Less as being more significant?

When the detail is becoming the main subject, photography is getting more subtle and intriguing? The meaning or the iconic content of a picture is truly related to an array of different factors such as the angle of view, the light, the (picture taken) moment, etc. I won’t argue the virtues of all those fundamentals that are making an interesting photograph. But the relationship between the reconnaissance of a photographic subject fragment and our own interpretation of the iconic content are sometime a stronger message than the exposition (presentation) of the whole context or object.

Being selective
That is may be the best advice I can transmit to you. If you want impact, longevity and originality to be the main characteristics of your picture, you have to exclude all the disturbing elements of your principal subject. Distraction is our first enemy when we are talking about the observer attention. Sure, you can write a thousand-page story but you may lose a lot of your audience. People are now consulting anything at a very fast pace leaving not a lot of (time) space to study your image. But if you captivate them with a good first impact, they may choose to lengthier their observation time.

Being significant
Something has to be said about your picture. A kind of “instant” story that will captivate the observer. You can work your subject by layers of interest, at first glance, then with a secondary impression, and then producing a more profound attention to revealing details, etc. We have to “travel” inside the picture which will provoke a more minded introspection. It can differ from a person to another because our cultural experiences can be very apart from each other’s.

Being persistent
It always surprises me to see that many photographers have a tendency to instant treated a subject before trying another one. Unless you are particularly gifted (and even so!), it is difficult to really master a new subject in a glimpse of few shoots (pictures). If you refer to renown photo artists, you will discover how very long they experiment their subjects over the years and decades. You may question about your subject, its position, its texture, its expression, its light rendering, its context, etc. It is not the number of pictures taken that is valuable but their differentiation (variations).

Being yourself
Don’t try to always replicate the other visions. You will be felt comfortable to confront your subject the way you want. Your interpretation has to be your own in its differences compare to the other photographers. At the end you will probably be comprehensible for certain persons but rarely for all the people. This is the reason that I like some photographs but pass my turn with other pictures (but I am not saying that they are not good…). If you don’t recognize yourself in your picture production, it may be indicating that you have to unleash your imagination and try something else more appropriate to your creative soul.


Being confident
Don’t be distract by external critics because you are on a mission to transmit your vision of life and this mission is more important than this all pseudo dialect of some people that are more oriented to “analyze” other’s pictures than producing their own photographs. Somewhere, somehow, somebody need to see your work and be inspired, simple like that. Don’t look too much for the “Like” popularity (social media pollution) and stay focused on your originality.

At the end, less can be more significant in our every ways of living…

(All pictures were taken in Portugal with a Fujifilm X-T20 camera)

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Straight Photography versus patchwork numérique?




C’est bien là un éternel débat entre les tenants du réalisme inaltéré (pure photographie ou straight photography) et les partisans de l’infinie virtualité créative. Car la photographie a cette particularité depuis son avénement d’être associée sentencieusement comme le témoignage en prise directe d’une objective réalité, ce qu’elle n’est pas puisqu’elle demeure réductrice de l’interprétation qu’elle en fait.

Aujourd’hui la manipulation numérique de l’image est cependant tellement sophistiquée qu’elle devient même pour le regard le plus critique de plus en plus difficile à déceler au point qu’il faut en confier l’analyse de pseudo véracité à des outils informatiques très avancés et dont le résultat reste toujours contestable puisque pas totalement infaillible.

Bien sûr comme adepte de la straight photography, je suis légitimement frustré par l’ampleur et la popularité de l’imagerie “transformée” au détriment de la recherche de l’authenticité, du moins de celle que je prétend être… Car la straight photographycomporte aussi sa grande part de surréalisme mais si elle est en prise directe dans l’usage du médium. C’est cependant son regard immédiat en prise de vue que je choisis au delà du réarrangement pictographique ultérieur du résultat.

Car la straight photographyest jusqu’à un certain point le garant de sa “vérité” iconographique. Elle renvoie à la fenêtre non-altérée de l’observateur. Bien sûr les choix de la fenêtre et de son moment d’observation restent personnels et subjectifs mais si vous endossez les même choix de l’auteur, votre regard se portera sur ce même sujet tout en vous laissant la possibilité d’une interprétation différente.

