Another Fujifilm X100F Review

Fujifilm X100F Review thumbnail

Online review site Photography Blog UK has published its review of Fuji’s X100F and here’s what they concluded:

From Photography Blog UK:

“The Fujifilm X100F is a very enjoyable camera to use, and fans of the brand and this style of camera will not be disappointed by the improvements made to this latest iteration. 

Autofocusing has been improved, and you can rely on it to get the shot in focus consistently and quickly, especially if you already have the focus point in the correct place. 

Images are bright and vivid, while the different film simulation modes give you lots of scope for getting the colours you desire to match the scene you’re shooting. You’ll probably find you have your own favourite, but they’re great to experiment with. 

The Fujifilm X100F is the perfect size and weight for maximum portability, and with a 35mm f/2 lens, it’s the ideal camera for street photography – if that’s the kind of work you like to do, then you’ll find it very appealing. Some will find having a fixed focal length a drawback, but it’s quite a flexible length for a range of different subjects that forces you to work with your feet rather than relying on a zoom. 

That said, at the end of the day, the Fujifilm X100 range remains a niche camera. You have to have a specific need for a camera like this, and while it does what it does extremely well, many will be looking for something which is a bit more of an all-rounder – especially for the cost involved. 

Using the Fujifilm X100F is generally great – lots of dials and buttons make changing most settings quick and easy. Improvements have been made to ergonomics which make sense, but the screen is the biggest let down. Not being touch-sensitive means that sometimes, just sometimes, you can miss the definitive moment because changing the AF point isn’t the split second action it would be with a touch-sensitive screen. That aside, it would also be super helpful if the screen tilted so you could use it as a waist level finder for street photography. 

Ultimately, there’s a hell of a lot to like, if not love, about the Fujifilm X100F. It’s a beautiful camera, is great to use and produces lovely images – there’s just a couple of reasons which means it stops just short of perfection. If you’re looking to save money, take at the look at the still excellent X100T, or even the X100S or original X100″.

March 2017

Fujifilm X100F online review

Fujifilm X100F: Best X100 model yet by a country mile

Dpreview has published a comprehensive review of Fuji’s latest X100 model, the Fujifilm X100F and its worth a read.

The orginal X100 was a unique camera in its time, offering a fixed prime lens, an APS-C Trans X sensor and clever electric-Optical viewfinder but it was flawed in a number of areas so Fuji not only improved the orginal model via firmware updates but also introduced the X100S and X100T models.

Well the X100F takes all the very best aspects of the X100 concept and adds both a new 24mp sensor (same as in the X-Pro 2 and X-T2) and incoporates tweaks to ergonomics (via button layout), the result promises to be the best X100 model yet and an excellent camera in its own right, so what did Dpreview think?

From Dpreview:

Conclusion

“The X100 series started life as a great concept with wonderful styling that lots of people loved, despite of its manifold quirks. Each subsequent model has been a little bit better, but not always enough to make them essential upgrades for existing owners.

The X100F changes that. The image quality takes a huge leap forward, as do the ergonomics, thanks to the addition of the AF joystick. But most significantly, the speed of operation, including that of the lens, has been noticeably improved. We think it’s enough to change the way you feel about the camera.

So, while we didn’t feel the X100T was enough of a step forwards to justify a Gold award, we have no such qualms about the X100F. On balance, we think this is the ‘rush out and buy one’ product that we’ve always hoped the X100 series would be.

The X100F’s combination of image quality, usability and styling make it the best in the series yet. It’s still a niche camera, but this latest version’s limitations stem primarily from its design, rather than its implementation. A true photographers’ camera”.

My Take:

I have tested and reviewed the three previous X100 models, loved most aspects of them them but also been frustrated by others.

The X100F is the first X100 model I’d have absolutely no qualms buying with my own money, its easily the best X100 model yet and represents a  genuine value for money upgrade for X100 and X100S owners. It will be a bit harder for X100T owners to justify an upgrade but I have no doubt whatsoever that many will purchase the X00F, its a cracking camera.

The X100F is one of the very few modern cameras that is able to blend old school photography with state of the art digital technology.

Its not quite perfect, the touch screen still isn’t articulated (doh) nor is it a touch screen and AF is till a bit unresponsive comapred to some of the opposition but if you seek a 35mm (equivilent) fixed lens compact (ish) camera with an EVF/Viewfinder that produces superb image quality and looks the business, the Fuji X100F is the camera for you. As a street, reportage camera its top class and even people who shoot urban city scapes and landscape will be delighted with the X100F.

Mark Baynham (March 2017)

 

Sigma 85mm f1.4 “Art” : Optical Perfection?

We know that DxO lab testing revealed the new Sigma 85mm f1.4 Prime Lens was as good as it gets but what about real world testing?

Well Dpreview have published a full user review of Sigma’s new “Art” lens for full frame DSLR’s and here’s what they concluded:

From Dpreview

Conclusion

“The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art offers some incredible image quality for the price, with outstanding class leading sharpness, excellent subject isolation and bokeh performance. The F1.4 aperture makes it a fantastic choice for low-light events and portrait shooting. The lens does experience some purple and green fringing when it’s shot wide open at F1.4 in harsh backlit conditions, but stopping it down to F2.5 eliminates it entirely. All in all this lens is one of the best portrait lenses we’ve seen to date and at a bargain price for the performance”.
No doubts there then?
February 2017

Sony Alpha 99 II Review

Sony Alpha 99 II : Sony’s “A” mount range of cameras is far from dead

Online photography review site Photography Blog UK has published a review of Sony’s “A” mount full frame SLT camera the Sony Alpha 99 II which uses a fixed transulent mirror and packs a 42 megapixel full-frame sensor, other specifications include 4K video recording, a tilting LCD screen, dual memory card slots, an electronic viewfinder and a Bionz X Processor

Sony A99 II Review thumbnail

From Photography Blog UK

“Sony has produced an excellent camera with the A99 II, following on from the excellent work of the original A99. We may have thought that Sony was giving up on its SLT range as it has been concentrating on its E-mount range for some time, but with this camera, it shows that the company is still concerned with larger, more traditional cameras too. 

