Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fujifilm X-30 YouTube Video Review: Is the 2/3" Sensor Too Small?

Fujifilm X-30 @ 50mm equiv. 1/500th sec f/5.6 @ ISO 200. Provia film simulation JPEG

I thought I would quickly release my YouTube video review of the Fujifilm X-30 before my full written review. Not everyone wants to read through an entire article. I understand. As mentioned on my previous preview video, I really like the X-30. It handled really well and the control features are very 'Fuji intuitive'. It's everything the X-100S should have been in terms of ergonomics and functionality. In fact, I would argue the shooting experience on the new X-30 is better than the X-100S (except for the optical viewfinder option on the X-100) in a more compact, lightweight package. The only minus is the sensor size. Is it too small? Look forward to my full review for my full answer. Until then, enjoy my full review video. 



Monday, September 22, 2014

Camera Preview: Fujifilm X-30. Is it worth it?

Fujifilm X-30 @ 35mm equiv. 1/140th sec f/4 @ ISO 400. Classic Chrome JPEG


I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Fujifilm X-10 and X-20. I loved the concept, build quality and principle behind the design and features of the compact camera series. Manual on/off and zoom ring, optical viewfinder, larger than normal 2/3" sensor (the competition all had 1/1.7" sensors), retro styling. It all made sense. However, when I looked at the image quality, it was only slightly better than my Ricoh GR-D IV at low ISO. The X-20 added the X-Trans technology, but I still wasn't blown away. I classified the X-10/20 as an EDC (every day carry) camera, and I wasn't convinced of its place in the market place (although the camera did reasonably well and beloved by many fans). I believe that Fujifilm was targeting the Canon G series cameras, but it's a shrinking market, even for Canon. The Sony RX-100 was the game changer, and Canon had more success with their smaller S100 series cameras, which had the same sensor as the G series, but in a much smaller form factor. The industry is moving towards a 'bigger sensor in a smaller body is better' philosophy, which isn't horribly wrong. But it also needs to shoot well and have the right functions and ergonomics to make it a success. The Panasonic LX and Canon S series proves this philosophy correct, as they both have smallish 1/1.7" sensors.

However, when I heard there was a new X-30 coming out, I was convinced Fuji was going to upgrade the sensor to at least a 1" (although this means they would have to design an all new X-Trans sensor, and not just buy it from Sony). It makes business sense to keep the 2/3" sensor, I understand. Why gamble producing an all new sensor if they weren't positive that it was a growth market for them? My guess was that they were either going to shoe-horn an APS-C X-trans sensor into a compact body (similar to the Ricoh GR), or shrink the size of the camera. Fuji did neither. Instead, they added tons of new features, updated the software, and improved the ergonomics and functions while making the camera slightly bigger. Is this enough to keep up with the current and upcoming competition? Let's see...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Leica Akademie Vancouver: Guest Speaker

Taken w/ Ricoh GR. 1/180th f/5.6 @ ISO 500. Edited in CS5 & Photoscape. @loiterbench (IG) in Chinatown, Vancouver.



Since starting my Youtube series, I've been getting emails from people asking if I run any workshops on street photography. As you may know, when Eric Kim was in town in Vancouver, he invited me to audit his 3 day street photography workshop and I had fun watching someone formulating how to teach this unusual photographic 'art form'. Eric insisted that I should run my own workshops and I thought a good way to start was accepting the privilege of being the guest speaker and instructor for the upcoming Leica Akademie in Vancouver next week.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Video Chit-Chat: Fujifilm X-T1, X-Pro 1, EF-X20 flash and a Green Canoe

Here's my latest YouTube video and my first video with a guest, even though he's not a photographer by trade. Kurt Dahle is a drummer for a pretty cool indie band (he's very shy about his band so I won't mention it here for his sake), but he's also a huge camera nerd like me. I bumped into him while I was reviewing some cameras a few months back (Leica T and Fujifilm X-E2), and we got along really well. I decided to invite him on my latest video since he picked up the pretty sweet EF-X20 flash unit for his Fujifilm X-Pro 1. I also complain about Fuji burying the flash compensation feature in the menus, which would be a quick firmware fix (please fix this Fuji!). The video is mostly just me and Kurt chit-chatting about nothing, as it was hard keeping this video on track. Even still, I'll have Kurt (and maybe his bandmates) back for more videos since we had such fun shooting it. Camera girl was all smiles while shooting this video, which is a good sign. She usually looks confused when it's just me nerding out on camera details. Enjoy the video and happy shooting!


Monday, July 28, 2014

New Video: Fujifilm X-T1 vs X-E2. Also water pour test on X-T1 and XF 18-135 WR!