La manipulation numérique importante de l’image fait souvent basculer profondément le contexte initial de et des image(s). Elle crée un environnement autre qui la dissocie la plupart du temps de la réalité initiale du sujet photographié. Elle est l’expression d’une vision tout à fait onirique de son auteur sans égard ou peu de cette réalité initiale.

Alors straight photography ou patchwork numérique? Les deux modes d’expression artistique continueront de coexister et de se confronter encore longtemps au gré des débats de tous et chacun. Ni voyons ici que l’importance du respect de chacune de ces démarches tout en les reconnaissant comme tel.

(Toutes les photos présentées dans cet article ont été prises à Lisbonne en septembre 2019 avec les appareils photo Fujifilm X-T20 et X-E3)

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!

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR: l’objectif intimiste.

Si vous aimez les appareils photo compacts, vous avez sûrement une certaine fascination pour tous les objectifs d’accompagnement qui sont de petites dimensions. À cet égard plusieurs modèles d’objectifs Fujinon de la série X répondent de ce critère. Ils sont discrets mais demeurent éminemment des optiques compétentes. On peut citer les XF16mm F2.8 R, XF23mm F2 R, 35mm F2 R et enfin, le propos de cet article, le XF 50mm F2 R. Tous ces modèles sont étiquetés résistants aux intempéries, Weather Resistant, et offrent des ouvertures maximales dans la bonne moyenne.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR est un petit téléobjectif qui affiche un grossissement modeste de 1.5X par rapport à notre vision normale. C’est donc dire que son champ visuel reste assez étendu, environ 32 degrés, et peut être assimilé à une optique presque standard. Sa distance minimale de mise au point de 39cm n’est particulièrement spectaculaire mais peut convenir à une photographie de proximité de sujets de dimensions normales. Comme plusieurs objectifs Fujinon de la série X, le XF50mm F2 R WR est doté d’une bague balisée d’ajustement de l’ouverture et d’une autre bague bien dimensionnée de mise au point. Enfin un petit pare-soleil est fourni à l’achat et le diamètre des filtres-accessoires est de 46mm.

Malgré son statut de mini-téléobjectif, le XF50mm F2 R WR fait montre d’une surprenante versatilité en termes de sujets abordables. Bien sûr comme tout objectif dont la distance focale est fixe, vous devrez faire preuve d’une plus grande mobilité pour assurer votre cadrage final. Cependant sa sélectivité accrue par rapport à ses semblables XF16mm, XF23mm et XF35mm vous facilite une certaine épuration du contexte de la composition du sujet choisi.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR s’harmonise très à l’usage d’un boitier Fujifilm plus compact des séries X-M et X-E et X-T10/20/30. Avec un boitier plus grand vous retrouverez également le plaisir de manipuler un équipage moins lourd et moins proéminent.

En ce qui concerne sa performance optique, le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR répond très bien aux exigences des capteurs les plus récents utilisés dans les modèles ayant une définition de 24 mégapixels ou de 26MP. Le profil colorimétrique de l’objectif s’inscrit parfaitement en phase avec ceux des autres objectifs de la série X, la distinction se faisant surtout sur les propriétés de compression propre à un petit téléobjectif.

Fujifilm catégorise le XF50mm F2 R WR comme une optique intéressante plus spécialement pour le portrait et la prise de vues en faible éclairage. C’est en effet presque un lieu commun pour ce type d’objectif mais je considère cette classification un peu trop limitative. Et pour certains photographes, je reste convaincu que le XF50mm F2 R WR pourrait être leur compagnon optique favori. Ce phénomène n’est pas sans évoquer le Leica Summicron-M 75mm F2 APO en format analogique-film 24X36mm bien qu’il s’agisse de deux technologies de fabrication très différentes.

Le Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR est un autre petit joyau optique de la gamme des objectifs de la série X de Fujifilm. Alors pourquoi s’en priver car il est non seulement abordable en termes de prix de vente mais il est surtout un outil créatif amusant et de premier ordre.

The Fujinon “reframing” zoom lenses.

