Fujifilm Updates X-Mount Lens Roadmap

It seems like ever since the first Fujifilm X-mount camera was launched, the X-Pro1, we can’t help but admire the progress Japanese manufacturer has been making. And it is not just the release of well thought-through line-up of cameras Fujifilm’s relentless attempts to improve models with firmware updates. Not just the pleasing design or quality of lenses. It is also what they have in store for us in the upcoming year. Fujifilm has just updated its X-mount lens roadmap for 2014 (and the start of 2015). And it looks bloody brilliant.

Fujinon-lens-roadmap-2014-2015

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The Fujifilm X100S Black

Fujifilm X100s is among the best digital compact cameras for street and candid photography. The useful focal length of 35mm (full-frame equivalent) provides ample versatility in all kinds of environments, aided by the relatively fast aperture of f/2. Despite such commendable specifications, the lens is also very small and makes the whole package appear non-threatening and easy to carry around for long periods. Couple that lens to a large (for a compact camera) APS-C X-Trans sensor and you will soon find that Fujifilm X100s is definitely capable of some very high-quality results, as seen in our review of the camera. What’s at least as important as the camera’s portability is its quietness. Using the camera is basically a silent endeavor courtesy of that whisper-quiet leaf shutter – almost like an electronic shutter, but without the disadvantages. On top of that, what was previously a slow autofocus system (of the original X100) has now been significantly improved for the latest X100s.

Fujifilm X100s Black

The design plays a big part in the camera’s appeal for street photography, too – it is not instantly recognized as a digital camera by most people and, as such, does not raise negative reactions as often, but rather curiosity. Loads of strong points, then. But if there was a slight niggle some of the street photographers had with the X100s, it is that the camera did not come in all-black. Rejoice, because it does now.

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Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR II Announcement

Along with the D3300 DSLR, Nikon has also introduced the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II kit lens, another iteration of the lens with a completely new design. Compared to its predecessor, the new 18-55mm kit lens is now much more compact and lighter, because of its retracting design similar to some of the Nikon 1 lenses.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II

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Nikon D3300 Announcement

Today Nikon announced the new Nikon D3300 DSLR camera – an update to the existing Nikon D3200 that was released in the spring of 2012. The D3300 is not a huge upgrade over its predecessor. Judging from its specifications, it is mostly a cosmetic release without major innovations, meant to keep Nikon’s entry-level line fresh. The image sensor is supposedly new that increases the native max ISO from 6400 to 12800, although its resolution stayed the same at 24.2 megapixels. The main difference in sensors is the removal of the optical low-pass / anti-aliasing filter, which has now become a trend even on entry-level DSLRs (the Nikon D5300 was also released without a low-pass filter). The D3300 comes with the new EXPEED 4 processor that we have seen earlier on the D5300, which allows the camera to record/process images and video at higher rates. For example, video recording at full 1080p is now possible at 60 frames per second. Continuous shooting frame rate has been increased from 4 to 5 fps and the viewfinder got a slight magnification boost from 0.78x to 0.85x.

Nikon D3300

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Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R Lens Announcement

The holidays are over, as sad as it may be. And that means it is time to get back to work! We start with some great news. Fujifilm has just announced (or, rather, confirmed, since we knew this lens was coming) the very hot Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens for its popular and desirable X-series compact camera system. For those who wonder, this is a proper, 85mm full-frame equivalent (84mm if you’re being pedantic) portrait lens with correspondingly fast aperture of f/1.2.

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R

1) Overview and Specifications

It is not difficult to understand why such a lens is so important for any camera system, and especially for that which is based around APS-C sized sensors. 85mm f/1.4-1.8 class lenses are considered to be among the best, most versatile prime portrait optics. Not only do they sport a very useful focal length, generally thought to be not too long or too wide for close-up portraits, but the fast aperture also ensures plenty of creative opportunities to take advantage of. Of course, one could always use a 50mm f/1.4 class lens on a crop sensor camera for similar behavior and that is indeed something I have done in the past myself. And yet there was a problem. A 50mm lens acts much like a 75mm lens would on a full-frame camera, which sounds close enough to 85mm. In practice, I found 75mm equivalent to be a little too wide for close-up portraits, which would get distorted. That is why the new Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens will be so appreciated by professional photographers looking for a proper portrait lens. In terms of angle of view, it acts very similarly to how an 85mm lens would when mounted on a DSLR with a 35mm sensor. The maximum aperture of f/1.2 should prove useful in low-light situations, but what is more interesting is that the shallow depth of field capabilities of this lens are similar to an 85mm f/1.8 lens on a full-frame camera. This is the first lens with such parameters for APS-C sensor cameras – Fuji has done something much more experienced digital camera manufacturers have ignored for over a decade now. It is a good thing, and one that is slowly becoming a welcome trend.

