2020: the “climatic” year for photography

Things are changing in a very fast manner especially into the environmental context. The demographic pressure of the last two or three decades is pushing profound physical and psychological transformations around and inside us. And we can add without much risk that it will be the same for the years to come.

It may be because that we are entering in a real globalization of human activities without any opting-out still available and it brings a lot of frustration among people that are afraid of the changes to come. But with that inevitable fact in view, many individuals and collectivities are trying to avoid it by building new physical frontiers that will simply crack up under the necessity of the human Mondial needs in living in this planet.

Further than that, the human presence is directly affecting our surrounding in the air, in the water, on and in our soil. The climatic changes are the consequence of our environmental pillage provoked by our gradual territory invasion. The so-call “natural” (unspoiled) habitat is now, at least, a think of the past and, at most, a old fantasy for some. Many animals and vegetal species have already paid the extinction price of the human territory expansion and transformation.

On the photographic point of view, most pictures presently done will not be easily reproduceable if not completely impossible to redo as everything is mutating in a fast pace. Even the “nature” of humanity is now largely different from what we have seen in a recent past, let say twenty or twenty-five years ago, since the event of the popular Internet availability.

Documenting visually our civilization evolution can be the next primary task as many references of today or yesterday have a tendency to evaporate in a short lap of time. The big challenge will be how we will be able to transmit into the future generations of the next decades and the next centuries all those images. Hardcopy prints are may still be the surest way to do it again knowing that digital archives can be lost easily or, more important, they can be no more accessible because of the technological changes.

Can we reinterpret the “Family of Man” exhibit (***) sixty-five years later? Can we produce a planetary photo album of our humanity that will be available to everybody of this world as a sounding testimony of the human diversity but also about its profound closeness? Yes, our body envelop can be very different, but our soul is common to all. Photography can transcend superficiality to project the inner expression of our feeling, our understanding and our hopes.

Because today more than ever we need more photographic authenticity which is opposing the actual tendency to artificially mask it or recreate it. We need to preserve “what we are seeing” instead of “what we want see”. Yes, there is still a place for personal interpretation of realities recorded because we cannot avoid the obvious difference of perceptions. But integrity, honesty and respect have to be the guide of our human photo quest.

Inspired by the great photo documentarists, the photojournalists and the street photographers, many of us may assigned themselves to record and share this human interest about the faces, the activities, the moods, the relations and their ecological surrounding. Curiosity can guide us to new perspectives. Studies of the past can generate a search for new interpretations of our present realities. Different image interpretations can help to up-come new ideas and analysis.

A new “climatic” year for photography should be the opportunity to refocus ourselves about the integrity of ourselves regarding our world’s surrounding.

Fujifilm X-mount endangered models: please hurry to get one!

Usually I am not be the one who will encourage fast consummation of photo equipment but sometimes you have to push yourself to get profit of the decrease selling price of very fine products that are in process of replacement.

In the Fujifilm X-mount line-up, there are at least 4 to 5 models that we can classified as endangered species. Every one of those has its own specificity. For example, it is time to get a pro Fujifilm X-H1which is representing the best deal for a professional high-level camera equipped with the IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) which an exception compared to all other Fuji X-mount camera models. Package with its power grip and two batteries, it is a real complete kit and you can combine it with some excellent pro lenses.

What can I say about the Fujifilm X-E3 more that it represents an underrated, competent and, more important, real compact camera that you can get at a fair price especially with the XF23mm F2 or the XF18-55mm F2.8-4 lenses? And because it is a simpler interface presentation model (with less fussy control dials and buttons), you can concentrate yourself more on your picture composition and the moment of shooting. If you prefer to choose a center viewfinder that is more appropriate for sport or fast action photography, the Fujifilm X-T20 is still available at discount price with or without a lens. The X-T20 model add a tilt back screen that is very handy (low- or high-level viewing) such in macro or repro projects.

Lastly, I won’t pardon myself by not mentioning the Fujifilm X-Pro2 that will be replaced by the X-Pro, version 3. I don’t want to underestimate the advantages of the latest X-Pro version, but I do prefer a permanent back viewing screen (instantly available and “glued” to the camera body) compared with a flip-down one that require space and introduce some review delay.