There is always be that dilemma of selecting between a classical fix focus lens and a more flexible vario-focal length zoom one. That debate will never end but you can simply look at the optic kit used by everyday photographers (amateurs, enthusiasms or pros) and chances are great that they are using the two categories of lenses. So it is not really a contest, it is simply a matter of convenience for each different use.


Many have described zoom lenses as the best replacement for, let say, two or three different fix focal lenses ranging from wide-angle to small telephoto or from small to longer telephoto or even the summation of all these angles of view. For each of those complex optics their designers have calculated the best technical combination available in term of size, price point, maximum aperture, minimum focusing distance, etc. But something you do more with a zoom lens compare to a fix focal one is implicating some obvious compromises.

And many zoom lenses are chosen first for their extreme focal length setting … and often use exclusively that way! The manufacturers are aware of that way of using their vario focal length models and pay a more careful attention to the optical quality output observed at the very start and the final focal range of them.

But there is also an whole array of focal length choices between the two extremums of a zoom lens. We could call them the “lens-framers” of the photographer. There are very thoughtful optic tools that allows us to refine our picture composition on place with less quality loss compare to the post-processing reframing. Zoom lenses can be very proactive in a way that they are asking to the photographer to be more cautious about the selection, the position and the context of your subject.

Like we have said earlier the zoom lenses do compromise on others characteristics such as their maximum aperture, their weight and size, their minimum focusing distance, etc.. With a smaller maximum aperture your deep of field control will be diminished that can be partly compensated by selecting a longer focal length if possible. The zoom lenses size will result in a less discrete optic that can be more intimidating for your subject. A more distant minimum focusing distance can prevent you to be able to do easily close subjects.

Short and medium zoom lenses as for the extreme “traveler” zoom lenes are the most versatile in term of angle of view. Many photographers will adopt them as their “stay-on” everyday zoom lens for most of time. Casual, urban, close, travel photography are rightly served by these lenses. The better image output quality will be obtained by selecting the mid-range priced ones to the most expensive ones.

The long telephoto zoom lenses are more specialized optics. Portrait, wildlife, sports and action photography are their main domain. They are bigger optical devices that can ask you to pay more attention to their stability in order to counteract the photographer “blurry” effect by using a more sophisticated stabilisation arrangement from the camera (internal and/or optical stabilisation options, higher shutter speeds and/or ISO setting, tripod/monopod). Again their maximum aperture is smaller but usually at those focal lengths the deep of field is already shallowed.

Over the years I have worked with different combinations of zoom lenses and I am always appreciating them as a very valuable option not only for spontaneous photography but also for more composed subject. For general photography I have really enjoyed the flexibility and the compactness of the Fujinon XF18-55 F2.8-4 R and the respectable magnification factor and the optical quality of the Fujinon XF55-200 F3.5-4.8 both OIS (which is a nice feature considering that some of my camera models doesn’t have an internal sensor stabilisation functionality). Many examples of my recent work are illustrating these abilities.

For travel and urban photography, the Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R OIS is sufficiently versatile for many usual photographic needs and moreover is enough discrete to be a full time lens. To know more about this trans-standard zoom lens model you can refer to this recent article of mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R OIS as for every other long telephoto zoom lenses is a different kind of beast. I call it a “bazooka” lens (especially with the lens hood mounted!). So it is not by far a discrete optic and you will surely impress your surrounding and probably intimidate some folks with it. The most intended purpose of these long telephoto zoom lenses is to isolate your main subject from its surrounding and compress its context. Careful off-center composition may be a challenge since we have a natural tendency to center a magnified subject.

There are several others options available from the Fujinon line of zoom lenses. The Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS and the XF100-400 F4.5-5.6 R OIS are very interesting options at each end of the optical spectrum. The same can be said about the “Pro F2.8” line of lenses (XF 8-16mm, 16-55mm & 40-150mm). For entry-level Fujifilm models, the Fujinon XC series is giving you more affordable optic options. Fujifilm offer also their own version of an all-around zoom lens with the XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R OIS which is in fact a larger optical package that may be more appreciated by nature travelers particular. Lastly we have learn that Fujifilm will launch in mid-2019 a new Fujinon XF 10-80mm F4 R OIS WR zoom lens which can be a very attractive travel-urban all-around optic.

