The Fujifilm X-H1 strikes again!

Hard to believe, even a few months ago, that the Fujifilm X-H1, the professional APS-C format X-mount camera with IBIS, is now available at a selling price point of $999 US ($1299 CAN). Already offered since the beginning of 2019 year at a very attractive selling tag ($1299 US, $1699 CAN), this time Fuji surpassed all the odds with no indication (at least for the moment) of a release for an updated version of this pro model.

So what the point for us? I would say that if you are looking to buy an X-T3 or X-T2 models, you should certainly consider seriously the alternative. Because the Fujifilm X-H1 is in my sense the real Pro camera from them that give you not only IBIS but also the ruggedness we are looking for an intense use of a photo equipment.

It is true that the Japan Olympics in Tokyo are around the corner and we can expect something in 2020 from Fujifilm that will probably update the X-H1. But the special opportunity to get the actual version is unique especially combined with the grip and maybe an additional lens. And we know that Fujifilm is caring about its customers by issuing frequently useful updated of their models.

So what’s preventing ourselves to have access to such a high profile product? It is now a moderate affordable option…

Le faire pour soi: le freelance photographique!

On parle souvent de photo-thérapie comme une activité dérivative de notre quotidien répétitif et angoissant d’aujourd’hui. Et il existe plusieurs chantres Internet de cette tendance grandissante de relier l’activité photographique à une recherche non-encadrée ou si peu de ressourcement personnel. Bien sûr l’idée n’est pas nouvelle en soi et répond déjà au plaisir de plusieurs de photographier.

Cette thérapie par l’image est un choix libre qui se veut lamons contraignant possible tant techniquement qu’artistiquement. Elle propose l’observation spontanée de notre environnement dans un cheminement subjectif dans le choix ouvert de moments picturaux personnels. Elle nous « décale » de notre schéma habituel quotidien et elle crée une espèce de nouvelle routine de créativité sans la contrainte du résultat obligatoire.

Pourrait-on parler alors d’un véritable freelance photographique? Certainement dans la mesure où cette liberté nous incite à franchir des frontières à la fois personnelles et sociales dans l’accomplissement de notre existence. Il n’y a plus de mandats spécifiques à l’acte de photographique si ce n’est que notre propre inconscient créatif qui explore ses sujets favoris et c’est bien l’essence même de cette photo-thérapie.

D’autres formes d’expression artistique offre les mêmes potentiels thérapeutiques. L’art engénéral est un formidable exutoire de l’esprit humain.

L’autre aspect intéressant de cet exercice libérateur est son point de vue individuel qui l’exclut de l’encadrement incessant et perturbateur de la pression sociale qui nous enveloppe de plus en plus de son coté pseudo-justificatif de notre existence. Ic pas de place pour le coté moralisateur de l’intelligentsia du monde photographique destructeur de l’inspiration, de la nouveauté et de la provocation. Le traitement du sujet ad-libed est ouvert à toute interprétation iconique.

Quant est-il du résultat de cette démarche libératrice? Assurément un contenu qui diffère de notre grille habituelle d’images enregistrées. Mais surtout un témoignage de notre force créative à produire une photo plus provocante qui peut peut-être demander un effort supplémentaire à celle ou celui qui la regarde. L’émotion est au rendez-vous car elle traduit celle que vous avez éprouvé au moment de la prise de vues.

L’être humain est souvent à la recherche du soi à travers ce qui l’entoure et chaque élément de cet environnement contribue à sa connaissance et son expérience personnelle. La photo-thérapie prolonge cette observation en la figeant sur des moments particuliers que vous avez retenus en toute subjectivité.

The Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R WR: the expensive (muscle) Fujifilm trans-standard!

Not another big bazooka lens to hand-hold all day long! I cannot contradict my own preferences for using more compact and lighter photo equipment. But first I must confess that I had really like working with the Fujifilm X-H1 model. And optically my preference have been always for wide-angle, standard and (short) telephoto lenses. And many « pro » standard zoom lens models offered by manufacturers are in fact fulfilling these various tasks. So why not a test run with the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR trans-standard zoom lens.