Hello everyone, 

I've been so busy working on my different projects that I haven't had much time to focus on my YouTube videos and my articles. I'll be back in full force in the next week or so. I currently have on review the following: Fujifilm X-T1, X-E2, XF 18-55mm, XF 35mm, XF 18-135 WR, SHARE SP-1 wireless INSTAX printer. I also have some Leica cameras on the way: Leica M Monochrom and M240 and some lenses. I will be a guest speaker at the upcoming Leica Akademie being held in Vancouver so I have to make sure I know what I'm talking about before the workshop! 

So here's my latest YouTube video. I'm comparing the X-T1 and the X-E2 and help people decide which one to get, and I also do a water resistant test with the X-T1 and the XF 18-135 WR. Enjoy and happy shooting.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Street Photography, iPhones and Instagram

All images taken with iPhone 5S and edited with Instagram, VSCOCam, PS Express, and/or Camera +


I love reviewing cameras and I enjoy street photography. I only review cameras that interest me and want to use while shooting on the street. I care less about absolute image quality, but focus on what camera is best for shooting quickly and discretely, important qualities while taking street images. Funny thing, I've been spending much of my time shooting with my iPhone and using Instagram as the primary platform for my street photography work. When I upgraded my iPhone 4 with the latest iPhone 5S back in December, I saw a leap in image quality and felt it was powerful enough for me to shoot with it as a serious imaging tool. What makes smartphone cameras ideal for street photography? Here's a few things I've learned while using my iPhone and sharing my images via Instragram during my street photography project...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gear Review: Leica Brightline Finder M-24


When I received the Leica T to review for the second time, there was an odd accessory in my review package, the Leica Brightline Viewfinder M-24. The angle of view (24mm) didn't really work with the lens that was provided (standard 18-56mm zoom lens), and they included the EVF in the package anyway...so why did they include it? Who cares! This is a great accessory and I wasn't going to complain. I had an awesome time playing with it and it made my shooting more enjoyable. The question is: how good can this very expensive viewfinder be? Let's just say that it destroys the competition...

Street Photography 101: Zone Focusing

Tokyo-X-Vario project: Leica X-Vario @ 18mm, 1/1000th sec f/7.1 @ ISO 1600. Zone focused to 3.5 M


There's been much talk about scale or zone focusing and I've had a lot of people asking me what the difference is between the two and the advantages of shooting this way. I've mentioned it many times in my camera review articles, so I thought I would post a quick video to explain the basics. Scale focus just means that you focus by using a scale, instead of using a focusing aid, such as rangefinder focus or split image focusing. Many older cameras used scale focusing as the only focus aid, and with a depth of field scale, most could estimate the distance pretty good.

Zone focus is more purposeful in that you choose a comfortable focus distance based on the focal length of your lens and the subject you're shooting, choose a suitable aperture that will give you enough depth of field within the 'zone' you are focusing on, and then leave your settings there. Once you get use to zone focusing, especially for street photography, it becomes a faster way to shoot versus relying on autofocus. Watch my YouTube video for more details. 



Hopefully this video wasn't too complicated. If so, or if you still have questions, don't hesitate to comment below and I'll do my best to explain further. Zone focusing is good training for your eyes, to be able to estimate distances instead of relying on a focusing aid to tell you. I hope you enjoyed the video. Don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel, and please check out my Instagram account and my Twitter as well for updates and extra pictures.

Happy shooting!

Munetake 

BHT

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Fujifilm TCL-X100 Converter Lens

Fujifilm X-100S with TCL-X100. 1/400th sec f/5.6 @ ISO 1250. Chinatown, Vancouver


When Fujifilm announced the WCL-X100 wide angle converter for the X-100 series cameras, I was a bit confused. The difference between the standard 35mm equiv (23mm) angle of view and the 28mm equiv you got with the converter was negligible. If it went to 21mm or even 24mm equiv, I would have been more interested. But I understand why they didn't go wider, since the optical viewfinder on the X-100(s) couldn't accommodate such a wide lens (although they could have been creative and added some sort of OVF adaptor as well...) When Fujifilm recently announced the TCL-X100 this spring, my ears perked up. A 50mm equiv focal length with a rangefinder-style camera... now that's more like it! When Fujifilm Canada asked if I wanted to test it out for a few weeks, I immediately said yes! Let's check out this monster converter and see how it performs on the X-100S...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Video Review: Fujifilm TCL-X100 Teleconverter for the X-100 Series


Here is my quick video review of the TCL-X100 teleconverter for the Fujifilm X-100 and X-100S. My full written review will be up soon with sample images. For now, let`s just say that if you own an X-100 or X-100S and you`ve been wanting a little bit more pull-power, this is the perfect solution. It`s an easy, screw-on adaptor, and no optical compromises (except for funny lens flare). It`s a lot of glass, and it`s heavy, but it balances well on the X-100S. At $349 USD, it`s not cheap, but if the X-100 is your primary camera, this lens is a must have. Check out my preview here, and watch my video below. Happy shooting.