What 2017 may bring for Fuji lovers?

As 2017 approaches the rumour mill goes into overtime as to what camera models we can expect ( or hope) to break cover in the forth coming year.

One company always subject to intense speculation is Fuji and for them 2017 promises to be a great year on the back of some truly superb released in 2016 ( ie the X-Pro 2 and X-T2)

X100F : Fuji’s future X100 model?

Its a bit of a no brainer that Fuji will update its X100 model line and again its pretty obvious that the next X100 model (rumoured to be labelled the X100F?) will be a sensible and progessive upgrade incoporating Fuji’s new 24mp Trans X sensor ( as found in the X-Pro 2 & X-T2) as well as the adopting of certain ergonomics / button placements from Fuji’s current mirror-less models. So expect to see at the very least a handy rear AF toggle button on the X100F?

As for the fixed lens that will sprout from the X100F, its highly doubtful Fuji will change the core X100 model feature of a  fixed 23mm F2 prime lens ( which offers a 35mm equivilent focal length) as the combination of such a lens and a clever optical – electro EVF has proved such a hit.

I wouldn’t be at all suprised if the rear screen becomes a bit more resolute and gains touch capacity and even may in some way become articulated?

All in all the X100F will be a evoltion of the X100 concept and implementation which is no bad thing.

So what about the replacement of the Fuji X30?

Rumours persist that Fuji will drop the 2/3″ Trans X sensor for any future “X” zoom equipped, viewfinder sporting compact and instead move up to a 1-inch “X” sensor. If true this does make sense as Sony’s  20mp 1-Inch BSI CMOS sensor has shown the great advantage of such a sensor size. The possibility of say (and this is a pure guess) a 16-18Mp 1-inch “X” sensor with on chip AF points is a wonderful thought / fantasy.

And the X70 replacement?

There have been the odd rumours here and there of a X70 replacement surfacing in 2017 but very little hint what form such a replacement would take.

As a X70 owner the obvious upgrade would centre around replacing the the ageing 16mp APS-C Trans X sensor in the current Fuji X70 with Fuji’s latest 24mp unit? Other than that I don’t really envisage many changes for any X70 upgrade /replacement.

X-T10 to become the X-T20?

Yep, for 2017 the X-T10 will be upgraded to a 24mp X-T20 of that am pretty certain.

Any truly new surprises from Fuji?

I am not expecting anything too radical from Fuji in 2017. The company have worked hard to foster a loyal and dedicated customer base by releasing cameras based around core photography requirements. As a result 2017 is likely to simply be a natural progession and update on current model lines.

Mark Baynham (December 2016)

 

Sony RX100 V : Amost there but still not quite

Sony RX100 V: “B+” effort that should be a straight “A” performer

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V Review Image

This weeks Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine contained a full review of Sony’s latest RX100 model the Mark V, a speed demon of a compact camera that promises unrivelled AF speeds as well as hugely impressive continous shooting paired with established image quality.

So what did AP Magazine conclude:

From AP Magazine:

“Its speed, performance and image quality are execellent but the RX100 V is still far from being the perfect pocket camera and its disappointing that Sony hasn’t concentrated its efforts on improving faults we’ve pulled previous RX100 series models up on before”

“To summarise the RX100 V is a very capable premium pocket compact but once again we are left saying it as potential to be even better”

My Take:

Here, here. Around £1000 ( yes a Grand) for a modern camera specifically intended to be the best of the best in-class not to possess a touch screen is just plain ludicrious. Then there’s the physical button layout and general ergonomics of the camera which leave a lot to be desired, I mean the camera still lacks any sort of built in rubberised hand / finger grip?????

Sony’s latest version of its 20mp 1-Inch BSI CMOS sensor is clearly a winner but what’s the point if the camera still sometimes fails to handle in a way expected of such a prenium product?

And then there’s the very meagre, indeed down right poor battery life ( you’ll be lucky to get around 200 plus shots from the RX100 V).

All of these persistent general moans directed at the RX100 V have equally applied to earlier RX100 models so they can, no they should be reasonably easily address, so why not sort them Sony?

For £1000 of my own money I expect a bit more from the RX100 V. Fingers crossed the RX100 VI when it comes may finally end up being the ultimate premium compact. For the time being personally I’d be more tempted to look at either the ealier RX100 IV, the Canon PowerShot G7X II or Panasonic Lumix LX15 if I was in the market for a high end compact.

Mark Bynham ( December 2016)

New Fuji CSC’s coming early in 2017?

It would seem Fuji has registered two model designations in some far flung land which hints to two new Fuji mirrorless “X” cameras coming our way in the near (ish) future?

I’ll have a pint theses new models will likely be a new  X100 model rumoured to be designated the X100F and an update to the current X-T10 probably to be designated the X-T20?

One doesn’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out they are both most likely to use the 24mp Trans “X” sensor as found in the X-Pro 2 and the more recent X-T2?