Source: Fujifilm
All these Fujifilm X-mount models are doted of the same excellent 24MP image sensor and are offering you the same selection of different color and black and white Fujifilm rendering options that are so please among many photographers. They are using the same power battery pack and the same flash system. So, this equipment versatility is definitively on your side.
All these Fujifilm X-mount camera models are mature products that you can rely on it. They have been updated over time and they are now at their full technical development. Selling prices and availability of each one may differ from countries to others but be aware that most of these models should disappear in a relatively short term. So, it is time to act if you are interested…

Life in 16mm (w/Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 R WR lens)

Seeing life with a more wide angle of view is not rare thing but for many it may be a photographic higher challenge compare to the more selective view of a telephoto lens. Yes there is already a lot of landscape (nature or urban) aficionados around the who are producing striking pictures so why limit the use o a wide angle lens to that specialized purpose?

I have been a long time adept to wide angle lens that offer an angle of view of 84 degree or even a larger one. The 84 degree image perspective can be translate in different formats by the 12mm focal length into MFT (Micro Four Third) or by a 16mm in APS-C or by a 24mm lens in 24 X 36mm sensor size. All those optics are usually original (not streched) design with their own technical specifications. There are less available and usually more expensive compare to other lenses that have a more narrowed angle of view.

In APS-C sensor format (17 X 24mm approx.), Fujifilm line-up is well represented by a couple of 16mm models and even an interesting 14mm lens. The latest Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 R WR has captivated my attention by its compactness and its weather resistant characteristic. As for many Fujinon WR F2 lens models (23mm, 35mm, 50mm),  the 16mmF2.8 is a natively less intimidated optic because of its small size. Combine with a compact APS-C camera, you can do spontanious photography and you can easely brought the camera-lens combination all day around.


The “spacious” lens
Telephoto lenses are renown for their compression effect between the foreground and the background surrounding the main subject. Wide-angle lenses have just the opposite effect by “decompressing” the subject and allowing a virtual increase of the perceived space between all the elements composing the picture that will be register. So it is not really what or how you actually seing the image with your naked eyes but in term of angle of view it represent more your total pictural perception of the scene.This is particularly true when you are tempting to embrase “larger than life” subject such as landscapes, urban-scapes or interior-scapes. It is true also for larger subject taken in short distances such as groups of objects or of people. Because of this larger view emphasis, we have to be careful of the impact of all the elements included in the final picture. Working with a wide angle lens require a very special attention of our image composition. It is like doing a painting fresque each time if your subject is rich in several details. Or if the subject is more plain, we have to pay attention of the graphical arrangement that will be choosen.

The Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a prime lens that have got its own signature. It is not a previsible optic that doesn’t need to be really mastered before using it successfully. Many photographers outside their landscape needs will avoid using wider lenses. It is a pity because the wide lenses have the virtue of their compactness and the ability of using it much closer to the main subject. But a wide angle lens will be less forgiving if you dont care about your level position for example because tilting the lens is provoking a rapid shift of the horizontal and vertical direction lines. To help us, the Fujifilm X-mount camera models (as for many others maker digital camera models) have incorporated an optional electronic level that will appears into our viewfinder or our viewing back screen.

DoF Critical Element
The amount of deep of field optical effect is a constant subject of debates over the “photo” web. Some are praying to get the optimal good quality DoF in order to realize “scape” photography. Others just want to narrow it for the portrait purpose and be sure to “artistically” blur the foreground and the background (mainly). So what is happening when you are using the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR lens. As many wide angle optics you have the sensation of an extended deep of field which in fact it is not really the case. For a specific focus (distance) point and aperture selected, the DoF will work the same way for the distance range whatsoever the lens focal length you have primarily chosen.So knowing those facts, the wide angle lenses seem to give you more DoF may be because of the illusion of seing smaller many elements composing your picture especially in the background area.

Physical attributes of the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR
By definition the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a short lens. Short in term of focal lenght but also physically short in size and lightweight. The aperture ring is located the standard Fuji X-mount way with click 1/3 stop and an “A” (for automatic diaphragm ajustement) which is located at the end of the f/stop scale  but without any security lock button. The thin focusing ring is at the front but still manageable. A plastic dedicated lens hood is furnished with the lens which is always appreciated. Overall built finition follow the higher Fujifilm standards and the lens is proclaimed weather resistant.