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Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Review

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This is an in-depth review of the new, much anticipated Nikon 58mm f/1.4G professional prime lens that was announced on October 17, 2013 along with the Nikon D5300 DSLR. Similar to the legendary classic, the NOCT Nikkor 58mm f/1.2, the AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G is a specialized lens for such needs as portraiture, street, event / wedding photography and astrophotography. Thanks to its fast aperture of f/1.4 and a complex optical formula using aspherical elements, nano crystal coat and super integrated coating, along with a fast silent wave autofocus motor, the lens is also ideal for low-light photography needs. Unlike many of the Nikkor lenses that are optimized for maximum sharpness, the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G is the first modern lens of its kind that focuses on producing aesthetically pleasing images, rather than purely focusing on sharpness. I had a pleasure of shooting with this lens for the last 3 months and I wanted to get a full understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, especially when compared to the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and f/1.8G lenses that I have been relying on for my photography needs. In this review, I will not only provide an in-depth analysis of the lens, but will also compare it head to head against Nikon’s 50mm prime lenses and the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 lens that I have been testing in parallel.

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G

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Nikon Df – Heart vs Head Rebuttal

When Bob Vishneski wrote his “In the Nikon Df Crossfire – Heart vs Head” humorous article a couple of days ago, I had a hard time with hitting the publish button, because I knew it would create some controversy (especially from those that like their Nikon Df cameras). In addition, I did not necessarily agree with all of Bob’s points, since I look at the Df differently. But that’s the beautiful thing about our team here at PL – we can differ in opinion, share our thoughts / feelings and we do not have to agree! In this case, the below article is sort of a rebuttal to Bob’s article.

Nikon Df

I have been shooting with the Nikon Df for over a month now and I do not see the Df as a huge mistake. In fact, I actually like a lot of things about it and see its place for some photographers. I am not trying to say that I love the Df, since there are some things I strongly dislike about it, like the single SD card slot on the bottom of the camera, some ergonomic issues and other limitations. I think the Df is a very controversial camera and Nikon knew very well that it would be before the release. In fact, I heard something very interesting – Nikon apparently told re-sellers that they expected the sales for the Df to be very low. At the moment, re-sellers are barely catching up with the demand and the number of units sold far exceeded their expectations! I was rather surprised by this, considering how vocal some people got on our site and others regarding the Df.

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In The Nikon Df Crossfire – Heart vs Head

The following conversation is entirely fictitious. Any similarities to opinions expressed on this forum or elsewhere are purely coincidental.

Nikon Df - Heart vs. Head

Head: So you are pretty excited about the Nikon Df, huh?
Heart: Absolutely!
Head: Just what is it about this new DSLR that has you so enthused?
Heart: Well, the Df brings us back to what some of us call “Pure Photography.” Sadly, it has been missing for quite some time. Then again, given your analytical mindset, which is utterly devoid of human emotion, I would not expect you to understand such a concept.
Head: Perhaps thinking is a bit over-rated at times, but it does come in handy, particularly when evaluating marketing slogans and attempting to discern the value of various camera models and lens choices. So help me out here – just what have those of us using digital cameras over the past 13 years or so been engaged in – “Impure Photography?”
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Fuji XQ1 Review

This is not meant to be an in-depth review of the Fuji XQ1, because I normally do not like spending time evaluating point and shoot cameras. First, there are too many of them and they recycle every year, sometimes even several times a year. Second, with the rise of the cell phone market with pretty impressive cameras, I just do not see the future of the point and shoot market. And lastly, the XQ1 simply ended up in my hands in error and I did not want to send it back without writing a few words about it.

Fuji XQ1

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Last Chance for Year End Savings

Nikon’s “Buy Together and Save” instant rebate program is expiring today (it will not be extended anymore), so B&H is offering a free UPS Next Day Air shipping for orders to arrive to your home before the end of the year. If you want to see a detailed list of cameras and lenses that are available for this rebate program, along with our recommendations, please take a look at this article that I posted on Black Friday. In short, this particular rebate program applies to all current and older Nikon DSLRs and a long list of DX and FX lenses. Once you add a camera body to the cart, you can stack as many lenses as you want, increasing the total savings.

Nikon Buy Together and Save

Refurbished Nikon D800 DSLR has dropped down to $2,399.

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