I doubt Fuji will mess too much with most of the the latest X100 model’s core specs, so expect the same fixed prime lens and clever optical /electrical viewfinder in the X100F?

Improved resolution and AF performance via Fuji’s latest 23mp APS-C sensor will be the main improvements in the forth coming X100 model although I’d love to see the introduction of an articulated touch-screen?

Not long to wait, expect an official announcement within 2 months or so?

Mark Baynham ( November 2016)

Dpreview posts ISO comparison charts for the OM-D EM1 II

Olympus OM-D EM1 II ISO / Image Performance

In the last few hours Dpreview has posted studio testing of both RAW / JPEG’s for the new Olympus OM-D EM1 II pitting it against the orginal EM1 as well as the Fuji X-T2 and Niko D500.

Mmmm.

I’ve looked and looked again and I have to be frank I don’t see a 1/4 stop improved in ISO performance for the new model, nor a particularily noticable improvement in resolution over the EM1 and certainly not the X-T2 and D500.

In fact over the entire ISO range in both JPEG and RAW the X-T2 in particular to my eyes definately has the legs over the EM1 II.

This is not what I expected and looking at the results they appear to run counter to what Techradar concluded.

Explanation?

Sorry I have none.

From Dpreviews studio testing the EM1 II seems to accept a bit more grainular appearance in high ISO RAW images in order to give the visual impression of definition. I suppose careful noise reduction in RAW images from the EM1 II may result in ever so slightly sharper, crisper looking images at high ISO over say the EM1 but not the X-T2 that’s for sure.

As for JPEG images, again it may be a personal preference but I see little if any clear advantages of the EM1 II over its older brother the EM1 and in-camera JPEG processing looks a bit over-cooked to me?

In fact I’d be as bold to say in most respects the images from the EM1 II pretty much mirror those from both the Panasonic GX8 (also a 20mp M43 sensor) and those from the PEN -F which isn’t surprising as in essence they share the smae sensor?

I’d be lying if I said I am not disappointed bearing in mind Olympus’s bold claims for the EM1 II  when it comes to image quality.

I suppose its possible that a future firmware tweak may squeeze a bit more quality from the EM1 II ( both JPEG & RAW) but I reckon we’ll have to wait for the long promised and much rumoured organic sensor from Olympus before we see a truly significant jump or improvement in imnage quality from a four third sensor?

To emphasis the images from the EM1 II are far from bad they are at least as good as other those from other M43 cameras, they simply don’t seem ( to my eyes) to live up to the pre launch hype?

Olympus may well have their work cut out if they try to justify the EM1 II’s high retatil cost on alleged image quality improvement alone.

It will be a good camera though, that’s for sure.

Mark Baynham ( November 2016)

Looks can be deceptive: Olympus OM-D EM1 II

Olympus OM-D EM1: Familar But Different

The time is nearly upon us when the new Olympus OM-D EM1 II will be readily available.

Whilst the new model looks superficially very similar to the EM1 deleve into the specification and you’ll see Olympus has honed, tweaked and improved every major aspect of the earlier model even re-shaping the finger grip to allow better traction when the new camera is used with the bigger M43 lenses like the m.Zuiko 300mm f4 and m.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.9 Pro Telephoto.

There’s been much talk about its price point ( around £1800 body only) and whether this new Micro Four Thirds ( M43) power-house can really take the fight to APS-C cameras like the Nikon  D500 (they will retail at a similar cost) let alone compete with other mirrorless cameras like Fuji’s wonderfully sublime Fujifilm X-T2 which I’d argue sets the bench mark for not only CSC’s / mirrorless cameras in general but high end enthusiast cameras period.

Well time will tell but one thing is for sure spec wise the new EM1 looks like a dream M43 camera, in fact it looks like a dream camera full stop so here’s a a reminder of its general specs:

Core Specification: Olympus OM-D EM1 II

New 20mp Four Third CMOS sensor

2.36M dor EVF with improved refresh rate

On chip phase detection points

121-point AF system

New TruePic VIII processing engine

Dual quad core processors ( one for auto-focus the other for imaging)

Fully articulated touch-screen

Dual UHS-II compatible SD slots

Continous shooting up to 60 fps at full resolution

Up to 18 fps in tracking mode (Electronic Shutter)

15 fps (fixed focus) using the mechanical shutter

10 fps with focus tracking using the mechanical shutter

Up to 5.5 stops of in-body stabilisation ( up from 5 in the EM5II)

Sync IS rate of 6.5 stop stabilisation with certain “Pro” lenses

4K video at 24fps & a bit rate of 237Mbs

Built-in microphone and headphone sockets

Revised menu system

And all the above will be wrapped into a properly rugged weather sealed body.

That is one hell of a spec list and a few years back only a pro camera would have come close to sporting them.

If Olympus has managed to squeeze even a little bit more image quality at high ISO from the new sensor & processor the new EM1 II may well end up finally being the M43 camera that matches ( for the most part) APS-DSLR’s?

Fingers crossed

Mark Baynham ( November 2016)