The Fujinon XF 16-50mm F2.8 Pro is a very beautiful piece of optic and very well carefully crafted too. Yes it is big and heavy, I won’t contradict you in that matter. And don’t try to put it into any of your pocket even the largest ones. No, the only way to bring it is holding it in your hands which can be convenient if you are attempting to do pictures with it! But what I love the most regarding many of the « pro » optics is their level of consistency along all the range of their focal lengths and apertures.

The Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R WR is not a compromise lens in any way and that explain mostly its dimensions and weight. Although it is not really a discrete optic device you can manage your behavior to counteract the effect of its relatively larger size. With its largest angle of view of 83.2 degrees the XF 16-55mm offer a perfect flexibility into urban, travel spontaneous photography subjects. And it can also manage interior photography to a some extend. At the long end (55mm) it can be used as a portrait lens. Its close focusing distance is modest but may be sufficient for standard size objects like flowers or food plates.

All the basic lens control rings (Aperture, Zoom, Focus) are easy reachable and their specific « grip » can be identifiable with after a short learning time. The filter-accessory size of 77mm is simply gigantic, so prepare you to spend extra money for even a basic protection filter and remember that at this big diameter the optical glass quality of these add-on accessories is a paramount factor to consider before buying (just for not helping you to keep your economy money). Lastly a beautiful but prominent plastic petal lens hood is included with the lens.

The red badged Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is part of the select « pro » Fujifilm series X lenses. It insure certains specific characteristics that all these special optics share like the weather resistant feature and an implicite better design and manufacturing for a more intense use of the lenses. And on a long term those red badged XF Fuji lenses represent a better value on the resale market. The three control ring (Focus, Zoom, Aperture) are fairly large and smooth to operate. The aperture ring is click-set for 1/3 stops.

Fujifilm proclames that the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is ideal for portraits, landscapes, action/wildlife, urban/ street photography and video. Sure it attests of its own great versatility for all these various subjects. And the temptation to keep the XF 16-55mm F2.8 as a permanent resident on your X-series camera body can be overwhelming. Pairing the lens with complementary one(s) will probably ask you to select another red badged X-series zoom or fix focal length lens to get the same level of overall quality.

An interesting question can be asked concerning the focal length flexibility of the Fujnon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR? Can it replace all these fix focal XF lenses such as the 16mm F2.8, the 23mm F2, the 35mm F2 and the 50mm f2? If you eliminate the size and weight factors of the equation, the respond will be probably yes. Having working with some of those fix focal optics, I cannot see significant differences between their (high) picture quality output compare to the zoom one.  So yes it is a very good combine all-in-one product (however you may have to muscle your arms and shoulders a little bit!).

I was debating myself about the pertinence of selecting a weather-resistant (WR) lens over very good optic such as the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS which a more compact unit with optical stabilisation (OIS). Obviously the stabilisation feature doesn’t really have to be considerate with a Fujifilm X-H1 model that have already in body image stabilisation function (IBIS). But the WR option can be an issue even if I am not always photographying in adverse conditions, it can happens very often in North America (Rain, cold, severe wind, snow, etc) and sometimes during travel (especially high humidity factor). So for a complete peace of mind you may want to fully rely the WR feature that also facilite greatly the maintenance of the lens.

The red badged Fujinon XF series lenses are expensive products. If you are considering to own some of them it can be a strong financial issue. Surely to get one or more of them, you will have to down play your acquisition pace (providing you are not millionaire!). The good thing about it is the fact it will allow you some time to consider seriously which type of lens will really suit you. You may even try one before buying it at a camera shop or may be rent it for a short photo essay (In Canada some  photo product retailers offer such a program).

What to conclude about the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR zoom lens? It is in fact a very high quality optic and very well built. But moreover it is a very handy trans-standard zoom lens which will answer the needs of an urban traveller photographer who love to move around and choosing a great variety of different subjects to immortalize. It can work in almost any environnemental surrounding (providing you don’t immerse your camera-lens combo!). And it delivers photographic image results that sustain the Fujifilm exceptional optic reputation. There are only small drawbacks (size & weight) that can be compensate by hand-holding your camera for doing … photography!