2015 in review as we head into 2016

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Happy New Year everyone!

It’s that time of the year again! As we jump into 2016, let’s look back at the best of 2015 🙂

My favorite Fuji gear launched in 2015

And the winner is… the XF90mm F2 lens!

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This is somewhat ironic as I don’t own this lens, but it is hands down the best portrait lens for the X-series cameras in my opinion. This lens is an amazing performer, and if you shoot portraits all day long (which is not my case) you want to make some room for it in your bag.

My most used Fuji gear of the year

Body-wise, there is no contest, I almost exclusively shot with the X-T1 this year, and if I used anything else at some point it is because I have an X-E2 as “second body” when I need one. But that was a given anyway, to me this is the best form factor of all the X-series bodies, and it is weather-resistant.

Much to my surprise, the lens I used the most this year was the XF16-55mmF2.8. This lens came out early this year, and I was not particularly excited about it. In fact, I still believe this lens is not amongst the best Fuji has made for the X-Series, and the lack of image stabilization is a real bummer in my opinion… and yet I shot the most with this lens in 2015 because it has been with me everywhere this year. it is just so convenient for me to just grab the X-T1 + XF16-55mmF2.8, especially on occasions for which I would not have bothered packing and carrying a camera bag, but still needed a weather-resistant combo able to take a minimum of beating if necessary. In the end, I have used this lens during all my trips in Japan and abroad, on assignment or on holidays, shooting anything from portraits to landscape, or even monkeys taking a hot bath.

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My most anticipated Fuji gear for 2016

According to Fujirumors, Fuji will announce the X-Pro2 in a couple of weeks. I am curious to see the performance of what is likely to be a new sensor, and if Fuji has made any progression the video department, but mostly because we are then likely to see this sensor in a potential X-T2, which remains my favorite form factors. To me it is still the best mirrorless camera in terms of ergonomics.

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Meanwhile, we are getting close to the end of the current X-mount lens roadmap, so we are due an update. From what we know, Fuji will launch the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 telephoto at the end of Q1 2016; and the XF120mmF2.8 macro lens at the end of 2016. My most anticipated gear for 2016 (given what we know at the moment) is actually the XF100-400mm. Not that I want to buy one (just like the XF90mm, I don’t think I would need it often enough to justify buying it), but I can’t wait to rent it and take it to the bird sanctuary of the Kasai Rinkai Park I mentioned previously on this blog.

My #1 “Only in Japan” moment of 2015

I have to give this one to my trip to Oarai and the Isosaki jinja. Even the shrine is covered with tributes to the characters of “Girls und Panzer”, a manga in which schoolgirls learn how to fight with battle tanks… Yeah, definitely only in Japan…

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My “it was about time” moment of 2015

I finally got on board with Instagram. Yes, I know: about time! It has more than limited communication functionalities, but it is all about images, so if you are into photography there is basically no reason not to make the plunge. To follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/balbo42/

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Thanks for your support this year and look forward to what is coming next

I already have a backlog of recent trips that I still need to share on the blog, which I will be releasing through the first couple of months of 2016. In particular, I will be talking about some famous events of the Japanese history, a topic that I am willing to explore further in 2016. Of course, you can also expect more non-sponsored reviews of Fuji gear, a few surprises and most likely a rant or 2 😉

Happy new year!

 

Portrait Session on the Beach at Sunset in Okinawa

All the pictures in this post were taken with the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens mounted on a Fujifilm X-T1.


 

I’m back in Tokyo after having spent the Easter week-end on the main island of Okinawa. Just a couple days relaxing on the beachside with the Ms. We stayed at the Busena Terrace hotel, which was built to host the G8 summit back in 2000. Not a photo trip, but could still used this opportunity to grab  few quick portraits of the Ms. by the beach…

  

… followed by a bit of jazz by the pool. 


 

As far as gear was concerned, I only wanted to use my carry-on luggage, so I only took one Fuji X-T1 body with the XF16-55mmF2.8 mounted on it with me. I just had enough space remaining to throw-in a Yongnuo flash with a remote trigger on top of my stuffs, which came in very handy for those backlit portraits. You can see below how I just handheld the flash at arm length for some easy off-camera lighting in this serie of images. Sure, bigger light modifiers could have provided a better quality of light, but as far as family holiday pictures go this works well enough for me. 

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A Walk to the Shrine

All the pictures in this post were taken with the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens mounted on a Fujifilm X-T1.

There is virtually an infinite amount of beautiful temples located in Tokyo. In fact, there are so many that it does not take much walk outside of the beaten paths found in every travel books to find some little known but beautiful ones.

I just found out the one below last week-end. Although mostly ignored by foreigners, it seems to be a very famous power spot among Japanese.

I consider the pictures below as “draft” pictures. I’ll take the time to come back here in a better light, if possibl after the lights have been turned on. Add some reflections of those lights on the wet path of it has been a rainy day beforehand, and this might be the best combination for this specific location…

I had no idea this shrine existed before last week-end, and I think it would deserve to be better known. It’s such a beautiful place I have made it the background image of my phone 🙂 If you liked this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on social networks, and keep in touch with me on Twitter 😉

Matsumoto Castle

All the pictures in this post were taken with the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens mounted on a Fujifilm X-T1.

I recently made a brief detour by the castle of Matsumoto on my way back to Tokyo from the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. The castle looks gorgeous and is definitely worth a stop on your way to Takayama for example. I did not have time to visit inside this time, but I will be coming back in May.

      

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