Close-up with a 16mm?
Will we prevent ourselves to do close-subject photography with a wide angle optic? Many may pretend this is the case considering the particular perspective view rendering of this type of lenses. In a sens it is a pity to not experimenting the very particular way of seing that offers the use of a wide angle lens. I wont say that the Fujinon Xf 16mm F2.8 R WR lens is a very intuitive optic to operate in the very short distance from your subject but the results can be surprisedly intriguing and artistic. For example the apparent extended deep of field (DoF) will allow you to include in focus surrounding (graphics) elements that can enhance your main subject.

The Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR lens can be rightly seen as a competent urban optic but that said it must not prevent ourselves to use it in many other photographic exterior and interior situations. Its compactness will allow you to bring it with discretion and efficiency. More you will experiment the 16mm, more you will appreciate its original perspective by creating none less persifle pictures. At this price point and considering its construction and optical quality, you should fully enjoy it yourself.

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 Fujifilm X-H1: la bête de somme chez les APS-C


Oserais-je ou n’oserais-je pas? Telle est la question! Il y a mon amour pour les appareils photo compacts (à objectifs interchangeables) et il y a mon ancienne vocation professionnelle, tout cela chez un même aimant de photographie devant Dieu et les hommes. Bref une espèce de quadrature du cercle insoluble. Et cela s’ajoute ma passion pour les beaux objets d’équipement photographique!

DSCF1468Alors j’ai succombé à la tentation et fait l’essai du Fujifilm X-H1. En recevant le boite contenant l’ensemble  boitier et poignée d’alimentation, j’ai songé à m’inscrire à des séances-minutes de musculation mais heureusement en retirant le boitier seul de l’emballage, le souffle m’est revenu quelque peu. Car le Fujifilm X-H1 ne fait pas dans le petit compact et me rappelle bien mes anciens boitiers analogiques Nikon F3 et F4, sa préhension étant similaire à ces ancêtres si vous ajoutez la poignée VPB-XH1 au Fujifilm XH-1.

DSCF1431Tout dans ce boitier X-H1 reste “somptuaire”. Son viseur électronique, EVF, vous donne un aperçu d’image très similaire à un viseur optique reflex traditionnel. L’information y est complète et configurable et l’affichage s’ajuste au cadrage vertical. L’accès direct aux ajustements de base (Sensibilité, vitesse d’obturation, ouverture de l’objectif, reprise manuelle de mise au point) est un plaisir toujours renouvelé. Sa stabilisation du capteur d’images est un outil sans pareil et plus particulièrement quand vous le couplez avec un objectif non-stabilisé optiquement. Sa discrétion de déclenchement est sans pareil tout comme la douceur de son bouton-déclencheur. Et il est résistant aux intempéries, une qualité toujours appréciée du baladeur impénitent sans égard aux conditions météo.

DSCF1442Plusieurs fonctionnalités comme les touches de mémorisation de l’exposition et de la mise au point sont très commodément situées et ne prêtent pas à confusion. Une prise flash-synchro traditionnelle est un joyeux archaïsme rassurant mais, avouons-le, tout à fait dépassé. L’ajustement dioptrique du viseur électronique est facilement accessible. Pour un utilisateur déjà familié à l’interface de Fujifilm, l’adaptation sera aisée.

Les possibilités de configuration du Fujifilm X-H1 sont très, très étendues et permettent une personnalisation très poussée de l’appareil. Peut-on vraiment être en mesure d’exploiter un tel instrument ne fut-ce qu’à une fraction significative de son plein potentiel? J’en doute même si pour certains aspects plusieurs pourront en commenter certaines limitations techniques et surtout du coté vidéo bien sûr (Ceux -là sont toujours à renâcler mais je vois rarement leur production!!!).

DSCF1405La présence de deux ports d’entrée pour cartes mémoires SD accroit significativement l’autonomie du Fujifilm X-H1. Couplé avec le poignée d’alimentation VPB-XH1, vous obtiendrez suffisamment d’énergie et d’espace-mémoire pour une journée et plus de prises de vues sans entrainer de changement d’accus ou de cartes. Bien sûr certains frénétiques du déclenchement incontrôlé pourront me contredire mais, au fait, que font-ils de toutes ces images (semblables)? Car nous parlons d’une capacité moyenne de 1000 prises de vues pour les trois piles-accus (boitier + poignée) et de plus du double pour deux cartes mémoires de 32GO ou mieux. Pour fin d’ironie historique, on parle bien de l’équivalent de plus de 27 cartouches de 36 poses en format 35mm film…

