24064154549_0f0f07366a_c

DPReview interview with 2 senior Fujifilm executives in Tokyo

After a hectic period of going through the bazillions of first-looks and previews of the newly announced Fuji cameras and lenses, I am going back to basics and simplicity, taking the good old X100s on photowalks with me (you can follow my Instagram feed for some of these pics as I upload them in the coming days). I have also been able to sell my X-E1 and X-E2 (which used to be my back-up camera, currently replaced for that purpose by the X100s… until the X-T2 is announced and the X-T1 becomes the back-up?), and used the proceeds to order the XF90mmF2 (primes are really where the Fuji X-Series shines in my opinion), which is currently on its way home.

img_8406

Meanwhile, DPReview has published a very interesting interview with 2 senior Fujifilm executives (see at the bottom for details) they met in Tokyo during the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the X-Series. You can read the full interview by clicking here.

What stands out is that the Fujifilm executives are not only very ambitious for the X-Series, but there are not shy in expressing these ambitions and discussing the competitive landscape.

We’d like to be at least in the top three companies in the camera business by market share.

Mr Toru Takahashi

The strong domination of the 2 giants Canon and Nikon might come to an end some day, but for the moment they have more than enough room to stay well ahead of the rest in the near-future (to give you an idea, Canon and Nikon combined accounted for more than 75% of the interchangeable-lens camera market by volume in 2014, while Sony came third with 13%, according to data compiled by the market research company IDC).

With Canon and Nikon at least temporarily out of reach, if Fujifilm wants to achieve its ambition of being in the top 3, that means they will first need to win the battle of the mirrorless market, to complement the staggering success of Instax cameras (which are dominating on the market they have created themselves).

Regarding Sony, the executives recognize that the fact that they produce their own sensor gives Sony an edge. However, they also very candidly (and unusually) point out what they think are the weaknesses of Sony.

Sony has a big advantage, they make their own sensors. That is a very big advantage for them, but they are weak in lenses.

Mr Toru Takahashi

They are weakened by having so many formats. APS-C, full-frame, [across both] DSLR and mirrorless.

Mr Toshihisa Iida

While I personally prefer the lens lineup of the X-Series and trust in its future expansion, Sony’s recent effort to tackle the argument of the lack of lenses should not be underestimated. This argument is becoming less true and Sony now also offers some clarity regarding the future with a lens roadmap, similar to what Fujifilm did when they started the X-Pro1 with only 3 prime lenses.

In any case, the Fujifilm executives seem very confident that Fujifilm will win the longer game while Sony will squander because of a lack of focus. I have always been confused by the number of models with different mounts that Sony has been releasing over the past few years, and they would logically benefit from focusing on a single system and lens mount. However, I would not discount as much Sony’s potential as the Fujifilm executives are doing. By experimenting in so many markets, Sony has found one domain in which they are more or less alone and that could be very profitable to them if they were to direct all their efforts into it: full-frame mirrorless cameras. They still haven’t found the magic formula that would allow them to mix their technological advance with some photographic mindset, but if they can find a way to do it…

As far as Micro 4/3 are concerned, they are not discussed in the interview, but I personally hope that a in-body image stabilization similar to the one developed by Olympus would make its way into a Fujifilm body. Also, in terms of video capabilities, Panasonic has a lot to teach to Fujifilm.

Overall, the competition is fierce, with many actors targeting the same market with different strengths. While I am not convinced that Fujifilm will achieve its objective to be in the top 3, the fact that they are trying to achieve it by deliberately focusing on one system thought for everyday photographers, rather than packing a ridiculous amount of megapixels on a tiny sensor, makes me confident that the X-Series is at least the right choice for me. Let me know what you think in the comments below 😉

Mr Toru Takahashi, Director, is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fujifilm’s Optical Device & Electronic Imaging Products Divison. Mr Toshihisa Iida is General Manager of the Sales and Marketing Group of Fujifilm’s Optical Device & Electronic Imaging Products Division.