Speaking of the versatility of the zoom lenses is not in any way unevaluating the virtues of the fix focal length optics that are smaller (discrete), have a larger maximum aperture and will give you very high quality image output and these advantages remain today.

A perfect fix focal lens or zoom lens that will fit for every photographic purposes is purely an utopian concept. So even with the add-on versatility of different focal length present of a zoom lens, it cannot respond for every specific need in imagery. But zoom lens do offer a very easy way of re-framing your subject on the spot and without asking you a greater mobility from your original picture taking position. In my sense this is one of the biggest advantage of all those vario-focal length lenses.

All pictures were taken with the Fujifilm X-T20 & X-E3 cameras and Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS, XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS & XF50mm F2 R WR lenses.

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

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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.

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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.

Cubanitas with the Fujifilm X-T20

The Cayo Largo island has been (and still is) a frequent destination for recharging your frozen batteries affected by our long Canadian winter season.

Located south of the main island of Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico, this idealistic place is share by people in search of calm, of nice long white sandy beaches and of friendly Cuban people.

Although many hotels installations are now more on the rustic side because the buildings are suffering a lot into the southern weather since the island seems not to have a lot of material resources to refresh them properly, vacationers from Canada and other countries are coming back year after year and some are paying visits for even a more frequent pace over the year!

We know now that there is very few probabilities that the island of Cayo Largo will be ever “americanized” in any ways in the near future. The Italian travel agencies seem to be the only ones really interested to invest on the island and have created a group of specific resorts strictly controlled and only available for their clientele.

I am particularly fascinated by the architectural point of view of many earlier buildings since they represent a kind of merging of the hispanic heritage blended into the Cuban modern way of building back in the 1980s and 1990s. And because it has not been reproduced in the last twenty years, it may be important to preserve some image temoignages of what may disappear in mid-term.

All the pictures of this articles have been taken with the Fujifilm X-T20 camera and the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens.

The Fujinon XF23mm F2.0: the everyday observing lens

Let us rewind to the analog film days of photography. The 35-50mm taking lenses were kings of their era and were present to almost every manufacturer systems offered. Their maximum aperture were ranging from a modest F3.5 to an astounding F1.2 if you were able to afford it.

With the introduction of electronic autofocus and motorized cameras  they were replaced by a plethora of different trans-standard zoom lenses from the cheapest ones to the expensive “pro” such as the 24-70mm F2.8. And that tendency has been replicated right from the start of the digital cameras era.

With an angle of view of 63 degrees the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR can be assimilated as a “eye-normal” standard lens although for some their opinion is that this Fujinon model is a bit too wide to be classified easily in that category. Its close focusing ability is good and this caracteristic contribute largely to its versatility. It is not a (head) portrait optic but surely you can work full body view portrait with confidence and proximity of your main subject.

The Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens is a useful “interior” lens providing you are not looking for a very wide view (the Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 or XF10-24mm F4 R OIS lenses for example should be more interesting choices in that case). For sure in some narrow contexts you will need to contorsion yourself to embrass the whole subject.

Because of its reduced size, this Fujinon XF23mm f2 R WR is a discrete optic and more if it is coupled with a Fujifilm X-E or X-M series camera body. This particular nature will be fully appreciated if you doing street, travel or casual photography in giving you the possibility to be more spontaneous in your activity.

We cannot escape the (Leica) Summicron lens series analogy even if we are speaking of two very different lines of optics especially considering the electronic involvement into the Fujinon X-series.

The two control rings of the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR allow you to select your aperture and adjust your focus manually if needed or hoped. In the case of the aperture it is handy to be able to better control the deep of field of your subject and also with the focusing ring have the capacity to choose the optimal focus point. The Fujifilm lens hood furnished with the lens is small and none-protuberant (You can leave on almost permanently except if you intend to use optional 43mm screw-in filters).

What about the optical quality image output of the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens? Suffice to say that I cannot see any noticeable (for me!) between this optic compare to the others Fujifilm XF series lenses. To be more reassured you can consult the numerous technical tests over the web. But in my sens the best way of evaluating a lens for your specific needs is to take pictures with it. It can fit or not your style of photography and respond accordingly to your specific technical way of taking pictures. In some countries Fujifilm offers “try and test” session or even loan programs to do so.