DSCF0086Il ne faut surtout pas omettre de souligner l’excellente qualité des simulations film offertes par le Fujifilm X-H1 et du niveau exceptionnel de son imagerie en format JPEG. Et que dire de ces riches alternatives en noir et blanc qui m’amènent parfois à revivre ma douce passion pour le monochrome parfois peut-être exagérément pour certains dont l’univers se mesurent en couleur plutôt qu’en nuances de gris. Car ce n’est pas justement l’aspect le plus essentiel de l’activité photographique, i.e. l’image qu’on en fixe pour sa petite éternité.

DSCF0110Bref le Fujifilm X-H1 a tout pour plaire même si sa présence physique se fait bien sentir. Que ce soit en main, à l’épaule ou dans le sac, vous ne pourrez pas l’oublier! C’est donc une bête conçue en priorité pour faire de la photo et non un accessoire d’ornement qu’on peut porter sans trop d’inconvénient ( soyons bons princes et princesses car Fujifilm offre déjà plusieurs autres modèles d’appareils conçus à cette fin … mais qui prennent aussi de bonnes images!).

DSCF1394Il y en a quand même quelques petits irritants. Par exemple un oeilleton d’oculaire de base (qui peut être remplacé par une version amincie EC-XT S) trop proéminent pour les porteurs de lunettes comme moi. Un accès moins direct à la correction d’exposition (la roulette avant ou arrière peut être configurée de façon permanente via le menu config. touche/molette @ bouton rég. comp. expo. @ bouton  marche/arrêt) comparé à tous les autres modèles de la série X ce qui est étrange pour cette catégorie “pro” d’appareils. Un bouton-poussoir d’accès au mode lecture situé sur le coté gauche supérieur qui le rend inaccessible au pouce de la main droite et oblige le photographe à utiliser sa main gauche (vous pouvez opter dans le menu config. écran pour l’affichage momentané ou continu de la dernière prise de vue). En un mot quelques vétilles comparés aux avantages inhérents du Fujifilm X-H1. D’autres pourront approfondir le tout pendant que nous prendrons des photos…

DSCF1437Le Fujifilm X-H1 ne craint pas les contextes de faible luminosité intérieure ou extérieure. Avec son viseur électronique et sa stabilisation embarquée, tout est prétexte à photographier et laissez-vous tenter car les opportunités de belles images sont là. Pour les adeptes d’éclairage naturel et de sujets pris sur le vif, le X-H1 est l’ami de tous les photographes spontanés dont je suis membre du club sélect depuis longtemps! Même la plus grande inertie (poids) de l’appareil encourage une meilleure stabilité de prises de vues.

DSCF1475En “shooting” vertical, i.e. en cadrage portrait, le Fujifilm se manipule aussi bien avec ou sans la poignée d’alimentation optionnelle VPG-XH1. Cette poignée d’alimentation s’adaptera d’autant plus aux situations où vous opterez pour une optique plus volumineuse. Les vertus de la poignée VPG-XH1 comprenant également une autonomie accrue par trois, une meilleure préhension verticale de l’appareil avec certaines touches-fonctionalités de base reportées et un port d’entrée pour un casque d’écoute. Douce attention de Fujifilm, un adaptateur-chargeur secteur est fourni avec la poignée et permet la recharge des deux accus à même celle-ci.

DSCF1457Le Fujifilm X-H1 reste un appareil très versatile au sens qu’il permet l’ajustement des mêmes paramètres mais de différentes façons, ce que rend très aisée sa configuration et facilite le confort de l’interface d’utilisation. L’adaptation demeure rapide et sa personnalisation très efficace. Et les résultats photographiques sont à l’avenant de la qualité de construction de l’appareil. Nonobstant sa dimension plus moyenne que compacte et son poids accru, la présence de la stabilisation interne du capteur et la finesse de son viseur électronique justifient en grande partie ce possible inconvénient. Et sans oublier sa vocation a priori pleinement professionnelle.



Note: Comme à l’accoutumée, je ne traite pas ici des caractéristiques propres à l’utilisation vidéo du X-H1.





Toutes les photos illustrant le X-H1 ont été prises avec l’appareil Fujifilm X-E3 et l’objectif Fujinon XF 50mm F2 R WR.