22096767372_c0cfb8d060_c

Photographing the Autumn leaves in Nikko

A few pictures from a day-trip to Nikko last Autumn that I did not have the opportunity to post on this blog earlier (this article has been in draft mode for 3 months now!). This was not my first trip to Nikko, so, rather than trying to hit all the “must-see” spots in the area, I took my time to explore the area above the Ryuzu waterfalls, though I did not have enough time to go hiking in the Senjogahara Marshland (戦場ヶ原, Senjōgahara) and will have to go back for that.

Gear: Fujifilm X-T1 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

If you are visiting Japan, Nikko is really worth the trip (for a long day or 2 days) if you are worried you allocated too much of your time to Tokyo. Unfortunately, some of the shrines are being renovated at the moment, so make sure you double-check for that before planning your visit. For an exhaustive guide of “What to see” in Nikko, check the excellent japan-guide.com.

If you found this article interesting, there is a good chance your friends will like it too, so share it with them on Twitter and Facebook! 😉

23967727139_13b0edcabd_c

Field Test: Shooting with the Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 + XF1.4X TC WR Teleconverter

The Fujinon XF1.4X TC WR Teleconverter came out at the end of last year. At the moment, it is only compatible with the XF50-140mmF2.8 zoom lens, but the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom and the XF120mmF2.8 macro will also be compatible when they are released.

24232578581_2400eb272f_c

When you add a 1.4x teleconverter between your lens and your camera, you lose one stop of light (due to the almighty laws of physics). Therefore, the XF50-140mmF2.8 + XF1.4X TC will be equivalent to an XF70-196mmF4 lens. You need to update the firmware of your camera (X-T1 in my case), something We have gotten used to do, but you also need to update the lens firmware (something we do less often) before you start using the teleconverter. Once both the camera and the lens firmware so are up to date, your camera will be able to understand to which lens you have attached the teleconverter, and from there will be able to calculate the correct values of focal length and aperture.

24232472271_13dafd9101_c

In order to test the XF50-140mmF2.8 + XF1.4X TC combo in real-life conditions, I decided to use it for most of my portraits of the last Coming of Age Day, mounted on the X-T1, only switching to the XF56F1.2 prime at the end of the day. Knowing that I was losing one stop of light, I raised my ISO to 400 before I started shooting but apart from that the experience was completely seamless. In particular, shooting during daytime in good weather condition, I did not feel any difference in terms of auto-focus performance compared to using the XF50-140mmF2.8 without the teleconverter. I would assume there should be a more pronounced impact when auto-focus conditions are intrinsically more difficult (in low light for example), but this is not something I tested as in such conditions I would by default take only faster primes with me anyway.

23686747494_2c21aff87d_c

In terms of image quality, adding a piece of gear, no matter how well designed, between your lens and your camera body is going to downgrade the image quality. If you zoom enough on the files and do some comparisons, you will without a doubt find some differences, but the important thing to define a good teleconverter, in my opinion, is to make sure that these differences are not visible if you are not looking for them. Mission accomplished for Fuji. When you look at portraits like these ones, the fact that it might have been shot with a teleconverter which would have slightly downgraded the image quality is not the first thing that comes to your mind (not the second either!):

23967727139_13b0edcabd_c

Conclusion: the XF1.4X TC WR Teleconverter is a piece of gear that does well what it is supposed to do, and will come very handy in various situations for the nature and wildlife photographers. Unfortunately, you cannot use it with any lens, and the number of compatible lenses is very small at the moment. I am looking forward to see how it performs with the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 zoom when it comes out in February.

 

If you found this article interesting, there is a good chance your friends will like it too, so share it with them on Twitter and Facebook! 😉

24474818816_4e070b038b_c

Coming of Age Day (2016)

Coming of Age Day is held every year in Japan on the second Monday of January, to celebrate those who have become “adults” over the past year. The city townhalls hold ceremonies where the “new adults” are invited to receive some encouragements for their future. Many attend the event wearing traditional clothes, though this is mainly true for ladies (wearing the furisode, a long-sleeved kimono for unmarried woman), while the guys are mostly wearing suits. Here is a typical illustration of this:

 

Many people will couple this event with a visit to the shrine/temple with either their family or friend, to make wishes for the new year, so I usually go to Meiji Jingu to take portraits of them.

 

The complete gallery of portraits:

If you found this article interesting, there is a good chance your friends will like it too, so share it with them on Twitter and Facebook! 😉