So the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens is it for you or not? That is the big question. Focal fixed lenses are optics that are asking a photographer adaptability to be ensure their complete useful. So your mobility is a key point of success when you intend to select that category of optics.  If you feel better and confortable to work from a fixed point of view and reframe with a variable focal zoom lens that can be a big issue. On the contrary if you are a kind of “active” photo takers this Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR can be be an creative and easy manageable answer (as for all the others focal fix Fujinon lenses).

A few years ago I was discussing with Billy Luong of Fujifilm Canada about the possibility of creating a king of “bridge” new lens between the existing XF27mm F2.8 and the expensive XF23mm F1.4 R model and I have noticed his smiling facial expression at the moment. Less than one year after this conversation the new Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR was introduced on the market. Additionaly the Fujinon XF 23mm F2 R WR is now offered as a complementary (“kit”) lens combined with various camera body models at a very competitive price point. For many photographers it could a very wise and rewarding choice…

Close-Cat

The off-center mind of the Fujifilm X-E3

I’ve got a long love affair with the original rangefinder cameras (Leica M4-P & M6) and the now digital rangefinder style cameras (Fujifilm X-E2, X-E2S & X-E3). I don’t know if it is due of the fact that their viewfinder is located off center (meaning not in the same optical axe of the picture taking lens). But that peculiar camera body design seems to stimulate my creativity and my motivation to brought the camera in places and at moments that I will have a tendency to ignore.

The Fujifilm X-E3 is the fourth version of a popular model design that many photographers like to bring with them as their main camera or at least as their back up camera body that happens to becoming eventually their most used. The X-E3 is using the same 24MP image sensor that the X-T2 and the X-T20 have. So the picture quality is at par of the two last mentioned models.

One of the thing which most interesting when you are using a rangefinder style digital camera is the fact that they are less noticeable, less protuberant, less intrusive in front of the subject.. This characteristic to be more discrete is always appreciated by the spontaneous photographer on the street, during a travel and even when you taking a candid portrait of a person (The camera seems to be less “serious”).

Many people were tempted to make the comparaison with the Fujifilm X100F which a compact APS-C digital camera doted with a similar fixed lens of 23mm. If you combine the Xf23mm F2.0 lens with the Fujifilm X-E3 the two cameras will give the same angle of view. But the Fujifilm X100F is more a (large) pocket camera while the Fujifilm X-E3 is an interchangeable lens model that have a more standard dimension.

Fujifilm X-E3 w/ Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

Most people will talk in length about the good or the bad handling of a camera model. It is always a very personal and intuitive impression at the end. Ergonomics are designed by technicians that are biased by their own physical and cultural differences. All this has been said one thing that I have experimented with the Fujifilm X-E3 is its fine ergonomic in terms of the camera body and lens combination and I am surprise how good and easy it is still true even when you are using a larger zoom lens such as the Fujinon XF55-200 F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS. As a travel or street photographer I fully appreciate this ability.

About the tiny Fujifilm EF-X8 electronic flash which is included with the furnished camera accessories I was skeptical of its practical use but I have found it very easy to bring with me and positioning on the X-E3 (You can leave it at rest on the Fujifilm X-E3 camera at its down off-position). Dont forget that the EF-X8 is using the battery pack power of your camera. As a fill-flash and as an emergency flash unit are may be the two best tasks of the EF-X8. For a more extended use of an electronic flash it is better to couple an external unit doted with its own power management.

Window back daylight

Using a fill-in flash can be one of the most rewarding thing to do with interior photography with subject that are backlighted during the daylight period. The color temperature is similar between the ambiant natural light and the electronic flash output and the only big task is to choose an interesting exposure balance between the two in preserving or not the shadows or even simply voluntarily underexposure the ambiant (effect often use in fashion photography).

Using the Fujifilm EF-X8 as a fill-flash

 

Small in-board camera flashes are a very handy solution but they are located usually too near the taking lens  and often interfering with the lens hood that you have to remove to prevent incomplete flash coverage. The Fujifilm EF-X8 give a more elevated flash reflector position. You just have to push it in its down position if you want to shut its power off.

