24h.

In both appearance and sensation, YASHICA Y35 recaptures the joy and meaning of analogue-photography but eliminating the time and expense required for film development.

A cheap digital camera (plastic body), 14 megapixel 1/3.2″ sensor, optical viewfinder, 35mm equivalent f2.8 lens, no screen, no edit, with a system called digiFilm™ to load “presets” onto the camera. And to fool you, one has to needlessly “wind” the camera up before starting to shoot. Each of these digiFilm™ cost money (~USD$18) and they provide different ISO, colour, or even aspect ratio.

Looks like a novelty gadget, not something that will make Yashica serious choice like it once was.


Polaroid is back!

I wrote a few month back about Polaroid coming full circle.

It seems that today, on the 80th anniversary of the original Polaroid company by Edwin Land, the idea is coming to fruition, as Polaroid Originals is born. Dedicated to instant film photography Polaroid Original offers a new instant film camera, the OneStep 2, and its companion film the i-Type. Along this, they offer film for the vintage 600, Spectra and SX70 Polaroid cameras.

The OneStep 2 looks like a modern version of the Polaroid OneStep with a built in rechargeable battery (via USB).

The i-Type film looks like Polarod 600 film pack, but cheaper. Although the OneStep 2 accepts 600 film packs, but the cheaper i-Type can’t be used in vintage Polaroid 600 cameras.

At USD99, the OneStep 2 is reasonably priced. USD15.99 for an 8 exposures film pack is a bit on the expensive side compared to Instax, but cheaper than Impossible Project film. Also, it seems that the price for the vintage formats has been lowered too. Let’s hope that this be successful to allow the R&D to reduce the cost as they scale up the business.

Impossible Project is no more. Vive Polaroid Originals.

Fujifilm news: X-E3, new lenses, 4K firmware update

Fujifilm announced the X-E3. An upgrade to the X-E2S. The control get the same update like touch screen, AF joystick, AF touchpad, 24MP. It will also have 4K video (hello Canon!) like the rest of the X-series. Price will be ~USD$900, ~USD$1300 with the 18-55 OIS.

The lens roadmap was updated, with a 80mm f2.8 OIS WR Macro with 1:1 magnification for November 2017, and later a 8-16mm f2.8 WR ultra-wide zoom and a 200mm f2 OIS WR, the later being compatible with the teleconverters.

Fujifilm also announced firmware updates for the other models (X-Pro2, X-T2 X100F, X-T20) to be released in November / December 2017. The X-Pro2 is getting 4K video with this firmware upgrade.

I think I’m no longer hung on my upgrade path, taking video into consideration. It will be Fuji X.

Polaroid coming full circle.

Polaroid is going full circle. Petapixel tells us that Polaroid is being Acquired by The Impossible Project’s Largest Shareholder.

To put this into context, The Impossible Project is the company that was founded to produce Polaroid compatible instant film after it was end-of-life. It was a hard task as they needed to reinvent it, and to that effect bought from Polaroid their last factory in the Netherland. On the other hand Polaroid, the company that was synonymous of instant photography, went bankrupt and ended up being just a brand selling electronics. It is only recently that the owner of the Polaroid brand started to sell Polaroid branded instant film products, dubbed Polaroid 300, based on Fujifilm Instax Mini 7.

The bigger irony is that the Fujifilm instant film technology was only allowed to exist with licensing agreement from the original Polaroid after Kodak lost big in a lawsuit.

To summarize the history:
– Polaroid invent instant film.
– Kodak develop instant film and get taken down by Polaroid.
– Fujifilm, in light of this, settled with Polaroid.
– Polaroid goes bankrupt.
– Polaroid stops instant film.
– Impossible Project starts from the ashes of Polaroid technologies and manufacturing to manufacture and sell film for Polaroid 600 and Polaroid SX70 cameras.
– Fujifilm Instax thrives.
– Polaroid is just a brand, that changed hands more than once, used to sell many things.
– Polaroid sells rebranded Fujifilm Instax Mini 7 as Polaroid 300.
– Impossible Project release their first instant camera the Impossible Project I-1.
– The Smolokowski family, who purchased a large stake of Impossible Project, is now buying the Polaroid brand.

Now, while one can’t speculate of what will happen, it seems that Polaroid has now come full circle. I do believe that leveraging the brand and distribution network for Impossible Project would make sense to expand the instant photography business.

If you are interested in the story of Polaroid, I can’t recommend enough Christopher Bonanos’ book Instant: The Story of Polaroid.

RIP Popular Photography – 1937-2017

Petapixel reports that the top US magazine Popular Photography is ceasing publication:

Popular Photography, the largest circulated imaging magazine that launched its first issue in May 1937 in New York City, has ceased publication after being continuously in production for 80 years. The March/April 2017 issue will be the last in print.

Personally I didn’t read Popular Photography, but in the early 2000 when I became serious about photography I did read two of the major photography magazine in France — they are still in business it seems. I found them very valuable, full of recommendations, images, etc. At the same time, I was already using the Internet and found some other very valuable resources. This is how things are evolving. Traditional magazines are in decline, giving publishers very few options as digital media has taken over. And with the likes of YouTube, things will get even harder in the 21st century for the printed magazines, forcing them to convert or perish. And conversion is possibly too late.

Leica M10

Once upon a time, there was the Leica M8. Then there was the M9. Then Leica called them M, with some obscure “Typ” number next to it. Now the new M-series is the Leica M10. At least that’s logic.

The Leica M10 is the latest installment of the Leica legendary rangefinder camera, digital, using M-mount lenses. Still pricey, still high-end, still with its own style.

Key features:

  • 24 MPix sensor
  • Built-in wifi
  • Revised menu system
  • No video mode
  • Slimmer than the M Typ 240

Yes they removed the video mode that was on the M Typ 240. Another new things: Leica added a control wheel for ISO were the film rewind would (there was nothing on the previous digital M). Also, the preliminary tests show a sharp increase of the image quality.