Thanks to the high build quality and extensive range of buttons and dials, the Sony A99 II is pleasant to use – and of it feels like you’ve got a high performing piece of kit in your hand. 

Images are nicely saturated, but there is an issue of underexposure in some situations which mean that you often have to dial in exposure compensation where you might not normally want to do so. If you’re planning on shooting a lot of low light, low contrast shots, then this is something to be aware of – but perhaps if you’re mainly concerned with sports, wildlife, action and so on – it will be less of an issue for you. 

The A99 II performs well in those scenarios, being able to focus quickly and accurately, and having a high frame rate is useful for fast moving action.

Other manufacturers generally have resisted putting a manoeuvrable screen on their full-frame professional cameras, so it’s great to see one of those here – it’s particularly useful for video recording. Naturally, as we’d expect from an electronics giant like Sony, the A99 II is 4K compatible, too. 

It seems unlikely that anybody who is already a dyed in the wool Canon or Nikon user is going to be tempted over to the Sony system just yet, but, when you look at the price, you may think twice – it’s currently retailing for £500 less than the Canon 5D Mark IV, which was announced at a similar time, so if Sony can keep up this aggressive pricing strategy, it could convince people to switch and make savings over time”. 

My Take:

The previous Sony A99 was a bit of a dark horse, over-looked by many but appreciated by those who took the plunge and bought into Sony’s full frame SLT system. I tested the older A99 a few years back and I was very impressed.

The new A99 II is an even better camera with its 48mp sensor delivering the goods in spades.

Once again for those wanting to be a bit different and seeking to enter the full frame world and who are not already committed to either Canon or Nikon, like the Pentax K1 the new Sony Alpha A99 II is worthy of serious consideration.

Mark Baynham ( February 2017)

Panasonic G80 : Worth serious consideration

Panasonic Lumix G80: Don’t dismiss this gem from Panasonic

Online review site Cameralabs has posted a full and detailed review of Panasonic’s mid-level mirroless micro four thgird (M43) camera, the Panasonic Lumix G80.

Here’s a few thoughts and observation from the review.

From Cameralabs:

“Panasonic’s Lumix G80 / G85 is a highly compelling entry into the competitive mid-range market. Like most rivals at this price point, the G80 / G85 offers a viewfinder, articulated touch screen, loads of manual control and Wifi, but goes beyond the pack by additionally packing great quality 4k video, built-in stabilisation that rivals industry leader Olympus, and a weather-sealed body and kit zoom; the icing on the cake is Panasonic’s innovative 4k Photo which exploit 4k video to shoot 8 Megapixel ‘stills’ at 30fps, or adjust the focus or effective depth-of-field after the event. It all adds up to a camera that’s hard to beat for the money.

When comparing the G80 / G85 against the competition, the first most obvious difference is the sensor: a 16 Megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor that’s both smaller and lower resolution than the 24 Megapixel APSC sensors used by Sony, Fujifilm, Canon and Nikon. But it’s important to note Panasonic has eeked everything it can out of this sensor and in my tests there wasn’t a great deal of discernable difference in real-life detail between them. Even in low light they performed similarly up to 1600 ISO. At higher sensitivities, the APSC sensors suffered from lower noise, but you need to ask yourself how often you’ll need to shoot above 1600 ISO, especially when you take the G80 / G85’s superb image stabilisation into account. If you need to freeze action in low light, such as indoor sports or street photography in the evening, and you demand the cleanest results, you may be better-served by a bigger sensor, but for most situations the G80 / G85 will be more than good enough”

“Panasonic’s Lumix G80 / G85 is a feature-packed camera that stacks-up very well against its rivals. As a mid-range mirrorless camera, you’ll enjoy the usual features including a decent viewfinder, articulated touch-screen, loads of manual control and built-in Wifi, but the G80 / G85 goes the extra mile with great quality 4k video, built-in stabilisation that rivals industry leader Olympus, and a weather-sealed body and kit zoom. Panasonic’s unique 4k Photo modes let you extract stills from video, refocus and even adjust the depth-of-field after the event, and while continuous autofocus during fast bursts is bettered by some rivals, it’ll still track action at 3-6fps with big zooms, and the single autofocus remains one the best around. Overall I find it hard to think of a better general-purpose all-rounder at this price point – highly recommended!”

Good points
Good quality images out-of-camera, close to 20MP models.
Weather-sealed body with big EVF, articulated touch-screen, UHS II slot.
Very impressive built-in stabilisation for stills and videos.
Great quality 4k video with mic input.
Very fast single autofocus speed that also keeps working in very low light.

Bad points
No movie frame rates above 60p, so limited slow motion possibilities.
Rear buttons are too small and flush to the surface.
No USB charging in-camera.
Needs to slow to 3-4fps for continuous AF and live feedback.
Refocusing during movies not as confident as rivals with PDAF.

February 2017