Officially the Fujifilm X-E3 is a less “sporty” camera model than let’s say the X-T series models such as the X-T20 or the X-T2 or even the X-H1. The off-center viewfinder may create a small different perspective between you naked eye and the image recorded by the taking lens but if your concentrate your attention to your viewfinder it wont be noticeable. So spontaneous photography stay a strong opportunity.

As for most of the Fujifilm X-series camera models, the controls of the photo basic parameters are designed in a similar fashion way as it is used to be for the traditional analog (film) cameras. Shutter speed, lens aperture, exposure correction and focusing options including manual adjustment can be selected with direct dials or control rings. The others parameters have to be adjusted through push buttons, touch screen options or using the versatile joystick located beside the rear screen. All these functionality controls need to be learn before really be able to master them without hesitation.

Using the Quick menu (Q) and reprogramming certains function controls can facilitate the handling of the Fujifilm X-E3. Most of the menu option presentations are easy to understand and interact but some functionalities may need more time and essaies to get the habit. There is a lot of autofocusing modes at your disposal that can tailored your shooting workflow. The all-“AUTO” option (lever next to the shutter speed dial) is a good idea for emergency snapshot without disturbing your already programed setting.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is fine detailed with all the (configurable) information you need and got an auto-rotation presentation very useful for vertical framing. In some specific situations the image on the EVF will be more contrasting making more difficult to evaluate low and highlights. For people who are wearing glasses like me the eye relief is more limit and will ask you to pay more attention to the corner of your framing composition of your subject. The back and none-orientable live screen (LVF) give you a better reviewing rendition of your picture facilitating a deeper image analysis.

The side location of the Fujifilm X-E3 electronic viewfinder may give you a better viewing confort compare to the centered viewfinders of the X-T series models. The  instant picture review is easier and the reviewing (Play) push button is located on the bottom right side of the LVF.

In all the Fujifilm X-E3 is a very convenient camera model that respond correctly to the compact size device but without sacrificing too much better handling compare to the larger DSLR model type.

If you are already an owner of other Fujifilm X-series models you will fully enjoy that the X-E3 is using the same battery packs and external electronic flashes without forgetting that it is part of the same optical lens mount system.

The Fujifilm X-E3 doesn’t have an in-(camera)body-image-stabilization system (IBIS) and will rely on your ability to set and handle the camera to avoid generating blurry from the photographer’s movement. Of course you can couple a lens with an optical image stabilization (OIS) that will help you to prevent that phenomena and further permit you to select lower shutter speed in low light situations or simply to get a smaller lens aperture (for increasing the deep of field). As a loosely rule of thumb, no stabilization is available with focal fix lenses (except for the new XF80mm F2.8 OIS Macro and the XF200mm F2 OIS) and it is the contrary with zoom lenses (with some noticeable exceptions such as the XF16-55mm F2.8 Pro). At this day the Fujifilm X-H1 is the only X-Series model equipped with an IBIS.

What I am appreciated the most of the Fujifilm X-E3 is its compactness and its very discrete status in regard of other people ressent when they are facing the camera. It is what can call not only a user-friendly camera but also a subject-friendly photo device. Combined with a short fixe focal or short zoom lens, the X-E3 appears to be part of the family. It is not perceive as an agressive intruder of our life compare to the look with the DSLRs. So the interaction between the photographer and the subject is very different and much more positive.

If you like Black & White photography you will adore to work with the Fujifilm X-E3. This lovely camera model offers you a choice of two monochrome reddition, standard Monochrome and Acros, with 3 different filtering variations, Yellow, Red or Green. So you can literally transform the X-E3 as a Monochrome camera without further expensive investment. (This remark is also good for the other Fujifilm models).

Is it sufficient to simply have a good camera device that can deliver not only nice, well exposed and focused pictures but which is also a creative tool fun to use and to bring with you? Sure there will always be more performing camera models now and in the future and that is inevitable in this race for better human crafting. But in the mean time we have not to forget that the most interesting and rewarding think is to do photography.

In a sense the Fujifilm X-E3 fulfill nicely the task of proximity photography essential in close urban situations or in interior contexts. The Fujifilm X-E3 is a compact photo companion that is not only a competent tool but is also an inspired creative device.